Birth Chart 101
What can your birthday tell you? So much more than you might think! Your birth chart, an in-depth look at each planet in the sky the moment you took your first breath, reveals your deepest desires, fears, strengths, weaknesses, and even secrets to your life path.
WHAT CAN YOUR BIRTH CHART TELL YOU?
Your Zodiac Sign is just the beginning, and it all starts with your birth chart! Astrology is an ancient language, passed down for thousands of years, and your birth chart, also known as a natal chart, can truly unlock your destiny.
A birth chart is a personalized reading that highlights areas of opportunity, how you operate in partnerships, and relationships with family and friends to illuminate how you can access our full potential.
The natal chart reading also taps into the connections the planets make with one another, and how their combined energy influences your character, temperament, and personality.
Each planet has a specific job in a birth chart and rules over a specific area of your life—work, marriage, and family, for example. Wondering what type of partner might be most compatible with your zodiac sign? Look no further than your birth chart's Venus and Mars placements, which describe the type of affection we crave and who we are attracted to.
Think of your natal chart as a cosmic blueprint to your life—it's unique to you. The different conversations the planets were having at the exact time you were born are the key to revealing a deeper layer of understanding beyond your zodiac sign. A birth chart analysis provides the opportunity for deeper reflection, self-awareness, and personal growth.
So, don't be shy, unlock your cosmic destiny!
HOW TO FIND YOUR BIRTH CHART
There are tons of birth chart analysis services out there, but we can't help but recommend our own! Check out our Birth Chart Calculator to receive a detailed analysis and unlock the secrets of who you really are.
Your Birth Chart
WHAT INFORMATION DO I NEED FOR MY BIRTH CHART?
It's quite simple—to calculate your birth chart you will need:
- Birthday (date, month, and year)
- Exact time of birth
- Location of birth
With this information, you'll have access to everything you need to start decoding your unique cosmic life path. Because natal charts are so sensitive, you'll need accurate data — so try not to guess! If you have any doubts about exactly when and where you were born, be sure to check with a birth certificate, parent, or other family member who can confirm.
Not sure of the exact time you were born? Your birth chart will still include the significant planets in your natal chart. This will, however, affect your exact moon sign, ascendant, and the division of the houses.
As a best practice, if you are unable to find the exact time, make the closest possible estimate or enter 6:00 AM.
HOW TO READ YOUR BIRTH CHART
When you finally get your hands on your birth chart, you may find yourself a little overwhelmed. It's a lot of information to take in — we get it. You'll see a ton of symbols, numbers, shapes, lines, and other stuff you can't make heads or tails of.
There are three key components to a natal chart:
- Zodiac Signs: The zodiac consists of 12 signs, each associated with unique traits and characteristics. Your birth chart will indicate the positions of the planets within these signs, offering insights into your personality.
- Planets: The planets in your birth chart represent different facets of your personality and life experiences. The sun, moon, and ascendant (rising) signs are particularly significant, each revealing essential aspects of your identity. These are often referred to as the “big three.”
- Astrological Houses: There are 12 astrological houses, each governing specific life areas. The houses in your birth chart provide context for how planetary energies manifest in different aspects of your life.
WHAT ARE THE 12 ZODIAC SIGNS?
Let's start off our understanding of your birth chart with something you're probably already somewhat familiar with: your zodiac sign. The 12 astrological signs are fundamental components of your birth chart. Not only do they define what makes us, well… us, but each sign has its own unique qualities, characteristics, and attributes.
- Aries (March 21 - April 19): Aries is associated with the element of fire and is ruled by Mars. Individuals with Aries placements in their birth chart are often known for their assertiveness, leadership qualities, and a desire to initiate action.
- Taurus (April 20 - May 20): Taurus is an earth sign ruled by Venus. Those with Taurus placements tend to value stability, security, and material comforts. They are known for their determination and appreciation of life's sensual pleasures.
