Quiz Answers

Maritha Pottenger

1. The calculated date is an astrological convenience. It is used with secondary progressions. If one wanted to have an accurate progressed chart each year for one’s birthday, one could re-calculate the horoscope each year (like doing a natal chart again). Rather than doing that work each year, most astrologers choose to use the calculated date. The calculated date is specific to a given horoscope and ephemeris. The calculated date allows astrologers to read the planetary positions directly out of an ephemeris, without interpolation. (In secondary progressions, each day is symbolically equivalent to one year. Therefore, you move as many days after the birthday in the ephemeris as the individual is years old to get the progressed positions.) The planets are accurate (as given in the ephemeris)—not for the birthday—but for the calculated date each year. For example, if a person was born May 21, but has a calculated date October 4 (following the birthday), the individual can read planets out of the ephemeris (looking 30 days after the birthday if the person is 30 years old) and know that those positions are exactly accurate for October 4 after the birthday that year.

Ephemerides provide planetary positions for either noon or midnight at Greenwich. (Recall that midnight refers to 0:00 hours or the BEGINNING of each day.) Unless your birth time is equivalent to noon or midnight in Greenwich, you must interpolate the positions. (You cannot use them straight out of the ephemeris.) If you were born at 7:00 A.M. EST, 6:00 A.M. CST, 5:00 A.M. MST or 4:00 A.M. PST, your birth time is 12:00 NOON in Greenwich and you could simply take the planetary positions right out of the noon ephemeris—both for your natal chart and for your progressed chart (moving one day in the ephemeris for each year of birth). If you were born at 7:00 P.M. EST, 6:00 P.M. CST, 5:00 P.M. MST or 4:00 P.M. PST, your birth time is 0:00 MIDNIGHT OF THE NEXT DAY in Greenwich, and you could simply take the planetary positions right out of the midnight ephemeris—both for your natal chart and for your progressed chart (moving one day in the ephemeris for each year of birth, using the day AFTER birth as your zero or starting point).

In standard horoscope calculations, because most people are NOT born at midnight or noon in terms of Greenwich Time, we are adjusting the positions given in the ephemeris to the birth date and time. With the calculated date, we wish to use the positions directly from the ephemeris, so we are figuring out what date in the year is exactly equivalent to those positions.

The first thing to establish when figuring out a calculated date is which ephemeris you intend to use. The calculated date for a midnight ephemeris will be six months away from the calculated date for a noon ephemeris. It is also helpful to draw a little diagram to keep clear in your mind where the boundaries are and what your reference (zero) points are.

For example, suppose the person whose chart you are working with was born at 7:36 A.M. MST. The first step is to find out what time it was in Greenwich. Since Mountain Standard is 7 hours from Greenwich, the Greenwich Time was 14:36 or 2:36 P.M. Next, draw a diagram showing the relationship of that time to the time of the ephemeris you usually use. In the case of a midnight ephemeris, we are 14 hours and 36 minutes AFTER the midnight BEFORE (or 9 hours and 24 minutes PRECEDING the midnight AFTER birth). In the case of a noon ephemeris, we are 2 hours and 36 minutes after the noon of that day (or 21 hours and 24 minutes BEFORE the noon after the birthday). Let us say the date of birth was May 21, 1952.

Our two diagrams below illustrate our reference points.

The next step is to calculate the difference between the Greenwich Time of birth (UT) and the time of the ephemeris. (You can go to the noon or midnight before or after birth. Just remember which direction you moved.) Some people prefer to always refer to the noon or midnight before birth. Others (including myself) select the direction we move in such a manner as to always keep the calculated date in the same calendar year as the birthday. (This will be explained later.)

If we are using a midnight ephemeris, then we see that the UT (Greenwich Time of birth, 14:36) is 14 hours and 36 minutes after midnight of May 21 (the birthday).

