Recently I was reading a book by Charles Carter (31 Jan 1887 — 4 Oct 1968) and wondered what his birth chart looked like. A quick internet search revealed that there are several charts, all within a few minutes and birth locations of each other, which all purport to be his natal figure. The variety of such charts prompted me to try to discover the “true” birth chart of this noted astrologer. The earliest reference I could find was a photocopy of the opening pages of the 1929 (first) publication of his book Symbolic Directions in Modern Astrology:
Some sites online use “Poole, UK” as Carter’s birthplace, but the site https://www.charlescarter.co.uk/note-on-chart/ claims that Carter definitely said his birth location was Parkstone, which is nearby: “Charles Carter gave his birth data quite distinctly as 31st January 1887, 10.55 pm, Parkstone, Dorsetshire, England, 50N43, 02W00.” In this quote it is not clear whether Carter meant GMT or LMT. In addition, he has rounded the coordinates of his birthplace to the nearest minute of arc. Curious about the more precise coordinates of Parkstone, I checked google maps:
Another source (https://latitude.to/map/gb/united-kingdom/cities/parkstone) gives the coordinates of Parkstone as Latitude: 50° 43′ 47.78″ N, Longitude: -1° 56′ 41.71″ W.
The program Solar Fire gives the coordinates of Parkstone as Latitude 50° N 43′ 05″, Longitude 01° W 57′ 26″. Since I don’t know the exact street address of Carter’s birth in Parkstone, UK, I will use the Solar Fire coordinates in the rest of this post.
Using Solar fire, I was able to generate a birth chart very close to the one which Carter published for himself in 1929 by using a birth time of 10:59:32 PM GMT (which corresponds to 10:51:42 PM LMT). Carter apparently said he was born at 10:55 PM (whether he used GMT or LMT is not clear). However, since England began using GMT in 1884, three years before Carter’s birth, it is likely that his recorded birth time was 10:55 PM GMT and that other charts which he used were rectifications of the recorded birth time.
Interestingly, in the 2nd edition (1946) of Symbolic Directions in Modern Astrology, Carter’s birth chart has been modified to give an Ascendant of 17 Libra 15 with a Midheaven of 22 Cancer 27, which would correspond to a birth time of 11:01:29 PM UT.
The widely used site astro.com gives Carter’s birth data as: 31 January 1887 at 23:01 GMT (11:01 PM GMT) in Parkstone, England, 50n47, 2w20, apparently citing Carter himself. There is an additional comment that Fowler gives a birth time 10:55 PM, from Carter, who rectified his own chart to an MC of 21 Cancer 53, corresponding to a rectified birth time of 10:59:02 PM GMT.
On what basis might Carter have rectified his recorded birth time of 10:55 PM GMT to a time of 10:59:02 PM GMT? In his books on symbolic directions (1929) and the astrology of accidents (1932), as well as in his lectures, Carter was quite taken with the accident of his own daughter on 16 August 1926 when she fell through a skylight and landed 13 feet below onto stone steps, rendering her unconscious. Fortunately, she was not seriously injured, but finding his daughter unconscious in a heap of glass on stone steps must have been a traumatic event, etched into the memory of the astrologer. My hunch is that Carter used his daughter’s accident to rectify his chart for the 1929 publication of his book, which discussed the incident.
Using his daughter’s accident and primary directions without latitude, Placidus proportional semi-arc method, with the Naibod rate and the coordinates of Parkstone from Solar Fire, I rectified his chart to the following:
To rectify the chart, I assumed that Mars in the 5th of Carter’s natal chart could signify a dangerous period and possibly a serious accident or injury befalling his daughter. As calculated in Solar Fire, by primary direction at the Naibod rate, Mars arrives at the IC (meridian axis) on 16 August 1926, the day his daughter crashed through the skylight and fell onto stone steps below.
In addition, during the summer of 1926, by primary direction (Placidus proportional semi-arc method), Carter’s natal 8th-ruler Venus (which is on the cusp of the natal 5th house and conjunct Ketu) came to the opposition of his 5th house ruler Saturn, a natural signifier of falls and gravity-related accidents. Saturn, signifier of his daughter, is square Uranus in the 12th in Carter’s birth chart, suggesting the child’s proneness to accidents.
Venus, for her part, conjoins the cusp of the 5th, rejoices in the 5th, is a natural signifier of young women, and is con-significator and karaka of the 5th of children. Finally, in Carter’s natal chart Venus rules the 8th of death, so that when primary directed Venus opposed Saturn (ruler of the 5th of children), Carter was harshly confronted with the mortality of his daughter.
The fact that Carter slightly modified his birth chart in the 2nd edition of Symbolic Directions in Modern Astrology several years later may simply mean that he continued to rectify his chart with new events that occurred after the defining moment of the serious and potentially fatal accident of his daughter.