THE TECHNIQUE OF PROGRESSIONS,
DIRECTIONS AND TRANSITS
These progressions are the most generally used today, and will be found explained in any good astrological textbook. Their technique is quite simple, and all the factors required are found in an ordinary astrological ephemeris. What they measure primarily are changes in the relation Earth-to-Sun; that is, in the relation of organism to organizing life-principle. This relation evolves constantly through the life-process. It is different in youth, in mature life, and in old age. An index to the significance and mode of operation of this constantly changing Earth-to-Sun relationship is found in the "progressed Sun" — its degree, sign and house position, also in the aspects it makes to other planets.
Secondary progressions are calculated with reference to the apparent motion of the Sun, and the solar day — from noon to noon — is the basic unit. One such unit is said to equal one year of life. As the daily motion of the Sun is not a constant, its exact value has to be found in the ephemeris. The position of the Sun each day after the day of birth gives the position of the "progressed Sun" during each year after birth.
Secondary progressions refer to the orbital motion of the Earth, thus to the apparent motion of the Sun on the ecliptic. The solar factor therefore completely dominates these progressions. It is a factor of integration, as the Sun stands for the vital principle in the body, or for the Self within the total personality.
What is shown in the "progressed Sun" is the manner in which the process of personality-integration is carried on after birth; how the substance of collective being, in the midst of which the individual grows, is being "assimilated" by the individual — a process leading to the maturity and completion of a full personality. Solar progressions deal therefore with the development of the Self-in-manifestation. They deal with the various stages of embodiment of the integrative monadic Will; also with the modifications of the life-principle as it controls the processes of the physiological organism. From the standpoint of personality-fulfillment they are the most important progressions — more so than as prognostications of concrete events. Secondary progressions are above all solar in implication, and nothing can really be obtained from them which does not somewhat partake of the quality of the solar factor in action. As the Sun represents the factor of integration, it is easy to see that "secondary progressions" are the most significant in relation to the psychological-alchemical Great Work.
Most valuable testimonies can also be obtained from the positions of the planets and the Moon — provided those are always considered as somewhat subservient to the solar factor. Progressed planets indicate how the types of activity which they represent cooperate in the general solar process of fulfillment. Progressions of Mercury reveal the attitude of the mind and the mental faculties in the "Great Work" of the solar Alchemist within. Progressions of Venus refer to emotional reactions and esthetic responses; those of Mars, to the power of initiative and spontaneous impulsion; of Jupiter, to the compensatory soul-revealing activities of the psyche; of Saturn, to the slow transformations of the very structure of the field of the conscious; of Uranus, to the down-flow of transforming, regenerative forces from the hidden world within; of Neptune, to the dissolving of limitations and the birth of universal consciousness (metamorphosis); of Pluto, theoretically, to the possibility of a second birth.
As for the progressed Moon, it is that which, of all progressed planetary factors, most specifically refers to concrete events. It indicates outer changes, the working out of cycles of past karma, the opening, closing and culmination of the outer phases of the life-process. As it passes over the cusps of houses (this is also true to a lesser extent of all progressed planets) it measures definite changes in the concrete emphases of life. This is especially marked as the Moon crosses the four angles, and most of all, the Ascendant.
But even the most powerful and most factual of all such progressions, Moon conjunction Ascendant, does not always refer to a concrete change. Often the time of the decision which leads to the change is that which is indicated. At times the change is most potent, yet outwardly unrecognized by the native — especially if he belongs to the introvert type. This is so because even in the case of the Moon (a solar reflector, in a sense) the meaning of the occurrence has to be related to the progressed Sun. The symbol of the degree of this progressed Sun gives one of the best — if sometimes elusive — indications of the spiritual significance of the approximate twelve months to which a full degree of solar progression corresponds.
Before we leave this type of "secondary progressions" — the detailed study of which would require a small book — an important point needs be mentioned. We have not so far made clear the actual procedure by means of which such a phrase as "progression of Venus" can be given factual meaning. How shall we discover the nature of the progressions of Venus? By reference to what? Two possibilities are evident. The progressed Venus is considered either as making aspects with the other progressed planets of the same progressed day-period, or as coming to form definite relations with the planets at their original (radical) places in the birth-chart. For instance, if the native is born on January 1, 1935, his radical Sun is in Capricorn 10° and Jupiter in Scorpio 16°56'. By the time he is seven (in 1942) his progressed Sun will have reached the Sun's position marked in the ephemeris for January 8 as Capricorn 17°. At this same date the progressed Jupiter will be in Scorpio 18°5'. Now a sextile has been formed early, January 8, between the progressed Sun and the radical Jupiter (between Capricorn 16°56' and Scorpio 16°56'). This is seen to take place in the "life-process" in 1942.
