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  • Writer's pictureMedi Jones

How To Read Your Birth Chart: The Ultimate Guide

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Learning how to read your birth chart can feel like learning to read another language. At first, zodiac charts, houses, planets, and rising signs might sound like a complex muddle that doesn’t make much sense. However, with a little time, patience, and the right guide, you too can learn how to read a birth chart like an astrologer!

In the article, we explain everything you need to know about reading your birth chart. Think of it as Astrology 101! We explore the 10 planets, the 12 signs, and the 12 houses of your birth chart. Plus, we look at how the planets are impacted by the houses and how the signs manifest themselves.

Read on to learn to read your own birth chart to uncover your natural talents, karmic lessons, and what the future has in store for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Your birth or natal chart is a snapshot of the sky above you at the time you were born.

  • Your birth or natal chart is a unique combination of 10 planets across 12 houses and 12 star signs.

  • The rulers of your 12 houses have a profound impact on that area of your life.

  • Your birth or natal chart is a complex tapestry that can highlight your natural talents, key life events, and where success is promised in your life.

What Is Your Birth Chart?

Your birth chart is a snapshot of the sky above you at the precise moment, exact day, and specific place you were born. You need the exact time and location of your birth to ensure calculate the planetary positions properly and have accurate data.

Sometimes called your astrological chart or natal chart, your birth chart is completely unique to the time, date, and place you were born. It serves as a representation of the energies that were present at your time of birth and can help you understand your fortune, professional achievements, personality, skills, and talents on a deeper level.

Your natal chart is divided into 12 sections. Astrologers call these sections are called houses, and each house represents a different area of your life. For example, the first house is the house of appearance and self, the fourth house represents your home life and family, and the seventh house represents your relationships and contracts.

Each house has its own individual chart ruler. This is the same for everyone and is the zodiac sign in which this house feels most comfortable. However, your houses may have different rulers. If you look at the outside ring of your birth chart, you will find the planet that rules your house. Your house rulers are decided in relation to your rising sign, which is the sign of our first house of self.

If your house ruler is not the same as the house’s natal ruler, don’t worry. Although the house is the most comfortable in the energy of its natal ruler, that doesn’t mean it is uncomfortable with your planetary ruler! The best way to think about house rulers is that they flavour the energy of that house.

For example, consider your 10th house, which is the house of careers; If your 10th house is ruled by Capricorn, you are likely to be very ambitious, feel very dedicated towards your career, and would likely excel in a corporate environment. However, if your 10th house is in Virgo, you are very detail-oriented and prefer to fix your own problems. As a result, you thrive in self-employment. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a very successful career if you put your mind to it; it just means that your promise of success may lie elsewhere.

You will also notice that your planets are dotted throughout your natal chart. They may be concentrated in one house— this is called a stellium— they may be balanced throughout the chart, and you will likely have some empty houses. This is normal, and doesn’t denote anything bad happening in that area of your life. It simply means you don’t have any karmic lessons to learn in that area in this life. Read on to learn more about the zodiac signs, your planets, and the 12 houses of your natal chart.

Did you know: Birth charts apply to absolutely everything. Whether it’s a house, a film, or even a country, astrologers can find its astrological chart using the time, date, and place of its inception to learn what the future holds!

Is my birth chart the same as my natal chart?

Yes, your birth chart is the same as your natal chart. They are two different names for the same thing. A birth chart can also be called:

  • Astrology birth chart

  • Full birth chart

  • Zodiac chart

  • Zodiac sign chart

Where Do I Find My Birth Chart?

There are many online resources that allow you to find your birth chart. All you need is your time, date, and place of birth, and you’re good to go!

Check out cafeastrology for a free birth chart calculator. Remember, each tool or app might have a slightly different layout for their birth chart calculator. However, the basic elements of the birth chart, like the zodiac signs, houses, planets, and aspects, should be the same for each calculator.

How To Read Your Birth Chart Wheel

Once you’ve got your accurate birth chart, you’re ready to start reading and start your journey to being real-life astrologers! In this section, we’ll explore everything you need to know about reading your birth chart, from the symbols of the planets to what the 12 houses mean. Grab a cup of tea, and let’s get started.

The 12 houses

Your astrological chart is a wheel divided into 12 houses. Each house is ruled by a different zodiac sign and is responsible for a different area of your life. Your time of birth will determine the ruler of your first house, or ‘rising sign’, and each house’s ruler will follow in sequence after that.

