Ascendant: Determining the Time of Birth

Ascendant: Determining the Time of Birth

In astrological terminology, the methods and techniques of determining the precise time of birth are known as rectification.
The lack of knowledge about the exact time of birth may be a hindrance in studying astrology and in seeking professional astrological counsel. Astrology novices, who are not able to cast their own charts, may simply get discouraged from studying. Others, instead of visiting a professional astrologer, will turn to magazine or Internet horoscopes for Taureans or Librans or they will consult Internet astrologers, who often do not consider the accurate time of birth as absolute necessity.
It does not have to be this way. The following miniguide is dedicated to all those who have difficulty verifying their time of birth or the exact time of birth of those closest to them. The following text will also let more advanced students of astrology systematize their knowledge and learn a new useful technique.

Astrology, rectification

Miniguide to Chart Rectification

There is no horoscope if the Ascendant is unknown (the Greek word horoskopos means one who watches the time). A chart interpretation may occur if the birth time is known with the accuracy of +/- 15 minutes. Astrology is a precise branch of knowledge, though, which means that the more accurate the data, the more accurate analysis and conclusions will be. It is worth remembering that one does not rectify the Ascendant only, but the whole birth chart. The following are twelve steps leading to chart rectification (ours or somebody else’s).

1. Collect all the data that you might need
a) look for the wristband that all newborn babies receive after birth in a hospital or try to find newborn patients’ medical records, which are the most trustworthy sources regarding the accurate time of your birth;

b)  ask you mother, aunt, grandmother what time you were born (women usually remember better what time it was and father often remembers very little). Do not take no for an answer and pay no attention to comments like: “I don’t remember”; “Leave me alone”; “Are you crazy? Why do you need to know?”; “It was so long ago”. Push and ask further questions, which will enable you to narrow the search field: “Was it day or night?”; “Was dad going to work or coming from work?”; “Was there a shift change in the hospital?” The mother might remember some vital details, such as church bell sound or she may remember watching the news on TV just before going to hospital;

c) look up your birth time at General Register Office. If a clerk refuses to provide you with the information, submit a formal request for “a copy of birth certificate with birth time”. In some offices it is possible to obtain the information by phone; make sure you do not disclose any information on your birth time that you already have;

d) look up your birth time in hospital files; this might be tricky, however, as all the files are destroyed after 10 years at the most;

e) if you were born at home or in a small town, you can find your birth time (accurate or approximate) at the local parish;

2. Remember that:
a) mother and other family members usually remember only approximate time; so if you were born at 3.12 p.m., thirty years later they can only remember 3 p.m. or that it happened in the afternoon;
b) the time recorded at General Register Office, on the wristband or in the medical record also is often only approximate and is usually 10 to 20 minutes belated compared to the actual birth time (in hospitals,  for example, it is usually written some time after the delivery is complete);
c) the information that the birth time was either 6 a.m. or 8 p.m. should be treated with suspicion, especially if the source of the information are the hospital files. Often hospital shifts ended at these hours and the nurses just recorded the same birth time for all the children born during a given shift. Fortunately, such practices have been discontinued;

Those who are not familiar with astrology cannot go beyond the above points. The information gathered so far should be presented to a professional astrologer, who will try to rectify the chart. If none of the above have been successful, it will be sadly impossible to perform a professional astrology reading for you (see introduction).

The following guidelines are destined for those who practise astrology and would like to try their hand at chart rectification.
3. Print your chart. You might use a trial version of Urania – an astrological program which you can download from (see Interesting Websites)
4. Based on the information that you have acquired, make a list of all possible combinations of signs and dvadasamsas (and in some cases planets) on the Ascendant, Descendant, Medium Coeli and Imum Coeli that occurred within the given time parameters.
This is the key moment of rectification. I recommend exploring all the possibilities thirty minutes before the time suggested by your sources and fifteen minutes after it. The rule might not apply in all cases. Note that the change of ASC/DSC dvadasamsas does not necessarily entail the change of MC/IC dvadasamsas; and vice versa. We are interested in all the possible combinations.
It is worth pointing out at this juncture that for the people born in Poland the dvadasamsas of the Ascendants in Leo, Virgo, Libra and Scorpio change every 14-15 minutes, and for the Ascendants in Aquarius, Pisces, Aries and Taurus the change occurs every 4-5 minutes. There are fewer people born with the signs of short ascension on the Ascendant and the rectification process for them requires more effort.

5. In the time period that you are exploring check for any planet changing dvadasamsas (especially the Moon). If so, make a note of it.

6. If you have a list of all the possibilities, discard those that seem most improbable. If you are not confident in your complete understanding of astrological archetypes, you should ask a more advanced person for help at this point.

7. A planet positioned near an axis in the chart may be very helpful in rectification. If it is positioned on the Ascendant you might want to decide if it lies in the 12th or 1st house (in the case of MC the relevant houses are the 9th and 10th). As a rule, planets in conjunction with the axes make rectification more difficult because they introduce a whole new energy, yet they can be useful in the whole process. Some planets are easier to pinpoint, for example Mars in the first house is totally different from Mars in the 12th house. Neptune on an axis, however, may cause confusion, so any conclusions must be drawn with caution.

8. Strive to reduce the search area maximally by rejecting the least probable combinations.
When you are left with 2-4 possibilities, explore the connections between the ruling planets of the signs and the ruling planets of the dvadasamsas, and think how they play out in a given sphere of your life. By now you should be able to draw significant conclusions regarding the time of your birth.

9. Make use of the observations of cyclical transits of the Sun and Mars. For example, the Sun or Mars which transit the Ascendant every year and every two years respectively, boost vitality and activeness. Naturally, this refers to the transits of these planets across other axes of the chart as well. Such observations should be made constantly and they take time.

10. Explore the transits of generational planets (especially of Uranus and Pluto) across the axes. This may be merely a way of corroborating the previous suspicions about the right birth time. It is out of the question to try to rectify the time solely relying on these transits.

11. Do not rectify the chart with reference to the transits of planets through the inner houses, because they are always fuzzy. Besides, there are numerous systems of houses at use.

12. Never use a pendulum to determine the time of birth. It cannot bring you any dosage of certainty. The pendulum has different uses, and so do other “intuitive” or “visionary” methods.

The above text contains basic information on chart rectification. In most cases these guidelines should enable you to find and specify the time of your birth.
It is worth pointing out in the end that there are other methods, which are used by a number of astrologers. These include progressions, specifically the primary progressions of the Ascendant, the changes in dvadasamsas of secondary progressed planets or their conjunctions with the axes. Those are all valid methods, yet their discussion is beyond our scope here.
Another important factor in rectifying the chart is the appearance of a person. This cannot be of help unless you are an accomplished astrologers and there are very few of those.
Some astrological schools utilize Sabian Symbols and other esoteric approaches to Zodiac. They might be of use, but only as supplementary techniques; a sole reliance on them will produce faulty results.
„An astrologer is neither a baker nor a chemist,” says Professor Leszek Weres to his students. The rectified time does not have to be exact to a second. A rectified chart is one in which the signs and dvadasamsasof ASC, DSC, MC and IC are accurate. Naturally, you can always perfect your rectification, based on the information that you have. A precise rectification may take years. Be patient and the effects will come.
The Sun in Virgo, 2004; supplemented with the Sun in Taurus and Leo, 2007

The text was based on the materials owned by the Section of Humanistic Astrology.
Copyright (C) by Artur Święch
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