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Rectification: Using Astrology to Find Your Birth Time

Rectification: Using Astrology to Find Your Birth Time

In episode 169 of the podcast astrologers Chris Brennan, Leisa Schaim, and Patrick Watson provide a detailed introduction to the topic of rectification, which is a procedure used to find a person’s birth time when it is otherwise unknown or uncertain.

Rectification is often regarded as one of the most difficult things to do in astrology, since it is essentially an investigative process that involves taking into account many variables.

It is also very important though, because having an accurate birth time is it is often crucial in order to use many techniques in astrology, ranging from simple ones like the twelve houses, to more elaborate timing techniques.

As a result of this, it may be necessary to employ rectification in some capacity when someone doesn’t know their birth time, or the recorded birth time is only approximate and needs to be fine-tuned.

Leisa and Patrick both do rectification work for clients on a regular basis, and you can find out more about their work here:

Chris is not currently doing consultations, but has a course on birth chart rectification where you can learn his approach.

Rectification is a pretty big topic, so we had a lot to cover, and this ended up being a long 3-hour episode. There is both an audio version and a video version of this episode available below. The audio quality on the audio version is better than the audio in the video version, but they are both the same in terms of content.

Below you will find the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode of the podcast.

Rectification Outline

  • Rectification: defining our terms.
    • Rectify:  to set right, to put right, to correct.
    • A procedure usually used to find a birth time when it is unknown or uncertain.
  • Many techniques in astrology require an accurate time.
    • Both natal interpretation like houses, as well as timing techniques.
    • Makes rectification necessary in some instances.
  • Sometimes the term is used more broadly to reverse engineer a chart in general.
    • Earliest historical reference I could find was from 1st century BCE (Varro).
      • Attempt to find the chart for Rome and its founder.
  • Basic premise is that the birth chart will describe quality of life and events in future.
    • By extension, one should be able to reverse engineer a chart from known events.
    • Rectification applies this theory in practice, usually in cases of necessity.
  • When is rectification usually necessary?
    • Limited known time window vs. 24-hour rectification.
    • Rough birth time recorded but need more exact for particular technique.
    • Worst case scenario is if there is absolutely no birth time in entire 24-hr period.
    • Less worst case scenario is if they have some general idea of time of day.
    • Best case scenario is when they have a rounded time that just needs fine tuning.
      • Although even this can be tough for people with cuspy Ascendants.
  • Rectifying out of necessity versus as a matter of principle.
    • Chris always saw rectification as a matter of necessity.
    • But I’ve met some astrologers who believed every chart should be rectified (e.g. Axel Harvey).
      • Argument in favor is that many times may be rounded.
        • No guarantee that even a decent looking time recorded accurately.
    • Argument against is that the recorded time may be accurate despite astrologer.
      • They may not be looking at the right techniques, or have full knowledge of the life.
      • Risky then to rectify everything as you may be wrong.
  • Rectification as speculative
    • Major underlying issue is that rectification is always ultimately speculative.
    • Unless the birth time is later discovered, no certain way to verify.
    • Each astrologer will use their own preferred techniques in rectification.
      • As a result, different astrologers can come to different conclusions.
    • Due to this, every rectification needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
    • Any time rectification has been employed you need to state that up front.
      • If you see an astrologer for a consultation, for example.
      • Recently annoyed that AstroDatabank has been listing rectifications.
  • Strategies for Rectification
  • First, important to search everywhere for possible records.
    • Attempt to find birth certificate, birth record, baby book, etc.
    • Talk to parents, other relatives, see if they recall time of day.
    • Can help narrow down the time frame, like if it was around sunrise, evening, etc.
    • Careful though, as parent’s memories can be unreliable.
  • Rising sign rectification versus Ascendant degree rectification.
    • It is easier to figure out the rising sign than the rising degree.
    • This should always be your first starting point, since there are only 12 signs.
    • Using whole sign houses makes this easier.
      • Since all houses change with each rising sign.
      • Huge difference between one rising sign and another.
    • Within a few hour time frame maybe only 2 or 3 signs available.
    • Becomes a process of comparing essentially 2 or 3 distinct charts.
    • Once you narrow down the correct rising sign, you can then narrow the degree.
  • Establishing the evidence for the rectification by talking with the client.
    • Primary data is known characteristics and events in the client’s life so far.
    • Some will match natal placements, others are tied to timing techniques.
    • Client’s clear perception of life is major variable, as is good memory or records.
      • Much on what you do depends on accurate reporting on their part.
    • Need to ask good questions, then listen closely to answers for subtle clues.
      • Sometimes important to realize when their perception isn’t accurate.
        • This can be an important clue sometimes in it of itself.
    • What are some of the major events that have already occurred in their life?
      • What makes their life distinct from other lives in general?
      • Problematic point: people normalize their unique experiences.
    • Focus on benefics and malefics.
    • Mostly want to focus on topics that match the 12 houses.
    • 1st house: character, body, appearance, 2nd house: finances, possessions, 3rd house: siblings, travel, education, 4th house: parents, home, living situation, 5th house: children, 6th house: illness, injury, work, subordinates, 7th house: relationships, partners, 8th house: death, other people’s money, 9th house: religion, travel, foreign stuff, education, 10th house: career, reputation, 11th house: friends, groups, 12th house: enemies, loss, isolation.
  • Knowledge of natal astrology as the foundation of rectification.
    • Your ability to rectify a chart rests on your understanding of natal astrology.
    • You have to know what you would expect from one house placement vs. another
    • Also ability to be flexible and see how different placements are manifesting for individuals
    • Not just about house placements, but also rulers of the houses.
      • Must be careful about overlapping indications.
  • Getting started doing rectification.
    • Having the ability to animate the chart really speeds up the process.
    • We all use Solar Fire for that.
      • Use promo code AP15 for a 15% discount on Solar Fire from Alabe.com
    • Figure out your time frame and then try to narrow down rising sign.
  • Birth chart placements to pay attention to.
    • What changes during the course of the time frame you have to work with?
    • Rising sign: the quality of the sign, planets in the sign.
    • Planet ruling Ascendant, its condition and house placement.
    • Moon sign changes
      • Applying/separating aspects of the Moon
    • Sun and other planetary sign changes (less common)
    • Using benefic/malefic along with sect extremely useful in rectifying
      • House placement of the most positive and negative planet.
      • Mitigations can complicate this, though
  • Timing techniques:
    • After you narrow down possibilities, check timing techniques.
    • People tend to use same timing tools for rectification that they normally use.
    • Transits by house are especially important, especially slower planets.
      • Saturn and Jupiter transits through the whole sign houses.
        • Jupiter and Saturn because their natures are so distinct
        • Eventually you can narrow this down to specific degrees.
    • Annual profections
      • One sign/house per year.
    • Other degree-based techniques.
  • Concluding remarks
    • Rectification relies on your ability to delineate natal charts in the first place.
      • Just the application of your approach to natal to establish expectations.
    • Ultimately it is speculative and should be treated with caution.
    • Sometimes necessary though, and can be very helpful.

