Astrology: The Sun, Moon and Stars

Image by Hannah Baker

Understanding Astrology

Astrology is the ancient study of the cosmos. Our ancestors have been gazing up at the night sky, tracking our place in time and space, for millenniums. Astrologers study the celestial bodies orbiting our sun in relation to the zodiac. Astrology is not some fortune-telling, life-defining practice. It is a language of symbols we can use to interpret the circumstances of the world we perceive. It is a way of understanding what is within and what is without. Through this symbolic language, we can explore the psychology of our human experience. Astrology is a creative, intuitive practice of understanding community, identity, and spirituality.

The Sun

image by Hannah Baker

Our radiant, omnipresent life force. Its light touches each astral body in our solar system. We cannot even gaze at this magnificent ball of incandescent gas without damaging our eyes. As its light covers the Earth, it provides every organism with warmth and nutrients. The Sun is the womb we all originated from. It is the essence of creation, integral to our life force. It is the largest extension of our organs. All life revolves around the Sun- literally and figuratively. Without it, we would have no time, progression, harvest, or duality.

The Sun’s position relative to the 12 zodiac constellations describes our seasonal experiences on Earth. The zodiac wheel begins with Aries on the ascending horizon. The Sun enters Aries- the cardinal fire sign- as the Earth enters its spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. As the year progresses, each sign marks a change in season on the planet and within ourselves.

The Sun represents the self. One of my astrological teachers uses the metaphor that each of us is the Sun of our own solar system. We are unable to perceive ourselves, only the bodies orbiting around us. We know ourselves only by contrast. Though we may grow up to become self-aware beings, we are always limited to our own perspectives. Yet we have such a powerful effect on anything that comes into our plane of existence. Even the Sun is limited in its scope of perception. Our Sun is one among infinite stars in space. There are places in the cosmos it cannot reach. But the power of the Sun’s energy is one of expansive creativity and destruction.

Image by Aly Larson

The Moon

Intuitive and emotional, the moon rules water and represents our inner space. The Earth’s moon has a gravitational force that pulls our oceans into tidal bulges. Since the moon is the closest celestial body to Earth, it changes phases fastest. The moon completes its full cycle in about 30 days. Its phases are symbolic of how our emotions are fluid and ever-changing. The moon moves between zodiac signs every two-and-a-half days.

New Moon: At this phase, the moon is in line with the sun from our perspective on Earth. The Dark Moon asks us to go inwards. Plant seeds and set intentions for the upcoming cycle. Beginnings and endings often coincide around this. Spend time in contemplation and reflection.

Waxing Crescent: This is the first sliver we see after the Dark Moon. It opens our perceptions and fosters higher levels of awareness. It reveals new insight.

First Quarter Square: The first half-moon is the Imum Coeli from the new moon. It represents a turning point that may present us with challenges. It suggests rooted and groundedness to progress in a cycle.

Waxing Gibbous: The energy from the moon is gathering momentum at this point. It promotes high productivity and exciting energy. What has been brewing begins to boil.

Full Moon: At this phase, the moon is the polar opposite of the sun. The zodiac sign of the full moon is always opposite to the zodiac sign of the sun. Passion, tension, and conflict are high. Harvest the fruit from the seeds planted during the new moon.

Waning Gibbous: Falling away from the energy of the full moon, use this time to absorb your experiences. Disperse, release, and let the dust settle.

Last Quarter Square: The last half-moon is the Midheaven from the new moon. Share what you gained from the full moon. Use your fruits in a practical way. Create separation and distance as needed. This is a time of transition.

Waning Crescent: In the final phase before the next moon cycle begins, let go of any energies, emotions, or situations you no longer wish to carry. Empty, shed, and release.

Image by Aly Larson

The Stars

Aries (19 April-21 March) ruling planet: MARS element: FIRE quality: CARDINAL Impulsive, independent, confident, aggressive

Taurus (20 April-20 May) Ruling planet: VENUS element: EARTH quality: FIXED

Sensual, stubborn, aesthetic, peaceful

Gemini (21 May-20 June) ruling planet: MERCURY element: AIR quality: MUTABLE

Communicative, inquisitive, open-minded, curious

Cancer (21 June-22 July) ruling planet: MOON element: WATER quality: CARDINAL

Nurturing, sensitive, emotional, protective, creative

Leo (23 August-22 September) ruling planet: SUN element: FIRE quality: FIXED

Playful, courageous, creative, sociable

Virgo (23 August-22 September) ruling planet: MERCURY element: EARTH quality: MUTABLE

Pragmatic, sensible, detail-oriented, critical, loyal

Libra (23 September-22 October) ruling planet: VENUS element: AIR quality: CARDINAL

Diplomatic, pleasing, balanced, indecisive

Scorpio (23 October-21 November) ruling planet: PLUTO element: WATER quality: FIXED

Obsessive, passionate, investigative, perceptive

Sagittarius (22 November-21 December) ruling planet: JUPITER element: FIRE quality: MUTABLE

Adventurous, idealistic, honest, blunt, opportunistic 

Capricorn (21 December-20 January) ruling planet: SATURN element: EARTH quality: CARDINAL

Ambitious, practical, determined, hard-working

Aquarius (21 January-18 February) ruling planet: URANUS element: AIR quality: FIXED

Pisces (19 February-20 March) ruling planet: NEPTUNE element: WATER quality: MUTABLE

Dreamy, nostalgic, faithful, psychic, sensitive, spiritual

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