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How To Read a Birth Chart

Following popular request I’m going to share my guide on how to read a birth chart.

How to read a birth chart and interpret it

I had my first birth chart done for me when I was around 10/11 years old. My Mum had found a spiritual group nearby and connected with an astrologer. She commissioned the astrologer to draw up and interpret the birth charts for herself, my brother, and I.

This came to me as a thin plastic folder containing a hand-drawn birth chart on the front cover followed by several pages of interpretations for each planet, house, and aspect.

I was utterly fascinated by this. There was an almost magical feeling in knowing exactly where all the planets were situated the exact moment I was born.

But as I read through the birth chart interpretation as a young girl I didn’t really relate that much to the person it described. What I didn’t know then was that I was still growing and developing, I was still becoming who I was meant to be. Back then, I just didn’t know what to make it of it. It soon got packed away into a box and kind of forgotten about for a couple of decades.

Meanwhile, I’d dip in and out of astrology but never fully related to my horoscope or even the descriptors of my star sign (also known as your sun sign). I continued along my spiritual path but astrology wasn’t a major feature for a while.

A few years back my Mum was sorting through her belongings and found our birth charts. She sent mine over to me, and turned out I had totally forgotten about two further birth charts I had had done in my mid-late teens. One was an early computer programmed version that my Granny was a rep for. And the other was put together by another acquaintance of my Mum’s.

I had three birth charts before me and I couldn’t believe it when I started to read through them. Things that I had first read and found unrelatable were me to a tee. Turns out that the more I grew as person and the more I experienced in life, the more I became my true self.

Fast forward to today and with the internet as advanced as it is there are numerous websites offering free birth chart creations and analysis. It is super easy to find out exactly which zodiac signs each planet was in the moment you were born. As long as you have the exact time, date and place of your birth you can input that simple data and receive a detailed birth chart analysis.

Now, I am a born critic and always have a toe in scepticism so I am always wary of these things. And I think that’s healthy. However, I have been able to do quite a lot of birth charts for family and friends using online astrology websites and it’s been astounding how accurate they can be.

I do believe that life is a process, and nothing is 100% accurate. There is always environmental factors to consider. But consulting my birth chart has proved so useful in terms of understanding myself, finding peace within, and feeling motivated with my path in life.

I have found that elements of my personality and lifestyle felt challenging. There were somethings I didn’t understand, or possibly didn’t face up to. Spending time getting to know my birth chart helped me understand myself. Things that I tried to suppress in my personality, I finally had the courage to accept and step into. 

At a time where I’ve been going through a transformation reading my birth chart helped me feel confident in the decisions I’ve made and help focus on where I want to go. It’s been reassuring. 

It’s worked really well for me so far and I have had numerous questions on my Instagram this year about it so I thought I’d share so information here.

How To Read A Birth Chart

First things first, to get your birth chart (also known as a natal chart) done you will need the location of where you were born (this is usually a town or city), the time you were born, and the date you were born (including the year).

For example, you might have been born in Birmingham, UK at 5.28am on 17th August 1981.

Enter your birth details into a birth chart analyser. Some astrology websites that do this include:

Example of a birth chart
Example of a birth chart displaying planets within zodiac signs, astrological houses, and aspects between planets and astrological points.

What does a birth chart look like?

When the birth chart is generated it should look like a circle with sections, symbols and lines drawn between them.

Underneath that should be a table displaying each planet and the zodiac sign it sits in. For example, Sun in Leo, Moon in Taurus, Mercury in Virgo.

There will also be a list of aspects. These are how the planets relate to one another based on their angles. It will usually be listed as something like Moon trine Mars, or Jupiter square Neptune, or Sun conjunct Mercury.

You should also see a list of Houses numbered between 1 and 12. This is which house each planet sits in and also have another interpretation.

Example Birth Chart and Aspects Table
Example of a birth chart and an aspects table using symbols

How to interpret a birth chart

Depending on how the birth chart interpretation is displayed I would start with reading what each planet in its zodiac sign means. The near planets are called the personal planets and tend to have the greatest influence, these are Mercury, Venus, and Mars plus the Sun and Moon.

Next read the houses as that illustrates how the planets behave within each star sign. For instance, the 10th house represents your career, public and persona. The planet and zodiac sign that falls within that will explain how that is expressed. Different astrologers use different house systems which is why I use a few different places to read my birth chart and cross examine.

Note the ascendent (also known as rising sign). That is the sign that was emerging on the horizon the moment you were born. This is how you come across to the world. It’s about your appearance whether that’s physically or outward personality.

Finally, note the aspects. I find the aspects to be the most revealing, and most helpful. Aspects are the angles the planets make with one another. The term is also used as a general catch-all for astrological points of interest so it will include the ascendent, descendent, midheaven, etc. The aspects indicate if the planets and signs have an easy or challenging way of expressing their position. In my experience the aspects have been a really useful way of expressing the details and quirks in my personality and life path.

Things to remember:

Because of the nature of an online birth chart interpretation it just lists everything, and in that you will find contradictions.

