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10 Tips For Learning Astrology

So you want to learn about astrology? Not the generalized Sun-sign stuff that you find in newspapers and magazines, but serious astrology. The advanced type where you can actually determine specific information about a person’s life through the observation of the planets and other celestial phenomena. Here are some tips to help you get started.

learning-astrology-02So you want to learn about astrology? Not the generalized Sun-sign stuff that you find in newspapers and magazines, but serious astrology. The advanced type where you can actually determine specific information about a person’s life through the observation of the planets and other celestial phenomena.

Perhaps you recently found out that there is a lot more to astrology than simply knowing what your zodiac “sign” is, and you want to know how you can learn more about the subject.

What follows are 10 tips on different steps that you can take and resources you can use in order to begin learning astrology.

Once you have completed these steps you should be well on your way to becoming an astrologer. So, let’s get started with the first tip for learning astrology:

1. Get A Copy of Your Birth Chart

First things first: go to the Astrodienst website at and get a copy of your birth chart. A “birth chart” or “natal chart” is a diagram which depicts the positions of the planets at the moment that an individual was born. This chart is the fundamental basis of just about everything that astrologers do, so obtaining a copy of your own birth chart obviously needs to be your first step.

Astrodienst is a very important website for many astrologers because they offer a number of free services, including chart calculation.

In order to get a copy of your chart from go to their “Horoscope Drawings & Calculations” section, and then click Chart Drawing, Ascendant. It will ask you if you want to create a free account or just use a guest account. Either one will work.

Birth chart exampleAfter this it should take you to a page where it asks you to enter your birth information, which includes the exact date, time and place you were born. It is very important that all of the information that you enter in here is accurate. In particular, make sure that your time of birth is as close to exact as possible, since this plays a pivotal role in the interpretation of the chart. If you are unsure of your birth time then check to see if it was recorded on your birth certificate.

Once you enter all of your data in and then press continue the system should generate a copy of your birth chart. It should look something like the example chart on the right.

Look over your chart and become familiar with it. Get to know what all of the different positions in the chart are, and memorize the different symbols or “glyphs” for the planets, signs of the zodiac and “aspects.” See my article on the astrological symbols in order to start learning how to recognize them.

2. Make Use of Free Astrological Resources Online

The next step once you have your birth chart is to start learning how to interpret it, in order to figure out what it means. In order to do this you are going to need some help. The best thing to do at this early stage is to start looking around the internet for free resources that you can use in order to learn about the chart and in order to provide you with some interpretations of it.

I cannot stress enough how valuable of a resource is in this area. In their “free horoscopes” section they have some great stuff such as the “Astro Click Portrait” and the “Personal Portrait” which provide some useful free interpretations of your natal chart. They also have some introductory articles on astrology, including stuff on the planets, signs, and aspects.

There are also a number of other free resources available in various places on the internet, although sometimes the good information can be hard to find since there is a lot of junk out there as well.

  • The Mountain Astrologer’s beginner’s series provides a wide range of different articles on basic topics that are excerpted from their popular astrological magazine (which is a good resource itself).
  • provides a lot of excellent articles and information different topics, especially the more traditional forms of astrology.
  • The Astrology Dictionary is an online dictionary for terms and concepts used in astrology that I’ve been building recently.

You may also want to check out some of the following articles that I’ve written here on my blog:

You can also find a lot of good websites just by searching Google for specific astrological terms or keywords.

3. Get Lots of Books on Astrology and Read Voraciously

When it comes down to it, the vast majority of the really good information on astrology is contained not on websites and blogs, but in books.

Amassing a sizable astrological library tends to be a must when it comes to studying astrology. Usually it is safest to start off with some basic introductory books, and then work your way up to the more advanced stuff.  Here are some useful introductory books for getting started in astrology:

Kent: Guide to Practical AstrologyThe Essential Guide to Practical Astrology by April Elliott Kent. This book just came out a few years ago, and it does an excellent job of outlining the basic terms and concepts used in modern astrology. This would be a good book to start with if you don’t known anything about astrology and you want to start learning it from the ground up. April does a great job in conveying the practical concepts and ideas in a very clear and concise manner, and the book is also really well-designed.

