What IS an Astrological Birth/Natal Chart?

Every single person has a personal astrological birth – or natal – chart. Whether you’ve ever seen yours or not, it exists as a blueprint for your life. So where does it come from…?

Your natal chart is a visual diagram of the celestial skies, the astrological signs and the planetary bodies – the Sun, Moon, planets and even asteroids if you want that much detail! – in the exact positions they were in, at the moment of your birth.

It shows which of the astrological signs was rising up over the horizon as you were being born and which was slipping back down beneath it on the other side of the globe. It shows which astrological sign (and house… more on that later) held each planetary body; It shows the planets aspects to each other – whether the angles they were making were complementary, supportive and uplifting, or whether they were hard, conflicting and challenging. And it shows an abundance of ever more revealing layers of detail, all forming beautiful, synchronistic patterns and shapes which are a direct reflection of the exact moment of your birth!

But, the natal chart is SO much more than just a pretty picture!

It’s a clear description of your personality: your dominant traits, strengths, and weaknesses; your quirks and habits; your loves and your loathings. It can explain SO much about your personal make-up: why you love music but hate dance, why you have such a fiery temper but are wonderful with kids! Why you crave affection but can’t stand romance; why you need connection but get nervous in crowds… Understanding your personal astrology chart is an incredible way to understand the deeper layers of YOU.

Where Can you Find a Free Astrological Birth Chart?

It’s really easy to find a free astrological birth chart online.
Here are a few of our favorite resources:

Café Astrology
Astro Dienst
Astrolab

How to Interpret the Meaning of the Astrology Birth/Natal Chart

Once you have your natal chart sitting in front of you, it can be SO daunting to look at – full of signs, symbols and letters which seem like a completely foreign language! So in order to figure out what the different pieces of your astrology chart actually mean, let’s break it down into basics and start with the signs, planets and houses.

The Astrological (Horoscope) Signs of the Zodiac

Ancient astrologers segmented the skies into 12 basic parts. These are known as the “signs” and together, form the “zodiac”. (Despite sharing the same names, the signs are different from the constellations). Each of these segments or signs has a particular energetic frequency, a “flavor” with its own special themes. These are transmitted, or infused into a planet, house or another significant point in space, which happens to fall within it. The 12 signs of the zodiac, and their themes, are:

  • Aries: Initiating, pioneering, new beginnings, bravery, passionate, willful, spontaneous, strong
  • Taurus: Sensual, physical, practical, sustaining, dependable, persistent, abundant, finances
  • Gemini: Communicative, connective, sociable, many ideas, quick, restless, changeable,
  • Cancer: Emotional, sensitive, caring, nurturing, intuitive, maternal, feminine, home
  • Leo: Self-expression, courage, loyalty, love, creativity, generosity, empowerment
  • Virgo: Practical, organized, productive, analytic, service-oriented, health-focused
  • Libra: Balance, diplomacy, equality, sense of fairness, aesthetically-focused, beauty, love
  • Scorpio: Intensity, depth, mystery, transformation, intimacy, possession, power, sex, money
  • Sagittarius: Adventurous, expansive, philosophical, learning, teaching
  • Capricorn: Long-term goals, investments, finances, commitment, rewards, maturity
  • Aquarius: Rebellious, progressive, eccentric, emotional detachment, collaboration
  • Pisces: Sensitive, intuitive, spiritual, subconscious, dreams, healing

If you only know ONE thing about your personal astrology chart, it’s probably the sign that the Sun was in when you were born. Most people refer to this as their “star sign” or their “horoscope sign”. Or you may simply know that you’re a Libra or an Aquarius. But where your natal Moon sits, or your natal Mercury, Venus or Mars also has as big a bearing on your personal makeup. Read on to learn about the meaning, symbolism and influence of the planets in your natal chart:

The Astrological Planets and their Meanings

  • The Sun: Your fuel. Your essence and core personality, what drives you forward in life.
  • The Moon: Your emotional body, your subconscious personality. Also your relationship to your mother, how you were parented and how you parent.
  • Mercury: Your communication style and how you connect through the mind.
  • Venus: How you give and receive love, how you perceive beauty and art.
  • Mars: Your style of assertion. Your passion, desire, anger and motivation.
  • Jupiter: How and where you experience good fortune, luck and expansion. Higher awareness and learning.
  • Saturn: Limitation. Where you face challenges and obstacles. Where you are duty bound.
  • Uranus: Unexpected change, revolution, insight and revelation
  • Neptune: Dreams and the subconscious. Illusions and fantasy, mystical insights and messages.
  • Pluto: The shadow. Death and rebirth, transformation.

