birth time meaning

Birth times and astrology

Knowing your birth time adds another dimension to your understanding of yourself. Where the Sun shines in your chart describes where you come alive, have vitality and feel content. Recognising the significance of the birth time, and hence the chart emphasis, can be valuable in providing an understanding of the differences in family dynamics.

When you first meet someone, it’s normal to form an opinion about their personality, maybe even asking, “What star sign are you?” Sometimes, you are surprised by the reply. How can that seemingly outgoing person be a self-contained Virgo or the shy, self-effacing individual be a Leo — normally a real party animal?

Much of what is written about Sun signs seems accurate; however, there is another factor that can influence how the Sun expresses itself. Sarah, a restless Sagittarian, loves having her overseas friends and family to stay. On the other hand, Sue is a soft, nurturing Cancerian who spends most of her life running a successful restaurant. Both personalities contradict the typical description of their sign. Sagittarians are known as the travellers of the zodiac, whereas Cancerians are considered home bodies.

A factor that colours normal perspectives of the signs is the time of day an individual is born. Just as your activities change and unfold during the day, so being born at midnight rather than midday influences how you express your energy and respond to life.

Many people have heard of the Ascendant or Rising sign, which is calculated from your birth time. The Ascendant represents the sign on the horizon at the time of birth. It colours your persona and how others see you when they first meet you. This time also influences the location of the Sun in your chart, determining where it shines its light and where your energy is centred.

Real-life stories

Penny is a Pisces. You’d typically expect her to be a dreamy and imaginative individual who at times lacks focus and direction. But Penny was born around midday, when the Sun was overhead, which means she’s more initiating, active and a leader. Penny runs a pharmacy, a Piscean field. She enjoys mixing with different people and the challenge of having her own business. However, if we were to describe Pisces, we would not immediately think of someone who loves dealing with the general public.

In another case, Matt, a Leo, was born early in the morning. Leos are usually social, flamboyant and enjoy the limelight, but Matt is happy working nights till 2am in a local club. Naturally, this limits his social life; however, unlike many Leos, he likes the autonomy and time alone. He is highly respected by his peers, his Leo traits showing in his management skills and ability to handle both staff and difficult customers. His work provides him with his social life.

Your birth time adds another dimension to your character. Where the Sun shines in your chart describes where you shine and feel content.


Chart quadrants

To understand the correlation between birth time and the position of the Sun, let’s look at how the chart is formed. It consists of a 360-degree circle divided into 30-degree sections, each representing a House or area of life where energy is focussed. Your time of birth determines in which House (or 30-degree section) the Sun will reside. This concept can be expanded by dividing the chart into four 90-degree quadrants (each containing three 30-degree segments).

Each quadrant correlates to the time of birth. For example, between 6am (sunrise) and noon (midday), the Sun is above the horizon and in the east. Someone born at 10am would have their Sun in this quadrant. If born between noon and 6pm, the Sun is still above the horizon but has moved to the west. Between 6pm and midnight, darkness increases, the Sun is below the horizon and in the west. Finally, from midnight to 6am, the Sun is still below the horizon but it is now back in the east.

The birth time determines not only the position of the Sun but also that of Mercury and Venus. Mercury, planet of communication, is always in the same sign to the Sun or next door. Venus, linked to relationships, can never be more than 1.5 signs away. This means many people have Mercury and Venus in the same quadrant as the Sun. For example, someone with Sun and Mercury in Taurus, and Venus in Gemini may have all these planets in the same quadrant of the chart. This places an emphasis on this area of their life. To expand this concept, let’s look at the main activities engaged in during each part of the day and see how this might influence personality.

Sunrise to noon: above the horizon and east

It’s dawn on a beautiful summer’s day in Sydney. As the sun rises, I slowly awake and, filled with hope and optimism, face a new day. Anything is possible, but it’s up to me to make it happen. With daylight increasing, there is a sense of urgency. The morning unfolds as I set in place my vision for the day. Filled with energy, I am aware there is much I want to achieve during this time. Just as the Sun is visible in the sky, I too am seen by others. As noon approaches, I take concrete steps towards implementing my plan.

People born in this quadrant are individualistic, initiating, self-determining, outgoing, interactive and objective. Personal action is critical in shaping the tone of their lives.

An intense Scorpio, Jan came into the world at 11am. As you would expect, she has much depth and is resourceful and determined. Born at this time, she is more outgoing than other Scorpios and enjoys meeting and mixing with a variety of people. A healer, she recently joined and now runs a business group for health professionals.

With Venus in this quadrant, Jan’s friendships are important and she has helped many through crises in their lives. Jan seeks prominence through adopting a broader and more humanitarian perspective. She wants to be “master of her own destiny” and, as a result of expanding her horizons, she has developed a more detached approach to life than many Scorpios.


Noon to sunset: above the horizon and west

I am now up to full speed and realise there are only a few hours left to complete my project. Maybe I need to enlist some help. As the afternoon unfolds, I find myself interacting more with others. A brain-storming session with a colleague helps broaden my vision. Discussing the pros and cons of my concepts leads us to go deeper and develop the best strategy. I’m rapidly realising that, while I might have the bright ideas, the help, insights and alternative view of another are invaluable. As my working day draws to a close, I still need to make contact with a few more people, including my partner.

You can see that people born with the Sun in this section enjoy a deeper awareness of and connection to others. Like those with the Sun above the horizon, they are outwardly focused and like to actively engage with the wider world. However, the Sun in the western part makes them more responsive, socially engaged and oriented towards others, resulting in them working well in co-operative ventures.

