How to Read Your Horoscope

One of my earliest memories of astrology was reading my sun sign horoscopes in the newspaper with my grandfather. That’s when I learned that we were both born during the season of Virgo and that Virgo’s were persnickety, perfectionistic and made great servants. But I didn’t really see my grandfather that way and while I could see the emerging signs of persnicketyness in myself at an early age, I wasn’t all that excited about the idea of being a servant. Luckily, astrology has evolved since then and now the sign of Virgo is more likely to be described as eco-conscious, animal loving (think Virgo Cesar Millan), discerning, and sexy (Sophia Lauren). But as I continued to read my horoscopes over the years, I noticed that some days or weeks they seemed spot on accurate and other weeks totally missed the boat.

As I began to study astrology myself and later became a professional horoscope writer for online astrology websites, I began to understand more about why Sun Sign Horoscopes are usually considered by professional astrologers to be a sort of fictional astrological story rather than real, in depth, astrology. This is why, when I launched my own weekly horoscopes a few months ago, I had many hesitations.

My Virgo persnicketyness had a hard time sharing astrology that didn’t present the full picture, so how could I share information that was incomplete? Sun sign horoscopes (which is what all the horoscopes you read are based on), only focus on one planet: the Sun. So what about the 9 other planets, not to mention the asteroids?

However, thanks to some great feedback from readers like you, I’ve come to realize that sometimes small doses can be all the healing that is needed. Even so, to keep my inner Virgo in some kind of peace, I want to offer up some thoughts, for those of you, who like me, wonder why sometimes these sun sign horoscopes seem so true, and other times don’t hit the spot. More importantly, I want to share some tips to get the most from the horoscopes and use them, as I once did, as a gateway (drug) to a deeper understanding of your chart.

1.    Know Your Chart

Remember that you have 10 planets in your chart-but the sun sign horoscope is just based off of one: the Sun. However, if you have other planets in the sign of your Sun (for example your Moon, Venus and Mercury) then your Sun sign horoscopes will likely feel more on point. Don’t have other planets in the same sign as your Sun? Read your Rising Sign as well as your Sun sign for more info. Don’t know your Moon from your elbow? Check out astro.com for a free chart or contact me to schedule a reading.

2.     Know Yourself

How well you know yourself and your issues can have an impact on how the planets affect you. Depending on the transit, if you have an awareness of your inner nature you are more likely to experience the transit on an emotional, spiritual level rather than have it manifest on the earth plane. The horoscopes can play out more dramatically and “in your face” when you are more unconscious about a particular realm of life. Sometimes the planetary shifts can be so subtle, that you only notice them if you are really tracking your inner process carefully.

 3.    Know the Limits of Sun Sign Astrology (and your friendly neighborhood astrologer)

Astrology, like any divination method, is limited. It’s limited first and foremost by our free will. While we many not have a say in some of the harder parts of being human (death, disability, loss and heartbreak), we do have a choice in how we will respond to our human vulnerability. Some weeks horoscopes may lay out a cosmic menu that does not look all that appetizing to you, so if this is the case, consciously choose a different selection. Astrology is also limited by the astrologer. I’m a Virgo, with Mercury in Virgo conjunct Pluto in Virgo, which is astrological short hand for: “I hate to be wrong!”

 I hate to make mistakes and I hate to disappoint anyone. But to paraphrase a dear friend, “mistakes have been made”.  After 26 years of a passionate love affair with astrology, I still have a lot to learn and there are times when I read the star story one way and the cosmos veer in a completely different direction. Ultimately I’m grateful for the mystery of astrology, how sometimes it can be so wonderfully accurate and tell a story of life that is so rich with symbolic meaning, giving such insight and sense of connection with the universe and other times, like the greatest trickster, tell a completely unexpected story that no one could ever have predicted. Usually, looking back, I can track the cosmic joke and it’s in those times I most appreciate my connection to the stories, symbols and meaning I find in the stars. It’s like a never-ending story, with plenty of twists and turns written by the most wonderful author I’ve ever read.