Jessica Adams answers your astrological quandaries in this beginner's guide to decoding your daily horoscope

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If you’re anything like us, you’ll spend the first few moments of Monday morning buried deep in your daily horoscope before so much as opening an email. We can’t learn enough about the loves, losses and money matters we’re set to face in the coming weeks. But what does it all mean? In her beginner's guide to all things astrology, expert astrologer Jessica Adams talks suns, star signs and decoding horoscopes with GTG…

What is astrology?

Astrology is an alternative way of looking at time. It is older than the clock or calendar system we use now and in many ways it's The People's Time. It runs on the theory of synchronicity, as defined by Carl Jung (and popularised by Sting!). Synchronicity finds connections across time and space between events. The clock and calendar are useless for measuring that, so we use astrology, which is based on an ephemeris - a book the size of a phone book which shows me every planet, asteroid, node and sign position from the year 1900 through to the year 2100. This is how astrologers like me 'read' time.

What are the typical personality traits of each star sign?

A Star Sign is actually a Sun Sign. It describes the sign the Sun was passing through in your horoscope on the day you were born. The Sun reveals how you shine - what makes you stand out in the spotlight - how you dazzle people. Thus the sign the Sun is in clearly shows your 'best' role on the stage of life. So when you are at your glittering best, this is the part you play -

ARIES The warrior

TAURUS The businesswoman

GEMINI The communicator

CANCER The mother

LEO The queen

VIRGO The perfectionist

LIBRA The balancer

SCORPIO The financier

SAGITTARIUS The explorer

CAPRICORN The success

AQUARIUS The networker

PISCES The visionary

What one thing should each sign watch out for?

The only thing you need to watch out for is dimming your own light. In other words if you don't shine and express your sun sign in a dazzling way, there may be something wrong in your relationship with your father, or another father figure who did not support your 'me-ness' when you were growing up. This is best fixed in later life by finding a strong male role model to support you and allow you to glow in the dark. Sometimes a woman can 'father' you in this way too, so you become what you are supposed to be and enjoy the praise, attention and recognition for that.

What is the significance of your ‘ruler’ planet?

Your ruling planet is more important than any other, because when it moves through the heavens (when it transits) it times events in your life which are among the most crucial for you.

What does each of the ruler planets represent?

Aries is ruled by Mars which describes action stations events where Aries is required to push, compete and win. T

aurus is ruled by Venus, which also rules Libra - yet in the case of Taurus, Venus always shows the art of weighing the scales, in terms of money - but also values; what money cannot buy.

Gemini is ruled by Mercury which also rules Virgo, but in this case, Mercury points to the media, the internet and all other forums for the Gemini 'voice'.

Cancer is ruled by the Moon and New Moons and Full Moons always describe issues about being needed and needy around her.

Leo is ruled by the Sun and again, New Moons and Full Moons are important - they reveal questions about leadership for Leo especially with a younger generation.

Virgo is ruled by Mercury which in this context describes work or university based communication and the words that make the wheels go around. Libra is ruled by Venus which in this context describes balancing acts between partners but also the equilibrium between enemies that justice requires.

Scorpio is ruled by Pluto which always points to deep changes in the balance of power and questions about control.

Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter which times events tied to travel or travel in the mind - education for example.

Capricorn is ruled by Saturn which brings issues about ambition, fear and achievement.

Aquarius is ruled by Uranus which times any event where the 'shock of the new' (to quote Robert Hughes) gives birth to the new itself.

Pisces is ruled by Neptune which always reveals where the escapism is; where the alternative realities are unfolding.

What does it mean for you if your ruler planet is in retrograde?

If your ruling planet (say you are Aries and this is Mars) is retrograde it means you need to understand that planet's role in your horoscope more than any other because this aspect of your personality does not move normally. It is always stuck on some level and you need to explore ways to live with that.

What is the significance of your Rising Sign?

The Rising Sign describes your packaging and profile. What Nancy Mitford called the shopfront window. It is how you arrive. How you are summed up quickly by others. It is always defined by the moment they cut the umbilical cord so if you work with the idea that as a baby you were judged by the new name they gave you, and the resemblance to your parents, and your weight, and your hair (or lack of it) and so on... you get the picture. The Rising Sign can often have an uncanny link to your name. Find out why your parents gave you the name you ended up with; it can symbolise the essence of your Rising Sign too.

What does a Full Moon usually represent?

A Full Moon is an inner conflict you must struggle with or a conflict out there in the real world, where people or situations are being pulled in two. The most famous Full Moon in history occurred on D-Day which says it all.

People say that writing down your goals during a full moon makes them easier to achieve, how much truth is there in this?

It's rubbish, sorry.

What does a New Moon usually represent?

A New Moon is the birth of something (or someone) new. The Sun and Moon are conjunct (almost like having sex) and as the Sun rules fatherhood and the Moon rules motherhood, it's a conception.

What part does the Sun play in astrology?

The Sun reveals rather than conceals. It exposes and illuminates issues like a Hollywood spotlight.

How can we use our horoscope to help us in our daily lives?

Your horoscope is one tool in the toolkit of life. But it's a good one. Don't leave home without it!

Want to know what August has in store for you? Check out your  monthly horoscope  as predicted by Jessica Adams