The birth chart: It’s a snapshot of the sky on the moment you were born that can potentially dictate your personality, career, love life, and even what you need to overcome in order to live a peaceful, balanced life. It's "the map that you’re born with that sets the blueprint for your life, it’ll help you find your purpose," according to astrologer Lisa Stardust, Saturn Return Survival Guide author and creator of The Astrology Deck. It's — without a doubt — the most important tool in astrology. The problem? It's confusing as hell for even the most passionate of horoscope readers. If you have $100 to spare, you can get a professional astrologist to read your birth chart for you (which I highly recommend regardless), but if $20 is the most you're willing to spend, then The Astrology Deck is for you. Not to be confused with a Tarot or Oracle deck, this set of cards is meant to teach you how to read your birth chart and explains exactly what it all means. From houses and signs to planets and asteroids, these difficult-to-understand terms are made crystal clear for you to apply to your own life.
"No one has ever made a game that allows you to comprehend the birth chart sign by sign, house by house, and planet by planet. That is, until now. This astrology game and book will give you the insight and knowledge that’s needed to become an astrologer," Stardust says. As an astrology practitioner and self-proclaimed “magical thinker,” she created the deck to help “everyone to start their own journey into the cosmos or to play for fun with friends.” Adds Refinery29 health and wellness writer Lizzy Gulino: "Learning about astrology can often feel confusing and overwhelming, so having something as easy to follow as this deck is a must for anyone just starting their celestial journey or even for those who are brushing up on their skills. It’s definitely come in handy at times when I’ve been stuck on a specific astrological term.”
First step? Find your birth chart, duh. Just insert your birth date, time, and location into a free birth chart website like Cafe Astrology, and voila — your celestial map is produced! Like a screenshot of the sky the moment you were born, the map is divided into 12 sections (“houses”, in astrology-speak) that show how the planets and constellations (ie, the zodiac signs) were positioned when you came into the world. Each house represents an area in your life. (For example, the fourth house is tied to family, so if you have a lot of placements in your chart there, that means your familial relationships are very important for you.)
Having something as easy ... as this deck is a must for anyone just starting their celestial journey.
Lizzy Guilino, Rerfinery29 health writer
All these components of your chart — planets, zodiac signs, houses, and more — are the cards in the deck, with explanations for each one. You may only know your “sun” or primary sign (based on your birthday, it’s the one you probably think of as “your sign”), but the birth chart shows that there’s much more to learn about yourself beyond the standard catch-all monthly horoscope. If you're an avid astrology fan and already well-versed in your birth chart rest assured, this deck also includes some deep-cuts like Lilith, Chiron, North and South Nodes, and more. (IYKYK.) Regardless of your level of expertise, if you're ready to delve into your innermost soul wounds, these cards have got you covered.
Other cards included in the deck are less to do with your birth chart, and more with understanding the daily astrological transits. The qualities and elements describe the different types of signs, from mutable — usually easy-going signs like Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces — and fixed — stubborn signs like Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius. The lunar phases, eclipse and transits, and aspects describe what could be happening in the sky at any given moment and how it could affect you. For example, the full moon brings "extremely emotional" energy. So, if the full moon is in an "intuitive, imaginative and deeply connected" water sign like Cancer or Pisces, you can expect super emotional moments from this heavy combo. Planetary retrograde is when a planet "appears to move backward in the sky" which brings a "break from the fast-paced nature of your day-to-day life" tied to the influence of the planet in question. For example, the dreaded Mercury in retrograde comes with lots of interruptions in communication — everything from frustrations with your internet to accidentally saying the wrong thing. Why? Because Mercury is the planet that rules communication.
While there are other Astrology decks out there (Heavenly Bodies is another one I own), Stardust's card set provides the tools, terms, and descriptions to analyze your own chart. As someone who's obsessed with self-reflection and analysis, I could not recommend this toolkit enough. Stardust makes the complex world of astrology easy to understand without too much hand-holding. "You are going to become superb at understanding the cosmos and how they apply to you,” says Stardust. “These insights will allow you to figure out your path in life, as well as become more aligned with your emotional self.”
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