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Ep 14 – Data Collection & Celebrity vs. Personal Birth Charts

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 14, titled:

Data Collection and Celebrity vs. Personal Birth Charts

With Chris Brennan and Kenneth Miller

Episode originally released on February 20th, 2014.

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Note: This is a transcript of an audio podcast. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio version, which includes inflections that may not translate well when written out. Transcripts are created by using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and the text probably contains some errors and differences from the audio version. Please submit any corrections to Chris Brennan by email at astrologue@gmail.com.

Transcribed by Gülşen Altay

Transcription released November 10th, 2018

Copyright © 2016 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi. I am Chris Brennan and you are listening to the astrology podcast. Today is Wednesday, February 19, 2014 and this is the 14th episode of the show. You can find the show at the astrologypodcast.com and you can also listen to us on iTunes.

My co-host today is California based astrologer Kenneth Miller. Kenneth is a graduate of Kepler College and he specializes in Indian astrology. His website is celestialintelligencer.net.

Our topic today is the subject of birth data collection and the general debate over whether it is better to use celebrity birth charts as examples or the charts of people you know like friends or family members.

With that introduction out of the way. Kenneth, welcome to the show.

KENNETH MILLER: Thank you. It is good to be here

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah, I am glad to have you on. I have been meeting to for quite a while now. I am glad we finally did it.

KENNETH MILLER: Yes, me too. It is always fun talking to you.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Before we get into our main topic of discussion I just had a few pieces of news that I want to run through and announcements to make.

The first one is that Geoffrey Cornelius and Maggie Hyde are going to be speaking in New York on March 28-29-30. They are going to be doing a series of seminars on the practice of astrology as divination at the Edgar Cayce Center in Manhattan and this is being organized  by Adam Elenbaas through his Nightlight Astrology School. If you like to find out more information about it, you can go to nightlightastrology.com.

Other than that there is three big conferences this year. One of them just took place or the fourth actually just took place in Australia. I think the Australians just had a conference in Tasmania last month that was successful from the sound of it and  I want to mention three conferences that are coming up this year, just for people who might be interested in attending.

The first is the Northwest Astrological Conference, they are having their big 30th anniversary. It has been 30 years of having conferences there in Seattle and this is going to be a big one so that is May 22 -26, 2014 and I will  giving two lectures at that conference. I definitely recommend attending it. The second one is the Astrological Association of Great Britain is having a conference, September 12-14, 2014 in Wyboston Lakes which evidently is near Cambridge and then finally the third big conference this year is the International Society for Astrological Research is holding a conference in Phoenix, Arizona, September 25-28, 2014 and this at least in terms of the US will be one of the big conferences of the year and there is a lot of people speaking there, I will be giving two lectures and a workshop. I am actually really looking forward to that and I hope to see a lot of people there.

Finally one other piece of the news, I  have recently finished recording several new workshops for my Introduction to Hellenistic Astrology course. One of them is on the Basic Techniques of Hellenistic Astrology. It is actually a pretty comprehensive lecture that is 13 hours long, it is basically a workshop. Then another one on the Arabic Parts or the Lots such as the Part of Fortune and then the rationale for it and then another one on using the Triplicity Rulers of the Sect Light to determine  eminence in a person’s chart. I just add it all of these lectures to the course.

And if you are interested in…, there has been a few people who have asked me to do more episodes of the podcast or what can I do to help support the podcast?,  and really the best thing you can do if you wanna help to support this podcast is to sign up for one of my online courses because having people sign up for stuff like that helps me to have time to and sort of resources to do other things like this podcast so definitely sign up for one of those courses like the Hellenistic astrology course if you are interested in seeing me do more episodes of this.

Finally Kenneth has a new course that he is about to start teaching through Kepler College on Indian astrology for Westerners. Kenneth, could you mention a little bit about that?

KENNETH MILLER: Yeah, it is going to be thought through kepler.edu and it is a 10 week course that will basically by the end of it allow someone to be able to do, what I hope I mean my ambition is about the end of the course they will be able to do, you know read a manuary, reading of a chart using the Indian style and Indian rules. It is designed  with the Western astrologer in mind although really if you had little or no background it would also work. I mean I am adding extra components to the course for people that are branded new to astrology, that people that know something about astrology, you know want me to review or watch but it will take you through you know basically serving the major techniques of natal analysis and predictive work.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Excellent, that sounds really good and what does that begin?

KENNETH MILLER: It begins the first week of April.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay, people can go to Kepler’s website which is kepler.edu in order to find out for more information or sign up for that.

KENNETH MILLER: Yes.

CHRIS BRENNAN: All right. Excellent. Well, then let’s get started with our topic today and our topic is the general issue of birth data collection but also this specific debate that comes up sort of everyones in a while in the astrological community about what  type of birth chart is the best to use as an example and this came up for me recently because I have been recording all these new lectures on specific techniques for my Hellenistic course and this let me to build…, I realized a need to build a better library of specific example charts just in order to do demonstrate how to use some of these specific techniques and so I went about basically going through some of the different birth data collections, not just my own private files for clients or people I know but also looking through things like Astro-Databank for celebrity birth charts and trying to find out what celebrities we actually have birth times for or which ones we don’t have birth times for so this let me to become more sort of familiarize  myself with this whole issue of birth data collection and actual repositories like the Astro-Databank website of birth data collections and it also brought up this interesting sort of practical issue which is what astrologers should put more emphasis towards in terms of when they are trying to demonstrate astrological techniques whether it makes more sense to use the charts of people you know and what the pros and cons of that are like people, you know like your friends or close friends or family members or people that you can actually talk to and interact with versus using the charts of famous people or celebrities who have stood out or have done something important to notorious in the world in some way. Yeah and I brought this up in a discussion forum and I noticed that astrologers are a little bit divided on this and there is different astrologers that seem to go more in one direction and lessen another or seem to emphasize  certain points in one and other points in another so I thought we could have a discussion about that so why don’t we start off by just, I mean, how do you feel about that issue? Do you incline more towards using personal charts or celebrity charts?