- Gemini (May 21 - June 20): Gemini, an air sign, is ruled by Mercury. People with Gemini placements are often characterized by their curiosity, adaptability, and communication skills. They enjoy intellectual pursuits and tend to be sociable.
- Cancer (June 21 - July 22): Cancer is a water sign ruled by the Moon. Individuals with Cancer placements are known for their emotional depth, nurturing tendencies, and strong ties to family and home life.
- Leo (July 23 - August 22): Leo is a fire sign ruled by the Sun. Those with Leo placements are often associated with creativity, leadership, and a desire for recognition and admiration. They have a strong sense of self-expression.
- Virgo (August 23 - September 22): Virgo, an earth sign, is ruled by Mercury. People with Virgo placements are known for their attention to detail, practicality, and analytical abilities. They often excel in areas requiring precision and organization.
- Libra (September 23 - October 22): Libra is an air sign ruled by Venus. Individuals with Libra placements value balance, harmony, and relationships. They are often associated with diplomacy, charm, and a sense of fairness.
- Scorpio (October 23 - November 21): Scorpio is a water sign ruled by Mars and Pluto. Those with Scorpio placements are known for their intensity, passion, and deep emotional insights. They are often associated with transformation and mystery.
- Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21): Sagittarius is a fire sign ruled by Jupiter. People with Sagittarius placements are often adventurous, optimistic, and philosophical. They have a strong desire for exploration and a love of learning.
- Capricorn (December 22 - January 19): Capricorn, an earth sign, is ruled by Saturn. Individuals with Capricorn placements are associated with ambition, discipline, and a strong work ethic. They often pursue long-term goals and seek stability.
- Aquarius (January 20 - February 18): Aquarius is an air sign ruled by Saturn and Uranus. Those with Aquarius placements are known for their innovation, humanitarian values, and individuality. They often think outside the box.
- Pisces (February 19 - March 20): Pisces is a water sign ruled by Jupiter and Neptune. People with Pisces placements are often seen as intuitive, compassionate, and artistic. They have a deep connection to the subconscious and the spiritual realm.
That takes us to the next part of understanding your birth chart: the planets. The position of the planets within your zodiac sign during your birth provides specific details about your personality, strengths, challenges, and life path.
WHAT DO THE PLANETS MEAN? WHAT IS A SUN AND MOON SIGN?
The Planets, and especially sun, moon, and rising signs, have a strong influence over our personality and how we interpret the world. In fact, many astrologers actually recommend reading horoscopes for your sun, moon, and rising signs for a more accurate and customized reading.
Here are the planets (yes, we know the sun, moon, and Pluto aren't planets in an astronomical sense), what each of them represents, and which symbol is associated with them:
- The Sun (circle with a dot in the middle): Our sun sign is front-and-center and defines our purpose and identity—think of it as where we shine brightest during this lifetime. It reflects your basic nature, individuality, and how you express yourself.
- The Moon (crescent moon): Moon signs are a little trickier—they reveal the most private part of ourselves, and what we require to feel “at home” and secure. This reflects your emotions, instincts, and unconscious reactions.
- Mercury (circle with two horns and a cross underneath): Mercury represents communication, thought processes, and mental agility. It reflects how you think, express yourself, and communicate with others. Mercury's placement can indicate your communication style and intellectual strengths.
- Venus (circle with a cross underneath): Venus represents love, relationships, beauty, and values. It reflects your approach to love and affection, your aesthetic preferences, and your values in both romantic and platonic relationships.
- Mars (circle with a diagonal arrow): Mars represents energy, action, desire, and assertiveness. It reflects your drive, ambition, and how you assert yourself in pursuing your goals. Mars also relates to your physical energy and sexuality.
- Jupiter (what looks like a curved “4”): Jupiter represents expansion, growth, optimism, and abundance. It reflects your beliefs, sense of purpose, and the areas of life where you seek personal and spiritual growth. Jupiter often brings opportunities and good fortune.
- Saturn (what looks like a curved “h”): Saturn represents discipline, responsibility, structure, and challenges. It reflects your sense of duty, limitations, and the lessons you need to learn in life. Saturn often highlights areas of personal growth through hard work and perseverance.
- Uranus (what looks like a curved “H” with a circle underneath): Uranus represents innovation, change, originality, and individuality. It reflects your capacity for breaking free from tradition, embracing change, and expressing your unique identity. Uranus often brings unexpected events and insights.
- Neptune (trident): Neptune represents spirituality, intuition, dreams, and idealism. It reflects your connection to the mystical and spiritual realms, as well as your capacity for empathy and compassion. Neptune can also indicate areas of illusion or confusion.
- Pluto (a circle cradled by two arms and a cross underneath): Pluto represents transformation, power, regeneration, and deep psychological processes. It reflects your capacity for profound change, personal growth, and the ability to face and overcome inner and outer challenges.
WHAT IS A RISING SIGN?
Now you know what a sun and moon sign mean, but there's also the last of the “big three”: your rising sign. Think of the rising sign, also known as the ascendant, as a mask—it's more of a temporary personality and how people perceive us when they first meet us.
Your ascendant/rising sign refers to the zodiac sign that was rising on the Eastern Horizon during your birth. On a natal chart, your rising sign is represented by a circle with a horizontal line running through it.
Considering its impact, knowing your rising sign is absolutely vital. It's integral to your birth chart and helps add depth and nuance to your astrological profile. Consider all these cool things knowing your exact ascendant sign can tell you:
- Persona and First Impressions: The rising sign influences how you come across to others and the first impression you make. It's often described as the "mask" or "persona" you wear in social situations. People may perceive you initially based on the qualities associated with your rising sign.
- Physical Appearance: The rising sign can also influence your physical appearance and body type. While it doesn't determine your appearance entirely, it can contribute to certain facial features or expressions associated with that sign.
- Approach to Life: Your rising sign sets the tone for your approach to life and your outward behavior. It represents your attitude, demeanor, and style of interacting with the world.
- House Ruler: The sign on your Ascendant becomes the ruler of the first house in your birth chart. The first house is associated with self-identity, self-expression, and personal goals. The characteristics of your rising sign play a role in shaping these areas of life.
- Personal Growth: Understanding your rising sign can provide valuable insights into areas for personal growth and self-improvement. It can help you become more aware of your initial reactions and behaviors in various situations.
- Compatibility: In relationship astrology, the compatibility between two individuals is often assessed by comparing their Sun signs (representing their core identities) and their rising signs (representing their first impressions and outward behaviors). Compatibility between rising signs can influence initial attraction and how individuals interact.
WHAT ARE THE 12 ASTROLOGICAL HOUSES?
Finally, we have the astrological houses. The birth chart is divided into 12 of these, and each house is associated with specific life areas and themes. This aspect of your birth chart is heavily defined by your time of birth, so make sure you have an accurate one!
The 12 houses provide context for understanding how planetary energies manifest in different aspects of an individual's life. Each of the 10 planets also has a house it likes to inhabit (said to be “in its joy” when in its favorite house). Each house is also ruled by a zodiac sign, which we'll list out below.
- First House (House of Self-Identity): The first house represents the self, physical appearance, personality, and how you present yourself to the world. It's often associated with the Ascendant or Rising Sign. Aries and Mars like this house.
- Second House (House of Finances and Values): This house pertains to money, personal resources, material possessions, and your values. It reflects how you handle your finances and what you prioritize. Taurus and Venus call this house their favorite.
- Third House (House of Communication and Learning): The third house governs communication, intellectual pursuits, siblings, and short journeys. It represents how you express yourself and your style of learning. This is Gemini and Mercury's favorite house.
- Fourth House (House of Home and Family): This house is associated with your home life, family, roots, and emotional foundation. It relates to your sense of security and where you come from. Cancer and the moon like this house.
