You may wonder how significant the difference is between a natal chart calculated with or without a birth time. Yes, you probably know that your rising sign is pretty important, but that’s just one sign right?
Nope! Your ascendant is just one of twelve houses in your natal chart. So already, that’s twelve additional facets of your personality that you miss out on, but even that barely scratches the surface of all the areas that an accurate birth time can provide insight.
I’m going to take you down a path of a single house, to show you the pieces of your personality mosaic that go missing when the houses are left out of a natal chart.
I’ll use my own chart as an example, specifically my 7th house. Why house 7? Because it is the house of relationships, which is one of the most popular areas where people seek guidance. Also, today feels like a seven-y day. Moving on.
The 7th House’s Sign
My 7th house is in Gemini. The sign alone can tell you a great deal. This is the “flavor” of your romantic relationships, particularly significant ones, and excluding flings. For me, and anyone else with a Gemini 7th house, it implies that my important romantic relationships will often blossom from a friendship. It also indicates that communication and intellectual stimulation play a large role in my romantic life.
Planets in the 7th house
The presence of planets in any house indicate that there are certain facets of your life and personality where the flavor (sign) of that house is particularly strong. I have a single planet, Mercury, in my 7th house, as well as the asteroids Ceres and Vesta. This tells me that relationships will play a significant role in Mercurian areas of my life such as how I express myself, and the ways that I learn and think. My romantic relationships will also have a stronger effect on the ways I am protective of myself and others (Ceres), and what I am willing to sacrifice to protect, or conversely what I wish to free myself from (Vesta).
The House Ruler’s Sign
This is the planetary ruler of the sign that a house cusp falls on. My 7th house cusp is Gemini, whose ruler is Mercury, which is in Cancer. This means that while my 7th house is Gemini, the reasoning behind that comes from areas ruled by Cancer. I am communicative and intellectual in my relationships (Gemini) because my family of origin, particularly my mother figure, had a strong role on my interpersonal relations (Cancer). Alternatively, Cancer rules defense mechanisms, so my intellectualization of romance could be caused by defensiveness. The first is more applicable to me personally, as my parents put a lot of importance in intellectualism and my mom is therapist who values open, clear communication.
The House Ruler’s House
This is the house where the planetary ruler of another house’s sign is located. The planetary ruler serves as a messenger of sorts, “transferring” some of that house’s energy to another house. Mine is a bit redundant. My 7th house cusp is in Gemini, whose planetary ruler is Mercury, which is in the 7th house of my natal chart. Therefore, the ruler of my 7th house is in the 7th house. Had my Mercury been in the 8th house for example, it would mean that my 7th house relationship energy would be somewhat carried over to my 8th house, which represents transformation, so my transformations would be partially initiated by my romantic relationships.
A stellium is when four or more planets exist in a single house. Not everyone has one (I do not), but if you do there it means that your life has a particular emphasis surrounding a specific area. A 7th house stellium would suggest that a person’s life “revolves” around their marriage or partnerships.
Most people have at least one empty house, meaning that there are no planets in it. This just means that there isn’t a whole lot of planetary energy affecting these areas of your life. On one hand, it could imply that you will get on just fine without dealing with that area of life at all. You could ignore that area of life entirely and your life wouldn’t lose any purpose. In this example, an empty 7th house could mean a person who is content living without a committed marriage or partnership. It can also mean that these are areas that will be more affected by external sources, people or events that “fill in the blanks” left open in your chart. So a person or event could come along someone with an empty 7th house who never desired marriage that changes their mind. As far as karma is concerned, it can also mean that you simply don’t have much in the way of karmic debt or reward in that house.
Planetary and Sign Dominants
These are not directly related to the houses, however they can be altered significantly (or not at all) by adding or changing the time or place of birth. Dominants refer to the planets and signs that have the biggest emphasis in your overall birth chart. Different things such as sign, ruling planet position, and aspects add or subtract from a planet or signs power. One of the things affecting a planet’s power depends on which house it is in. Planet’s are stronger at certain positions on a birth chart, and signs are more powerful when they are in their corresponding house. Without knowing the houses, a person’s dominant planets could seem to be Moon, Saturn, and Pluto, but then once the birth time is added on your fire Jupiter sign turns out to be in the 9th house and that shoots it up to the top.
