Cancers are emotional and Aquarians are too weird. These are a few of the blanket statements out there about the zodiac’s Sun signs. While astrology memes are totally entertaining, there’s more to your birth chart than your Sun sign. Did you know your birth chart consists of multiple planetary placements in 12 different houses? No two charts in the world (not even twins) are exactly alike!
It’s always a good idea to see a professional astrologer for a reading, but if you’re astro-curious, the best way to begin dissecting your own birth chart is to look it up on a free birth chart calculator site, like Astro.com or CafeAstrology.com. You will need your birth date, time, and location for accuracy.
If you don't have your birth time, you can estimate; look up the time of sunrise on the day you were born for something called a "sunrise chart"; or put 12pm noon for something called a "noon chart." And if you're super into astrology and don't know your birth time, you can pay for an in-depth reading with an astrologer for something called a natal chart rectification—where an astrologer asks you detailed questions about your life to essentially work backwards to discover your birth time.
Okay, so you've put all your birth info into a birth chart and you have your result—a circular chart with a bunch of symbols and lines all over it. Let's get into the details!
First, look at that chart. See how it's divided into 12 different sections? Those are the houses. Yep, your birth chart is divided into 12 houses. Your Sun, Moon, and Rising signs and each planet are located in both a house and a zodiac sign—you might have your Sun in Leo in the 5th house or your Mercury in Libra in the 3rd house. Once you have your chart, use the guide below to start interpreting your own cosmic DNA!
When you think of your sign, you’re thinking of your Sun sign—aka where the Sun was when you were born. But your birth chart also shows the position of the Moon and the planets when you were born, and each of these signs also reveals something about yourself.
This is where you shine the brightest in your life. This is basically what you want to be when you “grow up.” Understanding which house this is placed in can clear up many of your life path and career questions.
Your reactions, emotional needs, and comfort zone are all lunar energy. If you don’t feel like your Sun sign, look to your Moon sign. It describes what you need to feel nurtured. PS: If you were born before sunrise, you have something called a "night chart" and you may resonate more with your Moon sign.
Your mind, thoughts, and communication style are associated with the planet Mercury. This sign reveals how you express yourself, and it can give you the self-awareness to learn from and interact with others.
Venus is the planet of love, beauty, and romance. Its position in your birth chart indicates how you give and fall in love—no surprise it’s many people’s favorite planet! Venus also describes what you need to feel joyful and happy in your romantic relationships and trysts, plus your relationship with money.
Yup, you guessed it—on the opposite end of love, you have your sex drive. Mars is the ruler of attraction, sexual appetite, and how you take action. Want to know what turns you on? Check out your Mars!
Stability, structure, lessons, and discipline: Saturn sounds like all work and no play, but there is a bright side. Saturn can show you where in your life you can reap rewards through steady and solid work. It can also represent stability in relationships.
The planet of growth and abundance means exactly that! Jupiter’s place in your chart indicates where and how you can experience abundance in your life. Essentially, it’s your cosmic pot of gold.
Say it with me: “Ur-ay-nus.” Regardless of how you say it, this unique planet is the only one in the galaxy that spins on its side! It’s all about new technologies, innovation, and society. Your Uranus sign describes if and how you can embrace the unconventional side of life.
Spirituality, healing, and creativity area all Neptunian themes. This planet can add a dash of Hollywood fantasy or an escape from reality. If you have your Sun or Moon near this planet, creating your own dream world on Earth may come naturally to you!
Pluto indicates where you can experience tremendous growth. Seeing Pluto can stress an astrologer out, but don’t be afraid of change! Transformation is good and we cannot evolve in life without it.
The Zodiac Signs
So, you probably know your Sun sign, and maybe your Moon and Rising sign, too. But you have every single zodiac sign in your birth chart—even if you don't have any planets in it.
Stay with me: Your birth chart is basically a snapshot of the cosmos at the moment you were born, including all 12 zodiac signs. The zodiac sign the Sun was in when you were born = your Sun sign. The same is true for every other planet, from Mercury to Pluto. When reading your birth chart, look at the sign each planet is in to better understand the area of your life that planet rules. For example, you might be a guarded Scorpio Sun, but if your Mercury sign—which rules communication—is in freewheeling Sagittarius, you might still have a tendency to tell it like it is, or even put your foot in your mouth.
As a refresher, here are the 12 zodiac signs and a bit about each one.
Leadership comes naturally to Aries—it's the first sign of the zodiac, after all. This sign is known for being courageous, direct, and competitive, sometimes to a fault. But Aries is also warm, loving, and trusting. Aries has a biiiit of a temper, but don't hold grudges.
Taurus energy is both practical and luxurious. This earth sign is smart and level-headed, but also appreciates ~the finer things in life~. Taurus values safety and security, and is not afraid to work hard. One more thing about Taurus: This zodiac sign is stubborn AF.
Gemini gets a lot of hate, but it's (mostly) undeserved. This air sign is witty, sociable, playful, and adaptable—which gives this sign its "two-faced" reputation (but really, they're just social butterflies who can match the energy of the group they're in!). Gemini energy = major for communication.
The first water sign of the zodiac, Cancer is emotional, caring, and compassionate. This placement brings intuition and emotional intelligence. Represented by the crab, which carries its house around with it on its back, Cancer is a natural homebody.
Leo lives for the spotlight! This fire sign is outgoing, playful, warm, and loyal. This zodiac sign is a natural leader and protector. Leo has a biiiit of an ego, but TBH, everyone really does love this kinda energy so it's deserved!
