Rick DiClemente’s

Astrology Newsletter

Volume 56, September 2010

(Download a printable .DOC version here)



“How do I know what I’m going to say until I hear it myself?”

- Dr. David Hawkins


How to Do an Astrology Chart



So many people want to learn how astrology is done, but it does present a daunting task at first. So many terms - so many factors - all spinning this way or that - at different speeds. It’s a very difficult art/science to explain at first. Once you get it, you got it.


I will try to keep this as non-wordy as possible. However, there are things you’ll have to learn. Mr. Google will tell you about all of these:


Each planet has a meaning - an energy. For example Mercury in your chart represents the kind of mind you have or the type of thinking you do. The Moon represents your emotions, lifestyle and many other factors. Saturn represents how you discipline yourself. All of the 11 planets have multifarious meanings.


Each sign has an archetypal nature. This is what most of you know as your “Sun sign.” This is so because the Sun was traveling on its 30-day voyage through “your sign” at the time of your birth. It’s just a sign. The Sun can be in the sign of Cancer, the Moon can be in the sign of Cancer, Pluto can be in sign of Cancer… A sign is a very powerful part of nature that sub-divides the zodiac into 12 equal but radically different parts. Aries is assertive, for example; Taurus is grounded; Gemini is chatty; Cancer is sensitive, and on and on, etc. You’ve heard this stuff before.


Each planet can be in just about any sign, for the most part. For example, your Mars, which represents your energy can be in the frugal sign of Capricorn (no matter where your Sun is) which combines to mean that you use your energy wisely and efficiently. Another example: Your Moon which can be very moody may have been found in the sign of Libra at the time of your birth. The sign Libra is not moody or particularly emotional. Then, when we combine the nature of the Moon (your feelings) with the sign in which it was found, Libra, we see that the combination of your Moon in Libra indicates that you are probably rather even-tempered emotionally – well-balanced. We continue to do this for all 11 of the planets.


You can quickly see how you may or may not be very much like what you have come to know as your Sun sign! Some Leos have many planets in Pisces. Some Virgos have lots of planets in Virgo. Some Scorpios have only their Sun in Scorpio while most of their planets are in Libra. The permutations are practically endless. This is one major reason that our natal charts are all so different – just like fingerprints.


Next we will be learning about the 12 “houses.” The houses are where you express your energy.


So far we have:

Planet = an energy

Planet in a sign = a type of energy

Planet in a sign and a house = where that type of energy is expressed in your life


For example, the second house tells us much about your sense of self-worth. The sixth house: about your health. The seventh: your relationships. The detailed meanings of these 12 houses can easily be found with a Google search. Or, in my past newsletters, I covered each one starting with Volume 15 in my newsletter archives found at: 


www.starself.com/newletter15.html    through    www.starself.com/newsletter26.html


So, you see, you need the groundwork of astrology in order to get started. You must have at least a basic idea as to what these items mean: the 11 planets, the 12 signs, and the 12 houses. Your knowledge of these items will grow and grow the more you practice.




Remember, most of these steps can be done in seconds by a computer, but, for now, I’ll briefly explain each step and what occurs:


1. Find out where the planets were when you were born. Using your birth date, time, and place, we look up where your planets were exactly at the moment of your birth. This can be done by looking into a reference book called an ephemeris or by computer. Before 1980 or so, most astrologers did these functions by hand (pant pant pant,) i.e., looking it up in an ephemeris – a book a mathematical tables that charts each planet through the signs. Computers account for probably 95% of the charts done today.


2. Place them on the circle or zodiacal wheel. Whether done by hand or computer, each of the 11 planets gets placed on the zodiacal wheel exactly where it was at birth - in one of the 12 signs. Each sign has 30 degrees going counter-clockwise. For instance, if you are born around spring, or March 21, your Sun would be around 1 degree of Aries. If, however, you are born around April 19, your Sun would be around the 29th degree of Aries.


Now, the hard part:


3. Calculate the houses, ascendant, descendant, etc.


Using the birthtime, we either go through complex mathematical calculations or use a computer to determine the 12 house cusps. Let’s use a sample birth chart of a baby that will be born on November 13, 2010 at 7:06 a.m. in Pittsburgh, PA.


