Understanding A Natal Chart Layout

Astrology Chart Explained

A natal astrology chart is very popular for personality readings as they give highly accurate results.  Plus they can represent many aspects of life which are of importance in astrological readings.  An astrology chart is based on the universe map, with the person or object to be studied placed at the center. In order to gain the required level of insight into a person’s potential and personality, an astrology chart must be constructed based on the time as well as the location in which the particular person was born. This implies that astrology charts are highly diverse and is very rare for different people to share similar aspects when it comes to development of the charts.

Chart Breakdown – The Horizon

An astrology natal chart shows the positions of celestial bodies like the sun, moon, and planets.  The best way to understand this chart is to try and visualise how it would look like in real life.  The diagram below has been drawn to help you visualise this.  Imagine me being at the centre of this chart when I was born.  At the exact time and date of my birth, I look up into the sky, and notice that the sun is in the constellation Pisces.  And that the planet mercury is in the constellation Aquarius.  The sun and mercury are considered above the horizon, as they are celestial bodies that are within the persons (me in this case) line of sight.  The moon and other planets fall into the lower half of this chart, being below the horizon.  Just by looking at this chart alone, we can conclude I was born during the day as the sun is in the upper half.

The horizontal line going through the centre of the chart is the horizon, so anything above that line is the sky you actually see.  The celestial objects below that line are around the other side of the earth.  Astrology started off by astrologers recoding the movements of the sun and moon, as they could visually see them in the sky.  That’s why it is important to visualise how this chart looks in the real world.  Since the original astrologers thousands of years ago, mathematics can helped track the motion of these celestial bodies to very impressive accuracies.

Chart Breakdown – The Houses

Every natal chart is divided into 12 houses.  Each house represents a different area of one’s life.  For example, the 4th house has Cancerian traits, and represents things like the home, family life, the past, etc.  In order to come up with the houses that a person may fall into, astrologers calculate the rising (or ascendant sign) first.  The ascendant sign is the sign that crosses the horizon on the left side of the chart, being Leo in the chart above.  The ascendant is worked out via the suns position.  So, once the suns position is plotted on the natal chart, then it will decide where all 12 zodiac signs (around the outside of the chart) are positioned relative to the 12 houses.  Yes, this all sound daunting.  The good news is that astrology programs do all this for you.  All you got to do is enter the birth details.

The 12 houses within the natal chart are divided up depending upon the house system used. The most commonly used house system in Western astrology is Placidus, and is the one I use. Why did you choose the Placidus house system I hear you ask? Well, I basically found this one to provide the most reliable results when I first started practicing astrology on myself, and people I know very well.  I could go into more detail about this house system, but I will leave that for a future article.

Chart Breakdown – Zodiac Signs

Every chart is surrounding by 12 zodiac signs on the outside, from Aries to Pisces.  Below is a natal chart with the zodiac signs labelled. 

Chart Breakdown – The Aspects

Aspects are the angles between the sun, moon and planets.  On the chart different coloured lines between the sun, moon and planets are normally used to represent the aspects.  Sometimes an aspect table is provided with the natal chart to you can clearly see the aspects between things.  Usually, a trine is written as a triangle in a table, a square is a square.  And conjunct is normally a circle with a line on it.

Why is the Natal Chart Needed?

We could just put all the planet and house position data into a table.  But it is so much easier to read a natal chart.  You can easily see the differences between natal charts when comparing individuals.  People rarely share the exact same natal chart (unless they are twins).  Astrologers interpret the positions of the planets, houses and angles on a natal chart.  Providing deep insight into the person they are reading for.

Contrary to popular beliefs, astrology charts don’t necessarily have to be round, they can even be square shapes.

Once an astrological chart has been constructed, an astrologer will attempt to give interpretations based on what is observed in the zodiac signs and houses and assigning the best meaning to what the given houses and signs may signal.

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