Astrology 101

Astrology 101-Keywords and Concepts

By Selene


I’ve been interested in astrology for decades and still read and study about it on a regular basis. I feel there is so much to learn and that I will continue to be a student and seeker no matter how many years I have been at it or how much I may accomplish in my study of astrology. I consider myself an intuitive astrologer. I have a certain amount of information but I am more intuitive than technical in my interpretations, I know what I know and I allow the symbols to expand upon that with the unique information intended for the individual I am reading for. When I read for clients, I cast their charts and analyze them but really try to keep it simple and relay the information I get from their charts in language my clients can understand. The chart actually becomes a mandala to me as I tune in to it. According to Webster’s online dictionary:


1: a Hindu or Buddhist graphic symbol of the universe; specifically: a circle enclosing a square with a deity on each side that is used chiefly as an aid to meditation
2: a graphic and often symbolic pattern usually in the form of a circle divided into four separate sections or bearing a multiple projection of an image

I see the natal or birth chart as a sacred imprint that illustrates our potential and life experience at the time of birth. Each person’s chart is a unique illustration or map of the heavens based upon the exact date, time and place of birth. What we do with that potential and the indications in our charts is up to each individual. I ask the chart to speak to me, through the knowledge I have I can tune in to the patterns of the chart. I allow the chart to tell me what the person seeking a reading needs to know about themselves or whoever they may be asking me about. It is not my objective to impress my clients with how much I know about astrology by telling them things or going into details they don’t understand. But there is usually something significant about their chart that will speak to me and I know it is what I am meant to convey. I try to keep it simple, understandable but still illuminating. That is also my objective with my monthly horoscope column.


I've written the monthly horoscope column for Psychic Access since it began in 2005. When you read my column or any general astrology forecast, be sure to read the information for your Sun, Moon and Rising or Ascendant sign.

This article was written for my Eye-Opener column on Psychic Times in September 2009.  I presented some basic information about astrology that I would like to share with you here on my website. I hope it will enhance the information in my Horoscope column which I post here each month and will give you a deeper understanding when you read it. I will define the twelve signs of the Zodiac, the planets, the major aspects and the houses to help you to understand more of what is presented in the monthly horoscope column. I explain what is going on in the monthly highlights in my horoscope column but it is still a lot to comprehend. These basic definitions will be in the form of keywords. Just as information is categorized on search engines according to keywords, you can figure a lot out about astrology by knowing the keywords, I also suggest the method of learning keywords in studying and learning to use tarot cards. These astrology keywords are commonly used; much of what is presented here I have derived them from my own research and experience. I have also included information on keywords from these excellent resources that I use in my ongoing study of astrology, Horoscope Guide magazine and Kepler 7 astrology software from Cosmic Patterns. I also read The Mountain Astrologer and Dell Horoscope. You can learn a lot from reading a monthly astrology magazine even if you buy it just to check your daily sun sign horoscope. Dell Horoscope and Horoscope Guide have been around for decades, although they are geared towards basic interest in astrology they have excellent astrologers on their staff these days and there is much that can be learned from their variety of articles each month. The Mountain Astrologer is intended for serious students and astrologers; it is the #1 astrology publication, very respected and endorsed by professionals. I highly recommend TMA if you really want to learn in depth about different types of astrology and cutting edge information. I subscribe to all 3 of these periodicals. The point is that the rudimentary information will help you tune in to the concepts and “get it” about how astrology can influence your life and choices. Ok let’s define a few concepts to begin.

Qualities and Elements

Each of the signs of the zodiac corresponds to a quality of Cardinal, Fixed or Mutable and to an element Fire, Earth, Air and Water. These signs and elements follow each other in order, so of the 12 signs of the zodiac; 4 signs are cardinal, 4 are fixed and 4 are mutable. Each of the four qualities includes one sign of each element. The elements also follow each other in order: fire, earth, air and water. The quality of a sign is based upon when it occurs according the season.


Cardinal: The first sign in a season is cardinal, the cardinal signs initiate change and bring new energy, a beginning, the start of a new phase, these qualities are indicative of a forceful and dynamic, take charge and move ahead type of person. Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn are the cardinal signs, they occur with the Equinoxes and Solstices.

Fixed: Cardinal signs are followed by the fixed signs, the sign of the zodiac that occurs in the middle of a season when the energy of the season is at its height. People born under fixed signs are determined, powerful, formidable and often stubborn. The fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.

Mutable: Mutable signs occur at the end of the season as the energies begin to shift into the new season. Natives of mutable signs are known to be adaptable, sharp, resourceful and flexible. The mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.

The astrological year begins with Aries the first sign of the zodiac at the spring equinox, the start of the cycle of life; Aries is a cardinal fire sign.


