I was saying to my email list recently that it really makes me sad when a client gets in touch with me to say they’d like to come for an astrological counseling session…but then, they don’t have an accurate birth time. I think of all the potent therapeutic insight we can get by having their chart on hand, and then my heart sinks.
“Can I come for a session? I don’t know my birth time though.” (“No you may not, and I’m actually really sad about that.”). Like any other conscientious astrologer, I insist that a client have an accurate birth time, and will ask someone to make every effort to find out their time of birth before they book a session.
When my professional astrologer colleague and fellow astro-nerd internet friend, Wayman Stewart, emailed me recently, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to co-opt him for the purposes of helping people understand more about this notion of the birth time, and what astrological remedies are available if the birth time is uncertain. (I do have a selfish agenda though. Whenever anyone explains that they don’t have an accurate birth time but would like to come for a session, I plan to just send them a link to this interview. Wink, wink).
Tara Nikita: How important is an accurate birth time in natal astrology?
Wayman: Having an accurate birth time is so important because it is truly what makes or breaks your birth chart. You cannot calculate the right chart for yourself until you have the right birth time. If you either don’t know what time you were born, you only know the general time, or you’re going off of inaccurate information, you’re not going to get that birth chart that perfectly and specifically fits you like a glove. Once you’re born, all of the astrological influences in the air align at that moment in order to make who you are. So, you need the right time to get the right portrait of yourself.
Tara Nikita: What are some of the dangers (from an astrological perspective) of not having an accurate birth time?
Wayman: Well, the general drawback is, again, it doesn’t give you the most accurate portrait of yourself through your birth chart. A lot of the planetary placements and even many of the aspects remain the same, regardless of what time you were born. But, the wrong birth time can give you quite a few wrong placements. You could end up being told you have the North Node in the 4th when it’s actually in the 3rd. If you were born on a day when the Moon is changing, you could think that you’re a Libra Moon when you’re really a Virgo Moon. Then, of course, the house cusps can also change, including the actual Ascendant, of course, which is the 1st House cusp.
This has been part of my own journey through astrology because I always thought that since I had my birth certificate, I had an accurate birth time. But, I do just want to let people know that this isn’t always the case, including for me. Getting that official copy of your birth certificate does make a big difference and can be a more reliable source than asking one of your parents or relatives. The thing is, though, that it’s impossible that every single person’s birth certificate will have the accurate time.
There have been people who’ve had their names misspelled on their birth certificate or have had the wrong birth date or place on there. So, in following that logic, it makes sense that there could be some people out there who have the wrong time on their birth certificate because of a typo, a misunderstanding, or incorrect memory on someone’s part. Those certificates are often made days after the baby is born.
If you’re an adult, you weren’t born yesterday. You were born decades ago and it was a day where there was a lot going on. So, it really is hard to prove that the time of birth you’ve been given is a fact. But, one of the best ways to prove this is to test out the chart it gives you and see if this information really rings true. The reason why certain people may not relate to their Rising sign or their Mercury in the 2nd or whatever else could be because it’s not their actual placement.
Tara Nikita: What exactly is “chart rectification”?
Wayman: Rectifying your chart is basically nailing down the most accurate birth time for yourself. This is what happens when someone is not sure of their time of birth, for whatever reason. It could be because your mom vaguely told you that you were born around 2 pm. It also could be because you have no idea whatsoever what time of day you were born. And in some cases, you’ve been given an exact time, through a relative or a document, and it still doesn’t create a chart that totally fits. Whatever the reason, chart rectification is a method that astrologers use when their client is uncertain of when they were born to help them figure it out.
You can also do it for yourself, of course, if you’re feeling that fancy and if you feel like your knowledge of astrology is developed enough. It’s often better to go to a professional for it. But if you’ve got the self-awareness, patience, and memory, you can save the money and do it yourself. It is a long process and should be done not on a whim but when you have enough information to come to your conclusion.
Tara Nikita: How exactly does an astrologer “rectify” a chart? What’s the most useful and reliable approach?
Wayman: Well, it’s a process that basically starts off with that lack of identification with certain placements in your chart. That’s the catalyst. Feeling like you just don’t have the Moon in the 6th House, no matter what people tell you and that, no, you’re not crazy or misunderstanding yourself. That gut feeling is what begins the process. Yet, the most useful way to settle on a rectified chart is to find the right birth time based on the transits and progressions.