Rob, too, enjoys engaging with people at a deeper level; however, he prefers one-to-one conversation. He can get lost in a group and is more comfortable with the intimacy between two people. As a Taurus, you’d expect him to be conservative, practical and focused on his own security. However, when Rob was born at 5pm, the Sun was above the horizon. A counsellor, he feels most alive when he has personal connection to someone. His stable, patient Taurean nature ensures his clients always feel at ease with him and know that he will be with them for the long haul. Like others born at this time, he enjoys enlightening individuals with his knowledge and having his talents recognised by the world at large.

Sunset to midnight: below the horizon and west

As the sun sets, I begin to wind down by having a drink with my workmates. I am aware the day is finishing and it’s time to connect with those with whom I share a more intimate relationship. With my hectic day behind me, I become more reflective, ready to relax and enjoy myself. Sue and I head out to our jewellery class, eager to explore our creativity and have some fun. I ring my daughter and we exchange stories of the day’s events. Finally, I settle in at home and, with my partner, share a glass of wine and a relaxed chat on the balcony overlooking the ocean.

Clearly, people born with the Sun here are more comfortable with familiar faces such as workmates, family and close friends. They are co-operative, responsive, receptive and, through working well with others, gain insights into their own potential. I call this the “gossip” quadrant, since those born between sunset and midnight are happiest sharing time with workmates, family and loved ones.


Recently, Maggie, a single-minded Aries born at 8pm, was faced with the prospect of retirement. She couldn’t imagine not working, and knew she would really miss the strong bond she had with her workmates, who looked to her for leadership. However, her daughter was keen for her mother to help with her new business. This appealed to Maggie as her family took precedence in her life. A feisty Aries, she couldn’t wait to get started and make the business a leader in its field. Maggie’s daughter, a highly creative Leo, sensed there could be some fireworks ahead!

Maggie typifies this group who seek to reach out to others to gain a better understanding of human nature. Unlike Rob, who enjoys the world at large, Maggie likes to retain her identity and maintain her boundaries by revealing herself to only her nearest and dearest.

Midnight to sunrise: below the horizon and east

And so to bed … have you ever wondered what happens between the hours of midnight and sunrise? It is completely dark and it’s up to you to “make it through the night”. After my busy day, my head is spinning with thoughts and ideas as I release them and wind down. With my partner snoring next to me, it’s no use asking him for answers! I connect with my body as I become aware of any aches or pains. Feeling the soft sheets against me, I nestle into the pillow as I drift off to sleep. It is time to release today and dream of tomorrow.

People born during the darkest hours can appear complex as they tend to be more inward and receptive. Their primary concern is personal development and they relish time alone with the freedom to focus on their own self-expression. The bright city lights are not for them.

Melissa, a chatty Gemini with an inquiring mind, was born at 4am and is happy getting up at 2am to go to work. Unlike many Geminis, she enjoys her solitary drive into the city, watching the sunrise each day. Returning home, she immerses herself in her online studies to become a teacher. With the family at school, and at peace in her own world, she can focus on her assignments. To some, Melissa may appear selfish, but self-contained is probably a better description. The personal aspects of her life, such as who she is, her values and her thoughts and ideas, are important.

Birth times in families

Recognising the significance of the birth time and hence the chart emphasis can be valuable in providing an understanding of the differences in family dynamics.

Libby, a Virgo, was born at 10pm. True to her sign, she loves being busy and works hard. As expected, with the emphasis on this quadrant, she focuses her energy on creating a beautiful home for her family. Her daughter, Ella, however, is an outgoing Libran born at 2pm when the Sun was above the horizon. Ella feels confined at home and from a very young age has shown a keen interest in travel. A natural communicator, she is already forming friendships with non-Australian-born children.

Both Libby and Ella have Mercury in Virgo, resulting in a shared love of learning. However, while Libby is reading home decorating magazines and thinking of ways to renovate, Ella is looking at the pictures in National Geographic and visualising trips to China.

This difference can, at times, create friction, since Ella wants to be outside exploring the wider world, whereas Libby is content to work in her beautiful garden. If these two people were born at a similar time, they would probably get along better. With Virgo and Libra as adjacent signs, their planets would be in the same quadrant. But, because of their different birth times, they can conflict as their focus is not the same.


The influence of technology

Modern technologies can now influence the time of birth. Usually, labour starts at night with births peaking around sunrise. However, an increase in inductions and Caesarean sections is resulting in more babies coming into the world during the day and fewer at night. And what impact does this change have on the balance?

More children are born with their Sun above the horizon, making them outgoing and engaged with society, mirroring their birth into a busy world. Growing up in a technological global village will further expand their horizons. They may be less reflective and gain satisfaction by having their individuality “confirmed” through the lens of the wider environment. Turning inward and attuning to their inner life may not come so easily, particularly if they are an outgoing Air or Fire sign.

Ironically, more people now live alone than ever before, as the story of John illustrates. A detached Aquarian, born at 3am, he lives by himself and works shift hours. A single man, he spends much of his spare time in Aquarian cyberspace, connecting with his many cyber friends. He likes his role of photographer at family functions, where he can be the observer. To many, including his family, he seems to lead an isolated life and yet, in his own way, John is perfectly content.

Knowing someone’s birth time, as you can see, greatly broadens your understanding of that individual by providing insights into where they focus their energy and feel most alive. You can see that, depending on birth time, similar Sun signs can have widely differing perspectives, outlook and chart emphasis.

Astrology provides a wonderful backdrop to life and can enable you to gain a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between individuals. Next time you meet an outgoing Virgo or a shy Leo, ask them the question: “What time were you born?”

The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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