Beginners guide to Astrology: All the meanings and symbols you need to know

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If you think you had a shitty week last week, just imagine if your Mercury had been in Taurus. Mine was, and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. I was also neglectful to my partner, I’m talking unapologetic bitch mode. When I explained to him that my Libra was rising and Mercury was in retrograde, he still didn’t get it. And neither did I. But that’s not the point. 

What I have learnt is that we unfortunately can’t blame the planets for being assholes. Let’s be real, how long have you been pretending to understand astrology and you have absolutely no clue whats going on. Yes, yes, we all comfort Sally after her break up with Brad and agree that Sagittarius and Aquarius just don’t mix.

Only recently I started to ask “why” to EVERYTHING. Life became a lot more interesting and a little more complicated. The things we bring with us to adulthood stem from our childhood and the belief systems of those who raised us.

My curiosity for astrology sparked when I started to ask if I am the way I am because of social conditioning or something beyond my understanding.

During my travels in Tulum, Mexico, I met an old healer who spoke about receiving messages through dreams, my guardians, my past and future. After my reiki healing session, she sat down and asked me what my concerns were. My solo endeavour to India was approaching I was nervous about my safety. She laughed and told me not to worry, apparently I am very protected (points to the sky). That’s right, GUARDIANS. A lot of them apparently.

Then a few years later, along came Rebecca Rose. Bec is basically a fairy god mother. She doesn’t turn your pumpkins into cool shit and she definitely can’t find you a sexy prince. What she can do is give you advice and guidance that’s warm as a mother’s hug. She is also an astrologist, tarot reader and Neuroscience student. Marry me.

I was curious to get a better understand of my personality traits, my birth chart, symbolic meanings of the zodiac and what all this REALLY means. The only thing I’m sure of is that being a Leo, I am truly sassy AF. I sat down with Bec to help us beginners with the meanings behind Astrology and how chart readings work.


Let’s talk about natal/birth charts. Does the exact time, date and location of my birth, determine the outcome of my life?

A birth chart is a snapshot of the solar system from the perspective of Earth, at the exact time and place you were born. You could think of the entire chart as a sort of graph that constitutes the psyche or soul; each planet, point and asteroid represents a type of energy- or function of consciousness- and each sign a sort of mode or flavour of expression. Where these elements are at the time of your birth tells you which area of your internal or external reality you will most prominently feel their influence.

So Astrologers can infer meaning by interpreting how, when and why the elements might interact and influence each other, the nature of their relationships. But none of this really determines your outcome in life! It’s more about gaining a deeper understanding of the functional elements your personality and deeper psyche, framed in terms of your karmic path. Above all we have free will and your choices determine your passage through life. Understanding your chart just gives you the opportunity to make more informed choices and know yourself a bit better!

When you explained my birth chart, you spoke about all my potential pathways I could take - specifically during the time when my Saturn Returns. What exactly is this?

Saturn Return refers to the period of time (about a 2.5 year stretch) when Saturn arrives back and transits through its natal sign in your chart, after completing a revolution through the Zodiac. It takes about 29.5 years for Saturn to make a full cycle, so our first Saturn return is felt from about age 28 into the early 30’s. Broadly speaking, Saturn symbolically represents Time and Karma and its ‘return’ essentially signifies a time of review that is often catalysed by challenges in your external and/or internal world. The specific nature of the challenges will be unique to everyone as they are largely dictated by Saturn’s placement by sign and house in the birth chart, as well as the aspects it makes to other points and planets.

I would encourage anyone who is approaching this time or in the thick of it to get an idea of where and how Saturn is placed in your chart because it can give you valuable info on what to expect from this period in your life, which makes it way less overwhelming!

Saturn return is generally cringed at because it’s a confronting time and developing greater awareness can be confusing and painful. BUT it is also an incredibly opportunistic time that encourages us to grow through challenge and develop resilience, self-awareness and -compassion and essentially create a better reality for ourselves. This is the time when we are encouraged to take an honest look at what we have been doing and why, understanding the choices we have made, their effects and consequences in a deeper sense than ever before. This gives us the chance to reevaluate our decisions and refine our approach to better align with our values, goals and desires. If we can step up and use it, rather than resist it, Saturn return brings us empowerment and a kind of personal liberation through tough love.

I found it incredibly interesting how accurate the chart was. Based on what you have learned, do you believe we are the way we are because of life experience, or do you think it’s something more powerful?

Well, I think it’s both. I think the way we are- let’s say our Self-concept, the implicit and explicit ways we perceive ourselves- is constantly shifting and evolving as a direct effect of our experiences i.e. the ways we evaluate, respond to and integrate them into our understanding of who we are in relation to the world around us. These processes shape our beliefs about who we think we are, how we want to be and feel, our strengths and weaknesses, and what we believe we’re capable of achieving.
I also see an overarching idea of an essential soul that exists beyond the personality and expresses itself through it. I approach natal chart readings from this perspective; seeing how the balance of energies in the personality, the psychology of it, could be set up for the Soul to achieve certain goals or purposes, spiritually speaking. Each incarnation serves as an opportunity for the soul to evolve and the personality is used as tool by which to best achieve that evolution. I think Astrology is so accurate because it is one of the most intricate and subtly complex representations of life as energy.

I never realised there was a sun AND moon sign. What’s the difference, and which sign should I follow?

The three primary points to look at in a chart would be the Sun, Moon and Rising signs. Most people would probably be familiar with their Sun (or star sign), which represents the nature of our character. The sun energy is like the spirit or life- force that animates us; generally its depth is discovered slowly and developed steadily through life.

The Ascendent or Rising Sign is often a truer indication of how other people perceive us, how our personality expresses and our approach to life. Many people relate to the Ascendent more than their Sun, feeling the 'flavour’ more dominant in their personality.
The Moon represents our deeper, emotional nature and is is symbolic of the subconscious. It’s related to behaviours, instincts, emotional drives, relationship needs and fears. It’s an underlying energy that we can learn to integrate for greater alignment.

You're studying Neuroscience, how much do you think science has a part in astrology?

Well they say astrology is the oldest science!
In my work and through my research I see astrology echoing psychological and behavioural science in many ways; reading a birth chart is like exploring the psychology of the personality, but astrology infers meaning through energetic relationships rather than observable or verifiable behaviour. I never meet most of my clients before doing their birth chart and know very little about them, their life, history, personality or relationships. The accuracy of the readings are a testament to the essential energetic principles that underlie the structure of the universe. They are present ‘out there’ and also within each of us, and all life. Figuring out how they dance with and through each other is a wonderful, illuminating and perennial process that gives me so much joy and deep gratitude; the only sure thing is Free Will.
Astrology teaches us about metaphysics, the myriad forms and force of energy, and ultimately that we are only restricted by our will, our imagination and our belief when it comes to achieving our creative purpose.

NEED SHE SAY MORE? Contact Bec if you are interested in a reading and want to understanding yourself better. First step to self-care! It might be the best thing you do, like ever.

Rebecca Rose
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IG - @rebecca.rose.xx