Astrology Basics

The Primal Triad / Other Planets / Planet Glyphs and Meanings / Sign Glyphs and Meanings / House Meanings

Astrology is the language of the heavens, and just like any language, can be learned with dedication, practice, and patience. Here is a very simple formula to begin reading your own natal, or birth, chart. Please bear in mind that astrology is a lifelong study. These instructions are very simplistic, but they will give you a basis upon which to build. Your chart contains layer upon layer of information about your life -- information that will gradually unfold as your studies evolve.

First, obtain a copy of your own natal chart at the Astrodienst site by following the simple directions. Print it out. You'll notice a lot of different glyphs peppered around a circle cut into 12 equal slices. These twelve compartments are the astrological houses. Each house has a particular astrological sign assigned to it, depending on when and where you were born. In these houses are symbols for the 10 planets (including the Sun and Moon, excluding the Earth).

With these three sets of information -- the planets, signs, and houses -- we're going to begin to speak astrological sentences. Notice the glyphs you see in your chart are located below with keywords and meanings. Using the keywords, you can construct sentences for each planet which will reveal your inner self.


The Sun, Moon and Ascendant stand hand and shoulders above the other influences in your chart. These three together are known as the Primal Triad. They are the kingpins of the birth chart. Nothing that is not supported by them is likely to be a strong influence in your life or figure prominently in your personality. The Triad is the skeleton of the character. All other planets flesh it out and add color. Other planets, however, may figure very prominently in your chart depending on their aspects to the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant.

Look at the planetary glyphs below, and then locate the Sun in your chart, then complete the following sentence:

I am a person whose intrinsic character is (Keyword for SIGN your Sun is located in) and I find my greatest development in (Keyword for HOUSE your Sun is located in).

Find the Moon in your chart, then complete the following sentence:

My temperament is (Moon SIGN keyword) and it instinctively draws me in the direction of (Moon HOUSE keyword.)

Next locate your Rising Sign or ascendant. Your chart has a horizontal line running through its center. This line represents the horizon at the time of your birth. Note the sign that the left hand side of that line falls in. (The positions of the astrological signs can be seen on the outside circle of most charts, including the Astrodienst charts.) Another way to locate the rising sign is to look at the key on the right hand side of your Astrodienst chart. Whatever sign you see listed for the first house is your rising sign. Complete this sentence:

My role and my feeling for life are (keywords for SIGN of the ascendant), supported or impeded by (keywords for PLANETS in the first house. NOTE: Here use the KEY PHRASE for the planet, rather than the keywords).


Complete the following sentences for the rest of the planets in your chart. Remember, the full influence of these planets on your life and personality will not be fully revealed until you look at them in relation to the aspects (or lack of aspects) they make to your Sun, Moon, and ascendant.

Find Mercury in your chart, then complete the following sentence:

My thinking is (Mercury SIGN keyword) and I prefer to use my mind in (Mercury HOUSE keyword).

Find Venus in your chart, then complete the following sentences:

My idea of love, relationships, and beauty is (Venus SIGN keyword). I mainly express my sense of beauty in (Venus HOUSE keyword).

Find Mars in your chart, then complete the following sentence:

I am a (Mars SIGN keyword) fighter and frequently carry out my conflicts in (Mars HOUSE keyword).

Find Jupiter in your chart, then complete the following sentences:

The attitude toward life that I consider valuable and impressive is (Jupiter SIGN keyword). I feel rich in the area of (Jupiter HOUSE keyword) and in everything that Jupiter touches (Jupiter aspects).

Find Saturn in your chart, then complete the following sentences:

I have difficulties with (Saturn SIGN keywords NOTE: use the key phrase here, not the keywords). My limitations, inhibitions, feelings of guilt, as well as my greatest opportunities for growth lie in (Saturn HOUSE keywords) and in everything Saturn touches (Saturn aspects).

Find Uranus in your chart, then complete the following sentence:

I live my independence and/or change my standpoint in the area of (Uranus HOUSE keywords) and in everything Uranus touches (Uranus aspects).

Find Neptune in your chart, then complete the following sentence:

I experience deep longings and desires for liberation in the areas of (Neptune HOUSE keywords) and in everything Neptune touches (Neptune aspects).

Finally, find Pluto in your chart, then complete the following sentence:

I experience power and helplessness, "tunnel experiences," obsession and deepest transformations in the area of (Pluto HOUSE keywords) and in everything Pluto touches (Pluto aspects).

