Update: Note that this article was completely re-written in Nov. 2018 and re-published Dec. 1, 2018.
Persian Degree-Based Profections
In this article, we’ll be looking at degree-based profections. For those unfamiliar with profections, please review the previous articles of the series. The first article introduced the technique of profections. The second article introduced profections of smaller periods of time. The third article discussed ways of combining profections with other predictive techniques and provided additional examples. In the last article, we were introduced to Valens-style profections.
30 Degrees Per Year
In degree-based profections, factors are not moved from one sign to the next each year at the solar return. Instead, they are profected continuously. In this manner the Ascendant moves 30 zodiacal degrees in one year. For instance, if one was born with 15° Pisces rising then at age 12 1/2 we would find the profected Ascendant at 0° Aries. This is because age 12 would be a year in which the profected Ascendant returns to its natal position (15° Pisces), but after a half year it would be through 15 degrees of the zodiac (i.e. half of 30 degrees) which ends up at 0° Aries.
This style of profections appears to have started in the 8th century CE with certain Persian astrologers. It is noted in the work of Umar al-Tabari. Abu Ma’shar (active in the 9th century CE) also famously used this type of profecting in both natal and mundane work. The 10th century CE astrology al-Qabisi (Alchabitius), as well as later medieval and Renaissance European astrologers, also profected in this manner. However, Masha’allah, of the 8th century CE, used the Hellenistic style profections discussed in the first article.
Let’s recall the basic Hellenistic method of profections. If one’s Ascendant was in Pisces when one was born, then it’d profect to Aries at Age 1 (second year of life). Similarly, it’d profect to Taurus 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 an Aries annual profection. In the Hellenistic technique there is no such thing as the “degree” of the profection.
Shift toward Greater Numerical Complexity
In the Persian period, there began to be some experimentation with quadrant house divisions and other techniques requiring more complex calculations. With this came some new perspectives on how to view the chart. The overall movement was toward more precise, quantifiable, computational, and aspect-based indications. This included a greater concern with degree-based aspects and configurations, quantified weighting of essential dignities, and a gradual movement away from sign-based configurations and techniques. The notion that the Ascendant profects 30 degrees in a year, rather than a discrete sign, is consistent with this shift in emphasis.
Does Early Entrance Matter?
The profection is continuous, so the profected point will profect into a new sign in less than a year. For instance, if one were born with an Ascendant at 25 Aquarius, then the Ascendant would profect to Pisces two months after birth, rather than one year after. Interestingly, in the Persian predictive systems of Umar al-Tabari and Abu Ma’shar, the Lord of the Year (called the “salkhuday“) is still determined by the ruler of the profected Ascendant at the time of the solar return. Therefore, the early entrance does not cause there to be a new lord of the year.
Consider the example of the twelfth birthday of a person with 15 degrees Pisces rising. Despite the entrance of the profected Ascendant in Aries halfway through the year, the Lord of the Year (salkhuday) for that entire year would remain Jupiter (ruler of Pisces). Therefore, you get the same planets highlighted for the time period as you do when you use mainstream Hellenistic profections. The reasoning for the degree-based profection lies in the aspects that the profected factors makes to natal factors. Additionally, transits to the profected Ascendant and other factors can show events.
Of course, the additional feature of this style of profections is the ability to profect any point in a chart by degree in order to time events to the perfection of aspects. For example, let’s say that someone has the Ascendant at 10 degrees Aries and Mars at 15 degrees Aries. When might some of the more difficult manifestations of this Ascendant and Mars conjunction manifest. We look to when the Ascendant profects to conjoin Mars by degree. We would also be interested in when the Ascendant makes other aspects to Mars by degree.
As the Ascendant is 5 degrees behind Mars, and the monthly rate of profection is about 2.5 degrees, we expect the profected conjunction two months after any birthday (solar return) that is a multiple of 12. For instance, two months after the twelfth, twenty-fourth, thirty-sixth (and so forth) birthdays. Similarly, the opposition will take place two months after the sixth birthday (and every twelve years thereafter), while the square will take place two months after 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.
The Method of Umar al-Tabari
Ascendant is the Native
In terms of the profection in the revolution of the native’s years, [he says] that you should look from the degree to which the profection arrived from the Ascendant, one year for every 30°. (al-Tabari, Dykes trans., 2010, Book II, Ch. 4, p. 32)
As with traditional primary directions and mainstream profections, the stress is on the movement of the Ascendant. He actually profects many chart factors, but the Ascendant, which is the main significator for the individual in a chart, is the most important for the native’s condition.
