A Lesson in Astrology: How to Read Your Natal Chart

Do you ever feel as if you aren’t anything like your sign? Maybe you’re a docile Aries or a lighthearted Scorpio – either way, something about you just doesn’t seem to add up to your signs’ classic traits? You see, it’s not just your Sun sign (more on that in a bit) that matters in astrology – in order for you to “get” your entire astrological make-up, you need to know your natal chart. So, what is a natal chart? Essentially, it’s a map of where the moon and planets were located at the time of your birth. By reading your natal chart, you can get a much better understanding of who you are, and why you feel the way you feel. I like to think of a natal chart as the Myers-Briggs test of the stars.

So how do you get your chart, and how do you read it? Follow along and I’ll show you the way (cue the Pete Frampton guitar lick).

First things first, you’ll need to know three key things:

  • Your birthday (that’s an easy one)
  • Where you were born (City; State; Country)
  • The time of day you were born (text your mom)

There are several sites that will give you your natal chart results – personally, I like Cafe Astrology – they give your results in a language that you don’t need to be an astrology expert to understand. From there, you will receive your chart. 

Now, what the hell does it all mean? I’ll give you the lowdown.

The first things you want to look for are your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs. Those are the “main three” aspects of your personality, and all three should be taken into account when you’re reflecting on who you truly are.

Sun Sign:

You probably already know your sun sign – this would be what you’d look for when reading your daily horoscope, and it reflects the position the sun was in the day you were born. This sign is your “core” sign and makes up the majority of your personality.

Moon Sign:

Your moon sign represents your emotions and your “true” self – it’s your emotional center and reflects the traits you keep to yourself or only reveal to those closest to you.

Ascendant (Rising) Sign:

Your ascendant (also called your rising sign) is how you come off to other people – it’s the “first impression” people get when they see you.

Next, we’ve got your Inner Planet signs. These are planets that rotate quickly around the sun, and they reflect your impulses, needs, and desires.

Mercury Sign:

Reflects how you communicate, your language, and how you make your decisions.

Venus Sign:

Reflects your relationships, especially romantic relationships – it also shows what you find attractive in others.

Mars Sign:

Reflects what you’re passionate about and how you show your passion for things… it also reflects your attitude towards ~*sex*~

Lastly, we’ve got your Outer Planet signs. Because these outer planets rotate much slower than your sun/moon and inner planets, they are less specific to your personality and are more reflective of your life as a whole.

Jupiter Sign:

Reflects your luck and wisdom

Saturn Sign:

Reflects your fears and challenges

Uranus Sign:

Reflects your originality

Neptune Sign:

Reflects your dreams

Pluto Sign:

Reflects your ability to change

Usually, the sites that give you your chart will give you a synopsis of what it means when your Moon is in Pisces (spoiler alert: you’re probably really in touch with your emotions) or your Venus is in Capricorn (you look for partners that give you stability). However, here is a quick cheat-sheet of sign traits to get you started with interpreting:

Aries: bold, quick-tempered, enthusiastic, impulsive, fun-loving, active

Taurus: steady, stubborn, indulgent, passionate, relaxed

Gemini: social, quick-witted, curious, inconsistent, adaptable

Cancer: nurturing, judgemental, sensitive, creative, empathetic

Leo: dramatic, kind, optimistic, self-involved, loyal

Virgo: meticulous, altruistic, petty, reliable, thoughtful

Libra: tactful, charming, judgemental, balanced, flighty

Scorpio: passionate, controlling, mysterious, artistic, emotional

Sagittarius: non-committal, friendly, superficial, freewheeling, courageous

Capricorn: analytical, hardworking, ambitious, helpful, sensible

Aquarius: detached, unique, zany, flippant, affectionate

Pisces: weak-willed, empathetic, devoted, imaginative, obsessive

I suggest you take your time exploring what it all means – it’s an incredible way to understand yourself on a deeper level.

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Amanda White is a media strategist who lives in Minneapolis. She enjoys making Spotify playlists, seeing cover bands and talking about your Zodiac sign. She is also an Aquarius but don’t hold that against her.