(These sentences are taken from Key Words for Astrology by Hajo Banzhaf and Anna Haebler)


The Planets

Key Phrase: My identity and conscious purposes.
Keywords: Our center, source, essence, power, life-force, will, vitality, purpose, life's direction, what we really are. Our ability to focus our talents to realize a central purpose. The creative potential that resides within each individual.

Key phrase: My emotions, feelings, and daily habits.
Keywords: The female principle. Our emotional responses, moods, changes, fluctuations. Our ability to give and receive nurturance, the nurturing parent, the home, how we seek security. Our habits, conditioning, and unconscious behavior, what we do instinctively.

Key phrase: My capacity to think, speak, learn, and reason.
Keywords: Thought: the intellect, rational mind, logic, reason, intelligence, versatility.
Communication: speech, language, symbols, words, writing, learning, teaching. Association: travel, commerce, interaction with environment.

Key phrase: My capacity to attract people and things that I love and value.
Keywords: Attraction: what we desire to join with, partnerships, relationships, our social urge, cohesion, cooperation. Beauty: aesthetics, charm, good taste, refinement, the arts, elegance. Harmony: balance, symmetry, melody, rhythm, grace.

Key phrase: My capacity to initiate, act, and assert, myself based on personal desire.
Keywords: Self-projection: activity, assertion, directness, aggression, pioneering energy, forging ahead, force, power, accomplishment, competition, conquest, impulse, impatience. Desire: passion, sexuality, gratification, drive, energy, courage, unchecked emotion, anger, fury, violence, war.

Key phrase: My search for meaning, truth, and ethical values.
Keywords: Expansion: increase, growth, abundance, enlargement, prosperity, wealth, fortune, benevolence, generosity, joviality, overabundance, overexpansion, exaggeration, too-muchness. Understanding: urge to find meaning, wisdom, philosophy, aspiration, religion, morals, ethics, conscience, idealism, principles, beliefs. Optimism: faith, hope, trust, positiveness, good will, improvement.

Key phrase: My capacity to create order, form, and discipline in my life.
Keywords: Limitation: form, structure, order, definition, boundary, mold, shape, focus, organization, crystallization, concentration, control, blockage, restriction, lack, insecurity, fear. Universal Law: time, gravity, cycles, karma, maturation, old age. Tester of Life: life's learning experiences, responsibility, patience, discipline, resoluteness, seriousness, purposefulness, caution, prudence, obstacle, difficulty, inhibition, frustration.

Key phrase: My unique individuality and capacity to liberate myself from past limitations.
Keywords: The Awakener: illuminator, liberator, rebel, radical, revolutionary, shatterer of old forms, change, freedom, reform, inventiveness, altruism, impersonal love, platonic relations, independence, disruption, anarchy, fanaticism. Inspiration: lightning, electricity, suddenness, illumination, revelation, originality, genius, invention, discovery. Deviation: uniqueness, unorthodoxy, unconventionality, originality, eccentricity, nonconformist, unpredictable, erratic, peculiar, unusual, the anomalous.

Key phrase: My capacity to transcend the finite self through expressing unity with the greater whole.
Keywords: Dissolver of form: cosmic solvent, unity, oneness, wholeness, the need to merge, disorder, disintegration, chaos. Intangibility: nebulousness, vagueness, fantasies, understanding beyond reason, divinity, dreams, clouds, visions, ghosts, spirits, imaginings, confusion, illusion, unreality, deception, delusion. Refinement: impressionability, sensitivity, clairvoyance, psychic abilities, the mediumship, chaotic mentality. Idealism: the dreamer, utopian, visionary, healer, artist, savior or martyr, empathy, compassion, sacrifice, surrender, devotion, celestial music.

Key phrase: My capacity to transform and renew myself.
Keywords: Regeneration: death, annihilation, destruction, black magic, breaking down, upheaval, terrorism, catabolism, elimination, release, purging, catharsis, cleansing, rebirth, creation, renewal, resurrection, rising from the depths, building up, anabolism, eruption, sex. Transformation: metamorphosis, transmutation, alchemy, permanent alteration, irreversible change, mutation, reorganization, revitalization. Penetrating the Secrets of Life: the unseen, the invisible planes, extrasensory perception, the underworld, subterranean, hidden power, atomic energy, laser beams, x-rays, genetic engineering.

