The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 270, titled:
With Chris Brennan and Leisa Schaim
Episode originally released on September 8th, 2020
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcribed by Kate Hill
Transcription released January 11, 2022
Copyright © 2022 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. Joining me today is astrologer Leisa Schaim, and we’re going to be talking about how to interpret a birth chart, and what you can do with natal astrology even if you don’t have a birth time. This is episode 270 of The Astrology Podcast. Today is Sunday, September 6th, starting at 3:05 PM in Denver, Colorado. Hey Leisa! Thanks for joining me again.
LEISA SCHAIM: You’re welcome, hi!
CB: Hello. Alright, so this is a big topic. We’ve got a lot to talk about today. This is something that comes up frequently, and I know it’s something that you’ve gotten questions about before, right?
LS: Definitely. Yes, and having a full birth chart with the Ascendant, and all of the houses and everything, does require an exact birth time, and so we’re talking about what to do to try to find that, and then what to do further if you cannot find one.
CB: Right. Basically the question is: what techniques can be applied in a chart, even if you don’t have a birth time. Most of western astrology is very much geared towards birth charts that have an exact birth time, so there’s certainly major drawbacks, and we’ll have to spend a little bit of time talking about what you can’t do first, but then eventually we’re going to transition later in the episode into talking about the specific techniques that you can use even if there’s no way for you to figure out what time you were born.
CB: This is also assuming rectification is out of the question, and I also posted a couple of surveys on Twitter and Facebook that I’ll link to in the description below this episode, on the description page where other astrologers chimed in, and gave their two cents about what they do when they don’t have a birth time from a client, and what techniques they apply. That was good when we were researching and confirming our own approach, although this episode definitely primarily I think is going to represent our own approach to what we do with untimed charts.
CB: Okay. Preliminary matters first we need to start by explaining why a birth time is important, and for those that aren’t familiar, or those who are new to astrology, what is so important about the birth time, and why do you need it? Western astrology is very much centered around knowing the time of birth, and the birth time is needed in order primarily to calculate the Ascendant, or what is sometimes known as the Rising sign, which is the sign of the zodiac that the Ascendant, or the eastern horizon was located in, at the exact time you were born.
LS: Right, and then that further sets up all of the houses, which have a lot of the topics of life associated with them, and so you need the birth time in order to set up where exactly all the planets are located in the chart, and what houses they might rule as well.
CB: Right, so the houses are important, and this is a foundational piece of western astrology that goes back to the founding of what’s called Hellenistic astrology, or essentially traditional astrology 2,000 years ago, and the houses indicate both areas of life and topics, but also different people in your life, so it can signify things like career, finances, travels, and things like that, but it can also signify things like parents, children, relationships, and other things like that, so the houses actually play a very important role in western astrology because of their ability to indicate those very specific topics in a person’s life that are unique to you, compared to somebody else.
LS: Exactly, so that is one of the things that having the birth time sets up, which is everything that comes out from the Ascendant.
CB: Right. There’s also other techniques that are derived from the Ascendant such as the Lots, or so called Arabic parts, which are calculated based on the Ascendant, so if you don’t have an Ascendant you can’t calculate the Arabic parts, like the Part of Fortune, or the Lot of Fortune. There’s also some timing techniques that are based on the Arabic Parts, or the Lots, like zodiacal releasing, so if you don’t have a birth time and you don’t have an Ascendant, then you can’t calculate your Lots, and therefore you can’t calculate zodiacal releasing, so not having a birth time takes off the table some very important timing techniques that otherwise are techniques that I normally use in practice and in natal consultations, and I know that you use as well.
LS: Definitely, and these are some of the reasons why we, y’know, before settling on there’s absolutely no way to have a birth time, it’s good to go through the few places where you can try to look for that.
CB: Right, and we’ll get to that in a second. Even the basic method of annual profections requires the Rising sign, so that’s another timing technique where you start with the Rising sign, and you count one sign per year from the Ascendant, and that tells you what sign is activated, and what planet is activated that year. The Rising sign changes every one to two hours, so that means that unless you know your birth time pretty exactly there can be some ambiguity in terms of what sign the Ascendant is located in.
LS: For sure, and the other thing that moves almost as quickly is the Moon. The Moon is the primary planet in the chart that could be iffy in terms of what sign it’s placed in, depending on how close it is to changing signs the day that you were born.
CB: Right. The Moon can change signs, and even the Sun can change signs over the course of a day if a person is born very close to a sign cusp. It’s funny I never remember some of the dates exactly, which I don’t know if that makes me a terrible astrologer, it might, but to give an example where, what, the Sun is in Virgo right now? At some point, I assume later this month, the Sun is going to get to 29 degrees of Virgo, and then it’ll move in one day into zero degrees of Libra, so that’s the dividing line between somebody who is a Sun sign Virgo, vs a Sun sign Libra, and it changes over the course of a day, so it can change if a person was born at 1:00 PM, it could be in Virgo, and by 2:00 PM it could be in Libra.
LS: Mhm, exactly, which often comes up when people are wondering if they’re born on the cusp, if they’re born on a day that it changes, but it’s definitely in one sign or the other. It’s just that sometimes it’ll change part way through the day, and that’s true to a lesser extent to any of the planets. It’s just that they don’t do it that often.
CB: Right, okay. That’s good to know. Let’s move into preliminary steps, where before you do anything else, before we start talking about- we’ve established why it’s important to have a birth time, so before we get into the techniques about what you do if you absolutely don’t have a birth time, I wanted to talk a little bit first about making sure you’ve gone through every step that you possibly could to obtain your birth time before you go to the last resort of just interpreting the chart without it.
LS: Mhm, definitely, and that’s important because, as we’ve been talking about, there are things that you either can or can’t do with your chart depending on if you have that birth time or not, so it’s good to exhaust your options before you decide that it’s just not something that you can have. First thing I always suggest, and y’know, people can do it in different orders, but I always suggest trying to see if you can get ahold of your birth certificate, and particularly the most detailed form, which is sometimes called the ‘long-form birth certificate.’ This is going to differ depending on where you were born.
CB: Yeah, so try to get ahold of an original copy of your birth certificate if you can. If your parents have it, otherwise in some areas you can write to the state, and you can pay a small fee to get a copy of your birth certificate. You want to be careful because sometimes states, especially in the United States, obviously our discussion is United States centric since that’s where we’re from and that’s what we’re familiar with, it differs in different regions, but in the U.S. they’ve been digitalizing some of the birth certificates, so sometimes those digital copies don’t contain the birth time, so you have to write in and ask specifically for the long form birth certificate in order to get a copy of the original, which should hopefully have a copy of the birth time most of the time.
LS: Yeah, and this is something that there’s confusion around sometimes because sometimes people have a copy of their birth certificate, and they think that that’s the only one that’s existed, and maybe it’s the one they’ve had for a long time, but it was perhaps still not the long-form from the very beginning, so usually copies or that sort of thing when you request one, they’ll send the abbreviated as a default unless you specifically request the one with the birth time. Be careful about that. There’s a lot of variation within that in interms of some states, and things like that, some years, so occasionally there’s not a birth time even on the long form original, but most of the time it is in the U.S. In other countries it can really vary.
CB: Yeah, so other things you can also try to find, sometimes if your family kept a baby book, sometimes the birth time will be written there. Other times sometimes if there’s a family bible there’s been some families that record the birth times of family members in that, or just any other record that your family might have.
LS: And also hospital records, and this can actually vary in some countries. The hospital records are actually the default for where the birth time is, vs the birth certificate, and even if it was not where you were you can still check and see if the hospital where you were born kept those records.
CB: Yeah, or even in some instances like newspaper announcements occasionally have the birth time, and other things like that.
CB: Exhaust all those efforts, otherwise talk to your parents. Ask them if they happen to remember your birth time. Parents memories are usually ranked lower in terms of reliability compared to an actual written birth record like the birth certificate, or a baby book, or something like that, just because it’s often so chaotic in the birthing room that sometimes the parents memory can be wildly off unless there’s some specific reason why they’re adamant, or they do have a particular reason to know exactly what time it was, vs if they’re just guessing.
