Every astrologer has had this conversation with a client at least once. “My mother said I was born at 10:00 o’clock.” “AM or PM?” asks the astrologer. “Not sure, I’ll have to ask my mother.”
In an astrologer’s perfect world birth times would published right along the birth date. This would make our job easier and would eliminate what Lois Rodden would label DD, dirty data. Dirty data is anything along the lines of “my mother said” or “Auntie remembers it to be . . .”
A birth time is important because it fixes the ascendant and the moon, two of the the Big Three that includes the Sun, the three most basic markers of your personality. A birth time also fixes the position of the houses which important when it comes to making predictions based on the movements (transits) of the positions.
Whenever I give a reading that does not include an accurate birth time I tell the client straight up that the lack of the birth time can affect the accuracy of the reading.
Astrologers also have a technique called rectification that can pinpoint the possible birth time by matching life events against the chart to see which time makes the most sense in terms of what happened in an individual’s life. Rectification is a lengthy process, very technical, requiring a willingness to look at a lot of charts. Not all of us want to do that. Personally, I’d rather rip out my upper lip hairs with tweezers.
When researching the article on Amy Winehouse’s Addictions every source listed her birth time as unknown. Shortly after I posted the piece The Mountain Astrologer posted this on their Facebook Page:
Amy Jade Winehouse, R.I.P. Born 14 September 1983, 22:25 GDT, Enfield, London, England. Source: Frank Clifford quotes Winehouse’s mother to a mutual friend of astrologer Margaret Zelinski. RR: A.
This is about as dirty as data can get; not even a direct quote from the mom, but from a friend of a friend.
In the UK birth times are not recorded in the public records, so there is some reliance on these second hand accounts. But American astrologers, with access through their clients with birth certificates with recorded birth times, are squeamish about using such reports. So how do we know it is the correct birth time?
Let’s do some quick tests of this birth time.
When we rectify a chart we look for:
Physical features. Do they match the proposed ascendant? Can the physical features point to the ascendant?
Activation of the angles, the Midheaven, the Ascendant, the 4th and 7th house cusp.
Important transits of appropriate houses and/or natal planets.
First let’s look at some physical features, a test of the ascendant. With Gemini on the ascendant we can expect:
Face: oval, balloon shaped
Eyes: small/ triangular
Other: woman/small breasts
Well, these descriptions fit, so we can’t rule out a Gemini ascendant.
The release of her first album “Frank” was published on October 20, 2003 and quickly gained critical acclaim. The transits of the release date against her natal chart show Neptune right at the Midheaven, and Pluto at the cusp of the 7th house. Wow! Neptune transits to the Midheaven and the 10th house confers a “star quality” to the native, often signifying success in the performing arts.
Two years later as Pluto, traveling in the seventh house of relationships comes in a three degree orb her Neptune/Moon conjunction she meets future husband Blake Fielder-Civil in a bar in Camden, England and embarks on a tumultuous Plutonian relationship which resulted in marriage two years later and a divorce a year after that.
On October 30, 2006 “Back to Black” was released. In this chart the moon conjoins the Midheaven, and Neptune is still with 5 degrees of the Midheaven.
On May, 18 2007 Winehouse marries Fielder-Civil. On that day Jupiter conjoins the cusp of the seventh house.
In a true rectification, an astrologer would look at more events. But there is enough here to say that a 10:25 PM birth time is more than likely from the events in Amy Winehouse’s life.
Thankyou so much for ALL the insight and intelliegence of your posts – they are wonderful!
Vis a vis Amy (and any other birth time) I am AMAZED and despondent that more astrologers dont use Dowsing in order to get the birth time. It is a vert ver accurate tool and has surved use for milleniia. It is very simple and when using this method the “bad data” is actuallu very useful – as even if a family member can remember remotely the fact that they were in hospital at day break or the middle oft he night – you can dowse down to to the last second on a birth time,
And it frustrates and bores me taht so many astologers walk pass this essential tool that most of their forebares used. Dowsing and astrology were always used together in the old days why not now?!!!!
x om shanti
I just wouldn’t know where to start with dowsing. It just isn’t mentioned as a regular practice here in concert with astrology. But God bless you for bringing forth the knowledge of this ancient practice.