KENNETH MILLER: Well, that is a great question and I incline more to what I called the charts of ordinary people.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH MILLER: And I have always inclined that way because I find…, my argument for that in terms of teaching astrology is that typically celebrity charts are too easy to read and when you learn astrology and all you are looking at is famous people and then you do the chart of your cousin, you know what seemed very clear in Madonna’s chart now seems very muddy, you know most people have omit to life and that is tougher to see astrologically then someone who has got a stellar you know famous life.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH MILLER: I think there is a place, you know as we continue this discussion ………. I am not totally against using famous people but I think that when you are learning astrology focusing on ordinary people will make you a better astrologer because it just sharpens your reasoning ability as you can assort out the mixed bag that you find with normal folk.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure so that becomes one of the pros and cons both of those that…

KENNETH MILLER: Yes.

CHRIS BRENNAN: …famous people are celebrities that they tend to have specific things in their chart that they really stand out and sometimes they tend to manifest or take some of their basic chart placements to their fullest extent whereas  for some normal people things may not maybe a little bit nuanced or a little bit more complicated in terms of how will they fill out certain placements in the chart as what you are saying?

KENNETH MILLER: Yes.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH MILLER: Let me give you just an example and then we may get into more of the pros and cons.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH MILLER: I have a teacher in India who was teaching us what in Indian astrology is called yogas, you know the basically aphorisms that you know certain combinations produce that kind of results and he threw up two charts and he said one of these  charts is an internationally known speaker and author and the other one is also a writer, you know published writer but nowhere near, you know is not, you know nearly is famous, not nearly is wealthy, just he is written a couple of books as an adjunct, this is normal career which was something else and so we went through trying to figure out which chart was which and it was a very interesting exercise to kind of see like, ‘Yes you can see that both of these people have an inclination to write’ but the famous person ended up being Deepak Chopra and his chart was just you know exemplified that much more so where is the chart of ordinary person who had two books published in his field, you know it was a much lesser success and that stuck in my mind as a great teaching thing about just like putting up two charts and having the class kind of worked out who is what.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. Yeah, that make sense and I mean that becomes one of the benefits of using celebrity charts that they do tend to exemplify certain techniques or certain placements much more dramatically but then I guess one of the points then is it becomes much more less practically useful when you actually trying to take what you learn by going  through a bunch of celebrity charts and dealing with people that are high profile or extraordinary individuals and then attempting to do what astrologers are doing most of time in terms of the actual practise which is working with normal people that are not necessarily extraordinary or are not necessarily well-known or celebrities for some reason.

KENNETH MILLER: Yeah, I think in the old day…, quote unquote the old days and I think this supplies  East and West, I mean you can clear certainly it is in the Indian material and you can tell me about the Hellenistic but there is you know when authors are writing their delineation texts they tend to be kind of over the top in describing ‘Okay, you know Venus is in Taurus it means this’ and it is used a lot of dramatic language and it was so that the person  reading it with sort of memorized the principle…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH MILLER: …even though in real life  you might rarely have an extreme manifestation of that or there are always…, you know in astrology there is always mitigating factors. Right?, I mean there is 12 x12x12 factors and more depending what you are throwing into the chart and I think maybe our modern version of that is the celebrity charts like here is the celebrity chart that really exemplifies a particular manifestation of a configuration.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH MILLER: And so kind of memorized that but you know if you see that in someone else’s chart you know it may not have the exact same stellar results.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah, that makes sense and that is a good analogy just because that is one of the things that often does turn people off like especially modern astrologers that are trying to look at text on traditional astrology like Medieval or Hellenistic or Indian texts is that  they will tend to just stayed extreme manifestations of a specific placement and sometimes that comes off as way to either improbable or sort of off-putting because it is going to that extreme when most charts will have multiple mitigations occurring from one reason or another. Yeah, so that is a good analogy.

Okay, in defence then let’s go, so you are going to take the more personal charts is being a little bit better so I will just for the sake of argument  defend celebrity charts…

KENNETH MILLER: Please, do.

CHRIS BRENNAN: … for the sake of this debate so one of the things I would defend celebrity charts with is that the lives of celebrities, especially the  more, the high profile this celebrity tend to be much more well documented than normal people and in some instances for example you have biographies that are written about them or movies or sometimes their diaries are available like for example Kurt Cobain’s diary was published after he died at some point so in some instances you can have much greater inside into a celebrity’s life than you can with the normal person who for the most part at least their lives tend to be much less well documented because there are fewer people that are focused on them or few people that are paying attention to them so to speak so that is one argument I would make for celebrity birth charts as a useful approach to take when looking for example charts.

KENNETH MILLER: Okay.

CHRIS BRENNAN: What would you think? I mean, what is your due? Do you counter that? I am sure there is a counter.

KENNETH MILLER: I mean, you know first of all I think we are both…, this isn’t a black and white, we are passion at one side or the other. I mean I am going to say for reasons when we get to the ordinary ……. I think that is quote unquote better but I think  there is a place for the celebrity chart and examples where you have someone’s diary, I think that is gold. I mean you have really how at least their perception of their own life, you know there is your life and there is what other people perceive it to be and there is what you perceive it to be and all three of those things can be slightly different but I think it is gold to have someone’s diary, now in the case of a lot of famous people we maybe don’t have that and all we have  is kind of people looking in from the outside and making judgements and I think the danger of some biographies and movies, you know especially if the writer is good, things can be conflated with reality, you know imaginary conversations, you know this is how it might have gone but you know as we read it or as we watched it, you know we take it in a as if it were real.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH MILLER: And can we know especially with modern celebrities, can we really know what it is going on in their personal life?, you know I mean things may look great but you know who knows unless some tragedy becomes public.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right, that is definitely one of the major downfalls is that you are with celebrities oftentimes looking at it from the outside, from the perspective of whatever news or information happens to be available to you whether or not that is an accurate depiction of that person’s life like for example often dealing with tabloids and things like that  can sometimes be speculative or can sometimes just make things up in terms of facts about a person’s life and often doesn’t necessarily tell you how they are feeling about it or how they are experiencing things in the same way that if you have a close friend or something you can speak to that person and actually talk to them and learn about not just some specific event that occured in their life on a specific date but also how day felt about it and how they reacted to it  and what that period of their life was like to them in terms of their subjective experience of it.