LS: Mhm, and this is important but tricky because of course, y’know, it sounds like you’re second guessing your mother who was of course there birthing you, and so she should know, but in practice I’ve had a lot of clients actually say a time from mother’s memory, and I’ll say can you check the birth certificate, and it can be wildly off sometimes like AM vs PM, 12 hours off, or just several hours off for whatever reason.
CB: Yeah, or even 30 minutes off can sometimes make a difference. The Ascendant can move from one rising zodiacal sign to another zodiacal sign, and it’ll change all the houses.
LS: Right. Definitely.
CB: Even if you have a memory, or I’ve had family members who I was told a birth time for years, and then later I got the birth certificate and it turned out to be wildly off, so try to find a record if you can, and then rely on memory if you can’t. Even at that, if you’re relying on the parents memory, even if they don’t remember the exact time you were born, try to see if they know what part of the day that you were born. Even if you know that if they are able to tell you that you were born at night, and it was night time out, or if they’re able to tell you that it was day time out, that makes a big difference, and can help you to narrow it down. Also ask other family members sometimes like an Uncle or an Aunt, or something like that might know.
LS: Mhm, definitely. Yeah I’ve had that part of the day be really helpful, like well, my mom has no idea, but she knows it was still dark out, and if you know it was still dark out, but you also have a date attached, then you know it wasn’t before midnight, and so it was between midnight and sunrise.
CB: Yeah, or in my example my mom and dad went to take my dad to get a haircut, and she was going into labor, and they told that to the haircut person, and there’s this funny story about my dad then getting this terrible haircut as a result of the person being really nervous when they told them that.
LS: Right, because she had to hurry?
CB: Yeah, but that narrows it down then that the part of the day that it would’ve been day time during normal business hours, so that gives you a range to work from as opposed to just not knowing any time in an entire 24 hour period, and in fact on my birth certificate it says I was born at 1:28 PM, so they must’ve gone in late in the morning, or around the middle of the day for that haircut.
CB: Okay, so narrow that down. If you can narrow that down, that actually might give you an option for doing rectification, and if that’s the case, we’ve already done a whole episode on rectifying your birth time, especially if you know roughly what part of the day, or within a few hour time span of when you were born. You’ve actually got a pretty good chance of being able to rectify the chart, which is where you reverse engineer the chart based on events that you know, and things that you know about your life, in order to back form what the birth time must have been. That’s called birth chart rectification, and you can see episode 169 of The Astrology Podcast, titled Rectification: Using Astrology to Find your Birth Time for that episode.
LS: Yeah, and I want to insert that both of us kind of use that approach knowing a part of the day that you were born, rather than a 24 hour period, because of course many people just quickly jump to rectification if you don’t know a birth time. Both of us are proponents of having at least a part of the day narrowed down before you go to rectification, because in practice it’s much more likely to get an accurate result that way.
CB: Yeah. I think you have a better chance at rectification if you have a few hour time window, and that’s usually the cases where I would attempt a rectification, whereas if you only know that the person was born on a certain day sometime within a 24 hour period, there’s many more chances of getting a false positive because there’s so many conflicting indications. There’s thousands of conflicting indications that you could get during a 24 hour period that could make you think that a person was born at this time, when in fact they were born at this other time where there’s a similar placement that sort of repeats in a way.
LS: Exactly, and that’s why it can be tricky, and you can’t always just jump to rectification if you have a full 24 hour window.
CB: Right. All of that being said this episode is not about rectification. We just wanted to make sure that you exhaust all of your options first, and that you know what’s available to you first before you jump to just using a birth chart without a birth time. If you’ve exhausted all of those options, now we get onto our main topic, which is what can you do, and how should you look at a chart that doesn’t have a birth time, and let’s just assume we don’t have any idea within that 24 hour period. We just know what day you were born, and there’s already a point there I think that you wanted to mention, which is that even if you only know the day you were born, there’s still a ton of stuff you can do with that, and that actually puts you way ahead of let’s say somebody who doesn’t even know what day they were born.
LS: Yeah. I mean knowing anything astrologically is, it’s still giving you information you would not have otherwise, and so it’s good to remember that, and to not always compare it to everything you could do with an exact birth time if that’s not an option.
CB: Right. Okay, so just knowing your birthday there’s a lot you can do. Let’s start by setting up the chart. There’s conflicting opinions here. Some astrologers, they will use what’s called a sunrise chart, or a solar chart, solar houses chart, when there’s no birth time known for a client, and this is where you basically set the chart for the moment that the Sun rose over the eastern horizon, or was conjunct the degree of the Ascendant on the day that the person was born, which would be around, what like 7:00 o’clock in the morning or something like that?
LS: Right give or take depending on the part of the year.
CB: Sure. Some people set that up using either different house systems, but they’ll just put the Sun basically on the Ascendent, and then they’ll use whole sign houses, or equal houses, or quadrant houses, and draw the houses from the degree of the Sun. This is called solar houses. I don’t usually do this. I usually prefer instead to use a noon chart because if you use a noon chart, which is where you set the chart for just 12:00 o’clock noon right in the middle of the day that you know the person was born, then it’s going to average out the positions because since the planets can change signs during the course of a day, you actually have to be careful that you don’t make an assumption if you set the chart really early in the day, then if the actual birth time was actually much later in the evening, then you could end up with inaccurate sign positions, where at least if you set it right in the middle of the day you’ve sort of averaged the potential motion that they could’ve traveled.
LS: Definitely. Yeah, I do the same thing. I set it for noon, and then as part of that I temporarily back it up 12 hours, and then move it ahead 12 hours to see, does anything change within that day?
CB: Right. That’s really important. The main reason that’s important though is because of the Moon. The Moon can move on average about 13 degrees during the course of a day, so that means it changes signs about every two to three days basically. About every two and a half days. The Moon will move into a new sign, and as a result of that, because it moves so fast compared to the other planets, like the other planets like Mercury and the Sun. The Sun moves about a degree a day, and Mercury can move I think up to two degrees a day or something like that when it’s moving really quick?
LS: Mhm, something like that.
CB: Something like that. If you use a noon chart that cuts in half the possible how far the planet could have traveled within that time frame basically, so that you know that the Moon position at noon in that chart is only going to be a maximum of six degrees off from whatever the correct position is.
LS: Right. Yeah, and hopefully in many cases, y’know, the Moon will still be in the same sign no matter what that day, and that’s the best case scenario.
CB: Right. Well, yeah that’s the best case scenario, although sometimes even then the Moon will change signs during the course of a day.
CB: I remember a good example of that, a rectification example, was back in 2008 when Barack Obama was first running for the presidency in the US, before the whole birther controversy and everything, there was a speculation, we didn’t have a birth time for him, and so everyone was wondering what time he was born, and there was this interesting situation where the Moon actually changed signs during the course of the day he was born. It was in Taurus during one half of the day, and then later in the day it switched to Gemini. There was a debate about this, and different astrologers had different opinions, but I actually thought pretty early on that he probably had the Moon in Gemini, which meant he must’ve been born later in the day just because of his really strong oratory, and a strong speaking ability. He’s a very eloquent person, and that struck me more of a Moon in Gemini, than a Moon in Taurus, and that later, when the birth certificate was released turned out to be correct, so it was sort of an instance of how sometimes you can rectify, and sometimes not knowing which sign, or having two options of a planet being in either sign can actually help you to figure out what part of the day a person was born in, and nudge you in a certain direction.
LS: Mhm. I remember the thing with Barack Obama too before he released his long form birth certificate was also a good example of a cautionary tale for 24 hour rectification because of course everyone was trying to release a rectification of his chart before they knew any sort of time, just the date, and there were all sort of options floating around.
CB: Yeah, definitely. There was one astrologer I knew which was Regulus Astrology and Dr. H who correctly got Aquarius Rising, and I always thought that was pretty impressive, and that later turned out to be his birth time, and then Obama’s Sun was in Leo, he had Aquarius Rising, so that means he was born around sunset, so that’s much later in the day in the very later hours.
CB: Yeah. Okay, so that’s step one. What’s our next step?
LS: Let’s see. We’re setting up a noon chart basically is what we’re advocating for.