Our next step is to use the proportions of one day (in terms of secondary progressions) equaling (symbolically) one year. If one day (24 hours) equals one year (365 days), we get the following proportions:

1 day


1 year

24 hours


12 months

2 hours


1 month

120 minutes


1 month

120 minutes


(about) 30 days

4 minutes


1 day

Herein we see the derivation of the little formula: divide the hours by 2 and the minutes by 4. If we equate (symbolically) a day with a year, then every two hours of that day is equivalent to one month of a year. (That is why the calculated dates for a midnight versus a noon ephemeris, 12 hours apart, will differ by six months.)

We have a difference between the UT (Greenwich Time of birth, 14:36) and the time of our ephemeris (0:00 or midnight beginning the day) of 14:36. Dividing the hours by 2 gives us 7 months. Dividing the minutes by 4 gives us 9 days. Therefore, we know that, when using a midnight ephemeris, the calculated date for this horoscope will differ by 7 months and 9 days from the birth date. (Note: once you figure out the calculated date for any horoscope, it never changes. As long as you use the same ephemeris, the calculated date for that horoscope is constant.)

The question is: do we ADD this 7 months and 9 days to the birthday or SUBTRACT it? Before moving back to our little diagrams to see the answer, let us look at the noon example.

Using a noon ephemeris, the Greenwich Time of birth (UT, 2:36 P.M.) is 2 hours and 36 minutes after the time of the ephemeris (Noon) for May 21. Dividing the hours by 2, we get one month. Dividing the minutes by 4, we get 9 days. Thus, with a NOON ephemeris, our calculated date for this horoscope is 1 month and 9 days away from the birthday.

How do we know whether to add or subtract? We know because we can look at our little diagram and see which way we moved. The basic issue is that we are always moving toward one end or the other of our little line. Those ends are our zero (reference) points. We are saying: which date in the year IS EQUIVALENT TO the midnight (or noon) of our ephemeris? In the case of the midnight example, our reference point is the midnight BEFORE birth. Therefore, to reach that midnight, we go EARLIER in the year (before the birthday). If we then SUBTRACT our 7 months and 9 days from May 21, we end up with a calculated date of October 12 PRECEDING the birthday (of May 21).

Now, some of us do not like to work with a calculated date which is in a different year than the birthday. In this case, I would have to remember that the progressed positions are actually accurate for the October BEFORE this individual’s May birthday. I would prefer to have a calculated date in the same year. It is very easy to do; we simply go to the other midnight. If we move FORWARD from the time of birth—toward midnight of the NEXT day (May 22), we have to travel 9 hours and 24 minutes. We divide the 9 hours by 2 to get 4-1/2 months. We divide the 24 minutes by 4 to get 6 days. A month is approximated as 30 days so we end up with 4 months and 21 days. Since we are moving forward in this case, we ADD those 4 months and 21 days to May 22, and end up with a calculated date of October 12. In this case, however, the calculated date is the October 12 FOLLOWING May 22. That is, the calculated date is the October following the birthday (within the same calendar year). However, when counting a “day for a year,” we must remember to count from MAY 22, NOT from the birthday. In this case, our zero (reference or beginning point) is midnight of May 22—not of the birthday.

Note that whichever of these methods you use (going before the birth time or after it), you will end up with the same results in terms of dates in the ephemeris which correspond to times in the life. You merely have to keep straight whether the calculated date is before or after the birthday, and whether you are counting (day for a year) from the birthday or perhaps the day after the birthday. (Your calculated date may vary by a day or two from what a computer calculates, as we are using an “averaged” formula in the sense of calling every month a 30-day period. But since planets move relatively slowly in secondary progressions, a calculated date variation of one or two days hardly matters.)

