The wheel or map is the basic structure that a horoscope is fitted into. It is a 360º circle — all circles are 360º, a simple round sphere. This circle is then divided into twelve parts, one part for each sign of the zodiac. There are twelve signs. Depending upon the house method you use, read this article for the variations, the divisions can be larger or smaller or equal to thirty-degrees. Whether or not there is an inner circle telling you the house numbers i.e. 1-12 is up to the astrologer. Some just put the signs onto a map below.
Hellenistic Astrologers divided the whole house system, each house is exactly thirty degrees and starts at zero, further into “faces” or what was later called decan. These faces were triplets — ten degrees each of a sign. When you have unequal houses your ability to use the face-decan system is rather stymied as some houses are 30º, and some are more and some are less.
The planets are plotted onto the chart by where they were mathematically calculated. On the chart above, see box with Long for Longitude. From it are many coloured lines going to each planet, and they are the same though in cases of the Sun and the Moon the seconds are rounded up to the next minute, when applicable. But if you follow the line you will see that the Longitude number and the planet position match.
Each planet is by the longitude into the correct position on the astrological map. By convention, the first house is the Ascendant, because that was the sign that was rising at the time of the person’s birth. Rising is always considered to be in the East. The descendant or the cusp of the Seventh house, is always opposite the Ascendant.
In fact all of the signs have a polar opposite. See the picture below and again the various colours unite the pairs. That means that on every chart, Gemini is always opposite Sagittarius, Virgo opposite Pisces, Aquarius opposite Leo, Taurus opposite Scorpio, Taurus opposite Scorpio and Aries opposite Libra. It does not mean that every chart will start with Aries and go around in the same order as below, because the start part of a chart changes depending upon the person’s birth time and location of birth that together creates the Ascendant.
On the chart above, there is a box that tells you where each of the signs falls, a term that means where on the wheel the sign is. Looking at the box, highlighted below, we see that the Sun is in the Tenth house and in the sign of Aquarius.
The Ascendant for the time of 12 noon at Boise, Idaho is Taurus and Neptune can be found in Pisces in the Eleventh house. Of course the natural question is that while we are talking about people, we are using a place horoscope. Are they interchangeable? To some degree yes. Both places, events and people have times they are born, or happen at a certain place which is why astrology can make a chart for anything that happens.
While this lesson will not make you an astrologer, you now can read a map, a chart, a zodiacal place setting. Questions? Drop us a line.