How To Read A Birth Chart

The Definitive Guide 2019

When you look at a birth chart for the first time, perhaps your own, you may find it overwhelming and completely confusing.

We’ve put together this page to show people how to create and read their own birth chart and what things to look out for when studying natal chart interpretation with their own birth charts.

So if you looking for a guide to show you how to read a birth chart, you are in the right place.

Let’s get started.

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How to do your own birth chart

How To Do Your Own Natal Chart

So, you read your horoscope regularly; you’ll probably know your zodiac sign inside out and might know a bit about sun sign compatibility.

When you look at a birth chart for the first time, you may find it overwhelming and ultimately confusing.

So here are some steps to understanding what those lines and symbols mean.

If you follow these steps, you’ll begin to understand the basics of your chart.

Note: If you are not sure what a birth chart is, you can read more about natal charts here.

To do your birth chart.

Before you begin this exercise, you need a birth chart (aka Birth Horoscope, Natal Chart, or Natal Horoscope).

  1. You will need to know your date of birth
  2. You will need to know the place of birth
  3. And you’ll need to know the birth time. (the exact moment if possible)

Note: Verify the accuracy of the birth data. This includes the name, the birthplace, the birth date and the birth time.

Birth Chart Calculator

If you do not want to use the birth chart calculator from Astrodienst, you can use our own Birth Chart Calculator which will calculate all of your other planets as well.


How to do your own birth chart

Okay, before we can read a birth chart, we need to create one.

For the purposes of this article, we are going to use the birth data of famous actor Brad Pitt.

Firstly head on over to https://www.astro.com

Hover over the Free Horoscopes tab

Then head over to Extended Chart Selection

Click on the Click here to go to the data entry page link
Here, you fill in all of the required information.

Note: If you do not know your time of birth, simply put 12 [am].

However, your chart will not be accurate if you do not have an exact time of birth.

Because we are using the Extended Chart Selection Link, we get taken to an additional page.

The boxes below can be changed (depended on the type of chart and information you want, but for now, we’ll leave these settings as they are.

However, we have checked the boxes for Descending Node and to Chiron in the Display and calculation options. 

Make sure they are both checked.

Then towards the bottom of the page, we have selected Chiron from the additional objects.

Add more if you want.

After that, simply click the button to show the chart.

And there you go.

Brad Pitt’s Birth Chart.

At the bottom of the chart (supplied with Astro.com, but not with all birth chart calculators), there are 3 tables of information.

These tables simply help interpret the information that is in the chart above.

These tables display the following;

  • Planetary Listings and their signs
  • Element/Modalities
  • Aspects
You can see the 3 tables here
Even though these tables make things a little easier, it helps if we understand the chart now we have it.

How To Read Your Own Birth Chart

How to read your own natal chart

Luckily with most online natal chart generation software, most of them come with some brief explanations that help us to understand the points and basics.

For the sake of this article, we’re going to break down the steps that you should take to get a basic understanding of your chart.

I generally like to break down the information of birth chart analysis as follows:

  • Planets = The Thing
  • Sign = The style in which the thing manifests itself
  • House = The stage and direction that the thing plays out.

Another way might be;

  • Planets = Experiences Of Life
  • Sign = Characteristics Of Life
  • House = Areas Of Life

For example (in Brad Pitt’s case), The Sun in (the style of) Sagittarius in the first house.

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.

Locate The Planets

Planets will be scattered throughout the chart, represented by different symbols.

The Symbols

  • The Sun is represented by a circle with a dot in the centre.
  • The Moon is a small half-crescent moon shape.
  • Mercury is the male symbol, but with two small lines jutting out of the top circle, like little horns.
  • Venus is the symbol for female.
  • Mars is the symbol for male.
  • Jupiter is represented by a symbol that looks a little like number 4.
  • Saturn is represented by a symbol that looks like the letter h or the number 5.
  • Uranus looks something like an upside-down female symbol with four lines on either side, two on each side, that curve outward in opposing directions.
  • Neptune looks like an upside down cross with two lines on either side, arching upwards. Like a pitchfork or a trident.
  • Pluto is a kind of combination of Neptune and Uranus. It’s a female symbol facing upward, with two lines on either side that loop upward. The modern symbol looks like the letters P and L combined.

The Planet Meanings

The inner planets include The Sun and The Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars.

  • The Sun represents a person’s fundamental identity and purpose.
  • The Moon represents how a person reacts and reflects on the events experienced in life.
  • Mercury is your ability to relate to and perceive individuals and objects.
  • Venus illustrated what you’re comfortable with and what you enjoy.
  • Mars represents your will and your actions.

The outer planets include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto, and Neptune.

They point to different aspects of your personality than the inner planets.

  • Jupiter represents how you integrate yourself into society as well as your personal growth.
  • Saturn represents your responsibilities as well as personal rules you develop for yourself over time.
  • Uranus represents your ability to learn and grow.
  • Neptune points to your imagination, dreams and ideals.
  • Pluto represents your capacity for change and inner growth, pointing to intense, deep and personal types of change.

Locate The Signs

Well, now you know the planets, let’s look at the signs.

Once you know the symbols, you look to the signs around the outside to see which signs the planets fall between.

