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How to Read a Birth Chart.. in Minutes!

19 February 2016
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Getting Started.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to look at any birth chart (whether yours or someone else’s) and quickly see what the most important components of the personality and overall life experiences are?

Here’s how.

First you will need a birth chart. Let’s use yours as an example.

If you don’t have it available, you can use my simple and easy-to-use birth chart calculator here.

Keep in mind this calculator uses the actual size and location of the constellations, called sidereal astrology. So you might notice some of your signs are different. For more information on sidereal, watch this quick video explaining it in detail.


The Houses.

The houses represent the sky at the time of your birth. More specifically the ecliptic, which is the path the planets move across in the sky. The houses form the skeletal structure of the chart and are always in the same location for everyone.

In a western chart, like the one we’re using today, the left most part of the chart represents the eastern horizon, also known as what’s rising, or the ascendant. This is the beginning of the chart and the houses start here. Beginning with the 1st house moving counterclockwise through the 12th.

(Note that there are different house systems used by astrologers. So the ascendant might be somewhere in the 1st house, or you might notice the houses aren’t divided up equally in other charts. The system we are using today and what my calculator uses is called the equal house system, which divides up the ecliptic into 12 equal segments starting from the ascendant. Feel free to use whichever system you prefer.)

Directly opposite the ascendant is the descendant, which as you might guess is the western horizon, or what’s setting. The top of the chart represents the highest part of the ecliptic in the sky, and the bottom what’s underneath the horizon, or the non-visible sky.

An easy way of thinking about this is since the houses represent the areas of the sky: in astrology the houses represent the areas of life.

Starting with the first house which represents all areas of our life having to do with the self such as self-image, motivations, our goals, our physical body, appearance, etc. The second having to do with our values, and so on. The houses represent what we might call “areas of life”.


The signs.

The signs represent where along the ecliptic the zodiac signs were at the time of your birth. What sign was rising, which setting? This is where individual interpretations can begin now that we have two components of the chart to compare.

It can be said the signs show the characteristics of the sky at the time of your birth. So an easy way of remembering what they represent, is thinking of them as the characteristics of life. From the directness of Aries to the receptiveness of Pisces, the zodiac signs show the qualities that come through our life.


The planets.

These transient bodies in the sky mirror our transient experiences here on Earth. As they always do, these experiences further shape our personality.

What house a planet is in shows us in which area these experiences of life occur; what sign, which characteristics these experiences are made up of. In terms of our personality, the houses show which areas of life are major areas for us; the signs, which characteristics are prominent in our personality. The easiest way is to think about planets are as the experiences of life which shape our personality.


Now let’s look at what your chart says about you.

In general birth chart analysis we want to start with the most foundational elements first. In other words, the most foundational elements of your personality and overall life experiences.

There are four main components of the chart that show this. Your Sun, Moon, Ascendant, and the Ascendant’s ruler also known as your Chart Ruler.

Essentially we are looking for the house and sign position of these four components (except for the Ascendant which only shows the sign, but we’ll get to this later).


Let’s start with your Sun and Moon.

These two elements represent the most fundamental and essential, yin and yang, elements of the self. The Sun represents your outwardly focused, expressive, and masculine side. While the Moon your inwardly focused, reflective, feminine side. Together these planets make up the bulk of your inner and outer personality. Along with the types of continued experiences that influence them.

Identify the Sun and Moon in your chart. They are represented by these symbols here. Once you’ve identified both your Sun’s house and sign placement, and your Moon’s house and sign placement, use these PDF’s here and here to uncover what these fundamental elements of your inner and outer self are all about.

Remember that the house placements show the areas of life that are important to you and are major themes in your life. The sign shows the characteristics that come through your personality and life experiences. Your Sun representing your outward self, and Moon inward.


Now let’s look at your Ascendant and Chart Ruler.

These elements essentially represent how your life unfolds, and what shapes your personality over time. They are like your Sun and Moon, except more specifically the life path and life events which further shape your personality. You might think of this as who you are becoming, and strongly representing you and your life in the chart.

Your Ascendant represents the qualities that you are developing as a result of your life experiences. There is only a sign associated with it because it is always associated with the 1st house.

Your Chart Ruler, on the other hand, is essentially the planet that rules the sign your Ascendant is in. The house and sign position the Chart Ruler is placed in represents a more detailed look, at not only what characteristics you are developing, but the area of life as well.

First let’s identify your Ascendant sign. Look up the characteristics of this sign using the same PDF we used earlier. Remember these are the qualities that come through your overall life experiences and shape who you are becoming. These are very important qualities to develop in your life.


Now let’s identify your Chart Ruler.

First you must know what planet rules the sign your Ascendant is in. Use this PDF here to get a list of rulers for each of the zodiac signs. You might notice you have two, in this case mark both planets as they’ll be equally important.

Once you have identified your Chart Ruler locate its house and sign placement, just like you did for the Sun and Moon. Use the same PDF’s we used earlier to identify what these areas of life and characteristics are that shape your personality over time. Remember the Chart Ruler essentially represents you in the chart, and what is being developed.


Tying it all together.

At this point in your analysis you’ve uncovered the four most fundamental elements of the natal chart. Analyzing and understanding these four components alone will account for a huge understanding of who you are and your prominent life experiences. You can apply this same process to any person’s chart.

For those of you who want to take the analysis further, you’ll want to look at the major associations that form between these four components and other planets in the birth chart. These are called aspects. The aspects can either be found on in the inside of the chart, next to the chart, or both. Here is a PDF of what the different aspects mean, for your further analysis.

Next you can look at the inner planets of Mercury, Venus, and Mars. Then the middle planets: Jupiter and Saturn. Followed by the outer planets of Uranus and Neptune. And the comets: Chiron and Pluto. Analyzing their house and sign placements.

Note that as you move further out to the more distant planets, the personality characteristics become that much deeper and less apparent. Much like an Onion, where the outer layer of our personality and experiences represent the four main components we covered in this video. Followed by the inner planets, middle, then outer at the center of the onion. (As a side note, pay particular attention to any planets in the 1st house as they will tend to come through strongly in the personality and experiences.) Here is a list of the major planets, it shows what elements of the self, and experience in life, they represent.

With continued practice, focusing primarily on the four major components of the birth chart outlined in this video.. you’ll be able to interpret a birth chart quickly and precisely, in a matter of minutes.


Video Resources:

How to Read a Birth Chart

Birth Chart Calculator

What is Sidereal Astrology?

House Meanings List

Sign Meanings List

Ruler List

Aspect Meanings List

Planet Meanings List