Tuesday Toolbox

Tuesday Toolbox: Lesson 1



So anyways, here at Jo Tracey Astrology, we’re big on renovations and DIY- you might have gathered that from the tagline:

Renovate your life with the stars…

Anyways, for the next few Tuesdays- or until I run out of time or steam- feel free to follow along some mini DIY astrology sessions. It’s a step by step to what I look at in a chart BEFORE I even look at the planets. Yes, really…before I look at the planets. It helps build up the layers upon layers.

Did you catch that it’s free?

And that it’s mini? Each one is really mini. Tiny. Bite-sized even. Blink and you’ll miss it.

I’m calling it the Tuesday Toolbox.

You won’t need any textbooks, but you will need a chart, and a pen and paper handy to do your homework on.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to hand it in and I won’t be marking it- after all, this is a free mini class and I have a full-time job, plus another book to write so probably wouldn’t get time to respond anyway…harsh but true. Besides, this isn’t a real course- just a series of snippets…if it prompts you to study astrology for real, well that’s a good thing- right?

Without further ado, let’s start at the very beginning…by eye-balling your chart.

But I don’t have a birthchart?

Ummmm how long have you been reading my posts?

The linky thing to how you cast your own birth chart is here.

But I don’t know my birth time?

If you have an approximate time, pop that in. It won’t be entirely accurate, but will give you a good idea. As an example, my mother has an exact birth time for me (I was no. 1 born), is less accurate for my sister (‘just before breakfast- I was hungry’). As for no. 3- ‘Oh I don’t know Joanne, I think it was around lunchtime- I was hungry,’ and has an exact time for my brother- after all, he was the baby of the family- and the long awaited boy…

I have no idea about my birth time…

Ok, more tricky. You can pay someone to rectify your chart- this is a complicated process that basically uses the major events in your life to come up with an approximate birth time. It’s time consuming and something that I’ll never have the time or inclination to do. There are, however, other astrologers out there who will. Naturally, because it’s so time consuming and complicated, it also usually costs more than the average reading.

Alternatively, you can cast what we call a Solar Chart- this assumes that you were born at dawn and your Sun and Rising Sign are the same. Your birth time will therefore be a time just before sunrise. If you don’t know what time dawn  is in your part of the world at that time of the year, google it.

This does mean that your Moon sign might be approximate, and you won’t know your exact house placements, but as you learn more about astrology, you’ll start to think ‘this sounds like me,’ or ‘this doesn’t sound anything like me…’ all of which will help narrow the time.

So I have my chart- what next?

When you look at the birth chart, you’ll notice that it’s divided into twelve segments- like a great big pie chart… with indistinguishable symbols within the slices.

These sections are called “houses” and the symbols relate to the planets residing within the houses and the signs that are ruling each of the houses.

Each of these houses represents a particular part of your life. One slice tells us about your attitude to relationship, another will describe your home and family, another will be about your work and public life. More on this later.

While everyone born on the same day as you will probably have planets in the same signs as you, the house placements are based on your moment of birth and are therefore extremely personal to you.

Now, take a look at your chart…

The zodiac is comprised of 12 signs, each measuring exactly 30 degrees, ie 1/12th of the total area of a circle.

My chart has different sized portions…

That’s ok. While each sign is 30 degrees, the houses are of differing widths. This depends on where in the world you were born and at what time of the year. It also depends on what house system you’re using. This is pretty technical, so google it if you like, but most western astrologers use Placidus. As you get more confident, you can play around with other systems.

Although the houses may be of differing size, opposite houses will always be the same size as each other:

House 1= House 7

House 2= House 8

House 3= House 9

House 4= House 10

House 5= House 11

House 6 = House 12


Look at the chart below- I’ve deliberately kept the houses the same sizes as the signs- for demo purposes. Yours will look different.

Don’t worry too much about what symbols are where for now, or even what each of the houses mean.

Instead, draw a line across the middle of your chart- from left to right.

Have you done that?

Houses- Hemispheres 2

The top half of your chart- the northern hemisphere- represents your public life- the things you do consciously out in the world. It’s your interactions with others. If you were born after sunrise and before sunset, your Sun will be in the top half of the chart.

The bottom half of the chart- the southern hemisphere- is your inner or private life- this is more about your conscious or unconscious actions. It’s also about your identity. If you were born after sunset and before sunrise, your Sun will be in the bottom half of your chart.

What does this mean?

Regardless of their sun sign, people with a majority of planets in the southern hemisphere tend to be more naturally private, while those with more planets in the northern hemisphere are more visible. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re more extroverted- although this may be the case- but they are more readily seen…whether they like it or not.

Do It Yourself…

  1. What house is your Sun in? Is it above or below the horizon?
  2. How many planets do you have above the horizon?
  3. How many are below the horizon?
  4. What do you think this says about you? Are you more private or public?

An example…

jo chart

Using my chart as an example, you can see that my Sun is in the first house, and below the horizon.

I have 5 planets above the horizon and 5 below. Although the planets are evenly balanced, I tend to see-saw between being completely private, and wanting to put things out there. At heart, though, I am quite introverted.

You’ll notice that I haven’t included Chiron, the nodes or any other asteroids or calculated points. This is for the sake simplicity.

Next time: the quadrants of the chart…