Using the first diagramed chart below… (there are 60’ minutes in a degree)


We calculate to find:


1st house - goes from 20°e29’ to 20°f37’, the “ascendant” also known as the “rising sign” the first “angle”

2nd house – goes from 20°f37’ to 25°g39’

3rd house – goes from 25°g39’ to 2°i00’

4th house – goes from 2°i00’ to 3°^53’, the “nadir” or I.C. the second “angle”

5th house – goes from 3°^53’ to 29°^32’

6th house – goes from 29°^32’ to 20°_29’

7th house - goes from 20°_29’ to 20°`37’, the “descendant” the third “angle”

8th house – goes from 20°`37’ to 25°a39’

9th house – goes from 25°a39’ to 2°c00’

10th house - goes from 2°c00’ to 3°d53’, “the midheaven” or M.C. the fourth “angle”

11th house – goes from 3°d53’ to 29°d32’

12th house – goes from 29°d32’ to 20°e29’


Note: the number of degrees in a house is not always equal or 30°


Note: the 7th house is always exactly opposite the 1st, the 8th opposite the 2nd, etc. The four “angular” houses are the most critical for many reasons, i.e., the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th houses.


Houses confuse new students because the houses rotate 360° each day. This is because the earth spins on its axis once per day and lies at the center of a Western Astrology chart, not the Sun. This is called “Geocentric.” Actually, the houses stay “relatively still” while the zodiac rotates within them.


Here’s the confusing part:



Let’s say that you were born with the Sun at 21° of Scorpio at sunrise, or around 7:00am. The Sun would be “rising” on the left side of the chart. You would probably have the SIGN of Scorpio rising too. Your Sun would in the 1st house. Almost all people who are born around sunrise have the same sign rising as their “Sun sign.”


If you weren’t born until NOON of that day (2nd diagram,) your Sun would be around 21 ¼°degrees of Scorpio, because the Sun moves through the zodiac at an approximate rate of 1° per day. And this time it would in the 10th house. That’s because planets don’t move much each day THROUGH THE ZODIAC, but, at the same time, ALL THE PLANETS go backwards through the HOUSES; one house at a time every 2 hours. Notice how the Moon backed up from the 3rd house to the 1st house in just those few hours from 7:00-Noon.


Notice as the day goes on, the planets more or less stay in the same place in the ZODIAC or within the signs, while the entire diagram rotates backward through the houses. Everyone’s first house is on the left. Everyone’s 10th house begins near the top of the chart.


Sample charts explain this better:


Chart 1 for 7:06 a.m.


Chart 2 for Noon


See how the 2 charts are similar, but the 1st chart is for approx. 7:00 a.m. and the 2nd at Noon? Note the planets are in the same place in the zodiac but in different houses. And, the Moon has moved approximately 3 degrees during that time interval (from 18° to 21° of Aquarius).


4. Note that each of the 11 planets is in a sign and in a house.

Each house means something different. So, in Astro-lingo we say, looking at the second chart, the person has Venus in Libra in the 9th house. They have Neptune in Aquarius in the 1st house, etc.


For example:


Let’s say you have a very strong Mars in Aries in the 7th house. Mars is not only by its nature very assertive, but in the sign of Aries, it is extremely so. Place it in the 7th house, the house of partnerships, and we see that the native may need to cool it some in relationships. He or she may be prone to being too pushy, always demanding that their own needs be met immediately, etc. Another way to see it is that he or she will not keep their feelings to themselves – they’re going to let you know how they feel.


Another: Assume you have Uranus in Cancer in the 2nd house. Uranus can be disruptive and in the sign of Cancer (mother, moods, feelings), the person may suffer from extreme moodiness. In the 2nd house which is the house of self-worth, we may find that he or she experiences wildly conflicting attitudes towards their own self-worth. One moment up, the next one, real down on themselves.


We combine it all together. The whole chart becomes more complex and can display many idiosyncrasies which we call human beings.


5. Draw your aspects, the lines between planets and angles.

Note the lines drawn between the planets; these are called the aspects. Aspects are the geometric relationships between the planets. An aspect tells us how two planets are “getting along.” Are they harmoniously related or do they cause each other friction?


When two planets are near each other, they are said to be in CONJUNCTION.

When they are approximately 60° apart, they are in an aspect called a SEXTILE.

When they are approximately 90° apart, they are in an aspect called a SQUARE.

When they are approximately 120° apart, they are in an aspect called a TRINE.

When they are approximately 180° apart, they are in an aspect called an OPPOSITION.


