Everything you need to know about doing your birth chart

how to use your birth chart to figure out life
How to use your birth chart to figure out lifeTanja Ivanova - Getty Images

Ok, so you probably know all about your star sign, but do you know what your moon sign is? Or what about your rising sign? It sounds like you might need to do your birth chart asap! All you need to know is the exact date, time and location of your birth, so you can see what was going on in the sky at the moment you were born, and see how you can use that information to interpret your personality.

What is a birth chart?

Your birth (or natal) chart pinpoints the precise location of the planets in the sky at the time of your birth. Why would you want to know this? Well, analysing this can reveal what truly makes you YOU. It’s a snapshot of the universe’s energy the moment you entered the world.

You'll need to know your date of birth, time of birth and place of birth to get an accurate reading, which will then reveal the precise position of the planets and stars at the exact time of your arrival.

What is your star sign on your birth chart?

When you think about your star sign, this represents the position of the sun at your moment of birth. Your sun sign rules your fundamental essence, but there is a LOT more going on. All of the other planets also play a role in shaping your personality, motivations and desires. For instance, the moon represents your emotions, Mercury symbolises communication, Venus represents beauty, love, and money, while Mars signifies your determination and aggression.

Some planets have short orbits which means they move around our planet pretty fast ( therefore change signs fast too as they move through the sky). Therefore, their positions on most people’s birth charts are more variable, and unique to them. They are known as the ‘inner planets’ - the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars. Their proximity physically also gives them more of a direct impact on our individual natures and experiences.

Then there’s the slow coaches, on the other side of the asteroid belt, called the ‘outer planets’- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. It can take these planets up to 30 years to change sign. Therefore, these outer planets tend to represent era-long shifts or generational themes.

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A birth chart is made up of three components: planets (the forces that act), signs (how the planets act) and houses (in which areas of life they act upon).

How to interpret your birth chart

Your birth chart might resemble a circle-within-a-circle with numbers and symbols scattered across it, or it might just be a report in list format. It will represent a LOT of data. It might be easier to take it in stages. So as not to get overwhelmed, firstly zoom in on your sun, moon, and rising signs because these have the biggest impact on your personality.

Your sun sign is your star sign, your main ~label~ and is like your engine, driving you through in life. It represents your needs, desires and key traits. It’s like a sketch or outline of your personality.

Your moon sign shows what goes on beneath the outer façade, your psychological and internal emotions and feelings. It is also associated with your needs in relationships and the way you comfort or protect yourself.

Your rising sign (sometimes called an ascendant) is like your mask, the outer you that others perceive initially and would probably describe you as being like. If people are always guessing your sign wrong, then it might be that they’re really tuning in to your rising sign.

Once you’re comfortable with these, you can explore your other planets (Mars, Venus, Mercury etc) and start to look at houses.

What are houses on a birth chart?

Your birth chart is divided into 12 sections referred to as ‘houses’. These sections represent all the categories and functions of living a life - and this is what enables astrology to tell us about our life’s pathway and future, not just our personality.

So, houses one to six address everyday activities and material themes like money, home, possessions, communication; houses seven to 12 relate to more high level and spiritual motivations like career, partnership, hopes and our own undoings. One of the first things we look at is what houses are occupied by what planets. For example, Jupiter (planet of luck) in your second house of possessions would indicate ease at making money. Not all houses will be occupied by a planet, and that’s okay, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to experience that area of life.

And we can go further still. A fuller interpretation is possible by analysing what zodiac sign the planet was also in at the time. It’s a triple-headed thing (house + planet + sign = interpretation).

For instance, if the moon (all about emotions) was in (compassionate) Pisces in the seventh house (which represents committed partnerships) when you were born, then your emotional stability may be very connected to your relationships. This takes some practice and getting your head around as it’s a feast of moving parts, but you will pick up speed and insight.

The houses' meaning

  • 1st House: Self, identity, physical appearance

  • 2nd House: Material possessions, money, values

  • 3rd House: Peers, communication, siblings

  • 4th House: Home, family, origins

  • 5th House: Creativity, romance, children

  • 6th House: Health, wellness, routines

  • 7th House: Partnership, contracts, marriage

  • 8th House: Inheritances, sex, transformation

  • 9th House: Philosophy, travel, higher education

  • 10th House: Career, legacy, reputation

  • 11th House: Activism, technology, humanitarianism

  • 12th House: Intuition, secrets, spirituality

The planets' meaning

  • The Sun – vitality, ego, confidence, ambition

  • The Moon – emotions, private secrets, sub conscious

  • Mercury - intelligence, wander lust, commerce, curiosity

  • Venus – sensuality, aesthetics, romance

  • Mars - passion, gusto, purpose, sexuality

  • Jupiter - abundance, luck, optimism, spontaneity

  • Saturn – sense of duty, lessons, maturity, discipline

  • Uranus – radicalness, innovation, rebellion, eccentricity

  • Neptune – mysteries, esoteric, occult, illusions

  • Pluto - transformation, fearlessness, rebirth

And the final piece of the puzzle is the sign the planet is in when in that house. The sign reveals how the planet executes its mission. For instance, if Mars is about ambition and passion, Mars in the task master sign of Saturn, and will express itself through seeking success by adhering to an authoritative, hierarchical and disciplined path.

The signs' meaning

  • Aries - passion, motivation, warmth, vitality, ego

  • Taurus – practicality, stoicism, analytical thinking, patience

  • Gemini - curiosity, communication, playfulness, cleverness, speed

  • Cancer – intuition, emotional intelligence, sensitivity, protection,

  • Leo – confidence, self promotion, leadership, courage, pride

  • Virgo - organisation, structure, pragmatism, service, loyalty

  • Libra – beauty, harmony, diplomacy, objectivity, justice

  • Scorpio – fearlessness, intensity, power, independence

  • Sagittarius – luck, passion, adventure, philosophical, discovery

  • Capricorn – discipline, determination, responsibility, achievement

  • Aquarius – eccentricity, truth, innovation, rebellion, activism

  • Pisces – kindness, imagination, psychic ability, creativity

Astrologers may also look at the balance of elements in your chart (air, earth, fire and water signs), as well as ‘aspects’ i.e. how many degrees apart two planets are in the chart (their closeness or distance can tell you even MORE about yourself… it’s all about the dynamics), and if there’s a heavy concentration of planets in any one sig.

Learning all of this takes time, effort and diligence. There are layers and, initially, you might feel overwhelmed. Just take it one step at a time. Start with your sun, rising and moon signs. Then move onto the other planets and what sign each is in. Then work your way into your houses and the three-pronged analysis of house + planet + sign. Break it down into bite-sized chunks.

When to do your birth chart

ASAP! Many star gazers regularly renew their chart too, maybe at New Year or on their birthday. These are called transit charts (sometimes a ‘natal plus transits’ chart). In this case, you start with your own birth chart and compare it to the transiting (moving) planets. When a transiting planet makes contact with one of the natal planets, it activates ‘vibes’ (good or bad). Knowing this allows you to plan ahead, or look back.

You can review any date, past or future, and run a transit chart that compares the planets in motion with your birth chart (like when you broke up with someone, when they broke up with you, when you found out they were seeing someone else, and so forth). Does this sound addictive or what?

And this is only the beginning. Once you’ve got your chart, you can also look into lunar phases, hemisphere emphasis, planetary aspects and retrogrades…

But, for now, why not start with your birth/natal chart. Enter in your date, time and place of birth and receive a free chart with accompanying analysis at Cafe Astrology.

Thank me later!

For your own professional tarot reading, visit Kerry's TarotBella page.

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