What Astrologers Learned From the 2008 Election
The 2008 presidential election in the United States was full of surprises for everyone, even for astrologers. There was one very important lesson that the astrological community learned during the course of it though, and that is the importance of acquiring accurate birth data when endeavoring to make predictions about the outcome of an election.
Now, this isn’t anything new for astrologers. We all know that you need an accurate birth time in order to be able to cast a full chart or “horoscope” properly, otherwise you can’t use important components of the system such as the ascendant, houses, Lots, time-lords, etc.
Because of the fundamental importance of having an accurate birth time when casting a natal chart, astrologers have been actively seeking out birth data for celebrities and politicians for over 2,000 years now. Entire businesses such as AstroDatabank have even been set up in order to procure and organize birth data for notable and non-notable individuals.
What was somewhat unique about the 2008 election was the complete lack of reliable birth data for many of the candidates initially, and the drama that unfolded during the course of the past few years as astrologers scurried about attempting to collect exact birth times for each of the candidates. For many astrologers this turned into a roller coaster ride with many twists and turns during the course of the election, as new information came out at various points about different, often conflicting, sets of birth data for each of the candidates.
In the end we all learned to be a little bit more careful about taking certain birth times for granted, although in order to understand how this happened we need to outline how the election played out from the perspective of the astrological community.
Initial Dearth of Birth Data, Speculations Abound
In the late fall of 2007, when the primaries were in full swing, we didn’t have confirmed birth data for almost anyone. By confirmed birth data I mean actual copies of individual birth certificates in hand, thus providing us with indisputable proof of a person’s birth date, time and location. For the most part all we had were unconfirmed rumors and reports of certain candidate’s birth times floating around.
On January 6th, 2008 I published an article detailing who we did and did not have confirmed birth times for, as well as some of the problems with the birth times that were currently in use at that point. Here is the tally of all of the data at that point, when there were still a number of candidates in the race (note that the following times are not necessarily accurate as of now):
- Hillary Clinton: 8:02 am (Birth time was rumored and disputed. No birth certificate. Source of the time: Frances McEvoy.)
- Barack Obama: 1:06 pm (Time widely used, but no one knew for sure. No birth certificate. Source of the time: Frances McEvoy.)
- John Edwards: 7:02 am (Time widely accepted, although with some discrepancies and no birth certificate. Source: anonymous campaign staffer & mother.)
- Bill Richardson: 11:35 am (Source: birth certificate. The only birth certificate available at that point.)
- Joseph Biden: 8:30 am (Source: Apparently acquired by someone during his presidential campaign in the 80’s, but no birth certificate available.)
- John McCain: 9:00 am (Widely accepted and used since the 2000 presidential campaign, but no birth certificate. Source: Campaign staffers in the 2000 race.)
- Mitt Romney: 9:51 am (Widely used, but no birth certificate. Source: Frances McEvoy.)
- Rudy Giuliani: 2:30 pm (Widely used, but no birth certificate. Source: apparently from his mother.)
- Mike Huckabee: no time at all.
- Ron Paul: no time.
- Fred Thompson: no time.
That is where we were at as of early January of 2008. We only had one confirmed birth time, which was Bill Richardson’s, who dropped out of the race shortly thereafter. We didn’t have confirmed times for anyone else, but just reports from astrologers who purportedly spoke to certain candidates, family members or campaign staffers and got birth times from them.
At that point I raised some concerns about the source of the birth times that were being used for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Mitt Romney, since they were all from the same person – the late astrologer Frances McEvoy, who died in December of 2007 as I was writing the article. The problem with McEvoy as a source for all three candidates was that she had purportedly spoke to and gotten the birth times from each directly, although she had apparently done the same thing with John Kerry prior to the 2004 election, and the time she gave for him later turned out to be wrong.
Some astrologers have a tendency to “rectify” or back-form birth times based on studying events in a person’s life and then adjusting the natal chart accordingly. They then use the rectified birth times in order to make predictions. Unfortunately these rectified times sometimes get picked up by other astrologers who assume that the birth times are verified or accurate. In reality they are basically just educated guesses that rely entirely on the skill of the astrologer and the types of techniques that they employ in the rectification process. The problem with this approach is that while there are some astrologers who are pretty good at rectification, there are many who are not.
I had some suspicions that this might have been the case with McEvoy – that she may have rectified the birth times that she reported – but since I did not know her personally and she passed away as I was researching the issue, I had no way of knowing for sure. No one did. So, for the most part, astrologers continued using the times derived from her for much of the early part of 2008.
