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10 Tips For Learning Astrology
October 19, 2007 – 3:23 am | 62 Comments

So you want to learn about astrology? Not the generalized Sun-sign stuff that you find in newspapers and magazines, but serious astrology. The advanced type where you can actually determine specific information about a person’s life through the observation of the planets and other celestial phenomena. Here are some tips to help you get started.

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Five Tips for Birth Chart Rectification

Posted by on December 11, 2009 at 2:53 am30 Comments

natal chart drawingThe type of astrology that most western astrologers practice, horoscopic astrology, requires an exact birth time in order to work properly.  That is to say, you need the time of a person’s birth in order to cast a complete natal chart that includes all of the factors that an astrologer would normally take into account in a typical delineation.

While it is still possible to do some interesting things with just a person’s date of birth, even if you don’t have a birth time, in most cases it is highly desirable to have at least an approximate time of birth before attempting to interpret a birth chart.

When a birth time is not known or recorded for a person, sometimes astrologers will attempt to deduce the time of birth by studying events in the person’s life and trying to match up their chronology with one of the possible charts for that day.  This process of reverse engineering the birth time based on known events in a person’s life is called rectification.

In this article I will provide a few simple tips for how to rectify a birth chart based on my own experience over the past several years in working with clients. If you are just looking for someone to rectify your chart for you, then you might want to consider setting up a birth time rectification consultation with me. If you want to learn how to do it on your own though, then read on.

Before we get started with the techniques I should probably make a few preliminary remarks though.

Why Is the Birth Time So Important?

You may be asking yourself, why is the birth time so important?  The answer to that question is that without an accurate birth time, you have no ascendant.  Without the ascendant you have no houses.  Without the ascendant and houses you have no lots (a.k.a. ‘parts’).  Without the ascendant, houses and lots you have no planetary lords or rulers of specific topics in the native’s life (i.e. Gemini on the cusp of the 7th means that Mercury rules over the topic of marriage in the chart, & etc.).

Not only does this remove a bunch of really important interpretive factors from the natal chart, but it also makes it so that you cannot use a number of important timing techniques that are based on those factors.  In short, much of the system disappears.

Isn’t Rectification Totally Speculative Though?

Yes, rectification is totally speculative.  This can be really problematic actually, since different astrologers have different ways of going about doing it, and thus they sometimes come up with different results.

This is not always the case though, and it is possible for astrologers who employ similar or dissimilar techniques to come to the same conclusions about a chart.

For example, I did a rectification for a client once, and afterward I learned that the client had also had a certain prominent astrologer (*cough* Rob Hand *cough*) rectify the same chart previously.  It turned out that we had both come up with a similar birth time based on the chronology that was provided to us by the client.

While instances such as the one above give me a certain sense of assurance that the process of rectification can lead to accurate results, it must be kept in mind that rectification is still a highly speculative endeavor, and it should always be approached with extreme caution.

In fact, because of the speculative nature of rectification, it is one of my least favorite astrological endeavors.   I will usually only do it when it is absolutely necessary and the time frame has been narrowed down to within a few hours.  While most of the tips listed below could be applied to any rectification attempt, they will work the best on those in which an approximate time of birth is known, particularly if there are only two or three possible rising signs.

So, if you absolutely must attempt to rectify a chart, here are a few tips to go about doing it:

1)  Use Whole Sign Houses

First things first, use whole sign houses.   Not only are they more accurate in general practice, but the rectification process is actually one of the areas in which they become particularly useful.

With whole sign houses rectification is a much more straight forward endeavor, since it becomes mainly a matter of  determining the correct rising sign.  Once you have determined the correct rising sign, all of the other houses fall into place.  For example, if someone has Cancer rising with whole sign houses, you know that they have Aries on the 10th.

This makes the rectification process easier because then there is a dramatic difference between one rising sign and another, since all of the planets move to different houses when the rising sign changes.  This is one of the clues that can help you in the rectification process.

