Astrology is all the rage these days, in case you hadn’t noticed. It seems that whether or not someone “believes” in astrology as a scientific practice has little to do with the benefits that astrology can have on one’s life.
You probably know your sun sign, but do you know how to read a birth chart? What is a birth chart, you ask?
Keep reading to find out!
What Is a Birth Chart?
A birth chart (also known as a natal chart) is essentially a map of where all the planets were in the moment that you were born.
The chart is shaped like a circle, and divided into 12 sections (known as the 12 houses of astrology). Your natal chart will show you which astrological signs rule each of your houses. It will also show you which sign and house each planet falls into in your chart.
Understanding astrology, the characteristics behind the signs, houses, and planets, and the connections between each of these elements can give you a deeper understanding of yourself and your unique life path.
How to Read a Birth Chart
Before you can get your birth chart, you’ll need a few key pieces of information: date of birth, time of birth, and location of birth.
It’s important to know the exact time that you were born in order to get the most accurate chart.
For example, calculating your ascendant sign (also known as your rising sign) requires your birth time. Your ascendant sign is the astrological sign that was ascending on the eastern horizon at the time. This is sometimes the same as your sun sign, but certainly not always.
Many astrologers believe that the ascendant sign is an even more powerful influence on your personality than your sun sign. While your sun sign is the core of who you are, your ascendant sign gives information about how you present yourself to others.
A complete reading and thorough understanding of your astrological natal chart can become a pretty daunting task! Websites like CafeAstrology.com can provide assistance with birth chart interpretations if you need some help with going in-depth.
However, it can be more rewarding to piece together the information on your own. Let’s break down the core elements of an astrological birth chart and what they mean!
The Twelve Houses of Astrology
The first thing you’ll notice when you look at your birth chart is the fact that it looks like a wheel that’s been divided into 12 different sections. These are the 12 astrological houses, and each house represents different aspects of life and personality.
Here’s the breakdown of the houses and what they represent:
- First House: Self and appearance
- Second House: Finances, possessions, and values
- Third House: Learning, education, and matters of the mind
- Fourth House: Home, family, and where you’re from
- Fifth House: Creativity, romance, and self-expression
- Sixth House: Work, health, and routines
- Seventh House: Partnerships (of any type: romance, business, close friends)
- Eighth House: Sex and death
- Ninth House: Travel, spirituality and philosophy, higher consciousness
- Tenth House: Career, fame, and recognition
- Eleventh House: Social life, friends, and goals
- Twelfth House: Subconscious mind, secrets, karma
The individual placements of your planets and astrological signs gives you further insight about each of those areas within the twelve houses.
Let’s talk about what the planets represent!
The Planets in a Birth Chart
Most of us know our sun sign. Whenever you say, “I’m a Virgo” or “I’m a Scorpio,” you’re referring to your sun sign.
Your natal chart will also show you where all the other planets were located in the sky at the time of your birth!
Let’s look at each of the planets and what kind of influence they have on your life.
As we have mentioned, the sun represents your core personality. Think of it as the essence of who you are.
The moon represents your emotions and feelings. Your moon sign can give further insight into the more sensitive and subtle aspects of your personality.
Mercury is connected to communication. (This is why tech problems always get blamed on Mercury in retrograde!) Your Mercury placement explains your thought patterns and methods of self-expression.
Venus is the planet of love and romance, of course! Pleasure, beauty, and sensuality are all tied up with Venus. Your sense of style and your values are also associated with Venus.
Mars is an aggressive planet, and represents competition and drive to win. Your Mars sign can help you learn how to direct your energy to achieve your goals.
Jupiter rules expansion, opportunity, and optimism. Your Jupiter placement can give further insight into what your ideals are and how you best achieve personal growth and fulfillment.
Saturn represents discipline and hard work. It’s like the harsh opposite of Jupiter, but both planets give you insight in how to reach your goals and achieve mastery of your talents.
Jupiter and Saturn move through the zodiac a bit more slowly than the first five. That means that the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars will have the strongest personal impact on who you are as an individual. Jupiter and Saturn may have similar affects on anyone who is born within a few years of each other.
Uranus rules innovation, rebellion, and progress. It stays in each sign for seven years, which means that this planet rules over a generation rather than an individual.
Neptune is another planet that rules over a generation. It stays in each sign for about 14 years. Neptune is the “dreamy” planet; it rules the imaginative and unconscious mind.
Pluto may not be a planet anymore in the scientific world of thought, but it still has astrological significance as a planetary object. It stays in each sign for up to 30 years, so it’s another one with high generational impact, rather than personal impact.
The Zodiac Signs in a Birth Chart
Here’s the part we’re most familiar with — the signs of the Zodiac. The twelve signs are as follows:
As you probably already know, each of the astrological signs has their own characteristics and traits. Although you are probably already familiar with your sun sign, the truth is that each of us has a little bit of every sign manifested in our chart in one way or another.
Each sign rules over a specific house, and each of the planets is located in a specific sign and house. These locations are unique to every individual’s birth chart.
Once you understand the significance of the various planets, houses, and signs, you will be able to piece together the connections in order to understand how you are influenced by these placements!
For example, when Mercury is located in Virgo, it means that you probably have a sharp intellect, and thus communicate with people in a logical and precise manner.
As Above, So Below
Now that you’ve had a few key aspects of astrology explained to you, you probably realize that learning how to read a birth chart can turn into an in-depth and time consuming practice.
The beauty of astrology, however, is that a healthy study of astrology only requires the time and energy that you want to put into it. In today’s technological age, you’ll find a world of resources at your fingertips if you’re interested in further astrological study.
Browse our online magazine for some more healthy lifestyle tips!