What Does Your Astrological Birth Chart Say about You?
Written by: the Editors of goop
Published on: January 9, 2020
Updated on: November 14, 2022
Reviewed by: Jennifer Freed, PhD
Illustration courtesy of Holly Walsh
Jennifer Freed remembers her first astrological birth chart reading. She cried. She felt understood by a stranger who knew parts of her better than she knew herself. She felt recognized. That day in the 1970s, she started studying astrology. It wasn’t just the sun signs that interested her. It was the whole package—our birth chart, or what she calls our cosmic committee. Your complete birth chart tells you where each planet was aligned at the moment of your birth, and this, says Freed, gives you a far more interesting—and relevant—picture than your typical horoscope.
Freed has been practicing and teaching psychological astrology for more than thirty years. In her book, Use Your Planets Wisely, she maps out your cosmic blueprint, explaining how every planet’s energy in your chart influences the others and how you can embrace your divine makeup. We all want to be understood, and in Freed’s experience, this is a tool for understanding. Astrology combined with psychology can help us see parts of ourselves—and others—that we may not have recognized before, giving us more-compassionate ways of connecting to ourselves and relating to one another.
Welcome to the New Paradigm of Psychological Astrology
By Jennifer Freed, PhD
You are about to take a voyage into a way of knowing yourself that will yield an intricate, detailed portrait of who you are: the good, the bad, the spectacular, the parts you’d rather remain hidden, the beautiful, the ugly.
As a dual practitioner of psychology and astrology, I have come to believe that the desire to know the self completely can lead to the most magical journey possible in this life. Astrology lends vivid description to what makes you, you. It helps you see how you are part of everything and how everything is part of you. In seeing this and in having a desire to be the best version of you that you can be—the one with the kind of relationships that feel congruent with your values, doing the work that matters to you and that feeds your soul—you will be able to actualize those parts in the best possible way.
This book will guide you in understanding your full astrological birth chart. The purpose is to help you see yourself clearly: both your favorite parts—the ones you lead with any time you enter a room with other people in it—and your less favorite parts, some of which might just be underused or under-recognized and some of which you might actively hide and feel ashamed of because you don’t know how to use them in a way that helps and does not hurt.
Maybe you didn’t know astrology could do this, especially if you have only looked at the meaning of your Sun sign to understand what your astrological blueprint says about who you are. So, before we go deeper…
A NOTE FOR SKEPTICS
If you think astrology is bunk and picked this book up anyway, thank you, and good for you. You chose to go outside of what you already think to be true. You are inviting something strange and new into your life. I wish more people were like you in that way! Even if you don’t get past this first chapter, know that you have already done something more daring than many others will ever do.
Your skepticism may come from having only ever read your Sun sign horoscope. Maybe sometimes that horoscope has been right on target; maybe other times you’ve felt no connection to it at all. It might have only taken a couple of times seeing that it didn’t reflect your experience for you to dismiss it.
Some folks dismiss astrology without a second look because it lacks the kind of scientific support we have come to expect from our systems for bettering ourselves. Consider that scientific methods cannot capture everything. If you are new to astrology, try to stay open to the joy and wonder that lie beyond what you think you know. See for yourself if it speaks to you. As you read, ask yourself: Does this material excite my mind? Does it fill my heart? Does it make me feel something in my body? Does it feel true? Does it feel useful? Does it make sense?
If it does, that’s all the evidence you need.
I think of astrology more as a romance art than as a science. It’s actually a mytho-poetic tradition in which we recognize—just like the greatest experiences of life, like love and ecstasy—that it cannot be quantified but is truly profound.
SO MUCH MORE THAN SUN SIGNS
You may not have known that there is exponentially more to be seen and learned from your birth chart. The Sun is only one of many planetary energies in your chart, and every single one of them occurs in an astrological sign. In every one of those planet-sign relationships lies a wealth of information about the strengths and liabilities of being you. Fully knowing your birth chart means coming to know, in intimate detail, your “inner committee”—those voices and influences inside of you that create either havoc and mayhem or success and contentment—and seeing ways to move up the ladder of skillfulness in every realm of your complex being.
Who are these inner committee members, and what do they have to say about your ultimate potentials and capacities? In coming to understand your planets’ placement in the astrological signs, you will be able to answer this question. Each planet represents one aspect of your psychological/spiritual DNA. When you are able to understand each of these influences and know how to bring them to fruition and ultimate expression, you will see the way to personal happiness illuminated.
In learning to work with this inner committee, you will also become more skillful, strategic, and expert at working with others’ inner committees—not in a manipulative, selfish way but in the spirit of recognizing, accepting, and celebrating the ways in which we are all different from and complementary to one another.
When you interact with others, it’s your inner committee interacting with theirs. It’s more like a dinner party, with all the personalities and proclivities clashing and merging, rather than like a one-on-one conversation. The knowledge you’ll obtain in this book will support you in navigating this experience and enjoying it rather than wishing others would think, behave, and be more like you.
This is compassion and empathy in action: taking the time and putting in the effort to understand the many facets of yourself and others.
Excerpted from Use Your Planets Wisely: Master Your Cosmic Potential with Psychological Astrology by Jennifer Freed, PhD, published January 2020 by Sounds True. Copyright 2020 by Jennifer Freed. All rights reserved.
Jennifer Freed, PhD, is a psychotherapist, mediator, and author with more than thirty years of experience in the fields of psychological astrology and social-emotional learning. Freed serves as primary consultant for the online app, Co-Star, and is the author of Use Your Planets Wisely: Master Your Cosmic Potential with Psychological Astrology and A Map to Your Soul: Using the Astrology of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water to Live Deeply and Fully.