The Way of the Stars (Issue 16)

Well… late but sure… I got swamped by chaos, but here is last tuesday’s issue of “The Way of the Stars”, my weekly column for The Daily Spell.

Enjoy ;-)

The Way of the Stars

An Introduction to Astrology

By Pablo Dotro(*) – The Mage of the Many Shadows.

“In the Stars, Destiny is written,
 and to Her we call upon to read it.

In your name I write these words,
my Lady Urania, in praise and love.”


Merry Meet my dear friends! This week we continue looking at a birth chart, focusing on finding some key points in the zodiac wheel. Our sign in this issue is the happy and optimistic Sagittarius.


Three keys.

Astrologers, like most people, tend to profile or categorize the data they work with. While the whole of a person’s birth chart is important, some of the more relevant traits of every one of us are “shown” by three factors on our charts.

These factors are the position of the sun, the position of the moon and the degree that is rising on the eastern horizon at the time of our birth. These three keys (Sun, Ascendant and Moon) are so commonly accepted as strong that when two astrologers talk to each other, they often introduce themselves by giving that information. For example, I would say that I am a Scorpio, Aquarius ascending with a Moon in Virgo (abbreviated as Sco, Aqu/ASC, Vir/Moo). In a later issue, I will describe at length why this is so… for now, we need to learn just how to find these key factors by glancing at a chart.

To do this, you need to spot within the chart wheel the glyphs of the Sun and the Moon. You can look them up in my “cheat sheet”(1), or just remember them: the Sun is a circle with a point within, and the Moon is a small crescent.  The ascendant is often shown as a segment or horizontal line, cutting the zodiac wheel on the left side, sometimes with an arrow head. It is almost always marked as ASC or AC.

Let’s see some examples (the interesting points in each chart are shaded in light purple):

  1. Chart No. 1: George Bush(2). This one was created with Matrix’s WinStar Plus 2.0, using one of their “French” wheels. As you can see, President Bush has his Sun at 13 degrees Cancer, his Ascendant is at 9 degree Leo and his Moon is at 16 degrees Libra. This type of WinStar wheel style gives only degree-level precision (no minutes or seconds) and is very “clean”… great for a quick look..
  2. Chart No. 2: Queen Elizabeth II(3). This is Solar Fire 6.0’s “Beginner Page”, a very simple and useful chart style. Queen Elizabeth’s Sun is at 0 Taurus 12 (that is, 0 degrees, 12 Minutes Taurus), her Moon is at 12 Leo 07 and her Ascendant is at 21 Capricorn 23.
  3. Chart No. 3: Bob Dylan(4). Created using’s free “web default” style, the chart shows Bob Dylan’s Sun at 3 Gemini 31, Moon at 21 Taurus 31 and Ascendant at 20 Sagittarius 20.

As you can see, while the three wheels show essentially the same information, the presentation given by the three applications used to draw these charts is quite different. With a little trial and error, you will surely become familiar with your tool of choice, but it is important to be able to recognize the most important factors in a chart, regardless of the software package used to draw it.

If you want to practice, I will leave you three sets of birth data. Try to get them drawn, and identify the position of the Sun, the Moon and the Ascendant on each one. You can either email me the results if you want a quick response, or wait until I post the results here next week ;-). Here they are:

  1. Karen Carpenter. March 2, 1950. 11:45am (+5), New Haven, Connecticut, USA (41 N 18’29”; 72 W 55’43”).
  2. Leonardo Di Caprio. November 11, 1974. 2:47 am (PST,  +8), Los Angeles, California, USA (34 N 03’08”; 118 W 14’34”).
  3. Ringo Starr. July 7, 1940. 12:05am (0:05) (BST -1), Liverpool, England/UK (53 N 25’; 2 W 55’).

Today’s sign: Sagittarius

The third quarter of the zodiac is all about how our identity “faces others”. In Libra we discovered them, and for the first time interacted with them as equals. In Scorpio we tried to fuse with them, to know everything and get to the bottom of things. In doing so, we got to the bottom of ourselves and allowed the non useful parts of ourselves to “die”. Sagittarius brings us once more into the Light. Sagittarius’ traditional image is that of a centaur archer. His lower half is animal… having passed through Scorpio, he is well aware of his animal and earthly side. His upper half is human, clearly in control. He is getting ready to shoot an arrow into the sky… reaching Heaven with the power of both mind and body.

Sagittarius is a fire sign. It is then, self sufficient and determined. It is also a mutable sign… so it marries this determination with a will to change things, to make them better. Sagittarius is optimistic about everything, because he knows that the worst has already behind him.

This is the house of Jupiter, the King of the Gods, and it is on the higher grounds of the zodiac… so there is a great impulse to take the high (moral) ground. Sagittarius is the sign that is concerned with the spirit of the law more than its letter, with the notion of justice and ethics. It is also the sign of higher learning, philosophy, religion and expansion of consciousness.

Sagittarius is also related to long distance travel, mainly because when traveling far from home our experience is broadened. This expansion and broadening in all horizons is quite distinctive of those with a strong Sagittarius.

In symmetry with the other water-fire pairs (Pisces/Aries and Cancer/Leo), Sagittarius re creates the concept of identity and the self after the passage through the deep waters of Scorpio. A very dynamic sign, Sagittarius loves sports… and if those sports allow him to compete and gain social recognition, he will be quite happy. This is not Aries’ love for competition per-se but is more related to a need to show that it can be done.

What makes Sagittarius so light hearted is that he somewhat knows that there is a higher order. He does not need to know how or where it is rooted; only that he is an important part of it. As we approach the highest point in the zodiac, our inner self begins to catch a glimpse of things to come. And in Sagittarius’ that fills him with a purpose and direction. It is not uncommon for those with a strong Sagittarius to be religious, and to view religion as an important part of their lives.

In any case, they tend to stand out in a crowd… open hearted, direct, warm… often taking the lead. They are, however, not reckless or risk-loving. If their “crowd” is one of scholars, they will be the ones with the greatest desire to expand their field and teach to others. If the crowd is made out of athletes, they will be the ones pushing the limits. If it is made out of legal professionals, Sagittarius will often sit as a judge or legislator.

This same desire can make them (on the lower side of the archetype) prone to ignoring other people’s limits; to misuse their position or to be overzealous in the “preaching” of their beliefs. When not in harmony, Sagittarius can lead to personalities that become inflexible or intolerant… kind of a “crusader” mentality.


Coming up next week:

Next week we will go and take a look into the sign of Capricorn, the hard working domain of old Saturn. Also, I will begin to show you how to judge if a chart shows a “strong” preponderance of one sign or the other by looking at the placement of planets and signs on the zodiac wheel.  Remember you can read this one and all past columns in my blog(5).

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