Reading Astrological Birth Charts 101

A guide to demystifying astrological birth charts.

  • September 19, 2019
  • 6 min read
Reading Astrological Birth Charts 101

You’re a Leo sun? What’s your moon sign? Rising? Mars? Venus? Ugh, what do all of these mean? Astrology can be fun as you get to learn people’s traits and how they affect their behaviors and feelings. However, it is only fun if you understand it. This guide to reading your astrological birth chart or natal chart will demystify astrology, so you can join in all the fun.

What is a Birth Chart?

The ancient Babylonians created the zodiac by dividing the sky into twelve sections. They observed the movement of planets and corresponded it with events on earth. This observation is then how astrology was born, and it has been the heart of science, medicine and philosophy for centuries. Now with the development of science and technology, astrology can be used as a fun way to interpret behavior, though it may not be 100 percent accurate, since it is mostly observation of tendencies.



Birth Chart, also known as the natal chart, reveals the location of the planets in the sky at the time of your birth. This birth chart is the basis of knowing all about your astrological signs. First, find out about your birthday, the exact birth time and birth place. You can calculate this by visiting the many astrology sites that’ll help calculate it for you. My favorites are Astro Sofa and Cafe Astrology.

This chart can provide deep insight into your personality, motivations, fears, tendencies and also your desires by calculating the precise location of each of the planets and which constellation they occupy. Each planet has its own energy and function.

An example of a Birth Chart:

The Sun, The Moon, The Ascendant

There are three significant entities that are the most essential to the chart: the sun, the moon and the ascendant (rising). If someone asks what your sign is, what you tell them is actually  the position of the sun on the day you were born. The sun sign is the most basic astrological sign and it symbolizes your fundamental essence: your ego, basic personality and general preferences.

While our sun sign symbolizes our outer experience, the moon sign represents our inner self, specifically how we are emotionally. So your moon sign will explain the tendencies you have in processing emotions and facing problems in your life. Like if you are an Aquarius moon, you would be more distant and unattached to your feelings because you prioritize logic. If you were an Aries moon, you tend to be more confronting.

Your ascendant sign, commonly known as the rising sign signifies a person’s awakening consciousness. Simply put, your rising sign is how you present yourself to the world, especially in public and impersonal situations. Like if you were a Taurus rising, you would appear down to earth and approachable, while on the contrary, a Scorpio rising would seem distant and mysterious instead.

Also read: WTH Is Mercury Retrograde and Why Does It Always Get Blamed?

What Other Planets Represent

While the moon is more emotional, the planet Mercury reflects logic and rationality. It represents how you communicate and how you analyze complex ideas. Fun fact: If someone is freaking out about Mercury Retrograde, it just means Mercury appears to move “backwards” from east to west, instead of the other way around. In astronomy, an apparent retrograde motion is what happens when a planet appears to move in the opposite direction of the other bodies within its system from a particularly vantage point. A retrograde causes confusing energy on earth and dulls our sense of logic and rationality.

It is well known that the confused energy caused by Mercury retrograde would lead to miscommunication and misinterpretation. This will lead to many arguments and confusion, which is why people freak out about it.

As most of us know, the planet Venus represents beauty and love. Your Venus sign shows your ideal perception of love. How do you love? How do you want others to love you? What do you expect when in a relationship? All of it is explained in this sign. If your Venus is in Cancer, there’s a big chance that you are a hopeless romantic.

Mars is also an important part in a birth chart. It represents how you process anger, how you deal with pressure and how competitive you are in life. It also represents our lust and physical passion. So for example, if your Mars sign is in Cancer, you would be crying when you’re angry because being angry hurts you and triggers sad emotions.

Jupiter symbolizes fortune and spirituality. It represents the cultural influences and social drives for the improvement in your life. Your Saturn sign reflects what problems you may face in life due to the tendencies you show in your behavior and how you process your feelings.

The Uranus sign represents our inner consciousness and intuition. It guides you in the way you interpret unexpected events that you experience in the future. For example if you feel that you love making changes or innovating, or that you’re not scared of change or to break taboos, maybe your Uranus is in Gemini.

Your sign in Neptune represents your distinct qualities, including nervousness and restlessness. While your sign in Pluto represents power, transformation and regeneration –  basically how you deal with change or transformation. If you’re an Aries Neptune, you’d be fired with energy. That’s the power you have and show.

Also read: The Amplitude of a Still Mind

Now that you know what the planets mean, how do you interpret it in your own chart?

First, cross check what the planets mean and the tendencies of each sign. For example, if you are a Libra in Mercury, that means in communicating you have the tendencies of a Libra. A Libra is very fair, since it is symbolized as a scale, but they also tend to be very indecisive because they try to see things from all perspectives. Apply this in communication and you can interpret that you’re very vocal in communicating and tries to see all perspectives instead of stubbornly sticking to your views.

Similarly, if you are a Virgo in Venus, that means you have Virgo tendencies when you love someone, which is nurturing, perfectionistic, passionate and sensual. So your romantic partner can expect to be nurtured and pushed to the very best version of themselves.

If this sounds overwhelming, it’s OK to not understand everything at once. Practice reading birth chart slowly, and sooner or later you can begin to understand yourself deeply, and ultimately other people’s tendencies and perspectives.

About Author

Shafira Amalia

Shafira Amalia is an International Relations graduate from Parahyangan Catholic University in Bandung. Too tempted by her passion for writing, she declined the dreams of her young self to become a diplomat to be a reporter. Her dreams is to meet Billie Eilish but destroying patriarchy would be cool too. Follow her on Instagram at @sapphire.dust where she's normally active.

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