Astrological Predictive Techniques | Primary Directions | 2. Software Calculation


In the first post of this series, I discussed a little bit about the history and use of primary directions.  One point that I made was on the primacy of the Ascendant.  This primacy of the Ascendant persisted in the Persian period.  In fact, the entire Book III (Distributions) of Abu Ma’shar’s On the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities is devoted to primary directions involving the Ascendant, from the jarbakhtar technique, to looking at planets (and Lots and even Twelfth Parts) conjoining or aspecting the Ascendant by primary motion as partners with the jarbakhtar, and then even an exposition of how to direct the Ascendant through the Indian Ninth Parts and their subdivision into thirds (Abu Ma’shar claimed that this was how the Indians directed the Ascendant, and so he recommended it as an alternative approach to be used).  Other directions are used in Hellenistic and Persian predictive literature, but directions to the Ascendant, and particularly those of the bounds, have an immense primacy in early directions literature that tended to be lost in the resurgence of directions in the Renaissance.

In that first post, I discussed how to roughly estimate directions involving the Ascendant with the use of ascensional times, how to play with astro-clocking, and finally how to calculate directions through bounds with the free astrological program, Morinus. This is going to be a very short post in which I’m going to show how other primary directions can be found with the Morinus software, and what a couple of the settings mean.  All that we will be doing is adjusting settings in Options->Primary Directions within the program.  The Primary Key and the use of only Direct in the Tables->Primary Directions settings, should remain as discussed in the last post, for the reasons noted in the last post.

Basic Settings

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

Primary Directions

The Ascendant would be the significator, as a point that we want to stand still relative to the location and have everything else (the promissors) rotate through by primary motion.  So I check the Ascendant as significator, and all the planets and other points I might want to direct to it.  I then check all the classical planets that I want to direct, and in this case also the Lot of Fortune and the Node.  Semiarc and Zodiacal without latitude are standard means of directing until about the 15th century.  In zodiacal options, the first option should definitely be checked, but the second is more controversial. Traditionally the second option would not be used as you would direct aspects of promissors to the significator but would not direct to aspects of the significator.  Some may opt to include those though as it still involves regular primary motion but the difference between the two pertains to a notion of what aspects what, and from what direction (Ptolemy called these direct and converse, but they are different from the modern direct and converse notions that more frequently show up, such as in the tables settings in which converse is actually everything moving backwards – for more on this see the last section of Chapter 1 of Martin Gansten’s 2009 book, Primary Directions: Astrology’s Old Master Technique). Basically, if you check the second option then besides looking at when a planet or its aspects direct to the Ascendant, you will also be looking at when a planet directs to a degree that aspects the natal Ascendant degree.

For the third option in the bottom right, I can see good arguments for or against treating the Asc and MC as promissors, but I do not think they were treated that way traditionally.  In any case, if you check this, then what you are doing is also treating the zodiacal point of the Asc and MC as being able to rotate with the primary motion and enter into aspects with other planets and points that way.  The argument against it might be that these are very different from directions to an actual angle, as here we are looking at directions that the degrees on the angles make to other things as they are carried from east to west in the primary motion.  If you do use them, then you should recognize that the direction of the Ascendant degree to a planet is not likely to be as significant as the direction of a planet to the Ascendant (eastern horizon).

The second thing that I’ve highlighted is accounting for the secondary motion of the Moon.  When we use the astro-clocking method we are accounting for secondary motion.  Secondary motion is very slight in the few hours following birth for all planets but the Moon.  There is a sense that the spirit of the technique is to look at connections made by the planets, especially to angles, after birth, in a more natural manner, with the hours after birth as symbolic of the lifetime (every 4 minutes as a year).  It doesn’t appear that secondary motion was accounted for in the traditional technique, especially when ascensional times were used, but an argument can easily be made for accounting for the secondary motion of the Moon so that directions more accurately reflect the reality in the relevant times after birth.  If you do use this option, then you’ll have to figure out what the three different iterations mean, because I’m not sure (could pertain to accounting for some combinations of secondary motion, parallax, and refraction that affect lunar positioning).  There is more on this topic of secondary motion in Chapter 7 of Martin Gansten’s aforementioned work, Primary Directions: Astrology’s Old Master Technique.

Going Further

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

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

Eventually, I hope to show some ways that primary directions were used in practice by Hellenistic and Persian astrologers.



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

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