2)  Pay Attention to Benefic and Malefic Planets and Sect

The other thing that you need to know is the concept of benefic and malefic planets, as well as the correlate concept of planetary sect.

One of the general notions derived from these two concepts is that the house placement of the malefic that is contrary to the sect of the chart will often indicate the area of the native’s life in which they have some of their greatest challenges, hardships and even losses.  So, for example, Mars in a day chart in the 7th might indicate that the native will experience separations or loss when it comes to their marriage, while in the 4th house it might indicate separations or loss with respect to the parents.   In both instances the contrary to the sect sect smallMars signifies separation, but it indicates this in a much different area of the native’s life depending on its house placement.

Conversely, the house placement of the benefic that is of the sect in favor will often indicate the area of the native’s life in which things are the most fortunate, easy and stable.  For example, Jupiter in a day chart in the 7th might indicate stability in relationships and marriage, but in the 4th house it would indicate stability from the parents.  Again, when Jupiter is of the sect in favor it indicates stability either way, other factors supporting, but the house placement localizes this signification on a specific area of the native’s life.

With this in mind, you can look at each possible rising sign and contrast where these two planets are located, and compare this with the native’s chronology to see which placement seems to better reflect the most fortunate and unfortunate areas of the native’s life.    Sometimes the simplest things are the best indicators.

3)  Compare the Ruler of the Ascendant in the Different Houses

ruler of the ascendant smallThis approach, as well as most of the tips listed in this guide for that matter, mainly only works if the person has a particular time range already, like a 2 or three hour time window so that there can only be two or maybe three possible rising signs.

The house placement of the ruler of the ascendant often characterizes one of the major areas of life or topics that the native’s life is directed towards.   For example, someone who has the ruler of the ascendant in the 5th might have a life that is more directed towards their children, while someone with the ruler of the 1st in the 10th might be more focused on their career.

If there are two possible rising signs in the chart that you are rectifying then look to what house the ruler of the ascendant is in in each, then ask the client which topic seems to be the more dominant one in their life.   If one seems particularly prominent, then it is a good bet that you have narrowed down the correct rising sign.

4) Study Recent Outer Planet Transits

Saturn ingress into Libra 02Another good piece of advice for rectifying a chart is to study recent outer planet transits through the houses, particularly those of Saturn and Jupiter.

One of the basic ideas is that wherever Jupiter is transiting things are likely to expand, while wherever Saturn is transiting things are likely to contract.

One of the typical examples of this is that when people have Saturn transit through their first house their is some sort of contraction with respect to their body.  If Saturn is contrary to the sect in the natal chart sometimes this means health problems, while if Saturn is of the sect in favor in the natal chart then this can sometimes mean something as simple as losing weight.

When Jupiter is transiting the 2nd it sometimes indicates an increase in the native’s personal finances, while Saturn transiting through the 2nd can indicate a loss of money, or a more conservative approach to finances for a couple of years.

Remember that with whole sign houses as soon as a planet enters a new sign it also enters a new house, and the topics associated with that house start becoming activated immediately.  As a result, sometimes it is really obvious when Saturn has just ingressed into someone’s 7th house and they have a major breakup, or Jupiter ingresses into their 2nd house and the come into a lot of money.

This can really help to narrow down the correct rising sign by simply looking at recent transits and ingresses in a person’s chart and then matching it with events or time periods in their life.

5) Final Piece of Advice

Never take your rectification too seriously.

No matter how good it is.  No matter how compelling the evidence appears.  It is still speculative.

And most of all, never attempt to pass off a rectified chart as a verified birth time.  This is one of the cardinal sins of astrology, that astrologers would be excommunicated for if the astrological community was some sort of an organized religion or cult.

Luckily its not, but we will totally wag our finger at you and glare if we catch you doing it, so watch out.

