Category Archives: Ask Real Astrologers

Ask Real Astrologers: How Do the Eclipses Affect Us?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Gretchen in Arkansas:

Are we affected personally by every eclipse in a series?

Gretchen, this is a terrific question and, of course, a timely one, since we’re in the middle of a string of three eclipses in a row.

For those not familiar with the eclipse cycle, there usually are four eclipses in a year. They arrive in pairs, with a full moon and new moon (in either order), followed about six months later by another new moon/full moon pair. In rare cases, there are five or six eclipses in a year. In 2013, we have five of them, with three in a row this spring. A lunar eclipse always occurs at the full moon, while a solar eclipse always occurs at the new moon.

When eclipses occur is determined by the lunar nodes – yes, the same lunar nodes that astrologers use as indicators of “past lives,” destiny, life purpose, and karmic connections between people. The nodes are points in space where the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic, which is the path the Sun appears to take around the Earth. Ecliptic, eclipse. Get it? The lunar nodes fall in a sign pair and move backwards through the zodiac at the rate of about one sign pair every year and a half, although there is overlap in the signs of the eclipses. So, for example, the nodes currently are at about 16 degrees Scorpio (North Node) and Taurus (South Node). The lunar eclipse on April 25 was in Scorpio, according to Western tropical astrology. The solar eclipse on May 9 falls in Taurus, followed by a lunar eclipse in Sagittarius on May 25, the last in the Sagittarius/Gemini sign pair. In October, the eclipses begin to migrate into the Libra/Aries sign pair.

Graphic created by Tom Ruen.

Graphic created by Tom Ruen.

Just as transits of the outer planets can be tracked through your natal chart, with corresponding life events that tend to manifest with these transits, we can track the eclipses through the houses in your chart. Usually, the eclipses spend a year or two in opposite houses, depending on the width of the individual houses (in the system I use, they are unequal). I have found consistently over time that where the eclipses fall in a client’s chart correlates strongly with the areas of life that are most urgent for them. Eclipse pairs in the first and seventh houses and the fourth and tenth houses tend to bring the most change. These are the ones that often are accompanied by traumatic breakups in relationships, life-changing injuries, career breakthroughs, family issues, and other challenges that can completely upend our lives. Eclipses in the others houses tend to be less dramatic, or at least, they aren’t as broad in scope. Eclipses in the twelfth house might go completely unnoticed, or you may experience them internally, through a significant dream, past-life memory, or personal revelation.

For you, Gretchen, the eclipses have been in the second and eighth houses, the two key financial areas of the chart. While the eclipses are in these areas, your finances may go through an overhaul, or the finances of a domestic or business partner may change, which affects you as well. Changes can come in quick bursts over a year or 18 months and may be distressing, but often the changes we experience near eclipses push us toward a goal faster than we’d get there on our own volition. And all eclipse-related events aren’t upsetting. Stunning breakthroughs can happen around eclipses, especially if the Sun and Moon make positive aspects to natal planets. The eighth house also is associated with sex, personal power, and transformation, so there are other possible outcomes that don’t have to do with finances.

Will you see developments at each eclipse in the series? Not necessarily, and there’s no straightforward answer or even a rule of thumb, as eclipses-related events don’t always happen with a few days of the eclipse itself. When an eclipse is powerfully aspected in your chart, you might even feel the changes six months in advance. Of course, this makes it hard to attribute these events to the eclipse, but we do have clues. This certainly is true in world affairs. In February 2010, there was an earthquake in Chile that I linked to an eclipse several months later.

My StarGuide seasonal and annual forecasts tell you where the eclipses currently fall in your chart (sometimes they cover four houses, which gets complicated). Both reports are on sale for 25 percent off. Unfortunately, I can’t drop the price further, because I have to spend the same amount of time creating the report for you. However, if you order the Spring 2013 forecast now, I’ll give you transits through the end of July.

So, Gretchen, I guess the easy answer to your question is “no.” :-)

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please check out my affordable written reports, or contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

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Ask Real Astrologers: Tropical Versus Sidereal Astrology

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Amber in Indianapolis:

I was reading your blog and saw that there are two (I knew this) methods of tracking and measuring the planets. As a person who watches trends and impacts, I would like to know if we should have information from both systems. Does that affect our birth chart data and, if so, by how much?