If, however, we wish to consider the sextile of progressed Sun and progressed Jupiter, then we shall have to wait until January 9 — when these two planets are found located respectively on Capricorn 18°13' and Scorpio 18°13'. This postpones the actualization or fulfillment of the natal Sun-sextile-Jupiter in the native's life to the year 1943. If, instead of Jupiter, which moves slowly, we had taken a fast moving planet, the discrepancy between the dates of consummation of progressed-to-radical-planet and progressed-to-progressed-planet aspects would have been greater. The question is then: Which type of aspect should we select; and if, as is commonly done, both types are considered, should there be a difference between the two?
Here — as on many other occasions! — astrologers differ. Most of them recognize the validity of both procedures, but some think one type is more effective, others, the other type. As always, we shall try to look logically and philosophically into the matter. If we calculate aspects between progressed and radical planetary positions, what we do is to conceive the radical chart as a permanent pattern so indelibly imprinted in the personality that it creates psychically and physiologically sensitive points significant enough to stand as foci of distribution of energy. As the progressed planets strike these points (by conjunction, opposition, square, etc.) a significance is released in terms of the planetary activity. In other words, the radical planets are seen as permanent centers of energy which become activated, stirred, aroused (in one way or another) as progressed planets come into definite aspect to them.
Thus a significant relationship is established between a value of knowledge, being, space, individual selfhood (radical places) and a value of fulfillment, time, becoming, life-flux (progressed planet). If, on the other hand, two progressed planets are related by aspect, then the relationship is between two values of the latter type. Therefore by considering such progressed-to-progressed-planet aspects we are navigating wholly in the boundless flux of ''becoming:'' without any anchorage to the seed-form of ''being.'' We are apt to scatter our interpretation, to lose the sense of purposefulness which is the keynote of a proper approach to the secondary progressions.
In the secondary progressions we see the purpose of ''being'' at work through the "becoming." The various positions of the "progressed Sun" on each successive degree of the zodiac after the day of birth show the evolution of the purpose of the life-activities in the midst of change: purpose as it slowly perfects and refines itself throughout the life. The time-analysis of the birth-chart also revealed such a purpose, but in a more archetypal, subjective and abstract sense. In the secondary progressions we see the purpose of being unfolding itself by actual steps; thus the discrepancy between calculations obtained by following both methods.
Each degree of progression of the Sun strikes a new aspect of this life-purpose (symbolized in the degree of the radical Sun — and, in another sense, in that of the Ascendant); and as this occurs the radical "planetary pattern" slowly changes its form, to fit in, as it were, with this new purpose. If the original seed-form of being (birth-chart) actually dominates the whole development of personality — as it does for instance in men completely overshadowed by a super-personal mission — then progressed positions must be referred almost solely to the radical places of the planets; for the original purpose is absolutely constant and ever active. But if, in the course of the life-time, the personality experiences profound changes of purpose, real metamorphoses of being, then aspects of progressed-to-radical-planets are less valid, and aspects of progressed-to-progressed-planets more significant of actual changes.
These directions have been presented by astrological text-books in so many different ways, and they involve, as usually taught, such an array of mathematical computations, that the student of astrology may well find himself baffled by the labor of calculating them. The scope of this book does not permit a detailed or precise presentation of these primary directions. But a few points may be brought out to indicate how they fit into the larger scheme of astrological interpretation.
Primary directions, generally speaking, refer to the factor of individual selfhood, because they are calculated along the cycle of axial rotation of the Earth. They refer to the process of fulfillment of this individual factor. In this process, a degree of motion is again equated to a year of the life. But the moving factor is no longer the Sun, the index of the orbital revolution of the Earth (as it was in the Secondary progressions), but instead, the meridian (or Mid-Heaven point in the chart). The meridian moves at a rate of one degree per 4-minute period, completing a circuit in 24 sidereal hours. Thus this 4-minute period is assumed to correspond to a year of the life.
During such a period, obviously, the motion of the planets in their orbits is practically nil. Thus, in some systems, they are considered to be absolutely fixed, insofar as their zodiacal positions are concerned. Their motion is produced by the rotation of the Earth, which, as it were, lifts up the whole planetary pattern and turns it around as one would turn a radio dial. We might say that every four minutes a small one-degree motion is given to the whole pattern. As a result, the whole pattern occupies new positions in terms of zodiacal degrees. These new positions are related to the original positions and aspects calculated between original (radical) and new (directed) positions. Thus Saturn by directed position may become square to Sun by radical position after ten little onedegree turns of the dial. And this would mean that ten years after birth the individual factor in the native's personality will experience a crisis of fulfillment expressible in terms of Saturn square Sun.
If this were actually the whole mechanism of primary directions it would be identical in operation (if not in principle) with the technique of our time-analysis of the birth-chart. But matters are much more complex. First of all, because directions are formed actually along the circle of the Earth's axial rotation which is the equator, the positions of the apparently moving planets have to be calculated in reference to the equatorial circle, and not to the ecliptic (the path of the apparent motion of the Sun). This means that the positions of the planets must be expressed in terms of Right Ascension (distance from the vernal equinox on the equator), and not in terms of longitude (distance from the vernal equinox on the ecliptic).
