We're all familiar with horoscopes, so let's take it a step further. Within your Birth Chart is the story of you.

“What’s your sign?” It’s a question you’ve probably heard a lot, and maybe you have a go-to answer: “I’m a Pisces.” But the universe of astrology goes way beyond that one answer, and the key to understanding it is the birth chart. These astrological charts map out the positions of the sun, moon, planets, and other heavenly bodies at the exact time of your birth. Learn to interpret it yourself and unlock the secrets in the stars.


Elements of the Birth Chart

Signs

On a birth chart, the signs of the zodiac are the characteristics all other indicators (planets and houses) are defined by. They explain why you behave in certain ways.

The signs make up the outer ring of the wheel and are labeled with their corresponding symbol. They represent 12 constellations that move across earth’s sky on an annual basis. The signs are split into 12 equal sections, each worth 30 degrees of the circle (30 x 12 = 360 degrees).

Here's a quick refresher on zodiac characteristics:


Planets

The planets represent different aspects of who you are. Each of them is defined by the sign they fall under and the house they're in. On the birth chart, they're represented by their symbols.

And, yes, before you ask, the sun, the moon, and Pluto are included even though they’re not planets. Just go with it.

Here’s what each planet signifies:


Houses

The 12 houses symbolize the main events and spheres of human life. They're the zones you'll feel the effect of the planet and sign most acutely. On the birth chart, they're the second ring of the circle.

Here's what each house reprsents:


Interpreting Your Birth Chart

Mercury Interpretation

Looking at the chart above, let's interpret Mercury's placement:  

Step 1: Locate the Mercury symbol: ☿

Step 2: Determine the house and sign Mercury is in: Pisces, 10th house 

Step 3: Write down the facts

–Mercury is the planet of communication and intellect.

–Pisces are generally intuitive and compassionate.

–The 10th house rules purpose and destiny.

Step 4: Put it all together and...  

Mercury in Pisces means her intellect is emotionally driven and dreamy. Her compassion keeps her open to other people's ideas. She's a good listener. It's in her 10th house, meaning her purpose involves communicating her compassion. She'll be drawn to professions that involve writing and speaking.

Now that you have the gist of it, pull up your personal birth chart and practice! All you need is your birthday, time of birth, and place of birth. If you're unsure of your time of birth, give your parents a ring. The Ascendant sign changes every two hours, so the more accurate your birth time, the more accurate your chart will be.

Note, the key to birth charts is the interpretation of them. Online sites will give you a generic interpretation, but by understanding the chart yourself you can get much deeper.


Tips & Tricks

Memorize your sun, moon, and rising signs. They're the most defining of the bunch.

Make flashcards with the symbols for signs and planets, and spend a few minutes memorizing them. This will make reading your birth chart easier and more efficient.

Sexual astrology is definitely a thing, learn more about it here.

So you've heard of Mercury going into retrograde, but what about the Saturn return?

Listen to “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” and get in the astrology mood.


The Astrology Community

  • Co-Star and The PatternDownload these astrology apps to get interpretations of your chart. They allow you to connect with fellow horoscope junkies and view your compatibility.
  • Nadine Jane Astrology—Follow this Instagram account for a weekly dose of celestial insight.
  • Maren Altman’s astrology videos—There is a vibrant collection of astrology videos on TikTok, including this scary–accurate one that predicted the 2020 election drama.
  • The Hoodwitch—Check out this website to satisfy your craving for all things magical and mystical.

Dictionary

  • Aspects Angles between points of interest on the birth chart that represent relationships between these different celestial objects.
  • Astrology The study of divining information about earthly life from the movement and positions of celestial bodies.
  • Ecliptic An imaginary line that traces the annual path of the sun around the earth.
  • Houses 12 divisions of the birth chart that represent the areas of a person’s life.
  • Planets All the planets in the solar system, plus the sun and the moon. They rule over different aspects of the self.
  • Signs The 12 signs of the zodiac which are derived from constellations and which correspond to certain dates throughout the year. The signs dictate personality traits and characteristics.