Astrology is a complex, multifaceted subject, but the basics of which are easy to understand.
Most of the astrological information available through the Internet, astrology books, and in newspapers and magazines relates to your Sun Sign; knowledge about your Sun Sign is the single most important element in astrology. However, to really appreciate astrology, and to gain the self-knowledge astrology can offer you, it's important to have an understanding of the planets themselves and of their meanings and energies. This information can be gained through the symbology of astrology.
Astrology is symbolic; if you look at the symbols for the twelve signs of the zodiac, for the aspects between the signs, and for the planets that rule or govern these signs, you will learn a lot.
Developed in the era of the ancient Babylonians, astrology employed pictographs to express ideas. When you see the zodiac symbol for Scorpio, you see the sting in the tail of the symbol of the sign, the Scorpion, and when you see the zodiac symbol for Gemini (the Twins), you see two straight lines linked together. Right away you are reminded of a scorpion for Scorpio, and of the concept of duality for Gemini.
When you look at the symbol for a trine, a favorable aspect, you see three lines linked together in a triangle. A sextile, also a harmonious aspect, is a star shape with six points. A square, a challenging aspect, is in a box shape, and the opposition symbol is two circles opposite each other. It's easy to grasp the astrological concepts just by looking at the symbols.
The celebrated psychologist Carl Jung was interested in astrology, and he would actually complete his patient' charts in order to acquire a greater understanding of his patient. Carl Jung dealt in symbols, the unconscious mind, and the way that we can concoct an entire mythology for ourselves, complete with role-playing. His theory of the archetype springs from symbolism, among other premises.
The more you delve into the myths of ancient peoples, the more you realize a recurrent thread operates in the collective unconscious of the universe. You can understand that the same symbols that were important to people two thousand years ago are just as meaningful to people today.
When it comes to understanding the planets, look at the descriptions and you will easily understand the energy involved.
For example, Neptune is the planet that rules fog, mist, and haze. If you have ever been caught in a fog you may have been very disoriented and not able to see what was around you. If you have ever looked at the landscape around you or across the ocean on a humid, hazy day, or when there was a lot of mist, then you know you were not able to see clearly. That's the image you should incorporate when you envision the nature of Neptune.
Neptune rules Pisces, and is the ruler of the oceans and waterways. Neptune deals with liquids, art, film, and creativity. The feet are Neptune's area of the body, platinum its metal, and turquoise, aquamarine, and sea blue are the colors that belong to it.
When Neptune aspects a planet, the above qualities are brought to the interaction. If Neptune is opposite your Moon at birth, you have a tendency to react emotionally at times. You might be prone to seeing only what you want to see when you love or care for someone. If the world becomes too harsh for you, you may be inclined to use a crutch (and as such are susceptible to substance abuse). Knowing you may have these traits can be a great help to you, since you will be aware of them, and can then come up with techniques to overcome them.
If Neptune is trine your Sun at birth you could be strongly creative. Your ability to channel your emotions and life experiences into art is tremendous. You may deal cathartically with your emotions through your artistic work. You may be an excellent dancer, and your love of movement would be a wonderful way for you to release stress.
Even without an encyclopedia of information about the astrological aspects, being aware that you have Neptune, the planet of illusion and delusion, in transit in a challenging aspect to one of your planets gives you some important information.
When transiting Neptune is square or opposite your Venus, you are prone to fall in love quickly and idealistically. You might not see any flaws in the person you believe you love, and you would see this person the way you want them to be, or the way you need them to be. Eventually you will be forced to deal with the reality of who that person truly is, as opposed to who you fervently believe them to be. Initially, this may be difficult. The plus side of a disillusioning love experience is that you will become much stronger and wiser in your estimation of human nature. You may vow never to lose sight of reality, no matter how attracted to someone you are.
Challenging aspects bring lessons to learn. As mentioned, Neptune is the ruler of fog and mist. If you are undergoing a difficult Neptune transit, then it's time to get out the flashlight. Keep a mental image of yourself walking in a hazy atmosphere, and you will remind yourself not to take anyone, or anything, at face value. You will be cautious and careful of yourself and your heart.
Each of the other planets and luminaries has qualities associated with it. Below is a list of keywords and qualities to help you understand the basic qualities of those planets involved in your astrological chart.
Sun: The Sun rules Leo (the proud Lion) and governs the heart. The metal of the Sun is gold, and the colors that resonate to it are orange, gold, and yellow. The Sun is radiant, it illuminates the landscape, and it is the bright center of your identity. The Sun never goes out.
Moon: The Moon rules Cancer (the shy Crab), and the breasts and stomach are its domain. The Moon's metal is silver, and the color that best expresses it is pearl. The Moon is luminous, it hides at times, and it can be so light that you can see in the darkest night. The Moon changes, it is capricious, and it deals with your emotions.
Mercury: Mercury rules two signs, Gemini the Twins and Virgo the Harvest Maiden. As the communicator of the heavens Mercury rules your arms, hands, lungs and tongue. Mercury's metal is quicksilver, and the colors blue and grey belong to this planet. Mercury rules the mind, and the way you communicate and express yourself. Mercury is quick, busy, and active.
Venus: Venus rules Taurus the Bull and Libra the Scales. Venus takes charge of the throat, kidneys, and sense of touch. Soft pastel colors respond to this planet, and the metal that best expresses its energy is copper. Venus is a sensuous planet, and is the ruler of your love nature.
Mars: Mars rules Aries, the forceful Ram. Aries rules the head and face, and its metals are iron and steel. All the shades of red make up the color palette of Mars. Mars is your energy, drive, ambition, and sex drive.
Jupiter: Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius the Centaur. The part of the body that is governed by Jupiter is the thigh, and its metal is tin. Royal purple is the color for this benevolent and judicious planet. Jupiter is good fortune and good luck and is very good-natured in general.
Saturn: Saturn rules Capricorn the Mountain Goat. Bones, teeth, and knees are the body parts of this structurally conscious planet. Its metal is lead and the colors it relates to best are dark brown and forest green. Saturn is karma and lessons learned. Saturn likes to build, as in character, and especially over time.
Uranus: Uranus rules Aquarius (the Water bearer). Ankles and calves are its body parts, and its metal is uranium. When you think of Uranus, think of the colors electric blue and shocking pink. Uranus likes to startle; it is snap, crackle, pop. Sudden change is its specialty.
Neptune: Discussed above.
Pluto: Transformative Pluto is the ruler of Scorpio the Scorpion. The reproductive organs are its part of the body and its metal is plutonium. Pluto's color is black, one of the most symbolic colors of the spectrum. Black stands for mourning, but also epitomizes sexiness. As the ruler of Scorpio, Pluto governs sex, death, and taxes, the basics of life, one way and another.