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Primary Directions
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Yair Alon



Joined: 16 Jul 2014
Posts: 88

Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:35 pm    Post subject: Primary Directions Reply with quote

Hello, all!

I've just finished reading the excellent book of Primary Directions by Martin Gansten.

I am a little bit overwhelmed with the array of settings that one can use in primary directions. So I would like to make something of a pool and ask which settings are you using?

Which key?
Zodiacal or In Mundo?
Direct and Converse?
Which promissors and significators?
Do you direct degrees and aspects?

Best!
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Tom
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Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I am a little bit overwhelmed with the array of settings that one can use in primary directions. So I would like to make something of a pool and ask which settings are you using?


You and a lot of other people. Rumen Kolev, author of the primary directions program Placidus, rectifies every chart and then determines from past events which key and type of directions to use for that individual. Although that requires a lot of work, it seems sensible.

Old astrologers like Morin and John Worsdale came up with reasons why what they used worked best. In Morin's case it was Regio directions and key. In Worsdale's it was the Key of Ptolemy. He said he used Ptolemy's direction method but I think, I'd have to look it up, Martin said he used Placidus' directions or Placidus' idea of what Ptolemy wrote about. A member or former member of Skyscript, Issac Starkman, not sure if he is still here, used Topocentric directions and claimed really good results.

Since computers do all of the math work I think it's fair to say both zodiacal directions and mundane are both in common use today.

As you know from reading the book, "Converse" directions are not uniformly calculated. Kolev uses the time before the birth to calculate converse directions whereas previously they were calculated only in diurnal motion. What Kolev does is probably best called "Neo-converse." Curtis Manwaring's fine program Delphic Oracle will calculate both for you.

I was fooling with Donald Trump's chart a few months ago and using Placidus directions with the key of Ptolemy (one degree of arc = one year of life). Seemed to coincide with timed events I could find. Converse directions of any kind less so. That doesn't mean they don't work. Biographical information on the web named years of events at best and sometimes not even that. There may be plenty there that is not part of the public record or I may have missed it. regardless, you are not alone.

My gut tells me that you need to pick out a system and use it to the exclusion of all others for a while. See how things work out for you. If they don't work out, then switch, but tackle this one at a time to avoid confusion. The programs will give you anything you ask for, but that much information can be overwhelming

I hope others take the time to answer this question.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Primary Directions Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind words about the book. Smile Since writing it, I have continued to work intensely with directions, combining them with other techniques in ways that I still hadn't discovered at the time of publication. (I partly have Ben Dykes's Persian Nativities translation series to thank for this.) To answer your questions:

Quote:
Which key?

Ptolemy (which of course wasn't invented by Ptolemy): 1 degree of RA for each solar year.

Quote:
Zodiacal or In Mundo?

Zodiacal, giving latitude to celestial bodies but not to aspects -- except for the opposition. (This exception is empirically based, but I believe it may be to do with co-risings, i.e., one planet rising as the other sets.)

Quote:
Direct and Converse?

Certainly not converse in the modern sense, which is based on a 19th-century misunderstanding. Both direct and converse in the traditional sense, though direct directions are more powerful.

Quote:
Which promissors and significators?

I still direct planets as significators occasionally, but the angles and luminaries are definitely the most important. I've had no luck at all with directing Fortune or other lots. Promissors: the seven planets and their aspects, sometimes major fixed stars, and, most importantly, the terms (which are not properly called promissors but divisions, and their rulers are divisors). The terms are zodiac-dependent; I use only the sidereal terms.

Quote:
Do you direct degrees and aspects?

This question is not clear to me.
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pankajdubey



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Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally managed to get Martin's book for a sum of Rs 900($14) in India.
It would be a very cunning plan to get him to give a screenshot of his favourite settings in Morinus software.

Margharita did something like that in the Morinus thread but I am finding it difficult to locate it.

(The cunning plan idea is from the BBC TV Blackadder series)
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margherita



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Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pankajdubey wrote:

Margharita did something like that in the Morinus thread but I am finding it difficult to locate it.



Hello, I tend to use Ptolemaic or Placidean under the pole/mundane, but I don't use directions so much, let alone Solar Return Ascendant directions (according Dykes method)

Anyway in my blog I gave several setting for Morinus (after having read Martin's book which I love too)

https://heavenastrolabe.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/an-illustrated-guide-to-morinus-directions/
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yuzuru



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Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please, just be aware that directing the angles can be an exercise in phantasy... with a error of 4 min = 1 degree, even charts with a good hour of birth can be several degrees off.

So, you usually see people directing imaginary degrees as if they have infinite precision.

Converse directions are not kosher.

