What Is A Birth Chart?


A birth chart, also known as a natal chart, is a graph of the position of the sun, the moon, the planets, and other celestial bodies. The birth chart acts like a map; in the centre is the individual, and according to the position and exact time of birth, the natal chart graphs the positions of the celestial bodies against  their astrological signs and houses.

How Is A Birth Chart Different To A Horoscope?

Birth charts are based upon the various principles of astrology, and differ from everyday horoscopes. Horoscopes usually only take into account a person’s sun sign, giving a limited view of their astrological makeup. Sun sign horoscopes may give people some small ideas of their astrological influences, and their personality traits, but are not a full picture of astrology.

A birth chart on the other hand, combines the many factors of astrology, including planets and their position, their aspects, houses, and constellations, and even the positions of smaller bodies such as comets. Hundreds of factors go in to the calculation of the natal chart.

How Is A Birth Chart Made?

An astrologer first seeks the exact time and date of birth of the individual. Once this information is clear the astrologer converts the time into GMT, and then into the local sidereal time at birth, to calculate the ascendants (rising zodiac sign) and midheaven. They then use a set of tables called ephemeris, which allow them to map the location of the sun, moon and planets, for the time of birth, mapped against the stars. Different systems map this differently. Intense calculations allow the astrologer to divide the houses, place the planets, and calculate the aspects. Software is also used in the modern age.

What Does A Birth Chart Do?

The result is a full astrological chart, which gives a full reading of the individual. The birth chart aims to give a revealing look at a person’s natural tendencies and personality traits, as well as their potential strengths and weaknesses. Through an interpretation of the chart, astrologers can give a reading about what type of job or role you may do well in, what type of challenges you might encounter in your life, and how best to overcome them, and what type of partner and relationship you may be well suited to.

Astrology can be interpreted in many ways, but the birth chart is perhaps best not seen as a way to help you to make choices, or predict the future. They contain elements of those, but for the most part a birth chart can help you to better understand who you are, what you desire and why, and what you are motivated by. They are a guide to self awareness.