Read the top 5 reasons why your sidereal birth chart doesn’t fit.
With astrology more popular than it has been in decades, there is a lot of conversation around what kind of astrology is the “right” kind. More specifically, there is much debate around which zodiac is the right zodiac. Should one use the tropical or sidereal zodiac? Is there a reason beyond the astronomy of the zodiac that one would use one or the other? (Read my thoughts on that here.)
But why do people have such an intense reaction around which zodiac to use? And why do people often reject the sidereal zodiac only after looking at their birth chart? I’ve listed the top 5 reasons why people immediately feel like their sidereal birth chart could not be right, and thus reject the sidereal zodiac.
5. You think the Sun is the most important planet in your birth chart.
The zodiac sign that the Sun occupied on the day that you were born is the gateway (and exit door) to astrology for most people. “I am a [insert zodiac sign]” is an easy way to identify one’s self and communicate to other people certain assumptions about who you are. But who said that the Sun is indicative of who you are?
The birth chart puts every planet in a sign—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, plus the Sun and Moon. Each planet represents something very specific about not only who you are becoming, but how became that way. When you understand the depths of what astrology is capable of articulating, you learn that the Sun may be the least powerful or significant planet in your birth chart.
4. You’re biased against certain zodiac sign.
You once dated “a Cancer” and they did you wrong. Now you ask every person if they are “a Cancer” because you refuse to deal with that moodiness ever again. *insert eye roll*. Maybe you’ve got a thing for “Scorpio” because you believe what they say about their sex. *sigh*
How could you make an assumption about so many people based off of your experience with one or two people? And why does your experience create a factual basis for astrology? That’s definitely not how this works! Read some books, and see number 1.
3. You don’t understand what a zodiac is.
There is this whole debate around constellations and how many signs are there and which zodiac is the “real” one because it aligns with the stars… Blah, blah, blah.
The zodiac is a projection onto the elliptic with segments, 30° each, named after 12 of the 88 (yes, eighty-eight) constellations. The elliptic is the path the Sun appears to follow as it rises, sets, and culimnates each day. The Sun actually isn’t doing anything though. The Sun is stationary, Earth (and the other planets) move. So save your drama about the “real” zodiac versus the “fake” one. And read a book!
2. You think zodiac signs = astrology.
Oh, so you’ve been reading your horoscope since you were 12. Congratulations! Have you ever heard of a birth chart? What about the term secondary motion? Do you know any time lord techniques? What about the concept of sect? Do you know which of the 4 humors are associated with each planet?
Read a book, boo!
1. You know way less about astrology than you think you do.
Most people who see their sidereal birth chart for the first time have a major astrological crisis of identity. They want astrology to be real and true, they know it is. But how could they have identified with the “wrong” chart, or sign, this whole time?
Our brains evolved to be able to come to life saving conclusions with as little information as possible. Our survival depends upon our ability to ascertain threats and to be safe from them. Threats to one’s identity are the hardest to comprehend because identity is such an intangible thing. At least with the body you have a quantifiable medium.
Astrology is vastly complex and is a topic fit only for lifelong study. A few months of internet study, or a year of looking at charts is not enough to make any substantive judgment about astrology or which zodiac or style is “right”. You have to pick one style or zodiac, and stick to it long enough to gather experience, data, and observe patterns that give you a real idea of what you’re working with. I mean, it was 7 years of study that led me to the sidereal zodiac!
Your birth chart is not astrology. Your love for Scorpio or beef with Cancer is not astrology. The identity you’ve crafted from your understanding of the zodiac signs is not astrology.
There really isn’t a clear consensus amongst astrologers on what astrology is and what its function is. But the best designation I’ve been able to make sense of is that astrology is a language. It is more than zodiac signs. Planets, and the two lights (Sun and Moon) are the most important of all, and everything else is derived from them.
So, before you make grand declarations about which zodiac is right or wrong, or which chart is right or wrong, separate your identity from your astrology, read books, and a whole bunch of charts!
Synastry is the branch of astrology that compares two people’s birth charts for an understanding of how their lives meet. Because sidereal astrology is Divination for Liberation—the study of interpreting time as designating seasons for all things at their appointed time—we know that timing is everything, even when examining relationships through astrology.
Planets are people first. People come from people and are shaped by people. That is to say, we each emerge from the biology of male and female (mother/egg and father/sperm which is Moon and Sun, respectively), and that as individuals we emerge from community.
