What Is a Zodiac Sign Birth Chart? (2023)

Learning how to read and interpret a zodiac sign birth chart is the foundation to understanding the study of astrology. A zodiac birth chart, sometimes called a natal chart, is the best way to dig deeper into your personality.

There are many layers to someone’s birth chart. People are not one-dimensional beings who simply exhibit all the characteristics of their sun sign — the sign most people are familiar with. Other elements of a zodiac sign birth chart need to be taken into consideration to paint a full picture of one’s personality.

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What Is a Zodiac Sign Birth Chart?

So, what is a zodiac sign birth chart? A natal chart is best described as a kind of “picture” of the universe at the moment you were born. It appears in a circle, much like the astrology wheel, broken into 12 separate sections. This image determines the placements in your chart — where planets were positioned — at your time of birth.

As you delve deeper into astrology, there are many more aspects of your birth chart that you can explore — including the meaning of angles between different placements — but first, you must understand how the chart is set up.

What Is a Zodiac Sign Birth Chart? (1)

In order to get an accurate zodiac birth chart reading, you’ll need to know:

  1. Birth date
  2. Birth time
  3. Location of birth

Knowing the exact time of your birth is essential for an accurate chart reading.

Understand Your Zodiac Sign Birth Chart

There are many elements at play in any given birth chart. In order to properly interpret them, you must understand how the birth chart is set up and how different elements relate to each other. Ordering an astrological birthdate book can provide you with an accurate birth chart and help you learn how to interpret different elements of your personality.

The Houses

The 12 different sections that appear on a birth chart are known as “houses,” and they refer to various aspects of life — from career and romance to health and family. The 12 houses are not to be confused with the 12 zodiac signs. Zodiac signs are taken into consideration based on which planets were in various zodiac constellations at your time of birth. Every house is associated with a sign, but your house is ruled by the planet that appeared here during your birth.

First House/Ascendant

House of Self

The First House refers to the “self,” meaning it greatly influences your physical appearance and your overall disposition. This house plays a major role in your personality depending on which planets (if any) appear here. Check the meaning of the planets below to interpret what each means in each house. Aries is associated with the First House.

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Second House

House of Money and Material Possession

Associated with the sign of Taurus, the Second House refers to how you view money and possessions. It also incorporates more emotional aspects of our lives like our sense of self-worth and how we feel in our physical environment.

Third House

House of Communication

This house is essential to understanding how you communicate with the outside world and how you relate to your peers, friends, relatives, and co-workers. Short-term travel and aspects of childhood, like siblings, also fall under this realm. The third house is associated with Gemini, the communicator of the zodiac.

Fourth House/Imum Coeli

House of Family

The Fourth House, or the Imum Coeli (IC) is one of the most important houses in your birth chart. The IC is also one of the angles in your chart, along with the ascendant, descendant, and midheaven. Imum Coeli means “bottom of the sky” in Latin, which makes sense as this house appears at the base of the chart. For this reason, this house is also considered the foundation of your entire zodiac sign birth chart. The IC reveals your relationship with your family, security, personal beliefs and values, and how you take care of yourself. The fourth house is ruled by Cancer.

Fifth House

House of Pleasure and Self-Expression

Associated with Leo, the fifth house is all about what makes you happy, which can include sex, romantic relationships, fun or exciting activities, and your overall creative pursuits. Any planets appearing in this house will signify aspects of your life and personality that allow you to express yourself. This is also the house that governs children.

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Sixth House

House of Health and Wellness

Everything from the way you eat and exercise to your relationship with work and organization falls under the sixth house. This house digs deeper into how you manage the day-to-day parts of life and how you care for yourself physically. The sixth house is connected to Virgo.

Seventh House/Descendant

House of Relationships

The seventh house focuses on relationships, specifically one-on-one committed relationships, which can include romantic relationships or relationships with parents and other essential people in your life. This house is located directly across from the first house of identity, symbolizing the difference between your individuality and your partnerships. These people can also refer to business or work relationships as well. Libra is associated with this house.

Eighth House

House of Transformation, Sex, and Mystery

This house, ruled by Scorpio, reveals your relationship with the more taboo aspects of life, including resurrection/death, sex, the occult, taxes, and debts. It’s all about power dynamics and how releasing control ultimately leads to rebirth. Those with one or more planetary placements in the eighth house often have an attraction to all things mysterious or spiritual.