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About Chris Brennan

Chris is a practicing astrologer from Denver, Colorado, USA. He is the former President of the Association for Young Astrologers, as well as the former Research Director of the National Council for Geocosmic Research. He offers personal consultations and teaches online classes through his website at www.ChrisBrennanAstrologer.com.




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30 Comments »

  • Very good post, Chris. I agree with starting with whole sign houses to find the ASC, although for getting the specific time, using more specific house systems is also extremely helpful IMO.

    On your point #4 about Jupiter and Saturn, you can (and ought to IMO) also use the transiting nodes in much the same way. Look for contraction in the house the south node is transiting, and look for expansion in the house the north node is transiting. Very, very useful IME, and perfectly suited for whole-sign rectification.

    I can’t say I agree on your #2, though. I still don’t find the sect distinctions matter that much when considered outside of the context of hellenistic time lords, and I look constantly at clients’ charts to try to verify this. It just doesn’t work consistently at all IME. In my own case, Mars in my 7th with a dirunal chart, and I’ve been “happily married” (knock on wood) for years and with that same woman for almost ten years. I don’t know about the future and that could of course take a turn for the worse at any time, but that certainly wouldn’t have helped me to rectify my chart correctly since it would’ve gone like this:

    Astrologer: Marriage?
    Client: Very good, and one of the best areas of my life for about ten years.
    Astrology: Hm, well then you certainly don’t have Mars in the 7th with a diurnal chart.
    (but I do)

  • Chris Brennan says:

    Sect works quite well when other factors are in agreement, which I mention in the article with the statement ‘other factors supporting’. For example, Jupiter might be of the sect in favor, but if it is cadent and afflicted by Mars (or what have you) then it isn’t exactly going to be the best planet in the chart.

    Your chart is a poor example to point to in order to refute the concept because there are a number of mitigating factors with respect to Mars and your 7th house.

    Perhaps I should be more explicit about saying that other factors have to be taken into account when I’m talking about sect, just like any other technique, but the point still stands that it is a super useful tool for making qualitative distinctions about certain placements in the chart, if used properly.

  • Dimitri(s) says:

    hello from Greece, your presentation is solid and useful, as always;

    I’d just like to mention one more element, from my own short experience, which I think can come in really handy, even more so for you guys who use whole sign houses: narrowing down the Asc is (not every time, unfortunately, but) very often the combination of the physical appearance and psychological profile/behaviour of the person; again, I’m saying this only as a possible way out (because, certainly, more parameters must be considered, such as planets in the 1st house), but when certain features are prominent and cannot be explained elsewhere in the chart, it seems that the Asc can do the job;

    two recent examples include an athletic/optimistic/assertive young lady, whose chart pieces fell into place once we tried the Asc in Aries, and a man with a three hour time window, as you say, Chris, whose Geminian qualities appeared nowhere else (mind you he had, for example, Mercury in Scorpio, and all possibilities left the 3rd house empty), so it “had” to be the Asc; of course, this kind of “guess” is also followed by a thorough investigation of the rest of the chart (to find out if everything else works), no question about that;

    kind regards,

    D.

  • Chris Brennan says:

    Good points Dimitri(s)! Appearance and mannerism are definitely factors that can play an important role in rectification.

  • Don Borkowski says:

    Whole sign houses have the most validity when the charts are cast close to the equator. Otherwise they don’t hold up. Oddly enough, they do seem to work better than equal houses which ignore the Midheaven-IC axis, but quadrant systems are generally superior.

  • Chris Brennan says:

    I would beg to differ.

