Understand Your Birth Chart

There is a lot of information to process when you are learning about your birth chart. However, when you learn how to understand your birth chart will provide great insight into who you are and when looking at two charts together, the relationship between the two charts.

The most important thing to remember when you’re interpreting any birth chart is this: 

The whole chart has to be taken as a whole.

A birth chart is loaded with bits and pieces of information about an individual. Each separate piece, once understood, forms a part of a larger picture of an individual. Let’s try and explain this in a little more depth.

You cannot look at a particular part of a birth chart, for example, someone who has their Mercury in Cancer, and decide that it defines the entire person. Nor can you dismiss the Mercury in Cancer if does not precisely align with how you view the interpretation. If you do that, you will, undoubtedly, be in error.

Of course, you will be tempted to stop at one or another of the planetary meanings, and think that it is the defining factor of a person. Doing this is a big mistake.

For example, say that two people both have Mercury in Leo (denoting something of a “big mouth”).  You may be tempted to assume that both of the individuals are “outspoken.” But, say the first person has the Sun in Cancer while the second person has the Sun in Leo. While they both have Mercury in Leo, the first person (Sun in Cancer) will have a much more emotional communication style than the second person (Sun in Leo).

The main point (and it needs to be often stressed), is that the entire chart must be blended. Of course, go ahead and see all the separate interpretations of each planet in its sign and house. But then you must weave it all together, and lace it with the Rising Sign, to get an accurate picture.

It’s as if each of us is a bowl of soup, made up of tiny different ingredients. In the birth chart, each separate planet in a sign and house is like one little single image, one small part of the whole mosaic. Now, two different completed mosaics, if you look close enough, may contain little pieces that are the same, yet they are part of two completely different finished mosaics (this point is illustrated by the example of Mercury in Sagittarius above). Although the mosaics contain similar pieces, the final products look nothing alike. So what we’re saying here is the opposite of that age-old adage: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  The opposite is “Don’t judge a book by a single page inside.”  The work of the astrologer, then, is to take all the bits and pieces of insight in the birth chart and synthesize them into a whole. What emerges is an amazingly accurate portrait of an individual.

The truth is, no one way will explain everything about your birth chart better than another way. Astrology is a broad subject. Often astrologers are always learning. One way to make everything easier to digest is to tackle one planet at a time.

A good train of thumb is to remember the following:

“The planets show what is happening, the signs show how it’s happening, and the houses show where it’s happening.

With that mind, let’s use that guide for understanding your birth chart.

Understanding your astrological planets

  1. Locate the planets. Planets that pass through the different houses of your chart affect your reading. Planets are scattered throughout the chart, represented by different symbols. Read more information about the astrological planets.
    • First of all, create your free online birth chart here.
    • The sun is represented by a circle with a dot in the center.
    • 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. A bit like devil horns.
    • Venus is the symbol for female (circle with a cross below) while Mars is the symbol for male (circle with an arrow above).
    • Jupiter is represented by a symbol that looks something like the number 4.
    • Saturn is represented by a symbol that resembles 5.
    • Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto all have fairly intricate symbols representing them. 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, looping upward. 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.
  2. Learn about personal planets. The planets are divided into two types: personal planets and outer planets. Personal planets include the sun, the moon, mercury, venus, and mars.
    • The sun represents a person’s basic 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.
  3. Learn about outer planets. 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 personal responsibilities as well as personal rules you develop for yourself over time.
    • Uranus represents your ability to learn and grow. Neptune points to your ideals and imagination.
    • Pluto represents your capacity for change and inner growth, pointing to very deep and personal types of change.

Understanding the Signs

  1. Locate your sign. The outer rim of a Zodiac chart is divided into 12 sections. Your birth date will fall into one of those sections. The section in which your birth date falls is your Zodiac sign. There are 12 signs of the Zodiac, all of which represent different personality traits. Locate which section you fall into in order to identify your Zodiac sign.
    • On your astrology chart, a small person is drawn on the globe in the center. The person is drawn on the top of the longitudinal point of your place of birth. You can draw a straight line from the little person to the out rim of the chart. This will show you your Zodiac sign.
    • The stars, planets, and signs are drawn in relation to how they appeared on your date of birth.
  2. Learn the meaning of your sign. Your Zodiac sign supposedly has an influence on your personality. For example, if you’re an Aires you are supposedly passionate, driven, ambitious, and outgoing. You can find information about personality traits associated with the Zodiac online. You can also check out a book from your local library, or purchase one online or at a bookstore, about astrology. This can help you learn about yourself by using your Zodiac sign.
  3. Understand what can affect how your sign is read. Keep in mind your Zodiac sign is only one small component of how you read an astrology chart. A variety of aspects influence how your sign is read. You have to take all other aspects of the chart, such as your houses and planets, into consideration to completely read an astrology chart. This information is dependent on both your place and date of birth.

Interpreting the Houses

  1. Find the ascendant. The ascendant is a very important part of an astrology chart. It is the point, by sign and degree, that was rising above the Eastern horizon at the exact moment of your birth. You need to find the ascendant to know how the houses will be labeled in your chart.
    • If the Zodiac wheel was a clock, your ascendant can be found at 9 o’clock. This points to the cusp of your first house.
    • The astrology chart is divided into 12 inner sections, in somewhat triangular shapes. Count the houses counter clockwise, the ascendant marking the first house.
  2. Learn about the first six houses. The different houses point to different aspects of your life. What sign rules the differing houses will influence your astrology chart.

    • The first house represents you at birth. That is, your identity, physical appearance, attitude, temperament, and other inherent qualities. Planets and signs found in the first house have a huge influence on your personality.
    • The second house represents your money, personal assets, self-worth, and attitude towards such things. Financial security and emotional well-being throughout your life can be evaluated by what sign and planet are found in the second house.
    • The third house represents communication and transportation. How others communicate with you, physical forms of communication like letters, and short distance travel is found in the third house. This also points to your mental attitude, learning style, self-expression, and manner of speech.
    • The fourth house represents home, family, and property. Your roots, background, childhood, and the inner emotions that stem from these areas of your life are dominated by this house.
    • The fifth house represents children and how you relate to them. Romance and love affairs are also found in the fifth house as are how you approach pleasure and fun.
    • The sixth house is the house of health and service, representing your general physical well-being throughout life.
  3. Learn about the last six houses. In addition to the first six, there are another six houses. Where these houses fall on your chart, and what planets and signs rule these houses, help you read your astrology chart.
    • The seventh house represents serious, committed relationships. Things like marriage and romantic partnerships are controlled by this house. It can show what you need in a longterm romantic partner.
    • The eighth house is the house of regeneration and rebirth. Birth, death, decay, healing, surgeries, injuries are found in this house. Sex is also found in this house.
    • The ninth house represents long distance travel. Journeys found in the ninth house are both physical and metaphorical. In addition to long trips, of 500 miles and more, emotional journeys and transformations are found in the ninth house.
    • The tenth house represents career and status. Your ambitions and aspirations are found in this house. It also reveals your place in a community.
    • The eleventh house is known as the house of hopes. It represents when and if your dreams will come true. Supposedly, you should wait until you have a significant planet transitioning through this house before taking big risks.
    • The 12th house represents secrets. Things that are hidden, like hidden emotions and secret aspects of one’s past, are revealed by the 12th house.

How does all this apply to your Birth chart?

So now that you have an understand about the signs, the planets and the houses, it is now a time to look and see how this can be applied to you. Let’s say you are an Aries.

  • The Sun in Aries.
  • The Sun in 9th House
  • Aspects to the Sun

Once you have done this, simply repeat the process with all of the other planets and go through them one at a time.