This is critical when studying individual birth charts and even more so when studying two people’s charts together in synastry. Two people in relationship bring with them the stories and complexes of mother and father. Mother-Moon as home, belonging, family, and the body and its needs. Father-Sun as conscious awareness, perception, and judgement.
Natal Astrology versus Synastry
If natal sidereal astrology is the study of an individual’s emergence from family and community, then synastry (in sidereal astrology) is the study of how those two individuals’ narratives of emergence and becoming intersect at specific times and in specific ways. It is the interpretation of the moments that bring them together, or apart, and the impact it has on each individual’s continued becoming.
That relationship becomes another form of community from which each individual emerges. It is the opportunity and the venue for each individual to become more of who they are as promised in their natal chart.
Some questions answered via synastry in Sidereal astrology:
What moment in each individual’s life defines the emergence of this connection?
What are the primary narratives articulated by planets in each individual chart that bring the two together?
What About Predictions in Synastry?
In natal sidereal astrology we know that no transit or present astrological configuration can bring about anything that is not already promised in the birth chart. The same is true for synastry. There is no experience or moment that can come about between two people that is not already promised in each individual‘s natal chart.
Basics RE Planets in Synastry
The Sun has to do with how you think, how your mind works. It may also say something about the men in your life. Sympathetic contacts (aspects) to the Sun shows harmony in the way that you both think and how you see things. “Coming from a similar place”. Hostile contacts may show indifference or conflict between your ways of seeing things.
The Moon is a reflection of your background, family ties, or lack thereof. Contacts to or from the Moon relate to one’s sense of family, the mother, and significant women. The Moon tells what home is like.
As with all planets one must examine the way the planet functions in the individual chart before seeing how it connects to another’s. Your Venus conjunct his Moon may not productive or constructive if his or her Moon is in an inferior square with Saturn. Especially if the Moon is in Scorpio. This may be a person that has a tenuous relationship with family and kin. And your relationship with that person could trigger the anxiety or even bring up problems in that area of their life.
Are they ready to deal with it?
What transit indicates a season of this work for them?
And does this work mean that happily ever after for you?
How is your relationship with home, mother, family? If constructive and supportive, contacts to your Moon will magnify your sense of belonging. The person who has supportive contacts with your Moon may fit into your family and home life, your routine and habits.
Venus contacts tend to be the most prized. People think it promises love. Venus at its most positive shows love languages and experience of pleasure that are supportive and sympathetic to each other. But again, if that Venus is problematic showing issues with women or a hostile style of loving, then it might not bring love at all, or maybe unrequited love.
Mars. Again, folks think sex. At its most constructive it can show a similar way of solving problems and a sympathetic conflict style. But when Mars contacts are hostile in some way it can show antagonizing, constant bickering, or inability to work together. It can mean abrupt coming together and breaking up.
Jupiter contacts show how your belief systems relate, your philosophy and worldview. Are they congruent, sympathetic, or at odds.Is religion, community, accountability, and purpose important to you and not to your partner? Contacts to and from Jupiter will show why
And Saturn! That old Devil. Saturn is about your sense of responsibility & authority over yourself/your life, and your authority and power out in the world. It’s about how you reckon with real or perceived limits. It’s a tricky one, though. Sometimes it’s like glue making you feel obligated or responsible. It reflects being serious and committing. Other times Saturn is distance/separation that can’t be overcome. A heaviness and sense of burden and work. Sometimes it’s all of the above.
Now about the angles. This is the juice. This is the meat. Connections to and from the Ascendant are what draw people to each other. Your temperament can be the embodiment of something very significant to the other person. Like, their Venus on your Ascendant, you embody their sense of beauty and there is an ease of pleasure between you. Or, Mercury, an easy flow of communication.
This Summer’s Mercury Retrograde is loaded with threads tethering back to the Summer of 2018, giving us a serious case of déjà vu, enough to make us feel like we’ve gone mad. Maybe it’s Groundhog Day and we have a chance to see it from another angle and try out a different outcome.
You know all those sayings about the power of words? Yeah, like “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” “The pen in is mightier than the sword.” “Life and death is in the power of the tongue.” “Your word is your bond.” Etc… Hold them all to your chest, very closely.
This Mercury Retrograde properly begins before Mercury even enters its retrograde shadow (June 20,2019). And it lasts until long after Mercury leaves its retrograde shadow (August 14, 2019). In fact, the defining feature of this Summer 2019 Mercury Retrograde is 3 conjunctions with Mars. The first occurs at the degree of the July 16, 2019 Eclipse (29° Sagittarius/Gemini). The second conjunction is actually as Mercury stations retrograde. This one is the kicker. At 10° Cancer it’s right where there was a Lunar Eclipse conjunct Mars Rx in Capricorn on July 27, 2018. The last one is in Leo on September 3, and that one brings the Sun along to the party.
