The purpose of this article to help a student of astrology take the first step – familiarization with a horoscope and how to make sense of the chart we see in front of our eyes. Most of the concepts here are generic but since I am myself a student of Vedic or Indian Astrology, there is a clear bias towards this branch of astrology.
The path of movement of planets through the sky is divided into twelve signs or constellation – Aries through Pisces. These signs are fixed in the sky and provide a backdrop for creating a horoscope. Planets, which revolve around the sun, pass through these signs in the sky during their course of movement. We look at the the planes and signs as viewed from a place on Earth and create a horoscope. Therefore, a horoscope can be accurately called as a “map of heavens” at the time of casting it.
The signs should be visualized as a belonging to a belt in the sky that is formed by one sign following another – Aries is the first sign, followed by Taurus, Gemini and so on. As earth rotates around its axis, what is viewed from a position from earth changes and we can one sign rising and other setting while others are in the queue. We can see stars and signs rising and setting in a day of length of twenty four hours and as there are twelve signs, it takes almost two hours for a sign to rise or set.
If you look at the skies, the perceived size of various signs is very different, e.g. Scorpio and Leo look much larger than Taurus. However, the belt that we discussed earlier does not contain the entire sign from head to tail. Without complicating matters, lets just consider all signs to be of the same size for now and allocate 30° to each of the twelve signs. 360° ÷ 12 = 30° and we are all good.
Signs are numbered one through 12. The name of the signs and their “rulers” are mentioned in the following table. The significance of the rulers will be explained later in the article.
|S.No.||Sign Name||Name in Hindi||Ruler|
Ascendant is defined to be the sign that is rising in the east at the time of casting of horoscope. Since it takes two hours for a sign to rise completely, the degree if the ascendant is the measure of the extent to which a sign has risen.
Consider a horoscope to be a chart of the skies where you see these constellation or signs. There are twelve houses because there are twelve signs. Each house corresponds to a sign. The houses start with the ascendant – that’s the house 1. Counting from the 1st house, we have 2nd, 3rd and so on till we reach the 12th house. Each house in a horoscope corresponds to a field of activity. 1st house corresponds to