You may know that Cancers and Capricorns are a bad match, that you shouldn’t make major life-changing decisions when Mercury is retrograde, and that you should check someone’s Venus before taking a relationship to the next level—but that doesn’t mean you’re an expert. (Yet.)
Even with a growing number of apps and social media accounts at your disposal, there’s plenty that separates even the most dedicated pop astrology lovers from the professionals. With all this information (and occasional misinformation), how can you accurately know what the stars are really trying to tell you?
So that’s why I tapped four professional astrologers to share their tips on how to decode your horoscopes more meaningfully. So grab your birth chart (don’t have one? Use a site like Cafeastrology.com or Astro.com to nab your own—you’ll need it to navigate the guide below) and start scrolling.
You’re So Much More Than Your Sun Sign
The first thing most people learn to identify in astrology is their Sun sign. Sun sign astrology is also what most daily, weekly, and monthly horoscopes on the internetfocus on. But no matter how attached you might feel to your chill Libra personality or tender Cancer qualities, your Sun sign barely scratches the surface.
Danielle Ayoka, who runs the account @mysticxlipstick, says women typically feel a stronger tie to their Moon sign—the Moon archetypically represents feminine energy. In your chart, it reflects your deeper, more emotional needs and aspects of your personality. Think of it as the person you are when you’re all alone when writing in a diary. Checking the horoscope of your Moon sign during an emotional or stressful day or week can often be more insightful than checking your Sun sign. And when it comes to dating, Ayoka says sun signs aren’t all that important.
Letting go of basic sun sign readings is the first step toward better understanding the complexities of your horoscope.
Interpretations of Sun signs also tend to be limited when they cling to old stereotypes. Geminis aren’t all two-faced, and not all Scorpios are manipulative. A focus on Sun signs can proliferate what Mecca Woods(@TheMeccanism) calls sign bashing, which can flatten your understanding of astrology.
‘I get frustrated when I see zodiac sign bashing,’ Woods says. ‘A lot of people don’t recognize that we are made up of all the 12 signs, they fall somewhere in our birth chart. Usually it’s a case like if you have a problem with a specific sign, it’s because there’s something they’re trying to teach you.’
Letting go of basic Sun sign readings is the first step toward better understanding the complexities of your horoscope and the behavior of others. As Danielle Arias(@starsmoonandsun) explains, “It’s most important for every person to remember that people are a collection of energies.”
You’re Made Up Of The Entire Solar System
The Sun and the Moon comprise the baseline of your personality. The Sun reflects your general approach to life, while the Moon is your emotional home base. But the Sun and Moon function with the eight planets in the zodiac, and the sign each planet occupies influences a specific part of your character.
Here’s a vague rundown of a few of the things each planet impacts:
Mercury: Communication, Intellect
Venus: Love, Beauty, Money, Values, Exchanges
Mars: Action, Physical Energy, Conflict
Jupiter: Expansion, Growth
Saturn: Effort, Structure, Ambition, Responsibility
Uranus: Reformation, Rebellion, Individuality, Liberty
Neptune: Intuition, Inspiration, Dreams
Pluto: Transformations, Power, Cycle of Life
For example, having Saturn (the planet of boundaries and structure) in Aquarius (which is rebellious and eccentric) can mean you struggle with keeping secrets. But it’s important to remember there are varying interpretations of the planets in every horoscope.
Compatibility Ix Complex
Using astrology to find the perfect match is far from easy. Novice astrologers might evaluate compatibility on a sign-by-sign basis, but cross comparing planets in each partner’s chart could make or break a relationship. While compatible Venus signs are promising, your Moon, Mars, and Mercury placements can really determine how well a relationship will play out over time.
Comparing Moons is a good first step when assessing compatibility. ‘Before anything else, you have to make sure that your Moon signs are compatible, because this is going to be how you are able to connect with a person emotionally,’ Ayoka says.
Astrology is not meant to be predictive or prescriptive. It does not tell us what to do, or what will be, but advises on the best possible course of action by explaining what astrological influences are affecting our lives.
Ultimately, Woods says, the power belongs in your own hands. ‘I think people should definitely be aware of what’s going on in the cosmos, but at the end of the day, what really matters is whether or not they’re actually putting in the effort behind the energy,’ she explains. ‘With any horoscope, with any birth chart, with any transit, there’s always the choice.’
Take these tips as a jumping off point for self-learning and mining your own intuition, and you’ll feel like a pro in no time!
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan US
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