Interpreting Your Natal Chart
Your Natal, or Birth, Chart is a snapshot of the heavens at the precise moment that you were born. It indicates the position of the sun, moon, and planets during that time as well as the position of the zodiac belt. Not only is it a map of the heavens at the time of your birth, but it is also a map of your journey in this lifetime and folks think of it as a blue print or lesson plan for this lifetime. By virtue of the positions of your Sun, Moon, Ascendant and Nodes, your natal chart will give an idea of the qualities and inherent behaviors with which you are born as well as those qualities and behaviors that you are meant to develop over your life time. This article is designed to assist the student in learning a basic method of recognizing various elements in a Natal Chart, as well as how to process this information and present it in an understandable manner. The astrology that we will use in is what has been called “Simplified Astrology”. What this means is that we will only concern ourselves with certain elements within a chart for the purpose of obtaining an accurate profile of the subject in question.
These elements are: Hemispheres Quadrants Elements Qualities The Ascendant The Planets The Signs The Houses The Aspects Nodes of the Moon This article is not written in ‘cookbook’ form, that is, the meaning of certain of these elements will be given to you while others will not. In these cases, the student will be given tools which will help him or her in discovering what these elements mean in the natal chart. Finally, we will discuss the process of Astrological Synthesis. This means that when you have discovered the meaning of all the various elements in your chart, you will be given a proven method of organizing this information and presenting it in a logical and orderly manner.
Hemispheres As we have seen, an astrological chart is comprised of a 360 degree circle divided into 12 equal sections with each section containing 30 degrees. These 12 sections represent the span of both 12 Signs and 12 Houses. The Astrological Wheel can be divided in other ways as well. One manner of division is called the Four Hemispheres, named after the four directions, North, South, East, and West. The shaded areas below indicate the portion of the hemisphere indicated. Eastern Hemisphere The Eastern Hemisphere of the chart is takes up the left side of the chart and is comprised of houses 1,2,3, 10, 11, and 12. An abundance of planets in the eastern side of the chart indicates leadership ability, someone who is a "go-getter", a self starter, who is self-motivated and ready to take necessary risks. These people do not wait around for circumstances to dictate the direction of their life but rather they make their own future.
Western Hemisphere The Western Hemisphere takes up the right side of the chart and consists of houses 4,5,6 7,8, and 9. Many planets in the western side of the chart is an indication of an adaptable personality, someone who "rolls with the punches" but who is often dependent on other. These people are often passive in nature allowing others to take the lead in situations. They work best in group environments or in partnerships with others.
The Northern Hemisphere represents the bottom half of the chart and is comprised of houses 1, 2, 3. 4. 5. and 6. A cluster of planets in the northern half of the chart indicates a person who is enjoys their privacy and their alone time. They do not need to socialize with others on a consistent or regular basis. These people are introspective and often work best alone with little to no supervision.
Southern Hemisphere The Southern Hemisphere represents the top half of the chart and is made up of the 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12th houses. Many planets in the southern half of the chart is indicative of those who are ambitious, career oriented and who seek fame or recognition for their work. They often have an objective worldview and enjoy working with an being around many people. The Four Quadrants
As we have seen, the astrological wheel can be divided into halves, in like fashion it can also be further divided into quarters, or Quadrants. There are four Quadrants in all, they are: Quadrant One The first quadrant is comprised of houses 1, 2, and 3. The Keyword for this quadrant is SELF AWARENESS. Those with a majority of planets in the sector are largely focused on themselves. They often require a lot of alone time to get to know themselves. For them, this will be a lifetime in which they learn more about their own personality, what make them comfortable and what their values truly are. Quadrant Two The second quadrant is comprised of houses 4, 5, and 6. The Keyword for this quadrant is MICRO-INTEGRATION. Those with a majority of planets in the second quadrant are meant to unite their develop their identity around their relationships with others in their immediate environment. Their primary focus will be on developing their personal life and learning through their relationships to others such as close family and friends.
