The Twelve Letter Alphabet, sometimes called the twelve “Archetypes,” underlies much of the presentation of planets, signs, and houses in modern Western astrology.  In my view, this has led to the distortion of much of astrology’s fundamental symbolism. Many other astrologers have come to the same conclusion, yet this system persists.
This article, the result of many years of frustration with the conventional presentation of astrology, has as its goal that astrologers question their explicit and implicit use of the Twelve Letter Alphabet.   A case can be made for putting this system away forever, and I attempt to make that case here.  For newer students I’d like this article to be a “patch” to decrease their confusion and help them think things through when they encounter different versions of astrological symbolism.  For more experienced astrologers and astrology teachers, I would like to stimulate some long-overdue conversation.

Rectification of a birth horoscope is the process of using the birth chart and astrological timing methods to test and clarify the true birth time of an individual. Since it might well be considered the Mount Everest or Holy Grail of astrological exercises: very challenging, fraught with errors, a low likelihood of success, and a high chance of failure - why then, attempt it? When no birth time is available or if there are multiple conflicting reports, the rectification exercise resembles the challenge of searching half the Indian Ocean for a missing jetliner. But a successful rectification opens up the possibility of a high degree of accuracy in prediction, particularly if it is based upon a timed-tested tradition.


Over the past few decades, “chaos theory” and “complexity theory” have emerged as new scientific models for understanding chaotic and/or complex systems. Chaos theory has grown out of physics and mathematics. Complexity theory has developed mainly from studying biological and human systems. These theories share a natural alignment with the spirit and practice of astrology, more so than other attempts to use astrology with the concepts of modern science. The current configuration of Uranus and Pluto makes this an auspicious time to discuss chaos and complexity theory with astrologers.

The natal chart for British writer Jane Austen shows Virgo (intellect and analysis) rising at the ascendant making Mercury (planet of the mind) her ascendant sign ruler and overall chart ruler (Astrodatabank).

Ms. Austen’s sign-signature is Gemini (mutable-air) which is also ruled by Mercury. Her sign-signature’s mutable “quality” as well as her air “element” suggests inconsistency. The day after accepting a marriage proposal she informed the gentleman that she recanted[*].