Natal Astrology: What is a birth chart?

Natal astrology is the second level of complexity in traditional astrology (the primary level being horary astrology). Natal astrology is the study of a person’s birth chart.

The birth chart will describe the personality characteristics and the events that can be seen or measured in the life.

With regard to the personality, we can see the general temperament (the sort of person you are – emotional, rational, action-oriented or contemplative) using the 4 Element system of traditional astrology, and in particular, we can see the specific internal complexities and contradictions laid out with elegant clarity. For example, we can see that your emotional response might often be at odds with your reason. Or that you hold onto your temper and then you outburst with family. Or that you have a hard time expressing emotion at all.

While we can describe the specifics of your exhibited personality and see the internal complexities and internal conflicts, we can also see the hints of your divine essence – the soul level part of you that informs everything you feel, do, and experience.

So – we can describe aspects of a person’s essence as it informs our physical reality. To say with any certainty that we can get at the truly unknowable parts of life is beyond the ego or claims of this astrologer, for sure! What we can know, we are happy to have – and the rest is for the realm of the unknown.*

Technically speaking, a birth (or natal) chart is a picture of where the planets in our solar system were in relation to the horizon at the moment a person takes its first breath. For example, if a person is born in the morning, the Sun will be over on the left side of the chart, near the horizon – depending on the exact time. At midday, the Sun is at the top of the chart, etc. If a person is born near a New Moon, the Sun and Moon are together in the chart.

The season in which the person was born (the phase of the Sun) and the phase of the Moon are extremely important in traditional astrology – these two crucial bits of information are all but ignored by the modern astrologers, making up one major difference among many between the two types of astrology.

A natal consultation focuses on the birth chart, but then also considers many charts, all derived from the birth chart, to understand a particular event, moment, pattern, personality characteristic or behavior in the person’s life.

The complexity is increased in that now the astrologer is using the same concepts as horary but doing lots more work to understand patterns as they unfold over the arc of a whole lifetime. The astrologer is, at this point, also starting to consider the fixed stars (the constellations) in addition to the planets in our solar system (the wandering stars), as well as considering eclipse charts and more. Natal astrology is all about understanding the person and the events lived during one lifetime.

This is the type of astrology that is practiced in all of my offerings. Though, because I am using modern astrology software, you will receive a round natal chart rather than the traditional square chart type in the picture above of King Charles I’s chart drawn by William Lilly (arguably one of the most talented astrologers of all time, at least out of the ones whose books survive). You can see an example of a birth chart of the type I use in the photo on the right. Also, I focus my birth chart work typically in the business and career or professional sector of the chart.

* One note: Many people claim that the soul or the essence are found in the chart. This is not correct. Being divine, both the soul and the essence of a person are beyond our comprehension. They are the ethereal bits of us that cannot be fully grasped or seen. We can describe bits of the essence in a general sense, even though we can describe behavior and personality tendency with great accuracy.

We can only ever catch a glimpse of true essence or soul in our peripheral vision. We comment that a photographer might have captured someone essence and that this is a rare thing. Rare, yes! Indeed.


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