The Facts on Astrology (Harvest House, 1988) p. 6
What are the basic terms and concepts necessary to an understanding of astrology?
Why is astrology so often confusing to the average person? It is because of its complexity and the many unfamiliar words which astrologers use.* The following definitions and concepts are basic if one is to understand astrology.
The Zodiac is an imaginary “belt” of sky containing the 12 astrological signs or constellations around which the ancients built imaginary human and animal figures. (The Zodiac and the constellations are both imaginary geometric configurations.)
The signs are the “signs of the Zodiac” also known as “Sun-signs.” Everyone is born under one of these 12 signs or constellations (Pisces the fish, Leo the lion, Gemini the twins, Taurus the bull, etc.).
The houses are the 12 sections of the Zodiac which together symbolize every aspect of life. The planets move through the houses; thus, when a planet falls into the sphere of the given house, it comes under its respective influence. The astrologer plots all of these factors and more on a chart. This chart is called a horoscope.
The horoscope is a “map” of the heavens at the moment of the birth of a person or any specific time thereafter. On this chart, an astrologer plots the positions of the “planets,” signs, and “houses” for a given moment. The chart is then interpreted by numerous complex rules, many of which vary greatly from one astrologer to another.
*For full documentation, please see The Facts on Astrology.