Therefore the radical positions of the planets must be recalculated — by the use of special tables, taking also in consideration the latitude of the planets — and they will be found on new degrees of the zodiac. The new positions, by directional motion, will also be expressed in terms of Right Ascension. The aspects will thus be computed between the two Right-Ascensional positions, radical and directed. Such a type of computation offers the simplest type of primary directions. Symbolically speaking, they are the creation of the regular motion of the meridian, and thus carry, as it were, the significance of the Mid-Heaven. They deal with the unfolding of the individual factor in a spiritual or archetypal way, in relation to thinking and to the flow of the power of the being.
But there are much more complex types of directions, which take into consideration the actual motions of the planets, their declination, and above all, the factor of latitude of the birth-place. Latitude is a factor which relates to the horizon and to the Ascendant — because the latitude of the birth-place must be known in order to determine the degree of the Ascendant. Thus we have a type of primary directions which carry, symbolically, the general significance of the Ascendant. They deal with the unfolding of the individual factor in a personal and most particular way. They reveal the uniqueness of individual destiny, the unique inner realization of the individual's own essence.
In such a system of "mundane" directions, changes of residence have also to be taken in consideration; for here is seen the most particular interweaving of individual with planetary factors: man's close relationship to the Earth, either in a trivial and environmental sense, or in terms of spiritual contact with the great Nature-forces of the planet.
In order to make the first type of primary directions simpler and more easily determinable with the use of the ordinary astrological ephemeris, a system of directions has been devised (by Sepharial and later by Vivian Robson) which is called the "Radix System." In this system the "arcs of directions" between planets are calculated on the ecliptic (that is, in terms of longitude) rather than on the equator (that is, in terms of Right Ascension). If at birth the Sun is in Aries 10° and Venus in Aries 29°, the arc of direction between these planets is 19°.
According to Sepharial, and according to most astrologers using this simplest of all systems, a year of life is not calculated as corresponding to one degree, but to 59' 8" — which is the mean daily motion of the Sun (the result of dividing 365¼ & ¼ solar days into 360 degrees). In such a system all points of the birth-chart, planets and cusps, are moved at this rate of 59' 8" per year; and the relationship between these successive positions (yearly and monthly) and the radical positions is analyzed in terms of aspects.
This rate of direction is not the only one considered. Just as the mean daily motion of the Sun provides the astrologer with a coefficient of direction, so the mean daily motion of the Moon (13° 10') is used for the same purpose, a year of the life corresponding to a directional advance of 13°10'. This last procedure is called "minor directions," while the former carries the name of "major directions," the minor being always subservient to the major, which give the most basic informations.
Thus, if we consider the birth-chart distance between Sun and Venus (19°), we shall see that such an arc can be interpreted as bringing about a Sun-Venus conjunction primarily at the age of 19 & 1/3 (major directions), and also secondarily at the ages of 18 months, 28 years and two months, 56 years and one month, 83 years and five months (minor directions). A table of exact equivalence of arcs and periods is given at the end of Vivian Robson's book, The Radix System, which details the technique of such directions.
Such a system is outwardly very close to the time-analysis method previously studied; but the use of the solar and lunar mean daily motions gives it a flavor of "secondary progressions." There seems in fact very little reason for adopting such coefficients of translation of spatial into durational values, for either the actual daily motion of Sun and Moon should be considered, or the archetypal value of one degree. The Radix System is obviously a compromise aiming at ease of calculation and simplification. But once the principle of the time-analysis of the birth-chart is fully understood, it seems a much more valid foundation for getting at the basic phases of operation of the essential destiny of the individual.
According to the concepts formulated in our last chapter, transits do not differ fundamentally from progressions or directions. They are constituted by planetary motion along the 370-year cycle of personality-fulfillment. In such motion, a day of progression corresponds to a day of the life, a year to a year. For the rest, they have to be treated exactly like secondary progressions. The aspects may be calculated "progressed-to-progressed" or "progressed-to-radical." "Progressed" here means the actual positions of the planets as seen in the ephemeris for the year of the life considered. The point to remember is always that such positions and the aspects formed refer to the realm of personality; that is, to that manifested synthesis of behavior, feelings and thoughts which is the "concrete man:" the man attempting to actualize and to demonstrate in an earth-organism (physiological and psychological) the totality of his being.
An illustration will elucidate completely this point. Let us take again Mussolini's chart. He was born July 29, 1883. Now let us consider the conditions of "transits" for the time of the "march on Rome"; that is, 39 years and 3 months after his birth: October 30, 1922. We look in the ephemeris for that date and mark down the positions of the planets (by longitude). These positions give us the "transiting positions" of the planets.
If, on the other hand, we had desired the "progressed positions" for that same date, we should have had to look in the ephemeris for September 6, 1883 (that is, 39 days and 6 hours after birth). And if we had searched by "primary directions" for the positions for this "march on Rome:" we should have had to consider the state of the Earth's rotation 157 minutes (that is, 39 times 4 minutes, plus 1 minute) after the exact moment of Mussolini's first breath. The same process is used in all three cases, save that in the case of "primary directions" the factors considered are of a somewhat different nature, and thus their consideration requires more involved calculations.