What Does This All Mean?
Mercury takes on the qualities and temperament of any planet it touches, using its capacities to translate and interpret these qualities into words. Mars brings:
strength of will
Words are weapons. Declarations are the barrier between peace and war. Disclosure is the hurdle between agency and disempowerment. That sword that then pen is mightier than? Both possess the power of life and death.
You know what my word is for this Mercury Rx? DISENGAGE. That means only pull out your big guns if you plan to use them. I’ve been telling ya’ll that WORDS MEAN THINGS. And once they leave your lips (or your fingertips), there is no taking them back. AND you likely can’t control how people interpret them.
This one is a doozie. I’ll be talking about each piece of this retrograde in detail as we get there. It’s too much to consume at once. Just know that WORDS MEAN THINGS.So make sure you follow me on Twitter for The People’s Weekly Forecast, and on Instagram for my LIVE videos a few days each week. I also do New Moon and Full Moon Tarot Divinations on my YouTube Channel. You won’t to miss the one’s I do for the upcoming eclipses (July 2 and July 16.)
In this blog post I will show you how to cast a chart that serves as your unique, personal monthly horoscope.
Time is relative. No tool articulates that as clearly as astrology. There are many different reference points for where one might mark the beginning of a segment of time or an end of one. We know that time (months) as marked by the Georgian calendar, is a matter of consensus. It is a set of agreed upon measurements rather than ones calculated in reference to something tangible or observable. However, time is measured, calculated to begin and end, by observable phenomena in astrology.
It that sense, a month can begin at any point in time. However, your personal month begins the moment the transiting Moon enters the sign of your natal Moon. A chart cast for the precise moment the transiting Moon reaches the sign and degree the Moon occupies in your birth chart each month serves as your personal, unique monthly horoscope. This is called a Lunar Return Chart (LR). This generally happens 12-13 times per year, about once a month.
What is a Lunar Return used for?
A LR can be used as a standalone chart, but functions most accurately and usefully in reference to your natal chart. You can use a LR to:
Highlight your personal areas of focus each day in a month;
To plan your activities and anticipate changes in your life;
Observe patterns of people, circumstances, and events that progress and resurface from month to month, and over the course of the year.
How to cast your Lunar Return
Make sure you have created an account and followed these instructions to cast your sidereal birth chart using Astro.com. You’ll need access to the saved birth data you input for your natal chart in order to cast your lunar return chart.
Click ‘Free Horoscopes’
Under ‘Drawings & Calculations’ click ‘Extended Chart Selection’
Choose the following settings on the ‘Extended Chart Selection’ page
Horoscope for: Choose your birth chart
Chart type: Scroll down to the section labeled ‘– Solar and Lunar Returns –’ and choose ‘Natal + Lunar Return chart’
Chart drawing style: Classical Style
Start date: This part is a bit tricky. If you have the 2019 Sidereal Moon Transits iCal then you can choose the date the Moon enters your natal sign. You still might have to play around with it.
House system: Whole Signs (VERY IMPORTANT!)
Click ‘Click here to show the chart’
Here are screenshots of the astro.com website that go with the instructions outlined above.
Whenever I talk about astrology, I recognize that a large part of my work is educating others, a kind of meta-education. I must teach you what I’m talking about as I’m talking about it. Thus, I don’t take for granted that there isn’t a consensus on what astrology is and what its purpose and function is.
Many people, many who have not heard of a birth chart, think astrology is horoscopes based on your “sign” (properly, the sign your Sun occupied at the time of your birth), and that there are like 12 “prototypes” that astrology uses to define people. It’s very simplistic. People who view astrology that way are the same people who would say that “the English language is the alphabet.”
They’re not taking into consideration the cultural context for language, and that the alphabet is the basic building blocks of language, just like numbers are the basic building block for math.There is much implied in the structure and way that we count, or in the variety of languages that there are, or in the alphabet as characters that make up words in a language. But those things are not the language itself. So, we can say the same thing of astrology, that the 12 zodiac signs are not astrology itself.
The Fundamental Question
What is astrology? This can be a difficult question to answer because we can break down anything into its pieces; we can dissect it into parts. We can say astrology is planets, signs, and houses. But that’s not really telling me what astrology is, why it is, or how and why it functions.
