What is a birth chart?

An astrological birth chart is a graphic representation of the skies at the time of a person or an event's birth. It is an actual map of the heavens relating the positions of the planets in the sky to the horizon and meridian of the earth. This is why it is essential that the place of birth and the time and date are provided with as much accuracy as possible because even small variations can produce important changes in the chart.

In this map of heavens it is possible to see, first of all, the Zodiacal Wheel that includes the 12 Zodiac signs. These are, in fact, the band of star constellations that we see in the sky and that have been named after animals or mythical characters after the observations of our ancestors.
Secondly, we can see the Sun, Moon and the eight other known planets* that are transiting through the Zodiac and station at a given sign at a person's birth time.

The astrological charts are also divided into 12 houses that function as an additional interpreting tool. The first house is started by the definition of the Ascendant (a zodiacal point that is found rising East in the sky at the time of the person's birth). From that point on and also based on the position of the meridian, the twelve houses are defined, including the other three angles in the chart (the Descendant, the Immum Coeli, known as the IC and the Midheaven, or MC), all with a particular significance in the astrological interpretation.

The birth-chart also symbolizes the map of the psyche of the individual, representing someone's potential development when he/she is born.

You can see an example of a Birth Chart by clicking here.

* Although Pluto has officially been disregarded as a planet by astronomers, its importance in Astrology is still the same.


My perspective over Astrology

My turning point while studying Astrology was realizing that it is not an “art” designed to predict the future or to explain what happens to us with a simple cause-effect equation. Astrology is an attempt to understand reality and represent it in a symbolic, pictorial language. The vehicles used to express this symbolism are the planets and the signs that serve as a representation of the basic energies present in life. From this starting point we gather immediately that there is no simplicity in astrological analysis, as it tries to embody all human live’s complexities.

If we watch closely, the energies that are present throughout our personal development are also present in all of Nature - the cycles of life affect plants, animals, humans in a similar way. The cycle of the sun creating the four seasons of the year is very visible looking at a tree, how the leaves grow and then fall. the life of a plant can be compared to the cycles of human life: growing, developing, the growth of flowers and then fruits, decay and death.

Used to relying on the observation of nature for their own survival, our ancestors were curious also about the changes in the sky above their heads. After patient observation they noticed that the cycles of the planets above coincided with their life cycles on earth.

Astrology doesn’t necessarily believe that the cycles of planets have an influence over what happens to us. What happens is that planets cycles and life cycle are synchronous. it seems that just like the plants and the animals, the planets also express the ebbs and flows of energy, they are also symbols of these levels of energy which are present all over the solar system. So what astrology does is try to understand the life cycles in someone’s life by equating them with planet cycles, using a language that is symbolic but easily understandable by everyone because everyone goes through the same processes, the same emotions, the same conflicts, the same breakthroughs. Because we ourselves are symbols of these underlying energies.

Rilke's expression "what is within surrounds us" is also a mention to this omnipresence of energy in all of what makes the Universe. It tells us that what happens to us is a reflection of something inside. It seems that our inner nature that includes our affections, conflicts, dreams, desires and emotions...seem to act as magnet, attracting the same kind of substance or energy from the outside world. This immediately alerts us to the fact that we must take responsibility for our lives, even though it's easier to blame others and the world for our misfortunes.

Astrology believes in a person's free will and not in predestined outcomes. This way, a lot of personal work can be done to improve our relationship with ourselves and the world around us. Even if some very basic traits cannot be changed, the more aware we are of what we're made of, of what our strengths and our weaknesses are, the more choices we have for the future. And that's where Astrology can come in, to help us make our own path.


Venus in Scorpio (and music)

Sleeping Venus by Giorgione

Take a Water (feminine) sign and mix it with two (masculine) planet rulers with the calibre of Mars (god of War) and Pluto (god of Death). Then apply this mix into a feminine planet representing the way people love and their feminine side (Venus) and it all sounds a bit too heavy, don't you think?

And it is! With this position love is never a light and fun thing, but a deep, life-changing experience that usually leaves some scarrs (for better or worse). Take Bruce Springsteen (Sun in Libra) whose lyrics could write a seminar on Venus in Scorpio and his iconic song I'm on fire: Sometimes it's like someone took a knife baby, edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my soul. Tormented is a good description.