Suppose we wanted to examine this person’s secondary progressions for October of 1987. We would say: 1987 minus 1952 leaves 35. The person is 35 years old. If we use the first method, we say: the person’s calculated date (Oct. 12 PRECEDING May 21) is the October before the birthday. That means the positions 35 days after the birthday are accurate for the October BEFORE the birthday (October of 1986 in our example). Therefore, if we want the progressions for the October following the birthday, we have to go one more year forward (one more day in the ephemeris). So, rather than counting 35 days after May 21, we would count 36 days after May 21 (taking us to June 26). The positions in the ephemeris on June 26, 1952 would be exactly accurate for the progressions of October 12, 1987.

If we use the second method, we say: the person’s calculated date (Oct. 12 FOLLOWING May 22) is the October after the birthday. Therefore, if we count 35 days after May 22, the positions would be accurate for October of 1987. Counting 35 days after May 22 takes us to June 26, 1952 for the progressions which are exactly accurate for October 12, 1987.

Again, we can use either method to figure our calculated date. Neither is more correct. Some people always use the noon or midnight BEFORE birth and know that the calculated date will always be EARLIER than the birthday, but they also always count (day-for-a-year) from the birthday in the ephemeris. Others will go forward or backward, counting from the birthday or the day after, but keeping the calculated date in the same calendar year as the birth date.

Now, let’s look at a noon example quickly. With a noon ephemeris, we are 2 hours and 36 minutes after noon of May 21. Dividing the hours by 2, we got 1 month. Dividing the minutes by 4, we got 9 days. Since we are looking at the noon BEFORE the birth time, we need to go EARLIER in the year, or BEFORE the birthday—so we subtract. If we take 1 month and 9 days from May 21, we get April 12. Please note that April 12 is six months from October 12. As indicated, the calculated date for a midnight ephemeris and that for a noon ephemeris—on the same horoscope—differ by six months—because 12 hours (half a day) is symbolically equivalent to 6 months (half a year). In this noon example, we count (day-for-a-year) from May 21, but know that those positions (right out of the ephemeris) are precisely accurate for April 12 preceding the birthday.

Professional astrologers often have both a noon and a midnight ephemeris. Those who do not already have computer programs to do all the work have the convenience of using whichever ephemeris has more convenient positions. In the case of this individual, I would use a noon ephemeris when I was looking for progressed positions in the spring, while I would use the midnight ephemeris for positions in the fall (saving myself as much calculation as possible).

2. This is a bit of a “trick” question in the sense that there is not one right answer. Rather I just want you to consider a couple points. The first thing I would probably do is discuss my viewpoint that the planets do not do anything—they just reflect our own potentials, that a “good” wedding chart does not guarantee anything unless you are willing to work to make it happen, and that any chart has a mixture of conflict and harmony always.

The second thing I would do is discuss priorities with my friend. Because any chart contains a mixture of aspects, I would want to know what she and her husband-to-be value most in the relationship. My decision about the kind of chart I would seek would depend on what they felt was most important for them. I would attempt to arrange a wedding chart that had optimum harmony in areas they identified as essential—both in terms of the chart itself and in terms of aspects to their natal charts.

3. I would suspect that the couple is likely to have patterns involving Letter 10 and/or Letter 6 strongly in their relationship area. This could range from Saturn in or ruling the 7th or 8th, Vesta (or even Ceres) in the 7th or 8th or in Libra or Scorpio, Saturn in Libra or Scorpio, ruler of the 6th or 10th in the 7th or 8th or in Libra or Scorpio or conjunct Venus, Pallas, Juno or Pluto, ruler of the 7th or 8th in the 6th or 10th or in Virgo or Capricorn, or conjunct Saturn or Vesta, etc. Obviously, the 6/7 or 6/8 or 7/10 or 8/10 theme should be repeated if it is an important issue.

4. I would discuss the psychological principles with them of mixing the urge for efficient functioning (Letter 6) or the urge for competence, control and productivity (Letter 10) with the desire for intimacy, sharing and equal relationships (Letters 8 and 7). If these drives are being mixed in a manner which is uncomfortable for them, they can choose to make the blend in some other fashion. Some of their options include:

1) Working on their relationship in a way they both find productive and effective (e.g., marriage encounter, family therapy, etc.).

