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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Aberdeen chapter.

An Introduction to Astrology

Astrology, whether you believe in it or not, has been back in fashion for quite some time now. This article is going to break down astrology for you newbies (Ellen Vinke especially), so that you can get to know your zodiac signs better.

Zodiac signs date back as far as 2000 years, from the ancient civilisation of Babylonia. They followed where each full moon was every month and chose zodiac signs to map the moon’s journey. This was how the 12 zodiac signs that we know today were created!




When it comes to star signs, most people know the different stereotypes of each sign: Cancers cry a lot, Aries are bossy, Capricorns focus too much time on their job etc. However, it’s not that simple. Everyone has a birth chart (or Natal chart) filled with 14 signs– this is a snapshot of the sky the moment you were born. So your personality is based on all of these signs, not just your sun sign. I will briefly describe what each sign determines for your personality, although if you want even more information you look into this more yourself!


Sun sign: What your important traits are – how you act and express yourself.

Moon sign: Reflects your inner self – why you feel the way you do.

Ascendant (Rising) sign: How other people see you – how you see and meet the world around you.


These 3 are the most important ones in determining your personality, however, there are more!

Inner planets: Core personality traits.

Mercury sign: How you communicate.

Venus Sign: How you express affection.

Mars: Why you express anger or passion in the way you do.


Outer Planets: They reflect what makes your life special.

Jupiter: Where you feel luckiest or most confident.

Saturn: Where you feel most uncomfortable.

Uranus: This sign represents change, innovation. (Side note: this is really interesting because Uranus moves extremely slowly. So it can sometimes take 40 years for your Uranus sign to move back to where it was the day of your birth. Hence, people having mid-life crisis’s when they are 40!).

Neptune: How you escape from reality.

Pluto: relates to power and transformation.


There are even more signs (descendent, midheaven etc.) that you have, however, these tend to be less important.

With all of this in mind, this might help explain to you why you find you don’t relate to some of your sun sign traits. This is because everyone is a unique mixture of different signs.  You can find out your exact birth chart by typing in ‘birth chart calculator’ online.

But wait, it gets even more complex than this! When you research into your zodiac signs it might say phrases like: ‘fire signs’, ‘cardinal signs’, ‘4th house’, and ‘retrograde’. Reading them is pretty baffling and you might be lost as to why cancer being a water signs means anything at all. Well, don’t worry, because I have got you covered.

Houses: These are much simpler than they seem, houses are just simply the 12 sections your birth chart is divided up into. Every house represents a different aspect of someone’s personality, and the position of each planet in these houses symbolises how that planet affects you!


Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable signs:

Cardinal signs: These are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. These signs start off each new season. This makes them leaders and signifies new beginnings.

Fixed Signs: These are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. These signs fall in the middle of seasons, making them stable and trustworthy.

Mutable signs: These are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. These signs are in the last month of each season, so they signify transition and flexibility.


Water, Earth, Fire, and Air signs:

These are another sub-category that each sign can be divided into. Each 12 zodiacs can be divided into one of the four elements. Similarly to the four elements combining to make the world around us, so do the 12 zodiac signs.


Water signs: These are Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio. They are emotional and intuitive. Like water, their emotions come in waves and can be very deep, making them seem overbearing to less emotional signs.

Air signs:  These are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. They are all about action and are great communicators, but can be very detached from situations and other people.

Fire signs: These are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. They are passionate and enthusiastic, on the downside this can lead to them sometimes being temperamental.

Earth signs: These are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. These guys are grounded and stable, making them very loyal and practical. But they are also stubborn and too focused on work.


The last term I want to explain to you is Retrograde. If you sometimes keep up to date with your horoscopes, you might see the term ‘retrograde’ and be confused as to why this is so important – in particular, ‘mercury retrograde’. Retrograde is simply when a planet appears to be moving backward in the sky. This will affect you in to having trouble or feeling the effects of this planet even more. In terms of mercury retrograde, it has a bad reputation due to mercury being the sign of communication. Therefore, during a mercury retrograde there can be more fights due to miscommunication.



It is also important to understand the difference between astrology and horoscopes because most people get them mixed up. Astrology is the science behind the belief that the position of the planets has a direct impact on your everyday life. (Disclaimer: when I say science, I don’t mean to refer it to actual science as it has not been proven). So Astrology the zodiac sign given to you based on the moment you were born. Horoscopes, however, are the forecast of an individuals future based on their astrology.

Horoscope columns in newspapers became popular due to a British astrologer R.H. Naylor. Amazingly, he foretold Princess Margaret’s life event using her birth chart. He predicted that important events would happen to her family around her 7th year. Just before she turned 7, her uncle abdicated the throne to her father. Naylor then had more and more horoscopes published in the newspaper and so birthed the popularity of daily horoscopes that we see today.

However, these horoscope columns, which attempt to sum up your day in two short sentences, are an extremely limited understanding of your horoscope. We have already addressed how everyone has multiple signs affecting their life, not just their sun sign. Therefore, a more accurate horoscope typically involves looking at your birth chart and sees how and where the different planets have moved in order to determine the effects it will have on your life. These charts look like this:



There is a lot of debate over whether or not astrology is real or fictional. But regardless of what you believe, it is a really interesting topic to learn more about. However you feel about it, I hope this article helps you understand astrology a lot more!