  • Douglas Murray says:

    These are good ideas

  • Douglas Murray says:

    Finding the ascendent is one of the most interesting activities in astrology. When doing a personal chart it makes sense to be cautious. The charts of historical individuals can be more adventurous. You can use intuition, trial and error, and probability usefully. What are people afraid of? With the cautious
    attitude, Ptolemy would never have written his astrology books.
    An illustration. George Washington February 22,1732
    If you put Jupiter in the 10th house conjunct the midheaven,
    the entire chart falls into place. Washington was a person of
    integrity, energy, good fortune,and ambition. These traits are certainly expressed by his tenth house. Then he would have a Sagitarius ascendent. That would work and he was very physical.
    Capricorn would be in the practical second house. The Sun in pisces would be in the people sensitive third house. Official birth times
    may be uncertain. Even people who were there may remember incorrectly. The charts of his I have seen have not worked in
    his life. This chart works historically.

  • paneagle says:

    Rectification method – I may use other methods in tandem, but my principle method is using solar arcs and sol arcs. These give major years of change or activity, usually aligned very well when birth time is known, therefore accurate to rectify is possible.

    The sol degree (sol or soul sign) is the 60th harmonic sun, and sol signs chart degree of the moon and rising and midheaven can be principle in gaining rectification certainty. I have many examples on my web page if you will go to solastrology.blogspot.com or email me for information. I am founder of Sol Astrology and discovered these techniques. The combination of the sol chart and the solar natal degrees of the sun moon and rising in arcs of 1 degree per year (like solar arcs) form a principle block of key dates in a person’s life cycle.

  • mardi says:

    My parents swear i was born at 1:25 pm but the hospital record shows that i was born at 2:30 pm so i really can’t be certain which is correct…especially because i can relate to both charts that it gives me! For example…i definitely have a cancerian kind of personality and physical appearance….and 1:25 pm gives me cancer rising…the problem is that although 2:30 pm gives me leo rising, it also gives me the moon in the first house…so both charts would give me a cancerian type of personality wouldn’t they? Also the 1:25 pm chart puts my sun,mer,venus and mars all in the 9th house…which would match well with my more than average interest in travel and foreign cultures….yet the 2:30 pm chart puts them all in the 8th house…which also matches with my other major interest….the paranormal and everything mysterious!

  • Chris Brennan says:

    Mardi, try to focus more on objective events that have occurred in your life rather than on character or personality traits. That makes the process a bit more straight forward, and helps to avoid some of the ambiguities you are wrestling with now.

  • bb says:

    Question,

    I have just recently looked into this topic. Based on my birth time listed on my birth certificate my ascendant is pisces but barely 0’9 degrees, just one minute back would put it at 29′ aquarius. Plus I was a c section baby so I was probly out before the listed time, my mom remembers the time being accurate and based on when they cut the cord. In those instances is it based more on first breath, when the cord is cut, or when the baby is removed? I noticed above that you encourage it to be based on life events. Do you have any examples that would clarify pisces over aquarius? I can relate to certain things with both. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!!

  • Chris Brennan says:

    It is primarily based on when the baby is first removed, as that is the moment that it begins its life independent from the mother.

    It really depends on where all of the planets are placed in the chart, and how it changes depending in the rising sign. So, I don’t have any particular suggestions for Pisces vs. Aquarius other than those listed in the article.

  • Christos says:

    Very interesting article on rectification Chris!
    From my experience, I usually focus primarily on events, because they are more objective. If I see someone and fixate on a possible rising sign, then that could possibly cloud my judgement.
    I mainly use solar arcs and the outer planets transits (jupiter through pluto) based on important events (marriages, divorces, deaths, births, graduations, promotions, being fired, etc) that would affect the individual profoundly.

    That, seen from the scope of Classical Astrology.
    Through the scope of Uranian, things get a little bit simpler, but also more complicated. It can bring more accuracy on the degree of the ascendant and midheaven, but since Uranian doesn’t use signs and elements, but only the qualities, you would get for instance a possible ascendant on the 5th degree of the fixed signs. That would generare 4 possible birth times, but, if there is a time frame, you can find which one it is, or if there isn’t, you can then take it through classical astrology and “tweak” the houses till you get something that closesly could resemble the person’s real chart.