Thank you for your insight and sharing your real-time issues. It makes the information much more user-friendly and comfortable!

Well, Amber, I’m not often accused of being user-friendly. But thanks all the same, and thank you for an excellent and timely question.

The issue of the two systems of astrology came up in my previous two forecasts, in which I discussed the proper date for the festival of Wesak, celebrated by Buddhists as the birth, death, and enlightenment of the Buddha. Wesak traditionally is celebrated at the Full Moon in Scorpio. However, depending on the system used, this can end up being two different dates. Many Eastern countries use the sidereal system, while here in the West, most of us use tropical astrology. According to the tropical system, today’s Full Moon is in Scorpio, but in sidereal astrology, it’s in Libra. The Full Moon on May 25 will be in sidereal Scorpio and tropical Sagittarius.

Simply put, the tropical system is a sign “ahead,” although not a full sign, but roughly 24 degrees (a sign is 30 degrees). This is not arbitrary but is based on the degree of the zodiac that appears on the Eastern horizon at sunrise on the spring equinox. This is confusing, I know, so let’s look at how it happened.

Although astrology has been around since the time of the Babylonians, it wasn’t until the 2nd century B.C.E. that Greek astrologers (they were also astronomers; back then, there was no difference) noticed that the constellations didn’t stay in the same place over time relative to the equinox. We now know that this is due to a phenomenon called precession, which is caused by a wobble in the earth’s rotation on its axis. You can envision it like a spinning top, except one full spin takes about 26,000 years. Around the time of the birth of Christ, the Sun rose in early Aries on the spring equinox. Now, it rises at around 6 degrees Pisces.

The ancient Greeks decided to address precession by carving up the sky into 12 equal parts, each representing a “sign,” and anchoring them to the solstices and equinoxes – what we call the four cardinal points – rather than the slow but constantly shifting positions of the constellations. This system became the basis for Western tropical astrology. For whatever reason, astrologers in India and the Eastern countries decided not to correct for precession. So rather than putting 0 degrees Aries on the equinox, they use the degree where the Sun actually rises, and that degree changes over time.

The key point to remember is that the signs in Western tropical astrology aren’t the same as the constellations, even though they’re named after them. One of the criticisms leveled at astrologers by scientists is that we don’t have the signs right. We certainly do, and it was an intentional decision. They are welcome to argue with the logic of that system – and many astrologers do, among themselves – but to say that astrologers don’t know the signs are “out of step” with the constellations is silly and flat-out wrong.

As for how it affects the natal chart, you may be a different sign in one system and the other, but not necessarily. If the degree of your Sun is above 23, then you’re likely the same sign in both. The same applies to your Moon, Ascendant, and other planets. If you’re curious, by all means check out the interpretations and see which system resonates more strongly with you. But once you make a choice, stay with it. Going back and forth isn’t likely to give you additional insight, but will only confuse you.

Adherents of sidereal astrology believe that their system is more accurate because it reflects the true position of the planets against the stars. I think that depends on how astrology works. We still don’t know, and so I can’t insist that they are wrong. Which system you choose to use is up to you, but I recommend picking one and sticking with it – especially if you are new to astrology.

I hope that answers your question, Amber … and that you still think I’m user-friendly. Incidentally, you might also like an article I wrote in January 2011 when this question was a hot topic in the news.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please check out my affordable written reports, or contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Will the Eclipses Bring Career News?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Brandy in Phoenix:

I’ve been watching the sky, specifically the November 28th Full Moon lunar eclipse and recent New Moon with a vague sense that my career path will reveal itself. Stuff is hitting my tenth house big time! Still confused though – perhaps because of my Pisces Midheaven? All I want to do is help peeps, don’t care about money. Always a HUGE fan of the weekly forecasts, thank you for all the help over the years. :)

Brandy, it’s true that the New Moon in Pisces on March 11 fell in your tenth house of career, with Mercury, Venus, and Mars all in the same sector. Normally, we’d expect to see major developments in your professional life with this much planetary power. However, as you may recall, Mercury was retrograde at the time, which had the effect of a big wet blanket. Sometimes when a New Moon falls during a Mercury retrograde period, we get “results” at the following New Moon (remembering, of course, that the planets don’t “cause” events on earth) or when Mercury returns direct. The New Moon in Aries was on April 10, and we’re still in the period of influence, right up to the Full Moon on April 25, which is the first of three eclipses in a row. I’ll discuss more about that in a minute, but first let’s have a look at Jupiter and Neptune.

