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The Craft of Chart Rectification

by Steven Forrest, copyright 2000.


This article first appeared in The Mountain Astrologer
PLEASE NOTE: STEVEN NO LONGER DOES RECTIFICATIONS. Contact Braden Diotte to have your birth time
rectified.
"I don't know the time of my birth." Any working astrologer hears that line a few times a month. In rectificationthe
craft of discovering the true Ascendent of a birthchartthe first rule is never accept an "I don't know" statement on
face value! Always, without fail, make a strenuous attempt to discover the recorded birth time...which is often
actually available, many times quite easily. Don't let a client's hesitation to search compromise your work!
The technical procedures of rectification are valid and useful, but they are not foolproof, especially when the birth
time is completely unknown and the window of possibility is twenty-four hours wide. Since a wrong birthchart is
every astrologer's nightmare, it is both wise and ethical first to exhaust all the time-sleuthing possibilities available.
Any information helps. As we will be discovering, even narrowing down the birth moment to something as vague as
"in the morning" or "it was still dark" can be immensely helpful. Encourage your client to press information from his
or her parents, older siblings or anyone who might have been around at the critical event. Often they'll give you
invaluable clues, especially when encouraged to re-live the event in their memories.
In America, generally your best bet for finding actual records of the birth time, assuming that there are no immediate
family records or memories, is at the state level. Hospitals aren't often much help, but each state has a Department
of Vital Statistics or something similar where birth certificates are stored. Often these official birth certificates contain
more information than the ones issued to the parents, especially for births dating to the time before xeroxing.
For a complete listing of all the relevant state offices, with their addresses and phone numbers, for all fifty U.S.
states, click here . By the way, if you find something inaccurate there, please let us know! The information changes
periodically and we're dependent on people around the country keeping us current, as they often do. We're
maintaining this as a kind of public service to the astrological community, and we rely on your help.
Once you've exhausted all these possibilities and you've still come up empty, it's time to start the actual technical
procedures of rectification. The process will drive you half-crazy, but mastering it will make you a better astrologer
and not just because you've absorbed a new technical skill. Rectification also brings you right into the heart of the
way transits, progressions, and solar arcs actually operate.
IN A NUTSHELL...
In a nutshell, what you are doing in rectification is working backwards through astrology's predictive techniques.
Normally, we have an accurate birth time and we use transits, progressions, and solar arcs to predict the timing of
events or developments in a person's life. In rectification, we do it the other way around: we use the timing of events
that have already happened to "post-dict" the time of birthin other words, we come up with a chart that would have

predicted the timing of major developments in the client's life, developments which have already occurred and
whose times are known.
THE CLIENT'S TASK
The client's task is to provide you with a list of the dates of major events spread out through the length of his or her
life, with very brief descriptions of them. For example, "I got married on January 7, 1984" or "my first child was born
on June 27, 1978." Emphasize that there's no need for long confessional biography here; all you need is a phrase
and a date.
I find it helpful not to be too directive. Seeing how the client defines "major events" is often illuminating. If it's all
professional developments, that suggests the possibility of a big Tenth House focus, and that can be a helpful clue,
corroborating the results of all the technical procedures we're about to learn.
I ask my clients for a list of about ten such events, but the number isn't really critical. The only constraint here is that
the events must be spread over a wide period of time. Nine events within a six month period will foul up the
rectificational process for reasons we'll soon explore in detail. It's better that no two events are closer than within a
couple years of each other at a minimum. A wider spread is even more helpful.
The more accurate the date of the event, the better. Thus, births, marriages, and significant deaths tend to play a big
rolepeople usually remember those dates exactly. Sometimes a client will say "I moved to Seattle in May 1996,
but I can't remember the date." See if they can remember if it was the first or second half of the monthanything to
focus it a bit. "Dates" vaguer than about a month are not really useful, unless you restrict yourself to progressions or
solar arcs, which move relatively slowly. Even there, a year or two is about the outer limit of usefulness.
