Astrological Predictive Techniques | Primary Directions | 2. Software Calculation

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Primacy of the Ascendant

In the first article of this series, I discussed a little bit about the history and use of primary directions.  One point that I made was on the primacy of the Ascendant.  Other directions are used in Hellenistic and Persian predictive literature, but directions to the Ascendant, and particularly those of the bounds, have an immense primacy in early directions literature that was lost in later eras.

This primacy of the Ascendant was still evident in the Persian period.  In fact, the entire Book III (Distributions) of Abu Ma’shar’s On the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities is devoted to primary directions involving the Ascendant. From his jarbakhtar technique and his look at planets (and Lots and even Twelfth Parts) conjoining or aspecting the Ascendant by primary motion as partners with the jarbakhtar direct everything relative to the Ascendant. There is also an exposition of how to direct the Ascendant through the Indian Ninth Parts and their subdivision into thirds (Abu Ma’shar claimed that this was how the Indians directed the Ascendant, and so he recommended it as an alternative).

Getting Ready

In that first article, I discussed how to roughly estimate directions involving the Ascendant with the use of ascensional times. I also examined how to play with astro-clocking how to calculate directions through the bounds with the free astrological program, Morinus. This is going to be a very short article in which I’m going to show how other primary directions can be found with the Morinus software. We will be adjusting settings in Options->Primary Directions within the program.  First, make sure that The Primary Key is set to Ptolemaic and and the type of direction is only Direct. You can do this in the Tables->Primary Directions settings. Those settings in that section will not change for the reasons noted in the last article.

Basic Settings

Basic settings for looking at aspectual directions will be very much the same as those discussed in the last article.  We’ll just add in the traditional aspects, the points we want to see directed and directed to, and consider a few settings.  Below is how I would look at directions to the Ascendant.

Primary Directions

Significator and Promissors

The Ascendant would be the significator. The significator is a point that we want to stand still relative to the location. Everything else (the promissors) rotate through by primary motion. A promissor and the zodiacal degrees it aspects will arrive at the significator by primary motion.Check as promissors all the planets and other points you might want to direct to it.

Semiarc and Zodiacal without Latitude

Semiarc and Zodiacal without latitude were the standard means of directing until about the 15th century.

Aspects of Significators?

In zodiacal options, the first option should definitely be checked, but the second is more controversial. Traditionally, the second option would not be used. You direct aspects of promissors to the significator, but not vice-versa.  Some may opt to include these though as they also involve primary motion.

The difference between the two pertains to a notion of what aspects what, and from what direction. Ptolemy called these direct and converse. However, they are different from the modern sense of converse directions (modern sense is backwards directions, opposite the primary motion). Basically, if you check the second option then besides looking at when a planet or its aspects direct to the Ascendant, you will also be looking at when a planet directs to a spot in the sky that at birth was occupied by a degree that aspected the natal Ascendant degree. For more on this see the last section of Chapter 1 of Martin Gansten’s 2009 book, Primary Directions: Astrology’s Old Master Technique.

Asc and MC as Promissors?

Look at the third option on the bottom left. There are some arguments for treating the Asc and MC as promissors. However, they were not treated that way traditionally.  In this scenario, the degrees of the Asc and MC move away from the actual Asc and MC by primary motion. Therefore, you are basically treating the natal degrees of the Asc and MC like the planets. These two degrees and all the degrees they aspect arrive at natal positions like the Asc and MC.  In this way, an aspect of the Ascendant degree as promissor can actually be carried to the Ascendant as significator.

I would argue against their use, especially initially. They are very different from directions to an actual angle, but are often confused for them. Unlike a direction of the a planet to the Ascendant, which reflects a planet rising after birth, a direction of the Ascendant’s degree as promissor to a planet as significator, goes from the Ascendant degree up to a planet that has already risen. It has a sense of backwardness to it.  Note that the direction of the Ascendant degree to a planet is not likely to be as significant as the direction of a planet to the Ascendant (eastern horizon).

Secondary Motion of the Moon

The second thing that I’ve highlighted is accounting for the secondary motion of the Moon.  When we use the astro-clocking method we are accounting for secondary motion. Secondary motion is very slight in the few hours following birth for all planets but the Moon.  The technique examines connections made by the planets, especially to angles, after birth, in a natural manner. The hours after birth are symbolic of the lifetime with every 4 minutes of clock time as a year.

It doesn’t appear that secondary motion was accounted for in the traditional technique, especially when ascensional times were used. However, an argument can easily be made for accounting for the secondary motion of the Moon so that directions more accurately reflect the reality in the relevant time after birth.  If you do use this option, then you’ll have to figure out what the three different iterations mean, because I’m not sure. They could pertain to accounting for some combinations of secondary motion, parallax, and refraction that affect lunar positioning.  There is more on this topic of secondary motion in Chapter 7 of Martin Gansten’s aforementioned work, Primary Directions: Astrology’s Old Master Technique.

Adding More Significators

From here, if you want to look at directions to additional signficators, just check their boxes.  As mentioned in the last post, in order to pull up the table of directions just click Tables->Primary Directions, choose only Direct, select the age span, and hit OK.

I would caution against starting with too many significators. Ultimately, you want to stick with a very limited number of significators. After the Asc, expand to the MC, the lights (Sun and Moon), and Lot of Fortune. Directing through the bounds is the most important for the Ascendant and the sect light.

Have fun!

Featured image of Etalon-1 is in the public domain.



Blogger interested in all things astrological, especially Hellenistic, medieval, Uranian, and asteroid astrology.

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