Quadrant Three The third quadrant is comprised of houses 7, 8, and 9 The Keyword for this quadrant is AWARENESS OF OTHERS. Those with a majority of planets in this sector live to become more objectively aware of others apart from their own identity. Their awareness expands towards partnerships and committed relationships. They will often seek out relationships that have a purpose and will desire to play a part in society.
Quadrant Four The Fourth Quadrant is comprised of houses 10, 11, and 12. The Keyword for this section is MACRO-INTEGRATION. Those with a majority of planets in the fourth quadrant indicate someone who is focused on how their personal efforts will impact society as a whole. They often have a need to be of service to the public and make their mark on the world.
Empty Quadrants When a quadrant is empty and contains no planets it is an indication of a lack of development in the affairs governed by the astrological houses involved in that quadrant. By consciously choosing to develop in these areas the person can work towards wholeness in character and life experience. The Four Elements The number of planets in Fire Signs, Earth Signs, Air Signs, and Water Signs determines how the elements affect a person’s temperament. The elements that have the greatest and the least number of planets determine a person’s temperament. The element(s) with the greatest number of planets are referred to as the “haves,” and the ones with the least are referred to as the “have nots.” The 12 signs are divided into the four elements in the following manner: Fire Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Earth Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Air Signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Water Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces Those with an abundance of fire are: energetic, active, enthusiastic, and passionate. They will tend to have a greater need to express themselves than others. They are impulsive, outgoing, extroverted, and have great initiative. Those lacking in this element are likely to have difficulty putting ideas into action. He or she does not tend to promote their self aggressively, and may wait to be motivated by outward circumstances and others people. Those with an abundance of earth are: practical, stable, and place a great amount of importance on security. They are usually patient, industrious, strong willed, and able to apply their selves towards long range goals. Those lacking in this element are likely to be impractical and may have trouble holding onto money. He or she lacks the ability to work hard and tend to grow impatient if the results are too long in coming. Those with an abundance of air are: communicative, intelligent, and like to deal on the mental plane. They grasp ideas quickly and can speak and write effectively. They will often take a rational viewpoint. Those lacking in this element are likely to have difficulty in expressing themselves correctly. There may be misunderstandings or crossed wires in communicating. He or she is probably not too interested in abstract ideas or intellectual pursuits. Those with an abundance of water are: emotional, intuitive, and sensitive to their surroundings and to other people. They are often creative, artistic, and have good powers of imagination. They may be empathic and be perceived as a person of depth. Those lacking this element are not likely to have a lot of sensitivity to other people or their feelings. He or she may be self-oriented or selfish. Also there is often difficulty expressing their emotions and the subject may keep their feelings bottled up. The Qualities Like the elements, the qualities that have the greatest and least number of planets also determine a person’s temperament. The twelve signs are divided into the three qualities in the following manner. Cardinal Signs: Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn
Fixed Signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius
Mutable Signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces Those with an abundance of the Cardinal Quality are: open to change, and place a great deal of emphasis on actions over words, or thoughts. They try to change their environment and often project their self onto their surroundings. They can be restless, impatient, and domineering. If they lack this quality, they may lack initiative. Those with an abundance of the Fixed Quality are: likely to be resistant to change, and are often single minded in their pursuits. They are not easily swayed once they make up their mind on an issue or subject. They often attempt to mold their environment with their will. They can be stubborn, rigid, tyrannical, or afraid of change in life. If they are lacking in this quality, they may have little endurance or stability. Those with an abundance of the Mutable Quality are: likely to be changeable and flexible. They are often mentally expansive, and place a great deal of emphasis on intellectual activity. They are