Astrological Data

Astrological Data

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Astrological data are the basis for casting horoscopes and include name, date, place of birth, and time of birth. Astrologers base their studies on this data as they examine the patterns and positions of the planets and the signs as they rise, culminate, and set. Whether they are doing a research study or a personal horoscope, the accuracy of their observations depends on the accuracy of their data. Whether they are presenting a paper or delineating a chart, they cannot validate their work unless they can validate their data.

Speculative charts come from cases where the birth time is unknown and as such are pure guesswork, usually backed up with events to illustrate the supposed accuracy; rectification of a chart begins with an approximate birth time and corrects the chart to a specific minute. Historically, astrological data have not been presented with any source of origin. Magazines and journals blithely present charts and articles, and readers are apparently supposed to accept on faith that the data are accurate. Astrologers give lectures or present papers with no source given for the data. When one begins to examine the charts of historical figures and public figures, it may come as a shock to find that there are several times of birth given. There are over a dozen times of birth given for Ronald Reagan, and as many for Joseph Stalin, Clark Gable, and Evita Peron.

There is nothing wrong with speculative data—if they are presented as such. However, presenting data as factual when they are not is a falsehood; deliberate inaccuracy is ethically unforgivable; and presenting data without a source is amateurish, unprofessional, and misleading. Many astrological data are time-specific, so any chart that does not state the source is open to question, and any conclusions drawn from such a chart are not acceptable as valid conclusions. When data were scarce, astrologers took what they could get. That time is past if they ever hope to gain a reputation for conducting legitimate studies. Astrological journals, schools, and teachers have a responsibility to the next generation of astrologers to set a standard in recording information. Astrology is making great strides in the early twentieth-first century; never before has there been access to so much data or to computer-generated charts, and it is imperative that studies be built on a firm basis and employ empirical data.

The Rodden classification of astrological data is a simple, effective system. Many astrologers in the United States and Europe use it or a similar coding system. The first four letters of the English alphabet are used:

AA Accurate; recorded by the family or the state
A Accurate probably; data from the person or family
B Biography or autobiography
C Caution; no source of origin
DD Dirty data; two or more quotes with none verified

Data are the foundation of empirical study. Astrologers should insist on quality reference works and accurate data that include the date, place, time, time zone, longitude and latitude, source, and a designation of accuracy.

—Lois M. Rodden