Ninth House

House of Higher Education and Philosophy

Though the ninth house is often associated with higher education, it deals with anything in life that can help expand your knowledge. This can refer to travel, philosophy, religion, education, and even astrology and Tarot! Sagittarius is associated with the ninth house.

Tenth House/Midheaven

House of Social Life and Legacy

The 10th house, or the Midheaven because of its position at the top of the birth chart, deals with your social standing and public image, leadership, professional achievements, and reputation. This can include your legacy or what you want people to recognize and remember you for. The midheaven is ruled by Capricorn.

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Eleventh House

House of Friendship and Humanity

This house refers to how you interact with others in your friendships and network of people in your life. Because it is ruled by Aquarius, the humanitarian of the zodiac, it can include humanitarian efforts and values. It also incorporates the typical unusual traits associated with Aquarius and emphasizes eclectic ideas and interests, which help people look towards the future because of open-mindedness and imagination.

Twelfth House

House of the Subconscious

The 12th house is a culmination of all the other houses, delving into less tangible things in life like spirituality, intuition, dreams, and transcendence. It is often associated with the subconscious realm and our imagination. Pisces is tied to this house.

The Planets

With a basic understanding of each house, now we’ll introduce you to the planets. Looking at your chart and determining which planet is in which house will help you interpret your personality and values, so light a zodiac birthday candle, pull out your birth chart and start interpreting!

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Sun

The sun represents our ego, individuality, and uniqueness. This is our purest form of self-expression and how we present ourselves to the rest of the world. The sun rules the zodiac sign Leo, which is no surprise since Leos have big personalities that light up the room without effort.

Moon

The moon represents our inner emotions and opinions, things we may keep close to our heart and less exposed to the rest of the world. It also represents how we deal with the emotions of others. The moon rules Cancer, the sign known for being in tune with emotions and nourishment.

Mercury

Mercury demonstrates how we communicate with others and the world around us. It also reflects our logic, intellect, and ability to analyze. Mercury rules Gemini, the communicator of the zodiac and Virgo, a sign known for its practical approach to things.

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Venus

Venus is the planet of love, representing what we seek in romantic partners and how we display our own affections. Venus also deals with inner affection — how we view and treat ourselves through self-respect and self-care. Venus rules over Taurus and Libra.

Mars

Mars deals with instincts, passion, and sex. This planet demonstrates how we react to our own desires, what we are passionate about, and what we’re ready and willing to fight for. Mars can be the energy that pushes us through challenges to meet our goals. Scorpio, a sign known for its passion, and Aries, a high-energy sign that can be a bit impulsive, are both ruled by Mars.

Jupiter

Jupiter is all about expansion — how we can expand our minds through education and travel, how we can expand our social relationships with others, and how we broaden our understanding of deeper aspects of life like spirituality and philosophy. Jupiter rules Sagittarius and Pisces, which is where each sign gets its sense of adventure and desire to go deeper and learn more without any boundaries.

Saturn

Saturn is like the parent planet that helps to keep us in check. It reminds us of limitations and restrictions that are important to understand in order to stay grounded in reality. Saturn is essentially there to remind you that there are some rules that need to be followed. Saturn rules Capricorn and Aquarius. Capricorn is known for being a practical-minded sign, while Aquarius can be an unusual outsider.

Uranus

Much like Uranus’ wacky axis, this planet rules all things innovative and futuristic. It’s kind of a complement to Saturn’s strict rules. Uranus reminds us to be creative and think in unusual ways, while still practical enough to go the distance and help society. It values creativity, rebellion and free thinking. For this reason, it’s no surprise that Aquarius is ruled by Uranus.

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Neptune

Neptune is often associated with the mystical and the parts of the world we don’t consciously understand. It’s linked to psychic ability, enlightenment, and the beyond — things outside the physical realm of reality. It can usher in mystery, the unknown, imagination, and dreams. Neptune rules Pisces along with Jupiter to give Pisces that otherworldliness they always seem to possess.

Pluto

Pluto is the planet of transformation. Because Pluto takes between 14 to 30 years to transit through each sign, this planet often defines an entire generation's cultural understanding of the world and their place in it. Pluto shares Scorpio with Mars, giving the sign its intense passion.

Uncover Your Zodiac Personality

Understanding the role of the 12 houses and the planets in a zodiac birth chart will help you begin learning how to interpret your own natal chart. As you discover different pieces of your personality, you’ll be able to better understand yourself and how you interact with the world and the people around you.

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