The Birth Chart: Understanding the graph, how it works and why it’s an indispensable tool to understand yourself

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When I started studying Astrology, I perfectly remember the confusion and the frustration that I felt the very first time I saw a Natal Chart.

Doctor Angiolucci, who was introducing me to Astrology, showed me the drawing of a Birth Chart and then he started: – “Do you see? Jupiter is in Leo and in the 8th House so it means that…”– and – “Do you see? The Sun is above the horizon so it means this…”– and – “Do you see? Mercury and Mars are in Square so it means that…” –

My face was like: “Ah, of course! Oh yes! Naturally!”, but inside my mind was like: – “Horizon?! Where do you see the horizon?? Strange symbols?? Numbers?? Lines?? Letters?? Colors?? Tables?? What a hell is this circle??!”– .

It seemed to me like watching an ancient Egyptian papyrus.

So I interrupted Angiolucci: – “Excuse me, I cannot understand what this drawing is, what’s that graphic? Why is it a circle? How it works? Why do I need that stuff to study Astrology?”–

Angiolucci answered: – “It is a scheme of the sky at the very moment of your birth, it’s obvious!” –

Me: – “Sorry Doc, IT ISN’T!”–

Now, don’t misunderstand me, Doctor Angiolucci was very good at Astrology, the point is that many experts very often talk to you like you are already a professional astrologer. They forgot how hard was at the beginning, and everything is completely new for a total beginner.

There are many people who are very interested in Astrology, but they never saw a Natal Chart, they don’t know how to get one, and, above all, they don’t know how it works and why it is useful, and even when they obtain it, they feel completely frustrated and lost.

It’s easy for them to feel despondent and then they abandon.

So, now we will see how to obtain a good graphic of your Natal Chart, and we will analyze every single piece of it, to understand how it works, its basic psychological meanings, why it is helpful to make the right psychological interpretations and why it’s a powerful tool for your personal growth.  

Well, every Art needs its proper instruments, and so it is for Astrological Art.

The essential instrument to correctly interpret your stars, is a graphic that represents the entire sky at the very moment of your birth; that graphic is called Natal Chart or Birth Chart.

It is a very important instrument, because your Birth Chart is like a detailed map of your psyche, so studying it deeply means understanding yourself better: every side of your personality, why you behave the way you behave, the way you love, the way you communicate, your attitudes, your virtues and your weak points.

It will help you to completely accept yourself and rise your confidence and your level of awareness.

But there is another good news: After the acceptance you can start to develop and improve yourself for the better, because your stars are not your “destiny”; Astrology doesn’t tell you about your “doom” as unfortunately it is the common misconception; the real Astrology is a practical psychological instrument to heal ourself and the others; it’s a tool to expand your vision of life.

Astrology is a roadmap to a better version of yourself.

So you can understand that is really fundamental to have a good graphic of your Birth Chart to study, very precise and very detailed.

In ancient times, the only way to obtain that graphic was to do it all by yourself, drawing circles and lines with a pencil, calculating every positions of the planets and stars your own through ephemerides, using compasses and protractor to mark every geometrical ratio (well, I think that on an advanced level it is important to use those tools, but it is not necessary now); but fortunately, we live in the age of technology and, above all, we have the power of the internet.

You can find many Birth Chart calculator on the web, I tried a lot of them through the years, but in my opinion there is just one good Birth Chart Calculator on-line: Astro Dienst.

Here is the link:

That site is a point of reference for the most part of professional astrologers in the world, and it has the best Birth Chart Calculator on the web, full of details, precise, customizable, very user friendly, and it’s free; you can create 5 Natal Charts as a guest user or more than forty as a register user, again for free.

Choice is yours, anyway at this point it is enough to use it as a guest user, so let’s proceed.

At the home page of, move the cursor on “Free Horoscopes” button up on your left, then a window will appear.

At the section “Drawings & Calculation” click on “Natal Chart, Ascendant”, then proceed as a guest user and you will arrive at the data entry page.

