I Got My Astrology Charts Done & Here's What Happened

When I was born, my mom, a dabbler in the mystic, swore off astrology because she wanted her children to lead their own independent lives, free of the impulse to shape themselves according to some arbitrary sign. I am forever grateful for that, but it didn't stop me from getting my natal astrology charts read last weekend. Well, created and read. It's a whole process. Here's what I learned from getting my astrology charts done. Hint: I still don't know my future.

Though you can get your basic astrology charts created online for free, being walked through your chart by an actual astrologer is an entirely different (and way more fun) experience. You'll be asked to provide your date of birth, the time at which you were born, and where, geographically, you were born ahead of your appointment. Try to be as specific as possible — when I tried to look up my chart online, I initially entered the wrong birth time by 90 minutes and it completely threw off my results. Ultimately, you'll be provided with your very own natal chart. It is honestly a very confusing thing to look at.

Here's what mine looks like:

An astrology reading is usually a one-on-one thing, and it very quickly becomes personal. Like, really personal. I didn't cry, which was a thing I was worried about, but a good portion of a reading involves your outward presentation to the world versus your inner self. For many of us, there are elements of ourselves that we keep private. And that's totally fine — I'm all for the importance of privacy. However, one of the main reasons why people are so often drawn to practices like astrology is because they are searching for a way to make sense of the world and illuminate parts of themselves they struggle to understand.

I'm not a devout astrology believer by any means; I mostly just follow this stuff for fun. I do think, though, that finding new perspectives through which to look at your life and your self is a habit everyone should indulge in. Here are some of my takeaways from getting my charts done. Overall: it's kind of weird and kind of disorienting and super, super delightful.

1. Your Chart Is Not Stationary — It's Constantly Evolving

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As is life, duh. Though part of astrology is determining your general ~vibes~, it also addresses outside forces in your life. My astrologer began by showing me what my chart looked like when I was born, and then transitioned into discussing the evolved state it was in right now. Life is long, dudes. That was my major takeaway from that portion. Life is long, a lot happens, and we are always growing and changing.

2. You Have Three Main Signs, Not One

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There's your sun sign (which is the sign based on your birthday), your moon sign, and your rising/ascendant sign. Together, these three comprise what are believed to be your individual characteristics. Your sun sign dictates your general outlook on life and your outward presentation as a human, while your moon sign rules your inner self — your emotions and fears. Your rising sign, meanwhile, represents how others see you, the impressions you make, and your spontaneous instincts. If you're one of those people who likes to read astrology columns, you should check it for both your sun and moon sign.

3. Astrology Actually Involves A Lot Of Math

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My astrologer's day job is in the accounting world. There are no crystal balls involved. I can't really elaborate on, like, what variant of math is used, because to be honest, it was kind of hard to follow, but there are angles and degrees involved. Precision is key, and whether or not you buy into this stuff, at the very least, you know that your chart is extremely idiosyncratic. And that's kind of a cool feeling.

4. Astrology Isn't Fortune Telling

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You're not going to be hearing things like, "You'll meet a tall, dark stranger on a stormy night in the next two weeks." But you will hear that, for example, there are certain alignments in your house of knowledge, and good fortune that may imply some unexpected good news regarding higher education. Then you'll be like, "Oh my God, I literally heard yesterday that I got into a summer grad program that is wack!", because that absolutely happened to me.

5. But It Does Apply To All Major Areas Of Your Life

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We have a number of different houses — 12 in total — in our charts, with the spokes delineating each house serving as cusps, or "power points." 12 houses, 12 signs. They cover everything from secret desires and enemies (12th house), to spirituality and travel (ninth house), to pleasure, children, and creative pursuits (fifth house). My astrologer walked me around my chart, explaining what the signs present in each house meant for me both as a person — preferences, desires, ideal career — as well as for the timeline of my life.

6. When You Get Your Chart Read In A Group, You Start To Notice Patterns

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A group of my friends all had our charts read on the same afternoon, and about 90 percent of us were all Virgo rising (and remember, your rising sign deals with your impulses and the impression you make on others). This makes a certain amount of sense; while it may not be the Virgo rising that is responsible for a friend group's dynamic, noticing similarities in the ways we interact and present ourselves can usually provide additional insight into our relationships.

7. Astrology Is Not A Roadmap For Your Life

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And honestly, you're doing yourself a massive disservice to think of it that way. Not everything your astrologer says will be 100 percent on point, and you shouldn't try to shape yourself to fit your chart. Before our session started, my astrologer gave me a little disclaimer: This chart was not a rigid blueprint for my life. I could choose to take all of her advice, or none of it. The most important thing about us is that we have the capacity to make our own choices in life.

Images: Maddy Foley/Bustle; Giphy (7)