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Basic information about horoscopes
The word "horoscope" comes from Greek and means "sign of the time" or "a look at the hours". This time or hours means the moment of our birth or any other event. Therefore by horoscope we call a diagram that represents the position of the Sun, Moon and other planets at the particular moment.
The actual chart is only interesting and complicated picture (example here) that has no great predictive value for common people. Only the interpretation of this diagram by an astrologer gives a sense to the horoscope. By Horoscope we often mean the interpretation of the position of the planets than the mere capture of them in the form of the diagram. Horoscope is based on the geocentric conception of the universe and the Earth is therefore reflected in its center. All other planets, including the Sun, are then marked in the peripheral ring, which we call the Zodiac.
The Zodiac is a belt in the sky established from constellations, in which from our point of view the planets move. There are 12 constellations and each occupies the same angle of 30 degrees (360 degrees total). This belt encircling the Earth is the outer circle in the chart into which the position of the planets is marked.
Each astrological sign is symbolized by an animal (Fish, Cancer, Scorpio, ...) or a mythical figure (Sagittarius, Aquarius ...), which express the nature of this sign. Your astrological sign shows the constellation of zodiac in which the Sun was located at the time of your birth. That's why it is also called the Sun sign or Zodiac sign.
The meaning of planets in horoscopes is based on Greek mythology, where the planets are attributed to individual gods. Each planet expresses certain human desires, motives and character (Mars for example was the god of war and is associated with power – how we enforce our will). As long as there were no telescopes, people considered planets to be "wandering stars". Only five well visible planets were known for centuries. Uranus, Neptune and Pluto have become part of horoscopes only recently, when they were discovered in the last century.
The aspects in astrology are individual angles, that the planets make to each other in the horoscope. There are several types of aspects. The most famous and most important are conjunction (angle up to 10 degrees) and opposition (180 degrees angle). Followed by the trine (120 degrees), quadrature (90 degrees), sextile (60 degrees) and many others. The evaluation of the aspects of the planets in the horoscope can bring our spiritual structure, that we bring to life in the moment of birth.
The ascendant is the specific constellation of the zodiac, which is located on the eastern horizon at the time of our birth (just rise on the horizon). The position of the ascendant depends on the place of birth, month and time. Ascendant is one of the most important elements in the chart, because it affects your character given by the position of the Sun (your sun sign). Your sign should be interpreted differently if you born in the sign of Virgo with ascendant in Scorpio, and otherwise, if you are in the same sign with the ascendant in Pisces. There are 12 signs and 12 ascendants, which brings together 144 possible combinations. Therefore it is not enough to say "my sign is the Lion", but it is always necessary to add the ascendant.