In ancient times, astrologers assigned Jupiter as the ruler of Pisces. After Neptune was discovered in 1846, some astrologers gave him rulership of the Fishes or at least considered him as co-ruler. That makes sense, because Neptune was the Roman god of the sea. Still, it’s a good idea to look at both planets. Pisces is the sign of compassion, and people with strong Pisces in their charts do want to help others, often with no immediate reward for themselves.

Although this is a noble goal, living in the material world requires things like food, shelter, transportation, and vet care for your cat. So it might be a good idea to seek a job in which you can make a living wage helping others. Fortunately, there’s a strong need right now in fields such as mental healthcare, drug and alcohol counseling, work with the homeless, and many other service fields. These jobs tend not to pay a lot – especially if you’re working for a nonprofit – but you can at least keep body and soul together. With Pisces on your Midheaven, it’s natural that you’d want a career helping the less fortunate – a desire strongly reinforced by your twelfth-house Moon, which acts a bit like Moon in Pisces. Your natal Saturn, the “career planet,” also is in the twelfth house, which traditionally is associated with Pisces, and your natal Neptune is in the sixth house of workplace and service to humanity.

Transiting Neptune currently is hovering near your Midheaven and was within three degrees at the New Moon on March 11. However, he won’t quite get there before turning retrograde in June. This alone might account for your feeling of being “close but not quite there” in terms of your career, as well as the confusion. Jupiter, meanwhile, is transiting your twelfth house and has been crossing back and forth over your Moon. Jupiter’s transit through the twelfth house typically correlates to spiritual growth, an inner sense of optimism, and the ability to visualize what you want, but not so much with external manifestations. Given the positions of transiting Neptune and Jupiter, it’s not surprising that your natural inclination to help people is being activated, but that you’re not seeing concrete developments. Hang onto those positive thoughts, because I think you can manifest them into reality before long.

It’s interesting that you mention the lunar eclipse of November 28. That one was in your twelfth house, very close to your Moon, and it was the culmination of the New Moon on November 13, which was a solar eclipse in your sixth house. The sixth house is also related to your work – not necessarily your career, but it could be. They go hand in hand. The sixth house can represent a day job for someone whose real passion is an activity that doesn’t pay, or at least not until after years of honing skills. Or, it can represent the workplace, as opposed to career advancement. If you did experience some job developments in November or December, you could get additional news around late May, when we have another eclipse in your sixth house. Better still, Jupiter is about to cross your Ascendant. It’s very important that you visualize what you want now, because once Jupiter enters your first house, you’ve got “luck” on your side to start making things happen.

The reason I chose your question to answer this week is that it’s a good reminder to everyone to think back to what was going on for you in late November and early December. These issues are likely to come around again in May, especially with the eclipses of May 9 and May 25. If you don’t know where the eclipses fall in your chart, you can find out in the seasonal edition of StarGuide, which I just put on sale for 25 percent off, or you can order a StarGuide monthly forecast for May.

Best of luck to you, Brandy. I hope you get what you’re looking for, as it sounds like you’re ready to provide real service to the people who need it most.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please check out my affordable written reports, or contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Did He Ever Love Me?

Looking for AnswersFor this week’s column, I am taking a follow-up question from Carolina in Bilbao, Spain:

I’m just wondering about one comment in your answer, that you think that the strong psychic connection I felt was only one-way. Does it mean that, according to the charts, the love was only from me to him? He didn’t feel love?

From time to time, a reader whose question I’ve answered in this column will e-mail me and ask a follow-up question. Usually, I write back and suggest they schedule a consultation for more information. I’ve never used a follow-up question in this column, and yet I feel compelled to take Carolina’s question, because, once again, I believe she represents many readers (mostly women) who are or have been in similar circumstances.

Carolina, first of all, I realize that my answer to you in last week’s column was not easy for you to hear and wasn’t the answer you wanted. My intent was not to cause you pain but to help you find peace in your heart by resolving your feelings with this man and moving on.

Many women get hung up on this notion of whether the man they were in love with loved them back. I understand the need to have an answer, but astrology can’t provide it. Compatibility charts can tell us whether two people have physical chemistry, whether they can easily share their emotions with each other, how they demonstrate affection, whether the relationship will last, and whether it will be relatively smooth or laden with conflict. We can even tell whether a relationship has endured over many lifetimes.

