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How to Read a Natal Chart With No Birth Time

How to Read a Natal Chart With No Birth Time

In episode 270 astrologers Chris Brennan and Leisa Schaim discuss which techniques you can use in natal astrology to interpret a birth chart even when you don’t have a birth time.

Western astrology has focused very heavily on using timed birth charts since about the 1st century BCE, and there are many techniques in natal astrology that can only be employed if you know a person’s exact time of birth.

While in many western countries the birth time is usually recorded on a person’s birth certificate, not everyone knows or can obtain their birth time, which means that there are some techniques that simply cannot be applied to their chart.

In this podcast we set out to discuss which techniques can be applied to a person’s birth chart even if their birth time is unknown, and what we discovered along the way is that there is actually a lot that you can still do without a birth time.

Below you will find the show notes, followed by links to download the recording.

This episode is available in both audio and video versions below.

Episode Outline and Show Notes


  • What techniques can be applied to a natal chart when there is no birth time?
  • Assuming that rectification is out of the question.
  • Both interpretive techniques for the birth chart on its own and timing techniques.
  • I put out a survey on Twitter and Facebook, so thanks everyone who answered

Preliminary Matters

  • First we have to start by explaining why a birth time is important.
  • Western natal astrology is very much centered around knowing the time of birth.
  • The time of birth is needed to calculate the Ascendant or rising sign
  • From the Ascendant one calculates the houses, which designate areas of life.
  • Other techniques like the Lots or Arabic Parts depend on having a birth time
  • By extension some timing techniques like zodiacal releasing require a time
  • Even the basic method of annual profections requires the rising sign
  • If a person is born close to a cusp the Sun can change signs in a day
  • Moon moves about 13 degrees in a day, so changes signs every 2-3 days
  • Rising sign changes every 1-2 hours
  • The original word for the Ascendant is Horoskopos or Hour-Marker
  • Horoscopic astrology is any type of astrology that uses the Ascendant

Try to Find Your Birth Time First

  • First things first, make sure you’ve exhausted all options for finding your birth time
  • Try really hard to find your birth time
  • Talk to your parents or other relatives who may know
  • Trying to find your birth certificate
  • Baby book
  • Family bible
  • Either the original copy of your birth certificate or order a copy from the state
    • Get the long form birth certificate
    • State sometimes makes digital copy that may not have the time
  • Birth certificate usually more accurate because parent’s memories notoriously unreliable
  • Even if you can’t find the time, see if you can narrow down what part of the day it was
  • Try building a time machine
  • If most of this fails then proceed as follows

Setting Up the Chart

  • Some people use a Sunrise chart
    • Selecting the time that morning when the Sun was on the Ascendant
    • Solar houses
    • But if they were born at night, lunar houses might be more appropriate?
      • (We forgot to mention this issue in the recording)
  • We prefer to use a noon chart (set the chart for 12:00 PM the day of the birth)
    • Because then you know the Moon can only be 6 degrees off
  • Signs and aspects correct, but disregard the houses
    • House placements depend on the Ascendant and birth time
    • Also ignore Lot of Fortune and other lots

Natal Interpretive Techniques Without A Birth Time

  • The zodiacal signs that the planets are located in should be pretty stable
  • Focus on aspects between planets
    • Both aspects by sign and aspects by degree
    • Close degree based aspects more important
    • Planets earlier in the order of signs play dominant role in relationship
  • Aspect patterns are true regardless of birth time for the most part
  • Planets as general significators for different topics
    • Venus relationships
    • Sun core identity
    • Moon emotions
    • Mercury communications
    • Mars assertion
    • Jupiter growth
    • Saturn consolidation
    • Outer planets generational
  • Lunar phase should be known roughly
  • How much the environment you were raised in matters

Timing Techniques

  • Transits
    • Can use for the most part, but Sun/Moon may be slightly off
    • Won’t know what houses they are in
    • Will now transiting aspects to natal placements
  • Life stage transits
  • Saturn return
    • Saturn squares and opposition to natal placement
  • Uranus aspects
    • Uranus square and Uranus opposition
  • Whole sign and degree based aspects
  • Profected house topics
    • You can know what profection year you are in without knowing rising sign
  • Profecting from planets for topics
  • Profect from sect light if you know day or night chart
    • Can profect from both luminaries anyway
  • Secondary progressions
    • Especially planets stationing retrograde or direct
    • Can’t really use the Moon as much
    • Planets changing signs (ingresses)
    • When aspects go exact
  • Solar arcs
    • We don’t use much, but one could use
    • Symbolic directions from Charles Carter
  • Venus retrograde and Mars retro cycles

Other Things

  • Synastry
    • By sign and by close degree-based aspect
  • Composite charts
    • Won’t know houses, but will know aspects


  • It is not the end of the world
  • There are lots of things you can do without a birth time
  • There is a good deal it can do if you know the day you were born
  • Some astrologers may not feel confident dealing with it
  • But there are lots who do
  • Good luck


Here are some timestamps for topics covered at different points in the episode:

00:00:00 Intro
00:02:00 Why a birth time is important
00:06:28 How to obtain a birth time
00:15:48 Sunrise vs. noon chart
00:21:28 Planets in signs and aspects
00:24:00 What to ignore
00:26:12 What to focus on
00:28:06 Interpreting planets
00:36:12 Sign-based aspects
00:38:34 Aspect patterns
00:40:45 Lunar phase
00:42:34 Childhood environment
00:46:33 Synastry with family members
00:48:25 Composite charts
00:49:24 Transits
00:52:39 Life stage transits
00:57:43 Profected house topics
01:06:01 Rectification concerns
01:07:53 Secondary progressions
01:11:01 Solar arcs
01:12:56 Venus and Mars retrograde cycles
01:14:35 Eclipse cycles
01:16:00 Concluding remarks

Watch the Video Version of This Episode

Here is the video version of this episode on reading charts without a birth time:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 270 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

You can either play the audio version of this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your device by using the buttons below:

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  • Rectification is important!
    One option for establishing a chart “birth time” that I used very successfully to find my perfectly accurate chart, including natal, arc and transits on cusps, is to use a diviner’s pendulum. If YOU can’t use that well, find a friend who can.

  • I don’t care what your birth certificate says is your birth time.
    If your chart, including the degree placement of your house cusps, does not leave you in slack-jawed AWE of how perfectly, beautifully, and terrifyingly well astrology works, in natal, arc, and transits (especially to Mars conjunct descendant and Midheaven), your chart is wrong.