A lot of people seems to love to discuss keys. With the level of error discussed above, they simply don`t matter usually. If you direct an angle that is somewhere between 5-9 capricorn for 30 years, the difference between naibod and ptolemy will be less than 1% of the original error! Just use ptolemy.

There is no evidence either of in mundo directions or directions with latitude until very later in the game. If you want to use more traditional sources like Abu Mashar, stick to the simple.

Directions were always connected with egyptian terms, don`t try to reinvent the wheel without them.

I suggest you become skilled in easier techniques first, like firdaria, a very robust technique.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with some of Yuzuru's points but not with others:

yuzuru wrote:
Please, just be aware that directing the angles can be an exercise in phantasy... with a error of 4 min = 1 degree, even charts with a good hour of birth can be several degrees off.

This is very true, but it also means that, if you know what you are doing, directions can be advantageously used for rectifying uncertain birth times. (However, directions were never meant for timing events down to the day, so don't overdo it.)

Quote:
Converse directions are not kosher.

As long as we are talking about directing against the primary motion (the modern version of converse), I agree. But the traditional notion of a converse direction, where the significator is moved with the primary motion to the place of the promissor, has been around since Ptolemy's day, if not longer.

Quote:
A lot of people seems to love to discuss keys. With the level of error discussed above, they simply don`t matter usually. If you direct an angle that is somewhere between 5-9 capricorn for 30 years, the difference between naibod and ptolemy will be less than 1% of the original error! Just use ptolemy.

Naibod and Ptolemy are indeed very close and won't differ by a whole degree/year until the native is above 70 years old. But some other keys, like Placidus, can be wildly off quite early in life.

Quote:
There is no evidence either of in mundo directions or directions with latitude until very later in the game. If you want to use more traditional sources like Abu Mashar, stick to the simple.

Directions with latitude are explicitly discussed by Arabic authors. I don't recall at present if Abu Ma'shar mentions them, but ar-Rijal certainly does, as do al-Biruni and others. For conjunctions and oppositions, 'with latitude' and 'in mundo' are interchangeable terms, but the other so-called mundane aspects were invented by Placidus in the mid-17th century, so they are much later than directions with latitude. (Other forms of ascensional aspects have been around since Hellenistic times, though.)

Quote:
I suggest you become skilled in easier techniques first, like firdaria, a very robust technique.

Firdaria may be easier to calculate, but in my experience don't work nearly so well. (Incidentally, they were also invented much later than directions.) I'd say that learning to use directions properly is well worth the time and effort. But of course that's just my opinion.
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Petr



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Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is my understanding. I will choose the fateful events of life.

Primary directions are converting the sacred time ( Year = 360 days) to normal time (Year = 365,24219 days) . Normal time is the time our bodies. The ratio of sacred and normal time gives Naibod key. Therefore, this key gives the best results for the fateful events. Zodiacal direkce without widths to the angles are the best. These directions best match fateful events.

This logic is based on the study methods Zodiacal Releasing from Valens.
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yuzuru



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Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Firdaria may be easier to calculate, but in my experience don't work nearly so well.


they are very easy to interpret.
If you are interested in using them, I would advice that

either you are trying to hard or to specific. They work as other time periods, like dasha, give a good general color for a period

maybe should try in the tropical zodiac, we should`t assume that all methods will work in all systems.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, as fardār/firdār is a Persian loanword, it seems unlikely that the technique was designed to be used in the context of the tropical zodiac. In any case, to each his own. I have tried out a number of time-ruler systems, Indian and others, over the past 25+ years, and my considered opinion is that (primary) directions in conjunction with annual revolutions are the technique most worth mastering.
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Chris Meyer



Joined: 19 Sep 2014
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Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tips for primary direction beginners:

Recommend data:

Use only charts with minute precise data from birth certificates of people with well known biographic data. My best data came from friends, workmates and family - the other from astro.com Astro Databank search. Did not trust times with full minutes like 18:00, 18:15, 18:30. Don't do any birth time rectifications.

Recommend method:

Start using traditional 'zodiacal semiarc primary directions' (in some programs called Placidus semiarc method) without use of planet latitudes. This method is known since Ptolemaeus and is the most widely used form doing primary directions! Beginn with direct directions and use Ptolemy or Naibod key. Use only main aspects - absolut beginners should only use conjunction, opposition and squares to get a feel for hit dates.

Recommend events:
Start doing directions for live changing events. Like sudden deaths, heavy accidents, or if you include trine aspects sudden big success. To get the confirmation that this primary direction method works.
Don't focus to much on hit dates. They can be off by about +-0,5 year but mostly they are much closer. Much more important is that the planet symbols match the event! For this good astrologic symbolic knowledge is required.
Primary directions often show the big picture, meaningful events, times where your captain is on the rudder. Don't forget to view them graphically to see them in full context. Some overwhelming events even can be suppressed, that its hard to recall them later or they are negated.

