Learn About Astrology: What Is A Birth Chart?

An astrological natal chart, or natal chart, is a graphical and mathematical representation of the planets in the sky at the precise moment of your birth. The month, day, year, time, and location are taken into account when determining the rising, or rising, sign on the eastern horizon. The rest of the chart follows counterclockwise in a 360-degree circle, divided into twelve slices of the “pie.” These slices are called houses and represent areas of your life. The twelve signs are also placed around the wheel, starting with the rising sign. The planets are then placed in the houses they belong to based on the sign and degree of the sign they occupied at the time of your birth.

Planets in place sit with each other and create patterns of energy flow called aspects. The birth chart is a valuable navigational map of life. I truly believe that all adults can benefit from the self-knowledge gained by studying the basics of astrology and applying them to analyzing their own birth chart or consulting an experienced astrologer. Likewise, each child can benefit from having a parent or caregiver analyze their chart.

Thanks to computers, which can easily store and calculate the necessary atlas and ephemeris data and mathematical equations needed to pull up a natal chart, any do-it-yourselfer can Google “free natal chart” and find a reliable source for to a letter I recommend a profound but enjoyable book by Debra Kempton-Smith, Secrets from a Stargazer’s Notebook: Making Astrology Work for You, as an ideal accompaniment to your journey of self-discovery. If you are looking for a personal astrologer, be sure to ask if they are using a computer-generated interpretation program or if they are interpreting your birth chart. If you pay for professional expertise and personal service, this is what you should expect to receive.

Be sure to keep your natal reading. It is not uncommon for something that was mentioned at the time of the reading to not seem relevant to your life, only to become important at a later date, in fact this is the norm.

The planets in our birth chart form an image of us. Just as the passage of time transforms us from babies, toddlers, youths, teenagers and adults, but we can still see the essence of who we are in the first photos taken, so the planets continue to move through our chart natal to what are called transits. Planetary transits can affect us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually triggering events, decisions and transformations. The natal chart holds the essence, while the transiting planets activate the energy within the chart. We change while keeping the same essence.

Solar return charts erected from natal information can be analyzed annually around the birthday to consider alongside the natal chart and transits for deeper insight into the potential year. An advanced chart can be used in a similar way. Both the solar return and progressed charts are usually seen alongside and in relation to the natal chart.

Many people who haven’t resonated with sun sign astrology or daily horoscopes find out why during a birth chart reading. Often other planets in the first house of the self may have more strength, the Sun itself is weak or aspectless, or there is a cluster, or stellium, of planets in another sign, which becomes dominant in the expression of the traits of personality

The Moon rules emotions and is feminine in nature. The Sun has more to do with ego and self-identification and is masculine in nature. It’s not uncommon for a woman to look more like her Moon sign than her Sun sign. The most wonderful moments for me as an astrologer are those of confirmation. Many people have an inner longing to pursue a certain thing, but suppress the desire for many reasons. When I hit on that one thing in their birth chart without them mentioning it before the reading, I see their whole face light up with excitement. The usual exclamation of wonder is, “I’ve always wanted to (fill in the blank), but never (fill in the blank).” Astrological confirmation of one’s inner self is often the means of instilling confidence to eliminate the “but.”

The first and most important birthday gift we receive is the moment of our birth. Unfortunately, for many people, this gift remains unopened because they don’t know there is a way to open it. Fortunately, the gift’s usefulness does not fade over time and will have meaning for you, whenever you decide to open it.