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How to Read a Birth Chart

The 4 Cornerstones of Chart Interpretation

Reading a birth chart is a skill that can be learned. By an undestanding of four main components of a chart you can get to understand the chart easily. Although there are many, many parts to one birth chart, if you start with the basics you swill be well on the way to interpreting the message in a chart sooner rather than later.

In this post, I’m going to share with you the four cornerstones of chart interpretations. Chart reading is a huge subject and there are many ways to skin this cat, so today let’s zoom out for a high level look at what you need to know. And what is important for anyone who wants to read charts.

Listen now >>> The Four Cornerstones of Chart Reading


The four cornerstones are what holds things up and they can hold up your chart readings. An example is the pyramids. They first lay the four cornerstones and make them level then they can build upon that. Walls are built that hang from the corners. It’s like the foundations of your house.

The four cornerstones of chart reading are the signs, planets, houses and aspects. Many astrology books focus one one or more of these factors. I urge you to read as many astrology books as you can and I have some book recommendations for you.

1. Signs

The signs of the zodiac are the gateway into chart reading. The signs are originally named after the constellations. In the tropical zodiac, measured fro the Vernal equinox, the zodiac signs are the ones that the Sun passes through every year.

Everyone knows their Sun sign. You will know your family and frineds and maybe even your colleagues’ Sun signs. As an astrologer, you need to understand the meaning of the signs and one way to do this is with keywords.

Sign Keywords

There are a few main keywords for each sign. Let’s just be clear about sign keywords. A keyword cannot be generic like “happy” as this could relate to many signs. A sign keyword must directly relate to the sign and to no other sign. A sign keyword is unique to that particular sign.

Example Sign Keywords

Fire signs keywords: Inspirational, hot, fiery, active and outgoing.

Aries: Competitive, aggressive, dynamic and red.

Leo: Creative, honest, extravagant and yellow.

Sagittarius: Adventurous, cosmopolitan, philosophical and blue.

Read more >>> Sign Wine Parings

Read more >>> Compatible Signs

Your Astrology Journal

A good idea when learning astrology is to have an astrology journal. Reach for your astrology journalMake a page titled “Signs”  then on the next 12 pages, write each sign name at the top of the page. You will fill in more information about the signs later.

Reference your good astrology books, choose five sign keywords for each sign and learn them first. Be aware of polarity, element and mode, but don’t worry too much about out this yet. First learn the signs in which you have tenants, or planets. So for instance, if you have the Sun in Libra, then learn that sign.

Next turn your attention to your Moon sign and learn that signs keywords. Follow in for all the planets and learn these signs first.

Read more >>> Recommended Reading

Read more >>> Your Holy Trinity and Polarity

2. Planets

As you start to learn the sign keywords, along with all of that you can add in some planet keywords. Start with the Sun, the Moon and then work your way outwards from Mercury.

Get at least five planet specific keywords for each planet. Planet keywords must not be generic and must be only relevant to that individual sign. You can use all your astrology books as a reference but don’t quote other astrologers directly.

Read more >>> Planets

Read more >>> How Planets Move

Read more >>>Retrograde Planets

3. Houses

For the houses there are 12 houses and each house represents a different area of life. Houses can also contain people in your life. 

Start learning the houses by your own planet in house placements. So learn your Sun’s house keywords then your Moon’s house keywords and so on. In this way you become more familiar with what is in your own chart first. Then go back over and learn the rest of the house keywords. That will be your vacant houses.

Read more >>> The Astrological Houses

4. Aspects

Next learn the aspects.

Ptolemaic Aspects

There are five Ptolemaic aspects. Start with the conjunction, opposition, trine, square and sextile. In other words the major or Ptolemaic aspects. When you have mastered the big five, go on to learn keywords for the minor aspects.

Minor Aspects

The minor aspects are the semi sextile, quincunx, semi-square and sesquiquadrate.

Aspects of Declination

Eventually you will learn keywords for the parallel and contra parallel aspects.

Lesser Used Aspects

The lesser used aspects are the quintile and biquintile, the sextile, bi-sextile and tri-septile and the novile and decile.


You won’t know everything at once it is a process. Lay out your astrology journal with one double page spread for each cornerstone component of sign, planet, house and aspect. Ideally you will leave pages inbetween each cornerstone topic so you can come back and add more information later.

Read more >>> Fibonacci Aspects

Read more >>> Aspect Orbs

Personal Astrology Resource

If you create an astrology journal it can become your very own astrology resource. As you read more and more charts you can develop your interpretation style further. 

I hope these ideas will give you something to think about. I’d like to think these four cornerstones will help you get going with learning your wonderful craft.


Read more >>> Planetary Complexes

Read more >>> Astrology Reading Cards

Listen now >>> Starzology Astrology Podcast


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Author Bio

Alison Price: Astrology Coach

Alison wants to help you uncover your individual creativity and lead a fulfilling life using your own astrology. She shares her wisdom from the heart with a touch of humor.

Learn more about Alison’s journey.

If you’d like to get in touch with Alison, you can reach out to her via email at

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