Five Tips for Birth Chart Rectification
The 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
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 Mars 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
This 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
Another 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.