adaptable to many types of people and environments. They can be ‘wishy washy,’ unreliable, or unable to accept responsibility. If a chart has too little of this quality, the subject if likely to lack adaptability. Recognizing Elements and Qualities When the signs are divided into both their elements and their qualities, their energies mingle and take on an extra dimension. For example, there is only one sign which is both Earth and Mutable (Virgo); there is only one sign which is Fire and Fixed (Sagittarius), etc... Below you will see a chart which breaks down how the elements and qualities are represented in the signs of the zodiac. Some astrological software programs provide a chart which shows how the elements and qualities are divided up in a chart and others do not. If not, you can draw a graph such as the one below on your chart to determine for yourself how the elements and qualities are distributed in your chart. Examining your chart go through the 12 signs and count the number of planets in each sign. For example, if you have 3 planets in Scorpio (a water, fixed sign) you would put a 3 in the space where the Water Column and Fixed columns intersect. Since there are 10 planets your rows and columns should add up to ten when you are done. The Ascendant The Ascendant, or Rising Sign, is the astrological sign that was coming up over the Eastern Horizon at the time of your birth. The Ascendant always marks the beginning of the first house, and it characterizes your outward approach to life. Below is an abbreviated meaning of each of the twelve ascendants. Aries- You are determined, practical, industrious, usually frank and plain spoken, eloquent, progressive, energetic, and a natural trail-blazer. You are inclined to be irritable and impatient. You regard your opinions and judgment to be good, if not better, than others.
Taurus- You are ambitious, determined, cautious, persevering, firm, magnetic, patient, brave, affectionate, courteous, and honest. At times, you are inclined to be peculiar, stubborn, solid, and emotional. Once you mind is made up you are hard to win over to some other idea or way of thinking. You are cheerful and optimistic, and do not become discouraged if your hopes and plans fail to develop as rapidly as desired.
Gemini- You are changeable in opinion, alert, careful, intuitive, talented, magnetic, sensitive, active, restless, and of a nervous temperament. You have a constructive mind capable of entertaining big ideas. You are too readily influenced through your sympathies and have a roving nature. You are quick tempered but easily pacified. You have a deep understanding, keen judgment, and foresight.
Cancer- You are extremely sensitive, adventurous, friendly, romantic, sensitive, and often irritable. You are a very positive person and usually move in a world of your own. You never like anyone to know your intimate affairs, but you are interested in the welfare of others. You usually attract many friends and are very popular.
Leo- You are proud, ambitious, masterful, good natured, enthusiastic, generous, fearless, and determined. You have a strong temper, and are quick to anger, but get over it quickly, are inclined to go to extremes in emotions and sympathies. You are very impulsive and restless and sometimes like to follow the lines of least resistance. Nonetheless, you have a versatile nature and will accomplish what you set out to do, whether it is right or wrong.
Virgo- You are very efficient, progressive, shrewd, and methodical in habits, energetic, refined, and intellectual. You are very discriminating in nature, have an analytical mind and possess a nervous, restless, temperament. You are endowed with more artistic and constructive ability than the average person. You have a faculty for handling detail. At times you are inclined to be shy and undemonstrative.
Libra- You are extremely well balanced, have keen perceptive and intuitive powers, are timid, loving, self-willed, slightly selfish, honorable, and idealistic. You are sincere, and have implicit faith in others until they prove themselves unworthy. You have a kind, forgiving, affectionate, sympathetic nature and are inclined to be rather hasty of temper and too generous for your own good.
Scorpio- You have a great executive ability, are generous, sympathetic, determined, magnetic, progressive, and commanding. You are loyal to your friends, but at times are somewhat sarcastic, critical, and harbor an imaginary wrong. You are quick witted, possess great self control, and are endowed with clairvoyant and occult powers.
Sagittarius- You are possessed of a very positive nature, frank, plain-spoken, honest, intelligent, progressive, industrious, magnetic, and forceful. You are a lover of freedom, are of a naturally happy disposition, generous almost to a fault, and a person of discernment and good judgment. However, you are inclined to be stubborn and argumentative. You are also somewhat impatient of others who are not as active and energetic as yourself.