I mean, I guess I don’t  wanna set this up as a debate because both of us I think take more of a middle ground position in terms of I think both celebrity charts and personal charts have their place so really the point this, is more to just discuss the more pros and cons of each rather than to debate it necessarily.

KENNETH MILLER: I mean, I think it is where I come down on the issue is if I could only have one, what would I pick?, and I would pick ordinary people because most of my clients are ordinary and that is how I am going to sharpen my skills. As I mention it is just…, I mean and this isn’t something I have…, as we are talking I realize, you know it is a belief I had that celebrity charts are easier to read, I should really have someone, you know give a set of charts to my students and say ‘Okay, here is the set of 10 famous people and they are famous in different areas but they are you know  very famous, can you identify what they are famous that?’, because my feeling is this, it would be relatively easy to do that but I don’t actually ‘No’, that is just might be a false belief but I mean it just seems when I have gone through celebrity charts it does seem like ‘Well, you know no wonder Madonna is as famous as she is or these people are as famous as they are’ because they just have these prominent fixtures that you don’t get with ordinary people are, if you do get them they are mixed with a bunch of other factors that kind of brain down so that they are not quite as well-known.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. Yeah and I guess if I had to come down to,  I would probably maybe go more towards aside of using celebrities more, just because they do tend to be more interesting and at least in terms of using them as an example like to demonstrate  something as you are basically trying to convey…, you are trying to teach a technique essentially anytime you are using these example charts whether it is in a lecture, to like an audience or whether you are teaching students in a course or whether it is in a book or an article, the purpose is that you are usually just trying to demonstrate how some astrological technique or principle works and one of the things that happens is with celebrities usually at least you have like a baseline of if it is a famous celebrity you know who this person is and everybody has a general understanding of what they have done like if you mention like Barack Obama right now everybody has a general idea of who he is, different people may have different personal subjective beliefs about you know what is doing or how good of a job he is doing but at least there is a certain baseline and everyone is kind of cludent about who that person is as soon as you invoke their name whereas with a personal chart at least for the purpose of  demonstration for an example no one has an idea who you are talking about and therefore requires a lot more explanation, you have to explain a lot more about who that person’s life is and what the backdrop is in order to be able to successfully demonstrate what you are trying to convey about the technique and I feel like sometimes that requires a lot more work on your apart and there is something that will always be missing because you, the astrologer who is work with this chart, is probably done a lot of work looking into this person’s life and you have sort of intimate familiarity with it so you understand the importance of using that specific example whereas everyone else doesn’t or only understand it is to the extent that you clue them into it.

KENNETH MILLER: I am so happy we are coming down with the difference here. This is great. I would argue that…, Okay, I find that because people have a bunch of ideas that they bring to the charts so you bring at Obama’s chart, people already know something about Obama’s life and now they going to filter everything about that chart through what they already know.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH MILLER: And so they are going to…, they are going to ignore some things and they are going to pay attention to things that jaw with what they already know. When I put out the chart of an ordinary person it really forces and I am talking about you know in certain teaching things what I did the chart of an ordinary person all they can bring to the problem is astrology, not…, they can’t benefit   from any biography that they might know or stuff they have heard on TV or you know things they have seen, they just have to kind of rely and that is why I find using the chart of ordinary people, I mean my argument is look my student’s is, it just…, it sharpens their ability to be able to actually do readings on normal people when they are confronted with the ordinary, I don’t find that it requires more work because it is just for me at least because I just give whatever I need to give about the person, you know when I first started as a professional astrologer I don’t do this anymore but for the first several years when someone require me about a reading, I would say ‘Yeah, why not you send me your birth data and then send me a couple of highlights or significant or things that happen in your life that you thought were fated just so I can make sure that the birth time kind of matches your life’ and that is what I would ask for and sometimes I would get back pages of detail personal history so I have this set of charts so I have this like detailed biography of an individual. I don’t know why brought that up but that is just something you don’t mean really ask for it and some people would just do it and it gives you a lot of, you know research material especially if they are like good with dates.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH MILLER: And I guess we will get further down in our talk, we will get into some of this data collection, the ethics of using ordinary people and things like that but yeah, I haven’t found it is any tougher me. I can explain someone’s life in a couple of minutes just like I can explain someone’s famous life in a couple of minutes but what I find is,  what I am avoiding is, all the stuff you are brained to the chart automatically .

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure and yeah, that is a really good point. I mean so two counterpoints then, one of which is that it is still possible for the person to have biases when it comes to people they know, especially the closer the person is to the person the more there might be certain biases that are they bringing to the interpretation of their life, at least whatever extent we are talking about things other than just actual specific events that occurred in a life whatever trying to actually characterize the quality, you know if a person is talking about one of their parents for example they might be you know having their interpretation of their parent’s life and the significance of it or the quality of  certain events might be filtered through whatever their experience is and they are sinastries of what have you with that specific parent and what they think about them or like their friend’s life and if their friend is in some career or in some relationship and they don’t think that, that is a great relationship and therefore they filter it through that lens or what have you so some element of biases is still possible and one of the things that is tough about using personal charts is that the audience then is forced to completely rely on you as the reporter of that person’s life and if it is not I guess I am thinking about this in terms of if I rewrite a book tomorrow or what I am doing right now writing a book on Hellenistic astrology and I am trying to use charts and some of those charts, you know you almost want people to then go and be able to research and verify if what you were saying about a person’s life was correct and sometimes I write or use certain charts with that in mind that this can be… if you clarify the falsified…

