Knowing the sign placements of your planets and how they affect you is like have a big pile of auto parts: you could deduce what kind of car they're from, but unless they are all connected up the right way, that pile isn't going to get you very far.
The ways your parts connect to each other are called ASPECTS. The Zodiac, like any other circle, divides up into 360 degrees. We usually don't think of it that way -- we usually think of the Zodiac as being divided into twelve chunks of 30 degrees each. Each 30 degree chunk is called a "sign:" Aries is the first 30 degree chunk; Taurus is the next one, and so on. Whenever one planet approaches a certain number of degrees from another, those two planets are said to be "performing an aspect."
Like a clock, a birth chart is a round thing divided up into 12 slices. The planets travel around the outside of the birth chart/clock face. Earth is considered to be the middle of the clock. (And yes: astrologers do know that the Earth isn't the center of the solar system. We also know the Earth isn't flat. This demonstrates that astrologers have a better scientific grounding than many of astrology's critics. The birth chart, however, assumes that you are the center of your Universe... at least for purposes of doing astrology. If you need proof that you aren't the actual center of the Universe, go stand in line to get your driver's license renewed.)
(Part one of the series continues HERE, where you can read it... and maybe find your soul mate... for FREE!)