Now that you have an understanding of what the circle map represents we can deal with what the heck is meant by Zodiac signs. The multi colored outer ring on the chart represents the STATIC ring containing stars that make up the zodiac. That circle of space is divided up into 12 parts, or so called Zodiac signs, each having its own character you can think of as a color. Remember the Zodiac signs ultimately determine the "role" played by any planet located in that part of space. I purposely did not put any planets into the above picture so you would concentrate on the fact that the ring of stars rotates around the earth just the same way the Sun, Moon and planets do. Every Zodiac sign and every degree of the field of stars will pass over the midheaven, the descendant, the nadir and ascendant once every 24 hour day. The stars positions are essentially fixed around the solar system and do don't change position relative to it the way a planet does however. The chart in the above example has rays coming out of the center of the map that delineate the "houses" pointing out from the earth. These rays which determine the houses are not equal in size and are not necessarily 30 degrees wide. This quirk is due to the fact that in the northern or southern hemisphere on earth away from the equator the Sun hits the Midheaven (at the noon mark) at different times of the day during the different seasons of the year.
The Zodiac signs are sectors of space with the field of stars in them. Zodiac signs are always 30 degrees of arc in size adding up to the 360 degrees of the 12 Zodiac signs. DO NOT mistake the Zodiac signs for the stars themselves. Stars do move albeit very slowly. Zodiac signs do not move they are fixed sectors in space.
If you went outside at 9:30 AM eastern standard time in New York city on 11/7/1997 and looked up to the Midheaven the stars of Libra would be overhead. If you looked at the western horizon where the sun will set that day the stars of Gemini would be located there. As the earth rotates the ring of stars goes around full circle once every 24 hours due to the earth's rotation.
I am sure you have heard the term "rising sign". That defines the stars that were on YOUR ascendant at the exact TIME and LOCATION of your birth. A person born on 11/7/1997 at 9:30 AM EST in NYC will have the section of space called Sagittarius on the eastern horizon where the sun rose and thus will have Sagittarius rising on his or her birth chart map.
Next we will deal with the numbers 1 through 12 on the inner area on the circle. This area labeling the "houses" is less useful to market timers but is very useful in reading personal horoscopes. We may as well go over the issue one more time so there will be no confusion as to what the 12 houses are. The house position determines the SETTING that a planet (actor) will play in his role (Zodiac sign).
Each house has to do with a distinct department of life. In this particular chart the 3rd house cusp (divider) is pointing to the Zodiac sign of Pisces. Because the 3rd house setting has to do with such things as routine thinking and communication, short journeys, and siblings, the sign of Pisces colors that department of life in an individual born at that time and place to have a tendency to have an artistic way of communication. It may also have a confusing influence on relationships with siblings due to the nature of the roles played out in Pisces. Another example is the 10th house setting of career is pointing to Libra in this example which is the sign of balance. This person may be attracted to a career in law, marriage counseling, or may be more comfortable in a partnership relationship in business than going it alone.
Once you get to the point that you can look at your own birth chart you will want to know all about the houses and how the placement of planets in houses make you as individual as you are. The placement of planets in the houses is strictly due to the time and location of a persons birth time so it is very individual. If you would like to see your own horoscope map there are several places on the net that offer free birth charts and calculation programs. Later in the lesson series we will do a sample horoscope and you will be able to do yours.
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