Arts and Culture

Astrology explained

In the past year, there has been a huge interest in the study of astrology among teens and young adults on social media. Just look at your discover feed on Instagram and you might come across one of these astro-memes. However, these are a bit different than the vague horoscopes that you read in the newspaper. They are, in fact, fairly complicated and may seem like gibberish.

Take a post from @astromemequeen, for example. It is a still from “Harry Potter” that depicts Ron saying, “She needs to sort out her priorities,” and the accompanying caption reads, “when you tried to stay in your lane but you’re a Virgo with a Capricorn moon.”

If you have no idea what this means but have always been curious to find out, then buckle up for a crash course in astrology!

The first thing you need is your birth chart. This is a map of the sky with a list of all the planets as well as the zodiac signs they were in at the time of your birth. Go to and enter your exact birth time and location to get this.

Each planet has its own orbit speed. The sun changes signs every month, Jupiter changes every year and the moon changes every two days.

If you’ve ever read your horoscope, you know your sun sign: it is your birth month’s sign. Your sun, moon and rising signs — your Big Three — are the basic pillars of your identity: your goals, values, emotional responses, ego, etc. Read the horoscope for these three signs if you want a well-rounded understanding.

Each planet plays a special role in your life. Generally, for brevity, Mercury rules communication. Venus rules harmony and aesthetic tastes. Mars rules energy and strength. Jupiter rules personal growth and independence. Saturn rules ethics and judgment. Uranus rules creativity and global revolution. Neptune rules fantasy. Pluto rules discovery and transformation.

There is a lot to keep in mind when studying astrology. You must understand what each planet represents, the basic archetypes of each zodiac sign, what aspects (or spatial relationships) your natal planets have, what aspects the transiting planets have with your natal planets and the house system.

The 12 signs are broken up into four categories that represent the classical elements: fire, air, earth and water. Fire signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Air signs are Gemini, Aquarius and Libra. Earth signs are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Water signs are Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio.

Within these categories are three qualities: cardinal, fixed and mutable. Cardinal signs (Aries, Libra, Capricorn and Cancer) are likely to be entrepreneurial but impatient. Fixed signs (Leo, Aquarius, Taurus and Scorpio) are likely to be reliable but stubborn. Mutable signs (Sagittarius, Gemini, Virgo and Pisces) are likely to be transformative but may give up easily.

All of these signs have many more defining characteristics, but these are some basic archetypes.

Aspects and transits are pretty simple. When the planets are in orbit, they cross paths in a few significant ways: conjunction, trine, sextile, square and opposite. When two planets are conjunct, trine and sextile with each other, their effects on your behaviors, thoughts and feelings are generally favorable. If they are square or opposite, this means that you will have to consciously work to balance these planets’ energies.

The other main part of astrology is the house system. Circular birth charts will be sectioned into 12 parts of varying widths. Each house has a meaning (I recommend that you read up on these). For example, if your sun sign is in the sixth house, you probably feel your best when you are working for people.

Reading about yourself is how most people get into astrology. So read about your planets, your signs and your aspects, then move on to those of the people you know.

Do you think the archetypes for each sign are accurate? This is ultimately for you to decide, but I think it is worth a look. At the very least, you’d be able to understand astro-meme culture!

If you are interested in learning more or would like to talk about anything mentioned in this article, feel free to email me at: