The natal chart (or birth chart) in astrology has so much depth as an exploratory tool into our personalities and what makes us tick. I love diving into self-exploration and learning about how I show up in the world in various facets. Who doesn’t, right? And if you’re here ready to get a crash course on reading your natal chart and understanding what in the heck planets, signs, and houses mean, then I’m guessing you do, too.
What Is A Natal Chart?
Your natal chart describes the night sky at the exact moment of your birth. You’ll see the 8 planets of our solar system, the Sun, the Moon, and a handful of other celestial bodies. The chart comprises of two rings, an inner ring with the numbers 1-12 which are the Houses and an outer ring with the 12 zodiac signs. Along the inside of the zodiac signs, you’ll see the planets and other bodies marked in the circle.
While it might look like a confusing mess at first, there are a few key pieces to a natal chart that will get you starting deciphering it in no time! For starters, you need to look at the planets, signs, and houses and understand how they fit together.
Learning astrology is like learning a new language. You’ll get used to it over time, so don’t get discouraged! We’ll take it one step at a time here.
The planets on your natal chart are found on the pie pieces between the house and sign labels. For a first study, the primary bodies to look at are the 8 planets from our solar system (because Earth isn’t included in our night sky), the Sun, the Moon, an asteroid called Chiron, the North Node and South Node, and the Ascendant. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll refer to them all as planets.
You can think of the planets as the “what” of the equation. Each planet represents a different facet of your personality and who you are. For example, the Moon represents your emotions, and Neptune represents your spirituality.
Each planet has a governing sign associated with it, but those are different from the signs your chart will assign to each planet.
The signs on your natal chart are found around the outer edge of the circle. The sign associated with each planet is the one that encompasses that planet. If a planet is on the edge between two signs, you can check the chart that comes with your sign to see exactly which angle and sign the planet falls under. However, you’ll probably find influences from the neighboring sign on that planet if it’s close enough to the border.
You can think of the signs as the “how” of the equation. Each sign describes how you express that planet’s energy. For example, we know the Moon represents your emotions. If your Moon sign is located in Aries, you may find your express your emotions in a charming, yet forceful way. Charming and forceful are both qualities of the Aries sign.
Each sign falls into at least one house.
The houses on your natal chart are found around the inner ring of the circle. The houses look like pie piece cuts in the circle, although on many charts they will not be evenly cut pie pieces. Each planet is placed on a pie piece that represents the house it falls under and maps to the subsequent sign on the outer edge.
There are 12 houses that represent different areas of your life such as communication (3rd house), marriage (7th house), and career (10th house).
You can think of the houses as the “where” of the equation. The house is “where” your energy expresses the “what” of the planet and “how” of the sign. This is the area of your life that your corresponding personality and experiences show up.
We’ll take the example above. Moon in Aries in the 3rd house means that you express your emotions in a charming, yet forceful way, and you bring this charming and forceful emotional energy into your communication style.
For another example, let’s say your chart shows Neptune in Capricorn in the 2nd house. Neptune represents the “what” of spirituality. Capricorn can express as serious and disciplined. And the 2nd house is the part of your life that contains material possessions and self-worth. Therefore, we can say that you may tend to express your spirituality in a serious and disciplined manner, and you may see those elements of disciplined and serious spirituality show up in your material possessions or tied to how you value yourself.
Accessing Your Natal Chart
There are many websites that provide free natal charts. You can find them with a simple Google search. One of my favorites is astro-charts.com because the chart format is formatted in a very easy-to-read manner which is also perfect for beginners.