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Astrological Birth Time Correction (Rectification)
article in German
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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 time recorded only amounts to a couple minutes and/or the chart's owner himself had done the correction, after some long-time observation.Tycho Brahe in seinem Observatorium
Adjusting a given birth time even by several hours - which isn't such an unusual practice - to my eyes is an absurdity. When this occurs, the "thorough", yet imaginative rectifier usually 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 relatves do often assist in producing such kind of fantasies: the longer ago the actual recording, the more colorful are the myths that get built around the circumstances of birth.
When in doubt I always prefer to use the official time. Although this may be considered as my natural Capricornian reaction to authority, my primary reason simply is scientific objectivity. In Germany, and in most other countries where the time of birth is recorded routinely, in my opinion the personnel employed in hospitals, clinics and registrar's offices provide the most credible and authentic records. Why should they do otherwise? In almost every case the times are recorded close to the actual birth; and those institutions are neutral and unbiased. They just aren't interested in providing misinformation, they have no reasons to create myths and legends.
Certainly, calculating the different birth time variants nourishes the astrologer's demolished self-esteem; those long and complicated sequences of "hits" are really impressive, they strengthen his pride in what he is doing. All those columns of figures, those listings of close aspects, etc. look solid and grounded; they furnish the astrologer's seemingly "subjective" and "speculative" work with some scientific, "objective" paint. Those accurate entries into his notebook re-vitalize his ego, which has been so badly weakened by statistical failures - for here he is dealing with unquestionable empirical data, with concrete facts of the individual's biography! The juggling with figures gives him the illusion that his astrological construct of knowing is provable; the "scientific" 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 - for, no statement can prove its own premises. Fundamentally, a complete and whole paradigm like our ancient wisdom of the stars can be neither refuted nor denied from the outside; that's the reason why 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 those manifold ecological disasters? In astrology we can't equate symbol and event; this would be a false simplification of the archetypes' diversity and multiplicity. Our system doesn't function according to a mathematical diagram like "y = mx + b"; in astrology we don't have any exact correlations and direct connections between cause and effect as in classical physics! In astrology we are dealing with mythological truths, with creation's archaic, primordial principles - which essentially are 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 in those rectification pocedures. Astrology's study is a life-long process - this is so for even the greatest teacher.You can never know the exact meaning of an astrological configuration, you can't know its definite manifestation or outcome, no possibility really can be excluded - this being our "science's" both most frustrating and most fascinating aspect!
Rechenkünstler 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 unveils intuitively, by way of an intense interrogation of the horoscope or person in question. For that the day's planetary configurations - even when no accurate birth time is available - provide an abundance of material to discuss and consider. I suspect that those experts, who abstractly discuss at length matters of the right time, actually are avoiding the real-life situation of counseling: they are fleeing the encounter and confrontation with the real client and his real problems. Furthermore, I suspect their interpretation ability has become poor (filled with formulae and stereotypes), I fear that they have lost their sensitivity and imagination.
One (final) point even makes me angry: It seems those "specialists" in birth-time rectification are unable to handle astrology's implications of fate. Subconsciously they fail to accept facts which are simply put down "from above"; they somehow blasphemously usurp the Creator's role. In sort of an obsession - or psychic inflation, egotism - they are eager to manipulate, to shake the Tree of Life like God himself; like the Fates they want to direct the future's threads themselves, to feel life's currents running through their fingers —and in doing so they are abusing their knowledge about the higher realities. I say that we should respect the existential powers that are intrinsically interwoven with astrology - which isn't just another 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 "incomplete", "inaccurate" horoscope at hand and let it speak to us...

(written in 1997)