Astrologers are often given an approximate time of birth and need to engage in a process of “rectification” to come up with a more accurate birth time. In my case, the first rectification I ever did was for my own chart, because my birth certificate did not contain my time of birth.
I knew that I was born on a Monday morning (Labor Day). The story in the family was that my mother went into labor on Sunday night and was admitted to the hospital. My father had promised to help a friend paint his house on Monday morning (a holiday), and he arranged with the hospital to call him as soon as the birth seemed impending. His friend’s house was about 10 minutes from the hospital.
On Monday morning my father went to his friend’s house early and they began painting. Within a short time the hospital called and my father left his friend’s house to be present at my birth, which occurred on Monday morning. My father could not recall exactly what time I was born, and I had no official record of it.
From my father’s story I deduced that I must have been born early to mid-morning. My father and his friend would have started early in the day to paint the house (I estimated 7 or 7:30 a.m. because my father was a “morning person” and liked to get an early start. Sunrise that day was at about 6:30 a.m.) He was painting only a short while when the hospital called. I estimated that he got the call at 8 or 8:30 a.m. and would have arrived at the hospital by 8:30 or 9 a.m.
Reportedly I was born not long after my father arrived at the hospital, so I estimated that my birth most likely occurred between 8 and 10 a.m. This would have given me a Libra Ascendant, because Libra was rising between 8:03 a.m. and 10:36 am. The mid-point of Libra occurred at about 9:20 a.m., so I used this chart as an approximation of my birth chart with a midrange value of 15 Libra on the ASC.
At some point in the early 1970s I came across instructions in Llewellyn’s A to Z Horoscope Maker about how to rectify a chart. The book instructed one to use the first event before age 30 that had a profound impact on the native. In my life that event was the death of my mother just a few days before my 8th birthday. The book went on to say that if the event is the death of a parent, use Saturn if it lies near the MC/IC axis. Saturn symbolizes death and the MC/IC axis represents the parents.
In my approximate chart for 9:20 a.m., Saturn was in the 10th house near the MC. Hence, the moment when Saturn conjoined the MC by primary direction would correlate with my mother’s passing. My natal Saturn is at 21 Cancer 24. A rough approximation of my MC could be made by subtracting my age at the time of my mother’s death from the position of Saturn, that is, 21 Cancer 24 minus 8 yeas old = 13 Cancer 24 as a rough estimate, which gives an approximate 9:01 a.m. as a birth time, consistent with my father’s account.
To get a more precise measure, the book said to convert the exact age at the time of the event using Ptolemy’s formula 1 degree = 1 year and to subtract that figure to the Right Ascension of Saturn (the measure of its location on the Equator). I looked in the tables of Right Ascension (personal computers were not available in those days) and found that my Saturn was at 113 deg 05 min RA. From that value I subtracted 8 degrees for my age when my mother died (or, more precisely, 7 deg 59 min because she died 5 days before my birthday). The difference was 105 deg 06 min as the RA for my Midheaven. This gives a birth time of 9:03:25 a.m.
I had also read that Naibod used a slightly different formula than Ptolemy, which some astrologers believed gave a more accurate measure. He equated the mean daily motion of the Sun to one year of life. If we make the analogy that 1 year = 360 degrees of a circle, we have to account for there being 365.24 days in a year and not exactly 360. Doing the math, we find that just under one degree is analogous to 1 year of life with this Naibod correction. Under this method, 7 deg 52 min had to be subtracted from the RA of Saturn, which gives the RA of the MC as 105 deg 13 min. This corresponds to a birth time of 9:03:55 a.m., or almost exactly 9:04 a.m.
For the next several years I used my rectified chart with a birth time of 9:04 a.m., and it seemed to work quite well in predicting events in my life. Then, in the mid-1980s I was helping my parents clean out their attic and discovered a notebook in which my father had recorded birth times and other bits of family history. I was astonished to see in my father’s handwriting a note that read: “Anthony, 9:05 a.m.”
There it was. The rules of astrology and my father’s observation of the hospital clock at the time of my birth were only a minute apart. Skeptics would say this was but a lucky coincidence, but I found this experience to be compelling evidence of the validity of certain methods of astrology.