Reading the natal chart
When you first look at your natal chart it is generally incomprehensible to you. Even with all the tools at hand, the symbols and keywords, you hardly know where to begin to make sense of it and grasp what it can tell you. Following are some simple steps to guide you through the process of deciphering its meaning.
It is strongly recommended that you start a notebook where you write down all the keywords, roles and functions that you feel pertain strongly to you and/or your life, which you will glean from going through these various pages. Please try to be honest with yourself about the traits that may seem somewhat 'undesirable' to you. Remember that all the qualities that make up who you are fulfill some important function, even though you may not recognize it at the moment. Make every effort to suspend judgments of good and bad, and just be the detached observer through this learning process. At the finish of this journey, when you read through your notes, you should have an excellent grasp of what your chart 'says' about you.
First look at the chapter on the Sun, locate the sections describing its house and sign placement in your chart, and note what it says that seems pertinent to you. Remember, each placement can mean a wide variety of things, and we are seeking to glean the ones that particularly apply to you. If there are qualities that may seem to, or you are not sure, make a note of them. You can always 'delete' later, if you feel it isn't relevant.
Follow the same procedure with the Moon, making notes that apply to you.
Then look at the meanings of the sign on your ascendant, and then at the planet that rules that sign. It is called the 'chart ruler', and has a very great significance in your personality and makeup. Note its house and sign interpretations.
These three, the Sun, Moon and Ascendant, are the primary indicators in a chart. With only this much information you usually have quite a revealing 'thumbnail' picture of your astrological makeup.
Go through the planets and asteroids, following this procedure with each.
Then look at the aspects. This is a complex procedure, as the energy pattern in each chart is unique. A familiarity with basic numerology is helpful in the understanding of aspects, but is not essential. It is helpful to tally up how many of each type of aspect appear in your pattern, and then note what major aspect patterns there are. Then look at what types of aspects there are between various planets and points, keeping notes of their meanings. The Aspect page gives the basic meanings of these.
Next, do a 'tally' of the elements and modalities, to see which are strongest and which are weakest in your chart, and note the interpretations.
The most revealing step might well be the final one, of finding the themes in your chart. The first step in this process is to go through and assign all the relevant numbers for every placement, using the Symbol Synthesis below as the key. For example, if you have the Sun in Taurus in the eighth house, you would note a 5 [for the Sun], 2 [for Taurus] and 8 [for the house]. Do this for every body in your chart, then for the Moon's nodes, for which you will only have two numbers, the sign and house. Search for numbers and combinations of numbers that appear most often, and make a note of their meanings using the Harmonic Keys to the Numbers. Then note whether your aspect tally revealed a predominance of one or two harmonic numbers, and take those into consideration also, making notes of their meanings. When you have identified one or more themes this way, then see how the planets assigned to the predominant harmonics tie into the major aspect patterns of the chart.
At this point the process becomes too individualized to make meaningful general statements, but by the time you have done this you will already have quite a good understanding of the way to study your chart, and intuition will provide many insights. It is a continuous process, your chart will always reveal more to you as you study it, so you are never finished until you decide you are. That is to say, there is always more to learn from your chart no matter how long you have studied it.
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