Coming back now to the "transiting positions" for the "march on Rome," we find that, just as in the interpretation of secondary progressions, there are two methods possible. The first method is to study the "transiting-to-transiting" aspects; the second, to analyze the aspects formed between transiting and radical positions. The first method refers obviously to the most transitory factors of the situation, to the pure flux of circumstances, having no particular reference to Mussolini as an individual, but characterizing the condition of the general feelings and dispositions of everything on the surface of the Earth that day.
Now we find that on October 30, 1922, the Moon was in conjunction with Uranus, just before noon, in the 10th degree of Pisces; that Neptune in Leo was in sextile to Mercury and Saturn in Libra; Jupiter in distant conjunction to the Sun in Scorpio; Mars in trine to the North Node and in approaching square to Jupiter. On the whole, the set-up was a most favorable one for public regeneration and the display of power. The Sun's symbol that day was "Divers of the deep sea," indicating a fearless plunging into experience, or, as Marc Jones interprets it, "of purposeful venturing." The Moon-Uranus conjunction occurred on a degree symbolized by "An aviator in high altitude flight, master of the skies," which is interpreted as indicating "the transcendence of normal problems to the point of gaining celestial responsibilities" and the "coronation" of human endeavors. All of which is most significant indeed!
But it does not refer to Mussolini as an individual, only to the quality of world-happenings on that day. In order to see how these "planetary positions" refer to Mussolini as an individual, we have to compare them with his radical birth-chart, the seed-form of his destiny. One feature emerges at once, vividly: The "transiting Sun" was in exact conjunction with Mussolini's North Node at the very end of the day. At the end of the day he reached Rome, summoned by the King to assume full power. In other words, as the North Node is a point of future destiny and influx of power, October 30 was the one day of the year when, the "transiting Sun" vitalizing it, it would operate with a maximum of power — in reference to Mussolini's personality. Obviously, in such an event what was involved more than anything else was the power of personality.
At the same time the Moon-Uranus transiting conjunction occurred in Mussolini's "fourth house" — a change of domicile and of concrete selfhood — in opposition to his radical Part of Fortune — an awareness (opposition) of public responsibility (tenth house); in a sense, opposing his personal happiness (Part of Fortune). This conjunction was square to his radical Saturn-Moon-Mars conjunction, striking squarely the Moon and indicating the incorporation (square) of a public (Moon) destiny. Transiting Neptune was very close to the Mid-Heaven in Leo, showing that the power of the racial collectivity was being focused upon Mussolini's point of public activity and spiritual power. Finally, the transiting North Node was upon the cusp of his "eleventh house," about to enter by natural retrogression his house of public activity — indicating the power of friends and associates in a common cause. We might further add that transiting Mercury and Saturn were in his "third house," close to an opposition to his radical Jupiter and Venus. This was a most valuable restraining influence, bringing common sense, moderation, and attention to near objectives (third house) — as balanced against far and grandiose plans (ninth house). Mussolini's Jupiter-Venus conjunction in the "ninth house" is a danger for him; and this may be particularly evident in the near future, as his "progressed Mars" is adding fuel to an over-expansive and imperialistic configuration.
This reference to a progressed planet leads us to state that at the time of this march on Rome, Mussolini's "progressed Moon" was approximately crossing his radical Ascendant — the strongest indication for a significant change of surroundings and an equally important repolarization of the outer personal life. The most important aspect by "primary direction" is the conjunction of Mars to Jupiter, which shows expansion — this time in reference to the individual factor. Thus an increase of individual assurance and authority, a mobilization of soul-energies for expansive action.
To study in detail all the complex set-up of progressions, directions and transits for this most significant event in Mussolini's life is far beyond the scope of this book; but we trust enough has been said to indicate the general procedure and to show how these three basic methods can be operated in relation to each other.
Transits can be worked out in many ways, but a few points must always be considered when transiting planets are referred to the birth-chart. First of all, fast moving planets such as Mercury, Mars and Venus, make so many and such frequent aspects to the radical planets that the importance of these aspects is very slight. In such cases the passage of a transiting planet through a radical house is usually the most valuable factor of determination; especially as any transiting planet crosses the "angles" of the radical chart, thus enhancing temporarily in the personality-life the function symbolized by each of the angles, in terms of the type of activity represented by the planet.
The patterns made by the slow moving planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are, however, of great importance, for through the aspects these transiting planets make to the radical planets (and through their passage through the radical houses) the influence of human collectivities, and of society in general, upon the development of personality can be accurately charted. Transits of Uranus release the individual's genius (or "madness") and make it socially effective. Transits of Neptune refer, on the contrary, to the pressure of collective or group factors upon the individual fighting for his right to be an individual. Transits of Pluto bring out (when effective) the call of a new order to the personality. They force the personality into alignment with new ideals and new social forms. They may cause destiny-affecting deaths in the sphere of the personality; also destiny-affecting partnerships.
