How to Read an Astrology Ephemeris
An Astrology Ephemeris is basically a big book of planet positions, in the different 12 zodiac signs, which shows you the patterns affecting your horoscope, for many years into the future – but also stretching back into the past. It’s the best way to see the astrological weather. It can also be confusing. Here is how to find a free ephemeris online for any year and then read the symbols, so you can figure out your chart.
What an Astrology Ephemeris Looks Like
We are really lucky to have Astro.com out there, which supplies an Ephemeris for every year, free. They also supply this website with its technology! This is a typical example of a month (March 2025) from the free Astro.com library, which you can look up any time. This obviously shows you the past. It can be interesting to see what was going on in your horoscope during a major life event, like a wedding, or the birth of a child, or a new job!
To unscramble the information below, you may want to pick up a pen and paper. Once you’ve done it, though, you will always know how to do it. Then you can also look into the future. You can pick up the Ephemeris for a year like 2025, for example.
Image: Astro.com, Source: Astrodienst Swiss Ephemeris for Users
An Astrology Ephemeris Explainer
To get the Ephemeris for a particular year, type into Google – the year in question, then the word Ephemeris. So if you want to find out about next year, 2025, you’d key in ‘2025 Ephemeris.’ This screen shot shows you what you’ll get back. A link to a PDF called Astrodienst Ephemeris Tables – Astro.com with the year in question. Scroll down and you will see data for every month, of 2025.
Yes, But What Does It Mean?
Let’s look at the Astrodienst Ephemeris entry for September 2012:
Image: Astro.com, Source: Astrodienst Swiss Ephemeris for Users
The days/dates in question are shown on the far left side of the tables. So you’ll see S1 (Saturday 1st) S2 (Sunday 2nd) M3 (Monday 3rd) T4 (Tuesday 4th) and so on, in the left-hand margin. Look across the page for these symbols, which I have hand-drawn in my neatest handwriting! These show you the slow-moving outer planets. They matter more. They change your life.
Don’t worry too much about the other symbols. Just glance across to the right-hand side of the Ephemeris until you see Jupiter, Saturn and the rest, below. The very first zodiac sign symbol you see underneath, tells you what sign that planet is passing through. Below my hand-drawn guide to the planet symbols.
So, What Was Going on in September 2012?
Looking across the page, for that September 2012 example, you can see Jupiter with the Gemini glyph below it. Jupiter was in Gemini. Saturn, the next one along, has Libra below it. Saturn was in Libra. Uranus, the next one along, was in Aries. Don’t worry too much about the R symbol (it stands for retrograde). Keep going to see Neptune in Pisces. Pluto in Capricorn. The North Node in Scorpio.
The South Node is not shown but it is always the opposite sign to the North Node. So, the South Node was in Taurus.
Opposite Signs in the Zodiac
Keep looking across the page until you get to Chiron and you will see he was in Pisces on September 2012. Make a note of the zodiac signs the slow-moving outer planets and other heavenly bodies/points were in. If they were in the same sign as anything in your chart, you were experiencing ‘weather’ typical of that planet, or whatever, during that particular month.
So, if you have horoscope factors in Gemini, you had Jupiter in Gemini weather back in September 2012. Jupiter tells you about the opportunities. Gemini tells you it was about communication – your Third House is ruled by Gemini in the Natural House System – so this was probably about the internet for you, or multimedia.
If you have horoscope factors in Libra, you had Saturn weather in your Seventh House of sexual relationships in September 2012. Your love life would have been hard work. If you have horoscope factors in Aries, you had Uranus weather that month in your First House of image.
If you have horoscope factors in Pisces, Neptune was in Pisces – Neptune weather. Factors in Capricorn meant you were experiencing Pluto weather. Factors in Scorpio and/or Taurus saw the North Node and South Node passing through. Factors in Pisces (again) meant you also had Chiron weather, as well as Neptune weather.
In a very general way, you can take a snapshot in time, just by understanding what each planet (or whatever) means, in astrology, and you interpret it just as the weather journalists interpret storms, high temperatures, cloud and the rest. These are slow-moving factors in your chart, though, so although the month in question would have shown you just this kind of ‘climate’ in your life, you would also have felt it in August 2012 and again in October 2012.
