©2009 by Guest Blogger, James Alexander
Donna says: If you believe strongly in astrology, then what you read about your Rising sign (a.k.a. Ascendant) is an important part of your astrological identity—just as important as your Sun or Moon sign. However, if you’re born in an interval when we’re shifting from one sign on the horizon to another, then there are two possible Rising signs to consider. If the time those harried folks in the delivery room wrote down is even 10 minutes off, your Rising sign or Midheaven could be wrong.
Likewise, in many states, the law said that birth certificates should note the standard time, not DST, and yet those laws were haphazardly followed, again putting the accuracy of the chart in question. In this article, seasoned astrologer James Alexander shares his excitement about Polaris Software, a new potent tool for finding the accurate birth time. Here’s what he has to say.
What’s at Stake with an Incorrect Birth Time?
The first step an astrologer takes before doing any analysis or synthesis of a natal chart is to cast the chart. The birthtime is the “initial cause”…the key piece of information from which ALL of our subsequent “findings” flow. Any error in this first step creates errors throughout our work with a client—possible errors not only in interpretation but in prediction.
Part of my passion about the birthtime being correct was the thought that with an incorrect birthtime the Astrologer has perhaps 80% correctly summarized info and 20% incorrect based on the wrong Ascendant-Midheaven degrees. The client receives CORRECT info in the 80%, but also bases their decisions and perspective on the false 20% that rode along concealed on the back of truth. To get a feeling for how bad this is… contemplate the angles of the chart as its SPINE. How would life be for us with our spine in the wrong location?!
Because of this, it is critically important to have the correct birth time. In my experience—20 years and more charts than I could count—the birth time, even from a birth certificate, is very often wrong. The question isn’t “how much is it wrong?” The ultimate question is, “how do we make it right?”
Rectification of the birth time is always WORK, and so far there is no fully-automated process that works. There are many proposed methods for rectification, but I have found the ideal tool for the rectifier’s tool bag. Isaac Starkman, using the methods of the late astrologer and researcher Alexander Marr, has developed Polaris, a unique piece of software. Isaac has taken the extremely cumbersome calculations and created the closest thing to automated rectification that we have in the astrological world.
How Polaris Arrives at a Probable Birth Time
In order to use Polaris, we gather as many major events in the person’s life as we can obtain and enter them into the program—the more events and the more accurate the dates they occurred, the better. Since the program must look for aspects that are appropriate to the event, it is necessary to tell the program just what the event was—for example, the birth of a son, marriage, or death of grandmother.
When you DO have a birth certificate with a seemingly exact time, you can use a very small search range and not so many events to narrow that time down to the second. The larger the range of possible birth times, the more events you need.
The program slices the range of possible times the birth might have occurred into extremely small segments. For each moment in time it calculates a weighted score showing how close the aspects fit the events. The more events you have, the higher up the list the correct birthtime floats.
When we check Polaris’ findings to make sure that we have the correct time, the software automatically calculates, displays, and stores aspects under several systems. The main ones are the Primary Directions, because they have such relevance in terms of aspects’ meanings corresponding with events.
More about Primary Directions—Why Polaris is So Accurate
The technique is so reliable that if there are many events that don’t match the symbolism of the planets involved in the primary directions, then the birthtime is definitely wrong. Primary Directions don’t depend on house rulership systems, only the direct symbolism of the planets.
For a wedding, we will see, for example, the Primary Direction of Jupiter coming to the Descendant, we won’t have the Primary Direction of Saturn contacting the Midheaven. An accident would be more properly indicated by Mars or Uranus moving by Primary Direction to conjunct/oppose the 3rd House cusp, not by the Primary Direction of Venus contacting the Midheaven.
We confirm the Primaries by calculating the Secondaries, PSSR’s (Progressed Sidereal Solar Return), Transits, and Lunar Cycles. The software automatically allows us to see the Primaries, Secondaries, and several kinds of Lunar Returns for each event. All events for EACH rectification are stored and can be easily edited at any time.
Each one of those “pieces of time” is evaluated relative to the events and SCORED IN TERMS OF TIGHTNESS OF ORB AND SYMBOLIC APPROPRIATENESS OF ASPECT TO EVENT. Possible birthtimes are listed in terms of weighted score. The probability of several systems simultaneously showing appropriate aspects with tight orbs relating to events is infinitesimally small and therefore DEFINING of the correct time.
(The more technically-inclined reader might want to know note that Alexander Marr found that Topocentric Primary Directions are best in order to rectify a chart, because of their very close orbs, tight timing between astrological aspect and event, and by their symbolic appropriateness of aspect relating to an event.)
I should emphasize that Polaris is a TOOL for an astrologer—the BEST TOOL for what a rectifier has to do…but it is ONLY a tool. Many of the rectifications that I have done also REQUIRED considerable astrological know-how in order to derive the correct birthtime from several alternatives. Polaris lists what it thinks are the best choices for birthtimes. So far, the correct time IS in those choices…but often, it still is WORK in order to choose from several alternatives.