- Fifth House (House of Creativity and Romance): The fifth house is linked to creativity, romance, pleasure, children, and self-expression. It reflects your approach to love, creativity, and enjoyment in life. The fifth house is Leo and the sun's favorite.
- Sixth House (House of Health and Work): This house pertains to work, health, daily routines, and service to others. It reflects your approach to work and your overall well-being. This house is the favorite of Virgo and Mercury.
- Seventh House (House of Relationships and Partnerships): The seventh house is about partnerships, marriage, and significant relationships. It represents how you relate to others and what you seek in a partner. Libra and Venus call this house their favorite.
- Eighth House (House of Transformation and Shared Resources): This house deals with transformation, shared resources, intimacy, and inheritances. It reflects your attitude towards joint finances and deep psychological processes. This is the favorite house of Scorpio and Pluto.
- Ninth House (House of Travel and Higher Knowledge): The ninth house relates to higher education, philosophy, travel, spirituality, and personal growth. It reflects your quest for knowledge and your spiritual beliefs. Sagittarius and the planet Jupiter like this house.
- Tenth House (House of Career and Public Image): This house is associated with career, ambitions, public life, and reputation. It reflects your aspirations and how you are perceived in the public eye. This house is Capricorn and Saturn's favorite.
- Eleventh House (House of Friendship and Goals): The eleventh house pertains to friendships, social groups, goals, and aspirations. It reflects your involvement in collective causes and your social connections. Aquarius and Uranus are fans of this house.
- Twelfth House (House of Spirituality and the Subconscious): The twelfth house is linked to spirituality, the subconscious mind, hidden strengths, and karma. It reflects your inner life, dreams, and the need for introspection. Pisces and Neptune like this house.
WHAT DO ASTROLOGERS LOOK AT WHEN READING YOUR BIRTH CHART?
Now that you understand the various aspects that make up your unique birth chart, it's time to learn to read one like a professional! Astrologers look at the following when performing a birth chart analysis:
- Your “big three” signs: The sun, moon, and ascendant sign.
- Where each of the 10 planets falls within the 12 zodiac signs.
- Where each of the 10 planets falls within the 12 houses.
- Patterns and shapes formed by the planets, otherwise known as aspects. These are angular relationships between planets and specific angles (such as conjunctions, sextiles, squares, trines, and oppositions).
- The Midheaven, often referred to as the Medium Coeli or MC. This relates to the individual's career, public image, and life goals. It's determined by the zodiac sign at the highest point in the birth chart, typically the 10th House cusp.
- Lunar nodes. These refer to the north Node and south node, which represent points in the birth chart associated with one's karmic path and life lessons.
- Chart angles. These include the ascendant (1st house cusp), descendant (7th house cusp), Midheaven (10th house cusp), and Imum Coeli (IC or 4th house cusp). Astrologers consider these angles to understand how an individual relates to others, their public life, and their family and personal life.
- The current positions of the planets (transits) and how they interact with the birth chart. Progressions, which involve advancing the chart to reflect the person's evolving life journey, are also considered.
- The elemental composition of the birth chart, referring to each sign's element (fire, water, earth, and air). An astrologer will look to see if there are any balances or imbalances.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU GET A BIRTH CHART READING?
You can check your birth chart as often as you want! After your initial reading (which can be done at any point in your life), you may want to consider two points during the year to get repeat readings: the year's start and a few days around your birthday. This is because both the beginning of the year and your birthday are associated with large energetic shifts.
Aside from those points, though, you may want to get a repeat reading if you're going through a major life transition — like a career move or a new relationship. A natal reading at these times can help impact your choices and decision making.
Most importantly, though? Just trust your intuition! If you feel drawn to getting another birth chart reading or if you sense that a particular period in your life is astrologically significant, just go for it! If you can afford it, you have nothing to lose.
GET YOUR BIRTH CHART READING NOW
Now that you understand all you need to know about your birth chart, it's time for a reading! Take a look at our birth chart calculator to receive a detailed analysis and discover the secrets of your personality.
Find out now with your detailed and unique birth chart reading!