A child’s natal chart is read much the same as an adult’s chart, but an additional and useful dimension can be added. While an adult’s chart is generally interpreted with insight and instructions directly for that adult to use in their own life, a child’s chart can be interpreted for the parent’s use, to allow the parent further insight into facets of their child’s personality and spirit that their child may not be able to adequately communicate yet since they are still developing. For instance, if you know that your child has Mercury in Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn, it’s useful to realize that this child will learn most easily through having something demonstrated to them and then having something where they can use their hands to really engage with what they are trying to learn (for instance, touching an object instead of just seeing a picture of it). This is a simple but powerful truth that can be leveraged to support your child’s learning in the best way possible.
As parents today, we know it is not enough to just make sure our kids get a balanced meal and make it to school on time. We are very concerned about our child’s social, emotional and spiritual well being, not just physical and mental. How many parents have at least one child development book on our bookshelf? I bet the majority of us, including myself, would answer yes to that question. If you have been to the bookstore and seen the massive child development section, you know it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the methods and philosophies of raising healthy children. While there are many books that have good ideas, not all parenting philosophies are a good fit for every parent and most philosophies aren’t able to take in all the vast differences in the personalities and needs of one child from the next.
This is an area where astrology excels! Your child's natal chart can direct you to the unique combination of needs and challenges your child has.
The planets in a birth chart represent the common human needs and urges that we all experience, although we go about fulfilling those needs in a variety of ways and styles. By knowing your child’s chart, you can see how best to teach them health in all areas in their life.
The Sun represents our fundamental sense of self, as separate and distinct from others. Like the planets in our solar system all revolve around the sun, it is what all the various parts of ourselves center around and thereby represents a set of behaviors and attitudes that form the base of our identity. When we are taking care of our Sun’s needs (as indicated by the sign and house where our Sun is found in our birth chart), we have a sense of wholeness and sanity, like we know who we are. The Sun has ties to all five areas of health because without it, we run out of vitality and energy even to continue the process of living.
The Moon represents our primary emotional needs, what makes us feel secure and nurtured. It can also indicate the ways we most easily feel someone’s love, and the way we like to show our love and care for another. It represents what we would call our heart. The Moon is tied most to our emotional health. When we are taking care of our Moon’s needs, we are more likely to be happy. When we are not, we feel insecure and unhappy.
Mercury represents how we learn and process information, and how we communicate that information to others, as well as listening and paying attention. It also can indicate the subjects we most like to learn and talk about. It is our voice, figuratively and literally. Mercury is tied most to our social and mental health. When we are taking care of our Mercury’s needs, we are speaking up when we need to, we are keeping our brain healthy, and we are engaging with the world on some level. When we are not, we may feel scattered and unable to concentrate.
Venus represents our desire to make connections, be it to people or to the world around us, which includes the kind of people we find ourselves drawn to (whether for love or friendship), and the way we go about attracting people to ourselves. This also includes our ability and interest to express our creativity and to take inspiration in from our environment. Venus is most directly tied to our social health. When we are taking care of our Venus’ needs, we feel creatively connected to our world and are nurtured by our relationships. When we are not, we may feel lonely and uninspired.
Mars represents our will, which includes how go after what we want and our sense of self-empowerment. It can also indicate the ways we handle conflict, experience and show anger, and defend ourselves, when necessary. Mars is tied most to our physical and social health. When we are taking care of our Mars’ needs, we are effectively resolving conflicts and feel that we are powerful enough to effect change in our lives. When we are not, we may feel powerless or experience built up frustration that is not expressed effectively.
The Ascendant (sometimes known as the Rising Sign**) is not a planet but can be understood and interpreted in the same manner. It is an important point in our birth chart that represents how we interface with the world. Imagine a person as a house. Every house has a front door, and that front door (as well as the entire front of the house, actually) can give people an impression about what they assume they would find inside the house. It is the same way with people as we create first impressions of others by their overall presentation (including their mannerisms and physical appearance). The Ascendant represents how we feel comfortable interacting with others in everyday situations. It is your personal style and outer appearance (physically and our general persona). Unlike the formal definition of the word persona, the Ascendant is not a calculated or planned set of behaviors. In fact, when we are taking care of our Ascendant (as indicated by the sign in which it falls in our birth chart), we are comfortable in our own skin and don’t have to think about where we place our hand or how we are dressed or what expression is on our face. When we are not, we feel socially awkward, vulnerable, or out of place.
These planets are sometimes called the ‘personal planets’, because we easily engage with them from a very early age and on a constant and personal basis. When we get older and start experiencing and expecting more from life (perhaps around age 12 or so), we start to encounter the remaining planets in a more recognizable and conscious way.
