WITH THE Pennsylvania primary fast approaching, the astrologer’s search for the presidential candidates’ reliable birth data shifts from curious research to a scramble. An unprecedented lack of information on any of the candidates leaves us wondering how to forecast the election, and the unfortunately-timed death of astrologer Frances McEvoy adds an interesting twist to the authenticity of the “precise” data she left behind.
As the countdown to the election downshifts from months to weeks, there is a renewed sense of urgency about locating reliable data. It is critical to obtain reliable birth times for the presidential candidates, since casting their charts accurately requires this information. The following is the story of my quest for this data, and the elusive woman who claimed to retrieve it.
In March 2007, I attended the National Council for Geocosmic Research (NCGR) astrological conference in Baltimore, where I sat in on a lecture by Shelley Ackerman on the 2008 election. During the course of the lecture, the point came up that the birth data for the candidates is either nonexistent or highly ambiguous. At one point, the subject of Hillary Clinton’s natal chart came up, for which there are several proposed birth times from different sources, and a discussion ensued about which chart was the correct one.
Toward the end of the discussion, an older woman stood up and stated, quite calmly and somewhat mysteriously, that Hillary was definitely born at 8:02 am, and that the Scorpio rising chart was the correct one. The unusual air of calmness and conviction about the woman struck me as interesting, and I quickly jotted down the time. Having done some cursory investigations into Hillary’s birth chart the previous fall, I had come to the conclusion that the Scorpio rising chart was, most likely, the correct one, although I was still perplexed to hear this woman state a precise time with such assurance; it was as if she had some sort of inside information.
Purely by chance, I ran into the woman a couple of days later as I was checking out of my hotel room. I was still curious as to why she was so confident about Hillary’s birth time, and I asked her about it. Although I can’t remember the precise words she used, she explained that she did have a connection: she elaborated that either she or someone that she was close to had seen the birth certificate directly. Further, she said that Hillary had been told something negative about the sign Scorpio; as a result of this, Hillary did not want to confirm the actual birth time.
Relaying this story to me as we stood next to the hotel elevator, the woman seemed quite sincere, and I was excited to get what appeared to be inside information. I thanked her for sharing this with me and asked her what her name was. She said her name was Frances McEvoy.
After receiving an encouraging email in December 2007 from a reader of my blog who was interested in my take on the U.S. election, I began a new search to see if any astrologers had sequestered more reliable birth data. I found Barack Obama’s birth time, 1:06 pm, and inquired whether anyone knew the source. I came to find out that, according to one website, the 1:06 pm time “was relayed by astrologer Frances McEvoy to astrology newsgroups, and supposedly originated from Obama’s own memory when he was asked what time he was born during his New Hampshire visit.”
While it was great to have a birth time for another one of the leading candidates in the election, I began to feel a bit uneasy about relying on one astrologer for the data on both Democratic candidates. Only perpetuating my unease, I discovered that Frances McEvoy had announced Mitt Romney’s birth time — 9:15 am — as well.
She published the data on Astrodatabank, listing it as a direct quote from Romney. To reiterate, Frances McEvoy is the source of not just one, but both Democratic candidates: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama; and she also provided the birth time of Mitt Romney. Needless to say, it is highly unusual for one person to be the source of two candidates, but three is completely unprecedented.
For those unfamiliar with astrological folklore, Astrodatabank was begun by Lois Rodden in the days before using accurate, documented birth data of public figures was common practice. She invented a rating system for assessing the data, which included the AA rating (birth certificate in hand), the A rating (from memory), and the DD rating, for dirty data. Currently, that rating system seems to be a little stressed out.
Upon researching John McCain’s birth data, I was relieved to find it reported by staffers working for his campaign. Frankly, if I found the time — 9:00 am — to be sourced by Frances McEvoy as well, I wouldn’t know what to deduce. The time is obviously rounded, although we don’t know by how much, and the campaign staffers apparently said that they don’t have documentation in order to confirm the time.
Astrodatabank’s entry provides more background information on this issue as well as the sources. “Shelley Ackerman quotes the Internet for 9:00 am, from Rowena Wall who wrote that she obtained the data from two different staffers at McCain’s campaign HQ. Mark McDonough called both the election office and Senator McCain’s political office and was told that they had no copy of the medical records on hand to provide written documentation of his birth time. McCain’s deputy press secretary said she had many people call for his birth time and she had called his mother. Mom said, ‘about 9 am’.”
John McCain aside, I wanted to get more background on Frances McEvoy and her curiously accurate candidate birth times. How could she be the source of Clinton, Obama and Romney, when no one else in the country seems able to secure even one time? Unfortunately, I never got the chance to ask Frances about the reliability of her data; a few days after I realized that she was the source for the three candidates, she passed away.
I’m not suggesting that Ms. McEvoy was circulating faulty data, only that the circumstances are somewhat unusual in that she is the main source for birth data on these three candidates, and this raises some questions mainly owing to the fact that I did not know her very well.
