The Art of Memorizing

I decided to take a few days break from my Indian astrology studies, and since I can not live my days without reading something related to astrology, I decided to re-read some of the aphorisms which Abū Bakr offers in his book On Nativities.

It is really interesting to get back to Perso-Arabian astrology after my intense Jyotish studies, and the wider dimension these studies give, offer me the opportunity to be able to connect some things and create more precise deducting reasoning. My deeply innate curiosity, I hope, is starting to pay off, and I feel more assured in the practical side of astrology.

It is not an easy thing to read the aphorisms of the sages. After reading a few, your mind starts becoming dizzy and you feel the need either to stop reading or to get back to the aphorisms you already read and re-read them again carefully. My teacher in Jyotish advised me to develop a habit of memorizing the charts in my mind, something which is very useful, in that case you always have anything you need in the store of your mind, no need for notebooks or stored charts on your computer, or even paper. I mean, you will still need all that for further calculations, but the point is that you will develop a habit of training your mind to recall the charts you already examined in the past, this is called photographic memory. India – although I have never been there, but I was told stories about – is full with astrologers who memorize the whole books from the old classical sages like Parashara or Saravali. This is not useless! In India, the young astrologers are trained in that way, to memorize many slokas [aphorism-like astrological rules] from the classics, and even though they do not understand some of the principles yet, they can easily recall them later in life when they’ll meet with a chart containing the slokas said by the sages. I remember in one occasion, on some private astrological group, I was posting aphorisms and certain person was making fun of how the aphorisms are sure way to stop thinking on your own, and the wise astrologer Steven Birchfield, to whose teachings I owe much my self, replied that  aphorisms really may not always be true, but that they contain a valuable experience of some very great astrologer from the past and certainly it is not wise to be neglected.

The Bible, Koran, Bhagavad Gita, Talmud scholars, etc., are famous for their memorization of the whole scripture. In an instance, they can start reciting you from any place or passage of the book. I think, we the Westerners, need to develop the art of memorizing our ‘scriptures’. An easy way to do this is to search for charts where you may find this particular aphorism already applied. Once you found a chart which contains, at least partially the aphorism, you will remember it almost instantaneously. This is why it is said that the picture is worth thousand words. This will not be always easy though. There are many aphorisms, and great amount of time doing this would need to pass, many charts examined, in order to be able to find greater deal of aphorisms which correspond with the charts you already have in your mind. But you can make a fun out of this. You can make it exciting thing, like putting certain goals in front of you: to find at least one aphorism in a chart per day, or weak, according to your schedule. Astrology need to be fun, exciting and to be done out of enjoyment, not to be a bag of burden on your back.

The aphorism I found for today, as fulfilling my scheduled goal is this one:

“If Mercury were direct in the Midheaven, and appearing in one of his own dignities, [and] aspected the Moon, by the square or opposite aspect, and the Moon were in her own domicile or exaltation, the native will be wise, sensible, and an examiner of the stars”.
[Abū Bakr, On Nativities, trans. Benjamin N. Dykes PhD, p.151]

While I was reading, I remembered that I saw this kind of opposition at Paul Faster Case’s chart of which I already spoke here:

Right click on the image to open it in a new tab with bigger resolution.

Paul Foster Case was a famous occultist, tarot and astrology writer from the early 20th century. He was known for participating in many back then famous esoteric [occult] societies and later on formed his own (B.O.T.A. ). In his younger days he was very good musician, his mother was piano player and teacher, and thought him to play. He was considered as very gifted musician, but the curiosity toward the secret knowledge, forced him to decide to move his life in that direction.

In his chart we have Mercury on MC in its own sign and direct, just as the aphorism of Abū Bakr requires. Moon is in opposition though not in her own sign or exaltation, which doesn’t fulfill the requirement of the aphorism 100%, but we have pretty good matching here. At least, Moon is not peregrine or debilitated.

The point after we found this matching, is to try to find logical explanation as to why Abū Bakr would consider this configuration as to bring: wisdom, sensitivity, and person who examines the stars.

Now, Mercury alone, direct and in its own dignities, on MC, is capable of giving wisdom, intelligence and being recognized for those qualities, by the world. In this case, Mercury rules the actions (MC) which lead to choosing certain career. Having Mercury’s qualities accentuated, not being debilitated, and in this case, not being harmed by malefics (Mercury receives Saturn, so the tension is somewhat meliorated), would give success in everything that Mercury signifies, and he signifies wisdom, intelligence, curiosity, skillfulness with words, etc.
Moon is the planet which rules our sensitive nature, or sensitive part of the mind, while Mercury rules the rational, logical part of our mind. Moon/Mercury opposition would give sensitivity, which he certainly had (as every mystic and musician after all has). Mercury is the planet of astrology and astronomy, while Moon in 4th would give a mystic (according to both Valens and Ptolemy: the one who investigates the hidden things, mysteries), so this is a perfect combination for occultist.
Furthermore, in this case, Moon is in the mystical sign of Pisces, accentuating his mystical nature even more. The tension which this opposition (just as the square would do) is I think channeled through his overwhelming curiosity toward these hidden subjects.

As a side note, even though this is one of the most important things in this charts (but not a part or requirement of the aphorism), I would add that this Mercury as powerful as he is, made an appearance [get out of the Sun’s rays] in the 7 days prior the birth, which makes him really the most powerful  and most visible planet in his horoscope. Mercury is in the bound of Mars which means that some of the significations he owns will be channeled through Mars in 12th in his own sign. 12th is another house of secrets, so his mystical-mystery nature is furthermore noted through this configuration. Moon is also in the bounds of Mars.

So, the next time you will find this configuration, in full or partially fulfilled, you would recall this aphorism I am sure. I think this is great way of practicing the astrology as was transferred to us through the practice and wisdom of the old sages. I do not think that we should follow them blindly, instead, to think with our own heads, but not to neglect their extremely valuable experience!

Delineating Solar Revolutions in style of Abu Ma’shar (practice)

In this post we will practice what has been said in the previous 3 parts about the Solar Revolutions. I think a good grasp on the techniques, by practically applying it, is of great importance before we continue with the examination of the other techniques offered by Abu Ma’shar in his work “On Solar Revolutions”.

So let’s get practical.

We will look at the chart of the famous singer Marvin Gaye and his tragic end.

Marvin Gaye was American singer, songwriter and player of many instruments. He was one of the leading musicians in the 70’s and was represented as a unique figure in the soul and pop music in that period. His song “Sexual Healing” was Nr.1 song on many top lists throughout the world. This song is still today regarded as one of the most unique songs in the history of popular music. His life ended in a tragical way when his father, in the rush of an anger, killed (shot) him after an attempt of Marvin to resolve a fight between his father and mother.

Left click on the photo to view it in a wider resolution, or right mouse click for viewing it in another tab (recommended).

This is Marvin Gaye’s chart.

From our earlier posts we stressed out that the delineation of the natal chart is of greatest importance because we are continually going back to it to compare our observations of the derived charts with the natal chart or the “beginning”.

I will not go into details here, but will try to delineate particularly his death.

For this occasion I will use Schoener’s approach in summing up the testimonies for particular subject into a couple of conclusions. So I conclude:

1st conclusion: There will be little or no love between the native and his father because Moon the significator of the native, falls amiss (is in aversion) to the Sun which is significator of the father.
The understanding between the father and the son will be low and poor.
Aversion of Moon (native’s significator) to the Lot of Father in 1Leo is testifying the same thing.

2nd conclusion: The mother will be related in some way to the death of the native, because Venus – significator of the mother, is in native’s 8th and Moon makes opposition to it.
The presence of Lot of Mother in 13 Aquarius (8th sign) is testifying this furthermore.

3rd conclusion: There will be tension between the native and the father somewhere in the end of the native’s life because Moon makes close opposition to Jupiter which is third triplicity ruler of the 4th!

According to Valens, having malefic planet on the descendant or pre-descendant, is one of the indications for violent death. We see Mars here.
Furthermore, the ruler of the Fortune and the 8th sign from the Fortune are mutual destroyers. In this case we have Saturn ruler of Fortune and Sun ruler of 8th from Fortune in same sign destroying each other. I have seen this configuration in many violent deaths, but also Valens gives a couple of examples with such configuration, i.e. where the mutual destroyers were in same sign, or looking each other through some bad aspect.

