Where & How to Get Your Natal Chart
“Natal” means “birth.” A natal chart is a picture of the planets’ positions in the sky at the time & location you were born. Those positions are segmented by sign (the zodiac) & house. The relationships amongst the planets are described by their aspects, the lines criss-crossing the center of the chart.
Basically, a natal chart is a like the meta-picture on your life.
When self-analyzing my own natal chart, I was astonished by how it wasn’t like reading a horoscope, it wasn’t even like an analysis of my personality, but like reading an epic story about my private inner life.
By accident, analyzing my natal chart helped de-personalize true-life events, still throbbing away in my memories. I started seeing those events as destined circumstances instead of aberrations. I re-contextualized my “strengths” & “weaknesses.”
Most important, I calmed down. A whole lot.
Most of it really is written in the stars?
I’m on a campaign to show other strange people how to steer by starlight: to chart a life course that realizes the aesthetic landscape of your planetary soul. To think of astrology not as a decoder of your personality, but as a divinatory art: the ability to get a god’s eye view on your planetary precepts.
But first, you have to get your natal chart! ☝🏻
This post shows you my three fav places to score a copy of your natal chart, with step-by-step instructions for creating an account with my top fav, astro.com, so you can re-cast your chart as many times as you want!
I’ve also included a cute printable worksheet to help you memorize your natal planets.
After showing where & how to cast your stars, I’ll walk you through the basics & best practices for DIY’ing a natal chart analysis, plus link you to all my favorite astrology resources to help get you started! ✨
My 3 Favorite Places to Get a Natal Chart
Here are three different ways of scoring your stars, all totally free.
To cast your stars, enter your birth data into the software at the 3 websites I link to. Your birth data is the date, place, & time of your birth. Supplying all your birth data gives the most accurate version of your chart, but you can still get one without knowing your exact birth time. Try to ball park it, or for accuracy, look it up on your birth certificate.
For nerds: try to score a version of your chart from all three sites. Each says something useful, though they don’t all say the same thing.
At the bottom, I’ll show you how to start analyzing what’s on your chart!
⭐️ Option #1. get a birth chart analysis at the Astro Codex.
You get a pretty slick image of your natal chart (no account set-up or subscription required), with a way hardcore analysis of your planets. Your analysis won’t be on the same page as the chart image, but linked to long form articles elsewhere on the site for each of your planets in their signs, then again in their houses.
Right click & save the image to your hard drive (if you wanna), then copy & paste your favorite quotes from the articles into Google Docs, or wherever you store info like that. It will take you daysss to read through it all, & it will be savory.
⭐️ Option #2. get a free natal chart report from Cafe Astrology.
Cafe Astrology generates an entire report for your chart, including tables for everything: your planets in their Signs & Houses, your elements, your Chiron & the asteroids. Also, you get a table for all your planetary aspects with summaries, which are tricky to learn, so that’s invaluable.
You don’t have to create an account, & the site will save your report via cookies. BUT, you’ll have to write down the profile number & PIN assigned to you, if you want to clear your cookies or access your report from a different device. Cafe Astrology also lets you generate & store up to 10 other natal chart reports as well.
However, a big drawback: you don’t get to select the House System, so your report might read different from what you’ve seen in other reports. Like Astro.com, you do get the option of casting horoscopes & transit charts.
(Don’t see an image of your chart itself? Scroll all the way to the bottom. 👍🏻)
⭐️ Option #3. create an account at Astro.com.
Astro.com lets you cast your birth chart over & over again without re-entering all your birth data. You can also experiment with different House Systems, & produce a transit chart right over your natal chart, & pick ‘n choose different asteroids, fixed stars, & other arcane markers, as your astro-curiosity broadens. You can also generate & store many other charts as well.
This is my favorite option, the one I return to all the freaking time, but it’s kind of tricky getting started, so that’s what I’m going to walk you through it!
Here we go:
#2 Hover your cursor over "Free Horoscopes."
In the drop down menu, on the far right column, click "Extended Chart Selection."
#3 Proceed as either a guest user, OR, if you already have an account, login.
Even if you proceed as a guest, it will save your chart, & you can create your login info at the end.
#4 Enter your birth data: the date, time, & location you were born.