CB: Yes, so whatever day you were born just set it for the city you were born in, presumably you know what city you were born in, if you don’t then that’s a whole different matter, but let’s say you know what city you were born in, set it for the date you were born, and put 12 o’clock PM, or 12 o’clock noon as your birth time.
LS: Mhm, and then after that you basically have the whole setup of planets in signs, and that’s a big piece of delineating a natal chart, so hopefully almost everything, or maybe everything stays in the same sign during that day, and so you can do a lot already when you know all of the planets in the signs.
CB: Yeah, so you know the planets, and what signs of the zodiac they’re in for the most part, with a little bit of possible wiggle room for the Moon, or maybe the Sun, or maybe Mercury. You want to note that if they do change signs during the course of that day, but you also have not just the planets in signs, but also the aspects between the planets, which are the geometrical relationships and patterns that are formed between the planets in the chart that are displayed typically with the blue and red aspect lines in the center of the chart.
LS: Right, and those aren’t really going to change, or change much with maybe the exception of the Moon during the course of one day.
CB: Yeah, so here is our chart for the moment right now.
CB: You can see the aspect lines in the middle. We can see all the planets are in different signs. This is actually an interesting case because Venus actually just changed signs today right?
LS: Yeah, around 1:00 AM or something like that. It was pretty early.
CB: Pretty early. Here let’s back it up using the animate feature on Solar Fire. The program that we’re using is called Solar Fire, because everybody always asks, so you can get it from Alabe.com and the promo code they gave us is AP15 for a 15% discount.
LS: So, it was very early in the morning if you’re still backing that up.
CB: Okay. It was today?
LS: I think it was around 1:00 AM if I’m remembering right. Let’s see if I am. Yep.
CB: Yeah, so just after midnight, between 12:30 and 1:00 AM. If you cast a chart for midnight on this day, September 6th, it would’ve had Venus in Cancer, but if you set a noon chart then it would’ve had Venus in Leo, so that sort of illustrates some of the issues that you run into about potential sign changes. It’s not a huge issue, it’s just something you want to be cognizant of when you’re first looking at your chart, and getting a sense for it.
LS: Right, so just write down anything that could have changed that day.
CB: Right, okay. Focus on planets in signs, and focus on the aspects between the planets. You need to ignore the house placements, so even though we’re setting it for noon the sign that the Ascendant is located in, and your subsequent Rising sign, is not necessarily going to be correct. It’s just a placeholder basically, and then also you need to ignore any of the house placements because those are derived from the Rising sign and the Ascendant, and so those change every one to two hours whenever the Rising itself changes, so here when we were clicking through the different signs in Solar Fire I was moving it forward and backwards in one hour increments, so here at 12:30 for example the Ascendant is in Scorpio, but when you move the time forward an hour the Ascendant has moved into Sagittarius by an hour later. If you move it forward a couple hours after that the Ascendant has moved into Capricorn, and each time that happens because we’re using the whole sign house system all of the house placements of the planets are moving and changing signs as well, so for example with the Sagittarius Rising chart Mercury is in the 11th whole sign house, which is the place of friends and groups and alliances, but then when it moves an hour later to Capricorn then Mercury moves to the 10th house of career and reputation, and your overall life direction.
LS: Right, so we’re not actually interpreting these planets in the houses, and it’s important to note that we’re actually advocating a noon chart as like a version of your chart exactly. It’s just sort of a middle ground, but we’re not using that as to say, y’know, when you make a noon chart then you can interpret it as a full chart.
CB: Yeah. You basically just need to ignore the Ascendant, ignore the house placements, and also ignore anything else that’s derived from the Ascendant, or the house placements, such as-
LS: All the Lots.
CB: The Lots, the Arabic Parts, like the Part of Fortune is not going to be correct and other things like that. The main thing you need to focus on is just planets in the signs of the zodiac and the aspects between the planets. I think then the chart is basically set up, so let’s transition now into talking about what techniques you actually can use. The first question that you have to answer though is what are you trying to accomplish, or let’s say somebodys coming to you and you’re the astrologer, and the person doesn’t have a birth time, what kind of questions do they have, and what are they looking for you to do, and what are they looking to accomplish?
LS: Right, because you can either focus more on the plain birth chart placements, for example, in terms of delineating something about this person’s life, or personality, or tendencies, or things like that, if they’re wondering about that sort of thing, or they might conversely be wondering more about, well, what’s happening for me now, or what’s happening for me in the next year, in which case you’d be focusing more on timing techniques that you can use without a birth time. It’s good to know ahead of time if it is that sort of thing where people are coming to you and you have an hour or so to talk to them. What would they most like you to focus on? I’ve done quick readings for example where some people have birth times, and some people don’t, and sometimes if it’s more of like a quick thing you can just see what’s kind of the most striking, but most of the time if people are coming to you for a full session or something, or even if it’s someone you know, but you have plenty of time to talk, you can see well what are they actually wondering more about? Which part?
CB: Right, so there’s a difference between interpretive techniques where you’re just looking at the birth chart, and you’re just interpreting placements and what they mean about the person’s life and character as a whole, sort of like universal statements you can make about the person’s life based on their birth chart. Then the other thing that you can look at that is somewhat separate is timing techniques based on if either you or your client is trying to figure out when something will happen, or if something will happen in the future. There are different timing techniques that you can apply whether you have a birth time or not. Let’s start by looking at just interpretive techniques, and what interpretive techniques you can actually use when you don’t have a birth time, and you’re just trying to interpret the birth chart on its own.
CB: The first one that we’ve already talked about is the zodiacal signs that the planets are located in should be pretty stable, and the aspects between the planets should be pretty stable, so those are basically going to be your two main things, and those already account for, that’s already a huge chunk of astrology basically. Planets in signs, and aspects between planets, right?
LS: Mhm, definitely, and especially if you’re talking to someone who doesn’t know a lot about astrology, or doesn’t know anything about their own chart yet before this conversation. There’s still a lot to be told from even just interpreting every planet in a sign, and which placements are playing together in an aspect. You can talk about that for a while.
CB: Right, so part of this is using the planets as general significators for different topics, and different things, so Mercury for example as being the significator for how a person communicates, which can be like different characteristics in terms of the way that they communicate, or the quality of how they communicate, both in speaking as well as in writing, or other forms like that, just by looking at the Mercury placement. The difference between somebody that has Mercury, let’s say in Leo, and is more showy or overt, vs somebody who has Mercury in Scorpio and tends to be more covert, or more penetrating in terms of the way that they speak and communicate, more forceful in their communication.
LS: Right, which can also extend to even things like your internal thinking style before you even say or write anything, and that can actually be profound to hear reflected back to you, those sorts of things about yourself if you’ve never heard them before.
CB: Yeah, so some of those are character traits, and expanding on that more, so there’s general significations of the planets in the signs, and those characteristics can mean things. Should we expand on that more, or talk about modifications based on the aspects? Because the other thing that can happen is that those traits can be modified in different ways depending on what other planets are aspecting, or creating close geometrical relationships with those planets. For example, a hard aspect of a conjunction or a square or an opposition from Saturn to Mercury could hamper the communication style in some way, or make the person more reticent to communicate, or run into some sort of challenges in terms of expressing themselves through communication.
LS: Mhm, for sure, or take for example Venus for relationships. Venus is a general significator for relationships as well as aesthetic preferences and things like that. That is a big topic. I would say career and relationships are big ones that people like to ask astrologers about, so if you don’t have a chart with a birth time for instance you can’t talk about the seventh house of partnership. You can still say a lot about Venus, so what sign it’s in, in terms of what kind of qualities are you attracted to in a partner for instance, or how do you make yourself attractive to partners, and then Venus in a major aspect with other planets. I think you did a whole episode on that once, right? Like Venus in aspect to the outer planets?
CB: Yeah. It was titled The Outer Planets in Relationships with Kate Taylor, and it was talking about how the outer planets manifest in relationships when they’re tied in either with Venus as a general significator of relationships, or if the outer planets are tied in with the seventh house in a person’s chart, or the ruler of the seventh house.
LS: Mhm, yeah.
CB: General significators are just planets that can signify different topics generally in a person’s life depending on what sign they’re placed in, and what aspects they have from other planets. So Venus for relationships, Mercury for communications, what are some other ones?
