How to Study Astrology: A Beginner’s Guide
For thousands of years, people all over the world have used astrology to understand the connection between the mysteries of the heavens and life on Earth. Whether for understanding the basis of your personality, pursuing psychological and spiritual growth or predicting future events, studying astrology can be an incredibly rewarding and transformative experience in a person’s life. In this guide, we’ll explore how you can develop your astrology skills, whether you’re seeking to enrich your own life or serve others as a practitioner.
A. Explanation of the Purpose of the Guide
We made this guide because we’re on a mission to help as many people as possible access and internalize the wisdom of astrology. Whether you’re a total beginner or an experienced student looking to expand your toolkit, this guide will support your journey.
You’ll learn the basic elements of birth chart interpretation, common timing techniques, and the two main approaches to relationship compatibility readings. You’ll also learn about helpful resources and tips to structure and support your learning.
B. Overview of the Benefits of Studying Astrology
There are so many benefits to studying astrology! Many people appreciate psychological astrology as a tool for understanding their personality, strengths and opportunities for growth. Your personality isn’t set in stone; everyone grows and evolves over the course of their lifetime. But understanding your chart can help you feel empowered to make decisions that support your fullest self-expression and, ultimately, your happiness.
In ancient times, astrology was used more frequently as a tool for predicting future social, political and even weather events than for personal self-exploration. Ancient astrologers also practiced forms of astrological magic through which they build devotional relationships with the planets and called upon their energies to support their intentions. Casting a birth chart was also much more difficult back then, so it was reserved for the very privileged.
There are still astrologers today who specialize in astrological magic, and if you’re interested in learning more about this particular approach, check out Jenn Zahrt’s course on Practical Astrological Magic, in the Astrology Hub Academy!
C. Brief Explanation of the Level of Commitment Required to Study Astrology
Astrology is a complex and nuanced subject, and to reach a level of mastery in it is truly a lifelong pursuit. However, we encourage you to learn at your own pace and tailor your study to your personal interests and goals.
If you’re hoping to offer readings as a professional, there’s a variety of skills that you should commit to developing in order to serve your clients, including not just astrological technique but also counseling. But if you’re more interested in using astrology to improve your own life and to build a relationship with the Universe, then the goals and milestones you set are entirely up to you!
Your goals may evolve as you go along. Learning astrology is a journey, and your perspective will change the more you learn. That’s exactly how it should be! Start where you are and let your interest and inspiration lead you forward. Don’t worry too much about where you’ll end up. Place your trust in the Universe to guide you and you will wind up exactly where you’re meant to be.
II. Understanding the Basics
A. Zodiac Signs and Their Meanings
To learn astrology, the first step is to familiarize yourself with the zodiac signs and their meanings. The zodiac is divided into 12 signs, which are then grouped into four elements (Fire, Earth, Air and Water) and three modalities (Cardinal, Mutable and Fixed). Each sign has a unique combination of an element and a modality that describes its energy and its relationship to the other signs.
Fire signs tend to have a passionate, creative and enlivening energy. Earth signs are associated with organic growth, physical needs and desires, and material projects. Air signs are concerned with communication and social matters, and Water signs with intuitive, spiritual and emotional ones.
Within each element is one Cardinal, one Fixed and one Mutable sign. The Cardinal signs are initiatory and assertive, Fixed signs are stable and constant, and Mutable signs are unpredictable and adaptable.
We don’t have space here to go deeply into the significance of each sign – there are whole libraries of books written on this subject – but for now, here are some simple keywords for each one, to help you become familiar with their energies.
Frank Clifford’s Reframing the Zodiac Signs course is an excellent beginner-level resource to help you get to the heart of each sign and look at birth charts through an empowering perspective.
B. Planets and Their Meanings
The planets are another foundational element in astrology charts. As a rule, astrologers use the 7 traditional planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) and many also include at least 3 modern ones (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), but our knowledge of the Universe is constantly expanding to include smaller dwarf planets, asteroids and other planetary bodies that astrologers are beginning to incorporate into their work.
