Astrology For Dummies

by Rae Orion





About the Author

Rae Orion has been casting horoscopes since the Ford Administration, when she became the court astrologer for a metaphysical bookstore on the West Coast and began to prognosticate for strangers. She has taught astrology to high school students, social service professionals, friends, and relatives, and has written monthly horoscope columns and articles about astrology (among other topics) for New Woman and other magazines. She lives in New York City.



For George, always


Author’s Acknowledgments

Two Capricorns deserve extravagant praise: my husband, George, and my editor, Chrissy Guthrie. Both are thoughtful, serious, organized, kind, and a lot more fun than is generally advertised for that sign. I also want to thank Tracy Boggier, who reintroduced me to the For Dummies way of life; Ethel Winslow, who is a fine astrologer as well as an editor; and others at Wiley, including Jessica Smith, David Lutton, the people in Composition Services, and Christy Beck, whose behind-the-scenes presence was always a comfort. Without Reid Boates, this book would not exist.


Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our Dummies online registration form located at

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development

Senior Project Editor: Christina Guthrie

(Previous Edition: Christine Meloy Beck)

Acquisitions Editor: Tracy Boggier

Copy Editor: Jessica Smith

Technical Editor: Ethel Winslow

Editorial Manager: Christine Meloy Beck

Editorial Assistants: Erin Calligan Mooney, Joe Niesen, David Lutton

Cover Photo: © Mary Evans Picture Library / Alamy

Cartoons: Rich Tennant (

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Heather Kolter

Layout and Graphics: Carl Byers, Brooke Graczyk, Joyce Haughey, Stephanie D. Jumper

Anniversary Logo Design: Richard Pacifico

Proofreaders: Aptara, David Faust

Indexer: Aptara

Special Help

David Lutton

Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies

Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies

Joyce Pepple, Acquisitions Director, Consumer Dummies

Kristin A. Cocks, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies

Michael Spring, Vice President and Publisher, Travel

Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel

Publishing for Technology Dummies

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General User

Composition Services

Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services




About This Book

Conventions Used in This Book

What You’re Not to Read

Foolish Assumptions

How This Book Is Organized

Icons Used in This Book

Where to Go from Here

Part I : Mapping Your Place in the Cosmos

Chapter 1: An Astrological Overview: The Horoscope in Brief

Looking at the Starry Sky

Identifying the Signs of the Zodiac

Understanding the Signs

Considering the Sun, the Moon, and the Planets

Who Rules? Discovering the Rulers of the Signs

Assessing the Ascendant and the Houses

Chapter 2: Getting Your Precise Horoscope: The Old Way versus the Easy Way

Gathering the Information You Need

What It Takes to Cast Your Chart the Old-Fashioned Way

Getting Your Horoscope in a Nanosecond

Investing in DIY Software

Chapter 3: Estimating Your Horoscope Using the Tables in This Book

Using the Tables in This Book to Identify Your Planets

Figuring Out Your Ascendant or Rising Sign

Determining Your Houses

Creating a Horoscope

Part II : Here Comes the Sun

Chapter 4: Fire Signs: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius

Aries the Ram: March 20–April 18

Leo the Lion: July 23–August 22

Sagittarius the Archer: November 22– December 21

Chapter 5: Earth Signs: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn

Taurus the Bull: April 19–May 20

Virgo the Virgin: August 23– September 22

Capricorn the Goat: December 22– January 19

Chapter 6: Air Signs: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius

Gemini the Twins: May 21–June 20

Libra the Scales: September 23– October 22

Aquarius the Water Bearer: January 20–February 18

Chapter 7: Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces

Cancer the Crab: June 21–July 22

Scorpio the Scorpion: October 23– November 21

Pisces the Fish: February 19–March 19

Part III : Everything Else in the Cosmic Cookbook

Chapter 8: Moon Signs: The Lunacy Factor

The Moon in the Signs

The Nodes of the Moon

The Nodes in the Signs

Chapter 9: The Personal Planets

Locating Your Planets

Mercury: Communicating with Style

Venus: Love Conquers All

Mars: Road Warrior

Jupiter: More Is Better

Saturn: Lord of the Rings

Chapter 10: The Outer Planets (Plus One Amazing Asteroid)

Uranus: The Rebel

Neptune: The Dreamer

Pluto: The Power of Transformation

Chiron: The Wounded Healer

Chapter 11: What You See versus What You Get: The Rising Sign (And More)

Identifying Your Ascendant

What Your Ascendant Says about You

Finding and Understanding Your Descendant

Looking Into Your Midheaven and I.C.

