Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

What House the Sun?


June 10, 2005


Hi Eric,


Someone asked me, if you are doing a chart for someone and you have the day, year and location of the person's birth, but no time, how do you determine what house the Sun is in?






Dear Fresno,


The time of birth is directly related to the house that the Sun is in. This would be better with a diagram, and if somebody has one in a book or finds one online, we'll try to get permission to publish it here. But it's still pretty easy to explain.


When the Sun rises in the morning, it goes above the horizon and starts the day in the 12th house. This is to say that when the angle of the Sun is low on the horizon in the morning, it's in a particular region of the sky and that region, also called a house, gets a number. There are 12 altogether. The numbers go backwards as the Sun moves through the day, and by two hours after sunrise the Sun is in or close to the 11th house and by around 10 a.m., it's in the 10th house and at noon or so, it's on the line between the 10th house and the 9th house -- also called the MC.


This is a fancy way of saying that the house the Sun is in is really the angle of the Sun in relationship to the horizon, which is based on the time of day. The houses always surround us; they stay more or less in the same place, though their size changes with the seasons. By late afternoon, the Sun is in the 8th house, somewhat low on the horizon, and in the two hours before sunset, it's in the 7th house.


When it sets and crosses the horizon again, it enters the 6th house. And so on, till just before sunrise, when the Sun is in the 1st house and the cycle repeats. This is the cycle of the world turning ? the world rotating on its axis.


Naturally, it's not just the Sun that goes through the houses; every planet follows this same pattern, but it happens to be easy to visualize with the Sun. As the world turns, all the planets rise, culminate and set each day.


Now, let's use an example. Let's say you're born on Feb. 18th, the first day of Pisces. People born just after sunrise would have a 12th house Pisces Sun. Those born just before noon would have a 10th house Pisces Sun. Those born just before sunset would have a 7th house Pisces Sun. And so on.


As for the heart of your question: how do you tell the house of the Sun if you don't know the time of birth? There are several possible answers.


You get the time. Usually, people who don't know the time can actually scrounge it up, and I do speak from some experience. I regularly send friends and clients to find their baby book, their certificate of birth or birth announcement, or to ask their mother or granny, or their dad, or to call up the hospital or county records office, and so on. A little research goes a long way.


All of that not working out, there are two easy methods that work well when the time is not available -- as long as you trust them. One is I take the time of the conversation about having the chart done, or the conversation of the final verdict that the actual time of birth is not recoverable, and use that as the presumed birth time. The other tried and true method is to use the time of the reading as the birth time, or, alternately, the degree rising at the start of the reading as the natal chart's presumed ascendant. One might ask how does this possibly work? But the real question is, how does astrology work at all? It's the same answer.


If you have a lot of time on your hands and the client is willing to either pay for, or otherwise endure, a long interview, you can use a process called rectification that is basically a logical method of figuring out where the ascendant is. Once you know the ascendant, you know all the other houses. It's a little complicated to explain how this rectification process works, but basically, astrologers are accustomed to feeling the ascendant and other angles (the MC, the 7th, and the IC) 'behaving' a certain way at different times in a client's life. So based on past transits, contrasted with a careful look at the timing of biographical events, a good chart can be created.


The other work-arounds are to use a chart for Sunrise of the day of birth, which works quite well (called a sunrise or solar chart), or in the case of a well-known person or a corporate entity, to use noon. And you can always start the chart at 1 degree Aries rising and you've got a chart that will work.


Dave Roell, my old teacher and great friend who owns the Astrology Center of America used to say, "Stick something on an angle and read the chart." That is, just make sure some planet is rising or on the 10th cusp and get down to business.


You can use these estimation methods because the time of birth (and thus the house positions) is only part of the information you need; the planets, for example, all have the same aspects to one another on any given day and therefore they will have similar interpretations no matter what time the person is born. The time helps, for sure, and usually it helps a lot. But part of being a good astrologer is working with what you've got and not getting too hung up on the details, once you have addressed them to the best extent that you can.


I realize that if you're reading this and possess the intellectual ability sufficient to operate a washing machine, you might wonder how astrology can possibly function if the rules and methods are so slippery.


There is something odd about the fact that, once you work with a method and apply it when you need to, the method usually works. The real lesson is that something much larger than astrology is coming through the chart. So all you need to do is trust that something and do your best work. That, as the I Ching reminds us, involves being sincere more than it involves being accurate or technically proficient.


Or to put it another way, when in doubt, ask your dog -- but sincerely.