When planets are in square, opposition, and sometimes in conjunction aspect they can get in the way of each other’s natural expression. For example: if your Moon is in Pisces, that describes you as being very emotionally sensitive. If however, Saturn is in Virgo opposing your Moon, you would be said to have Saturn opposing your Moon. Now, the nature of Saturn in Virgo is quite stern and the fact that it is feeding into the natural sensitive energy of the Moon in Pisces can be problematic. In actuality, the sensitive feelings of the Moon are being stopped or suppressed by the Saturn. So, the person would probably alternate between being kind and then stern. This is how translations are done from examination of the aspects.


When planets are in sextiles, trine or many times in conjunction aspect, they usually not only get along well but one planet’s strength combines with the assets of the other. 1 + 1 = 3.


Another example: Let’s say your Mercury is found in Taurus. This indicates a very solid mind, a steady, thorough thinker. Even so, the mind would tend towards the slow side, taking its time on just about everything it considers. If however, the person also has Uranus in the sign of Capricorn close to 120° apart, it would make a trine aspect (favorable) to that Mercury. Uranus is known for its brilliant wit. It would feed its ultra-intelligence into that natal Mercury in Taurus. Thus, it would speed up an otherwise slow mind in Taurus. The resulting mentality would likely exhibit the best of both worlds! Fast, witty, brilliant and thorough and industrious.


That’s how aspects work. The combinations are endless and can present an astrologer with quite a challenge. The closeness in degree is called the “orb” and is critical. In other words, two planets squaring each other that are 91° apart have a much stronger effect upon each other than do two that are at 97°. The tighter the aspect, the stronger the effect they have on each other.


So, now what do we have?


A planet is an energy.

A planet is in a sign which gives it further definition.

A planet is also in a house which tells us what field of life that particular energy is expressed.

A planet may or may not be aspecting other planets, weakening the planet or hindering its function.





6. Translate the chart


Come back in about 12 years and we’ll listen to your translation. No, just kidding.


It takes time, but by mixing all of these factors together, you get an idea as to “what makes a person tick.” Charts can be simple or unbelievable hard to translate. It takes years of trial and error to become good at reading these. Even so, I’ve seen beginners start to do well after just a few months. So, you just have to try. If it’s not for you, that’s perfectly understandable. I’ve trained hundreds of people only 1 or 2 have gone on to read charts for others professionally.


Note: be very wary of anybody reading your chart to you that doesn’t know what they are doing. They can be very dangerous and fill your mind with self-fulfilling prophecies. I know a novice can’t really tell if a particular astrologer is good or not. Be especially careful of “astrologers” that tell you “this will happen” or “that will happen.” Astrology is NOT MEANT FOR PREDICTION other than letting you know the type of thing that will happen and approximately when. As has been said many times in my newsletters: “Astrology is not predictive concretely but is very accurate when describing archetypal shifts.” These “shifts” are commonly phrased as, “What got into you?” or “What’s come over Jim lately?” That is astrology.


Once you get the basic ideas down (hopefully with a good teacher) you’ll start to get the hang of it. At first it’s very exciting just to see the new level of reality that unveils itself to you - one that you didn’t even know was there.


Other charts


Based upon these same basic principles: planets, signs, & houses; there are other types of charts and techniques you can do. You may have heard of some of these:


First of all, observe how there are aspects between today’s transiting planets and natal planets. That’s where we compare where the planets are NOW to your birth chart. That’s how an astrologer tells “what’s happening” in your life at any given moment.


Next, observe how there are aspects between transiting planets other transiting planets. This is where we look at what is affecting the USA, the mood in general, the masses, and the collective being. Too many astrologers get too specific about these issues instead of describing to you the basic shifts of thought and energy. Often times, they just want to be seen as clever and impress you.


Progressions – these charts are an advanced way for an astrologer to watch your “birth chart grow through time” – the chart changes – it unfolds through time.


Composite charts – this is a chart of two people’s charts put into one and describes how the couple “gets along.”


Synastry charts– this procedure compares how one person’s energy affect yours and vice versa, otherwise known as chemistry.


Return charts – these charts are cast at periodic intervals such as the day of your birthday. Each year the Sun comes back to the same spot it was during your birth. This chart foretells of the nature of your coming year.


Electional charts – are constructed by very advanced astrologers to help you determine what exact moment to get married or start a business, etc., according to the planetary positions.


Harmonic charts – utilize an advanced technique to examine a person’s nature in detail. It’s likened to changing lenses on a microscope. I use harmonic charts very heavily in order to further discern a person’s past lives, inner nature, avocation abilities, relationship tendencies, spiritual qualities, etc.


