Astrology readings can be quite helpful as a guide to present, past, and future events in our lives. They are also very helpful for predicting timing of events. But if we know absolutely nothing about astrology, an astrology reading may seem like an entirely foreign language to us and we won’t be able to derive full benefit from the reading. So it’s helpful to know what to expect from an astrology reading so that you can go into it prepared and come out of it with information that empowers you rather than confuses you.
Your Natal Chart
In an astrology reading, you will need to provide your birth information. That is your time of birth, place of birth, and date of birth. This information is used to construct your natal chart. This chart tells the astrologer in essence what you are working on in this incarnation. It tells the astrologer what aspects you came in here with, what the planetary configuration was when you were born, and what aspects or influences you have “natally” in this lifetime. The birth chart, or natal chart is the road map of your life and what you’re working on and how best to get from point A to B.
The planetary dance these days is getting a bit heated up on the cosmic dance floor. We have a lot of planets doing a lot of things and these movements are affecting our daily lives as well as our lives as a collective. So before getting an astrology reading, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the planets in astrology and their respective meanings. You don’t have to go overboard, but it’s definitely helpful, for example, to know that Pluto is the planet of transformation, so that when your astrologer tells you that “Pluto is in your 8th house,” you will have an idea that some kind of transformation is taking place in that house.
The Houses in Astrology
This brings us to the next helpful thing to know in an astrology reading. What are the houses and what do they do? In astrology there are 12 houses. And your birth chart, also known as your natal chart, is divided into 12 slices, sort of like a pie. Each house represents certain things. For example the 1st house represents you and your personality. So when an astrologer tells you that you have such and such a planet in such and such a house, you can start to get a general feel for the interpretation of that.
In an astrology reading, you may also hear terms like “conjunct,” which means “traveling together in harmony,” or “square,” which means “in opposition.” You may also hear your astrologer refer to “degrees.” In astrology there are 360 degrees to the circle – your pie – that make up your birth chart. Each planet and influence lies in a specific degree and each degree has different meanings and interpretations. You may also hear about “transits.” The planets are not stationary. They move. They orbit. Some planets, like Pluto, one of the outer planets, take much longer than others to complete their orbit or cycle. So we feel their influence for much longer than, for example, Mercury, or the moon, which do not take very long to complete their cycles. You may also hear the term “retrograde,” which refers to a planet’s “backward” motion. Planets do not actually travel backward. But they do have “retrograde motion” of a sort, which does have effect upon us whether we are aware of it or not. A good example of this is “Mercury retrograde.” Mercury is the planet that rules communications and commerce. So in a Mercury retrograde period (about 4 times per year), we may find communications get bungled, details get overlooked, and business gets more challenging.
In summary, getting an astrological reading can be one of the most helpful things you can do to help you navigate the waters of your life, particularly if you find yourself in rough seas. Going into an astrology reading with a little bit of knowledge beforehand about what to expect can help you immeasurably now and in the future.