“Natal” is a strange word used a lot in astrology.

“Na” as a root in English refers to “original” or “point of origin.”

So we have words like nature (the original character of a person or place), or nativity – “the place or situation of birth.” In fact the term is used a lot relating to childbirth: post-natal, peri-natal, pre-natal, etc. “Natal” is the point/time of origin: birth. A “native” is a person who originally inhabits a place, a person “born there.”

In astrology, a horoscope can be called a “nativity” because it describes the situation of the heavens at the point of origin, the time of birth. The person being born at that time is called the “native.” Anything in the chart is referred to as “natal.”

So when as astrologer says “Natal Mars” for example – he or she is talking about Mars at the time of your birth, in other words, Mars in your horoscope. In contrast to Natal Mars, there might also be “Progressed Mars” or “Transiting Mars” or “Regressed Mars” etc. These terms are talking about Mars at times OTHER THAN your time of birth.

A solar return, for example, is when “transiting sun” comes into perfect conjunction with your “natal sun.” That means, when the current position of the Sun exactly matches the position the Sun was in when you were born.

– Vic DiCara