Watch the Video Version of This Episode of the Podcast

Here is the video version of our birth chart rectification episode:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 169 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

You can either play this episode of the podcast directly from the website or download it as an MP3 to your computer by using the buttons below:

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  • Thanks for the great podcast…
    There are two german astrologers which rectified charts using specific degrees of the zodiac. Wolfgang Doebereiner and Michael Roscher. For example the 17th degree of Libra is a Saturn/Uranus degree: this degree means ; separation of things or respectively to the sign Libra separation of a love relationship.(degree by Wolfgang Doebereiner) … with a bit more uranian influence.. they use it also for predictions… Roscher developed his own set of degree meanings for each degree of the zodiac ..his books are only available in german as far as i know
    I think that certain astrological techniques are only working in specific geographical regions .. maybe that should be a research topic….. are specific astrological techniques working only in specific geographical regions ??!!??
    Best Regards from Vienna

  • I’m listening to the part about the accuracy of recorded birth times… as a nurse, there is absolutely a lot of fudge factor when it comes to recording times. The clock you’re looking at might be a few minutes off, in the moment of recording an event, you might be busy and have to go back and record the time later- we absolutely estimate this stuff all the time. I’m not sure how it works in L&D, but I would imagine that it is much the same, although they might be a little more particular when it’s a major milestone like a time of birth.

    As for c-sections and scheduling, procedures and surgeries rarely start exactly on time, and even when they do, there’s prep, incision, etc…the time the baby actually comes out is highly unlikely to be exactly on the hour or half hour.

    It will be interesting to see if, given the increased popularity of Astrology, parents will start paying closer attention to times of birth.

    There are so many variables that go into what time a baby actually emerges from the mother, and medical intervention can speed up or delay time of birth. If we accept that fate or the universe plays some role in arranging these variables, perhaps it’s wise to accept that it also plays a role in the time that gets recorded. I’m assuming the ancient astrologers that developed zodiacal releasing had even less accurate date to work with, but they worked with it anyway.

  • I always enjoy this podcast, but there’s nearly always something that irritates me. I’m not sure why there is the assumption that a psychological modern astrologer does not take events into consideration. One can be very cognizant of events in a persons life in performing a rectification and still understand the psychological dynamics that underlie those events.

    I think it’s safe to say that every astrologer uses a variety of techniques and traditions and uses their abilities in different ways. So let’s not paint all astrologers of a certain type with any kind of broad brush.

    Thanks for all the effort and time and attention that you are put into these podcasts.