Cosmos and PsycheCosmos and Psyche by Richard Tarnas. If you are looking for a more scholarly treatment of astrology that introduces the subject within a broader philosophical and historical context then I would recommend this book. It does an excellent job of presenting one of the more well-formulated versions of modern astrology, which Tarnas calls “archetypal astrology.” You should be warned that the book is notoriously dense, so do not go into it expecting a light read. I can say that it is one of the more significant books published on astrology in the past century though, so it is worth the time if you intend to think deeply about the subject.

Parker's AstrologyParker’s Astrology by Derek and Julia Parker. This is a very comprehensive and well-illustrated book that has been reissued numerous times over the years due to its popularity. It is useful because they provides a number of interpretations for different birth chart placements, as well as a general overview of a number of different areas and branches of astrology. It has enough material in it to take the reader from a beginner to more of an intermediate level.

On the Heavenly Spheres On The Heavenly Spheres by Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro. This book also came out more recently, but it has become my new favorite book for introducing students to the older approaches to astrology. It has a more traditional approach to the subject then the previous three books do, although it does incorporate some modern concepts as well. It is also very well-illustrated, with hundreds of diagrams and examples, and it doesn’t shy away from introducing some intermediate and advanced concepts.

Once you get some of the basics down you can start getting into more specific or advanced areas of astrology. For a more detailed list of books, see my article The 6 Best Astrology Books for Beginners.

In the end you should probably try to get as many books as you can. Unfortunately the situation is somewhat similar to the internet since there are a lot of lame pop-astrology books and other junk out there, but there are also a lot of really great books available as well.  So, try to be discerning, but read as much as you can. The more widely read you are on the subject of astrology, the better your grasp of it will eventually be.

4. Learn How to Read the Ephemeris and Follow Your Transits

One very useful thing that beginning students can start doing right away is following their transits and getting a general idea of where the planets are in the sky at any given time.

The birth chart is like a snapshot of where all of the planets were when you were born, and “transits” are the current or future positions of the planets in the sky on a specific date. Obviously the positions of the planets have moved on from their original positions since you were born, and these movements have an important bearing on what will happen during the course of your life. The study of transits is one of the primary means of prediction in virtually every tradition of astrology.

Ephemeris exampleThe movements of the planets are usually studied using an “ephemeris,” which is a book that lists planetary positions for every day of the year. The most popular printed ephemeris is the American Ephemeris, although Astrodienst also offers a free online ephemeris in PDF format.

Here is a link to a PDF of the ephemeris for 2014 from Astrodienst. Familiarize yourself with it. Get to know what signs the planets are in and how fast they move through each of the signs. Note where certain planets are right now relative to where they were in your birth chart. Think back to important events in your life and then check the ephemeris to see where the planets were at that time.

For more information about how read an ephemeris, and some different tips and tricks for using one, see my podcast episode on how to read an ephemeris.

Robert Hand: Planets in TransitA useful resource for following transits is Astrodienst’s personal daily horoscope, which tells you which transits and planetary configurations are occurring in your chart in a given day. For a small subscription fee they even provide interpretations for each transit. These delineations are derived from Robert Hand’s famous book Planets In Transit, which just about every astrologer has a copy of in their library.

After you follow your transits for a while you will start to get a sense for what each of the planets means in a chart, and how that actually plays out in real life. Eventually you can take those experiences and observations about what happened under certain transits in the past and begin applying that knowledge to the future, by anticipating what will happen when there is a repetition of similar transits. This is essentially the basis of most astrological predictions.

5. Study The Birth Charts Of Your Friends And Family

Once you have gotten the basic mechanics of your own chart down and you have started to gather together interpretations and follow your transits on a daily basis, you should start going through the same process with the charts of friends and family members.

Get their birth data, and calculate their chart. Get interpretations of their birth chart placements, and note any ways in which those placements reflect the reality of each person’s life. Follow their transits and see what happens when certain configurations occur in their chart. For example, transiting Mars conjoining their natal Mercury, or their Saturn return around the age of 29, or something along those lines.

