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Astrology: So Much More Than A Horoscope!

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.
assorted zodiac signs?width=1024&height=1024&fit=cover&auto=webp
Original Illustration on Canva for Her Campus Media

I have been fascinated by forms of psychoanalysis and the concept of astrology since I was younger, checking the personality quizzes and horoscope section of all of my tween magazines… but I have since learned that astrology is so much more than horoscopes!  And with the start of the astrological year and the first day of the Aries season (March 20th this year), I thought I would share a little bit about astrology that beginners might not know!  

1. THe Natal Chart

Your natal chart is a map of the sky at the exact moment that you were born.  It is shaped like a wheel with 12 sections, one for each of the 12 signs of the zodiac.  There is a bit of influence from every single sign in everyone’s life, astrology isn’t as cut-and-dry as many people assume at first glance.  To find out where everything falls in your personal natal chart, there are many online calculators that you can find with a simple google search, but there are also many apps as well.  My personal favorite app for creating and reading your chart is “Time Nomad,”  and my favorite app for finding explanations for what all of your placements mean is “Time Passages.” Within these apps, or on any of the countless natal chart calculators online, you will need to enter the day, year, place, and time of your birth.  The time and place determine which sign begins your natal chart wheel, this is called your “rising sign” or “ascendant,” and I will go over that in more depth later in the article.  Once the rising sign/first house is determined, all of the following houses will be occupied by each of the rest of the 12 signs.  It is important to note that all of the signs stay in the same order, so if someone is a Libra Rising, the next house will contain the sign of Scorpio  Within this snapshot of the sky are all of the planets, the sun, and the moon.  Wherever each of these celestial bodies were located at the exact moment you were born, that is what house and sign they will sit in your chart.  Now let’s look at a few of the most important placements.

2. Sun SIgns

Let’s start with your sun sign.  This is the sign that most people are familiar with and is part of your “Big 3” signs: sun sign, moon sign, and rising sign.  The sun sign corresponds with your birthdate.  There are 12 signs total that account for a month’s worth of time.  For example, I was born under the first sign of the zodiac, Aries, so I am an “Aries Sun.”  This means that I was born between approximately March 21st through April 19th.  I say approximately because these dates can vary by about a day or so on either side each year, depending on the exact calculations of the movement of the sun between astrological signs.  This being said, if you were born around those “cusp” days, look up your birth date with your birth year to see exactly where the sun was on your birthday!  In astrology, your sun sign represents your ego and the person that you strive to become throughout your life.  It can also be influenced by the house the sun falls in on your natal chart.  

3. Moon Signs

Next up in the “Big 3” signs is the moon sign.  It is exactly what it sounds like, the zodiac sign that the moon was in on the day you were born.  While the sun stays in the same sign for about a month, the moon sign changes about every two-and-a-half days.  Knowing your birth time as well will help you find your moon sign more accurately because as the two-and-a-half day span suggests, the moon sign often switches in the middle of the day.  Moon signs are viewed by astrologers as the core of your inner emotional self.  Like all placements, the moon sign can also be influenced by the house that it resides in throughout your natal chart.  

4. Rising Signs

Last, but not least, in the “Big 3” is the rising sign!  This placement is the most specific of all three and its sign sets up your entire natal chart.  The name “rising” or “ascendant” comes from the fact that this sign is determined by the star sign that was rising above the eastern horizon at the time of your birth.  Not only does the exact time matter here, but also the location where you were born.  Noting the location accounts for time zone changes and different perspectives of stars’ locations at any given time.  Your rising sign placement represents the characteristics that most people will associate with you when they first meet you or don’t know you very well.  Think of it as your natal chart’s “first impression” because it rules the first house.  Finally, let’s look at what the differences are between each of the signs.

5. Modalities and Elements

Each of the 12 signs is unique in many ways, but they are sorted into two categories: modality and element.  There are three modalities and four elements, resulting in 12 unique combinations.  The modalities are “cardinal,” “fixed” and “mutable.”  Modalities describe the attitudes of each sign.  Simply, cardinal signs are natural leaders in their element, fixed signs are often “fixed” in their ways, and mutable signs are more “go with the flow.”  And any fan of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” would know, the elements are fire, earth, air and water.  Each element has its own “vibe” as well.  Fire signs are just that: fiery, earth signs can be very grounded and level-headed, water signs are often emotional, and air signs are quite free-spirited and social.  For an example of how these categories work together to describe each sign’s personality, let’s look at my sun sign: Aries.  Aries is a cardinal fire sign, which means we are natural leaders with lots of spunk and fire.  But that also means we can be impulsive or impatient (retail therapy, anyone?).  One last thing to note that is very helpful in memorizing the order of the signs is that they follow the patterns of “fire, earth, air, water” and “cardinal, fixed, mutable” through all 12 of the signs.

There are thousands of years of fascinating celestial observation, patterns, and calculations that make up what we know about astrology nowadays.  So, while this is definitely not absolutely everything there is to know about astrology and I’m far from an expert, I hope it is enough information to spark your interest in the stars.  Happy Aries Season and Astro New Year!

zodiac signs cancer pisces gemini?width=1024&height=1024&fit=cover&auto=webp
Original Illustration by Her Campus Media
Sonny Crull

Illinois State '23

Hi! My name is Sonny Crull, I am a Senior at Illinois State, and I'm majoring in Interpersonal Communications with a minor in Music! As a writer, I aim to use my voice and platform through Her Campus to share fun, engaging, and relatable content.