In a standard birth chart, the first house is Aries. The second house would then be ruled by Taurus, then Gemini, then Cancer, and so on, following the order of the zodiac. However, depending on your birth time, your chart ruler may be Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, or any of the other 9 zodiac signs. If your chart ruler is Gemini, your second house would be ruled by Cancer, and your third house by Leo, fourth by Virgo, and so on.

The ruler of your house has a profound impact on the way you react to that area of your life. The best way to think about it is, ‘The planet does X in a Y way’ where X is the house, and Y is it’s ruling zodiac sign.

So, if your Sun is in your 5th house and is ruled by Scorpio, that means your Sun (self) approaches relationships in a Scorpio way. In this instance, you might experience a number of short-lived but intense romantic flings. You would likely also be a very creative person who uses their art to express themselves and their feelings. It is likely that you are very talented or have the potential to be a great artist.

Again, if your Mercury is in your 6th house and is ruled by Aries, then your Mercury (communication) approaches health in an Aries way. This means you will be highly motivated to take care of your health and well-being. However, you may do this in short, intense bursts as opposed to sticking to a routine, as Mercury is a fast-moving planet.

These are just examples. We will explore more about what this means as we look at the different planets and zodiac signs. Let’s look closer at what aspects of your life are ruled by the different houses to start us off.

1st House

Your first house rules your identity, your sense of self, and your appearance. It can also describe people’s first impressions of you. When you meet new people, they may assume you are your rising sign. However, as they get to know you, these people will begin to see more traits of your sun sign.

The ruler of your first house also denotes your ‘rising sign’ or ascendant sign. This makes up one of your ‘big three’ astrological houses that make up the core of your personality. Your big three are your rising, sun, and moon sign and are the essence of who you are at heart.

Fun fact: If you look up which celebrities have the same ‘big three’ as you, you may notice you share certain physical similarities!

2nd House

This house is all about money, honey.

The second house denotes how you make and spend money. This can show your income, your work ethic, possessions, debt, your sense of security, and your attitude toward money.

3rd House

Your third house rules your mind, communications, and intelligence. However, it can also denote your relationship with your siblings and neighbours, your social life, and short-term travel plans.

4th House

Your fourth house is all about your home and family life. It shows your relationship with your mother, any future or current children, and your emotional life. It can also give insights into where you call home, like your primary property, or where you find sanctuary in this world.

5th House

The fifth house is all about love, romance, joy, and pleasure. It can sometimes also denote affairs, casual dating, and how you connect with your inner child. However, it is also the house of creativity and creative pursuits

6th House

Your sixth house is all about your daily life and lifestyle habits. For example, health, fitness, work, pets, and personal hygiene. This house is all about how you cultivate your own well-being and how you contribute to the world.

7th House

Your seventh house is the house of partnerships. This can be your serious romantic partnerships, marriage, professional connections, or business partners. It can also denote close friendships and sworn enemies.

8th House

Your eighth house is both the house of shared resources, other people’s money, and personal transformation. This house delves into how you handle change, death, and the occult. However, it can also show how you handle other people’s money and how you navigate trust in your relationships.

Fun fact: A stellium (more than three) of planets in your 8th house can mean large inheritances or marrying into a rich family!

9th House

Your ninth house is all about philosophy. It denotes your experiences with religion, higher education, long-distance travel, and your morals and ethics.

10th House

Born to be a star? Your tenth house will tell you!

The tenth house is your house of career, long-term goals, public image, overall life success, and sometimes fame. Your tenth house is all about your public image, reputation, and the legacy you leave behind.

11th House

Your eleventh house is the house of community, friendships, and collaboration. It can show your social awareness and how you contribute to collective goals.

12th House

The twelfth and final house is all about introspection, solitude, and the subconscious realms. It's where you connect with your spiritual self and confront the mysteries of existence.

The 10 planets

There are 10 recognised planets in our solar system, and 10 planets in your birth chart. These are:

The Sun

Symbol: ☉

Planetary ruler of: Leo

Your sun sign is the zodiac sign you are likely familiar with. It is denoted by the position of the sun on the day you were born. It is the basis of your traditional horoscope. For example, everyone born on September 29th is a Libra, while everyone born on December 25th is a Capricorn. This sign speaks to your identity, how you show up in the world, and is often associated with your core personality traits.

The Moon

Symbol: ☽

Planetary ruler of: Cancer

Your moon sign relates to your emotions and the part of your personality that is usually hidden. It shows who you are deep inside and guides your instincts and subconscious traits. It can also represent how you care for yourself and others.

Pro tip: If you were born at night, you may resonate more with your moon sign than you do your sun sign!


