In astrology, a natal chart is a stylized map of the universe with the "native" (the individual or subject to be studied) at the center. It is calculated for the exact time and location of the native's birth for the purposes of gaining insight into the native's personality and potential. Commonly used alternative names for the natal chart include birth chart, horoscope, natus, nativity, radix, geniture and genethliac chart, among others. The chart shows the positions of the sun, moon, planets, and potentially other celestial objects, all referred to as the native's "planets," within the frames of references defined by the astrological signs and houses.
The accurate birth time (generally agreed upon as the first breath or intake of air) and location are necessary for the calculation of the exact degree of the signs that are rising, setting, culminating up, and culminating down, known respectively the ascendant (or "rising sign"), descendant, medium coeli (or "midheaven"), and imum coeli (or "lower midheaven"). These degrees, also known as the angles, are essential for mapping the positions of the native's twelve houses.
Going beyond your Sun Sign reveals your true astrological portrait, based on the exact planetary positions at the time of your birth. Having an accurate birth chart done professionally will uncover the most useful and hidden details on your personality traits and characteristics that are uniquely you.
Once the natal chart has been constructed the process of interpretation can begin. This is a branch of astrology known as natal astrology, which involves building a complete picture of the personality of the subject, or native. Interpretation involves two main steps - chart weighting and chart shaping. Chart weighting involves noting the distribution of zodiac signs and houses in the chart, and the significance of this to the overall personality of the native. Signs are assessed by element (Fire, Earth, Air, and Water) and by quality (Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable). Houses are assessed by the significance of Angular, Succedent and Cadent houses.
Chart shaping involves assessing the placement of the planets by aspect and position in the chart, and noting any significant patterns which occur between them. This involves noting significant aspect patterns (or groups of aspects), which may appear in the chart and any other patterns, such as Jones patterns.
The solar chart is a natal chart erected when the date of birth is known, but not the time of day. The position of the sun at midnight or noon is taken as the time of birth, and the position of the sun, moon and planets plotted in the chart for that time. This leads to a fairly accurate picture of their position (with the exception of the moon), as most of the planets do not move much in the course of one day. The aspects between each of the planets (except the moon) can therefore be plotted with a high degree of confidence. The sun's position is taken as the ascendant of the chart and equal sized houses of 30 degrees each are used; or alternatively, the sunrise chart can be used, with the sun's position at sunrise at the latitude in question taken as the ascendant.
Although the solar chart is deficient in that it cannot show the ascendant, midheaven or the houses with any accuracy, it can nevertheless provide a fairly accurate profile of a person's character from examining the position of the planets alone.
If you look at the words 'natal chart' you could read them another way 'birth map' - this may help you understand what is being talked about. Basically, the natal chart is a map of the sky including the positions of the planets for the time that you were born. Where you are born has an impact on what is seen in the sky, e.g., if two people were born on the same day and at the same time but in a different city and country, what is seen overhead would be different. This would mean that their natal charts showing planetary placements would be different from each other.
So, the first step in using astrology is to draw a map of the sky for the moment a person is born. This map includes all the planets, plus a few other points of interest such as the horizon and the middle of the sky directly over the birthplace. The time of birth is important for detailed work because it affects the position of the various parts of the chart, in particular the zodiac sign on the eastern horizon (this gives the Rising Sign/Ascendant) and position of the point over the birthplace (this gives the position of the Mid heaven).
If the time of birth is unknown it can be worked out through major life events by an experienced astrologer who specializes in this branch of astrology: this is known as rectification. To do this you would need to give the astrologer as many major life events as possible such as: marriage; birth of children; major moves; divorce; death; new business ventures or jobs; and/or any other significant changes to your life.
Another way of finding out what time you were born is to contact the hospital you were born in. In the majority of cases they have this information recorded on the mother's file.
Once the natal chart has been prepared, the positions of the planets in different zodiac signs (ie, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, etc) can be 'interpreted'. This is an area that people interested in astrology usually become a little skeptical about the validity of astrology because the interpretations can vary greatly from one astrologer to another. One way to understand these differences in interpretation is to understand that the planets and other points in the natal chart are used as symbols: as such, they have quite a broad ability to represent different qualities depending on the age, sex, marital status, belief system, etc of the person whose natal chart is being interpreted.
Interpretation is also affected by the particular areas of interest of the individual astrologer. For example, some of the areas of specialization include psychological, past-life, medical, child-based, and the list goes on!
The type of information gained from the natal chart includes understanding the early home life, relationship with parents and how these affect adult relationships. There are many others areas that can be looked at in quite a comprehensive way such as how you are perceived by the people around you, emotional needs, how you express love and affection, etc.
The information found in the natal chart can also provide an insight into what talents a person may possess that have not yet been realized or used to full potential.
Natal charts offer the benefit of self-understanding which may give a person a whole new perception of themselves, direction in life and open up possibilities for new directions in life; both in the physical and psychological sense.Article Source: http://www.content.onlypunjab.com