Reading Your Birth Chart
This lesson discusses how read your birth chart. If you don’t have your chart yet you can pick it up free at astro.com or become a Premium Member here for the price of a coffee and bagel. You’ll also unlock exclusive extras. Or, you can just have the coffee and bagel.
I’ll be reviewing stelliums in this Part 2. If you have not yet read Part 1 on the twelve houses, you can do so here.
What’s Your Stellium?
In the Seventies, hairy astrologers with really bad zodiac medallions would lurch up to you and ask, ‘Hey baby, what’s your sign?’ Now, we can ask ‘What’s your stellium?’
If you are using all 34 horoscope factors in your modern birth chart, a stellium is a packed house. A busy sign. You have four or more factors in that sign. Together, these stelliums are like your main birthday cake ingredients. Are you a Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Pisces mix? A Virgo, Libra, Sagittarius, Capricorn mix?
These are your dominant signs, and they define who you are, what matters most and how you will ultimately live your life.
People look for happiness in life. Fulfilment – your mission fulfilled – is all about living out your stelliums and exploring the full meaning and value of each sign and house which dominates your chart. It may not always be straightforward, but if you complete your mission, you will also feel complete.
Princess Diana’s Natal Chart
Look at the way Cancer and Leo dominate Princess Diana’s horoscope wheel, at the bottom of the circle. It’s like a lot of cake decorations all gathering at the base of the cake.
Cancer rules family, heritage, the past, culture, property, nationhood, motherhood, substitute motherhood and patriotism. It’s about your people and your place. That’s who you are! (That’s who she was).
Leo, Diana’s other dominant sign, rules people who preside over their children, or other people’s children – also covering young adults, born 20+ years later. Substitute offspring.
The next generation matters to strongly Leo people. The ‘heirs’ to your kingdom who inherit the legacy of your personality. Leo rules your role as mentor, guide, teacher, role model and leader to those younger than yourself. Diana also lived this out through her own children, Prince William and Prince Harry, but also through her work for children’s charities – and her godchildren. You don’t have to have children to ‘do’ your Leo side, though. Some people just work in children’s television or become teachers.
Predicting the Future
Speaking of television – when slow-moving planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto move through a sign/house of your chart, the equivalent of a long television series unfolds. In Jupiter’s case, it runs for a year. In Pluto’s case, it can run on repeat forever.
It’s like watching weekly episodes of a giant box set, but it’s your life on the box. You can predict the basic plot outline by knowing what each of these planets brings.
The dramas which change your life are those involving your stelliums. So, if you have a stellium in Capricorn, then you’re all about your job – and this year (2020) will change your life, because Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto will be in Capricorn that year. That’s going to be quite a series. The plot revolves around success and all it means for you, in the year 2020.
Know your stelliums. Know when slow-moving outer planets cross those stelliums. What is being triggered in your chart, and how, will help you write your own script with more information and direct your own story.
That’s what astrology is for. You shape destiny using knowledge astrology gives you.
It’s amazing how right your true birth chart feels, using the stellium method. It’s also a thrilling way to meet yourself, as you never knew you were.
Knowing stelliums, can confirm what you always half-knew about yourself, but had never put into words. It can also help you find ways to feel more satisfied with your life. Why? Because your chart shows why you are here. What you must do, to feel complete.
Here’s a secret. People who have stelliums in the same signs as your own, click with you. You’re on the same page. You are living similar life stories. You share the same journeys, and although they may sometimes be complicated and even hard work – they teach both of you about every aspect of being heavily Taurus, or heavily Gemini or whatever.
Knowing your dominant signs or stelliums can help you figure out what and who completes you. A quick glance at your Natural House chart using all 34 modern horoscope factors will show you.
If you have a Cancer stellium (let’s say you have five factors, there) you really need your people and your place. It may be family, or a substitute family, like a gang of friends and their dogs. Your definition of place may be something you own, like an apartment, or it may be your village or country.
When you ‘do’ your Cancer stellium you’re at ease with life. Just knowing you are heavily Cancerian can help remind you what to do – and what not to do. You should never spend too long away from your home, hometown or homeland, because it destabilizes you. The sooner you find your special part of the world, the better, because with a Cancer stellium, you really need a powerful sense of ‘my place’ to get on with the other things in your life.
