Introduction to Astrology for Self-Development

Astrology may in many respects be viewed as the spiritual genome of the human consciousness similar to the physical genome which has been coded from the information within the helix of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which lies at the root of the cellular structure and contains the information necessary for nature to evolve a separate and unique organism in accordance with the chemical sequences encoded on its strands. The complex diversity of human consciousness as expressed in the art of Astrology is the result of many millennia of careful and dedicated study by the practitioners of this art. Within this vast matrix of information, the individual can discover and reveal aspects of their consciousness that remain dormant or unrecognized and thus advance their evolutionary spiritual development.

As an example, the ancient Mayans developed their comprehensive astrology from the study of the personality and temperament of hundreds of thousands of persons born into their society and corresponding them to the time and season of the year as well as to the positions of the planets in the heavens on their day of birth. From this vast undertaking emerged an encyclopedic knowledge of the variations in human character and temperament which formed the basis of an astrological methodology used to order their society and bring it in harmony with the planetary energies that influenced the lives of each individual.

Spiritual astrologers incorporate the relationship between the individual and the Universe by focusing on the psychological expression of the Planets and Signs within the 12 areas of human experience represented by the Houses. From this perspective astrology as a tool for human development, a way to learn yourself, and find truth. This type of astrology makes it possible to realize your highest potential in this life, and fully actualize all your inner creative abilities. By understanding your “Starmap” i.e. Natal Chart as a map of the spiritual expression of self-awareness – one may proceed with greater confidence, ability and insight into the many circumstances that face you on life’s journey.

The spiritual view supported here is a progression from previous course sections. In astrology we recognize that everything with life is progressing towards acknowledging a greater truth within the Cosmic Consciousness (also known as spirit) in accordance with the Divine Plan which reflects a currently incomprehensible truth of everything. Spirit pervades all of the creation by extending itself invisibly into stars, planets, and living organisms. Personal development (or evolution) is the process by which Spirit creates opportunities for learning and growth that are graduated levels of recognition and understanding of truth or truth(s) on various levels. Just think of how your teenage self-thought you knew it all and desperately wanted to be an adult, for example. Once adulthood arrives, you begin to say – “If I only know then what I know now!” In this same way there are levels to knowing and your starmap can certainly prepare you for levels ahead.

To be clear, I’m not saying astrology is a solution to all the concerns of life but rather as an effective tool of living life in the most meaningful way possible. This course has an interactive design which allows you, ample space for notes and the ability to construct your personal starmap one step at a time. Through this course section, you’ll come to know your Inner Lights and follow them as your guides.

Consider this the basic instruction and construction of your Natal Chart. Every effort has been made to achieve both clarity and intelligibility in the presentation of this method of astrological interpretation. Numerous charts are used for illustrative purposes in every context where the goal of clear understanding will be served. Every concept is explained in sufficient detail to foster authentic understanding and no prior knowledge of Natal Chart erection, casting, or astrological interpretation is presumed. For mare advance study of astrology, transits, and astrological alignments in it various forms please refer to other courses offered on this site.

The Foundation of Astrology for Self-Development

Astrology is a symbolic art. The symbols of the Planets and Signs that are central to this art do not correlate to direct action on the part of the physical planetary bodies within the solar system actively impacting the life of individual’s. The Planets and Signs are used to express the archetypal characters, principals and energies inherent in life as perceived from our collective experience of life on Earth.

Given this perspective, the method we’ll explore in this course prescribes that the seven sacred planets of the ancients (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) do not refer to the physical bodies of our solar system but are symbolic representations of the seven aspects of the life force and energy. The planetary energies (feelings) represent the conscious awareness and the Signs represent the manifestation of that energetic awareness in the natural universe (actions). The Houses organize the activities which comprise human life into loose categories. As a whole, the houses, comprise the entire sphere of human experience from birth to death.

For example, if Mars (planet/feelings) in your chart is residing in Scorpio (sign/ actions) in the 7th House (life activity) this could be expressed as Mars (the architype of aggressive energy) acting in a manner characteristic of Scorpio (intense, passionate and emotional) in the 7th House (the House of Relationships, which encompasses marriage and business relationships.) Thus based on your chart you have a tendency to lead the charge in contractual arrangements.

This method of Astrology, in accord with the ancients, considers only the seven sacred planets acting in their Elements and Modes; the Ascendant, and the twelve signs of the Zodiac, and the two Lunar Nodes.

The outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), which were added by Western astrologers after their discovery by astronomers, as well as the various asteroids and comets which enter our Solar System, are not considered within the context of this course section.

The Planets

The Primal Will differentiated itself into seven active sentient energies which, from the point of view of this methodology, represent the progenitor powers underlying and acting in all creation. The activity of these energies are reflected symbolically as the seven planets which, when taken as a whole, comprise the symbolic representation of the principal of consciousness as manifested in the human being. A planet (aspect of consciousness) is perceived as being influenced or “colored” by the energy of the Sign (natural energy) in which it resides and acts upon the House (area of experience) in which it is resident.

The Signs

Each aspect of life force manifests itself in two characteristic ways in accordance with the universal law of duality. These two manifestations are the “day” and “night” thrones or domiciles (“homes”) of the planets i.e., the two qualities of expression that are most characteristic of their energy. To return to our previous example of the planet Mars, this planet has two domiciles, that of Aries and that of Scorpio, which are the day and night, or masculine and feminine, or external and internal expressions of its activity in nature (you and me), respectively.

The two exceptions to this are the Sun and the Moon which have only one domicile (“home”) as they express the primal essences, the Masculine (Sun) and the Feminine (Moon). These characteristic expressions by the two domiciles of the planets are further individualized by the Elemental character and Mode of the particular Sign. We’ll explore elements and modes in more detail later on.

