We earn a commission from brands listed on this site. This influences the order and manner in which these listings are presented.
Advertising Disclosure

What Is a Birth Chart and How Do You Read It?

Head and shoulders photograph of Rozalia Kieliszkiewicz
Astrology birth chart with white flowers
Most of us want to know ourselves a little deeper. Astrology is a guide to find yourself—it makes you the star of your own life. It serves as a gateway to discovering your purpose in life, guiding your decisions, and illuminating a path that holds opportunities for living your best life. But how does this work, and how can we discover this for ourselves?

A fundamental tool used by astrologers to understand themselves and others is a birth chart. This is a chart, or map, of the exact position of the stars and planets at the time and place of your birth.

This unique alignment reveals deep truths about your personality and interests and where your strengths lie. Your birth chart also gives an indication of important and significant events in your life. Within limits, the insights from your birth chart allow you to direct your own destiny.

Just as psychic readings reveal deep-seated personal truths, so too can birth charts help to uncover the veil that prevents you from fully understanding and connecting with your inner self.

» Want help from a psychic to read your birth chart? Check out our top 10 picks for the best online psychic websites.

What Do the Signs on a Birth Chart Mean?

Take a snapshot of the night sky and watch as the animal kingdom comes alive. A birth or natal chart encompasses a circle of animals, where animals and people represent the zodiac signs. It is also ecliptic, as the Sun moves across the sky for a full year and crosses the 12 zodiac signs.

These signs represent the 12 constellations that were first observed thousands of years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. Each sign governs 30 degrees of a thin band across the sky.

The first sign of the zodiac is Aries, where the Sun is on the ecliptic during the first day of spring. The last sign of the zodiac is Pisces, where the Sun is on the ecliptic. This represents the end of winter.

Each sign has an element that enhances its character, skills, talents, and personality. For example, Taurus, an earth sign, is grounded, methodical, practical, materially inclined, and devoted. While Scorpio, a water sign, is fluid, emotional, compassionate, sensual, transformative, and intuitive.

Though each sign has its own distinct personality, the type of planet that lands in that specific zodiac sign change how the sign exists in certain areas of life. Three examples central to understanding your birth chart are the Sun, the Moon, and the Rising.


The Sun represents the soul. It is how we shine our light into the world. It is who we are—a projection of our essence. The Sun sign often signifies how we live our daily purpose, what we represent, what we believe in, and who we are becoming.

If you have your Sun in Libra, for instance, you're likely to have a strong sense of justice. You'll be pushed in this life to stand up for what is right and fair, weigh the pros and cons, and witness Karma.


The Moon represents the mind and the heart. It is what we keep hidden within: our deepest emotions and innermost thoughts. It is often who we truly are inside because it is the energy behind the mask (the Sun). The Moon illuminates the shadows that are created by the Sun.

As an example, if you have your Moon in Aquarius, you tend to express yourself through logical and intellectual means. Your emotions govern your strong sense of rebellion, innovation, and hopes for the future.


The Rising sign (the Ascendant) represents how the world perceives you. It is the point in the sky of the exact time of your birth. Your Rising sign largely governs your personality and how you present yourself.

To illustrate, if you have your Ascendant in Pisces, others will perceive you as intuitive, secretive, emotional, and sensitive, though you hold great wisdom.

It is important to note that the astrologer needs your name and date, time, and place of birth to create and interpret an accurate birth chart.

» Want to know what your future holds? Check out our top picks for the best online tarot reading sites.

How to Read Your Birth Chart

Depending on the house system used, there are several ways to read a birth chart. For example, the equal house system, dating back to the first century BCE, divides each house equally on the line of the ecliptic 30-degree zodiac sign.

There is also the modern Placidus system, which is more commonly used today. Its house system is based on space and time measurements through calculations. This is why knowing your birth time is necessary for better accuracy. There are 12 houses in this system, corresponding with the 12 zodiac signs.

If the birth time is not known, an astrologer can help you calculate the closest estimation to use the house system. If you are reading for yourself, it is not necessary to know your house system, as you can get a pretty clear picture of your whole personality and path in life by understanding your planets and the signs they rule.

» Want a reading by an experienced psychic? Try Psychic Source.

What Are “Outer Planets” in a Birth Chart?

The "Outer Planets" are those planets that were discovered in modern times: Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. These planets show us how we relate to society in general. It takes longer for them to orbit the Sun, so they are focused more on generational energy and themes than personal ones.


Neptune is the planet of mystery and illusions. It governs your imagination, intuition, mystical abilities, and dream life. It is the planet of occultism and psychic phenomena.


Uranus is the planet of change, unexpected events, and surprise. It often brings opportunities, blessings, awakenings, and epiphanies. Uranus has been responsible for the initial spark of something new in arts and sciences throughout history.


Pluto is the planet of transformation, and it reconstructs and rebuilds. The energy of Pluto brings to light the things hidden in the depths of your subconscious. It has a powerful energy capable of bringing your suppressed energies to the surface.

"Inner Planets" and the Signs They Rule

To know yourself, you must understand your "inner planets" and the signs in which they rule. Known as your "personality planets," are at the core of who you are. These luminaries are Mercury, Mars, and Venus.