Libra stellium? You need a partner in your work or personal life.
Virgo stellium? Your body must come first.
Sagittarius stellium? You need to travel or travel in the mind.
Aries Stellium in the First House
You find it easy to intimidate people if required. You have no problem fronting up to situations which are new and challenging. You can be highly competitive, even downright aggressive. Big fights, splits, lawsuits or rifts are part of your history. You do well in emergency situations. You are never ‘backward about coming forwards’ as the English say. You’re fearless. The saying ‘My reputation precedes me’ strongly applies to you, because your image or name does the work for you. The downside of an Aries stellium is your self-interest, which can turn into selfishness or even narcissism if you don’t lean on other areas of your chart. The upside of an Aries stellium is the sheer energy, tenacity, courage and fighter instinct. You are the person we all want to have on our side in a battle, especially when we think we are losing or don’t have the energy. You find a lot of Aries stellium people in sport, politics or the military. You are here to be the front person of any project or group, and to be upfront. The phrase ‘Up and atom’ describes you oh so well. Very occasionally, I come across Aries stellium people who have no energy, no drive and have low self-esteem. Look to the chart to see if you’re being blocked. Look to the charts of family members to see if they obstructed you.
Taurus Stellium in the Second House
You are all about the charity, the business, the money, the possessions or the property. You have strong views on what you will (or will not) sell out for. Big financial highs and lows dictate your life. You know how to hang on, stubbornly, to who/what is priceless to you. You are the collector who treasures her precious objects or the recycler/gardener who makes do. I once had a fight over a pair of stockings in the laundry at my University college. The woman on the other end of the stockings was a Taurean! This stellium is about what you own, earn and owe. It is about your attitude towards shopping, debt, credit cards and the rest. Money translates as tax, which translates into politics. If you have a big Taurus stellium you will have strong views. You are stubborn about who or what is precious to you! Like Taurus the bull, you hang on and hang in. You are here to show the rest of us what is truly valuable. You set the ‘price’ on the things money cannot buy, like freedom. Taurus rules food, art and currencies. It rules land, budgets and gardening. Above all else, it rules the charging bull on Wall Street, the bull market and gold bullion. You snort when money people tell you that their business matters more than what/who you think is precious. You stand your ground. Then charge.
Gemini Stellium in the Third House
You have a way with words, ideas and images which must find an outlet, or you never really feel at home in the world. You are a natural on social media and may find a career where you are behind a microphone or typing furiously into a computer. You live for gossip and news. You have a special feeling for language (spoken or written) and need books or magazines. Sometimes you are so keen to get the words out there that you have not actually done the deep thought, soul-searching and contemplation required. This gets you a reputation as an airhead. Gasbagging for its own sake is a Gemini thing – Gemini is ruled by air! At your best, you are the person who connects everybody to everything. Families don’t function without a strongly Gemini person sending the emails or Christmas bulletins about Fifi the dog. If you have a stellium here, then you have your own vocabulary – nicknames, made-up words, favourite sayings. Language is a virus, as we all know, so your vocabulary catches on. You can sell anything to anyone, as I am sure you know. You have the gift of the gab, or a way of putting things – in writing – or using film or photography. You are the Queen or King of ear worms. What you say or sing ends up in our ears and brains forever. You’re an ear worm!
Cancer Stellium in the Fourth House
With this stellium you really need a powerful sense of place, and an attachment to your family or perhaps a substitute family. Travelling too much or moving around is not good for you. Cancer stellium people need to put down roots. You know what you like and it’s usually from the past – or from your heritage. You have a strong sense of belonging to a particular branch of the family tree, and if you can’t do that with a parent or sibling, you may reach out for aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents.
Creating your own family is another way of satisfying this need to belong. If you are heavily Cancerian you are a true patriot or local and once you have decided where you actually belong, and where your roots actually are, you feel complete. Homesickness is hard for you and so is the loss of your culture, history, hometown, homeland, roots, origins. You dislike too much rapid change for this reason as you identify so much with your place in the world and your people. You just love childhood comfort food. Breakfast cereal out of the packet? Toast? Why sure! You’re a natural nurse or mother figure, either to your own brood, or those who are vulnerable. People or animals go under your wing and you are an ‘adopter’ by nature. You support charities which feed and shelter.