LS: The Sun for core identity, or your self-concept, how you go about things in your life. The Moon I like to talk about in terms of people’s instinctive or emotional styles of processing.
CB: Yeah, emotions. The planets can also signify other people in the life, and sometimes the luminaries can signify the parents, or the relationships with the parents, like the Sun’s condition in the chart as the father, or the Moon’s condition as the mother, and there’s different ways to approach that just in terms of general significators, or Venus as representing not just relationships in general, but sometimes the relationship partner in a person’s life if you’re in a committed long term relationship.
LS: Right, or the Moon as a general significator for home and family sometimes. Things like that.
CB: Yeah, and your living situation. Let’s see, other significators like Mars for example.
LS: Mhm, so Mars could be your assertion style, how you go after things, or how you’re motivated to go after things.
CB: Mhm, and Jupiter can indicate areas of growth and how you grow and expand as a general significator, whereas Saturn can signify more like areas of contraction. From a psychological standpoint it can also indicate apprehensions or fears that a person has.
LS: Right, and then some of these, we’ll get into this in a bit, but they tie into later timing cycles as well once you identify what these signs are.
CB: Right. Okay, and then each of those, so just in and of itself there’s a lot that you can say about the sign that a planet is placed in, and characterizing different qualities associated with the significations of that planet in the person’s life, and then the aspects between the planets can modify the expression of different planets in the chart, and how those significations are expressed.
CB: So we were talking about Mercury as communication, so going back to that, I mentioned Saturn aspecting Mercury through a hard aspect can be challenging let’s say for communication, whereas let’s say it’s an easier or flowing aspect, like let’s say Saturn is trining Mercury, that could make the person more methodical as a thinker, or more well structured in the way that they think and communicated. Or Venus aspects, we talked about relationships, and that can typify how the person relates to different people, or the type of people that a person can attract into their life in some ways.
LS: Right, yeah, so you can go through any of the combinations of Venus in a hard aspect to any of the other planets, or y’know, say you have a Venus Uranus combination in a hard aspect or something, sometimes people if they’ve never heard this about their chart before that could be so illuminating in itself, saying oh well you attract really unconventional partners, or you have sudden beginnings and endings with relationships and things like that. People can be kind of amazed that that can reflect so accurately in what they’ve experienced.
CB: Right, or like Venus Neptune you can tend to be very idealistic in relationships, or in aspects, especially the harder aspects, but even to a lesser extent the soft aspects, or let’s see, Saturn Venus aspects?
LS: Saturn Venus aspects can be like relationships either feeling like they take more effort, or sometimes working out better later in life, or sometimes feeling effortful for a while, but then still having relationships that last a long time sort of at it’s best.
CB: Right, yeah. There’s all sorts of combinations like that, and people should not just pay attention to degree based aspects, which is usually what the aspect lines in a chart will show, which are the aspects that are really close to exact, but also sometimes sign based aspects are things that you should pay attention to as well, and especially knowing that a planet that is earlier in the order of signs is going to have a dominant influence over a planet that it’s aspecting later in the order of signs. That can also be useful information just in terms of understanding how the aspects are playing out in your chart, and which planets are playing a more dominant role in influencing other planets in the chart.
LS: Definitely, and I would definitely echo and second the sign based aspects, both in terms of the natal delineation as well as the timing, even if you think they don’t look very close in degree, and so maybe they don’t matter, but sign based aspects really do still work. It’s just they get more intensified when they’re closer by degree.
CB: Yeah, so it’s like if you have let’s say Venus in the same sign as Neptune, even if they’re really far away from each other, then you’ve got basically a loose Venus Neptune conjunction, and the way that you would normally delineate a Venus Neptune conjunction about having highly idealistic relationships would still be present there. It may not be as intense, but it’s still going to probably be a part of that person’s personality, and a part of that person’s life.
LS: Definitely, and same for planets in a sign that is square to each other, or a sign in opposition to each other, regardless of degree.
CB: Yeah, so Saturn squaring the Moon for example by sign, and some of that then is going to come up in transits later once we get to timing, although maybe we should put that off a little bit.
CB: Okay, so, aspects. Focus on aspects, focus on sign placements of course. Those are going to be your two main things, because in Western astrology the fundamental foundation of birth charts is really just based on four things. It’s based on planets, signs of the zodiac, aspects, and houses.
CB: You’ve got three of those four things here. You’re just taking out the fourth one, which is the houses when you don’t have a birth time, but you still have like 75% of the system.
LS: Right, which is good to think about it that way. You actually have a lot still.
CB: Yeah. Other things that are relevant that you can pay attention to if you don’t have a birth time are aspect patterns, so I just did an episode, episode 266 of The Astrology Podcast, it was titled ‘Aspect Patterns in Astrology with Carole Taylor,’ and aspect patterns were defined there as a geometrical relationship in a chart where there’s three planets, three or more planets, that are creating close configurations, or close aspects with each other simultaneously basically at the same time, so any time you have three or more planets that are closely configured to each other through one of the recognized aspects you have an aspect pattern.
LS: Mhm, right, and that’s something good to know in and of itself, and also something that will then get simultaneously triggered by later transits.
CB: Yeah, so there’s different aspects like a T-square for example, which is when you have two planets that are opposing each other, and there’s a third planet that is squaring both of those two planets in opposition simultaneously, and especially if those three aspects are close together, if the opposition is within a few degrees, and the squares are within a few degrees, then right away that aspect pattern in and of itself can be interpreted as meaning something. That there’s a tension between the two planets that are in aspect, but then there’s a potential for some kind of resolution through the third planet that is squaring them both at the same time. It’s like there’s a release valve on the opposition, and so that general configuration has some sort of inherent meaning of its own.
CB: Okay, so aspect patterns are a major thing that you can still do, and that’s largely still accurate and you can interpret the majority of, even without a birth time, so check out that episode with Carole Taylor for more about that.
LS: Right, and most of those should be stable in your chart regardless of the time of day, unless it was the Moon as one of the planets, and even then it would be in the vicinity.
CB: Yeah, for the most part you’ll probably still have it as long as your birth time wasn’t on the extreme ends of very early in the day, or very late in the day.
CB: Okay, so that’s one thing. Let’s see, so the next thing that we can talk about is just general interpretive placements. The lunar phase should be generally known, or you should be able to know roughly what lunar phase you were in, so the lunar phase has to do with if the Moon is waxing, so it’s waxing in the first half of the lunar month for like 14 days after the new Moon, and it’s increasing in light, it’s getting brighter and brighter and brighter until eventually it hits the full Moon, and then the Moon starts decreasing in light, and getting darker and darker and darker for another 14 days until eventually it reaches the next new Moon, and the cycle starts over again. Astrologers typically divide that entire cycle of 28 days, the lunar cycle up into different portions, and especially sometimes in modern psychological astrology, there’s different character traits that are associated with different parts of that cycle depending on where you were born into it.
LS: Right, it can have something to say about how you approach life in a general way. Yeah, and kind of whether you’re more extroverted, or retiring, or different traits like that.
CB: Right, so I know Demetra has a treatment for that. I think she talks about it a little bit in Astrology and the Authentic Self, I believe, right?
LS: Uhm, I think so. I’m trying to remember. She has another book she also talks about it with like Finding Your Way Through the Dark, maybe.
CB: Yeah. Yeah, so she has other books on that, so that’s a good technique that you can use sometimes, or another thing that’s not hugely dependent on the birth time, because as long as the Moon is relatively narrowed down, it’s largely going to be in the same range.
LS: Right. It’s still only going to be like 12 degrees off, y’know, from the beginning to the end of the day, and so compared to the Sun placement that’s still going to put you roughly in the same lunar phase regardless.
