Before you undertake a reading, it is good to be familiar with all of the parts of the chart and how they come together to form an interpretation. Read more about each element that is contained in a natal chart reading.
More than Sun Sign Astrology
Begin with Sun-Moon Profile
First, we typically begin with the sun, but it is so important to understand that we are more than just our SUN SIGNS! Just look at the sky. If we work with the idea that the planets influence human behavior, we also have the Moon, the planets, the fixed stars, the Sun, and many other moving bodies.
The sun describes your ego, your purpose, your center of self, your will, and the true inner you. It also represents the ideal masculine impulse or “the father,” or that which projects its light outward. The highest ideal for the male side of your nature. It is the creative goal or principle you value most highly and strive towards as in your life purpose, your self-expression, and the principle towards which you are working. It represents what you need to achieve your ideal nature, that which you aspire to become in this life. In the body the sun is associated with the heart chakra, circulation, arteries, eyes, spinal cord and vital forces.
The next step in the process of learning more about your birth chart is to move beyond defining yourself by your sun sign alone and to recognize the other parts of the sky at the time of your birth. The next step is to look at your other luminary – the Moon and the sign it falls in.
Tarot Association: SUN
The Moon describes your ideal image of the feminine or “mother.” Your deepest emotional needs, the infant that wants to be accepted and loved and also what you need to show another love. The Moon is how you nurture and get nurtured. The Moon represents your most sensitive points, and what you need to feel safe. Associated with the second chakra, the spleen.
Tarot Association: The High Priestess
Using only a person’s birthdate (without knowing their location or birth time you can discover a lot about them simply using their Sun-Moon Profile. Read more in the booklet below.
At the time you were born, a particular zodiacal constellation was rising in the east on the horizon. The exact degree of that sign that was rising at the time of your birth is called your ascendant. Knowing the sign on the ascendant and the degree on your ascendant is another very important layer of understanding your natal astrology because it places you in time in a certain location on earth in relation to the skies above at a particular day and time.
ASCENDANT (ASC) is a point on the chart, a mathematical calculation of what was rising on the horizon at the time of the birth, or what degree and sign of the zodiac that is rising over the eastern horizon at a specific moment in time, such as a birth. The Ascendant symbolizes the mask we wear in the world when meeting others. It is thought of as the automatic responses to one’s environment, but does not reflect the inner true nature. The Ascendant shows our natural defenses and how we cope with day-to-day issues through our masks. The energies of the sign and condition of the Ascendant are most overt and obvious to others. The Ascendant shows an individual’s first, natural reaction to new people and situations, but not the true nature.
This is not a planet, but a calculated point in space, it is where the path of sun and the path of the moon intersect. As a point in the chart it represents the new energy you came to develop and the direction you need to go in order to experience satisfaction and success.
The angles of the chart
The 4-point axis of the chart, also called the four angles of the chart are very significant. They indicate the following:
Planets in Signs
After understanding the combination of the Sun, Moon, and ASC in your chart, the next step is to understand the function and role of each planet. By placing the planet in a particular zodiac sign it changes its flavor, or mode of operation. The location of the planet also effects its operation, we refer to this as “the house” in which it operates in your chart. Too often, beginning astrologers rush past this important step in laying a foundational understanding of a person’s chart. Here the hierarchies of dignity and debility in classical Astrology are very helpful in understanding the what matters the most in a chart and where themes are being repeated. If something is significant in a chart it will not be shown only once, but it will be a theme that is repeated in a variety of ways.
Inner (Personal) Planets
MERCURY “Hermes, The Winged Messenger”
Mercury describes your ideal conditions for learning and your most natural communication style. Represents how you think, learn, and communicate, how you process your information, describes conditions for early learning. Third Chakra, Solar Plexus.
Tarot Associated with Mercury: The Magician
VENUS “The Seductress”
Venus represents our pleasure principle, our values, what you attract and enjoy and how you seek harmony and beauty. Venus describes the ideal conditions for relationship. Venus as the archetype female principle of receptivity, the desire to bond. Your physical senses and what brings you pleasure. Associated with the Fifth chakra, throat.