Chapter 12: The Sun, the Moon, and the Planets in the Houses

Taking the House Tour

The Sun in the Houses

The Moon in the Houses

The Nodes of the Moon in the Houses

Mercury in the Houses

Venus in the Houses

Mars in the Houses

Jupiter in the Houses

Saturn in the Houses

Uranus in the Houses

Neptune in the Houses

Pluto in the Houses

Interpreting Empty Houses

Chapter 13: Amazing Aspects: The Secrets of Cosmic Geometry

Identifying the Major Aspects

Figuring Out Your Aspects

A Note about Minor Aspects

Interpreting the Aspects

Chapter 14: A Guide to Interpreting Your Birth Chart

Step One: Finding Overall Patterns

Step Two: Five Main Components of a Birth Chart

Step Three: Looking for Aspect Patterns

Step Four: Putting the Puzzle Together

Part IV : Using Astrology Right Now

Chapter 15: The Sun Sign Combinations

Aries in Love

Taurus in Love

Gemini in Love

Cancer in Love

Leo in Love

Virgo in Love

Libra in Love

Scorpio in Love

Sagittarius in Love

Capricorn in Love

Aquarius in Love

Pisces in Love

Finding Other Planetary Ties

Chapter 16: The Times of Our Lives: Transits

Investigating Transits

Tracking Mars

Activating Jupiter

Coping with Saturn

Unpredictable Uranus

Nebulous Neptune

Power-Hungry Pluto

Warning: The Astrologer’s Curse

Chapter 17: The Lunar Advantage: Using Astrology in Daily Life

Timing Your Actions by the Light of the Moon

Using the Moon in the Signs

Tracking the Moon in the Houses

Making the Most of Momentous Lunar Influences

Avoiding the Void

Chapter 18: Retrograde Hell? The Truth Revealed

Retrograde Revealed

Successfully Handling Retrograde Mercury

Looking Out for Retrograde Venus

Watching Out for Retrograde Mars

The Other Planets

Part V : The Part of Tens

Chapter 19: Ten Talents You Can Spot in a Chart

Artistic Ability

Athletic Prowess

Beauty (Or the Power of Attraction)

Celebrity Appeal

Healing Hands

Business Savvy

Making Money

Psychic Ability

Becoming an Astrologer


Chapter 20: Ten (Plus One) Ways to Use Astrology in Your Life: The Art of Timing

Getting Married

Going on a First Date

Opening a Business

Scheduling a Meeting

Throwing a Party

Purchasing a Computer

Buying a House

Having Surgery

Starting a Diet or an Exercise Program

Writing a Novel or Screenplay

Laying Low

Appendix: Planetary Tables

: Further Reading


Astrology can change your life. It did mine. Astrology illuminates the secret corners of the self, provides a key to understanding others, contributes a useful method for scrutinizing relationships, and even offers a glimpse into the future. Beyond that, as with all great areas of knowledge, astrology has the power to alter perception. Once you know something about it, you never see the world in the same way again.

Using a vocabulary that’s both objective and poetic, astrology enlarges your curiosity (because after you absorb its principles, everyone you meet, no matter how dull the person or how fleeting the encounter, becomes a mystery waiting to be solved); it expands your insight into behavior and motivation; and most of all, it increases your compassion. Some people think that astrology divides all human beings into 12 groups. How wrong they are! Astrology teaches that all human beings are subject to universal needs and desires — and that every individual is entirely and splendidly unique.

About This Book

Astrology has many forms. In this book, I focus on natal astrology, the interpretation of a birth chart to gain insight into yourself and others. Using real life examples, I show you how to construct your birth chart (or how to get it on the Internet), how to interpret its component parts, and how to use that information to gain insight into yourself and others.

I consider astrology a tool — an objective tool — for understanding self, assessing relationships, examining your potential, and even making some basic decisions. In this book, I show you how to use that tool.

