How to Read Your Birth Chart

How to Read Your Birth Chart

A birth chart, also known as a natal chart, is a map of the sky at the time and place of your birth. It shows the positions of the planets in relation to each other and to your location on Earth. Your birth chart can be used to understand many aspects of your life, including but not limited to—your purpose, career, love life, and how you generate luck.

The planets and stars in our solar system play an integral part in astrology and how it shapes our individual blueprints. Ancient astrologers believed these celestial bodies represented the “will of god” and influenced the state of human affairs from afar (it’s no coincidence planets and stars share the same names as Greek and Roman mythology).

Today, modern astrologers believe these planets represent the flow of energy and the ebb and flow of fundamental human desires. Astrologers who apply Jungian psychology also believe astrology represents different archetypes or “characters” in an individual’s life.

From pulling your birth chart to understanding how to craft your astrological profile, this guide is perfect for beginners and a refresher for the seasoned mystic.

Table of Contents 

💫 Get your birth chart

What you’ll need: Your birth time, date, & location

If you don’t know the specific time you were born, you can still pull your chart. However, your astrological profile will be less detailed and may have key pieces of information missing. If you can’t get your birth time, you can use a pendulum or muscle testing to estimate the time to the minute.

Iris of the Moon’s Recommended Birth Chart Sites

  1. Astrodienst: Iris of the Moon’s go-to chart generator. Great for visual learners and it’s detail-oriented. Many astrology readers like to use this version.
  2. Astro-Chart: Generates a birth chart with a more modern aesthetic. Outlines key aspects in text format (no need to figure out what the chart symbols mean from your birth chart, unlike Astrodienst).
  3. Astro Seek: I like using Astro Seek to look-up the planet’s alignment for the day.
  4. Cafe Astrology: This is great for people who like Excel and tables.
 💡 Did you know? You can generate a birth chart for your place of employment, your business, even your pets!

 ❓ Are apps like co—star, Sanctuary, or The Pattern enough information?

The short answer: yes and no.

Yes: If you’re a complete beginner and feel like your birth chart may be overwhelming, try an app. I started with co—star and The Pattern before advancing to actual birth charts. The apps provide simple and relatable summaries of your birth chart without causing too much confusion.

No: If you’re more seasoned or you’re super detail-oriented and hyper-curious (I have to know why?!), I recommend learning how to read your birth chart. Astrology apps provide surface-level information and will often omit key details as to how they determined significant possibilities in your life. Like, how did you conclude my love life would be challenging?

Additionally, these apps serve a greater collective (100,000+ users), so they have to keep their readings broad. You may still resonate with the information, but it might not feel deeply personal.


🪐 Planets in Astrology

The planets and celestial bodies in astrology represent the archetypes that we are here to express (outer world).