Scorpio is the sign most connected to the dark side of things, being very aware of the most underground tendencies within each human being and recognizing that there's both Good and Evil in everyone. Take Jeff Buckley's (Sun in Scorpio) lyrics for instance: dark, mysterious, always mentioning death, life, embers, being reborn, angels and ghosts. Scorpios are experts at identifying your own secret side and exposing it in direct light, even if you are not aware of this side yourself. Scary, huh? But remember that were still talking about a Water sign, very susceptible to feelings, very emphatic and compassionate. Usually it's their intensity and their aptitude for intimacy that draws people to them.

It isn't easy to start a relationship with someone with Venus in Scorpio - they might appear like loners because they don't like to relate to a great number of people and are very discriminative of whom they relate to. Maybe they won't even give you the chance to introduce yourself because they have a general mistrust of people. Bruce Springsteen sings: Girl, ain't no kindness in the face of strangers, Ain't gonna find no miracles here. They are always allert and expecting the worst from others and life (the price to pay for knowing the dark side).

It's the same thing with love: Beth Orton (Sagittarius Sun) sings: Love is a one way train, comes on gentle as a hurricane, it's got p.a.i.n. written all the way through. Mike Skinner from The Streets (Sagittarius Sun as well) in one of his songs about love, comments: It weren't supposed to be easy, surely. These people are no romantics. Springsteen sings: True love can't be no fairytale and Ain't no church bells ringing, Ain't no flags unfurled, It's just me and you and the love we're bringing into the real world. Like other Water signs, they are oversensitive and take measures to protect themselves. Natalie Merchant (Sun in Scorpio) is metaphorical: Gotta build yourself a levee deep inside, Build yourself a levee girl when the waters run high.

In fact, when they're entering a relationship they're pessimistic to a fault. Listen to Natalie Merchant for example: So you're in love, it's so good for you, live it up girl cause it never lasted long, it's heaven for now but not for long, it's gonna hurt, it's gonna make you feel so bad. Maybe it's others who ruin it: Mike Skinner asks - Can you rely on anyone in this World? No you can't, is his answer. Or maybe it's themselves: Nelly Furtado (Sun in Sagittarius) warns:...I will only cause you pain (I promise that); Beth Orton agrees: Yeah, we only hurt the ones we love, while...we don't need a reason. Jeff Buckley shared the same problem: I've loved so many times and I've drowned them all. Or maybe it's something else: It ought to be easy (..) simple enough, man meets a woman and they fall in love, but the house is haunted and the ride gets rough, and you've gotto learn to live with what you can't rise above.

Scorpio's biggest fear is losing control of themselves and their lives. They won't find it funny if a loved one attempts to change them - they take it upon themselves to transform periodically, just like the snake shades its skin or the phoenix is reborn from the embers (two symbols of this sign). Having Mars as a co-ruler makes Scorpio extremely individualistic and building their own path in life (being the only god of their soul) is their biggest goal.

You won't find many of them getting drunk and making a fool of themselves or enjoying frivilous occupations. This isn't the kind of partner who will kneel on your feet with declarations of endless love. Venus in Scorpio is always dignified, always in control, always right. Natalie Merchant sings: I'm not gonna beg you for nothing, I'm not gonna beg you for love. One of Mike Skinner's songs is about a man smitten by a lady and it's called: don't mug yourself! Nelly Furtado confesses: I pretend to be cool with me, want to believe that I can do it on my own without my heart on my sleeve. Springsteen also sings: you're so afraid of being somebody's fool, not walking tough baby, not walking cool. They need a lot of daily introspection and are always seeking the explanation to everything: how they feel, how you feel (because they always know!), why you said this, why you didn't say that...You may feel like telling them to lighten up a little but they are simply too serious about love.

Despite their individualism, Venus in Scorpio is extremely willing to commit to a serious relationship (Alone buddy there ain't no peace of mind, that's why I'll keep searching till I find my special one) and when they do they are completely focused and dedicated to their partner. You can be sure that the relationship is their absolute top priority. Natalie Merchant remembers: for seven years you were loved, (...) you were all I could see. A tad obsessed, perhaps. Obviously, for someone who seeks a body and soul intimacy with someone, a lighthearted relationship just won't do (Honey, I want the heart, I want the soul, I want control right now)!

