Astro DIY #1: Your astrological birth chart

This is the first post in Tabby’s Astro DIY column on Little Red Tarot. It’s all about getting started with astrology, beginning with the basics. 

View all posts in this series here, or get to know Tabby better here!

NOTE: To get started, you’ll need to register an account with Astro.com – a popular website that provides many free astrological tools you’ll use in this ‘course’. If you haven’t already done so, get yourself set up before delving into the first post. Tabby will explain everything else!


Most people only know astrology to mean ‘star’ signs and horoscopes in the newspaper.

The truth is that astrology is waaaaay more than that and we are all made up of influences from various planets, signs and elements.

A lot of people don’t relate to what they know about their star sign and dismiss astrology without knowing there’s a whole lot more to them than that one sign and nobody is trying to put them in a box.

Another truth is that most horoscopes in newspapers, and magazines aren’t written by astrologers – they are usually written by another writer for the publication, are really generalised and aren’t based on any kind of astrology. Usually you’ll be able to tell whether it was written by an astrologer as there might be their name or a profile on them and their background in astrology alongside the piece.

Horoscopes

So in saying that, the internet is probably the best place for checking your horoscope if you mean serious business (but hey, I’m as guilty as anyone as reading a horoscope wherever I find it, regardless of who wrote it). It’s worth looking around and finding an astrologer who’s writing you can relate to and feels accurate for you. Feel free to recommend your favourite astrologers in the comments!

Astro.com also provide a free personal daily horoscope if you have an account – this is pretty great because it’s not generalised on your sun sign like most horoscopes, it’s a horoscope based on how what’s happening in the stars right now affects your personal chart, so it’s way more accurate.

So let’s learn astrology!

There’s so so much to understand about astrology it can be overwhelming, but when you break it down it’s totally do-able and lots of fun. To start with we’re going to be looking at the main concepts in astrology, what they mean and how to pull them together to interpret a birth/natal chart.

Okay! Time to learn the lingo – we’ll just start off with the main features of a birth chart that you need to know to start with.

Birth Chart – The birth chart can be seen as a map of one’s life – it’s sort of like taking a photo of where the planets were the exact moment when you were born. The birth chart can be used to understand why you are the way you are, desires, motivations, strengths, weaknesses and so much more.

Planets – the planets represent the type of energy expressed, characters and archetypes, the what (and if you’re a scientific person, or maybe just a Virgo, then yes we know they aren’t all technically planets, but that’s how we refer to them in the astrology world).

Signs – the zodiac signs represent the tone of the energy, the way it’s expressed the qualities, the costume of the characters, the how.

Houses – the specific area of life the energy is played out in, the stage, the backdrop, the where.

Aspects – an aspect is the angles planets make to each other, the relationships between planets, the dialogue between characters.

HD Chart

Understanding your birth chart

Step 1: Create your birth chart

Of course before computers and the internet, astrologers would carefully calculate and hand draw these charts. Alas, I was never good with angles, drawing or rulers so we’ll stick to the 2014 way.

Log in to your account at astro.com and ‘add new astro data’ underneath ‘My Astro’ in the top right hand corner. Put in your birth details (apologies for the binary gender options) and it will save them under your name – you can do this for other people’s charts that you might want to look at too.

Then under ‘Free Horoscopes’ click onto ‘Chart Drawing/Ascendant’. There you go – that round thing with lots of symbols and funny lines is your birth chart!

Step 2: Breaking it down

The first time most people look at a birth chart, it doesn’t make much sense. It’s going to take time to understand the meaning behind each part of it, but we can start by learning what’s what.

The picture below is of my birth chart:

Chart

As labelled you can see that the symbols on the outer circle are the different zodiac signs. In some of the signs are the planets, the symbols in the inner circle.

The chart is also divided into sections with numbers in the middle – these are the houses, areas of life that the combined energy of a planet and sign can play out in.

The blue, red and dotted lines are the aspects – the angles the planets make to each other. Where it says AC – the planet the sign there on your chart is your ascendant or rising sign.

You probably won’t know what all of this means yet and that’s okay – one thing at a time.

Step 3: Find out what signs make up you!

I find one of the most exciting parts of astrology is looking at someone’s chart for the first time and figuring out what their moon sign and their rising sign is. That’s because those, along with your sun sign, are the most important influences in your chart that make you up. That’s not to say the rest isn’t important, but knowing just these three signs can tell you a lot about someone.

Now don’t worry if you don’t know which symbol is associated with which sign or planet yet – over in the left hand corner it’s all written out – you’ll see I have my Sun in Taurus, Moon in Aries and so the list goes on.

So can you relate to your Moon and Rising sign?

For me understanding and relating to having my Moon in Aries has been a constant battle – but every so often I get a glimpse into understanding it more. My Cancer Rising on the other hand totally fits me and I see that as where the nurturing, helper, intuitive part of my personality fits in.

List

A good exercise is to write out your discoveries, so you’ve got them somewhere clear if you don’t yet know how to read your birth chart, or if you don’t want to have to keep referring back to it as we talk more about this stuff. Writing can also help you familiarise yourself with what’s in your birth chart, so you can memorise the important details.