But you can’t add up all of those components and say “Yes, it’s love,” or “No, it’s not love.” Whether someone is even capable of love depends on their level of personal development. The charts can show us tendencies, that’s all.

We might be tempted to conclude that a man or woman who plays the field isn’t capable of love, but that would be a wrong conclusion. They could feel intense love in that moment and just not wish to commit to a long-term relationship. Put another way, love alone doesn’t determine whether a relationship will last. I’m sure every one of you knows people who loved each other and yet couldn’t make a relationship work.

So, in my mind, the question of whether he ever loved you really isn’t that important. Even if he did, he decided, for whatever reason, that he didn’t want to be in a long-term relationship with you.

And there is where the trouble lies. When someone we love leaves, we want a reason and will make up all kinds of scenarios in our head to avoid the conclusion that we did something wrong or weren’t good enough.

This is why I believe “love gone wrong” is the first step for many people of both genders to start down a path of spiritual awakening. It requires that we look within ourselves, take inventory, and clear out all the baggage and outdated beliefs that hold us back from who we really are and what we want. There is a huge resistance internally to this process, and a broken heart can break down that resistance. There is no doubt that it’s a painful and difficult process, and no one with a heart would wish it on anyone. It just seems to be how we humans are wired.

So, Carolina, please try not to dwell on this question of whether he loved you or not. There’s no answer, and even if there was, it wouldn’t matter. What matters is how you’re going to heal from this experience and awaken to the true nature of who you really are and to the love in your own heart.

Wishing you much love and courage,

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

P.S. To all of you who have written to me recently requesting a Soul Mates Karma Report, please accept my apologies for not responding right away. I’m currently not taking new clients but will get back with you individually and ask whether you’d like to be put on my wait list. Thank you so much for your patience.

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Why Did He Run Away?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Carolina in Bilbao, Spain:

I met a man in Bilbao in November 2008. In a few days we both felt attracted. A short time after that he ran away and never came back in what I think has been an attempt to avoid the depth of his feelings (I guess this, as his Pluto is making a quintile to my Venus). The psychic connection has always been very strong, although he denied it. And yes, we have more lives together than this one in which we share a deep love and companionship. I can’t deny my feelings and the fact is that I’m still longing for him and hoping he’s coming back, although this isn’t doing me any good.

Now my question, how do you understand this quintile Venus-Pluto, and is there any hope for my wish to live this love, according to the astrological point of view? Will he come back ready to live this experience with me? Could it be that this Pluto aspect means that I represent all that he is afraid of and so the possibility for this love to be real is zero?

Carolina, your story is so familiar that I doubt there are few women (or men) out there who haven’t experienced a situation like this at least once in their lives. In fact, I’ve received so many versions of this question that I wrote an article some time ago entitled, “Will He Come Back to Me?” And, while I tend not to take a question more than once in my Q&A column, I feel that I need to revisit this one periodically.

It’s obvious that you have a good knowledge of astrology. Most people don’t even know what a quintile or Vertex are, so I commend you for that. This can be a problem, though, because when you learn about these chart features, you tend to overlook the more obvious aspects in favor of these relatively minor things. They can add to our understanding, but rarely are they the determining factors behind events or relationships.

You are correct that Pluto was on your Vertex at the time you met your love interest. However, there were other, more powerful forces at work that I would consider far weighter. Take a good look at your chart again, and you will see a very dramatic T-square, with transiting Saturn and Uranus opposite one another and square your natal Venus. Moreover, Uranus is exactly conjunct your natal Moon. At the same time, the transiting lunar nodes were on your Ascendant and Descendant – very big.

This tells me that a sudden and upsetting relationship came into your life, and yes, it appears to have been some sort of destiny, and the gentleman in question was someone you “knew” from somewhere else. But frankly, Caroline, I don’t think this was meant to last. Given the dramatic aspects in your transit chart and the strong presence of Uranus – which, by the way, is the ruler of your Descendant – I think this relationship was about awakening your consciousness. Indeed, Uranus often is referred to as the Awakener.

Judging from the stories I hear from clients, it also appears that more and more people are experiencing “other-life” encounters, and I’ve written quite a bit over the past few years about how these encounters are catalysts to propel us to a higher level of consciousness. Usually, these relationships are painful, because that’s the only way to get our attention! Also, it’s well-known in occult studies that pain is a transformer. Not coincidentally, this is concept is strongly associated with Pluto.