The transits of Jupiter and Saturn refer more especially to the manner in which man's ego functions outwardly; to inhibitive and formative phases of development in the case of Saturn; to expansive and compensatory types of soul-release in the case of Jupiter. Saturn's 29-year cycle and Jupiter's 12-year cycle are important factors in the life-process, especially with regard to what might be called the "soul factor."
The influence of transiting planets is much emphasized when a conjunction or opposition of such planets strikes an important point of the radical chart. Thus, every lunation (conjunction — and opposition — of Sun and Moon) has significance for the personality if it occurs in strong aspect to a strong radical planet (or angles). This significance is much enhanced in the case of eclipses. For instance, the eclipse of July 29, 1935, (Written in 1934.) on Mussolini's Sun may prove to be of quite a striking significance. A massing of planets transiting a strong radical point is, of course, of still greater importance.
Another and most valuable way of using transits is found in the erection of a birth-day chart. Such a chart is made for every birthday, and shows in a usually most accurate way the type of personality-occurrences to be expected during that particular year of the native's life (i.e., from birthday to birthday). But here again, there are at least two basic methods of erecting such a chart:
1) The birth-day chart is calculated for the original time of birth at the place of residence (not the place of birth).
2) The birth-day chart is calculated for the moment at which the "transiting Sun" returns to the exact zodiacal position it occupied at birth. This moment may not fall on the same day as the day of birth. Therefore such a chart is called, instead of "birth-day chart," a "solar revolution chart." It may be erected either for the latitude of the place of birth or for that of the place of residence. The former is preferable; for this type of chart is definitely correlated to the birth-chart through identity of solar factors — thus to the latitude of birth as well.
In both of these cases the pattern of houses is usually different from that of the birth-chart, unless, in case No. 1, the native resides at his place of birth. If one wishes to retain the birth-pattern of houses, then the birth-day chart must be calculated for the place of birth; in other words, the transiting positions of the planets are marked within the radical framework of houses. This is the general way in which transits are calculated.
Thus we have seen briefly how the various types of progressions, directions and transits operate. If we are careful to constantly keep in view the whole picture which such systems make, and if we have thoroughly grasped the psychological division of the whole human being into individual, collective and personality factors, we should have no difficulty in getting hold of a complex situation. The main point we wish to emphasize — and we believe it has never been so emphasized before — is that there is no basic difference between progressions, directions and transits. In these three systems we establish a correspondence between units of three cycles: the day-cycle (individual factor), the year-cycle (collective factor), and the 370-year cycle (personality factor); and we read the actual state of the heavens after birth in terms of such cyclic units, equating them in any way we wish.
Such readings of post-natal positions are in most cases to be referred to the birth-chart, because the latter represents the seed-form of being; and because "becoming" cannot have significance save in terms of "being." Pure values of "becoming" may be ascertained usefully in many cases, as in "progressed-to-progressed" and "transiting-to-transiting" planetary aspects. But one obtains thereby information relating, in the case of progressions only, to the flux of "personality-becoming," and in the case of transits only, to the condition of the general environment. As our main preoccupation is with the process following which the individual, after successive assimilation of collective values, reaches fulfillment as a creative personality, it is evident that we can bring significance into this process only by referring all factors of "becoming" to the seed-form of individual "being."
The great difficulty in working with several systems of timecomputation is that the time of maturation of the same aspect is different in each system. If, therefore, prognostications of events are attempted, it is very hard indeed to know which time-indication to select for the event. Sometimes, by analyzing the basic import of the type of event considered, one can know whether it is more likely to fall in with the indications given by the individual-factor system or by the collective-factor system, etc. But this is always an uncertain matter.
The point is that no event can accurately be foretold by natal astrology. Psychic types of fortune-telling, and to a very considerable extent "horary astrology," can in a way produce better evidences of forecasting accuracy. They locate events better perhaps; but they cannot give significance to the life-process of which these events are mere outside pointers. Here again we find a psychological type of "principle of indeterminacy" at work. No one can normally give accurately the location of an event and the significance of that event at the same time. Each factor requires a special type of mental or spiritual polarization which, at least to some extent, excludes the other.
Besides, why should events be foretold accurately? The co-efficient of inaccuracy is the coefficient of freedom. From a strict astrological viewpoint, the latter is seen to consist in the very fact that there are various possible ways of progressing, directing or "transiting" a chart. This fact refers to the basic three-fold constitution of man: the mental principle (individual), the feeling principle (collective) and the behavior principle (personality). Thoughts, feelings, and actions have each a quasi-independent existence in man — as occult philosophy has shown since or before Plato. Freedom resides in the creative interplay of these three factors.
Thus the creative factor in progressions and the like is the very element of inaccuracy — the despair of astrologers! Freedom, as we already saw in relation to our analysis of "cusps" (Chapter 11), is the "in neutral" element in life. Between the archetypal plane and the realm of actual behavior there is a mysteriously elusive world, which is the world of the human psyche (the much misunderstood kama-manasic realm of Theosophists — the Sukshma realm of the Hindu philosopher). It is the world of freedom and of illusion; the world of creativeness and of deceit; the world where archetypal realities are seen not as they are, but blurred by the motion of becoming — just as a landscape is seen blurred through the closed windows of a fast moving train, especially if motion makes the traveler train-sick! It is the world of personality, the world of relativity — from which the Hindu philosopher is so eager to become disentangled. But what is disentanglement? To us, it is a mere fallacy, unless it means first of all fulfillment. Freedom is won only through fulfillment. And to be free means always somewhat not to know; it is the coefficient of inaccuracy. It is based on the courage to go forth while not knowing the future.
