The Basics of an Astrological Chart
Introduction to Natal Charts
Hello and welcome to the AstrologyClub.org. On this page we are starting our series about natal charts and how to interpret them. I hope you find it interesting and informative.
We will start by having a look at a basic natal chart itself. For this example we have used a placidus chart type which is divided into twelve houses. If you do not yet have a natal chart for yourself and would like one, visit this page
While your sun sign is the position of the sun at the time of your birth, your birth chart is what tells who you are. The odds of someone having the same birth chart as you are astronomically small, approximately 1 in 10 billion. Having your birth chart done will show you just how unique you are!
Your astrological chart can be considered a metaphor for you. The chart shows the position of the heavens for the day, time, and place that you were born. As such, it is also known as your birth chart. The symbols on the chart represent the locations of the planets.
To understand the chart, it is helpful to think of the center as the position of the earth and the placement of the planets as what was in the sky on your day of birth.
As you can see the outer circle has the zodiac signs running around the edge of the chart.
The sign at the easternmost end of the line is your Ascendant or Rising sign. This is the face you present to the world and on this chart is marked with the letters AC. The Ascendant is always in the first house of your chart in a placidus chart. Astrologers need to know your time of birth to accurately find which sign your Ascendant is in, the sign changes about every two hours. If your time of birth is not known then there is not only the strong possibility of your ascendant being wrong, but also the signs on the cusps of the rest of the astrological houses are likely to be wrong as well. In this example the Ascendant is in Capricorn.
The sign at the westernmost end of the line is your descendant sign. It represents how you relate to others.
Looking further up you will notice the letters MC. This is the Medium Coeli also called the MC or Midheaven and refers to the highest point on the chart. It is the point of culmination where the planets reach the point on their apparent orbits highest above the horizon. The position of the MC on your chart can reveal how you conduct yourself in the outside world. This includes your role in public and your professional career. The highest point of the chart, the upper vertical line, represents the highest point that the sun reached on that date. The Midheaven represents your goals, career, social roles, and public image.
The horizontal line is the horizon. Everything above the line was in the visible portion of the sky at your moment of birth and everything below the line was not visible. Different from a regular map, the left end of the line is the east, and the right end of the line is the west.
The lowest point in the chart, the lower vertical line, is found on the exact opposite side of the earth from the midheaven. This is your lower heaven, which represents your psychological roots and your life’s foundations.
You will also notice astrological glyphs within these segmented parts of the chart. These represent the different planets and show us in which zodiac sign and which astrological house they were in at the time of birth.
The placement of the different planets in the various houses and signs reflects in different ways how we are likely to approach or react to situations as well as what areas of our life are likely to be impacted on. In this instance we have also added some additional glyphs representing the Parts of Fortune, Chiron, Moon Node and the black moon Lilith.
Within the inner circle we see a lot of different colored lines forming different patterns. This is a mapping of the aspects between the different planets in the natal chart. The aspects relate to the positions that the planets are in, in relation to each other. When planets are squared or opposed to each other this can sometimes indicate that there may be significant challenges to overcome in these areas. Oppositions are not always a bad thing though and sometimes can be seen as an invigorating and beneficial combination between two planets. We also look at the more positive aspects known as trines, sextiles and conjunctions.
Each of the 12 sun signs is categorized by energies, qualities, and elements. Energies refer to whether the energy is yang–direct and externally oriented or yin–indirect and internally oriented.
- Yang signs tend to be action oriented, rather than waiting for things to happen.
- Yin signs tend to focus on what is needed to attract and create the desired outcome.
Qualities are concerned with different types of activities and stem from where in a season a sign falls. Cardinal signs begin a season, fixed signs are in the middle of a season, and mutable signs occur as the season is ending or making the transition into the next season.
- Cardinal quality signs are independent, proactive and enterprising, and seek to move ahead and start new things.
- Fixed signs are determined, persistent, consistent, and reliable.
- Mutable signs are quick to learn, adapt easily, and are resourceful and flexible.
There are four elements, which describe the nature of the signs and of life. These elements are fire, earth, air, and water, and each represents distinct temperamental characteristics.
- Fire signs are idealistic, assertive, energetic, courageous, and often visionary.
- Earth signs are skillful, practical, and good at managing assets, both physical and financial.
- Air signs are skilled at thinking, developing ideas, communicating, and social relationships.
- Water signs are emotional, intuitive, and sensitive, think with their feelings, and are often romantic.
Individuals born under signs with the same energy, quality, or element will have certain traits in common. However, each combination of energy, quality, and elements appears in only one sign. For example, Pisces has a yin energy, a mutable quality, and the element of water. Virgo shares with Pisces a yin energy and mutable quality, but has a different element–earth.