Fire: Fire signs are dynamic and creative; they are innovative and like to initiate change. 


Earth: Earth signs are practical and down to earth; they tend to be material and like to play it safe.

Air: Air signs are communicative and intellectual; they like to weigh their options and reason things out.


Water: Water signs are emotional and sensitive, imaginative and connected to their feelings.


Each of the 12 signs has a key phrase that concisely defines their energy. Here is some information on each of the 12 signs of the zodiac.

Aries: “I am”, Cardinal, fire. “The bold pioneer” Keywords: Direct, assertive, initiative, self starter, bold, proud, courageous, independent, self reliant, confident, eager. Ruling planet: Mars.

Taurus: “I have” Fixed, earth. “The steadfast worker” Keywords: Practical, steadfast, loyal, persistent, realistic, physical, determined, stubborn, loves beauty and comfort, reliable. Ruling planet: Venus.

Gemini: “I think” Mutable, air. “The quick communicator” Gemini is the sign of the eternal teenager. Keywords: Clever, versatile, inquisitive, charming, mental, witty, restless, adaptable, sociable, expressive, fun. Ruling planet: Mercury.

Cancer: “I feel” Cardinal, water. “The sensitive guardian” Keywords: Nurturing, sensitive, moody, protective, family-oriented, tenacious, intuitive, emotional, caring, dependent, possessive. Ruling planet: the Moon.

Leo: “I will” Fixed, fire. “The enthusiastic leader” Keywords: Creative, generous, gregarious, proud, dramatic, confident, affectionate, dignified, enthusiastic, self-centered, romantic. Ruling planet: the Sun.

Virgo: “I analyze”, Mutable, earth. “The attentive servant” Keywords: Practical, sensible, orderly, critical, moral, dependable, studious, industrious, detail oriented, finicky, precise, reserved, health-conscious.  Ruling planet: Mercury.

Libra: “I balance”, Cardinal, air. “The amicable partner” Keywords: Harmonious, refined, diplomatic, loves beauty and luxury, artistic, aesthetic, charming, indecisive, pleasant, artistic, relationship oriented. Ruling planet: Venus.

Scorpio: “I transform”, Fixed, water. “The probing investigator” Keywords: Possessive, intense, firm, resourceful, passionate, emotional, manipulative, persistent, magnetic, secretive, loyal, sarcastic, focused, intuitive. Ruling planet: Pluto.

Sagittarius: “I see”, Mutable, fire. “The active scholar” Keywords: Intellectual, successful, physical, clever, fun, extroverted, adventurous, loves travel, enthusiastic, over looks details, self-indulgent, happy go lucky, philosophical. Ruling planet: Jupiter.

Capricorn: “I use” Cardinal, earth. “The ambitious climber” Keywords: Patient, cautious, practical, stubborn, ambitious, responsible, systematic, efficient, structured, mature, detached, shrewd, objective. Ruling planet: Saturn.

Aquarius: “I know”, Fixed, air. “The intuitive rebel” Keywords: Rebellious, group oriented, innovative, unconventional, idea-oriented, determined, stubborn, progressive, impersonal, detached, scientific, radical, original, inventive. Ruling planet: Uranus.

Pisces: “I believe” Mutable, water. “The imaginative dreamer” Keywords: Adaptable, sensitive, emotional, intuitive, supportive, impressionable, visionary, spiritual, compassionate, mystical, creative, idealistic, gullible, imaginative. Ruling Planet: Neptune.


Sun: Rules the ego and how we express ourselves as a individual. Keywords: Power, life force, action, strength, confidence, pride. Rules: Leo.

Moon: Rules the emotions and habitual responses, how we feel and express feelings. Our natal moon sign also has much to do with the relationship with our Mother. Keywords: Feeling, instinct, moods, perception, nurturing, intuition, security. Rules: Cancer.

Mercury: Rules the mental body, communication, style of thinking, computers and telephones. Keywords: Thoughts, connections, writing, logic. Rules: Gemini and Virgo.

Venus: Rules the attractive nature, love, desire for beauty and harmony. Keywords: Partnership, affection, relationships, social skills, artistic, gentle. Rules: Taurus and Libra.

Mars: Rules the physical and assertive nature, initiative, sexuality. Keywords: Energy, enterprise, dynamic, action, anger, strength, survival, impatience. Rules: Aries.

Jupiter: Rules our cognitive nature, expansion, growth and luck. Keywords: Wisdom, perception, personal growth, travel, good luck, protection, higher education, hope. Rules: Sagittarius.

Saturn: Rules lessons, structure, limitation, our conventional nature. Keywords: Karma, authority, responsible, reliable, practical, realistic, accomplishment. Rules: Capricorn.