That is why spiritual teachers or "Masters" — whatever they be — never compel, never show the exact future of any action undertaken. For to do so would be to rob man of his creative freedom and his creative initiative. What man can do is so to understand the past, so to grasp the full significance of the seed-form of his being and destiny (birth-chart), that he is fully prepared to meet any future — to meet it significantly, with courage, with understanding and from such a "formed" viewpoint that all events are seen as beautiful. This is the creative and the radiant life of fulfillment.
Rectification of the Birth-chart
We cannot close this chapter without mentioning, in the briefest possible manner, a matter of supreme importance, one which is really the most aggravating factor in any practical astrological work. This factor is the almost universal uncertainty as to the exact moment at which a person breathed his or her first breath. If the reader has followed us understandingly through our presentation of the fundamentals of astrology, it will be evident to him that all the factors in a birth-chart which refer to the axial rotation of the Earth are absolutely dependent upon the strictly exact moment of birth (first breath). For a difference of four minutes in birth-time changes the degrees of all cusps, of all astrological Parts, and therefore alters all calculations based on primary directions.
This means, of course, that where there is such an uncertainty of birth-time there must in the same proportion be an incertitude concerning the individual factors within the native's personality and destiny. This is of capital importance for any type of interpretation in which the symbolic factor of degrees is stressed, and in general for any type of psychological and creative interpretation. As an error of four minutes in birth-time is almost unavoidable, considering the haphazard manner in which birth-time is recorded by attending nurses, and considering the variable memory of the mother and relatives — the problem is indeed a most serious one. It actually tends to make the vast majority of astrological interpretations quite unreliable in many ways, especially when the inner nature and the spiritual-creative factors in the process of individuation are analyzed.
To obviate such a handicap, the astrologer has recourse to a procedure called "rectification." It is an attempt at discovering, by one of several methods in use, what the exact birth-moment was. The various bases of these methods of rectification can be generally stated as follows:
1) Tracing the rising sign by the native's features. This is based on the fact that the Ascendant refers to the structure of individual being — or rather to the features thereof. Structure, in the sense of the bone-structure, is a matter depending more upon Saturn and the Moon. But "features" refer not only to the general body-structure, but even more to the general expression of the body, and especially of the face. The Sun-sign gives more the vital radiation of the personality as a whole; Saturn and the Moon, the frame of the body and the rhythm of the life of feelings, which is largely conditioned by this body-framework. The Ascendant refers to the individual's expression through the body, to the unique factor of being, to the manner in which the individual lives his life in a material structure. That is why the Ascendant-type becomes usually more evident after the age of 35; for then the individual as such has become more fully "in-corporated," and his mark or signature more clearly visible.
Twelve basic Ascendant-types of features being determined, the astrologer is then able, by looking at the native, to determine his "rising sign" — theoretically! Practically speaking, such a determination is always more or less uncertain, as it is difficult to separate the Ascendant-factor from other factors which influence the bodily appearance. Moreover, this method determines only the nature of the sign rising — which, as an average, means a two-hour period during which the person may have been born. This is, however, a very valuable procedure, always to be used when the person does not know even the hour of his or her birth.
2) Rectifying by past events. The principle of this procedure is that, as it is possible to foretell future events from an accurately known birth-moment, so it is possible to deduce the exact birth-moment from accurately known past events. This is, properly speaking, "rectifying" a doubtful birth-time from the knowledge of the native's life-history. Obviously, the procedure is a most hazardous one except when the incertitude as to the birth-moment is confined within narrow time-limits — say, fifteen minutes or half an hour. Nevertheless, it is much easier to find the correct astrological aspect that is an expression of a certain life-event than to predict a precise event as a result of a coming aspect. This, because past destiny is crystallized life — life minus the uncertainty of human freedom.
To put it differently: No event occurs in a life to which an astrological aspect cannot be symbolically related, giving to that event an adequate meaning. But it does not follow that a definite aspect will always produce a definite occurrence. An aspect is necessary for an event to take place, but it is not sufficient testimony for foretelling accurately the coming of a definite event. An important point which one should never forget!
The difficulty is to isolate the particular past occurrence which is truly corresponding to, or signified by, a particular aspect that matured at a particular time. An aspect by secondary progression and an aspect by primary direction may appear to refer, let us say, to an important journey; yet they figure to dates a year or two apart. The problem of rectification is: Which aspect is the one from which to figure back to the unknown birth-moment? Two or more aspects by secondary progressions may also be taken, indifferently; it may seem, to signify one definite event. If calculations are made backward from those several aspects, several putative birth-moments may be found.