According to Valens, the nature of the signs should indicate the nature of the death.

“Capricorn is destroyed by Leo, i.e. Saturn by the Sun. They die from heart attacks and fractures and from accidents in the baths or from burns, through the wrath of kings and noblemen, or by impaling, injuries from beasts and animals, or falls from high places”. ( Valens, Riley’s trans. p.56)

Now, Leo (the 8th sign from Fortune) is a fiery sign, Sun which is its ruler is in Aries, again fiery sign. Mars dominating is throwing dominating square (it is in the 10th from Sun) and pushing its own hit to the already hot Sun. If we take indications of Saturn which is the ruler of natural 8th and of Fortune mutually destroying with the Sun, and Mars with the Fortune making square to the Sun as ruler of 8th from Fortune, we will announce that Iron or some other symbolism related to Mars/Saturn and Sun will be related to the death of the native.  Fiery death by iron.

Valens didn’t incorporated gunshots in his descriptions because guns didn’t existed in his own time.

The death from the bullet does not come through heat or fire, but from penetration. But in the whole process of shooting fire and iron is involved. The gunpowder is a compound of saltpeter, charcoal, and sulphur.

Sulphur is related to Sun though Jacob Boehme links Mars with the alchemical principle of sulphur.

OK. So having these things in mind we will now investigate the year of death.

It is bit a tricky thing because he died on the day prior of his 45th birthday, but only few hours before the Sun entering the same position it had in the natal chart, that is, of the chart of Solar Revolution for the year.

So, we first examine in which Ages of Man this event happens. Native is 44 year old, so this falls into the Mars disposition of the Ages. What we do first here is to go back to the natal chart and delineate state of Mars.

Where is Mars? In 6th division but 7th sign. Which houses rules? 5th and 10th, 7th by exaltation. Aspects Mars makes?
He makes separating square to Sun and applying square to Saturn (by wide orbs involved).
Venus from 8th (death) and ruler of 4th (family, home) applies to Mars in 6th.
6th is the place of accidents, Mars is master of accidents, it is contrary to the sect in favor, it is in place of his joy (good for him but not for the native), pressing the Hyleg by square, ruling a wicked house (7th): honestly, we can’t expect much good from this Mars!

But would you predict an awful event which leads to native’s death by these testimonies only?
I don’t think so.

Let’s go further.

We will now investigate the Revolution of his 41th year when Mars took the disposition of the Ages of Man.


This is the revolution of year 1980.

Mars is retrograde in his own terms and decan. Notice how Mars rules 7th and 8th (by exaltation) !!!
Mars is in 3rd division 2nd sign, BUT falls in 8th from Fortune (place of death) in natal!
Mars conjuncts (by whole signs) natal Lot of Father in Leo!
Close conjunction with North Node is increasing his malefic nature?
Saturn cold as he can be in Virgo, retrograde, ruler of 8th in the natal and in this revolution, is conjunction natal Moon by partile! Moon is native’s significator and pretty sensitive point, especially for his body and well being!

Many serious indications by now.
But why the native didn’t died in 1980 when he had this awful revolution?

This is a very serious question.
At the moment I don’t have the answer.

What is important to take out of this revolution when Mars took the disposition of Ages is its state particularly. That he is in natal 8th from fortune (notice that in this revolution too, he is in 8th from fortune!), that rules 8th from the Ascendant.

We now look at the Firdariyyah.


In 1979 he entered Saturn’s Firdariyyah. Saturn took the disposition from the Moon.
Which houses in the natal chart Saturn rules? 8th of death! It is in poor zodiacal shape in 10th and is ruling 4th by exaltation! Again we have relationship between death (8th), family (4th), public (10th). The thing that Moon as significator of native’s body and being, gave disposition of the Firdariyyah to Saturn, a malefic by nature and by accident through ruling the 8th, is really not a desired thing at all.

What we will do next is to check out the revolution when Saturn took the Firdariyyah disposition.


Mars rules 12th of suffering and 8th by exaltation! He is in 7th again retrograde and conjunct by sign native’s natal Moon, making square by sign with revolution’s Moon.

We are not delineating the whole revolution here, just general notions of Saturn, its state and dispositions in this particular revolution. This revolution is just one year prior the revolution when Mars took the disposition of ruelrship of Ages, and this means that in that particular revolution Saturn’s presence was of a particular importance because it is already a Firdariyyah ruler. So the Firdariyyah ruler and its partner will be important not only for the revolution when they took the rulership, but also for all the other subsequent revolutions till the time their rulership of Firdariyyah ends.

In the year of death (1984), partner to Saturn in ruling Firdariyyah is Sun, which took the disposition by Mars. We see two malefics involved with the Sun – giver of Life.

At this point you will notice how important the delineation of the natal chart is, and what we’ve done even though briefly in the beginning of this post.

You will recall that Saturn and Sun are mutual destroyers because of their 1 – 8 from Fortune relationship! So, having them ruling the Firdariyyah is not a positive thing, knowing all the stuff we delineated from the particular revolutions when the General rulers (Saturn and Mars by ages) took the rulership and all the 8th houses involved there.

You will recall that in natal Saturn and Sun were in conjunction, that is in same sign, and this is what Valens would not like to see when these 2 are rulers of Fortune and the 8th of Fortune!

You will recall that Saturn in natal rules 8th and Sun the 8th from Fortune where Lot of Father happens to be! Even though there is mutual reception involved with Mars in 6th, for what good this can be from a wicked house and ruling wicked houses like 6 and 8?

In the end we will look at the particular revolution when the native died, to see how all this testimonies summed up.

Because this is the same year when Sun took the partnership in Firdariiyyah rulership with Saturn, we will look in only one chart, that from 1983.
If Sun happened to take the rulership in 1982, we should have looked in that revolution first, to see with which kind of agenda Sun took the rulership by sub-firdariyyah. But in this case, we will look at 1983 which is also the chart of the year when native died.


Now we will incorporate the annual profections. In his 44th year, they come to Pisces (9th sign), where natal Venus is positioned, so she becomes Lady of the Year!


This is comparation of the revolution with the natal!

We are profecting by 9 signs. Now direct Venus by 9 signs from her natal position, you will come to Virgo where Saturn came in the revolution. Mix the testimonies of all we have learned about Saturn in this examination. Saturn on Venus. Remember that LOY is often showing the native in the particular year. Saturn rules radical 8th, ruled the 8th when took the Firdariyyah and etc..

Profect 7th sign by 9 signs and you will come to the Moon which is significator of natives body and being. Valens says:

“For forecasts of mortality, change, or trouble, we will start with the Descendant.” (p.79)

The place of death (8th) profected to 4th house (home, family).

I will now tell you about an interesting technique given by Abu Ma’shar somewhere in the end of his treatise. If some planet made an ingress (entered in a sign of the solar revolution by transit) where natally is positioned some planet/s, you will take the domicile/s of that planet to represent ascendant, and the domicile/s of the transiting planet to represent the theme or subject of the particular year.

Look now, Mars ingressed in a sign where Mercury is positioned in natal.
Take Virgo as an ascendant, Aries falls in the 8th from Virgo! So, subject of 8th house will be activated in the year.
Even though this with Mercury happens more often, it is worth mentioning it.
Mercury entered sign in which natally is Saturn positioned. So, Virgo is 8th sign from Aquarius!

Ok let’s now examine the particular revolution.
Where the revolution ascendant falls in natal? In natal 8th house! 8th house will be agenda of the year!
Notice Firdariyyah ruler in the revolution! It falls in revolution’s 8th, rules it by exaltation, and falls into natal 4th (family, home, father)! Hitting the annual profection of natal Venus by 9 signs, and in the same time LOY.

Where the Age ruler (Mars) falls? In 2nd in the revolution casting its own rays in to the 8th by opposition and in a place where it is debilitated.

Where Lord of the Year (Venus) falls in the revolution?
In 3rd/4th sign and rules 8th! Again we have testimony of 8th!

Too much indications in one direction: the 8th house!


This was I hope a demonstrative example of the techniques of which we spoke in our previous posts. I didn’t delienated the paricular twelfth-parts, lots and some other finer points. I just didn’t have the time to do that, this requires a disciplined approach which will take me days to complete and I’m coming to post on this blog just as an a relaxation and not in aim to write some sort of scientific papers. I hope I will find more time some day in near future, to present the full approach with all finer points taken into account.

