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10 Tips For Learning Astrology
October 19, 2007 – 3:23 am | 62 Comments

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.

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Home » astrological tips and guides

Tips For Writing A Sun-sign Astrology Column

Posted by on December 10, 2008 at 12:08 pm20 Comments

At one point or another, many astrologers and astrology enthusiasts try their hand at writing a Sun-sign column.

After years of sneering at bad horoscopes and superficial zodiac sign generalizations, the difficulty of creating something worth reading can come as a bit of a shock.

If you’re thinking of trying your hand at it, here are a few tips:

1. You’re Not Reading A Full Chart

You have only a little bit of information about your readers. Don’t focus on the limitations of only working with the Sun’s position. Instead, think of what you can do. Embrace the challenge.

2. Observe The People Around You

Know their Sun signs. If what you’re writing applies to 3-4 of the people you know of the same Sun-sign, you’re probably on the right track.

3. Solar Houses Are Your Friend

Without an ascendant, you can’t use houses. This is not a new problem though. Undocumented birth times have plagued astrologers from the beginning. The solution is solar houses

Solar houses are simply whole sign houses derived from the natal Sun-sign. Whatever sign of the zodiac the Sun is in, that becomes the first house, and then the sign after that becomes the second house, and so on.

So, for example, if a person has their natal Sun in Cancer, then Cancer becomes the 1st house, from 0 to 30 degrees of that sign, Leo becomes the 2nd house, Virgo the 3rd house, etc.

Indian astrologers commonly draw houses from the Sun (Surya Lagna) if the Moon and Ascendant are unknown. You will be surprised at how accurate solar houses can be.

4. Balance Style and Substance

There are a lot of Sun-Sign columns out there. If you don’t have a distinctive style, why should someone read yours?

At the same time, if all you provide is attitude, it’s going to wear thin really quickly. Balance style and substance.

5. Don’t Be Trite

Don’t smother every horoscope you write with the same general life lessons. People get tired of hearing that everything that happens to them is part of their soul’s evolution. By spiritualizing everything, you deny truly transformative experiences their real value.

6. Get The Big Picture

Look at what’s happening each week astrologically, and find out what the big configuration is. Then think about how its going to affect each of the signs. Don’t get fixated on the small stuff and miss the big picture.

7. Pay Attention To Rulers

Mars’ ingress into a new sign means way more to Aries and Scorpio than it does to a Pisces. Likewise, Mercury’s retrograde is going to affect Virgo and Gemini significantly. Pay attention to what each sign’s ruler is doing.

8. Stations Are Important

Stations are when the planets stand up and shout. They make obvious impacts in a person’s life. Pay special attention to Mars’ and Venus’ retrogrades. They wreak havoc on people’s personal lives.

9. Don’t Overgeneralize

Avoid writing in generalities. The ingress of Mercury into a person’s sign will certainly turn up the volume of communications in a person’s life, but if you write, “this week you will receive many communications” you’ve said nothing. That happens every week. Tell them there is going to be a noticeable increase.

10. We’re in this together

Don’t forget to draw on your own experience. Your own experience is a valid part of the whole.

For example, the Saturn-Uranus opposition has created financial stress for the entire American economy (among other things). We’re all dealing with it, though from different positions. The millionaire whose stocks have lost 20% of their value in the last few months and the McDonald’s employee who’s not getting the raise they planned on will both understand what you mean by cramped cash flow.

This goes back to what is known as the doctrine of subsumption that Ptolemy outlined in the Tetrabiblos in the 2nd century. The gist of it is that individual charts or nativities are subsumed by larger overarching astrological trends in mundane astrology.

Concluding Remarks

A Sun-Sign column may not be the pinnacle of the ars astrologica,  but it can be a fun and worthwhile way to address what’s happening on a larger scale. It challenges you to articulate your perceptions without relying on jargon. For the advanced astrologer, it has a very special function: it helps remind you that even though that-stellium-you-have -in-Virgo-is-being-lit-up-like-crazy-by-your-Zodiacal-releasing-secondary-period-and-that-its-ruler-is-being-conjoined-by-2-asteroids-and-Uranus, the Sun still matters. Yes it does.
(Unless you’re a night chart…)

About the Author

This post was written by guest blogger Austin Coppock. Austin is an astrologer operating out of the San Francisco Bay Area, who has authored years of weekly columns, as well as yearly Astrological Almanacs for 2011, 2012 and 2013. His website, hosts a regularly updated collection of astrology articles.  

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About Chris Brennan

Chris is a practicing astrologer from Denver, Colorado, USA. He is the former President of the Association for Young Astrologers, as well as the former Research Director of the National Council for Geocosmic Research. He offers personal consultations and teaches online classes through his website at

Hellenistic Astrology Course


  • yuzuru says:

    sun signs and horoscope ?

  • Chris Brennan says:

    There is this interesting interview that Garry Phillipson did with Nick Campion a while back in which Campion defended the practice of Sun-sign astrology:

    Nick’s interview got me thinking about the subject. I’m sure its possible to write a somewhat respectable Sun-sign column if it is done properly. Of course, most of them are pretty lame, but that doesn’t mean that they necessarily have to be, or that you couldn’t employ a number of normal techniques that you would usually employ in a full delineation of a natal chart – whole sign houses, aspects, ingresses, stations, etc.

