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Whether you use a computer or do your horoscopes by hand, you need to check your data entry. Especially check the time of the day. In much of the world the 24-hour clock is helpful, but in the United States (except for the Army) the slip of the finger on the keyboard or the misreading of AM versus PM has been one of the most frequent "glitches." If you'll recall the wheel from Volume I of The Only Way to Learn Astrology, you know that each house has a time zone. (For your convenience, in this book we have put that wheel in the appendix on page 259.) A 1st house Sun shows a birth time of somewhere between 4:00 and 6:00 AM; a 2nd house could be anywhere between 2:00 and 4:00 AM, and so on. A person born at 9:30 in the morning would have the Sun around the 11th house, which covers the time period 8:00 to 10:00. Referring to Farrah Fawcett's data, she is born at 15:10 (3:10 I 'M) and the Sun falls in her 8th house, as it should since the 8th house covers the time period from approximately 14:00 (2:00 PM) to 16:00 (4:00 PM). This is an excellent way to check your wheel for accuracy. Also remember that you may be dealing with daylight savings or war time and 6:00 in the morning may fall in the 2nd house rather than near the Ascendant, since it is really one hour earlier than indicated. At times the Sun may fall just on the other side of the cusp, but reasonably close. This happens particularly when the birth is very far north or south of the Equator.

The temptation of the computer leads to a lack of ephemeris understanding. In fact some astrological students don't even own an ephemeris. Yet it is very important to check a few of the planetary positions to see if you have the right date. The transcendentals can quickly put you on the right track. If Pluto is in Cancer, you know you are dealing with a birth prior the 1940s. Don't laugh, we've seen 1938 when it should be 1983, or 1962 when you meant to write 1963. For a mistaken day, such as the 5th when it should be the 6th — just look at the Moon in the ephemeris and compare to the Moon on your computer readout. Another important reason to check the ephemeris is to establish the actual day when a planet goes retrograde (or direct). All the computer shows is whether the planet is R, not when. Yet the moment of a planet changing direction is significant — in fact, when manually drawing a horoscope, we mark it with a D (direct) but the computer does not so indicate this. Therefore have your ephemeris handy.

When using a computer, depending on your software, your tools of the trade will vary. Some programs have complete built in atlases, the kind you have to buy in order to find the time zones, (war — daylight savings or standard time) the latitude and longitude of the birth place and the longitude time equivalent. This usually costs quite a bit more, therefore most programs have just a certain amount of location data, but not all of it, meaning you still need the 'Tools of the Trade" as we suggested early in this book on page 3. Get into the habit of checking whether is was standard or some other kind of time — such as war and daylight savings.

Be very careful how you type your birth year into the computer. If you want a horoscope for November 16, 1973 do not type 11/16/73, because many of the astrological programs will give you a chart for the date of November 16 and the year 73 — a year in the 1st century. In astrological lingo 73 is just that. It may have been a very interesting year, but probably not what you are looking for. Always follow the instructions as to how the programmer wants you to input your data. In most cases they want the full year (4 digits) while others want two digits. Some require a number for the month (such as 11 for November); others want the month spelled out. The difference ensues because, as mentioned on page 4. we are the only country in the world that puts the month before the day (month, day, year) and by asking for the spelled out word, confusion is eliminated.

When correcting planets by hand, keep the Universal Time (the time it is in Greenwich) in mind. 5:30 in the morning is nearly one-quarter into the day (24 hours £ 6 hours =1/4). Thus, your corrections should be approximately one-fourth or a bit less, since you are dealing with 5:30 and not 6:00 AM. In the case of the Moon, a 2 to 3 degree correction is just about the right amount for a 5:30 birth time (Average Moon daily motion is 12 degrees). If you come up with a correction of 5', you know that your calculations were wrong.

In teaching the mathematics of chart erection, we try to stress the logic of what you are doing, and why you are doing it. Eyeball everything before you insert the planets; avoid careless mistakes and the resulting emba rassment. We find that if you list the planet's positions in the aspectarian on your chart, before you actually insert their placement in the chart itself, it helps to see how many planets belong into each house — so that you can allow proper room for them.

When inserting the planets in the wheel manually, the finished chart should not only be correct, but it should also represent a visual picture. For example, in Farrah Fawcett's chart, the Moon is at 4° Cancer 38 in the 12th house. The Ascendant is 5° Cancer 01. Thus the Moon should be placed quite close to the 1st house cusp.