THE PROCEDURE
Once you have the list of dates, the real work begins. The fist step is to set up a hypothetical birth chart as a starting
point. Don't make any guesses here. If you have zero idea what time the person was born, erect it for noon. If you
have a range of times (e.g., "between 3:00 pm and dinner"), split the differencesay 4:30. Remember that this is
just an approximate chart; make a real effort not to become enamored of it!
The next step is to run transits, progressions, and solar arcs based on that chart, for the dates the client has
supplied. Now I recommend a cup of coffee.
In essence, here's the idea: you know that big changes tend to happen for people when there are major transits,
progressions, and arcs to the four Angles of the chartthe Ascendent, the Descendent, the Midheaven, and the
astrological Nadir.
If you see that there was a tendency for planets to be in the middle of Capricorn when big changes were happening
for the client, then it's a good bet that mid-Capricorn might be one of those four Angles...assuming you can't explain
that mid-Capricorn sensitivity any other way.
Thus, the crux of the rectification process:

A. Eliminate all the sensitive areas in the hypothetical birthchart which you can explain away through natal planetary
contacts...
B. Then assume that any other sensitive areas are related to the Four Angles...remembering that if you know the
Angles, you know the birth time.
Now, if the client has a natal planet in that mid-Capricorn hot spot, then we really haven't learned very much; we
already know people's lives change when a natal planet is heavily aspected by transits, arcs, or progressions. So, to
repeat the core principle, what you are seeking is a set of points to which the client is astrologically reactive that
can't be explained through passing aspects to any natal planet.
The foundation of the whole rectification process lies in the fact that House cusps are time-sensitive, whereas
planets will generally move relatively slightly in zodiacal terms during the day. Every four minutes, the Midheaven
moves through about one degree. The numbers vary a bit for the other cusps, but they're all in that range.
What about transits, arcs, and progressions to the Succedent and Cadent Houses? In practice I'd suggest focussing
strictly on hits to the ultra-sensitive Angular cusps and ignoring the intervening ones. One benefit of this approach is
that it neatly by-passes all arguments about which system of House division is bestwith only a few minor
exceptions, all of them agree on the Angles and disagree only on the cusps of the other Houses.
THE TOOLS
In working with secondary progressions for rectification purposes, use the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and Mars. The
Moon is a little dicey because, unless the birth time is reasonably accurate for starters, like within a couple of hours
or so, the initial position of the Moon is too uncertain for us to trust it. Using the progressed Ascendent or Midheaven
would be a major blunder, since the absolute uncertainty of their initial positions is the crux of the problem we are
addressing. Never use the progressed Ascendent or Midheaven in rectification!
With solar arcs, use everything except the Ascendent, Midheaven and Moon.
With transits the situation is a little bit trickier. You can always use Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and the
Lunar Nodes. When the dates that the client has provided are accurate within one day, add the Sun, Mercury,
Venus, and Mars.
When the dates are not that accurate, then those faster planets have blurry positions due to their rapid motions
while Pluto will move only a fraction of a degree in a month, Mercury can cover a wide arc in that length of time. The
faster transiting planets lose their usefulness unless the dates of the critical events are known accurately. You may
have to make some judgment calls. If, for example, your client moved to New York "during the first week of February
1997" while transiting Mars, Venus, or Mercury was making a Station, you may have detected something useful.
That would be a particularly powerful inner planet event, and more importantly we would know its position pretty
accurately for that week, since a Stationary planet won't shift far within that short time-frame.
I never use the transiting Moon in rectification.
THE POWER OF THE FOURTH HARMONIC AND THE MODES

Fourth harmonic aspectsthe conjunction, square, and oppositionare very dynamic and reliable. They correlate
powerfully with biographical events. I'd suggest using them exclusively for rectification work, forgetting all other
aspects, at least initially. Thus, we are looking strictly for squares, conjunctions, and oppositions to the
Ascendent/Descendent axis, and ditto for the Meridian/Nadir axis.
