This is the 3rd blog in the 3-blog series with frequently asked questions from readers and students.
What’s really important in the natal chart?
There are variations of this question:
“Where do I start when I look at a chart?”
“What are the most important aspects?
“Do we include asteroids in aspect patterns?”
Astrology websites and mobile apps give us a loooong list of chart placements, aspects and transits. These software are designed to list every single aspect, every single transit. And when we see all these chart details listed, we assume that they all carry equal importance or significance in the chart.
They do not.
All celestial bodies influence us in some way. All minor aspects shape us to some extent. All transits trigger our chart to some extent.
But the question is – to what extent?
Where do we start when we look at a chart?
Out of all the placements, aspects, transits etc. – what’s really important?
The “BIG 3”
And to answer this question, let’s talk about the “BIG 3” – not your Sun, Moon and rising sign – but the BIG 3 of the physical world: volume, time, and space.
When it comes to planets, size matters!
The larger a planet or celestial body is (as seen from Earth) the more influential it is. That’s why the Sun and the Moon shape our personality most profoundly – they are BIG.
As a basic rule – if you can see it in the sky – the planet – then you want to pay attention to it. If you don’t see it (outer planet, asteroid, etc.) less so (at least in natal astrology, transits work a bit differently).
When you read a chart, we recommend focusing on the personal planets. These are the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars, plus the chart ruler (the planet that rules your Ascendant sign).
Giving each celestial body the same ‘weight’ in chart interpretation can lead to overwhelming, confusing messages, and even blatantly wrong chart interpretations.
So focus on these “big” planets first.
Your Sun, Moon and chart ruler will tell you 50% of the story of the chart. Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars – 80%.
Planets move at different speeds.
Slow-moving planets have longer cycles (e.g. Saturn’s cycle is 29 years, Uranus’ cycle is 84 years) – so when we have a slow-moving planetary transit, the influence of that transit is more long-lasting, for the simple fact that a slow-moving planet spends more time at the same degree of your natal chart.
Time is a relevant dimension when we look at transits (i.e. how the ongoing movements of the planets interact with the planets in your natal chart.)
If in chart reading, the big, visible planets are what we want to focus on, – when it comes to transits, it’s the slow moving planets (Jupiter, the Nodes, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) we want to pay attention to.
We wouldn’t have a natal chart if we didn’t have space. Space is the vast backdrop against which the planets, the Sun, the Moon, move and form patterns. Without space, there would be no coordinates.
In astrology, the coordinates of the natal chart are the 4 angles – the Ascendant, the Descendant, the Midheaven, and the IC.
The angles give us the 12 houses – and as we learned, houses are the most personal areas of our chart.
In cook book astrology, we always get descriptions for planets in signs and houses, but angles are often omitted.
Angles are the big elephant in the room. But they shouldn’t be. Angles are THE most sensitive points in our chart.
If you have a planet conjunct an angle, that planet is going to influence every aspect of your life (not only the house it sits in). It will be a core driver, shaping your personality and life path.
Similarly, a transit to an angle will trigger major events and experiences that are significant turning points in your life.
When we understand the “BIG 3” everything falls into place. Reading charts becomes easier, and our analysis more accurate – because we understand the underlying dynamics and we just “know” what to focus on.
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