Solar Charts…

One of the most common questions I get is a variation on the following:

I’m an Aries Rising and Leo is on my 6th house, but you said that if I’m a Leo Sun this New Moon will be in my 1st house, 


I’m a Virgo Sun, but I have no idea what time I was born, so how do I know what house the New Moon is in for me

Each month, when I do the posts for New and Full Moons, and, indeed, when I do the posts for the Sun (or other planets) changing signs, I usually say something like:

If you don’t have any idea about your birth time, or can’t be faffed working it out, you can follow the solar guide:

  • If your Sun or Ascendant is in Virgo, this New Moon will be in your 1st house.
  • If your Sun or Ascendant is in Libra, this New Moon will be in your 12th house.
  • If your Sun or Ascendant is in Scorpio, this New Moon will be in your 11th house.


What I’m doing here is using Solar or Sun Sign Astrology.

Ok, let’s back track a little.

When you cast a chart on, the calculation will probably default to Placidus – arguably the most commonly used method of house division. There are, however, others – and most astrologers will be able to tell you the reasons why they use the one they use. We won’t get into it now, suffice to say that most house systems do require you to know the exact time and place of your birth in order to determine both the way in which the houses will be divided and which sign and degree is on the Ascendant. It’s why we can have houses of different sizes (although remember, they will always be the same size as the opposite house) and why we can have houses that intercept or encompass entire signs. Refer back to Toolbox no. 1 and 1.1 for more on this

If you want to know more about these, there are plenty of articles available – I’ll pop a few links at the end of this post for you.

Sun sign astrologers, however, use the solar sign or solar house system. In this method, each house is equivalent to an entire sign, with the sign that the Sun is in placed on the Ascendant. I use this method when I’m writing horoscopes for publications.

In this way, regardless of what time you were born, if your sun is in Pisces, Pisces will be on your 1st house, Aries on your 2nd, and so forth. If your sun is in Scorpio, using solar houses, Scorpio will be your 1st house, Sagittarius will be on your 2nd and Capricorn on your 3rd.

Unfortunately, sun sign astrology is often (I think unfairly) dismissed as being “popular” astrology or “media” astrology – labels which attack its legitimacy in much the way as the fiction genre I write – chick lit or popular women’s fiction – is seen as being not as meaningful as other genres.

Solar Astrology is, however, incredibly useful – and not just if you don’t happen to know what time you were born.

My chart is almost naturally a solar chart – I was born at dawn, so the Sun in Pisces was rising at the time I was came kicking and screaming into this world. My placidus chart is above – and my solar chart is below.

I’ve been experimenting with whole sign houses for the last 6 – 12 months, and I’ve pretty much made the switch. I find that it really works – especially when looking at transits.

With whole signs, whatever sign the Ascendant is in, the first house starts at 0 deg of that sign, with the next house starting at 0 deg of that sign…and so on.

The actual Ascendant will be a point within the 1st house, and the Midheaven (instead of being on the cusp of the 10th) will be a point somewhere within the 9th or 10th (usually) house.

Why do I like whole signs? Mostly for it’s simplicity. Each house encompasses a whole sign and there are no intercepted signs. It especially feels right when I look at transits, ingresses and lunations. But, as I said, that’s my personal opinion.

Because my Ascendant and Sun are in the same sign, my solar chart is also the same as my whole signs chart.You can see that my 1st house Saturn becomes a 2nd house Saturn, and my very 8th house Scorpio Mars is just as Scorpio but now motivated by 9th house concerns. Yep, I can see how that works. Same for my previously 12th house Mercury, that’s now just as Piscean, but perhaps a tad more motivated to act in the 1st.

The next most common question I’m asked is something like:

If I know my birth time, should I still look at the solar chart?

You know what? My answer is yes.

Why? I happen to think you can learn a lot from watching transits to the solar chart – and I don’t think it’s just because my chart is as close as it is to a solar chart.

My daughter is an Aries Sun with a Capricorn Ascendant. Her placidus chart is to the left. (I’ve blocked out her birth date and time for privacy reasons). Her solar chart is below – it’s a very different looking chart, but in it’s way suits her as well. I know her birth time, so you can see the actual ASC and MC are known.

I look at the transits to her chart using the Placidus system, but I also take note on which of her solar houses the Sun is transiting. Eg when the Sun was in Virgo and moving through her 6th (solar) house she got her first job – working in a gym. How very 6th house. Her MC is at 20 Virgo.

Her whole sign chart is below:


So my answer to your question is?

Look at both. The information is available, so play with it, see how one or the other works for you. Set intentions on both. Or don’t…there are a million ways to complicate a chart – and very possibly, this could be one of them…then again, it’s also a mighty good way to get back to basics and uncomplicate it as well. Your call.



Some links you could be interested in…

In defence of solar astrology

Something by Aquamoonlight about different house systems

A great article in Mountain Astrologer

As I mentioned earlier, I’m now using (mostly) whole signs – even though I was taught in placidus and really thought I was too lazy to make a change. Go figure.