In response to an earlier previous post about the astrology of tarot readers, Beth commented:
“I’ve read Tarot since the tender age of 11. It is to the point I read them like I would a morning newspaper. (Yeah, I know I’m astrologer. Tarot came first.) My moon is in Pisces in the 11th, but I have Neptune in Scorpio in the sixth opposite Mars in Taurus in the twelfth. My moon is a wide sextile to Mars, but misses even a wide trine to Neptune by a degree, but maybe you just have to give it Neptune since its boundaries are blurry anyway. I’ll be known for my astrology instead of my Tarot because of my 10th house Sun in Aquarius conj Chiron opposite Uranus, but my Pisces Moon loves my tarot anyway and I secretly think I’m better at tarot than astrology. But don’t tell the peeps at the ASC that! Namaste!’
Based on the description of her chart and the fact that Beth became intensely interested in tarot at age 11, I responded that she was probably born between 11 and 11:10 AM with an ASC between 18 and 22 degrees of Taurus. Somewhat to my surprise, Beth wrote back that her recorded time of birth is, in fact, 11:10 AM. I say “somewhat to my surprise” because when I use this technique I usually come very close but only occasionally hit the nail exactly on the head. I thought it would be worth a separate post to explain my process of deduction. With Beth’s permission, I have reproduced her birth chart based on her recorded birth data (Koch houses):
From Beth’s description of her chart, I was able to deduce her date of birth from the ephemeris as February 2, 1957. Mars opposed Neptune on the afternoon of February 1, 1957. Neptune was stationary in the 3rd degree of Scorpio at the time. Beth mentioned that her Pisces Moon was one degree past a trine to Neptune. I assumed she was using a 10-degree orb for trines, so I guessed her Moon was in the 14th degree of Pisces, more or less. This meant she was born some time around mid-day on February 2nd. The overall description of her chart meant that her ASC was somewhere around the middle of Taurus.
I decided to look at her primary directions, using Ptolemy’s time-measure of one degree of right ascension per year of life, to guess a time of birth. My assumption was that her budding interest in tarot at age 11 would correlate with the ASC meeting up with her Mars/Neptune opposition by primary direction. Eyeballing the chart to arrive at a very rough estimate of her ASC, I added 11 degrees (one degree per year) from the zodiacal position of Mars (3 Taurus) and got a rough estimate of 14 Taurus for her ASC. This gave a starting point for rectifying her chart as 10:47 AM, the moment that 14 Taurus was rising over the horizon of her birthplace.
I next used Solar Fire Gold to calculate the mundane primary directions for the 10:47 AM chart. Specifically, I was looking for the dates when the primary directed ASC came to the Mars/Neptune opposition. Solar Fire indicated that the primary directed ASC of the 10:47 chart came to Neptune in 1962 and to Mars in 1965. Since Beth was born in 1957, this ASC was too early for her interest in tarot to start at age 11.
Next I tried a birth time of 11 AM. This gave an ASC of about 18 Taurus, which came by direction to Neptune in 1966 (age 9) and to Mars in 1968 (age 11). Thus, 11 AM was a possible birth time if her interest in tarot emerged when the directed ASC crossed natal Mars. The opposition of ASC to Neptune was too early, however, so I thought she might have been born later. Neptune is more closely correlated with tarot than is Mars in the 12th.
Using Solar Fire, I found that at about 11:10 AM, the directed ASC (now about 22 Taurus) came to the opposition of Neptune in 1968. In other words, the primary directed horizon met the planet Neptune when Beth was 11 years old.
To double-check the Solar Fire results, I did the calculations with the Morinus freeware program and got the following results.
The above list begins at age 11 with the converse mundane direction of Neptune to the DSC opposite the ASC with an arc of 11.092, shortly after her birthday in 1968. The list ends with Mars by converse mundane primary direction coming to the ASC in 1971 with an arc of 13.96, just before her birthday that year.
Because Neptune and Mars are connected by an opposition, one would expect two phases of her interest in tarot. The first phase at age 11 involved the ASC with Neptune and the second phases at age 14 involved the ASC with Mars, so there may have been a flurry of activity (a Mars phenomenon) related to the tarot when she was 14 years old.
The two most likely times of birth therefore seemed to be around 11 AM (when directed ASC crossed Mars) and around 11:10 AM (when directed ASC opposed Neptune). Of the two, I thought 11:10 AM was more likely because of Neptune’s more compelling association with tarot. On the other hand, Mars was intimately connected with Neptune in her chart by their close opposition, so that a direction of ASC to Mars could also trigger Neptune.
A chart cannot be rectified from a single event, and Beth wrote that her chart has seemed to work better over the years with a birth time of 11:11 AM. On the other hand, Beth’s interest in tarot was such a prominent feature of her youth that it had to show up in a meaningful way in a rectified chart.
This example also illustrates the usefulness of primary directions in rectifying a birth chart. For readers who may be interested, I discuss eyeballing a chart using primary directions in more detail in an introductory e-book text entitled Primary Directions in Astrology: A Primer.
When you speak about the early teenage years as being intensely involved in tarot my sister remembers about this time:
“Hey Beth, I think you taught me tarot when I was 14, so you were 15. I don’t remember freaking out, but me being me, it’s entirely possible. You started on this path after a weekend trip with the family of that very nice boy you met the at beach, and bought Gypsy Witch cards. Within a few months you were working with tarot. That’s what I remember.”
Of course she’s not remembering correctly the weekend trip, which was with a girl friend, not a boyfriend (Heaven forbid, the nuns would have had a fit) who I met a year after I picked up that first deck of cards but mostly it was as she describes.
How I got away with it in a devout Catholic household I’ll never know. Maybe the Irish in us.
Thanks for an awesome lesson in how to rectify a birth time!
Fascinating post. The symbolism of primary directions can be so literal sometimes! I’ve started using them recently after a client’s time seemed really ‘off’. Using the directions and a list of big life events, I found some stunning connections that put the time about 50 minutes ahead of the time given. The time had not been recorded at birth (UK) and the client was in full agreement that the given time was a bit of a wild stab in the dark. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Now I must go and look at my own chart to see if I can spot my tarot interest that also appeared before astrology landed in my life 🙂
Thanks for this, really interesting.
Which system of primaries do you use? I find mundane primaries quite effective, and for zodiacal primaries I have come to prefer the Ptolemy/Placidus approach. I usually start with direct primaries but in this example converse primaries “gave the answer.” Then there is the issue of which time-key to use.
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