A Reader Asks: How to Learn Astrology?

I received an interesting message in my email the other day from a new astrology student. If you’re just starting out, maybe this will help you, too.

Hi, CJ!

I’m starting to get very interested in astrology. I would love to learn about it as much as I can, but I don’t know where to start. I was wondering if you could give me some ideas of how to get started learning about it. Thank you so much!

Dear Reader:
You’re lucky because you’re starting to learn when there are so many good resources available for free online. http://www.astrology-numerology.com/astrology.html is a good place to start for basic information.
I’d recommend 3 books to start with: 
  1. The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need by Joanna Martine Woolfolk gives an excellent, easy to understand overview of all the basics, including some astronomy of the planets.
  2. Donna Cunningham’s Moon Signs is the book that “hooked” me on astrology and I’ve been a Moon lover ever since. Understanding a person’s Moon is the best way to get to know them intimately. This is where the heart connects. Donna’s book is practical and full of amazing information.
  3. Steven Forrest’s The Inner Sky was another book that truly caught my attention. Forrest is a real poet with words. The book will teach you how to blend the planets and signs to understand how they work together.

I also really like authors Joan Negus and Joanne Wickenburg. It may take a while, but you’ll find an author/teacher that you really connect with. When that happens, you’ll have discovered the path in astrology that you most want to follow.

If you’re in an area where you can take a class, try it out. Meeting face to face with other people to learn and discuss is one of the best ways to learn astrology. It gets us out of the books and into real life. A good teacher is a great resource.

Join some astrology forums even if you don’t actively participate at first. You can learn a lot by reading other people’s comments and they can learn from your input, too.
Get on the free mailing lists of some astrologers whose sites and blogs appeal to you. You can always cancel your subscription if, as time goes on, they don’t hold your interest.
Have your chart read by several astrologers. Pay close attention to the parts of your chart they focus on. Some will be very interested in your Moon while others may want to explore career choices or relationships.
Run some free charts at www.astro.com. Use your family and friends in addition to your own chart as you learn the basics. These are people you know well, and their examples will help you understand what you read and learn.
Don’t use your beginning knowledge of astrology to find flaws with people. While it’s tempting to do this with our “enemies,” it also sets us up to stereotype people of a particular sign.
Remain neutral as you study the signs and planets. They’re neither good nor bad. They are merely representative of the vast array of human characteristics and urges.
Don’t go too fast. When I was first starting, I bought every book I could get my hands on. I think, in hindsight, this confused me rather than helped me. It was information overload from too many sources. Keep it simple in the beginning. As you begin to understand how a planet operates and what a sign means, practice mixing them together so that you understand the subtle nuances of different combinations. Then, add to that mix the areas of life represented by the houses. Once you understand the basic principles, you’ll be able to see how the Sun in Aries in the 1st house is different from the Sun in Taurus in the 6th.
The aspects can be the most difficult to understand, so get a thorough knowledge of how the planets operate individually before moving on to aspects. Aspects are the tool that allow us to remove all stereotypes from our astrological knowledge. They are the sparks that make us unique.
Know that you won’t learn everything immediately. Astrology is a lifetime of learning, and just when you think you’ve got everything covered, you’ll come across something that opens up a whole new world to dig into.
Thanks for this question. I’m hoping you contact lots of astrologers to find out their answers, which will most likely be different from mine. They’ll prefer other authors and teachers or have different suggestions on how to proceed. One or two of us will strike the right chord for you.
Best of luck in your journey to learn astrology. And always remember that we’re really studying people, not big balls of gas or rock out there in space somewhere that magically cause people to behave the way they do.
An afterthought ~ The Only Astrology book is certainly not the only astrology book you’ll ever need but if you are still interested after reading this book, you’ll have a general grasp of how everything works. There are introductions to the decans and their accompanying constellations and some general symbolism (flowers, trees, colors, and birthstones) for each of the signs. I found this all fascinating as I started learning and it is one of my major interests today.

11 thoughts on “A Reader Asks: How to Learn Astrology?

  1. My first books were by March and McEvers, The Only Way to Learn Astrology. There are a number of volumes under this title and by these authors.
    Some twenty years, and hundreds of books, magazines, websites and blogs later, I cherish these books and still refer to them.

    It was with the second volume I learned to do charts by hand. Praise be for computer software!!

    1. That is an amazing series of books, Anne. I wonder if we love our first books so much because they were our tools when we fell in love with this wonderful art.

  2. Great recommendations C.J.!

    Donna Cunningham’s Being a Lunar Type in a Solar World was the book that started it all for me 23 years ago. Then, I got a copy of my chart, Demetra George’s workbook, Astrology for Yourself (which I recommend to beginning students) and The Knot of Time: Astrology and Female Experience by Lindsay River and Sally Gillespie. This last book is remains one of my “desert island” astrology texts. I have referred to it so often over the years, I am on my second hardcover copy!

    1. Synchronicity! I was reading Being a Lunar Type (again) just this morning. Astrology for Yourself is a fantastic suggestion!! I’m not familiar with The Knot of Time, but I will be in just a few minutes after a visit to Amazon. 🙂

      Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. Fabulous post cj and such sound advice xo

    Book number 1 sounds great and is not one I have read but I wish I had. I ‘think’ as it was so long ago and like yourself, I read everything, I did buy the Parker’s guide, which was pretty basic and helpful back in the day. Those basic beginner books are fab!!! and I made certain of one fact back in the day and that was that I could read an ephemeris and draw a chart from scratch. It was kind of like knowing how to capture a photograph on film as well as embracing the ease of digital photography. Plus delving into a bit of astronomy as well didn’t hurt, as I can enjoy the sky and pretend I am visualising a chart.

    1. I remember when I got my first ephemeris. What a treat! Of course, by then I was completely hooked.

      One of the things I like most about The Only Astrology Book…is the info on all the constellations for the decans. There’s some amazing symbolism there and I still refer to it.

  4. Like many before and after me, I started with Linda Goodman and it snowballed from there.

    Another tip, especially if you’re the intutive type, is to have a print out of your own chart with you at all times. Simply spend a lot of time looking at it – the symbols, the shapes etc. Where do the symbols congregate most? At the top of the chart, the bottom etc? What does that suggest? It doesn’t matter if you don’t yet understand what the symbols mean, just start living with them, make friends with them.

    1. Keeping a copy of our chart wtih us is a great suggestion, Mandi. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were included on our birth certificates?

  5. Great post with excellent advice, cj! Synchronicity abounds; I received a phone call yesterday from someone wanting to know more about working with the Moon and I too recommended Donna Cunningham’s Moon Signs. Robert Hand’s book, Horoscope Symbols, is also an outstanding introduction to astrological basics.

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