Conventions Used in This Book

One of the most charming aspects of astrology, in my opinion, is that virtually all birth charts, calendars, and books on the subject are strewn with tiny, mysterious-looking symbols. Until you know those symbols by heart, their presence can be distracting and confusing. That’s why I usually spell out the names of the signs, planets, and aspects. With actual birth charts, however, words are insufficient. I present those horoscopes just the way a professional astrologer would — covered with symbols.

Memorizing those symbols is incredibly useful. But you don’t have to do it. Instead, you can turn to the Cheat Sheet at the beginning of this book, where you can find a neat list of every symbol you need to know. The Cheat Sheet enables you to translate the symbols back into English. That way, when you’re looking at a birth chart and you see something like this:

26 23

you’ll know that it means that the Moon ( ) is in Gemini ( ) at 26 degrees 23 minutes.

In this book, whenever I refer to a planetary position such as the one in the preceding example, I describe it as 26°23' Gemini. I usually don’t spell out the words degree (°) and minute ('). I assume that you know them. On birth charts, I go further and omit those two tiny symbols. Instead, the charts in this book announce planetary positions by using boldface type for the degrees and regular type for the minutes, as follows: 26 23.

What You’re Not to Read

I’d like you to read every word in this book, but you don’t have to. You can safely ignore the paragraphs marked with the Technical Stuff icon, and you can even skip the sidebars (the gray-shaded boxes that are scattered throughout the book). Although reading these sections will enhance your understanding, you’ll get along fine without them.

Foolish Assumptions

Despite the title of this book, I assume that you’re no fool. I assume that you’re intrigued by the art of astrology because you’re seeking fresh ways of understanding. I also assume that, whether you’re a newcomer or a longtime follower, you’re primarily interested in your own horoscope.

I assume that you have access to a computer and can get on the Web, where you can easily obtain your birth chart. (You can also cobble one together yourself, using only the material in this book.) That horoscope combined with this book enables you to explore astrology in a multitude of ways.

My final assumption about you is simply that you have some sense; that you expect insight from astrology, not winning lottery numbers; that you understand that astrology isn’t about fate or even about luck. It’s about possibility, propensity, and potential. An old maxim, taught to every generation of astrologers, says it all: The stars impel, they do not compel.

How This Book Is Organized

Astrology For Dummies, 2nd Edition, follows a logical sequence. It starts with an overview, offers various methods for getting your chart, and then explores the Sun signs and the other components of the chart in detail. After that, it expands into relationships, leaps into ways of using astrology on a daily basis, and concludes with a section on talents and timing.

Part I: Mapping Your Place in the Cosmos

These three chapters cover the basics. Chapter 1 briefly discusses the Sun, the Moon, the planets, the rising sign, and the 12 houses. Chapter 2 tells you how to get your chart via the Internet or computer software. And Chapter 3 tells you how to construct a rough copy of your chart using the tables in this book. After that, you’re ready to dive into the rest of the book.

Part II: Here Comes the Sun

Astrology is an interpretative art that can lead in many directions. It starts here with four chapters about the Sun signs organized according to element. Chapter 4 surveys the fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius); Chapter 5 explores the earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn); Chapter 6 talks about the air signs (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius); and Chapter 7 considers the water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces).

Part III: Everything Else in the Cosmic Cookbook

Sun Sign astrology, albeit fascinating, leaves many questions unanswered. The chapters in this part help fill in those blanks. Chapter 8 illuminates the Moon and the Nodes of the Moon in all 12 signs. Chapters 9 and 10 discuss Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto — plus the asteroid Chiron, which was discovered in 1977 and is now routinely included in horoscopes by many astrologers. Chapter 11 talks about the Ascendant, and Chapter 12 describes the influence of the planets in each of the houses. Finally, Chapter 13 looks at the way the planets interact by analyzing the aspects, or geometrical relationships, that link them together.

After you’ve looked up your planetary placements, you may find yourself suffering from information overload. Never fear — Chapter 14 shows you how to winnow that data down to its most essential components by looking for patterns that characterize your chart as a whole.

Part IV: Using Astrology Right Now

Gaining insight into your psyche is a worthy enterprise, but most people interested in astrology have other topics on their minds: like relationships, which I discuss in Chapter 15. Included in that chapter is an assessment of all 78 Sun sign combinations — plus tips on how to capture the heart of each sign of the zodiac.

