Spiritual Health

The 5 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Reading Their Horoscope, According to an Astrologer

Mary Grace Garis

Photo: Getty Images/WestEnd61

I know so many people who won’t start the day without first reading their horoscope. They’re eager to find out what curveballs the universe might throw at them, and I totally get that. But have you ever considered that the best answer for how to read your horoscope for the most accurate prediction possible is a little more multi-layered than relying on just your sun sign?

I ask, because according to astrologer Alex Caiola of High Priestess of Brooklyn, there are a slew of celestial bodies to use when it comes to learning how to read a horoscope accurately. Below, she shares which common cosmic pitfalls you want to look out for that may get in your way of an otherwise great reading.

Curious about how to read your horoscope the most accurate way? Avoid these 5 major mistakes:

1. Not using your full natal chart to at least know your sun, moon, and rising signs

“There’s so much more to us than our sun sign,” says Caiola. “Think about it: When would you ever accept advice based on being one-twelfth of the population? In that way, astrology [can be] terribly reductive and basic.”

To get a fuller, rounder understanding of your natal chart, plug your birthdate, birth time, and location into an app like Co-Star or a chart generator like Astro-Seek. Doing so will give you a more cohesive understanding of your astrological profile, and you especially want to pay attention to the astrological big three (sun, moon, and rising signs) as components of your zodiac compass.

2. Not checking your rising sign’s (or ascendant) horoscope

In astrology, your rising sign is basically the mask you wear—or how people tend to recognize you. As a result, reading for your rising sign before your star sign might give you more accurate results, because your rising sign speaks to what’s happening on an immediate, surface level.

“This sign represents how you show up and the direction in which you move through the world,” Caiola says. “This sign was on the horizon at the time of your birth and therefore sets up your entire chart—which is why an accurate birth time is really important. It’s arguably a more predictive way to determine what you’ll encounter, and how you’ll meet it.”

3. Not using your moon sign to investigate matters of love

Your moon sign is all about feelings. “This sign represents your emotional self—the true you,” says Caiola. Because it relates to how you actually are in your inner world, not what you’re saying or how you’re acting, it can be an excellent predictor for truly nourishing relationships. “Checking this sign for matters of the heart could ring truer than your sun [sign] as well,” she adds.

4. Using just sun signs to check compatibility

People are people, signs are signs, and anyone can make it work if they really want to—stars be damned. That said, there are some astrological strategies for deducing possible compatibility, but relying solely on sun signs to draw those lines won’t give a full picture of the situation.

“If you really want to gauge compatibility, look at each of your full charts,” says Caiola. “You’ll then be able to see what easily works and what you might need to work on in your relationship.”

5. Freaking out during Mercury retrograde periods, and blaming everything in your life and horoscope reading on it

Mercury retrograde transits can be challenging, and if you can plan around them, that’s great. “From a predictive sense, though, we may be able to anticipate positive or chaotic energy and either use it to our advantage or steer clear of trigger warnings, respectively,” says Caiola. “So when Mercury is in retrograde, you may choose not to plan a big launch, a big trip, enter into a long-standing contract like a new job, or buy electronics—all things Mercury, the planet of communication and transit, rules.”

That said, she points out that no one planet is out to ruin your life, and you may not be able to avoid all the things for entire Mercury retrograde cycles. “Just accept [things] may be messier than usual, and build yourself some wiggle room—like leaving 45 minutes for your commute versus your usual “last second possible” approach…or simply more 30 minutes to power up your brain and computer versus rolling out of bed and onto Zoom,” Caiola says.


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