Tarot Associated with Venus: The Empress
MARS “The Warrior, Hero”
Mars represents our male sexual principle, sexual prowess and what we are willing to do about it, our will to act, how you initiate all actions, how you direct your energy, it can be physical energy in general sense. Our ability to act in the environment to get what we want. How we ensure survival and survival instincts. First chakra, root.
Tarot Associated with Mars: The Emporer
JUPITER “Teacher, Philosopher,”
Jupiter is an expansive planet. It is “larger than life,” it is where you seek to expand and grow in consciousness. The kind of teacher you need to become or how you go about creating a philosophy of life that improves your experience of life. Jupiter relates to religion, law, higher learning and philosophy. Physical harmony, social harmony, spiritual harmony. Sixth Chakra (Brow), Third Eye.
Tarot Associated with Jupiter: The Wheel of Fortune
SATURN, “Chronos, the Wise Elder or authority“
Saturn is a planet of limits and constraints which shows us where we have to apply great effort but will gain rich rewards or mastery over time. Saturn is the planet of adult responsibilities. Where and how you need to earn the respect of others, where and how you need to strive in order to earn respect of others, the image you value, what you need to do to contribute. Your own image of the elder. Seventh chakra, the crown.
Tarot Associated with Saturn: The World
URANUS, “The Individualist, Revolutionary, or Rebel, Prometheus”
The way in which you need to individualize become your own person, express your uniqueness. The way you tend to be revolutionary. Where you need to be free to explore. Where your potential genius lies, where you are different and unique. Where you are most likely to blow things apart (great disruption) or to experience an AHA. The higher octave of Mercury.
Associated with one of three chakras, yet to be clearly defined.
Tarot Association: The Fool
Generational Outer Planets
NEPTUNE, “The Mystic”
Neptune is the spiritual need and nature, a planet which describes the way you know God. What you need to be or do to find spiritual peace. Also, where you go to escape reality. One of three chakras, yet to be agreed on. Image of Odin hanging on the tree of life, hovering
between life and death. Place of illusion, addiction and confusion.
Tarot Association for Neptune: The Hanged Man
PLUTO, “The Self-Actualized Being or the Great Destroyer – Kuan Yin or Kali.”
Pluto is the place of power, the “I am God awareness. Where your personal Armageddon is fought. Where you need to develop your own sense of power and where you may feel threatened.
Tarot Association: Judgement
Chiron is the planet known as the Wounded Healer or Shaman, and often points to the area of the chart where we need healing.Where you have the gift of unique perspective, reflects your best modality for healing, where and how you can expect things to fall apart, the key to your own growth in consciousness, and how you can be the teaching, healing, guiding light for others.
Possible Tarot Association: The Hierophant
Beyond the planets, Sun, Moon and ASC, and the planets, there are angular relationships between planets which sets up patterns of energy exchange and dynamics that color the experiences and the personality of the person. Common patterns exist such as Grand Trines, Yods, See-Saw, Buckets, and so on.
To this more complete understanding of the natal chart, we can then add current transits and progressions which show how the current planets in the sky are interacting with these natal configurations. This is where the predictive work comes into a professional astrological reading. A good professional astrologer can assist you in exploring a rich variety of questions using your chart. Go to Readings
An Intro for beginners
Here is an excellent, free introductory video for beginners that are astro-curious, presented through NCGR, the National Council for Geocosmic Research, as one of their first free offerings on Youtube, January 2021.
Astrology for Teachers
As a teacher, I connect the world of Astrology to the teaching profession in so many ways. Here are a few articles I have written that go deeper into how these two realms intersect.
Astrology for Teachers: Working with Planets for Teachers
For Teachers: Using the Sun-Moon Profile to Better Serve Your Students
The Cosmic Timeline is a tool for understanding life phases and right timing. Understanding these planetary cycles leads to a much deeper dive into biography work using the 7 year cycles of Saturn and the twelve year cycles of Jupiter in your life story. Progressions, directions, and transits can also be studied to understand the dynamic history of the influence of planets in your life.