Till later, practice, practice, practice!


Abu Ma’shar – On Solar Revolutions, translated and edited by Benjamin N. Dykes, PhD, the Cazimi Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota 2010

Vettius Valens – Anthology, translated by Mark T. Riley

Delineating Solar Revolutions in style of Abu Ma’shar (part 3)

Each one of the seven wandering [stars, and] even the Head and Tail of the Dragon, have certain determinate years, and every planet disposes the native according to its firdariyyah. Indeed the firdariyyah of the Sun is 10 years, but that of Venus 8, Mercury 13, the Moon 9, Saturn 11, Jupiter 12, Mars, 7, the Head 3, and the Tail 2, which all together 75 years of life.
(Abu Ma’shar – On the Solar Revolutions, Dykes trans., p.170)

In the last two parts we gave introduction to the Ptolemaic Ages (from now on “Ages of Man”) and their rulers; the annual profections, determining the Lord of the Year, and how to delineate all of them in the particular Solar Revolution.

In this post we will give introduction to the usage of the Firdaria alongside Solar Revolutions. We will see that as we took the revolution of the year when the ruler of the Ages took the control, in the same manner we will look at the revolution when the Firdaria ruler and sub-ruler took the control of rulership. These are called “beginnings”. When a certain planet began the disposition of the years and months of rulership. The very first beginning is the nativity, we compare all other methods of derived charts with the beginning of life on this earth. But every year we announce a new beginning which is the beginning of the Sun ‘returning’ to its natal place by zodiacal longitude, or when the Sun is starting a new traversing path around the circle.

We saw that another kind of beginning is when some planet  took the rulership of the Ages of Man, that is, we take that annual revolution to represent the agenda that ruler will have in the years to come. We will see in this post, that in the same way we will take the annual revolution of the Sun, and the chart of the Revolution as yet another kind of Beginning, that is, when the certain ruler of the Firdaria took the control of the years, either by general rulership, or by sub-rulership, or so called “partnership” to the general ruler. All this will become more clear later in the text.


The rulership of Firdariyyah in the diurnal nativities begins with the Sun, then goes Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars.

In nocturnal nativities you start with the Moon, then Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus and Mercury.

Now, in order not to repeat what others already have said on the history and usage of the Firdariyyah, I will put a few links for you to follow and read it through.

Steven Brichfield has great text on Firdariyyah which you can read online here:
Table of Firdariyyah disposition according to Abu Ma’shar you can find here:

There are two different systems of Firdariyyah dispositions, one from Abu Ma’shar (who is BTW – must to be mentioned – principle source of this technique) and one from Bonatti. The difference is at the disposition of the Nodes in the night nativities. Both sources agree that for the diurnal nativities Nodes should take disposition in the end of the Chaldean order (Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars = Nodes). But in nocutnal nativities Abu Ma’shar advises us to follow the same order as was given in the diurnal nativities (that is to put Nodes in the end: Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury = Nodes). But Bonatti advises us to put them after Mars (that is, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars = Nodes = Sun, Venus, Mercury).

This order is given here:

Chris Brennan has an introduction to Firdariyyah here:

Good web tool for calculating the Firdariiyah:

You have to check the “Nodes always in the end” if you want to follow Abu Ma’shar’s method (this is default).

I’m using Abu Ma’shar’s method in my own practice.

I recommend you to study those 2 articles first and then to proceed here, if you are not familiar with firdariyyah by now.

So, to recapitulate:
Diurnal scheme: Sun/Venus/Mercury/Moon/Saturn/Jupiter/Mars/Nodes.
Nocturnal scheme: Moon/Saturn/Jupiter/Mars/Sun/Venus/Mercury/Nodes.

Further, every planet rules 1/7 of its general years of rulership, firstly giving the years to itself, then to Venus and etc., again going throughout the Chaldean order. To the nodes is not given a disposition by sub-rulership.

Now, something of a practical value. When delineating all kinds of Time Lord procedures, you will take notes to the changing of disposition, from which planet to which planet is going on. This is how Valens is using the changing of the time lords. For example, it is clear that when Sun will follow to rule sub-firdariyyah after Mars, the changing will be from Mars to Sun, from malefic to the light, so we can expect some maleficence according to this, especially if the nativity is diurnal (because it will make Mars malefic contrary to the sect). Or when Moon gives the “cronocratorship” to Saturn, especially in nocturnal nativity and etc.

Let’s start with practice now by using the same sample nativity from our previous posts.

Left click on the image to see it on wider resolution, or right mouse click to open it in another tab (recommended).

The nativity is dirunal, so we will use the diurnal scheme of rulership.
Sun will rule first 10 years, Venus 8, Mercury 13 and so on.

We will examine the Mercury period, from native’s 18th year till native’s 31th year when Moon takes the general rulership.

By pressing F9 in Morinus software, you will have a table of Firdariyyah similar to this one:


I’ve scanned only the Mercury disposition for the sake of space.

The first thing we will do is to check the solar revolution for the year when Mercury took the rulership by Firdariyyah, in order to see the “Agenda” of Mercury for the next 13 years.

Now, Mercury already has an agenda, that is, the one given to him in the nativity. But the chart of the revolution for the year when he took the rulership shows a more specific agenda for those 13 years which follow. Combination with the natal chart will show further details of what the native can expect in the years to come.

First thing first, we need to delineate the natal chart in regard to Mercury!
Where Mercury falls by local determination (i.e. house)? In 6th division or 7th sign. Mercury is determined toward the significations of servants (employees), diseases, partnerships (because of 7th), open enemies, lawsuits and etc.
Which houses Mercury rules? 3rd of brothers, relatives, friends, short travels, education, communication, learning and etc.
12th of secret enemies, chronic diseases, sufferings, lamentations and etc.
What is the nature of Mercury? Mercury signifies scribes, faith, astrology, rational thinking. He signifies people who are merchants, very clever even deceitful and trickery makers, people who like to hold things in suspense and etc.

Rescue me, O LORD, from liars and from all deceitful people. (Psalm 120:02)

This is what Mercury signifies by nature for all people. Only by local determination (house position and ruelrship) we will know his specific purposes.

Mercury is disposed by Saturn in 5th taking a bit portions in the 4th division.
Makes square with the chart ruler Moon and sextile to its dispositors: Mars and Saturn.

From Ptolemy and other astrologers down the tradition we know that Mercury was used for character delineation. Moon is showing more the irrational, emotional nature; and Mercury the rational side or the ‘logical thinking one’.

OK. With all this in mind, we need now to look at the chart and apply our logical astrological thinking, while in meanwhile let our inner self to guide us in this process. First, Mercury ruler of a wicked house in a wicked house is denoting people who are deceptive, people who are not honest (secret enemies) and people who will work against the native (12th). These people will be employees or to say co-workers (Mercury takes portion of the 7th by sign), also ‘friends’ with whom the native hangs out on a daily basis (3rd), or should we say “a pretending friends” because of the presence of Mercury in sign of Saturn. There will be conflicts and mental arguments (Mercury) with these people because Mercury makes square to the Moon which is ruler of the nativity and in the same time Almutem Figuris. This will be due to the lack of communication and understanding (Mercury rules 3rd) and all this will threaten native’s need for safety and emotional security (Moon as ruler of ascendant pointing out the place and means by which the prime motivation for happiness are shown). Conflicts related to writings, papers are also shown. Remember that we are delineating the natal promise for the whole life, given in the natal chart. Some of this still not happened, but may happen later in life. This is the substance given in the chart as a possible and most probable events.

Mercury does not signify only this. Mercury also shows native’s logical mind and thinking. Receiving boost from Mars (hot and quickness), received by him, and being dominated from the right side, is showing a mind which is rational, thinking, who gives quick judgments.  The connection with the Moon gives hunger for different kinds of knowledge. The conjunction with Jupiter and exchange of terms with it, while Jupiter being ruler of 9th is showing interest to Religions, Astrology, and Esoteric subjects. The connection to Saturn is showing  deepness of mind, desire for going deeper into the secret (Saturn) knowledge and etc. All this is showing a nativity which is fascinated by learning the meaning and deepness of Life. And all these will be activated when Mercury takes the Firdariyyah rulership. And indeed it was, in the 18th year of life, the native began to be fascinated by books, learning, reading, investigating and etc.

