What Is A Birth Chart?

Most people know their Sun sign, and many enjoy reading their horoscopes online or in the newspaper every day. But did you know that every sign and every planet is represented somewhere in your birth chart? That’s what makes astrology such a complex but accurate tool when it comes to understanding the energies around you at any given time.

birth chart

A Map of Your Birth

A birth chart is a circular map of the position of all of the celestial bodies at the time and place of your birth. Imagine a circle, around which are written all of the signs of the zodiac. Now imagine that circle divided into 12 segments or slices. Some of the slices (we call them houses) are larger than others, some cover more than one sign, some cover only a part of one sign – each chart is unique. Onto that sliced up circle, we then plot the individual position of each planet – the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. We also add other important bodies such as asteroids, and we draw lines between the various planets and points to show their relationship to each other. The result is your birth chart – and what a wonderful thing it is!

How Does It Work?

At a very basic level, astrology can be broken down into planets, signs and houses. Each planet has an energy all of its own – the Sun, for instance, is warm and creative, but can be dogmatic and bossy. The Moon is sensitive, emotional, instinctive and moody. Mercury is intelligent and clever energy, but can be fickle; Venus is all about love and harmony but is fond of spending too much and taking the easy way out. Mars is warrior energy, fierce, passionate and protective, but with an aggressive streak. Jupiter is everyone’s favorite, the bringer of luck and good fortune, until it all gets out of hand.

Saturn is very grown up energy, speaking of responsibilities, patience and order. Uranus counters with rebellious chaos and innovative, inventive energy, while Neptune exudes dreaminess, illusions, magic and psychic energy. Pluto rounds out the planetary list with regenerative, transformative, dramatic energy which brings change, always change.

Finding a Home for the Planets

Each of these planets was in a zodiac sign when you were born. Their basic energy is therefore expressed in the manner of their home sign. Aries, for instance, expresses energy quickly, impulsively and with ambition, while Taurus instead expresses it calmly, methodically and with a good deal of caution. Jupiter’s influence will be felt very differently if it is in Aries in your birth chart as opposed to in Taurus, and these are key differences which will be repeated through the placement of all of the planets in all of the signs – an individual may have multiple planets in one sign, and there are usually some signs which have no planets at all in them.

Narrowing Down the Influence

Now that we know how each planet is expressing its basic energy, we can look at which house, or slice, it occupies. Each house is concerned with a different area of life. The first house, for instance, is to do with self-esteem, personal image and the sense of self, while the second is concerned with security, materialism and values. The third house rules communication, intellect and our local neighborhood, while the fourth is all about roots, family and the past. We look to the fifth house for information about pleasure, and to the sixth for health, daily routines and organization.

The seventh house is the house of partnership, especially romantic partnership, while the eighth gets all deep and meaningful and focuses on our resourcefulness and our attitude towards sex, death and rebirth. The ninth house is to do with travel, education and philosophy, while the tenth is the house associated with career, status and ambition. The eleventh house rules our attitude towards society at large, and our social contacts and friendships, while the twelfth house is the house of secrets, spirituality and the subconscious.

Putting the Pieces Together

Once you have the complete birth chart, and understand that planet in sign in house equals energy expressed in such and such a way in such and such an area of life, then you can start to make basic interpretations.

For instance, Saturn in Cancer in the fifth house might belong to someone with a passion for genealogy but not a great deal of time to enjoy themselves. Mercury in Gemini in the twelfth house might belong to someone who has made a lifelong study of the occult and who never stops questioning their path.

This is a very simplified overview, but you get the idea. What does your own birth chart reveal about you? Why not learn to unlock its mysteries?