Remember, you can click on the planet symbols inside the planet boxes to learn more about the meaning of each planet. (See the sign, aspect and house links along the top of the grid for information on those areas.)
At the bottom of each planet box you will see numbers and letters like this: "22Sco37". The first two-digit number is the degree (0 to 29) followed by the sign (Aries, Taurus, etc.) in a three-letter abbreviation, followed by the minutes (0 to 59). The 360 degree circle of the Zodiac is divided into 12 signs of 30 degrees each, and each degree is further divided into 60 minutes. The example above reads "22 degrees Scorpio plus 37 minutes." (Sometimes a small 'R' will appear at the end of these numbers. See "retrograde motion" near the bottom of this page to find out what the R symbol means.)
When you move your cursor over a planet box, the text description that appears will contain plus and minus signs. The plus (+) signs indicate the planet projects energy outward, minus (-) signs indicate the planet has a receptive quality, and plus/minus (+/-) signs indicate both energies are involved. (This is a simplified way of looking at things but can be very helpful.)
For example, the Sun (+) projects the energy of the inner personality outward, and the Moon (-) is receptive to energy on an emotional level. The way your Moon relates to another's Sun determines how well you will be able to appreciate the inner being of that person on an emotional level.
The energies of two planets can combine in favorable or unfavorable ways depending upon the qualities of the individual planets and the angle (aspect) between them. Two (+) planets produce an active exchange where the interaction will be obvious. Two (-) planets create a condition where the interaction will be more inward. Planets with (+/-) energies will create a stimulating effect on both (-) and (+) planets, and will react responsively to (+) planets. When two (+/-) planets interact it will create both stimulating and receptive effects in both directions. Understanding this outward/inward movement of energy helps a great deal in recognizing the effects the planets have upon each other.
You will notice an 'R' attached to some of the planet positions, i.e., "22Sco37R." The 'R' indicates the planet was moving in retrograde motion at the time of birth. "Retrograde" means that from the point of view of someone on the Earth, the planet appears to be traveling backwards across the sky. The planets do not actually travel backwards, but it sometimes appears that they do. The best way to illustrate this is by performing a little demonstration.
Sun: Inner Self (+)
How one perceives oneself
Leo (fifth house)
The Sun represents one's inner being, the way we think of ourselves as a personality. This is different from the Ascendant (sign rising over the eastern horizon at the time of birth) which represents how we are perceived by others. The Sun is associated with the sign of Leo, which is out-going, gregarious and attention seeking. The astrological sign the Sun was in at the time of birth is referred to as one's Sun Sign, and the qualities of that sign will describe the nature of that person's inner being.
The Sun projects energy outward. The most significant aspects of the Sun in compatibility are its relationship to the other's Sun, to the Moon (emotional being), Venus (love and values), Mars (physical energy) and house placement.
Moon: Emotional Being (-)
Depth and quality of feelings
Cancer (forth house)
The Moon represents emotional activity and the nurturing principle. Some people are emotionally open and "wear their heart on their sleeve," while others may appear emotionally restrained. The Moon is associated with the sign of Cancer, which is caring and nurturing. The sign the Moon appears in influences the way we perceive and express our emotions.
The Moon is receptive. The most significant aspects of the Moon in compatibility are the Sun (inner being), Ascendant (self expression -- how others project themselves) Mars (physical energy), the other's Moon, and house placement.
Mercury: Communication (+/-)
Virgo/Gemini (sixth/third house)
Mercury represents communication, intellect and verbal expression. Mercury is associated with the signs Virgo and Gemini. Virgo is analytical and concerned with details. Gemini is lighthearted and spontaneous, often moving in two directions at once, always alert to anything new going on. The sign Mercury appears in influences how these thinking and communication qualities are expressed.
Mercury both projects and receives energy. The most significant aspects to Mercury in compatibility are the other's Mercury, the Sun (inner being), the Moon (emotional receptivity), Mars (physical energy) and house placement.