A note on the source: I don’t think the Amy Winehouse data is as ‘dirty as you can get’. I wish American astrologers (and others) were as squeamish as you say – many don’t seem to care either way where the data comes from as long as it fits a few preconceptions or a few transits. And that’s one of the reasons I have been asked to write more about data and sources for ISAR and NCGR – there’s not enough awareness in this area.
Lois defined DD as two or more unsubstantiated birth times, dates or places (or any data that are contradicted by another unverified source) – I helped her write that. I wouldn’t have published the data in 2009 without checking with the source – the astrologer is a student of mine, and her close friend is a close friend of Amy’s mother – yes, a few degrees of separation but that happens every time we get data from a celebrity’s agent who has (supposedly) asked the celebrity or a family member. The source was also checked again at my request.
As you say, sometimes it’s the best we can get, but I’m currently working to have birth times recorded on certificates in the UK.
Thank you for stopping by. Tony Vowles already took me to task on my Facebook page, thinking my tone a little too cavalier, and well, sorry if it seems that way. He said:
Actually, birth times are recorded in the uk. Hospital records have them if you enquire. Everyone ive met under 30 know their birth time accurately. It only becomes problematic when the hospital is no longer there. Also, frank clifford (someone i know very well) doesnt deal in dirty data. Hes an expert data collector. The rating is a reflection of a third hand source close to family. Hence cannot be guaranteed and the rodden rating.
And I replied:
I’m sorry, Tony. I should have been more specific. In the U. S. the birth times are recorded on the actual birth certificate as part of the public record, which is what I mean by recorded. My understanding that this is not the case in the UK. When I used the term “dirty data” it . . . is not a reflection of Frank’s skills.
Now it is true that Lois’s rating system is based on varying shades of gray. So technically, the data is not “as dirty as it gets”, so I am sorry if anything other than a document showing a birth time gives me an uneasy feeling. Again this is not in reference to your collection or verification skills, but the source which is unsubstantiated by documentation. I also do genealogy and if I had a dime for every time I traced a lead from family oral history to find the truth was anything but I’d have a very heavy piggy bank!
Thanks for your reply. At present, only twins have birth times on their certificates in England, Wales and Ireland (they’ve been putting times on certificates in Scotland for over 150 years). Twins have times because of the law of succession. I’m working to get all birth times included but this requires an act of Parliament (for heaven’s sakes!).
Yes, I much prefer birth certificates (I have close to a thousand in my office) but these too can be in error, of course, or hard to read or have birth times absent. Access to many Vital Records offices has closed and this has meant that we now have to rely more heavily on other sources. So much of the data collated by Lois from various collectors is from ‘birth record’, where the administrator at the Vital Records Office has written on a card and sent it back to the collector (this is how most of the 1980 Gauquelin USA collection was received). I can only imagine how many errors these might contain. Earlier this year, a number of astrologers jumped on the well-meaning student who found Julian Assange’s data in a hospital file, suspecting a vivid imagination!
All of this is a long way of saying that I appreciate that there are astrologers out there like yourself who question the source of data. Getting to know these collectors helps in understanding their sincerity and, in truth, separating the occasional astrologer who falsifies sources to give credence to their rectifications from the earnest collector who does it as a labour of love rather than for any money making enterprise.
All good wishes,
I did amy’s chart a while back based on some data found online that said she was born at 4 am.
The chart made sense to me, as it gave her Leo rising, with her venus bang on the ascendent. Although I’m well aware that the information can never be relied upon, I felt that this was right for her. She looks like a lion, and has the warmth and popularity of those born with venus rising.
I updated the info after reading the darkstar site, but she doesn’t (didn’t) seem like a gemini rising to me. It doesn’t sit right.
As far as I can tell, the 4 am time seems to have come from professional astrologer Linda Reid – who admitted she was unsure of the source – but seemed to recall from memory that it was from a tv interview with Amy’s mother.