CB: Right. Another technique, or it’s not really a technique, but one other thing I want to mention is the environment you were raised in, and this is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately how the environment that a person is raised in matters in terms of how they sometimes grow into certain placements, and that’s an important element in terms of understanding where a person is coming from, and how one person’s experience, especially let’s say if they were born on the same day, and have the same birth chart, but they were born into a different family, and the difference between one person who grows up with let’s say parents who instill positive moral traits on the person, let’s say the person has a difficult aspect in their chart, let’s say they have a Mercury Mars square for example, and Mercury as a general significator indicates communication, and Mars general significator can indicate fighting or conflict, so the person might have a tendency to get into verbal conflicts, or to sort of spout off verbally at people, and not say nice things, or maybe even have incisive communication with other people, so there might be one person who was born with that who is raised in an environment and with family members who try to instill relatively positive moral values in the person, and that person grows up sort of learning how to keep some of those tendencies in check, and while some of that may still come up from time to time, and it may still be a part of their personality on some level, they may use it in a way that is more constructive or more positive than they could have otherwise. Versus there could be another person who’s born in a different scenario where their parents really encourage many of their worst impulses, or for some reason the childhood environment encourages many of the worst impulses of those placements so that they develop almost as if it was a plant in a much different way that’s not as positive, and instead is more of a negative expression of those placements.
LS: Yeah, that’s definitely one variable for sure that can play a part in how these are expressed at a given time, and another of course is these two people are born on the same day, but at actual different times, even though we don’t know what time it was, it could be more or less relevant in the chart maybe Mercury is the Ascendant ruler it turns out, but we don’t know that, and so this is actually expressing this Mercury Mars square as actually something very personal to that person and how they express themselves, vs it’s ruling the fourth house of home family parents, and so maybe it was actually one of the parents that expresses that the most in the person’s life, and so that’s one of the things you have to keep in mind. While we are saying that you can say certain things about some of these placements without a birth time based on the signs that planets are in, and the aspects they make to each other, it is still good to remember the variable of this could, y’know, there’s some theoretical birth time out there that we don’t’ know, and so this could be more or less expressing through like that actual person, vs someone else in their life.
CB: Mhm, yeah definitely. The birth time matters and can change the topics in the chart, and where some of the energies of the planetary aspects and the placements manifest in a person’s life, and whether they’re expressed sometimes even by the person themselves, and whether the person takes on the agency of certain planets, or whether the agency of those planets are expressed through other people in their lives.
LS: Yeah, exactly.
CB: This also brings up- so part of that’s like a nature vs nurture debate, but it also has to do with the synastery that you have with your parents, and with different family members, which is that you don’t just have your own birth chart, but you also, each of your parents has a birth chart, and the way that their birth chart interacts with your own is going to be positive and flowing and potentially supportive in some areas of your chart, but in other areas of your chart there could be tension or conflicts, and that probably also typifies how a person is raised, and what parts of their chart get emphasized to a certain extent as well.
LS: Yeah, definitely, so some things will be activated and more pleasant or positive ways, and sometimes kind of harsher or conflictual ways depending on who is around you, and depending on how your birth charts are interacting.
CB: Yeah, but that’s another thing that you can do for the most part even without a birth time is synastry. You can look at the synastery between the relationship astrology between your chart and other peoples charts, and the aspects between them, so if you have your Sun at like 15 degrees of Virgo, and you see somebody else who has their Moon at 15 degrees of Virgo, then you know you have a good chart connection with them.
LS: Mhm, exactly, and you can do that with most of your placements without a birth time.
CB: Yeah, because it’s mainly just focusing on the aspects, and most of the planetary placements won’t move too far within the course of a day, so for the most part synastry in relationship astrology is something that you can do relatively successfully even without a birth time, at least in terms of determining areas of ease or areas of challenge between the two charts, because that’s often mainly expressed through the aspects between the two charts.
LS: Right. You can do that piece. You sometimes can’t do all the timing surrounding it that you might otherwise, but yeah you can definitely do how they’re relating to each other.
CB: Right. You can also do composite charts to a certain extent, right?
CB: Because a composite chart is just when you take two charts and you average the placements, and it creates a third chart. You won’t be able to use the houses, but you can pay attention to the aspects if you want to use a composite chart.
LS: Yeah, and I mean it’s kind of a quasi advanced thing that you could do without a birth time. It’s kind of surprising that you can still do things like that without a birth time, because yeah it won’t give you the houses, it won’t give you the Ascendant of the composite, but you can still see, y’know, do you have more harmonious things going on in the composite third party of the relationship chart, or do you have things that are harsher, or y’know, what have you.
CB: Yeah, alright, so those are all of the main interpretive techniques in terms of just looking at a chart, and looking at your birth chart and what you can get from it. It’s primarily those three areas of planets, signs, aspects, and largely just leaving out houses all together, unless you rectify the chart, or unless you find your birth time. There’s a whole other area we need to go into which is timing techniques, which is determining not just what will happen in a person’s life, but when it will happen, so there are a lot of timing techniques that you can still use even without a birth time, and that’s the good news.
LS: Yeah, definitely, and you can always use transits, which is a lot. You can say a lot by transiting planets happening in aspect to your birth chart placements.
CB: Right, so a transit is where the planets will be, so if your birth chart is your base, or your foundation chart, and as a snapshot of where the planets were the moment you were born, and then all the planets keep moving, so transits are looking at where the planets will be in the future relative to where they were at the moment of your birth as activating certain placements in your birth chart.
LS: Mhm, right, or where they are right now, and what are they doing in aspect to your birth chart placements.
CB: Right, so for the most part you can do that. Some of the Sun Moon transits may be slightly off, so you want to be careful about those two, because the Sun can move up to a degree during the course of a day. Some of those transits could be off by a degree, so you want to be a little bit careful. I think that’s one of the other good arguments for using a noon chart though in order to mitigate how far off the Sun can be because if you use a noon chart you’ve averaged it so that it can only be like half a degree off probably at most.
LS: Yeah, exactly.
CB: Yeah, whereas the Moon, even using a noon chart it can be up to six degrees off, so that can throw some transits off much further, so you have to be a little bit more careful in terms of looking at natal transits to your Moon, at least by exact degree, because you can still for the most part as long as you’ve narrowed down the correct sign your Moon is in, you can do whole sign transits to the Moon, so for example if transiting Saturn is going through your Moon sign you’re going to be feeling that for the most part for the entirety of Saturn moving through that sign for two to three years, and it will grow more intense when it gets to the exact degree, but it’s operative the entire time that it’s moving through that sign.
LS: Right, for sure, and I mean if you know the window of how far the Moon could move that day, you can also tell someone else, y’know, whose chart you’re looking at who doesn’t have a birth time, y’know, while you don’t know exactly when the Saturn Moon transit will be exact by degree and minute, you can say this will be the range in which it should feel most intense, so there are still things you can say like that.
CB: Right. Let’s see, so what other transits? You don’t know what houses the transits are moving through, so if there’s any reports that you’re looking at, or websites like Astro.com if they start talking about what houses like Saturn or Jupiter or something are moving through you have to disregard that because without a birth time you can’t know which houses the planets are transiting through, but any transiting aspects to natal placements, especially placements besides the Sun and Moon, and to a lesser extent Mercury if it’s moving quickly, will all be relatively accurate for the entirety of your life.
LS: Right. Something that I really like that doesn’t require birth time is the life stage transits, and especially if someone doesn’t know much or any astrology, y’know, just talking about the Saturn return if someones in that, talking about the midlife transits, like the Saturn opposition, Uranus opposition that happens from from the late 30s to mid 40s, talking about those things can actually be pretty profound, especially if you talk about the natal Saturn placement if you’re talking about the Saturn cycle, and then talking about the actual aspect that it’s in now by transit, that can tell you a whole lot, or give the other person a lot to think through, and I think that’s another thing that’s important to bring in here is that it’s not only about thighs that you can say, but it’s also about things that you can spark as a reflection within that person. Maybe they have access to information, well they certainly have access to information about their own life that you don’t know, if you’re talking to someone else, but y’know, so you say well this was your Saturn return during 2000, and now you’re in your Saturn opposition, and that will relate to the same things from during that time, and that can spark a whole lot of thought and conversation.
CB: Yeah, definitely. If you’re doing a consultation with somebody. So life stage transits, it’s not just the Saturn return which is between the ages of 27 and 30 when Saturn returns to its’ natal sign. That’s something you can do without knowing the birth time, and with that Saturn moves so slowly that you actually also know the exact degree of the natal Saturn, so that you know when it goes exact as well, and when it’s going to be the most intense.