Capricorn- This denotes that you are very talented, industrious, courageous, deliberate, truthful, and forceful. But you also have a quick temper, not always under control. You are at times painfully frank and give to fault finding. Often, you say things which you later regret.
Aquarius- You are eclectic, magnetic, impressionistic, studious, affectionate, and intuitive. You have strong powers of concentration and usually attract attention in whatever circle of society you choose to move. You have deep feelings, a great love of beauty, art, music, and nature. You have a keen appreciation of the mystical or occult sciences.
Pisces- This shows that you have a dual personality and, at times, appear to be two different people. You usually have to fight against a tendency to become pessimistic. You are a good conversationalist, are sympathetic and original, possess much foresight and keen judgment. You are thoughtful, truthful, kind-hearted and loyal to your friends. Planets, Signs and Houses
Before we get into the process of interpretation, it is important to note the distinction between planets, signs and houses and what they represent. Simply stated, planets represents what is happening, signs represents how it is happening, and houses represent where it is happening. For example, let's look at Venus in Pisces and the 7th house. Venus is the planet of love, whereas Pisces is the sign of deep compassionate love and the 7th house represent partnerships. When we put this together the native who has this position in their chart tends to fall in love easily and forms a deep, spiritual bond with their partner. In every Natal Chart, there are ten planets and they are spread out over twelve signs. This means that there will always be at least two signs that are not occupied by planets. An empty sign or house, is NOT an indication that one will not achieve in that area of life, but rather there will not be a great pull or emphasis in one’s life in that area. In addition, there are also other elements of one’s chart that may indicate some potential in that area of life. Any sign (or house) that has a grouping of three or more planets in it, called a stelium, is an indication of the area of life which the subject will feel the greatest pull in life. The relationship between the planets and the signs can be determined by use of the following formula: (Planet) expresses its urge of (urge of planet) in the area of (ruler ship of sign/house) The Planets The Sun- (I AM) the urge to express our individuality, to create and "shine". Keywords- Authority, Confidence, Creative Power, Ego, Father, Hope, Vitality, Potential, Dignity, Joy, Generosity, Extravagance, Pride, Individuality, Recognition. The Moon- (I FEEL) the urge to be vulnerable in a safe environment. Keywords- Childhood, Cycles, Emotions, Feelings, Family, Habits, Home, Change, Instincts, Memory, Mother, Passive, Memory, Reflection, Subconscious, Imagination. Mercury- (I THINK) the urge to communicate with others, to think, to analyze. Keywords- Expression, Communication, Eloquence, Flexible, Information, Intellect, Knowledge, Learning, Logic, Messenger, Mindful, Thoughtful, Speech, Transportation, Movement, Clever, Wit, Discernment. Venus- (I LOVE) the urge to give and receive love. Keywords- Adaptive, Harmony, Affectionate, Artistic, Beauty, Attraction, Charm, Connection, Femininity, Glamour, Intimacy, Love, Pleasure, Seduction, Social-Ease, Grace, Vanity. Mars- (I ACT) the urge to take action. Keywords- Action, Aggression, Lust, Anger, Assertive, Masculine, Passion, Energetic, Strength, Conquest, Drive, Impatience, Willpower, Courage, Restless, Vigor, Thoughtless Jupiter- (I EXPAND) the urge to grow and expand Keywords- Expansion, Abundance, Chance, Cheerful, Education, Faith, Gambling, Growth, Self-Betterment, Hope, Luck, Optimism, Philosophy, Religion, Seeker of Truth, Wisdom. Saturn- (I ACHIEVE) the urge for order and structure Keywords- Discipline, Ambition, Boundaries, Caution, Control, Cynicism, Duty, Effort, Justice, Authority, Limitation, Responsibility, Reality, Prudence, Thrift, Reliable, Practical Uranus- (I REBEL) the urge for excitement, change, and freedom Keywords- Change, Breakthrough, Freedom, Deviation, Rebellion, Creativity, Extreme, Eccentric, Impatience, Innovation, Inventive, Original, Restless, Unexpected, Truth, Unpredictable. Neptune- (I I