Read these 17 Understanding a Natal Chart Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Astrology tips and hundreds of other topics.
This is the highest point in the top centre of the chart. It is not to be confused with the MC (Meridian Coeli) which may be placed to the left or right of the 10th House Cusp. This cusp is the start of the 10th House and the sign, or any planets placed here, describes your public professional life and career. It is where you are most visible.
These are the 12 signs of the Zodiac and the planets that rule them:
ARIES is ruled by Mars.
TAURUS is ruled by Venus.
GEMINI is ruled by Mercury.
CANCER is ruled by the Moon.
LEO is ruled by the Sun.
VIRGO is ruled by Mercury.
LIBRA is ruled by Venus.
SCORPIO is ruled by Pluto.
SAGITTARIUS is ruled by Jupiter.
CAPRICORN is ruled by Saturn.
AQUARIUS is ruled by Uranus.
PISCES is ruled by Neptune.
A natal chart is a "snapshot" of the sky at the time of your birth. It is a circle divided into 12 segments. It shows where the planets were placed, their signs and aspects. The only person who will have the exact same chart as you will be someone who was born in the exact same place, at that exact moment.
The Descendant is to the right of the Natal Chart. It is the cusp of the Seventh House. The sign, and any planets, here will describe the kind of person you will attract as a partner. It is called the Descendant because it represents the setting sun (the Western side of the chart) as opposed to the rising sun in the Ascendant, or eastern half of the chart.
Earth and the other planets are constantly in motion through the 12 signs of the zodiac. The sign on the Ascendant (or Rising Sign) is determined by the time of your birth. A few moments difference in birth time can put the Ascendant in a different sign and planets in different houses or signs.
The MidHeaven, (also known as MC, Meridian or Medium Coeli) and the cusp of the 10th House are NOT the same thing. The MC will not be aligned with the cusp of the 10th House in many charts that you see. However their function is quite similar. The 10th House represents your career, and your public persona; the MC is the highest point of the chart and represents your aspirations.
The term "natal" means birth. Therefore, to have one's natal astrology chart explained means that the astrologer will read the planetary positions and aspects in the person's chart for whom the natal reading is being done.
To begin reading a Natal Chart, start at the Ascendant (left centre line of the chart). Note the sign here, and any planets in the First House. (That is the segment of the chart immediately below the line of the Ascendant). If there are no planets here, note the sign on the 1st house cusp and look for the house and sign placement of the planetary ruler of that sign.
It is quite common for the planetary ruler of a sign on one of your house cusps (i.e. The Ascendant) to be in a different sign in your Natal Chart. For example, Libra may be the sign on your ascendant, but the planetary ruler Venus may be in another sign such as Sagittarius. This gives added Sagittarian qualities to your Libran Ascendant.
Traditionally, Taurus and Libra are both ruled by Venus, and Gemini and Virgo are both ruled by Mercury. But rulerships have be reassigned as new planets are discovered. Mars once ruled Aries and Scorpio, but now Pluto rules Scorpio. This is because the nature of Pluto is more in accordance with the sign Scorpio. It is believed that Taurus and Virgo will be assigned new rulers too, as these are discovered.
The Angles of a chart comprise the central "cross" of the Ascendant/Descendant (1st and 7th House cusps) and the 10th/4th House cusps. These are important in understanding a Natal Chart as they represent the four basics of life; The Self (First House), the Partner (Seventh House), The Career (10th House) and The Home (Fourth House).
The transpersonal planets are Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. They are called transpersonal because their orbits are so large they take many years to travel through the zodiac and so effect whole generations of people born while they are in a sign. But these planets are personalised in the chart, if they are aspected by one of the personal planets.
Because the Moon is an intuitive planet (see The Moon Files) you can often intuite its placement in the chart without a birth time. The Moon moves very quickly, and changes signs every 2-3 days. If the Moon could be in one sign or another, check your own emotional response. Which sign do your feelings resonate to? Which sign better describes your mother and your relationship to her?
It is possible to draw up a chart without a birth time and still get good results.
One method is to place the sign and degree of the Sun on the ascendant. This is called a Solar Chart. This method is used to produce the "sun sign horoscopes" you see in magazines and newspapers.
Or you can use a "flat chart". This is a chart that starts with 0 degrees of Aries on the ascendant. Then you go round the wheel placing the planets in their degrees and signs.
The clock time of birth will make an astrology chart reading much more in-depth. Try to find the time of birth exactly, including the hour and minute and if AM or PM. It's well worth the effort.
If you simply cannot locate it then ask older relatives who might remember the time of your birth.
With a new sign rising on the ascendent about every 2 hours, "morning time" or "afternoon" is not exact
enough to bother with.
Ask them if it was day or night time, close to a meal time or other event.
If anyone in your family keeps a regular diary, they may have recorded it.
Approach the hospital for your birth records. These often give the time of birth.
Contact the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the city you were born in. They can take your name and other information and send you a copy of your birth certificate. Tell them you want the version with time of birth on it.
You can have your chart rectified by a qualified astrologer, but this is a very lengthy, expensive procedure.
Knowing the time of your birth makes your chart more accurate. The time of birth fixes the Ascendant, or Rising Sign, putting the planets in their proper places on your chart. The time of birth is also needed to find the Moon's exact position in your chart, as it moves much faster than the other planets.