Recommend software for beginners:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/morinus/
Use Morinus Version 8.10. Margheritas article (she linked to in her reply) shows the settings in Morinus for the Placidus semiarc method.
After viewing the primary direction list, do a right mouse button click on a primary direction in that list. In the popup context menu click "PD in chart celestial". In the opening chart window do again a right mouse click. In the popup menu chose 'Windows' and then in the context menu on the right 'Comparison'.
Now you see the natal chart in the inner wheel and the primary directions in the outer wheel for the direction and date you clicked on in the primary direction list. Its a good practice to maximize the chart window. In the little date window you can change the date. Confirm with a left mouse click on the button 'Show' (don't use the button 'OK', because it closes the date window). The outer wheel primary directions are now updated to the new date.
After that the right mouse button and the context menus are your best friends to navigate between different views.
Try to become family with 'Morinus'. Read the menu / help manual. For example try to change the general chart look under menu/options/appearence. In there change 'Themes' to 'theme2' etc...

For later use (from easy to nasty topics):


Personally I still use direct Placidus semiarc primary directions without planet latitudes with Naibod key despite years of comparing all different kinds of primary directions. I only do directions of Asc, MC and all planets from Sun to Pluto. In my oppinion they all work well if you are aware of their symbolic. (I didn't noticed any effects using asteriods, centauers or other minor bodies. Nothing to say about fixstars, because I never used them). Only the main aspects are used.

Methods:
Placidus semiarc, Placidus under the pole and Topocentric primary direction hit dates are often close to each other (maximal approx. 8 months) - Regiomontanus differs more like its house system differs more from Placidus and the Topcentric ones. Ptolemy or Naibod Key compared to other keys can differ years. Even more difference can be seen if a planet is directed which can reach a high amount of latitude like Mercury, Venus, Mars or especially Pluto.

Keys:
The Ptolemy and Naibod keys are working best. In my experience the Naibod key is slightly more precise. Because I have no doubt about this, I didn't spend much thoughts on that. Other than, that a static key fits the nearly constant rotation of the earth around its axis most. Dynamic keys like Placidus or Wim Van Dam key don't meet this criterion.
One possible reason why the Naibod key is working so fine: If its not understood as the mean daily motion of the sun that cannot be precise because of its average value. But as the nearly constant daily progression of the RAMC (MC measured in right ascension).

Planet latitudes:
A confusing part to me was that some include planet latitudes for primary direction calculation. The astrology I know till 30 years is all about planets that are projected on the ecliptic measured in longitude. For example all natal and synastry horoscopes or transits are calculated this way.
If planet latitudes really matter, then a primary directed planet calculated including latitude should only be compared to a natal horoscope that is calculated including planet latitudes too - either both (significators and promissors) should be calculated with latitude or both without. Otherwise its like comparing apples with pears.

Direct and Converse?
Direct primary directions are the strongest in my opinion. When I did beginn using converse primary directions I did only the so called 'neo-converse' directions. They did produce reliable results, but weren't as strong as the direct ones.
But then Martin Gansten teach me in his book how traditionally converse directions are done. I already wasn't happy to handle direct and converse directions. Because sometimes direct and converse hit dates contradict each other and the pure number of hit dates is more than I like to handle. But then I realized that there might be even more, four directions types:

In direct motion of the earth:
Direct: A promissor is carried towards the significator
Converse: A significator is carried torwards the promissor

Earth in converse motion (backwards in time)
Neo-Direct: A significator is carried torward the promissor
Neo-Converse: A promissor is carried torward the significator

The following tests didn't show that traditionally converse directions are stronger than neo-converse once. For one natal chart the traditionally converse directions showed a important missing hit date and for another natal chart the neo-converse once got the missing link. For conjunctions and oppositions the hit dates don't even differ, but all other aspects do.
That overwhelming complexity wiped out all my hopes that primary directions can bring more clarity into my predition work. Now it seemed it's just the opposite.
After didn't touching primary directions for a couple of months, I did have done only direct primary directions since then.
I don't want to miss primary directions. But the enthusiasm is gone. You can get lost in them using them.

Thoughts on tradition:
A reason why primary directions are traditionally judged as the best prediction technique might be influenced by the astronomical possibilities at a given historical time period.
In early times precise future transit calculation of the planets wasn't available. But they could observe planet positions quite well and could calculate the rotation of the earth. So they combined both and developed primary directions. They were judged best, because it was the best that could be done at that time.
Maybe they were lucky too. Because even astrologers that are no 'believers' of the tradition are able to verify that primary directions are still one of the best, if not the best prediction technique today.
Think of the time it needed to calculate a single precise primary direction in the old days. And than compare it with today's minute precise birthday certificates, biographies in books, TV and internet, precise ephemerides and astrology programs with various primary direction calculations. It is said: 'The appreciation is based on the price that was paid for it'. May be there a problem with the price today?

