What is an astrological birth chart?
How to read an astrological birth chart?
An astrology birth chart (also sometimes called an astrology natal chart) shows the exact position of the Sun, Moon and planets at the time of one's birth. (Birth charts should not be confused with a current astrological chart which shows the positions of the planets and transits at the current time.)
A birth chart is extremely specific, requiring the exact local time, and time zone of one's birth city. By using a sophisticated "ephemeris" to calculate planetary positions, an astrological charting tool can give you a snapshot of the heavens at the specific moment in time when a person entered the world.
Why do we care? By using a astrology reports generated by a birth chart calculator, professional astrologers can infer many details about our personality attributes and our individual potential.
While most of us are familiar with our astrological sign or "sun sign", a full astrology chart report is much more than a simple zodiac sign or sun sign horoscope. A birth-chart is like an astrological fingerprint. Each of the planetary placements in the birth chart has a profound effect on a different aspect of our lives. An astrological chart offers far more detail than just the standard "horoscope sign", and allows skilled readers to gain deep insights with incredible detail.
What are the "planets" in a birth chart?
In astrology the term "planet" doesn't necessarily mean a true planet in the astronomical sense. For the purposes of astrology, both the Sun and the Moon are often referred to as "planets", even though they are not planets by scientific definitions.
An astrological reading uses the seven classical celestial bodies of the solar system which could be seen with the naked eye by ancient sky gazers. These were: The Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
NOTE: While many charts today contain the more distant celestial bodies, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, they are frequently omitted from astrological readings because they were not visible to ancient astronomers. While many contemporary astrologers do incorporate the outer planets' positions in a natal chart reading, keep in mind that they are not part of a classical astrological reading. iFate's free astrology birth charts list all planets, but our walk-through chart analysis stops after Saturn.
What are the houses in a birth chart?
In an astrological birth chart, the sky is divided into 12 sections. These sections are called "astrological houses". You can see each of these house positions numbered in the chart below: (Notice the small numbers, 1 through 12 next to each of the "spokes" radiating from the center of the chart.)
Each of the twelve houses has a unique meaning representing a different dimension or facet of your life. One of the most important houses is the first house. The start of the first house is also called the "rising sign".
What is a rising sign in a birth chart?
The rising sign, or the "Ascendant" is one of the most important angles in a birth chart. It is located at the beginning of the first house. In a birth chart, the Ascendant is marked by the letters "As" or sometimes "Asc". If the Ascendant isn't marked on a chart, you can always use the position of the first house instead. (iFate uses the standard "As" abbreviation in the chart above.)
What does the rising sign mean?
The rising sign or Ascendant indicates outward appearances. These outward appearances may often be due to external factors experienced during one's upbringing. Others may be the result of the environment we are exposed to.
If your Sun sign reflects what's deep inside, your rising sign indicates your physical appearance and what's on the surface. In many ways it's superficial. But in other ways, it's the part that people around you see and notice. It's a good idea to pay close attention to your rising sign because no matter how you feel on the inside, your rising sign is often a much better indicator of how you come across.
NOTE: Your rising sign is extremely dependent on your time of birth and your place of birth and time zone. When making a birth chart, it's easy to make the mistake of ignoring your birth time. Keep in mind that entering the incorrect birth time or other birth data can have major implications for returning the correct Ascendant.
What does the Sun mean in a birth chart?
The Sun sign is the one part of a birth chart that most people are already familiar with. When people ask "What's your sign?", what they really mean is "What's your Sun sign?".
The sun is a primary influencer of power, authority, creativity self expression and esteem. Strength and energy flow from this source.
What does the Moon mean in a birth chart?
The Moon represents the subconscious mind. It influences our inner feelings and deep instincts. It can also represent aspects of motherhood and emotional bonds within families.
What does Mercury mean in a birth chart?
The planet Mercury represents logic, thought, analytical ability and education. Mercury is the master of brevity, factual communication and rational behavior. It can also represent close distances.
What does Venus mean in a birth chart?
Love, interpersonal relationships, beauty and desire are governed by Venus. It influences all forms of human interaction and friendships. Venus also influences creativity and art.
What does Mars mean in a birth chart?
The action-oriented planet Mars represents directed energy, inner drive and sometimes aggression. Mars also influences sexuality, passion, athletic ability and competition.
What does Jupiter mean in a birth chart?
The grand concepts of justice, morality and philosophical thought are governed by the largest planet, Jupiter. It can also influence overarching aspirations and greater lifetime goals.
What does Saturn mean in a birth chart?
Saturn is the keeper of boundaries, personal limits and our sense of responsibility. Saturn invluences our career, our self-discipline and our ability to deal with hardship.
What does Uranus mean in a birth chart?
Uranus is the rebel planet. It influences our individuality, political views and unique personal tastes. It indicates change and our willingness to buck tradition and seek the new.
What does Neptune mean in a birth chart?
Neptune is the planet of mystery. It represents our spiritual side and our ability to see past the physical world. Neptune may also represent caring and aid for others.
What does Pluto mean in a birth chart?
Pluto is an ever-changing planet of transition: Changes between health and sickness, wealth and poverty, and success and failure. Like fate, Pluto is unpredictable.
Does the Moon's phase matter in a birth chart?
The Moon's phase is not a traditional part of a birth chart, but it is an important part of moon phase astrology. Moon phase astrology is a separate branch of astrology which assigns meanings to the current phase of the moon, and the phase of the moon at the time of birth. To find the meaning of the moon phase on your date of birth, click here.
Astrological birth charts made easy
On paper, reading a natal chart report can take hours of practice. Our step by step free birth chart app (at the top of the page) not only draws your chart for you based on planetary positions at the time of birth, but starts you off with a unique, step-by-step interpretation of your chart. After your chart is displayed, you can continue through a basic page by page easy-to-read chart analysis tool.
Even if you've never read a chart before, this tool will give you an easy, step-by-step approach to chart reading. Once you've mastered the basics of planets, signs and houses -- then it's time to start paying attention to the finer details of planetary aspects, retrograde motion and transits. Astrology is a never ending journey. If you're a newbie, iFate's interactive birth charts are a great first step.