LS: Right, and then you know every seven to eight years there’s going to be the next hard aspect of the transiting Saturn cycle to its natal placement, which is an ongoing thing you can talk about.
CB: Okay, so also the waxing square of Saturn when it’s after seven years of the conjunction, it would eventually begin squaring itself by sign, or its natal placement by sign for two to three years, and then the Saturn opposition for two to three years when it’s going through its opposite sign, the waning square, and then finally the Saturn return.
CB: Okay, so Saturn transits and Saturn cycles are really good for studying long term transits and cycles and themes in the person’s life, and also one of the things we’ve always found, especially when we used to do our blog, Saturn Return Stories, is that you’ll see echos of the same topics coming up over and over again when Saturn makes that hard aspect to its natal placement every seven years, so that’s good if you can go back and hear a person’s and study a person’s history in seven year increments roughly, because you’ll start to get a sense of the themes pretty quickly, and then you can project that out into the future in terms of what they can expect when that same hard aspect from Saturn comes up again in the future.
LS: Right, and that’s why it can be so fruitful because it’s kind of a major and longer term transit that keeps repeating those same themes, and it also has to do with life’s structures, and so that’s why it’s also useful to track over time. It just can be kind of like a major player in a person’s biography, or you can even do interesting things like, okay, well you’re in your Saturn opposition now, you’re in your mid 40s, you had one before when you were around 14, and it can actually be kind of amazing to see the same themes come up at those times.
CB: Yeah, so Saturn transits are big. Other life stage transits I know that you like to work with are Uranus aspects and Uranus transits, especially the hard aspects to its natal position, which are things like the Uranus square, and then the Uranus opposition.
LS: Opposition as part of the midlife transits in particular, but yeah you can also trace that by hard aspect as well, and see, y’know, what’s coming up right now. Oh, I’m suddenly feeling like breaking out of my rut and changing everything in my life, well of course you are, because you’re in this major Uranus aspect, so that can be really interesting to talk about in and of itself.
CB: Yeah, so Uranus has an 84 year cycle, so what are the ranges for the first Uranus square and opposition?
LS: Right, so around age 21 for the first square, and then the opposition is around 42 or 43 give or take. It’ll be over the course of a couple years usually, but it goes back and forth by degree in terms of the exact degrees, and then I think it’s like 63 give or take for the next one, and then 84 for the actual return.
CB: Okay, so that’s another thing you can do with that. You pay more attention especially to the degree of the exact squares and oppositions to its natal position, right?
LS: Right, and again that’s a nice one, just like Saturn and outward, really probably, what, Jupiter and outward? It’s pretty stable. You’re going to get a pretty exact placement even if you don’t know the time of day.
CB: Yeah, definitely. Okay, so, and we’ve talked about whole sign vs degree based aspects in transits. Another thing that you can do which you mentioned is profected house topics.
LS: Right, so even though when we’re talking about profections, the basic technique is going from the Ascendant, and it’s going by age, so you’re counting around however many houses you are in years, but they always occur with the same house topics, the same house profection for the same age, so even if you don’t know what signs are involved or what planets are involved, you can say for everyone at age 30 you’re going to be in a seventh house profection year, and so as long as you know the person is 30, even if you don’t know what their seventh house is doing, y’know, without a birth time, you can say relationships or if they do client work, or other major one on one interactions, are going to come to the forefront of your life more than usual this year, and are going to be sort of more of a focused theme for you until your next birthday, and that’s actually a lot to be able to say as well even if you don’t know the specifics to go beyond that with a sign and sign rulership.
CB: Right, so even if you don’t know the Ascendant, and you can’t know what sign to start from, you at least know generally everybody who is 30 years old is in a seventh house profection year, so relationships should be more prominent. 27 is a fourth house profection year, so like home, sometimes parents or living situation can become more prominent.
LS: Like 33 and 45 and 21, those are all tenth house years, and so anyone at that age, any of those ages, you can say career and your public reputation are going to be much more important this year than usual.
CB: Okay, so that’s a good general one that you can do without a birth time. Additionally I would say you can profect from, in Hellenistic astrology, and a more advanced approach to profections, you actually can profect not just the Ascendant, but also the sect light, and from the other luminary that is contrary to the sect, so basically you’re also supposed to profect from the Sun and the Moon in the advanced method of annual profections, and I’ve actually found consistently over and over again that oftentimes I’ll put most of my emphasis on profecting from the Ascendant, but sometimes when a major event happens in a person’s life, and it just did not show up in the profections from the Ascendent, when I profect from the sect light, which is the Sun in a day chart, or the Moon in a night chart, it will always be spot on, and it’ll be right there, and I would’ve seen it ahead of time if I’d just been consistently profecting from the sect light, which is something I’ve been trying to get myself to do more consistently for years now. That’s a little tricky because you can only determine the sect light if you know if the person was born during the day, or at night, so if you don’t know an entire 24 hour period you can’t necessarily do that. If you have narrowed it down so that you know that the person was born during the day or at night, then you can do profections from the sect light, and that’s a great technique to use to help you identify what the activated sign of the zodiac is that year, and what the ruler of that sign is will become activated as one of the important time lords for the year.
LS: Right, and so you just profect the same number of signs as you would for the general Ascendant profections, so seven signs from the Sun if you were born during the day, and you’re in a seventh house profection year for instance.
LS: Yeah, and if you have let’s say Saturn there in that sign that’s going to be experienced much differently in that seventh sign from the Sun, than if you have let’s say Jupiter there in that sign. That’s going to be a much more different experience.
LS: Right, and so when you’re profecting from the sect light you’re basically saying this is going to be something, especially if there is a planet there, this is going to be something about the quality of that year, is why you would be doing that.
CB: Yeah, the quality of that year, and also the ruler of that sign becoming more activated in its transits, so if you have important transits either to that planet in your natal chart, or transits by that planet in that year, they’re going to be more crucial, or even if you have let’s say planets transiting through the profected sign from the sect light, those are going to be more important, so for example if right now Aries is the profected sign from your sect light, well Mars is stationing retrograde in Aries this month, so that may mean that that Mars retrograde period is going to be much more important for you than it would be otherwise.
LS: Definitely, and we’ve done a couple episodes now on profections in the past, right?
CB: Yeah. I did a solo long lecture, a 90 minute lecture, which people can find on the podcast, and then we did at least one episode with an audience where we sort of demonstrated the technique in practice with different example charts from the audience.
LS: Right, so if you want to hear more about profections, and don’t know about them, there’s another episode to listen to.
CB: Yeah, so just search for ‘annual profections’ on The Astrology Podcast, and that stuff will come up.
LS: Mhm. I mean, and you could profect from either of them, right? If you don’t know-
CB: Yeah, I mean in reality, so, if you don’t know your sect light, and you don’t know what part of the day you were born, it’s fine to profect from both because all the sect light does is it tells you which luminary to emphasize, and which one is going to be more important so you can narrow things down, but if you don’t know whether you were born during the day or night, if you don’t have any idea during a 24 hour period, then just profect from both of the luminaries, and that’s just going to tell you two signs that are going to be more important that year, and then you run through all of the same things, and even through that if you do that for a number of years over and over again you may find yourself coming back to, y’know, this one seemed to work more consistently than this one, and that might start pushing you in a certain direction of sort of thinking that maybe you were born during the day, or born during the night.
LS: Right, and that’s a good point more broadly is if you are working say with your own chart over time, and you don’t know when you were born, and have no idea what part of the day or anything, there are other things like that that you can just kind of watch for, and it might take a while, but if you keep close track of how transits are hitting, or that sort of thing, or say if your Moon was close to changing signs, and Saturn gets close to the end of the one sign, and then the beginning of the next sign, well which one felt more intense? There are things like that you can track over the course of your lifetime, and y’know, get a better sense of what it might be even if you never get any records.
CB: Yeah, I mean is that a meta point that anybody that doesn’t know their birth time that this will become part of your quest as an astrologer to sort of find your birth time, or to narrow it down to some extent that that becomes part of your work as an astrologer? That it’s always going to be there in the back of your mind? I mean, I don’t want to instill that too much since on the one hand we’re trying to do two things here in this episode where we want to make it more acceptable, and make people realize that there’s a lot that you can do even if you don’t know your birth time, and so we don’t necessarily want people to feel bad about that, or to feel inadequate, or that you can’t use astrology, because there’s still lots and lots of techniques, and that’s what we’re trying to demonstrate here that you can use, even without a birth time, but certainly having the rectification in the back of your mind will still be something that may be there to some extent perhaps.