In a more advanced astrological chart known as a progressed chart, a person’s natal chart can be altered by adding one day to the DOB for each year of a person’s life. This can be used for predictive astrology to foresee “hotspots” where significant events are more likely to occur. Let’s say that today, June 3rd, is someone’s 24th birthday. This means that the progressed chart would be the same as a natal chart 24 days later, or June 27th, of that same year in the place they were born. When the time of birth is involved, it remains constant, but the ascendant and all of the house cusps will slowly move as time goes on. Eventually, all of your planets and houses will change, and the “transition point” where a planet or house cusp changes is one of these “hotspots”.
When you overlay the transiting chart to your birth chart, they connect in ways that can predict that can affect your life. Aspects is a big one, for example the transiting moon could form a trine with your natal sun on the overlaid chart which suggests that emotional energy is flowing smoothly with your identity. It is also important to note which of your houses the transiting planets fall in to give you a more targeted idea of the parts of your life the planets energy will be directed towards.
When you compare your natal chart with the natal chart of an actual/potential romantic partner, this is known as the couple’s synastry chart. While a lot can be determined without a time of birth, it loses a certain level of accuracy when the houses are omitted. If you overlay one partner’s planets over the other’s houses, you can apply most of the information listed above, except for the couple, or the way the partner whose planets are used affects the house partner rather than the individual. For example, say one person has an empty 7th house, but they formed a close connection with someone who had three planets filled up their 7th house when the charts were overlaid. The person with an empty 7th house might suddenly find themselves planning a wedding even though they never had much interest in marriage before.
This is not a comprehensive list of all of the things your birth time affects, but as you can see there are already several important areas that would be left to the unknown if one doesn’t take the houses into account. Remember, for several of those areas I was focusing on a single house, and all of those things are applied to all of the houses. In addition, every single planet isn’t only in a sign, but also in a house. Two people could be born a little less than a day apart in the same town, and have all of the same planets. They are both Libra suns, but one of them has a Virgo rising while the other has an Aries rising. This doesn’t simply affect the rising sign, or even the houses, it affects the entire chart. The Virgo rising now has Libra sun in the 2nd house, while the Aries rising has Libra sun in the 8th house. Although they are both Libras, the Virgo rising has a very objective outlook, preferring the tangible world to the spiritual world, and considers their possessions to be intrinsic to their identity. This could be viewed as similar to the Virgo rising alone, however, let’s look at the Aries rising. Their sun in the 8th suggests a fascination with the spiritual, the unusual, and the taboo, and they view their identity, emotions, and sexuality as one entity. This would not be typical of an Aries rising.
Now, let’s say that these two individuals meet. Despite having the exact same planets, they cannot see eye to eye as one embodies Libra’s unbiased energy towards tangible matters, while the other finds such things to be frivolous. At the same time, the sun in 2nd person views the sun in 8th to be promiscuous and strange. The same would be true for each area of life whose planetary representation changed houses, leaving a potentially huge difference between the two individuals.
That all being said, if you cannot access to your birth time for whatever reason, a natal chart sans birth time is still very enlightening. You’re more likely to come across discrepancies from your chart and behavior without the houses because the houses often account for how we change throughout our lifetimes. You’ll miss out on some of the nuances and alterations that the houses provide, but considering you’ve known yourself your entire life, you subconsciously already know the information even if you can’t find the words to express it. However, if you have access to your birth time, I highly recommend a full reading.
Natal reports are vast, and in order to provide the most insight, astrologists focus on the parts of a birth chart that stand out the most about that individual. If you are looking into a natal chart report and feel particularly drawn to any of these areas, I suggest that you mention on the questionnaire that you would like focus on the area you’re drawn to. The first 7 areas I mentioned can all be included on a Natal report, however if you are interested in Progressions, Transits, or Synastry those are different charts entirely.
On Maiden Oracle, our 60-minute Natal Chart Consultation can include any of the first 7 areas. It is unique in that you can request the areas you wish to focus on. For Synastry, check out the 90-minute Relationship Consultation. Progressed chart consultations and transit reports are coming soon.