How to Read a Natal Chart

This is a brief guide to reading a natal chart in shamanic astrology. We begin with a standard “script”, which is a brief overview of where someone is from, what they’re here to do, and what sort of energies come into play around relationships, work and home. You can reference my chart below as an example.

Where we come from is governed principally by the sign of our moon (☽), and what we’re here to explore is described by our ascendant (As). I have my moon in the sign of Scorpio, and my ascendant in Gemini, so I “come from the tribe of Scorpio” – that’s the energy I know well, and also an energy I can get stuck in – and I’m here to study in the mystery school of Gemini.

Apollo's Chart
Apollo’s Chart – Click for Larger Version
Created in Solar Fire software

Within each of these tribes, we have a job. These are given to us by the north and south nodes, which are opposite each other on the chart and look like magnets. The south node is U-shaped (☋), and the north node is the same shape upside-down (☊). With the nodes, we look to the house position rather than the sign. My south node is in the sign of Virgo, but it’s in the 4th house. (We start counting houses at one just below the left side, and count counterclockwise from there.) My north node is opposite it in the 10th house. The 4th house relates to the fourth sign, Cancer, and the 10th house to Capricorn, so we would say I had the Cancer job in the Scorpio tribe, and in this life I’m here to figure out how to hold the Capricorn job in the Gemini tribe.

My Mars (♂) represents the sort of man I’m here to be (since I’m male). It’s in the sign of Taurus, an Earth sign concerned with beauty. The twelve signs represent twelve different types of men; it’s a very significant description of what it means to each of us to “be a man”. If you’re a woman, you want to look to your Venus (♀) sign to see what sort of a woman you’ve come here to be.

Running through the rest of the interesting signs briefly:

  • Mercury (☿) represents how we think and communicate. Mine’s in Aries.
  • Venus (for a man) or Mars (for a woman) represents the inner beloved; that energy that we’re attracted to, but which we can also cultivate within ourselves as develop a relationship with the inner other. (This generally seems to hold true for GLBT people as well as heteros.) My inner beloved is an Aries warrior.
  • The Descendant (Ds) is always exactly opposite the Ascendant. Since my Ascendant (aka Rising) is in Gemini, my descendant’s in Sagittarius. This represents the sort of experiences we like to have in relationship.
  • Jupiter (♃) represents opportunities for expansion. Mine is in Scorpio, so I like intense spiritual practices like Shamanic Breathwork.
  • The House (not the sign) of Chiron represents our soul wound, and also the medicine we bring. For me, this is in the 11th house, which is like Aquarius.
  • The sign of the Midheaven (Mc) represents our right livelihood, our work in the world
  • Opposite the Midheaven is the Home & Roots (Ic), the sort of experiences we would like to have at home. (Since my Midheaven is in Aquarius, my home and roots would is opposite that in Leo.)

Here’s the key to some of the important chart elements:

SignsPlanets and other points

For more information on your personal script, as well as what current planetary alignments have to tell us about the challenges of the coming year, please contact me at