by Robert Wilkinson
Over the years I've been asked if Sun sign astrology and Solar charts are "as valid" as natal charts in seeing what's up in a person's life. After studying both natal and sunrise charts for almost 40 years, I can state that Sun sign astrology is just as effective as a natal chart for seeing what's up, what's coming, why and when.
Though there are some substantial differences in house positions and often minor differences in degree positions of planets, Sun sign astrology can still serve as a valid substitute if the exact birth time is unknown. I've had great success over the years helping many who don't know their birth time.
Given that most of the planets don't move very far each day, we have some fairly fixed reference points that serve as determinators of major importance in helping us understand the timing on when those planetary functions will be triggered.
A "Solar chart" is one done by putting the Sun on the Eastern horizon at sunrise of that day, and drawing the houses from the Solar degree. I always used equal houses when looking at Solar charts, since they are about the safest way to divide space and time when one of the time variables (time of birth) is not known.
Aspects and their orbs work the same way, cycles work the same way, house rulerships work the same way, dispositors work the same way, and transits make the same aspects at approximately the same time they would when working with a natal chart. The only exception here is sometimes the Moon is off by a few degrees from its "true" position in the natal chart, and so an astrologer must be alert to the difference in time between an exact aspect and when it seems to manifest in the life of the client.
Long time visitors of this site know that much of what I say about individual signs is based in the principles of Sun sign astrology. Also, over many years and client sessions (even when I've known the birth time) I've seen the Solar chart and its symbols act as a secondary chart of sorts, equally valid as the natal but with subtle differences. Saturn in the Solar 4th house has similar effects as Saturn in the natal 4th, and Saturn transits through the Solar houses has very similar appearances as when it transits the natal houses.
Even if you don't know a birth time, you can still examine a chart and find limitless things about the characteristics of that chart. Over years of reading both types of charts, I find both natal and Solar are true and accurate, though with a slightly different emphasis on what it means to the individual, since the Sun and Ascendant represent different parts of our existence.
(Originally published in a different form in May 2007)
© Copyright 2010 Robert Wilkinson