Venus: Values (-)
Female energy, love, aesthetics
Taurus/Libra (second/seventh house)
Venus represents love, romance, the feminine principle and female sexual energy. It also represents our sense of values and aesthetics, artistic expression, money, and our sense of quality. Venus is associated with the signs Taurus and Libra. Taurus is patient and concerned with value. Libra is socially oriented and concerned with the well being of others. The sign Venus appears in influences how these qualities are expressed.
Venus is receptive. The most significant aspects in compatibility are Mars (physical energy), the Sun (inner being), Pluto (sexual expression), Moon (emotional receptivity) Ascendant (self expression) and house placement.
Mars: Physical Energy (+)
Ambition, sex drive.
Aries (sometimes Scorpio) (first[eighth] house)
Mars represents physical energy, ambition, aggression and male sexual energy. It's where we get our "get up and go." Mars is associated with the sign of Aries, but many astrologers also associate it with Scorpio. Aries deals with the impulse to move, grow and change, like the sprout of a new plant striving to reach the sunlight. To a lesser degree, Mars is also associate with Scorpio, the "behind the scenes" or psychic undercurrent type of force sometimes described as animal magnetism. The sign Mars is in influences the way we express our physical energy.
Mars projects energy. It's most significant aspects in compatibility are Venus (love and female energy), the Sun (inner self), Moon (emotional receptivity), Pluto (sexual expression), Ascendant (self expression) and house placement.
Jupiter: Abundance (+)
Sagitarius (ninth house)
Jupiter represents abundance. It is the most "liked" planet because Jupiter usually indicates where luck and opportunities are most likely to be found. In broad terms it can be thought of as indicating "more" of whatever happens to be involved. Jupiter is associated with the sign of Sagitarius, the sign of the philosopher, higher education and travel. The sign Jupiter appears in influences how we express ourselves most easily.
Jupiter projects energy. The most significant aspects in terms of compatibility are the Sun (inner self), Moon (emotional being), Mars (physical energy), Venus (love and aesthetics), Ascendant (self expression), Pluto (sexual expression) and house placement.
Saturn: Reality (+)
Capricorn (tenth house)
Saturn represents reality. It is the least "liked" planet because it often means having to face reality, but it is also the principle that can make things real, usually after long delays or very hard work. Saturn helps us grow through overcoming resistance, and in terms of "happy compatibility" we would all prefer Saturn didn't exist at all, but without it, little in life would have meaning. Saturn is associated with the sign of Capricorn, which deals with authority, organization and social status. The sign Saturn appears in influences where we experience the most difficulty, and often the greatest rewards, in life.
Saturn projects energy. The most significant compatibility aspects to Saturn are the other's Saturn, the Sun (inner self), Moon (emotional receptivity), Mars (physical energy), Venus (values), Ascendant (self expression) and house placement.
Uranus: Spontaneity (+)
Innovation and the unexpected
Aquarius (eleventh house)
Uranus represents the principle of surprise and spontaneity, of innovation, and sudden and unexpected change, sometimes explosive, often producing long term results. (Short term spontaneous outbursts usually concern the Sun, Mars, Moon and Mercury.) Uranus is associated with the sign of Aquarius, the non-conformist, inquisitive, socially mobile principle. The sign Uranus appears in influences our sense spontaneity, non-conformity and personal freedom.
Uranus projects energy in sudden and unexpected bursts. The most significant compatibility aspects are the Sun (inner self), Venus (romance and values), Moon (emotional receptivity), Mars (physical energy), Pluto (sexual expression) and house placement. (Being a slow moving outer planet these effects are sometimes not immediately noticeable.)
Neptune: Spirituality (-)
Pisces (twelfth house)
Neptune represents the spiritual side of life, and all those metaphysical processes which are often hidden from normal awareness. Illusion, delusion, intuition, dream experience, psychic phenomena, etc. are all in the realm of Neptune. It is associated with the sign of Pisces, which deals with the mystical, unconscious and spiritual forces in life. The sign where Neptune appears describes how we relate to these deeper, unconscious processes.