⊙ Sun - The King: Who we’re here to become. How our personality and identify are formed. Where we draw our inner authority and confidence from.
☾ Moon - The Queen: What makes us feel safe and nurtured. Where our emotional attachments and “safety zone” lie. How we relate to motherhood and our ancestors.
↑ Rising or Ascendant - The Avatar: How we show up in life. The best way to approach life. May also influence our sense of style.
☿ Mercury - The Communicator: Named after the Roman god of communication (Hermes in Greek). How you communicate. How you process information. How you teach and learn.
♀ Venus - The Lover: Named after the Roman goddess of beauty & love (Aphrodite in Greek). How you love. How you desire to feel and be loved. Your capacity to give and receive love and abundance.
♂ Mars - The Warrior: Named after the Roman god of war (Ares in Greek). How you take action. What drives you. Your primal instincts. May also influence how aggressive (or passive) you are during conflict.
♃ Jupiter - The Expander: Named after the Roman god of sky & lightning (Zeus in Greek). How we expand and what draws us towards expansion. May also show how we get lucky and generate opportunities.
♄ Saturn - The Taskmaster: Named after the Roman god of time (Kronos in Greek). Where we experience restrictions. Areas in life that require discipline. Where we need to take responsibility for our lives. How we relate to fatherhood.
♅ Uranus - The Innovator: Named after the Greek deity who fathered the Titans. Shows us where and how we receive inspiration and our relationship with technology. May also indicate areas of our life that are prone to sudden changes. Where our inner genius lives.
♆ Neptune - The Dreamer: Named after the Roman god of the ocean (Poseidon in Greek). Represents our connection to our dreams (literal and figurative). How our intuition shows up. Where our inner muse lives.
♇ Pluto - The Transformer: Named after the Roman god of the underworld (Hades in Greek). Where life likes to throw curveballs at. Transformation and major life changes. Shows us how to and how we rise from the ashes.
☊ North Node - Your Destiny: Your inner North Star. Your dharma (or purpose). Where life will push you towards (no matter how much you resist). How you feel fulfilled. Embodying this placement will bring fulfillment, but it comes with discomfort and stepping out of your comfort zone.
☋ South Node - Your Past: Your innate gifts and talents from your past life (& first 30 years of life). Your proverbial “comfort zone.” While this placement shows which parts of your life come more easily to you, it also indicates over-attachment to what’s easy and familiar. Shadows from the past that are ready to be released.
⚷ Chiron - The Wounded Healer: Named after the centaur healer, philosopher, and teacher from Greek mythology. Represents our core wounds and where our shadows live. This is that deep insecurity that never truly goes away in our lifetime. However, if we accept these wounds for what they are and learn how to integrate with them, we can transmute experience into wisdom.
MC Midheaven - Career Center: The highest point of your chart (not a planet or celestial body). This indicates the type of careers you will most likely thrive in. How others perceive you as a professional. A great starting point in identifying your career path.

Part of Fortune - Lady Luck: An Arabic point (not a planet or celestial body). Shows how you generate prosperity, where you’re lucky, and how you can achieve success. 

🚨 Note: Not all birth chart generators will share this point. If the generator you’re using doesn’t show it, you can easily Google “part of fortune calculator.”


🌌 Zodiac Signs

The zodiac signs represent our emotional archetypes (inner world) and the characteristics that we are here to develop. Each zodiac sign rules at least 1 planet or luminary.

Aries - The Warrior
Element: Fire 🔥 | Ruling Planet: Mars

Aries is a sign that represents new beginnings. Brave and not afraid of a challenge, they view life as an adventure (or a battlefield). They are not afraid to take risks and try new things.
Taurus - The Sensualist
Element: Earth 🌳 | Ruling Planet: Venus

Grounded and dependable, Taurus is deeply connected with nature and the five senses. They sometimes hesitate in trying new things because of their traditional and pragmatic nature.
Gemini - The Messenger
Element: Air 💨 | Ruling Planet: Mercury

Gemini is a sign that represents change and communication. Extremely flexible and efficient multi-taskers, life is a lighthearted game. Gemini reminds us to lighten up and have a little fun.
Cancer - The Nurturer
Element: Water 🌊 | Ruling Luminary: Moon

Cancer is a sign that is deeply in tune with their feelings. They want what’s best for everyone and are often mother figures in their social circles. They are also fierce protectors of their tribe.
Leo - The Creator
Element: Fire 🔥 | Ruling Luminary: Sun

Charismatic, amorous, and irresistible. A natural leaders who doesn’t mind the spotlight. Life is one big play filled with creativity and spontaneity. Their courage and confidence inspires loyalty.
Virgo - The Healer
Element: Earth 🌳 | Ruling Planet: Mercury

Analytical and meticulous, Virgos are the natural givers of the zodiac. They are driven by an innate desire to be of service. Perfectionistic and detail-oriented, they strive to bring order to chaos.
Libra - The Diplomat
Element: Air 💨 | Ruling Planet: Venus

Libra is a sign that values logic, truth, and harmony. Charming, romantic, and natural peacekeepers, Libras do well in partnerships. They are adaptable, fair, and willing to compromise to maintain peace.
Scorpio - The Alchemist
Element: Water 🌊 | Ruling Planets: Mars & Pluto

Deep, emotional, and complex. Scorpio holds a powerful intensity that helps them navigate the underbellies of life. They have a natural gift of transmuting trauma into self-empowerment.
Sagittarius - The Explorer
Element: Fire 🔥 | Ruling Planet: Jupiter