Each of these planetary bodies has a unique influence on life, and their position at the time of your birth can provide valuable insight into your personality and life journey. The planets are often thought of as characters in a story, each with their own personality, likes, dislikes, good and bad habits. Getting to know them in this way can help you build your relationship with them and understand the influence they have as they move around the sky.
C. Houses and Their Meanings
The astrological houses represent the different areas of a person’s life that are impacted by the movements of the planets in the sky. These are things like relationships, career, health, and spirituality. There are 12 houses in total, and the position of the planets within these houses, as well as their rulers, can provide additional insight into how they influence your life.
For more detailed information about the houses, check out this article which explores their significance and how to work with them in depth! We also have a whole series of episodes on our podcast dedicated to exploring the houses with thirteen different astrologers. Check those out here!
D. Aspects and Their Meanings
The last foundational concept we’ll cover here is the aspects in astrology. Aspects are angles formed between two planets in an astrological chart, and they can indicate the nature of the relationship between those planets. There are five classical aspects (also known as Ptolemaic, Zodiacal or major aspects) used in astrology, plus many more that some astrologers choose to include. The classical aspects are:
- The Trine, which is ruled by Jupiter and indicates a harmonious, flowing relationship between the planets involved.
- The Square, which is ruled by Mars and indicates a tense or friction-inducing relationship between the planets. This aspect typically initiates action.
- The Opposition, which is ruled by Saturn and indicates two planets which appear to counteract each other.
- The Sextile, which is ruled by Venus and indicates a subtle dynamic of support between the planets involved.
- The Conjunction, which in ancient astrology was not technically considered an aspect, though most modern astrologers refer to it as one, means that the two planets are right next to each other and their energies are somewhat merged.
III. Reading Astrological Charts
A. Birth Chart Interpretation
Although there is more to astrology than birth chart interpretation, reading charts is the foundation of most astrologers’ practices. Your astrological chart provides a snapshot of the positions of the planets at the moment you arrived on Earth, and is calculated using the time, date and place of birth.
While it’s possible to calculate an astrological chart without the exact time of birth, having this information will make the chart more accurate. Without the time of birth, you won’t know the chart’s Ascendant (or rising sign) and some of the faster-moving planets, particularly the Moon, may be slightly off from their true position. That said, we always advise you to start where you are, using what you have. Some astrologers can even help you figure out your birth time in a process called rectification.
B. Transit and Progression Interpretation
Transits and progressions are two foundational timing techniques that many astrologers use to make predictions. Transits are the real-time movements of the planets, and you can look at them in relation to each other or to the positions of the planets in a particular chart.
Once you have a solid understanding of your birth chart, looking at transits can help you tune into the energy of the planets as they show up in your everyday life, and follow along with the opportunities for growth and learning that are always present for you.
Progressions involve advancing the positions of the planets in your birth chart to reflect the passage of time and the changes in your life. There are a few different types of progressions that different astrologers might use, but the most common technique is called secondary progressions, and involves advancing the chart by one day after birth to represent one year of the person’s life. In other words, the planetary arrangement of 25 days after your birth would describe the events of your 25th year of life.
Learn more about progressions on our podcast! The Astrology of Secondary Progressions with Gray Crawford is a great place to start.
C. Compatibility Chart Interpretation
There are two main techniques for using astrology to determine compatibility in relationships: synastry and composite chart readings.
A synastry chart is a comparison between two charts in which you pay attention to how they interact and what aspects are being made from planets in one chart to the planets in the other.
A composite chart, on the other hand, is a mathematical average of two charts that creates a unique third chart that reveals information about the nature of the relationship.
Both of these techniques are accurate for reading compatibility and predicting the course of a relationship (though, of course, free will is always an important factor), but they do take slightly different approaches. Synastry is more about the interaction between two individuals while composite charts consider the relationship as its own entity with its own purpose and personality.
