Tag Archives: profections

Traditional Astrology of Death | Elizabeth Taylor

Death is certainly one of the most significant events that will occur in someone’s life.  As someone naturally inclined to great skepticism, I’ve been particularly interested in whether astrological indications are provided at the time of death.  Even before I became interested in traditional astrology, I would spend a lot of time looking at charts of the times of celebrity deaths, looking at transits for some cogent sign of mortal end.  I was primarily focused on techniques from Uranian astrology and Cosmobilogy at that time. Getting into traditional astrology, I deeply researched the techniques given by Robert Zoller in his DMA course, which largely revolved around the techniques of Bonatti (13th century CE), elaborating upon those of Ptolemy (2nd century CE), for predicting length of life.  In my research I went from doubt, to enthusiasm, to renewed doubt about such techniques.

As I researched backward from Bonatti to his sources, the Perso-Arabic astrology that peaked in activity near the end of the first millennium of the common era, I started to get a sense of a greater diversity of opinion existing in the ancient world, as opposed to the increasing homogenization of such techniques in the late Middle Ages.  Finally, reaching back into the earliest surviving strata of horoscopic astrology, Hellenistic astrology, it became clear that there is still a diverse wealth of material on death in need of exploration, testing, syncretization, and refinement through the art.

In this series, I have, so far, worked in broad and general strokes, by and large ignoring some of the more particular special techniques for predicting longevity.  I will continue such a trend with this post on Elizabeth Taylor (a treatment requested by a reader), which will largely follow the same methods of analysis as the posts on Whitney Houston and Donna Summer, though with a couple new angles.

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor was born on February 27th, 1932 at 2:30am in London, England (birth data rated AA for accuracy).  Her chart is pictured below with twelfth-part positions and then again with a few choice lots.

Liz Taylor's Natal Chart with Twelfth-Parts
Liz Taylor’s Natal Chart with Twelfth-Parts
Liz Taylor's Natal Chart with Important Lots
Liz Taylor’s Natal Chart with Important Lots

For those who have followed my series on the professional significator, you will notice that Venus (in the sign Aries and the bound of Mercury, in her Joy, the 5th place of performance and entertainment) is the clear choice for significator as Venus is strongly advancing conjunct an angle (adhering to the IC), is in a succedent house, rules the bound of the Ascendant and closely aspects the Ascendant, rules the sign of the MC, and has triplicity in the 10th (as well as being the ruler of the twelfth-parts of the Ascendant, Sun, Moon, Fortune, Mercury, and Venus).  That Venus is scrutinized by Jupiter adds an additional sense of opportunity and fame to her significations. Venus, goddess of love and beauty, pertains to a profession relating to aesthetics, the arts, and/or entertainment.  You can find some summary biographical info on this noteworthy actress via the Wikipedia entry on her.

As we look at her death, it will be important to first identify some of the more difficult areas of the chart, particularly as they relate to health and the body.  The Ascendant and the Lights, particularly the sect light, are important in terms of health.  Also, Valens noted some important points in Book II, Ch. 41 of his anthology that become relevant for the matter of type of death, including the prenatal syzygy (i.e. the position of the new or full moon preceding the birth), the 7th place and the houses on either side of it, particularly the 8th place, the 8th place from Fortune, and Fortune itself.  The 4th place is also noted as significant with regards to death by Valens and many other authors.

Some of the more difficult configurations include the sect light, the Moon, being in the 12th place, Scorpio, in her fall, squared by Saturn in Aquarius, and ruled by Mars, with a square to Mars as her next application.  This is especially so as the 12th is also the Place of Affliction (or Injury) in the chart, and is the 8th from Fortune, while the Moon additionally rules the 8th House, Cancer, and the Moon’s twelfth-part is in the 6th house of illnesses.  Also, the Sun is with Mars in Pisces, the 4th house.  The prenatal syzygy of the chart is at 2 Virgo, opposed by Mars within a degree.  Additionally, Jupiter rules the Ascendant and in Leo is in opposition to Saturn in Aquarius in the chart. These are the most prominent configurations pertaining to death and bodily harm in the chart.

Planetary Years

Liz Taylor died at age 79, in her 80th year, so we are particularly interested in activations of planets by planetary years which pertain to 79 or 80.

Looking at 79, some activated planetary combinations include Saturn-Sun (30+30+19), Mars-Sun (15+15+15+15+19), Saturn-Mars-Sun (30+15+15+19), Mercury-Sun (20+20+20+19), and Jupiter-Sun (12+12+12+12+12+19).  The Sun and Saturn don’t aspect each other, nor rule each other, so that activation is less signification.  The Mars-Sun activation is particularly significant for our purposes because these two planets are together in the chart and both have particularly relevance for health and death.

Looking at 80, some activated planetary combinations include Mercury (20+20+20+20), Mars-Moon (15+15+25+25), Saturn-Moon (30+25+25),Saturn-Mercury, Mars-Mercury, and so forth.  The lunar activations due bring out the relationships that seem most important.

However, overall we get the sense that planetary years are not as telling in this case due to the fact that there are so many possible combinations activated in these years.  We find the most important configurations related to death activated, but with such a large set of possibilities it becomes difficult to separate out what’s important.

Zodiacal Releasing

Releasing from Fortune was noted by Valens as significant for matters of health.

The four levels of zodiacal releasing from Fortune at the time of death (1:30am on March 23, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA) are:

1. Leo

2. Aries

3. Cancer

4. Cancer

As mentioned in the post on Donna Summer, the emphasis in this regard is on the first two levels, with the lord of the sign of level 1 transmitting to the lord of the sign of level 2.  In this case, what we have is the Sun transmitting to Mars.  This is interesting from the standpoint of a luminary, showing power and vitality, passing off to a malefic, showing harm, but also from the standpoint of activating the Sun-Mars conjunction in the chart.  We then see Mars transmit to the Moon (Aries to Cancer) and the Moon transmit to itself (Cancer to Cancer).  That Cancer is highlighted in the shorter periods around the death is significant, as Cancer is the Place of Death (8th house) in the chart, and Cancer’s ruler is the Moon, which is in the 8th from Fortune.

The Moon-Mars relationship also shows up strongly at the time of death, with the transiting Moon in Scorpio (lunar return) and in partile aspect with transiting Mars.

In conclusion, the zodiacal releasing of the second level, which was from about December 2010 to February 2012 had highlighted a sense of vitality and heart (the Sun rules the heart) undergoing turmoil or violence (Mars), and activating the natal Sun-Mars conjunction.  Moving to the third level, Cancer, which started on March 21st, 2011 (the fourth level thus kicked off with Cancer as well from then until March 25th), we also find an activation of the Moon-Mars relationship, as Mars transmits to the Moon and activates two houses with particular relevance for death (the 8th, Cancer, and the 8th from Fortune, Scorpio).

Distributors

Distributors are important time lords that one finds by directing certain important points through the bounds.  The dis­trib­u­tor is typ­i­cally the bound lord of the directed Ascen­dant (using zodi­a­cal semi-arc non-latitudinal ptolemaic-key pri­mary direc­tions). However,  some Per­sian astrologers used the sect light rather than the Ascen­dant. This parallels the use of the sect light as an alter­na­tive to the Ascen­dant in many Hel­lenis­tic tech­niques, such as for profectional lord of the year. The dis­trib­u­tor is a time lord, but it can give up its rulership or at least share it with, planets actu­ally apply­ing an aspect to the directed point (Ascendant or sect light). Presumably this aspect would have to be within 3 degrees, as that was the defin­i­tive range for appli­ca­tions and sep­a­ra­tions, as dis­tinct from regards, in Hel­lenis­tic astrol­ogy.  In later traditional astrology there was something of an obses­sion with direct hits by pri­mary direc­tion, rather than use of it for time lords, but these time lords or distributors were a key element of traditional primary directions. I touch on some of these issues in my intro­duc­tory post on pri­mary direc­tions (and there’s another post on software cal­cu­la­tion).

Distributors of the Ascendant and Sect Light
Distributors of the Ascendant and Sect Light

At the time of death we find that the bound lord of the directed Ascendant was Jupiter (though the Ascendant had just switched signs into Aries, ruled by Mars) and that of the directed Moon (sect light) was Mars.  You may recall that for Donna Summer also, at the time of death the distributor of the sect light, the Moon, was Mars.  Now let’s look to see if there are any aspectual co-rulers of the distribution.  At the time of death 5 Aries directed over the Ascendant, so there was no aspectual co-distributor for the directed Ascendant.  However, 28 Capricorn passed over the Moon, so Saturn at 1 Aquarius, was applying within 3 degrees and was a co-distributor of the Moon.

In conclusion, the sect light had Mars as distributor and Saturn as co-distributor.  The Ascendant did direct into a new sign, one ruled by Mars, but it had Jupiter as the distributor.  In addition to the obvious importance of activations of the relationship of the Moon to Mars and Saturn, it is the case that Jupiter, lord of the Ascendant, actually does enter prominently into significations at the time of death also, as we’ll see.

Profections and Planetary Months and Days

The annual profection is very interesting for Liz Taylor’s last return.  She turned 79 less than a month prior to her death.  At age 72 the annual profection would have gone back to the 1st house, so at age 79 it would’ve been the 8th house (i.e. 72=1st, 73=2nd, 74=3rd, 75=4th, 76=5th, 77=6th, 78=7th, 79=8th).  The 8th house, which is also known as the Place of Death, is the sign Cancer in her chart, which is the house of the Moon.  You’ll recall that the Moon, herself, is located in Scorpio, in the 12th House, which is that of the Bad Spirit, and in her case is also the Place of Affliction and Injury and the 8th Place from Fortune (another place of death). Therefore, the Moon is the lord of the year, making her a particularly important planet to look at in regards to the most significant events of the year.

The two most common methods of assigning days also highlight the Moon.  In monthly profections, the first month after the solar return (i.e. “birthday”) goes to the sign of the annual profection, which is in this case Cancer, so the Moon would be the lord of the month also.  Also, in planetary days, one starts with the lord of the year, giving each of the 7 planets, in the order in which they appear in the chart (via zodiacal order).  The Moon gets 70 5/6 planetary days, so the Moon would be the ruler of days still at the time of Taylor’s death.  You will also recall above from the discussion of zodiacal releasing that the Moon became the most important time lord pertaining to physical health matters for the month and group of days in which Taylor died.  Clearly, in terms of profections, day lords, and releasing for health, the spotlight is on the Moon at the time of Taylor’s death.  

Valens-Style Profections

I dis­cussed Valens-Style pro­fec­tions in a past post you can read here.  As men­tioned there, in addi­tion to pro­fec­tion of the Ascen­dant, the pro­fec­tion of the Moon was par­tic­u­larly impor­tant for mat­ters of the body.

In Taylor’s case, the Moon pro­fects to Gemini, the 7th House, which is empty, so it is a case of the Moon trans­mit­ting to Mercury.  The 7th itself carries some significance for matters of death (place of setting), while Mercury is in the 4th, which also carries such significations (place of anti-culmination, endings, and the earth).  Mercury is cazimi the Sun and is with Mars.

While overall, the emphasis has been on the Moon, we see that Mercury may also have some special significance in terms of matters of the body.

It should be noted that because the Moon is in the 8th from Fortune, Fortune itself transmits to the Moon in her last year.

Solar Return

Liz Taylor’s final solar return is shown below (non-precessed, 2011 solar return).

Liz Taylor's 2011 Solar Return (non-precessed)
Liz Taylor’s 2011 Solar Return (non-precessed)

We had determined that the main planet to watch is the Moon, and that Mercury may be of some lesser importance.  Also, by distribution, we may want to take a look at the malefics and Jupiter.

The Moon in the return is in Sagittarius, which is the 1st house of the natal chart, pertaining to the body and self.  The Moon in the 1st is particularly significant of the body, as the Moon herself tends to signify the body, so such signification is reinforced.  For instance, in the electional astrology of Dorotheus he recommends that the Moon be strong, such as in the 1st or in the 10th, but advises not to put her in the 1st if she is afflicted by malefic as she could signify bodily harm.  The Moon is in the house of Jupiter, but is in the bound of Saturn.  The Moon most closely aspects Saturn and her connections are from a separation with Saturn to an application with Mars, so she moves from malefic to malefic which is a particularly difficult transmission.

Mercury and Mars are also strongly in their planetary returns for the 2011 solar return.  Each one is only about a degree from its natal position, while simply being in the same sign as its natal sign would be considered a planetary return.  Jupiter which is the lord of the natal Ascendant and the lord of the solar return Moon, is opposing Saturn, echoing the natal Jupiter-Saturn opposition.

Liz Taylor's 2011 Solar Return (non-precessed) as transit along outer wheel of natal chart
Liz Taylor’s 2011 Solar Return (non-precessed) as transit along outer wheel of natal chart

Looking at the solar return as a set of transits, there are the 2 planetary returns in Pisces (the 4th house) that stand out, but also the conjunction of solar return Saturn to the natal midheaven and its opposition to natal Venus.  We’ll see all of these factors really pop out at the time of death.

Transits at Time of Death

The time of death is given in a news report as 1:28am on March 23, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  The chart of the time of death is below.

Transits at Time of Death - Liz Taylor
Transits at Time of Death – Liz Taylor

We are fortunate to have the exact time of death, as there are many striking features about this specific time.  For one, it is 22 Sagittarius rising.  This is not only Taylor’s rising sign rising but 22 Sagittarius is also the very degree held by the Moon at the solar return.  Meanwhile, the Moon was in Scorpio, the sign it holds natally, so this is a lunar return, and the Moon is aspecting her ruler Mars to the degree.  Therefore, the natal Moon-Mars relationship is popping at the time of death also.  In fact, the death even occurs on a Mars day and at a Moon hour.  In astrology the new day starts at sunrise, so it is still astrologically Tuesday, rather than Wednesday, and Tuesday is the day of Mars, as well as being the very same day of her exact lunar return. Transiting Mars is at 22 Pisces, square to the solar return Moon and the death Ascendant to the degree.  On a side note it is also interesting that the Lot of Boldness (noted as “COLD” on the chart), which pertains to actions without feeling or empathy, had its daily transit over her natal Moon (15 Scorpio) at the time of death.

There is a transiting Jupiter-Saturn opposition that is applying very strongly (within 2 degrees) which is also in focus at the time of death.  Saturn is culminating at 14 Libra (the natal MC degree) opposed to Jupiter anti-culminating at 13 Aries.  While transiting Jupiter is very strongly opposed by transiting Saturn, it is also the case that the transiting Sun and Mercury are in opposition to this Saturn which is the most prominent planet at the time of death and is itself the planet that signifies death.

As a set of transits, the lunar return and the alignment of the transiting Jupiter-Saturn opposition with the natal IC-MC are the most striking features of the time of death.

Lots | A Lot for Evil: The Hellenistic Lot of Affliction, Injury, and Crisis

With this having been established, it is necessary to prove by experience <the effectiveness of> still another place which I will demonstrate most abundantly: this is the Crisis-Producing Place, the place causative of terrors, dangers, and chains. Consequently this place is strong; (Vettius Valens, Anthologies, Book V, Ch. 1, Riley trans., 2010, p. 95)

The Lot of Affliction

In my last post I provided a very thorough introduction to the lots, using the four principal lots to which Vettius Valens attributed particularly special importance.  I recommend reading, or at least skimming, that article before proceeding.

