When Prince George (July 22, 2013) and Princess Charlotte (May 3, 2015) were born into the British royal family, the media asked astrologers to comment on the babies’ birth charts. They had the dates, times, and places to make complete and detailed natal charts. But no astrologer gave reporters detailed opinions or forecasts. Instead they used Sun and Moon signs, the most basic information, to discuss the babies’ personalities, keeping the tone very light. British astrologer Penny Thornton, consulted by People magazine, said Prince George, the future king, “has a powerful destiny” and that Princess Charlotte “will be much loved.”
Few astrologers in the 21st century are willing to go out on a limb and do full horoscopes for newborns, with all the responsibility that implies. Just because astrologers can cast a baby’s horoscope doesn’t mean they should. This is truly a case in which a little knowledge—and everybody thinks they know something about astrology—can be a dangerous thing. When a friend joyously tells me her grandchild will be born around May 30, I have learned not to say, “Oh, a little Gemini,” because she will then probably ask whether being born under the sign of the Twins means the child will “have a split personality.” I must then tell her that’s a Sun-Sign stereotype. Then she’ll ask about his talents and his future.
Astrologers cannot tell you anything definite about a person who hasn’t been born. If my friend’s new grandchild arrived two weeks early, it’d be a little Taurus, not a little Gemini, and I’d have been wrong from square one. Most astrologers agree that birth is the moment the child left the mother’s body and became an individual. A few astrologers recommend a “conception chart,” believing that’s when life begins, but that chart requires the date, place, and time of the baby’s conception, and most likely the parents weren’t watching the clock. Even a chart for a test-tube conception, with its exact time recorded, would tell us nothing about the coming child.
We are naturally curious about our children and their future. These days, the parent of a young Gemini can spend hours googling “Gemini traits” and wonder why her quiet bookworm Gemini isn’t athletic and talkative. Maybe, she thinks, something’s wrong with him! Buying a professional horoscope might also arouse needless expectations and concerns. I cast my niece’s chart the day she was born. I worried that her Libra Sun and Pisces Moon might make her too gentle and sensitive to withstand the heartaches that come to us all. She’s not that weak. She’s a pediatric nurse. Instead of hindering her personal life, the compassion she was born with had a higher purpose.
So it’s generally inadvisable to try peeking into the child’s mind and future instead of letting the child bloom on her own. Anyone with children knows how they’ll surprise you. I’ve heard frantic “Tiger Mothers” obsessing, “Is he going to be a doctor? He has to be a doctor. Does he have the traits of a doctor?” Another anxious parent might muse: “Gemini baby, Virgo mom, hmm—he’s an air sign, I’m an earth sign, and that means we will never get along.” These parents aren’t looking for a young soul’s higher purpose. They are, frankly, looking for trouble where there isn’t any.
Some astrologers call the natal chart a “blueprint for a life” or “astral DNA,” but a natal horoscope is not an “instructional manual” on how to raise a child, or a “what to expect” plan and calendar of events. You can scrutinize a horoscope all day and never find out whether your son needs tutoring in math. At worst, a parent might nag, “Your horoscope doesn’t show musical talent. It shows talent for business. So, no, you’re not getting a guitar. Go sell cookies.”
The natal chart, anyway, isn’t a predictive chart. It’s a foundational chart. To forecast events, an astrologer must create a second chart called a progressed chart, or a chart with planetary transits. Even so, some of life’s major events simply cannot be foreseen by any method we currently have. Just as the weather forecaster isn’t always right, there’s no guarantee that the plan of the universe is just as an astrologer says it is.
Astrology, like higher math or fine wine, is for adults. If you simply must have a full juvenile horoscope, professional astrologer Liz Greene, who was well-established before there was an Internet, is one of the few online sources. Another source of child-specific Sun-sign material is the classic book Sun Signs by Linda Goodman, which has sold millions of copies since first appearing in 1968. Goodman writes several pages on traits of children born under each sign. They’re all positive traits.
That’s because children should not feel handicapped by preconceptions about their capacities and luck. Your new child or grandchild is the center of your life, and your hopes are grand. But what you should do is enjoy the baby in the present moment. Soon he or she won’t be a baby anymore.