Astrology, Human Design, and Natal Chart Systems


We're obsessed with understanding who we are.

Since 2013, 12 million people have gotten their DNA tested in an attempt to learn more about themselves, the people they love, and perhaps unlock information about their own futures.

But this pathological need to decode our true nature isn't new—23andMe is just the latest iteration. As a society, we've attempted to decipher why people do the things that they do for millennia. We crave structure in a world of chaos; when it comes to opaque intangible drivers of human action like emotions, fears, and motivations, we want to know WHY.

  • Why do we do what we do?

  • How can I understand myself and my actions better, so I can learn from them?

  • What information can I get to help me relate more easily to the people around me?

  • And most importantly—does that person like me as much as I like them, and how compatible are we???


But really, we're simple creatures. We wanna be loved, we want to live up to our potential, and we want to be happy. And we want a basic roadmap that tells us how to do all that as easily as possible.

That's where Astrology, Human Design, and other personality and soul-charting (Gene Keys! Enneagram! Myers-Briggs!) come into play. These different systems offer us disparate maps that, when combined, form this big, beautiful, richly colored guide to living.

What's a Natal Chart?

Most of these systems start with a natal chart, which is essentially a snapshot of the sky from the moment you were born. Typically you'll input your brithdate, time, and the location of your birth (because we're taking a snapshot of the celestial bodies directly above you, ya dig?). Some systems believe that we choose our birth date and time, so we effectively choose to be born into a certain 'destiny' or karmic path. Others believe it's all luck. Regardless, whatever's happening in the sky at the moment of your birth usually influences some aspect of your life, according to these various systems. That's why the natal chart is so important.

"Knowing your Natal Chart is synonymous to knowing your psyche and soul’s set of “secret” chosen codes. Transpersonal illuminative codes such as where you come from (karmically), why you came into this life, what wounds you came to heal, and your destiny. And more day-to-day focused codes such as the blend of masculine and feminine energies you carry and the landscapes of your mind, passions, emotions, desires, and more. " says Pilar Lesko, an astrologer and Human Design Chart reader.

A traditional Western Astrology natal chart.

A traditional Western Astrology natal chart.

Tulsi Bagnoli, a Vedic astrologer, notes: "It's helpful to know your natal chart so you can gain the tools and insights to navigate and align with the current rhythms and planetary influences that are unfolding in your life and shine a light on what is wanting to be cultivated with ease and grace."

That being said, your natal chart doesn't foretell your future. It's more of an outline of how you might act, emote, learn, work, and love. Your natal chart "doesn't give you answers, they do not solve or fix your problems, and they don’t do the work for you. What they do give you is awareness. And once you are armed with the power of awareness, you have choice," says Pilar.

"You can make the choice to show up for the work your chart has presented you with, the choice to do something differently, the choice to dissolve a pattern that is no longer serving you, and the choice to reclaim pieces of you forgotten along the way. "

Astrology vs. Human Design

You've definitely definitely heard of astrology. There are horoscopes (albeit very mediocre ones) published in practically every national newspaper ... next to the comics, usually.

Western astrology uses the natal chart to understand the shape of your personality, your relationship style and compatibility, and your life's work. If you know your Sun sign, you've probably dabbled in Western astrology.

"If you are open to it, your chart can point you directly to where there is trauma, conditioning, programming, etc. — aka all the areas where deconditioning is essential," notes Pilar. "Beyond that, Astrology takes into consideration the complexities, depth, and nuance of the soul’s journey and the human experience."

Vedic astrology, also know as Jyotisha, is a little different. The traditional Hindu system of astrology is more based on the Zodiac in the sky, as opposed to Zodiac seasons, the way it's viewed in Western astrology.

"Vedic astrology can reveal the deeper intricacies and tendencies of the mind, bring clarity to one's spiritual path, relationships and compatibility, dharma or highest aligned path and offers tools to work with those karmas that are presenting themselves," says Tulsi. "As a sister science to yoga and Ayurveda, it assists one in designing their personal daily practice, lifestyle, diet, and glimpses into one’s overall health. "

An example of a Human Design Chart.

An example of a Human Design Chart.

And Human Design is sort of the bridge between everything.

"Human Design does use astrology as a factor, but also includes the I'Ching, Kabbalah and the Chakra System. I’ve found that Human Design paints the most detailed picture of who you are than any other single modality that I’ve experienced. Even just knowing your Design Type can be so transformative with starting to honor how you’re designed to operate as well as recognizing that we are all meant to be different. Once you read into the rest of the chart, you’ll discover layers and layers of information specific to your unique design." says Amanda Green.

Your Human Design gives you tangible ways to be: Your sleep style, eating style, relationship style. In fact, your chart could tell things as specific as how many hours you should work in a day. Human Design is especially good for shining a light on how your specific energy works, and how you can best orient yourself to get the most out of your work and life. Human Design charting can also reveal your innate talents and strengths.

"Human Design gives you practical strategy and awareness to apply to your day-to-day experience and Astrology serves as a wise and ultra-effective ally in doing the deeper work. When you are in relationship to your Natal and Human Design charts, it is similar to the process of aligning your unconscious and conscious wills — magic and manifestation begin to take form rapidly and effortlessly, " says Pilar.

When should I use which?

I find it helpful to know both your astrological natal chart and your Human Design chart. You might resonate with one more than the other, and because they both provide different types of information, they work really well in conjunction with each other.

Personally, I check in with my astrological natal chart four times a year; I revisit my Human Design once a year, on my birthday. I've found both integral to understanding myself and navigating the waters of life.

But everyone's different!

Tulsi's with me: "I would say the best time to have a reading done is either around your birthday, when have a question that is requesting clarity or anytime you’re in need of some insight and direction amidst change in your life. I personally seek guidance once a year or when I find myself at a bigger crossroads. "

According to Pilar, "If you’re someone who feels deeply in touch with your Natal Chart and all of its complexities and are desiring an energetic tune-up, I would recommend Human Design. If you’re someone who has fervently devoured as much Human Design information as you can but are still searching / hungry for growth, I usually recommend Astrology."

And Amanda recommends getting a reading done whenever you're teaming up with another person: "There are several different readings that you can get after your initial reading, the 2 most important being a reading for your child and a reading with your partner."


Hey, you’ve got nothing to lose. If you’re thinking you could use a little celestial guidance, I recommend setting up a session with a credible practitioner.

You can poke through Holisticism’s wellness marketplace for some of our favorite astrological and Human Design expert guides. The best part? All of our services can be offered online, which means you don’t need to be in NYC or LA to work with the best practitioners—you can enjoy a session no matter where you are.

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