The Signs

Aries -- Cardinal Fire, Yang, Mars, First House
Key phrase: My need to be independent and develop self-awareness.
Keywords: initiating, starting, pioneering, innovative, inspiring, daring, naive , spontaneous, childlike, direct, innocent, assertive, headstrong, active, courageous, fearless, competitive.

Taurus -- Fixed Earth, Yin, Venus, Second House
Key phrase: My need to be resourceful, productive, and stable.
Keywords: earthy, practical, productive, prudent, conserving, sensual, steadfast, reliable, dependable, loyal, artistic, aesthetic.

Gemini -- Mutable Air, Yang, Mercury, Third House
Key phrase: My need to communicate and learn from others.
Keywords: mental, intelligent, bright, witty, curious, inquisitive, alert, logical, literary, fluent, studious, communicative, articulate, sociable, adaptable, jack-of-all-trades, flexible, clever, inventive, changeable.

Cancer -- Cardinal Water, Yin, Moon, Ceres, Fourth House
Key phrase: My need to give and receive emotional warmth and security.
Key words: emotional, feeling, receptive, sensitive, psychic, gentle, tender, vulnerable, sympathetic, protective, maternal, domestic, shy, retiring, tenacious.

Leo -- Fixed Fire, Yang, Sun, Pallas, Fifth House
Key phrase: My need to creatively express myself and be appreciated by others.
Keywords: self-assured, self-confident, dynamic, powerful, radiant, commanding, impressive, dignified, honorable, regal, thrives on appreciation, loyal, self-expressive, creative, loving, dramatic, warm, big-hearted, generous, playful, flamboyant, romantic.

Virgo -- Mutable Earth, Yin, Mercury, Vesta, Ceres, Sixth House
Key phrase: My need to analyze, discriminate, and function efficiently.
Keywords: practical, efficient, clear, analytical, dividing, differentiating, discriminating, precise, detailed, meticulous, economical, disciplined, skillful, serving, efficient, health-conscious, utilitarian, unselfish, sanitary.

Libra -- Cardinal Air, Yang, Venus, Juno, Seventh House
Key phrase: My need to cooperate with others and to create harmony, beauty, and balance.
Keywords: relating, caring, sharing, cooperative, partner-oriented, agreeable, sociable, gregarious, balanced, weighing, just, fair, diplomatic, charming, mediating, impartial, aesthetic, artistic, refined, beautiful, harmonious, tasteful.

Scorpio -- Fixed Water, Yin, Pluto, Eighth House
Key phrase: My need for deep involvements and intense transformations.
Keywords: regenerating, transforming, cathartic, healing, renewing, penetrating, piercing, erotic, sexual, intense, magnetic, powerful, emotional, mysterious, occult, deep.

Sagittarius -- Mutable Fire, Yang, Jupiter, Chiron, Ninth House
Key phrase: My need to explore and expand the horizons of my mind and world.
Keywords: wise, understanding, sage-like, philosophical, aspiring, metaphysical, ethical, balanced, religious, idealistic, visionary, moral, truth-seeking, open-minded, optimistic, tolerant, jovial, generous, exploring, adventurous, freedom-loving, frank, outspoken, truthful, loves animals.

Capricorn -- Cardinal Earth, Yin, Saturn, Tenth House
Key phrase: My need for structure, organization, and social accomplishment.
Keywords: organized, practical, responsible, disciplined, dutiful, conscientious, structured, systematic, hard-working, mature, law-abiding, dependable, industrious, pragmatic, realistic, constructive, planning, patient, orderly, deliberate, efficient, cautious, frugal, ambitious, successful, recognized.

Aquarius -- Fixed Air, Yang, Uranus, Eleventh House
Key phrase: My need to be innovative, original, and create social change.
Key words: reforming, liberal, progressive, democratic, altruistic, tolerant, friendly, social, people-oriented, independent, freedom-loving, original, bohemian, eccentric, experimental, unorthodox, unconventional, innovative, New Age, metal, intuitive, quick, brilliant, electric, scientific.

Pisces -- Mutable Water, Yin, Neptune, Twelfth House
Key phrase: My need to commit myself to a dream or ideal and work toward its realization.
Keywords: unifying, dissolving, boundless, flowing, imaginative, dreamy, poetic, emotional, idealistic, inspiring, utopian, visionary, romantic, mystical, intuitive, spiritual, impressionable, mediumistic, receptive, psychic, empathic, compassionate, healing, gentle, sacrificing, humble, unselfish, retiring.