Jupiter represents our sense of our own potential, as well as the potential inherent in life’s experiences. When we are taking care of Jupiter, we are taking appropriate risks to challenge ourselves and reach for our potential, while building and relying on our self-confidence to lead the way. A healthy Jupiter leads to faith in ourselves and in the world. An unhealthy Jupiter leads to unfocused greediness or naïve and foolish actions.
Saturn represents our desire for accomplishment and our ability to do what we need to in order to achieve our goals, such as exercising self-discipline, patience, practice, and commitment. When we are taking care of Saturn, we are taking responsibility for the results we get or don’t get as a result of our action or inaction in certain areas of our life. An unhealthy Saturn may lead to us lamenting the natural consequences that arise from our lack of effort and endurance, and allowing ourselves to feel victimized by people or circumstances without considering our own accountability. Saturn can tie into all areas of life, depending on what lessons it represents in your birth chart according to sign and house placement.
Uranus represents our quest for individuality, to discover and embrace what we really are as opposed to what we have been taught to be by our peers, our parents, our culture or the media. Healthy Uranus behaviors result in awareness of a pure element of the self and an acknowledgement of our right to pursue what makes us uniquely ourselves. An unhealthy response to Uranus can result in unfocused rebellion and contrariness without the benefit or result of self-knowledge.
Neptune represents our ability to receive and trust intuition as well as our connection to divinity and/or our higher selves. When we are taking care of Neptune we know the difference between a healthy surrender of our ego to cooperate with our intuition and inner guidance and an unhealthy surrender of our ego where we do not have appropriate boundaries between the self and others. An unhealthy Neptune can also result in having our head in the clouds and making poor judgments.
Pluto represents the process of turning wounds and fears that we have accumulated in this life into personal power and emotional strength. As we grow, we encounter people and situations that cause us pain, pain that is sometimes too overwhelming to properly process at the time. As we gain strength and maturity over time, it becomes appropriate for us to deal with these wounded parts of us at various stages in our life. A healthy response to Pluto is acknowledging when it is time to look at a fear or a wound and facing it, processing and letting go of some of it to access more of ourselves and our personal strength. An unhealthy response to Pluto can result in letting the usefulness of our defense mechanisms expire to the point where now our fears are keeping us more hurt and trapped than what originally hurt us in the first place. Like a bandage, sometimes we need to protect the wound, but sometimes we need to take that bandage off to air out the wound and let it finish healing properly.
What Astrology Can’t Do For You & Your Child
If it sounds like getting your child’s natal chart will tell you what to do in every difficult parenting situation and you’re thinking that’s too good to be true, well, you’re right. It is too good to be true. Much like a building has its blueprints, a natal chart can show you the plan. Having a plan gives you a leg up for building a functional and beautiful building! But it doesn’t build it for you. I’ve shown you what astrology can do, now let me show you what it can’t do, and the quickest way to misunderstand and misuse this tool.
Choice is the Secret Ingredient
At the risk of stirring up the great fate vs. free will, or nature vs. nurture debates, it’s helpful to recognize that while a natal chart shows essentially how your child can live a happy and fulfilling life, that doesn’t mean that they are always going to make the right choices, especially not right away. We are all free to sit on the couch and eat potato chips until we leave this earth. Who hasn’t found that to seem like an attractive option at a particularly low point in life? Knowing your child’s natal chart will help you know the major lessons and choices they are going to be faced with, not what they will choose. If little Jacob has his Sun in Taurus in the 2nd house, he is here with an ultimate goal of learning peace and inner stability, which will both build and rely on his self-confidence. However, Johnny may choose to respond to that urge for stability in him by stockpiling resources, accumulating a lot of stuff such as money, food, or objects, so that he can feel insulated and protected against what can happen out there in the big, bad world to threaten his sense of security. Or, Johnny may choose to build his sense of security through taking appropriate but sensible risks to prove to himself that he has what it takes to survive, so that even when the chaos of the world touches his life, he will have the confidence built from past risks and their subsequent successes to recognize that security comes from a sense of inner strength, not outer control.
A good astrologer will give you insight into the nature of the lessons, needs, and pitfalls that your child will face most prominently, so that you can go into parenting and supporting that child more informed. A good astrologer will not give you a list of stereotypes that will doom your child to failure or promise a charmed life.
It is also important to recognize it is human nature, frankly, to get it wrong before we get it right. Going back to the Sun in Taurus in the 2nd house example, Johnny may choose the former end of that spectrum several times until he can really see the results that he gets from each different choice in his life. It’s often when we’ve tried things the easy but unfulfilling way that we recognize the choices we really need to make. It’s how we get to know ourselves and this is part of the process of living.
