One of the most frequently asked questions I receive from people is whether I have tips for studying astrology. Astrology is such a rich and exciting field of study, but it can be overwhelming for new students to make sense of all the different information available on the internet. Here are some of my top tips for learning astrology that can help you get started with understanding the symbols and language of the stars.
Learn how to pull up your own birth chart (and the charts of others)
Most of us are familiar with some basic elements of our own birth chart. You probably know your Sun sign (commonly refered to as “star sign”), or even know what your Ascendant or Moon sign is. Learning about these elements in our own birth chart is often what gets us interested in astrology, hungry for more. Your own birth chart will continue to be a source of inspiration and exploration for years and years to come, so it is key to learn how to pull up your own birth chart (and the charts of others).
Although there is a lot of great astrology software available, the easiest and cheapest option for pulling up a birth chart is via a website like Astro.com or Astro-seek.com. On these websites you can also create an account which allows you to save your own astro data and the charts of other people, which is super convenient!
In order to generate your birth chart, you need to know your basic birth info, which consists of birth date, location and exact (!) birth time. Knowing your exact birth time is crucial for getting an accurate birth chart, so make sure you check your birth certificate or ask someone who was present at your birth.
Good to know is that the default house system on most websites is Placidus, so if you want to use a different house system (I work with and recommend Whole Sign Houses), you have to change that yourself. You can do that at the Extended chart selection section on Astro.com.
Get familiar with the astrological symbols and their meaning
Learning astrology is like learning a new language. There are symbols and concepts that can seem foreign at first, but are crucial to understand in order to be able to “speak” astrology. Once you’ve managed to pull up your own birth chart, it’s time to start getting familiar with the symbols in it. I have made a cheat sheet with the symbols for the planets and zodiac signs, which you can download for free from my webshop. Start memorising these symbols so that you’re able to read charts at a glance.
Memorising new symbols is a lot easier when you also know what they stand for. As you get familiar with the different astrological “glyphs”, start learning their corresponding meaning as well.
A great place to start your learning process of the astrological basics is by studying:
- The planets
- The elements (triplicities) & modalities (quadruplicities)
- The zodiac signs
- The 12 houses
- The aspects
Once you get a basic sense of these fundamental concepts in astrology, you can start practicing with interpretitive work.
Read loads of astrology books and consume information from trusted sources
In order to get a good understanding of the fundamental concepts in astrology, you need to find good and reliable information. There is an abundance of free astrology information available out there, through forums, social media, podcasts, and online videos. Sometimes the information you find can be contradicting, because there are many different astrological traditions that all have their own rules and preferred house system. Other times the information you find online is just simply misleading and incorrect, especially because everybody and their mum seems to know something about astrology these days.
The best way to make sure you’re getting proper information is to read books written by actual astrologers or to consume information (i.e. podcasts or YouTube videos) from trusted resources. This will also help you get a grip on underlying structure and all the different schools of thought within astrology, which can be daunting without proper guidance.
Here are some of my favourite astrology books and resources for learning astrology:
- Chani Nicholas, You Were Born For This: great intro into some of the most important placements in your chart from a traditional astrology perspective
- Demetra George, Astrology and the Authentic Self: my favourite astrology book to date, both suitable for the beginning and intermediate student
- Steven Forrest, The Inner Sky: a wonderfully intuitive introduction to the language of astrology from the perspective of evolutionary astrology
- Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro, On the Heavenly Spheres: the most comprehensive guide to the technical foundations of traditional astrology, barring the thousands of typos which really annoyed my Virgo placements
- Ben Dykes, Traditional Astrology for Today: amazing little book with loads of valuable information
- The Astrology Podcast: literally a wealth of information! Chris’ work is invaluable to astrologers and I really recommend supporting his Patreon
- The Strology Show: Kirah’s podcast features a lot of young and exciting astrologers and they discuss so many interesting topics, well worth your time
- Nightlight Astrology: another great podcast by Acyuta-bhava Das, who brings a lot of depth despite the fact that his episodes are a bit shorter (which is also less intimidating to listen to than a 2-hour podcast episode)
Start watching astrology forecasts and track transits
Astrology really comes alive when you start observing how the planets impact your life and your birth chart. If you’re really interested in learning how astrology works, watching astrology forecasts and tracking the transits in your own birth chart can help getting a sense of how astrology plays out in real life. While you can watch forecast episodes or read predictions from many different astrologers online (I suggest checking the monthly forecast from The Astrology Podcast), the best way to get a feel for what’s in stock astrologically is to check the monthly transits in an ephemeris. Learning to read an ephemeris helps you get a sense of where the planets are and how fast they move through each of the signs. It may take time to practice reading it and to make sense of the data involved, but once you get the hang of it it becomes an indispensable item in your book case.