Looking at your compatibility chart, I attribute the fast attraction to your Mars in Aries opposite his Pluto, combined with your Moon trine his Mars. These aspects are indicators of powerful passion, and your Aries Mars is going to go for what it wants!

Now, there are lots of other things I could say about your compatibility chart, and in fact you do share some positive connections, along with others that are problematic. That’s beyond the scope of this column, though, and anyway, you asked me specifically about why I think he might have dashed away. I am sorry to tell you this, Carolina, but it appears that your love interest is a bit of a playboy. Women often miss the vital information, especially when they are physically attracted to a man, but I’ll bet if you look back and think about it, you’ll realize that he gave you some vital clues about his intentions.

As for his emotional distance, I’d attribute that to his Moon in Capricorn. These folks feel very deeply but do not easily share their feelings. Add that to his secretive Scorpio Sun, and you’ve got someone who needs to be drawn out carefully, over time. It’s quite possible that he felt exposed with you, because your Moon in Pisces is indeed very psychic.

And that brings me to my last point, which is that your strong psychic connection may have been one-way. In other words, you felt it strongly with him, but he didn’t share it. I know lots about this, because, like you, I have Moon in Pisces. We pick up on the thoughts and feelings of those around us – sometimes without even knowing it – and we also have a strong ability to recognize connections from other lives. We tend to assume that just because we feel it, the other person must, too. But that’s often not the case.

I feel your pain, Carolina, and I’m sure many other readers do, too, as so many of us have been through this experience. My advice to you is to try to understand the experience in a broader context and to learn from it, and do put yourself out there to date other men. I have a feeling you will find someone much more appropriate, with whom you can have a stable and equal partnership.

Much love and many blessings to you, and thanks so much for telling your story.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Has My Sun Sign Changed?What About Ophiuchus?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Blake in the United States:

Browsing the Internet today, I saw the excitement over Ophiuchus, the proposed 13th astrological symbol. Since the unofficial addition, the dates for sun signs seem to change … While all this seems so boisterous and asinine I decided to investigate what my proposed “new sign” would be (Sagittarius). Well, it turns out, I relate more to the Sagittarius sign than Capricorn. It’s like I found my “true” sign amidst all this “new information” on star signs.

How do I interpret this? Can your “sign” actually shift or am I projecting my craziness to Jupiter?

Blake, Blake, Blake … How on earth can we even begin to set the record straight when Time magazine is reporting this idiocy as some kind of scientific (read God-given) truth? Continue reading

Ask Real Astrologers: How Do I Interpret Multiple Transits?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Beth in Victoria, B.C.:

When you look at my chart with current transits, you will see something absolutely amazing. All my bells are being rung. Pluto conjunct my Saturn, which forms the final aspect to the Yod in my chart, looks important. Plus the recent and upcoming eclipses affect transiting Pluto conjunct Saturn at the arm of the Yod. I also have a double Grand Cross and a Grand Trine, which are lit up by major transits.

Where can I find an astrologer who can address transits affecting major aspects such as this? Simply discussing one planet’s transit at a time is not going to consider these major aspects.

Beth, you certainly do have quite a bit going on in your chart! Because of the complex interactions between your natal planets, you probably won’t ever be able to get an accurate forecast with a computer-generated report. But, as you note, that’s especially true now, with the cardinal T-square activating several key planets and points in your chart at the same time. No computer report could possibly synthesize all of this information for a reliable forecast.

This is true for just about everyone right now, whether or not you’ve got a chart as complex as Beth’s. As an example, suppose you have Venus in the first few degrees of Capricorn, and you ordered a computer-generated forecast at the peak of the cardinal T-square last August. Your Venus would have been conjoined by Pluto, and squared by Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus. That’s six different interpretations you’d have to read, and some would be contradictory.

Only an experienced professional astrologer can sort through these complexities, and even then, it’s a challenge. Beth, I’m willing to bet that ten astrologers looking at your transit chart would give you ten different interpretations, although there likely would be general areas of agreement.