The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Getting the Very Outcome You Were Hoping to Prevent
While your child’s birth chart is an invaluable tool for understanding their lessons, strengths, and needs, it’s too easy to set an expectation and therefore a limitation, maybe without even realizing it. Sun in Leo? Be careful of thinking “Oh, my child is always going to show off too much, I need to curb that so she doesn’t get an over-inflated ego.” Mars in Pisces? Be careful of thinking “Oh, they’re too gentle-hearted and nice to stand up for themselves, I’m going to need to give them extra protection” and fighting battles that the child needs to handle themselves. It’s a fine line between understanding and supporting a child’s nature and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy in an effort to compensate for what you may think they lack or could overdo. A Mars in Pisces child is going to have a natural desire to empathize with others and to accommodate them, and yet will benefit from seeing the outcome when they allow themselves to be victimized by others and what they can do about that. They may never be an aggressive person, but they can learn compassion without being a victim. If they are never put in a position where they have to defend themselves, they will never see the outcome of those experiences and learn from them. Likewise, Sun in Leo children are going to have a natural desire to express themselves, but they will benefit more from you being genuinely interested in their creative way of sharing themselves with you rather than you ignoring their demonstrations out of a fear they will be too domineering. Withholding this attention out of fear of overdoing it can create a self-fulfilling prophecy: the child may then feel that they never got enough attention and is prompted to go overboard to get what they need.
Despairing Over a Frightening or Negative Placement in Your Child’s Chart
There it sits: Pluto in the 4th house of home and family: maybe you’re what scares and wounds your child! Or Uranus conjunct Venus: maybe your child will never be able to settle down with the right someone! No matter how philosophical we try to be, it’s downright scary and painful when we have to come face to face with the likelihood of our child experiencing pain and fear due to a personal struggle they will have to deal with. It is important to remember that there are no ‘bad’ charts; each one truly has a spectrum of potential. It is merely how easy or difficult that process is, and ease doesn't guarantee success any more than difficulty predicts failure.
How to Use Stressful Placements in Your Child’s Chart to Your Parenting Advantage
Let’s be realistic, even though it’s true that there are no good or bad charts, every chart has a Pluto. Every chart has a Saturn. So everyone has something to overcome, fears and pain to experience and heal from, and struggles to face. This includes our children, and we hurt when our child suffers, plain and simple. So let’s take a look at how the ‘bad’ stuff can be useful.
False Alarms: When Nothing’s Wrong
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably experienced some trepidation when various authorities have told you that your son or daughter’s development is “below average” in some area. Whether going for your 2-year-old’s check up and being told that all the other children seem to be talking more than your child is by now, or in parent-teacher conferences about the teenager that won’t apply themselves, we all wonder “is there really something wrong with my child?” Sometimes there is a real problem, but sometimes a child’s lack of conformity to a process or set of expectations, be it educationally or socially, can be misconstrued as a lack or deficiency in the child, when really it is a natural difference in personality or development.
Astrology can help you understand, to some extent, if this may be the case. For instance, a child appears painfully shy but astrological investigation could determine that the child has Venus perhaps in the 12th house or the Ascendant in Cancer, in which case it is not appropriate for them to reveal themselves to playmates before they have determined it is safe to do so and they simply may need more time to warm up. This is not a dysfunction in the child, but merely a personality style that doesn’t live up to “the norm.”
Warning Signs: When Something Might Be Wrong
Warning signs are intended to help us realize we need to proceed with care and to be alert. If a planet in a child’s birth chart appears to be under a lot of stress from multiple avenues, such as the Opposition from our earlier example, it can point to an area where a child will need extra help developing in a healthy way with regard to that life function. This is also exceptionally valuable because it can help you know to gather and provide multiple resources for your child. For instance, if your child has Mercury in Gemini, they are likely to be highly curious and interested in a lot of different subjects. This can encourage them to get a little distracted, since so many wonderful things in this world catch their attention on a nearly constant basis. Maybe they get bored a little easily. This might not be a big problem.
However, if your child has Mercury in Gemini, and it’s in the 3rd house, and it’s in Opposition to Uranus and Mars, that can indicate that Mercury (and therefore their ability to learn and communicate) is under so much complex psychological and emotional pressure inside of them that this is a difficult area for them to have success in without a lot of practice and help. The child with this much pressure on their learning and communicative function may even find themselves, in extreme cases, with challenges such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or a learning disability such as Dyslexia. These diagnoses do not have to be the show stoppers they can seem to be initially, even though it is completely understandable for us to feel anxiety or sorrow if our child has to go through a struggle we wish we could relieve them of. This is just an indicator that this is a complex issue for them and helps alert you to the need to support your child in additional and multi-faceted ways in these areas. Their natal chart can give you specific insight into how that child will need to be supported with these difficult lessons.
