Ancient Arts: Hat-Making, Farming, and Astrology


How come we only know our star signs, and we never learn about our full birth chart?

  • L., from Los Angeles, CA


I’m going to use the term “sun sign” instead of “star sign,” not to correct you, but because that’s how I refer to what I’m about to explain. There are some astrologers and astrological traditions that use the term “star sign,” so… to-may-toes/ to-mah-toes.

The reason most people only know their sun signs, which is determined by the area of the sky where the sun was on the day you were born, is for two main reasons:

  1. Everybody knows what day they were born, so the sun sign gives reliable, informative data about the time of year that only changes every 30 days- as opposed to the moon sign, which changes every 2 1/2 days, and the rising sign, which changes every 2 hours. If you were born on a day when the moon was changing signs, you wouldn’t be sure which sign the moon was actually in, unless you know your birth time. Also, you need to have your exact birth time to know what sign was rising when you were born. And many people don’t know their birth time. So when pop astrology exploded, and horoscopes came onto the scene, the only way to talk to a huge group of readers about themselves was to talk about their sun sign. This is a perfectly fine idea because…

  2. Everything revolves around the Sun! Literally and figuratively. Everything in our solar system revolves around the sun, and everything in our ego-directed lives revolves around OUR sun sign. Where the sun was when you were born has a lot to do with how you (and everyone else born during those 30 days) feel about yourself, in a most general sense. The Sun is your identity, sense of self, how you fundamentally operate from an ego-driven stance: “I am an artist”; “I am a warrior”; “I am a teacher”…these are giant archetypes that are well-described by your sun sign.

When astrologers write to a large, general audience, they have to come from a broad perspective. There is no better way to write practical astrology for the masses, who may only know what their sun sign is.

If you read different horoscopes, what you find is that this idea both works and doesn’t work. The success of any horoscope column depends on both the skill of the astrologer in talking about the symbols, and how much a person identifies with the qualities of their sun sign. 


There might be 25,000 Libras that think Friday’s horoscope is freakishly spot-on: “this horoscope is amazing!” At the same time, there are possibly 18,000 Libras who find nothing with which to identify in a specific column: “astrology is B.S.!” 

The reason why sun sign astrology either “works” or “doesn’t work” has to do with everything else that’s unique to every birth chart- no two birth charts are the same. For example, some people might have four or five planets in Libra, including the sun, so they feel like a Mega-Libra. Some Libras may have only their sun there, and then the rest of their chart is all Scorpio and Aries- this person probably wouldn’t feel much like a typical Libra! When this person reads the Friday horoscope for Libra, they might not feel much kinship with it. It’s like the neighbor’s dog that barks from 9:00am - 6:00pm, and you say “That dog is ALWAYS barking!” Well, he’s not always barking- sometimes he eats and sleeps and shuts up, but it sure feels like he’s always barking.

 So now back to your question: why don’t we ever learn about our full birth chart? 

The main reason is the same reason why no one knows how to farm, hunt for medicinal plants, make their own hat, or even know what they’re looking at in the sky every night for that matter- it’s an ancient art that has to be resurrected and sought out.

Another reason is because astrology isn’t one of the fundamental courses we are encouraged to take in the modern “Know Thyself” School of Life… due to astrology’s reputation, it’s popularity fell way beneath “Psychology 101” and “Self-Awareness Work is For Yoga Moms.”  If I launched into this topic further- why astrology isn’t respected the way it ought to be, and how both religion and science have ironically teamed up (for ages) to dismantle astrology’s respectability- this post would become thesis-length (which it almost is.)

Honestly, the biggest reason most people don’t learn about their full birth chart is that it’s optional, specialized self-study. You have to work pretty hard to learn how to read astrological language. It takes years of study and some good teachers- it’s a solid time investment. And it requires a ton of self-motivated interest. 

To make astrology even more challenging to access, before the 1990s, astrological charts were calculated by hand. (Computer software was developed earlier, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that people could really use it themselves, and computer-generating charts didn’t take off as a respectable practice until the 90s.) I can remember sitting with a book in the early 1990s, struggling with my fleeting attention span, trying to teach myself how to place the planets around the horoscope wheel. I gave up, or at least thought “I’ll come back to this after I get back from dinner and watch Friends.” It was too much for me at the time, and probably too much for me now, to be perfectly honest.

But then computers suddenly spit out whole birth charts! And more would-be astrologers were born, people better with psychology and symbolism, than with math and patience.

So, to learn about your full birth chart, you have two choices: pay a professional astrologer for a natal chart reading, to interpret the symbols for you; or, roll up your sleeves and spend some time learning to decode the magic of the symbols yourself. And I really recommend studying astrology for yourself- the insight and self-awareness that can be gained is too wonderfully deep for words. 

If you have always wanted an astrology reading, but don’t know your birth time, please contact me and let me know where you were born- I would be happy to send you the contact info for where you can order a copy of your birth certificate.

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If you need some clarity, some change, or a refresh either inside or out, you’re in the right place. Aubrey Thorne is an astrologer, integrative coach, and feng shui designer in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over, both in-person and online. Feel free to contact Aubrey to ask a question or to schedule a consultation. 

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