If you want to be “good at astrology” here is my advice after a few years of trying it myself and teaching others how to try for it:
When you get a complex question, don’t try to answer it theoretically. For example, one excellent student of mine asks me:
What is the effect of Ve[nus] is 5th in Rasi [the main chart] and 6th in Navamsa [a sub-chart]?
The subject is just too complex for a direct answer. I think astrologers have given too much effort to trying for direct answers to such question. Whole volumes of very moderately useful and accurate “yogas” and heaps and heaps of fairly useless complicated statements have been authored in the attempt.
The real answer to a question like this is not in a black and white statement. Here is why:
If you want to be good at astrology, there are three steps:
Step 1: Really understand the inner details of the fundamental symbolism in the planets. Then do the same with the signs. Then the same with the houses. Understand the symbolism of these things in a way that is “elegant” – meaning that lots of meaning fits inside a few simple words or images.
Step 2: Practice combining the symbols. Do it theoretically – meaning, in isolation from a real chart – just practice combining, for example one planet with one sign (pretending that nothing more complex exists in the horoscope). Doing this teaches you the fundamental methodology of how to synthesize meta-symbols from the basic set of symbols. Strive for clear and elegant theories about each planet in each sign and house, and each lord in each house.
Step 3: Gradually start exploring how those meta-symbols really work when they are in a real horoscope, subject to elaborate modification and adjustment by their combination with all the other meta-symbols in the chart.
Don’t treat step 3 like it’s step 2! You will go crazy and get lost; you will lose your perspective and become myopic. In step 2 it is OK to make theoretical statements like: “Venus in the 6th House increases the sophistication with which we deal with enemies and obsticles.” This is OK because the number of potential meta-symbols to define is still fairly limited – Venus has 12 options for houses, for example. At step 3, however, the potential combinations of meta-meta-symbols multiplies exponentially! If you try to give a theoretical definition of every possible combination you will be working at it full time for several years, and you will miss the point! The point of step 3 is to stop being theoretical and start being practical and intuitive.
Don’t latch on to concrete answers to things that are fluid by nature. Don’t hang on to step 2 like a security blanket. When the time comes that you have significantly mastered the first two steps, you have to make the leap to step 3 – the leap from theory and intellect to reality and intuition.
Complex astrological situations exist in complex environments, that are fluid because they are different in each and every chart. The correct answers to question like the one I quoted at the beginning are therefore fluid answers – ones that rely on the student’s ability to synthesize the answer on his own, as a result of excellent theoretical education and well-oiled intuitive talents.
– Vic DiCara