The AstroEssence: Birth time No new aspects perfect today–it’s a blank slate, though we do note the Moon moves through late Pisces and trines Mercury, guaranteeing the fog doesn’t lift just yet–so I’d like to address a topic I’ve recently been asked about: What does it mean astrologically speaking when someone doesn’t have a birth time?
First we need to know what birth time describes in the natal chart: it’s used to locate the positions of all planets in the Houses–that is, it defines the exact point on the horizon (the rising degree, as well as sign, with each sign occupying a space of 2 hours on the horizon every day) at birth according to the latitude (how far north or south of the equator the birth place is), and so determines House position for each body, as they are located longitudinally around the chart–and this is true no matter what House system is used.
The natal chart, then, is a map of the sky as seen looking south (if you’re born north of the equator) or looking north (if you’re born south of the equator) from the exact spot on Earth where you’re born, with the bodies located below the Ascendant-Descendant axis (Houses 1-6) not visible from the birth location, while those in Houses 7-12 are potentially visible, if you have the means to spot them. No matter what the House system used, the Ascendant and Midheaven (and their corresponding opposite points) will always be the same for the individual–but in order to know them, we must know the birth time.
What is missing from understanding the individual if you don’t know the time of birth? When the Ascendant is unknown, we can’t be sure how the individual meets the world: how they present themselves, and what others see on first interacting. It’s the Soul’s ‘point of entry’ in terms of time and space, and it is shaped by very early experiences concerning body concepts, concepts surrounding the ‘I Am’, and survival. Typically, the Ascendant describes, among other things, both the personality and the kinds of coping behaviors the individual learned in the early environment; with the latter, these are behaviors that the individual interpreted as guaranteeing survival. We may observe this when someone feels threatened–often they will retreat to some version of and to behaviors rooted in the energy of the Ascendant sign–and we can observe it as the ‘first line’ approach when someone reaches out to others, as the Ascendant energies are seen by the individual as what others value them for, hence the association with helping one survive.
A couple of examples: my Ascendant is Aquarius, and I tackle everything with the mind first, attempting to understand, especially before I move forward–and in early life intellectual acuity seemed to me to be what allowed for success–but the mind is also the place I retreat to: the intellect becomes my weapon, my ambassador, my defense, and understanding is always the goal, and the only thing that makes me feel safe. My husband’s Ascendant is Sagittarius. He tries to meet the world by knowing ‘the facts’, or by engaging immediately and heading for the horizon to have a Sagittarian adventure; when he defends, it’s also with whatever knowledge he can muster, and when he retreats, it’s to wander, physically or mentally, toward that same horizon! So, when the birth time is missing, we’re missing a vital piece of the puzzle, specific to the individual processing and response to her or his part in the world.
The Midheaven is also unknowable without a birth time, though since it inherently carries a sense of removal (the career is a relatively impersonal thing, as is business, and we have no control over the reputation or the way others know us ‘at a distance’, in an entirely impersonal manner) it is most important in terms of timing, with transits to it–so we lose an indicator for worldly opportunity and involvement, as well as the chance to know the ‘flavor’ of our public persona, which can help tell us what others expect us to be, or be good at.
The other big issue is that we are unable to associate planets and signs with their ‘correct’ Houses for the individual. The best we can do is choose a noon chart, smack in the middle of the day for the place of birth, which offers a kind of mid-picture, and gives us our best guess as to a valid Moon–or we can use a sunrise chart for that day, placing the Sun on the Ascendant, which allows the Solar energy to illuminate potentials for the individual in meeting the world. And of course, not having a birth time puts the descriptive burden on the relationships among the various chart bodies–but there is much to be learned there, so we’re never without recourse for at least some knowledge of the individual, when missing a correct time.
Today’s word image is a doe struck and killed by a mini-van, lying in the middle of a busy highway. Unfortunately, this happens when humans and Nature intersect, and in the woodsy area where I live, it’s not unusual. What was unusual about this scene was the stillness of it, a strangely primitive tableaux, the highway emptied of all activity around the deer, the humans gathered and motionless at a slight distance. It struck me almost as a ritual of mourning, a moment taken to grieve what was destroyed, to respect what once lived. If you need to, take a moment to grieve what you’ve lost recently–sometimes in our modern world we forget how important and powerful saying goodbye, or giving thanks for what was, can be.
For those born with the Sun at 18 Scorpio: This coming year, through to your next birthday, you may find yourself with two goals: healing a rift, and pursuing an important goal. Where you find yourself actually, though, may be between the figurative rock and hard place of health concerns and matters ignored or denied; these require attention before you can successfully mend what’s broken, and fulfill that ambition–but once you do attend to these, follow ideals and dreams for the most effective approach to aim attainment. Good luck, Scorpio, and Happy Birthday!