A constant topic of discussion is the ability of working with the printed piece of paper which the computer 'spits' out called computer printout versus a hand drawn chart. We could devote many paragraphs to the importance of drawing a horoscope manually, but said briefly: The authors again and again find that a hand drawn chart speaks a much louder language than a computer printout. For some unknown reason, the horoscope becomes more personal. As you become serious about interpretation, remember this.

But, What if there is No Birthtime Available?

This is a major predicament in astrology. There are certain methods whereby one can rectify a horoscope, but it is a very difficult and complicated affair, and after many hours of adjusting an event to fit a particular stellar pattern, you still can never be absolutely sure that the rectified chart is correct.

There are several easy methods of erecting a chart to gain some insight, although none of these will ever reveal as much as a natal (radix) chart based on the correct time of birth.

Flat Chart This is the natural or flat wheel as we have taught in Volume 1. You put 0° Aries on the Ascendant, 0° Taurus on the cusp of the 2nd house, 0° Gemini on the cusp of the 3rd house, and so on around the wheel. You simply copy the position of the planets as they are listed, right out of the ephemeris for the date of birth and insert them in the proper houses. Unfortunately, the Moon moves as much as 15 degrees per day, so you will not be able to see the true lunar relationship to the other planets. Naturally, you will not be able to interpret house positions, but you can at least use the aspects from one planet to another to define them, as well as the sign location of each planet. This type of chart shows you some of the n atural tendencies and basic characteristics for the individual, but no more than that.

Solar Equilibrium Chart From the ephemeris for the date of birth, copy the exact position for the Sun; put that degree and sign on the Ascendant. Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, for example, was born on January 28, 1948, but there is no recorded time for him. The ephemeris for that day puts the Sun at 6° Aquarius 59'. Put this on the cusp of the 1st house. The 2nd house then reads 6° Pisces 59', the 3rd house 6° Aries 59', and so on around all 12 houses. Again, as with the Flat Chart, copy the rest of the planets into the wheel. Aspect the planets to determine the relationships they have to each other. This chart also is no substitute for the correct natal chart, but by putting the degree of the Sun on the Ascendant, you are able to see some of the potentials and resources, some of the basic abilities of the person in question.

By using both the Flat and Solar Equilibrium Charts, you can get an idea of the fundamental personality you are dealing with. However, since you do not have a true Ascendant, and thus no accurate house position for the planets, you will not be able to determine the actual areas of emphasis, nor the outer personality. You will not be able to describe the type of partner the individual wants or could be happy with; the attitude toward children; the sense of values; the need for religion or a philosophy of life; the ability to complete an education; and any of a hundred other fine points you can only pinpoint through an accurate natal chart.

A few words about Misha, as he is lovingly called. Misha Baryshnikov is this century's premier ballet dancer. He's just returned (1998) from his first trip back to Riga, Latvia since he defected from the Soviet Union in 1974. He's happy to go back to his modern dance company "White Oak" which he co-founded with Mark Morris. He couldn't wait to get home to former ballerina Lisa Rinehart and their three children and introduce them to "Maggie" his new puppy, which he found in Riga. "Home" is just outside Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson. He's anxious to get ready for his next tour of solo performances, followed by a cross-country tour with his company. Looking forward and working for the future seems easier for him than reflecting on the past.

In Misha's recollections his childhood was not easy. His father, a Soviet military officer, was a remote figure and his mother died when he was just 11 years old. Soon after he was admitted to Riga's prestigious School of Theater, Opera and Ballet and from then on the stage was really his home. At 16 he left for Leningrad and the Kirov ballet where he was viewed as "special" early on for his extraordinary airborne maneuvers and wonderful zest for dancing. But ballet stardom was never enough for Misha's hungry curiosity, nor was the dreary life of Soviet Modernism.

The press called it his "grand, jeté" to freedom when he darted into a waiting car after a performance in Toronto. The United States embraced him with open arms. So did some of the women, including actress Jessica Lange with whom he fathered a child. He essayed one new challenge after the other, most of them with much success — whether he worked with Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins, Alvin Ailey or others. Whether he stressed minimalism or danced to the audible beat of his own heart — Mikhail Baryshnikov's unsurpassed elegance is always there and still enchants his ever-faithful audiences.

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