Astrology by Paul Saunders : The Chart Guide

The Chart Guide

Astrology Symbols

Ok, for all those who are new to Astrology, here's a quick rundown of all the terminology used on the charts on this blog :-

The Signs


With the Sun in the cardinal  fire  sign  of  Aries, your  basic nature is outgoing and self-assertive. You have an  energetic approach to life, and a frank and direct approach to others. You can show a great deal of courage and a willingness to plunge into anything without too much hesitation. Sometimes giving things a little thought before you leap would be in order. You have a basic need to establish your self-identity in the face of a potentially hostile environment, and may view life as battle that must be fought and won, an attitude that will ensure  plenty of confrontations. You can be too impulsive and blind to the needs and feelings of others, but your extrovert and aggressive approach to life is often a compensation for a deep insecurity over who you really are.


The Sun is in the fixed earth sign of Taurus in your chart. Your basic attunement is to the material, earth level of  existence. You are basically a steady, reliable type of person. You have a strong will and once you have set your  mind on a course of action, you can carry it out with persistence and determination. The fixed nature of the sign,  however, makes it difficult to change your course once you have started, even if it becomes apparent that the course you are following is wrong. Persistence can turn to stubbornness. Like the bull, you may be patient and slow to anger, but when roused can be furious. Often your anger can be sparked of by feelings of jealousy or possessiveness. You love the good life, but can become lazy and self-indulgent.

With the Sun in the mutable air sign of Gemini, your basic attunement is to the level of the mind (symbolized by air). There is a restlessness and a need for variety. You have a basic urge to extend yourself through a myriad of  different contacts and relationships. You are usually on the go, and have a natural ability for multi-tasking, doing two or more things at once. You have a need for constant intellectual stimulation, and welcome the opportunity to express your opinions, which you can do very well on a number of different subjects. The versatility and adaptability of the Sun in Gemini, if taken to extremes, can lead to a superficial knowledge of many subjects, inconsistency, and the tendency to change your tack in mid-course; then back again, then back. You will need to develop the willpower to see a particular course  of action through to its conclusion.


The Sun is in the cardinal water sign of Cancer in your chart. With the Sun in this sign, you are basically oriented toward your emotions. You are impressionable and sympathetic to others and able to listen patiently, but when your  own feelings are hurt, you can be very moody and irritable. You tend to protect your feelings and  emotions behind a hard exterior shell, just like a crab. Your family and roots are important to you, but you need to develop your own individuality. You will have a strong parental instinct and will be protective and supportive to your children. If you have no children, this will probably be expressed in some other area of your life. You can be very tenacious when pursuing your goals, or holding on to a relationship or other situation, perhaps too long at times. If this tenacity is carried to extremes, you may have a tendency to hang on to real or imagined hurts.


The Sun in the fixed fire sign of Leo in your chart  indicates that your basic nature is proud and generous, with a love of  theatrical and dramatic gestures. You have an innate loyalty and warmth and are generous and affectionate to those you love. You have a need to express yourself creatively, and to be recognized for yourself. The fixed nature of Leo gives you the strength and determination to achieve your aims, once you have decided what they are. Your willpower is generally strong, and once you  have set your mind on a course of action you can carry it out with great enthusiasm. You will need to beware of  a tendency to become fixed and dogmatic in your opinions, and may be  rather intolerant of other people's faults and shortcomings; this may arise from you not admitting of your very own faults and shortcomings. You may refuse to recognize them, or if you do, refuse to live with them. Expecting perfection of yourself leads you to expect perfection in others.


With the Sun in the mutable earth sign of Virgo, your basic nature is practical and adaptable. You may like to be of service to others in some way,  probably more concerned with their material well-being and comfort, but if you feel  you are being taken for granted or taken advantage of, you will not be slow to criticize. You can pay great attention to detail, and have a keen analytical mind. You like to have your life and affairs organized and in order, a trait that can make you fussy and dissatisfied with anything short of perfection. There may be some concern with health  throughout your life, either as a concern with healthy living, or as a result of bad health due to your overwrought nervous system. You must learn not to worry so much over your own or others' imperfections.