If you wanted to do a synastry reading (combining your chart with your BFF's or your momma's or your flavor of the week), this is where you'd select for that & then enter their birth data.
Double-check your birth hours. Be advised that it uses military hours, so if you were born at 9 o’clock at night, you want to click 2100 hours.
When ready, press ‘continue.’
#5 You’ve landed on the Extended chart selection page!
This is where the options are.
Press “Click here to show the chart” to proceed straightaway to your chart…
OR, if you want to select a specific House System, press “Options for zodiac and houses.” Changing the House System changes the layout of your natal chart, sometimes moving planets altogether. Aeolian Heart Astrology suggests that total noobs use the Whole House System, but I usually go with Placidus.
If you choose "default," the software generates your chart in the Placidus House System.
So, I'm basic.
OR, press "Additional Objects” to select for Chiron, Black Moon Lilith, Goddess Asteroids, fixed stars.... all the secret goodies a natal chart can offer!
(Never heard of any of those? I link to all that info down below.)
When you’ve selected for all your desired options, press “Click here to show the chart.”
Et voilá! Your chart will display on the following page!
I have my charts! So much info! 🙀 What do I do with it all?
First, right-click & save each version to desktop. Upload each version into a special folder in Google Drive where you can also store quotes & links to free articles all about your natal placements!
It’s going to be a lot of information. The more info you gather, the clearer & faster your chart starts making sense.
At the bottom of this post, I’ll link you to my favorite resources for going deeper. Deeper into the sky.
But, because you have your chart(s), let me help you start analyzing it:
first, identify your natal planets.
You have 10 planets in total: Mercury (☿), Venus (♀︎), Mars (♂︎), Jupiter (♃), Saturn (♄), Uranus (♅), Neptune (♆), Pluto (♇), plus the Sun (☉) & Moon (☽).
Make a list of your natal planets. Beside each planet, write the sign it shows up in. To find out the sign, look to the zodiac symbols on the outer rim of your chart.
For the same planet, next to the sign, write the house number. To find out the house, look to the numbers near the center of the chart, between the spokes.
Each planet should read like this: MERCURY in PISCES in the FOURTH HOUSE.
next, unpack the SIGN & HOUSE each planet shows up in.
Your natal planets will show up in one of twelve signs & houses. The sign tells you something about the quality of that planet’s energy, while the house tells you what area of life that planet exhibits its energy in your life.
Here’s a pretty common analogy: Imagine the planets as actors, the signs as their costumes, & the houses as the stage scenery. Jot down keywords beneath each planet, sign, & house, then visualize the scene. If a scene from a book or movie jumps to mind, jot it down: you’ll remember the placement better & make faster connections between other placements.
If you need more info than contained in the summaries provided by Cafe Astrology & the Astro Codex, hit up Google. Just search for “[the planet] + [the sign],” & also, “[the planet] + [the house].”
NOTE: You won’t find many articles about your planet in both the sign & the house, so you may want to create a new .doc to store quotes / links that you can come back to.
Pay attention to whether experts say the planet is strengthened or weakened by the sign its in. Would you agree? How would you disagree? Can you think of any ways this strength or weakness manifests in your life?
In your notes, try to create as clear a scene as possible for each of your natal planets. You can invent scenes, or borrow ones from media. What scenarios best represent your placements? What mood does the information evoke? What aesthetic?
For more nuance, read into your planets’ aspects.
The aspects are those red & blue lines crisscrossing the center of your chart. Aspects explain the relationships between your natal planets. It’s not just about where & how they show up, but how they work together.
(Psst, Cafe Astrology spits out a graphic explaining all your aspects, plus a summary, which you can enhance with a Google search!)
Some types of aspects are more desirable than others, just like some planets are considered more “beneficial” than the rest.
Hard aspects: conjunctions, squares, & oppositions. Planets squaring off or in opposition throw static on each other, whereas conjunct planets can be too close for comfort.
Easy aspects: trines & sextiles. You don’t have to worry about planets with easy aspects. In fact, if it suddenly dawns on you that you have plenty of easy aspects working for you in your chart, permit yourself to lean more on that planetary harmony.
What true-life incidences can you think of where these aspects came into play? Planetary aspects are basically like unconscious patterns, & studying them now brings them into light. Now you can get mindful, even strategic, about them.