It is also good to begin studying biographies of famous people and comparing them with the person’s birth chart. You can use resources like AstroDatabank in order to see if the birth data for specific celebrities is available. However, I should note that it does tend to be more useful to study the charts of people you know personally, like friends and family, since the real depth and subtlety of astrology comes out when you have an intimate understanding of the person’s life.

6. Connect With Other Astrologers Through Online Forums

Astrology discussion forumsSometimes students of astrology encounter problems in the early part of their studies because it can be difficult to find other people who are interested in studying the subject in depth. As a result of this, many people end up studying the subject in virtual isolation for years. This is unnecessary though, and it usually only results from a lack of knowledge about the available networking opportunities that can be used to interact with other astrologers.

The easiest way to interact with other people who are interested in astrology is to join an astrological forum online. There are lots of forums and mailing lists around the internet. The trick is just to find a good one, or at least one that you jive well with. There are quite a few to choose from.

Here are a couple that I would recommend:

  • The Skyscript Forum is usually a pretty active and interesting forum, with a primary focus on traditional forms of astrology.
  • The Astrodienst Forum is a great international forum that covers many different types of astrology, and has different areas for people who speak English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, or Portuguese.

There are also a lot of decent forums on Facebook, as well as others that are scattered around in different places. I would recommend doing some searches, and then eventually you will find one that works for you.

7. Meet Up With Other Astrologers In Your Area

Talking with people online is great, but eventually it will be time to go out and actually meet up with other astrologers in person and start to interact with the wider astrological community. For most astrologers this usually involves attending local meetings.

In any given city there is usually at least one group of astrologers that meets each month in order to talk about astrology. Most of these monthly meetings revolve around a 75-minute lecture on some astrological topic that is presented either by a guest speaker from out of town, or by a local astrologer who specializes in that topic. Usually these meetings are organized under the auspices of a local astrological organization.

The main astrological organization which tends to have chapters in just about every state in the US, as well as in some cities outside of the US, is the National Council for Geocosmic Research, or NCGR for short. They provide a framework for people to start local non-profit astrology groups. On their site they have a helpful list of all of the NCGR chapters around the world, so you can find out if there is a local group in your area.

The NCGR isn’t the only group that organizes local meetings though, as there are often other independent groups and astrological organizations that form separately from the NCGR. It is important to keep an eye out for other groups in your area, since the NCGR doesn’t have chapters in every city, and in some cities with multiple groups the independent groups can be more active than the NCGR groups.

For example, in Seattle there is no NCGR chapter, but there is a great local group that meets every month called the Washington State Astrological Association. In Denver there is an NCGR chapter that holds meetings, but there is also a separate group that meets each month called the Denver Astrology Group. Other countries have different national and local astrological organizations which organize meetings as well. For example, in the UK the Astrological Lodge of London holds monthly meetings.

meetupOver the past few years a lot of groups have started to use in order to help organize and announce their meetings, and this is a good place to check to see if there are any local astrology groups in your area. Just go to the Meetup website and do a search for astrology, and then it should tell you if there are any groups in your area that focus on that topic. If there isn’t then you might consider starting your own astrology group at some point in the future.

Local astrology meetings are great because you will often get to hear some really interesting lectures on astrology, sometimes presented by famous astrologers, and you also get to meet with other people who are interested in the same subject as you.

8. Take Some Classes on Astrology

Once you have met some other astrologers and gotten some of the basics of astrology down, you should think about taking some classes somewhere. Having some guidance from someone with experience in this area can be incredibly helpful, and it speeds up the learning process so that you will be covering more ground than if you were just teaching yourself.

There are many opportunities for taking classes depending on what your schedule is like and how much you are willing to commit to it. The easiest thing to do is to ask around in your area and see if anyone is offering any local classes on astrology. This is where attending local astrological meetings comes in handy, since the people who attend those meetings are the ones who would know what is going on in your area.

If you can’t find any local classes in your area then you might try taking a course online. This is starting to become more of a popular medium for presenting astrology classes. For example, I offer two online courses in astrology right now:

There are also a number of online schools for astrology:

There are lots of other courses available, so do some research in order to find one fits your specific needs and interests.

