Explanation of a birth chart

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. While a lot of nonsense seem to come out of "their" mouth, in this particular instance I think they give sound advice. Does the thought of a natal chart full of confusing symbols and lines sound a bit too daunting? Well here's my attempt to explain some of the most important aspects of the natal chart drawing, complete with arrows!

Horoscope in color

1. The Ascendant

The horizontal line that reaches from the middle left of the horoscope, all the way through the center to the right side marks the horizon at birth. The point of the eastern horizon that "rises" at birth is called the ascendant, AC, and is a very essential feature of your horoscope. It also marks the cusp of the first "house" (see below).

2. The Midheaven

Just as the Ascendant marks the easternmost point of the horoscope, the Midheaven marks the highest point, zenith, of the sky at the time and place of birth. While not as essential as the Ascendant, the Midheaven still has a strong influence. The midheaven marks the cusp of the tenth "house" (see below).

3. Zodiac sign

The section marked with the number 3 is a zodiac sign, in this instance Pisces. One zodiac sign is 1/12 of the "ecliptic", the apparent path of the sun as seen from the earth. Most of you know vaguely what a zodiac sign is. In this context it is an imagined band of 12 equal divisions of the sky, directly based on the actual constellations, both for name and position.

4. Planet

The planets (the different symbols in black) in astrology are very much like the actual planets in the solar system. Except for the fact that the sun and moon also counts as planets in the horoscope. The planets are the dynamic force of our personality, the actors that take on different roles. Planets are "placed" in zodiac signs and houses.

5. Aspect (planetary aspect)

The aspects, or angles, are indicated by the colored lines connecting the planets in the image. In simple terms it is the distance between two planets in the horoscope. Not all distances are relevant though. Traditionally, separations of 0, 60, 90, 120 and 180 have been considered the dominant ones. Aspects create relationships, for good or evil, between factors in our horoscopes and character.

6. House

The houses are the sections of different size marked with numbers 1 through to 12. The division of houses is similar to that of the zodiac, but has a different meaning. It is determined by the point of the ascendant (above) which marks the tip / cusp of the first house. No matter what "house system" is used for determining the size of different houses, the ascendant will always mark the beginning of the first house and end of the twelfth (last).

7. Degree of the zodiac

The very small pin marking a very small section is one of the 360 degrees of the zodiac. No big mystery here - a full circle is 360 degrees and one zodiac sign (out of 12) therefore make up 30 degrees. This is the more finely tuned area of sign placements and planetary aspects.

8. Table of exact positions

A table showing the exact degree-positions of planets and important details like Ascendant and Midheaven.

I hope this made some things easier to understand!
For a more thorough, general take on the horoscope look to other articles, such as:

- 10 steps to understanding your horoscope
- What is astrology and the horoscope?

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