Do a little Googling for some ideas about making your aspects work for you, & see what happens. 😉
As you’re first learning to analyze your natal chart, some placements might seem totally meaningless. You might be like, “Uh, okay, I get the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, but… I’m not getting anything being said about Jupiter, Saturn, or the rest. 🤨”
Here’s the deal: if you haven’t yet passed through your Saturn Return, you might not be able to “see” all the connections between your life & your chart. Saturn takes 27-29 years to cycle back to its placement on our chart. Saturn is also the last of the visible planets, making it the last celestial cycle that must come to pass before we’ve reached soul-maturity.
Meaning: until Saturn returns, you might have not accrued enough perspective to make those connections.
Don’t dismay. Instead, study all the spine-tingly, synchronous placements that do feel spooky-accurate to you right now, & use that information!
See what inner doors unlock!
Keep revisiting the info you’ve gathered, & being artistic / crafty with your natal chart.
Psst—if you’ve just gotta, gotta know what’s up without waiting on all the cycles to come to pass, get thee to an astrologer, it’s what they’re there for!
When you make it through all 10 planets’ placements & aspects, think of a way to encapsulate the info: an art project, a literary project, or maybe a presentation you upload to your YouTube channel. Write poems about your stars, or vision boards. I’ve had readers tell me that they attributed celebrities or literary characters to their personal planets, or that learning their chart inspired them to write whole memoirs out in Mead notebooks, each chapter representing one of their planets.
Also, get hands-on! The more you study & work with your chart, the quicker & more common the a-ha moments. Print off one or all three versions for your planner-grimoire, bulletin board, fridge, & bathroom mirror. Print your natal chart onto astro-brite paper for coolness, or--if you're a sav with your printer settings--miniaturize & print your chart(s) onto cardstock to make into a hella sick bookmark, which FedEx Office can laminate for you.
(If you've made something off-the-wall with your natal chart, you should definitely let me know.)
This is the fastest way to internalize what you’ve studied! The faster it’s internalized, the sooner you’ll find yourself drawing on the insight.
further Resources for self-analyzing your stars:
Get a printable DIY natal chart (you draw all the placements yourself) when you subscribe to the Zenned Out newsletter!
What are planetary aspects? Aspects are illustrated by those red & blue lines criss-crossing the center of your chart, & they explain the relationships between your natal planets. If you score a natal chart report from Cafe Astrology (see option #2), you’ll get a graphic AND summary of your planetary aspects!
What are the House Systems, & why do they change the chart’s layout? Each house system is a different way of distributing the zodiac in the chart. If you want to compare your chart in all the different house Systems, use this generator. (The Astro Codex generates a table for this as well, see option #3 above.)
Need a visual aid for your natal chart? Employ the Tarot. Corrine Kenner’s book Tarot & Astrology was my introduction to astrological tarot, & has lots of exercises that can show you how to map out your natal chart with the cards!
Personal vs. Social vs. Transpersonal Planets: what you need to know. Hint: your ♅, ♆, & ♇ signs don’t much affect you as an individual. They actually reveal how similar you are with other people in your age group! But the house they show up in? Ya, that’s personal, & can tell you the realm of life / activities that plug you into the zeitgeist!
Too much to do on your own? Aeolian Heart Astrology has a free eBook, HEARTBEAT, that walks you through all of your stars! (Psst—she’s also re-opening her class on natal chart reading, DISCOVERY, very soon! Get on her email list to find out when!)
Want to continue your education? This post compiles all my fav astrologers, most of whom have books, programs, or resource pages about all things astrology. (Is there an astro-mage you luv who’s not on my list? Email me a link so I can check them out!)
So, what’s the spookiest coincidence you’ve found between your natal chart & your true-life experiences?
Better yet, has decoding your natal chart helped change your point of view on some part of your life—past, present, or future?
I’ve experienced sev-vur-al spooky coincidences between my life & my natal chart, which I’m writing up for a new post. Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter (scroll all the way to the bottom!) to find out when it goes live. ❤
Meanwhile, I want to hear about the coincidences between your stars & true-life experiences. Tell me everything via email!
Images via Pinterest. Help me credit the creators here.