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The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Astrology

As an avid optimist who loves personality tests, I have always enjoyed reading my weekly horoscope. They give me a deeper understanding of myself and of my future. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely question how accurate it is sometimes, but there’s a sense of peace that comes from reading your horoscope and gaining insight into your week, month, and even year. Will it be filled with good fortune, career advances, and love interests? Always (unless it is Mercury retrograde)!  My horoscope always seems to give me a rose-colored glasses insight into my week but half the time, I also had no idea what it was saying. It was basically a star sign filled fortune cookie that I couldn’t translate but it’s time to change that for all of us:


The Signs

Courtesy: Astrostyle


Sun Sign

This is probably what first comes to mind when you think of astrology. Your sun sign is your main zodiac sign that is based on your birthday. There are twelve options, each correlating to a month:

  • Capricorn: December 21-January 21
  • Aquarius: January 22-February 21
  • Pisces: February 22-March 21
  • Aries: March 22-April 21
  • Taurus: April 22-May 21
  • Gemini: May 22-June 21
  • Cancer: June 22-July 21
  • Leo: July 22-August 21
  • Virgo: August 22-September 21
  • Libra: September 22-October 21
  • Scorpio: October 21-November 22
  • Sagittarius: November 22-December 21


From there, each of the signs is categorized into the four elements. Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo are earth signs. Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra are air signs. Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio are water signs. Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are fire signs. Each of the elements is known to have key characteristics that their signs display. Earth signs are considered to be more introverted and very grounded while air signs are known to be more free-spirited. Water signs are very adaptable and kind while fire signs are optimistic and passionate. The signs are also divided into three different categories that further define your characteristics:

Cardinal Signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn

Fixed Signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius

Mutable Signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces


Cardinal signs are considered to be leaders and trendsetters because they are the signs that start each season. Fixed signs fall in the middle of each season, making them the trustworthy goal finishers. While a Cardinal sign may want to do something, a Fixed sign will make it happen and plan out every detail. Mutable signs end out each season which makes them the most adaptive of the signs. They are the “finishing touches” of the Zodiac, meaning they will perfect what a Fixed sign may have planned.


Rising Sign

Here’s where it starts to get a little trickier. You have more than one sign, each ruling different aspects of your life. While your Sun Sign is a broad overview, your Rising Sun explains the first impression you give off and how other people see you. To figure this out, you need to know the time and place of your birth.


Moon Sign

As opposed to your Rising Sign, your Moon Sign describes your inner self. This is who you are around your family and your closest friends. This explains what you value the most and why you do. To find this out, you need the time and place of your birth because it is based on what zodiac sign the moon was in at the time of your birth.



Planets and Retrogrades


We have all heard about Mercury going into retrograde but WTF does that actually mean? When a planet goes into retrograde, it means that the aspect of yourself that the planet represents will not function normally. Each planet represents different characteristics:

  • Mercury: Communication
  • Venus: Love
  • Mars: Energy
  • Jupiter: Luck
  • Saturn: Challenges
  • Uranus: Change
  • Neptune: Dreams
  • Pluto: Power


For example, when Venus is in retrograde, your love life may feel “off” because Venus is moving backward. You may also just feel these emotions on a deeper level. 

Katie is a senior at Florida State University, majoring in Marketing and minoring in Commerical Entrepreneurship. She is one of Her Campus's national collegiate Style Editors but don't worry, you can still find her writing for Style and Career. She's a South Florida girl through and through and loves all things beachy and outdoorsy. When she isn't obsessively online shopping, looking up her daily CoStar, or reading every book in the "Free" section on iTunes, she's trying to convince people that they don't need an Instagram. Feel free to add her on LinkedIn (because networking is the new adulting) and check out her website. 
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