KENNETH MILLER: Okay, let me interrupt you. I think that is a great use of famous charts so that is someone came…, this is where as exemplary of examples of certain principles using a famous person who that  someone can read a biography or do some online research and find out more about their life and see how these principles work out, I think that is a good use of it. I am talking about when I am teaching people how to delineate natal charts, I think it is aside more with the ordinary chart examples because it forces them to think more astrologically and rely less on what they are already know about the person bringing as a filter. I think your point or counterpoint was great in that yeah, there  is always going to be bias whether I am giving you a client I have you are getting my perception of it but any famous person we have, I mean there is I think no matter what there is always some bias there to a greater or lesser extent depending on the person and personality of the astrologer and you know what your relationship with the person or what you know about the famous person or whatever but I think yeah, if I were writing a book like that I would probably do a mix of famous and ordinary, again the distinct to the ordinary  to me is just sharpens astrological judgement because it requires you to juggle you know a few more factor, you know a little more complicated factors and make more complicated decisions. Like I said I know a lot of people that have been studying astrology as a hobby for years, for years and years and then you give him a chart to read so ‘This is the chart, it is a you know 35 year old woman who works as an eter… ‘, you know give it one line thing and they look at it and they like they drop blank, I mean they are so used to famous people, it is hard for them  to like do an ordinary person so that is the context where I think the ordinary chart is valuable.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH MILLER: I mean they are both valuable as we are saying.

CHRIS BRENNAN: And I mean even aside from biases with celebrities that can be major issues also sometimes just about whether or not their biographies or the facts about their lives are correct and in some instances you will see some famous people are some celebrities falsifying events about their lives or certain things in order to control their image and that definitely becomes a major issue that astrologers have to consider as well when they are dealing  with celebrity birth charts is whether you know the facts that we know about their lives really are facts whether those are accurate representations of their life. For example I was trying to research the rapper Eminem’s birth data recently and I was trying really hard to get hold of his birth time and I found out that some of the charts that people were using about 10 years ago closer to when he started to becoming really famous when he first got a major record label they wanted him to appear younger so he would appeal to a younger audience and so they are actually putting out  they were saying there is a few years younger than he actually was and they are giving out false birth year and this is coming directly from his publicis then from his record label so everybody took it as correct and you can see charts from 10 or 15 years ago with people using false data for him but then even once that was clarified that was like a deliberate sort of false piece of data that was put out by him, he later was under the mistaken impression that he was born in like Kansas City, Missouri but in fact later his mom wrote a sort of biography about him in which she pointed out that he was mistaken and then he was born in a town like a hundred miles away somewhere else in Missouri and so even he didn’t know his correct city of birth and I think he even until very recently, until it was corrected just a few weeks ago when I submitted a correction that was listed in Astro-Databank as the wrong city of birth so that anybody who rely just on that would have been mistaken.

KENNETH MILLER: In addition to that just emphasizes your point, last year I attended the World Affairs Conference in Boulder  which is a political scientific cultural event of people prominent in their field and one of the scientific panels I set at, the topic came up about the wikipedia entry of the scientist who are well-known in their field and they were all like ‘Yeah there is all this…, there is wrong information and I even go on to try to fix it and it is like rejected by the wiki editors’…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right.

KENNETH MILLER: … so it is yeah, you have to take everything with a grain of salt, you know even things you think will be fairly straight forward like ‘This guys have prominent you know cancer researcher, let me see what it says in wikipedia.’, they are just statements of false  things that somehow got crapped in there that are apparently not so easy to correct.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. Yeah, I had an issue with that I was using Kurt Cobain as an example for one of these lectures on the triplicity rulers for eminence and a specific timing technique last month in this lecture and the wikipedia  articles said that his parents got divorced at the age of when he was 7 years old and this had a huge profound effect on his life and then even have a citation of footnote to back that up to one of the biographies is written about him to validate that, that little fact way that was in his bio but then I went in follow the link and it took me the Google books where it had that specific page of the biography where it clearly said that his parents were ….… just after he turn 9 years old so two years later so even things that are stated in sometime you know we are using wikipedia as an example but this can be true of other things as well.

KENNETH MILLER: Yes.

CHRIS BRENNAN: It is sort of like a example of a broader issue that you have to be careful about when you are working with celebrity charts that  you might not run into as much if you are dealing with somebody who you can actually talk to and ask about their life or get documentation from them but even things that are supposedly sided and sourced can sometimes be mistaken.

Okay so then there is a separate issue about, so we are talking about the validity of the data and I mention Eminem as specific example of somebody who put out whose record company encouraged him to put to say he was younger than he was but then there may be this other separate issue when it probably comes out more with politicians than anyone else but it is possible as an issue  with other people but there is some politicians who are reputed to put out false data because they specifically don’t want astrologers presumably to be able to look at their birth charts so there is some people at least for example Hilary Clinton is claimed to have put out different birth times deliberately because she has been asked many times over the years what time she was born and it is not public informations and nobody truly knows what her birth time is and she may have given different birth times to different people so that is another issue that you are run into, not just with biography but just with getting accurate birth data from celebrities to begin with.

KENNETH MILLER: Right, right.

CHRIS BRENNAN: And sometimes you have to rely on if they tell you their birth time that is the best you can get and sometimes if we can get that, that is really great but sometimes that is not even reliable either because the person could give you a false  time deliberately or they might not remember it correctly because normal people don’t think about you know what time they are born, there is also to different reasons why even a word of mouth sort of birth time is not necessarily reliable.

KENNETH MILLER: Right. It is an issue.