Another thing to keep in mind is that forecasting becomes much harder when so many aspects are occurring simultaneously, and it’s a challenge even for the most experienced astrologers on the planet. Further, the cardinal T-square of 2010 and, to some degree, this year’s repeat, are unprecedented in our lifetime. That means no living astrologer has witnessed such a planetary configuration. The best we can do is to look to history for clues. You can bet that we’re all taking a lot of notes. This is a living laboratory, to be sure – and we’re all cosmic guinea pigs!

I cautioned my clients last year that, due to the complexity of the T-square, my forecasts were tentative. Nonetheless, clear trends do emerge, even in complex charts like yours.

For example, your natal Sun and Chiron are on the Descendant, a key chart angle, and transiting Neptune and Chiron are sitting right on it. The Descendant is the cusp of the seventh house, which rules close relationships. Neptune and Uranus are in mutual reception, and Uranus and Jupiter are conjunct your natal Venus, the planet of love and relationships. So you can see that relationships are an important theme in your life right now, with extremes and an inability to see your way clearly.

My advice is to look for someone you feel comfortable with and, in New Age parlance, “resonate with.” Even if the astrologer you chose didn’t examine every detail, you could probably count on the synchronicity of the universe to deliver the message you need to hear at this time. It’s funny how that works, and given your Sun-Chiron conjunction, I have a feeling that you always manage to meet up with the right people to carry you further on your path.

Thanks for an excellent and timely question, Beth. I wish you all the best in moving along this year’s fast-moving currents.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Why Am I Communications-Challenged?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Edward, somewhere in the vast expanse of Canada:

My Sun is in Pisces, Moon in Aquarius, Mercury in Aquarius, and I am a Gemini Rising. My Mars, however, is in Pisces, too. Often times, I’m quite comfortable with communicating and do so articulately and concisely. I also manage to make extremely persuasive arguments. However, other times, depending on my mood, I get real flustered when faced with problems and I fail to communicate properly. My answers come out as vague and wishy-washy. I am also not very assertive, however I have moments where I can be. How does this relate to my Sun-Moon combination?

Edward, I am really impressed that someone your age knows so much about your chart! I also find it very encouraging that so many young people of both genders are interested in astrology. Maybe there’s hope for the planet.

As a Rising Gemini with Mercury in Aquarius, you should be an ace communicator! You didn’t give me a birth time or place, so I’m missing some important information (a reminder to anyone submitting a question: please include your birth time and location!). I decided to attribute that to Mercury retrograde and take your question anyway, as it’s a good illustration of how Rising Gemini can be affected when your chart ruler is retrograde.

Indeed, that may be one of the answers to your question. Mercury goes retrograde three times a year. If you want to do your own astrology experiment, keep a diary of when you get flustered and can’t communicate, and then see whether there’s any correspondence with the phases of your chart ruler. You also might want to track phases of the Moon, which can affect your mood.

Your combination of Sun and Moon is the reverse of mine (I have Sun in Aquarius and Moon in Pisces), and so I do know something about the challenge of integrating these two. Emotionally, you need to work harder at getting in touch with your feelings. As a writer, I’ve found that communicating clearly depends on clear thinking. In your case, clear communication depends on “clear feeling.” You can’t express your feelings well if you’re out of touch with them.

As for the wishy-washiness, that’s typical of Mars in Pisces. Your Mars also is in fairly close conjunction to Saturn, which puts a damper on the natural assertiveness of Mars. It’s something you’ll just need to be mindful of and work to overcome. This is where astrology is very useful, especially if you start early.

I hope that answers your question, Edward. Obviously, there’s a lot more I could say about your chart, but a total chart interpretation is beyond the scope of this column.

Once again, I think it’s great that you’re curious about astrology. I encourage you to keep studying. Who knows, maybe you’ll want to pursue it as a career!

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Does Precession Mean I’m Not an Aries?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Carolyn in Seattle, Washington:

I have always thought of myself as an Aries, my whole life. I was looking at a website that said as of 2009, the sun is in Aries from April 19 to May 15. I have always known it as March 20-April 21 (ish). Does this affect my personal star sign, or does it only matter when I was born, not when my birthday is?

This is a great question, Carolyn, and one I’m asked often. What makes it so confusing is that we’re talking about two separate systems of tracking planetary movements. It’s comparing apples and oranges.

The zodiac is the belt of constellations along the ecliptic, the path the Sun makes in the sky throughout the year. The Sun currently moves through the constellation of Aries from April 19 to May 14, but it is in the sign of Aries from roughly March 21 to April 20. The exact dates vary slightly from year to year. The scientific community observes the movements of the Sun against the actual constellations, while astrologers refer to the Sun in the signs.

