Main image courtesy of The Chill Times.
Sometimes the most difficult part of getting to understand astrology is finding where to begin. Yes, there are plenty of apps and online resources and calculators to explain your birth chart to you, but one of the greatest joys in journeying through astrology is learning to read and recognize things for yourself!
Reading birth charts is a surefire way to help widen your astrology knowledge, but it all starts with getting to understand the terminology, the history, and the configurations that make up the modern-day astrologer’s existence. From daily horoscopes to seeing your friends post on social media about how excited they are for #geminiseason, we hope that this guide will help you navigate your own way through the world of astrology.
In this article we’re going to talk about:
Zodiacs can be dated all the way back into the history of ancient Babylonia. They divided the sky into twelve sections and named each of those sections after the biggest constellations within them. This led to the creations of the zodiac signs we know today: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces. Babylonians used this system to predict and explain various events that took place on earth, and further devoted themselves to creating a zodiac calendar to map various periods of time using the movement and placement of planets. Ancient Romans later adopted zodiac at the turn of the 1st century and used mythology to further develop zodiac concepts. Thus creating the form of astrology that we see in our everyday lives today.
The basis of their creation and analysis is that the specific positioning of the planets in our solar system has a somewhat direct correlation to our personalities and the events that take place. Astrology, as we know it, is based upon the connection that the planets and the stars have with our human experiences, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. Every time you feel yourself relating to a description of your zodiac sign on a Pinterest post, it’s because the alignment of celestial bodies up above at the exact time and place of your birth influenced pieces of who you are. That’s where birth charts come in. By entering your date, time, and place of birth, birth charts allow you to take a look at the alignment of the houses, signs, and planets and learn more about what makes you tick.
While there are plenty of birth chart calculators out there, many people find it quite difficult to interpret them. Resources that provide thorough birth chart analysis for free are hard to come by and as a budding astrologer, you’re probably more likely to be going after that rewarding feeling of being able to do it yourself. If that’s the case, look no further because we are about to break it all down for you.
To begin, you’re going to need a birth chart. First gather information about yourself including your birthday, time of birth, and the town you were born in. The more accurate the information, the better. You’ll want to find a birth chart calculator online where you can enter your information and get a free chart with the click of a button. Once you’ve got your chart, it’s important to understand the terminology behind the houses, planets, and what they all mean in conjunction in order to get a full understanding of reading birth charts.
The houses in your chart are representative of the paths of the planets in the sky at the time of your birth. They frame your birth chart and are placed in the same order on every birth chart. From here you’ll want to identify where your ascendant, which can often be found on the leftmost side of your chart. If you’re using a chart with an equal house system this is also where your first house is located. The rest of the houses follow the curvature of the chart clockwise and rise from the first house to the twelfth. Each of the houses represents an aspect of meaning in your life, and the zodiacs and planet present in these houses mean a number of different things. To specify, the meanings of the houses are as follows:
The alignment of the planets in your birth chart is what makes the chart so unique to the person it belongs to. Your birth chart is a look into the sky at the moment you were born and whether or not the planets were spread apart, or close together, their placement had a unique impact on the person that you are. Why don’t we take a look into each one of them, starting with…
This is the source of the sign that most people talk about. Your sun sign is the one that appears when you look up what you sign is via birthday. This sign is the one people are asking you about the majority of the time. The sun is representative of our fundamental essence, and its bright illuminating nature represents your ego, basic personality, and sense of self. The sun governs Leo and takes about a month to move across a zodiac sign.
The moon in astrology represents the inner world of our emotions. Our moon sign is an expression of our innermost selves, who we are beneath the surface of our outward disposition. Who we are when we’re alone with our thoughts is what’s represented by the moon in our birth charts. The moon governs the sign Cancer and takes a bit over two days for it to move across a zodiac sign.
Mercury is the planet that holds and reflects our rationality and logic. Mercury uses its cleverness, and intellect to help us analyze and sort ideas. Mercury governs both the signs Virgo and Gemini, takes around two weeks to move across signs, and goes retrograde 3-4 times per year.
Venus reflects our interests and taste while representing love and money in our lives. It holds our romanticized taste for arts and cultures and shows our ideal perceptions of love. Signs Taurus and Libra are governed by Venus, and it moves across signs every four to five weeks. Venus also goes retrograde every 18 months.
Much like the Roman god of war, it was named after, Mars represents aggression, ambition, and determination. It pushed us forward and symbolizes the passion in our lives. Mars governs the sign Aries and transits a zodiac sign in about six to seven weeks. Mars goes retrograde every two years.
Jupiter is recognizable for its sense of expansion, abundance, and philosophy. Jupiter governs the sign Sagittarius and symbolizes fortune. This planet takes a year to thirteen months to transit a zodiac sign and spends about 120 days in retrograde every year.
Saturn symbolizes regulations and restrictions. It represents our professional achievements and unwavering resilience. Saturn governs Capricorn and takes around two and a half years to move across each zodiac sign. Saturn goes retrograde every year for 140 days.
Uranus is a rule breaker. This planet is a revolutionary that symbolizes innovation, rebellion, and technology. Uranus governs Aquarius and takes around seven years to move across each sign. Every year, Uranus goes retrograde for 150 days.
Neptune is representative of mystery and the magical, and spiritual unknown. It goes between extremes of tons of creativity and intuitiveness, to a push for escaping reality and accepting delusion. Neptune governs the zodiac Pisces and takes 14 years to move across each sign. Every year, Neptune goes retrograde for 150 days.
This cold, sometimes forgotten planet gets much more credit when it comes to astrology. Pluto is a symbol of power. It embodies destruction, regeneration, and transformation, and is linked to the zodiac sign Scorpio. Pluto goes retrograde every year for 185 days and takes anywhere from 14 to 30 years to move across a zodiac sign.
Now that you’re familiar with the planets and the houses, it’s time to apply that knowledge to your birth chart. The inner planets are made up of the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars. They’re considered to be inner planets because they move across signs quickly. The inner planets are the ones specific to your date and time of birth and have much to do with our personalities and how we move in the world. Planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are considered to be outer planets and are much slower than the other planets when it comes to transiting signs. What determines what our outer planets do is their placement in the various houses in your birth chart. When a planet is within a certain house, it displays which places our strengths and weaknesses lie and unearths where a lot of our energy is stored.
To interpret your own birth chart, take your knowledge of the houses, planets, and signs, and consider how they influence each other. Interpretation lies in connecting the meaning of each of these moving parts with one another and determining what that means for the life you have ahead of yourself. For example, if your Pluto is in your 7th house you may be destined towards having more deep and complicated relationships. Reading birth charts is all about your interpretation of these depictions of celestial bodies. It’s personal, and now (hopefully) you’ve got a better grasp on how to do it yourself.