Imagine a sculptor. He takes his well-maintained tools and sits before a block of fine marble. What do you imagine him doing next? Does he pick one spot on the raw rock and finish it completely before moving on to the next, carving out a flawless, perfectly polished and finished eye while the rest of the sculpture is still nothing more than a square block of stone? Of course not! He gradually chisels at the whole block. Each time the overall shape of the entire statue emerges slightly more clearly. Eventually the rock has been chiseled into a shape that clearly resembles a human. Now he begins refining the individual features, and polishing the final details.
That is exactly how you must read a chart if you want to be any good at astrology.
First of all you must have your “tools” organized and well maintained. That means you must always sharpen your basic understanding of the fundamental astrological symbols – the planets, signs, mansions, houses, divisions, elements, modes, etc.
Next, you must have a fine “block of marble.” This means that you must have an accurate chart to work with.
Once you have your tools and your block of marble, what do you do next? Do you leap into defining the meaning of the Sun in, say Cancer in the 7th house, going into great detail about the nature of someone’s marriage and relationships? No, please don’t! This would be like the sculptor carving a finished eye before moving on to carve the nose and the rest of the statue. If a sculptor tried to sculpt this way he would find that (a) he couldn’t reach in to sufficiently polish and finish all areas of the eye, and (b) when he said, “OK, the eye is good enough” and moved on to the nose, the work he would do on the nose would very likely wind up chipping and marring the work he poured into working on the eye! The exact same thing will happen to any astrologer who dives too deeply into any single part of the chart without first at least roughly considering all the other parts of the chart.
So, let’s try again with this question. Once you have your tools and your block of marble, what do you do next?
You go over the whole chart and start to gradually reveal the basic shape and outline of it’s meaning. You proceed in pass after pass over the whole chart to gradually understand it’s shape. Once you have the overall shape well defined, then you dive in and polish up the details.