In that last article I focused on the most important four lots in the chart, which pertain to two polarities.  There is the more static polarity of physical (Fortune) condition vs. “spiritual”/abstract (Spirit) condition, and the more dynamic polarity of attractive interpersonal matters (Love) vs. adversarial interpersonal matters (Necessity). I also touched on the rationale of the lots, namely that there is a metaphorical sense of moving from the significations of the starting planet to those of the ending planet.

While those 4 lots are the most important, there is a fifth lot that I also consider to be exceptionally important.  Together with the four lots previously discussed, these five lots represent what I feel are the five most indispensable lots in ancient astrological literature.  In other words, if you use only 5 lots, use these!

The fifth lot is the most sinister lot you can construct out of two classical planets, and it is mentioned by many ancient sources and given various names.  It is referred to as the Lot of Injury or Chronic Illness by Dorotheus of the 1st century CE (Carmen Astrologicum, Book IV, Ch. 1, #75), the place producing crises and accusations by Valens of the 2nd century CE (Anthology, Book V, Ch. 1), and the house of affliction and illness by Maternus of the 4th century CE (Mathesis, Book VI, Ch. 32, #40).

Think back to the rationale discussed earlier for the lots.  When constructing this lot, we use the same rationale.  In this case we have a metaphor for things going from bad to worse, from the sect malefic to the out-of-sect malefic (projected from the Ascendant).  Therefore, for one born during the day the lot is the distance from Saturn (the more benign malefic by day as it is of the diurnal sect) to Mars  (the more aggravating malefic by day because it is nocturnal), then projected from the Ascendant. It is reversed for night charts (those with the Sun below the horizon), such that you take the distance from Saturn to Mars and then project that from the Ascendant.

Valens describes the interpretation of the lot at great length in the beginning of Book V of the Anthology.  He connects it chiefly with imprisonment and servitude, whether social, such as incarceration, or physical, such as a debilitating illness.  Even mental afflictions, such as anxieties and a bad conscience, and social afflictions, like betrayal, are possible under this lot.  When eased by the influence of benefics it may still show burdensome obligations, such as heavy debts, military service, required attendance with something one loathes (e.g. mandatory community service), and so forth.  In any sense this lot signifies the most undesirable states of affairs.  I will refer to this lot as the Lot of Affliction.

Usage in Predicting Crises

There is first a general natal analysis concerning this place of Affliction (these analytical guidelines are from Valens).  If it is ruled by, occupied by, or strongly aspected by a malefic, then that shows vulnerability to afflictions signified by the influential planet and/or sign, while benefic influences serve as alleviation or escape.

Additionally, Valens combines this with another type analysis that signals general vulnerability to crises.  When the Sun and/or Moon are in a whole sign sextile to Mars and/or Saturn it signifies vulnerability to crises in the life.  This is intensified if the sextile is within 70 degrees and/or between the hearing signs. Presumably a greater number of sextile configurations there are between the Lights and the malefics shows more potential for crises.

Prediction of when the crisis will occur is made by using various chronocrator techniques which are discussed in Book IV of Valens.  Danger is shown when a Light (i.e. the Sun or Moon) transmits to a malefic (i.e. Mars or Saturn) or a malefic to a Light.  When it comes to the yearly chronocratorship (i.e. Valens-style profections), then the way I understand Valens is that the period of crisis is indicated when a malefic transmits to a light or a light to a malefic.  For instance, in terms of annual profections this occurs when the Sign occupied by the Sun in the chart profects to a sign ruled by Mars or Saturn (transmission typically occurs either when one planet profects to the place occupied by the other planet, or when it profects to an empty place ruled by the other planet; but in this analysis Valens emphasizes the ruler).  Again, when doing these chronocratorships, the influence of the benefics in the place or in strong aspect provides alleviation or escape.  The worst, most full-blown crises occur when a greater chronocratorship and an annual one of this sort (i.e. Light-to-malefic or malefic-to-Light) occur at the same time.

While in profections the transmission is from the natal to the ruler of the profection destination, in chronocrator (time lord) techniques of Valens the transmitter is the time lord of the larger period and the transmission is to the time lord of the smaller period. For instance, if a planet ruling the year is the Sun, while the one ruling the month is Mars, then it is a transmission of the Sun to Mars.

Effect of Basis

Nativities with a very strong “basis” (great personal strength and leadership) and those sets of such difficult chronocratorships that have benefics influencing matters tend toward more social or figurative crises, or to tending to prisoners and so forth (in a similar vein I’ve noticed this type of thing when people have activations of benefics in bad places, where one deals with those who are afflicted and is not necessarily afflicted oneself).  If there is not significant basis signified, then the crisis is likely to be more difficult.

Natal Lot of Affliction Examples

Dahmer’s tight conjunction of the lots of Affliction and Love is interesting, particularly as it is ruled by Saturn, and with both Saturn and Jupiter, two planets which Dahmer identified with (both have dignity at the Ascendant).  Both lots are very closely square to Dahmer’s Mars also (especially the Lot of Affliction which Mars aspects within 2 degrees).  Dahmer started relationships with his victims before he would torture, kill, mutilate, and eat them.  His first killing was impulsive and due to a desire to sleep with a hitchhiker he had picked up.  That killing occurred during an annual profection of his Ascendant to his Moon-Mars conjunction in the 7th, ruled by Mars.  He did not kill again until 9 years later, at age 27, kicking off sporadic serial killings that year, with the annual profection of his Ascendant to the 4th, the place of Affliction (and the Lot of Love), ruled by (and occupied by) Saturn, and squared by Mars and the Moon. The fact that the serial killing started in the year of the annual profection to the place of both the lot of affliction, and the lot of love, with both lots strongly linked with each other, is very illustrative, as he has admitted in interviews that renewed intense desires that were awoken in him at this time inspired the killings.

Dahmer's Natal Chart with Lots
Dahmer’s Natal Chart with Lots

David Carradine’s Lot of Affliction was in the 8th house, in Libra, ruled by Venus, adhering to Carradine’s Mars and with his Moon also (Mars-Moon conjunctions can carry significance related to bodily harm).

Carradine's Natal Chart with Lots
Carradine’s Natal Chart with Lots

Prediction Example

In this prediction example I’m going employ a few predictive techniques discussed by Valens that I have not previously introduced on the blog.  Here I will keep my explanation of the techniques rather short so I can focus on the relevance of Affliction.  These techniques will be explained in some future posts.

General Vulnerability in the Natal Chart

The chart of an Anonymous friend is provided below for examination (CTRL+Click to enlarge in a new tab).

Anonymous

Notice that the chart has the Sun above the horizon, so Saturn is in sect and Mars is out of sect.  The distance from Saturn to Mars is about 91.5 degrees in the zodiacal order.  Adding that to the Ascendant of just under 4 degrees Aquarius brings us to 5 degrees Taurus.

Affliction is not in very bad condition in this natal chart.  It is ruled by Venus and in the bound of Venus.  There are no malefics located in the place, opposing it, or squaring it.  Saturn doesn’t even regard the place, and Mars does not scrutinize the lot, though Mars almost does, as Mars is in a superior trine to the lot which is just over 4 degrees from perfect (within 3 would be scrutinizing).  So for the most part we don’t read a major affliction into the lot, but if we were going to describe a particularly vulnerable area it would probably pertain to Taurus, Venus, and the 4th house, so we might expect that matters pertaining to the home, family, and particularly significant women could take on special significance.

However, the other sign of vulnerability is very apparent.  The Moon is in a scrutinizing sextile with Mars, while the Sun is also in a pretty close sextile to Saturn.  Hearing signs are not involved but these are pretty close sextiles and each Light is in such a configuration.  However, this situation is at least alleviated by the fact that the Moon is in close conjunction with the benefic Venus and Saturn is in close conjunction with the benefic Jupiter, therefore the benefics have a very strong alleviating impact on these promises of affliction.

At age 27, a string of unfortunate events happened to the native.  His spouse intentionally blew the family savings and maxed out the credit cards as a personal attack, he got divorced ending a 10 year relationship, he slowly went out of business due to lack of work caused by a major global financial crisis, he lost both a mortgaged home as well as a rental, and moved back to his parents home with his 2 children after having been independent for the prior 8 years.  You will notice that many of these themes (aggression from women, marital problems, family, real estate) relate very directly to the place of Affliction and its primary associations with Venus and the 4th place.

Timing: Major Period by the Quarters Technique

Now, let’s look at the predictive techniques. One predictive technique that Valens discussed right at the beginning of Book IV, and then returned to at the end of Book IV, utilizes the 1/4 values of the minor years of the planets, so I have personally called it Valens Quarters or just the Quarters.

There is a major and a minor period.  The major period begins with the first planet after (in zodiacal order) the point of the prenatal syzygy (New or Full Moon most nearly preceding the birth) in the chart in zodiacal order.  For instance, in our example chart the Moon is waning so it was a Full Moon that preceded the birth.  That Full Moon, or prenatal syzygy, was located at 0 Gemini.  The first planet that one encounters moving from 0 Gemini up through the zodiac in order is Jupiter at 6 Libra, and if we continue then it would be Saturn, and then the Moon, and so forth.  Therefore, Jupiter gets the first major period, ruling for a quarter of its minor years (12), which is 3 years, then Saturn for 7.5 years (i.e. until age 10.5), then the Moon for 6.25 years (i.e. until age 16.75), then Venus for 2 years (i.e. until age 18.75), then Mercury for 5 years (i.e. until age 23.75), then the Sun for 4.75 years (i.e. until age 28.5).

The events under consideration occurred while the native was 27 years old, in the middle of the native’s 28th year, so the Sun ruled the major period.

Timing: Minor Period by the Quarters Technique

To find the minor period in the Quarters technique we start with the ruler of the major period and we take the days of the planets (I’ve addressed them previously here), multiplying them by the length of the period in years to determine the number of days for each planet, with the rulership again passing in zodiacal order around the chart.  At the end of Book IV Valens provides convenient tables with the amount of days each planet gets under each period.  The Sun minor period started when the native was age 23.75 and ended when the native was 28.5, with the event occurring when the native was 27.5.  It will be easier to work backwards, one year from the end of the major period, knowing that Mercury would be the last planet in sequence by zodiacal order.  During a solar major period Mercury gets just over 269 days, this is less than a year and the major event took place over the last couple days in May thru June 1st, so we need to go a whole year back.  Prior to Mercury is Venus for almost 108 days.  That period will be inclusive of the days in question.  Therefore, the minor period at the time of the event was that of Venus.

In this case the period of crisis does not fall under a major time lord period in which the a Light transmitted to a malefic (nor vice-versa) as Valens instructed.  Here we have the Sun transmitting to Venus.

Zodiacal Releasing

Zodiacal Releasing also involves a transmitter and a receiver, the ruler of the sign of the Level 1 releasing transmits to the ruler of the sign of the Level 2 releasing (you can also do this for Level 2 lord transmitting to Level 3 lord, and Level 3 lord transmitting to Level 4 lord).  Interestingly, in his discussion of these transmissions Valens identifies those of Lights transmitting to malefics as particularly bad, but those of malefics transmitting to Lights as good (contradictory to some interpretive guidelines he provides in Book V).

Looking at releasing from Fortune, for Level 1 we start with Fortune’s natal sign, Capricorn, which gets 27 years (typically the minor years of the planetary ruler, but Capricorn is an exception at 27 – note: these are Egyptian 360 day years).  We would expect that Level 1 moved into Aquarius shortly before this happened, which is the case.  The first Level 2 period in Aquarius would last for 30 months (note: these are 1/12 the Egyptian 360 day year, so they are exactly 30 day months).  Therefore, both Level 1 and Level 2 were Aquarius for the releasing of Fortune, signifying a transmission from Saturn to Saturn. Taking things down to Level 3 and Level 4 for the actual set of a few days in which the financial attacks by the spouse were discovered, the spouse requested a divorce, and the native moved back with family, gives us Leo for L3 and Aquarius for L4.  Therefore, a more complete picture of those days is Saturn transmitting to Saturn (L1 to L2), which transmitted to the Sun (L3), which transmitted to Saturn (L4).

Looking at releasing from Spirit, for Level 1 we start with Spirit’s natal sign, Pisces, ruled by Jupiter which gets 12 years, then the next sign, Aries, and its ruler, Mars, which gets 15 years.  Therefore, at about age 27 Level 1 Spirit moves to Taurus, ruled by Venus, where it would be for the next 8 years.  This is interesting given that Taurus is the place of Affliction and Spirit refers to professional and social changes, which in this case were beset with crises.  Still, Level 1 is neither a Light nor a malefic.  Level 2 also changed to Gemini, ruled by Mercury, just before things went downhill fast.  Therefore the transmission is from Venus to Mercury. For the tumultuous days, L3 for Spirit was Cancer, ruled by the Moon, and L4 was Aquarius, ruled by Saturn.  So the transmission was Venus (L1) to Mercury (L2), to the Moon (L3), to Saturn (L4).  This intensifies the sense of a Light to a malefic, not for the greater periods but for that short set of about 3 days.

Profections

Finally, we want to examine the annual profections, paying special attention to those of the Lights and the malefics.  First, it is best to look at the profection of the Ascendant, which is typically used to establish the Lord of the Year and the activated sign.  At age 27 everything profects to the 4th house from itself, so the annual profection of the Ascendant was interestingly to Taurus, the 4th place, the place of Affliction, ruled by Venus.

As we noted earlier, when looking at profections of the Lights and malefics in this technique we are particularly interested in transmission by rulership.  The Sun profects to Pisces, so it transmits to Jupiter.  Mars profects to Aries, so it transmits to itself.  Saturn transmits to Capricorn, so it also transmits to itself.  The Moon, however, profects to Aquarius, so it transmits to Saturn.  Therefore, the crisis did occur during a time when a Light made an annual transmission to a malefic by rulership.

Predictive Summary

Let’s recap the predictive technique findings:

  1. Quarters: Sun transmits to Venus
  2. Annual profections: Ascendant transmits to Affliction (and Venus).
  3. Annual profections: Moon and Venus transmit to Saturn.
  4. Months Fortune releasing: Saturn transmits to the Sun.
  5. Days Fortune releasing: The Sun transmits to Saturn.
  6. Days Spirit releasing: The Moon transmits to Saturn.
  7. Additionally the Moon was transiting in Taurus, the place of Affliction, during the most pivotal two and a half days of the crisis period.

While this is just a single example, we can see that Affliction merits further exploration, as does the special technique which Valens provided for evaluating and timing periods of substantial crisis and hardship.

Conclusion

Affliction or Injury is an interesting lot because it brings the topic of misfortune to a place in the natal chart where you might not have expected it.  It’s a very important addition to an astrologer’s arsenal of lots which should not be overlooked.  Valens has provided interesting and unique insights into how one may use the lot of affliction with predictive factors to forecast periods of great hardship or general malevolence.  I hope you’ll take up the ongoing work of researching these lots and techniques by putting them on your charts.

 

References

Valens, V. (2010). Anthologies. (M. Riley, Trans.) (Online PDF.). World Wide Web: Mark Riley. Retrieved from http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/Vettius%20Valens%20entire.pdf

Lots | Introducing the Four Principal Lots

The operative and effective signs are the Ascendant, MC, <the XI Place of the> Good Daimon, <the V Place of> Good Fortune, the Lot of Fortune, Daimon, Love, Necessity. Signs of moderate activity are <the IX Place of> the God, <the III Place of> the Goddess, and the other two angles. The rest of the signs are mediocre or bad. (Vettius Valens, Anthologies, Book IV, Ch. 11, Riley trans., 2010, p. 79)

It is also necessary to count from the Lot of Fortune, from Daimon, from Love, and from Necessity, for it is from these points that the critical illnesses, benefactions, and dangers are apprehended. (Vettius Valens, Anthologies, Book IV, Ch. 11, Riley trans., 2010, p. 78)

Topics from Lots

The Hellenistic Lots are, much like the houses, an ancient technique of attributing special topical significance to signs, places, of the astrological chart. Today they are often called Arabic Parts because there were misunderstandings in late traditional astrology in which it was assumed that all of the lots, aside from Fortune, did not exist in the Hellenistic period but were invented by the Arabs.