According to another astrologer named Robert Blaschke, she was also the original source of the birth time for John Kerry prior to the 2004 election. From what I can determine from the Astrodatabank records, Frances was originally told by Kerry’s mother that he was born sometime around “sunrise.” Having only a general notion that Kerry was born sometime around sunrise she then appears to have adjusted the time a bit in order to come up with what she felt was a plausible ascendant, and she submitted it to Astrodatabank as an exact time of 7:10 am.
Later, Blaschke actually spoke with Kerry’s sister-in-law from his first marriage, and she gave him an exact birth time of 8:03 am, nearly an hour later than McEvoy’s rectified time.
The issue is that we don’t know at this point, or I don’t know, if the times given to Frances McEvoy for Clinton, Obama and Romney were exact times straight from the birth certificate, or if they were general times like Kerry’s which she then rectified or modified somehow. When dealing with some of the more precise techniques that I work with, such as the ‘lots’for example (the ancient precursor to the Arabic Parts system), even the slightest changes in time can really alter the entire character of the birth chart and any predictions that might be based on it. Even in Obama’s case, more precise techniques aside, the Moon is in a completely different sign if he were born just a few minutes before the 1:06 pm birth time, having moved from Taurus into Gemini at 1:02 pm that day.
The same is true for Clinton; earlier birth times give a Pisces Moon and later ones give an Aries Moon — there is a big difference.
Apparently McEvoy was a dedicated political junkieand collector of birth data, so it wouldn’t be that surprising if she made it a point of going to events hosted by certain campaigns in order to ask the candidates their birth time directly. I’m also told that her husband was a politician, so she may have had additional political connections as a result of that. Apparently, though, Mrs. McEvoy wouldn’t have needed her husband’s assistance to access this information.
She had her own career in politics and journalism to assist her. According to her obituary, she worked as a political correspondent, press secretary to Senator Leslie B. Cutler of Needham, and reporter for the Somerville Journal and Waltham News Tribune.
The main question that is raised is the degree to which she normally rectified birth times, and if the times she was given were specific ones derived from the birth certificates or if they were general times derived from the candidate’s memory that were then adjusted using some sort of rectification technique.
With all of the confusion surrounding the birth times of nearly every current and previous presidential candidate, it seems like we aren’t in a much better position to make predictions about the final outcome of the upcoming election than we were a year ago. Our only real options are either (A) to get more astrologers trying to contact the candidates and their staff in order to get verified birth times, or (B) to attempt to rectify each of their charts individually. The former option seems like the most reliable thing to do, while the latter seems like the most tedious and unreliable option, although ultimately if we are still coming up empty-handed a few months from now it may be our only choice.
With these birth data issues in mind, this should be a rallying call for the astrological community to renew its efforts to obtain reliable birth times for the presidential candidates. What we need are multiple documented sources, preferably directly from the candidates themselves.
These efforts should be directed towards obtaining birth times not only for those candidates who are still in the presidential race, but also from those who have or who will drop out of the race in time, since accurate knowledge of their birth times will help to contribute to our study of their lives in the future. In so doing, astrologers will help to contribute to a tradition of empirical observation and testing that has sustained our practice for over two millennia now, and these efforts will help to maintain and improve the practice of astrology for generations to come.
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, April 4, 2008, #708 – By ERIC FRANCIS
Aries (March 20-April 19)
This weekend’s spectacular New Moon in your birth sign will go a long way toward helping you resolve questions and issues that, not so long ago, seemed to defy any progress at all. What is crucial now is that you regard the past as the past, and the future as the future. There is a difference, particularly because the recent past has been fraught with an abundance of power struggles, security crises and panic attacks. This is a fairly natural result when one’s influence in the world increases, which yours is certainly doing. You may not see it that way; you may be a little too caught up in the day-to-day grind to have an accurate picture of your life map. This weekend, I strongly suggest you move as far away from your routines as you can. Open your mind and let the sunshine in.
Taurus (April 19-May 20)
You may feel a subtle connection forming to something larger than yourself. In your solar chart, it looks like a magnetic alignment to a cultural force or current. Not everyone can feel this; not every Taurus will feel it, but I would encourage you to tune in. Remember that the ego (working at its best) is a kind of reducing valve that serves mainly to block reality from our perception. The aspects I am describing work on the level of a soul alignment, pulling you gently in a particular direction that you know you need to be going in. The changes you make in accord with this calling will have a slightly uncomfortable feeling to them, as if requiring a constant series of adjustments. Take this as a sign you’re on the right track.
Gemini (May 20-June 21)
Mercury is on the brink of entering Aries and squaring Pluto. This is telling me that a difficult business or partnership negotiation is in the works. The tense meeting of these two planets bears one basic message: know exactly what you want before discussing such a matter with anyone else. You are not exactly in the strongest position in this discussion, but you do stand a chance. Therefore, the only way to make actual progress (and not, for example, backslide) is to be clear and honest with yourself; be in alignment and unity with yourself. Then when the time comes to ask for what you want or respond to inquiries about what you want, you give one consistent answer — consistent, as in aligned with your values.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
So much is brewing in the background, you may not know whether optimism, anticipation or anxiety is the right response. A little of each would do you fine, but put optimism first. There is career news coming. It may be a direct message; it may be some observation you make from a development that is more public. The two seem to intersect, but be particularly attentive to communications over the next week as Mercury crosses the sensitive midheaven angle of your solar chart. This is the start of a discussion — you need to keep the flow positive, and resolve any disputes you may have on an inner level and do your best to keep each transaction as simple and clear as possible. One thing you don’t have to worry about is this: you are making quite an impression on the world. Drop your habit of struggling to be noticed — such does not enhance your image of success.
