Continuing my A to Z Astrology basics, today's post is about the Birth Chart - also known as a Natal Chart.
Astrologers study the placements of planets and asteroids for a variety of reasons, as explored in the previous post, "A is for Astrology".
A Birth Chart is an event chart calculated from your date, place, and time of birth. It allows the astrologer to look at the planetary influences and energies that were present at the moment of your birth. Through examining a person's Birth Chart, we see a sort of map of that person's inherent or predisposed personality traits, life lessons, and even their soul's purpose in this lifetime.
This is not to say that your birth chart defines who you are and every experience that you will have; but rather it serves as a guide for understanding the energies that motivate and influence your behaviors, thoughts, and ideals. A Birth Chart, like any event chart, can help us examine what was happening in the cosmos at a specific time and then interpret how that energy plays out in events of that day - or in the lifetime of a person born at that moment. Astrology works on the principle of "As Above, So Below" - or what happens in the Macrocosm is also reflected in the microcosm. Therefore, the study of a Natal Chart is the study of the Macrocosm (The Galaxy), applied to the microcosm of an individual's experiences and traits.
Another way I have heard a Birth Chart described is as of your "Soul Contract". If you believe in Reincarnation with the soul's ultimate goal being to experience many different points of view and experiences over multiple lifetimes, you can see your Birth Chart as the Soul Contract that you created for this incarnation. Your soul desired to learn specific things in this lifetime in order to evolve and balance any past karmic debts, so you chose to be born at a specific time to bring in the lessons and energies of the planets in certain signs. This is a very simplified explanation, but I would recommend the book "Evolutionary Astrology" by Deva Green for a deeper exploration of this concept.
In modern Western Astrology, the Birth Chart is primarily used for Spiritual and Psychological examination, but it is also used by some astrologers to help predict events in a person's life. From the Birth Chart, other chart casting methods are derived for specific purposes. A Transit reading applies the current placement of planets to one's birth chart to interpret influence of current energies on the individual. A Progressed Chart will examine the specific ways a person changes or matures based on their Birth Chart. Synastry Charts and Composite charts use two individual birth charts to examine relationship compatibility, including parent-child relationships and business partnerships. Depending on what kind of chart analysis you want, you might seek out an astrologer that specializes in a specific type of chart analysis.
My personal recommendation for those who are just beginning to learn astrology, is that you develop a good understanding of Birth Chart analysis before adding in more complex layers of other types of chart readings. The same can be said for a client receiving a chart reading - it may be confusing to understand an analysis of your Progressed Chart or a Synastry chart if you have not yet understood your Birth Chart.
~~ Lilliana Blackstar of Hestia's Muse ~~
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