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What to do when there is no birth time
Not everyone has a birth certificate, and not every birth certificate has a birth time.
Having someone’s birth time, on top of their birth date and location, is what makes the chart personal, and roots the cosmos to the earthly event of birth. Just one minute difference of a birth time can change the birth chart, and a large part of of the astrologer’s interpretations of it! But what happens whenever there is no recorded time of birth?
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Not every country records a birth time. Memory is not the most reliable source. Especially when parents have experienced multiple births, it’s very easy for them to confuse the memory of one child’s birth with another. However, knowing whether you’re a day or night chart can give you some more material to work with.
We often wonder about celebrities’ birth times, since their birth times are not always on the public record. I appreciate the graphics of celebrity birth charts from Astro-Seek.com, because they show all possible degrees of the moon from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM on their date of birth. This makes it easier for an astrologer to rectify the chart, or see the probability of different aspects and sign placements of the moon.
While a difference in 1 minute in the recorded birth time can change someone’s moon sign and rising sign, if you’re born on the “cusp” of one sign to another, a difference of one minute can even change a sun sign.
The idea of being a “cusp” comes from sun sign horoscope columns not being able to tell their mass readership if August 23 is Leo or Virgo, for example. Because depending on the year, time, and location August 23 could be either Leo or Virgo.
Without a birth time, no one was able to tell me that Lana Del Rey wasn’t a Gemini, until she told me she wasn’t a Gemini… I really wanted her to be a Gemini. Maybe it’s time to switch to sidereal?
I don’t think recorded birth times are so reliable either. I would go so far as to question the accuracy of the recorded time of birth as well. My recorded birth time on my birth certificate is 2:15 PM. There is a video of me taking my first breath at 2:00 PM. The clock on the video camera, recording my birth, was set to the clock in the operating room where my dad filmed my birth.
I watched this footage closely. I was fully out of the womb at 2:00 PM Central Time, on the dot. Astrologers are always suspicious of those rounded off birth times, but I promise that’s my birth time.
That 15 minute difference changes the degree of the midheaven and ascendant in my chart, which can make a difference in timing techniques, and can throw off the accuracy of predictions by years. It also changes the degrees of the lots, which are calculated using the degrees of the rising, sun, and moon.
I think relying on the birth certificate as the ultimate authority on birth time is obedient to a fault. The Rodden rating for a birth time that comes from my dad’s video camera would be considered less reliable than the birth time that comes from a hospital. That sort of medical gaze is worthy of criticism.
The irony is that I rectified the birth time written on my birth certificate by finding another source of birth time. To be fair, I have not tried to rectify my chart using astrology. Chart rectification with an astrologer who offers that service is one of the best options for rectifying a birth time.
When there is no birth time on the birth certificate, there are other sources to peruse. Family records like timestamps on photos and videos (if you were born in a place and time that allowed filming in the operating room). Even hospital records and newspaper articles can be dug up, as astrologer Patrick Watson pointed out!
Here are a few different ways to get your birth chart when there is still no birth time after exhausting all possible options:
1. Chart rectification
featuring how I rectified Jerry Seinfeld’s birth chart…
Chart rectification is a practice performed by professional astrologers using their choice of timing techniques and biographical information. Chart rectification cannot be as confidently accurate as a recorded birth time. However, different sources of birth time can provide a stronger interpretation.
If you want some free resources on the topic of chart rectification, this is a topic that has been discussed often on The Astrology Podcast.
While this isn’t a service I offer, I have practiced by rectifying Jerry Seinfeld’s birth chart. He has two listed birth times. One listed birth time is for a solar chart. A solar chart puts the Taurus sun as the rising degree and drawing the houses from there. The other listed birth time, listed in an astrology magazine, is a lunar chart, which puts a Pisces moon as the rising degree.
The Sagittarius rising charts that I drew for Jerry Seinfeld is different from both of them.
To rectify his chart I used Sagittarius rising, because obviously his features are Sagittarius rising. Then Jupiter, the rule of the ascendant, is on the descendent to represent successful collaborative relationships (and just to make comedic Jupiter angular).
He also had a notorious age gap relationship, so I thought a Mercury-ruled 7th house with the ruler of the midheaven in the 7th house was suitable.
Mercury also rules the 10th house of career and notoriety, and he is a writer. It’s in the 5th house of games, he’s a comedy writer. He’s also a dad, so having the house of children prominent in his chart made sense for me.
His benefic of sect is angular as well. Exalted Mars & Part of Fortune on the north node in the 2nd house to represent his wealth. I could go on.
I used derivative houses to speculate his birth time, using information about his family. His 1st child is a Scorpio, represented by the Mars-ruled 5th house, which is one’s first born. His 2nd child is a Pisces, represented by the 7th house, the 3rd from the 5th, the derivative house of second born, which contains Jupiter. His 3rd child, represented by the 3rd house from the 7th, the derivative house of third born, is Leo. His 3rd child is a Leo.
If I really wanted to take it further, I would use progressions, transits, eclipses, and projections alongside the most important events in his life, to fine-tune my 11:00 PM birth time, but I just used natal information for this one.
I am pretty confident in Sagittarius rising, but Pisces moon also makes sense. I’m willing to push the birth time back an hour or so to make his moon Pisces, Venus (benefic of sect) angular, and the Mc trine the north node and part of fortune.
I think the Pisces moon emphasizes the Jupiterian and financial partnership with Larry David, co-creator and mutual shareholder in Seinfeld, since his 8th house of shared resources is ruled by the moon. While I am very confident in his Sagittarius rising, I am still on the fence about his moon sign being Pisces or Aries.
His 8th house is also Cancer, Larry David’s sun sign.
2. Solar (or lunar) houses
If someone knows they were born at night, the 1st house can be drawn by putting the moon as the degree of the ascendant. If day, the sun.
So when Jerry Seinfeld had his birth chart read on TV by actress and astrologer Joyce Jillson, which I would pay to see, she put his Taurus sun as the degree of the ascendant.
The second listed birth time has his moon as the degree of his ascendant, which would be a much more useful chart if his mom remembered that he was born at night time (not sunrise or sunset, but no sun in the sky dark night).
So if you know you were born during the day, put the sun on the ascendant. if night, moon on the ascendant. You’re still not sure? It’s down to personal preference at this point.
I’m not a fan of the lunar or solar charts for Seinfeld, personally, but I do think that solar or lunar houses are important to use in annual profections and zodiacal releasing.
3. Chart at midnight vs. Chart at noon
A lot of charts that don’t have the listed time of birth will put the time as noon or midnight. I personally have never used the midnight or noon charts. I do, however, like to see the transits of the moon for a given day of an event and use this to read the birth chart.
Also, when reading fixed star parans, I was taught by Bernadette Brady to read a 24hr chart with all stars culminating, rising, and setting. Unfortunately I cannot absorb information over a zoom class and it went in one ear and out the other.
if you’re wondering why I’m like this I have a natal Mercury/Mars Saturn square