What is a birth chart?

What is a birth chart?
Simple Chart Example.

Simply put, it is a map of time and space at the minute you were born. The left part of the chart represents the east and the right part of the chart represents the west. (This is backward from a traditional compass, and we can get into that in another post maybe, but for now just go with it). The entire middle of the chart represents the horizon. In fact, the word horoscope originates from the Greek words hōra (time) and skopos (observer).


From our view on Earth, all planets rise in the east and set in the west each day (not just the Sun and Moon). This is due to the Earth's rotation on its axis. Whether the planets are above horizon or below the horizon and exactly where they fall on this map in relation to each other, is going to be dependent on the exact time and location of your birth.


Each of the planets is placed in a specific sign at any given moment in time. From our view on Earth, the planets are moving across an imaginary line called the ecliptic. The signs of the zodiac were mapped across this line thousands of years ago. In fact, these charts are representations of us (whenever and wherever we were born) in relation to the ecliptic. When you say "I'm an Aries." What you're actually saying is "The Sun was in the part of the sky designated by Aries when I was born." (Dare you to say that next time you're at a party.) While you're at it, you can tell this partygoer, what signs the Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars were all in and watch them awkwardly laugh while sidestepping over to the snack table.

So, in our charts, in our birth maps, if you will, we have the interaction of the celestial objects in the sky as they appear to move around us (designated by the time of day) combined with the individual orbits of these objects as they move around the Sun (designated by day & year). The Sun moves along this entire path known as the ecliptic roughly once a year. The Moon does it roughly once a month. The rest of the planets have their own individual orbit times as well and they vary pretty widely.

"Your birth chart is a snapshot of the sky the moment you took your first breath. It marks your arrival here on Earth; a celestial blueprint, if you will, that holds the keys to living a life of purpose." - Chani Nicholas

Once in a Lifetime

The interplay of all these different variables makes our birth chart incredibly unique to us (man, am I special or what?). Unless you have a twin who was literally born within seconds of your birth, no one will ever have the exact same chart as you. Well, I take that back. According to some astrologers, who enjoy math, the exact alignments of your chart will cycle back through again... in about 25,000 years! (Hey me in the future! Did the planet make it?) This makes our birth chart an incredible spiritual tool on our path to self-discovery. Best. Map. Ever.