Frustrations on interpreting a birth chart when the time of birth is unknown

You may (or may not) remember the other day when I blogged about the house system in a natal (birth) chart.  What I didn’t mention is what happens when a person’s time of birth is unknown.  There can be all sorts of reasons for this, especially when someone was born many years ago, and this piece of information is all too easily lost. It has happened several times to subjects in my forthcoming book, Compass of the Stars.  So – what do we do?

Well, when an accurate time of birth is unknown, we use a chart that is called a ‘flat chart’, this shows just the aspects (which I shall be blogging about at some point) and planets but with no house system and house cusps. I can’t speak for other astrologers but for me this generates both a challenge and frustration as I cannot automatically go to a person’s ‘house’ to look for clues and messages as to which area, the aspects reveal themselves in.

The other thing to consider as well when working with a ’ flat chart’ is that as the Moon is the fastest moving planet  (approximately thirteen degrees a day)  one cannot rely totally on the aspects shown in the chart, as the precise time of birth is unknown. One has to look for other indicators in the chart to see if there are any repeated themes from the overall chart in helping to form and process an interpretation.

I find myself having to ponder, blend and think about various possibilities as to how the aspects may manifest, so as to cover the range , I try not to be too extensive though I think potentially as a reader this could be a bit cumbersome, but without the house indicator …well what is a girl to do !

I’ll try to explain what I mean by an example;

The subject of chapter nine in my book ‘Compass Of The Stars’ is about the materialising medium Helen Duncan who was the last person in Britain to be charged and imprisoned under the Witchcraft Act of 1735.

As her time of birth is known, this means that a natal chart can be generated which would illustrate the house system and show any planets that were in a particular area.

So for example, in the third house the area associated with communication (amongst other things) the Moon is creating a conjunct aspect with Mercury.  I interpreted this as Duncan was a natural communicator with an agile and restless mind, who was quick with an opinion and naturally witty. I was able to arrive at this interpretation because the house system pointed me to the area of ‘communication’ the third house, revealing the planets and their energies there and the aspect created.

Had I not had a time of birth, I would really have had to think outside of the box and look for other indicators in the chart to help me come to an understanding about that particular aspect.

By the way if anyone is interested Duncan was a Sagittarius and if you want to read some examples of her wit, the chapter has those as well !

There are several flat charts in my book and I hope that readers will enjoy the astrological interpretation as well as the biographical information that is married-up with the astro-data.



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