Here are the indispensable data you need:

  • Your First Name
  • Your birth date (day, month, year)
  • Your gender
  • Your birth hour (hr, mins)
  • The Country where you are born
  • The Town where you are born

Just a note: The birth hour is essential for having a complete Natal Chart, but you don’t need to be absolutely precise.

For example, if you are not sure if you are born at 8:00 pm or 8:10 pm, that’s not a problem, 10 minutes are a good range of tolerance, the positions of planets and stars cannot change very much in 10 minutes. But if you are not sure between 8:00 pm and 8:20 pm, then yes, more than 15 minutes could be too much and the positions of planets, especially the fastest (Moon, Mercury, etc.), could change a lot.

So be sure to enter a birth hour as precisely as you can.

It’s the same for the birth town. If you cannot find your exact birth town into the database, it is not a big problem, choose the closest town to your birth place, it will be enough.

Anyway, even if you don’t know your birth hour or your birth town, don’t worry, you can have your Birth Chart, but it will be incomplete, it will be without the Astrological Houses.

It is not a big problem now because you can see the positions of all your Planets in any case, so you will be able to make the basic and fundamental interpretations of them and then of the main parts of your own psyche.

Well, insert all the data, and after checking that all data is correct, click on the “continue” button and so you obtain the graphic of your Natal Chart.

You could be a little bit disoriented seeing it, especially if you are a beginner, that is normal.

The Chart is full of strange symbols, signs, numbers, lines, shapes, graphics, etc, but you don’t have to feel discouraged, you need just a little bit of patience and step by step we will analyze the structure of the graphic Chart in every part that composes it, then very soon you will start to understand how it works and how it is a complete map of your psyche.

Let’s proceed to the explanations.

The first thing to learn, it’s knowing each part that composes the Chart: Drawings, lines, sectors, tables, etc.

So, here is an image to explain it:

And now we will analyze those pieces deeper:

There are all the data entered to create the Natal Chart, you can check if everything is right, and you can also access some interesting information such as the coordinates of the birth town or the conversions of the birth time to “Universal Time” and “Sidereal Time”, this last one especially is important to calculate the real position of Planets and Astrological Houses, but it is not important now, because the site calculates everything automatically. Those data could be useful for a professional astrologer on a very advanced level of study.

Instead, there is another piece of information that might be very useful to know right next the birth date: Which day of the week you are born.

Each one of the seven days that compose the week is consecrated to one of the Seven Traditional Planets.

It is pretty clear if you think about the names of the days, especially in Latin derivative languages, but there are some tracks of this truth even in English (like monday, saturday and sunday).

The Sequence of the Days of the Week, is based on the “Chaldean Sequence”, a very ancient astrosophical sequence arrived to us through the babylonians and ancient egyptians (more than 3000 year ago). It is also the base for the Decans, but they are for an advanced level of study, it is not important now.

Knowing in which day of the week you are born is a piece of information that could suggest something about your psyche, because the Planet of the day you are born will be a little bit “amplified” in your Natal Chart.

For example, if you are born on Thursday, the influence of Jupiter, in other words the part of your psyche that it represents (wisdom, expansion, etc.), will be a little bit amplified.

If you like numbers, we can say at least 15-20% more.

Here are the days of the week and their correspondences:

– Monday – lat. Lunae-die – The Day of the Moon

– Tuesday – lat. Mars-die – The Day of Mars

– Wednesday – lat. Mercurius-die – The Day of Mercury

– Thursday – lat. Iuppiter-die – The Day of Jupiter

– Friday – lat. Venus-die – The Day of Venus

– Saturday – lat. Saturnus-die – The Day of Saturn

– Sunday – lat. Solis-die – The Day of the Sun

Our current Gregorian Calendar is pretty accurate to calculate the succession of the days of the week, so we can use it as a secure parameter, and in my experience on interpreting Birth Charts, the day of the week should  be considered.

Here you can check the type of chart, in this case a Natal Chart, but there are other types of charts, like the Sinastry Chart for example.

The Method tells you the style of the drawing, because there are many customizable styles for registered users, and it also tells you the calculation system used to calculate the positions of the Astrological Houses, in this case it’s “Placidus”.