Uranus: Rules our independent nature, innovation, change, sudden shocking surprises. Keywords: Rebellion, originality, innovative, enlightenment, group oriented, humanitarian. Rules: Aquarius.

Neptune: Rules our imaginative nature, consciousness, addictions, intuition, beliefs. Keywords: Sensitive, spiritual, escapism, fantasy, mysticism, Divine love, psychic. Rules: Pisces.

Pluto: Rules our transformative nature, passion, power, urges for self mastery. Pluto is the slowest moving planet and rules the collective energy of an entire generation. Keywords: Rebirth, upheaval, forceful, obsessive, deep, hidden, forceful. Rules: Scorpio.


I will define the four main aspects or angles that planets form to each other during transits or in our natal or birth charts. These are the aspects that I consider and may remark upon when writing the horoscopes. There are several other aspects that astrologers use but I focus on the following basic aspects to keep it simple and easier to comprehend.

Conjunction: When two or more planets are in the same sign close by or on top of each other. The New Moon is a conjunction of the Sun and Moon in the same sign. Conjunctions can have a positive or negative effect in a chart depending upon the planets involved. Keywords: Power, beginnings, conjoined, enhanced.

Square: When two or more planets form a 90 degree angle to each other. Squares are challenges and illuminate differences. The signs that share the same qualities square or oppose each other, such as the cardinal sign Aries squares cardinal signs Cancer and Capricorn. Keywords: Difficult, challenging, dynamic differences, conflict.

Trine: When two or more planets form a 60 degree to each other. Trines are positive angles that create harmonious energy. Keywords: Flow, movement through harmony, good luck, fortunate, positive.

Opposition: When two or more planets form a 180 degree angle to each other. The Sun opposes the Moon during the Full Moon. The cardinal sign Aries opposes the cardinal sign Libra, planets in opposition will be of the same quality of cardinal, fixed or mutable. Keywords: Conflict, change, challenge, opposes.


Our Ascendant or Rising sign rules the personality and how we express ourselves. The Ascendant is the constellation of the zodiac that is on the horizon, this changes every two hours since there are 24 hours in a day and 12 signs of the zodiac. At dawn the sign that is rising is the same as the Sun conversely at moonrise the rising sign would be the opposite of the current sign the Sun is in.  In an astrological chart we define the 12 houses or segments of the chart that rules different parts of our lives and experiences. Your individual rising sign determines which house would be your first house and therefore the order of the other 11 houses. In the horoscope column I often refer to the solar house that each Sun sign is transiting that month since each person could be processing similar experiences in their own unique way. Here is a brief definition of the houses:


1st: Rules the self and personality, personal expression, physical body, personal identity, independence. Ruler: Aries.

2nd: Rules money, personal assets and resources, property, possessions. Ruler: Taurus.

3rd: Rules communication, relationships with siblings, the mind, short trips, thinking, learning, writing, reading. Ruler: Gemini.

4th: Rules home and family, early childhood (mother), nurturing, roots, personal security, beginnings and endings. Ruler: Cancer.

5th: Rules creativity, romance, children, sports, fun, personal pleasure, joy, happiness. Ruler: Leo.

6th: Rules work, health, orderliness, service, job, routines, pets, duties, personal projects. Ruler: Virgo.

7th: Rules relationships, partnerships, marriage, cooperation, agreements, teamwork. Ruler: Libra.

8th: Rules shared resources, property, inheritances, taxes, sex, debt, transformation. Ruler: Scorpio.

9th: Rules freedom, philosophy, higher education, travel, publishing, ethics, adventure, formal religion. Ruler: Sagittarius.

10th: Rules career, attainment, reputation, fame, profession, maturity, ambition, goals, parents (father). Ruler: Capricorn.

11th: Rules friends, groups, humanitarian goals, innovation, science, invention, individuality, resisting authority. Ruler: Aquarius.

12th: Rules the subconscious, institutions, the law, prisons, hospitals, spirituality, sensitivity, subtle forces. Ruler: Pisces.


Astrology is a vast subject that is far more complex than it appears to be on the surface. It is a life-long pursuit if you really want to study it in-depth and come to any degree of mastery. I have to admit that I still can easily fall asleep when I read about astrology but at the same time it is compelling and fascinating. In this article we have merely scratched the surface but I do hope you have gained greater understanding of some basic knowledge about astrology. My goal was to define some essential concepts that will help you make more sense out of my horoscope column each month, understand more about your own chart and encourage you to want to learn more about astrology. I offer Astrology readings and professional computeriezed astrological reports here on my website. Go to Services for more information. I hope you found this information helpful.