Houses are based upon the “accident” of the Ascendant, numbering the signs beginning with the Ascending sign and attributing special topics to each ordinal place.  The lots also tend to rely upon the Ascendant as an anchor (i.e. birth time is critical), with a locus of topical significance, called the “lot”, being the distance from one important planet or point to another as projected from the point of the Ascendant. The lots are not used instead of the houses but rather in addition to them, tying a place to additional topical significations.

To illustrate, the most famous lot, the Lot of the Moon, also called Fortune, has special significance for chance circumstances that relate to the body and things of a physical or substantial nature in general.  To find the place with this significance in someone’s chart you take the distance from the sect light to the non-sect light and project it from the Ascendant, noting the degree and place where it lands.

I show this below with Fortune in the 14th Dalai Lama’s chart.  Fortune is typically pictured as a circle with an X inside it, a treasure map reference, though Fortune’s connection with wealth is somewhat over-stated in astrology today, due to the central meaning evoked by its name (I’ll address Fortune’s meaning at more length below).  We find the distance from the sect light to the non-sect light, and then project the same distance, in the same direction, from the Ascendant, placing our marker of the lot at that point.  In this case, Fortune falls in Taurus, the 11th place, at 10 Taurus, ruled by Venus and in the bound of Mercury.

Dalai Lama's Lot of the Moon (CTRL+Click to Enlarge)
Dalai Lama’s Lot of the Moon (CTRL+Click to Enlarge)

Four Principal Lots?

There are four lots that are particularly important beyond all others for signifying general and very important topics in the life.  They mark out 4 places in the chart that Vettius Valens, a critically important prolific second century astrologer, considered “active” and important simply by virtue of having one of these lots in them.

In Chapter 16 of Book II of The Anthology, Valens gives 9 special topical names to certain places of the chart.  These places are largely identified by houses, but 4 lots are used as well, showing that Valens assigned a particularly special significance to these 4 lots in the chart.  Of many lots used by Valens, only these 4 lots seem to be used by Valens to identify places on a par with the primary 12 houses in terms of importance.

In Book IV of The Anthology, Valens discussed profections.  In that discussion there are only 4 lots which he profects around the chart (see introductory quote).  In fact, Valens sets aside an entire chapter of Book IV, Chapter 25, “The Distributions of the Four Lots”, to provide more details about the significance of the annual profections of these four lots.

These lots present the poles of two significant topical polarities in life.  First, there is a polarity between that which befalls us on a physical level, from body to accidents to children, and that which befalls us on a more abstract level, from mind to social relations to spirituality.  Secondly, there is that inimitable polarity so dear to Heraclitus, of Love and Strife; harmonious constructive alliance pushing things together versus dissonant destructive divisiveness pulling things apart.

These four lots are derived from the locations of the Lights, the most powerful planets (the Sun and Moon) of the chart.  The most important lots, Fortune and Spirit, are projections of the distance between the Lights, while the other two, Love and Necessity, are projections of the distance between Fortune and Spirit.  This is something of a testimony to the power and general importance attributed to the Lights in Hellenistic astrology.

Formulas and Rationale

Chris Brennan (2010), in his paper, “The Theoretical Rationale Underlying the Seven Hermetic Lots“, has, with great clarity, discussed the evidence of a rationale underlying the way the lots are constructed.  Fourth century astrologer Paulus Alexandrinus named seven lots which corresponded to planets, known as the “Seven Hermetic Lots of the Planets”, which included Fortune and Spirit for the Lights (Note: The Lot of Venus is called “Love” by Paulus and that of Mercury is called “Necessity” but Paulus refers to different lots with different formulae than the Lots of Love and Necessity discussed by Valens which are explored here.) Brennan (2010), focused on these planetary lots but the patterns he explored are relevant to understanding the rationale behind many lots used in Hellenistic astrology, not just the planetary lots.

Let’s briefly discuss the construction of the Seven Hermetic Lots, referencing Brennan’s paper (please take a look at that paper before proceeding).  All seven of the Lots of the Planets include the planet of the correspondence in the calculation.  However, the planet’s placement in the formula depends upon sect and benefic/malefic status.  For instance, the Lot of the Sun is the lot commonly called Spirit or Daimon.  It is calculated from the non-sect Light to the sect Light, i.e. from the less active and influential Light to the more active and influential Light (with this distance then projected from the Ascendant).  This is the opposite of the Lot of the Moon, commonly known as Fortune, which is calculated from the sect Light to the non-sect Light, i.e. from the more active to the less active Light.

The lots of the other 5 planets also display an interesting rationale.  Brennan (2010) explained that the lots of the benefic planets involve the distance between the corresponding planet and the Lot of the Sun, while those of the malefic planets (and Mercury) involve the distance between the corresponding planet and the Lot of the Moon.  If the birth sect is the same as that of the lot of the Light involved in the formula, then the formula goes from the lot to the planet, but if of the opposite sect then it is from the planet to the lot.  For instance, the Lot of Venus by day would be the distance from the Lot of the Sun (Spirit) to Venus, projected from the Ascendant, while the Lot of Saturn, which involves the nocturnal Lot of the Moon (Fortune) because Saturn is a malefic, would by day be the distance from Saturn to the Lot of the Moon (projected from the Ascendant), and by night be the distance from Fortune to Saturn (projected from the Ascendant).

If I am interpreting his conclusions rightly, Brennan (2010) came to think of this in terms of the “from” planet emitting that which the “to” planet receives, and thus for the sect of the chart to make the lot of the sect Light more active and that of the other Light more passive in interpretation, i.e. by night, Spirit might show more passive intellectual and social chance circumstances, but Fortune more active chance physical circumstances.  In contrast, by day, Spirit would show more active intellectual and social chance circumstances and Fortune more passive physical circumstances.

For me, there are three important takeaway lessons from Brennan’s paper and the lot formulae.  First, the Sun is more associated with the benefics and the ideal, or the “light of clarity”, while Moon is more associated with the malefics and passive circumstance.  This is shown by the Lot of the Sun being that which reaches toward the dominant Light (sect) while that of the Moon toward the more inactive Light (non-sect), and the use of the Lot of the Sun with benefic lot formulae and that of the Moon with malefic lot formulae.  Secondly, from the interpretations given for the lots, that of the Sun refers to more abstract mental and social phenomena while that of the Moon to more physical phenomena.  Thirdly, there is a sense in which the lots themselves are sort of like transmissions, from the significations of the starting point toward the significations of the ending point (prior to the projection from the Ascendant), such that the planet one moves toward has a greater sense of finality or importance.

Significance of Fortune and Spirit

This principle of abstraction vs. tangibility is reflected in the common names for the lots of the Lights, Fortune and Spirit.  The Ancient Greek term for Fortune, “tuche”, referred to more passive chance happenstance, while that for Spirit, “daemon”, referred to things brought about by spiritual machination.

These same terms pertain to the four houses of the natal chart which are the joys of the 2 benefic and 2 malefic planets.  The diurnal planets have their joys above the horizon, those of the nocturnal planets below the horizon (and Mercury at the horizon, i.e. the 1st house).  The Joy of the diurnal benefic, Jupiter, is the 11th House, also called “Good Spirit”, while the Joy of the diurnal malefic, Saturn, is the 12th House, also called “Bad Spirit”.  Good Spirit (the 11th or Joy of Jupiter), pertains to friendship and other generally beneficial social and mental phenomena.  Bad Spirit (the 12th or Joy of Saturn), pertains to betrayal, enmity, and other generally challenging social and mental phenomena.  Opposite those two houses are those of their nocturnal counterparts, the 5th which is the Joy of Venus, also called Good Fortune, and the 6th which is the Joy of Mars, also called Bad Fortune.  These “nocturnal” Joys are more associated with passive physical phenomena, pleasant and productive in the case of the 5th (Good Fortune) signifying children and pleasure, while challenging in the case of the 6th (Bad Fortune) signifying illness, accidents, and slavery.

Now let’s look at what Valens says about the significance of the Lots of Spirit and Fortune, considering how they compare with the Spirit and Fortune house meanings.

For the reason mentioned above, the Lot of Fortune and Daimon have great influence on undertakings and their outcomes. The former gives information about matters concerning the body and concerning the work of hands. Daimon and its ruler give information about spiritual and intellectual matters and about the activities of giving and receiving. It will be necessary to examine the places and the signs in which their houserulers are located and to correlate their natures, in order to learn the type of activity and fortune and the quality of activity <to be expected>.  (Valens, Anthologies, Book II, Ch. 20, Riley trans., 2010, p. 35)

Interestingly, the 11th from Fortune, being the Good Spirit relative to physical happenstance, is called by Valens, “… the Place of Accomplishment, the bestower of property and goods, especially if benefics are in this place or in aspect” (Valens, Anthologies, Book II, Ch. 21, Riley trans., 2010, p. 35).  Thus it becomes possible to derive an interpretation in which good social activity relative to physical happenstance means circumstances in life in which tangible gifts are conferred to the native, allowing us to analyze themes that may coincide with some prominent occasions of such circumstances in the life.

There is a specific predictive technique employed by Valens which today is commonly referred to as Zodiacal Releasing, in which the Lots of Spirit and Fortune are the primary points which are moved around the chart in what is called a circumambulation to establish time lords related specifically to physical circumstances or accomplishments (releasing from Fortune) and mental or social circumstances or accomplishments (releasing from Spirit).  Let’s look at what Valens had to say about the significance of releasing from Fortune versus that from Spirit.

So, if we are investigating the chronocratorships with respect to bodily existence, such as critical points of illnesses, hemorrhages, falls, injuries, diseases, and whatever effects the body with respect to strength, enjoyment, pleasure, beauty, or love affairs, then we must begin the vital sector with the Lot of Fortune. (Valens, Book IV, Ch. 4, Riley trans., 2010, p. 71-72)

If on the other hand we are investigating employment or rank, then we will begin the chronocratorships with Daimon as the apheta. (Valens, Book IV, Ch. 4, Riley trans., 2010, p. 72)

Similarly, Valens in his delineations of various Spirit configurations of Zodiacal Releasing associates the times when Spirit comes under malefic influence with mental instability and professional overturn, even identifying the significance of the element of the sign occupied by the released Spirit’s ruler in the natal chart; fire showing nervous breakdown and acting against one’s will, air showing distraction and worry, etc.

When looking at profections of Spirit and Fortune in Book IV, Valens considers that one’s work may become more physically involved if more planets become associated with Fortune than Spirit, while more mentally involved when more planets incline toward Spirit.

Thus we have grasped the key polarity of the first pair of principal lots, that of the active, ideal, social rank, and mind associated with Spirit, the Sun, the diurnal sect, and the houses above the horizon versus that of the passive, mundane, tangibility, and body associated with Fortune, the Moon, the nocturnal sect, and the houses below the horizon.

Let’s look at Spirit and Fortune in the chart of the current Dalai Lama to work with our understanding of their significations in delineation.  We want to pay particular attention to the ruler, planets in the place, and planets in the stakes of the place (the 10th, 7th, and 4th places from the place – those that oppose or square the place).

Dalai Lama's Lot of the Moon (CTRL+Click to Enlarge)
Dalai Lama’s Lot of the Moon (CTRL+Click to Enlarge)

For the Dalai Lama we find Fortune in the 11th, the place of the Good Spirit, in Taurus, ruled by the sect benefic Venus.  The place is empty though it has Jupiter and Venus in its stakes (Jupiter actually scrutinizing the lot), so there is overall indications of general good health and enjoyable physical circumstances.  Additionally, Fortune is closely aspected (i.e. within 3 degrees) by both Lights, Jupiter, and Saturn, connecting it particularly with loftiness, power, and administration. Where Fortune has difficult potential is in the close overcoming sextile from Saturn, the out of sect malefic, in the 9th of travel and religion.

Spirit is in the 3rd House, Goddess, the Joy of the Moon, in Virgo ruled by Mercury, and in the bound of Mercury, while with the Moon in the place and dominated by Mercury (Mercury is in the stake that is in a superior square) and opposed by Saturn.  The overall indications for intellectual, professional, and social circumstances are that there is a great deal of communication (Mercury, 3rd), analysis (Mercury), congregation (Moon), and frequent travel (Moon, Mercury, 3rd).  The fact that the sect Light is with Spirit and in its Joy suggests particular importance and power associated with the professional and intellectual affairs.  Saturn again showing a potential challenge in this area through its opposition.

Remember in the Valens quote above that in Zodiacal Releasing Fortune is used primarily for physical pleasures and ailments while Spirit is used primarily for social/professional peaks and valleys.  For the Dalai Lama we are particularly interested in profections to and from Spirit and releasing from Spirit, as we know less about health crises and pleasures in his life.  For instance, the Dalai Lama was recognized at Age 2, which is significant as the year in which the Ascendant (self) profected to the 3rd place, occupied by both Spirit and the sect light (the Moon), showing a very pivotal time for personal prominence.  Additionally, at that time, Spirit and the Moon (i.e. 3rd house) profected to Jupiter in the house of Good Fortune (the 5th), while Fortune profected to the Sun in the 1st House of the self and identity.  Therefore, many profections signalling prominence and loftiness of station occur at age 2 when the 14th Dalai Lama was recognized as the incarnation of the previous Dalai Lama.

Love and Necessity Formulae

Now let’s look at the other two principal lots, Love and Necessity.  There has actually been some confusion as to how to calculate these two lots.  Some translations of Valens leave out a marginal note in the original Greek in which Valens (2nd century CE) provided instruction in calculating the lots.  Furthermore, the 4th century Roman astrologer Julius Firmicus Maternus gave the opposite formulae for the lots as Valens.  However, I have been assured by Chris Brennan that the Valens calculations are in the original Greek, and thus are the older source.  Additionally, the Valens calculations are consistent with the rationale discussed above, while the Maternus ones are not.

Valens gave the formula for Love as from Fortune to Spirit by day (reversed by night), projected from the Ascendant, while Necessity was from Spirit to Fortune by day (reversed by night), projected from the Ascendant (one can find the Valens instructions at the bottom of p. 90 of the 2010 Riley translation which was made available for free on Mark Riley’s faculty web site).  Movement from the non-sect lot to the sect lot is found in the Valens formula just given for Love, and is consistent with the rationale discussed above for a lot which shows more ideal circumstances to involve movement from passive to active, from dark to light.  Maternus gives the opposite formula (see Mathesis, Book VI, Ch. 45, “House of Desires”), that from the Spirit to Fortune by day for Love, which is inconsistent with the rationale discussed above.  It is similar with Necessity, where in Valens (the earlier source) a rationale is evident, as we move from the sect lot to the non-sect lot, from the more active to the less active, from the light to the dark. Again, Maternus gives the opposite formula and one without sound rationale (see Mathesis, Book VI, Ch. 46, “House of Necessity”).

