The Birth Chart
To analyse an individual the astrologer normally begins by drawing up a “birth chart” (also called a “natal chart”). This is a map of the heavens at the time and place a person was born. Analysis of this birth chart is called “natal astrology” and is sometimes used on its own to read a subject’s character. Comparing the birth charts of two people is sometimes used to assess compatibility. Comparing a birth chart with a projected future chart is often used for predictive purposes.
There’s a lot more to the birth chart than just the Sun Sign that most people look up in the newspaper. It’s important to know just not the day of birth but the time and place as well in order to draw up a completely accurate chart.
Plotting the position of the ten main bodies is only the start of the process. Each planet will be positioned in one of the twelve zodiac signs. Then there are various systems of “Houses” which also divide the heavens. In addition the relationships between the different planets have to be considered. These are known as “aspects” and depend on the angle between the planets in the chart. The significance of each of these aspects is influenced by the sign and the house in which the planets are positioned.
So we have a system which considers the exact time and place of birth and then looks at the position of ten heavenly bodies in relation to each other and to twelve signs and a number of houses. The number of possible permutations is clearly huge – so simply saying “I’m a Leo” is an extreme simplification!