To clear up some general astrological misconceptions:
Whether you believe in the power of astrology or not, it is ultimately a tool of self-awareness. It guides you through your personality so that you can see the polarities that exist within you. A birth chart is essentially a planetary picture of you at your time of birth. In other words, certain planets occupy certain zodiac signs (which are really just constellations, fixed points through which the planets travel).
Each planet is an aspect of your self and your life, while the signs represent the behavior/thought processes often expressed within that constellation. For me, personally, astrology has been a great gift that has helped me to understand the energies within myself, and how those energies interact with others. It’s helped me reach a broader understanding of existence.
There are many different kinds of astrology: Western, Jyotish/Vedic, Chinese, Native American, etc. The type of astrology primarily used in the Western world is Western Astrology, the kind you can find in horoscope columns in beauty magazines. Western Astrology is often what you will get when you type ‘astrology’ into a search engine. This kind of astrology is inaccurate (and is not my personal preference). I use Jyotish, or Vedic Astrology.
Western astrology uses the Tropical Zodiac, which is based on the changeable and relative position of the Sun, whereas Vedic Astrology uses the Sidereal Zodiac, which is based on the fixed, observable constellations in the sky above, with Earth as the reference point. The Tropical Zodiac is moving forward due to the precession of equinoxes (caused by the gradual shift in the Earth’s axis of rotation). Therefore, the Tropical zodiac has been and is slowly migrating away from the fixed Sidereal Zodiac by approximately 1 degree every 72 years.
By the time most of us were born, the tropical positions had moved 23-24 degrees away from its original position (where it occupied the same space as the Sidereal Zodiac-where the Sidereal Zodiac remains). Therefore, Western Astrology is inaccurate by approximately 23 degrees, and the commonly known Sun signs are imprecise. In all reality, whatever your sun sign is in Western Astrology, your Vedic Sun most likely occupies the sign before it.