A Sample Rectification with Polaris
Let’s look at a recent rectification I did, as it will demonstrate a couple of important points as well as show the process.A very delightful lady had a birth certificate time (8:15 PM CWT), but was skeptical as to its accuracy as it appeared rounded off. Since her Ascendant changed signs close to that time, she wanted to be sure. Using the birth certificate time, she had Sagittarius 29° 32’ rising. A birth time two minutes later would have given Capricorn rising.
She sent me over 40 events from her life, mostly with exact dates. I took 38 of these events (the ones where the dates were most accurately known) and entered each of them into Polaris. I gave the software a search range of an hour on either side of the supposed birthtime. This entering of events goes quite quickly. In about a minute (time dependent on computer speed), Polaris examined every 8 seconds in birthtime throughout the range and gave the following table:
Possible birth times are sorted by the weighted score (as shown here), with the highest score on this particular list, 994, indicating the most likely time and the lowest score, 775 indicating the least likely. In this example, we can see that 0:52:52 UT is the most likely birthtime, over 20 minutes difference from the time given on the birth certificate, and clearly indicating Sagittarius rising as correct!
The letters A-E are breakdowns of Polaris’ findings. We can see that the indicated time is the highest value, not only in T, but also in A, B, C, and E. We must cross-check ANY findings through Polaris with other dynamic systems. Checking in one system is never enough.
Here are some of the events: Note how tight the aspects are – only minutes of arc!
- For Death of Father, in PSSR: South Node conjunct MC (0° 10’); Pluto square Sun (0° 4’)
- For Birth of Daughter, in TPD: Venus conjunct North Node (0° 6’); Asc opposite Venus (0° 9’)
- For an Overseas Trip, in TPD: Asc opposite Jupiter (0° 6‘); Moon conjunct 9th Cusp (0° 3‘)
- For Marriage, in Secondaries: Dsc conjunct Jupiter (0° 2’); Dsc sextile Venus (0° 3’)
- For 1st Marriage, in TPD: North Node sextile MC (0° 0’); 5th Cusp sextile North Node (0° 1’); Uranus conjunct Dsc (0° 3’); Mercury conjunct Dsc (0° 9’); And in Secondary: Dsc conjunct Venus (0° 2’)
- For Quitting Smoking, in Transits: Pluto conjunct Asc (0° 42’)
This is just a sampling. From the very tight aspects above, we can see that our time of 0:52:52 is, in fact, the correct birthtime. There is no doubt.
The final Result—She Gets a New Rising Sign!
The woman was quite happy and very expressive about my rectification of her birthtime and some specific information derived from the corrected birthtime:
“You are a priceless gem!!! Thank you so much for your comments, which are so enlightening. You’ve pretty well nailed it! It seems the Polaris rectification program is a marvel, combined with other methods in making determinations. It’s fascinating. The program itself would be wonderful to have, but I am neither qualified nor knowledgeable enough to be able to use it. I’m grateful that you have taken your time and expertise in the rectification endeavor, for me. Additionally, thank you for your comments, insight, and sharing all of this with me. I feel like you really have “the gift”… and you’ve given me much confidence in you and your abilities. I can’t thank you enough.”
By the way, if we had run this rectification without having any idea of the time (that is, with a search range of the whole birth day), it gives the correct time as the 2nd entry, which is impressive considering Polaris examined 10,800 moments in time.
As I mentioned at the beginning, it is vitally important that we (as astrologers or those seeking astrological insights) have correct initial information. A time taken from a birth certificate or other written record is often very close. (As we see in the above example, sometimes it is more than 20 minutes in error!)
A birth time refined by an experienced astrologer using the right tools is the very best time that is available. An additional advantage to these methods and of Polaris is that one can find one’s true Prenatal Epoch—a chart based on the theoretical moment of conception. I mention this because it has been my experience that often the Prenatal Epoch is more illustrative of events of a fated nature than the Natal chart.
To have me expertly rectify your chart and optionally your Prenatal Epoch, please email: email@example.com. See a sample rectification of Pat Nixon’s chart here: http://www.jamesalexander.de/PatNixon.html . Visit me on the web at http://www.jamesalexander.de . You’ll also find information about Polaris Software and be able to order it.
To read articles by Isaac and Alexander Marr: www.freeconsiderations.com.
Note: to see another article on this blog about birth time problems, go to: How to Make Sure a Birth Chart is Accurate.
Note on Primary Directions: Very few astrologers in this day and age use Primary Directions, mostly because they are hard to calculate, though strangely enough, many of the most famous astrologers of the past (Ptolemy, Morin, etc.) made some amazing predictions based on them. Most systems rely on the revolution of the Earth around the Sun as the basis. This includes, transits, progressions, and solar arcs. In Primary Directions, it is the rotation of the Earth that “moves” the planets, angles, and house cusps. It is perhaps because of this motion being tied to the Earth that Primary Directions have such relevance in terms of aspects’ meanings corresponding with events.