Common Questions

Words and Terms in an Astrology Reading

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  • By Sarah Abramson
  • Published: 10/30/20 9:02 PM EDT
  • Updated: 10/03/20 9:04 PM EDT

Words and terms you hear in an astrology reading

Astrology is an intricate art that investigates cosmic influences on relationships, life cycles, patterns of behaviour, career, health and finances. The process for understanding these influences is more in-depth than your typical sun sign reading in the paper. You will likely come across a few unfamiliar terms when reading your personalised natal chart.

Astrology helps us access more profound levels of personal knowledge to aid in the creation of a joyful rewarding life. Below is a guide to the astrological language that will help you get a clearer picture of what’s happening in your reading.


The relationship between any two planets or other sensitive points in the zodiac. Aspects are precise, ever the number of degrees between points is relevant to determining the meaning of planet positions.


There are four elements in the zodiac, water, fire, earth and air. These elements describe the character of the planet to which it’s connected.

  • Air- Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. Relates to action, ideas, motion and abstract thought. Air signs are extroverted, focused on others, active and optimistic.
  • Fire – Aries, Leo, Sagittarius. Relates to passion, loyalty, leadership, destruction, vitality and enthusiasm. Fire signs are extroverted, focused on themselves, optimistic and active.
  • Earth – Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo. Relates to grounding, building stability, materialistic and practical concerns. Earth signs are introverted, focused on themselves, passive, security-oriented and pessimistic.
  • Water – Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces. Relates to intuition, mystery, emotions, security, empathy. Water signs are introverted, introverted, focused on themselves, passive, security-oriented and pessimistic.


Your birth chart is divided into 12 houses which rule specific areas of your life. When you are born, different plants reside in each of your houses. Each house has a unique character.


1st house: Self-identity, public face, the impression you give to others based on personality and presentation. Describes general temperament.

2nd house: Material values and security. Reveals personal finances, possession and their worth to you.

3rd house: Learning and communication. Express important information about your immediate network including siblings, partners, peers and coworkers. Relates to short trips and travel.

4th house: Home and family life. Relates to your relationships with maternal figures as well as your feelings toward homelife, ancestral roots and childhood.

5th house: Creativity and inspiration, self-expression, romance, children.

6th house: Daily life, health, work environment, duties and wellness. Ruled by Jupiter.

7th house: Personal relationships, dating/romantic partnerships, professional relationships.

8th house: Sex intimacy, transformation, death, release, ability to rebound and inheritance.

9th house: World/long-distance travel, higher education, life philosophies, intellectual exploration.

10th house: Relationship to authority and power, prestige and reputation. Your career, height of success, public image.

11th house: Friends and relationship to humanity, ideals, causes, remembering the point of your hard work.

12th house: Spiritual life, cosmic connections, karma, subconscious, psychological issues, dreams and secrets.


The zodiac is depicted as a cosmic wheel with 12 signs and houses. The line between each wedge on the wheel is the cusp. If you are born on the cusp of Sagittarius and Capricorn, that means the sun was positioned on the border of these two signs at your time of birth.


This is when the earth is orbiting past a planet at a faster pace than the planet, so it appears to be going backward. When things start going pear-shaped a retrograde is often responsible.

Saturn return

Typically associated with hard life lessons, transitions and turning 30. It occurs when Saturn approaches the point in the sky as it was when you were born. During this time, you may go through significant upheavals or changes.

Natal chart

A natal chart is also known as a birth chart. It is a complex map depicting the position of the planets, sun and moon at your time of birth and their influence on the 12 houses of the zodiac.

Ruling planet

Every sign has either one or two ruling planets which share their core traits. There is a belief in astrology that the energy of a planet is most potent when travelling through the sign it governs.

Sun sign

Your sin sign refers to which sign the was in when you were born, Capricorn, Aquarius, Leo etc. It describes your sense of self, life direction, strengths and weaknesses.

Moon sign

Moon signs are more subtle than solar energy, they reveal your inner world. The moon’s position on your birth chart characterises how you feel in your body, heart and mind. It relates to feelings, intuition and your ‘private face’.

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