I’ll go ahead and share my story of my chart rectification to explain that. I thought that I was a Capricorn Rising for several years, based on the time on my birth certificate. But, I always felt like my other placements fit me way better than my alleged Ascendant. I would rationalize it and try and make myself fit the description. I do have a strong Saturn influence, such as Saturn in Capricorn, which gave me a significant Capricorn streak.
But after studying astrology for nine years and becoming a professional at it and truly understanding the signs and how they function, I realized how little the actual Rising sign fit. I don’t see life in terms of status, I always question the “rules” of a situation, I don’t define myself through my goals, and I grew up feeling like I knew more than people much older than me. All roads seemed to lead to Aquarius Rising, putting my birth time at almost an hour later.
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. It took me a while to fully realize just how Aquarian I was. All throughout my life, I’ve constantly felt like the odd one out. I always defined myself as unique, independent, nonconforming. People always saw me as an intellectual and also as someone who was just quite strange and different. And from an early age, I was always challenging conventional thought and thinking for myself. So on and so forth. I had originally thought all of this was because my North Node was in Aquarius in the 1st. But, if I had a Capricorn Rising, these are traits I would’ve needed to discover within myself. Instead, those Aquarius traits have been there all along and my North Node lesson is just learning to be totally okay with them.
Anyway, all of those realizations about who I really am led me into the direction of rectifying my chart to an Aquarius Ascendant. But, what finalized it and convinced me that I wasn’t being delusional was the process of checking out my transits and progressions with this later birth time. I saw how much more sense these planetary movements made in this new chart, to a degree that I hadn’t previously considered before.
For instance, when Saturn in Scorpio hit my Midheaven in late 2014, it was when I made a major career change and started doing readings. I experienced newfound career success but also new responsibilities and pressures from being my own boss. None of that happened during the time that I originally thought Saturn was transiting my 10th. It was really Saturn transiting my 9th which was a time where, because of certain struggles, I had to work harder to maintain my general sense of faith.
I have a very good memory, so I can remember exact dates of many situations in my life, if not the general time frame of them. Your memory is your friend in terms of rectifying the chart because transits and progressions definitely serve as a map of your life, especially when you’re seeing it all in hindsight. You’d be surprised at how powerful exact transiting conjunctions to the angles are. I realize now that I had many events occur during these transiting conjunctions that really altered the path of my life or who I was.
A transiting planet conjunct your Ascendant can urge you to re-invent yourself. When transiting Jupiter and then the North Node both hit my Ascendant several years ago, I did just that during that year, including finally standing up for myself against a toxic person during the North Node’s exact conjunction. Seeing how much more symbolic my rectified chart is, proves to me, beyond the accuracy of the new natal placements, that it’s the right fit.
Tara Nikita: How accurate can rectification be? Isn’t it just speculative though?
Wayman: I used to think that, too, until I went through my own eureka moment and underwent my birth chart rectification and my mind was forever blown. Then, I was totally sold on the accuracy of it. I really see astrology as the intersection of science and spirituality. It’s not based on facts like physics or biology is. But, it takes these ethereal, out-there concepts and it brings them down to earth in a tangible, logical way. At least, that’s how I look at it, which is why I don’t care that there are those select people out there who side-eye astrologers or see us as fraudulent loons.
I’m never been one to act like a fortune teller. So, I don’t see the transit chart as a crystal ball that tells you when you’re going to get married or if you’re getting that promotion. But, when you do get married or when you do get a promotion, it is very likely that something is happening, transit-wise, in order to symbolize that. If the rectified chart places a transiting planet in the 7th at a very pivotal time, then it’s definitely not just speculative. That’s a major sign. And if you keep seeing these signs, again and again via the rectified chart, that should be trusted. That is the kind of accuracy that we look for in astrology, after all.
The same thing goes with your natal placements, in general. The fact that I have always stressed, to a potentially annoying degree, being unique and an individual and having my own space and the fact that these are Aquarius Rising traits means something. All of it adds up. These objective observations and empirical evidence make astrology credible and scarily accurate, instead of just being New Age mumbo jumbo. So, if the rectified chart offers more correct evidence about who someone is and how their life has unfolded, then it should be treated as the correct chart.
You can find Wayman here.