Thus rectification involves a very complex series of checks and counter-checks, of figuring backward and forward, which means — even when the life of the native presents sharp turning points (the best case for the purpose of rectification) — spending much time on it and much ingenuity. A real psychological grasp of human life and human reactions is absolutely necessary if the astrologer is to determine which aspect is the most likely symbol of some past event; also the ability to elicit from the native information which he himself may have forgotten, or the importance of which he does not realize. Such an ability is not as frequent as might seem, and every psychoanalyst will be well aware of this fact. Very few persons, indeed, realize which events of their past have really been significant; neither do people usually grasp the true significance of these events. The greatest value of astrology is probably to be found in the aid it gives man in discovering the significance of what has already happened. Only as every factor of his life-history stands out with clear meaning in terms of the whole life-destiny — only then is man really prepared to face his future with intelligence and understanding; in other words, in function of his true individual selfhood.
After considering most of the important astrological factors mentioned as the most telling for the purpose of rectification, we believe that those which Marc Jones mentions in his course Directional Astrology are probably the best; at any rate, they are by far the simplest. These are:
1) The passage of the progressed Moon over the angles of the birth-chart — which enables one to compute these angles accurately. The passage over the Ascendant is in almost every case an index to some basic change in destiny or in self-realization. It usually marks a significant change of residence or environment; in many cases, however, a change of "interior environment," a new approach to self-realization, are the only things traceable in the life especially in the case of typical introverts.
2) The aspects of Mars or Saturn to the zenith meridian, i.e., to Mid-Heaven or the Nadir point, which often refers to the death of the parents. Such aspects can be calculated according to the simplest type of primary directions; but from our standpoint, what they refer to is what we called the time-analysis of the birth-chart. The death of a parent — especially the first death — marks a definite psychological liberation of the individual factor in almost every life. It is such a basic occurrence that it should be noticed in the very seed-form of destiny, in the blueprints of the individual structure of being. Such a death is normally accompanied by a release of psychic or soul forces from the deceased parent into the native; and the significance thereof is usually paramount. There are cases, however, in which the clear-cut estrangement of the native from the parents amounts to a "psychological death" of the parents; and it is to this event that the above-mentioned aspect refers, rather than to actual physical death.
The death-aspects to be considered are conjunction, square and semi-square of either Mars or Saturn to Mid-Heaven or Nadir point. If Mars is ten degrees apart from the Mid-Heaven, the death of a parent may occur at the age of ten. But it may also occur at the age of 35 (by semi-square aspect). Again, such aspects do not indicate the necessity of a death; but if a death did happen at the age of 10, and Mars is shown to be 11 degrees away from the Mid-Heaven, then the logical conclusion is that the position of the Mid-Heaven is not correct, and should be moved one degree so as to make the arc between Mars and Mid-Heaven equal 10 degrees. This is what is meant by "rectifying" a chart.
3) Rectifying through the prenatal epoch, or by the mother's birthday are two methods of unequal importance and widely differing in technique. They are put in one category because both are attempts to define the emergence of the individual factor in a new life-cycle (first breath) in function of its maternal ancestry. The idea is that certain periods affecting the formation of the bodily substance of the being through the mother led in a measurable way to the beginning of the period of individual existence.
Much has been said for and against making a chart for the time of conception. We may merely point out that conception is a moment in the mother's life and not in the life of an individual person who can in no way be called an individual until he has acted as an independent and relatively self-sustained entity: viz., until he has breathed. Conception in a sense is no more important for the life of the future individual child than the time when his future mother and father met. It pertains to the cycle antedating his own individual cycle. It is the last of a series of events, stretching as far back as the beginning of the solar system, which conditions that out of which the individual emerges. It sums up heredity. But heredity is merely one of the basic aspects of the collective factor of being; the other aspect is the environment. It does not determine the individual factor. It only conditions that through which this individual factor has to express itself.
In the calculation of the chart of the "prenatal epoch" (which, besides, does not seem to refer to the exact and actual moment of physiological conception), a relation is established between the Ascendant at birth and the Moon at the approximate time of conception. This is to say symbolically that there is a moment in the mother's life, about the time of conception, when she foreshadows in her creative imagination what the individual self of her future child will be.
We might conclude by saying, as previously, that the reason why it is so difficult to ascertain exactly the cusps of the houses and all elements referring to the axial rotation of the Earth is that they symbolize the true individual factor in man. And this individual factor is indeed sacred. It is well, therefore, that it be hidden from the scrutiny of the indiscreet and the curious. The exact degree of the Ascendant is the key to man's uniqueness of being and destiny. In a world where the individual is scorned and so often crucified by collective stupidity, we should perhaps rejoice in the fact that the Ascendant, and all the cusps, which are the gateways to man's innermost creative selfhood and to his creative freedom, are usually veiled in mystery.