    The “good” thing about Uranian is the use of midpoints and sensitive points that are more specific in expression and the orb of aspects doesn’t strain more than 1 degree.

    Greetings from a fellow astrology researcher from Greece! :)

  • James says:

    Hello Chris,

    We are of very different opinions, but I won’t open all that up here. What I do want to comment on is that the title of the article “Five Tips for Birth Chart Rectification” seems slightly misleading. Yes, there are five of them. ;) Yes, they are tips. Yes, the topic is birth chart rectification. No problems with any “truth in labeling” laws. ;) It is just that all of the info seems aimed at finding a rising SIGN more than in determining a birth chart, which is defined by the hour, minute, and second of birth (and of course month, day, year, and place).

    To be fully honest, it seems like the article should be titled “Five Tips for Beginning a Birth Chart Rectification” based on the content of the article.

    Peace

    James

  • Chris Brennan says:

    James,

    For those who advocate the use of whole sign houses, like myself, the identification of the correct rising sign is the primary focus of rectification. While there are additional factors that can be taken into account in order to further specify the birth time, since in order to be able to use some techniques this is a requirement, for me the identification of the rising sign is still what is most important, and in many cases this is sufficient in order to delineate a natal chart in which the birth time was not previously known.

    Chris

  • Douglas Murray says:

    I am not usually interested in the charts of nations Often
    there could be several in a long history The USA chart seems to
    generate controversy One interesting clue on the US one hundred
    dollar bill The time on the tower of independence hall is 2 PM
    That is my preference, for a variety of reasons
    Also there are interesting and significant charts for
    the city of Jerusalem The modern chart for when the British
    and their allies entered the city is useful
    My experience is that Astrodienst has the most accurate ephemeris
    for ancient history Much ancient history beyond one thousand years
    ago involves much speculation, not to mention revisionist history
    In my opinion astrology could play a useful role in understanding
    the ancient world and individuals

  • Dragonflyte says:

    I have had the most frustrating time on this subject. My birth time was between 3am and 5am on September 1st, 1970 in London, England. I am trying to rectify the time for an astrorelocation report and spent a significant amount of time researching astrologers, reading reviews on their work and any other feedback I could find, as well as the method they employ for the birth chart rectification.

    The end result is 3 separate birth chart rectification readings from 3 separate quite well known astrologers that specialize in this and have positive reviews, and I have 3 completely different birth times from these reports. Not only have I spent quite a bit of money to try to narrow down an answer, but I’m really not any further forward on this subject!

    Could anyone possibly offer me any advice/guidance on what I can do to try to get the answer I need? :)

    Thank you SO much in advance…

  • Chris Brennan says:

    I’m kind of curious what astrologers you consulted with, and if they all followed the same tradition or approach, or if they were approaching the rectification from different perspectives. In some instances this can be good, because it can provide different insights into the same thing, but in some cases the approaches involved can be so wildly different that it wouldn’t be surprising that they would come to different conclusions about a rectification. I’ll send you an email about this now.

  • Dragonflyte says:

    Hi Chris, thanks so much for a quick response! I feel like it may be indiscreet mentioning their names as one of them may be correct and I’m not sure which! All 3 were Vedic astrologers which is why I was so shocked the answers were so different, given that they all use a very similar approach.

  • Chris Brennan says:

    Ah, ok, no problem. I can’t really comment on why three Vedic astrologers would come to different conclusions, since that approach is a lot different compared to western astrology and some of the techniques that I advocated in this article. I can say that from what I have studied of Indian astrology it seems like a very vast and diverse tradition, and so it would not be surprising to see different practitioners emphasizing different techniques or measurements, and as a result of that coming to different conclusions.

  • Dragonflyte says:

    Well, I’m going to give it one more shot and choose an astrologer who employs western astrology methods. My wallet cannot afford much more than that :-) Would you happen to have any recommendations?

