Written in the Stars: Astrology for Dummies

So, you wanna know about astrology — welcome! 

Macayla Flanigan, Copy Editor / Columnist

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding in the world on what astrology actually is, some think it’s witchcraft and others just confuse it with astronomy… so here we go!  

Astrology is not magic or wizardry, but rather a strong mix of astronomy (study of objects in space and their processes of interaction), math, and a little pinch of mythology. Astrology can also be more analytical or more intuitive; my own process lies a little more in the analytical, meaning that I heavily rely on charts and numbers rather than my instinctive feelings —though I do take those into account as well.  

And here’s my disclaimer to you: I am not a licensed astrologer (shocking, I know), but I have studied astrology for six years, know my astronomy, and have a decently sized list of testimonials (yes, they are biased). Every piece of information I give to you is completely calculated by me and at the end of the day that is why this is an opinion piece 

Astrology doesn’t claim to tell the future, what it does is look at the position and phenomena of the planets in relation to behaviors and events in history. It is data collected and then used to predict what is likely to occur for just about everything from people to government.  

This is done by a series of calculations a bit beyond the depth of this specific article. We just wanna dip into the basics!  

By using your date, time, and place of birth you can calculate your natal/birth chart (the map of where the planets were in the sky the moment you were born), but most astrology-lovers focus on three of those placements; what is known as “The Big 3” which would be your Sun Sign, Moon Sign, and Ascendant/Rising Sign. These characteristics are based on whatever zodiac sign falls in its place on the chart.  

The most widely familiar aspect of astrology is the sun signthis is the zodiac sign you most likely know and identify with. The sun rules your personality, ego, and will. This is heavily relates to your own spiritual masculine energy.  

The moon relates to your spiritual feminine energy. The moon rules your emotions, intuition, and how you process and express your feelings. The moon can also give you a good idea on what you’re seeking emotionally from both your platonic and romantic relationships.  

(*A note on energy: every person has both masculine and feminine energy! It has nothing to do with gender!)  

The rising sign, or the ascendant, is the version of you that you present to the world, your public image and social personality. It also relates to how you look and your outward style! You may be thinking, “Okay, so why are the other two planets and this one isn’t?” That would be because your rising sign is the zodiac’s sign and degree at your specific time of birth.  

So, now you probably want to know what your big three are! My quick and easy recommendation is to head over to Cafe Astrology’s website and use their “Natal Chart Calculator” after finishing this article 

It’s also important to know the four elements, there are three zodiac signs per element, and they describe the temperament of each sign.  

Earth: Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo – steady, practical, grounded, and reliable.  

Air: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius – intellectual, quick, analytical, communicative  

Fire: Aries, Sagittarius, Leo – passionate, intense, enthusiastic, dramatic  

Water: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces – sensitive, intuitive, imaginative, empathic  

Each of the zodiac signs also has a quality, which can give further insight into each sign. There are three qualities –   

Cardinal: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn – cardinal signs are natural born leaders, and are action driven, they like to take charge and get things done  

Fixed: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius – fixed signs are stubborn and value the steady, they thrive on stability and order  

Mutable: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces – mutable signs are resilient and flexible, these signs have a restless nature but adapt well to new situations  

There’s a lot of controversy on zodiac charts, with many believing that there are such things as a “bad” zodiac sign or birth chart. This is simply not true. However, since the signs say a lot about a person’s personality and inner workings, there is a compatibility factor at hand. So, no there are no “bad” zodiac signs to have, some signs are just more compatible with others and those that use astrology know who they are more likely to fit well with. 

And now, I present to you:

The Characteristics of the Twelve Zodiacs  

Aries: Aries natives are known to be natural leaders and high energy individuals. Though sometimes considered a little bit of a loose cannon, Aries are passionate, bold, and a little bossy. People in this sign often appreciate directness and are known to be quite blunt in their communication, often to a fault. 

Taurus: Taurus natives are stubborn and grounded but also sensual and loving. Taurus appreciates the finer things in life along with the beauty in the world and is very connected to nature. Sometimes they are considered to be lazy, but really Taureans value taking their time with things. 

Gemini: Gemini natives are usually intellectually curious and seek to discover more about the world and people around them. They are quite flexible with change and are constantly looking for new hobbies to occupy themselves. However, Gemini can also be seen as an unreliable, nosey, and indecisive sign. 

Cancer: People with their sign in Cancer are often deeply sensitive and compassionate. They are constantly seeking security and eagerly offering it to those they love in return. While Cancer natives tend to be very goofy, they are also more likely to take personal offense to humor and have a tendency to misinterpret the words and actions of others. 

Leo: Leo natives are confident and are more naturally comfortable with who they are. They are luxury lovers with big hearts and even bigger egos. People with their sign in Leo are usually fiercely protective of their closest groups and adore being the center of attention and love to watch drama unfold. 

Virgo: Virgos tend to be more practical and organized than some of the other signs. Virgo natives are frequently tense and stressed due to the fast-paced nature of their minds. Virgoans are often logical and rely heavily on their specific routines. To Virgos, practice makes perfect, and they won’t stop until perfection is achieved. 

Libra: Libras are known as one of the most outwardly charming and bubbly signs in the zodiac. Libra natives are often mistaken for flirting when they swear, they were just being nice. This sign is the peacemaker of the zodiac and dislikes conflict, this makes Libras highly skilled at compromise. 

Scorpio: Scorpios are most known for their unwavering loyalty and the fierceness with which they protect the things they care about. It is often a mistake to cross someone loved by a Scorpio. Scorpio natives rely on their gut and go after the things they want with little reservation. However, jealousy runs deep with Scorpios, and they often have issues with resentment. 

Sagittarius: Sagittarius natives are free spirits and tend to be much more optimistic than their fellow zodiac signs. Sagittarians are spontaneous and fun loving, though they can be more likely to struggle with balancing their vices and virtues. People with their sign in Sagittarius do not react well to feeling controlled or confined, but it is only because of their deeply rooted independence. 

Capricorn: Capricorns are pragmatic in their approach and outlook on life. They are sensible and hardworking, almost to a fault. Capricorns can struggle with overworking themselves as they often prioritize their achievements and careers over self-care. They are steady and though it takes some time for them to warm up, they care deeply about the people they love and want to provide for them. 

Aquarius: Aquarius natives are very intelligent and innovative. While they possess rebellious tendencies, they are also heavily drawn to humanitarian work and often dedicate parts of their lives to helping others. People with their sign in Aquarius do not rely on others to help work through or solve their problems, they usually know what’s best for themselves and prefer to keep emotions and struggles to themselves; though this can sometimes make them detached from the world. 

Pisces: Pisces natives are incredibly emotionally aware and sensitive. They often feel the need to take the happiness of others into their own hands and forget that it isn’t always their responsibility to “fix.” Due to this, they are more prone to destructive “self-sacrifice” and often put the needs of others before their own. People with their sign in Pisces are known for being creative and express it in many aspects of their life. 


I’m a Taurus sun, Gemini moon, and Libra rising! What are you?