As we go on you’ll be able to understand the meaning behind each planet, sign, house and aspect and you’ll be able to piece them all together to really understand what your birth chart says about you.

Next time we’ll be looking at the four elements, how they relate to astrology and finding out which elements are strongest and weakest in our charts.


 

Over to you…

Try it out for yourself! What’s your sun, moon and rising sign? And if you have any questions for Tabby, she’d love to answer them in the comments!

Join the Bits & Bobs List!

Friendly, weekly-ish emails from Beth with tarot tips and ideas, news, and other good stuff. (Including cat pictures.)

Powered by ConvertKit

39 comments

  1. Beth says:

    Wow – Tabby this is awesome – thank you!

    I’ve just done my own natal chart. I have Aquarius sun, Capricorn moon and Leo rising. The Aquarius I’ve always related to – overthinker, tries to do stuff differently, wants to change the world (yep!). And Leo makes sense as a rising sign – I’m not the loudest person in the room but I am kinda fiery and outgoing!

    As for the Moon in Capricorn – wow, is this where my secret conservative side lives? Sometimes I get all like The Emperor tarot card, really into rules and structures and safety.

    I’d like to know more about what those three different things mean – what’s the difference between a sun sign, a rising sign and a moon sign?

    • Tabby
      Tabby says:

      Exciting! Yeah Capricorn is all about structure for sure. They say the biggest lesson for Lunar Capricorns is not to be too hard on yourself! :)

      We will get into the differences between all the planets more in depth soon but for now I’ll say briefly that the sun is quite a general expression of yourself, the rising sign tends to be more how we present ourselves to the world or appear to other people and the moon sign is more about our emotional side, wants, desires, reactions…!

      • Beth says:

        That is so interesting! I love it. Like I’m all ‘yeah man I’m a revolutionary’ on the outside, and inside I’m like ‘order! order! this revolution is freaking me out!’. Haha!

      • Tabby
        Tabby says:

        It is definitely significant – meaning your life and personality will probably be super Sagittarius like, whereas most people only have one or a few planets in the same sign. I have a friend who is nearly entirely made up of Virgo and he definitely embodies the Virgo qualities more than someone with just their sun sign there. It will also depend what planets they are, though, as some carry more weight than others – and we’ll get into all that soon!
        What do you reckon though, do you relate to Sagittarius much? Did finding that give you a ‘ahh that explains it’ kinda feeling or not so much?

  2. notserial says:

    Tabby, what do you think of cusp signs? I’ve heard mixed results, because my sun is in Aries, but just barely (I was born on the 23rd), and there’s so much of Pisces that I relate to.

    That being said, my Moon and Rising signs are Leo, so there’s a lot of fire signs in there!

    I’m really looking forward to seeing more of your posts though :)

    • Tabby
      Tabby says:

      I don’t know many people born on a cusp, so have never looked into it much to be honest, but yeah there’s differing opinions amongst astrologers on whether or not being on the cusp means you are a combination of both signs, or whether it’s a strict line.

      My first thoughts around any cusp would be to definitely to do your chart and see where it places the sun – as the time and sometimes day the signs change is different every year. I always thought my aunt was a Gemini but when I got her birth time recently I found out her sun is in Taurus – just! Second I would look at where your Mercury (and Venus) are placed – the people who I do know on the cusp usually have their Mercury in that other sign – so maybe in Pisces in your case, Gemini with my aunt, and that would explain relating to it a lot – especially if your Sun has aspects to Mercury…! Ooh exciting – I’d be interested to know if you do see any Pisces in your chart?

      • Beth says:

        That’s interesting. My birthday is the 22nd Jan, so only just Aquarius, very close to Capricorn. I always wondered what influence Capricorn might have on my Aquarian-ness. I’ve just checked where Mercury is and for me it’s also in Aquarius.

        I can’t wait to find out more about what this all means :)

      • Celia says:

        Let’s see, I’m still figuring out how to read these charts/I’m baffled and intrigued by what aspects mean, but Venus: Aries, and Mercury IS is Pisces!! (as well as Mars and Saturn)

        • Tabby
          Tabby says:

          Aha, there you go – lots of Pisces going on and being in Mercury especially means there’s probably quite a Pisces feel to the way you communicate. So sounds like you’re nearly all fire and water – more on that in the next post! :)

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Tabby I’m so excited for this new series! I’ve always been interested in astrology and while I’ve known my sun, moon and rising signs for a few years now, I’ve never done extensive study about all of them. I’m especially excited to learn about the other planets and the houses they’re in and how that affects. Are we going to go into aspects? That confuses me especially.

    For reference, I’m a Pisces Sun, a Taurus Moon and a Libra Rising. :)

    • Tabby
      Tabby says:

      That sounds like a really nice combination of signs! Yay – it’s so fun once you really look into all of it. Yep we will definitely go into aspects – I also find them a bit confusing, at least to read off a chart, but they add a whole extra level of detail!

  4. Bobby says:

    Tabs… Debbo (my sister and Tabby’s auntie) is a cusp… Taurus/Gemini, May 21st… have you done her chart?

