1 If you have never looked at a birth chart before

Hello there! I'm really happy to explain, I love explaining things! If you are a beginner in the study of astrology, I am writing for you. 
I expect you to know the symbols of the signs and planets, if you don't, you can find them here https://www.astro.com/astrology/in_kdhoros_e.htm

On this same website, you can get your own birthchart done for free. You need your date and precise time of birth (more or less five or ten minutes, exact if possible) and your place of birth. Go here https://www.astro.com/cgi/

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And now, let me explain. 
A birth chart is like a big clock with two dials and ten hands. 


The first dial is made up of the twelve signs. 
Inside the circle formed of the twelve signs, you can see the symbols of the planets. For instance, in my own chart, the Sun (The circle with a very small circle at its center) is placed in Scorpio (The kind of M ending up with an arrow) The small numbers near the planets indicate the exact degree of the sign where they sit. My Sun is at 12 degrees Scorpio. 
The second dial is made up of twelve houses. On the birth chart, you can see lines dividing the wheel into 12 sections, numbered from 1 to 12 (the numbers are near the center of the wheel) On my own chart, the Sun sits in the 5th house.

You can also see blue and red lines joining the planets. These are called aspects. The aspects are also indicated in the biggest of the two tables below the chart. Don't be impressed by the quantity of symbols, you will learn slowly, one or two symbols at a time, as I explain the meanings, and before you know it, you'll speak the jargon like a pro! 
Here is an article where you can find the list of aspects with their symbols. https://www.astro.com/astrowiki/en/Aspect

Let's come back to the chart. The last thing you need to know are the four angles of the chart. They are very important points. The first one is called Ascendant, or Rising Sign. It is the cusp (or beginning) or the first house, on the left hand side. You can see the letters AC written in bold characters. 
Just opposite the AC is the Descendant, marked DC
Towards the top of the chart, spot the letters MC - It's the Midheaven, or Medium Coeli and opposite the MC is the IC (Imum Coeli). These four points are very powerful, any planet found near them will have a dominant influence on your personality.

So take some time to get familiar with your own birth chart, find in which signs are your Ascendant and Midheaven, in which sign and houses are your planets, don't bother about anything that I haven't explained yet, take a rest, congratulate yourself, dance a dance of victory for learning so much already, and I'll tell you about meanings as soon as you're ready, in the next chapter.

  Jean-Marc Pierson Astrologer