    • Sorry about that, I think that when we say things like that we are only really talking about some extreme forms of modern psychological astrology that see astrology as entirely or only relating to psychology and character analysis, or that say that events only occur when a person doesn’t properly deal with certain psychological complexes internally and then projects them onto their environment. Certainly you are right to say that isn’t something that all psychological/modern astrologers do, although it was a pretty popular or dominant trend in modern astrology when the three of us learned it in the 2000s, and there are pieces of that that we are still reacting to from early in our studies.

  • My birthchart was rectified to a cancer rising in 2012 as I never had a given birthtime. In 2017 I went to see an astrologer about an op I was about to undergo and she rectified my chart again as a matter if course. She came up with a Leo asc. This took some time to digest . To complicate matters I was born in England but spent my whole life in S.A. so everything that happened to me was in S.A. Now the one astrologer uses relocation to time transits and the other not , so either chart can work depending on whether one uses relocation or not to time transits and progressions. This has left me paralized as an astrologer, the biggest question being , should one or should one not use relocation when looking at timing tecniques ?

    • While I do think that relocation can emphasize or highlight some parts of the birth chart to some extent, the natal chart itself is still primary, and the relocated chart doesn’t really overrule or negate that. So, I would recommend just focusing on trying to determine the basic natal chart, and not worrying too much about the relocated chart.

  • As I listened to this podcast I began to wonder if the attitude towards rectification is changing. It seems a rectified chart used to be held in high regard since an astrologer had worked to find a birth time that aligned with past events repeatedly and so could also could be used for forecasting. Now it seems like a rectified chart is suspect since we don’t know the skill nor techniques used by the astrologer who chose the new birth time. I wonder how to best reconcile these differing opinions. Nonetheless, I appreciate the timing of this podcast’s release as I’m working with a friend to determine her correct birth time. Not only is it rounded to the half hour, but the handwriting on the birth certificate makes it hard to determine if the time is 1:30 p.m.or 6:30 p.m. Your tips on rectification techniques will surely help us work through how the two charts match her life events and personality.

    • Another thing that is probably different from a generational perspective is that digital clocks have become more standard over the past few decades, and I’ve noticed anecdotally that most of the younger people I’ve met have their exact birth times recorded, whereas it seems clear that there was more of a tendency to record rounded birth times in previous generations. This may result in a situation where it would have been common to rectify every chart previously because it was a given that the birth time recorded was only approximate, whereas in more recent decades as long as the recorded time is clearly not rounded to the nearest quarter hour it is more likely that the given time is exact.

  • I apologise in advance for the extremely rookie nature of this question but what is the best and most reliable way to learn what your natal chart was if you have no real idea?
    Thank you for your patience!

  • Thank you very much!
    I wasn’t sure if I should consult a professional astrologer first. These look wonderful.
    Another newbie question (which is hopefully not too painfully naive), are books published in the Northern Hemisphere applicable to the Southern Hemisphere?

    • No problem! The short version of the answer to your question is that most of the astrologers I know who practice astrology in the southern hemisphere use it in the same way that those in the northern hemisphere do, so the books should still be applicable. I don’t know of any that are specifically geared towards the southern hemisphere. If there are differences between the hemispheres then I don’t think that the issue has been explored very well yet, as I haven’t seen any real in depth treatments.

  • Fun rectification stories:
    One of my principle teachers had a birth certificate with late Libra rising. I could see that…but one of his first mentors was an astrologer, and she rectified his chart to 0° Scorpio rising. YES, now that makes eminent sense. In fact, he is so Scorpionic (no other aspects or Pluto emphasis to otherwise explain it) that I won’t even reveal who it is because he is so private. Hah! I use the Scorpio rising time for him.
    I met someone from Egypt who was born on an inauspicious date per her parents’ culture/beliefs, so they gave her a rather different birth date! She was lucky to find out later (and was very resentful of this untruth).

  • Hi Chris, Patrick and Lisa,

    The article by Renay Oshop which you mentioned about the accuracy of AA charts on Astrodatabank being highly suspect, only serves to reinforce what I have been saying, namely that all natal charts need to rectified if a practitioner is doing serious predictive work over a period of years or decades on a given horoscope.

    A pointer from Ancient Western Astrology to those wishing to stay on solid ground during the rectification process: I urge you not to mix the meanings of the planets when they are significators of the profession vs their roles in the various topics. The former is universal while the latter is accidental. It is like mixing apples with oranges: one will get sidetracked way more often than they realize.

    I kept hearing “subjective” and “variables”, which indeed are some of the major stumbling blocks.

    My 24 Hour Astrology Rectification Course is based on a system comprising of various ways to enter a natal chart, of various approaches to delineate it, of various techniques, each with their strengths and weaknesses, and of a hierarchy and sequence in which to apply all these. Taken together, they remove the subjective factors and reduce the variables to manageable levels. In addition to all these, there are fail-safes on each level along the way.

  • Dear Cris, I would like to buy mp3 ,and pdf about birth rectification,but dont have Pay Pal.Is there any other way?