Astrology 101 – Understanding The Information In A Natal Chart

Understanding a Natal Chart

The 4 Things You Need To Know To Understand Astrological Natal Charts

So, you are interested in Astrology but don’t know where to begin. Natal charts are a great place to start!

Astrology gets a bad rap because so many writers push the idea that your sun sign is everything you need to know. That’s totally false.

Even the most ardent objectors of astrology can tell you their sun sign. Just knowing that your sign is Taurus or Libra doesn’t give anyone the full picture of who you are. While it is fascinating what you can learn about yourself, and others, from the stars, it can also be confusing. Honestly, there are FOUR things you need to know to start understanding natal charts.

What Is A Natal Chart?

A natal chart is the crux of your astrological makeup. It is a snapshot of the heavens at the moment you were born over the exact time and place of your birth.

There is an amazing amount of information in a natal chart that we can learn about ourselves. While it is exciting to research the information, it is also easy to become disillusioned when looking at something like this:

an image of an astrology natal chart

What is all of this? There are scratch marks and lines that, at first glance, look overwhelming. Let’s break it down. Also, read on to the end to get one extra tidbit of information that came from my mother, who was a licensed astrologer.

I won’t go into the history of astrology. But if you want some good information, this is a good place to start

Your natal chart is full of great information about the personality you may become. It’s my take on astrology that we evolve our personalities based on a number of elements. Astrology is one. Our environment, our upbringing, and crucial life-changing moments also play into the “State of the Art” you. So just because you are born in the room next to another person, doesn’t mean you will be the same personalities. You may, but you may not.

astrology chart

Image by MiraCosic

Personally, I believe this is why astrology gets such a bad rap. I love personality tests and learning about thought processes. With that, I also pay attention to Myers-Briggs. While psychologists may use testing as such to analyze their patients, these tests are remarkably similar to astrology.

You can figure out your natal chart on a number of free apps in the marketplace and they will all give you the same result. Some apps give you supplemental information as to what to do with this information and how to process it. I use the Time Passages app because I find it to be informative and easy to use.

So what are the aspects of the natal chart that you should immediately focus on? Let’s dive in.

Aspect Number 1: Your Sun Sign

As I noted before, even the biggest skeptics of astrology will probably know their sun sign. Aquarius, Gemini, Leo, etc. The sun sign is based on one thing only and that is the day that you were born.

Now, this is another red flag as to why some nay-sayers choose not to believe in astrology. I can’t say that I blame them. By just looking at the day you were born, you can’t expect to know all there is to know about a personality. There is no accuracy in that.

a chart of astrology signs

The sun sign is only a representation of your ego. It is your core personality driver. I like to think of the sun sign as the chassis in a car. It’s not really a car without the frame, the wheels, the paint color, the spoiler on the back, etc. The extras.

Sun signs are divided into 4 elements: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. I won’t go into the meanings of all of these, but you can read more here. Most people already know the basics of the sun signs as they are spoken about at nauseum.

So now you know your sun sign, what’s next?

Aspect Number 2: Your Rising Sign / Ascendant

Think of your rising sign as the mask of your personality. Your ascendant can take over your dominant sun sign to be what others may deem as a first impression. It is often what your personality uses to “present” yourself to others.

Photo by Sandra Seitamaa 

Have you ever met someone and said, “When I first met you I thought this, but you are actually something quite different”? That is a prime example of an ascendant taking over your personality. It happens all the time.

The rising sign is named just that because it is the sign that was on the horizon at the time of your birth. This is where we start to get a bit more into the meat of things.

Your ascendant isn’t just a mask, though. It will often eclipse your personality and sometimes it may even take over your sun sign in certain matters. I am an earth sign (practical, logical, steadfast) but my rising is air. This often gives others the impression that I am perhaps more cerebral or analytical than I actually am. Air signs are known for their intelligence and appetite for knowledge. While I am definitely not that, I can certainly see aspects of this in my personality.

Aspect Number 3: Your Moon Placement

The moon is often overlooked in astrology, probably because it’s a moon and not a planet, per se. However, the influence of this little guy is profound on our personalities.

The moon’s location represents our emotions and how we react to others in the world around us. It also guides us when we are alone, which is very important.

Do you feel productive and energized when you are alone? Myers-Briggs would identify this as introverted. We are all introverted to some degree, and our moon sign will direct us in how we react in a solitary environment.

If your moon is in an air sign, you may be the type of person who can sit for hours at a time in a library or watching documentary films. Perhaps you are a prolific reader, well that would make sense. Your sun sign may be fire, but you love to sit and read for hours on end because your moon is in air.

a photo of the moon on a black night

Image by István Mihály

The moon has a strong influence on your natal chart and the way you will be reacting to others. Probably more than the other aspects, I consider the moon placement to be crucial in relationships because it guides us in interaction. While the sun and the ascendant relate you and who you are in the world, the moon relates to how you react to others and your surroundings.

Now, if you are a fire sign, but your ascendant is water and your moon is water, do you see how you can pull more aspects of water than fire? 

This is also a reason some people debunk astrology, because they’re not seeing the bigger picture. Their sun sign reads Leo, yet they’re highly emotional and deeply thoughtful. They may read some superficial stats on Leos and think that’s nothing like the person they are. Without a full understanding of their natal chart, it’s easy to see why they might deem astrology as a farce.

Aspect Number 4: The Midheaven

I studied astrology for many years before really learning about the midheaven aspect. It’s also one very few blog posts will mention, so aren’t you glad you’re here?

The midheaven of a natal chart is right at the top, 12 o’clock position. It shows what was directly above you in the stars at the time of your birth. 

Image by James Wheeler

Because the midheaven is in the 10th house of your chart, (I will get into that on another blog post), it reflects on your career and your life’s worth. It can also be directed at what you crave for fulfillment.

Because the planetary location of your midheaven ultimately relates to your goals in life, this may answer questions as to why you are hyper-motivated in your job or career,… or not. Perhaps you have always dreamed of doing something with your life but you feel that you can’t accomplish what you need to do. Look to this portion of your natal chart for answers. 

I’ve been told many times that I have a relentless drive with my career. Guess what? My midheaven is in Sagittarius. A fire sign. Hardly surprising, right? 

A secret insight for you...

One thing that I always remember from my mother’s knowledge was that, although we can’t change our charts, we can elevate what we have been given. That said, an ideal chart has a good spread over all of the elements, earth, air, water, and fire.

If you are lucky enough to have those four elements spread over your sun, moon, ascent, and midheaven, well, that’s wonderful! That will give you a really well-balanced outlook on life. But if your chart does not have equal balances, you now have the insight as to why some of your aspects may be stronger than others – or why you may find yourself lacking in patience in certain scenarios. Astrology is amazing to help us all avoid conflict! 

She also shared that in team building, you may want to attempt to have all of the elements accounted for whenever possible. Now, that means sun signs and I have just explained that sun signs can be eclipsed. However, starting a project with four fire signs or four water signs might just be a recipe for failure.

The importance of Natal Charts

Taking a peek at natal charts can be incredibly helpful in learning about others and improving communication. While I do enjoy personality tests, they are often clouded with opinions in answers to the questions. Astrology is not. I refer to my astrology app frequently.

We have this information at hand. It’s easy to download your own chart. What you learn from astrology, and what you leave on the table is up to you. It is your choice. You can now read your chart, evaluate these four elements, and take a hard look in the mirror. Perhaps you can change behaviors that might otherwise preclude you from moving forward with relationships and goals.

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Ellen Phillips

Living a Beautiful Life

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