What is my astrological birth chart? Everything you need to know

'You use your astrological birth chart as a map to guide your actions, but you should never take [it] as your destiny'

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Want to dig into your astrological birth chart? Those seeking answers from the cosmos might find what they're looking for through a natal chart. But since the idea can seem a bit confusing at first, we'll help answer all of your astrological questions. 

First thing's first, let's tackle the terminology. Consider your birth chart to be a look at the solar system at the exact moment you were born—what planets are in retrograde, the phase of the moon, and so on.

"It's kind of like a snapshot of the sky," says Narayana Montufar, astrologer and author of the forthcoming Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power. "It imprinted you with energy that you will carry for the rest of your life."

Taking things a step further, Montufar oftentimes compares a birth or natal chart to a movie. 

"The planets are the actors and they represent different parts of your personality and the zodiac signs are the costumes that those actors are going to wear," she adds. "The aspects [for example the moon square in Pluto] represent the script." 

How do I determine my astrological birth chart?

You'll need to have the following information on hand during a reading of your natal chart:

  • Time of birth
  • Date of birth 
  • Place of birth

The time of birth is crucial in this determination, so if need be, refer to your birth certificate or reach out to a local office that holds those records. 

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(Image credit: Getty Images / sarayut Thaneerat)

What does an astrological birth chart reveal?

Due to where the planets were stationed around the sun, a birth chart reveals why you might have certain character traits, likes, dislikes, and so on. 

"It will color the way you do everything in life—what kind of person you are, what kind of self-care you need, what you need in a partnership, what kind of job you should be doing," Montufar says.

What do astrologers look for in a birth chart?

Although every astrologer is different and people might have different focuses in mind for a reading, the list below typically represents what astrologers seek in a birth chart

  • Your zodiac sign
  • How the elements—wind, water, fire, earth signs—are balanced 
  • How the qualities—cardinal, mutable or fixed signs—are balanced
  • Which of the 12 houses planets were stationed in at the time of birth

Astrological birth chart misconceptions

Many assume that a birth chart holds the answers to all of their questions. While it can be considered a guide, there's still work that people need to do on their end.

"It's such a complicated subject that people think that they're going to figure out all of their problems in the first reading, but it's a long-time process of getting to know yourself," Montufar says.

Additionally, it's a way to solve certain problems, but it should never be considered the be-all-end-all. You are still in control of your fate. 

"It's not like everything is written in stone. You use your birth chart as a map to guide your actions, but you should never take your birth chart as your destiny," she adds.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.