In other words, even though we’re just looking at September, the whole year of 2012 probably saw months of ongoing conditions, rather like a dry year, or a wet year. In 2012, as Pluto passed through Capricorn, if you had stuff in Capricorn in your chart in the Tenth House of career, you would have experienced typical Pluto weather (power and control issues) at work – all year long. Now, when does the weather peak in intensity and bring about events?
Aspects and Transits in Astrology Using the Ephemeris
Astrology is a numbers game. To predict the future or accurately ‘call’ what happened years in the past, you are looking for an exact line-up, with the degrees – or numbers – you see above.
I’m only showing you the basics here. Yet – there is an aspect called a conjunction in astrology which is rare and important. It happens when a travelling planet, Node or other heavenly body (like Chiron) ends up at the same zodiac sign as anything in your chart, at the same number – or degree.
In this Ephemeris above, just look for the first number before the tiny circle which indicates a degree. So, if you’re looking up Sunday 30th September 2012, you’re eyeballing Jupiter in Gemini at 16 degrees. Saturn in Libra at 29 degrees. Uranus in Aries at 6 degrees. Neptune in Pisces at 0 degrees. Pluto in Capricorn at 6 degrees. The North Node in Scorpio at 27 degrees. Not pictured, but automatically opposite to that, is the South Node in Taurus at 27 degrees. Chiron in Pisces at 5 degrees.
If you have anything at all in your horoscope at those exact degrees, or perhaps one degree away (a one-degree orb of difference) you would have seriously felt quite unusual weather – like a lightning bolt coming down your chimney, or a sudden flash flood in your garden, or soaring temperatures in your town – in a personal way.
So if you were born with the Sun at 16 Gemini in your Third House, the last day of September 2012 would have seen Jupiter at 16 Gemini in your Third House. If you were born with the Moon at 29 Libra in your Seventh House, the last day of September 2012 would have seen Saturn at 29 Libra in your Seventh House.
Decoding the Astrology
If you are a Premium Member you will have access to plenty of ebooks, exclusive features and locked ‘explainer’ stories on this website which will show you how to decode the astrology.
I am sure that when you see a conjunction – an unusual meet-up between a travelling planet and your own planets – you will want to know every detail of what that means!
So you look up all the information together. Taking Jupiter as an example again, you can see he was in the zodiac sign of Gemini at 16 degrees on the final day of September 2012. On the first day, September 1st, he was at 14 degrees, so he’s crawled a whole 2 degrees that month, and ended up there. If you have the Sun at 16 Gemini in your Third House of internet, communication and multimedia, you would take the whole thing apart as follows:
SUN – How you shine, gain attention, stand at the centre, radiate – how you are exposed, and hopefully brilliant in some way.
GEMINI – Internet. Multimedia. Languages. Publishing. Education. Communication. Speech. Writing. Images.
THIRD HOUSE – As above, but in greater detail – vocabulary, voice tone, writing style, editing, social media.
JUPITER – Opportunity, growth, expansion, solutions, good fortune, benefits, breakthroughs, open doors.
On that day, or very close to it (allow one degree’s difference, and maybe a couple of days difference, in astrology as a rule-of-thumb) you might have won an award for your debating skills at a conference, or gained your first Twitter account, or bought an iPhone. It’s personal to you, but the weather would be the same for anyone with factors at 16 Gemini in their chart.
This is a simple and fast ‘explainer’ to the Ephemeris you can find, free, for any year – thanks to Astro.com. You might also have an Ephemeris at home, as Raphael’s Ephemeris publish their books every year, and if you are very lucky you might have found a large Ephemeris for the years 2000-2050 in a bookshop, which is basically like a great big time-travel directory!
Once you get the hang of working with conjunctions and slow-moving outer planet cycles, you can then get stuck into the rest. Astrology can be quite intuitive, so you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can pick it up.
Try it now with 2019 and 2020. What can you see for your own chart as Jupiter passes through Sagittarius, then Capricorn?