LS: Yeah I think so, and I think it depends on how invested you are as well because if you just kind of want to know your chart, but you’re otherwise not focusing on astrology a lot during your lifetime it probably doesn’t matter that much for your to have to keep working at it, but if you’re a professional astrologer yourself, or it’s a very serious hobby, I just think naturally you would do that. I mean I would I guess if it were me just because so much of astrology is about observation and correlations and things like that, and people often have a sort of research oriented mind sometimes at least when they get into astrology that I think they would kind of want to pay attention to when things like that hit, and y’know, gave them clues one way or the other.
CB: I mean I know, I’m following, like there’s plenty of people’s charts, either personal or celebrity charts I’m still following where it’s not even my birth time and I’m still invested in figuring out what their birth time is. Like I’ve been trying to track down Kanye West’s birth time, or rectify it, for the better part of a decade, and other people like that.
LS: Right, right, so like I said it depends on how invested you are, haha!
CB: Right, so, yeah rectification and that being in the back of your mind to some extent, and at the same time I would also encourage people to not be too quick to settle on firm rectification especially early in your studies because I know one thing we also emphasized in our rectification episode is the, not temporary but preliminary or provisional nature of rectification, and that you can sometimes be wrong, and even a rectification that looks really good could be wrong due to false positives, so especially early in your studies when you’re still getting a sense of things I would advise people to avoid jumping to conclusions and rushing to firm and fast and hard conclusions even if that’s tempting sometimes because as your knowledge of astrology grows and develops you’re going to get better at it, and you want to remain open to alternative possibilities instead of just deciding that you’re definitely this rising sign because of some preconception that you have about what that means, whereas if you remained more open later you might end up finding the correct rising sign even if it was different than what you initially assumed.
LS: Yeah. I definitely agree, and I actually when I’ve done rectifications for clients I’ll tell them, y’know, once I find a probable rising sign it’s like okay I’m pretty sure this is it, but I’ll also tell them always like upcoming transits to watch for to either further confirm that, or to cast some question about it, and I’ve actually had people email me back in a few months and say oh, this transit hit, and it actually does seem to be affecting that topic, and I’m like yeah that seems like further confirmation.
CB: Right. Okay, so going back to our outline, where are we at this point?
LS: I think secondary progressions is next.
CB: Okay, so another completely different timing technique aside from profections that you can use is secondary progressions. This doesn’t really require an exact birth time. You can’t pay attention to the progressed Ascendant, or progressed house placements, but you can pay attention to progressed planets, especially when those planets are making aspects to each other. I always pay attention especially to secondary progressed planet aspects to other secondary progressed aspects, and then also especially planetary stations, so if a planet during the course of a year or two turns retrograde or direct by secondary progression those are typically really important turning points in a person’s life, especially with inner planets like Mercury or Venus or Mars. Hopefully your Moon doesn’t turn retrograde.
LS: Yeah, we want to hear if it does, haha, but yeah. With secondary progressions on the one hand things don’t change frequently, which is why it’s not one of my top tier timing things that I used for consultations, but I do actually look at them still to make sure that nothing important is happening, because once in a while it will, and stations are certainly one of those things. They’ll happen once or maybe twice in someone’s life for Mercury, but usually just once if that, and sometimes not at all, so they’re infrequent, but yeah you pay attention because they are important, y’know, infrequent things that they do happen. Unfortunately you can’t track the progressed Moon if you have a whole 24 hour period of a birth time because it could be half a sign away.
CB: Yeah, the progressed Moon unfortunately could be pretty far off, and even though for the most part because the Moon moves relatively fast in secondary progressions that’s what people focus on typically the most. That’s actually going to be the one you’re going to have the most problems with in terms of it being potentially the furthest off. It’ll be within a sign of correct, but you want to be careful about focusing on it too much unless you’ve narrowed down your birth time further, but you can pay attention to other things like when planets change signs, so not so much the Moon, but other planets like the Sun, or Mercury, or Venus, or Mars.
LS: Right, like the progressed Sun will always change signs about every 30 years for instance, and that can mark kind of like a new chapter in your life, or kind of a new sub tone in your personality, or things of that nature.
CB: Yeah, so that may not be something that you can use usefully on a day to day basis in the same way that you can with transits, which move much faster, but it’s something that if you’re trying to look at the broad scope of an entire person’s life, and look for important events, secondary progressions can be useful about noticing some important turning points that can happen at different stages in a person’s life.
LS: Mhm, and you can also look at for instance when progressed planets make an exact aspect to a natal planet. That can be important.
CB: Mhm. Alright, so another one in the survey that I put out that a lot of people mentioned was solar arcs. This is something I used to use a little bit more in the early 2000s and I don’t as much anymore, but you basically direct each of the planetary placements forward almost a degree per year, and then eventually look at what happens when they make exact aspects with natal positions, so for most of the planets you could do that pretty easily, especially the outer planets. You can’t really do that with the Moon with solar arcs because it could be way off by up to six years if you’re using a noon chart. The Sun could be a little bit off, but not too far, so that the Sun is largely going to be usable.
LS: Yeah, and I don’t use solar arcs personally, but I know if that is one of your go to techniques that is something that is fairly usable without a birth time.
CB: Yeah, it’s something that’s worth exploring as a timing technique that’s not as dependent on the birth time as some other techniques like zodiacal releasing for example. I’ve also recently been looking into something called symbolic directions in this book by Charles Carter, where solar arcs are kind of weird because it’s based on the motion of the sun, and it’s like almost a degree per year, but it’s not actually. It depends on how fast the Sun is moving, and sometimes it moves less than a degree per year, so it’s like a variable rate, and it’s not consistent necessarily, but apparently I’ve learned in the past few months that there is like a consistent version of the technique, which is just symbolically directing everything exactly one degree per year, and I’m much more interested in that because it seems like a nice analog to the annual profections technique where it’s directing things one sign per year to move them forward one degree. I haven’t researched that much yet but I’m interested in looking into it more.
LS: Maybe a future episode.
CB: Definitely. Alright, and finally my friend Nick Dagan Best mentioned Venus retrograde cycles, and Mars retrograde cycles as something you can look for, so for example, when Venus goes retrograde it’ll go retrograde for about 40 days in a specific sign of the zodiac, and because of how Venus’s cycles work it will always go retrograde in roughly the same spot in the zodiac approximately every eight years, so sometimes those eight year increments can tie together different chapters in a person’s life when Venus goes retrograde for different reasons.
LS: Right, and so that again is something that you don’t need an exact birth time for, and it’s something you can kind of track similar themes over time just like some of the transit cycles.
CB: Yeah, and Nick has entire lectures where he demonstrates how to do that, and how he’s used untimed charts of major events, and major prominent world figures, and shown how the eight year Venus cycles can sometimes tie together these crucial turning points in their lives in these eight year increments. That’s also true to a lesser extent, or to some extent also with Mars retrograde cycles, which are in fifteen year increments.
LS: Right, so larger chunks of your life, but still can be interesting to trace back and see what the commonalities were of the themes that came up at those times.
CB: Right, so that’s basically like an extension of studying transits, because it’s basically a type of transit, but it’s studying a specific phase of the transit, which is the retrograde cycle.
CB: Alright, so I think those were all of the major techniques that we wrote down to review. Are there any other major techniques that we forgot about that could be used? I’m trying to think really quickly without a birth time that we should mention?
LS: I mean there are some that are sort of like iffy but possible at different times, like say eclipse cycles. I mean eclipse cycles will still happen approximately every eight to nine years in the same two opposing signs, so y’know, but you won’t know where they’re landing by house, but say they’re landing close to a natal placement, you can kind of track that over time, so that’s kind of in between.
CB: Yeah, so paying attention to eclipses, because eclipses will take place for a good year and a half almost two years in the same pair of signs opposite to each other, and so sometimes when it moves into a new pair of signs it’ll start hitting planets in your chart, and that can be important, so that’s another extension of how you can use transits and different types of transits even without a birth time.
