W101 Introduction to Astrological Symbolism and Practice

Instructors: Tamira McGillivray, Donna Young, Enid Newberg

The objective for this course is that, by the end, students will have learned the basics of astrological symbolism and be on their way to successfully synthesizing that knowledge to interpret a chart, even if there is no birth time. To accomplish this goal, the following areas will be covered:

  • Introduction to the astronomical underpinnings of the astrological chart
  • Working with Elements, Modes and Polarities to create an interpretation
  • Examining the construction of meaning within the astrological signs
  • Getting a start on chart interpretation through the quadrants and Chart Patterns
  • Looking at the interplay between astronomy and the astrological meanings of the planets; comparing meanings from Hellenistic to modern; introduction to the mythology of the planets
  • Introduction to the astrological houses and how they are created; the meanings of the Houses and their changes over time; how to use the houses to enhance an interpretation; working with a second house system
  • The harmonies of the chart - working with the Major Aspects and Aspect Configurations
  • Introduction to Dignities and Debilities to help hone chart interpretation
  • Introduction to the sensitive points: the Lunar nodes and the Part of Fortune

By the end of the course, students will have a solid understanding of the core meanings for the planets and be introduced to additional sensitive points such as dwarf planets, nodes and Arabic parts. Through an introduction to essential dignities and dispositor trees, student will learn to evaluate what planets are highlighted in the chart. Because the meaning of the signs was stripped to its core, students will be able to see how and where astrologers have inserted additional concepts. This enables students to evaluate whether or not they agree with these additions. Students will also learn how the major aspects are tied to the sign organization as well as mathematical divisions of the 360 degree circle.

Students will also have an understanding of the basic structure of the house as divided into hemispheres and quadrants. They will begin to understand the logic between house systems and how interpretation changes when using different systems because they have worked with and interpreted natal charts using two different systems.


Electronic Library: Besides JSTOR, Proquest and EEBO, Kepler has links to many digitized collections found throughout the web. These are available to individuals who have subscribed to the library.

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Marion D. March Online Research Library (start any time)