    I am Cancer, Cancer Rising, Moon in Aries. I have the Sun, Mercury and Venus all in Cancer, and my first house. Seems my firstborn and I have some stuff in common in the heavens! I am excited about this and so thankful to you and Beth for setting it up!

    xoxo

  5. The College Theatre Dork says:

    I was looking over your chart and thinking “wow, this looks a lot like mine!” Then I checked the date – I’m only a week older than you are! Our sun/moon/rising signs are different but otherwise, wow!

    • Tabby
      Tabby says:

      Oh how cool! All the planets take different times to move into a new sign – ranging from the Moon approx every 2 and a half days to Pluto which can spend 12-25 years in the same sign, so yeah we usually have quite a bit in common with people born around the same time as us in terms of what signs are in what planets. Everyone’s rising sign, houses and aspects are more unique to their chart, though…. lots more to get into! :)

  6. Lor says:

    Both my sun and moon signs are Taurus! My rising sign is Capricorn – it is no surprise to anyone I know that I like structure & organization :) But what could having both sun and moon be Taurus mean? That I’m very, very Taurus?

  7. justin says:

    i have been looking up my birth chart a lot lately, and learning more about astrology. chani nicholas (http://www.chaninicholas.com/) does amazing horoscopes and writes about the new moons and full moons (and adds eclipses, solstices, and equinoxes as well)! so beautifully written, so amazingly relevant and insightful, and also political which i feel is such an important facet that many astrologers miss out on.

    • Tabby
      Tabby says:

      This looks really great – I love following the moon phases and how it links in with astrology, so definitely one to bookmark. Agreed eg. the political stuff too! Thanks for sharing, Justin. :)

  8. Nova says:

    Really fascinating series! I remember finding an astrology book in my elementary school library and becoming completely engrossed. It’s fun to delve in deeper.

    I also have a question for you. Do you feel that the positions of the planets literally affect our lives and personalities, or do you view astrology more metaphorically? I’ve met people in both camps, so I’m curious where you fall. (If that’s not too personal a question.)

    • Tabby
      Tabby says:

      Ooh tough question – simply because there is no one agreed or proven way that explains how astrology works, so we just don’t know. I guess I would lean more towards the thought of it being the position and movements of the planets affecting us – especially if you look into astrological transits (which this column will get to in time!). Jung’s ideas around astrology and synchronicity are pretty interesting to read/think about too!

  9. saricchiella says:

    Sun and moon in Aries, Libra rising. I have always felt very Aries, to be honest… and in fact my major arcana is the Emperor! Now I’m very intrigued about the rest of the chart ^_^

  10. Soooo late to the post, but astrology has always been something I have been interested in. I used to have a astrology book but have no freaking clue what happened to it. It came with a program to do the birth charts like this.

    Scorpio Sun, Libra Moon, and Aries Rising. Oh dear lord. Lol. I have always feel like a Scorpio, through and through. I never got very far in the other signs and aspects so I’m really looking forward to that.

    The best part of this, for me, is Scorpios are so incredibly misunderstood. In the horoscopes done by non-professionals, they are only categorized as sex machines and jealous bitches. Which really upsets be. I am incredibly sensual, more so than sexual, and I am pretty damn good at not being crazy jealous. I mean I get jealous, for sure, but people who know me would never use that word to describe me.

    I also think that Scorpios are one of the most “dual” sided signs. In my personal opinion as a Scorpio. There is a side that everyone can see, and then there is a side only a sacred few are trusted with.

    Oh man, I’m so excited to read the rest of these!

  11. Carmella says:

    I’m a Virgo with a Sagittarius rising and my moon is in Capricorn. I honestly can’t say I know much about those other two signs but I am very excited to learn more!

  12. Sara says:

    I’m intrigued, Tabby, because we have the same birthday, but different year, sharing the same Sun and Ascendant — I’m a Taurus Sun, Cancer Rising.. but I have a Capricorn Moon. Aries is on my Midheaven…

    I think my Moon is where most of my.. errr.. life lessons come from.. that and my Saturn in the 12th house!

  13. claude says:

    hey tabby,
    i have a question: my mom doesn’t know the exact time of my birth, she told me it was something around 11:30am. but: at 11:25am i have another rising as at 11:30am. does that mean im influenced by both?
    thank you for an answer!

    • Tabby
      Tabby says:

      Hey Claude,
      No it wouldn’t mean you are influenced by both but you’re right to try looking at different birth times eg. 11:25 and 11:30 to narrow down the list of options for what your rising sign could be. It will probably be one of those two signs so if you read descriptions of them it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out which sounds most like you? Asking other people who know you their opinions can be good too, as the rising sign is a lot about how other people see us! :)

  14. Lara says:

    I’m a Sun Taurus, Moon Cancer, Scorpio Rising.
    I haven’t ever looked into the moon signs so I’ll follow on your articles here to find out more about everything!

  15. I’m super excited about these posts. I’ve been trying to find some accessible info on astrology that wasn’t overwhelming. I’ve used astro for awhile but I’d like to begin learning to interpret charts more intuitively.

    I’m a Virgo Sun, Libra Moon and Leo Rising. <3

Add your comments...