The Houses

The Houses represent the organization of the activities which comprise human life into loose categories which, when taken as a whole, complete the entire sphere of human experience from birth to death. They are essentially experience solidified into cohesive and logical groupings so the areas of life in which the planetary powers find their principal focus can be clearly perceived and understood.

Circle of Life ‘Wheels within Wheels’

You can think of the Zodiac as the circle of life, around which every individual is destined to travel from the time they enter the natural world in birth until their departure in physical death. By living through the experiences of the 12 Houses we come into contact with the spiritual forces and natural energies represented by the Planets and the Signs. Through the study of astrology we develop an awareness of our relationship with the Universe from which emerges a vision of our purpose for living. and a mastery of self -- as we begin to acknowledge the fundamental unity between ourselves and all creation. There is an opportunity for spiritual growth by harmonizing the information in this course section with your personal experience and integrating the insights that astrology provides where it resonates.

The Starmap

At the heart of astrological practice lies the Natal Chart, or what I like to refer to as the Starmap. It’s a snapshot of the heavens as viewed from Earth on the exact moment you took your first breath immediately after birth (spirit); at the specific date, time and place of your entry into the world. The example chart above will serve as the basis for this discussion of the starmap, its primary elements and their interrelationship with one another.

The Western Natal Chart is erected as a circle which is divided into twelve equal areas of exactly 30 Degrees (30°) apiece (12 x 30° = 360° = the total number of degrees in a circle).

  • Each 30° area is assigned to a Sign/House combination determined by the actual birth information of the individual for whom the chart is casted. The planets are resident in these Sign/House combinations depending upon their position at the time of the individual’s birth.

  • The inner ring displays a series of numbers from 1 to 12 in a counterclockwise direction. These represent the Houses (areas of life experience) that were previously discussed.

  • In the middle ring reside the planets according to their position in the Zodiac at the time and place of birth.

  • On the outer ring the signs of the Zodiac according to their astrological position viewed from the time, date and place of birth are displayed.

  • Using the chart above as an example we are going to pursue an examination of its structure and symbolism so as to attain a total clarity and understanding before you cast your own chart.

The chart is constructed upon a model of three concentric rings. In the innermost ring are inscribed a series of numbers from 1 to 12 reading in a counterclockwise direction. These numbers identify the various Houses of Astrology which deal with the various aspects of human experience in the natural world. In the second ring there is also a twelvefold division into wedge shaped sections somewhat like a pie that has been sectioned for serving. This ring is inhabited by the planets or the energies of consciousness which act within the various houses. In the final ring reside the Signs of the Zodiac which are read counterclockwise from the 1st House, which is commonly called the Sign of the Ascendant, as it is the Sign rising in the east at the moment of your birth. Consider this your personal sun.

Obtaining your natal chart: There are a number of options available to help you attain an accurate starmap Below are discussed the options which are available to you so as to enable you to make an informed choice as to how you will go about obtaining your Chart:

  1. You can draw up your chart from scratch. This method is not for the fainthearted as it involves lengthy and complex mathematical calculations and detailed research to determine the correct positions of the planets with respect to the local time and the longitude and latitude of your birthplace. This was the method of the ancients and of astrologers before the advent of modern computers and software. If you decide to go for it you can always use the other methods listed to check your work.

  2. You may purchase a specialized software program for your computer which will allow you to cast your starmap as well as those of other people if you are inclined to learn and practice astrology.

  3. Lastly, you can obtain a copy of your chart from an online service or a local astrologer. The Internet offers thousands of sources from which you can obtain your chart, but before you do so please make sure that you completely understand the following information.

Whether you are casting your own chart or requesting one from an outside source there are two major factors that you need to take into consideration before-hand. The first is the type of Zodiac being employed and the second is the choice of the House System used by the software or provider source. Both of these factors are extremely important and will affect the overall design of your starmap.

There two most common type of Zodiac used to cast modern Natal charts are the Tropical Zodiac and the Sidereal Zodiac. The important difference between them is that the Tropical Zodiac is oriented according to the seasons of Nature while the Sidereal zodiac is orientated according to the exact positions of the stars. The Tropical zodiac is the dominant approach used in Western Astrology.

Throughout the history of astrology, there has been more than one approach to the division of the chart into the twelve segments which comprise the House System of the Chart. These systems go by various names such as Placidius, Koch, and Regiomontanus and are usually named after the noted historical astrologers who developed them. Other House Systems are named after their approach to the division of the chart into twelve equal segments such as the system employed in this book which is termed the: “Whole Sign System”.

In simplest terms, this system divides the chart into twelve equal house segments each of which is covered by the full 30° of the Zodiac Sign which inhabits the house. Each Sign/House combination begins on 0° of the Sign and ends on 30° of its associated Sign. On this page is illustrated the Whole Sign System in the natural Zodiac which is identical to a chart whose first house carries the rising Sign of Aries. NOTE: We’re using the whole sign system because the math is easier to comprehend. When erecting your own chart this is the least accurate system as very few people are born at exactly 0°.

Astro Lingo: Planets & Symbols

Learning something new, as you know, always involves learning new vocabulary words. In this section you will learn a brand new language (lingo). The vocabulary associated with Astrology includes Planets, Signs, Houses, Elements, Modes and other specialized terms. Consider this similar to learning the language of music where you would have to learn to speak of notes, clefs, chords and all the other diverse and specialized terms that comprise the musical language. I am comparing musical lingo to Astrology to highlight the distinction that must be made concerning the images used to portray the various concepts. Just as in music, an astrological image is more than a symbol – it is more rightly termed a “glyph” i.e., a complex symbol with multiple levels of meaning and should always be approached from a multifaceted perspective.

The Ascendant Sign