Because they give so much, they expect the same from their partner and have high standards when it comes to love. (Cheap romance, it's all just a crutch, You don't want nothin' that anybody can touch). When they enter a relationship they are entirely sure that it's what they want (when it comes to love there ain't no doubt) because their feelings about people are extreme: they either like them a lot or not at all. Bruce Springsteen explains: you got to give it all or nothing at all, if what you're thinking of is love, I want it all or nothing at all. Beth Orton thinks: I’d rather have no love than messing with the wrong stuff.

Which leads us to one of the greatest myths associated with Scorpio: Sex. Following common astrological knowledge, you might think you're dealing with a bunch of perverted maniacs, when it's quite the contrary. Yes, Scorpio is very connected to sex but as a transcendental body and soul experience, an expression of love. So, in general and if they're emotionally stable, this isn't a sign to take sex lightly, because, like love, they take it seriously.

Venus in Scorpio's feelings are known to be very intense, probably why they sing things like: I wanna die with you, Wendy, on the streets tonight in an everlasting kiss, or It's never over, all my blood for the sweetness of her laughter. Beth Orton asks: I told you I loved you now what more can I do? Do you want me to lay down and die for you? Carla Bruni (Sun in Capricorn) explains the phenomenon in her song Le Excessive: c'est que l'existence, Sans un peu d'extrême, est inacceptable (meaning that existence, without some extreme, is unnacceptable). She goes on: Je suis excessive, quand tout explose, quand la vie s'exhibe, c'est une transe exquise, basically saying that the explosions and life make for an exquisite trance. Nelly Furtado shares the feeling: I don't want ambivalence no more. (these people are keen on double-negatives, it seems).

When you enter a relationship with someone with Venus in Scorpio you must be prepared:
a) to be stripped naked of all of your secrets; (I've got my sight now, I see everything you hid);
b) to not find out about your partner's secrets because they simply won't tell (She weaves secrets in her hair, The whispers are not hers to share, She's deep as a well);
c) to deal with your partner's need for control. (Baby, let me be your soul driver). This one in particular might be tricky: Scorpio is reported as the most jealous of all signs. (I wish I were blind when I see you with your man; see also Natalie Merchant's song: O Jealousy).

Not only are they possessive but they're also constantly tormented by an underlying negativity when everything should be running smoothly, a haunting feeling (for instance, that their partner will cheat on them). This causes them a great deal of suffering and added need for control. Natalie Merchant sings: Once I could love, I could trust, I could not doubt, but that was the worst thing that I could do. She adds: never again, not in this life will I be taken twice.

This need for control leads to a lot of struggling and fights in their relationships (see The Streets' Get Out of my House song, for a row), as they're not prepared to give the other person the upper hand or admit they're wrong but at the same time they do not respect those who don't stand up to them. Scorpio has a great empathy for human suffering but none for weakness of character. This happens because they are extremely brave emotionally and are willing to make tremendous sacrifices for love, but not everyone has the same ability, which is what they fail to understand.

They also won't put up with betrayal. An eye for an another of the myths associated with the sign - vengeance. The truth is they won't attack unless they've been attacked themselves. They have a great concern for justice, not the impartial justice of Libra, no, but a personal one: Did you really think that you'd get away, escape my justice until your dying day? asks Natalie Merchant. She states: All the wrong you did, I might forget you, but never forgive.
Mike Skinner has a song about a lost love when need for revenge is visible: I know you want to make her see how much this pain hurts but you've got to walk away now. In the end dignity seems to have won the battle here.

If you're willing to deal with all of the above, you'll gain a partner capable of extreme (what else?) loyalty and support (Now our luck may have died and our love may be cold but with you forever I'll stay).

Venus in Scorpio? You?

Venus in Cancer

Aphrodite Anadyomene in Pompeii

For the first time in my Venus articles I'm forced to find the lyrical evidence to back my text in only 2 songwriters (I ask: what gives?!). Furthermore they're both male and Gemini which could somehow cast a doubt about whether this feminine, emotional side of them will be perceptible in their lyrics. (as I've mentioned before men aren't always very conscious of their feminine {Venus} side and when that happens they tend to project this aspect of them onto women in their lives).