Part of why I want to talk about this is because I have been thinking about what I do when I sit down with a client, and how I’m looking at this person’s chart and I don’t know them from Adam or Eve, or Steve, or whatever their names are. I am able to tell them about their mother, their father, their home, family, and their interests, their health, and their illness, and the times of important events in their lives, and help them piece together their stories. And, I’m in awe every day.
What is astrology that I can do this with it? That I can tell the story of someone’s life, without them giving me any information besides their birth data, what is the power of these symbols?
Note: How I talk about astrology, how I define astrology, is not necessarily something I sat down and come up with among other astrologers. It’s not something that I’ve read somewhere. It’s not something you can go find in a book somewhere. I won’t say my ideas are completely original. Everything is derivative in, nothing is completely original.
Astrology is a language. Language is a complex set of symbols that we use to think about, visualize, and talk about ourselves and the world around us.
Language is a consequence of consensus. Consensus is cultural. When I say apple, you think of a round, likely red, food item. We have agreed to call that object an apple. Maybe if I say pomme then the pomme you envision is yellow or green, based on your cultural imagery around that word and object.
The Complexity of Language
So, now let’s get to the real meat of it. I’ve established that astrology is a language, which is a complex set of symbols, that we use to name, visualize, think about, and talk about ourselves and the world around us. Astrology helps us in that regard.
Now, the next piece is, if astrology is a language, what is the alphabet? What is the lexicon and syntax of it? In any language there is a syntax; there is a lexicon; there is a correspondence of these symbols to some concept or object, person or place in our world. What is the grammar? What are the pieces that we put together to make this language?
In language we have alphabets or character sets— each letter or character, corresponds to a sound. And, depending on how those letters come together, the sound is going to change. Even the sounds that letters make are very culturally significant and specific, right, if you hear English, and the derivatives of English, or rather, the languages that English is derived from: Latin, the Romance languages, Germanic languages, Native words—the English language is an amalgamation of all the colonial exploits of England. But if we go to China, it’s a totally different way of organizing the symbols. They have characters that are pictures, and those are very complex in how they’re organized.
Language as a Cultural Phenomenon
A book called Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston was finally published after years of being withheld. A story on NPR talked about Zora Neale Hurston’s insistence that Kossula, the person about whom the book is written, tell his story in his own dialect. The editorial director of the publisher, Deborah Plant, spoke about the importance of preserving the way that Kossula spoke about himself. There was no ‘I’ in his culture. She explained how in American Western culture there is this constant reinforcing of ‘I’: ‘I say.’ ‘I do.’ ‘I feel.’ ‘I think.’ Whereas in his culture, ‘I’ is implied; he’s standing right here before you, so he doesn’t have to say ‘I’. This is the complexity of language. And I explain that because I want to apply this and help you understand something about astrology: just
So, in that sense astrology, like language, is explicitly a cultural phenomenon.
As with any language, astrology emerges from a cultural and historical context. Astrology is not something that’s uniquely Western. It’s not uniquely European or American. Astrology is Indian. Astrology is Babylonian and Sumerian and Mesopotamian. Astrology is Kemetic. Astrology is of the Asian Diaspora, practiced in Korea, in China, in Singapore, in Malaysia. And each of these astrologies emerges from relevant cultural contexts.
When we pull together the building pieces of any astrology we always start with the Sun and the Moon, which are not planets. The Sun is a star. It is the biggest star, the closest star. The Moon is, for all intents and purposes, a big ol’ rock. We observe it as a marker of time, and have done so for time immemorial. So much of our orientations of our bodies in the world are rooted in the Moon and our observations of the Moon. Again, not necessarily anything astrological at this point, but purely astronomical, in that we watch the Moon wax and wane in its light.
All astrological traditions start with those two pieces. Then we spread out to other bodies that are observable with the naked eye. You must remember telescopes weren’t always a thing. This brings up something that is important to astrology, is that it’s a visual art. I know that we have all these complex words and concepts and things—this sign is this or that planet is that. But, astrology is first an observable phenomena, rooted in astronomy.
Astrology vs Astronomy
There was a time where astronomy and astrology were no different; they were the same thing. At some point there was a power struggle around access to knowledge that split the two into different disciplines with divergent social, religious, and political implications. Then science became this thing no longer practiced by clergy who have the privilege to study and learn math and all of these things. At that point it becomes the privilege of the aristocracy.