DREAM) the urge to escape the mundane Keywords- Compassion, Confusion, Perception, Perspective, Deception, Dreams, Fantasy, Escapism, Ideas, Illusions, Imagination, Mystic, Visionary, Sensitive, Unknown, Spirituality. Pluto- (I CHANGE) the urge for change and transformation Keywords- Renewal, Transformation, Compulsion, Destruction, Urges, Endings, Intensity, Jealous, Manipulation, Power, Rebirth, Change, Resentment, Violence, Regeneration, Evolvement, Domination, Repression. The Signs Aries- (I AM) Self Identity, and ago. Keywords- Assertive, Strong, Initiative, Energy, Impatient, Headstrong, Adventurous, Fearless, Leader, Pioneer, Eagerness. Taurus- (I HAVE) Money and material matters. Keywords- Patient, Consistent, Predictable, Steady, Materialistic, Passive, Dependable, Comfort, Value, Sensuality, Laid-Back Gemini- (I THINK) Communication, siblings, short journeys. Keywords- Versatility, Adaptability, Curious, Restless, Indecisive, Talkative, Vacillating, Open Minded, Perceptive, Flippant, Sociable. Cancer- (I FEEL) Home, family, early childhood. Keywords- Moody, Emotional, Romantic, Motherly, Receptive, Security, Domestic, Lazy, Sympathetic Leo- (I WILL) Love, children, and creativity. Keywords- Loyal, Loving, Faithful, Confident, Territorial, Affectionate, Generous, Honest, Arrogant, Conceited, Playful, Proud Virgo- (I ANALYZE) Health, work, and pets. Keywords- Helpful, Humble, Of Service, Useful, Critical, Practical, Thrifty, Discriminating, Perfectionist, Reserved, Fault Finding, Worrier. Libra- (I BALANCE) Marriage, agreements, partnerships. Keywords- Relationship, Pleaser, Fair-Minded, Diplomat, Idealistic, Impartial, Considerate, Neutral, Indecisive, Flirtatious, Good Taste. Scorpio- (I DESIRE) Birth, death, sex, and regeneration. Keywords- Passionate, Intense, Attractive, Researcher, Seeker, Mysterious, Suspicious, Skeptical, Judgmental, All-or-Nothing, Sexual Sagittarius- (I UNDERSTAND) Personal growth, exploration, and long journeys. Keywords- Outgoing, Optimistic, Risk Taker, Gambler, Traveler, Outdoorsy, Blunt, Education, Frank, Flippant, Impatient, Intolerant. Capricorn- (I USE) Career, ambition, profession. Keywords- Conservative, Formal, Responsible, Reliable, Disciplined, Hard-Working, Cautious, Objective, Brooding, Respectful, Cold. Aquarius- (I KNOW) Friends and associations. Keywords- Altruistic, Detached, Rebellious, Unconventional, Erratic, Inventive, Groups, Imaginative, Original, Futuristic, Impersonal Pisces- (I BELIEVE) Secrets, sorrows, and self-undoing. Keywords- Sensitive, Dreamer, Escapist, Isolation, Introverted, Shy, Psychic, Romantic, Shy Vague, Artistic, Creative. The Houses The First House is naturally aligned with Aries and is ruled by Mars and as the first house it is associated with all kinds of "firsts" such as first impressions, the self, ego, appearance, initiative, leadership, fresh starts and new beginnings. The Second House is aligned with Taurus and is ruled by Venus. It is associated with money and material matters. Your physical environment, income, money, and your sense of self-esteem. The Third House is aligned with Gemini and is ruled by Mercury. It rules communication in all its forms (thinking, writing, speaking, etc... ) as well as siblings, local travel, teachers and community events. The Fourth House is aligned with Cancer and is ruled by the Moon. It rules over your home, privacy, your basic sense of security, your mother, children, and your own ability to nurture others. The Fifth House is aligned with Leo and is ruled by the Sun. It is associated with creative expression, drama, attention, love, and romance. The Sixth House is aligned with Virgo and is ruled by Mercury. It is associated with your health and service to others. Your routine, diet, exercise and helpfulness to others. The Seventh House is aligned with Libra and is ruled by Venus. It is associated with marriage, partnerships, and relationships of all kinds. Contracts, business deals, etc... The Eighth House is aligned with Scorpio and is ruled by Pluto. It is associated with birth, death, sex, other people's money and property. The Ninth House is aligned with Sagittarius and is ruled by Jupiter. It is associated with expansion, the higher mind, foreign matters (languages, cultures, travel) luck, adventure, risk, philosophy, ethics and morals. The Tenth House is aligned with Capricorn and