In practice, what this means is that you'll be noticing a pattern like this: "there's a tendency for things to happen in
this person's life when planets get to the fifteenth or sixteenth degree of Mutable signs." The key is that the four
Mutable Signs form a crossa fourth harmonic structure. (And of course it's the same for the other two Modes,
Cardinal and Fixed.) If you have 16 Gemini rising, then activity around 16 degrees of any one of the Mutable signs
will trigger events since 16 Sagittarius would be an opposition and 16 of Pisces or Virgo would be squares. And if
there are no natal planets in any of those degrees, you've probably found a major clue about the position of the
Ascendent, Descendent, Midheaven or Nadir.
This "fourth harmonic" thinking is a very practical, effective approachfor me, it preserves just enough essential
data. Looking for conjunctions alone wouldn't do that. Meanwhile it eliminates just enough less-important data, such
as the milder effects of the trines, sextiles, and minor aspects, for clarityand perhaps your sanityto be
maintained.
AN ACE IN THE HOLE
On a given date at a given birth place, a specific Midheaven will dictate a specific
Ascendent. If, say, the Midheaven is 9 Cancer at a given moment, then the Ascendent must be, say, 17 Libra at that
latitude. In other words, a specific Midheaven degree and a specific Ascendent degree are linked at each latitude.
You can't fudge that Ascendent back five degrees and still maintain the same Midheaven, even if the rectification
data seems to be begging for it. Nature constrains us here, and that's actually helpful in practice because it narrows
our range of possibilities and helps us out of a variety of jams, as we will soon be seeing.
Say 9 Cancer happens to be the Midheaven of our hypothetical chart. We have no real reason to believe it's
accuratewe came up with it simply by splitting the difference between the earliest and latest possible birth times,
which were a couple of hours apart. Now, through transits, arcs and progressions we observe that both eleven
degrees and nineteen degrees of the Cardinal signs are really hotthings happen in our client's life when planets
arrive in those degrees. We've probably hit paydirt....just assume an 11 degree Cancer Midheaven and a 19 degree
Libra Ascendent, and it all works out neatly. Nature "permits" that chart, and it now fits the actual timing of events in
the client's life. We just assume that our client was born about eight minutes later than our starting-point chart,
advancing its Midheaven and Ascendent by about two degrees. Sometimes rectification is that easy, and we're
done.
ORBS
How close does a planet have to be to an exact aspect for it to "work?" We know from more general astrological
practice that the answer varies with the speed and nature of the planet as well as its innate strength in the chart.
Progressions and Arcs generally operate in tighter aspectual orbs than do transits, but none of them require

exactitude to be effective. Might someone get a big professional promotion with solar-arc Jupiter one degree off their
true Midheaven? Sure. This inherent "slush" fuzzes the rectification process somewhat.
The immediate effect is that someone whose true Midheaven is 12Leo17 will show an array of significant transits,
arcs, and progressions within a couple of degrees on either side of that pointand probably a few outlying Saturn or
Jupiter transits as well. As common sense would dictate, you are basically splitting the differences among the
positions of these hits, determining a point that seems to be nearest the center of the activity. Gradually the various
traces of evidence will converge on a single degree. Some practitioners claim a level of accuracy beyond that.
Perhaps they're right, but I personally suspect there's often an element of wishful fantasy in such claims. Orbs are
an astrological reality; there can be no doubt about that. And logically they constrain the accuracy of the rectification
process, although if we push it far enough, averaging out the errors that orbs create, we can get extremely close to
the true moment of birth. And of course, for the lion's share of practical astrological work, if the House cusps of a
chart are accurate within a degree, you're in good shape.
HIDDEN ANGLES
In an accurate natal chart, a planet might very well happen to be conjunct an Angle, or in a fourth harmonic aspect
to an Angle. This is of course a common occurrence, and it threatens the rectification process with a serious pitfall.