With the Sun in the cardinal air sign of Libra, you are basically attuned to the social and intellectual level of experience. You are friendly and sociable and have a need to extend your experience through a variety of different kinds of relationships, and can hold your own in any social circle. You are capable of seeing both sides of any issue, and with your innate sense of fair play you dislike injustice in any form. Although you can be impartial and objective when dealing with the affairs of others, when you are directly involved the scales can  become unbalanced and you can show a surprising degree of selfishness and lack of objectivity. You will have a deep concern with broad social issues, and the need for balanced and harmonious human relationships, both interpersonal and international.


With the Sun in the fixed water sign of Scorpio, you are basically attuned to the emotional level of experience. Your emotional nature is deep and intense, although you can cover your sensitive and powerful feelings with a calm and  indifferent surface appearance. Your willpower is strong, and you will not be easily swayed from your goals or ideals, in fact opposition is likely to merely strengthen your resistance even when a change of attitude or behaviour would be appropriate. You have a deep sense of  the inevitability of death and change and transformation, but you find it difficult to understand why a supposedly loving God can allow so much pain and suffering in the world, and may choose atheism on these grounds. Even so, you are fascinated by knowledge that may be termed occult. You may  have a deep distrust in life and in other people. Although you value your own independence very highly, you can be  very jealous and possessive if a partner's independence threatens your security.


With the Sun in the mutable fire sign of Sagittarius, your basic nature is outgoing and open-minded. You have a need to explore and to find out what is just over the horizon. This need can be expressed literally through travel, or on a more mental level through the exploration of ideas and philosophical systems. You may combine both, travelling for the purpose of expanding your mind. You are adaptable and versatile, able to make the most out of any situation.  You see life as a great adventure, and it is the future and future possibilities that draw you on. You may be prone to exaggeration, and your blindly optimistic and boisterous nature may make you careless and  irresponsible. You may have to learn the hard way that you need to take care of unfinished business before you can move on to your next adventure.


With the Sun in the cardinal earth sign of Capricorn you are basically a down to earth and practical person. You  possess a great deal of patience and quiet ambition. You are not pushy but once you have decided on a course of action you can work hard for many years, enduring many set-backs, to achieve what you have set out to do. This will often be an achievement that meets with conventional standards of approval, but even if  your life-style and goals are not so conventional you will need to see some sort of material or tangible result from your efforts, wealth or a position of authority. You have a tendency to take life too seriously, there is always work to be done and duties to  perform and you may have little patience with those who take a more laid back approach to life and love. You may need to loosen up a bit and enjoy life here and now.


Aquarius is a fixed air sign. In astrology, air represents the activity of the mind, the realm of ideas and social  interaction. The fixed nature of this sign lends these thoughts and ideas the power to form the basis of groups united  through shared ideals and goals. Aquarius is the time of year before the spring, before the seed has begun to swell in the earth. At this time the whole of nature is oriented toward the  future growth. The ideals of Aquarius are forward-looking and revolutionary. With the Sun in Aquarius your basic tone is idealistic, forward looking and unconventional, but probably rather detached and impersonal. You are by nature either a rebel, or a humanitarian and a true reformer. You need to ensure that your rebellious nature and insistence on holding unconventional views  does not become fanaticism and a refusal to change your opinions. You can be either original or eccentric, probably a mixture of both.


With the Sun in the mutable and watery sign of Pisces, you have a basic attunement to the emotional and feeling   level of experience. Your basic nature is rather unworldly and idealistic, with an innate urge to trust everyone. On the positive side this makes you sympathetic, compassionate and sensitive to the needs of others, but you are very impressionable to outside influences and may be easily led. Like the sea however, your emotional nature is full of hidden depths, sudden storms, and strong, shifting emotional currents that can sometimes overwhelm you and  those around you. There is a tendency to vagueness, moodiness and periods of self-doubt and self-pity. You have a strong disposition toward escapism and a refusal to face reality. "Feeling good" may be more important to you than dealing with the practical necessities of life. On the positive side, this can be expressed through meditation, a strong imagination and an appreciation of the subtle messages conveyed through music and other art forms. On the negative side this can lead to an excessive dependence on drugs (including  alcohol) or fruitless daydreaming and an inability to conform with any kind of routine or self-discipline.

The Houses

1st House
The front door to one's world; the self-Image; reaction to one's environment; how others see one; physical characteristics; outer personality; how one initiates action; beginnings.

