At first sight, with superficial reasoning, the rectification, or correction,
of a given birth time seems appropriate and necessary: We certainly do need an
exact and reliable basis for any astrological interpretation. However, none of
the diverse methods of rectification provides the desired safety or assurance;
each rests upon a shaky, theoretical basis. Moreover, different techniques invariably
lead to different results, from which, more or less arbitrarily, the "most
fitting" eventually gets selected. I principally mistrust every rectification
unless the difference from the given time only amounts to a couple minutes and/or
the chart's owner did it, after long-time observation.
Adjusting the birth time by several hours (which isn't such an unusual practice)
is an absurdity. When this occurs, the thorough, imaginative rectifier tends
to construct adventurous theories about the process of certification, about
how and why the time could have been wrongly recorded or transmitted. Parents
and relations sometimes assist in producing such fantasies: the longer the
period of adjustment, the more colorful are the myths that get built around
the circumstances of the birth.
When in doubt I always prefer to use the officially given time. Although
this may be considered as my natural Capricornian reaction to authority,
my primary reason is actually scientific objectivity. In Germany, and in
most other countries where the time of birth is routinely recorded, the personnel
employed in hospitals, clinics and registrar's offices provide the most credible
and authentic records. Why should they be otherwise? In almost every case
these times were recorded close to the actual birth, and they are neutral
and unbiased. These institutions just aren't interested in providing misinformation.
Certainly, calculating the different birth time variants nourishes our demolished
self-esteem; those long and complicated sequences of "hits" are
really impressive, they strengthen our pride in what we do. The listings
of close aspects look solid and grounded; they furnish our daily work with
some scientific paint. The entries re-vitalize our ego (so badly weakened
by statistical failures) since here we have unquestionable empirical data,
concrete facts from the individual's biography! The juggling with figures
gives us the illusion that our construct of knowing is provable; the demonstration
makes it obvious to everyone that astrology is truly erected on reason, not
on vague theories and speculations.
Yet, upon some closer inspection we are forced to realize that this kind
of proof is a circular one; no statement can prove its own premise. Fundamentally,
a complete and whole paradigm like our ancient wisdom of the stars can be
neither refuted nor denied from outside; therefore statistical investigations
of astrology's truth inevitably have to fail. So why are we so desperate,
why is our inner astrological self so heavily wounded, why do we need those
attempts of legitimization? Isn't it science that has to justify its thoughts
and deeds in face of manifold ecological disasters? In astrology we can't
equate symbol and event; that would be a false simplification of the archetypes'
diversity and multiplicity. Our system doesn't function according to a mathematical
diagram of "y = mx + b"; we don't have exact connections between
cause and effect as there are in classical physics! We are dealing with creation's
primordial principles, which are essentially multi-layered and ambiguous.
As astrology's cosmic wisdom can never be grasped completely by anyone, it
is my opinion that much more modesty would be appropriate. The study of astrology
is a life-long process this is so for even the greatest teacher; the study
of it doesn't come to an end. One can never know the exact meaning of any
astrological configuration, its definite manifestation or outcome, no possibility
can really be excluded - this being our "science's" most frustrating
and most fascinating aspect!
Some astrologers invest much time and energy 'correcting' birth times. Wouldn't
it make more sense to instead concentrate on an extensive study of the chart?
In our field of knowledge "truth" always and only unveils itself
intuitively, by way of an intense interrogation of a horoscope or person.
The day's planetary configurations (even when no birth time is available)
provide an abundance of material to discuss and consider. I suspect that
those experts, who abstractly discuss at length questions of the right time,
are actually avoiding the real-life situation of counseling: they are fleeing
the encounter and confrontation with the client and his problems. Furthermore,
I suspect their interpretation ability have become poor (filled with formulae
and stereotypes), that they have lost their sensitivity and imagination.
A final point even makes me angry: It seems those specialists in birth-time
rectification are unable to handle astrology's implications of destiny. They
subconsciously fail to accept facts simply put down "from above",
they blasphemously usurp the Creator's role. In a sort of obsession (or psychic
inflation, egotism) they want to manipulate, to shake the Tree of Life; like
the Fates they want to direct the future's threads themselves, to feel life's
currents running through their fingers - in doing so they are abusing their
knowledge about the higher things. We should respect the existential powers
that are intrinsically interwoven with astrology (which isn't just a funny
and tricky psychology) and deal with them cautiously. Subjects like health
and death should not be played with. Instead of stirring up the different
birth times in a big pot, we should use the horoscope at hand and let it
speak to us.
(written in 1997)
Richard Vetter's website: