When you think astrology, the first thought that probably comes to mind would be newspaper horoscopes. Y’know, those vague one-liners that are assigned to each zodiac sign (corresponding to your birthdate), the ones that don’t really say anything but also seem to say everything?
The truth is, those horoscopes don’t even scratch the surface of the complex mechanism that is astrology.
In fact, the most important part of astrology is not even the zodiac signs, but something called your birth chart. For context, a birth chart is a snapshot of the sky when you were born. This includes your Sun sign (path to individuality), your Moon sign (emotional needs), your rising sign (how you show up in the world) and so much more including how and where the planets are placed within your birth chart. This is what gives nuance to astrology because all of our birth charts are unique.
When I first began studying my birth chart, I realised that astrology was a great tool for me to gain self-awareness, which in turn was very healing. Through astrology I’ve learned so much about myself, and I continue to learn as our birth charts are constantly evolving alongside us.
You can use the birth chart to decode parts of your personality including your gifts, challenges, patterns and so much more. As societies become more individualistic, astrology can help you embody your authentic self and affirm who you are.
Whether you believe in astrology or not, I feel strongly that everyone stands to gain something from it, whether you end up on the same journey of discovery as I did or not. So, if you are or have ever been interested in getting into astrology, I’ve compiled a list of five apps that I think can help you get started on this adventure.
As an astrology beginner, it would help for you to learn the meanings of the zodiac signs, houses and planets as they are important components of your birth chart. To be able to see the planetary influences on your behaviour and how they play out is also something to look out for.
To get your birth chart, you’ll need to input your birth date, year, city and time for the apps to calculate it for you. Your birth time needs to be as accurate as possible, so ask a parent or refer to your birth certificate to be sure.
This is by far the best place to start if you want to get into astrology or deepen your existing knowledge of it as Time Passages is catered to all levels of user knowledge. What makes this app perfect for astrologically curious folks is its dedicated “Learn” tab which serves as a one-stop resource for everything astrology.
The app also breaks down your chart into understandable sections under the “My Chart” tab. You will be able to learn further, as there are interpretations for your natal planet positions that can be accessed as well. If you want to take your astrology studies to the next level, you can learn about transits, secondary progressions and you can even compare charts with other people.
Chani is very different from Time Passages. While the chart section does a pretty good job of summarizing the meaning of the planets in one line while displaying your natal birth positions, the app requires a paid subscription to go further than that.
However, the app is good for explaining transits (current planetary activity) and how it impacts you based on your birth chart. One feature that really stands out from the rest is that there is a free podcast that covers the astrological happenings of the week and what it could mean for you. So if you prefer to hear someone talk about the present planetary activity, then this app is for you.
There is also a fun forecast section that assigns an emoji along with two or three keywords to each day of the week. The app calls it “the current collective mood”, and as a beginner this forecast invites you to make your own astrological deductions and its practical applications.
Download Chani on the Apple App Store. The Android app will be available next year.
If you aren’t into long winded texts and prefer something shorter then Sanctuary is the app for you. Much like Time Nomad, it too has a dedicated “Guides” tab that serves as an astrological library. However, the information is more succinct and it is delivered to you in the style of text messages.
In terms of your birth chart, there is a dedicated “Chart” tab that takes you through its layers, step by step. It also explains those components in a concise manner as well. From there, you can click on sections of your birth chart to explore further. Download Sanctuary on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
The Pattern is nothing like any of the other astrology apps out there. This is because this app wants to bring you straight to the end result – the interpretation of your personality. So if you’re interested in knowing more about your instincts, priorities, and relationship patterns without understanding astrological reasoning then the Pattern will suit you just fine.
Another unique feature of the app is that it highlights important time periods known as “cycles” that describe the unfolding of your personality in a way that doesn’t feel overly predictive or stifling. Furthermore, the app can provide insight on your platonic or romantic relationships with other people through the Bonds feature, but you’ll need their birth chart details of course.
Time Nomad is more for astrology nerds who have understood the basics of astrology but want to go further or want to incorporate it into their lives more. Unlike other apps, it offers widgets of the current sky chart for convenience.
Within the app, you can also input a custom date and time of your choice, which will load up the corresponding chart for further reference. You will also be able to take the chart of the current sky and superimpose it onto your natal chart to make astrological inferences for yourself.
There’s also a “Personal Events” tab that explains the current planets and their specific effects on your natal chart, in a way that is highly detailed. It is so detailed to the point that you can find astronomical information such as the orbital speed of a planet and the number of its moons. So if you also have an interest in astronomy, Time Nomad will work for you.
Astrology is largely considered a pseudoscience, but to me it’s a language. Obviously, when you learn a language, it is going to take some time to grasp – but you will get better the deeper you go into unlocking the secrets of your birth chart.
Additionally, astrology is dismissed by critics because it is assumed to be deterministic and fatalistic – which I highly disagree with. I would argue that the planets don’t actually cause events to happen – though they do have some sort of influence. At the end of the day, how you interact and interpret astrology is up to you.
I’m going to leave you with a quote from famed psychologist Carl Jung. He says, “We are born at a given moment in a given place and like vintage years of wine we have the qualities of the year and of the season in which we are born. Astrology does not lay claim to anything else.” Have fun learning how to read your birth chart!