IV. Resources for Learning Astrology
A. Recommended Books and Online Resources
Everyone has their own unique learning style. Some learn best from books, other through conversation or practice. But most astrology students get a lot from reading books by professional astrologers. Here are a few we recommend to start with:
- Astrology for the Soul by Jan Spiller
- The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk
- An Astrologer’s Handbook by Frances Sakoian and Louis S. Acker
- Astrology for Yourself by Demetra George
If you’re more of an auditory learner, our The Astrology Hub Podcast is another great (and free!) resource for learning. Click here to access our episode archive, or find us on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, or TuneIn!
B. Astrology Courses and Workshops
Another great way to gain a deeper understanding of astrology is through courses and workshops. There are many reputable schools of astrology, and many astrologers teach their own programs. If there’s a particular astrologer you admire, see if they take apprentices or teach classes via their own platforms.
Astrology Hub also offers a wide variety of online classes on different topics, all taught by trusted professionals in the field. Browse our Academy to find one that interests you!
C. Finding a Mentor or Community to Study With
Most people interested in astrology find it helpful to study with one or more teachers or mentors in the long-term. But if you’re not ready to take that step yet, or if you prefer to learn about different aspects of astrology from a variety of teachers, we recommend connecting with a local astrology group or joining Astrology Hub’s Inner Circle.
The Inner Circle is an exclusive subscription in which members work closely with a new professional astrologer each month. You’ll receive detailed live New and Full Moon Forecasts, Mastery Classes on a new astrological technique every month, live Chart Demos and Q&A’s with professional astrologers, and access to our online community where you can connect with like-minded people to discuss and deepen your learning together!
Structure your journey with the Inner Circle Success Path, and get the support you need and deserve to start learning astrology.
V. Practicing Astrology
A. Creating Your Own Chart
The first step for most budding astrology students is to become familiar with their own birth chart. Because you already know yourself, this is the perfect place to begin seeing how the patterns of the planets and life on Earth reflect each other. Click here to pull your unique birth chart and begin your journey.
B. Analyzing Chart Examples
Once you become familiar with your own chart, many students find it helpful to analyze examples of celebrities or historical figures’ charts. This way, you can see the many different ways that astrological patterns can play out in different people’s lives, and you can also view these correlations a bit more objectively. You can find many, many example charts for free at Astro-Databank.
C. Interpreting Current Astrological Transits
Finally, you can practice astrology by interpreting current astrological transits. This involves understanding the current positions of the planets and how they interact with the positions in your birth chart. This can provide valuable experience and help you deepen your understanding of astrology.
A. Summary of Key Points
Studying astrology is a fascinating and rewarding experience, and we hope this guide has helped clear up any confusion about how or where to get started. Familiarizing yourself with the foundational elements of astrology: the signs, planets, houses and aspects, is a great first step. Next, you can branch out into additional chart interpretation and timing techniques.
B. Encouragement to Continue Studying Astrology
If there’s one thing that all beginning astrology students should know, it’s that the journey to astrological mastery is not linear, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Astrology is an endless subject, and there are so many schools, approaches and philosophies that it can feel daunting to figure out where to begin.
You can start right where you are! There’s no right or wrong way to begin, so feel free to explore and let your interest and intuition guide you. Astrology is like a language, and one of the most effective ways to learn is through immersion in that language. Even if the resources you find feel too advanced and you don’t totally understand, we encourage you to let the information wash over without getting too caught up in the details. Things will “click” and make sense at the right time.
For more mindset tips and encouragement on your journey, check out this podcast from our Founder & CEO, Amanda “Pua” Walsh.
C. Additional Resources for Furthering Your Astrology Education
There are SO many resources available to help you further your education. If you want to become a professional astrologer, consider becoming certified through an organization such as the American College of Vedic Astrology or the National Council for Geocosmic Research. Many astrologers also take courses at Kepler College or through the Organization for Professional Astrology, International Society for Astrological Research or the Association for Young Astrologers.
Many of these organizations also host conferences where you can network and learn with other astrology students and enthusiasts!
Finally, we recommend that you practice both left-brain and right-brain approaches to learning astrology. Research and study through books and conferences is important, but so is forming your own relationship with the stars and planets through direct practice and active imagination.
Thank you so much for reading this guide, and we wish you the best of luck on your journey!