There are many methods to calculate the Houses, actually someone very experimental, but there are just two main methods: Equal houses Method and Placidus Method. 

The last one, Placidus (from the name of the monk who developed it), became a sort of standard method through the centuries, because it considers the inclination of Earth’s axis, the Celestial Equator, the true zenith, and the complex trigonometric ratio between all the points. So it is the most astronomical accurate method to define the relations between the birth place and the sky.

The majority of professional astrologers use it, me too, and I can say, even through experience, that it’s reliable.

In fact, even use it as a default method, and I believe it’s perfect.

At the end, here you can also quickly check your Zodiac Sign (Sun Sign – “your Self”) and your Ascendant (Rising Sign –“your way to express your Self”).

Here you can find the exact position of every Planet or Astrological Object with its very degrees on the Ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun). It’s very important to know that, especially to truly define the Aspects between Planets or Points, or even to understand better a Planet that is on a Cusp between Signs, because the circle drawing cannot help us in that situation.

For example, if on the drawing I see Mars in the Cusp between Sagittarius and Capricorn, I am not capable to define where actually it is through the sole drawing, so I can check the Positions Table, and discover that Mars is at 0 Cap 22’ 51’’ or, in other words, in Capricorn at 0° 22’ 51”. So even if for less than 23’ , Mars is in Capricorn and this level of detail is really important to know during an interpretation of a Natal Chart as Mars in Capricorn is in Exaltation, so the influence of Sagittarius on it will be very low.

In this table you can quickly find in which Element, and in which Quality, the Planets and other Points are.

That is very useful to have a general view of the dominant Element, and the dominant Quality of your Birth Chart.

Each Zodiac Sign belongs to an Element and possesses a Quality, so every Planet or Astrological Point acquires the characteristics of the Element and the Quality of the Zodiac Sign where they are placed.

On the left side of the table, there are the Four Alchemical Elements: Fire – Air – Earth – Water. They are even highlighted with colors to help having a good view of the dominance: Red for Fire, Yellow for Air, Green for Earth and Blue for Water, and so every Zodiac Sign Symbol of the circle.

That’s important because the dominant Element could tell us about your dominant psychological temperament. In fact, to each one of the Four Elements corresponds one of the four psychological temperaments, together with many other psychological key concepts.

Here are some basic correspondences:

Fire –> Choleric temperament  –>   Intuition/Consciousness

Water   –> Phlegmatic temperament –>  Emotions/Unconscious

Air –> Sanguine temperament –>   Mind/Abstract thinking

Earth –> Melancholic temperament –> Senses / Concreteness

So, many Planets, and especially the Sun, on the same Element suggest dominance of that Element and, consequently, of that temperament.

On the top of that table you can find the Three Alchemical Qualities: Cardinal – Fixed – Mutable. Each Sign possesses one of those Qualities.
A Quality is the main characteristic and tendency of a Zodiac Sign.

Here are some basic psychological associations:

Cardinal Wants to be a point of reference and a pioneer  – Balanced

FixedWants to remain the same – Rigid

MutableWants to change – Adaptable

As for the Elements, many Planets in the same Quality suggest dominance of that Quality on the personality.

On that table you can find the main Geometrical Aspects between every Planet or Astrological Point.

The Aspects are represented by conventional symbols; furthermore, the blue and the green symbols are generally harmonic Aspects, and the red symbols are generally dynamic Aspects. I treat deeper about them on this article.

This table is really useful, because, especially at the beginning, you are not able to define which kind of Aspect involves two Planets through the drawing only, so you can check here, for example, if a blue line that connects Mars and the Sun represents a Trine or a Sextile.

Well, now it is time for analyzing every part that forms the true core of the Chart; that visual instrument that allows you to have the better and complete view of the big picture of your Sky, and, consequently, of your psyche: the drawing.

The zodiac circle represents the Ecliptic.

The ecliptic is the apparent path of the Sun in the sky, created by Earth’s motion on its own orbit. We can consider the Ecliptic as the core of the entire astrological system, because each planet or point of the system has importance when it is related with it.

