Reading a natal chart is not easy – even after studying astrology for years.
There is so much going on in a chart, that is difficult to put everything together in a meaningful interpretation.
If you’re already familiar with the signs, the planets, and the houses, here are some tips to help you read your chart:
1) Notice what’s unique about your chart: most people will look at their Sun, Moon, and Ascendant… however, in most cases, this is NOT what truly defines the individual. Perhaps you have Neptune conjunct the Midheaven or a stellium in the 5th house. There is ALWAYS something special and unique about a chart… and that thing is not the Sun/Moon/Ascendant combination.
Chart reading tip number 1: Aim to find that unique, striking thing about your chart. That unique aspect or chart configuration will define the individual and will give clues about their mission in this lifetime.
2) Look at the chart as a whole: instead of jumping straight to what Mars square Pluto means, take a few moments to look at the overall shape of the chart. Do the planets group together in certain formations? Do you notice any special pattern, for example, a T-square and a Grand Trine? Do you see 4 or more planets in Fire signs, but no planets in Air signs? The big picture of the chart will keep you focussed on what’s relevant.
Chart reading tip number 2: always start with the big picture, and from there you can move on to the chart details.
3) Focus on the relevant aspects: not all squares and sextiles are made equal. That Neptune sextile Pluto or Chiron opposite Uranus are not that important, because they are generational aspects. Sun conjunct Mercury or Sun conjunct Venus is not very special either, because almost ⅓ of people have Mercury and Venus in close proximity of their Sun.
A Yod with Pluto, Neptune, and Saturn (shared by a whole generation) is much less significant than a Yod with the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter. The top aspects to look for are aspects between 2 personal planets or aspects between a personal planet and a transpersonal planet.
Chart reading tip number 3: focus more on relevant aspects that involve personal planets, and less on generational aspects.
As you see, reading a chart is not about going through all possible planet placements; it’s about learning to let go of what’s not essential and, learning how to detect what really matters.
4) Take note of the planetary cycle and the life stage you’re in: you have a Uranus transit, but instead of feeling ready for a big change, you feel stuck in rut. Or you have a Jupiter transit but you don’t feel any joy, expansion or optimism. Why is that? If you’re 29 or 57 then you have your Saturn return, and no amount of trines to Jupiter in your 7th house will help you find your soulmate… That’s because Saturn has other plans with you. A transit becomes relevant only if the planetary cycle and the life stage you’re in is also supportive of that.
Chart reading tip number 4: before you look at transits, always start by looking at the planetary cycle and the life stage you’re in. If you’re 21, then you’re influenced by Uranus, and Uranus takes priority. If you’re 50, then you’re influenced by Chiron, and Chiron takes priority.
5) Check more than one predictive technique: you had Jupiter conjunct the Descendant but you didn’t start a new relationship. You had Mars in your 10th house but nothing happened at work. You had Saturn in your 6th house but you didn’t get sick. That’s because big changes only happen when there are several factors contributing to that.
One transit alone, in most cases, is not powerful enough to create change. If you want to know when important things are likely to happen, you have to check several techniques: your transits, your solar return, the Eclipses or your progressions – and look for common themes. If you see the same theme in your transits, in the solar arcs AND int the eclipse chart – then the event is highly likely to happen.
Chart reading tip number 5: The transits alone will not tell the whole story, so check more than one predictive technique.