Astrology 101: Blame it on the Stars

I am occasionally asked if I do "horoscope readings". I am far from an expert, so I do not, and I always refer clients to a professional astrologer for this. I have, however, always been intrigued by the subject and am one thousand percent certain that astrology influences each of us a a BIG way. I have had my natal chart done twice by professionals, and can tell you that I was born on June 22, which falls within the Cusp of Magic (I consider what I do for a living to be pretty magical, no?). Both my Sun and Rising signs are Cancer (I'm a total homebody...  loved being an SAHM for eight years and would rather "netflix and chill" than go out on the town). My moon is in Aquarius (this, added to the Gemini cusp explains my open-mindedness and sociability). My Mercury is in Gemini (hello, spazzy chatterbox!), and my Venus is in Leo (diehard romantic? ...have I mentioned that this is my third marriage?). I believe everyone could benefit from studying checking out their complete natal chart at least once. You can pay to have one drawn up and explained by a professional astrologer, download an app, or go online and have one done for free.

When I was little, I used to pillage the top shelf of my mom's closet for books (this is where she kept the adult reading material, or what I deemed the "good stuff"). One of the first paperbacks that I remember reading cover to cover was Linda Goodman's Sun Signs. It sparked a lifelong interest in all things new age and I still have the original copy. My general knowledge of sun signs helps me to understand the personalities of those I encounter on both sides during readings. I am always thrilled, for example,  to encounter a gemini, especially those in Spirit, because they are hands down the best communicators and make my job a lot easier. On this side of the veil, non-cusp Cancers and Scorpios can be the toughest reads. While they are usually highly intuitive themselves and open to all things spiritual, both of these water signs have a tough "shell" exterior which can be hard to penetrate psychically. I sometimes resort to my secret weapon, a chakra opening meditation, with these enigmatic beings.

For those of you who would like to delve further into this fascinating topic, I have prepared the following list of the resources that helped me to better understand the somewhat mysterious world of astrology and its potential impact on our lives:

Sun Signs by Linda Goodman
Still the best primer out there as far as I'm concerned. I personally am not a believer in the new 13th sign that someone created when NASA "re-did the Math". If this news threw you for a loop and made you question your Sun sign, keep calm, keep that Libra tattoo and read this or another classic so that you can answer the ubiquitous first date question, "What's your sign?" with confidence

The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider and Joost Elffers
I. Love. This. Book. It explains why all Cancers (or Pisces or Libras) are not created equal. The breakdown of cusps and "weeks" comprising any given sign is illuminating to say the least. Warning: you may become obsessed with the timing of your next pregnancy based on what you learn about the personality traits of your future Virgo or Aries. Bonus: this tome (and the one that follows) is so heavy, it also doubles as a doorstop or weapon in a pinch.

The Secret Language of Relationships by Gary Goldschneider and Joost Elffers
This book is an index of every combination of birthdays, so you can put any two together and see whether you and _____ are better off as friends, family, spouses or coworkers. Anytime anyone we know gets into a relationship, my daughters and I race for this book. To give you an idea of its accuracy, it said that my first husband and I fare best as friends. We were married for 18 years, raised two daughters together, practically never argued, and are still very good friends despite being divorced. My second husband? Best: work; worst: marriage. We were married for 2.5 years, during which time we argued constantly, except when I was doing the extra (paralegal) work from his law practice, which he deemed boring or beneath him. I did cartwheels when I met the love of my life (to whom I am currently married) and found out that he was a fellow Cancer. I have always been drawn to other crabs and did a full-on round-off-back-hand-spring when I went to the book and read the following: Best: marriage! WOOOOT!!! We have argued maybe three times in the years that we've been together. These incidents were very low on the disagreement richter scale and can all be attributed to PMS and/or red wine (my bad!?) as opposed to any astrological influences.

The Only Astrology Book You'll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk
I was given this fabulous resource long after I discovered the books listed above, but I should perhaps have put it at the top of the list because the title is no exaggeration. Though not as in-depth when it comes to describing each sun sign and/or its relationship compatibility with the other zodiac signs, it literally touches on every basic component of astrology and includes an introductory explanation of how to interpret your chart for yourself.  The brief history of astrology provided is an added bonus for all of the nerds out there who have been asking "BUT WHY?" since they were toddlers.

The Practical Astrologer By Nicholas Campion
A book for the overachievers out there. I bought it decades ago (way before the advent of the internet or apps) so that I could learn how an ephemeris works and draw up rudimentary natal charts for myself and others. I enjoyed this back in the day, but no longer consult it. My copy only allows you to do charts for people born before 1994, but a newer version may exist??? Bottom line, if you're happy not reinventing the wheel, skip this and check out the 21st century resources below.
(scroll down and click on "create your own chart")
Dig up your birth certificate... you'll need to know the exact time and location that you chose (yes, I said chose) to enter this world. Guesstimating any of this information will result in a less than accurate natal chart, and will leave you wondering why you have always felt more assertive than passive aggressive based on where Mars falls in your chart. That being said, this is a great FREE way to begin understanding how you are more than just your sun sign... the other planets count, too!

Co-Star (free phone app)
I use this app when I feel the need to check in on daily astrological influences. You will, again, need your exact time and place of birth. Once you have plugged in this info, you will have access to a more finely tuned (and accurate) daily horoscope than the general ones found on basic sites that offer a simple overview of what's in store each day for everyone of the same sun sign.

Horoscope or horror-scope? A final note of caution. I will often hear the song "Blame it on the stars" during my morning meditation when I am frustrated either personally or professionally. Although I do not read my horoscope daily, this song does prompt me to check in with my Co-Star phone app and find out if that pesky Mercury is in retrograde again or some other planets are in opposition. Some people (you know who you are), however, get super stressed out and anxious after reading their daily horoscope, so I caution anyone against getting too wrapped up in this or anything that may set you up for a potentially negative cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies. In other words, if you expect something bad to happen because of what you read, it WILL!? If you feel you simply must check in daily, my advice is to read your horoscope at the end of the day (as opposed to first thing) so that you can use it as a tool for reflection and self-growth rather than as an axe of angst swinging over your head.

Fun blog posts I’ve done (what to expect based on your Sun sign):
Quarantine Astrology
The Signs in Love
Office Astrology

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