CHRIS BRENNAN: That is an issue not actually brings us to one of other topic which is just into the collection of birth data. One of the systems that is become widely used which is the Rodden Rating system which is just there is an astrologer named Lois Rodden who became very interested in birth data collection and she built the huge database of birth charts both of celebrities and as well as normal people and she used to publish books that had specific collections of birth charts either of celebrities but also have regular people or sometimes just people that were grouped into specific categories like people who had died violently or people who had life threatening illness or what have should divide them into different groups but eventually she developed this thing called the Rodden Rating system or that we called the Rodden Rating system now  and it is not the best system but it is the main system that everybody is using at this point and it is good for people to familiarize themselves with. I mean I usually try in use it for example like the Mountain Astrologer requires you to cite into specifically state what the Rodden Rating is any of birth data that you use in an article in the Mountain Astrologer. I mean do you use it?, or do you usually cite it? or How do you feel about it?

KENNETH MILLER: That is a great… I pay attention to it. I guess I should start citing it. I don’t use anything that is not AA.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH MILLER: That is just my unstated rule but I guess in the articles I read I should be explicit about that because I haven’t been but just as a point of reference and even knowing that can be off, you know I think trying to write an  article or publishing a piece…, there is nothing more frustrating to me than reading an article and getting to the end and seeing that it was an unknown birth time or it was, you know maybe we should go over the different levels. I mean there is the birth certificate…

CHRIS BRENNAN: … or that was rectified that is the best scenario. Right?

KENNETH MILLER: Yeah or the rectified in other words someone, the astrologer….. with the birth time to get it fit the point that they wanted to make.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right and that is the worst instance that is where you get the end of the article and you just hold your head in your hands and you throw the article away from you across the room.

KENNETH MILLER: Yes, and scream.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right,  very dramatically because you can’t use that. I mean, it is not…, and that is a probably valid topic to have and debate to have in and of itself which is that I always thought of it was given that it is really bad form to rectify a chart and specifically to use a rectified chart in an article where you are trying to demonstrate some specific technique  or some specific concept and I was took that as a granted. I think you do as well but I have run into actual astrologers, there are some astrologers like I had a debate once with them Axel Harvey astrologer from Montreal who argues that you should rectify every chart that every chart should be rectified and no birth time, no matter where it comes from is valid until you rectified it because his point is that you know for all we know the birth time that is recorded could be wrong and the only right really to validate that in his mind is to rectify it so that the chart works properly and that you don’t have a correct chart until you know quote unquote works properly whatever that means to you in terms of how you rectify charts.

KENNETH MILLER: Okay. Let’s deconstruct that a bit. I think maybe there is a point in terms of dealing with your clients, you can maybe make  that argument right in any case that you want to have someone be… Okay, I am going to get on my horse, make sure I don’t post too far of topic but I would like the state of research generally in astrology is very poor that is my perception of it but it is generally poor and what the first step I think we need to take is to present our research in such a way that someone else if they want it to could duplicate your results and come up presumably with the same thing and when someone is rectifying every chart they are using as an example unless I know exactly what their rectification methodology is so that I would arrive the exact same, you know rectified time they are, it is pointless for me to incorporate that into my own research, at least if we are agree to use AA data or the best data, we are generally going to be in the ballpark of what is right but I mean there is a point, someone has on their birth certificate, they were born at 03:43 pm, I have no doubt that someone looked at the clock and saw that but when they looked is the issue, was it a few minutes after birth?, or was the clock off?, you know that is why I have introduced kind of a new…, this will be my first public presentation of it but I have a small set of data that I call AA plus which is the birth was witnessed by someone whose watch had been synchronized to the atomic clock in Colorado within the last day and so at least we know exactly what time that person was born.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Nice.

KENNETH MILLER: And we have the ability in the technology. I mean there is no reason why that can’t be the norm you know for astrology gets more popular and parents are paying more attention, there is no reason why that can’t be the norm. I mean their clocks now  that automatically adjust themselves to the atomic clock, you know through radio waves and what not. I mean there is no reason for us not to have super accurate times now but at least have AA. I mean if someone is like ‘I did this research on how two charts and I rectified each one and these are the results I came up with’, again how am I going to duplicate that work unless I know the exact methodology of rectification that doesn’t involve judgement call so that I can  arrive the exact same rectifications that the original researcher did.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Well, I mean any of if you do know the exact methodology, it is a pretty high likelihood that you won’t agree with your rectification because different astrologers use different techniques and  place different emphasis on different variables because of the different schools of astrology in partially do the lack of standardization of astrological techniques.

KENNETH MILLER: I mean I know an astrologer who does rectification not every chart but people who pay him the rectifi…, maybe they  have kind of unknown birth time and they are paying for rectification and when he arrives this rectification, he says ‘Now look if a year from now you find your birth chart and it is different from this time, I am going to say we stick with this time because the events of your life so fit this’ and you know especially if predictions made about the future which is a really weird thing, I mean that is not necessarily something I would do, I kind of go with ‘If we find out that you are born at such a such a time, let’s use that’,  even if it is quote unquote harder for me as an astrologer. I mean we wanna…, this is what I think it is great the conference coming up on divination and astrology. I think it would be great to have a podcast where we discuss you know divination versus science because astrology I think does straddle both those things but if we are going to be able to, you know if you do some sort of research project and I read it, it would be nice that it was written in such a way that if I wanna do duplicate your work I could…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.,

KENNETH MILLER: …right now and find out ‘Yeah, I have got the same results, Chris did’ or I thought I should introduce other variables and I got this other result, you know anyone out there who is doing research when you publish it, please publish it  with a sufficient detail that someone else if they want to do, can try to duplicate it.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure, really quickly I guess since you have mentioned a few times, let’s just go through the Rodden Rating system briefly so that people who may not be familiar with it understand what we are talking about. The highest level is AA data or double A data which is evidently either data, birth data that comes from the birth certificate itself or from some other record that was written at the time of the individual’s birth like a birth record, like a note that…

