Basic vocabulary

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

If you’re going to study astrology, you need to learn some new words! This list, with definitions, will serve to get you started. And remember, there are many excellent astrology books available, so don’t feel as if you must concentrate only on the brief lessons offered here. (I’ve recommended my personal favorites in previous columns. Check the archives and write out a list if you wish. I receive no commissions from such sales at this time. When my own astrology books are published and available, however, sales will affect my royalties. Then I may be forgiven, I hope, for urging you to purchase my own tomes, from the standpoint of my ego and financial boon as well.)

Sun Sign – the astrology sign under which you were born. If you were born at the beginning or end of a particular sign, check an ephemeris or ask a professional astrologer to determine which sign is actually yours. For example, someone born on September 23 may have the Natal Sun at 0 degrees and 22 minutes Libra, suggesting they may have more characteristics of the Libra personality than someone born also on September 23 but in a different year, with that Sun at 29 degrees and 43 minutes – in Virgo. (You can see from this example that lying about your age is merely going to throw your entire chart off and you will be disappointed to find the planetary interpretations likely won’t fit you at all.)

Logically, then the next definition is your Moon Sign, or the sign your Moon was occupying when you were born. The Moon moves twelve degrees per day, on average, staying in a sign for about two and a half days each month. If your Natal Moon is in Cancer, or you’re typified as a Moonchild, for example, your moods are very affected by your family and the inner dynamics of its workings. Reading a good Sun Sign description will give you a foundation for the usual traits of your Moon Sign.

Many people will read their daily horoscope, both their Sun Sign and their Moon Sign to get a better idea of what the day may actually bring. To round this out, you may also read the prediction for your Ascendant. And that, dear readers, is the next definition.

Your Ascendant is figured from the exact time you were born, as explained in last week’s column. This is also called the rising sign, and it shows the person’s basic nature and how he or she presents the self to the outside world. The personality, as perceived by those people around the person with the Natal Chart, may be the actual nature, or it may be an acquired pose of sorts, if it’s felt necessary to disguise true feelings or inclinations. This is not as ominous as it sounds; someone in business may not reveal that on the weekends she pursues a black belt in martial arts, or he avidly travels for birding, or is a gourmet cook. Those aspects of the personality deemed ‘suitable for the public’ are what is ordinarily displayed by us humans, in conversation, small talk or the first beginnings of love. Revealing the other parts of the psyche in self-disclosure is an act of trust, and likely isn’t part of daily interactions with the cab driver, a secretary or even a distant cousin. Consider the person you meet as a small fraction of the fascinating being who may in time be a very close friend, a memorable lover or eternal mate.

And on that note, we will pursue other definitions and examples next week. In answer to a somewhat nervous query last week, no, there will be no ‘pop’ quizzes involved in these mini-lessons. On the other hand, an assigned thousand-word thesis … no, no, Madame Zombra is joking. Truly.

There are also a multitude of web sites dedicated to various aspects of this ancient study which we are endeavoring to understand. Feel free to explore them. – MZ