9. Join An Astrological Organization

There are a number of astrological organizations set up all over the world in order to help promote astrology and connect astrologers. Some organizations specialize in specific things or are geared towards a specific purpose, while others are just set up in order to help make it easier for astrologers to connect with one another.

Here are some of the main astrological organizations in the English-speaking world:

All of these organizations send out regular newsletters and publish some sort of journal, and many also offer some form of certification in astrology. They also occasionally put on large-scale astrological conferences, which brings us to our last tip…

10. Attend An Astrology Conference

The final step is to attend an astrological conference. These conferences are a big deal to many astrologers because they provide important networking and educational opportunities. Some are done regularly at specific intervals, like once a year, while others are only one-time events.

The conferences themselves are usually held at large hotels or convention centers. There can be anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand astrologers in attendance, depending on the conference. The conference itself usually consists of 3 to 5 days where you have a lineup of notable astrologers who are each giving lectures and workshops on various topics in different rooms. Some people cover basic topics, while others cover intermediate and advanced topics. Much of this depends on the nature of the conference though.

People who are new to astrology usually attend the conferences in order to see some lectures and learn from the presentations. More seasoned astrologers tend to attend conferences in order to meet up with their friends and catch up with one another, and maybe to see a lecture or two. Many of the conferences tend to be geared more towards newer astrologers though, so they provide an excellent learning opportunity, as well as the chance to meet some other astrologers and build friendships.

The organizations are usually the ones that organize the conferences, so you should check their websites to see if they have any planned for the near future.

Here are just a few major conferences that I know are happening in 2014:

These are the main conferences happening this year, although there are probably a number of smaller conferences and workshops happening at different points as well. You should do some research and see if you can find a conference that has some specific lectures or focuses on a particular topic that you are interested in learning more about.


Well, that’s it. Once you’ve completed all of these steps you should be well on your way to becoming an astrologer. It may seem like a daunting challenge at first, but with a little bit of patience and dedication you should be interpreting charts like a pro in no time. Good luck!

2018 Video on Five Tips for Learning Astrology

I recently made a video version of this post, with five quick tips for learning astrology:

62 replies on “10 Tips For Learning Astrology”

Chris, this is the best list of all time. I am referring people from my blog today and will continue to refer people until the end of time. Excellent work, very much appreciated.

Very comprehensive, well written list 🙂 I read everything I can get my hands on but I also want to take some classes eventually. Will have to look around locally… and at the online courses too.

Great article Chris!

Mind if I link to this page from the Arizona Astrologers website?


Great list, Chris! I’ve walked this path myself over the last 25 years (almost!) so I can attest to the effectiveness of these steps. Of course, it takes a long time. Astrology is an incredibly complex field. The more you learn, the more you find out what you don’t know!

The only thing I might add to this list is to go through a certification program by a reputable astrological organization such as NCGR or ISAR. One gets a huge sense of accomplishment by passing these tests, and they will produce a well-rounded astrologer because you’re forced to study things you might otherwise pass over. Plus I think they are good for the profession.

Another word about local groups, too. A lot of major cities have them these days. I myself am founder and president of the San Francisco Astrological Society so I speak from lots of experience here. Local groups are a great way to meet other astrologers in your area and socialize with folks of a like mind who understand the lingo. So many astrologers are really isolated and I’m sure some prefer it that way. But most of us benefit from meeting together and talking shop. So if you live in a city that has a group — support it!! Become a member and go to meetings. That’s what keeps these organizations afloat.

Many, many for a great list and set of resources, Chris. I commend you.

I second Linea’s comment. People don’t realize how many years it takes to become a good astrologer. I’d allow at least three years to get through these ten tips, and that’s if you’re very smart and immerse yourself in it completely. My road was unconventional (I’m an Aquarius!) and, I always thought, a shortcut, since I studied for “only” 10 years before I started doing private consultations. Most of the astrologers I know have been in the field twice as long as I have.