Neptune is receptive (most of the time). The most significant compatibility aspects to Neptune are the Sun (inner self), Saturn (physical reality), Moon (emotional being), Mars (physical energy), Venus (values), Mercury (communication) and house placement. (Being a slow moving outer planet Neptune's effects are sometimes not immediately noticeable.)
Pluto: Transformation (+/-)
Sexual and psychic energy
Scorpio (eighth house)
Pluto represents the cycle of life and death, birth and regeneration, renewal through destruction and the sexual principle. It is associated with the sign of Scorpio and has deeply penetrating effects that are not always visible on the surface. Psychic ability and "animal magnetism" or charisma are related to Pluto. The sign where Pluto is found will affect how this "undercurrent" of energy is expressed.
Pluto both projects and receives energy. The most significant compatibility aspects to Pluto are Mars (physical energy), Venus (values and the feminine principle), Saturn (reality), the Sun (inner self) and house placement. Although Pluto is a slow moving outer planet and it's affects are not readily apparent on the surface, its influence is often a significant part of an individual's private personality.
Ascendant, North Node and South Node
Ascendant: Outer Self (+)
How others perceive us
The ascendant refers to the particular sign which was rising over the eastern horizon at the moment of birth. For this reason the ascendant is also referred to as the "rising sign." The ascendant represents the beginning of the first house, or the first house "cusp." (The word "cusp" refers to where a sign or house begins or ends, a dividing line between things.) The Ascendant is one of the three most important elements in a natal astrology chart (the other two being the Sun and Moon). It represents how we project ourselves outwardly toward others, as opposed to how we see ourselves personally, which is represented by our Sun sign.
North Node: Positive "karma" (+/-)
Where things naturally go well
The north and south nodes are hypothetical points in space. They are the locations where the Moon reaches it furthest point north (north node) or south (south node) each day as the Earth spins on its axis. These positions are displayed inside an astrology chart in the same way that planets are.
The north node is astrologically associated with what is most easily described as "good karma," or areas in life where things usually go well for an individual. Skills or abilities are acquired more easily in the area of life represented by the house where the north node is located, and aspects to the north node by other planets are often favorable.
South Node: Negative "karma" (+/-)
Where things need to be learned
The south node is considered to be the opposite of the north node. It implies an area of life where lessons need to be learned and achievements require more effort. In this respect the south node is similar to Saturn, providing challenges which add value to life and help us grow as individuals. Such experiences generally become enjoyable only after the obstacles have been overcome.
Although the Nodes and Ascendant are not planets, their positions can be treated like planets in astrological interpretations. The expanded astro-grid displays these items in the same way the planets are displayed, and their relationships to planets and house positions have been scored.
Place a pencil on a table and point it away from an imaginary Sun in the center of the table. Imagine that the walls around you are the stationary stars. The eraser end is the Earth and middle of the pencil is Mars (further out from the Sun). Now move the pencil in a circle around the "Sun" with the eraser end (Earth) moving a tiny bit faster around the Sun than the center (Mars). Watch where the pencil points. When the Earth gets ahead of Mars, someone on the Earth would see Mars appearing to move backwards, yet both are moving forward in their orbits around the Sun.
You may have noticed a vaguely similar affect when sitting in your car while parked inside an automated car wash. As the machinery moves toward the rear of the car it sometime appears that the car is moving forward while actually being stationary. This is not a great example to explain what retrograde motion is, but it demonstrates how sometimes things can appear to be moving in different directions than they really are.
A lot of people believe a planet in retrograde motion is a negative thing, particularly retrograde Mercury, which happens quite often. In my opinion it simply means it will take longer for the planetary position, and thus its influence, to move forward. In terms of compatibility retrograde motion is generally not a significant factor.