How to Learn Astrology Without Getting Lost

Let’s talk about how you can use astrology in your life.

If you’re an astrology nerd, I’m sure you’ve spent hours going down rabbitholes like me, learning about different astrological techniques and theories. Maybe you’re struggling to synthesize everything, or understand when conflicting ideas might apply.

And if you’re newer, or even just curious about astrology, you might be totally overwhelmed by all the possibilities within this rich tradition and have no idea where to start.

Plenty of astrologers will have an answer for you, and suggest a particular technique, framework, or practice as a starting point. None of them are wrong. But they all have a viewpoint!

For me, the most helpful approach has been starting from my why.

Why are you interested in astrology? And even beyond that, what are the values, beliefs, and mindsets that shape your overall approach to life? How do you find and explore meaning? What matters to you?

Astrology is a language. And like any language, it can communicate a whole hell of a lot of things! When you have a sense of a starting point, at least, for what you’re hoping to do with that language, then you can dig into the most relevant vocabulary and grammar for that function.

I’ve also found that this approach helps me to set boundaries around what I’m not going to focus on, so that I don’t end up with 150 unread blog posts in my queue 😂

An Example: How De-Emphasizing Timing Helped Me Learn Astrology

I think this will make a little more sense if I share an example from my own learning and practice.

This may surprise you if you don’t know me or are new to astrology, but I don’t personally use predictive timing techniques. At all.

Why? Well, a key part of my personal cosmology is that the future is constantly unfolding, dynamic rather than static. And I’ve also found that staying grounded in the present moment is very supportive for my neurodivergent brain.

It’s not that I’m skeptical of astrological prediction’s ability to “work,” it just isn’t a priority or goal for me! Especially if I focus on a short period of time or trying to “understand” the future, using electional astrology for example, I’m likely to get anxious and over-focused on planning, all in my head and focused on the details of technique rather than feeling embodied and connected to my intuitive wisdom.

By contrast, I’ve found that when I ground into trust, focus on what’s present, and follow my intuition and passion around what I’m called to do right now, things to go pretty smoothly and surprising opportunities pop up.

Astrology fits into a larger context for me of intuitive, embodied, present-focused practice like this. It’s a language I use to better understand myself and what I’m currently experiencing.

So what this means in practice is that I typically use astrology for a few things:

  1. I consult my chart after something has occurred to better understand the patterns and rhythms of my life, rather than using it to plan. Astrology gives me a language for those patterns and rhythms.
  2. I find it useful when I’m going through something tough experientially to take a look at the current transits for affirmation and a reminder that the tough energy is temporary. I might use astrology for clues for how I might mitigate the tough experience, but I’m starting from the point of experience, and then looking at the stars second.
  3. I use my chart as a self-study or reflection tool, something that gives me useful prompts and insights just as a personality typing tool or a therapist might.
  4. I work with the energies of the planets and signs totally independently of any chart, as a way of organizing my thinking about the world and raising interesting questions.

This doesn’t mean I’m against electional astrology! It just doesn’t support the way I’m trying to be in the world, where I’m personally focused on growing, and so I don’t focus on studying it.

In fact, one of my values is diversity of practice, and I know that electional astrology and other timing techniques are super meaningful tools that are important for some astrologers and clients. They’re just not right for me.

In your own exploration you might find that there are some techniques you want to completely avoid, and others you don’t personally want to study, but you’re interested in receiving a reading from an astrologer in that area. For example, I’m not diving deep into astrological magic, but I’ll totally take a ritual suggestion from a reader who focuses on that field.

And of course, you might just think “I want to know everything!!!”

But in my experience, there’s so much out there that it can be a little overwhelming to start from a point of “I am going to learn all the astrology,” and so it’s useful to start your learning with a school, tradition, or technique that generally supports your cosmology and your purpose, as well as your personality, learning style, and how you want to feel when using astrology.

Because astrological tradition is so ancient, diverse, and constantly evolving, you’re not going to get a single answer to “what is Libra?” or “what is the function of my sun sign?” But you will be able to find an approach for practically any purpose and cosmology!