2) Changing their work situations so that they are more involved in relating to people in their careers and day-to-day job routines.

3) Creating a joint career which they can do together, allowing them to share time with a productive focus.

4) Taking up some kind of joint task(s) which allow them to channel their flaw-finding, nit-picking sides into the physical world, rather than into each other (e.g., carpentry, sewing, refurbishing houses, refinishing furniture, etc.).

5) Making a clear demarcation in their lives between “work time” and “pleasure time” and striving to keep “pleasure times” full of Venusian, indulgent, loving activities, while “work times” are filled with productive efforts, discipline and the desire to improve.

6) Taking the responsibility to make lists of everything they accomplish in a day, and read them over, giving themselves support and positive affirmations for doing a good job in life. Being disciplined about scheduling “fun time” into the relationship as well.

If Letter 10 was strongly involved, I would discuss issues of attitudes regarding responsibility, control and authority. If they were open, I might explore fears of intimacy, anxieties around loss of control, the potential of using criticism as a means to push away the other person when one is feeling overwhelmed in a relationship. Since Letter 10 relates to the “rule-maker” parent, I might explore their relationships with father or father figure and how his attitudes about sharing, equality and pleasure may have affected (and perhaps still are affecting) their capacity to enjoy personal relationships.

I might go into their definitions of what pleasures are “okay” and how they might block themselves from feeling good through inner self-criticism, self-doubts or feelings of inadequacy.

I would also encourage them to think about where and how they gain a sense of efficiency, productivity, and doing a good job. If they have satisfactory outlets in other parts of life for that flaw-finding, discriminating, improvement-oriented lens, it is less likely to spill over into the emotional side.

I might encourage them to focus on the positive in each other in a very systematic, disciplined, exacting way (e.g., making lists of each other’s positive qualities). I would be open to any alternatives which involve (1) a constructive blend of work and love, (2) the capacity to take turns, in a fulfilling way, between efficiency drives and relationship needs.

5. In considering a wedding chart for my friend, I would be concerned with both the chart of the actual wedding (the beginning of their relationship as spouses) and the interactions between the wedding chart and their natal charts. Generally, I will look for more harmony aspects (sextiles, trines) which suggest ease of integration, in the areas my friend gives high priority to. If there is the possibility of “too much of a good thing,” I may prefer sextiles to trines. I will usually avoid heavy conflict as much as possible. Since every chart has some conflict, I will seek to arrange the conflict to apply mostly to areas which have low priority for the two people involved—or to areas which their personalities and natal charts suggest they have already basically integrated. In terms of specifics, I would look for harmony involving the listed letters of the astrological alphabet for the issues noted. In order of priority, I prefer harmony first to the planets whose actual nature is appropriate (e.g., the Moon for Letter 4), next harmony to planets in or ruling the appropriate houses (planets in or ruling the 4th for Letter 4) and last planets in the appropriate signs (Cancer for Letter 4).

a) sexual compatibility: Letters 2, 5 and 8, plus Mars. More importantly, are there strong contacts between their NATAL charts involving these factors? Most importantly, do they FEEL turned on to each other?

b) monetary comfort: Letters 2 and 8 as harmonious as possible.

c) longevity and endurance: all earth and water contribute to it, but Saturn and Pluto are particularly likely to hang in and hang on and be faithful.

d) family and children: Letters 4 and 5, plus Ceres as harmonious as possible.

e) love, equality and sharing: Letters 5, 7 and 8 as harmonious as possible.

I would probably end with comments similar to what I began with: the most significant ingredients in a successful relationship are commitment, caring and communication. If they are willing to put those in, the aspects in their chart really do not matter. When we are living on our highest side, we will express anything in the horoscope in its most positive potential.

Copyright © 1987 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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