Symbol: ☿

Planetary ruler of: Gemini and Virgo

Mercury is the planet of communication and denotes the way you think, speak, write, and present yourself. If your Mercury is “strong”--- meaning it sits in a house ruled by Gemini or Virgo— it is likely you have the gift of the gab, know just what to say, or are a strong writer. If your Mercury is “weak”--- meaning it sits in either the 6th, 8th, or 12th house— you may be shy, struggle with writing, and can even denote a stammer.


Symbol: ♀

Planetary ruler of: Libra and Taurus

Venus rules over love, friendships, aesthetic, and taste. It is the planet of grace, charm, and socialising, and can show whether you are lucky-in-love or a bit of a Bridget Jones. Money and personal values can also be denoted by Libra, showing how you can make money easily and how you make a living.


Symbol: ♂

Planetary ruler of: Aries and Scorpio

The planet of war. Mars shows how you fight, how you show anger, and your drive to go after your desires. Your Mars shows your instincts and denotes how you defined yourself when attacked. If you have a strong Mars— meaning Mars is located in your 1st or 10th house— you may make a good lawyer or advocate for those in need.


Symbol: ♃

Planetary ruler of: Sagittarius and Pisces

Jupiter is the planet of luck and abundance. Known as a gas giant in astronomy, Jupiter expands everything it touches, bringing great luck to any planet it aspects or houses it sits in. It also denotes your overall life philosophy and worldview. A strong Jupiter may have a ‘glass-half-full’ mentality, while a weak Jupiter might mean you’re a natural pessimist.


Symbol: ♄

Planetary ruler of: Capricorn & Aquarius

Saturn is a slow-moving planet that shows your attitudes towards responsibility and boundaries. We will all struggle in life, and Saturn shows where your struggle lies. However, it is also a giant planet. As a result, there is much to be gained from overcoming this struggle.

For example, those with Saturn in the second house can struggle with their finances. Unless they stick to a budget and learn to manage their finances, at which point Saturn can bestow great riches upon them. Overall, Saturn signs your perseverance and determination even when faced with struggles and challenges.


Symbol: ♅

Planetary ruler of: Aquarius

Another slow-moving planet, Uranus is the first of the three “generational planets” that stay in a sign for a long time. For example, it takes approximately 7 years for Uranus to move through one Zodiac house. As a result, you likely have the same Uranus as your siblings, classmates, and friends your age.

Uranus shows self-expression, shows how you handle unpredictability, and how you seek freedom from the norm. It is the planet of enlightenment and progress, and shows your ability to take risks and make changes.


Symbol: ♆

Planetary ruler of: Pisces

Another generational planet, Neptune takes around 14 years to pass through each sign. It denotes your taste in music, art, culture, and other types of expression. It also dictates your compassion, ability to create art, and your sensitivity towards spiritual matters.


Symbol: ♇

Planetary ruler of: Scorpio

The third and final generational planet, Pluto is the farthest planet from the Sun and, as a result, speaks to your soul and hidden personality. It denotes your subconscious, your psychology, and how you pick yourself up when you fall.

In your personal natal chart, Pluto's house placement signifies the areas you’re likely to undergo deep change in your lifetime. For example, if Pluto resides in your second house of finances, you might experience financial ups and downs that transform your relationship with money. If Pluto is in the sixth house of health and fitness, you could find yourself exploring the depths of your mental and physical health to achieve a profound transformation.

The 12 zodiac signs

There are 12 zodiac signs in modern astrology. The zodiac sign that rules your natal house shows the energy of that house.

These 12 zodiac signs are made up of one of the four elements and one of three modalities. This unique combination gives the basis for this zodiac sign’s character, temperament, and shows how they respond to different situations.

The four elements make up a person’s reaction to energies and external stimuli. The four elements are:

  • Air. The air signs are Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. Air signs are floaty, creative, and social. They approach matters with great mental energy and love learning. They are often free-spirited, independent, and highly intuitive to those around them.

  • Earth. The earth signs are Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Earth signs are grounded, stable, and practical. They approach challenges with caution and have a more deliberate approach than their airy counterparts. They are thorough, dependable, and a little predictable.

  • Fire. The fire signs are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. The ‘do-ers’ of the zodiac, fire signs favour action over talking, have an adventurous spirit, and are a very dynamic group. They tend to be confident, gregarious, and have an adventurous spirit which drives them to take action.

  • Water. The water signs are Cancer, Scorpio, and Picses. Water signs are the most emotional of the four elements and respond intuitively to the emotions of those around them. They are hyper-aware, sensitive, and caring. They are also described as fluid, nurturing, and can be a little intense.