As the race tightened, the field narrowed down to three candidates: Obama, Clinton and McCain. McCain’s 9:00 am birth time had been in use for several years at that point, so everyone felt pretty confident about it. There were still questions surrounding Obama’s, although the 1:06 pm time was generally used, with much discussion over whether or not his Moon was in Taurus or Gemini, since the sign change occurred only three minutes prior to the purported birth time. Hillary’s birth time was the most sketchy of the three, since there were several different conflicting times and sources for her, whereas for the other two there weren’t many sources to begin with. All of this was to change over the course of the next few months though.
Obama’s Birth Time Revealed
The largest astrological conference of the decade, the United Astrological Conference, took place in Denver, Colorado between May 15-20, 2008. There was some buzz going around before the conference that an astrologer named Joni Patry had obtained a verified birth time for Obama, and she was going to announce it during the conference. By this time it was becoming clear that Obama was going to be the Democratic nominee, and the mystery and speculation surrounding his actual birth time had reached a fevered pitch. All eyes were on Patry when she proudly announced at the conference that she had obtained his birth time from an unnamed campaign staffer, who got it from Obama’s campaign manager:
7:11 pm, with Aquarius rising, she said. News spread from the conference like wildfire, especially since the time she gave was totally different from the 1:06 pm birth time from Frances McEvoy that had been in vogue up to that point. It was just in the nick of time too, since there was a panel on the very last day of the conference which was focused on the election, and each astrologer on the panel was expected to make a prediction about the final outcome of the election. So, a few days later, at the end of the conference, using the 7:11 pm time for Obama and the 9:00 am time for McCain, each astrologer on the panel unanimously predicted that Obama would win the election.
However, a few weeks after the conference ended the Obama campaign released a copy of his birth certificate to the public, and it had a conspicuously later birth time of 7:24 pm on it. There was something perplexing about the fact that Patry had been given a slightly wrong birth time for Obama from someone, yet it was still close enough that it didn’t make a huge difference since the rising sign, Moon and MC were all still essentially the same as the 7:11 time she had announced.
As perplexing, albeit minor, as this was, the sense of relief that astrologers had over finally having a confirmed and accurate birth time for Obama was enough to cause everyone to quickly forget Patry’s announcement and move on with studying the election. There were still some questions about the authenticity of the newly released copy of the birth certificate, since it was a digital reproduction rather than a scan of the original birth certificate, but this never seemed to turn into a major issue (the “Birther Controversy” that happened a year later in the summer of ’09 doesn’t count).
Enter Palin, McCain’s Birth Time Revisited
In late August McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, which was problematic since no one had really heard of her before, and so there weren’t even speculative birth times floating around for her at that point. All we had for Palin was a birth date and location, but that was fine because we already had birth times for three of the main players: Obama, Biden and McCain. And those were pretty solid, right? Wrong.
In September a birth certificate for John McCain suddenly surfaced online, and the birth time that it listed was 6:25 PM, which was way off of the 9:00 AM time that astrologers had used for him for nearly a decade at that point. If accurate, then his chart would have been much different than the one that every astrologer had based their predictions for the election on up to that point.
Unfortunately it wasn’t really clear if the birth certificate itself was in fact legitimate. I tried to track down the original source for it, and it appears to have first been posted on a discussion forum on a website that was setup for the specific purpose of questioning whether John McCain was eligible to become president due to where he was born.
While it is well within the realm of possibility that a group of people with a specific agenda were able to gain access to McCain’s original birth certificate, the partisan nature of the website raised questions about whether or not it could be a forgery that was created in order to support a somewhat dubious argument about McCain.
By this point there were only weeks to go before the election, and suddenly the birth data for one of the key players was in doubt.
So What Did Astrologers Learn From the 2008 Election?
Eventually the election came and went, and some astrologers got their predictions about it right, while some got it wrong. Many questions still lingered though. Had Francis McEvoy simply rectified the birth time that she reported for Obama? What about the times she gave for Clinton and Romney? Why was the time that Joni Patry reported for Obama 13 minutes off? Is the birth certificate that surfaced for John McCain legitimate?
The fact that these are still unanswered questions a year later underlines the point that astrologers need to be more careful about taking birth times for granted when a verified copy of the birth certificate is not available. If the type of astrology that we practice relies on this information, then our predictions are only as good as the data that we use.
And that is the lesson that the dramatic saga of the 2008 U.S. presidential election, with all its twists and turns, taught the astrological community. There may never be another election quite like this one again in the future, but let’s let this example be a cautionary tale of the crucial foundations upon which we rest our predictions, and the dangers that arise in taking unverified data for granted.