2nd House
The process of valuing; self worth; body awareness; how one develops one's natural resources; attitudes towards money and possessions; emotional attachments to objects.

3rd House
Communications; the analytical mind; early and immediate environment; school years; relatives; brothers and sisters; early peer groups; short journeys.

4th House
Home and family issues; one's sense of belonging; psychological foundations; how one is in private; the 'background' parent; childhood conditioning; late years of life.

5th House
Creative instincts; the urge to express one's self spontaneously; children; how one gives love; love affairs; leisure; speculation.

6th House
Daily routine; work; practical skills; techniques; relations with employers and
employees; health issues.

7th House
One to one encounters; partners; marriage; lawsuits; challenges; open enemies; how one co-operates or competes with others.

8th House
Results of what one shares; intense relationships; sex; other people's money and possessions; legacies; death and rebirth; crises; change.

9th House
The abstract mind; belief systems; higher education; teachers; foreign travel and connections abroad; religion; the spirit of the law.

10th House
Public role and status; career; ambition; influence; how one sets out to achieve one's aims; the dominant parent; relations with authority figures; one's tendency to be dominant or dominated.

11th House
The need to make contact with others; how one receives love; friendships; social groups; shared hopes and ideals; group activities.

12th House
The unconscious self; what one projects on to intimate relationships; dreams; hidden fears and enemies; breakdowns; sacrifice and service to a greater cause.

The Angles

The Ascendant
Represents the public face and the physical body the person in the chart - the position relates to the time and place on earth of birth in relation to where the planets were in the universe at that time. The Ascendant showa part of your personality that only people who are very close to you actually sees.

The Midheaven
This represents the public role of the person in the chart - how society sees them.

Other Points on the Chart

The North/South Nodes
Your life path in this life, the South Node represents where you have come from in your previous existence, the North Node represents where you should head to and what you need to achieve in this life.

The Planets

The Sun

In the birth chart the Sun, by sign, house position and - above all - the aspects it makes to the Angles and other  planets, describes a person’s motivating force; what essentially that person is seeking to become. This is reflected in the Sun’s glyph - a dot, representing potential, in a circle signifying completeness or maturity. On other levels the Sun also corresponds to the masculine principle - willpower, courage, creativity, purpose, growth, one’s sense of uniqueness, authority, the father, the ruler. This last image is particularly helpful to an understanding of the Sun’s astrological function. In life, the ruler is the figurehead under which the disparate social groups of a nation either unite, or divide. Similarly, the Sun symbolises the process by which other planetary energies in the birth chart are integrated, or wasted.

The Moon

Just as the Moon reflects the Sun’s light, so in astrology it signifies a person’s instinctive, emotional response to their environment. Where the Sun is connected with action, the Moon’s domain is reaction.  These feelings are largely unconscious in childhood, only coming to light as we become aware of our true selves as signified by the Sun. As a result, the Moon by sign, house position and aspects can reveal a great deal about a person’s emotional development as a child, and how these patterns are likely to re-emerge in later life. The Moon also corresponds to the ‘feminine’ principle - the protective instinct; the home environment; our sense of ‘belonging’; natural habits; eating patterns and preferences; attitudes to the past; changing moods and fortunes (reflecting the cycles of the Moon); the imagination; the ability to reach the public; and women, especially the mother.


Mercury, in his mythological role as Messenger of the Gods, was responsible for conveying information between mortals and the deities residing on Mount Olympus. In the birth chart, his planetary counterpart fulfils a similar function; Mercury carries the torch of conscious thought to the rest of the chart, offering the opportunity of greater self-awareness along the way. More specifically, Mercury by sign, house position and aspects to other planets reveals the mental frequency on which we operate how we think and generally communicate. He also shows our aptitude for learning, and - especially through the contact he makes to other planets - whether our opinions are likely to be based on logic or feelings and habits. In his highest expression, Mercury symbolises the power of wisdom and self-knowledge; in his lowest, the mind of the trickster, full of deceit and low cunning. On other levels Mercury corresponds to the workings of the rational, objective mind; early school experiences; reading and writing; languages; debate and discussion; transport; commerce; short-distance travel; and the tools of communication - books, newspapers, telephones, television and computers.