Mars is the planet of physical energy, and it governs your sex drive, forcefulness, and aggression. It is the planet that instigates your action. How you assert your power describes your Mars placement.

For example, If you have Mars in Scorpio (a sensual water sign), you are a resourceful person driven to succeed. You will often be passionate, determined, and persevering in your actions, carrying a sense of purpose.


Mercury is the planet of intelligence; it rules your intellectual mind, how you communicate, your perception, memory, articulation of words, and form of writing. It underlines how you perceive information and digest what you hear, see, know, and understand.

For example: If Mercury is in Libra (a balanced air sign), you have a strong sense of justice regarding facts and information and always see the other side of an idea formed through perception. You often compare and weigh all factors before making any decision or truth. Even if you make a decision, it might be difficult for you to stick with that perspective, as you always recognize another's viewpoint.


Venus is the planet of love, pleasure, and beauty. This planet governs the way you show appreciation to those you love. It indicates how you attract lovers and the type of happiness you find in your connections. It regulates the choice of gifts, beautiful items you enjoy to pleasure yourself, and those you are fond of.

For example, if you have Venus in Leo (a passionate fire sign), your magnetic warmth is irresistible to those you attract, which only magnifies your desire to share luxurious and extravagant gifts with others. You are generous and playful, adoring anyone who shares your interests in art, theater, music, sports, and adventure. Laughter is a form of connection, and your bold nature attracts devoted and committed partners.

"Social Planets" and the Signs They Rule

The "Social Planets," Jupiter and Saturn, govern how we relate to society and how this impacts our internal worlds.


Jupiter is the planet of fortune, change, optimism, good luck, success, and generosity. It rules our expansion and abundance while highlighting higher learning, vision, and philosophical knowledge.

For example, if you have Jupiter in Virgo (a resourceful earth sign), you can create success from a hobby or pastime. You are inclined to be analytical, intelligent, and resilient, giving you the potential to develop successful empires. You have an incredible ability to take facts and research and web them into an applicable system.


Saturn is the planet of discipline. It governs responsibility, diligence, control, and restriction. It is the planet that connects us to hard work that keeps our foundations afloat. Yet, it can sometimes make you undoubtedly lonely and depressed when restricted from play, fun, and childlike pursuits. However, Saturn often rewards us when facing obstacles and following the rules it bestows on us.

For example: if you have Saturn in Capricorn (a rigid working earth sign), your nature is decisive. You have learned to do everything yourself and be self-reliant early in life. Because of this, you gain authority and often understand the value of hard work, persistence, and discipline to reach long-term rewards. In addition, you have learned hard life lessons that have given you a strong sense of independence.

» Want a trustworthy psychic reading? Try Keen.

Is a Ruling Planet Relevant to a Birth Chart?

A ruling planet refers to a planet that sits in its home sign. It is in its strongest and most comfortable position. It makes all the decisions and leads the energy. Each planet rules one day sign and one-night sign. The day signs are more active, while the night signs are more passive.

Saturn, for example, is ruled by Aquarius in modern astrology and Capricorn in traditional astrology. Both are relevant, though they hold different meanings. When Saturn is in its home sign, Aquarius, you can expect an intelligent, communicative, revolutionary change to manifest—grounded in economic change for our society or your personal reality.

Retrograde Planets

A retrograde planet refers to a planet that has reached its furthermost position from the Sun and begins to circulate back to the earth. As it returns, it seems to be moving backward. When a planet is retrograded, the area of life that the planet governs moves slower and becomes more introspective.

Most widely recognized is Mercury retrograde. Mercury is the planet of communication, and when it's in retrograde, we tend to experience problems with the internet, misunderstandings, travel delays, technical issues, and difficulty getting our point across.

How to Learn Even More About Yourself With a Birth Chart

Learning about your birth chart brings you one step closer to understanding your personal psychology and environment. It has the ability to show you your strengths and weaknesses. It impacts where you have been, where you are now, and where you are going.

For a deeper self-understanding, psychics can help you interpret your birth chart and explore many other aspects of yourself. They can help you reach a new level of self-awareness by combining astrology with accurate tarot readings to help you connect with yourself on an emotional and spiritual level. When you have a better understanding of yourself, it makes forming and strengthening relationships easier. Love psychics can help you make new connections and find love.

» Want love advice? Try a relationship psychic.

Are You Ready to Discover Your Birth Chart?

Once you understand the ruling planets and signs in your birth chart, you can confidently take charge of your life through awareness of yourself and your personal destiny.

Consulting with a psychic to help you understand and use the information from your birth chart will significantly enhance your life and everything that lives in it. If you'd prefer to read your own astrology chart, there are several astrology websites out there that can read your horoscope.

» What does the cosmos have in store for you? Here are the best horoscopes.

Head and shoulders photograph of Rozalia Kieliszkiewicz
Rozalia is a Holistic Health and Spiritual Writer who writes for Top10.com. In addition, she is a professional Spiritual advisor trained in Tarot Divination, Astrology, Reiki Healing, and Dream Analysis. Her background as a Nutritionist and Fitness Trainer allows her to look at the whole Body, Mind and Spiritual Connection.