Rodden Data Book
I am always delighted to see a new book of birth data from Lois Rodden. For years, Lois has been a leader in collecting the birth data of famous and infamous people and in making it available to astrologers. But Lois has played an especially important role in emphasizing the need to record data sources, to be able to evaluate the reliability of the horoscopes. Her categories of A, B, C, and D are widely known and used in the astrological community, including, of course, in this new book. “AA” data includes only records such as birth certificates, civic records, or written family records. “A” data refers to accurate data as quoted by the person himself or herself, or from a family member or personal friend. “B” data is from biographies or autobiographies, though if it is contradicted by other sources, it changes categories. “C” data says “caution” and refers to material from unknown sources where there is no way to ascertain the level of accuracy. “DD” is “dirty data” where different sources give conflicting information. Some of the latter may come from the rectifications of astrologers which are always to be used with great caution (including mine). Even with a long list of life events and the cooperation of the individual, rectification (determining an unknown or uncertain birth time) is a chancy business.
Lois’s new book includes about 400 charts for which the wheel is given as well as some background material on the individual, plus another approximately 300 sets of data in the back of the book with minimal personal information. Some very well known individuals are included, such as our current California governor (see my discussion of his chart in another article in this issue of The Mutable Dilemma). I was delighted to get his data. A number of sets of multiple births are also included, some involving cases where some babies lived and some died. You may see some of these in future Mutable Dilemma Challenge Corners. One set is in this issue. Altogether, the new book is a treasure trove for serious astrology students. We learn astrology by doing charts of people we know personally or for whom we can get information about the lives and characters. The multiple births are especially useful to test the fine points of astrological techniques. There is no index in the book, but the charts in each of the two sections are arranged alphabetically so it is easy to check to see whether a desired chart is included.
Lois’s new book is titled Astro-Data III, since she has already published two other books of data; Profiles of Women, and the American Book of Charts. The new book was published by the AFA. Unfortunately, I do not have the price.
While we are on the subject of Rodden data, the massive effort to put her whole collection on computer disks is inching forward. ISAR (The International Society for Astrological Research) has been paying to have her birth data put on cards with the background material on the subjects categorized in many ways. The second step will involve entering the data in the computer, after which it will be available for research purposes. Students will be able to order a single famous person by name, or all the charts in a category such as “alcoholics,” “birth defects,” “people with multiple marriages,” “psychologists,” etc. ISAR will have a catalogue available listing the possible categories and the costs. The data base of categories under which subjects will be catalogued has been under development by the ISAR Research Committee for at least two years. But since everyone involved is working to earn a living and trying to find time for some sort of personal life, it always takes several times as long as anticipated to complete any project. But completion is getting closer, and there is a good possibility that some of the data will be entered in the computer and available by the end of this year.
Lois and ISAR are also happy to receive additional data to add to the collections. The current policy offers a two-for-one exchange; that is, astrologers can request and receive half as many sets of birth data and background information as the number contributed to the collection. Since Lois and ISAR are investing considerable time and money in the effort to make the material available to a wide audience, it was felt that such an exchange was fair. Astro Computing in San Diego has a massive data base, including all of the Gauquelin data, and NCGR (The National Council for Geocosmic Research) is also working on a similar project. ISAR and NCGR have been cooperating and exchanging data, and Astro Computing has consistently sought to assist competent astrological researchers, so I feel that before long the astrological community will be able to produce something more than the “anecdotal” material which has been our normal style. My own efforts so far must be included in the “anecdotal” camp, but as we develop computer programs to do the tedious tabulations and sizable amounts of data, I hope to do more “scientific” work in the future.