The planet can effectively hide the Angle. Here's how: From routine astrological practice, we know that arcs,
progressions and transits to the planets themselves are extremely energetic events. In rectification, we ignore all
passing aspects to natal planets because we are only interested in locating the unknown, time-sensitive points: the
Angles themselves. If someone's Sun lies in 5 Cancer, when we check out our "hit lists" around those sensitive
dates the client supplied, we know we'll very likely see a lot of events connected by fourth harmonic aspects to 5
Cancer...a moving planet conjuncts, squares, or opposes her natal Sun and her life gets colorful. Initially, we ignore
that data because it isn't telling us anything we're seeking to knowwe already knew where her Sun was and that it
would be sensitive to getting clobbered by a Pluto square! But if her true Ascendent happens to fall in 5 degrees of a
Cardinal sign, then those aspects to her Sun would be effectively hiding it! An Ascendent in 5 Aries, or 5 Libra, or 5
Capricorn, or even conjunct the Sun in 5 Cancer would basically disappear, hiding "behind the Sun." We'd be
looking right at it, but we wouldn't see it. We'd think we were just seeing arcs, progressions, and transits triggering
her natal Sun.
How do we sort that one out? Well, we know that her Ascendent and Midheaven are somewhere, and that they are
likely to be implicated in major life-events for her. If, after a close analysis of several events, we seem to be getting
nowhere, there's an excellent chance that we're in a "hidden Angle" situation. Our confusion becomes useful
information, in other words. If nothing is working, probably the Angles are hiding. That little insight will save you a lot
of headaches.
Go a little further. Due to astronomical realities, especially outside the tropics, it's relatively unusual in practice to
see the Midheaven actually square the Ascendent. This helps us as well because if one Angle is hidden, it's less
likely that the other one is hidden too. We'll see a big unexplained spike in only one Modal areaand immediately
suspect that the other Angle is hiding behind a planet. Pursuing our example, maybe there's an unexplained cluster

around 12 degrees of the Cardinals. We give her a 12 Aries Midheaven, and then the Ascendent happens to fall in 5
Cancer, conjunct her Sun. We've got a good candidate chart.
THE INCALCULABLE USEFULNESS OF VAGUE HINTS
Way back in the first paragraph of this article, I rhapsodized about the incredible helpfulness of even a vague hint as
to the time of birth. Wring the client for anything and everything in that department. Maybe he or she tells you, "I
can't find my time of birth....but mom says it was definitely in the wee hours." One learns to take everything with a
grain of salt, but that provides a really useful head start. Set up a chart for 1:00AM and another one for 5:00AM, and
you've got a strictly limited arc of possibilities for all four Angles. The right chart is going to be in between those
extremes. That's only a four hour spreadalready six times more precise than starting with just the birth date.
Somewhere in there is the right chart, and you're six times closer to a right answer than you would be if you only
knew the birth date.
It's even better than that. Continuing with this example, maybe you've got an unexplained cluster of events around
10 degrees of the Fixed Signs. Your assumption is that it must correspond to either the Horizon or the Meridian axes
of the chart. Between 1:00AM and 5:00AM on that day, there was probably only one possibility for a Fixed sign on
the Midheavensay, arbitrarily, Leo. There was also only one possibility for a Fixed sign on the Ascendentsay
Scorpio. One of those is probably your answer...but which one? Is it 10 Scorpio rising? Or is it 10 Leo on the
Midheaven? It could be either, and those are two different charts. But, there's good news: unless we're dealing with
an Ascendent-Midheaven square, it won't be hard to sort it out. Here's how: Look at the 10 Leo Midheaven chart. It
will dictate a specific Ascendent, depending on the latitude of the birthplace. Maybe it's 19 Scorpio. Now, the critical
questiondoes that Ascendent also correspond to a "hot spot" for the client? If it does, get out the champagne.
You've found the Midheavenand an Ascendent that agreed with it! That's the Holy Grail.
If it doesn't agree, then experiment with that 10 Scorpio Ascendent. It too will dictate only one possible Midheaven
is that a hot spot? Yes? Champagne! No? Well, don't despair. Read on.