The three modalities show how a person reacts under pressure and influences the way an element manifests itself. The three modalities are:

  • Cardinal. The cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. Cardinal signs are the leaders of the zodiac and are considered to be the purest representation of their elemental sign. For example, Aries is the most fiery fire sign, Librans are the floatiest air sign, and Capricorns are the most grounded earth sign.

  • Fixed. Fixed signs are the most defensive and resolute of the modalities. They are resistant to change and notorious for ‘digging their heels in.’ They like things to stay how they are and enjoy tradition. The fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius.

  • Mutable. The mutable signs tend to be the signs that come at the end of the four seasons of the year and tend to be the most flexible and adaptable of the star signs. The mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sattigatrius, and Pisces.

Now we’ve explored the different elements and modalities, we’re going to explore each of the 12 zodiac signs. We’ll look at their unique characteristics, qualities, and where they fall on the elemental/modality scale.

Aries ♈️

Sun sign born March 21st - April 19th.

Symbol: The Ram

Ruling planet: Mars

Aries are the cardinal fire sign. They are energetic, brave, and always ready to take the lead. Their independence makes them a natural trailblazer, and they have an insatiable appetite for competing and winning.

However, on the flip side, Aries can be a little hot-headed and stubborn.

Taurus ♉️

Sun sign born April 20th - May 20th.

Symbol: The Bull

Ruling planet: Venus

Taurus is the rock of the zodiac. They are reliable, patient, resilient, and calm. Their Venus influence gives them a proclivity for the finer things in life, and overall are a kind, chilled, and nurturing sign.

However, those born under a Taurus sun are known to be stubborn and can be slow to take action on tasks.

Gemini ♊️

Sun sign born May 21st - June 20th.

Symbol: The Twins

Ruling planet: Mercury

Geminis are outgoing, social, charming, and adaptable. They are often highly intelligent and have a quick wit. However, there is an inherent duality to your Gemini friends and you may find their moods and interests change as swiftly as the wind.


Sun sign born June 21st - July 22nd

Symbol: The Crab

Ruling planet: The Moon

Cancers are natural caregivers. They are loving, empathic, and emotional creatures who have empathy and intuition in abundance. They love nothing more than curling up at home and are sometimes referred to as the ‘Mothers’ of the zodiac.

However, they are known to be a little ‘crabby’ when frustrated and may need some time to decompress before they’re ready to socialise again.

Leo ♌️

Sun sign born July 23rd - August 22nd.

Symbol: The Lion

Ruling planet: The Sun

Hello, superstar!

Leo’s natural charisma, creativity, and confidence light up any room and make them the life of the party. They are lucky, magnetic, and are action-oriented.

However, they can struggle with being self-focused and attention-seeking at times.


Sun sign born August 23rd - September 22nd.

Symbol: The Maiden

Ruling planet: Mercury

Virgos are detail-oriented, organised, tidy, and health-conscious. They’re hard workers and will go out of their way to support those they love. They are the practical problem-solvers of the zodiac and won’t stop until everything is ‘just right’.

However, their perfectionist ways can be a little hard to deal with and can lead to overthinking and anxiety.


Sun sign born September 23rd - October 22nd.

Symbol: The Scales

Ruling planet: Venus

Romantic, artistic, and diplomatic, Libra are the natural peacemakers of the zodiac. Their sense of fairness, sociable nature, and love of the finer things make them charming hosts and great friends.

However, they can be fickle and flaky. A professional fence-sitter, it can be hard to get a Libra to make up their mind.


Sun sign born October 23rd - November 21st.

Symbol: The Scorpion

Ruling planet: Pluto/Mars

It is often said that Scorpios get a bad rap. Their intensity, passion, and privacy can make them seem aloof, stand-off-ish, or uptight. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re actually fiercely loyal friends who are deeply in touch with their emotional side. If you can crack their tough outer-shell, you’ll have a friend for life in a Scorpio.


Sun sign born November 22nd - December 21st.

Symbol: The Archer

Ruling planet: Jupiter

Adventurous, optimistic, and free-spirited; If you have a friend who’s never in the country–- they’re probably a Saggitarius! They’re the life and soul of any party, are deeply philosophical, and love exploring everything life has to offer.

However, they can be restless and may struggle with committing to long-term plans and responsibilities.


Sun sign born December 22nd - January 19th.