Mercury quantitatively is very weak, cadent. But he is applying toward (with reception) angular/succedent planet, which is a Superior and Oriental, not slow in motion, in the sect of favor, and this is boosting him up.

So, we saw that this Mercury has positive and negative sides as well. This is part of what is promised in the nativity through this Mercury.

Another thing which is related to Mercury is chronic diseases because it rules 12th and it in 6th. Beginning from the 18th year, native developed chronic problems with dry eyes. Mercury is in cold and dry sign and ruled by intrinsically cold and dry Saturn, but also aspected by the exaltation lord, that is, Mars who is also dry. The excessive dryness, makes lack of water in his eyes and he has problems reading, especially on PC, because eyes are drying up even more. This leads to very quick tiredness and dark circles around the eyes. Native is forced to read most of the books on audio reader and similar kinds of tools. This is the “sufferings” shown by its rulership of 12th.

Now let’s look at the 18th year when Mercury took the ruelrship of Firdariyyah and the Solar Revolution of that year.


We do not look to see what this chart promises for the particular year. We look the state of Mercury in it and what Mercury brings as an particular agenda in through this revolution (local and determination by rulership, aspects and etc.) which will add as a mix to the natal agenda Mercury has.

Mercury is in 3rd in human rational sign. This falls in 7th in the nativity. This is again accentuating the 3rd house and learning, communication, reading, writing and etc. We have now two testimonies for that part of the agenda of Mercury.

Mercury natally falls in 7th which will again accentuate the partly taken 7th position by sign in the nativity, and this is showing people of the type of Mercury who will be native’s co-workers. Again, we can see Mercury making square with Moon and we will judge intensification of the natal promise we explained above.

Twelfth-Part of Mercury for this revolution calculated roughly by 12 x 12 falls somewhere in the last decan of Gemini, which says 8th sign and division. This natally falls in 12th and accentuation on fear (8th), secret attacks from people (12th) and etc.

Now if we want to go into further details we should calculate particular Lots for this revolution. However, we will not go into this here, you’ve got the point.

Now lets look at the revolution when Jupiter took the sub-firdariyyah rulership, that is, the revolution of the year 2007. Jupiter took the rulership in August, so the native is still in the revolution which started on 23th January 2007. If Jupiter happened to take the rulership on 10th January 2008, we would still look at the 2007 revolution because this one is taken into account up until to 23 of January 2008 (approximately).

Let’s delineate Jupiter natally. Jupiter falls in Capricorn in 6th division 7th sign. It rules 6th and 9th, but also 1st by exaltation. Jupiter is showing parts of the native’s search for happiness, or the need for emotional security in native’s personality. This is through dedication to religion, faith and investigating the stars (Astrology).

Saturn is dispositor of Jupiter and he falls in 5th which indicates children. So we have mixed testimony of children and let’s say education (9th). We can expect that native’s life can go in this direction among others.

One quick note. Even though Mercury and Jupiter are weak accidentally, they are in 10th from Fortune which is one of the most potent places. So, let’s not forget Valens here, have this in mind in future delineations of the same chart.


This is the Solar Revolution for the year 2007. We see that Jupiter falls in 11th which is a place associated with friends, groups and organizations. Jupiter also rules 11th.
Jupiter falls in 5th house division in nativity and again education and children are related.

On 23 January 2008  the native took a job of teaching children music in the most prestige musical school in that place. Jupiter rules with intercepted 2nd and this is showing that he will earn money through organizations (Schools, Jupiter casts aspect to the 5th) and is making trine to Venus which is ruler of 9th (education) of this revolution and in the nativity through exaltation.

Remember, we do not delienate the particular year, but only the ‘energies’, or substratum which Jupiter takes with it through out the sub-rulership of firdariyyah. The twelfth-part of this Jupiter falls in 3rd, so we again have accentuation on teaching and education, learning and etc.


This is the revolution of 2008. Now we have Jupiter on the cusp of 9th house and again accentuation on teaching, education. Here we also have Jupiter and Venus return which is of importance for sure, because they both rule 9th in the nativity. Saturn is just before the cusp of 5th the same like in the nativity, again connection of education and children. Not a little testimonies in one direction. It is for sure: the native will teach children in this year. This is what the sub-rulership through Firdariyyah brought this Jupiter, and was promised in the natal chart.

Mercury, the general ruler of the Firdariyyah falls in 10th, which signifies the new career which this native takes in this year, as a teacher of kids (Mercury rules 5th). Mercury natally rules 3rd of education.

How can one not be amazed when looking at the disposition of years and succession of significations year after year when looked in the way of which our ancient though us?! We saw the agenda of Jupiter in the year when he took the sub-rulership, we see the same agenda in the following year shown in the revolution. All pointing out in one direction.

Let’s recapitulate.
What you will do with the Firdariyyah rulers, is that you will firstly look at their state in the natal chart. Then you will examine the revolutions when they took the rulership by Firdariyyah. You will take note of their state also in every subsequent revolution, because the rulership of Mercury does not stops to be significant in the following 13 years. Every new revolution he will influence the year according to its natal and natural significations, also you will have in mind the specific agenda taken in the year when he took the rulership by Firdariyyah. In this way, you will have a good database of influences, meanings and connections which will make your judgment and prediction to be more in depth and wisdom, not jumping into shallow conclusions by spotting just one signification or indication and throwing out that to your client like a mere non-serious thought. Don’t follow the advise of Carrie Underwoo completely:

Throw caution to the wind and just do it 🙂


Abu Ma’shar – On Solar Revolutions, translated and edited by Benjamin N. Dykes, PhD, the Cazimi Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota 2010

Delineating Solar Revolutions in style of Abu Ma’shar (part 2)

In our last post we examined the general approach of delineating Solar Revolution and what we ought to look first at it. We discussed the Ptolemaic Ages and their rulers and how to incorporate the knowledge of them into our Solar Revolution delineation. We saw that the ruler of the Ptolemaic Ages gives an overall, more general picture of the underlying influences in more broader spectrum of years. We saw that the Sun would rule 19 years, which is really not a short period of time, and also examined how important the Solar Revolution for the year when Sun took the rulership of ages really is, and how this underpin all the other influence factors for the years and revolutions to come. In a way, there are two beginnings, the one beginning is the natal chart itself, and the other is the beginning of the chart of the revolution of the year when the planet ruling the Ptolemaic Ages took the control of the ages. In our subsequent posts we will see that we ought to look at the revolution when the Firdaria ruler also took the control, so we will have one more “beginning” into our examination.

Abu Ma’shar’s approach is not simple, but it is worth incorporating it in your astrological practice. Prediction through Astrology is not an easy task, it requires disciplined and right astrological thinking, knowledge and skill. This is why we will try to incorporate this approach in more than one post. This will presupposed that the individual practice of the techniques learned will be necessary if one wants to incorporate the knowledge gained into a astrological skill and wisdom.

I don’t know yet how many sequels this intention of mine to introduce Abu Ma’shar will have.
This is due to the reason that I’m a student and not a teacher or master, and I’m still learning every day something new from this beautiful art, which makes me excited and have the desire to share it with all the other people. There fore, I will leave this title open and the sequels may be 5,6 or more; as I will learn with the months, years to come I would surely post it and share all the things learned with the readers of this blog, if God wills.

We read, study and speak about astrology every day, but when a person comes to you as an astrologer and asks a simple question: “What to expect in this year“, all the debates, all the opinions on the subject stop and you ought to be a practical astrologer who would accurately give prediction of the events of the year this particular person is asking from you. They do not want to know when Abu Ma’shar was born, who he was, nor that he ever exist. All they want to know from you is the prediction; not a consultation, not a psychology mumbling, not a philosophizing, but a prediction of the year: what should they expect in the year in front of them.

I hear from the astrologers often today that Astrology can give only a broad scope of events, not a details of someone’s life. While there is some truth in this, I would not agree with this completely. Astrology does not lack details, astrologers and their adequacy do. We will see by examining Abu Ma’shar’s approach that Astrology is capable of giving details, and I think this is why Abu Ma’shar is complex subject for many.

Ibn Ezra’s Considerations Before Judgment

I know that we speak about Abu Ma’shar here, but I hope you will not sue me for introducing a little assistance from Ibn Ezra. Not that Abu Ma’shar lacks this, nor that we can’t do it without these advises of Ibn Ezra, but I just found them useful and not in contrary to Abu Ma’shar, just putted in another way.

