Decoding all the Astro Jargon
dissect the meaning of some common astrology terms
When I used to work in the corporate world, I often calculated my client's natal chart to get a better understanding of who they were. While we had great one-on-one conversations to build our relationship, I found their charts helped me understand their motives even deeper so I could use an approach that really resonated with them.
Our natal charts can be shockingly informative. A big misconception is that we each fall under one of 12 signs. But we're not each just one sign. We are a collection of signs that represent different aspects of our personality.
On the day we are born, if we could take a snapshot of the universe's placement - the planets, stars, galaxies - that photo would act as the map to each of our astrological charts. What position was the sun in when you were born? What position was the moon in?
Below are the three most important signs to look at in your natal chart when beginning to learn about your astrological profile so you can understand a deeper side to yourself:
A conjunction is when two or more planets are beside one another, in the same sign, or close together. When it comes to your birth chart, take a peek if you have planets that are next to each other in one of your Houses. If you have two planets side-by-side in a House, they activate one another; it’s as if they’re fused together and connected. Whenever one is activated, engaged or lit up, the other planet is simultaneously and it will colour and influence how you feel. You can have two planets in one house and have them in different signs.
Example: Let’s say your Moon and Mars are conjunct in Aries: your emotions (Moon) may always come out strong and passionately since Mars (survival instinct, aggression) is connected to it. Since both these planets are in Aries, they’re going to be bold and passionate.
This is like a supercharged conjunction; a stellium is when three or more planets are clustered in a House. This is really powerful! When you have a bunch of planets wedged in one House, it’s as if the universe is trying to get your attention to look at this House because it is important for this life. Like a conjunction, these planets are all connected and linked together, activated with one another all the time.
Example: Let’s say you have a stellium in your Fifth House - the House of Creativity, Love and Humour - a lot of activity in this house it could indicate an emphasis on love, having fun or understanding your ego. A lot of activity also points to a lot of creativity. Your energy would need to consistently express itself through love, creativity and laughter/having fun in order to feel vibrant and healthy and connected.
When two planets are sextile, it means there is a 60 degree difference between them. Each House is approximately 30 degrees in size; sometimes there can be an interception, where the House is forced out of its natural size (smaller or bigger). But Houses are typically allocated with 30 degrees. A 60 degree difference is like having a planet in your First House, nothing in your Second House, and then a planet in your Third House; 60 degrees away. It’s like skipping a House. You have something in #1, nothing in #2, and something in #3, you have two planets that are sextile. Sextile is a complementary placement. For me, I remember sextile as “one house in between”.
Example: Let’s say your Sun is in the First House, Aries, a Fire House. And let’s say your Mercury is in the Third House, Gemini, an Air House. Air and Fire are complementary elements and will work well with one another. Your identity (Sun) and the way you think and communicate (Mercury) will be harmonious.
Semi-sextile is one sign apart. It’s easy to understand in relation to another person; Let’s say you are Virgo and your lover is one sign away - a Leo or of Libra - you will be different but share commonalities. Each sign bleeeends into the next one, which is Why Aries and Taurus can be alike (but different) in their self-centredness, and why Taurus and Gemini can be alike (but different) in their tendency toward gossip and wanting to be in the know. One sign apart can help expand one another, though they will be different at their core. It’s like they learn/like similar things but from a different angle.
An interception is when there is so much activity in one of your Houses that it has been forced out of it’s natural 30 degree alignment. You could have one giiiiiant pie wedge in your birth chart, next to a skinny, smaller house that has been squashed to compensate for your oversized House. An intercepted or oversized House is important to notice because it means there is important wisdom within that House and something you need to pay close attention to. And whenever we have an interception, the House in opposition to that House (directly across) will also be intercepted, even if there are no planets within it. This House will still be extremely important to consider even if there are no planets because it’s still “oversized”.
When two planets are square, they challenge one another; it can be hard! Planets that are square will be at odds with one another - they’ll conflict - so supercharged awareness about these aspects of yourself will allow you to rise above the zodiac, pause, and understand yourself deeply so you can consciously choose how to proceed rather than reacting. Squared planets are 90 degrees away from one another - or two houses/signs between them. This can be challenging from an elemental perspective - the First House (fire) and the Fourth House (water) aren’t naturally complementary. But just as water can put out fire, when used correctly, the two together can create a whole new element - steam. Working with your squared planets can fuel and propel you to enhance.
Example: Let’s say your Sun is in the First House in Leo, but your Venus (relationships, attraction, beauty) is in the Fourth House in Scorpio, wanting to shine and sparkle and stand out as the star with a Leo Sun may cause challenges with wanting to deeply connect and lose yourself in others in your relationships. There would always be a push/pull within. The positive way to work with it is to deeply understand others in order to understand yourself and what makes you different.
When two planets are trine, they are extremely harmonious. These planets will have three Houses/Signs between them, and be 120 degrees apart. They will fall in the same Element (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, for example). This is an easy placement with an effortless connection! These areas will be your natural strengths in your birth chart, so look for trines in your birth chart. But if you have an abundance of trines, sometimes that can indicate that you don’t possess a strong desire for effort, and that you expect things to just happen. Life may be a bit more harmonious with less struggles and pushback for you, but that doesn’t mean it should make you lazy and expectant.
Example: Let’s say your Sun is in the First House in Cancer, and your Moon Sign is in your Fifth House in Scorpio, your identity feels comfortable in experiencing love and nurturing others as a Cancer, and with Scorpio in your House of Love, you want to deeply connect to your loves (creativity and passions and even people) in an emotionally authentic way. Beautiful!
Planets that are at opposition are directly across from one another and they require finessing. It’s like being at the opposite end of the spectrum. My Sun Sign is Libra (love!) but my Moon Sign is Aries (war!); this means my identity and emotional self can be at odds on opposite ends of the spectrum. To work with oppositions, it’s key to give each planet - each facet to your personality - equal balance and attention and expression. I can’t shut off my Libra desire to connect, and I can’t shut off my Aries emotional anger. My only option is to understand them more deeply.