What are the basic building blocks of astrology? (Part 1) in this week’s issue of the Manila Mail (Mar. 5-11, 2014)

solar system(Image courtesy of wellsave.com/ Google Images)


Last week, I gave you a glimpse on how we will celebrate International Astrology Day (IAD) 2014 in the San Francisco Bay Area this coming March 22-23. This week, let’s continue exploring the vast subject of astrology. If, like me, you are fascinated by this topic, I hope that you don’t get intimidated when for example you browse through a book on astrology in the library or a book store and nothing means anything to you. Don’t panic. We all have to start somewhere, and the logical place to start is with the building blocks of astrology.

What are they? The planets, the signs, the houses, and the aspects.

I believe that familiarizing ourselves with the key words for the planets, signs, houses, and aspects will help us understand the elements in our own birth chart (also called a natal chart). If we understand these elements, then our entire chart becomes an exciting roadmap to our self-understanding. With what gifts, potentials, and strengths are we born? How do we make the best use of these? What weaknesses must we try to overcome?

For instance, what are we to make of this statement: “My Sun is in Aries in the 8th house opposing my Uranus in Libra in the 2nd house”? By the way, that’s an actual observation from my natal chart.         That statement may sound bewildering to you now, but by the end of this 2-part column, I hope that you will begin your attempt to put together some statements of your own based on your own birth chart. For a free rendering of your natal chart, I highly recommend going to www.astro.com, which I have been using for quite a long time now. It’s also a great website for learning the basics of astrology and beyond. My suggestion is for you to study the glyphs (symbols) for the planets, signs, and aspects, since this will help you figure out all those squiggly lines and doodles populating your chart. The houses are numbered plainly from 1-12 in a counterclockwise direction. The two axes bisecting the chart are the MC-IC axis (Medium Coeli/midheaven-Imum Coeli/nadir) and the AC-DC axis (ascendant-descendant). All these will make sense to you when you print out your natal chart and really begin to study it.

Now, how can we make useful analogies between the English language and the language of astrology? I’ve read many sources that liken planet keywords to nouns and sign keywords to adjectives. House keywords describe areas of life while aspect keywords describe relationships among planetary energies, whether easy or challenging. May I now present to you some keywords for the planets, signs, houses, and aspects, respectively. Since this is by no means an exhaustive list, I encourage you to come up with your own associations.


SUN: Inner essence, nature, ego, individual, consciousness, purpose, center, light, creativity, spirit, life, vitality, nucleus, being, intention, will power, Apollo

MOON: Emotions, unconscious, soul, reflection, fertility, mother, memories, feelings, moods, sensitivity, Isis

MERCURY: Communication, intelligence, thoughts, reason, logic, ideas, speech, observation, conscious mind, the winged messenger, Hermes

VENUS: Love, femininity, beauty, art, harmony, romance, refinement, the senses, gentleness, sensuality, Aphrodite

MARS: Energy, force, action, stress, anger, masculinity, sexual drive, the warrior

JUPITER: Confidence, abundance, aspirations, generosity, autonomy, indulgence, excess, opportunity, humanity, success, philosophy, Santa Claus, Zeus, a sense of humor

SATURN: Responsibility, structure, restriction, ability, duty, authority, stamina, determination, accomplishment, limitations, patience, reality, karma, discipline, maturity, caution, boundaries, ambition, Father Time, Kronos

URANUS: Surprise, freedom, chaos, independence, change, eccentricity, originality, release, intuition, electricity, the humanitarian, the rebel

NEPTUNE: Spirituality, visionary, psyche, dreamer, wisdom, addictions, drugs and alcohol, co-dependence, meditation, fantasy, illusion, rose-colored glasses, devotion, guilt, escape, Poseidon, angels, God, Goddess

PLUTO: Power, transmutation, evolution, death and rebirth, control, purification, elimination, the Phoenix, Shiva, Hades


ARIES: Energetic, fiery, aggressive, courageous, assertive, angry, self-centered, impulsive, brave, dynamic

TAURUS: Stable, earthy, sensual, dependable, stubborn, persevering, conservative, material, needs security, determined, strong, sophisticated, loyal, luxurious, practical

GEMINI: Enthusiastic, airy, versatile, nervous, independent, intelligent, talkative, flirtatious, quick, positive, unstable, restless, curious, child-like, clever

CANCER: Nurturing, watery, protective, emotional, family-oriented, moody, sensitive, sentimental, affectionate

LEO: Proud, fiery, generous, flashy, entertaining, powerful, arrogant, grandiose, egocentric, dramatic, dictatorial, noble

VIRGO: Earth mother, meticulous, linear, critical, analytical, productive, efficient, shy, caring, dedicated, vulnerable, problem-solving, computer-like, intelligent

LIBRA: Artistic, airy, social, graceful, beautiful, charming, indecisive, submissive, slick, diplomatic, refined, sympathetic, romantic

SCORPIO: Private, watery, deep, decisive, questioning, curious, jealous, sexual, manipulative, intense, psychic, healing, passionate, powerful

SAGITTARIUS: Independent, fiery, philosophical, futuristic, demanding, undaunting, impatient,  cultural, expansive, straightforward

CAPRICORN: Cautious, earthbound, unyielding, ambitious, authoritative, tenacious, responsible, accomplished

AQUARIUS: Rebellious, airy, open-minded, revolutionary, scattered, unpredictable, cause-oriented, aloof, fanatic, impractical, humanitarian

PISCES: Empathetic, watery, extremely sensitive, abandoned, fearful, inspired, whimsical, fanciful, spiritual, spacey, creative, gentle, confused, kind

We will continue our discussion on the building blocks of astrology next week when we tackle the keywords for the houses and aspects. #



Make Jan. 11, 2014 count!

Make January 11, 2014, Saturday, count.

The day promises to be out of the ordinary, with plenty of planetary combinations blessing the day with their energetic influences. The Moon enters chatty Gemini in the early morning, so don’t be surprised if you’re already galvanized into action (and conversation) even during the wee hours of Saturday.

As the day unfolds, Venus forms a supportive sextile with Saturn, the Moon trines Mercury, the Sun conjuncts Venus then sextiles Saturn, all possibly beneficial aspects for planning, interaction, and the exercise of charm and persuasion, not aggression, to win the other person to your side. Near lunch time, the Moon squares Neptune, so watch that you don’t get overrun by illusions and empty promises. By 1:35 pm PST, Mercury enters Aquarius, a case of the quicksilver god electrifying the Water Bearer’s futuristic and humanitarian concerns. This reinforces the day’s communication theme, along with opportunities for short-distance travel and connections with siblings and neighbors. By 10:02 PM PST, the Moon forms a sextile to Uranus, so even at that late hour, expect to be inspired by lightning flashes of divine emotional inspiration.

In short, with this mixed grab bag of influences, be prepared to fully SAVOR and ENJOY the day ahead! Make it count, like I said.

If I may assign a keyword for January 11, 2014 (Sat.), it would be: FRIENDSHIP. Go ahead and cultivate new ones, and endeavor to strengthen already existing bonds.

Segue to my closing concept: the IRISH CLADDAGH (cloh’-dah) RING. I’m actually wearing a stainless steel, cheap version of it. Go ahead and Google the claddagh. Basically, as you can see from the photo (courtesy of Google Images), the joined hands stand for FRIENDSHIP, the heart between them obviously stands for LOVE, and the crown on top stands for LOYALTY. I started wearing my claddagh in early Dec. 2013 so in effect I am promising friendship, love, and loyalty to myself.

Why not? Shouldn’t we actually be friends with ourselves first before we venture to be a friend to others?

(Photos courtesy of Google Images)