These are from “The Book of Nativities and Revolutions” from Ibn Ezra, translated from Hebrew by Meira B. Epstein, and edited from the Latin translation by Robert Hand.

Consideration before judgment is a tittle given by Rob Hand I think, it is not a tittle given by Ibn Ezra, but fits the purpose.

In it Ibn Ezra shares some things one need to know in approaching delineation of every individual horoscope.

1st thing one need to take into consideration is from which nation the native is. Because, if you find in his nativity, and consequently by an individual revolution, that he will become a King, for Israelite this could not be possible, because says Ibn Ezra, “it has been already made clear from the Great Conjunction, which is the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter that this nation would be in exile”.
So, having this mind, you can’t predict kingship of a person who just can’t be a king in the times in which it is born. In other words, one need to compare the individual horoscope with the actual mundane events around and take measures from this.

Also, if you find Saturn in 9th in Israelite, you would not say that his religion is improper, because Saturn rules the Jews, but in the nativity of a Muslim, this would be so, because the Muslims are mundane represented by Venus, and Saturn as a natural malefic in 9th house of religion would show its improper effects on this subject in the life of the individual.

2nd thing is to judge from the regions. One born in the back then called Kush, even though if he has Venus and Moon rising with the ascendant degree, would not designate the beautiful face of the native nor white. Similarly, if the ruler of the nativity is Mercury, one would not judge that he will be learned in all sciences, because people from Kush lack this because of the excessive heat of the Sun. You will compare him with the people inside the region, and he will have some things above the things average there, but he will not be comparatively above the standards of some other region.

Kush was a southern province of Nubia, now Republic of Sudan in Africa.

3rd thing is the consideration of the Great Conjunction on each country.. That is, to consider the mundane influences. So, if some mundane event for your city, predicts catastrophe of greatest measures, for example, that the citizens will be killed by sword, even though the individual horoscope does not shows death by sword, it will be so because of the mundane influences, and the individual is a part of the whole. So what effects the whole, effects him too.

4th thing is to consider the revolution of the world. For if some revolution of the world shows that disease will come into your place, you will most probably not be prevented from it, because the individual chart can’t cancel the general.
Remember that these considerations were given in a time when diseases can ruin whole cities.

5th thing you need to take into account, is the consideration of the family. Because, if someone is born into a family of minister, and other in a family of servants, and if the revolution (and nativity supports prosperity and high social status) shows dignity in that year, the first one can become a King and the second one merchant.

6th thing you need to look ought, is the consideration of the chart of the King. Because, if the chart of the king shows that he will enter a war in this year, you would most probably not be spared from it, even though your individual chart shows prosperity and all the good things. So you must always look at the individual chart in the general context of the world surrounding you.

7th thing you need to observe, is the consideration of the Nature. If you cast an election chart to travel with ship oversea, and you put Jupiter and Venus on the ascending degree, you can’t neglect the natural factors like probable storms and general prognostication of the weather. Your own electional chart can’t cancel the nature’s purposes.

8th thing in the considerations before judgment is the native’s wisdom and knowledge of the science of the stars (i.e. Astrology). By this knowledge you can prevent your self from excessive heat when Mars happens to transit your ascendant, by balancing your humors through the means of diet for example.

So, you ought to have all these in mind when you approach delineation. Abu Ma’shar says the exact same things in his book, only in other way.


In order to approach this great subject of Revolutions and to take all in to consideration, we must approach deductively and inductively as well, and explain the tools one by one. Therefore, here we will discuss the incorporation of the Profections to the Solar Revolutions.

“In a revolution of years it is good to look at the horoscope of the nativity, and to compute one sign for every year, and where it applied, that one will be the sign of the profection, whose Lord will be the Lord of the Year” (Abu Ma’shar – On Solar Revolutions, Dykes trans., p.74)

We talked in our previous article, that Abu Ma’shar was following Vettius Valens in assigning the lordship to the planet which is actually in the sign of the annual profections, instead of the ruler of the sign, because the presence is more immediate and strong than the rulership. If there is no planet in the sign of the annual profections, we should look at the Revolution if there exist some planet which ingressed the sign. If there is no such planet and the place is empty in the nativity and in the revolution, only in that case the ruler of the sign is taken as the Lord of the Year.

What you need to take into consideration here is the following:

1. You will notice which sign is that sign by number from the ascendant. For example, if Cancer is rising, Scorpio would be 5th sign and in 28th year will be the sign of the annual profections.

2. See whose domicile, whose exaltation and whose triplicity is that sign.

3. Look at the planet/s that falls in that sign in the nativity, particular Lot or twelfth-part.

4. Look at the aspects this sign is receiving from the planets around the wheel. From what sign or degree, bound or ninth-part is the aspect made.

5. Look if there is a planet in the same sign in the revolution, or aspects to the sign, or particular twelfth-part. Look at those planet’s state in the nativity and revolution as well.

6. Look where the sign of the annual profections falls from the revolution’s ascendant and vise versa.

The State of the Lord of the Year (LOY)

Then what you need to observe is the state of the LOY in the nativity and in the Solar Revolution.

Is it direct in each figure (natal and revolution)?

Is it retrograde?

Is it combust or Under the Sun’s Beams?

Is it in its own places or not?

is it receiving bad or good aspects, from benevolents and malevolents?

Is it in good or bad zodiacal shape?

Is it oriental or occidental?

Is it in sect or contrary to the sect in favor?

Compare all the testimonies in the nativity and in the revolution for measuring the power of the LOY. If same configurations were repeated in both figures, the significations are more strong. If they are dissimilar in the most of the cases, then judge the mediocre.

For example, if in the nativity Mars as LOY makes square to the Sun and is contrary to the sect in favor, but in the revolution is in trine relationship and of the sect in favor, then the bad significations from the natal figure, will be somewhat lessened in the year. If Mars was trine Jupiter and was in sect in both figures, then judge more positive things and etc.


Left Click on the photo to see it in bigger resolution, or right mouse click to open it in new tab (recommended).

This is a sample nativity. The smaller icons around the wheel are the twelfth-part of the planets and points. Morinus software does not calculate the twelfth part of the houses so we will do this by our selves.

We will investigate the 27th year, so the annual profections came to the 4th sign Libra and Moon will be the LOY because of her presence there.

The sign is 4th from the ascendant. Issues of home and family will be activated.

Whose sign is this? It is Venus’ sign. What is the nature of Venus? It denotes Love, desire for sexual bonding, pleasures, music, enjoying and etc.
She is in the 6th sign, which is a wicked place and for sure not happy for all the significations of Venus. She can’t perform here, this is a cadent and weak place, also wicked. She is non-profitable, and whatever she likes to bring, falls apart in some way.
She is also peregrine.

Whose exaltation Libra is? It is Saturn’s exaltation.  Saturn natally does not aspect the sign, he is turned away but he is by transit in the sign.

Whose triplicity Libra is? It is Saturn’s, Mercury’s and Jupiter’s triplicity.

Is there are a twelfth-parts in that sign? Yes, the twelfth-part of Venus is here, so again we have accentuation on Venus here.

We must go back to the nativity once again and delineate it.

Moon is a ruler of the nativity and she is in 4th sign in which this year the annual profections falls. Moon and Cancer on the ascendant denotes sensitive nativity, a nativity which somehow wants to hold on to the people, in a way with clingy. The connection of Moon and Venus, among other things, shows the appetite for love and pleasures, foods and every kind of enjoying. Moon applies widely to Venus and Venus receives her but from cadent place and peregrine.

So, this sextile between Moon and Venus would be highly activated in this year.

Is there a lot in the sign of the annual profections? These Lots are found there:
Pars Hyleg/ Lot of Work and Kingship/Lot of Faith/Lot of Exaltation and Lot of Journeys.

They will all have some significance in the year. For example, Lot of exaltation showed that the nativity would achieve some recognition in the year. The nativity is a musician and he aquired a recognition in the year. The Lot of Work and Kingship also denotes this.
So, you would merge the significations of every particular lot activated through the sign of annual profections.

One note of caution though. The significations of the Lots would have been more strong if for example the ascendant of the revolution hits some Lot directly, like in the example I gave in my previous post about the Lot of Mother.