KENNETH MILLER: … baby book entry of how a lot a birth times were it was like the person’s like baby book and  it was written so and so was born at such a such a time.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah, I got hold of president Ford’s birthday book recently in order to confirm his birth time and that is where it was recorded whereas for Nickson actually I was researching all the presidential data to see who presidents of last century who had birth times for in, who we didn’t or who the birth time was not, was kind of sketchy and Nickson was actually listed  as being from his birth certificate but then I found where his birth time was actually recorded and it was a note, it was a handwritten note on the little scrap of paper that was written by the nurse who is there when he was born and it was published like a photograph of that scrap of paper was published in a biography that somebody who was working for like writing a very favorable biography who wanna attempt to get elected one of the 1960s elections wrote about him so it was like the family sanction sort of book that was published about him so and that is kind of different like knowing whether it comes from the birth certificate or whether something that is being put out by the candidate themself as their birth time. Anyway either of those would count like a birth certificate or something written at the time of birth. Next in the hierarchy is just A data which is set to be data that is from memory usually from the individual stating that they think  they were born around this time or that their parents say that they were born that they remember the person being born around that time or sometimes from news reports so it is not from the birth certificate but it is from a news report that says the person was born around some specific time.

Next is B data which is from a biography or an autobiography about the person for example I think Bill Gates’ is widely used birth data comes from a biography that was written in the early ‘90s by him although there is some conflicts over whether that is correct. C data…

KENNETH MILLER: Autobiography, written by him you said.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sorry, it was written by somebody else so it is just a biography.

KENNETH MILLER: Biography. Okay.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. C data is used with caution because the original sources unknown or the data is thought to have  been rectified so for some reason there is a lot of rectified data that is mention in the notes on Astro-Databank and this kind of bothers me because it is a little bit worthless to have hundreds of different astrologers notes about what time that they rectified but that is C data. Then there is DD data which is dirty data where the origin is muddy, the source is unreliable or there are multiple times, two or more birth times that are recorded. X data is a date without a time. XX data is the date itself is in question or there two or more variations of the date and that is it as far as the Rodden Rating system guides

KENNETH MILLER: Let me ask you this, you may not answer this but if I take a DD chart and rectify it and people like my rectification is that elevated to C level?

CHRIS BRENNAN: Which is that a…, No, I mean it would still be, I think there was a little bit more leeway for some reason for rectification prior to the past 10 years like I don’t think they are accepting rectified data now.

KENNETH MILLER: Okay.

CHRIS BRENNAN: And they never really used that. I mean because there were some people like…, I think that category is there  because there is some people like Joan Quigley who was Reagan’s personal astrologer in the 1980s and she rectified his chart and use the specific time so that kind of elivates there a little bit because there is a specific reason.

KENNETH MILLER: I agree. Yes, the forty year astrologer rectified the chart and continue to work with you, I can see where that would come that C level.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH MILLER: Because you are starting with AA, A or B info to begin with usually. Right?, rarely I mean are you going to have someone say G, I have no idea when I was born.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Well. Yeah, hopefully I mean I do…

KENNETH MILLER: … hopefully.

CHRIS BRENNAN: There are people I mean that happens

KENNETH MILLER: Yes, I have had a few calls from people like that.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. I mean I don’t wanna usually personally do charts without birth times because so many of my techniques are so time dependent. I do rectification. I have started doing that…, I have been doing that for several years now but I only rectify charts where you know they have some  general idea that it was within in a few hours during that day so that it is really just a choice especially since I use whole sign houses of narrowing it down to correct rising sign and there is the types of rectifications all do just because then that limits variables that you have to deal with where is in a 24 hour period you mean there are a lot of potential charts that could fit the person’s life because like every 12 hours you have an exact reversal of the charts, it is obvious why you get conflict.

KENNETH MILLER: I think we should also say in defence of rectification that there some charts that are quote easy to rectify that there is a big astrological  change in a relatively small amount of time and it is very easy you know the person turned out to be a baker instead of a candlestick maker, you know then especially if the persons lived in their adulthood and you are like ‘Do you like, more like this or that? It is much more like that’,  so some of these where they are like it, rising sign changes, it becomes relatively easy, to rectifying other charts are really hard to rectify because you know you sort of it is not such a clear cut difference over the time spent that is in question.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. Yeah, that is definitely the case. Okay, back to our main topic.

KENNETH MILLER: Yes, please.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Let me see where we left off, some celebrities have put out false data possibly…

KENNETH MILLER: …I guess ‘Okay, so question everything’ but you know we do the best we can what we have that celebrity charts typically exemplify certain points easier because that is why they are famous, that is why they rose up, that is why they become known to everyone in the world or significant you know population and my argument for the ordinary chart is that ‘Yes, they are harder to read’  but because of that your skill as an astrologer you know if you are wanting to do reading things for regular people is enhanced by having you sharpen your judgement because you are having to sort through typically more factors and it is a little more complicated.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure and definitely with people you know especially people are too close to if you are talking to like a boyfriend or girlfriend or like a brother or sister, family member or close friend, you know and if you are spending a lot of time around that  person, you know the nuances of their life and there is something fascinating about following a person’s chart and looking at their transits or seeing you know just knowing the person and seeing their life play out and seeing how their chart fits them in sometimes very subtle ways that is a lot more striking and a lot more informative or educational than you know just looking at some celebrity and looking at you know that my …… has been in the news recently for something and therefore and then speculating about what transits are coinciding with that or what have you.

KENNETH MILLER: Right.

CHRIS BRENNAN: When you really know very little about the nuances of her life and what is happening right now, so that is definitely one of the major plusses in terms of personal charts is just the ability to study very subtle and nuanced things and to get a sense  for the person’s chart and how those placements work out or how certain timing techniques because there is also sometimes very subtle things that occur in a person’s life that you would overlook, if you are a biographer, if you are somebody standing outside of it.

KENNETH MILLER: Right.

CHRIS BRENNAN: But if you are a lot closer to it, you can actually notice it and see it in person and realize what that is correlating with.

