When anyone has an astrology reading, the astrologer asks for the client’s date, place, and time of birth. Everyone has the first two components memorized, but usually not the third. It’s common to hear, “I was born in the morning” or “My mom said I was born at….” Or “It was just after midnight”. Approximations come easily even though the time is sketchy. Few people realize the importance of having accurate timing when it comes an astrology reading, and not all astrologers look to verify just how precise the timing that the client provides may be.
It’s remarkable how many people go for an astrology reading and provide the time that they have in memory. When prompted by the astrologer to pull out and double check the birth certificate, the client often realizes what was in their memory does not match what is written on the birth certificate.
The birth place utilizes the latitude and longitude of the locale, which influences which sign was rising on the Eastern horizon at the time of birth. The birth time provides the key to the ascendant or first house of the horoscope. There are 12 signs of the zodiac, and each of the 12 rotates as the ascendant, approximately every 2.5 hours. The ascendant may change faster or slower depending on where the locality is in relation to the equator.
The ascendant gives shape to the individual’s personality, vitality, and how they interact with their world. This is all colored by what planets may be in the first house or influencing the first house. In Vedic astrology or Jyotish, since there are 9 planets (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu), there are multiple possible permutations. The strength of each planet adds another layer.
In simple terms, a strong ascendant can help the individual make lemons out of lemonade. A weak ascendant can make the individual cry over spilled milk. Even if the time listed on the birth certificate is utilized, there is no guarantee of its accuracy. Different hospitals use different methods for recording the birth time. Some use the time of the first cry, others the time the cord was cut, yet others the time that the head emerged or the full body emerged, and others look at the clock after the fact and estimate the time of birth. Additionally, the hospital clock may be off by a few minutes from the universal clock, so the time recorded may be inaccurate for this reason.
Most people think that a few minutes is no big deal. Yet, can you recall times that if you’d been somewhere just a few minutes sooner…you wouldn’t have missed that train…or you would have gotten some giveaway…or you would have seen that old friend who just left…or you could have gotten to the shop before it closed…or you would have been the one that got that last item before the other person did. Gwenyth Paltrow was in a movie called “Sliding Doors” which tells the tale of a woman who misses a train and how her life unfolds due to missing the train and in a parallel universe, what happens if she catches the train. It also provides an insight into our destiny and how we are bound to have certain experiences in life.
Often one minute can change the entire ascendant, for example, from Aries to Taurus. Or one minute can change the nakshatra, or constellation, in Vedic astrology in which the ascendant lands. There are marked differences between each nakshatra as far as personal propensities, career paths, health challenges, and overall life themes. Furthermore, there are numerous harmonic or divisional charts utilized in jyotish, each of which focus on a specific arena of a person’s life. There is a chart for relationships, for career, three that pertain to health, siblings, spiritual inclinations, parents, education, etc. While every astrologer does not look at each divisional chart in depth, they usually focus on the charts which are relevant to the consultation.
Even if one or two or three minutes doesn’t change the ascendant or the nakshatra in the main chart, it can often change the divisional charts, which are calculated in another fashion. To gauge how an individual will do with relationships or career, it’s important to examine the main chart as well as the divisional charts for each subject. If the timing is off, then the astrology reading may not be as accurate.
So how does one figure out if the timing is correct? The astrologer should look at the birth time and see what changes by moving the time forward and backwards by a few minutes. If there are significant changes, then the astrologer needs to ask the client about specific periods in their life and see whether the indications that are shown in the chart came to fruition. For instance, if the time is accurate, then a combination for prosperity that was shown to occur five years ago should have happened. If not, then the time needs to be “rectified”.
Rectification is a time consuming process which requires great attention to detail. But, it is necessary for a proper reading. It’s especially useful when a client comes who does not have a birth time listed on their birth certificate or can’t locate their birth certificate.
I often utilize a detailed questionnaire for instances when the birth time is questionable. The client has to dig into their memory bank for this process. An accurate birth chart should show the highlights or low points of an individual’s life in various arenas.
In Jyotish, every minute counts. Often more than most people would have ever realized.