Outlook:
One reason why primary directions are not getting the attention they deserve today is their presentation in list form. We are used to look in a visual way on horoscopes. For example we show transits and solar arc directions in the outer wheel of a natal horoscope located in the inner wheel.
A graphic view of this kind for primary directions I only found in 'Morinus' (which isn't exact in this graphic presentation as it is in its list data).
So I did program this feature in an own Windows program that can show zodiacal primary directions in the outer wheel of an natal horoscope accurate to the second. The natal planet and house data are shown on the left side of the chart, whereas the primary direction data is shown on the right side of the chart. You are able to navigate through time in any step very fast. Studing a given period of live, this graphical view makes it very clear what is going on.
But that does work only with direct and neo-converse primary directions. Till now I wasn't able to find a solution to show traditional converse directions this way.
In future I hope for more sophisticated visual representations hopefully in full 3D. But unfortunately good astrologers aren't good programmers. One look at the programs we got today is very chastening.

@Martin Gansten
You wrote: 'I partly have Ben Dykes's Persian Nativities translation series to thank for this'.
Which book do you mean. Persian Nativities Volume 1, 2 or 3?

@All
I like to learn more about techniques that are related to primary directions - like the bounds. Are there any good book recommendations that show primary directions in combination with related or other techniques that are known for their reliable results?

@Margarita
You wrote: 'I don't use directions so much, let alone Solar Return Ascendant directions (according Dykes method)'. In which of his books did Ben Dykes wrote about this method?
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pankajdubey



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Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Chris Meyer wrote:
Quote:
After viewing the primary direction list, do a right mouse button click on a primary direction in that list. In the popup context menu click "PD in chart celestial". In the opening chart window do again a right mouse click. In the popup menu chose 'Windows' and then in the context menu on the right 'Comparison'.
Now you see the natal chart in the inner wheel and the primary directions in the outer wheel for the direction and date you clicked on in the primary direction list. Its a good practice to maximize the chart window. In the little date window you can change the date. Confirm with a left mouse click on the button 'Show' (don't use the button 'OK', because it closes the date window). The outer wheel primary directions are now updated to the new date.


Very clever trick.

Thanks

PD
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pankajdubey



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Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Meyer wrote:
Tips for primary direction beginners:

...

[b]@All

I like to learn more about techniques that are related to primary directions - like the bounds. Are there any good book recommendations that show primary directions in combination with related or other techniques that are known for their reliable results?

...


If you are on Kindle Unlimited Persian Nativities III can be had on loan.There is a chapter on Distributors and Partners.
Valens software will do the mathematics for you.

https://sites.google.com/site/astrovalens/
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Chris that the list format isn't ideal as a way of presenting directions, or at least not as the only way. The chart format found in Morinus is very useful.

Chris Meyer wrote:
A confusing part to me was that some include planet latitudes for primary direction calculation. The astrology I know till 30 years is all about planets that are projected on the ecliptic measured in longitude.

The fact that latitudes typically aren't entered in charts doesn't mean that they aren't or shouldn't be used. Ptolemy himself mentions latitude as a factor to be considered in interpreting directions, although he doesn't explicitly teach calculating directions with latitude. If the significator and promissor have the same kind of latitude -- northern or southern -- their conjunction is more effective according to Ptolemy.

I personally do consider latitude in the radix, and would recommend it. For instance, a person may be born exactly at moonrise and yet have the moon distant from the Asc by 30 degrees of longitude or more. Such a moon will give first-house rather than twelfth-house results.

Quote:
You wrote: 'I partly have Ben Dykes's Persian Nativities translation series to thank for this'.
Which book do you mean. Persian Nativities Volume 1, 2 or 3?

That would be particularly vols. I and III, which deal with annual predictions. A most important point is that, in an annual revolution, planets occupying or aspecting the terms through which a significator is currently directed will have a major say in its significations during that year.
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margherita



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Posted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Meyer wrote:

@Margarita
You wrote: 'I don't use directions so much, let alone Solar Return Ascendant directions (according Dykes method)'. In which of his books did Ben Dykes wrote about this method?


Persian Nativities II: Umar Al-Tabari and Abu Bakr but Dykes mentions in the PN III preface too.
Al-Tabari directs the Solar Return Ascendant around the Zodiac over the year from birthday to birthday.
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