We start with the Sun and Moon, then we move to the observable bodies that are visible to the naked eye. So now that’s Mercury, that’s Venus, that’s Mars, that’s Jupiter, and that’s Saturn.
In observing the astronomical cycles of these planets, we begin to understand how they move and correlate and the time frames with them.
Ah! So, let’s see every day, within this timeframe the Sun is doing the this over here in the East, but then it does something else over here in the West! — Observe & record.
Ah! Okay, the Moon is doing this today, but 29 days ago it did this same thing.—
—Observe & record.
Ah! Whoa, Mercury’s doing this thing, but then it’s doing this thing-but that thing-then this thing-then that thing-then this thing — Venus, the same for Saturn and Mars and Jupiter, and Venus.
Alright, so we’re observing, in relationship to time and space, what these bodies are doing.
The whole point is that astrology is rooted in this observation. And that in astrology, everything is about visibility. When we’re talking about the houses, we’re talking about observable, astronomical, and physical phenomena in space and time. When we’re talking about a Saturn Return, or where the Sun is, or what the Moon is doing, again, we’re talking about observable phenomena.
Astrology Segments, Names, and Interprets Time
Astrology is a tool, for measuring, naming, and interpreting time. Just like clocks and calendars, except there’s the added dimension of ‘but what does that mean?’ Astrology is similar to a calendar or a clock; it names and segments time. In astrology we observe the astronomical phenomenon of how planets appear to move with Earth as a reference point. And with those observations, we segment and name a period of time in relation to that.
The segment of time designated as a year correlates to the astronomical cycle of the Sun. Why? Because it takes approximately 365 days (a time segment which we have designated ‘year’) for the Sun to return to a designated reference point. But implied in that astronomical measurement is that the Sun is doing something observable, predictable, and consistent.
Each planet has its own cycle. The Moon has a 29-day cycle. Mercury varies. Venus varies. Jupiter has 12 years. Saturn has 29 years. All of these planets— and this is not astrological, in the sense of there’s no interpretation yet— this is purely astronomical. It is astronomical— observable and measurable— that Saturn is doing this thing in 29 years. The Moon is doing this thing in 29 days. The Sun is doing this thing in 365 days.
Like language, time, too, is a consequence of consensus. We have agreed on what is one minute, one hour, one day, one second, one month, one year, a decade, a century. There’s a consensus around what those things mean, so that when I say ‘one week,’ I don’t have to explain that to you, you know what that is.
Unlike calendars and unlike clocks, astrology interprets time. It tells us what it means. So, in that sense, I say, astrology helps us to name and define and interpret the seasons and times of our life.
A Time & Season for All Things
We know that at particular times of year, based on how much sunlight there is, how much rain (or not) there is, whatever the temperature is—we know that there is an appropriate thing to do at that particular time. That is, if we want a certain outcome from the land. We organize our lives around those appropriate times. We organize our lives around the hours of daylight and nighttime so that we know that there is an appropriate time to do things.
We think about times and seasons in relationship to our physical bodies— how we grow our food, how we eat, how we sleep, the schedule that we have in our bodies and in our lives. But we don’t always think about that regarding the choices that we make and the undertakings that we choose to endeavor upon at any give time.
Unlike a calendar or a clock, astrology interprets time. It tells us what is happening and what it means. It helps us to build a narrative around a particular story.
Now, we can say, not only is there a time for planting food, for harvesting, for sowing, for tilling. There’s also a time for things to happen in our own lives. So, my favorite scripture, my favorite scripture to reference in this context, talks about ‘There’s a time for death, and birth, and growth, conservation, joy, celebration, atonement.’ There’s a time for all of these things. Yet and still, as a culture, we have not really grasped, the practical and spiritual significance of that truth. Astrology is this tool that helps us do that.
Astrology is a language—a complex set of symbols used to talk about, think about, and conceptualize the world around us. All languages emerge from a specific cultural context and are dynamic.
Astrology is a tool for measuring time. Like a clock and a calendar, with the added functionality of defining the quality and meaning of time.
Astrology is rooted in astronomy, which is the tangible, physical, measurable cycles and phenomena of the planets. What they’re doing in relationships to themselves, and what they’re doing in relationship to each other.
Check out this post on some of the philosophical differences between the tropical and the sidereal zodiac. I’ve outlined some of the technical differences between the tropical and sidereal zodiacs in this 70 minute webinar (with accompanying PDF). Get a very special reading focused on understanding the differences between your tropical birth chart and your sidereal birth chart in this comparison reading.