The Greater Condition
Umar situated degree-based profections as one of three major components of his annual predictive system. First, the Ascendant (whether or not it is hyleg as he explicitly stated) is directed by primary directions to aspects of benefics and malefics to determine the “general condition” of the native. Second, the profected Ascendant of the year is continuously profected to the aspects of benefics and malefics to determine the “greater condition”. The rate for the profection is 1 degree every 12 1/6 days (~2 1/2 degrees per month). Third, the Ascendant of the solar return is directed. For the primary direction of the solar return Ascendant the rate is a day equals 59’8” of right ascension (around the entire chart in a year).
Umar on the Greater Condition
And for knowing the greater condition of the native, you will direct from the sign of the advancement. And know that the sign of the advancement is always like the degree of the Ascendant, because every 30° are one year. For it is like the Ascendant of the root, an example of which is this: if the Ascendant of the root were the tenth degree of the sign of Aries, the sign of the advancement in the second year will be the same degree of Taurus. Likewise, [you will] always [give] one sign to every year, if God wills. Likewise if you wished to know [the native’s] greater condition [to the day], multiply the degrees of the sign of the profection and the rays of the bad ones and the fortunes. That is, multiply the degrees which are between the sign of the profection and the rays [of the planet] by 12 1/6, and on that number of days, the native’s condition will be changed from good into evil, or from evil into good, according to the nature of the Lord of the rays, whether it were a fortune or a bad one. (al-Tabari, Dykes trans., 2010, Book II, Ch. 5, p. 33)
Calculating without Software
Note that there are two ways to calculate which are used by Umar and yield the same result. The quickest way is to give a degree to every 12 1/6 days, as noted above. The other way is to give 59’8″ to every 12 days, such that an entire year will yield 30 degrees. For instance, if the profectional Ascendant is 4 degrees Gemini and Jupiter in the natal chart is at 6 degrees Libra, then the profectional Ascendant will reach the trine in 2 degrees. We can multiple 2 times 12 1/6 days for a total of 24 1/3 days after the solar return for the beneficial event., or we can divide 2 degrees by 59’8″ and multiply the product by 12. The first method (multiply degrees by 12 1/6 days) is more direct.
There is a rougher shortcut variation of the first method which you can do quickly in your head. Based on his example Umar appears to have used the method of multiplying by 12 (rather than 12 1/6) as a short hand to get the rough number of days (i.e. ~24 days in this case).
We subtract the lesser from the greater, [and] afterwards we multiplied by twelve, and there was one day for every 59′ and 8″ [of that product]. (al-Tabari, Dykes trans., 2010, Book II, Ch. 6.2, p. 39)
Other Factors and Other People
Umar did not discuss many factors in relation to profections, but he did discuss profecting from the Lot of the Mother for the mother’s greater condition and the Lot of the Father for the same of the father. You can extend the method to other lots and chart factors as well.
Monthly and Daily Profections
It is also possible to do continuous profections by month, period of days, or period of hours. However, they use much faster motion such that they move through an entire sign in the specified period of time. 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. This is equal to a degree every 2 hours. Abu Ma’shar also mentions hourly profections, at the rate of 30 degrees every 5 hours. Therefore, hourly directions move about a degree very 10 minutes.
Profections by day and hour face some technical issues. The start time makes a huge difference. What time of day should be used to kick off the profectional movement? I assume that the birth time should be used. However, one could argue for the use of the time of the solar return as well.
Note on Birth Time
Note that Umar’s emphasis was on the profection of the Ascendant. The Ascendant is a factor that is very sensitive to an accurate birth time. Only 4 minutes of error in a birth time can change the Ascendant by more than a degree in the zodiac. Each degree is equal to about 12 days. Therefore, when using the profected Ascendant or MC in timing, use about a 2 week or 1 degree window.
Example: Bruce Jenner Comes Out as a Trans-Woman
On April 25, 2015, Bruce Jenner came out to the world as a trans-woman. Later, she changed her name to Caitlyn Jenner. She underwent sex reassignment surgery in January 2017. Jenner was born on October 28, 1949 (birth data AA-rated).