The ecliptic path, and so the Sun, passes through 12 constellations in one year, those special constellations which represent the 12 archetypes that we call Zodiacal Signs.

The same applies to all the other Planets, which follow the ecliptic path always.

The Sun transits for almost 30 days (1 month) on each one of those Signs, so every zodiac sign occupies 30 degrees of the ecliptic (1 degree = almost 1 day), and you can see it easily on that circle drawing: we find the 12 symbols of the zodiac Signs, and each symbol is divided in 3 sectors of 10 degrees each, so 30 degrees totally.

All those graphic symbols inside the zodiac circle represent the Planets or other Astrological Objects and Points, and all of them are positioned on a specific degree of the circle.
So with the help of the tables, it is very simple to understand in which zodiac sign they are placed, it’s necessary to understand their specific expression.

In Astrology we define “Planets” the 7 ancient traditional planets, the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, plus the 3 trans-saturnian planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

Please note that the word “planet” is used with its symbolic meaning here (derived from the ancient Greek: “planetòs” = “wanderer”) The standard astronomical classification distinguishing between Mars – a planet, the Moon –  a satellite, or the Sun – a star, has no importance in Astrology.

Astrological Objects or Points are not planets, and sometimes they are not physical objects, but special points in the sky obtained through mathematical and geometrical calculation.

An example of Astrological Object is Chiron, because it is not a planet but a comet, and an example of Astrological Points are the Lunar Nodes or even the Astrological Houses, because there are no physical objects on those points of the sky.

As you can see, every planets, points or objects is represented by a glyph on the circle. It is fundamental knowing the glyphs, because symbols and symbolism are the true language of Astrological Art.

It could be a little bit frustrating at the beginning, but I guarantee that with the help of the tables on this free guide, which contains the planet’s names and their respective symbols, you will start gradually to memorize them naturally, and you will be able to recognize them at first glance.

Next to each graphic symbol you can find some numbers: they are the exact degrees of the Ecliptic where that planet or object is placed.

The inner circle is divided in 12 sectors, and each sector has a progressive number. Those sectors are the 12 Astrological Houses. They represent a specific area of your psyche that projects itself on a specific area of your life (relations, communication, ideals, career, etc).

There are 4 House Points which are the core of the Cardinal Houses (1st, 4th, 7th, 10th) and they represent the 4 cardinal points of your sky.
They form two axes: one horizontal (AC-DC) and the other one vertical (MC-IC).

They are:

First House –> Ascendant (AC) –> the East point –> the rising sign

Seventh House –> Descendant (DC) –> the West Point –> the falling sign

Tenth House –> Medio Coeli (MC) –> the South point –> the highest point of the ecliptic

Fourth House –> Imum Coeli (IC) –> the North point –> the lowest point of the ecliptic

Very often, the vertical axis will be diagonal on the chart. It’s normal because, as I said before, the Placidus system to calculate Houses considers many astronomical factors related to the birth place, as the inclination of the Earth’s axis or the elliptic orbit of our own planet Earth.

You can find further information about Astrological Houses on this post.

At the center of the circle there are many colored lines that connect some planets or point. Each one of those lines represents an Aspect, a geometrical relation that connects 2 or more Planets which are involved in some kind of interaction (harmonic, not harmonic or neutral).

On, blue and green lines are harmonic aspects generally; red and black lines are dynamic aspects generally.

It could be useful for a beginner take a look at those lines to have the general view of the main Aspects, but on an advanced level of study of your birth chart, it is more useful ignore those lines, and start studying every planet and its aspects one by one, using more deep parameters and classifications to interpret them.

You can learn more about Aspects on this article I wrote.

Well, now that you know every piece of the Chart, you can start to analyze it to find out every psychological correspondence that will help you to know yourself better.

Studying how the circular drawing works and which astronomical concepts are behind it, it’s fundamental to fully understand what you are doing and to begin to understand the psychological meanings behind every part or piece of the graph.

So, as I said before, the circular graphic represents you and the entire sky at the very moment of your birth, it is like a 360° picture of your own birth sky.