    Instead of lamenting about the fact that Sun-sign columns exist in the world, I thought it would be interesting to see how they might be improved, or how one might write a more advanced type of column. Even if you never actually put it into practice, it is an interesting prospect to think about.

  • Joanna Tait says:

    I have been studying UK weekly sun sign columnists for the last two years. They do not all follow the rules that are so well described in this excellent article. Those that do provide a real service to people who are not ready to commit to a personal consultation. Sally Brompton and Jane Ridder Patrick are to be commended.(UK sunday papers: the Observer and the Sunday Post).
    I’ve been trying my own hand during my studies and believe the exercise has improved my interpreting skills for one-to-one astrology.

  • Chris Brennan says:

    Thanks for your comments Joanna!

    Based on your studies over the past few years, are there any points that you might add to the list?

  • Joanna Tait says:


    Another one to add from personal experience is maybe:

    Think about your type of audience. If it’s a publication read by old ladies, don’t go on too much about their sex lives or their career/life balance!

    All the best

  • Chris Brennan says:

    Good point!

  • Joseph L says:

    Chris, are you familiar with ? Astrologer Christopher Witecki does a really great job at these Sun-Sign horoscopes, in my humble opinion. In fact they are so good that I have written to him asking about how to determine the Ruling Planet of the day. I still don’t know. But it’s not the tradtional “Saturnday, Moonday” etc. Chris has Leo Rising, Leo Moon, and he is really good at impersonating the signs, it’s fun to watch. With a Taurus Sun and 10th house, the 1000’s of videos he has amassed show his success, which more than anything, is based on accuracy and devotion. horoscopes of course are awesome, and thought provoking. Rob Brezsny gives his readers homework! That idea is not mentioned in this article. He also has an incredible eclectic wealth of sources from which he draws examples for his horoscopes, comparing previous situations to what is happening now.

    I feel that if one knows the ruling planet of the day, then making Sun-Sign Horoscopes would be easy. Anyone know where to find this out?

  • Joseph L says:

    astroweather is on as well.

  • jo says:

    christopher witecki sounds familiar, i think he does doesn’t he? he definetely has presence and holds your attention, i agree that he’s one of the good ones

  • Astro says:

    All your points are valid.

    When you say, “Don’t Overgeneralize”, I think like any other subject, writing a good astrology column depends greatly on your writing skills.

  • NR says:

    Loved this post.

  • Kristina says:

    Sun sign horoscopes are a conspiracy to keep the general population nonbelievers in astrology as a true science.

  • NR says:

    Hi Kristina, your comment grabbed my interest because it brings up an important question.

    There are two schools of thought: One that is totally against sun sign horoscopes because it gives such a limited picture. And the other that believes that sun sign horoscopes in the media keep astrology alive in the minds of the general population.

    If we forsake sun sign horoscopes, what do we replace them with in newspapers and magazines? All an average person knows is his sun sign.

    On a related note, it was after reading Michael Lutin’s “SunShines: The Astrology of Being Happy” I realized how revealing solar charts can be. The book looks at only the sun and the nodes but it packs quite a punch.

  • Kristina says:

    I appreciate your response NR. Didn’t mean to be extreme although even though the sun may be a predominate factor in ones birth chart when it comes to transiting planets there is too little to work with. And for that reason I believe those horoscopes in the paper are purely entertainment for most. What inspired my path was accuracy. My introduction to astrology years ago was Linda Goodmans Sun Signs. I still read that book it’s one of my favorites but I don’t believe you can do much as far as predictions with only the sun so I think it’s more of a diservice than anything. But hey that’s only my opinion and since I have a Taurus sun it would take alot to convince me otherwise:) I’ll have to check out the book you mentioned. Thanks.

  • NR says:

    Kristina, your passion’s a gift. It’s always lovely to meet it in others.

    P.S. If you have the time, please also check out this interview of Mr. Lutin’s. It isn’t about the subject we just discussed, but it is about astrology and astrologers and I loved it:

  • Kristina says:

    I’ve always wondered why not add to these columns a mini-lesson of some sort? Then maybe the sun-sign audience (which I’m sure is quite large) would become more familiar with what astrology really is and maybe want to go beyond just reading their daily “horoscope”.

  • Rebecca says:

    Really, really helpful. Thanks.

  • Joseph S says:

    Sorry if this post appears twice—I may have accidentally deleted the first!

    My question is: does it matter what time of day the Sun-Sign astrologer casts the chart for? Or location? Here I’m thinking of national magazines and newspapers whose readership may extend across several time zones.

  • Chris Brennan says:

    It matters to a certain extent, in terms of what time during the day an ingress takes place, or when an aspect goes exact. There isn’t really any way to get around that though when you are writing a somewhat general column. I guess you just have try to determine who the majority of your readers are and where they live, and then try to find a suitable time in the middle to target.

  • Cee says:

    The best Sun-sign column I ever saw was one in which the astrologer divided each sign into decans. This enabled her to work with aspects of the transiting planets to the person’s Sun. She started each sign’s forecast with a few appropriate remarks about the sign in general, then added one or two short sentences that started: “If your birthday falls between 21st and 30th June, you may find that …” for each decan of the sign (Cancer in the case of the example).

    She was a very talented lady, adept at picking out the “high-light” aspect in each case.

    The Parkers (of “The Compleat Astrologer” fame) published the book “Future Now” in 1988, and it has quite a large section devoted to Sun-sign astrology, with very detailed instructions on how to “do” it.