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How Precise Does Your Birth Time Need To Be To Calculate Your Birth Chart?

mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Writer
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Astrology Houses 101

Your birthday will tell you your sun sign in astrology, but as for the rest of your natal chart, you'll need to know what time you were born. Whether you've had to text your mom out of the blue asking if she remembers, or double-check your birth certificate, you may have wondered, does it really need to be down to the minute? To find out, we consulted mbg's resident astrologists, the AstroTwins.

Why your birth time matters.

Long story short, your birth time determines your rising sign (aka ascendant), as well as the rest of the planets in your chart.

Your ascendant is the sign that was rising over the eastern horizon when you were born, and while it changes signs every two hours, it takes only a minute for the sun to move from one sign to the next.

So, yes, "To get an accurate birth chart, you really need your birth time down to the minute," the twins tell mbg.

Just a few minutes difference can change a lot, they add, noting that they themselves were actually born four minutes apart and have one slight variation in their charts. They add they have other friends who are also twins, born 10 minutes apart, who have different rising signs—which will result in a completely different outward personality and appearance, according to astrology.


Does a window of time ever work?

As the twins explain, the houses in astrology move consistently throughout the day, so a window of time can still result in some chart variability. Again, the rising sign changes every two hours, so in theory, if you knew you were born around 7 a.m., for example, you may be able to figure out your rising sign.

Of course, in this case, you'd want to look at a few different times within that window to scope out what resonates. And even if you do have your rising sign pegged, the entirety of the chart may not be totally accurate: "You may have planets placed in the wrong houses of your chart," the twins add.

And if you have no idea what time you were born.

If you don't have access to your birth certificate or the one you have doesn't list the time you were born, fear not—you've got options.

There's something called a "chart rectification," the twins note, in which a veteran astrologer can reconstruct your chart, so to speak, based on your birthday, birthplace, and life events. They can move the chart around until things start to line up, and that can give you a good guess as to when you were born.

Or, if you're up for it, the twins suggest writing to the Office of Vital Records in your birth state for a copy of your certificate, or you could try reaching out to the hospital you were born in as well, to see if they have a record of your birth.

The bottom line.

Knowing the exact time you were born is the fastest and most reliable way of mapping an accurate natal chart, but if you don't have it down to the minute, you can still receive good readings and insight into your own astrological makeup.

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