The signs are as follows:

  • Aries
  • Taurus
  • Gemini
  • Cancer
  • Leo
  • Virgo
  • Libra
  • Scorpio
  • Sagittarius
  • Capricorn
  • Aquarius
  • Pisces

Of course, the signs that the sun and moon sign and the planets align with having a significant impact on who you are, too.

A well-made chart can tell you “about you, your family, the life that you were born into, and what your soul is looking to heal and/or achieve in this lifetime,

Natal Chart Interpretation:
How to understand your birth chart

Go through the Planets

Okay, back to Brad Pitt’s chart below.

The first thing we will look up is The Sun. (Please do this with your own chart as well).

We already know the symbol for The Sun is a circle with a smaller circle/dot inside it.

The image below points to the following:

  1. There is The Sun. The Sun is at 25.52°
  2. The Sun falls between the borders or boundaries of the sign Sagittarius.
  3. The Sun is between the borders or boundaries of the 1st House, signified by the number 1 digit next to the inner circle.
Now, let us have a look at The Moon
The image below points to the following:

  1. There is The Moon. The Moon is at 22.50°
  2. The Sun falls between the borders or boundaries of the sign Capricorn.
  3. The Sun is between the borders or boundaries of the 2nd House, signified by the number 2 digit next to the inner circle.

You can see looking at the chart above that Mercury, Venus and Mars are also in Capricorn and also in 2nd House.

Then you would go through the list of all the planets.

Learn About Your Axis

Now that we have looked at HOW to look up the planets, signs and houses, let us look at the Axis.
Finding the Horizon. Across the middle of the chart, there is a line that represents the horizon. It goes from east to west, with east on the left of your chart.

Finding the Ascendant and Descendant As the earth rotates or “falls away” from the fixed stars and sky, it appears that the heavens rise from the east because we don’t notice the rotation of the earth. The resulting apparent movement of the sky falling away to the east is most notable on a starlit night.

The sign of the zodiac that is rising (or ascending) over the eastern horizon at the moment of your birth is your rising sign (Ascendant or Asc). The point on the east where the horizon meets the Zodiac with “Asc.”

We will determine the sign of the ascendant in the next step. Then find its opposite point, the Descendant. You can mark it DC or DES. This will be the oppoosite side of the ascendant.

Find the MC and IC. At the highest point in the sky (not necessarily the highest point of the chart) we find the Midheaven. This is where the Sun was at the zenith (or in the south) at the moment in time we are mapping.

In Latin the word for Midheaven is Medio Coeli, hence the abbreviation MC.

The opposite point to the MC, the lowest point in the sky is called the Nadir, or the Immum Coeli or IC.

In most charts, the cross created by connecting these four points is often marked by thicker lines.

These lines form the beginnings of the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th Houses in someone’s chart.

Birth Chart Interpretation

Understanding Birth Chart Information

Now remember these tables from Brad Pitts chart earlier…

Well, let’s look at these a little bit.

1 Planet List Table

Even though we have worked these out already, the list of the Planets and the signs there are in is the main table. This table includes:

  • Icons Of The Planets
  • Name Of The Planets
  • Degree’s Of Planets
  • Signs Of Planets
  • Minute Degree’s of Planet
  • The Sign & Degrees the first 3 houses on the top row
  • The Sign & Degrees the last 3 houses on the bottom row

It is also used to make predictions about national affairs and events, economies and wars.

2 Aspects Table

The second table, that looks like a set of stairs is the Aspects table.

Here you can see the relationship that each planet and the astral bodies has with each other planet and body (if any at all).

If you do not know about aspects yet, you can learn about Astrology Aspects.

3 Elements and Mode Table

The third table is is divided into 9 squares. Each planet in Brad’s chart is placed in each square depending on what sign and mode (thus in turn, what element) the planet falls into.

The elements are tabled vertically.

  • F = Fire
  • E = Earth
  • A = Air
  • W = Water

The modes are tabled horizontally.

  • C = Cardinal
  • F = Fixed
  • M = Mutable

Astrological Elements

Astrological Modes



Now that we have looked at HOW to look up the information in a birth chart, we have a bit more information to investigate.

So, a summary of Brad Pitt’s Chart.

The Planets In Signs & Houses

SUN in Sagittarius in the 1st house

MOON in Capricorn in the 2nd House

MERCURY in Capricorn in the 2nd House

VENUS in Capricorn in the 2nd House

MARS in Capricorn in the 2nd House

JUPITER in Virgo in the 7th house

SATURN in Sagittarius in the 9th house.

URANUS in Aries in the 1st house

NEPTUNE in Pisces in the 1st house

PLUTO in Capricorn in the 11th house

ASC (Ascendant) in Sagittarius

MC (Midheaven) in Virgo

The Houses In The Signs

1st House in Sagittarius

2nd House in Capricorn

3rd House in Aquarius

4th House in Pisces

5th House in Aries

6th House in Taurus

7th House in Gemini

8th House in Cancer

9th House in Leo

10th House in Virgo

11th House in Libra

12th House in Scorpio

Congratulations if you listed them all correctly! You now have the beginnings of reading a chart.


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