Always looking for their next adventure, Sagittarius is a world traveler on an endless pursuit for freedom and Truth. Quirky and blunt, Sagittarius are natural spiritual mentors.
Capricorn - The Builder
Element: Earth 🌳 | Ruling Planet: Saturn

Capricorn is ambitious, hardworking, and enterprising. They are capable of setting lofty goals and actually seeing it through. They are driven by achievement through hard work.
Aquarius - The Revolutionary
Element: Air 💨 | Ruling Planets: Saturn & Uranus

Natural humanitarians and proud of their individuality. Aquarians are naturally independent and are the innovative thinkers that usually start revolutions.
♓ Pisces - The Mystic
Element: Water 🌊 | Ruling Planets: Neptune & Jupiter

Emotionally sensitive, psychic, and idealistic, Pisces is the final sign of the zodiac that represents completion. They are empathetic and can channel their sensitivities into art or esoteric studies.


🏠 Houses in Astrology

The houses in astrology represent the environment in which our evolution takes place.

wheel of the 12 houses in astrology

Houses in Astrology chart by AstroStyle

🛠️ Build Your Astro Profile

Ready to put everything together? It’s a lot of information, and it may take multiple tries before you land on a summary that feels satisfying. To help with the process, I’ve included questions you can journal on.

  1. How does the Zodiac Sign placement help you embody the characteristics of the Planet? Which area of your life will this show up in most (House placement)?
  2. What aspects of the House drives the Zodiac Sign and Planet’s curiosity?
  3. What strengths are you here to develop with a specific Zodiac Sign? How will this show up in relation to the Planet and the House?
  4. What shadow aspects are you here to overcome from a specific Zodiac Sign? How will this show up in relation to the Planet and the House?


  • Iris of the Moon’s North Node is in Gemini, 8th House. The North Node represents life purpose.

    • Iris of the Moon is here to learn (North Node) how to communicate with detail and efficiency (Gemini). These experiences will mostly show up as life lessons, transformative experiences, and investing in self-development and finances. (8th House)
    • Transformation (8th House) drive Iris of the Moon’s curiosity (Gemini) and purpose (North Node).
    • Iris of the Moon is here to learn (North Node) how to communicate (Gemini) with people undergoing deep metamorphosis (8th House).
    • Iris of the Moon’s purpose (North Node) is to embrace transformation, death, and rebirth (8th House) with curiosity, flexibility, and logic (Gemini).
  • Iris of the Moon’s Venus is in Cancer, 9th House. Venus represents how one gives and receives love, as well as abundance.

    • Iris of the Moon feels loved (Venus) when it is recognized for being a compassionate caregiver (Cancer) in places that value higher learning (9th House).
    • Iris of the Moon wants to be loved (Venus) by someone who will nurture and make them feel safe (Cancer). They find recognition through publishing (9th House).
    • Iris of the Moon is here to learn how to love (Venus) with compassion and empathy (Cancer) for those who are curious about higher learning (9th House).
    • Iris of the Moon is a compassionate lover (Venus + Cancer) that wants to protect and nurture (Cancer) those who are exploring spirituality (9th House).

💡 Having trouble coming up with zodiac sign characteristics? Try imagining them as beings with physical, emotional, and behavioral needs. Humanizing the zodiac signs makes them easier to understand, and you’ll be able to cultivate a personal relationship with each sign.

📘 Additional Resources

  • Voice of the Sacred by Diana Sab: My favorite astrologer and astrology account. She has a wealth of knowledge and her content is very informative yet easy to understand. A lot of my more recent learnings come directly from her. She also offers a paid monthly subscription at a great rate for those who want to dive even deeper.

  • Astrology for the Soul by Jan Spiller: My go-to astrology book for a more thorough and in-depth analysis of the zodiac archetypes. While this book focuses specifically on the North Node, the information is applicable across all planetary placements.

  • Astrology Owl: Short, sweet, and organized information on planetary, zodiac sign, and house placements. This site is perfect for the learner who’s mind is always on the go.

  • Live AboutSimilar to Astrology Owl, Live About has extensive articles on astrology broken down to signs and the houses.

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