Oh My Stars

matthew currie astrology kanye west time of birthToday, a slight diversion from the subject of astrology into the subject of writing about astrology: specifically, the perils of not doing proper research.

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know that I’ve done plenty of pieces on celebrities. That’s entirely understandable: looking at real events in the lives of real people is the best and (possibly the only proper) way to learn how astrology really works. My Uncle Fred might be a fascinating guy and his transits might be instructive, but how many people other than me knows who he really is? Ariana Grande, on the other hand, gets a lot more attention.

I have written more than once about Kanye West. Here is the very first entry I wrote about him, and as it turns out I have accidentally opened a small but important can of worms about accurate research in astrology, thanks to a rookie mistake on my part.

The birth chart for Kanye West I used gives his time of birth as 8:45 AM. That gives him Cancer rising, and to me personally (given the house placements and rulerships ) that time of birth makes sense. But in astrological research (or any other field of endeavor), “seems right to me” is a very low bar to set as far as accuracy. So where exactly did I get that time of birth from?

Whenever I’m looking for astrological birth data on a celebrity, I probably do exactly the same thing that you would do: I Google it. If you type the name of a celebrity followed by the word “astrology” into Google, you will probably notice that it’s almost always the same two websites that come up first. I won’t mention their names, except that both of them start with the letter “A.” And in almost all cases, one of those sites always comes first.

Where do these websites get their information from? One of them does its research and adheres closely to what is called the Rodden rating system, which ranks the veracity of dates and times and places of birth on a scale from AA (confirmed from an official source) to DD (“dirty data” — conflicting, unconfirmed sources). The people behind this particular website do diligent work and should be commended on treating astrology with the empirical seriousness it deserves.

The other website presents data with the following explanation:

“Regarding the sources of the birth data in our possession, kindly note that the pages we publish constitute a starting point for more detailed research, even though they seem useful to us. When the sources are contradictory, which occurs rarely, after having analysed them, we choose the most reliable one. Sometimes, we publish a birth date just because it is made available, but we do not claim that is it the best one, by no means.”

In other words: “seems right to me.”

Being relatively young and naive in my blogging career at the time, I had a tendency to go with the first result that came up. At the time, the website in question listed a legitimate-sounding source for its information. However, an astrologer more diligent than myself did some research and it turns out that source was completely bogus.

So guess who this website now touts as the source for this 8:45 AM birth time? Yep. Yours truly.

To summarize: we don’t know for sure what Kanye West’s real time of birth is, and I am now being presented as the final authority on the matter, despite the fact that I don’t know the truth for sure any better than you or any other astrology are out there really does. That’s why now when I write about Kanye West’s transits, I never refer to the ascendant or midheaven or house rulerships.

In conclusion: be cautious when citing birth data to that you see online, and if you see a source that has a Rodden rating for that information, then that should be the only source you trust.

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