Therefore, to find the Lot of Love in a chart it helps to think of Spirit as the Lot of the Sun and Fortune as the Lot of the Moon.  Find the distance from the non-sect lot (Fortune by day, Spirit by night) to the sect lot (Spirit by day, Fortune by night), and project this from the Ascendant in the same direction you measured the distance.  To find the Lot of Necessity in the chart, merely take the same distance and project it in the opposite direction from the Ascendant, which is the same as taking the distance from the sect lot to the non-sect lot and projecting it from the Ascendant.

Love = from non-sect lot to sect lot (projected from Asc)

Necessity = from sect lot to non-sect lot (projected from Asc)

What did Valens say about the meaning of these lots?

Most succinctly Valens, in Book II, Ch. 16, attributed “desire” to the place of Love, and “enemies” to the place of Necessity.  Looking at his delineations of their use in time lord techniques we can expand upon these central notions a bit.

Love describes the nature and circumstances which accompany desire and getting together, such that malefics will connect it with scandal or unsavory things and benefics with powerful alliances.

Necessity describes the nature and circumstances which accompany dispute and competition, such that malefics will bring failures and attacks while benefics will bring victory and put power on one’s side.

There is such a nice symmetry or polarity to these concepts, in which one pertains to the attempt to conjoin and the other to the attempt to oppose.

Lots in Morinus Software

Software programs tend to use algebraic formulae for lots, which can be a bit confusing.  The key to reading such formulae is to work backwards.  For instance the formula “Asc + Sun – Moon” means take the distance from the Moon to the Sun and project it from the Ascendant (i.e. the day formula for Spirit).

Below is a cheat sheet for entering the formula of the principal lots into the free open-source program, Morinus.  As long as you put Fortune as Lot 1 and Spirit as Lot 2, the formulae for Love and Necessity (shown as 16 and 17 in the screenshot) should work no matter where they fall on the list.

Lots

Four Principal Lots in Action

We briefly looked at Fortune and Spirit in the Dalai Lama’s chart.  One thing that is interesting is that the 9th House of God (religion, spirituality, wisdom, higher education) is the place of Love in the Dalai Lama’s chart, and is ruled by Jupiter.

While some information can be gleaned about general baseline trends and themes from delineation of the lots in the natal chart, their true strength is in predictive work, such as profections, releasing, and even transits to the places of the lots.

One particularly striking example came to me from a friend of mine who had a very eventful day in which he both started a relationship and was arrested at a protest, on the day of the last solar eclipse this year!  Born in December 1984, he was 27 when the events transpired, so the annual profection of the Ascendant was to his 4th place, Gemini, making Mercury the Lord of the Year, and Gemini the activated sign.  Gemini happens to be the location of both the twelfth-part of his Venus (at about 14GEM) and his Lot of Love (at 25GEM).  The Lot of Love itself had profected to the 7th of partnership, Virgo, also ruled by Mercury.

Anon A

On the afternoon of May 20th, 2012, there was a solar eclipse at 0 Gemini, the sign of the annual profection, Love, and the twelfth-part of Venus.  Our friend started a relationship with someone at one point in the day, and later in the day was arrested at a protest.  Besides the solar eclipse itself bringing forth the significations of Gemini in his chart, there were also some interesting transits.  For instance, transiting Venus was in Gemini at the time and conjunct, within 3 degrees, his Lot of Love, right on his IC.  Additionally, Mercury the Lord of the Year, while adhering to transiting Jupiter was also opposing the native’s 9th house Saturn and squaring the native’s 12th house out-of-sect Mars, all within 3 degrees, significant for the arrest.

May Transits to Anonymous Chart
May Transits to Anonymous Chart

Clinton

When trying to think of a life in which there were both major noteworthy events of a relationship and an ensuing noteworthy battle with enemies, the Clinton-Lewinsky scandals came to my mind.  Let’s see if Love and Necessity in the natal chart and in predictive techniques reflect those events.

Bill Clinton was born with the Lot of Love in the 7th of partnership, which we might say could intensify the themes.  Unfortunately, Love is ruled by the out-of-sect malefic, Mars, and is opposed by the amorous Mars-Venus conjunction in Clinton’s 1st house.  Necessity is in Clinton’s 6th house, Pisces, and is ruled by the sect benefic, Jupiter, which is prominent in Clinton’s first house, signifying generally fortunate outcomes and assistance in competitions or disputes.

Clinton - 4 principal lots

In late 1995, when Clinton was 49 years old, he started having sexual relations with an intern, Monica Lewinsky.  The Lot of Love had profected into the 8th house, Taurus, ruled by Venus and occupied by the Moon, both out of sect – Venus showing the sexuality, and the Moon and the 8th showing the personal and private nature of the activity.

The relationship continued into early 1997.  After Clinton’s birthday in 1997, things started taking a turn for the worse as Linda Tripp began secretly recording phone calls and then the whole thing broke to the media in January of 1998, when Clinton was 52 years old.  The profection of the Ascendant was to the 5th House, Aquarius, ruled by Saturn.  The profection of Love was to the 11th House, Leo, ruled by and occupied by the Sun, as well as occupied by Saturn and Mercury.  Therefore, there was a particular emphasis on Saturn, which as a baseline is not a bad indications in Clinton’s chart because it is in sect and in the place of Good Spirit, but it does indicate that Saturn is the focal planet for the year (i.e. lord of the year).  At the solar return we find Saturn, Lord of the Year, in the place of Love and closely conjunct the Lot of Love, while opposing Clinton’s 1st house Jupiter. In January 1998 when the story broke and Clinton made his infamous public denial of sexual relations, transiting Saturn was in adherence (applying conjunction within 3 degrees) to Clinton’s natal Lot of Love.

Clinton - non-precessed solar return at age 52
Clinton – non-precessed solar return at age 52

It was in Winter of 1998, when Clinton was 53, that a major battle began, as the House voted to issue articles of impeachment over his perjury and obstruction of justice.  At Age 53 the Ascendant profected to the 6th house, Pisces, with Jupiter as Lord of the Year.  The 6th place is also the place of Necessity in Clinton’s chart, so the Ascendant had profected to Necessity, signifying some prominent engagement with enemies/adversaries.  Necessity profected to the 11th, Leo, ruled by and occupied by the Sun, but also occupied by Saturn and Mercury.  The solar return was rather promising as far as vying with enemies would go, because Jupiter in the return was in the place of Necessity, Pisces, its domicile, and, at 26 Pisces moving retrograde, actually adhering to the Lot of Necessity at 24 Pisces.  Additionally, Necessity’s profection to the 11th was bolstered by the benefic Venus transiting through the place.  So while the profection of the Ascendant to Necessity brought a divisive struggle to the forefront, the indications were of victory over enemies.  That is exactly what happened when the Senate voted to acquit Clinton of of the impeachment charges issued by the House.

Clinton Age 53 Non-Precessed Solar Return
Clinton Age 53 Non-Precessed Solar Return

In this example we see how the lots of Love and Necessity can provide deeper indications of how matters particular to the two most important types of human relationships, attractive and adversarial, develop and gain prominence over time.  Much further work is needed to explore the usage of these very important lots in things like evaluating political contests, and in other areas of astrology like mundane, electional, and especially horary, as a great deal of horary questions concern attractive or adversarial human relationships.

Lot of Basis

There is one final matter concerning the lots of Love and Necessity which it is appropriate to address here.  The Lot of Basis is discussed by Valens in connection with personal power and leadership skills, generally referred to as the “basis” of the nativity.   Basis is examined with Fortune and Spirit, and another lot, the Lot of Exaltation, such that these lots and their rulers occupying each other’s places would be particularly beneficial indications for personal effectiveness, social mobility, and leadership.

The Lot of Basis is always either the Lot of Love or the Lot of Necessity.  Whichever one of these is under the horizon is Basis.  Strong relationships between Basis, Spirit, Fortune, the Lot of Exaltation (which I won’t explore here), the Place of Accomplishment (11th from Fortune as mentioned above), the rulers of these lots/places, the Lights (especially the sect light), and/or the angles (especially the 1st and its ruler) of the chart provide positive indications for “basis”.  It is similar when the ruler(s) of these are benefic and well-placed.  Fewer relationships between these and more involvement of malefics supposedly indicates a self with an unsteady “basis” for asserting its identity and influence in the world. These are a lot of place and points to work with at once, but it does seem possible to pick apart the particular influence provided by each, while Basis supports in a general fashion.  Given that Love and Necessity pertain to human relationships and the houses under the horizon pertain more to physical substance, it may be that the one of these lots under the horizon is showing the relationship activity, whether attractive or adversarial, which has the greater impact on personal substance and soundness, such as laying down firm roots.

Conclusion

If the lots are brand new to you or you had only previously heard of Fortune and had not explored it very deeply, I hope you’ve become inspired to start using at least the four principal lots in your astrological explorations and prognostications with a utility for establishing topics that is comparable to the use of houses.  Many readers who are already familiar with Fortune and Spirit may not be familiar with Love and Necessity or the great importance placed on these lots by Valens.

 

References

Brennan, C. (2010, June 29). The Theoretical Rationale Underlying the Seven Hermetic Lots. Chris Brennan Astrologer. Retrieved July 14, 2012, from http://www.chrisbrennanastrologer.com/Brennan-Theoretical-Rationale.pdf
Valens, V. (2010). Anthologies. (M. Riley, Trans.) (Online PDF.). World Wide Web: Mark Riley. Retrieved from http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/Vettius%20Valens%20entire.pdf

Traditional Astrology of Death | Donna Summer

Like so many people around the world, I felt sad to hear that Donna Summer passed away on Thursday, May 17th after a battle with a lung cancer.  Donna Summer was a musical icon and will be dearly missed.

I missed out on the heyday of disco in the mid-’70’s but I remember as a child in the early ’80’s dancing to songs by Donna Summer, Michael Jackson, and other fun pop, funk, and disco artists of the era.  There was something magical about all the new electronic instrumentation that would come to characterize the weirdness of the eighties.  While I tried to distance myself from pop music as a young adult, there has always been something childishly innocent about eighties pop stylings that as an adult I can now appreciate – making me feel like a kid again!

I’m probably in the minority of traditional astrologers in that I don’t believe there is a single method out there, such as a hyleg/alcochoden technique, that on its own allows one to make accurate predictions about the length of someone’s life.  Rather, I ‘m someone who thinks that if you throw a lot of techniques together, then you may be able to see it coming, but it’s quite difficult.  Looking at it in hindsight is always easier, and that’s largely what this series is about.

I’d like to look at some of the “signs” around the time of Donna Summers death and how they relate to death.  By exploring the connection between deaths and natal predictive techniques, we sharpen our ability to recognize when the astrological language of death and appreciate the intricate beauty of even such a dark and sorrowful event as death.

Donna Summer

Donna Summer was born on New Years Eve, 1948 (12/31/48) at 9pm in Boston, MA (source: AstroDatabank).  For the reader unfamiliar with her life and work, a good source for a quick brief is the Wikipedia article on her.  Her chart with twelfth-parts is shown below.

Donna Summer's Natal Chart with Twelfth-Parts
Donna Summer’s Natal Chart with Twelfth-Parts

It is hard to imagine a chart more oriented toward artistic performance. First, Venus is the significator of profession, as she is in a stake of the chart (the 4th) and strongly advancing, while having triplicity at the Ascendant and possibly bound, depending on how precisely accurate the birth time is, and Venus receives the next application of the Moon and is with the twelfth-part of the sect light (the Moon is the sect light as she was born at night).  My approach to the technique for professional significator can be found here.  Secondly, there is a whopping 5 planets, including the Sun and Moon, as well as the ruler of the 1st (in the bound of Venus), in Capricorn, the 5th House, which is the Joy of Venus and is performance-oriented. Finally, the ruler of the 5th is on the Ascendant, and thus is extremely prominent.

Mercury also crops up as important for the profession as Mercury rules the 1st and 10th signs and the bounds of the Asc and MC, and has its twelfth-part in the Ascendant.  Venus and Mercury as co-significators of profession, with Venus more dominant, combines artistry/beauty (Venus) with vocalization (Mercury), being quite common for singers.

In death analysis, we are most interested in the more potentially difficult elements of the chart.  In my opinion, one of such difficult configurations is the conjunction of the Ascendant (significant for the body and self) with the out of sect malefic, Saturn (significant for death, loss, struggle, isolation).  Another is the close (but separating) conjunction of the Moon and Mars (lord of the 8th of death, Aries) in the bound of Mars within 3 degrees of each other, and under the domicile rulership of Saturn.

Planetary Years

For an introduction to planetary years, please see the introductory post on them.  Donna Summer was in her 64th year at the time of death and was 63 years old.  Therefore we are particularly interested in combinations of planetary years that add to 63 or 64, which may involve multiples, as there are not two distinct planetary minor years that sum to more than 55.

There are only two combinations of three planets’ minor years that work without any multiples.  They are Saturn-Mars-Sun (30+15+19=64) and Saturn-Venus-Moon (30+8+25=63).

Possibilities involving multiples with one and two planets are below:

One Planet: Venus (64)

Two Planets: Venus-Mercury (24+40=64), Mars-Sun (45+19=64), Jupiter-Mercury (24+40=64), Sun-Moon (38+25=63).

Of these, I regard some as less important because the planets in the relationship are not all configured together with each other by either rulership or aspects.  For instance, Saturn-Venus-Moon is less significant to me because while Saturn aspects Venus and the Moon, Venus and the Moon are in aversion, and Venus is not ruled by Saturn.  Similarly, Venus and Mercury are in aversion.

In conclusion, the four most important activations are Saturn-Mars-Sun (Mars and the Sun co-present and ruled by Saturn which overcomes them by trine), Mars-Sun (Mars and the Sun together), Sun-Moon (the Sun and Moon co-present), and Venus.  Of these, I take Saturn-Mars-Sun to be the most important, as it involves no planetary multiples and it is reinforced by an activation of Mars-Sun involving multiples of Mars.

This Saturn-Mars-Sun activation is also the most significant one for the matter of death, as it includes both malefics (which each directly afflict significators of the body in the chart) and the Sun, which can be symbolic of vital power.

The importance of the Saturn-Mars-Sun activation is confirmed by transits on the morning of the death, in which we see the transiting Sun applying to natal Mars within a degree, and transiting Mars with natal Saturn and applying to natal Sun within a degree (transiting Sun also scrutinized, by opposition, natal twelfth-part Mars at 25 Scorpio).

Transits to Natal - Morning of 5/17/12 in Naples, FL
Transits to Natal – Morning of 5/17/12 in Naples, FL

Zodiacal Releasing

One important time lord technique in the Hellenistic period for matters of bodily health involves the use of the Lot of the Moon, also known as Fortune (glyph looks like an X in a circle).  It was discussed by Valens in Book IV of his Anthology (only complete English translation the entire work is available here), and involves allotting the ruler Fortune the first time period which is of the length of its minor years, then transitioning to the next sign in succession activating that sign and its ruler for the number of planetary years of the ruler, and so forth.  There are also minor periods that are 1/12 the length, and some additional nuances.  I will feature a post on the technique at some future point, but for now, the interested reader can get a thorough education on the technique through Chris Brennan’s Hellenistic course, or simply his module on Zodiacal Releasing, and software to calculate these time lords down to the fourth level, designed by Curtis Manwaring, is available for free.

