An astrological chart
(also called a natal chart, from the word nativity or natus,
meaning "at birth") contains similar components to those found
in a dramatic play.
A play has (1) actors
on the stage, (2) the personality the actors take on, (3) a setting,
and (4) a plot.
In a chart the planets
in our solar system are analogous to the actors on the stage. Each planet
represents a different human function. For example, the sun represents
our life force -- our will to be. The moon represents our emotions,
our daily habit patterns. Mercury, the messenger god, represents how
we think, how we process information and how we communicate. Venus,
the goddess of love, represents what we love, what makes us content
or happy, what we value. Mars, the god of war, represents our capacity
to assert ourselves, to compete, to be aggressive. Jupiter represents
growth, expansion, travel, understanding and comprehension. Saturn represents
lessons we have to learn in life, how we deal with authority figures,
time, discipline and structure. Uranus represents change, improvisation,
experimentation, seeing the world in a different light. Neptune represents
our capacity to dream, to imagine, to sacrifice. Pluto represents regeneration,
letting go of the old and letting in the new.
Each planet sits in a
particular sign of the zodiac. Like the actor on the stage taking on
a certain personality for that particular play, each planet takes on
the personality of the sign it is in at the time a person is born.
A chart is plotted on
a circle, which we call the wheel. The wheel is divided into 12 divisions
that we call houses. A house is like one of 12 hourly divisions on a
Each house represents
a different environment of our lives, such as career, health, relationships,
finances, family, children, etc. Planets sit in one of the 12 houses,
providing the setting where the activities occur.
The last, but by no means
least important, component of the chart is the one analogous to the
plot of the play -- the aspects. Simply stated, aspects are angles.
Astrologers look at the number of degrees separating each planet from
one another. Having studied charts for thousands of years, astrologers
have observed that this angular relationship of planets is critical.
And there are certain angles that seem to have a greater impact than
others. The so called major angles are those where planets are
0 -10, 90, 120, or 180 degrees apart. The minor aspects are those
where planets are 30, 60 or 150 degrees apart. And there are even less
potent aspects, such as 135, 72 and others.
The aspects act like
the plot of the play. They tell us how the planets (actors) interact
with one another. They tell us whether the various planets are operating
on the same plane as one another or if they are working at cross purposes
with one another.
Those are the components
of an astrological chart. As you can see, a chart is much more than
simply the sign in which the sun was sitting at the moment of birth.