This is the first thing you need to know about astrology: knowing your sun sign simply isn’t enough. If you want to exhaust all the wisdom and insight astrology can give you, then being able to read your natal chart is a must.
This is an example of a complete natal chart. It portrays what the sky and all of its celestial bodies looked like when someone was born. For example, it shows that the sun (☉) was aligned with the constellation Gemini (♊︎), making that the sun sign. Despite this chart’s complexity, it can greatly explain someone’s sense of self, life experiences, and personal relationships.
Getting Your Natal Chart
There are a number of different ways to get your natal chart, but your results should always be the same. To get a basic natal chart, you need your date of birth and place of birth. A more complete chart requires the time of birth, which needs to be accurate down to the minute. Since that information is more difficult to get, it isn’t a requirement.
A few sites that will give you a standard wheel chart, similar to the previous example, are Astrotheme, Astrostyle, and Co-Star. A more basic natal chart in table-form has also become popular for beginners, and you can get that from Cafe Astrology. Remember that this particular chart has a few missing aspects, and you shouldn’t rely on it for full readings.
Once you have your natal chart, you can hire an astrologer to read it for you—or you can read on and interpret it for yourself! To get started, determine where the sun, moon, and the planets were when you were born.
Your Sun Sign (☉)
Most people already know their sun sign, and it’s a major component in reading any natal chart. The sun sign part of what’s called the “three legs,” and it represents your core self. It reveals who you are regardless of the situation you’re in and the people you’re with.
While your sun sign is a compartmental part of who you are according to astrology, it’s important to remember that there are several other aspects to consider.
Your Moon Sign (☽︎)
Your moon sign, another one of the “three legs,” has the opposite energy as your sun sign. While the sun focuses on your external energy, the moon represents your internal self. It will talk mostly about your emotional and instinctive side.
Moon signs are known to be influential when making decisions. It’s also known as the maternal celestial body, and astrologers often believe that it can affect your relationship with a mother figure.
Your Ascendant Sign
The ascendant sign (also known as the rising sign) is the first sign that appears in the third quadrant of the chart, which means it was the constellation at the horizon at the time of your birth. In the previous example, the ascendant sign is clearly in Aries (♈︎).
Though you can only know your ascendant sign when you include the time of your birth, it is the last of the “three legs.” This sign speaks about how others perceive you, and it corresponds to how you act when you meet someone for the first time.
The planets represent different experiences in life, and the sign they’re in at the time of our birth defines how we behave in a given situation. For example, if Mercury is in Cancer, then one would adapt Cancer-related qualities in the area of communication.
Astrologers believe that having multiple planets in the same sign makes you resonate more with that sign overall. Have three or more planets under the same sign is called a stellium.
Mercury is the planet that rules communication and the mind. It focuses on logic and rationality rather than emotions and moods. The position of Mercury in your natal chart will reflect how you process your thoughts and express it to other people.
As the planet of love and attraction, Venus majorly lays its influence on one's romantic sensibilities. Your sign in Venus can reveal what you're attracted to, how you express your attraction, and how you perceive love itself. Venus also speaks of how you appreciate artistic pursuits and material luxuries.
Fiery Mars is the planet for passion, leadership, and success. Your sign in Miss will correspond to your competitive or assertive spirit, especially with an important goal involved. In contrast to Venus’ gentle and romantic energy, Mars is more involved with physicality and lust.
As the biggest planet in the solar system, Jupiter represents abundance. Jupiter’s sign in your natal chart can influence the occurrence of luck and good fortune in your life—especially when it involves money—but it may also say something about your attitude toward spirituality.
Saturn and its rings of gas are known to be related to time and life's restrictions, making it the planet for hard work and resilience. You're bound to feel its energy the most with professional pursuits. Saturn’s position in your natal chart explains your ambitions and your response to restrictions.
Uranus is an elusive planet that's more known to affect change, whether that be in one's lifestyle, relationships, or society. Its energy goes in complete contrast with rule-oriented Saturn. Your sign in Uranus speaks about your rebellious nature and the presence of change in your life.
Named after the Roman god for the sea, Neptune has mysterious and magical energy related to spirituality. Neptune is the planet of healing, and you feel its energy the most when you retreat and reflect after challenging situations. Its position in your natal chart affects how you dream and process creativity.
Despite Pluto's size, its influence in a natal chart remains significant. Pluto is the planet for power, transformation, and new beginnings. Because it's the celestial body farthest away from the sun and our planet, your sign in Pluto reveals your disposition toward endings, cleansing, and preparations for new opportunities.