Astro Chart Reading 101: Why + How?
YOUR ENERGETIC BLUEPRINT
You may have heard: Your birth chart is a snapshot of the sky at the moment you were born. Okay. But like, what does that mean? You can go onto a website like astro.com or cafeastrology.com, type in your birth details (place, time, and date) voila, your chart appears. But it can seem like another language. And astrology IS another language — one that for whatever reason, I intuitively understand (but am continuously studying) — so I’m going to attempt to break it down for you here! The chart itself is a wheel and you’ll see various lines, glyphs, symbols for planets, and a list of where your planets fall in the chart. These websites will also generate cookie cutter interpretations for each of your influences. A birth chart and the insight it provides are infinitely complicated and interesting. I want to offer a starting point — a grounded place from which to cull info when someone (maybe you), wonders: why astrology? Or: how do you read a natal chart?
Every astrologer will have their own way of interpreting your chart, which is beautiful and one of the reasons I so love this field — you will get fresh insights depending on which set of eyes is looking and what’s going on with you. If you haven’t had your chart read, I definitely recommend asking a friend to do it or find an astrologer that resonates with you. You can also book a virtual session with me here. I think a solid session should be insightful, funny, and you revelatory. You should walk away feeling seen, heard, and hopefully a bit….better.
When I look at someone’s chart, I see energy. Immediately, something will jump out at me. A certain planetary placement or energy within a house or an aspect. Then I go from there and the energetics reveal themselves, eventually forming a kind of story about the person. It’s important to me that the reading is a conversation and I invite lots of questions about anything and everything. Depending on what the client wants to focus on, the session could go many different ways. Ultimately, the goal is to gain deeper insight into what’s going on in your energetic blueprint and how current astral happenings are impacting that AND how to use all of this energy practically — or for whatever will serve you most. Okay so let’s break the natal chart down:
A natal chart is divided into 12 houses. These are the numbered segments around the wheel. Your rising sign sets up the order of your particular houses. So, if you’re Aries rising, you’ll have Aries in the 1st house, Taurus in the 2nd house, and so on. The houses are representative of the various spheres of human life. The 1st house is the house of self and identity, the 2nd is about ownership and the material world, and so on. The houses are important because they reveal which areas of life these energies will manifest most strongly. Example: I have Venus in the 7th house. Venus (planet of love, pleasure, receptivity) rules, and therefore will influence, my 7th house (partnerships and friendships). That’s reductive, but you get the idea.
The planets in astrology are the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Earth isn’t included in the mix, as all astrology is based on our earthly perspective. In addition to these planets, Chiron (a small asteroid-like planet known as the wounded healer of the solar system) is included, as well as your rising sign, north and south nodes, and other key points. (More on these in the future).
I’ve heard astrologers say that you can think of the planets as actors moving through the zodiac. They bring their own flavor to the different houses and signs and they represent different aspects of human energetic experience. For example, if your sun sign (consciousness, personality, life force) is in Virgo, your outward projection and personality would be seen through the Virgo filter – and Virgo is a very communicative, earthy, analytical, and meticulous archetype. However, this is still only one super small piece of information, as the way in which the Virgo-vibe presents itself to the world would be influenced by the rest of the placements in the chart, as well as which planets are aspecting the sun, and so on. So, it’s vastly more complicated and wonderful than a horoscope in a newspaper.
When you look at your birth chart for the first time, you realize that your natal chart is way more than your sun sign. Everyone has all 12 zodiac signs within their chart to varying degrees. I like to think of these signs as archetypes. The way they present in your chart and your personality depends on their house placement and which planets are within the sign. Example: When I look at my chart, I see that I have Saturn in Sagittarius in the 8th house. So that paints a small picture already. Saturn (organization and systems) is in the sign of Sagittarius (exploration, expansion, newness) in the 8th house (transformation, healing, the occult, death). So, one possible super quick interpretation would be – I have the innate ability to organize and generate systems in new and expansive ways in the realm of healing, rebirth, and occult (astrological….!), topics.
Each zodiac sign has a quality, an element, and a polarity.
Qualities: cardinal, fixed, mutable. (Qualities have to do with HOW the elements are acting within the chart).
Elements: fire, earth, air, water.
Polarity: While there are 12 signs, there are actually 6 pairs or polarities. You need to understand both of the polarities to get a true picture of the sign. For example, Aries/Libra is one polarity. They are opposite each other on the zodiacal wheel and both deal with aspects of the self and other. Aries is more self-oriented, while Libra is concerned with the other. So these signs are always in conversation with each other. The polarities can also be seen as active/receptive or yang/yin or masculine/feminine energetically.
If you want to understand the energetics of your sun sign, for example – it’s a good idea to become familiar with the quality, element, and polarity – as it tells a fuller, deeper story. Your birth chart is always with you as a kind of blueprint of your vital essence because the center of the chart holds your precise birth information i.e. when you landed Earth-side. However, the way that this chart is presenting itself is always changing, as what’s going on in the sky is always changing. These happenings are called transits. This is one reason to continually check-in with the current sky situation — as above, so below. I do Astroplanning sessions to workshop how to harness these ever-shifting energies to fit your own needs. It’s fun to get a google cal of your exact astro-energies.
I will unpack most of these topics in greater detail in future journal posts and episodes and forever and ever, as this is a VAST topic. In the meantime, message me any questions @avant_galaxy.