, If you have ever wanted to learn to read charts, understanding how to read an ephemeris covers a lot of bases.
As a new astrologer, you can just take time to look at it, and be familiar with its rows and symbols. If you have a keen eye, you might already begin to read the numbers and dates.
In the meantime, use your brain and try and decipher.
First vertical row as you may have figured is 30 days of September with days of the week S M T W T F S ....
Second vertical row says "Sid.t", stands for Sidereal Time,
but we don't have to worry about that right now.
The next 14 rows are the planets, marked by their glyph.:
2) Know your glyphs:
3) Read a date: degrees and minutes.
Above is the ephemeris at September 2012, with a highlighted section
This orange line us underlining the date of Wednesday, September 12, 2012.
This is the chart of a person born on this date:
Their Sun is 19 degrees 38 minutes 14 seconds Virgo.
The ☽ is in 28 degrees 24 minutes ♋︎ Cancer
Mercury is 20 degrees 58 minutes Virgo
... and so on.
When we are reading these positions out loud, we only really talk about the degrees. So you'd say to this person "Your Sun is 19 degrees Virgo". That's it!
Seconds are not always included in the reading because they are meticulously precise units. We are more concerned with degrees and minutes. You can get more specific later.
If you know your glyphs, by now, you should recognize the pattern, and see that its a handy spreadsheet of planet, sign, degree, by day.
For the visual learners,
here is a visual aid, to see 360 degrees (the sky) broken down into 60 minutes, into 60 seconds:
So, There are 360 degrees in the zodiac wheel.
12 signs in the wheel = 30 degrees per sign ...
-- A planet at 15 deg Leo is in the centre of Leo, being the middle of the 30 degree section.
-- A planet at 0 degrees Aries is on the cusp of Pisces and Aries, or on the border between those 2 signs.
So the planets move from 00-29 degrees in each sign. We use the ° sign for degrees.
Minutes: There are 60 minutes in a degree. We use an apostrophe ' to mark minutes.
Seconds: There are 60 seconds in a minute. We use a quotation mark " to mark seconds.
So a planet's position is written out like this:
♃ ♌ 12 ° 55 ' 16 "
" Jupiter is in Leo at 12 degrees 55 minutes 16 seconds. "
Now you know it's a way of getting mega-specific about where an object is in the 360 degrees in the heavens.
In fact, this is how specific we get around here: 360 x 60 x 60 = 1296000
In astrology/astronomy, we split the heavens into 1 / 1,296,000ths ...
But as mentioned above, most of us keep it down to the degrees here for now.
So when we want to be super specific, we look at the minutes and seconds, but this applies more to slow moving bodies, outer planets, which become activated when more directly contacted by aspects "to the t".
Degrees are "too big" when a planet is moving that slowly. Maybe it makes sense. Thus the concern for the smaller units of measurement. They are for calculating when an aspect is Exact Exact, more used in progressions, transits, when we are measuring the planets in motion. Birth charts, we aren't really focused on these units.
Sure, the ephemeris does not provide the holistic visual aid of the wheel, but once you get the hang of it, you can use your mental math skills, and calculate aspects in a blink of an eye. And once you train your brain, you might actually not need a visual aid, in that you can actually mentaly picture where things would be in the heavens or on the wheel, and this comes with time.
When reading that the Moon at 10 degrees Sagittarius, you will look for other bodies at 10 degrees in other signs to see if they are in aspect. 10 degrees Aries Saturn is 120 degrees from the Moon, indicating trine aspect...
So, we use the ephemeris for looking into a 24-hour period,
**We don't see the Ascendant/rising sign or house system in a daily ephemeris, and here is why;
Within 24 hours, the horizon (the ascendant/descendant line) has travelled though all 12 signs/360 degrees, so as you can see, the ascendant moves fastest.
This makes the rising sign change every 2 hours into another sign.
A 24 hour span of time doesn't record the ascendant/house system and angles because of their speed. When you want to know the angles, this is when you take time to get in there and draw up and calculate the chart.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Maybe it has confused you. Please let me know.