Symbol: The Goat

Ruling planet: Saturn

Capricorns are down-to-earth, ambitious, determined, and responsible. If you have a task to complete, you can count on a Capricorn to do it right. They’re loyal, diligent, thorough, and usually have a killer sense of humour.

However, at first meeting, Capricorns can seem a little cold and reserved, which masks their warm, caring nature.


Sun sign born January 20th - February 18th.

Symbol: The Waterbearer

Ruling planet: Uranus

Aquarians are social, quirky, individualistic, and innovative. Aquarians are known for their humanitarian attitudes, caring for the needs of the many versus the needs of the few. They have a knack for thinking outside the box and look to bring positive change to the world.

However, their eccentric nature can cause them to be misunderstood and perceived as unconventional.


Sun sign born February 19th - March 20th.

Symbol: The Fish

Ruling planet: Neptune

The final house of the zodiac, Pisces can be a little difficult to understand. They are artistic, dreamy, and compassionate. They also have intense emotions coupled with a deeply empathic nature. They navigate life guided by their strong intuition, which can lead them to make decisions that may seem mysterious to others.

What Can Your Birth Chart Tell You About Your Future?

Your birth chart can tell you a range of things about your past, present, and future. These include:

  • Your personality traits.

  • Natural strengths and talents.

  • Life themes and karmic lessons.

  • Potential life events.

  • Future relationships.

  • Future wealth.

Reading your birth chart, zodiac signs, and astrology should be used as a tool for self-reflection and growth in your life. They can highlight where success is promised, and show you where you may experience natural challenges. By exploring the patterns and influences in your birth chart, you can gain deeper insights into your personality, relationships, and life path.

However, it’s important to remember that astrology provides a framework, not a fixed destiny and there is always an element of free will in your life. Life events, careers, wealth, and relationships will only manifest if you make them so and you put the work in. Your birth chart can only highlight what is promised to you in this life. If you engage with what is promised, you will find success in that area. However, if you do not engage with what is promised, it will never happen. This is free will.

For example, say a large windfall by way of a lottery win is highlighted in your birth chart. Because of free will, you may choose not to play the lottery. As a result, you will not win the lottery, even though it is promised. However, if a lottery win is promised and you choose to play the lottery, at some point, you will win.

Say there is no lottery win promised in your birth chart. You may still choose to play the lottery. However, in this instance, it is highly unlikely that you will win or win a large amount in the lottery. This is how promise works in your birth chart.

Should I Get A Birth Chart Reading?

A professional birth chart reading can be beneficial to provide an expert, nuanced interpretation of the complexities of your birth chart and how that will impact your life.

However, as astrology and birth chart readings are intended to be a tool of self-reflection, you may be able to pick up on events, relationships, and promises that your astrologer is not aware of.

As a result, we always recommend using expert guides to learn about and interpret your own birth chart. Check out the birth chart reading guides available on astro-bubble for more information on how to read your birth chart.

The Bottom Line On Birth Charts

Birth charts, also known as natal charts or astrological charts, are created based on the positions of the planets at the exact moment and location of your birth. They are a unique combination of 12 zodiac signs, 12 houses, and 10 planets. Each planet and the interactions between planets add a layer of complexity to your personality and life experiences. The zodiac signs influence your core characteristics, the houses represent different areas of your life, and the planets bring their energies to these areas.

Astrological charts or birth charts offer insights into your personality traits, strengths, challenges, and potential life themes. These fascinating and complex tools can also be used for self-reflection, predicting future events, and identifying areas of success in your life.

Learning to read your own birth chart can be as complex as learning a new language. However, with careful interpretation, expert guides, and a little bit of free time, you’ll be identifying personal patterns and talents in no time!


What are the 3 big signs of birth chart?

Your big three are your rising sign (first house), sun sign (your ‘normal’ zodiac sign), and your moon sign. Your rising sign is denoted by the time you were born, your sun sign by your date of birth, and your moon sign by your place of birth.

What is my sun sign?

Your sun sign is the position of the sun at the time of your birth. It is determined by the exact date of your birth, and is probably the zodiac sign you're most familiar with. Your sun sign makes up your traditional 'horoscope' in vedic astrology.

Is birth chart reading accurate?

Birth chart reading is a subjective art, and it takes a lot of practice to be highly accurate. However, in general, a skilled and experienced astrologer can uncover patterns and themes in your birth chart that resonate with your life experiences and personality traits.

Can you read your birth chart without birth time?

You can read your birth chart without a birth time. However, it will not be as accurate as it would be with a birth time. You will not be able to accurately predict your rising sign as this is determined by birth time.


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