Note that continuous profections are mainly about timing events already shown by other predictive techniques. Therefore, we will have to set the stage by using some other predictive techniques on Jenner’s chart before looking at the timing by continuous profections.
Jenner and Mars
Bruce Jenner was born with the Sun rising in Scorpio and Mars advancing toward the MC. Mars is the career significator and his athletic accomplishments were notable. As a decathlete he once (1976) won the gold medal in the Olympics. As a living Mars icon, it was very surprising when at age 65, Jenner came out as a trans-woman.
Jenner came out at age 65 which marked a profection to the 6th house, Aries, ruled by Mars. The 6th house pertains primarily to matters of health. Jenner’s Mars is in the Mercury bound of Mercury’s feminine house, Virgo. It is in a feminine quarter of the chart (the quadrants where planets approach the meridian are feminine) and is with Saturn. Many ancient authorities considered Saturn to be feminizing.
I have noted elsewhere that Mercury-Venus indications can pertain to LGBTQ matters. Jenner has Mercury adhering (i.e. applying aspect within 3 degrees) to Venus by sextile. Additionally, the twelfth-part of Venus is in the X at 5 Leo. It is in partile conjunction to the Lot of Fortune and in a dominating square to the Sun. This configuration connects it with physical happenstance (Fortune) and publicity (Sun). The twelfth-parts of the Ascendant and Sun are in Sagittarius with Venus. Mercury and its twelfth-part are both in houses of Venus.
Venus Cazimi at Solar Return 2014
Jenner’s 2014 solar return strikingly featured Venus cazimi the returned Sun. Venus on the throne of the Sun marks the central role played by Venus, the planet of femininity, in the year’s affairs. Venus is also with Saturn (Jenner divorced the same year over the gender issue). Additionally, there is a Mercury return with the return North Node (amplification). Mars in the return is at 1 Capricorn, trine its natal position. Return Mars was in the 6th house of the return, emphasizing the natal 6th house significations pertaining to health.
Mercury-Venus Primary Directions
The period from Jenner’s coming out through to the sex change in January 2017 was marked by primary directions of Mercury-Venus to the MC. It was also directly preceded by the same directions to the prenatal syzygy (the New Moon that preceded his birth, at 28 Libra).
Timing with Continuous Profections
On 4/25/15, Jenner came out to the world as a trans-woman on national TV. In June of the same year, she took on the name Caitlyn and had transformed to this female physical appearance and identity.
Late April / Early May 2015
Publicity is a very solar thing (the Sun brings light and exposure). Jenner is no stranger to publicity being born with a prominent rising Sun. At the time the Sun had profected to 19 Aries, opposite natal Mercury at 19 Libra, and trine natal Venus at 20 Sagittarius. Additionally, Saturn (0 Pisces) profected opposite natal Mars. This Saturn profection emphasized the natal Mars-Saturn configuration. Mars pertains here to masculinity while Saturn signifies a muting of or separation from Mars.
Late May / Early June 2015
Recall that the profected points move 2.5 degrees per month. The profected Ascendant was at 17 1/2 Aries at the time of the announcement in late April 2015. Over the next month, by June 2015, Bruce had been transformed into Caitlyn in terms of name, identity, and appearance. This coincided with the profection of the Ascendant to 19 and 20 Aries, opposing Jenner’s Mercury and trining Jenner’s Venus. In other words, the Sun triggered these degrees at the time of initial publicity while the Ascendant did for the transformation of the identity and appearance. This is appropriate as the Ascendant’s main significations pertain to identity and appearance.
Degree-based profections are a valuable additional tool for timing out events that have been indicated by other timing techniques. This type of profection does not change our interpretation of the original Hellenistic profections by sign. We end up with the same lord of the year. Therefore, we can use this technique together with Hellenistic profections, including the Valens-style profections, to find when specific degrees and configurations may be triggered. I would add that the degree of the profected Ascendant, like the sign of the year, can also be an important point to watch with regards to transits.
al-Tabari, U., & al-Hasib, A. B. (2010). Persian Nativities II: ’Umar al-Tabari and Abu Bakr. (B. N. Dykes, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: The Cazimi Press.
Ma’shar, A. (2010). Persian Nativities III: On Solar Revolutions. (B. N. Dykes, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: The Cazimi Press.