Hi Chris,
I entered my data at and stated that my moon sign is Cancer. In other charts, however, my moon sign always comes up as Gemini – any thoughts?


i want to teach abt astrology in my life cycle.
what can ido for known about my palm in my hand,fingers, nails,hasth rekha.

[…] I am going to assume that what she means by “knowledge” is “certainty, because there are a lot of astrologers are into knowing a lot about astrology! That said, it is clear that she knows enough about astrology to have the good sense to link to Chris Brennan’s excellent tips for learning astrology. […]

lol, it’s quite funny reading this article, astrology is so different from astrophysics. These heavenly theories are just path to escape the ultimate truth and reality. I wonder why so many people take these things so seriously, not to mention ‘most’ do believe they are ‘real’. but the problem is: Heavens are indeed impalpable and if they ever exist there is liitle hope of ever seeing one, so if we cant test the way we test normal theories, then it’s not science or reality, it’s philosophy. I’d hope ppl put more effort on”science” not some insipid dreams.

And here is my comment on this rather intriguing article.

I realize you can’t mention all the correspondence courses out there, but just want to say that mine (Exploring Astrology) has attracted students all over the world for the last 15 years. Those of my students who have gone on to take the national organizations’ certification exams have done very well.

Thank you for creating this list. This will be very useful to me. I feel like I have a road map now!

Thank you for writing such an enlightening article. I myself am just getting into astrology and reading something such as this is invaluable to my ongoing education.

Giving knowledg to one is a great job.Here you gave to mankind….!

Thank you for this excellent article on Astrology Basics.
It is great to have an informative place to refer to when talking Astrology to beginners. My astrology learning began in 1986/87 and it always excites me to find such a wonderful site – recommended by Astrologers I respect & displaying such a high level of professionalism. Well Done!

Dear Chris Brennan

I’m from South Africa and I’m about to begin a Correspondence Course in Astrology.

I was introduced to astrology by an author named Linda Goodman. Is her teachings worthwhile and valid?

Linda Goodman the Sun-sign author? I always thought that some of her delineations were interesting, even though they were just based on Sun-signs. I don’t know much about her work besides that though. We all have to start somewhere, and for many people her books were an initial starting point or gateway for astrological studies, so there is nothing wrong with that as long as you eventually move passed Sun-signs.


Very nice tips indeed. I have always wanted to learn astrology but so far I never had the time. For absolute beginners like me the first two points on your list are the best way to start.


10 Tips For Learning Astrology…

A detailed list of steps to take in order to learn astrology and eventually become an astrologer, written by Chris Brennan on the Horoscopic Astrology Blog. …

whose chart is shown in the picture? the leo ascendant degree in the chart is exactly the same as mine. is it the author’s?

It is actually just an event chart that I cast on while I was writing the article.

It’s unfortunate that this article begins with a swipe at Sun-sign columns. I recognize that most of them are not well done, but through history some of the very best astrology has happened in Sun-sign columns. Dane Rudhyar wrote the first one in the United States. Patric Walker did astrology that I have yet to see surpassed by anyone — Sun sign writer or not — and all he did was write astrology columns. Sun sign columns are only as good as the writer who is creating them. If the writer is a generalizer, the columns will reflect that. If the writer has insight into both astrology and human nature, the writing will reflect that. This is true of the creative products of anyone.

Some ‘proper’ astrologers question the validity of writing short blurbs that people read in a newspaper. What they forget is that most people hear about astrology through newspaper columns. This is a reason for astrology to put its best writers and most skilled practitioners in this vital public relations position, instead of anyone else. For those seeking to learn astrology, interpreting daily or weekly, using one chart to come up with ideas for all 12 signs, is an excellent exercise. You will learn about some very helpful traditional practices, such as rulerships and whole sign houses.

In an article a few years back on I explained that Sun sign columns are rooted in the most traditional form of astrology currently in common practice — horary astrology. Here is the link, if I can get it to work:

To Chris’s list of things to do to become a good astrologer, I would add, at the top of the list: write about astrology. This will provide a focusing lens so that you can figure out what you know, and then determine how to apply it. Few things will clarify the ideas in your mind like writing and sharing them with other people.