What aspects this sign receives from the planets in the nativity?
Venus is regarding it by sextile as we already said. Jupiter and Mercury by square, and Sun by trine. Mercury in relation to the Moon will be important for the intellectual knowledge this persons acquires in the year. Jupiter for the religion and faith of the native because rules 9th and naturally signifies this. Sun for career and status because rules 10th and naturally signifies this. Sun is in airy, human sign and the aspect is by trine. It may be that people would assist the native to achieve some recognition in this year, but this is less then promised and what was hoped for because Sun is in detriment . From which degree Sun throws its rays to the sign of annual profections? From a masculine and smoky degree. Abu Ma’shar in Great Introduction says that this smoky degrees are “shadowy” and “gloomy”, they signify “small mishap” not as much as the dark degrees. They are like neutral (though more inclined toward bad quality) in quality to do good (like the bright degrees) or bad (like the dark ones). Mercury is in a bright degree but otherwise is peregrine, though received by Saturn and Mars. Mercury received by its oriental superior masters in bright degree shows good mental qualities. By accidental determination and rulership of 12th also shows enemies and mental arguments because of the square to the Moon as ruler of the nativity and LOY.

Now lets look at the revolution.


Are there planets in the sign of the annual profections (Libra)?
Saturn is there! In this revolution Saturn is a malefic contrary to the sect.
Saturn in the nativity rules the 7th is in 5th of the pleasures.

We need to weight the indications now.
In the nativity Saturn is of the sect, direct and oriental, in alien sign but received, in good house.
In the revolution Saturn is contrary to the sect, direct and oriental but will turn retrograde just two days after the birthday!

So, Saturn is a mixed bag, and in this revolution is more inclined toward bad significations or at least nor producing good qualities of events. Sometimes the badness is looked in the lack of good. It is not necessary to happens something enormously bad thing in order the quality of life to be felt as lacking in positivity or enjoyment. What we can see here is that a poor Saturn just to be stationing, contrary to the sect, cadent by divisions, a malefic by nature, standing upon the ruler of the nativity and LOY, which is Moon and aspecting by domination Venus in 12th of the revolution, will for sure negate some pleasures and enjoyments.

Now lets look at Moon and Venus. In the nativity they are in sextile, Moon widely applies toward Venus and Venus receives it. In the revolution they aspect each other by square!
Lets weight those two.
In the nativity Moon and Venus are contrary to the sect in favor. Venus is in a bad house and cadent. The same is in the revolution, she is in a bad house and cadent, but in sect.
Mediocre judgments. So, there will be amorous event in the year (natal ascendant falls in 7th of the revolution, this is further signification), but there will be denying, struggle and conflicts because of a woman or with a woman which will eventually lead into separation.

Moon is in Virgo, a sign which is of those that signifies “searching for marriage” as Abu Ma’shar puts it.

The twelfth part of the 7th house of the revolution falls with the Moon in Virgo, again testifying about the importance of the partnership in this year, but also activating the Venus square, alongside with the significations of the 7th house.

And so on. There are much more deeper things to investigate in this revolution, but we are going step by step here, and this article get longer then I expected so I must stop here and leave the other indications for the future article.

One more thing I want to point out here is the calculation of the twelfth parts. You will take the degree and minutes of the actual planet or point in the chart and you will multiply it with 12. Then, you will start to count that distance from the beginning of the sign where the particular planet or point stands.

I only gave a shallow judgments on the particular revolution, in order to show the application of the techniques. From this one can see how complicated is the judgment of a particular prediction, even in post factum explanations; one need to take many significations into consideration and not only to pronounce things based on intuition or quick judgments. Prediction requires rational astrological thinking and application of certain tools and techniques based on years and years experience from the elders.

Till the next time: practice, practice and practice.


Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra – The Book of Nativities and Revolutions, translated and annotated from Hebrew manuscripts by Meira B. Epstein, edited with additional annotations from the Latin Translation by Robert Hand.

Abu Ma’shar – On Solar Revolutions, translated and edited by Benjamin N. Dykes, PhD, the Cazimi Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota 2010

Delineating Solar Revolutions in style of Abu Ma’shar (part 1)

This is not an easy task which can be comprehended in one post only, but I will try to be as much as concise I can be to explain the approach of Abu Ma’shar, as I see it and understand it from reading and studying his work “On The Revolutions Of The Years Of Nativities” as translated by Benjamin N. Dykes, PhD in his series of Persian Nativities. I strongly urge you to have this work. At the moment Ben offers an off sale till 25 of November:

Vettius Valens and Abu Ma’shar are certainly my two favorite astrologers. I love all of them, I enjoy reading and studying Schoener, Montulmo, Morin and etc., they are all great; but these two are special and it seems that there is something in their techniques which is so powerful.

I will not give general outline of his approach here, because all that you have in the introduction of this work given by Ben Dykes. But you have also extracts from this on Skyscript:

I will try to apply the practical side in this post, and how I use the revolutions in my own practice as astrologer.

First thing I want to mention here is that Revolution is the same as Return. So a Solar Revolution means nothing else but a Solar Return. I will use the Revolution word here.

This is a sample nativity which I will use in my delineations:

Left click on the image for wider resolution, or right mouse click to open it in a new tab.


First thing I do in approaching delineation, is to see in which Ptolemaic Age the person is.
He is in his late 20’s so under Sun’s rulership of Ages.

Just a general note.
Moon rules the first 4 years of life, because she represents nurturing and body. The baby needs the care and help from his mother.
Mercury rules next ten years (4 – 14), because in these years the baby develops his ratio, he learns about the world.
Venus rules next 8 years (14-22) because in these years the boy becomes adolescent and the first passions awakes in him, his basic appetites for sexual intercourse.
Sun rules the next 19 years (22-41), this is the period of success. Here man tries to achieve something in this world, to be recognized for something, to develop stability through work and etc.
Mars rules next 15 years (41-56), this is according to Abu Ma’shar “beginning of stable age“. In this age men fight out in the world, and they are filled with worries and all the pleasures and delights are behind. This is the period of the “middle crisis”, as it is popular to say it today.
Jupiter rules the next 12 years (56-68). This is an old age. Often here the worries stop, men use their privileges, and all the fruits of their past labors and work. This is the period where men are often said to be wise.
Last rules Saturn (from 68 till death) and this is a period of afflictions where the body starts to be weakened and where all the hope is vanished. This is the declining age.

OK. So we know that the person in question (the sample nativity) is in the age of the Sun!
So what we will do next is to examine the Solar Revolution for the year when the Sun took the rulership of Ages!

Sun starts the rulership of Ages in the 22nd year (this would be the 23rd, but because of the zero factor, we say the 22). So, if a person is born 1976, you will look at the Revolution for 1998.

This is the chart of the revolution for the year when Sun took the rulership by Ages:

What I need to stress before going into details, that the birth chart is the beginning of all, it is the prime and final reference, you always compare everything with the birth chart! Abu Ma’shar calls it “beginning” and he always compares all the other derivative charts or tools with the birth chart. Abu Ma’shar stresses this out when he says that we must know what the chart brings, because you can’t predict kingship for someone who is of no noble potential, or high social status for someone who is a slave and whose chart promises slavery. If you find a great revolution for such person, a revolution which promises a lot, you will announce that the slave would achieve recognition from the high officials, or would be liberated, or will receive gifts, something of that sort.. You can’t predict something through the revolution which is not promised in the natal chart, remember this. If the same configuration in the revolution, have had some highly born nativity, then you will predict much greater things for that nativity. So, you must always look at the revolutions from the standpoint of the nativity. This is of greatest importance.

So, before looking at the state of the Sun in the revolution, we will look at his state in the birth chart and what is promised through the Sun in the Beginning!

We will notice that the Sun is in 7th in detriment, ruling the 2nd and 10th by exaltation, has a close applying square with Mars and wider with Saturn. Saturn receives him and is in wider orbs, but Mars is really problematic here. No reception, and close applicative square. What this Sun promises in this birth chart?

First, by local determination, Sun promises famous co-workers (business partnerships) and open enemies. The other people (7th) with whom this person dwells are famous and people who are completely dedicated to their career and receiving honors (Sun naturally signifies this). They also have problems in their careers because Sun receives square from Mars in the 10th from 7th! So, this square is describable for their career and social life too! This is the usage of derivative houses. Their careers are filled with conflicts, fights and struggles. This is very true.