Virgo energy is disciplined, practical, hard-working, and analytical...but not boring! This earth sign can be a bit reserved but it's also loyal, honest, dedicated, supportive, and kind. As an earth sign, Virgo is also sensual, as in very ~in touch~ with the senses.
Represented by the scales, Libra is all about ~balance~. This placement is diplomatic, harmonious, and adaptable, with a passion for justice and fairness. Ruled by Venus, Libra is all about beautiful things and being in love.
Intense Scorpio is the sign of sex, death, and the occult. This energy is powerful, strong, resilient, and reserved. As a water sign, Scorpio is also intuitive and emotional—those emotions are just sometimes hidden beneath a more guarded, intimidating exterior.
Sagittarius is the sign of travel and philosophy—which means that whatever planets fall in this sign get a big dose of fun. This kinda energy also tends to be blunt, adventurous, spontaneous, and even a lil bit flaky.
Hard-working Capricorn is the CEO of the zodiac. This sign is known for its strong, hard-working, practical, ambitious nature. It's concerned with status, respect, and security. But just like fellow earth sign Virgo, Cap is an earth sign with a ~sensual side~.
Aquarius is actually an air sign, not a water sign, meaning it's intellectual, playful, and smart. This energy is adventurous, open-minded, philanthropic, and a tad eccentric (or a lot eccentric). This sign is often linked to science and technology, as well as humanitarianism.
The last sign of the zodiac, Pisces is an old soul. This water sign is known for its intuition, emotion, creativity, and head-in-the-clouds nature. Pisces is often linked to spirituality as well as compassion for others.
Uncover the 12 Houses
As you look at your chart, you will notice a circle broken into 12 small sections with zodiac symbols and interconnecting lines. Looks confusing, I know. Let’s start with these 12 sections called the 12 houses. Each house is ruled by a zodiac sign and planet, although they likely don’t match up in your own chart. The houses explain which area of life a planet’s energy will manifest for you, whether it’s your identity, career, love or relationships. For example, the 1st house is ruled by Mars and Aries, representing your personal drive and identity. Regardless if you are a Leo or Gemini Rising, this house explains your unique personality and why certain experiences happen to you.
Ruled by Mars and the fire sign Aries, this is the house of your identity and personality. It’s also the location of your ascendant or Rising sign, a notorious hot spot in your chart. Your 1st house and Rising sign represent how you show up and present yourself to the world. This is an area to pay attention to when you want to understand personal changes coming your way.
Want to see if a raise is on the horizon or dollars are in your bank account? Look at the 2nd house. Ruled by Venus and earthy Taurus, your earned income and self-worth are closely tied together here. Understanding the energy of this house can motivate you to lean in and ask for the coin you deserve!
Communication and short-distance travel are highlighted here, so naturally, buzzy Mercury and Gemini rule this house. Your 3rd house can explain relationships with your siblings, how you relate to your neighbors, and the ways you communicate with others.
Your emotional foundation and family life are in this extremely personal house. Ruled by the nurturing water sign Cancer and the Moon, this house can explain events in the home. Feeling a move coming on? This is a great place to look to understand the type of environment you thrive in.
Indulgent Venus is the 5th house, but it’s technically ruled by the Sun and Leo, due to the playful and creative nature of this house. This area of your chart shows how you want to flirt, be romanced, and have fun. For example, when you experience a Venus transit—aka when Venus moves through your Sun sign—you could go on a passionate date or start a steamy fling.
This house represents your daily grind, health routine, and work. It’s ruled by Virgo (no surprise here) and Mercury. Understanding this area of your chart can help you navigate if a desk job is more your speed or if you’re a free-spirited entrepreneur.
Venus is the ruler of this house, and it’s associated with the sign Libra. Your relationships, both love and business, live in this house…now this is where it gets juicy! This area of your chart represents marriage and long-term partnerships.
Welcome to Scorpio’s domain. This is the house of Pluto and, yes, it can get intense. It rules sex and mystical practices like tarot, astrology, and magic. This is a place in your chart where the most transformation and growth occurs. If you have planets in your 8th house, you notice massive changes in your life more often than others.
This is the home of lucky Jupiter and optimistic Sagittarius. Wisdom, philosophy, and travel fall in this house. Your 9th house can describe if you prefer to learn from life experience or take the standard university route.
Career, prestige, and your public appearance are ruled by the 10th house, and naturally, Saturn and Capricorn are in charge. To understand the best career for you or why you’ve made certain decisions, look at your 10th house.
Social groups, friends, and your network are in this house. Ruled by Uranus and air sign Aquarius, the 11th house describes what type of connections you bring and how you mesh with society around you.
This is the house of the unseen! This area of your chart is ruled by dreamy planet Neptune and watery Pisces and is extremely intuitive. You may not have any planets in this house, but if you do, there is a mystical element to their energetic expression.
Reading Your Birth Chart
Now that you have the astrological foundation, it’s time to add the color. You can now combine your knowledge of the 12 houses, 12 zodiac signs, and planets. Take a look at each house in your own chart and see if there is an astrological symbol placed inside. If so, compare with the key on your chart to match up where each planet is placed and in what sign.
To understand the key components to your own personality, start with your Rising, Sun, Moon, Venus, and Mars placements. These energies are the beginning to uncovering your life path, emotional needs, what turns you on, and how you love. Nothing is more important that understanding yourself!
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