Different planets, houses, aspects, will have different strengths of influence on the chart. There are such a thing as dominant signs, elements, and houses. Plus the shape of the birth chart can have impact as well.

It can be useful for some people to seek an astrologer to provide an interpretation. They will be able to sift through the strengths of the chart to create a more rounded picture.

Likewise, I have only mentioned just the basics of astrology and birth chart reading. Trained astrologers will also look into other things such as the shape of the birth chart overall, how multiple planets create certain divine shapes, dominant elements, dominant signs, where the majority of the chart is located, etc. It is quite an in-depth practice and I’m only covering the basics here to start with to help you get started on how to read a birth chart.

Birth Chart Terminology

Zodiac / Star Signs

  • Aries – Spontaneous, assertive, freedom, challenge, independence, bold
  • Taurus – Stable, appreciative, sensual, peace, dependability, stubborn
  • Gemini – Communicator, dual nature, witty, curious, fickle, adaptable
  • Cancer – Nurturing, emotional, security, empathy, sensitivity, caring,
  • Leo – Confident, stands out, adoring, entertaining, generous, pride
  • Virgo – Analytical, meticulous, practical, patience, thoughtful
  • Libra – Balance, relating, beauty, diplomatic, cooperative
  • Scorpio – Intensity, sexual, trustworthy, passion, desire, zeal
  • Sagittarius – Expansive, visionary, optimistic, flexibility, adventure, honesty,
  • Capricorn – Responsible, authoritative, ambitious, respectful, committed, stable
  • Aquarius – Consciousness, humanitarian, unique, intelligence, inspiring
  • Pisces – Love, wisdom, sensitive, compassion, romantic, soulful

Planets

  • Sun – Self, identity, ego, consciousness, action
  • Moon – Instincts, the unconscious, nurturing part of you, dream, emotion
  • Mercury – Mentality, communications, siblings, travel, learning, logic, humour
  • Venus – Love, romance, sex, beauty, attraction, female energy,
  • Mars – Action, drive, ambition, desire, money, male energy
  • Jupiter – Optimism, luck, expansive, success, philosophy, education, morals, excess
  • Saturn – Responsibility, lessons, restriction, time, gravity, limitation, law, control
  • Uranus – Individuality, creativity, originality, sudden changes, eccentric, rebellion, freedom, science, erratic
  • Neptune – Idealism, illusion, surrender, transcendence, spirituality, depression, fantasy, mysticism
  • Pluto – Transformation, rebirth, power, underworld, candor, occult

Other natal chart points of note

  • North Node – Destiny, future potential, connections
  • South Note – What you already know, past karma
  • Ascendent (Rising Sign) – Personality, approach to life
  • Midheaven – Personality in career, approach to the world
  • Descendent – Relationships with others

Houses

  • 1st – Personal Identity, self, the body, appearance, new beginnings, how we perceive the world
  • 2nd – Value, self-worth, finances, possessions, security
  • 3rd – Communications, siblings, short trips, socialisation, reasoning,
  • 4th – Psychological foundation, roots, home, family, ties to past, tradition, security
  • 5th – Self-expression, romance, play, art, children, sex, risks, adventure, self-esteem, creativity
  • 6th – Work, service, health, duty, skills with hands, daily rituals,
  • 7th – Partnership, marriage, dealing with others, balance
  • 8th – Intimacy, sexuality, occult death, inheritance, shared resources, how you handle death and endings
  • 9th – Inspiration, philosophy, religion, education, journeys, ideas, spirituality
  • 10th – Career, ambitions, status, respect, recognition, ethic
  • 11th – Ideals, groups, friends, dreams, causes, goals, fellowship
  • 12th – Inner, meditative, entrapped, spiritual, secrets, karma, dreams, limitations, spiritual connection

Aspects

The angles formed between planets the moment you were born. Their energies are said to combine and work either in harmony or discord with one another.

  • Conjunction (0 degrees) – planets work together, intensify each other, positive when planets are in harmony
  • Opposition (180 degrees) – planets are in polarity, can create tension and lead to frustration if not integrated
  • Trine (120 degrees) – energy flows easily between planets, brings opportunities
  • Square (90 degrees) – creates restrictions and obstacles, planets push each other harder to integrate
  • Sextile (60 degrees) – planets concepts work well together, easy flow of information

There are others but these are the basic ones.

Ascendent is the zodiac sign appearing on the horizon when you were born.

Midheaven is the highest zodiac sign when you were born. It represents reputation and public life.

Descendent is the zodiac sign opposite the ascendent. It represents your relationships with others.

FINAL NOTE ABOUT BIRTH/NATAL CHARTS:
Obviously we are more complex than just few short paragraphs of interpretations here and there. The idea of a birth chart is to be a starting point, or an opportunity to look into different aspects of your personality and lifestyle. It’s a tool rather than a fortune teller. Always take anything like this with a pinch of salt, and have fun with it.

I hope that has helped you learn how to read a birth chart. Let me know how you get on!

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