The two highest level periods are particularly important in zodiacal releasing.  I give four levels below:

  1. Sagittarius (Jupiter) – occupied by Venus and the twelfth-part of the Moon, ruler is cazimi the Sun in 5th, Capricorn.  This is about a 12 year period beginning in 2010.
  2. Capricorn (Saturn) – occupied by 5 planets, including Sun and Mars, with ruler in 1st, Virgo.  This is about a 2 year period beginning in February of 2011.
  3. Scorpio (Mars) – occupied by the twelfth-parts of the Ascendant, Saturn, and Mars, with ruler in 5th, Capricorn.  This is about a 5 week period beginning on May 9th, 2012.
  4. Capricorn (Saturn) – see #2.  This is about a 5 day period beginning on May 15th, 2012.

As mentioned, in interpreting the releasing of Fortune, Valens paid special attention particularly to the first two levels.  One interpretive principle commonly used is that the Lot or its ruler in an angle of the chart (1st, 10th, 7th, or 4th place) shows strength, while if cadent from an angle (12th, 9th, 6th, or 3rd place) it will show weakness.  This rule can get difficult to use in practice, as Valens also suggests at one point that we can use the angles of the Lot of Fortune.  If using both the angles and the angles of Fortune, with the released Lot and its ruler, then there are simply too many points and too many strong places in the chart to derive much meaning from it.

Some people sidestep this dilemma by considering only the angles and cadents from Fortune, and not from the Ascendant.  Using that approach, the Capricorn periods would be somewhat vulnerable as the Lot would be in the 6th from Fortune (a cadent place), as would be those periods ruled by a planet that is in Capricorn.  The place of the Lot was thought to show the start of things and the ruler the development.  So Level 1 in Sagittarius would start out not particularly strong or weak (as it is not an angle nor a cadent) but in the development of the period weaknesses could result (as the ruler is in the 6th from Fortune).  Level 2 in Capricorn would start out weak, and would not develop strong towards strength or weakness (as ruler is not in an angle or cadent of fortune).  Level 3 would start strong but end weak (Lot in angle, ruler in cadent).  Level 4, like Level 2, would be weak and not strongly improve.  Therefore, the overall stress of all 4 periods being placed on Capricorn, which is a cadent from Fortune, would seem to show some vulnerability when looking at this element of interpreting releasing.

Valens discusses other principles of interpreting releasing from Fortune which I feel are a bit easier to delineate.  One thing is that he does is view the 1st two levels as if the ruler of Level 1 is transmitting or passing off to the ruler of Level 2, almost like the ruler of Level 1 is running into some type of thing signified by the 2nd level ruler.  For instance, a benefic transmitting to a malefic, as in the case here with Jupiter transmitting to Saturn, shows overturn.  Additionally, the transmission of the Sun or Moon to Saturn is particularly dangerous for health (Saturn to the Sun or Moon indicating the opposite, vigor).  According to Robert Schmidt of Project Hindsight, the original meaning of a cazimi planet is that it takes over signification for the Sun.  If this is correct, then we might treat the transmission of Jupiter to Saturn, as more akin to a transmission of the Sun to Saturn because of the cazimi status of Jupiter.

… the sun and moon when transmitting to Saturn are indicative of setbacks and anxieties, and they bring hostility […] as well as bodily disorders and dangers, shipwrecks, sudden collapses, and very many crises …         (Valens, Anthologies, Book IV, Ch. 5, Riley trans., 2010, p. 73)

If we were to consider the other levels in this type of consideration then we have Saturn transmitting to Mars (Level 2 to 3) and Mars transmitting to Saturn (Level 3 to 4).  Valens regarded transmission from a malefic to a malefic (Saturn to Mars and vice-versa) as particularly dangerous, much like a situation that goes from bad to worse.

Interestingly, in the zodiacal releasing method for health we find that the emphasis is placed again on Saturn, Mars, and the Sun (as Jupiter is cazimi the Sun) both in terms of the planets themselves and the repeat activations of the 5th house.

Distributors

Next, I would like to look at distributors, as they are time lords which tend to rule over more than a one year period and can be very significant for health matters.  The distributor is typically the bound lord of the directed (with zodiacal semi-arc non-latitudinal ptolemaic-key primary directions) Ascendant, though some later Persian astrologers used the sect light rather than the Ascendant (and in fact optional use of the sect light as an alternative to the Ascendant is common in many Hellenistic techniques as well).  The distributor is a time lord, but typically a planet actually applying an aspect to the directed angle or sect light (within 3 degrees presumably, as that was the definitive range for applications and separations, as distinct from regards, in Hellenistic astrology) would take over the lordship or at the very least share it.  The obsession with direct hits by primary direction, rather than use of it for time lords, was a later post-Hellenistic development.  I touch on some of these issues in my introductory post on primary directions (and there’s another post on calculation).

Distributors of Ascendant and Sect Light for Donna Summer
Distributors of Ascendant and Sect Light for Donna Summer

From the table of distributors we can see that the distributor of the Ascendant was Venus and that of the Moon (sect light) was Mars at the time of death.  And what of any aspectual co-rulers of the distributions?

One of the very useful features of the primary directions module in Morinus is that of pulling up the actual primary directed chart for a given day.  For the day of Summer’s death that chart is below.

Chart of Summer's PD Positions on 5/17/12
Chart of Summer’s PD Positions on 5/17/12

Reading a PD chart is a little counter-intuitive for those used to looking at secondary directions and transit charts, and I won’t be clarifying it much here, but it is helpful to take the PD chart as the base and the natal as the aspects to it – as the PD chart is telling you the degrees of the zodiac that are passing over the natal positions and the natal chart is telling you the degrees of the zodiac that the directed planets are sort of “glued to” as they travel by primary motion. In other words, it is as if the PD chart gives you the zodiacal positions of the significators and the natal gives you the zodiacal positions of the promissors.

The PD Ascendant (significator) is at 25 Libra, and it is applying a square to natal Mars (promissor) within 3°, and actually within 2° (or it could be conceived in the opposite way, that Mars has revolved under the Earth and is applying a square to the static natal Ascendant – the scenario is the same in both cases with the Ascendant as significator and Mars as promissor).  The PD Moon is at 23 Pisces (or the 23 Pisces has directed over the natal Moon) with no applying aspect within 3°.

In conclusion, Mars is the distributor of the sect light.  Mars also became the distributor, or at the very least the co-distributor, of the Ascendant starting about a year prior to death, becoming more significant than the bound lord distributor, Venus, due to applying aspect. 

These time lords by primary direction are extremely important for matters of health and general circumstance, and here we see an emphasis placed upon Mars in the natal chart, which is the ruler of the 8th house of death, and is in the 5th afflicting the Moon, Sun, and Ascendant lord.

There is one very close aspectual primary direction within about a month of the death that is very symbolic of death.  It is the direction of Saturn (promissor) to oppose the prenatal syzygy (significator).

Saturn-Syzygy

Profections and Solar Return

If unfamiliar with profections, please see the introductory post on profections.

At age 63 the Ascendant profects to the 4th house, which in Summer’s case is Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, which is cazimi the Sun, in the 5th with Mars, and ruled by Saturn.  Being the lord of the year, Jupiter is a particularly important planet to examine in the solar return.

As it turns out, Jupiter is in separating opposition to Saturn in the return (within 3°, i.e. scrutinizing, note: application/separation is a separate concept from regard in Hellenistic astrology – regard pertains to sign relationships, whereas application/separation pertain to degree relationships particularly within 3 degrees, termed “scrutinizing”, regardless of sign boundaries).  Saturn is the out of sect malefic, and Jupiter can take over signification from the Sun, so this can be a dangerous configuration.

Donna Summer's Pre-Death Solar Return
Donna Summer’s Pre-Death Solar Return

Additionally, return Saturn is at 28 Libra, in dominating scrutinizing square to the natal Mars-Moon conjunction at 27 and 29 Capricorn.  Furthermore, return Mars is transiting through the natal 1st, pertaining to the self and health, and is applying to natal Mercury, its ruler, and this is affliction of the Ascendant lord by Mars is even more apparent in the return chart itself (above) in which return Mars is in dominating square to return Mercury in the same degree! This is particularly significant because return Mars and Mercury transit through angles of the natal chart and because return Mercury transits through the sign of the annual profection.

Donna Summer's Pre-Death Solar Return
Donna Summer’s Pre-Death Solar Return on Outside of Natal Chart

Natal Venus is in the sign of the profection.  Natal Venus in the natal chart is dominated by Saturn.  Return Mars also dominates natal Venus.  Return Venus is placed in Aquarius, the 6th house, which is a weak house in aversion to the Ascendant which can be significant for sickness and is here ruled by Saturn.

The return Moon transits through the 8th of death, under rulership of Mars, echoing the Mars-Moon conjunction and its potential significance for bodily harm. The monthly profection of the Ascendant at the time of death was to Aries, the 8th house, ruled by Mars, and occupied by the Moon in the return.

Valens-Style Profections

I discussed Valens-Style profections in a past post you can read here.  As mentioned there, in addition to profection of the Ascendant, the profection of the Moon was particularly important for matters of the body.

In Summer’s case, the Moon profects to Aries (the 8th), which is empty, so it is a case of the Moon transmitting to Mars.  Again, this places emphasis on themes of death (the 8th, malefic ruler) and affliction of the body (Mars-Moon conjunction, Moon ruled by Mars).  The solar return transit of the Moon through the 8th is also a repetition of this theme.

Ruler of Days

Some Hellenistic astrologers used daily profections, which I don’t make much use of.  I’ve also discussed the small periods of zodiacal releasing above.  Additionally, I like the ruler of days technique discussed by Julius Firmicus Maternus.  In this technique we start with the lord of the year, and assign days to the planets according to their planetary days in zodiacal order, thus dividing up rulership of the year to each of the 7 planets.  The lord of the year is Jupiter for Donna Summer, so the planetary days are as follows:

  • Jupiter – 34
  • Mercury – 56 2/3
  • Mars – 42 1/2
  • Moon – 70 5/6
  • Saturn – 85
  • Venus – 22 2/3
  • Sun – 53 5/6

Using a date calculator, we find that Donna Summer died in about the 138th day following her solar return.  The Moon took over days about 133 days after the return, so the Moon was ruler of days at the time of death.

Day of Death

Finally, let’s return to the transits at the day of death.  We’ve already established that there is substantial importance placed on the malefics and the lights in the time lord techniques. Additionally, we established that Mars is of particular importance and that the Moon-Mars themes with the 8th crop up repeatedly when we narrow in on the year.  Finally, we determined that the monthly profection is to the 8th, Aries, which was occupied by the Moon in the return, that the Moon became ruler of days less than a week before the death, and that zodiacal releasing minor periods place considerable emphasis on Mars and the 5th. Now let’s separate some of these out in the transits:

  • The Moon: Shockingly, the Moon was transiting through Aries, the 8th, that of death, at the time of death, echoing both the solar return and the Valens-style profection of the Moon, in the house of the monthly profection.  The transiting Moon was likely making her next application to transiting Saturn, in opposition, at the time of death.  The transiting Moon applied a scrutinizing square to natal Mercury, the Ascendant lord, at the time of death.  Transiting Venus and Saturn were possibly in exact to the minute aspect, while receiving the application of the transiting Moon, at the time of death.
  • Mars: Mars was transiting at 9 Virgo through the 1st house.  Mars had stationed direct at 3 Virgo, in adherence to Donna Summer’s Ascendant (4 Virgo), about a month prior.  Transiting Mars was applying to the natal Sun-Jupiter conjunction within a degree at the time of death.  The transiting Sun and Jupiter was applying to natal Mars within 3 degrees at the time of death, while both conjunct the natal twelfth-part of Venus and opposed to the natal twelfth-part of Mars within 3 degrees. The transiting Sun-Jupiter conjunction by degree itself echoing the natal Sun-Jupiter conjunction.
Transits to Natal – Morning of 5/17/12 in Naples, FL

There are additional connections, but I think this suffices to show how the transits at the time of death were reflective of superficial activation of much more important repeat themes through time lord techniques of death and harm to health which pertain to the relationship between the malefics and the Sun, malefics and Ascendant, as well as the Moon-Mars conjunction and the 8th house.

Traditional Astrology of Death | Marvin Gaye

I was about halfway through a post on the death of Donna Summer when astrologer Ile Spasev brought Marvin Gaye’s 1984 death at the hand of his father to my attention.  Once I started getting into Marvin Gaye’s chart and death, I found it too fascinating in terms of the importance of the planetary years, solar return, profection, and transits to not share it first, before finishing my Summer article.  This day preceding both an ingress and an eclipse has been a strange one altogether for me.  What’s going on!?

One of the most interesting things about Gaye’s death is that it occurred on the exact day of his solar return, as well as a day of the New Moon (conjunction of the Sun and Moon).  While it occurred the day before his calendar birthday, in astrological terms, it didn’t occur on the eve of his 45th birthday, but rather on the day of his exact real natural “birthday” (solar return), and just a few hours after the exact point of return in his annual cycle.

Marvin Gaye’s Natal Chart

According to AstroDatabank, which has given the Gaye birth data an A rating for accuracy, Marvin was born on 4/2/1939 at 11:58am in Washington D.C.  According to news releases he was pronounced dead on the afternoon of 4/1/1984 at 1:01pm in L.A., California.  His death followed his intervention in arguments between his mother and father both the day before and again directly preceding the circumstances of his death in which his father shot him in the heat of anger.

His birth chart is shown below with the twelfth-part positions depicted along the outer wheel.

Marvin Gaye Natal Chart w/twelfth-parts
Marvin Gaye Natal Chart w/twelfth-parts

In ancient astrology, Saturn, the Sun, and the 4th place (Valens adds the 9th place) are particularly relevant for the father.  In Gaye’s chart, the Sun in the bound of Venus in the 10th is more pertinent to his fame and honors than his father, as the Sun also naturally signifies honors as does the 10th place, and the Sun adhering (applying conjunction within 3 degrees) to Mercury (vocal) and in the bound of Venus (arts) has particular relevance to his singing fame.  The Sun additionally has no “dignity” in the 4th, in that it has little say over the 4th of father, family, origins, and property.  Saturn on the other hand, is also in the 10th (a “stake” of the 4th) and also naturally signifies fathers, but additionally is the exaltation and first triplicity lord of the 4th place of fathers, therefore Saturn is considered to give the strongest testimony regarding matters concerning the father.

Saturn does a good job of describing the father and death as well.  Saturn is in a cardinal or changeable/moveable sign, which are known for initiating major changes through abrupt action.  Saturn is also in a sign and the bound of Mars, which is the planet with dominion over acts of violence.  Saturn is additionally dominated by Mars (in a right hand whole sign square), which gives Mars substantial influence over Saturn, giving symbolism of the father becoming dominated by rage and violence.  Saturn afflicts Mercury, the Sun, and the twelfth-part Ascendant, bringing in a sense of argumentation, publicity, and harm to Gaye’s self.

Importantly, Saturn is the planet with the greatest testimony over the place of death in the chart, the 8th place or house, Aquarius.  This is because Saturn rules Aquarius, is the first triplicity lord there, regards the place, and is a natural significator of death – therefore, Saturn’s testimony with regards to death is very strong in his chart.  The Sun also has some testimony over both the father (natural significator of the father in a stake of the 4th) and death (rules the 8th from fortune, Leo, and the twelfth-part of the Sun is in the 8th from fortune), and shows a repeat connection between the father and death.

Both Venus and the Moon give testimony regarding the mother, even though neither of them regard the 4th of origins.  Venus does so because she rules the 4th and is a feminine natural significator of mothers, while the Moon does so because she is a natural significator of mothers and is in the 3rd, her joy, which Valens also asserted as the place of the mother.