But let's get to business! Venus in Cancer has a very emotional, nurturing and devoted approach to love (Water signs, remember?). Emotion and feeling are frequently present in the lyrics: Lenny Kravitz sings: All I want you to do is feel with me. Many of his songs refer to a love revolution or "we got to let love rule". Noel Gallagher (main songwriter for Oasis) also mentions it: Let there be love and I feel love (...) now all my emotions fill the air I breathe (which is a very nice metaphor for someone with Gemini Sun, since this is the sign of breathing and lungs).
You can find lyrics that are very romantic (remember kissing in the moonlight? You are my life and my passion that never goes out of fashion, I want to know will you marry me? - Lenny Kravitz) but bear in mind that they have a great sense of self-protection and caution - Cancer is terrified of being hurt and rejected because they care about other people's opinions too much. The possibility of someone saying no to them equals complete humiliation and so, even though they're Cardinal signs, their approach to the things they want is not direct like, for instance, Aries. The crab is the main Cancer symbol and if you look at one walking towards something you'll notice they don't follow a direct line. Furthermore they rarely forget when they've been hurt by others. Lenny Kravitz sings: I've got to find a way to get past what I can't forgive.

This way, one of the most important factors in a relationship to Venus in Cancer is security. Cancer represents family and home and so these people will want to build something that can become their home, something secure and familiar where they can relax. Lenny Kravitz sings: I can't live my life alone without a home and also I'm just trying to get back home in any way, how I miss all the good times. In one of Oasis' earlier songs, Noel Gallagher wrote: What a life it would be if you would come to mine for tea, I'll pick you up at half past three and we'll have lasagne. Even if they're not very domestic people they'll want to grow roots because that's their biggest guarantee for a safe future. Gallagher explains: build something, build a better place and call it home, even if it means nothing you'll never ever feel that you're alone.
Being alone is, like for other Water signs, one of their biggest fears. Here's evidence provided by Noel Gallagher: we need each other, we believe in one another/ it's hard enough being alone, sitting here by the phone, waiting for my memories to come and play.

Family is one of their greatest treasures; perhaps why Lenny Kravitz's album Mamma Said is dedicated to his wife Lisa and most of the songs have a familar tone to it. He sings: we both are hurting and it's gonna take a little time to heal all the wounds and save our family. He also includes a song for his daughter called Flowers for Zoë. In another album he sings: In this garden our children will grow, Darling this is a must, We’ll be so happy, our little family so full of love and trust.

It's important for the partner of someone with this Venus to demonstrate their affection often, so that the person feels more confident and reassured, as their insecurity will sometimes be their biggest enemy. But if you're with someone with Venus in Cancer, you probably have a hard time knowing what mood they'll be in every half an hour. Lenny Kravitz wrote: If you open your eyes you’d see that I’m wearing a frown - pouting and being mute may be their way to get attention from you. Cancer is ruled by the Moon and this involves quick and fluid changes in their disposition. At the same time, their personality is quite conservative and will want to maintain the status quo at all costs (count on them to be extremely tenacious on their opinions).

If you imagine a crab grabbing something with their claws, you'll understand how they simply won't let go. Musical evidence is abundant. Lenny Kravitz has two songs that say it all: I'm gonna stand by my woman now and It ain't over 'til it's over. In his lyrics he insists: This love will never leave you, this love will never let you go. Never letting go also means being there to take care of you (But I would never lie, let things go by, leave you in road to die, I would never ever say goodbye) until the end of time: Darling when we're old, we'll close the gates and lock the door, our love will never fade away. Oasis have two songs that reflect this as well: stand by me, nobody knows the way it's gonna be and don't go away, say that you'll stay forever and a day. You can guess that usually Venus in Cancer isn't the one to end relationships - even if they are comfortable with emotionality, they prefer to avoid confrontations.