To his suggestion that you read voraciously, I would add: take what you read with a grain of salt. Not every astrology book comes from a sane or soulful perspective. Some have agendas that don’t fit your agenda. Others are wildly outdated, or ignorant of the many developments of the 80s and 90s, such as Project Hindsights many discoveries, or new planetary discoveries, or for that matter, your specific chart; your particular reason for getting involved.

Keep an open mind! And remember, it’s ALL astrology, no matter what form it may take.

Hey Eric,

Thanks for your comments. Your point is well taken, and I think for the most part we are pretty much in agreement here.

I should point out the purpose of my opening statement was not to completely reject the validity or usefulness of Sun-sign columns, but simply to distance or contrast what we might call full-fledged ‘horoscopic’ astrology from some of the more poorly written or just purely lame mainstream Sun-sign columns, some of which are not even written by actual astrologers at this point.

In fact, not too long ago I even featured a guest post from a friend of mine on how to write a Sun-sign astrology column, which actually shows up in the related posts section of this very article:

So, I am far from being an opponent of Sun-sign astrology.

However, while I recognize the validity and usefulness of this form of astrology, I do not think that anyone should be content to just stop at that point in their knowledge of astrology instead of proceeding further. Moving on to recognize and study the more advanced forms of astrology is a necessary and vital step in order to have anything more than a superficial understanding of the subject, in my opinion. Sure, some Sun-sign delineations can be rather deep and meaningful, but that is not the same thing as a full delineation of the natal chart.

In some way I see this as a sort of logical progression of things, where people naturally start with some sort of familiarity with Sun-sign astrology, but then eventually they graduate to the next level, like going from preschool to grade school. At some point, if someone is seriously interested in astrology, it will be time for them to move on to the next level. While it is not necessary for them to completely denigrate and reject what they had previously learned through the Sun-sign columns, obviously they will be forced to acknowledge that there is something that is incomplete or lacking in that more simplistic approach to the subject.

Hi Chris, thanks for posting my reply. A longer version is currently on Planet Waves.

Some of the most erudite astrologers of our times are or have been Sun sign writers. Jonathan Cainer has a profound education in astrology, having been trained at the Faculty in London. Melanie Reinhart, one of the best educated astrologers alive, stood in for Patric when he was very sick with AIDS. So did Howard Sasportas. Rick Levine has is one of the most knowledgeable astrologers you will meet…and he writes Sun sign columns. Most of us who feel a true devotion to the work have pretty deep educations. You have to know a lot to be effective at doling out advice 365 days a year. If you’re going to be good, you must have something to say.

I view writing Sun signs as an essential part of an astrologer’s education. You get to boil down a lot of information into a salient statement that’s designed for other people to understand. It’s necessary to come out of jargon. And the truth is that ALL the same rules of interpretation apply. You are writing TO the Sun (sign) but FROM a position of looking at every factor you want, from several layers of rulership, to lots, to aspects, and if you’re creative you can even use progressions.

It’s important to distinguish the technique from the application. Sun signs appear deceptively simple, but I think they are prime training ground and I would repeat what I said at the Blast in 2007: we need the BEST young astrologers doing this work, not the bottom feeders.

I would be happy to contribute a more coherent op-ed to your site on this subject, Chris. Thanks for giving it air time.

Hi Chris, how are you?
Would you give me permission to translate your tips and publish them on my website inclusive of your curriculum?
So many thanks, Nunzia Coppola Meskalila

Hi Nunzia,

That would be fine with me. I will send you an email with the other information you need now.

Thanks for this link Jack! I had updated the conference list a couple of times since I originally wrote this article, although I haven’t been very on the ball lately, so this is a good resource for people to be aware of.

This is a well thought out article. All of your suggestions are absolutely correct.

Like with most other things, in astrology too, practice makes perfect. Analysing your own chart or that of someone who you know well also helps in making good interpretations, as you are able to relate astrological characteristics with actual events.

am also a vedic astrologer,after reading this article am totally agree what you have said. The more you read the more you learn. To learn a astrology best way is to join a course and make a guru. The most important thing see lots of horoscope and predict to make your prediction strong.