Named after the goddess of love, beauty and sensuality, the planet Venus traditionally refers to our need for relationship, affection and harmony. At a more fundamental level, however, Venus is concerned with what attracts and repels us, and how we respond to these influences. The process involved is one of weighing up - of trying to decide what is good or bad according to how we perceive our needs. More often than not, this results in sharing or co-operative behaviour, since most people find dealing with others preferable to being lonely and unpopular. In terms of love, Venus reveals our reaction when we meet it, rather than how we express ourselves emotionally (which is more a function of Mars). Venus rarely gives without expecting something in return, hence our ability to attract harmonious relationships will depend on its sign and house position, and more specifically on the nature of the planets it aspects. On other levels, matters which fall within Venus’ portfolio include the arts; style; taste; physical attraction; close partnerships of all kinds; women and feminine sexuality; physical well-being; money and all means of exchange; diplomacy and vanity.

At an instinctive level, Mars represents our determination to battle for survival. When threatened, we can either confront a likely aggressor or flee. As we will only fight for what we value, the implications of Mars in our birth chart have to be seen in conjunction with Venus. While Venus describes what we value, Mars shows how we obtain or preserve it. Consequently, Mars symbolises all those qualities which help us achieve our desires and therefore enhance our self-image, such as initiative, courage, physical strength and stamina. It is through the impulse Mars gives us to assert ourselves that it has acquired its reputation for conflict. In the birth chart, Mars’s sign, house position and aspects show how we arouse ourselves to conscious action and reveals the way we spontaneously express our emotions. On other levels, Mars is associated with athleticism and sport; war and all military affairs; all forms of coercion; men and male sexuality; selfish desires; anger; passion; panic; frustration; guns, iron and all sharp metal instruments; machines and mechanics; technicians; engineers; explosives; fire; fever; inflammation and accidents and operations.


As the largest planet in the solar system, it is perhaps not surprising that Jupiter has long been associated astrologically with growth and expansion. This can be taken in the physical sense, in that Jupiter corresponds to the growth of the body - in particular, cellular development and digestion. But the main significance of Jupiter in the birth chart is its function as a ‘social’ planet - a role it shares with Saturn. The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars all deal with strictly personal aspects of our character without any reference to inherited or environmental factors. Jupiter, by contrast, shows how we grow throughout life to fulfil the potential of our birthright. Growth in this context means how we develop in response to the prevailing beliefs in society, and to what extent we blend in with, or challenge them. In our quest to find a place in the world, Jupiter by sign, house and, above all, our social expectations and ideals, and also how we go about creating opportunities to realise them. On other levels, Jupiter corresponds to religious faith, wisdom, our understanding of God; the spirit of the law, philosophy and all theoretical thought. It also embraces, politics, higher education, morality, travel, exploration, anything to do with places abroad, spiritual or material prosperity, over-consumption, obesity and wastefulness.


In counterbalance to Jupiter’s expansive nature, Saturn’s astrological function is to restrict. This is often a painful but none the less vital part of our development, for Saturn keeps Jupiter’s urge to grow within manageable bounds. Saturn’s position in the birth chart shows where and how we most want to make our mark in society. The aspects it makes to the Angles and the other planets focus on the obstacles we are likely to meet on the way. These may be self-inflicted or brought about by events which appear to be beyond our control. In both cases, Saturn teaches us - through harsh confrontation with reality and through limiting circumstances - what we must change in ourselves before we can achieve our ambitions. Since few of us accept delays or hardship gracefully, these lessons are seldom learned without pain. At its most constructive Saturn imparts wisdom born of a true understanding of the virtues of patience, hard work, tradition and self-discipline. But if the Saturnine energy is ignored or becomes too dominant, it may also be repressive - inhibiting our self-confidence and frustrating our aims. Saturn’s rule extends among other things to all rules and regulations, the government and all authority figures, exams and teachers, the physical laws of the universe, economic recession, time, the ageing process, depression, fear and loneliness.

