Make Your Chart Make Sense
I’ve always been a spacey kid. For the majority of my primary years, I told people I was an alien from another planet because I felt so connected with the night sky. The stars, moon, and sky were my best friends. I would literally take a steamy cup of tea outside, sit in the earth and talk to my celestial buddies every night. That’s my Aquarius cusp popping out.
What I was told was a quirky interest in nature, is actually a strong connection with divine energies.
I had always loved reading my horoscope. After years of reading my daily sun-in- Capricorn horoscope, I rarely felt like the information I would receive had a strong correlation with my life. They made sense. I could nod along and accept the half-truths in pamphlets at Chinese restaurants, newspapers, VICE Snapchat stories and Instagram memes. But I knew my friends in the sky had answers for me beyond, “Don’t be afraid to open up, Cappy” or “Love is in the stars for you this week.”
So I decided to talk to my celestial friends once again and learn astrology for myself.
Astrology is the STUDY of the universe and its impact on our lives. Since nearly the beginning of time, humans have tried to understand the connection between the outer world and our physical lives.
This is how and why astrology has evolved over time. There is no one truth. Like from a backyard conversation with the sky, people have interpreted the messages of the heavens differently through the ages.
Astrology is a practice that is very subjective, personal, and adaptable. There are many ways to practice astrology or study the stars. I encourage you to discover what is meaningful to you and leave the rest to someone else.
There are three main uses of astrology. The celestial bodies, their placement in the sky, the way they interact with each other and the physical world tell us a lot. Electional astrology is used to predict the success of future events. Astrological magic is used to make things happen with the stars on your side. Finally, horary astrology is used for general understanding. Horary astrology is the astrology referred to when reading a birth chart.
I use the word birth chart. But some practices refer to this diagram as a natal chart and even horoscope. What it is? A map of the position of the celestial bodies at the moment your spirit entered your body.
It is said that these energies are what created your unique identity. This is how and why your birth chart says so much about you.
So how do you make sense of this map without a GPS.
First, you have to understand the three parts of a chart. The planets. WHOO WHOO! The signs. Which we know and love. And the houses. Ooooh ahh.
I want to preface this with saying, I use a bit of traditional and modern interpretation with my understanding of astrology. What I have come to understand may not resonate with you, so feel free to engage in your own conversation by gleaning many interpretations and studies. Here’s a fun little graphic and (I cannot stress this enough…) a CRASH COURSE in astrology:
So the celestial bodies are the most important part of astrology. A deep understanding of their definition and archetypes will give you a better knowledge of astrology in general.
The “moving stars” as they were once called are the rulers of the signs, and in some understandings houses. I use the word celestial bodies, because these are physical points on the “map” of a chart. Not only are planets, moon and starts represented in the birth chart this way, but so are points like the ascendent, midheaven, and lunar nodes.
The celestial bodies can be interpreted as behaviors. Think of the celestial bodies as verbs and the actions in our lives.
Top five celestial bodies to note (in order of how I view their importance and impact on the chart):
Rising sign or Ascendent: This is the beginning position on the birth chart. It determines the placement of everything else in the chart. The ascendent marks the first house and what sign will begin the zodiac wheel of the chart. It represents the true identity as it is the position of the union of spirit and body.
The sun: The sun is the center of the universe and dictates our outward expression or ego.
The moon determines inner reflection and perception.
Mercury is the messenger. Its influence is seen in communication and mobility.
Venus is the planet of attraction, therefore it tells us what we attract and/or to what we are attracted.
Now the signs. Everyone’s favorite part, but what I find most difficult to understand in astrology.
The 12 signs are uniquely defined based on their planetary ruler, so they take on these characteristics.
This is an aspect of astrology where tradition and modern interpretations tend to differ. Back in the day (like ancient times not the 80s) astrologers could only see seven celestial bodies. Then due to the invention of the telescope, astrologers were able to see Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Once the outer planets entered the chat, astrologers began to determine their influence on our lives and their rulership of the zodiac signs.
Basically, since the signs derive their characteristics from the planets, astrologers had to make sense of if and how these more distant planets define the signs. For example, Scorpio is said to be ruled by Mars traditionally, the planet of aggression and raw passion, but also Pluto, the planet of intensity and regeneration. But if you know anyone with Scorpio present in their major placements, I’m sure you’d agree they're passionate and intense.
Each sign has 30 degrees within which a planet may position itself. The degree of a celestial body basically describes the intensity or nature of the relationship between the ruling body of the sign and positions on the chart.
If the celestial bodies are verbs, the signs are like adjectives. Zodiac signs in astrology modify or color the energies of the celestial bodies as they travel through the signs of a chart. Therefore, in order to understand the influence of the signs in a birth chart, you have to consider the relationship between the sign, planets and aspects.
This brings me to understanding the last part of a birth chart you have to understand. The houses. The 12 houses are known as the neighborhoods of the chart.
Again a choice in astrological interpretation. Some astrologers believe the houses are ruled by the celestial bodies. I don’t incorporate that in my practice, but it can help me to remember the houses and the parts of life they’re associated with. The 12 houses show us in what areas of life the stars and signs will make an appearance.
The houses provide the structure of the birth chart. The ascendent marks the first house of your ruling sign (ie. your rising sign). The degrees of the rest of the signs will continue in order.
There’s a variety of different types of charts. I use whole sign charts most often. Whole sign charts refers to the chart design (formally known as a house system) in which all of the degrees of a sign fall within a house. In other house systems, like Placidus and Koch, the degrees of the houses varies. Therefore the planets and signs may be interpreted to influence different areas of life.
Now let’s put it all together and see what this chart says.
As you can see there’s a shit ton of information here. For example purposes we’re just going to gather some basic information from the moon.
Finding the moon in 16° Gemini in the 9th house. This person expresses themselves internally or feels their emotions intelligently and with consideration. A moon in the 9th house can be interpreted as an internal desire for philosophy or higher learning. I know you clearly see those colored lines. The aspects between the celestial bodies tell us about how the planets work with or don’t with each other based on the relationship of the degrees between them. But like I said earlier this is just a quick crash course.
Astrology is evidently much more than a means to stalk a potential love interest or predict your next career move. It’s a deep and meaningful practice for understanding yourself, others, the physical world and the universe.
By learning about the celestial bodies, zodiac signs, houses, aspects and degrees astrology can be very practical as well as surreal.
I encourage you to make a warm drink, get comfortable, and see what our friends in the sky have to say.