Further, Sun rules native’s 2nd and in 7th describes that this person will earn money (2nd) through business partnerships (7th). So, these famous people who are dedicated on their career, should bring money through partnership collaboration to the native.But because Sun is in detriment, the situation promises much more and brings less then the expected and what was hoped for. The square with Mars also shows struggles between the native and this famous co-workers because Mars rules 10th of native’s actions, so his actions can be source of the troubles with these people. But also, Mars is in 10th from 7th, and this can show that their actions are harsh too (because of Mars!).

So, we can see that delineating the chart in this way, we have a pretty good understanding of what Sun promises in the birth chart, and this Agenda will be activated in the Age when Sun takes the rulership, but also the Agenda which Sun brings with it in the Revolution when it took the rulership by Ages, i.e. in 22 year!

Let’s now look at the second chart, that is the chart of the revolution for the 22nd year.

We are delineating that chart in the similar manner as the natal chart. We can see that Sun is in 3rd by division 4th by whole signs (always examine the divisions with the whole sign approach!).
We can see that Sun also makes square (though much wider this time) with Mars with the roles interchanged though, Mars is in 7th and Sun in 3/4th.

It is of great importance when some natal configuration is repeated in the revolution. So, we can see that the conflicts with the co-workers are again explained here, but also it is added the 3rd house into it, so the problems and conflicts will be due to lack of communication or exchange of ideas.

Sun is in detriment, Mars is in detriment, so this makes the configuration even more nasty.
Mars rules the 1st and 6th and Sun the 10th, so we can see again the career and native’s actions involved. Saturn from Leo just 2 degrees away from MC, is sending opposition to the Sun in 3rd, and this should be mutual reception but how positive this mutual reception can be through the opposition?!

Let’s see what Abu Ma’shar has to say about this Age:

But Sun disposes the fourth age through 19 years according to his lesser period, for his circle is set over the circle of Venus (whom he is next to): for then we see a man value exaltation and glory and pass over to a better disposition, and from games to worries, and to suppress venereal pleasures, and just in the way that he is a middle between the superior and inferior planets, in a like way this age is the middle between old age and childlike one, and its end of the youthful age.
(Abu Ma’shar – On The Revolutions of the Years of Nativities, Dykes trans., p.63)

So, we can see that this is an age where man dedicates himself to his success (exaltation and glory), and this is why he suppress his venereal desires in greater aim to achieve recognition, to succeed in something.

Going back to the revolution chart with this in mind, we can notice that with all the opposition and squares from the malefics to the Sun, there will be struggles, conflicts and hardship in achieving this general agenda. The native will try to achieve it through communication and sharing ideas (3rd), his home environment will be very important (4rd sign), and through partnership but also open enemies who will try to suppress him through open oppositions and conflicts (Mars in 7th).
This is the specific agenda which the Sun brings with this revolution up to the next 19 years.
The square with Mars will be activated (more intensively) later in these 19 years, because the application from the Sun is through wider orbs.

Till now, we have pretty good idea of what to expect in those 19 years. Now, every single revolution in those 19 years, should be looked through the prism of this agenda of the Sun. The Sun will be important in every revolution, and its specific environment in those revolutions, will have the undertone of the revolution we looked above when the Sun took the Ages disposition.

There is much more to look at this chart of the Sun’s Ages disposition, but for now let this be enough as introduction in to the techniques and the way of approaching them.

We will now look at particular revolutions.

This is the revolution of his 28 year of life.

The first thing we need to look here is the sign of the annual profection and its lord.
Go back to the birth chart and count 5 signs from the ascendant (because 24th year is the first sign, 25 the second, 26 the third, 27 the fourth, 28 the fifth). So the annual profections are at Scorpio and Mars becomes Lord of the Year!

Following Valens and Abu Ma’shar, the announcing of the rulership would be like this:
If there is a planet in the sign, no matter if it is ruler or not, that planet would take the rulership and will be the Lord of the Year. If there is no planet in the sign, but some planet made an ingress in the revolution in that same sign, you will take that planet to represents the Lordship of the Year. If there is no planet in the nativity, nor in revolution, then you will take the ruler of the sign to represent the Lord of the Year!

In the case when there are two planets in the sign, I dispose the year up to two halves, each planet ruling the half of a year.

Lord of the Year (LOY) is describing you in the year above all other things which may represents. This is how Abu Ma’shar uses it. For example, we can see that in our example Mars is LOY, and he will give great deal of explanations of the native’s behavior and events which will encounter in the year. I will explain this more practically bellow.

What you will do when you make a revolution chart is you will look at it as a separate chart. You will notice this things:

– Particular Degrees of the Planets! You will notice in which kind of degrees the planet falls, whether they are light, bright or deep and dark, whether they are fortunate or unfortunate. For this, you have handy table in Deborah Houlding’s site:

– You will look at the zodiacal state of the planets. Whether they are in their domiciles and exaltations or in their falls and detriments. Whether they are in friendly signs or unfriendly signs to them. Signs that share intrinsic similarities with them or signs contrary to their intrinsic nature. For example, the heat and dryness of Mars is tempered in Capricorn, while in Cancer Mars is really nasty because there does not share any intrinsic similarity with the sign (cancer being wet and cold). Saturn in Aries is in its fall, but he shares the dryness with Aries, so it is not as nasty as Mars in Cancer. All this will become important in the practical delineation of the chart.

– You will notice whether the planet is direct or retrograde.

– You will notice whether the planet is under the Sun’s Rays, or combust. When it is combust or hidden in the rays, always shows hidden things, thievery, fires and etc., everything analogous to the non-visibility of the planet.

– You will notice the aspects that the planets receive, especially the LOY and those activated, like the Sun through ages in our example. The repetition of natal configuration in the revolution is of great importance. Bad aspects tends to bring troubles, but also the good aspects (trine, sextile) from a bad disposed benefic, up to malefic in bad condition will introduce the problems to the malefic one! Remember this, it is of great practical value!

– Notice the particular Lots and Dodecatemorias (twelfth – parts)!
Abu Ma’shar advises us to calculate Lots and twelfth-parts for every separate revolution, and not twelfth parts for the planets only, but for the house divisions too!
In our example chart, we can see that the Revolution ascendant falls in Taurus and exactly on the natal Part of Mother. In the year the Mother of this native, came to live with him for a while!
You can see how important examination of the Lots is!
Take particular note of the lots and twelfth parts which falls in the sign of the annual profections.

– You will notice where the profection sign falls in the Revolution. In our example, Scorpio falls in the 7th sign of the Revolution. This tells us that the partnerships and open enemies will be on the agenda of the year.

– You will notice where the Revolution Ascendant falls from the sign of profection. In our case it is the same 7th sign.

– You will note the sect of the planet. If the sect is repeated as the same in the natal chart, the significations are more strong, if not, then with less intensity, i.e. moderate.

– Note the orientality and occidentality of the planets, especially the LOY.
Superiors are more strong when Oriental up to the first station.

You will have all these things in mind when delineating a revolution.

Let’s examine the particular revolution from above.
LOY is Mars and in the nativity this Mars is in 4th division, and in 5th sign ruling the 5th. Also rules the 10th and 7th by exaltation. It makes, as we said, square to the Sun in 7th and conjunction to Saturn as ruler of 7th. Sun rules the natal 2nd and is Ages ruler.

We have all this in mind and we continue.

In the revolution we find Mars in 5th ruling the 7th.
Mars does not make aspect with the Sun, so the natal promise of square between them will be less activated. The important note is that IT WILL be activated, but with moderate intensity. If the Sun and Mars were in square relationship again in this revolution, the alarm would have been highly on, it would have been more troublesome year because Mars is contrary to the sect in both years!

What is repeated from the natal figure?
I would notice the beneficial aspect from Mercury. In the nativity it is sextile and here a trine!
The aspect between Mercury and Mars signifies Learning and application of the rational qualities.
Remember that the Pars Rationis was calculated between Mars and Mercury. Mars gives hotness and quickness to the thought and ratio. Mars and Mercury are in perfect mutual reception (Mercury applies toward Mars). This signifies that in this year, the native will be dedicated to deep studies, learning and exercising his rational qualities. The 9/10th and 5th are activated! Mercury is just few degrees away from MC, rules the 5th, Mars is in 5th rules the 9th by exaltation but also the MC!

