Read A Birth Chart
Read a Birth Chart in 6 Steps
When you look at a birth chart for the first time, perhaps your own, you may find it overwhelming and completely confusing. Here are six simple steps to get a handle on what those lines and symbols mean. If you follow these steps you can quickly begin to understand your chart.
Before you begin this step-by-step exercise you need a chart (aka Birth Horoscope, Natal Chart, or Natal Horoscope). If you don't have one, you can download free charts at Astrolabe and Astrodienst. Note that some charts show more symbols than mine do. I use a classical chart. If you have a hand-drawn chart it should show at least what is shown here. Verify the accuracy of the birth data. This includes the name, the birth place, the birth date and the birth time. This step is extremely important. You would never want to begin to interpret a chart that is not accurate. If you are in the least unsure about the birth time, see this.
It is also helpful to have pen and paper handy.
Step 1: Introduction - The Overall Picture
Bearings. To get your bearings take a look at the overall chart. In Western Astrology charts are circular. The two green arrows I have added show that we read the chart in a counter-clockwise direction. We imagine ourselves on the earth in the middle, surrounded by the sky.
Zodiac. The outer-most circle in the chart, here light blue, symbolizes the Zodiac belt. It consists of the fixed star constellations against which we see and measure the movements of the planets. We usually call these constellations the signs of the Zodiac.
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