I see the greatest lightExploring the Sun Sign aspects of astrology can be fun. We learn a little bit about ourselves and maybe have a giggle as well. Perhaps it’s the astrology report in the newspaper or dating a “Capricorn” on YouTube, that’s caught your attention. When was the last time that astro-cliché question, “So, What’s your sign,” came up when dancing in the astrological realms of synastry?

Going Beyond the Sun Sign

While identifying your sun sign is, admittedly, a valuable way to begin to understand yourself, it is nearly impossible to go much deeper. Astrology has so much more to offer when we dive deeply into the details. So, what do we need to explore our astrology to get more in-depth insight? Accurate birth information is essential to going into more depth beyond the native’s Sun sign. The wrong birth time, sometimes by even a few minutes, can have a dramatic impact on your understanding of the energy present at the time of your birth, and consequently in the unfolding of your life.

So, what do you need to take the next step into your astrology? For an accurate astrological chart, you need your date, exact time, and location of birth. The details are important because the precise time and place of birth direct what sign is on the ascendant and which houses the planets fall into at your moment of birth. Here is an example of the differences the time of birth can make in the chart for someone born in Chicago on November 5, 2000.

Birth time: 2:30 am

Sample Chart 1

Birth time: 12:30 pm

Sample Chart 2

All of the planets are in the same sign in both charts. The Sun is in Scorpio in both charts, and the patterns of energy between the planets are the same. See the relationships of Jupiter and Pluto (opposite), Neptune and Mars (trine), and the Sun and Neptune (square). Most importantly, the ascendants and the houses that the planets fall into are different. The ascendant is particularly significant from the perspective of how you present to the world and your deeper (soul) potential. Let’s look at the detail a bit more closely.

Same Sun Sign, Same Day, Different Time

In the chart for a birth time of 2:30 am, the individual has a Virgo ascendant or rising. The planetary ruler for this chart is Mercury because Mercury is the ruling planet of Virgo. Mercury (the planet of mind and communication) here falls into the second house of resources and values, emphasizing the importance of the second house for this individual. The Sun also falls in the second house, so for this chart, the energy speaks powerfully to Virgo related to finances, possessions, and resources. This native might have a very organized and beautiful or might be meticulous with finances, personal resources, or possessions.

In the second chart for a birthtime of 12:30 pm, the individual has an Aquarius rising, or ascendant. There is not the same second house emphasis as in the previous chart. The ruling planet for this chart is Uranus (Ruler for Aquarius), which is located in the first house of identity. This person would likely express strong Aquarian identity and energy. Their approach to the world would be altruistic, progressive, with an affinity to identify with a group. Indeed, others would experience their energy as being very Aquarian.

The first chart has strong Virgo energy, the second Aquarian energy. Very different expressions and emphasis, indeed.

What If I Don’t Know My Birth Sign

A frequent question that I hear is, “What if I don’t know my birth time?” Knowing the exact time of birth is so essential to understand your astrology fully, that it is worth making extra efforts to determine your precise birth time possible. Here is the progression of what I would typically recommend for obtaining an accurate birth time.

  1. Check your birth certificate. If it is the original certificate, it will typically include the time of your birth. If you don’t have a copy of your birth certificate, get a copy. You can usually obtain a copy (get the Long Form or Full-Length version) from the state that you were born in (if in the US). In most states, this will include the time of birth. For other countries, you can go to the office of Vital Records that govern the area in which you were born. In most countries, this is not administered federally, but through the municipalities. In some instances, churches maintain birth records in church registers or civil registries.
  2. Find original copies of a birth announcement. Perhaps your parents sent out formal notifications and often the time of birth is included there.
  3. Check your baby book. A bit of paper, notation or other records of the birth time might be tucked in there.
  4. Talk to your mother, father, or anyone else who was present at or monitoring the time of your birth. There may have been close friends or family that were called who would have written down the time of birth.

All That and Still No Birth Time

Beyond Your Sun SignIf after all these efforts, you still can’t identify the time of your birth, here are some things that can help us to get closer.

  1. If born via C-section, what time was the procedure scheduled? Birth usually occurs within 60-90 minutes of the scheduled appointment. That can help us get closer.
  2. What time of day was it, early morning, lunchtime, dinner time, midnight? What were the activities that your mom/parents did? How long was labor? Be careful, though because peoples memories can be pretty unreliable. Get as close as you can (maybe one, two, or three ascendant possibilities) and then try them on to see if one feels more right.
  3. There are astrologers who specialize in a process called chart rectification. They are skilled at helping you get a very close approximation of your birth time. Consults for this generally run between $150 and $200. Here are a couple of astrologers who have good reputations should you want to go in that direction. Lisa Shaim  or   Patrick Watson.
  4. You can also try to work the process out. Try an online calculator that can help you get close. Details are important! I tried this one, using an estimated time of 1 hour around my actual birth time. They gave me a time that was within 3 min of my recorded birth time, and so was pretty accurate. I also tried it with no birth time at all and found that it was not very reliable (three signs away from actual ascendant). So try to get at least a general time to use the tool.

Natal Chart Rectification

So, get out there and harness your inner detective! Happy sleuthing!