Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Primary Directions in Traditional Astrology

Primary directions are a time-tested prediction and timing technique used in traditional astrology. They are similar to secondary progressions, but use degrees of what is called right ascension instead of degrees of the Zodiac. Right ascension degrees are different from Zodiac degrees in that they take into account the different amounts of time that Zodiac signs take to rise above the horizon. The differences arise from the fact that the Earth's orbit is elliptical, while the Zodiac is a circle by convention. In secondary progressions, one day's activity in the ephemeris after the birth time is taken to correspond to one year in the native's life (the native is the person whose birth chart is being examined); in primary directions, the planets move by one degree, more or less (there are different methods), per year of the native's life. The interaction between the adjusted (or directed) positions and the natal positions can mark events in the native's life.

Here's my chart. The house cusps are not shown because I use whole sign houses, where the entire sign where the Ascendant falls is the first house, the next sign the second house, and so forth. The arrow pointing to the left is the Ascendant; the upward-pointing arrow is the Midheaven. How it works is that the planets move clockwise through the chart as they would during the course of the day; a quarter of the way through will cover the native's entire life.

The first event I'd like to point out happened in September 1989 and was marked by Pluto advancing upward to meet the Midheaven. At the time I was starting my senior year of college, but I had to leave due to finances. That event completely transformed my career as Microsoft was recruiting heavily on campus at the time and I could very well have ended up working there had I graduated. So you can see that the event worked similarly to a Pluto transit of the Midheaven.

The next event also involves the Midheaven, this time with Uranus as the directed planet. This was in late 1993. At the time, I was working at an investment bank in Boston, in a department that managed stocks for pension plans. I developed stomach problems due to the stress levels, and in February of the next year, one day decided I couldn't do that job any more and gave notice. So the event was similar to a Uranus-Midheaven transit.

The last event I'll cover involves Venus, which was directed to the Midheaven in the summer of 1998. The major event was a trip to Russia to meet my future wife. I came back engaged and got married a year latter. The subsequent divorce ten years later was marked by an aspect between the Midheaven and what's called the antiscion (a shadow spot) of Mars.

If you'd like to try working with primary directions, I recommend using the program Pymorinus. Book Three of William Lilly's Chrisitan Astrology gives instruction on how to use primary directions.

Disclaimer: the first rule of predictive astrology is that no event can happen unless it is indicated in the natal chart. The technique given here is used to determine when events will happen, not if they will happen.