In Chapters 16, 17, and 18, I tell you how to squeeze the maximum benefit out of astrology. Chapter 16 explains how the current positions of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto affect you — and what you can look forward to in the future.

Chapter 17, the most hands-on chapter in the book, focuses on only one planet (and I’m using that word loosely): the Moon. Its monthly swing through all of its phases and all 12 signs brings days when the cosmos is with you — and days when it’s decidedly not. In this chapter, I tell you how the position of the Moon can help you decide when to take the initiative, when to hang back, when to start projects, when to wait, and more.

Chapter 18 addresses a phenomenon that never fails to annoy people: retrograde Mercury, which is famous for generating bouts of delay and aggravation. I’m generally quite sanguine about this passing influence. After all, it happens three times a year. What’s the big deal? Or so I used to think. Recently, though, retrograde Mercury put me on the wrong train twice in a week, swallowed up a crucial e-mail, and lobotomized my iPod. In this chapter, I tell you how to cope better than I did.

Part V: The Part of Tens

After you understand the Sun, the Moon, and the planets, you have the basics down. In this part, I apply that information in two ways. In Chapter 19, I reveal the planetary components of ten different talents. And in Chapter 20, which addresses the fine art of astrological timing, I tell you when to throw a party, when to launch a business, when to buy a computer, even when to get married — by the stars.

You’ll also find the Appendix, which lists the positions of the Sun, the Moon, and the planets, including Chiron. This is the section of the book to turn to when doing a birth chart. It tells you where the planets were (and will be) between 1930 and 2012.

Icons Used in This Book

Four icons sprinkled throughout this book serve as road signs. Here’s what the icons mean:


In an ideal world, every planetary placement, aspect, and transit discussed in this book would be accompanied by an example from the life of a flesh-and-blood human being. In the real world, book space is limited, so I’m able to use only a few such examples. This icon highlights those examples. In many cases, real-life examples feature movie stars, politicians, and other public figures. Occasionally, I focus on people I know personally. In those instances, the names are changed. The astrology remains the same.


Certain facts and principles are essential. I discuss most of them in the early chapters. But when you need to recall a fact in order to understand another aspect of a birth chart, I try to remind you, gently, using this icon.


It’s impossible to talk about astrology without coming smack up against astronomy and mathematics. Whenever I give a nuts-and-bolts scientific explanation of an astrological phenomenon, I warn you upfront with this icon. Want to skip the explanation? Go ahead. Most of the time, you can ignore it and still be on track.


A paragraph marked with this icon may suggest an easier way of doing something. It may point you to a book or a Web site that covers material similar to that being discussed in the text, it may suggest a way to offset a problem that arises with a particular configuration in a chart, or it may tell you how to, say, seduce a Capricorn. Never let it be said that astrology isn’t useful.

Where to Go from Here

If you’re a novice, you may as well know the truth: Astrology is a complicated system. The only way to describe it is to begin at the beginning, which is what I do. But I’ve seen the way people leaf through astrology books, and I have written it with the understanding that you may open it anywhere.

So consider this book a reference. You don’t need to read the chapters in any particular order. You don’t even have to remember much from one chapter to the next because this book is filled with cross-references and reminders. If you know a little bit about the subject, you can jump in anywhere.

Nonetheless, you may want to start at the beginning and read a chapter or two before you plunge into the rest of book. If you know your sign but nothing else, turn to Chapter 2, which tells you how to get an accurate horoscope. If you already have a copy of that essential document, you’re ready to begin. I invite you to take a random walk through the book.

I find the knowledge I’ve gained from astrology to be consistently fascinating and helpful. It’s my hope that you, too, will rejoice in — and benefit from — the wisdom of the stars.

Part I

Mapping Your Place in the Cosmos

In this part . . .

“K now thyself,” the Delphic Oracle said. It’s still good advice. But suggestions like that are never easy to implement . . . unless you know astrology. An ancient and evolving system, astrology illuminates the secret corners of the psyche and points the way to self-knowledge. Astrology enables you to recognize your strengths, to acknowledge your weaknesses, to accept your needs, and to understand the otherwise incomprehensible behavior of the people you know. But first, you need a copy of your chart. This part tells you how to get one.