By the way, we made this example a little easier than some real-world situations in that we assumed we knew
something about the time of birththat it occurred during the wee hours. If we hadn't had that helpful clarification,
we would have had to try out 10 degrees of every Fixed Sign on both Ascendent and Midheaven...which is exactly
what you do if you are rectifying within a 24 hour range. That represents a lot more possibilities, which makes it a lot
more challenging in practice. The techniques remain the same, though. Gradually, the erroneous charts are
eliminated and the truth emerges.
You sometimes get into confusions generated by polaritiesis that 10 Taurus or 10 Scorpio on the Ascendent?
Unless you are dealing with an Ascendent-Midheaven square, then the Midheaven-Nadir hit-clusters will usually
clear that upthey'll support one Ascendent and preclude the other.
COMMON SENSE AND ASTROLOGICAL EXPERIENCE
Avoid 'em both as long as possible. "This person really looks like he's got Leo rising check out that hair!" In the
end, impressions and intuitions like that may cast tie-breaking votes, but beware! "What a career-driven person!

She's got to have a big Tenth House!" There is a real place for these kinds of judgements in rectification, but that
place is at the end of the long, hard process of actually looking at the data. Deeper astrological experience reminds
us that Pluto in the First house can effectively masquerade as Scorpio rising. Venus conjunct the Ascendent can be
mistaken for Libra rising. And mature common sense tells us that neurotic insecurity and a controlling, materialistic
early family life can correlate with tremendous career drive, even with nothing in the Tenth House. But transits, arcs,
and progressions to Angles never lie.
CLOSELY SPACED DATES
Or almost never lie. In one situation, transits, and especially arcs and progressions, can lie to you with great
authority, and that is when you are working with events that are closely spaced in time. Here's a cardinal rule of
rectification: Never do that! If your client gives you ten dates that all fall within a five year period, you'll get
guaranteed false results. Why? Because in five years, none of the progressions or arcs will have moved very far.
You'll see "clustering" all right, but it won't have anything to do with the Ascendent or Midheaven! Of course
everything is clusterednothing had enough time to move anywhere!!! You'll imagine you've found this incredible
hot spot when all you are seeing is a trick you've played on yourself with the numbers.
I generally ask my clients to give me around ten dates, none of them closer than two years to any other. I encourage
them to include events from their childhoods, if possiblebig family moves, parental divorce, births of siblings, and
so on. That spreads it out. Ideally, I'd get something from every chapter of their lives.
One obvious corollary is that it's easier and more accurate to do rectifications for people over, say, thirty years of
age. Under age five or ten, the process would be quite dubious. In between, it's worth a shot, but it would be foolish
to take any result as final.
STUCK?
Sometimes a rectification just falls neatly into place. When that doesn't happen, just setting it aside for a couple of
days can work wonders. Failing that, then the next step is to go back to the client and get another set of dates. By
random ill-fortune, the first list might have neatly demonstrated the positions of the client's Sun, Moon, Venus, and
so on, but simply not involved anything that revealed the Anglesbig events can happen in a person's life without
major Angular influences. The odds are long against that, but it does happen. Nothing for it except a fresh start with
a new set of events.
Many times, despite your admonitions, a client will have given you a longer list of events than you requested, or one
that you had to weed out because of too many closely-spaced events. In that case, work with the unexplored events
but, if you are using those closely-spaced events, make it a fresh start! Don't add the new ones to the previous
events, or you'll get those "instant amazing results"...which are totally wrong for reasons we discussed a couple
paragraphs back.
A FEW PRACTICAL WRINKLES
Let's say you are torn between a Taurus and a Scorpio Ascendent. Maybe the Meridian axis is square to the
Horizon, and you're just tearing out your hair trying to decide which Ascendent is right. At this point, common sense

and astrological experience can legitimately enter the equations. Does the person have that penetrating intensity we
associate with Scorpio? Does his or her professional life corroborate that (presumed) Leo Midheaven? What about
the placement of planets in Houses? Which arrangement best fits existential, observed reality? As we said earlier,
this kind of thinking does have a place in rectificationand we just defined it specifically.