The Moon and Jupiter provide some of the strongest testimony in terms of Gaye himself and his temperament, as they both regard the 1st and have a lot of lordship over the actual Ascendant.

Planetary Years

I discussed the use of planetary years for prediction in a past post, which you can read here for reference.

Marvin’s death occurred exactly at the point of his 45th year.  Very rarely do planetary years culminate at such an exact point.  Fascinatingly, 45 is indeed the activation of Saturn-Mars relationships in the natal chart, as Saturn has 30 and Mars 15, yielding 45.  This signifies a very major event as it activates three major Saturn-Mars configurations in his chart: the Mars-Saturn square with Mars dominating, Saturn in Aries (domicile of Mars), and Mars in Capricorn (domicile of Saturn).

Thus planetary years show strong activations linking the father with violence and death.

Furthermore, according to the technique of planetary days discussed by Julius Firmicus Maternus (4th Century CE), the ruler of the year gets the first set of days in the year.  Therefore, Mars was the planet in charge of signifying both the plan for the year and the days at the time of death.

Profections

Those unfamiliar with profections, which involve the movement of positions in the chart into a new house at set intervals, typically annually, can learn about profections in my series of posts on the topic.

As the death happened just after the turning of the 45th year, the annual profection of the Ascendant moved to the 10th place, Aries, on that day for the year.  Therefore, the profection was highlighting those planets in the 10th place, Saturn, Mercury, and the Sun, with Mars, the ruler of Aries, as the lord of the year.  In other words, the profections show yet another activation of Saturn and Mars, specifically Saturn in Aries, ruled by and dominated by Mars.

Solar Return and Transits

I have been meaning to expand on my series on solar returns, which I started here.  For now, it suffices to look at the non-precessed solar return here as a set of transits to the natal chart, depicted along the outside of the natal below. In addition, I have posted the natal chart with twelfth-parts again, as there are fascinating connections between the return, which is also the transit chart for the day of death, and natal twelfth-parts.

Gaye's Final Solar Return which is on the day he died
Outer positions are from Gaye’s Final Solar Return which is on the day he died
Marvin Gaye Natal Chart w/twelfth-parts
Marvin Gaye Natal Chart w/twelfth-parts

First, it is noteworthy that the return, and death, occurred on the day of a New Moon in Aries.  This is a further activation of the sign Aries and its occupants, including Saturn, and its ruler Mars.

Second, as Mars is lord of the year and of days, the position of Mars in the return is of pivotal importance.  In the return Mars is in Scorpio, one of his own domiciles, and is with Saturn and in Saturn’s bound again echoing the Mars-Saturn significations.  Additionally, Mars is at 28 Scorpio, conjunct the twelfth-part of natal Saturn in the very same degree! The twelfth-part of transiting Mars was itself at 9 Libra, opposing Gaye’s Sun.

In addition to Mars transiting right over the natal twelfth-part Saturn at the time of death, the twelfth-part of transiting Venus was at 27-28 Scorpio, right with that transiting Mars and natal twelfth-part Saturn.  I take this Venus transit to represent the connection with the mother, who Gaye was arguing on behalf of at the time of the incident.  Transiting Venus at 22 Pisces with Gaye’s Jupiter, symbolic of himself, and opposed to his Moon, symbolic of both himself and his mother.  Fascinatingly, this Venus transit was also right over the natal twelfth-part of Gaye’s Mars, which is at about 21-22 Pisces, showing them both coming into contact with the father’s rage and violence.

At the time Gaye was pronounced dead, the Moon was at 16 Aries adhering to Gaye’s Saturn.

Primary Directions – Distributors

It is also worth noting important primary directions around the time of death, as I did for the death of Whitney Houston.

Marvin Gaye's Distributors of the Ascendant and Sect Light
Marvin Gaye’s Distributors of the Ascendant and Sect Light

First, we look at the distributors.  Amazingly, both the Ascendant and the Sect Light (the Sun) were directing through the bounds of Mars, the out of sect malefic during the period in which the death took place.

However, the aspectual directions are not as striking to me for the most part, which may be indicative of slight inaccuracy in the birth time (directions involving the Ascendant and MC can be altered by many months for each one minute inaccuracy in birth time).  One of the more interesting directions occurring within 6 months of his death is that of the star Algol (associated with death and violence) directing to Gaye’s MC.

Algol Directed to Gaye's Natal MC
Algol Directed to Gaye’s Natal MC

Conclusion

While death is not a pleasant topic to analyze, it is one of the most definitive events in every individual’s existence, and therefore one of the most important events to look at from an astrological standpoint.  In seeing that there is or are some higher intelligences at work in this universe such that they can express symbolism reflecting events such as an individual’s death is both beautiful and hard to get one’s head around, especially in relation to such an almost universally loathed facet of the way things work in story we take part in as human beings.  Perhaps our analysis will bring us closer to accurately spot death or even averting death for a time.  Perhaps Urania will simply whisper indications more quietly when we forsake her secrets.  In any case, even in hindsight, looking back on the pertinence of the symbolism when using the ancient techniques is always thought-provoking and stirs up our religious and spiritual functions of seeking the truth with humility.

Traditional Astrology of Death | Whitney Houston

The singer Whitney Houston recently passed.  Glancing briefly at some of the predictive factors leading up to her death I’ve found that there was a strong emphasis on Saturn, both natal and transiting, as Saturn transited through her 8th, occupied natally by Mars.  There was also a highlighting of transiting Mars in her 7th by monthly profection.  I give a very brief look at her natal chart, last solar return, last lunar return, and transits of the day of death below.

Planetary Years: Sun & Saturn

Whitney Houston's Natal Chart
Whitney Houston’s Natal Chart

A popular technique among Hellenistic and Persian astrologers for timing involved the use of the planetary years and their combinations (and sometimes also divisions) for signifying times when natal planets and combinations particularly become expressed.

Whitney was 48 1/2 at the time of death, and one of the more interesting combinations due at about that age is the combination of the Sun (19) and Saturn (30), at age 49.  It is interesting given Whitney’s Sun-Saturn opposition across the health and loss oriented 6th and 12th houses. Sun-Saturn is particularly significant of death, as Saturn, the natural significator of death and general lack and coldness is opposing the Sun, natural significator of vital powers and the heart.

Whitney Houston’s natal chart is pictured, and is Rodden-rated AA for accuracy.  Information about her death tends to be updated regularly in her Wikipedia entry.

Monthly Profection and Transiting Mars

As she had turned 48 at her last solar return, and 48 is a multiple of 12, Whitney was in a 1st Place, Pisces, annual profection, and all points in the chart profect back to their natal positions.  Jupiter is the lord of the year and is a planet with a particularly broad range of signification in the natal chart from benefic to malefic, as Jupiter is naturally of a very benefic nature, particularly in connection with money, and is here in the house of money, as well as self and career (Jupiter rules 1st and 10th), but Jupiter is also in a dark place (2nd), out of sect (it’s a night birth), overcome by Saturn which is in the 12th and out of sect, and opposed by Mars in the 8th (which also opposes the Moon, significator of the body).

The monthly profection of the Ascendant for the month of death (Feb. 9th to March 9th) is her 7th Place, Virgo, ruled by and occupied by natal Mercury (side note:  her natal Mercury is also conjunct her natal modern planetoid Pluto within a degree).  The reader interested in a primer on annual and monthly profections of the Ascendant can find one in a previous blog post.  The 7th place, the place of the setting Sun, was one of a few places associated with death in ancient astrology (though less so than the 8th).  Of the 7th, Manilius (1st Century CE) said, “…wonder not if it is called the portal of sombre Pluto and keeps control over the end of life and death’s firm-bolted door. Here dies even the very light of day, which the ground beneath steals away from the world and locks up captive in the dungeon of night” (Manilius, Astronomica, Book 2, 951-954, Goold trans., p. 157-159).

Interestingly, she (symbolized by the profecting Ascendant) was entering the House (7th) occupied by transiting Mars (20 Virgo – see death transits below) at the time, and Mars is her natal occupant of her 8th House of death.  The monthly profection is congruent with the significations that the month beginning Feb. 9th may bring her into contact with danger that associates readily with death.

Last Solar Return: 8th House Saturn Rising

 

Whitney Houston 2011 Solar Return (non-precessed)
Whitney Houston 2011 Solar Return (non-precessed)

While I find considerable significance in both precessed and non-precessed solar returns in my own practice, and lean more heavily on the significations of precessed returns for in depth reading, it is Whitney’s final non-precessed solar return that is most striking, with Saturn, natural significator of death, conjunct the Ascendant, significator of self, within less than 3 degrees in her natal 8th House (house of death), Libra (and dominated by Mars in Cancer). Note: I do not relocate solar returns – I find that non-relocated return charts give the strongest significations.

Also note that Jupiter, lord of the year, is placed in the solar return 8th house.

Last Lunar Return: 8th House Saturn Rising

Whitney’s final lunar return took place on January 28th, 2012, and is pictured.

Houston's Final Lunar Return
Houston’s Final Lunar Return (non-precessed)

Her final lunar return echoed the solar return with Saturn in Libra rising once again, strongly advancing toward the return Ascendant within 6 degrees.

In this case, Saturn was additionally in the bound of Mars, natal occupant of the 8th of death.  Saturn also opposes the Moon, significator of the body, and opposes Jupiter (lord of the year) out of sign but within 3 degrees and thus considered “scrutinizing” within the Hellenistic aspect doctrine, with Jupiter again in the 8th of the return.

Death Transits: The Moon Arrives, Saturn in Focus

On the day of her death in Beverly Hills in the early afternoon of Feb. 11, 2012, the Moon was transiting through Libra, Whitney Houston’s 8th House pertaining to death, occupied by natal malefic Mars, and transiting malefic Saturn.

Transits to Houston's Natal at Time of Death
Transits to Houston’s Natal at Time of Death

In addition to the transiting Moon’s co-presence with natal Mars and transiting Saturn, natal Saturn is also in focus by the Sun’s transit through Aquarius and recent conjunction with natal Saturn, still fresh within 3 degrees of orb at the time of Whitney’s death.

 

References

Manilius, M. (1977). Astronomica. (G. P. Goold, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Loeb Classical Library.

Astrological Predictive Techniques | 6. Manilius-Style Profections

This is the last planned post exploring the use of profections.  Like the previous one, which dealt with degree-based Persian-style profections, this one is presented more for the sake of completeness in discussing the appearance of profectional techniques in Hellenistic and Persian astrology, than intended as endorsement in practice.  I have an additional motivation for discussing the great variety of methods and opinions pertaining to profections in ancient astrology as well.  I long to convey to the reader the greater degree of diversity and richness that is found in astrology of the ancient period, in order to quell false notions that earlier astrology is more cut-and-dry, conforming in technique and attitude, narrow in scope, and fatalistic in philosophy.  The first one thousand years of the horoscopic tradition represent the richest body of astrological technique and opinion we have, which can provide a lifetime of new insights and challenges, deepening our tool-set, and enriching our practice.  I discuss this a little further in the series of posts, “Ancient Astrologers Didn’t All Agree“.

For those unfamiliar with the basic technique of annual and monthly profections, please review the first three posts of the series which introduce annual profections, those of smaller periods, and some ways the profected Ascendant or “terminal sign”, and its ruler, are combined with other predictive techniques.  I use basic annual annual and monthly profections very heavily in my own chart work and find them indispensable.

Introduction

In Book 3 of his Astronomica, Manilius (1st Century CE) described two different methods of profection.  First (about lines 510-529), he presented a method of profection I have not seen elsewhere, which is the topic of this post.  Next (about lines 537-559), he presented a different method attributed to “some who approve of an alternative scheme” (p. 207), which is the familiar use of profecting the Ascendant one whole sign for various discrete periods of time, particularly one year (Goold, 1977).  It is interesting that the method first discussed by Manilius which he seemed to favor is the more idiosyncratic one that we don’t see in other sources.

Profect the Sun Annually, Moon Monthly, and Ascendant for Days and Hours

In the method of Manilius for the annual profection we move the Sun (one sign per year), while for the monthly profection we move the Moon (one sign per month).  The Ascendant is profected for groups of days and hours, with some confusion as to the time period used.  In fact, there are many ambiguities in the discussion and questions that naturally arise with it.  Let’s let Manilius explain the basic method and then we’ll discuss some of the difficulties with employing it.

Now I shall assign their special periods of life in classes to the signs; for the signs are also allotted to their own particular years and months and days and hours of days; and during these periods they each exercise special influence.  The first year of life will belong to that sign in which at birth the Sun has shone, since the Sun takes a year’s duration to traverse the firmament; the next and subsequent years are consecutively bestowed upon the signs in their order.  The Moon shall denote the months, since in a month it completes its course.  The Horoscope [Ascendant] brings under its regency the first days and the first hours, and hands the others to the following signs.  Thus did nature wish year and months and days and even hours to be duly counted out through the signs, that every period of time might be distributed over every sign of the zodiac and vary its movements through the sequence of signs, according as it made a change to each one as it came round in the circle.  (Manilius, Astronomica, 3.510-521, Goold trans., 1977, p. 205)

Annual Profection

In this scheme the sign of the year is that into which the Sun profects at a rate of one sign per year from its birth position.  For instance, a 31 year old who was born with a Sagittarius Sun,  would find oneself in a Cancer year.  This is because  he would come back to a Sagittarius year at age 36 (and any other multiple of 12), so the 31st birthday, 5 signs before the Sagittarius 36th, would put us at Cancer – (let’s see, Scorpio at 35, Libra at 34, Virgo at 33, Leo at 32, Cancer at 31).  So apparently, under this method the annual profection of the Sun marks the sign of the year, and is the main profection at that level.  This varies from the predominant view that the annual profection of the Ascendant is most important, as well as that of Valens where the annual profection of the Sect Light and Ascendant are important (often times that of the Sect Light even more so to Valens).

Monthly Profection

Here’s where things start to really get sticky.  Manilius appears to be advising us to take monthly profections from the Moon. This seems to imply that monthly profections are disjointed from annual profections, rather than dividing them up into twelve months, because a profection from the natal Moon has a different starting point, and it is unclear what sort of months are intended.  For instance, if one were born December  1, 1980 with a Libra Moon (hypothetical), then we might be tempted to count calendar months to the present day, which is not a difficult task, since the Moon would profect back to the natal sign every December of every year.  This being January, the Moon would profect to Scorpio (one sign after Libra, as January is one month after December). However, it is unclear whether calendar months are intended or some other more astronomical lunar month, such as the synodic month of about 29.5 days or the sidereal month of about 27.5 days.  If one of these other months are used, over time you will get other indications for the sign of the month.

Daily and Hourly Profections

The daily and hourly profections are the most difficult to understand.  It appears that Manilius is separating out two different rates, a daily rate and an hourly rate.  The problem is that the system seems to depend on using different points for different rates in a symbolic fashion, but here the Ascendant is used for two very different rates.

The way that Manilius presented the more common profectional technique later in his book suggested that he used planetary hours for hourly rates, in which there are 12 planetary hours in a day based on division of the length of day (sunrise and sunset) and that of night (sunset to sunrise).  That discussion also seemed to imply that the daily rate was one sign per day.

My best hypothesis as to how to find the daily profectional sign is to count the number of days since your birth to the present time (it may help to use a date duration calculator online), then divide the number of days by 12 and take the remainder (find the remainder by taking the portion after the decimal and multiplying it by 12) as the number of signs past your Ascendant.  For instance, if your Ascendant is Aquarius and the remainder is 3, then the sign of the day is Taurus (i.e. count Pisces, Aries, Taurus).

