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Basics of Astrology: Understand Your Personality With This Brief Guide

INSIDE: By understanding the basics of astrology, you can gain a different perspective into your personality and why you are the way you are. Plus, it's just fun!


When we don't have an understanding of astrology, it can seem confusing and overwhelming, especially when we hear a bunch of terms and names that are foreign to us.

But with this brief guide, you can take the first steps by learning the basics of astrology.

A Brief Guide to the Basics of Astrology

In order to understand the basics of astrology, there are four major terms to know. These four terms are the foundation of astrology. They are:

Zodiac Signs

When it comes to understanding the basics of astrology, the first thing to learn is the zodiac signs. They are the most common part of astrology and you've probably heard them mentioned over and over again.

Astrology zodiac signs occur as a result of the division of the sky into 12 sections; therefore, there are 12 zodiac signs.

At the moment of birth, the Sun will be in one of the twelve divisions for each person, and that's how your zodiac sign is determined. 

Even though every individual is different from the other, each zodiac sign has a set of general characteristics that tend to be exhibited by each person who shares that sign.

The characteristics are under two categories: light and dark. We also refer to this as positive and negative attributes.

A common example is the Scorpio sign which tends to have a positive attributes of passion and a negative attribute of manipulation.

Zodiac Stones


There are four astrology elements you must know to understand the basics of astrology. They are air, water, earth, and fire, and they provide more in-depth knowledge about each individual. Each zodiac sign belongs to a particular element. 

Water Signs

The zodiac signs that fall under the water element are Cancer, Pisces, and Scorpio. These individuals tend to be compassionate, creative, intuitive, and spiritual.

Fire Signs

The zodiac signs that fall under the fire element are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, and they tend to be positive, energetic, and powerful.

Earth Signs

The three zodiac signs under this element are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Just like the earth, earth signs are usually solid and dependable.

Air Signs

Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are the air signs. Since air is light and free, these individuals are often independent, restless, and lighthearted.


Another important part of understanding the zodiac signs and the basics of astrology is orientation, which determines how an individual approaches life.

There are three orientations that are determined by the movement of the sun. They are Cardinal, Mutable, and Fixed.

According to a popular saying, cardinal signs start things, fixed signs turn ideas into reality, and mutable signs complete them. 

Cardinal Signs

The zodiac signs that fall under the cardinal orientation are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. They are naturally inspired to move in new directions.

Fixed Signs

The zodiac signs that fall under the fixed orientation are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. They tend to remain dedicated to a current path. They are the kind of people that set goals and complete them.

Mutable Signs

Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces zodiac signs try to maintain balance. They can dedicate themselves to a current path while still exploring new possibilities.

The Houses

To further understand the basics of astrology, you must also understand what astrologers mean by the term "Houses." There are 12 houses in astrology.

The houses are not associated with the 12 zodiac signs but are instead associated with the daily rotation of the earth. Each house represents the theme of a person's life.

The moment of a person's birth determines the house they belong to, which also dictates the planets that will influence their life.

A person's house denotes traits that define them, as well as the ones they project out to society.

For example, the eighth house, ruled by Scorpio, is the house of death, legacies, and mystery. Therefore, Scorpios are mysterious with a penchant for seeking occult knowledge. 

Specialty Pieces


After zodiac signs, planets are the next most common astrological term known. It is common to hear many people say, "My ruling planet is Pluto."

While this is gibberish to those not familiar with the basics of astrology, we can understand the language of the stars with a little insight.

There are ten planets, and they relate to an individual in different ways. The ten planets are the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

As an example, Pluto is the Roman version of Hades. It is the Scorpio ruling planets in conjunction with Mars. It is responsible for the pursuance of occult knowledge exhibited by people under the Scorpio sign. 

Aspects & the Aspect Grid

This is one part of astrology that puts people off. However, it is a must-know being part of the basics of astrology.

Aspects are the different angle planets make with each other. There are two types of aspects: Favorable and Unfavorable aspects, and they affect planets either by strengthening or weakening it.

Favorable Aspects

There are four favorable aspects in astrology, and they express the positive traits associated with each planet. They are Conjunction, Trine, Sextile, and Semi-Sextile.


Conjunction occurs when the planets are within 8° of each other. It shows the areas that will produce good results in a person's life.


Trine shows where the greatest strength of an individual lies, and it occurs when planets are 120° apart with 8° leeway on both sides.  


Sextile occurs when the planets are 60° apart with 8° leeway on both sides. Individuals under this category don't usually require much input to get things done.


Semi-Sextile occurs when the plants are 30° apart with 8° leeway on both sides. Like Sextile, it also shows an area of ease.

Unfavorable Aspects

There are two unfavorable aspects in astrology, and they express the negative associations of a planet. This can be a source of motivation as individuals would want to overcome the negativity surrounding the aspects. The two aspects are Opposition and Square.


Opposition occurs when two planets are 180° apart with 8° leeway on both sides. It's a difficult aspect because it is challenging to overcome problems associated with it.


Square occurs when planets are 90° apart with 8° leeway on both sides. The aspect will work against your best interests and it requires hard work to turn the tide around.

How to Put it All Together

I like how Kathryn Hocking explains how to put all of this together. She says to look at the planets as the "what," as in, what are you looking to understand in your astrology birth chart? The planets help us understand things like our soul purpose and how we take action in our lives.

The zodiac sign that the planet resides in is the "how." In other words, how does that planet express itself in your life. Read the description of the zodiac sign and the element associated with that sign to gain an understanding of how you'll go about your life. For example, if your "Mars is in Capricorn," you'll be work hard to achieve your goals.

Then, the house is your "where." If your Mars is in your first house, which is associated with "home," you'll be disciplined in doing your work at home. 

Final Thoughts About the Basics of Astrology

By just having this basic understanding of astrology, you can better understand your personality, and your strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, blocks, challenges, and relationships.

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