Uranus has come to symbolise unexpected and traumatic change. Usually this happens when the Saturnine principles of order and control become too rigid - either in either our personal lives or in society as a whole. Some people in life display powerful Uranian drives, either by spearheading progressive reforms, or- less constructively by standing out from the crowd through shocking or anti-social behaviour. Whatever the level of expression, Uranian individuals seem to crackle with a mysterious force that generates excitement, eccentricity or danger. For most of us, though, the influence of Uranus is not so consistently evident. It tends to take us by surprise when it is activated in our personal lives, for few of us are receptive to the wholesale change it often demands. As a result Uranus is often felt to work disruptively, breaking down attitudes or situations which have become fossilised. Yet no matter how painful these rude awakenings may be, they offer us the chance to take control of our destinies and live our lives in accordance with our deepest wishes. In this sense, Uranus can be seen as a truly liberating agent. On other levels it corresponds to electricity; lightning; any sudden illumination or original discovery; eccentricity; all innovative technologies; the abstract sciences; revolutionary ideals; reforms; anarchy; democracy and civil liberties.

As the planet of unreality - of unlimited possibilities and things we cannot touch or see - Neptune’s function is to break down the boundaries that keep us contained within the realities of the physical universe. Both personally, and in society as a whole, the effect is to undermine the limitations imposed by harsh, practical Saturn. Neptune offers us the promise of other realities, and in so doing, fuels our dreams of transcending the routine and the humdrum. In its positive expression, Neptune enables us to shift the focus of our lives from purely selfish concerns to a vision of the “greater whole” of which each of us is a part. It can heighten perception, inspire the imagination and deepen our understanding of other people. The ideals it spawns are both universal and spiritual. The darker side of Neptune emerges when our wishes bear little relation to what we are capable of achieving. If, for whatever reason, we are reluctant to face undesirable qualities in ourselves, then our Neptunian values become distorted. When this happens, Neptune brings confusion, self-deception, greed, deceit, loss, disillusionment and a flight from reality through drugs, alcohol or idle fantasy. Other correspondences to Neptune include water in all its forms; shipping; oil; chemical gases; leaks; scandal; films; photography; mysticism; altruism; martyrdom; spiritual salvation; artistic inspiration; altered states of consciousness; and illusion or confusion.


Most astrologers now agree that tiny, distant Pluto represents in the birth chart the process of fundamental transformation - of death and rebirth. In contrast to Uranus - which disrupts the Saturnine structures we create in both society and our personal lives - and Neptune - which turns them inside out - Pluto breaks them down completely so that a new level of awareness can be brought into being. Like the other slow-moving planets, the effect of Pluto in any particular sign is to raise issues which are experienced by a generation. In the birth chart, it is Pluto’s house position and the contacts it makes to the Angles and personal planets which show in what area of life we are most likely to respond or contribute to these collective pressures. Pluto’s domain in the birth chart is the subconscious mind, where primitive instincts often lie buried because we have been taught they are socially undesirable. If we refuse to recognize them, they can result in negative Plutonian patterns of behaviour such as compulsions and obsessions, or give rise to events beyond our control which threaten our very survival. Yet if we can bring these instincts to the surface, Pluto will enable us to refine them so that eventually all aspects of our personality can be brought under conscious control. Such a process of change may be extremely testing, since it involves breaking down old self-images before a new and more complete self is able to emerge. Pluto also governs any aspect of society that is potentially undermining but which we are unwilling to face - the criminal underworld, subversive groups, taboos, urban decay and corruption; earthquakes and volcanic eruptions; self-transforming therapies and healers; charlatans; any form of uncontrolled power; nuclear energy; depth psychology; sexual reproduction; and the orgasm.

Peregrine Planets

These are planets that have no major aspect (Conjunction, Opposition, Sextile, Trine or Square) connecting them to any other planet, although they can be in aspect to Ascendant or Midheaven. As such they will have a very powerful hold over the chart, their influence tending to dominate the personality.


Conjunctions - Here you have a blending of the influence of the planets involved, the slower moving planet, will tend to hold sway over the faster moving one.

Sextiles/Trines - The energy moves easily here, and the subject finds the intergration between the two planets working well to their advantage. Sextiles allow opportunities and talents to be easily taken advantage of. Trines aspects show a natural affinity or ability and the energy flows without hindrance, but they can encourage complacency. Think of skating on ice or skiing, even if you are a champion skater or skier, if you get over confident and you don't look where you are going, accidents can happen...

Squares - Here is tension in it's purest form. You find a blockage with something or someone in your way and it forces you to act - squares create motivation.

Oppositions - Again there is tension as in the square but with an opposition you have a choice on how and if you deal with the situation, and thus how it will manifest itself.