Horary charts – ask a question and the astrologer casts a chart for the moment the question was queried. This is most like a Tarot reading only it’s done so via the planetary placements.





9/8 New Moon 15°c41’ 6:30a – In the sign of Virgo, we should feel quite a kick in the backside to “git-r-done.” Virgo inspires us to get up and finish those projects that have been hanging around. Do the things we need to; straighten up and fly right, etc., you get the point. Where’s the bleach?


9/9 Jupiter retrogrades back into Pisces 12:51a – Jupiter joins Uranus as they both back up from Aries into Pisces. Pisces is a favorite vacationing spot for Jupiter as it is the co-ruler of this water sign. It is well-placed there. Meaning? The underlying revolution that started between 5/27/10 and 6/6/10 is slowing down (retrograding.) We’ve loosened up a lot and have gone through the harshness of being “fed up.” Now it’s time to slow down and reconsider. It’s NOT time to get discouraged and crawl back into the lethargy of the status quo though. It’s simply time to give our new rebellion some more thought before making any new investments that could be unwise - all because they started out too hastily.


9/12 Mercury goes direct 7:09p – What can I say? Things start to straighten out compared to the craziness of the past 3 weeks.


9/14 Pluto goes retrograde 12:35a – This could be very significant. All the action has been centering on astrology’s heavyweight the past 2 ½ years. We continue to see eruptions from Pluto’s large-scale cleanup efforts. As Pluto grinds to a halt, we can expect meaningful turning points once again with world superpowers. Nuclear talk once again is ready for the next stage. How we are dealing with cleanups of all types is on the venue, whether it is: from Maddoff, the Gulf spill, Wall Street, the Health Bill, stirred up racial issues, etc. As Pluto shifts, look for shifts of power. There is no lite brand here: look for shifts of power on all levels.


9/14 Mars enters Scorpio 6:38p - Anytime Mars ingresses into a new sign, let alone one like Scorpio, we get a bang for our buck. Mars joins Venus in Scorpio. Er, uh, how can I say this, this is the time for lots of sex. Period. Passion rises. Passion rises. Passion rises. When these two lovebirds join hands in astrology’s slow-steamcooker, look out. This is time to release your passions in regards to just about anything. Do not hold back.


9/21-24 Sun triggers as Jupiter conjuncts Uranus – As the Sun opposes these two, “Thelma and Louise” planets, this pair joins hands as they jump off of the cliff. The two “wildmen” of the zodiac inspire us to let go – go do it – quit being so cautious – stop saving for a rainy day – enjoy the rain – go for it. Late in the sign of Pisces we are getting major emphasis in our spiritual lives. Really. Whatever that means to you, you should be feeling a great surge from these two massive planets. Be inspired. It’s real. It’s symbolic. This is not a time to take your inspirations lightly. You are not crazy. Well, maybe some of you are, but most of you aren’t! Get inspired! Go lead some cheers at some local High School’s football game, one that you know nothing about.


9/22 Sun enters Libra 11:09p – Will this even be noticed? Mild mannered Libra. With all this firestorm that is stirring from Jupiter and Uranus. I don’t think so. Mellow out later.


9/23 Full Moon^15’ 5:17a – This “Harvest Moon” will be heavy-duty for about 5 days. The reason why is that the Moon will be joining Jupiter and Uranus on the cusp of Pisces/Aries as they oppose the Sun with Saturn ALL SQUARING PLUTO IN EARLY CAPRICORN. In other words, once again, we see the Cardinal Cross being triggered. There is no way you can translate this. The only thing I can say about this ongoing construct is that more light is being shed (Full Moon) on your overall situation, your “stuckness,” your getting with the plan and letting go of the past. This large-scale renovation that has been going on since early 2008 continues. It’s another chapter. You know what you have to do.


9/30 The Moon forms a Grand Cross with Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto, and the Sun. What else can I say? Do you see why things are so heavy? I’m not making this stuff up - 6 planets are involved. That’s why everything we do right now is affecting everything else instantaneously. We’ve never been through a time like this. We just have to keep on keepin’ on. Chin up.


Free birth chart calculations are available at: http://www.alabe.com/freechart/

The PA Dept. of Vital Records form. Order your birth time/birth certificate at: www.starself.com/birthtime


May the planets be with you as you find your Starself!” - Rick


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