My best hypothesis for the hour is that every day at your birth time is the start of the hour that pertains to your Ascendant.  For instance, if one were born at 3pm with an Aquarius Ascendant, then every day at 3pm would start the Aquarius hour.  To do a rough estimate, the sign of the hour would change about every 2 clock hours.  So around 5pm would star the Pisces hour of the day.  Since it would cycle through 12 in a day, these hours would be in the same order starting from the birth time each day.

Conclusion

Annual and monthly profections of the Ascendant have won me over as to their value time and time again.  Many of the other types of profections, including this one by Manilius seem like they could be fun to play around with, and I hope with time they might prove themselves useful.  They haven’t yet impressed me, but I definitely advocate experimenting with them and urge you to keep me informed about what you find. Happy journeys.

 

References

Manilius, M. (1977). Astronomica. (G. P. Goold, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Loeb Classical Library.

Astrological Predictive Techniques | 5. A Persian Degree-Based Style of Profections

For those unfamiliar with the basic technique of annual and monthly profections, please review the first three posts of the series which introduce annual profections, those of smaller periods, and some ways the profected Ascendant or “terminal sign”, and its ruler, are combined with other predictive techniques.

Introduction

In this post we’ll be looking at Persian innovation with profections, in which the Ascendant is not profected by whole sign, but rather is profected by degree, such that the Ascendant profects 30 degrees in one year.  As far as I know, this style of profection started in the 8th century CE with certain Persian astrologers such as Umar al-Tabari.  Abu Ma’shar (active in the 9th century CE) was one of the Persian astrologers who most famously used this type of profection in both natal and mundane work.  This style of profection was also followed by the 10th century CE astrology al-Qabisi (Alchabitius), and later medieval and Renaissance European astrologers.  However, Masha’allah, of the 8th century CE, used the Hellenistic style profections in which profections are discrete, by whole-sign, rather than continuous, by degree.

To recap the Hellenistic method, if one’s Ascendant was in Aquarius when one was born, then it’d profect to Pisces at Age 1 (second year of life), Aries at Age 2 (third year of life), and so forth.  The profections would be in discrete steps, such that the whole second year would be a Pisces annual profection, and there wouldn’t be any sense in considering a “degree” of the profection.  In order to capture smaller time frames we could also profect by month, starting with the sign of the year, in discrete steps, such that the month following the birthday would be a Pisces monthly profection, while the following month would be an Aries monthly profection, and so forth.  We could even do the same for days, because in each case we are dealing with discrete movements, highlighting specific Signs of the chart, which in whole-sign houses are the different houses of the chart.

In the Persian period there began to be some experimentation with quadrant division of houses, and with this came some new perspectives on how to view the chart, including a greater concern with degree-based aspects and configurations, quantified weighting of essential dignities, and a movement away from sign-based configurations and techniques.  So, we start to see the notion that the Ascendant profects 30 degrees in a year, or a house in the “equal-house” system, rather than a discrete sign.

Early Entrance

This view of profections changes some things.  For one, the profection is continuous, and the profected point will profect into a new sign in less than a year, because it would move at about 2.5 degrees per month.  For instance, if one were born with an Ascendant of 25 Aquarius, then the Ascendant would profect to Pisces two months after birth, rather than one year after.  Interestingly, in most Persian predictive systems, such as that of Abu Ma’shar, the Lord of the Year is still determined by the ruler of the profected Ascendant at the time of the solar return (also called the solar revolution), so in our example, despite the entrance into Pisces of the profected Ascendant, the Lord of the Year (called the “salkhuday”) for that entire year would remain Saturn (ruler of Aquarius). Therefore, it seems that those who started using this profection weren’t that interested in the early changeover of rulers that would occur by its use – you get the same planets highlighted for the time period as you do when you use whole-sign profections.

Profectional Aspects

Of course, the additional feature of this style of profections that likely inspired its use is the ability to profect any planet or point in a natal chart or return chart by degree in order to time events to the perfection of aspects.  For example, let’s say that someone has the Sun at 10 degrees Aries and Mars at 15 degrees Aries, and we want to know when some of the more difficult manifestations of this Sun and Mars conjunction might manifest.  We might look to see when Mars profects to conjoin, square, or oppose the Sun by degree.  As the Sun is 5 degrees behind the Sun, and the monthly rate of profection is about 5 degrees, we expect the profected conjunction a month prior to the twelfth, twenty-fourth, thirty-sixth (and so forth) birthdays.  The opposition will take place a month short of the sixth birthday (and every twelve years thereafter), while the square will take place a month short of the third and ninth birthdays (and every twelve years thereafter).   These exact degree based aspects can be difficult to figure out in one’s head, so I recommend using software.  The free astrological program Morinus can bring up a chart of profected positions (done by degree), as can many other astrological software packages.

Monthly and Daily Profections

Even though these profections by degree are continuous, it is still also possible to do profections by month and day (and even hour), though they use much faster motion.  Abu Ma’shar discussed these minor profections in Book IX, Chapter 7, Section 8 of “On the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities”.  For the monthly profections any given point profects through an entire sign (30 degrees) in a single month.  In other words, each point moves to each other point at the rate of about 1 degree per day.  For the daily profections a point moves at the rate of 30 degrees in 2.5 days, or about a degree every 2 hours.  Abu Ma’shar also mentions hourly profections, at the rate of 30 degrees every 5 hours, or about a degree very 10 minutes.  One of the technical problems with these types of profections by day and hour is that it makes a huge difference what time of day is used to kick off the profectional movement.  It is assumed that the birth time would be used.

Opinion

I present this type of profection by degree for the sake of completeness in the discussion of various types of profections and their use in ancient astrology.  However, I must personally admit that I have not found much use in this particular style of profection.  It would seem that it’s main use is in showing timing through exact aspects, but rarely have I seen significant events time out according to exact profectional aspects in my study of event timing.  While these are the type of profection your software is likely to perform, that seem more sophisticated, and that dominated later traditional astrology, I have found these profections to be far inferior to the original Hellenistic style of profecting discretely by whole sign.  I have not given any real-world examples of great timing by this technique because I haven’t yet been impressed by any.  My study of these degree-based profections has been primarily with natal astrology, so perhaps they work better in mundane timing.  If you have had experiences with using degree-based profections for timing, whether good or bad experiences, I would love to hear them.  I am particularly interested in big events in people’s lives that corresponded to very close profectional aspects to the natal chart.  Please discuss in the comments.

Astrological Predictive Techniques | 4. Profections in the Style of Vettius Valens

For those unfamiliar with the basic technique of annual and monthly profections, please review the last three posts of the series which introduce annual profections, those of smaller periods, and some ways the profected Ascendant or “terminal sign”, and its ruler, are combined with other predictive techniques.

In this post the focus is on a more advanced use of profections that is explicated by Vettius Valens in Book IV, Chapter 11 (and some ensuing chapters, as well as in some places in later books), of Anthology.  The only full English translation of Valens’ Anthology is available for free download from its translator Mark Riley, on his website, in pdf format at this link (c.f about p. 77-82 for reference).

The type of profections that Valens used adds three main additional principles to using profections: 1.  Profections of the Sect Light (i.e. Sun of a day birth, Moon of a night birth) may be even more generally important than that of the Ascendant, especially if the Light is in a “stake” of the chart (1st, 10th, 7th, or 4th place) ; 2. A planet in a place is more important than a planet ruling a place; 3. Any point, place, or planet can profect.

Part One: Important to Profect the Sect Light

Valens makes it very clear in Book V (Ch. 7) that he finds the profection of the sect light to be the most significant, even more so than the Ascendant:

The aphetic points of the years are operative when starting from any star, but the following aphetic points are most effective: for day births the sun, for night births the moon, especially when they are at the angles. Next <in effectiveness> is the Ascendant.  (Riley, 2010, p. 108)

In fact, any planet or place can be profected, and we will discuss the significance of them below.  However, the sect light and Ascendant have special general significance for the key events of the person’s year as a whole, so we may regard the planets that they transmit to as very important time lords of the period.

Anonymous Natal Chart
Anonymous Natal Chart

How do you profect the Sect Light?  Once you’ve gotten the hang of profecting the Ascendant, it will be easy to profect the Sect Light or any other point, as they move forward the same number of signs as the Ascendant does.  For instance, if one were a 35 year old with Leo Rising, then the annual profection of the Ascendant would be to the 12th place, Cancer (i.e. one before the 1st place, as 35 is one year before 36, a multiple of 12 – multiples of 12 are 1st place years).  If the person was born during the day then the Sun would be sect light, and we would want to profect that also.  The Sun would also profect to the 12th place from its own position.  If the Sun were in Cancer, then the 12th place from the Sun would be one sign back, in Gemini.  Thus the annual profection of the Sect Light would be to Gemini, and that of the Ascendant to Cancer.  As the Sun is cadent in our example, it is unclear whether Valens would have considered the profection of the Sect Light or the Ascendant as the more important of the two profections of the year, but certainly both are very important.

Part Two: Planet in the Place is More Important than Planet Ruling the Place

In the previous posts on profections of the Ascendant it was noted that it is as if the Ascendant is the person and the person enters a new Place/House/Sign of the chart each year.  In that metaphor, the planet ruling the Place is a “lord” of the time period, as if handed over some responsibility concerning the place where the native is now dwelling or active, which should seem natural to anyone familiar with planetary rulership of other planets and places.  It was also noted that any planet or planets in the place of the profection are very important, perhaps even more directly so, as the Ascendant becomes “co-present” with them in that place, and this planet or these planets are like alternative or additional lords of the period. For Valens, the planet or planets occupying the place are preferred to the ruler, and they are the ones that the time gets handed over to, or which receive the transmission. Again, from Valens Book V (Ch. 7):

If one of the stars in transit has entered this place, then it will be transmitting the chronocratorship. If the sign where the count stops happens to be empty, then count from the position (at the nativity) of the ruler of the sign, and examine in the same way the place found, whether using the nativity or the transiting stars. Then forecast the results of all the places and stars. <In other words,> if the count goes from star to star, use the stars for forecasting; if from a star to an empty sign, use the rulers of the signs. (Riley, 2010, p. 108)

The previous excerpt actually hits on a number of topics simultaneously, including the priority for the occupants over the ruler, the fact that the solar return transiting occupants are also preferred to the ruler (more on that below), and also that Valens even suggested profecting the ruler and finding which planet it transmits to, taking that planet over the ruler itself.

Let’s return to our example of a 35-year-old, born in the day, with Leo Rising and Sun in Cancer, with all annual profections going to the 12th place from their natal positions.  The Sun profects to Gemini, which is empty, and thus Mercury receives the transmission of the Sect Light, becoming an important time lord of the year (and if we profect Mercury we also find that it profects to Gemini, again highlighting Mercury – but if we prefer solar return transits over rulers, then it is Mars, in Gemini at the solar return, that receives the transmission of the Sect Light – this use of transits is discussed further below).  However, the Ascendant, Leo, profects to Cancer, which is occupied by both the Sun and Mercury.  In this case it is the Sun and Mercury, located in the place, rather than the Moon, ruler of the place, that receive the transmission.  As one can see the profectional method of Valens actually has the effect of changing which planet or planets are considered the most important time lords of the year by profection.  In the basic technique of the typical annual profections, the Moon, ruler of the sign the Ascendant profects to, is Lord of the Year.  By contrast, in the Valens technique it is the Sun and Mercury which are the most significant time lords by profection, as they receive the most effective transmissions, those of the Sect Light and the Ascendant.

It is important to acknowledge that this method of profections does indeed yield different indications, was not a widespread technique in Hellenistic astrology, and was not widely embraced in the latter periods.  However, this does not mean it is ineffective.  Many modern traditionalists who have explored the method have been very satisfied with the results.  Admittedly, I put more stress on the profection of the Ascendant, but like Valens, and many other ancient astrologers, give a lot of emphasis to planets occupying the place of the profection.  Valens introduces many new dimensions to explore with profections, and we’ll just scratch the surface here.  I urge the reader to experiment and have some fun on their own journey to better prediction.

Part 3: Profect It All

Additionally, Valens does see significance and usefulness in profecting basically any planet or place in the natal chart.  The planet or place hands off to the sign and the planets in the sign (or, if empty, the ruler of the sign) of the place of the profection.  Valens discussed this at great length in Book IV, Chapter 11, for instance:

Let us start our exposition from this point: when investigating the current year of a nativity, we divide by 12. Count the remainder from a star which is able <to transmit> to a star which is able to receive. In this way we will discover to what sign the year transmits. What I have said is easy to comprehend but complicated to determine since all the stars, plus the Ascendant, the sun, and the moon, can transmit to and receive from each other. (Riley, 2010, p. 78)

The nature of the star transmitting provides the context, or the nature of what is affected, and the one receiving the transmission provides the form of the effect and responsibility for its completion.  The contexts or significations of the planets and places being profected is as follows (quoted material in bullet points below from Anthology of Vettius Valens, Book IV, Ch. 11, Riley trans., 2010, p. 79):

  • Ascendant – “length of life and bodily or mental activities”
  • Sun – “rank, preeminence, magnificence, the father, great personages, and whatever other matters are usually influenced by the sun’s nature”
  • Moon – “dangers to health, diseases, bleeding, or the mother”
  • MC (10th Place?) – “occupations, livelihood, and work”
  • Lot of Fortune – “good fortune and success in life”
  • Descendant – “mortality, change, or trouble”
  • IC (4th Place?) – “estates, possessions, secret matters, legacies”
  • Saturn – “bankruptcy, money or property, secret diseases, or family inheritance”
  • Jupiter – “rank, friendship, alliances, and possessions”
  • Mars – “military or public matters”
  • Venus – “women, love affairs, associations, or the category ‘female'”
  • Mercury – “associations, slave matters, servile matters, giving and receiving, or written matters”

Valens additionally noted that it is important to profect from the other lots of the planets (for instance, the Lot of Daimon/Spirit/Sun, the Lot of Love/Eros/Venus, and the Lot of Necessity/Mercury).  Therefore, it is clear that Valens regarded profections as a general method applicable to any chart point assigned a significance as a means of understanding its changing state and activations of its relationships within the chart.

Cumulative Effect and Priority

I have only scratched the surface as to the way that Valens used profections.  You will find many more tips in Chapter 11 of Book 4 and in various other later sections of the Anthology.