KENNETH MILLER: Can I bring up the ethical…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH MILLER: …dimension of this? Some people have, some astrologers occasionally will talk about how ethical is it to analyze charts of celebrities and what not?, and then when you use ordinary charts ‘Have you gotten permission from your clients?, or where you have gotten the data from to be able to share that with other astrologers.’ and I have just let me start this by saying imagine a world, the world of tomorrow where astrology is much more dialed into the culture, I mean is it possible that there could be some sort of hypallage for astrologers where now birth data is protected  private information like medical information is now and that is his only released, you know is it really in a world that took astrology seriously you would have false…, you know like we think some politicians are doing now that very clean releasing different times ….. skating it , you know we may not have the ……. of having the access that we do now.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah, I mean this is a weird area because of there is a bit of contradiction really in the astrological community right now when it comes to this because on the one hand about in the past ten years all of the major astrological organizations have adopted ethic skid lines and one of those that are very specific on is that you are not is client confidentiality and  then you are not allowed to share client birth data without their permission so that there is a sort of privacy caused built into the ethics rules that most astrologers had agree to adopt when they join one of these organizations and it is generally known. I mean that is generally rule it is almost like an unspoken rule that is pre-straightforward but then on the other hand when it comes to celebrities because they are not clients so obviously some people can explain that away as a result of that because you are not dealing with them privately but astrologers seem to have this different where they seem to treat celebrities the same way that maybe it is just a cultural thing because you know culturally it seems like we treat celebrities once a person becomes quote unquote a celebrity or becomes famous for something we treat them as if they don’t have a personal life or that their personal life is now subject to the public domain for some reason.

KENNETH MILLER: Yeah, they sacrifice that for fame but you know I am wondering, you know if famous people took astrology seriously…, again the otherworld of tomorrow where astrology is taken more seriously if they would be like I have not put data out there. I don’t wanna pick up the Mountain Astrologer and see some, you know analysis of my career. It is kind of interesting that divide I mean we do, we think ‘ Well, they release their birth data so it is all fair game’ but  the people that they are releasing their birth data don’t know, you know it is not like they know that I am asking your birth time so I can you know publish your info in the Astro-Databank so that astrologers can you know play with it till the end of time

CHRIS BRENNAN: Well. Yeah, some of them know, some of them most probably don’t know but that is an interesting ethical debate that it seems like I don’t feel like it is talked about because there is just general acceptance that celebrity birth data  that astrologers try in get hold of it, it is kind of fair game, probably do that a general treatment of celebrities in terms of their personal lives and that might be worth thinking about us sort of an ethical or philosophical issue where to draw the line when it comes to the use of celebrity birth charts and when then it is appropriate when it is not or what have you.

KENNETH MILLER: Now in reviewing the literature, you know Valens ten volumes how many celebrity charts were in there versus charts of ordinary people?

CHRIS BRENNAN: Several, but he doesn’t say like that is what is funny now in retrospect, there has been over the past century since  Valens has been recovered from his textbook from the second century, people have actually had to look, had to research and have noticed like Holden pointed out that one of these charts where he just mentions occasionally  is like an example of eminence happens to be like one of the Roman emperors and Valens doesn’t say that he just says this person did this and he was born on this date, happens to be the date data, I forgot which emperor it was but it was one of the…, it was like Nero or somebody.

KENNETH MILLER: Yeah.

CHRIS BRENNAN: That was also but you know there is issues there because it became outload because the astrologers were making public predictions about like the data of emperors and stuff and the emperor’s eventually kind of got annoyed by this and outload and bend astrologers from doing that several times during the course of the Roman emperor…, Empire and so there is a little tension there as well in terms of the laws surrounding that.

KENNETH MILLER: One of the cultural differences I have noticed in contemporary astrology books, American and English versus Indian 20th century, 21th century textbooks is that we tend to in our books do famous people. I mean it might be a few ordinary people thrown in there but the book the examples tend  to be famous in most of the books I come across and yet when you look at the Indian literature, number one there will be dozens and dozens and dozens of example charts in a typical book and many of them will be ordinary people with maybe a few politician you know a few well knowns in there but there will be like many many  ordinary people but it is interesting they tend to have a lot more example charts, lot more. I mean when I was working on my thesis which was looking at how relationship astrology is practiced in India and here in contemporary times and the cultural differences and I noticed then relationship books, I mean there would be scores, I mean sometimes a hundred example charts in a book that was only 120 pages and there is nothing like that in the number of example charts in the West.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure.

KENNETH MILLER: That is just kind of a interesting cultural difference there but …

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. I mean,  if you committed yourself to using the charts of like clients for example then you  would have a lot of more charts to use versus if you are using celebrity charts then that is going to be a little bit more sparing since there is more limited data pool.

KENNETH MILLER: Yeah.

CHRIS BRENNAN: I wonder if that is cultural or what that is in terms of why that difference is or maybe it is just a tendency because for quite a while now in western astrology, celebrity charts have been prominent peace of sort of textbooks so if that is just a part of the tradition that has been continued or what that is.

KENNETH MILLER: And I have no idea. I mean, my guess is that the Indian astrologers not asking the client or I could be told wrong on this but my impression is I mean when I have had readings in India from Indian astrologers no one said ‘By the way can I use your chart as a teaching  example?’, I mean no one like never ask me about that but that is something I do ask my clients, ‘Can I use your chart in this if I would hold you know your name or whatever?’, and oftentimes I have got a ‘Yes’, you know it is rare to someone says no I want to keep confidence and alright, fine and I mark it as such.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. Yeah, I feel the same way or that is usually what I do just ask them and  make sure it is sort of documented that they are okay with that and also not to is like pressure them into that because some people don’t want their chart out there. I mean, there are astrologers who don’t necessarily want their chart out there.