Leo Stellium in the Fifth House
You are the Queen or King to a younger generation and rule them, leading the way. This rulership of yours may involve paid or unpaid work with children, teenagers or those who are 20 years or more your junior. Alternatively, you find satisfaction in becoming a parent, godparent, stepparent, aunt or uncle. Then you mentor or guide, setting an example for the young to follow. You’re an authority! Your love life is dramatic and romantic. It’s courtship, and you want to be courted with compliments, favours and presents – or court others in the same way, bestowing your generosity upon them. You don’t just ‘have’ sex, you enjoy romance. You don’t just ‘have’ children, you inspire them, encourage them and shape them. This is the sign which rules royalty (the regal lion) so you ‘like people who ‘court’ you and can be a sucker for social climbers or other people with dodgy motives. False flattery should be weeded out, along with palace plots from those who want your throne. Strongly Leo types present and showcase themselves every day, knowing full well that a certain performance or standard is required. Maybe you know all about this. It’s like arranging a shop window display so it’s all perfectly presentable. You are the natural leader the young look up to.
Virgo Stellium in the Sixth House
Your body rules who you are, what you do, and how you live your life. Other people are cut off at the neck, but your mind, body and spirit are thoroughly connected. When you need the doctor or hospital, it’s a huge deal and any serious illness or condition will change your life and make you, who you are. As you grow older, you find the food, drink and fitness regime which works for you. You live your life by it. It helps you work better and harder. If you have Uranus and/or Pluto in Virgo alongside other factors, you were born into a generation destined to revolutionise the way we see the body. Your lifestyle or your job may take you into areas like wholefoods, Reiki, yoga, crystals, Pilates and so on. Lots of Virgo stellium types end up becoming doctors, surgeons, ambulance officers, pharmacists, dentists, nurses or medical researchers. The radical idea that you can prevent poor mental or physical health by controlling your own body is real for you. Work is a big deal! You work to serve. You live to work. You do your duty, even if you are the boss. You are a demon for the details which mean a product or project actually happens. You ground other people’s plans in reality and become indispensable. Never put obligation to ‘duty’ before yourself.
Libra Stellium in the Seventh House
You really need a partner. You may even need two. One for marriage or sharing a home – and one for work. You identify strongly with your partners, no matter what kind of duet it is. Separation or divorce affects you more than other people. You think in terms of two, like Noah’s Ark. When the two of you split, it’s a huge deal. Sooner or later, though, other duets will call you. The scales play a large part in who you are and what you do! The law, or big legal incidents in your life, suggest this for so many heavily Libran people. I knew a multiple Libran who took a local conservation issue all the way to the High Court and won. People get Libra so wrong. It’s not about peace. It’s about what you do to preserve it or get it, and sometimes that means nuclear-level strategies. You prefer the diplomatic, tactful approach to your enemies, rivals or competitions, but if you are strongly Libran, you will go all the way into battle if you have no choice. If you see sexism, racism or any other kind of unfairness you can ‘go nuclear’ but you also practice deterrents – strongly Libra people preserve the peace by making others aware that if a line is crossed, they will act. Tough! The people skills you develop in your most successful partnerships, marriages or other duets are brought into everyday dealings with others, which is where your reputation for being amiable comes from. You see both sides. You’re flexible. You negotiate. You find the common ground that lets you share a two-way street, and you give way.
Scorpio Stellium in the Eighth House
It’s all about sex and money, death and money or power and money. Scorpions don’t just mate – they mate in a way that means one of them could be cannibalized or stung. Your family or romantic relationships are intense because they involve so many constant and deep undercurrents about legacies, mortgages, life insurance and other ‘until death do us part’ deals. It’s powerful stuff. Scorpio rules banks and the peculiar relationship you have with your bank (who’s in control, you or them?) is a good example of the power plays that happen around money with this sign. The bank needs you to survive. You need the bank to survive. Scorpio is about the nitty- gritty stuff, never spoken about, deep below the surface of all the deals we make in our lives. Love is never just picnics and kisses for you, because deep down there is money! Scorpio has rightly been associated with both the Mafia and prostitution, but every sign has a dark side. Your light side is fundraising or personal generosity which saves lives and changes lives. You have that power. You are secretive. Scorpions hide! The god Pluto, who rules Scorpio, was hidden in Hades. You are often invisible or undercover. Other stelliums in your natal chart will make you far more upfront, but your Scorpio side needs a dark Mind Palace with black silk curtains.