That much is fairly obvious and intuitive, but we have another technical ace in the hole here. If Scorpio is rising, then
Pluto and Mars are the co-Rulers of the Ascendent. We know that the planetary ruler of the Ascendent is always a
very sensitive point. When we were compiling our hit lists for the big events in the person's life, did we notice that
Pluto and/or Mars really stood out? Did anything contacting either of them virtually always correlate with major
fireworks? Do they seem more reactive than the rest of the planets? That would argue powerfully for Scorpio rising
in this scenario. Or was it Venus that seemed to be at the center of every hurricane? Maybe we should consider that
Taurean ascendent after all....
Here's another trick. Most astrologers have observed family patterns in chartsyou got your father's nose and your
mother's Moon. We are not talking simply about Sign positions hereit's generally down to areas two or three
degrees wide. It might not always be the same planet in the particular degree area; very commonly, for example, a
child's Ascendent will be the Moon or Sun position of one of the parents, or vice versa. If your client has children
whose birth times are known, set up those charts. Ditto if parental birth times are known. Are there degree areas
that leap out as a family pattern? Are they close to any of our suspected Angles? Even if the birth times are
unknown, we can almost always at least get their birthdays, which gives us the position of the Sun and planets to
within about a degree of accuracy, and a good guess about the Moon.
Very similar patterns apply to the charts of people outside our families with whom we have serious or pivotal
relationships. Getting the charts of "significant others" can often help us build confidence and precision in our
rectified chart"her lover's Moon is smack on the Ascendent I've come up with!"
I emphasize that none of these tricks is a substitute for the more technical procedures we've outlined. But after
you've done the technical work, you might still be torn between a couple of possibilities...or just need some extra
confidence in a chart you're thinking is probably right. That's where these pieces fit into the puzzle.
Transits, solar arcs, and secondary progressions provide a lot of data. Probably they are enough. But you can also
work with converse solar arcs and converse progressions, which are surprisingly active and effective. One can
extend out into the realm of Minor and Tertiary progressions as well. All these are powerful techniques, and arguably
they are under-used in modern astrological practice. In my interpretive, counselling work with clients I prefer a
simpler approach, but I've commonly used all of the above techniques in particularly teeth-gnashing rectificational
procedures.
One insight that will be brought home to you in this work is that it is very hard to know from a biographical event
which planet was the trigger. Over and over again, you'll see deaths connected with Jupiter or Venus, promotions
connected with Saturn, humiliations connected with the Sun, and successes linked to Neptune. This is a good
reminder that we should never be too literal about the outward, concrete "predictive" meanings of the planets. What
they really do is tell us what the event meant to the client. If you're interested in going more deeply into that idea, I'd

recommend you have a look at my book, The Changing Sky. (ACS Publications, San Diego.) The bottom line here is
that any planet's passages can coincide with almost anything in our outward lives, but when any of them hit Angles,
things do happen. It's the timing of the event more than the nature of the event that helps us in rectification.
THE ROLE OF COMPUTERS
A computer definitely makes rectification easier. Even the crudest of programs allow one easily to set up an array of
possible charts and "hit lists" for the relevant biographical dates. Most of the major programs also support some kind
of "rectification" sub-routine. Generally, they enable the adjustment of a chart through altering the birth time and
either the Ascendent or the Midheaven. In practice, I usually wind up with a big pile of paper charts and lots of
pages of scribbled notes. Still, the computer, while not strictly necessary, is as useful in this branch of astrology as it
is in any other.
