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The Hellenistic technique for finding the professional indicator is the best approach to the astrology of profession that I’ve come across. I’ve explored the technique in a series of articles on profession. In challenges in which one must match a chart with a profession, it is a good guide.
You can find a discussion of the technique, which draws heavily upon the work of Paulus Alexandrinus (4th century CE), in the article: Astrology of Profession or Calling | 1. Technique. Please familiarize yourself with the technique before proceeding.
There are two types of charts that prove very challenging in relation to this technique. Charts where multiple planets are good candidates make it difficult to decide just where someone’s professional focus lies. Those with no planets in one of the 9 most eligible places also make it difficult to find the focal planet.
Bruce Lee’s 12th House Cluster
Bruce Lee (AA-rated time) has a birth chart that presents both problems. On the one hand, none of the three planets of actions are in one of the 9 most eligible places. All three are in Scorpio, the 12th house. Yet, when we look to see if any planets are with Fortune, we find all three of them there, as Fortune is in Scorpio. Therefore, none of the three provide really strong initial testimony, while all three provide testimony through Fortune.
Many Significant Planets
Mars rules Fortune and has bound rulership of the MC so it is significant.
Mercury appears to be even more significant as Mercury rules the MC and 10th place, has the application of the Moon, and rules the bound of Fortune and the Moon, and is actually in that bound with them. Additionally, Mercury left the beams (i.e. is in phasis) and stationed direct within the week before birth.
Venus is the most advancing of the three planets and she has triplicity at the MC and at Fortune.
None of the three planets appears to connect with the Ascendant and 1st house. Jupiter, the Sun, and Saturn have dignity there, while the Sun is in the place, and no other planets regard it. The Sun and Jupiter contribute strongly to the character, and the Sun is significant to profession also.
Dominance of Mars, or Mercury?
Mars (martial arts), Mercury (teaching), and Venus (show business), as well as the Sun (publicity, leadership), all did have relevance to Bruce Lee’s skill development and professional direction. However, what’s missing is the clear indication that Mars is more important than the rest in singling out the dominant factor (martial arts).
One could argue that the fact that all three professional indicators, and two planets important for character (Mercury and the Moon) are ruled by Mars provides that indication. Mars also most closely aspects the ruler of the Ascendant (Jupiter). However, with Mercury ruling the bound of the Moon, Mercury, Fortune, and Jupiter, while ruling the 10th house, it provides similar indications. Mercury is also stronger due to phasis, a station, and the application of the Moon.
In short, I think that the technique as we have it would correctly indicate Mercury, Mars, Venus, and the Sun as relevant for profession, but would incorrectly indicate Mercury as most important.
I have written extensively on the use of the twelfth-parts. The twelfth-parts are a division of the zodiac that is almost as old as the zodiac itself. This division originated in Babylonian astrology and was prevalent in Hellenistic astrology. They are a micro-zodiac in each sign which provide an additional placement for each chart point, like a “secret second chart“.
I recommend the use of twelfth-parts in all types of astrology and all types of chart analysis. Twelfth-parts can even enhance special techniques such as the one for the professional indicator.
Bruce Lee’s Twelfth-Part Chart
When we look at Bruce Lee’s chart with the twelfth-parts, things become clearer. Without the twelfth-parts, it appeared that none of the three action planets connected strongly and directly with the person themselves (Ascendant). Mars, Venus, and Mercury all connected with its ruler (Jupiter) by rulership and aspect, but none connected with the Ascendant itself.
The twelfth-part of Mars puts its position in the 1st house. This connects the significations of Mars strongly to the person’s personal identification, character, and skill. The twelfth-parts of Venus (12th house) and Mercury (6th house) don’t show that additional strong personal connection. This is one of many cases in which the twelth-parts are necessary to provide the crucial missing information.
Bruce Lee Conclusion
We know that there is personal identification with Mars due to its twelfth-part in the 1st, as well as rulership of Mercury and the Moon, and it has the closest aspect to the Ascendant lord (Mars is also the exaltation lord of the lot of Spirit). We can say that this person is personally very invested in fame/publicity/leadership (the Sun), very physical and/or aggressive activities (Mars), and spirituality (Jupiter). This is a choleric personality (Sun-Mars-fire) with an air of joviality (Jupiter rulership).
There is a stress on physical strength or aggression (Mars) in the profession. Communication and analysis are also very strongly emphasized (Mercury) suggesting a teaching component, and this links back to the Mars significations (Mars rules Mercury). The arts (Venus) are also relevant but are linked very strongly to the significations of Mars (Venus is conjunct and ruled by Mars).
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Van Damme is another martial artist and actor for which an AA-rated birth time is available. We won’t look as deeply at Van Damme’s chart but there are some interesting parallels we can quickly observe.
All Action Planets in Eligible Places
Van Damme has all three planets of action in eligible places. Mars is in the 10th so Mars emerges immediately as the best candidate, even prior to looking at twelfth-parts.
However, Mercury and Venus are both also in an eligible place (the 2nd) and Mars has only minor dignity at the MC and 10th house (triplicity), and no dignity at the Ascendant. Venus rules the 1st house and has minor dignity at the MC.
Similarities and Differences with Bruce Lee
As with Bruce Lee, Mercury and Mars are with Fortune and all are in Scorpio, a house of Mars. Significantly, both have the Sun in the first house very near the Ascendant.
Mercury is not as emphasized in Van Damme’s chart and Venus is more emphasized. Van Damme’s career has seen more of a stress on acting and image (Venus) and less on teaching (Mercury).
Beyond the career significator, for personality indications Venus and the Sun are both very significant for self-identification. The Venus component has related to his personal life where womanizing and substance abuse problems have been significant issues at times (note that Venus is in a dark house – the 2nd. rules the 8th, and has her twelfth-part in the 12th).
Van Damme’s Twelfth-Parts
The twelfth-parts of Venus and Mercury are not in eligible places (12th and 9th) while that of Mars is eligible (2nd). This provides another indication for Mars. Additionally, we find the twelfth-parts of the Sun and Moon with Mars, further emphasizing the connection of Mars in the chart with publicity and importance.
Van Damme’s twelfth-part Mars is also conjunct Venus, a parallel with Lee’s Mars-Venus conjunction, emphasizing the art and aesthetics connected with Mars.
The special technique for identifying professional significators can be a messy affair. Not only is it often the case that multiple planets are significant for the person’s main career, but it’s also the case that people often have multiple types of careers, sometimes simultaneously. Twelfth-parts provide some additional valuable insight when working with this technique. As we’ve seen with the lot of Fortune, lots can also provide important information. Hopefully, with timing techniques we can also gain a clearer understanding for important shifts of emphasis that occur in one’s occupational development.