Sagittarius Stellium in the Ninth House
You travel or travel in the mind. You need to get away, into other districts, regions or countries. If you can’t afford the time or money to do that, you spend your life online, connecting with other cultures or nationalities, far away. You are defined by what you believe, too. It may be philosophical, spiritual, scientific or religious. If you are reading this, I’ll bet astrology is your career or your all-encompassing passion. If you were born with Uranus, Neptune or Pluto in Sagittarius then you are part of the Eurostar, EasyJet, Skyscanner, Ryanair, Tiger, Air BnB and glam packing generation. You make the travel trends, and the travel trends make you. Even without Uranus, Neptune or Pluto in Sagittarius, if this is one of your dominant signs, then one particular foreign country and its culture, history and beliefs will change your whole life. This sign also rules publishing, education, workshops, Wikipedia, eBooks, seminars, evening classes, university and the University of Life. It describes how you mentor others and guide them, but also how you learn, formally or informally. For you, the exchange of knowledge is a lifelong pursuit. When you go home with a date for the first time, you wait until they go to the loo, then you surreptitiously check out their bookshelves.
Capricorn Stellium in the Tenth House
Success, status, achievement and ambition really matter to you. Your C.V. is always on your mind even if it’s not cool to talk about it. You climb slowly and cautiously to the top, no matter if you want to be at the peak of your profession, or at the pinnacle of your unpaid work. Strongly Capricorn types marry into the class above them, or go up in the world, via work. The two Kates, Kate Middleton and Kate Moss, were both born with the Sun in Capricorn. One went up in the world, all the way to Buckingham Palace. The other left Croydon and ended up on the front of multiple copies of Vogue. People admire you because you make it – without family help, and by your own efforts. You can be artful about your upward moves, and at your worst can be a social climber, obvious to everyone even when you think you’re getting away with it. You do very well in rigid, traditional, structured companies or organisations. You are the Arts student who starts out as an ambitious scholar, aged 21, and ends up being University Chancellor, decades later. Slow and steady wins the race with you.
You believe in climbing that ladder! Without strongly Capricorn types we would not have castles, palaces, pyramids, skyscrapers or household name businesses. You keep it all together with your patient, plodding approach to success and you respect age, wisdom and experience. You’re the rock.
Aquarius Stellium in the Eleventh House
You are all about your group, club, team, association, society or other network. Actually, you may have many of these communities in your life. Friendship is tremendously important and if you lose a friend, you lose a part of yourself. You are capable of having platonic friendships with the opposite sex and don’t worry about class, status, colour. Actually, sexual vibes in the group, or between friends, get in the way for you – so you often operate as if all your hormones were switched off. Strongly Aquarian people gather around them the social media equivalent of the cast of Hair. You’re all connected, and together, but you’re also unique individuals, who somehow find the common ground of brotherhood and sisterhood. You need your gang, and it often feels like a band to you. Same soundtrack, musical differences! The mighty social media networks we live with now, were created when Uranus (invention) was in Aquarius, the sign of groups and friendships. Your worst fault is favouring the tribe over the individual. The team over the person. The group cause over the human being. At your worst you can forget you have a son, because you’re too busy saving the whale. You can also lose yourself in a pack mentality more easily than non-Aquarian types. When you lick the peer group pressure thing, you become the staunch individual who gives space to others and asks for it too – thus helping your group become the planet-changing entity it was always meant to be.
Pisces Stellium in the Twelfth House
Pisces is ruled by Neptune. This is the planet we associate with the arrival of anesthetic. You feel at home being Comfortably Numb, to quote the Pink Floyd song, and need to escape from the real world (so mundane, so dull, so hard) by finding your own way of taking a vacation from reality. The strongly Piscean side of your personality loves floating in the sea, diving underwater in the swimming pool, float tanks or sinking into the spa. You do like a bath. Most people like the beach but you actually need the beach. It’s your escape from the known world. Pisces describes all alternatives to reality. For you, they are reality. You are curious about God or Buddha. You are intrigued by the multiverse or the Big Bang. You are fascinated by astrology. Strongly Piscean people don’t even have the detachment to step away from themselves and call it a belief. They just know. You inhabit a different space to everybody else and the ordinary world can seem very far away. If the ordinary world intrudes too much on your existence you will find ways to slip out of it. Drugs and alcohol are common. So is meditation or a TV addiction. Your two fish swim in opposite directions. Your greatest test is to avoid being both confused and confusing.