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23)
You seem to be in an ongoing process of negotiating freedom from some anxiety issues that have followed you around for the past four or five months. Some days you seem to get on top of the game, and others the game gets on top of you. As planets make moves into fire signs over the next few days, you’re likely to feel more optimistic and less emotionally bogged down. That, in turn, will lead to a more volatile state of mind: the desire for fast results and not burdening yourself with the problems of others. Bear in mind that other peoples’ situations can impact your life, so you need to keep your ear against the wall and make sure you have a clear understanding of the group dynamics around you. Then, you need to maintain your policy of being a master negotiator. No situation is exempt from this necessity.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22)
Key partners or colleagues may finally be more willing to take action, rather than just talk about it. And if they seem to be going from zero to 60 in five seconds, you need to be making the art of compromise your first priority. This is particularly true where your very highest career goals are concerned. Compromise involves balancing your several different interests, as well as being mindful of the ways that others manage their multiple commitments. Remember that the objective of all of this is making sure that both you and the community around you are nourished. While you are doing many things for their own sake, nourishment is the goal, rather than profit, entertainment or passing the time. You’re not the one who has difficulty remembering this, but it can take some work to keep everyone on a page that’s usually stuck in the back of the book.
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23)
You have been drifting through one particular situation for a while and, lately, it’s been interesting enough. I suggest you consider the ways you have been drifting through your life recently. That time is rapidly drawing to a close. You are approaching the hour of decision in a key personal relationship, and it seems that someone close to you is also getting to the point where they know they must stop hesitating and make a move. Over the next few days, you’ll get some idea of what that decision might entail. The closer it comes to a clean sweep and making a clear commitment, the more in accord with your current astrology it will be. And it is pretty spectacular astrology, the core of which is invoking a focused, conscious beginning in an area of your life that has been craving that for quite a while.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22)
Mars continues to move along gradually through the angle of your chart where you make up your mind about right and wrong. You have been doing this by feeling lately; you need to shift to a more intellectual orientation. It won’t be that hard, and I propose that the calculations will add up more dependably if you use your mind and not your emotions. You have been seeking some satisfaction in the working-out process, but now the emphasis shifts to action, movement and making firm commitments. This will raise theoretical issues to the level of tangible ones; disagreements that have lurked in the background now need to be worked out in real time. Remember your insecurities, and be mindful of them. These, too, will come up; if you bear them in mind, you will have power over them. If you let them fade into unconsciousness, they will take over the show.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22)
Half of you wants to take a chance, and the other half is hesitating. You may be projecting that hesitation onto a partner who seems like they’re not quite ready to go for the gusto. Forget that. They are so close to taking the leap with you that you would only be setting things backwards by getting bogged down in that discussion again. It may be a difficult recognition to make, but not everyone is a Sagittarius. From your viewpoint, people can seem slow, indecisive and like wimps. They have their issues; you have a few of your own that people around you may be disinclined to mention for fear of offending you. In the meantime, I suggest you maintain your usual policy of doing what you need to do, when you need to do it. Which seems to be a lot, soon.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20)
You don’t need to live your life based on precedents for what happened in the past, and you seem determined not to do so. What may surprise you is how passionately you leave behind your hesitation and plunge into a new experience of feeling, being or existing in your home. Your chart is blazing with everything new, particularly a new sense of safety and belonging. Your charts seem bursting with the drive to reclaim your physical space: to clean, to push open doors and windows, and to connect interior and exterior spaces. If you are considering taking up a new space entirely, now would be an excellent time to initiate that process. Move with confidence and the world will respond to your leadership.
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19)
Aquarius is all about ideas, and you seem to be in rare form. I am often surprised how long it takes for ideas to move from concept to manifestation, as if there is some conspiracy to delay things, or if people seem to need forever to make up their minds about small matters. Anyway, this is clearly the concept stage of one particular game, but if you look closely you will see that there are several other aspects of your life that are at a far more advanced stage of development. Work on both tracks; keep in mind that there is a natural cycle to the development of ideas, though it’s not nearly as predictable as the movements of the Moon or the seasons. But they are just as dependable, even if they are, for the moment, a bit obscure.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
A stunning New Moon and two helpful planets are moving into the financial angle of your solar chart. Therefore, this is the time to focus on resources. Keep a conscious inventory of those things that provide you with wealth or which, of themselves, constitute wealth. Contrary to various mythologies about Pisces being too spiritual for success or too lazy to make it happen, your chart is one of the most astute alignments for the creation and management of financial and material resources. Part of this is because you possess the drive and determination that is necessary to make things happen. Remember this, however: the one quality that makes any of this possible is self-esteem. Focus on feeling good about yourself. Leave behind the notion of failure, or the energy of people who are committed to it. Take a few bold steps this week: the world is waiting for you.