This does not mean that you should go to your astrologer instead of a qualified doctor or a psychologist to find out if there are any developmental issues to be concerned with. It does mean that if your child is diagnosed with a developmental issue, astrology can be one of many tools you can utilize to help you understand the issue and plan strategies to support your child in dealing with these struggles. It is not a predictor of diagnoses.
Beyond the Natal Chart
My Sky Or Yours?: Comparing Your Chart to Your Child's
Your son or daughter’s birth chart can give you tremendous insight into their personal and developmental needs, but did you know that the combination of your birth chart and your child’s birth chart can tell you a lot about the relationship you have with your child?
Synastry is the process of comparing one birth chart to another to understand the dynamics and needs in a relationship of any kind, be it romantic, business-oriented, or a parent-child relationship. Since the Sun in a birth chart represents our basic sense of identity, and the Moon in a birth chart represents what we need to feel safe, nurtured, and happy, one of the most basic and yet profound way to do a comparison is to look at the Sun and Moon placements of each person and see how the needs and style of each compares to one another. If you can understand even the simple idea of how the way your child receives and understands love is different from the way you show and understand love, you’ve got the key to an everlasting bond.
For example, a Moon in Gemini child will feel happiest when they are given a lot of room to explore and learn quickly about the world around them. They will very much enjoy verbal and social interactions and will most easily feel nurtured and loved if a parent interacts with them in a playful way and takes the time to listen and respond to what they have to say. If a parent has a Sun or Moon in Libra, that parent will enjoy a certain amount of social interaction as well, so they can be a good listener and playmate for their child, but may find the level of unintentional chaos that an endlessly curious child brings a bit unsettling. If that Moon in Gemini’s parent has their Sun or Moon in Scorpio, they can feel comfortable with giving their Gemini Moon child the honest answers that he or she seeks, but may find it difficult to get some silence to internally decompress.
By comparing the charts of you and your child together, you can understand what your child’s needs are in comparison to your own, and understand why and how you clash so you can improve on those instances, as well as understand what works well and keep doing it!
When Time Stands Still … and When It Starts Again
When your little one is born, time seems to stand still. A birth chart is a snapshot of the heavens, forever frozen in time, but the planets continue to move in the heavens after that moment. A transit is where a planet is at any given time. When a planet in transit moves over a sensitive location in a birth chart, it can indicative that the timing is right for you to do or experience something. For instance, if Mars (planet of action) is in Virgo in your natal chart, it can generally be said of you that you are someone who benefits from taking a detailed and hands on approach to achieving your goals. Now if the current location of Saturn (planet of responsibility) happens to be in Virgo right now, then it is making contact with your Mars. This can reveal that it is time for you to buckle down and do some hard work to accomplish something, or that maybe it’s time for you to take on a big project or new responsibility.
To put it succinctly: the current location of a planet and where it’s landing in your birth chart can reveal what you are experiencing right now or are about to experience in life.
Oh, It’s Just a Phase
If you understand how a transiting planet may be triggering your child’s birth chart, you can track developmental cycles in your child’s life and see what they are learning in different phases of their life. One easy to use example of these cycles is the planetary return, which simply means the time when a planet returns to the place it was when your child was born. If you understand the concept of a birthday, than you are more familiar with a planetary return than you may think. Every time you have a birthday, the Sun returns to the place it was when you were born. This, of course, repeats yearly, and each year, you have the opportunity to come back to a sense of self, take stock, and begin a new annual cycle.
The cycles of the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mars are especially relevant in the development of children 2 and under because they are experiencing these returns in relatively close succession for the first time. It is easy to see big peaks in development around these planetary returns (and it’s kind of fun to track, too!). For instance, Mars returns to the place where it was at the time of birth about every 2 years. To refresh your memory, Mars is the planet that represents our will, our personal sense of empowerment, our ability to defend ourselves and to pursue what we want. It is also representative of how we encounter and handle conflict with others and deal with our own anger. When Mars returns for the first time in a child’s chart, the development of their personal will encounters a leap in growth: they start learning how to get what they want (will), and most of all, they learn how to say NO (defending themselves). This is the appropriate time in a child’s development to process these emotions and lessons for the first time and so the Mars return reflects that developmental reality. It tends to be rather intense because the child is experimenting with this energy surge for the first time. This is the Mars return, but we commonly know it by another name: the famous “Terrible Twos.”
Children’s astrology is not just for parents of small children. It is useful for adult children as well, especially since it’s probably rare that our child gets to a certain age and suddenly we understand them. Being of use and guidance to our child never needs to end, it can simply change. Understanding your child’s natal chart, at any age, can allow you to support them in the best way possible, according to their individual needs, and can even open the door to a deeper relationship and healing with adult children. The biggest gift we can give our children is to provide them the resources, nurturing, and best foundation we can. Your child’s birth chart can help you be better equipped for one of the most difficult and important jobs of your life.