is ruled by Saturn. It is associated with the public, fame, honors, reputation, awards, boundaries, rules, discipline, authority, the father. The Eleventh House is aligned with Aquarius and is ruled by Uranus. It is associated with groups of people such as friends and associations, networking, social justice. Originality, sudden unexpected events, invention, surprises, and all things futuristic. The Twelfth House is aligned with Pisces and is ruled by Neptune. As the last sign in the zodiac, it is associated with endings. Completion, tying up loose ends, old age, karma, making amends, and the afterlife. Imagination, creativity, poetry, and the subconscious mind. The Angular Houses Of the 12 houses in your chart, arguably the most important are the angular houses which make up the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th house. These are the houses of beginnings with the first house representing Spring; the second house Summer; the third house Autumn; and finally the fourth house Winter. The first house represents how your personality will manifest in the world. It is your ego and how you express yourself. The 4th house represents who you are in private, the type of family or environment you grew up in, etc. The 7th house represents who you are in your relationships, the type of relationship you attract and what you need in order to be fulfilled in relationships. Finally the 10th house represents your public persona, how others see you, the direction of your career and what types of work will bring you satisfaction. Aspects The Aspects in a chart refers to the distance between the planets by degrees, which indicates areas of harmony, challenge, strain, ease, and/or power.
Identifying Aspects Aspects between clients are indicated on the middle of the chart and are represented by red, blue, or green lines that connect two planets. The red line indicate "hard", difficult or challenging aspects. Blue lines represent "soft" or positive aspects and finally green lines represent minor aspects. Some, but not all, computer generated charts will often have an grid showing all the aspect between the plants. To determine the aspect between two planets simple look on the grid where the two planets intersect. An aspect would be indicated by one of the five symbols above.
The Nodes of the Moon The Nodes of the Moon refer to two points in space where the orbit of the moon around the earth intersects with the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. The North Node, also called the Dragon’s Head, is the Northern most place where the ecliptics intersect and it is said to represent where (house) and how (sign) you seek to find your soul’s purpose.
The South Node, also called the Dragon’s Tail, is the Southern most place where the ecliptics intersect and it is said to represent the skills and talents that you brought into this life. The North Node and the South Node are always separated by 180 degrees, meaning that they are always across from one another in the natal chart. Astrological Synthesis Astrological Synthesis refers to the art of taking all the various pieces of information from your natal chart and writing what you have learned in an orderly manner. To begin this process, review all of the notes you have written down. As you do, you will notice that information forms a pattern. Some information may not seem accurate, and you will not use every piece of information in your interpretation. For example, you may have three elements which indicate that you are outgoing, and one element that says that you are shy and introverted. Depending on what that element is exactly (a planetary placement, an aspect, etc.) you will either disregard that one element, or you may determine that in certain situations you are outgoing, while in others you are shy. However, you will not simply disregard an element of your chart just because you don’t like what it says about yourself, remember the motto “to thine own self be true.” Once you have weeded out those elements that don’t fit the pattern, then you will divide the remaining information into those areas of life that each speaks of, for example, self-identity, love, home and family, etc… Devote one paragraph to each of these areas and write in your own words what these elements say about you when combined.
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