Exercise: Find a Starting Point to Learn Astrology

Here’s a simple exercise to get you started:

  1. Brainstorm a list of some of your core values and beliefs, especially as they relate to your cosmology and philosophies. For example, do you believe that the future is divinely prescribed? Is scientific accuracy most important to you? Do you believe that we all have a soul purpose? Do we live one or multiple lives? Are you interested in magic and mysticism, or a more practical approach?
  2. What is the purpose of learning and/or practicing astrology for you? For example, do you want to learn more about yourself? Get advice on how to behave or what paths to pursue? Know when to launch a project? Be able to chat with friends who are into astrology? Incorporate the planets into an existing magical or spiritual practice?
  3. Check your purpose against your values and beliefs. Do you find anything that doesn’t quite sync up? Do you find synchronicities? Are there any values or beliefs that you want to embody more of, but you’re not sure how astrology would apply to that goal? For example, maybe you’re opposed to capitalism, but you’re struggling to figure out how to meet your material needs in a capitalist culture, and you’re hoping astrology will help you answer that question.
  4. Consider what astrological methods and techniques might best fulfill your purpose.

Of course, #4 is going to be a little challenging if you’re not already familiar with astrology! You can book a free Explore Session with me if you need a little help quickly figuring that out 😉  I’m happy to make some suggestions!

I’ll also be writing some more blog posts on this topic that will help you to figure out what direction you might want to go, and if you need further support, I offer mentoring sessions appropriate for beginning astrology students and enthusiasts.

Do You Want to Learn Astrology, or Just Get a Reading?

Okay, Avory, I hear you saying. That’s all well and good, but I just wanted to know some stuff about my chart beyond my sun sign! Do I really need to do all this exploration?

Nah, not really. 😀 

If you mostly are interested in astrology just to learn a bit about yourself and aren’t looking to go into the weeds, I’d recommend a consult with an astrologer!

Trying to figure it out on your own is totally an option, and it’s one I took, but I found that receiving readings very quickly up-leveled my understanding in a way that haphazard study didn’t. Unlike some disciplines, unfortunately (or fortunately!) astrology isn’t one where you can just get whatever the astrologer’s going to tell you by Googling it yourself and reading for an hour.

It’s an art of interpretation that tends to require a lot of study and experience—but that also means that receiving a reading can provide a ton of insight and ideas for reflection over the following months, year, or even longer!

This is why a quick report that you can find for free or five bucks online might be fun, but not necessarily all that resonant for you. There are many pieces to put together within a single chart, and that’s what an astrology reading accesses—think of it as similar to interpreting a text. You could reading three different translations of the same epic poem and have three completely different and valuable takeaways, and the same goes for an astrology reading.

The best choice for an astrologer is going to be someone who aligns with some of your values and beliefs, and whose style matches your purpose. It’s also going to be someone who communicates in a way that resonates with you, and has context that’s relevant to your story.

An astrologer who’s a good match might share identities or background with you, or just be someone whose voice speaks to you when you check out the language on their website or social media. It’s a lot like choosing a coach or a therapist in this way!

You can find astrologers who are full of recent pop culture references and great jokes, astrologers whose language is spiritual and poetic, astrologers who focus on the technical details and communicate a little like a scientist… there’s an astrologer out there for every potential client.

While technical delineation is part of the process, and I’d definitely recommend an astrologer who has some demonstrated understanding of some form of astrology, I’ve also seen a lot of super technically proficient people struggle with the consultation part of astrology: the fact that a reading isn’t just about X placement = Y meaning, but it’s about interacting with the client, communicating in a resonant way, and having general wisdom about life alongside an ability to guide the client towards their own inner wisdom.

Knowing what you don’t know is key. Being able to listen deeply to the client and adapt as you go is key. Identifying areas where your cultural context may differ from the client’s and how things like systemic oppression, cultural specificities, and life experience shape the lived experience of a chart is key.

An astrology consult is a conversation, not just spitting out significations. It’s helping the client navigate how pieces of the chart fit together, but I think more importantly it’s responding to what the client needs and being able to connect that to the astrology. It’s an interdisciplinary art form—I’ve had readings from astrologers who reference mythology, queer theory, business strategy… the sky’s the limit!

So when I look for an astrologer, I personally tend to take a peak at the language they use on any public platforms, what they say about their services on their website or booking page, and any recommendations or testimonials to get a general feel, and then I use my intuition to decide if it’s going to be a good fit!

If you vibe with my writing, of course I’d love to work with you! My style is intuitive and embodied, with a focus on self-trust and an anti-capitalist, neuroemergent lens. I love to navigate charts using my intuitive gifts, and I have a talent for asking thought-provoking questions and uncovering perspectives you may not have considered. I especially love working with neurodivergent folks and others who struggle with “outsider feels.”

You can book a session here, and you can check out some more info about me here! Sliding scale slots are available.

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