Thursday, June 25, 2009

Chart Rectification

Knowing your exact time of birth is key to being able to use astrology at its most accurate. Unfortunately it's not easy to obtain information exact enough for detailed astrological purposes. In the USA time of birth is routinely recorded - but whether this is always accurate to within 5, 10, 20 minutes (or more) is anybody's guess, and relies on the efficiency and care of hospital staff (unless a relative is present at the birth and also interested in astrology). In some cases just a few minutes difference can mean a different rising sign, sometimes even a different Moon sign, which, in turn affects the time when transiting planets conjoin or aspect natal planets and points.

The rising sign, also known as the ascendant, is the zodiac sign which was coming over the horizon at your place of birth, at your exact time of birth. It is thought by astrologers to be one of the three most important factors in the natal chart, along with positions of Sun and Moon.

There's an imponderable involved here though: is the exact time of birth when the baby's head appears, when the umbilical cord is cut, when the baby takes its first breath? Or should we, in truth, be more concerned with time of conception (almost impossible to establish)? We can only do our best, follow our own feelings on the matter.

Professional astrologers can be of assistance in establishing a likely time of birth for clients who lack the information. If the client lists exact dates of highly significant life events (serious illness, operations, marriage, divorce, moving home, change of career, etc.)the astrologer can use these to estimate a birth time, using complex methods. Any rough timespan the client knows of, from conversation with parents, is of help. It'll be more difficult if the client has no idea at all of their time of birth, not even day/night or morning/afternoon, but I believe an estimate could still be made.

I had problems discovering my own birth time. My birth occurred at home, the story, as told by my father misled me somewhat. He said he thought that I was born "around tea time" - in our world that would have been around 5pm. A birthtime of approximately 5pm would mean Leo was rising. My mother had no reliable memory of my birth time; not surprising because she suffered a hemorrhage and almost died. She did offer once: "I think it might have been about 3 o'clock, but I'm not sure".

I struggled with the idea of having Leo rising for many years. The only link with Leo tendencies I could identify in myself was a tendency to hanker after the most expensive version of anything I went out to buy. "Champagne taste, and beer money", my Mum used to say.

Many years later, after both my parents had died, my mother's sister who had been present at my birth told me that she felt sure I was born around 2.30pm. Unwilling to go against my Dad's estimate completely, I decided on a time of 3.30pm, splitting the difference. This made Cancer my rising sign. I felt it fitted my personality better, especially the way I was in youth, and to some extent even now.

There must be thousands of people in the UK with no clear information on their times of birth, it's such a pity there's no requirement for authorities to record them. After I moved to live in America and started learning the finer points of astrology,I asked a professional astrologer who specialises in rectification to look at my chart. After considering a list of some 10 to 12 events in my life so far, and with a time span I offered - 2pm to 6pm - the astrologer estimated a birth time of 2.27pm. He said that although he was not as sure as he'd like to be about the exact degree, he was certain that Cancer was rising at the time of my birth. A time slightly later than 2.27pm would shunt Sun from 8th to 7th house. I could argue for either, and wouldn't be surprised if the true birthtime were to be somewhere between 2.27 and 3pm. I decided work with the time the astrologer came up with - doubt has to stop somewhere!

(Edited and modified version of a post from 2007)


anthonynorth said...

Very few countries record the time of birth. Mindst you, you raised one concern I've always had - whether birth or conception is of relevance.

Twilight said...

AN ~~~ There's no way to be absolutely sure, but mos experts seem to think that it's the first breath, the point at which the child becomes its own being and not a part of its mother's system.

Some astrologers do take account of the "pre-natal era" too, but the difficulty of establishing detail with any accuracy makes it all a bit of a "crap-shoot". :-)

Demetrius said...

Speaking of this, here's some conversation about Michael Jackson's birth time:

Twilight said...

Demetrius - Hi there!
Thank you for linking that. It's timely, and an interesting discussion on the topic of rectification as related to something currently in the news.

Shawn Carson said...

I used to wonder how accurately our hospitals recorded birth times too, but i have been present at two of my sons births and noted the time for myself. I later discovered the recorded time on their birth certificates to be within 1 minute of my observation. I am not sure how this happened because i never noticed anyone else checking the time, as i did, but apparently,someone else was paying attention to the time besides just me. I don't know what the proper measure of birth should be either, but i will never forget their initial cry upon emerging from the womb. It is a striking sound that seems something of a herald, so i used that moment.
i feel sorry for people that do not have an accurate time to work with, as there is a lot more insight that an astrologer can provide when he is working with correctly timed data.

Twilight said...

Shawn ~~~ Oh! That's interesting!
And so good that you can be absolutely certain of your sons' times of birth.

Yes, so many astrological procedures rely on this piece of information being accurate, yet so many people outside of the US don't have it. It's sad and frustrating.