A.I.R. Software (115 Caya Ave, W.Hartford CT 06110, (860)232-6521), in its old DOS-based Star Trax program,
offered a wonderfully simple rectification module which I love very muchin fact Jodie and I maintain an ancient
lap-top simply because it holds that program. You enter the approximate chart and the critical dates the client
provided, select transits, progressions, and arcs, punch a button, and the positions of the moving planets are
instantly "binned" by fourth harmonic degree, just as I've been describing in this article. Various parameters can be
adjusted, and the whole program is a very helpful adjunct to the processes we're exploring. If you can find a copy of
that older program, grab it. A.I.R.'s fearless leader, Alphee Lavoie, in the Windows versions of their Star Trax
programs, has replaced that rectification module with a newer, more complex and powerful one. I'm not a computer
guy, and I have to say it's too complicated for me, even though Alphee has explained it to me. If you are computerfriendly, I'd heartily recommend trying itI know the program works incredibly well, because Alphee sat in front of
me and used it very convincingly to adjust my own earlier rectification of my own chart, and Jodie's rectifcation of
her chart, by a few minutes. Alphee is a pal and he'll probably murder me for saying this in print, but I really wish he
would include the older, simpler rectification sub-routine as an optional module for the cyber-challenged in any new
updates of his excellent new Millenium Star Trax For Windows .
There may be other good rectification programs out there; please forgive me if I've not mentioned them. As I said,
even though I use computers, I'd serve pretty well as a worst-case customer scenario for any software company. If
you are computer-less or computer-phobic, you can do everything in this article, to a high degree of professional
precision, with nothing but an ephemeris, a Table of Houses, some time, and plenty of coffee.
STILL STUCK???
All these procedures are laborious, but they work. If you are still stuck after a long effort, you can repeat the above
procedures as long as you and the client both have the patience and interest. If you pursue them diligently, you
won't hit the wall often. When you do, remember what the Father of Medicine said: "First do no harm." At some
point, frustration sets in, and that can lead to "settling" for a chart in which you don't really have much faith. This is
the moment for some reflection on the terrible responsibilities being an astrologer entails. If you don't feel good
about the chart you've created, it's probably best simply to say that straightforwardly to yourself and to the client,

and put the whole project aside at least for a few months. It's smart, of course, to have alerted the client to that
possible outcome right from the start.
THE TERROR OF HAVING TWO WATCHES
Someone very wise once observed, "A man with a watch knows what time it is, but a man with two watches is never
sure." As you get into rectification, inevitably you'll be drawn to check out your own chart, even if your birth time is
allegedly "accurate." It's usually disconcertingly eye-opening. Even a birth time given to an odd minute, which
sounds so convincing, can be off by surprising margins. My own birth was listed on my hospital birth certificate as
3:30 AM. Using the procedures I've described in this article, I rectified it to 3:21, and Alphee Lavoie convinced me it
was 3:19:25. Clocks are simply wrong sometimes. Pediatricians and nurses have more pressing tasks than
recording birth times accurately. Outside astrology, nobody thinks accuracy here is very important. Astrologers
themselves don't even really agree on exactly what we mean by "the moment of birth." Errors in this absolute
bedrock of our craft are far more common than we like to believe. In the best of worlds we would rectify every chart.
Given the paramount importance of an accurate chart to the accuracy of any subsequent interpretation, I suspect
our astrological descendants will look at us the way we now look at medieval doctors doing surgery with dirty hands.
In closing, I'd like to make it clear that I basically no longer do rectifications. The process is enjoyable in the same
way that doing a crossword puzzle is enjoyable, but it's time-consuming. I'm overwhelmed with the rest of my work
and, sadly, I've had to set a limit in this department. Jodie does do rectifications if the time limit is sufficiently narrow.
I hope that someone out there with a taste for this kind of procedure will soon place an advertisement for a
rectification service in the Mountain Astrologer classifieds. It could be a good basis for a profitable professional
astrological business, and it would certainly provide an excellent support to the community.
Meanwhile, let's all dare to trust a peek at that confusing "second watch" we're carrying: the actual evidence of
planetary motions as they impact the birthchart. It's a lot more reliable than the clock on the hospital wall, and not
that hard to read with a little perspiration and patience.
copyright 2000 Steven Forrest.