Cancer also represents the Mother, so someone with Venus in Cancer will either look for someone to mother them or inversely adopt a motherly-role in their love relationships (taking care of someone is the easiest way for Cancer to show affection). Lyrics prove it: Good morning, Can I walk you to the train, Would you like to get a bagel on the way? (Kravitz) and you make sure I eat today (Gallagher). As other water signs, they need to feel needed. But it's very important that they direct their attention into other things besides their loved ones, or there might be the danger that they'll try to rebel against constant attention. So a creativity outlet is very important for Venus in Cancer, they need a project to express themselves.

Cancer is extremely imaginative (Gallagher: lived in a bubble ... not concerned about what life was sending ... fantasy was real) but they're also very concerned about the responsabilities and the real world so you can expect a partner that is fully commited but that can also dream (Whenever you call me, I'll be waiting, Whenever you need me, I'll be there {Kravitz}).

The most worrying tendency to be aware with Venus in Cancer is their tendency to manipulate others and this is also a Water characteristic. Being very sensitive to other people's feelings they easily pick up on other people's moods and work with them until they get what they want (I want you to know I'm emphatic about your love that's enigmatic). And if this isn't dubious enough, they might use this ability to prevent other people from leaving them or going against their wishes - they do that by playing the martyr, as we've seen on Water signs.

Venus in Cancer isn't prone to rationalisations and will never explain or analyse themselves (they simple can't, hence the famous Oasis lyric
there are many things that i would like to say to you but I don't know how or I can't find the words to say about the things caught in my mind). They are extremely secretive. In order to deal with this side of them, their partners must learn to read the non-verbal signs. When given the necessary emotional reassurance and feedback, Venus in Cancer can provide a very patient and loyal partner, an expert in understanding and taking care of others.


Venus in Water signs

This is a little post to introduce you to the mood of Water signs. And they are very moody! It's the currents you see, water currents they come and they go, nature is in constant mutation (cycles) and these are the three signs that are more in-tune with these instinctual currents.

If you look at the symbols of these signs you'll see the most primitive beings in the Zodiac - the crab, the scorpion and the fish - all cold-blooded creatures, very far from the rational human. So unlike the rational Air signs, that thrive on thoughts and ideas, Water signs are driven by feelings and instincts.

They have strong feelings about things which they can't really explain. They're the kind that may drive you insane saying they don't like something and when you ask why, they say: I don't know, I just don't like it. They may be less rational than other types and usually that isn't seen as a good thing. But why not?

First of all, they're not trying to impose their feelings on you, they realize feelings are entirely subjective but the ones they have are their reality. Secondly, it also means that they are extremely sensitive and imaginative and by being connected with more in-depth realities they have the ability to emphasize with other people's feelings much more easily.

Nevertheless, just like Air types have trouble with emotion, Water types have trouble with ideas and theories. They consider them useless because they're generalistic and unpersonal, they prefer to consider things that apply to them and to people around them. For this reason you might find them apparently careless when it comes to theories, politics, institutions...and they can be extremely unfair, introducing double-standards at every occasion and driving Air types mad. The fact is that they can't detach from their reality (feelings) and assume a broader perspective.

What really matters to them is the people around them, particularly the ones they care about. When it comes to these relationships they are extremely devoted and selfless. There are no signs that need human contact as much as Water signs, they live for their relationships, for their feelings for other people and may sometimes even live through their relationships.

Venus in Water signs needs to feel secure in their relationships and when they find that security they aren't likely to get bored. Why? Because they have a tremendous imagination and exploring the unknown is not their cup of tea.

In a relationship they'll shower you with attention which can be frightnening for more independent types but the truth is, if you want things to work with Water signs, you must let them believe that they are needed, otherwise all their devotion will seem unwanted and the person will sulk. Here comes the danger of possessiveness because the Water person may feel that since they're not needed, the relationship and that security might be at risk and this leads them to cling to their loved ones, sometimes resorting to emotional blackmail and playing the victim. They don't do it consciously but it's easy to see through their martyr-role.

If you're willing to show them your less independent side, you can expect a partner that is extremely intuitive and caring, someone who probably won't talk much about the relationship but will definitely convey their feelings towards you in very emotional ways. Someone who seems to know just want you need and just how you're feeling. So make the most of it and be pampered, but take some time to teach the Water person how to receive too.

*painting: Venus and Cupid by Alessandro Allori