Learning About Astrology – What is a Natal Chart?
An astrological natal, or birth chart, is a graphic and mathematical representation of the planets in the heavens at the precise moment of your birth. Month, day, year, time, and location are factored in the determining of the rising sign, or ascendant, on the eastern horizon. The rest of the chart follows counterclockwise in a 360-degree circle, divided into twelve slices of the “pie.” These slices are called houses and represent areas of your life. The twelve signs are also placed around the wheel, starting off with the rising sign. The planets are then placed in the houses where they belong based on the sign and degree of sign they occupied at your birth moment.
The planets in their places nod to each other and create patterns of energy flow that are referred to as aspects. The natal chart is a valuable life-navigating map. I truly believe every adult can benefit from the self-knowledge gained from studying the basics of astrology and applying them to analysis of their own natal chart, or by having a consultation with an experienced astrologer. Likewise, every child can benefit from having a parent or caregiver analyze his or her chart.
Thanks to computers, which can easily store and calculate the necessary atlas and ephemeris data and mathematical equations required to erect a birth chart, any curious do-it-yourselfer can Google “free natal chart” and find a reliable source for a chart. I highly recommend an in-depth, yet enjoyable book by Debra Kempton-Smith, Secrets from a Stargazer’s Notebook: Making Astrology Work for You, as an ideal accompaniment to your journey of self-discovery. If seeking a personal astrologer, be sure to ask if they are using a computer-generated interpretation program or actually interpreting your natal chart themselves. If you are paying for professional experience and personal service, that is what you should expect to receive.
Be sure to retain your natal reading. It is not unusual for something that was mentioned at the time of the reading to not seem relevant to your life, only for it to become important at a later date – in fact, this is the norm.
The planets in our natal chart form a picture of us. Just as the passage of time changes us from infant, toddler, youth, teen, and adult, but we can still see the essence of who we are in the earliest photos taken, so too, do planets continue to move through our natal chart in what are called transits. The planetary transits can affect us on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels triggering events, decisions, and transformations. The natal chart retains the essence, while the transiting planets activate energy within the chart. We change while remaining the same essence.
Solar return charts erected from natal information can be analyzed yearly around the birthday to be considered along with the natal chart and transits for a deeper look at the potential year. A progressed chart can be used in a similar way. Both the solar return and progressed charts are usually viewed alongside and in relation to the natal chart.
Many people who have not resonated with Sun sign astrology or daily horoscopes find out why during a natal chart reading. Often, other planets in the first house of self may have more strength, the Sun itself is either weak or unaspected, or there is a cluster, or stellium, of planets in another sign, which becomes dominant in the expression of personality traits.
The Moon rules the emotions and is feminine in nature. The Sun has more to do with ego and self identification and is masculine in nature. It is not uncommon for a woman to seem more like her Moon sign than her Sun sign. The most wonderful moments for me as an astrologer are those of confirmation. Many people have an inner yearning to pursue a certain thing, yet suppress the desire for any number of reasons. When I hit on that certain thing in their natal chart without them having mentioned it before the reading, I see their entire face light up with excitement. The usual exclamation of wonder is, “I always wanted to (fill in the blank), but I never (fill in the blank).” The astrological confirmation of their inner self is often the means to instilling the confidence to remove the “but.”
The first and most important birthday gift we receive is the moment of our birth. Sadly, for many people, that gift remains unopened because they are unaware that there is a way to open it. Luckily, the usefulness of the gift does not fade over time and it will have meaning for you, whenever you choose to open it.