If you have ever had your birth chart drawn up then you will be familiar with the three essential questions asked in the process:
- Your Date of Birth
- Location of Birth
- Exact Time of Birth
There are times, however, when you may not know your exact time of birth and are unable to obtain this information. Does this exclude you from a deep and profound exploration of your natal chart? Absolutely not! There are many avenues you can take without this information. Through a process called chart rectification, it is possible to retroactively arrive at a possible time of birth.
What Your Birth Time Can and Cannot Tell You
When you view your chart you will be confronted with a myriad of symbols mapped out on a circular grid. The symbols used represent the signs and planets while the map represents the night sky viewed from our perspective on Earth. We are placed at the center of the map.
Certain elements of a chart rely on time of birth and location to be calculated properly. The main one being the Rising Sign, or sign that was on the horizon at the time of birth. This is calculated based on the rotation of the Earth on its axis over a 24 hour period. As the Earth rotates each zodiac spends 2 hours on the horizon over the course of the day. From here most House systems are then calculated using this sensitive point in the chart.
If birth time is unknown it is standard to not use a house system and place Aries as the 1st sign on the wheel. When Aries is on the Ascendent this is called a natural chart and creates the most streamlined version of a chart with no birth time.
The Ascendent and House system can be very valuable to a chart reading but does not make or a break an exploration of your chart. Examining the location of the planets by sign and their relationship to each other, through aspects, contain deeply insightful clues into your inner psyche. Looking into the elements and modalities lend even further insight into the energy present in your chart. Refer to the chart below:
|Birth Time + Location|
|12 House Cusps||Needed|
|Planet Sign Location||Not Needed|
|Elements + Modalities||Not Needed|
What is Chart Rectification?
If you do not know your birth time you can sometimes check with a relative, parent, baby book, or your birth certificate as a starting place. Of course there will be cases when this information is unobtainable, which is when chart rectification can be used. Chart rectification is a series of methods used to lead you towards an approximate birth time, exact birth time, or even a date of birth. It is not an exact calculation technique but uses a high degree of research and creativity to extrapolate information that can lead to the discovery of your unknown birth time!
Methods Used in Chart Rectification
How does chart rectification work? It works much like an investigation where you will gather clues and details about your life to lead you back to the moment of birth. The typical goal is to discover which sign was Rising or on the horizon at the time of birth (Ascendent Sign). By exploring major life events against the archetypes of the zodiac signs you will get closer and closer to a possible Rising Sign which can be used to structure the rest of the chart.
As each of the 12 zodiac sign spends approximately 2 hours on the horizon during a 24 hour period; knowing this information will narrow down birth time options. To complete this process many people work with an Astrologer who specializes in this technique but you can of course attempt it on your own as well!.
You will want to start by gathering any information you can surrounding your moment of birth. For example, did anyone ever mention to you that you were born in the middle of the night, at Sunrise, or maybe right after lunch? These are all clues that will start to narrow down your search. If you can, try to find out what your birth was like, were there any medical emergencies involved at the time for example? This could indicate that Mars was near the Ascendent at the time of birth or Aries and Scorpio feature strongly in your chart.
Once you have as much information as possible you want to “test” several or more Rising Signs in the context of your chart. You can draw up a few charts with different Ascendent signs and start to see how they fit in with your life. Look for career clues, very dominant personality traits, and body type or personal style to see how the different Rising signs match with your identity.
Other aspects of chart rectification include tracking major milestones or incidents that have happened in your life. Working backwards you want to note the dates of marriages, births, deaths of loved ones, new jobs, and any other major transitions or traumatic events. After noting when these events happened you will want to review the transits which are the locations of the planets in their continuous cycles and patterns through the sky. These can be read in relation to the location of the planets in your birth chart.
This will allow you to see if major life events center-around particular planets or points in the sky. If you notice certain events in your life happened around major transits you may be able to narrow down if those planets were near the MidHeaven or Ascendant at birth. The MidHeaven line is a sensitive point in the chart representing the peak location of the Sun through the sky on the day of your birth. Planets near the Mid Heaven often feature prominently in one’s life. Transits to any planets near this point can often be felt strongly through major life events, which is why this method is used in chart rectification.
The purpose of chart rectification is to reach the most likely or fitting chart for you through a series of trial and error. Discovering the Rising Sign or MidHeaven can assist in getting closer to a possible birth time. Astrologers who specialize in this process are even able to pinpoint time of birth down to an exact minute. Of course, if you choose not to go the chart rectification route you still have the option of discovering a detailed picture of your birth chart.
The Importance of Aspects
Without a time of birth, the aspects will become very central in discovering the deep psychological layers existing in your natal chart. Aspects are the mathematical configurations the planets make to each other in the sky.
Each of the aspects contain a certain energy and quality to them. By examining which planets are in relationship to each other you will start to get a better read on how the energy of each planet is playing out in your life on an internal and external level. The good news is you do not need a birth time to calculate these planetary relationships!
How Should You Proceed?
Now that you know it is possible to discover the details about your chart without precise knowledge of the moment of your birth, it is time to start exploring! If you are wanting those further details you also have the option of testing out chart rectification techniques or visiting an Astrologer who specializes in that skill. Either way you still have plenty to discover in your natal chart based on your birthday alone. Astrology was born out of the observation of the planets as they moved against the backdrop of the night sky. This is the essence of astrology before there were Rising signs and House systems. The symbolic nature of the planets has been developed over centuries, holding extreme significance and value on your journey of self discovery; which is available to you with or without your exact time of birth.