As the article you cited in your e-mail explains, this discrepancy didn’t always exist, but arose due to a phenomenon called the precession of the equinoxes. When astrology was first developed thousands of years ago, Aries was on the eastern horizon at sunrise on the spring equinox. But because of the tilt of the earth on its axis, this point has shifted backwards.

To address precession, astrologers in ancient Greece devised a system whereby the sky was divided into 12 parts, with 30 degrees assigned to each sign, starting with 0 degrees Aries on the spring equinox. This is the basis of our popular Western astrology, and it applies to the date you were born and every birthday in your lifetime. Even for those born on the cusp, you are the sign you were born under. That’s why it’s so important to look up your chart and not rely on the dates given in horoscopes in the current year. Further, if you were born on a day when the sign changed, it’s critical that you have your birth time, or you won’t know for sure what sign you are.

Now, at the risk of confusing you further, there are other branches of astrology that use calculations closer to the Sun’s actual path through the constellations. The most widespread of these is Vedic astrology, which is practiced throughout India and other Eastern countries. According to that system, Carolyn, you would be a Pisces from birth.

But unless you want to convert to that system and completely ignore Western astrology, you should consider yourself an Aries and not worry another minute that you’re anything but an Aries.

To anyone who would like to know more about the origins of astrology, I highly recommend the A&E “Ancient Mysteries” series, with Leonard Nimoy as host. You can find it, along with several other recommendations, in the RealAstrologers bookstore (yes, that’s where all my book links went!).

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!

Ask Real Astrologers: Flopped at Sales, What Else Can I Do?

Looking for AnswersThis week’s question comes from Jamil in the United Arab Emirates:

I just finished my MBA degree and completed four years in a sales executive career. I was not that successful during it, but because I have built my experience in sales (chemical materials), I am forced to continue in this business. In fact, I am finding that I do not have the sales personality … I want to know what type of career would suit my personality and that I would be creative in.

Jamil, the problem may be in what you are selling and for whom.

Now, before I explain further, I need to mention that your birth time is important in career counseling, and you don’t know yours for sure. The range you provided me makes you either a late Rising Leo or a Rising Virgo. I cast a chart using the average, but it would be better for you to try to get an exact birth time and an in-depth career reading to get the best answer to your question. If your birth time is not available anywhere, you can get what’s called a chart rectification. Using significant events in your life, an astrologer can do an analysis to come up with the likeliest birth time, and then you can test it over time.

For the time being, we’ll assume you have Virgo Rising. Your Sun is in Gemini, and your Moon is in Pisces. Mercury ruled Gemini is a natural salesperson, and with Mercury as your chart ruler, you are heavily influenced by the planet of commerce and business negotiations. In addition, your Pisces Moon allows you to read people intuitively. You know what they want and how to convince them that they want it from you!

However, unless you’re a Rising Leo, you probably don’t want to be an executive but would rather be out on the road, dealing directly with customers. Or, you might consider the marketing angle of sales, which requires Gemini’s great communications skills. Marketing can be a highly creative career.

We also want to look at the sign and house position of your chart ruler, Mercury, which was in Taurus at the time you were born. Instead of chemicals, perhaps you’d enjoy selling organic fertilizers or chemical ingredients for brewing beer (just a thought!).

In any case, with Moon in Pisces, you need to believe in what you’re selling. I would suggest doing some research (something you’re very good at) to find products and services that you believe in and that you believe will help humanity. Virgo tends to be very health-conscious, so if the chemicals you’ve been selling are harmful either to the environment or to human health, you will naturally not feel good about what you’re doing. You might even have sabotaged your career by deliberately not being good at it.

The purpose of this column is to provide quick answers, and that’s what this is. I hope it helps at least a little, but I also strongly recommend that you get a complete workup with a professional astrologer to help you sort out your career dilemma before it goes any further.

Thank you so much for writing, Jamil, and I wish you all the best for finding just the right career match for you.

Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

Got a quick question? Click here to contact Ask Real Astrologers. You must use this form to contact me, or I won’t get your question. I do read all of your questions, although I am sorry that I can’t answer them all. If you need immediate guidance or in-depth advice, please contact me for a private consultation. THANKS!