The Houses

First House -- Cardinal Fire, Yang, Mars, Aries, Personal
Self Awareness - how others see you, personality, mannerisms, outer behavior, persona, mask, physical appearance, self-projection, early childhood, home environment, self-expression, health, vitality, image presented to others.

Second House -- Fixed Earth, Yin, Venus, Taurus, Personal
Relationship to Substance -- finances, possessions, personal resources, attachments, survival needs, material security, earning and spending habits, attitudes towards possessions, wealth.

Third House -- Mutable Air, Yang, Mercury, Gemini, Personal
Communication with the Environment -- mental activity, routine interactions, transmitting and receiving information, intellectual endeavors, teaching, writing, conversation, messages, correspondence, personal thoughts, the day-to-day environment, short journeys, relatives, neighbors, siblings, intimate brotherhoods or sisterhoods -- consciousness groups, covens, sanghas.

Fourth House -- Cardinal Water, Yin, Moon, Ceres, Cancer, Personal
Establishing Foundations -- personal integration, home, foundation, a protected and secure environment, family, traditions, your roots, heritage, and background. The source of emotional security and wholeness, the private self, introversion, the parent who played the mother role, land, property, real estate. Private life, later life conditions, circumstances and environment, end of life, subconscious, intimate ties.

Fifth House -- Fixed Fire, Yang, Sun, Pallas, Leo, Personal
Creative Self-Expression -- All creative extensions of yourself -- children, child-bearing, the arts, dance, drama, theater, music, personal music, romance, affairs, play, recreation, pleasure, entertainment and relaxation, games, sports, hobbies, investments, gambling.

Sixth House -- Mutable Earth, Yin, Mercury, Virgo
Self Improvement -- personal reorientation, growth through crisis or sickness, analytical introspection, purification, care of the body, hygiene, nutrition, daily work environment, employment, employees, work and labor, skills and craftsmanship, service as a means of healing self and others, love and kindness to animals, self-discipline.

Seventh House -- Cardinal Air, Yang, Venus, Libra, Social
Completion through Others -- what you seek in others, one-to-one or small group relationships, marriage, personal attributes of the marriage partner, dealings with others, business partnerships, legal contracts, alliances, conflict with others, litigation, cooperation or competition.

Eighth House -- Fixed Water, Yin, Mars and Pluto, Scorpio
Transformation -- the emotional consequence of a relationship, intense unions, sexual activities, death and rebirth, joint resources, investments, dowries, legacies, inheritance, wills and life insurance, delving into the unknown, psychic research, surgery, the world of the occult, sorcerers, nature's secrets, deeply felt peak experiences, after-death experiences, psychology, attitudes toward growth and change, letting go, counseling.

Ninth House -- Mutable Fire, Yang, Jupiter, Sagittarius, Universal
Expansion of Awareness -- the search for meaning, the higher or superconscious mind, collective thinking, abstractions, clergymen, philosophy, metaphysics, religious rituals, your belief system, ethics, and morals. Travel to distant lands, exploration, higher education, law, publishing, prophetic dreams, teachers, gurus.

Tenth House -- Cardinal Earth, Yin, Saturn, Capricorn
Social Integration -- your standing in the community, public life, vocation, profession, career, business, status, societal recognition, achievements, accomplishments, reputation, the parent who played the father role, authority and authority figures.

Eleventh House -- Fixed Air, Yang, Uranus, Aquarius, Universal
Social Reform -- group involvement, collective endeavors, clubs and organizations, common links to others beyond space and time, social causes, ideals, progress, the common good, humanitarianism, global awareness, impersonal love, altruism, friendships, your hopes, wishes, dreams, and aspirations.

Twelfth House -- Mutable Water, Yin, Neptune, Pisces, Universal
Transcendence -- the end of the cycle where you must take care of unfinished business and resolve past karma, and come to terms with unresolved issues, ghosts from the past, retraints, places of confinement, prison, hospitals, asylum, psychological blocks, aloneness, isolation -OR- freeing yourself from past restrictions, transcending karma through grace, attaining inner peace, rendering compassionate service to humanity, retreats from the world, inner realities, universal visions, introspection, fantasies and dreams, spiritual bliss -OR- self-undoing, escapism, troubles, worries, sorrow, loss and suffering, the shadow.

(Keywords taken from Astrology for Yourself by Demetra George and Douglas Bloch)