One additional interesting thing that Valens does is to consider if most of the planets receiving the transmissions for the year (from the planets, angles of the chart, and Lot of Fortune) are benefics or malefics, while if a near even mix of both then the year will be very changeable in terms of fortune.  Presumably, the more effective transmissions, those of the Sect Light and Ascendant, are more important in this regard.  In fact, at one point in Book IV, Chapter 11, Valens did make explicit that actually both lights and the Ascendant give the strongest indications:

To find the overall influence in any nativity, it will be necessary to count the years from the sun, the moon, and the Ascendant, and if the count ends at an empty place, then they <sun moon Ascendant> will be transmitting to the rulers of these <empty> signs. These three figures have great influence, whether the transmission is to benefics, to malefics, to the angles or operative places, or to places not at the angles. Next it will be necessary to investigate the transmissions of the other stars: if malefics control the year, but the three aphetas have a benefic effect, then the year will be vigorous and distinguished, after some doubt, anxiety, and annoyance. (Riley, 2010, p. 78)

Solar Returns and Transits

In many places Valens noted the effect of transits on places receiving the transmissions, including in a quote from Book V which is above, where he stressed the priority of star to star over star to ruler.  It seems that a transiting planet could even be considered to receive the transmission, especially if the place being transmitted to were empty, as Valens noted in Book IV, Ch. 11:

If no star transmits to another, and if the distribution is to empty places, then it is necessary to note the empty places: especially if any stars are there in transit, they will receive the distribution. (Riley, 2010, p. 78)

Presumably, for the annual profections, these transits would be the planetary positions at the solar return. In fact, I think Valens did make it clear that he was most interested in the transits of the solar return chart, again from Book IV, Ch. 11:

Whenever we find a transmission in one cycle, (whether from one or from many), we examine the horoscope recast for that year, particularly the transits of the stars, to see if they have a configuration similar to their configuration at the nativity with respect to the transmitters and receivers, and if they have the same phases with respect to the sun. If this is found to be true, we say that the results are certain. If the configurations are different and dissimilar, the results will not take place in toto: some things will happen overall, others partially.  (Riley, 2010, p. 79)

This may provide a helpful context for general transits as well though.  Let’s say, the Ascendant profects to Cancer as in our example above, which is occupied by the Sun and Mercury.  The transmission is to the Sun and Mercury.  However, Venus occupies the place with the Sun at the solar return.  Therefore, in this scenario, we treat Venus also as receiving the transmission from the Ascendant.  Similarly, the Sect Light profected to Gemini, empty in the chart, but occupied by Mars in the solar return.  Thus in the solar return we see an additional influence of Venus upon the significations of the Ascendant, in addition to the strong influences of the Sun and Mercury (and weaker influence of the Moon), and we see an additional influence of Mars upon the significations of the Sect Light, in addition to the weaker influence of Mercury. Additionally, throughout the year, when planets transit through Gemini or Cancer, they may also modify the indications.

Conclusion

Vettius Valens has given us a broad range of new uses for profections.  Just as we might be curious about the transit of a planet, Valens allows us to check in on any planet and check out its annual profection, particularly with an eye on how that puts it into contact with occupants, both natal and transiting, of the place it profects to.  Of course, we may quickly find ourselves dealing with a soup of indications to sort out, but this is not to say they couldn’t conceivably be sorted out.  If his techniques are used with monthly profections as well, then you will certainly be overwhelmed, but it seems that they are discussed solely in terms of annual profections.  Not only with profections, but with predictive techniques in general, Valens has provided a wealth of areas to be explored for many years to come.  I plan on returning to Valens-style profections with some delineation examples in a future post.

References

Valens, V. (2010). Anthologies. (M. Riley, Trans.) (Online PDF.). World Wide Web: Mark Riley. Retrieved from http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/Vettius%20Valens%20entire.pdf

Astrological Predictive Techniques | 3. More Basic Profection Examples

For those unfamiliar with the basic technique of annual and monthly profections of the natal Ascendant, please review the first two posts of this series which introduce annual profections and those of smaller periods.  It should have become clear in the last post that the use of monthly profections is perhaps not as uncontroversial as it is usually presented.  Nevertheless, it is an easy and informative addition to one’s predictive arsenal, so I recommend its use.  The main idea behind profections is activation of natal potentials, however, it’s true potential is realized is found in its use in concert with other predictive techniques such as solar returns, direction, transits, and other time lord techniques.

Technique Brief

Any point in the natal chart can be profected, but the profection of the Ascendant is particularly important, and there is a logic to that.  No other point in the chart is as succinctly symbolic of the person, the self, their experience, in the natal chart as the Ascendant.  One may think of the sky as the soul, and the Earth as the body, and the Ascendant is that point where the planets rise, manifesting themselves out from the Earth, where the soul peers out through a body and experience is made manifest.  The Ascendant entering houses, is like the person entering houses.  Planets in the places will be directly encountered, planets ruling the places will oversee matters, and planets regarding the place may exert some influence.  Here we’ll look at some examples with solar returns and transits. The natal chart will show the default condition and the range of potentials possible in this, while the solar return may be thought of as spreading out the overall plan of action for the year, and the transits showing the transient movement of guests around the chart (without telling much about what they’re up to in itself).

I should note that I strongly advocate the use of precessed solar returns, as the solar return Ascendant and its ruler also are important for natal activation (in addition to the particular strengths/weaknesses and determinations of the planets in the return chart relative to those in the natal chart), particularly in the predictive system of Abu Ma’shar, and I find the precessed return to be of many magnitudes more informative than the non-precessed return.  For now, I’ll just go ahead and use the precessed returns in this post (I use the birth location for returns), while I’ll compare the precessed and non-precessed in a much more critical way when I get to the posts on use of returns.

Examples Brief

I’m just going to give 2 quick examples with annual and monthly profections in concert with solar returns and transits, all on properly sourced charts, simply to illustrate a simplified use of profections with other techniques.  This series on predictive techniques will pave the way for more understandable use of predictive techniques in analysis in the future, as uninformed readers will be able to get briefed on the background of the techniques used.  The examples are: 1. James Randi receiving a diagnosis of cancer; 2. David Carradine’s death by accidental autoerotic asphyxiation.

James Randi’s Cancer

I’ve looked at his chart in terms of belief in the past, and in the first post of the series, I also looked at the particular event of him announcing a diagnosis of cancer to fans in early July of 2009, based on a June 2009 diagnosis (currently, Randi’s cancer is believed to have been successfully treated).  Let’s re-examine this last event, with a particular emphasis on the month lord at the time he received the diagnosis, June 2009.

Cancer Announcement transits (outer wheel) to natal chart (inner wheel)
Cancer Announcement transits (outer wheel) to natal chart (inner wheel)

As mentioned in the first post, at the time of the announcement, he was in an 11th House, Aries year, with Mars as lord of the year.  It is also important to mention that his Moon occupies the natal 11th, and as the sect light and in a good place, it is an important planet for health considerations.  The Moon is also one of the natural significators of the body. As noted in the last post, Dorotheus put a lot of stress on the planets in the place of the profection.  Valens uses an occupying planet like that as an alternative ruler, as does Abu Ma’shar though in slightly different manner. Therefore, the annual profection puts the spotlight on Mars as Lord of the Year, but also on the Moon.

While the Moon is in the term and sign of Mars and is overcome by Saturn, the Moon is still overall typically more of a significator of pleasant happenings in Randi’s life, being the sect light in the very good 11th place, pertaining particularly to powerful friendships and group alliances.  Still, that the Moon has a ruler in bad weak condition, which is called counter-action, allows for some degree of reversals, and the Moon’s location in the term of Mars, and being overcome by Saturn, as a natural significator of the body, provides for her ability to signify bodily problems.  However, Mars, as noted previously, can signify the most difficult matters in the life, as a malefic in a bad place, ruling and opposed to the place of health.  I had mentioned the exact Mars return that took place around the time of Randi’s announcement (7/9/09) and the transits from around the time of the announcement event are marked along the edge of the natal as pictured.

I do not have an exact date for the diagnosis event, but it has been reported that it was in June of 2009 and not long before the announcement.  In terms of personal experience the diagnosis month is more interesting than the announcement at a celebratory event, as one is getting the news that one is sick and could die.  As the birthday is Aug. 7th, and it’s an Aries year, June would be two months back, and we can conveniently count two signs back, to the 9th, Aquarius, with Saturn as Lord of the Month, the profection for about June 7th to about July 7th.  Aquarius is empty, so our 3 major planets to look at are Mars (Lord of the Year), the Moon (focal planet of the profection), and Saturn (Lord of the Month).  I’ve already noted that these three planets are all related together in terms of hardship concerning the body, in the rulership of the Moon by Mars and the overcoming of the Moon by Saturn.

Randy's 2008 Solar Return (precessed)
Randy’s 2008 Solar Return (precessed)

The solar return chart shows the major game plan of the year, and the most important things for us to check out there are where the srAscendant falls in the natal chart (including also its ruler and any planets it highlights), where the Lord of the Year and the profectional Asc fall in the return, important aspects between planets, and generally which planets are strong or weak, with a particular emphasis on whether the benefics or malefics are more strongly placed in a general way.

The srAsc is in the natal 6th, one of the worst of the bad places of the chart, pertaining to disease and accidents.  Mars is the ruler, echoing the annual profection, and putting a spotlight on the opposition of Mars to the 6th.  The Moon is on the srAsc, again in a sign and term of Mars, and again overcome by Saturn (actually by both malefics).  As an aside, with the lord of the year and the srAsc ruler in the 11th, this must have otherwise been a very important year for friends, organizations, and group events overall.  The profected Asc is in the 6th of the return so there is again a reinforcement of the indication of important health events occurring.  srSaturn is closely dominating natal Saturn, and srMars is also dominating natal Saturn (both from the sr4th which can pertain to hidden/buried matters), which is significant in that Saturn is the strongest planet in Randi’s chart, being located right on his Descendant. Finally, in the return the Lights are extremely strong, the malefics are quite strong, and the benefics are weak (Jupiter retreating in the cadent 3rd and in fall) and/or made malefic (Venus in the 11th assembled with both malefics and in fall).   Therefore, we see plenty of repeat indications concerning hardship, particularly with health.  Pivotal events come to the fore with important transits of Mars and Saturn, and even the Moon, from the Mars return on the day of the announcement, to the preceding health crisis during the Saturn profectional months with tSaturn meanwhile dominating nSaturn within 3 degrees.  Even such a simplified predictive system using only the natal, annual and monthly profections, solar returns, and transits can provide a lot of information about major events and big themes.

David Carradine’s Death

A brief bio of Carradine can be found on Wikipedia here, and his AA-rated chart data can be found on AstroDatabank here.  He is reported to have died the evening of June 3, 2009 in Bangkok, Thailand by accidental asphyxiation.  Carradine was born with the malefic Mars, out of sect and in the 8th, the place of death, assembled with the Moon, a natural significator of the body, and in a scrutinizing (i.e. within 3*) sextile with the Sun, in which Mars is overcoming the Sun (the Sun is an important life-force signifier, particularly in day charts).  Additionally, Carradine was born with Saturn rising, in the 1st place, adhering (i.e. conjunct within 3*) to the Ascendant, and in a partile (i.e. same zodiacal degree/part) square with the Sun.  Therefore, in matters of death we particularly expect to see Mars playing a role, as well as to some extent Saturn and Venus (Venus rules the 8th along with Mars and the Moon, appropriate to the sexual nature of the death, as well as the constrictive and violent nature, as Venus is in Capricorn, Saturn’s earthy nocturnal abode, and in a bound of Mars).

Carradine's natal chart with transits at time of death on outer wheel
Carradine’s natal chart with transits at time of death on outer wheel

His death took place at age 72.  As 72 is a multiple of 12, this puts him in a 1st place, Pisces, year, profecting the Ascendant to natal Saturn, with Jupiter as lord of the year.  Jupiter in the natal is a little bit weakened by being in fall, but overall is quite benefic and strong, as it is in its joy, the strong good 11th place, and is in sect and in phasis, assembled with Venus.  Jupiter is ruled by Saturn and dominated by Mars, so while overall we expect an excellent and popular year from Jupiter with much fortune, Jupiter is subject to the malefics in certain ways, and does not necessarily prohibit danger.  Here we see the value of the indications of the planet occupying the place, Saturn, as well as the danger of reading too much into just the Lord of the Year and its natal standing.  In the month of death it was 6th place, Leo, Sun profectional month.  The 6th pertains most strongly to illness and accidents.  This particular year and month set highlight the Sun-Saturn square in the natal chart.  Both planets are extremely strong and generally carry positive significations in the natal chart, both in sect, in good places, and in signs of Jupiter.  For those who claim that profections of the Ascendant, used solely with the natal, are effective in themselves for prediction, take note, as the indications of profections alone here are quite positive.  In fairness though, it was indeed a very positive year for Carradine prior to the asphyxiation accident, apparently having about a dozen films of his in post-production at the time of his death.

David Carradine's Last Solar Return (precessed)
David Carradine’s Last Solar Return (precessed)

Looking at the solar return, we see some very different indications.  Perhaps most importantly, srMars is in a partile conjunction (actually within about 2′ of a degree!) with the natal Sun (nSun), and both malefics are strongly advancing while the benefics are the weakest planets in the chart.  The solar return Ascendant is in Carradine’s 7th place, Virgo, ruled by Mercury, and the 7th (like the 4th, but to a lesser extent than the 8th) carries associations with death, as it is the place of setting.  Significantly, srSaturn is in the 1st of the return, strongly advancing towards the srAsc, echoing that configuration in Carradine’s chart, and srSaturn opposes his natal Saturn, and squares his natal Sun.  The solar return therefore strongly speaks of activation and major intensification of the affliction of Carradine’s Sun by Mars and Saturn.

The day of death was Carradine’s lunar return in the 8th place with Mars.  On that day, the Lord of the Year, Jupiter was transiting in the 12th, in a very weak spot of the natal chart.  Transiting Mars was in partile trine to natal Jupiter, striking Jupiter with its rays.  Transiting Saturn was at 15 Virgo, adhering to Carradine’s Descendant (13VIR) and opposing natal Saturn while in a dominating square to natal Sun, both within less than 3 degrees of exact (i.e. both scrutinizing).  Transiting Sun was at 12 Gemini, strongly applying squares to natal and transiting Saturn and opposing the natal Sun.

Conclusion

These are just two examples, but we can already see how worthwhile it can be to add basic profections and precessed solar returns to prediction, as transits themselves are rather superficial without them, and just about completely meaningless without any context from a natal chart.  I have found myself experiencing some of my best days, all around, during transits that generally would appear to be very difficult, and even may appear very difficult from the standpoint of my natal, such as having the out of sect malefic located in a bad place in my natal chart transit through my 8th and make a dominating square to my natal Sun, during a pleasant time of high productivity and energy.  My Saturn return also was a great experience.  However, the year that solar return Asc fell in my 12th on my out of sect malefic with that out of sect malefic on the Descendant of the return and in partile opposition to its natal position, was genuinely the worst year of my life thus far, even though the transits in themselves at the time of the worst events didn’t appear ominous.

We see the capacity for someone to have a great year apart from one really horrible event.  Someone may have a natal chart that indicates extraordinary luck, popularity, longevity, social mobility, health, and so forth, but still bad things do happen to everyone, so it is important to understand the range of potential in a natal chart.  A benefic planet, simply by being out of sect, or in a bad place, or ruled by a malefic, etc. can have some negative potential linked to it.  Very rarely does any planet in one’s chart have only the capacity to signify good.  This is the great difficulty in natal astrology, and particularly in natal prediction: the capacity for events is largely subject to the potentials in the natal chart, and the potentials in the natal chart are in a sense infinite.  By deeply working on the natal chart, understanding things like general strength, general beneficence, and these things particularly in relation to topics, as well as the range or variance, and the specifics that bring out configurations that bring out points within that range, we will be better able to understand the specific indications signified in the predictive techniques.

We are still dealing with an extremely stripped-down predictive system.  There will be at least one more post on profections in this series, but it is important to keep in mind that there are many techniques other than profections that played a key role in the predictive systems of people like Abu Ma’shar.  There are also many many predictive methods that have been virtually unexplored, particularly those found in Valens.  Numerous predictive methods are found in antiquity and many astrologers combine them into their own predictive systems, because no single predictive technique is in itself adequate to signify all of the most important events in one’s life.  Just as there are special techniques for natal matters, in which multiple factors are examined, not simply the ruler or rulers of a house, prediction is best when one uses those predictive techniques that have proven most effective, and uses them in concert, with a keen eye to repeat signification, and a good prior knowledge of the natal chart.