Because I lean towards the Leo ascendant – I choose to only using a 12.00 chart for Amy.
….Hey everyone…I have tried to get amy’s birthtime and work out her chart and have hypothesized….I went through allsorts of ideas and wondered if she had a cancer ac….however when the birthtime of 10.25pm was made available I had to admit that it could be correct.The reason I felt she may have a cancer ac was becuase there was a judy garland similarity…however,Judy Garland was a gemini with cancer rising…..the link is in the ‘flavour’ similarity…ie…Amy would have her sun/merc conj. in the 4th house if she has a gemini ac.When I looked a the chart for 10.25…the penny dropped….firstly if you look at Amys body type,it could be siad as being more androgenous…she had very small boyish hips,she was also a motormouth[I have met her and know of her through my best friend who knocked about with her for 3 years before she got famous,and also she has been at our home and guested with my sons jazz band…my comments about her are made with all due affection],but she was also very shy,maternal and homely…..her outer image was that of a bubbly ,talkative ,busy bee….that fits a gemini ac…also the tendancy to burn oneself out .What really strikes me about the 10.25 chart is the moon neptune conj of the 7th house….bingo! We can see then that she would be incredibly romantic and easily led in relationships..there would be themes of co dependancy and fantasy ,and her partner’s would have a big influence on her life….with the sqaure from the sun/merc and the venus/mars conj. her romantic relationships would maybe become a destructive influence in her life…especially while she is young.All her lyrics describe the pain and sadness of romantic love,and the loneliness she felt.Satrun and pluto are in the fifth house further corroborating the theme of destructive relationships and that something which was once a pleasurable pastime or recreational activity could then lead to her demise…it also suggests some kind of father complex…as the moon neptune suggests a more private mother….it is her father who deals with the press etc ,whilst her mother is more in the background[publicly]…the jupiter/uranus conj in sagg/6th house sextile the aquaius midheaven all point to her global popularity and the more notorious side of her fame[uranus]….all this without even looking at transits and directions…..so I’d be inclined to accept this birthtime,venus does touch the ac by proxy ,since mars sextiles it so there is a venus ac connection…..also,if she has this birthtime ,her moon would therefore be 0deg capricorn….still partaking of the excesses of sagg due to conj with saggi neptune,but also showing her very ambitious nature…she knew what she wanted to do in life when she was very young,and showed no interest in learning anything else…..she was determined to make it as a musician ,and as a teenager was very inspired by the whole ‘star’ scene …this is a very neptunian theme…glamour etc[marilyn monroe 1st house nep]…though her father says publicly that amy did not want fame etc,there was a time as a teenager when she was seduced by the idea of it…I’m sure that once she got there ,she probably found that it was all illusion anyway and then wanted her 4th house life back,anyway these are just a few of my thoughts about the possibilty of the 10.25 birthtime….I’m sure I have not come up with anything original in my thinking on her birthchart ,but just wanted to share these ideas.My email address is astroladybird@ hotmail.com,if you want to contact me for further discussion,….love to everyone,Ruya Sarfas
Rectification both fascinates me and gives me the ‘tweezer’ reaction you referred to Beth 😀
I do think it is possible after much painstaking work to get a very good working chart but we will never truly know the time. That said, some rectified charts just feel right and certainly seem to respond to transits as you’ve illustrated above.
Re: the discussion above on dowsing – I have used this tool to help with a chart rectification however it can only be used when there is absolutely no preconceived ideas as it can affect the answer. I would rather dowse before starting to work with chart data than afterwards.
I think you are right when it comes to rectification that we can never really know the time. I keep thinking about the channeled readings of Edgar Cayce who through his channeled sources said that it wasn’t the actual birth time that counted but the time when the soul entered the earth plane. This could be before and after the birth of the body. There was even an astrologer who wrote a book based on the Cayce readings who went on and on about the beauty of finding the soul birth time but didn’t give the techniques. However, given how he went on it certainly seems like rectification techniques were used. So who knows? Maybe what we find when we rectify a chart is “soul birth time” we find, with the actual birth time of no importance.