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The Natal Chart & What Does It Mean

The natal chart is a map of the heavens at the time of your birth, and is usually drawn as an earth-centered, or geocentric, map, showing planetary positions as viewed from your place of birth.

In Western astrology, we draw this picture of the heavens on a circular wheel. The 360-degree circle upon which the chart is drawn represents the whole person. Envision a line dissecting the circle into a top and bottom half. That line represents the horizon.

The planets, sun and moon are drawn around the circle in relationship to their actual positions in the heavens. Those symbols above that line were above the horizon when you were born. Those symbols drawn below the line signify planets that were below the horizon at the time of birth.

What’s in a ‘natal chart’? Well, everything is drawn symbolically! Astrology is a symbolic language, and the symbols themselves tell a rich story. Shown in the horoscope is a depiction of the positions of the planets – so, there are symbols for each of the planets, plus the Sun, Moon and other significant heavenly bodies and sensitive points astrologers explore when studying a chart.

The planetary positions are measured by their zodiacal degree – and so, there are also symbols for each of the 12 signs of the zodiac. The meaning of each of the planets and signs is described in another section.


Queen Elizabeth Natal Chart


There’s another division, too. The circle itself is divided into twelve segments, called Houses, with the First House falling just below the horizon line on the left side of the chart. Each House has a particular meaning, to be explained in another section.

The twelve signs of the zodiac are placed at the dividing line, or cusps, of each of the houses.

The sign placed on the left horizon is called the Ascendant, or Rising Sign. The rising sign changes about every two hours. Because such a short time differential can make a significant change, you can understand why an accurate birth time is the absolute starting point for calculating a birth chart!

The symbols for the Sun, Moon and planets are placed within the chart, and sometimes the position of the Nodes of the Moon, asteroids or other factors are also included within the chart. You may notice that some of the houses in a chart are empty. There is no need for alarm. All houses are connected to a planetary influence, whether or not they contain a planet.

All the symbols you see on the chart are a kind of cosmic shorthand. Since astrology is a language that describes life, these symbols are a major part of that language. In fact, an astrological chart can be set not only for the birth of an individual, but also from the birth of a nation, the opening of a business, or the time of a significant event (like a marriage).

From this point, the study of astrology becomes a fascinating complex of symbols that tell the story of a person’s potential, a nation’s impact, or the significance of an event. Astrology gives you keys. How you use those keys will make all the difference!

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All material copyright 2009 by Gloria Star. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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