Birth Chart FAQ: I Don’t Know My Birth Time, Now What?
Astrology is an excellent and useful tool for learning more about yourself and your life’s purpose, but one thing a solid and informational birth chart needs is your exact birth time. While many of us have the luxury of taking a cursory glance at our birth certificates, some cultures and governments around the world don’t include this information – and, what’s more, some people do not have access to these records.
So, what are you supposed to do when you feel pulled toward the ancient wisdom of the stars without this seemingly necessary information?
While the process may not be simple, there are some steps you can take toward figuring out your birth time once and for all. And, for those who take these steps and still find yourselves in the dark about what time you came into the world, we’ll talk about the parts of your chart that will be less reliable due to the lack of known birth time.
Birth Time: The Lynchpin of Astrology?
You might be wondering why your birth time is so important anyway. A natal chart (or birth chart) in astrology looks at the position of the planets at the exact moment that you were born. Without your time of birth, it is impossible to know the precise positions of the planets – and because some planets move more quickly than others, casting a chart based on a birth time that is even an hour off can greatly affect the outcome of the chart, rendering many of the results inaccurate.
What information actually changes?
An incorrect or unknown birth time can make it impossible to discover your Ascendant, or Rising sign, and your true Rising sign is necessary to determine quite a few things in your chart, including the ruling planets of the houses in your natal chart. For instance, if your Rising sign is Leo, your 2nd house will be ruled by Virgo, your 3rd house by Libra, and so on. This lack of information regarding your houses excludes a significant portion of the benefits of casting your natal chart in the first place.
Not knowing your Ascendant also affects the reliability of your Moon sign because of the Moon’s unique trajectory.
Tips and Tricks for Discovering Your Birth Time
Inquire with Family Members
If you’re able to, ask family members or friends of family if they recall what time you were born. Parents are the family members that would typically possess this information, but there are many reasons why you may not be able to ask them. If there is anyone in your family that might have even a clue as to what time you were born, start by asking them. You might be surprised by the little details that people remember. You might also go through any storage that contains documents or pieces of history within the family – i.e. journals, records, old boxes in the attic. There could be a record of your birth time recorded somewhere within memorabilia.
Try Accessing Your Birth Records
If you don’t have a way to contact family or friends who were around or present when you were born – or if they simply don’t remember – the next step is to try to access your birth records.
Do a little research regarding the birth certificate and record-keeping policies of your country. For instance, in the United States, birth time is only recorded on certain versions of birth certificates – called “long form” or “full” birth certificates. In the United Kingdom, birth times are recorded only in the case of multiple births, and some countries – such as Australia, Canada and Ireland – do not hold official records for time of birth.
Keeping your country’s policies in mind, try requesting a birth certificate that specifically includes time of birth. These records can come from the health department or vital records, most likely found within the province, county or state wherein you were born. Here are a few links that can get you started if you live within one of the following countries:
- England or Wales
- Northern Ireland
- The United States
- And you can find more information on obtaining birth certificates here.
Run a Solar Sign Chart
A “Solar sign” chart is not as accurate as it could be if your birth time were known, but if you simply cannot locate this information, a Solar sign chart might be your best bet. This is the method used by astrologers who write up the daily horoscopes you see in newspapers and magazines. This process works by marking your birth time as around sunrise.
This type of chart acts more symbolically than a traditional chart and offers more general information about your personality. Yet, even for those who do know their birth time, a Solar sign chart can be extremely enlightening.
This method does have the potential to inaccurately depict your Moon sign, because the Moon moves about 1° every two hours. If you happen to have been born on a day in which the Moon was moving from one sign into another, there is a chance that a Solar sign chart will pick up the wrong sign. You can use some intuitive wisdom here by studying the meaning of Moon signs – if your Solar sign chart suggests your Moon is in Pisces but the description just doesn’t seem to fit, take a look at the meanings of the Moon placements surrounding Pisces – Aquarius and Aries.
“Rectify” Your Chart
An experienced Astrologer can look at the major events of your life and create a pretty accurate chart through a process called “rectification.” The Astrologer will take a look at certain events or experiences in your life – such as births, deaths, divorce, lottery winnings, etc. – as close to the exact time that they happened as possible and use this information to create your chart retrospectively.
This a time-consuming process that might be more expensive than the other options, given that you’ll need an accomplished Astrologer to help you with the process.
Don’t Get Discouraged
As you can see, there are quite a few options available for those who don’t know their time of birth – so don’t panic. Take the steps that you can, in your own time, toward discovering a way to practice and learn about astrology that benefits your own unique situation. Think of this process of discovery as a challenging learning opportunity that will bring you closer to your connection with the stars.
Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to Birth Charts