Look at the chart as a picture of what goes on INSIDE the person.
What their inner needs are, and how those different needs interact.
Astrology is only an influence ... sort of our "default settings" about our inner needs.
Our behavior may or may not automatically follow from our inner needs ... it depends on how self-aware we are and how much we exert our choice and self-control.
First get a short summary, or even just a word ("keyword") for EACH of the following:
- planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury through Pluto not including Earth). Do not use the Part of Fortune, the Moon/Asc. nodes, or any of the asteroids or Lilith.
- aspects (just the major aspects: conjunction, sextile, square, trine, opposition)
- the Elements (Fire, Air, Earth, Water) and the Quadruplicities/Qualities (Cardinal, Fixed, Mutable).
- the major aspect configurations: Grand Trine, Grand Cross, T-square .... these are all you need to pay attention to.
Then approach the chart this way:
FIRST, LOOK FOR THINGS THAT STAND OUT:
(1) Look for the predominant Element(s) and Qualities. Give 1 point for each planet ... don't bother with this step if they are all pretty close in score. For instance, 5 planets in Air signs is definitely strong, but 2-3 planets in Air signs would be the average out of 10 points, so that would NOT be strong.
(2) Look for stelliums by sign or house. This would be 3 or more planets that are form conjunctions with each other. A stellium in a sign means that sign is a strong style. A stellium in a house means the matters of that area of life are highly important to the person.
(3) Look for major aspect configurations, as they tell the primary story of how the personality operates
(4) Look for any planet that is "angular" (meaning that it is within 8 degrees of any of the 4 "angles": The Midheaven/MC, the Ascendant, the Nadir/IC, the Descendant). This will be a strong need (planet) for that person.
THEN look at each part of the chart.
(1) First each planet:
- Planet: The planet is the part of your personality, the inner need
- Aspects: How well or how poorly it function in your personality, in your life, depends on the kind of aspects it makes with other parts of your personality (other planets). Squares and oppositions indicate inner conflict between those two needs, and tends to bring out the negative side of whatever signs they are in. Sextiles and trines indicate internal harmony, and tends to bring out the positive side of whatever signs they are in.
Conjunctions mean that those two needs function as one, and strongly affect each other ... there is both positive and negative potential, and while it can swing either/both ways ... often the nature of the planets themselves lend some interpretative help. Uranus, for instance, has to do with our need to be an individual .. so it tends to express this need in erratic and unpredictable ways (seeing as it is a planet of not-conforming) .. it if is joined to our emotions (Moon),, our emotions tend to be erratic and unpredictable. Compared to Jupiter (our need to benefit others and network, the planet of reaching out) with Moon, which generally tends to be a positive influence.
So before you even look AT the sign a planet is in, first determine how stressed that need is, who well or poorly you work with that need and pursue that need. That will tell you whether you are interpreting the positive or negative side of the sign which that planet is in.
Spend MOST of your focus on the aspects, because that is where your happiness and your unhappiness comes from .. those facets of your personality that support each other and produce inner feelings of comfort .. vs those that conflict and create inner stress that bursts out as behaviors that might screw up things in your external life. Take time to see how these "actors" play out their interactive script with each other, because this is what makes you "you", makes you who you are.
- Look at the sign each planet is in, guided by the types of aspects the planet makes to other planets. The sign is the general style for that need, for that facet of your personality.
For instance, our need to use our mind (Mercury) will be practical and realistic in an Earth sign such as Capricorn, will be full of ideas and dreams in a Fire sign such as Sagittarius.
- Finally, look at the house that the planet is in. Houses represent not us, but areas of life .. and so whatever house a planet is in, it is there that the person seeks to meet that planet/need, and there that they express that facet/planet of their personality. Mercury in the 8th house of self-transformation wants to talk about personal growth and self-help techniques, for instance .. wants to learn and think about this area of life.
(2) Lastly, look at each house.
A house may or may not have a planet in it. If there is no planet in it, that means only that you do not NEED that area of life to feel self-fulfilled. You may want that area of life, but it is not crucial to you.
Whatever sign is on the cusp of that house, that is the style in which you pursue that area of life. And the planet that rules that sign will give you more information about how you try to pursue that area of life
For instance, Cancer on the cusp of the 10th house (the Midheaven) shows a desire to have a career that nurtures. Moon rules Cancer, so if their Moon is in Gemini in the 9th house, we see that their ideal career will be a nurturing career, that involves communication (Gemini) in a religious context or high-learning environment. This person was a high school English teacher, and ended up teaching disadvantaged populations, where part of her role included being a substitute social worker for the problems her pupils were facing (she taught pregnant teenaged girls, then she had a job teaching criminally insane teen boys, then she taught in an inner-city ghetto school, etc).
At any rate, start with the major trends in the chart, then go to the more-specific individual planets (keeping the major trends in mind), and finish up with the smaller ,less-significant details of the houses.
This is from a comment from ask.
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