Another great way to connect with the continuous movement of planets is to start tracking the transits of the Sun and Moon in your own birth chart. Since the Sun and Moon are the fastes moving celestial bodies in the sky, they will move through your entire chart in the span of a year (Sun) and month (Moon). You can observe the impact of the Sun and Moon moving through the signs and houses in your zodiac, and even note what happens when they interact with the placements in your chart by aspect. The Moon by transit can teach you something about how you find comfort and security in the houses of your birth chart. For example, you may find that the Moon transiting your 4th house is a wonderful moment to connect with family. The Sun by transit can teach you something about how the houses of your chart light up. Maybe the Sun transiting the 10th house can be a great time to shine in your career, while the Sun in the 12th can urge you to slow down and retreat. Observing these transits can teach you something about your own birth chart and help you plan your month and year accordingly.
Collect the birth charts of people you know
A really effective way to see how astrology works in practice is by studying the birth charts of people you know. This can give you an insight into how astrology manifests beyond your own chart, showing a greater variety of the types of life experiences symbolised by the astrology. Start collecting the birth data of your family members, close friends, colleagues – anyone who is willing to share their birth details with you. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your loved ones for their birth details, you can also start looking at the birth charts of famous people. The main reason why you want to study the birth charts of people you know, is that you can cross reference the astrology with the personality traits or life experiences of these people. This may even be easier with someone else’s chart than with your own birth chart!
Once you get an idea of the astrological placements of the people you interact with on a regular basis (or the famous people you follow in the media media), you can start paying attention to how these placements express themselves. Thinking about communication style, for example, you can probably easily tell the difference between how someone with Mercury in Pisces communicates, and how someone with Mercury in Virgo communicates. Observing and listening to how different planetary placements “speak” can teach you a lot about the various manifestations of astrology in a person’s chart.
Take some courses on astrology
If you are really serious about studying astrology and want to start consulting with clients at some point, it’s probably time to invest in some kind of formal study with an astrologer. While many astrologers are primarily self-taught, there probably comes a point in time where the guidance of an experienced astrologer can help you move further in your studies. Taking training with another astrologer is also a great way to check whether the knowledge you’ve gathered elsewhere actually holds up to scrutiny.
There are many different astrology courses, workshops, and seminars available on the internet and it can be hard to choose which one is right for you. I can personally recommend the training programmes on Astrology University and the professional astrologer program from Kelly Surtees. Most astrologers have scholarships available for people with income inequality as well. If there is a particular astrologer whose work you admire, you can also consider getting mentored by them privately (this is something they may offer already and if not, you can always ask!). I’ve also learned a great deal from attending astrology conferences and exchanging information with other astrologers. If you don’t have the economic privilege to afford formal courses, there is a lot to be said for investing time and energy in some type of peer support!
Get consultations from different astrologers
Last but not least, another much underrated tip to learn about astrology is to get consultations from different astrologers. Every astrologer has their own reading and consulting style, so getting consultations with all kinds of different astrologers can teach you a new approach to reading a birth chart or how to work with specific astrological techniques. If you’re planning on seeing clients yourself in the future, booking consultations with other astrologers can also be a great way to figure out what consultation styles suit your own style, or maybe you get a sense of how you would approach a birth chart differently. I’ve learned loads by booking with other astrologers and still make sure to book a few consultations per year, if my financial situation permits me.
If you want to try out my consultation style and learn how I read birth charts, feel free to book a consultation with me!