The "Building of the Temple" and the Point of Self
As we close this part of our study, which deals with the factor of time-evolution in astrology, we wish to come back to a matter which we have previously mentioned, but which we are now in a much better position to understand. We opened our discussion of progressions and the like by considering what we called the "timeanalysis of the birth-chart." But another type of time-analysis of the birth-chart has been studied in our chapter "The Dial of Houses". If we mention it again now, it is because to our mind both these types of time-analysis go deeper into the matter of ascertaining the real values of "becoming" than any other more usual methods which bring in planetary factors produced after birth.
All these methods (progressions, directions, transits) fail to consider the individual as a whole, susceptible of perfection. They break the singleness, uniqueness and unity of astrological symbolization. They spread out birth into an indefinite period of minutes, days, or years; and they show man beginning cycles of development which he cannot normally complete in the present state of human destiny. They show him with the three parts of his nature evolving according to rhythms which do not exactly match. In this, it is true, lies freedom — but also unfulfillment.
In the procedure explained in "The Dial of Houses" we deal with cyclic fulfillment. Man is seen as able to complete the building of his temple of immortality within the span of 84 years (three 28-year cycles). He is seen as the experiencer of whole cycles of experience, through which all his planets, and all their mutual relationships of any conceivable type (Parts, aspects, etc.), are successively energized and expressed. Here, indeed, is a positive, constructive view of Man, a God in the making; whereas in progressions, directions and transits we are made to witness the spectacle of a runner starting on a threefold race which he cannot possibly hope to finish. His "progressed Sun" will never complete the zodiacal race. His "directional Mid-Heaven" will never know a complete day of activity. The transiting Sun will never set upon a personality fulfilled through the "370 leaps" of the Great Serpent of Eternity, of which the Kabbala and H. P. Blavatsky speak (Chapter 4).
What, then, is the use of being born, if the individual is fated to be defeated by the race karma and cannot hope to reach the goal of wholeness? Is there no man who, within the normal compass of our present Earth-life, does ever reach fulfillment? If fulfillment is possible for the individual, in spite of the racial environment — if not as an outer personality, at least as an individual self — then progressions, directions and transits alike tell only one part of the story of the life-process. They may deal with the tangible Earth-body and the racial personality; but there is a realm which they do not consider — the only realm, it seems, in which the individual may reach completion, and thus — immortality.
The time analysis which we presented in the last chapter does not attempt to chart the wholeness of any cycle of development. It sets no particular limits, refers to no particular cycle. It merely gives information concerning certain critical moments in the process of working out in actuality the implications contained in the birth-chart. But such critical moments could be theoretically repeated ad infinitum. Even the equation "one degree equals a year" is not a necessary factor of such a "time analysis." For, as we conceive this method, it is only a matter of abstract relationship between twenty-four set factors. What it really intends to show is not the exact time of an occurrence as much as the sequence of the operations involved in the process of actualizing the potentialities shown in the birth-chart. In other words, the building operations may be speeded up, but the roof will not be placed before the walls are built, nor will the walls be built before the foundations are dug. What the time-analysis reveals, therefore, is a sequence of operations; and the one-degree-a-year equation is only a coefficient which appears to be the most nearly accurate at the present rate of human endeavor. In some personalities a faster coefficient might be more effective; for instance a 2 & 1/2-degrees-for-a-year equation has been suggested by Carter (the twelfth part of a zodiacal sign), and in many cases it gives very significant results.
When we detailed the method by which the individual's progress through three 28-year cycles could be charted, we also wrote that this was a way to determine the schedule of operations in the building of the temple of Man. But by the very nature of this type of time-analysis of the birth-chart we deal with closed cycles. We deal with very definite — archetypal-time — limits with reference to one life-span. What is not done when it should have been done is left forever undone. But the terms "done" or "undone" do not refer to personality-behavior as much as to individual realizations. Here is an unveiling of the depths of being, a solemn probing into the sanctuary of the individual soul — into the realm of pure significance.
This is particularly evident as we compare the cycle of progressions of the Moon which occurs in over 27 years, closely approximating the 28-year cycle of what we called the Point of Self; also the cycle of transiting Saturn, which covers a somewhat longer period. Whereas the progressed Moon indicates mostly phases of outer being, and the transiting Saturn the slow deepening or crystallization of the ego-factor, the Point of Self refers to values that are purely interior, but which shed light upon the most secret determination of the individual, and his ability or inability to give meaning to life.
In closing, let us warn the student of the cyclic motions of the Point of Self, lest he forget that this point is not really a mere point, but a cross. The four angles of the chart (the two axes of individual selfhood, horizon and meridian) must be seen rotating through the 28-year cycle. Subtle changes of focalization occur, emphasizing in some cases the horizon-factor, in others the meridian-factor. It is only as those are carefully studied, in function of indications given by the birth-chart as a whole, that this method brings forth a really valid, because complete, picture of the inner life of the individual. Through it we can see, outlining itself dimly or vividly against the background of the more obvious and concrete progressions and transits, the slowly unfolding pattern of individual fulfillment. Here man may be discerned, a success or a failure — in terms, not of what he does, but of the significance and the beauty with which he invests every life-incident on his path toward godhood — or annihilation.
The Astrology of Personality