Where each planet sits in your chart can reveal a lot about how you express its traits and themes through your own life. Mercury in Aries? You’re probably the one to speak first in conversations, to initiate meetings and form new connections. But it’s likely you get bored easily too, lacking the sticking power of Aries’ neighboring sign Taurus. Or maybe your natal Neptune’s at home in Pisces? In which case, you’re probably highly sensitive, even psychic and often find it near impossible to separate fact from fantasy, as your imagination is AS real as the world you find in front of you.

(The aspects formed between the planets in your chart also impact how they express through you. But let’s stick to the basics for now. If your interest really has been sparked by what you’ve learnt so far, then consider furthering your research!)

The Astrological Houses and their Meanings

Once you have a basic understanding of the signs and the planets, you need to place this into the basic template which every chart has. Like the zodiac, the chart is split into 12 segments, called “the Houses”, beginning with the 1st House on the right (at 9 o clock) and moving around in an anticlockwise direction until you reach the 12th house. On an astrology chart, these are usually shown on a small, internal circle and indicated by Roman numerals.
The Houses and what they signify, are described below:

  • Ascendant or Rising Sign (the 1st House cusp): Your natural reaction to the world. How you express yourself and what you show of yourself to others.
  • 1st House: Self, Identity, appearance, attitudes, first impressions, the body. Ruled by Aries
  • 2nd House: Material surroundings and possessions. Also daily routines, work, money. Ruled by Taurus
  • 3rd House: The mental faculties, communications, siblings, neighbors, early education. Ruled by Gemini
  • 4th House: Home, roots, the foundations of life and basic security. Parenting, family. Ruled by Cancer.
  • 5th House: Love, play, creativity, self-expression and drama. Ruled by Leo
  • 6th House: Health and fitness, systems and analysis, work routines and habits. Also service. Ruled by Virgo.
  • Descendent (the 7th House cusp): What you aren’t. Qualities you lack and what you seek-and need – in relationships and partners.
  • 7th House: Relationships, partnerships and collaboration. Also marriage and business contracts. Ruled by Libra.
  • 8th House: Births, deaths and transformation. The merging of energies and shared assets. Power, money and intimacy. Ruled by Scorpio.
  • 9th House: Travel, learning and higher education. Laws, governance and religion. Also luck, gambling, morals and ethics. Ruled by Sagittarius
  • Midheaven (the 10th House cusp): The most public point of your chart. Relates to your life path, career, reputation and social standing.
  • 10th House: Structure and authority, traditions, long-term goals, achievement. Masculinity and fatherhood. Limitations and boundaries. Ruled by Capricorn.
  • 11th House: Groups, friends, community. Social awareness and social justice. Inventions and progression – the future. Ruled by Aquarius.
  • 12th House: Finality and endings. Separation and solitude. Institutions, hospitals and jails. Also secretiveness and things which are hidden, the subconscious. Spirituality and creativity. Ruled by Pisces.

The houses are always in the same position for every astrological chart, regardless of when and where you were born. They’re incredibly useful to get to know, because whatever sign of the zodiac, planet or other significant point is held within a house, that part of your life will be affected.

For understanding how the current astrology will affect you – like predicting which part of your life the next Full Moon is most likely to disrupt! – knowing which of your houses it’s going to hit, is invaluable!

What Next!?

The placement of the planets, within the signs and the houses in your natal chart forms a basis from which to start to understand yourself. It can be incredibly reassuring when you work these things out! All of a sudden you realize you don’t actually need to try and change these things about yourself – the quirks you used to resist were actually written into the stars at the moment of your birth! But if you DO want to work on certain aspects of your personality, your astrological chart can give you a mighty fine starting point.

When interpreting your astrological chart, you can go as deep as you want to! Many free charts will only show the planets, whilst more in-depth and detailed charts will show asteroids like Lilith, Juno and Pallas Athena, minor planets like Chiron and Eris and many more points of interest, like the Nodes and the Galactic center.

Aspects between planets are another vital step to understanding – Squares, oppositions and conjunctions, as well as trines and sextiles all have a huge part to play on how the planetary energies are playing through your life. But start with the basics. And only add to your personal knowledge base when you’re ready!

Wishing you an amazing journey into this cosmic world of discovery!