By Christine E. Springer
I began studying astrology in 2007 because I was seriously impatient with the speed of life. I had just started a business and was in that transition period between one thing ending and another one beginning.
Astrology, according to Webster's dictionary, "the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world."
The word "divination" in the definition is interesting. Astrology is so much more: it's the mathematical language of the Universe and has been studied for centuries. It was studied long before most of the religions we know of today. It's also a fantastic tool for self-discovery and for relating with others. And yes, it WILL help you understand what's ahead for you in your life.
Lately, astrology has really come alive for me in terms of the events unfolding in the world and in my personal life. It combines well with my intuition and it helps me make decisions faster because I know what's ahead with the timing for the general energies.
I can also adjust my expectations for how much I can get done based on astrology. And, just by knowing someone's sun sign I can adjust (which usually means I have to tone down the classic Aries drive to push forward) how I show up in relation to others.
These are the steps I followed to "become my own astrologer." It's not like I had a series of concrete steps when I started studying, but this is what it looks like in retrospect. I was just sort of figuring it out on my own -- which I like to do.
Learning this way is not for everyone. Astrology is one of the few subjects I have studied with which I have not become bored. There is always some new level of understanding in astrology or another angle.
By the way: even if you want to be your own astrologer, you may still find that working with a professional is a good idea. I am just now ready to start my own astrology practice, but if you're looking for someone with more experience, I'll share a list of my favorite astrologers below.
The first thing to do is to get your natal birth chart. There are several free resources on the internet. My favorite is [Cafe Astrology](http://astro.cafeastrology.com/natal.php"target="_blank" rel="nofollow), because you can get an extensive report that shows you where all the planets were the moment you were born, along with any aspects between planets.
A very important thing to know about your chart is your rising sign or your ascendant. There is so much more to astrology than your sun sign.
The report above will tell you in which sign your ascendant is located. Your ascendant is a place on your chart -- not a planet, but it always marks the beginning of your natal chart.
If you've ever read your horoscope for your sun sign and thought it was off, there is probably a very good reason. You natal sun may not be in your first house!
I am an Aries ascendant and a Cancer sun. My natal sun is in my 4th house.
If you look at the image in this post, you'll see a wheel chart divided into twelve sections. Each section is called a "house" and each one has a specific meaning depending on which one it is. Your ascendant is always your FIRST house, but your sun may or may not be in the first house.
My ascendant and first house is Aries, so if we count Aries as the first house (see the post image), you can see that the Cancer horoscope would be off in terms of timing.
That doesn't mean that the Cancer horoscope is not valid -- the Cancerian monthly energies would still be there in the background for me, but not as pronounced as my Aries horoscope.
Since astrologers can't possibly produce a horoscope for every combination of signs, it's helpful to know your rising sign and look at that horoscope to get a better understanding of how the planetary energies will affect you in a given period of time.
I've actually seen very few charts where the natal sun is in the first house, which may explain why so many people are confused by astrology.
Your horoscope will make much more sense if you look at the horoscope for the sign in which your ascendant is located.
Once I had my natal chart, I started following professional astrologers on their blogs and on YouTube. Here are my favorite astrologers and why I love their forecasts so much:
[Kathy Rose](https://www.youtube.com/user/roseastrology"target="_blank" rel="nofollow) shares gorgeous astrology videos on YouTube for the general energies for the month ahead along with New Moon videos. I went to see/meet Kathy a few years ago when she was in Phoenix for an astrology talk on Neptune.
Jamie Partridge writes the [Astrology King](http://astrologyking.com/"target="_blank" rel="nofollow) blog. His horoscope is unusual because he drills down by decans to get even more specific as to the time during the month where things may unfold. (There are three decans in each sign.) This is my go-to for the general energies for the month ahead.
[Jean Wiley](https://www.youtube.com/user/jeanmwiley07"target="_blank" rel="nofollow) is on YouTube and I just love her monthly forecasts. She also breaks the transits down by dates so you know what to expect.
[Joseph Anthony](https://www.youtube.com/user/astrojoe100"target="_blank" rel="nofollow) is a personal friend of mine, and he does monthly astrology videos broken down by sign. He is based in Sedona and also reads tarot.
[Steve Judd](https://www.youtube.com/user/SteveJuddAstrology"target="_blank" rel="nofollow) is a UK based astrologer with a weekly video forecast on YouTube, which I've found to be highly accurate for the general energies.
[Carl Boudreau](https://www.facebook.com/carl.boudreau?fref=ts"target="_blank" rel="nofollow) is an astrologer who shares his work on Facebook. His forecast covers the general forecast for the month ahead.
[Tom (Kaypacha) Lescher](https://www.youtube.com/user/tomlescher"target="_blank" rel="nofollow) I just love Tom's weekly Pele reports about the collective energies. He is always traveling somewhere and he's usually filming from a gorgeous location.