Do Horoscopes Actually Mean Anything? Yes and No.

As a kid, I loved reading the horoscopes in the newspaper. It felt mystical and like a little piece of magic tucked away in a paper that was otherwise mostly about corn prices and news from the Statehouse. Did it ever really resonate with me? Not really because I was a kid and had no love interests, money, or a job! But, even if any of those things pertained to me, would it have described what my day would’ve been like? Do horoscopes actually mean anything?

Horoscopes are based on the 12 sun signs of the Zodiac and where the planets are moving that day. This provides some insight, but is very general and can’t take into account important details from an individual’s birth chart such as their moon and rising signs. Only when done well they will click.

So if some horoscopes are too generic to be helpful, how are some more high quality, and what type of information would an astrologer need to offer a much better astrological reading for someone?

How Horoscopes are Written

woman looking at a magazine with a surprised expression on her face, asking the question, do horoscopes mean anything

Most people know their sun sign. It is the answer people give when asked “what’s your sign” and the descriptions of these sun signs are what most astrologers use when writing their horoscopes. Everyone born between two dates will have the same sun sign, so they can be used to give very broad and general information about how people with a certain sign may handle the “events of the day”.

For an astrologer writing a horoscope, the “events of the day” I’m referring to are the movements of the planets, including the moon which is considered a planet in astrology. In astrology, it is believed that where the planets are in relation to the sun and earth can influence the mood, energy levels, libido, and outlook for a person and even the world, depending on the planet involved.

When writing horoscopes, the astrologer may look at the astrological “weather” for the day, in what areas of life some of the sun signs may struggle or where others may feel more loving or outgoing, and ask themselves how someone in that sun sign may handle the situation.

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It’s a little bit of prediction mixed with a little bit of psychology.

There are more high-quality horoscopes out there than what most of us see on a regular basis, but regardless, you can think of horoscopes as very short and very general mini-astrology readings. But if the horoscope writer was sitting with you personally right now, instead of trying to do readings for thousands of people at once, what would they do differently to give you a much more specific and accurate horoscope?

Your Moon Sign

Know someone’s birth date and you know their Sun sign. That is why they are what is used in horoscopes. But, there is much more to a birth chart than that and another big player is the Moon sign.

To know your Moon sign you need to know your exact time and place of birth. This is what makes it impossible for an astrologer to use it in the general horoscopes they are writing. It refers to the sign of the Zodiac where the Moon was at the moment you were born.

While the Sun sign helps describe the essence of who you are and what your goals are here on earth, your Moon sign describes more of your inner workings. It is your emotional landscape, how you handle the ups and downs of day-to-day life, and it is incredibly influential on your personality.

*Learn how to find your moon sign in our quick guide for beginners here!

Your Rising Sign

This is another vital piece of information found in your birth or natal chart, but another one where you have to know your exact time and place of birth. It refers to what sign of the Zodiac the horizon line was in when you were born.

Your rising sign is the filter through which the rest of the world sees you. This doesn’t mean it is your identity. It is just the sign of the Zodiac that acts as the lens that others see us through. The people in your life may describe you as your rising sign.

But our rising sign isn’t just our outer wrapping. It also describes motivations and needs that will make us feel more in harmony when navigating the world.

*Learn a lot more about your rising sign and what the ascendant means in a birth chart in our beginners guide here!

The Houses

Another piece of the birth chart puzzle that astrologers have to know your exact time and place of birth to access are the placement of the houses in your chart. So, this information also can’t be represented in your horoscope.

There are 12 houses, each one representing a different area or facet of your life. The sign(s) that fall in each house and any planets that reside there can offer insight as to how you may approach specific areas of your life.

The houses can also offer clues as to which parts of life may be the most significant for you in terms of challenge or personal growth.

*Want to know what my VERY favorite astrology books are? Find out here!

Aspects

The Sun signs relied upon to write horoscopes have no way of offering insight as to where the planets were sitting when you were born. But, they are vitally important when doing a birth chart reading.

Where planets are in relation to other planets is called aspects in astrology. For instance, planets that are directly opposite of one another on a natal chart are said to have an aspect called an “opposition” which may indicate an area of tension. Two planets sitting very closely are in “conjunction” and cooperate well with one another.

Aspects add more dimension and “flavor” to a reading and to a personality and also explain why two people who may have the same sun, moon, and rising signs may not approach life in exactly the same way.

Transits

Even though your birth chart is a snapshot of the heavens the moment of your birth, astrology is far from a static thing. The planets in motion continue to affect us. In astrology, moving planets are said to be in transit and the current transits are used when writing horoscopes. This is what I referred to earlier as the astrological “weather forecast.”

Highly educated astrologers can look to the transits of specific planets and draw information on how it may affect the mood of society.

The use of transiting planets can be a powerful tool, but again, a blunt one without access to the other features of a person’s natal chart. With chart in hand, an astrologer can see how a moving Saturn, for example, may make specific aspects with the Venus or Mars on your birth chart, offering a much more personalized view of how you may be influenced by it than a more generic horoscope could provide.

Your Own Free Will

One more thing to keep in mind when thinking about the meaning of horoscopes is your own free will! I have heard a birth chart referred to as a “map” or an “invitation.” The universe has prepped your soul with specific tools, motivations, and challenges, but just like a map and an invitation, it doesn’t have to be followed or accepted. You can try taking some of your own turns just to see where they lead, and you can show up late for dinner.

Free will plays a role in how much a horoscope means to you, as well, and how much you will resonate with it.

So, does a horoscope mean anything? Like so many things in life, yes and no. There is meaning there, but it is very general and can’t be replaced by the personalization and detail a natal chart reading can offer.

*Another question you may have is, what else is astrology used for besides horoscopes? We have a post that explores that very question and you can find it here!

What do you want to learn about next?

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