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

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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.

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Anthony

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

6 thoughts on “Astrological Predictive Techniques | 5. A Persian Degree-Based Style of Profections

  • April 12, 2018 at 2:11 pm
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    I was wondering as Alex above asked, do you allow us to post charts here in the comments section?
    thnx.

    Reply
    • April 12, 2018 at 2:33 pm
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      Yes, Gary. As far as I know, you can post charts. By the way, you had mentioned Trump’s returns in another comment and I’ve been meaning to tell you that I recently added the primary directions to his Ascendant to the first article on primary directions on the site. There are some interesting ones involving Mars coming up.

      Reply
      • April 14, 2018 at 1:13 pm
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        Oh God!
        thanks, i will check it out.

        Reply
  • April 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm
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    Hi Anthony,

    I have been using this Persian model of profections and have found it extremely valuable. As I wrote you, I found your blog by looking for the Valens profections method which I will soon start testing which means that so far I have only used this method and can vouch for its effectiveness but with 1 caveat – as Babylonian Astrology specialist Rumen Kolev says – profections are much slower primary directions (4 minutes = 1 degree, 2 hours = 1 sign).
    This means that they are do not give accurate results to the day but very often give deviations up to 2 weeks, even with accurately rectified birthcharts, which is quite alright for me at least., because there are other techniques to further narrow them down.
    I don’t know whether your blog allows readers to post charts so I will just write down the examples, which can be calculated with the lovely Morinus free software or by hand:

    Michael Jackson

    On the day of death (June 25 2009, he was 50 years old so a 3rd House year, which started on Aug 29 2008)

    Profected Mars conjuncts the SR Moon’s position – Hilaj and SR Asc ruler

    Profected Moon reaches the natal Asc, shy of 1 month (2.5 degrees)

    Profected Mars reaches the place of profected Asc at the last birthday, shy of 1 month

    Note that for the last 2 indications if his time of birth is off by 4 minutes, which is likely, instead of a 1 month difference we get about 2 weeks deviation, and yes that would stretch the other indication and invalidate it.

    SR Moon conjuncts profected Asc at the beginning of the year, within 4 weeks.

    Both indications of the Moon should be read in the light that she is Michael Jackson’s Hilaj and when the Moon arrives to the Asc this is one strong testimony of death.

    It must also be said that the revolution chart is considered by some ancient practitioners to be a snapshot of the year and the positions of the planets are especially important and later during the year certain topics are activated when transiting or profected planets reach the degrees of the planets situated in the solar revolution. Abu Mashar criticised this approach as assuming that anything can be predicted during the year by only going back to this original snapshot called the positions of the planets in the revolution. I agree with him of course but still those revolution positions are very revealing.

    Bruce Lee

    Profected Saturn-Jupiter conjunction conjunct the natal Lot of Death at the beginning of the year.

    Profected Asc on the day of death – July 20 1973 (26.10 Leo) opposes the antiscia of natal Mars ( his killing planet) at 4.33 Scorpio, giving a deviation of 9 days.

    One personal example:

    On the day of death of my paternal grandfather, profected Mars (ruler of my IC) was within 1 degree of my natal Dsc – 4th from the 4th, that is, it timed his death within 12 days. I should add that there was no primary direction at that time which is congruent with this signification.

    Bottom line: look especially for hostile aspects, that is, profected planets or points to be in the angles of a given natal planet or point. Do not expect accurate timing to the day with this method. In almost all cases there will be a deviation which can be up to 2 weeks.

    In closing, I did not see you write about the Omar method of profections, meaning how the profection yearly chart looks like, how it changes every year and how certain planets take rulership of the year. (Persian Nativities Book 2 page 39-41) I find this method absolutely vital. I just really hope that it can be combined with the Valens method of profections without sacrificing anything of either method. Time and practice will tell!

    Best Wishes,
    Alex

    Reply
  • January 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm
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    Hi Anthony,

    nice site you have here and a nice instruction on Profections. Though I do notice you said that the Persians would profect 5 degrees a month. Surely that would be 2.5 degrees a month since there are 30 degrees and 12 months?

    Regards,

    Konrad

    Reply
    • January 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm
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      Hi Konrad,

      Yes, thank you! That was an error. I’ll correct it in the post immediately.

      Best wishes,

      Anthony

      Reply

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