Most people think a horoscope is the little four-line piece of advice based on your birthday that you find in the newspaper. OK, that’s one definition, and a dreadful example of what the craft of astrology can do.
But a horoscope is also what astrologers call “the chart” and if you have ever had a natal reading, you probably received this strange circular picture with funny signs and symbols, none of which made any sense to you, but, for the price of your reading, this was one of the goodies.
A horoscope, that circular picture, is really a map of the sky, an astrological map of the heavens keyed to the time and place of a specific birth. It is a map that appears typically as a two dimensional chart. It shows the position of the Sun, the Moon, and planet’s at the precise moment of a birth.
The format of the map can differ from country to country as well as from culture to culture. But whatever forms the horoscope takes, one thing is common to all horoscopes, and that is that it is based on place, date, and time of birth.
The earth moves from west to east, so the Sun appears to move from east to west. This 360 degree circle of the zodiac is divided into 12 parts, each 30 degrees apart and called the zodiac signs. This is exactly like the twelve numerals on the face of a clock except that everything is backwards from everything you normally know about reading a map.
East is to the left, West is to the right, North is to the bottom, and South is to the top. The Rising sign the sign rising on the eastern horizon at the moment of birth is at “the 9 o’clock position.”
The 12 zodiac signs are Aquarius, Aries, Cancer, Capricorn, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Pisces, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Taurus and Virgo.Each sign has special characteristics that distinguish and mark itself from others. In setting up this astrological map for the birth of a native we divide the circle into twelve sections.
Each of these areas is called houses. Each house defines a specific area. The first house concerns the native’s personal identity. The second house deals with the natives earning power or source of supply. The third house concerns the native’s thoughts or sense of communication.
The horoscope map, in addition to house areas and spatial designators called signs, also contains a third symbol, the planets, including the Sun and Moon. While the houses of the horoscope identify areas of experience and the signs set the stage under which these areas of experience will operate, the planets act as the focus of attention or symbols of force bringing the other two elements together.
A correct interpretation of all these sky bodies exposes much about the native. They could be thought of as weather conditions in the sky at the moment of a native’s birth.