KENNETH MILLER: Yes, there are.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right  so that I mean that is, you know even a thing in and of itself that ties into this as a sort of piece in terms of this debate over, you know celebrity charts for personal charts and then whether all celebrity charts, are fair game,  you know is everyone’s chart fair game and our astrologer’s chart fair game as well if that is the case. Yeah there is a lot of little nuances and details surrounding this.

KENNETH MILLER: Yes.

CHRIS BRENNAN: All right. Well, were there any other major points where did we come to with this debate about celebrity charts or personal charts? I believe you are coinciding the point that I was right and that you are going to start using more celebrity charts. Right?

KENNETH MILLER: No, no. I think we came to a draw or there is a place for both…

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay. I made a mistake.

KENNETH MILLER: … and in the ideal world… Well. Okay, if we should each answer this question so my ideal world, if I am trying to get it to point across it might go okay, here is an example of how you would see wealth, let’s look at Bill Gates chart and see how obvious that is. Now I am going to give you three charts of ordinary  people that are wealthy but not on the level of Bill Gates and how do we write of that judgement?

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right

KENNETH MILLER: Because again it is just I think you learn a lot more astrology doing charts than reading books and I would argue  you learn a lot more astrology by trying to really understand the charts of ordinary people because they are just harder to read so getting at skill at that will make you I would argue a better astrologer.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Sure. Yeah, I mean I definitely just recommend both and that is where I am going at this point is kind of half and half maybe since sometimes that celebrities for all the you know there is other pros and cons and there is many pros and cons  for private charts as well and sometimes it is useful. I mean especially for me doing Hellenistic astrology and talking about like eminence techniques or talking about time lord techniques that are supposed to show peak periods in a person’s career or what have you, sometimes that really is helpful to have a really striking example of that where a person becomes famous like all of the world and that is not like debatable or it is somebody or everybody knows became famous at the specific point when they did this specific thing.

KENNETH MILLER: Okay so let me ask you this Chris. Should I even bother learning eminence?,  because what is the likelihood of me getting a client that is going to somehow rise to a worldwide eminence. I mean is there a technique that is only…, okay, so you get one and a hundred or one and a thousand, you know that becomes supereminent or is the eminence kind of  defined culturally where in someone’s field or neighbourhood or village the chart shows the prominents within the context of where they are in their life.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yeah. I mean I think it means different things, there is a certain like relativity to it, there is relative to a certain extent like especially timing techniques like with zodiacal releasing and you see somebody hit a career peak period, you know you see one person hit that and he is Al Gore and he just became the  Vice President of the United States in 1992 or whatever 1994 versus you see somebody else hit that and I mean I have a specific example in mind of a client but it is not probably a good example because they are like a doctor, they became the head of a hospital recently.

KENNETH MILLER: That is good.

CHRIS BRENNAN: That is not like a world-renowned like person who became ….

KENNETH MILLER: But within the context of their life in their field they became prominent.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Yes and they hit a career peak period and became eminent within their own field whatever that is. I mean and you see that I mean you see that happening also, you know with people that were like a fast food joint, fast food restaurant in hitting peak period and becoming  like employee of the month or something. I mean it is relative to the person’s life oftentimes but you do get those unique instances where the person goes on to do something extraordinary and it is worth I think being able to identify that.

KENNETH MILLER: You could sealing the point but the charts of ordinary people equally illustrate the eminence principle.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Well, they do within the context of certain techniques like zodiacal releasing.

KENNETH MILLER: Yes.

CHRIS BRENNAN:…where it specifically designed not to show eminence per se but peak periods relative to the person’s career and life direction, with other techniques like you know the triplicity rulers of the sect light which is more eminence oriented. I am not sure that you do necessary it is as relative but that technique some of the eminence techniques unfortunately get mixed  in with techniques that are supposed to show the stability and support in level of good fortune that the person has so that is kind of problematic because sometimes when you are looking at in the context of a normal person’s life, it is just how stable or supportive their environment tends to be in that specific part of their life versus what they actually become eminent. Yeah, so it is  little mixed there, I guess I would coincide that there is some level of it being relative to who the person is and what their context is.

KENNETH MILLER: Yeah

CHRIS BRENNAN: All right.

KENNETH MILLER: Okay.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay. Well, I guess then we have been talking about an hour so I guess we can wrap up this episode of the show unless you have any other thoughts about this topic.

KENNETH MILLER: I think we have exhausted it for now.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay.

KENNETH MILLER: And I think we had explored the pros and cons of everything and I think we have arrived there is a place for both and I think we both agree that if you are going to write an article, please don’t use rectified charts to make your point.

CHRIS BRENNAN: And the worst thing also that astrologer could do because I have seen some astrologers do this is rectified chart and then pass it off as a legitimate birth time that was recorded or something like that.

KENNETH MILLER: That is just lying.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Right. I mean that is not cool.

All right. Well, I am sure there is something I have forgotten or something I meant to mention there is probably other additional points in arguments that people could make so anyone listening to the show  we would love to hear…

KENNETH MILLER: Yes, please.

CHRIS BRENNAN: … some feedback so  please post some comments in the comment section of the page on the astrologypodcast.com that contains this episode and let us know what you think or if you inclined towards using celebrity charts or personal charts and if there is any specific arguments that might be made in favor of one approach or the other.

All right. Well, that is it for this episode of the show. Thanks for coming on, Kenneth. I hope to have you on again in the future to talk about some other topics.

KENNETH MILLER: Yes. Thanks for having me. It was great and I will be happy to come back.

CHRIS BRENNAN: Okay. Awesome. All right. Well, that is it for this episode of the astrology podcast. If you enjoyed this episode of the show make sure to subscribe by email, by putting in your email address in the sidebar where it says subscribe and then you will get the next episode of the show delivered to your inbox or at least a link to it, notification and if  you are listening to this on iTunes, then please give this show a five star rating and let other people know that you enjoyed it.

That is it for this episode of the astrology podcast. Thank you very much for listening and we will see you next time.