LS: Right, yeah. I’m trying to think if there are any others that we’ve missed. Nothing is coming to mind.
CB: Okay, well I’m kind of shocked then because we still have done this episode in about 75 minutes, so it’s almost like a normal lecture. I guess because we jumped right into it.
LS: Right, yeah that’s surprisingly short for your usual.
CB: Yeah. I’m a little disturbed by that. I feel like there must’ve been a page that dropped out that we’re missing from this. There’s not though, is there?
LS: No, I don’t think there is.
CB: Okay, so the concluding remarks that I wanted to make are that if you don’t have a birth time it’s not the end of the world. There’s lots of things that you can do without a birth time. We just rattled off a whole list of them, so obviously you’re not, y’know, totally devoid of techniques that you can throw at your birth chart both to just interpret the chart itself, as well as in terms of timing techniques there’s lots of stuff you can do and lots of stuff to learn and play with. Some astrologers that you go to it is true may not feel confident interpreting your birth chart without a birth time, and to be honest myself when I was still doing consultations, because I’ve taken the past few years off just to focus on the podcast, because I was so dependent on using techniques like zodiacal releasing, which require a very exact, very precise birth time, I didn’t usually do consultations with people that didn’t have one, with some exceptions. There are astrologers like that that are so dependent on a birth time that they don’t either see clients, or they don’t know what to do without one, but that’s not everybody. There are other astrologers where that’s not a big deal, and they’re much more adapted to it, and much more used to doing consultations without a birth time. I know you worked a wedding once where most of the people didn’t have birth times, right?
LS: Yeah, it was a variety. Some people happened to, but lots of people of course right off the street aren’t going to know their exact birth time, so I had to just work with what was, and yeah it’s all the things we’ve been talking about, so talking about some basic natal placements, or talking about what transits are most exact right now, or talking about say oh I see you’re in your Saturn return, so that’s really important. Let’s talk about that. There’s always things you can talk about even though I’m certainly also kind of dependent at this point on advanced techniques that require a birth time, but I think if you are the astrologer, y’know, and you’re listening to this, it’s good to kind of get back to the basics too, even if you have become dependent on some other things that require birth times, but to remember that there’s always foundational things that you can talk about, and even talk about for a good long while with someone even without that.
CB: Yeah. Well, it’s good practice. I think also some of the discussion lately, some of the people have presented to it to me as an issue of accessibility, and wanting to make astrology accessible, and the notion of it being inaccessible, or almost as sort of, maybe this isn’t the right term, but maybe elitism of people that have a birth time, and therefore can do all this stuff with astrology and houses and everything else, vs creating this other category of people who don’t have a birth time for whatever reason, and therefore astrology becomes inaccessible. I think when it’s presented like that that’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this episode because I don’t want people to feel left out. I want people to realize there is still a lot you can do with astrology even without a birth time, and that’s part of some of the tips we’re trying to outline here that’s not necessarily the end of the world, and there’s still huge chunks of the system that are accessible to you so that you shouldn’t necessarily feel completely left out.
LS: Mhm, for sure, and I mean there’s lots of sub categories of things that we even talked about that you can do. Say Saturn is going through a sign, it has a natal placement, and maybe it’s not your Saturn cycle, but say Saturn is going through your Mercury sign, y’know, you’re going to become over the course of this two and a half to three years kind of more serious, or focused, or sober minded regarding cognitive things, whether you’re studying harder for some reason, whether you’re trying to create lectures, whether you’re just studying a topic, you’re in college, all of these kind of things. You can do that by extension with any transits to any natal placement signs even, and so that creates a whole list of things you can watch. You can talk about the planetary returns even if they are not the full eight year or fifteen year Venus or Mars cycles. Say it’s your Venus return in May of this year, let’s see what that looks like. There’s so many things you can talk about, it’s just that you do have to get back to the basics and remember what they all are.
CB: Yeah, and I think it’s also a good challenge for practicing astrologers, and although there was like a six year period between 2010 and 2016 where I was doing a bunch of consultations each week, I was doing them to help people and to apply the techniques, but every time you do a consultation you learn something new from it by having a unique person you’re talking to about their life, and so for me it was also an opportunity to learn more about zodiacal releasing, and I was refining my understanding of Hellenistic and of that technique in particular as part of my side goal in building chart examples and stuff that I would later employ in my book, which came out in 2016 and in my course on Hellenistic astrology, but I think it’s actually a good challenge for people to reach outside of that and to challenge themselves to read charts for people that don’t have birth times because any time you limit yourself, or take something away that you’re used to working with and taking for granted, although it’s awkward and can be difficult or inconvenient or uncomfortable at first, eventually that’s going to help you to build up a stronger muscle that you haven’t necessarily used that much before, and you’ll become more competent and more effective as an astrologer as a result by learning how to make due with what you have. I think that’s one of the other good things that I want to encourage people to do when it comes to charts without birth charts, which is learn how to read them, because that’s going to help you not to just be able to manage working with charts without birth times better, which is a situation that you’re naturally going to run into a lot in your career as an astrologer, but it also might actually make you better when you do come back to working with charts with birth times because you’re not going to be as dependent on immediately jumping to things like house placements, or things like that. It’ll help you to refine and improve your treatment of basic things like planets in signs, and planets aspecting other planets.
LS: Mhm. I agree, and I think as astrologers you can get a little bit used to shorthand if you’re employing lots of different pieces in consultations, like, so this means this and dwell on that for like a minute, and then keep going on. You could talk about that one thing for half an hour. You could really unpack it very deeply, and so I think that kind of ties into what you’re saying, and it reminds me a little bit of the forecast episodes, really. It’s a similar kind of thing where you’re saying, y’know, what can we say about this limited set of symbols, and really delve as deeply as we can, or describe those things as evocatively as we can, and with a full range of possible manifestations.
CB: Yeah, I mean it’s the same analogy with the outer planets and how sometimes when you’re a traditional astrologer learning Hellenistic astrology it’s good to take the outer planets out of charts, and just learn how to delineate charts with just the seven traditional or seven visible planets, because even though that might be difficult at first, or something that you’re not used to, because modern astrologers tend to rely a lot on the outer planets because they’re so stark in their significations and so distinctive, when you learn that you can actually delineate a chart with just the seven visible planets you develop naturally a deeper understanding of the significations of each of those planets because you’re not spreading yourself as thinly, so you’re actually able to improve your skills with the basics, and that’s kind of the same principle here of interpreting charts without birth times.
LS: Mhm, definitely. I agree.
CB: Well, I guess that’s it then for this episode.
LS: I think so.
CB: Talking about interpreting natal charts without birth times, so having set that up, do you want to interpret a lot of charts without birth times, are you doing consultations right now?
LS: That’ll be a part two perhaps, haha.
LS: Oh, do you mean in general for clients?
CB: Yeah are you doing natal consultations?
LS: Yeah, I do natal consultations. I have about a five month wait right now, a wait list, but you can get on it certainly, and yeah I always encourage people as we said at the top of the episode to fully research the possible sources of an exact birth time, but it’s also fine if you can’t.
CB: Right, and you also do rectifications sometimes.
LS: Mhm, yep.
CB: We have those other episodes on rectification that people should check out, the other episodes on annual profections. If you want to learn astrology I would recommend getting my book, Hellenistic Astrology The Study of Fate and Fortune, and also signing up for my course on Hellenistic astrology where I go into more detail with example charts, because that’s going to help you not just learn some of the advanced timing techniques like zodiacal releasing which require birth times, but also some of the basic stuff that you need to know about planets, sect, the difference between superior vs inferior aspects, and other things like that.
LS: Mhm. It’s very comprehensive.
CB: Yeah, so you can find out more information about that at TheAstrologySchool.com, and otherwise I think that’s it for this episode of The Astrology Podcast.
CB: Cool! Well, thank you for joining me today.
LS: You’re quite welcome.
CB: Alright, and thanks everybody for listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast. Thanks to all the Patreons who support our work here. We appreciate you, and thanks for listening and watching, so we’ll see you again next time.
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