“Leos are the best at sex.” This was a statement I heard over dinner recently, and it made me cringe. It’s the kind of blanket statement that a very, very, very casual follower of astrology would say, and one that makes skeptics of the field become more certain that astrology is nothing but pure horseshit. It’s also a statement that’s frustrating for someone like me, who has been interested in astrology for decades and has read up on the subject quite extensively, to hear.

That’s because astrology doesn’t assign certain skill sets as exclusive to any one sign. Certain traits may be more pronounced in particular signs, but something that can be learned and improved on, like performance in the sack, is fair game. And even while some signs are known for having certain characteristics, astrology is more complex and definitely more substantial than the stereotypes that have gotten tacked onto each sign.

Personally, it has been a useful tool for me to understand myself better, and more recently, what is generally happening with the world based on the movement patterns of heavenly bodies. I’m not so much interested in whatever specific predictive purpose astrology might have, though it can be fun to read horoscopes that deal with that. But more than anything, it has been helpful in developing self-awareness, especially in terms of why I react the way I do and why I process things the way I do.

So if you’re a Leo and you think you’re the best at sex, then great; how very Leo of you. But you’re more than “just” a Leo (and you’re definitely more than just a great lay). In fact, you contain all 12 astrological signs within you, and you manifest each one depending on where they fall in your chart.

If you’ve been reading Garage’s series of This Week’s Agenda, that’s a phrase I commonly use: “depending on where [a planet] falls in your chart.” By chart, I mean a person’s birth chart, which provides a fuller picture of their personality and potential, their strengths and their shadow side. There are plenty of websites, such as Astrodienst and Cafe Astrology, that can calculate your birth chart for free and even offer a surface interpretation of it. To get a more detailed chart, though, you would have to know the time of your birth and your birth place as well.

In a birth chart, you will see a wheel divided into 12 sections or houses. On the outermost part of the wheel are all the 12 signs, and within the inner wheel are the 12 houses. (I’ve promised a post talking about the astrological houses, and will start with the First House and what it signifies next week.)

If you’re familiar with the glyphs that represent each planet and heavenly body as well as the zodiac signs, you can find for yourself not just your Sun sign but in which zodiac sign and house do your Ascendant, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, etc. etc. lie.

Here’s a cheat sheet from Pinterest

So with the sample random birth chart above, the person’s Sun sign is Aquarius and their moon sign is in Aries. Immediately, that can give you an idea about their personality: As a Water Bearer, they can be progressive-thinking, interested in the welfare of the collective, but a little detached when it comes to one-on-one connections. Expect some eccentricity as well in their ideas, opinions, mannerism, and preferences. But while their core identity can be a touch cool and impersonal, they process emotions a little more heatedly, given their Aries Moon: quickly reactive, impulsive, assertive, independent. When you first meet them, you might have found them to be a little full of themselves, but undoubtedly warm and regal, courtesy of their Leo Ascendant (AC).

Just a little research on what each planet signifies and the core characteristics of each zodiac sign, and you can begin coloring the picture of someone’s personality and identity through their birth chart. Of course, it’s best to start with your own chart, because you can confirm whether the interpretation resounds with who you are or not.

But that is just the very first part of it. The houses in which each planet is placed also need to be looked into, with some astrologers believing that they have a bigger impact than the zodiac signs themselves. Then beyond that, there are also aspects or the angles between each planet, and they also have their own interpretations, down to the degree.

All this information have to be assimilated in the end, because while pieces do make up a puzzle, a person is always more than just the sum of their parts. Astrology is just a way of beginning to getting to understand them.

Header image by Anastasia Dulgier on Unsplash