How the time and place of your birth can supposedly impact everything in your life.
When you look at the traits of your zodiac sign, maybe you think: “that doesn’t sound like me.”
For those who study astrology as a job or as a hobby, the zodiac sign is not what is looked at when trying to understand someone’s personality, past, or prospects. In fact, the zodiac signs are only a fraction of it. The answers lie in the positioning of stars, signs, and planets the minute you were born — in the birth chart.
While the concept of astrology and ‘following the stars’ can be traced back to most civilisations, the earliest written evidence of observations of particular planet positions came from the Babylonians in 2300 BCE. According to Robert Hand of Astrodiesent, these were “systematic observations of phenomena with an eye to finding regular patterns in the heavens that might correlate with patterns in human events.”
What’s a birth chart?
Consider your birth chart a frozen still of the sky from when you were born. This still is divided into twelve different sections which are referred to as houses. Each house, ‘ruled’ by a different sign of the zodiac, relates to a different aspect of life; whether it be your relation to home, your past, or the things that you make you uncomfortable.
On a birth chart, the planets will be positioned in one of the twelve houses. Some planets may occupy the same house, while some houses may not occupy any house at all. In simple terms, this means that you may direct more energy towards certain parts of your life — like career, — than others.
Before you can start dissecting you or anyone else’s birth chart, there are three crucial elements you need: birth date, birth place, and birth time. While the first two elements are the easiest to figure out, finding out your birth time can sometimes prove to be more tricky.
Unfortunately, knowing your exact time of birth is also extremely important.
Note: While you may be able to get somewhat accurate birth chart without knowing the time, there will be elements of birth chart which aren’t correct — such as your ascendant and midheaven points. (The ascendant is how people see you, the midheaven indicates how you’d like to be seen and career.) Both of these points cycle through all signs of the zodiac, every 24 hours, meaning that a difference in a minute can make for a completely different birth chart.
Once you’ve got this information, use a website like Cafe Astrology, to enter your information. Once you have, you should get a picture that looks like this:
On the fair chance you have no idea what you’re looking at, or even reading, fear not. Use the cheat sheet infograph below to help you start dissecting what on earth — or skies, — you’re looking at.
As astrology is a complex study of life meanings and mathematics, the infograph will only help you in scratching the surface of being able to read birth charts. Figuring out things like your ascendant, degree positions, and the stars that are in your chart, are only a hint of the complexities involved when it comes to studying astrology.
But the more one learns about reading birth charts and astrology, the further one can interpret the stars — so much so, that expert astrologists can supposedly pinpoint when you’ll meet your soulmate, how many times you’ll change career, and other important life events.
Featured image: Courtesy of Anastasia Dulgier via Unsplash.
Words and infograph: Taylor Paatalo | Subbing: Shruti Tangirala