Your Rising Sign or Ascendant
When you use the Natural House System or Whole 1 = Aries system (as it is sometimes called) you have an easy way of understanding your Rising Sign.
You’ll find it popped into a particular house of your horoscope – an area of life – which shows where you are ‘placed’ by people who don’t know you very well. It’s the shop window where you present yourself.
In astrology, you will often see the Rising Sign referred to as the Ascendant or AC. You need a bang-on accurate birth time, though. If your mum/mom cannot remember, then don’t fudge it, because you’ll be fudging three other angles too – the DC, IC and MC – and they really count. Better to go without, than to guess.
If you have a horoscope from my website, and an accurate birth time, you will see your Ascendant Sign right away. Which house is it in? Which slice of the horoscope wheel?
Acting the Part
That is where you have a stage to perform on. A movie set to act on. Your Ascendant can fall in any of the 12 horoscope houses, or departments of life. That’s where you present yourself, almost as if you were advertising yourself. It’s your showcase.
Karl Marx had an Aquarius Ascendant. It’s in his Eleventh House of groups. He founded the Social Democratic Labor Party. He was all about the money – but his group was his advertising. Communism (the commune, the community) is what he is best known for.
Prince Charles has a Leo Ascendant. It’s in his Fifth House of lovers, children and young adults. He is famous for William and Harry, George and Charlotte – the heirs to the throne. He is well-known for his love triangle with Princess Diana and Camilla Parker-Bowles. He is widely admired for his incredible charity-based businesses, which support young people who need mentors or guidance.
He’s a Sun Scorpio, so his Leo Ascendant/Rising Sign is not really him – yet it shows how he is seen – and appears.
Your appearance is based on a combination of your Ascendant or Rising Sign, and the other angles – your Midheaven (MC), Descendant (DC) and Immum Coeli (IC). You will physically look like a blend of all four signs.
Often, the family member you most resemble has one of those four signs dominant in his/her horoscope. If you have an Aries Ascendant or Aries Rising Sign/AC, then you may be muscular and strong, like Great Uncle Alan who was also a Sun Aries.
This makes sense. The IC or Immum Coeli describes your roots and family background. The branches on the family tree. It is part of the ‘complex’ or pattern we link to all four angles, so of course it’s going to have an impact on your image (the AC) and thus, you inherit a particular body shape, facial feature or hair colour/eye colour from a relative.
Where Do You Advertise Yourself?
Which area of life, or department of your world, provides the best setting for you to promote who you are (or at least, who you seem to be?)
Unless your Ascendant is the same sign as one of your stelliums – those unusually high clusters in one sign – it is unlikely to reflect your true personality.
It’s like the difference between a Campbell’s soup can label, and the soup. The difference between your Ascendant and you is what’s outside and what’s inside.
By now, you should have a firm grasp of the 12 zodiac signs and their corresponding houses, or life departments. The one occupied by your Ascendant shows where you can make your mark.
Sometimes, people might mistake your Ascendant for your actual Sun Sign. It really depends how much time and energy you invest in ‘doing’ your Ascendant. Karl Marx spent a lifetime building people power through groups and so he’s often mistaken for an Aquarian. Prince Charles often presents as a Leo even though he’s a Scorpio.
You don’t just read the Ascendant by itself. You look at other horoscope factors at the same degree (number) which tell a story about it. Is it easy or hard for you to ‘do’ your Rising Sign? Is it a big deal in your life or not?
You can read more about your Ascendant, or Rising Sign, at my website. It affects your face, shape, hair, style, wardrobe and so on. I have a visual gallery there to show how it works.
Look for the zodiac signs and ask yourself who in your family tree has the Sun in those signs, or maybe a stellium. That’s your astro-DNA.
Extracted from 2020 Astrology: Your Five-Year Horoscope Guide by Jessica Adams. Available on Amazon.com
All images courtesy of Unsplash.