    I have been considering Lauren Delsack (who appears to have published several astrology works, including works on birth time rectification). I was curious if anyone is familiar with Lauren’s work:
    http://www.amazon.com/Lauren-Delsack/e/B005ZP9LPK

    Thanks very much again…

  • Chris Brennan says:

    Unfortunately I don’t really have any recommendations. The only person that I might recommend is Dr H of Regulus Astrology, because he was one of the few western astrologers who correctly rectified Obama’s ascendant to be Aquarius rising before we had his birth certificate, although his time was still off a bit from the official recorded time in the end anyways. It doesn’t look like he is accepting new clients at the moment though.

    I’m not familiar with Delsack’s work on rectification, so I can’t comment. Carol Tebbs also recently published a book on rectification, although I haven’t read it yet, so I’m not familiar with her methods either.

    My approach is mainly focused on determining the correct rising sign, which is useful, although if you are trying to do relocational work then you would probably need something more precise.

  • Dragonflyte says:

    Thank you very much. I did email Regulus Astrology to simply ask for their input any any recommendations.

  • Ganesh says:

    It is a wonderful place I landed. I’m really trying to find my exact time of birth. The time range I know is 7:30 a.m to 8:00 a.m. November 28 1976 in Guntur, India. I really want my career progress upwards and we are waiting for kids for 8 years. Is there any way you can let me know sir the exact time.

  • Paola Emma says:

    Thank you for your clear, level-headed approach to this irksome subject. In my practice I now refuse to do Rectifications, finding them too open to conjuncture.
    Knowing how time consuming and demanding they are, it is also very difficult to decide a price that could justify the time and energy spent on them. While the results, despite all good intentions, always remain hypothetical.
    As you said an approximate time can and perhaps should be rectified, to give the client the best help Astrology can offer.
    My choice for unknown times is the Sunrise Chart for the exact locality. I have found them very useful and often uncanny for the insight they can provide.
    You are doing a great job out there to improve the standard of Astrology. Thank you, Paola Emma

  • Chris Brennan says:

    Thanks Paola! I agree with you that in most instances rectification is simply too time consuming and complicated to do, and even once you have something it is still completely conjectural. That is why I only really do rectifications for people who have some general idea of what part of the day they were born in, as this provides some limits to work within. For people who don’t even have a general notion of what time of the day they were born it is much more difficult though, and the results can be much less reliable. In those instances sometimes the best option is simply not to rectify at all, and that is a perfectly reasonable stance to take.

  • Bob W says:

    Hi, Chris,

    I found you from some comments you posted on tribe.net and I like your even keel so what I’m about to say is not a criticism of you at all but is a response to one of your commenters who was asking for recommendations of astrologers who do birth time rectification.

    I haven’t had any luck with birth time rectification in Western astrology so far. My first choice was Hank Friedman who is both a Western and Hindu astrologer but he was not going to be available for a further 6-8 months at the time.

    I had an unpleasant experience with one supposedly “highly-respected” Western astrologer that commenter mentioned. Who may well be very good at the technical aspects of astrology but showed alarming signs of narcissism, grandiosity, judgementalism, poor listening and poor temper control. They were like a time bomb and simply could not accept any opinion they perceived to be opposing to theirs even when it was not! I now steer clear of anyone who claims a background in “psychology” and/or “psychoanalysis” who tends to have a dangerously one-sided, black-and-white view of the world. The problem with the internet is that anyone with a website written with good SEO will find its way to the front pages of Google and this does not mean they’re a good astrologer!

  • Shaikh Ajmal Naseer says:

    Dear Chris Brennan,
    I am not a practicing astrologer. I am studying astrology since 1975.
    I do not know about other countries but in Pakistan I have met many
    people who can tell about your rising sign by looking at your face,
    moles and marks on your face, studying your hands, foot and other parts of your body. Some can even draw your natal charts by carefully studying your hands. You dont have to tell your birth date and birth time.After they tell your birth date, birth time you can match it with your birth certificate.