At the center of the circle, you can see a point signed by a little X.
That point represents your birth place, or, to be precise, that point represents you at the very moment of your birth.

In fact, many people think that Astrology is geocentric, but that is not completely exact: Astrology is anthropocentric.

Human Being, not the Earth, is the center of the system.

The AC–DC axis represents the horizon.
The AC point is the East and the DC point is the West, that’s why the AC point is the Sunrise point and the DC point is the Sunset point.

The Zodiac Wheel apparent motion is clockwise, just like the Sun, because the Earth’s rotation is counterclockwise. So the AC point is the point of the rising zodiac sign, namely the Ascendant, and the DC point is the point of the falling zodiac sign, namely the Descendant.

Every other Planet follows the ecliptic’s path, so even every Planet follows the same apparent motion of the Sun through the Zodiac Wheel.

The MC–IC axis represents the Zenith–Nadir axis; the Zenith (MC) is the highest point of the ecliptic and the south point, and the Nadir (IC) it is the lowest and the north point.

So you can easily understand why, on the following example image, the half circle above the horizon (AC-DC axis) represents the day-part of the sky and the half circle below the horizon represents the night-part of the sky.

Here is a scheme of it:

Please note that I used a flat section of the Earth on the imagine above just to make that imagine much easy to understand. Of course, our Gaia (Earth) is a sphere like every other Planets.

Of course, that imagine shows a daytime birth as example, because, as you can see, the Sun above the horizon (the glyph of the Sun is the circle with a point at its center).

It’s the opposite for the nighttime birth: Nocturnal Hemicycle above the horizon, Diurnal Hemicycle below the horizon.

As we can see, the AC-DC axis divides the circle in 2 half-circles called:

  • The Southern Hemicycle – The Medio Coeli side
  • The Northern Hemicycle – The Imum Coeli side.

The same happens for the MC-IC axis that divides the circle in other 2 half-circles called:

  • The Eastern Hemicycle – The Ascendant side
  • The Western Hemicycle – The Descendant side.

Those pieces of information are important because they give you some basic knowledge about your psyche; each one of the hemicycles represents a basic psychological tendency and it defines a basic psychological type.

There are 4 psychological types: Abstract, Concrete, Active and Passive.

Each one of those types is represented by a hemicycle:

Southern Hemicycle:  Abstract type.

Northern Hemicycle:  Concrete type.

Eastern Hemicycle:   Active type.

Western Hemicycle:  Passive type.

Here is the graphic scheme:

Having many Planets, and especially Luminaries (Sun and Moon), on the same hemicycle suggests your main psychological tendency.

Here are the meanings of the 4 psychological tendencies:

  • Abstract type – Tends to be an idealist and dreamer. He might live without certainties.
  • Concrete type – Tends to be practical and pragmatic. He couldn’t live without certainties.
  • Active type – He thinks that he can influence the external context. He thinks that he can forge his own life.
  • Passive type – He tends to be influenced by the external context. He thinks that the external world forges his life.

Furthermore, the 4 hemicycles merge together and divide the sky circle even into 4 Quadrants, and they create the mixed types: Abstract–active, Abstract–passive, Concrete–active, Concrete–passive.

You can see all that on the imagine above.

Od course, all you need to do is to merge the 2 psychological meanings of the Quadrant to understand how it works.

Those psychological concepts will become more clear when you will understand the Zodiac Signs’s symbolism, and especially the meanings of the Astrological Houses deeper, because those Quadrants are connected with the Houses System.

You can find some fundamental insights about Astrological Houses in this article.

Well, now you know how the graph works, and you can understand why it is an extremely useful tool to make the right psychological interpretations about the stars.

It makes you capable to have the whole view of every single piece of your personality and how they merge together and interact each other.

Yes, it might be a little bit hard at the beginning looking at every piece at the same time, and try to understand how everything is connected, but it’s normal: it is a job that you need to do gradually, level-by-level.

This is just the start point of your journey.

Now that you know how the drawing works, you’re ready to learn how your Stars tell you everything about your own personality. Get my free guide – Know Your Planets, Know Yourself • Astrology Fundamentals – and understand who you are.


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