Religious, astrological, philosophical studies are accentuated here. Help from friends in achieving this (5th represents friends among other things). Furthermore, Mars is on the fixed star Alkes which is of the type of Mercury!

The help from friends is promised through the position of Venus as Lord of Annual Ascendant in the 11th in her exaltation, and in the nativity she falls in 9th: friends will assist in achieving religious, philosophical or astrological knowledge. Association with groups are promised too, but also quarrels and opposition through the aspect of Mars and Venus!

Mars represents brothers. Mars out of sect in the two times, promises difficult year for the brother. And it was indeed.

Mars in human sign (Virgo) gives testimony that the hardships he represents (remember his state in natal) will come from people: fights, quarrels, arguments, attacks through speaking and etc.
If the planet which promises problems is in animal sign, the attacks from animals would have been accentuated or some other symbolism.

Let this be enough as a general introduction into the approaching of analyzing the revolutions.
I haven’t said it all. I haven’t talked about the use of the Novenarias, Distributions through terms, Directions and use of Firdaria rulers and their state in the Revolution chart. I will leave this for my next article.

Persian Nativities III: Abu Ma’shar’s On the Revolution of the Years of Nativities, translated and edited by Benjamin N. Dykes, PhD, The Cazimi Press Minneapolis, Minnesota 2010)

Special thanks to Steven Birchfield for sharing all his wonderful knowledge through out different astrological internet groups, where from I picked up theoretical and practical knowledge for approaching the revolutions in the way I’m doing it. All supposed errors in this article are mine.

The quote from Al-Biruni testifying about the connection between Valens and Abu Ma’shar

In my last article about the life and work of Abu Ma’shar I said that Al-Biruni in his book “On Transits” testifies about the connection between Valens and Abu Ma’shar but I didn’t had the quote in hand to point out the needed reference in the particular book by Al-Biruni.

Here’s the quote:

And when Abu Ma’shār transferred to the Great Introduction the elements (of astrology) from al-Bizīdhaj (The Anthology), he mentioned that the Persians called the first type which is equipollent (lit. corresponding in strength) potent, and the type which is corresponding in ascension he called corresponding in course, and he left the third type as it is. And when Abū Muḫammad al-Saifī has mentioned it and called the first type equipollent and he called it also corresponding in course. And he judged Abu Ma’shār (adversely) for calling the second type the ones corresponding in course, and he ascribed it to ignorance of the heavens. And in spite of his (Abu Ma’shār’s) telling the truth, he (Abū Muḫammad) still degrades Abu Ma’shār, and he does not give him his due esteem. For after all Abu Ma’shār does not deserve all this attribution of ignorance, even though he erred in his nomenclature here and followed partially the author of al-Bizīdhaj. (Valens)

5:10-19 p6. Al-Bīrūnī on Transits – A study of an Arabic Treatise entitled Tamhīd al-mustaqarr li-taḫqīq ma´nā al-mamar 
By Abū l-Rayḫān al-Bīrūnī
Translated by Mohammad Saffouri & Adnan Ifram
With commentary by Edward S. Kennedy, Institute for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science, At the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Islamic Mathematics and Astronomy Volume 33 ©1998

Many thanks to Steven Birchfield for pointing me out the quote.

Life and Work of Abu Ma’shar

The Persian astrologer Abu Ma’shar  (787-886 AD) had a profound effect on Western astrology and the modern-day student of the Western Predictive Tradition will be well rewarded by close study of his works and their influence.1

With these words Robert Zoller begins his treatise dedicated on the life and work of the wonderful astrologer by name Abu Ma’shar.

In my study of traditional astrology so far, there are few astrologers who were able to take my attention for a closer study and Abu Ma’shar is one of them. His astrology is very insightful, concrete and rational. Once you try to incorporate it in your astrological practice tools, it is hard to forget about it, jut because it is so natural and fluent.

This will be the first of the series I’m planning to write on Abu Ma’shar’s approach to astrology.
In this article I will try to give a broader scope of his life and works, his influences and influences on him, and in the later series I will give practical examples of his delineation style and approach.

His Life

The full name of Abu Ma’shar is Abu Ma’shar Ja’far ben Muhammad al-Balkhi, was born 10th of august in year 787 in town Balkh, an ancient city on the territory of today’s Afghanistan. Today it is a small city in the province of Bakhl, which is one of the 34 provinces in Afghanistan. But once it was a great city in the then famous Khorasan. Marco Polo says that Balkh was “noble and great city”. Khorasan was a name of territories during the caliphate in 750 AD. It was part of Persia, and bordered with Hind (Sind, which was culturally connected mostly to India [Hindustan]) on north-east. Hence the influence in Abu Ma’shar’s mundane (and natal) works from the Hindu’s Siddhantas in which the entire system of Hindu’s chronology was preserved. Abu Ma’shar used this chronology in his mundane calculations,  but I will speak more on this in the future series.


Abu Ma’shar entered into the world of Astrology in his late years (around 47). He was at first criticizer of the subject but his teacher – the great polymath Al Kindi –  told him that a wise man should not criticize any subject before studying it.
It was this decisive moment when Abu Ma’shar decided to study Astrology and become his life since.

One of his students wrote about his master depicts him as an “omniscient wise men”.

There is an interesting anecdote written in the medieval treatise “Albumasar in Sadan”:

“Abu Ma’shar said that when a native’s 2nd house is impeded at birth and its ruler also unfortunate, the native never prospers. When asked why he never mentioned this in his writings, he said: “The sage who writes down all he knows is like an empty vessel. Nobody needs him and his reputation declines. He should keep some secrets to himself and communicate them only to his closest friends.”2

Abu Ma’shar died on 9 March 886 in Wasit, Iraq.


Abu Mashar’s works

  1. The Greater Introduction to Astrology (as I’m aware, no full translation of this work is made in English)
  2. The Flores Astrologicae (translated in English by Benjamin Dykes)
  3. On the Great Conjunctions and on the revolutions of the world (translated in English by Keiji Yamamoto and Charles Burnett)
  4. On the Revolutions of Nativities (translated in English by Benjamin Dykes as the third of the  series of Persian Nativities).
  5. Thousands (translated in English by David Pingree)
  6. The Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology (there exist two translations, one made by Burnett,Yamamoto and Yano, and the newer made by Benjamin Dykes compiled together with Al-Qabisi)

Abu Ma’shar’s works served for a greater part of the Guido Bonatti’s monumental work Liber Astronomiae. He often quotes him using his Latinized name Albumasar.

In 1489 at Augsburg, Erhard Ratdolt published three of his works, the Greater Introduction to Astronomy in eight books, the Flowers and 8 books concerning great conjunctions and revolutions of the years.
John of Spain and Hermann of Dalmatia translated the Introduction and the French translation of Hagins the Jew made in 1273 (from which Peter of Abano translate portions for his compilation): “Le livre des revolutions desiecle”.

Another work cited by Peter of Abano and other medieval authors is “Albumasar in Sadan”, also called “Excerpts from the Secrets of Albumasar”. The famous orientalist and biographer Moritz Steinschneider is of opinion that the Latin translation of this work is a shortened or incomplete version of an Arabic original entitled al-Mudsakaret, or Memorabilia by Abu Sa’id Schadsan (corrupted into ‘Sadan’) who wrote down the answers of his teacher to his question. (Lynn Thorndike p.651).

There is also a work called Mysteries, in Greek “Musteria”, also preserved in Byzantine versions of Shadhan’s Mudhakarat and of Abu Ma’shar’s Kitab al-madkhai al-kabir.
Giuseppe Bezza has Italian translation of fragments of this work preserved in the Angelicus Graecus 29. The translation into English by Daria Dudziak can be found here:


(Albumazar: woodcut from his ‘Introductorium in Astronomiam’, Venice, 1506.)

Indian influence on Abu Ma’shar

The Art historian Aby Warbug gave a lecture dating in year 1922 on a congress in Rome on the study he had made on the eerie frescoes in the Palazzo Schifanoja of Ferrare.
In that lecture he claims that the key to ‘read’ these images is astrology!

Abu Ma’shar was mentioned in this work of Amy Warburg as a “principle authority of medieval astrology”, whose work “Introductorium majus” (The Great Introduction) served to the compilation of Peter of Abano by name “Astrolabium magnum”.
In the lecture Amy Warburg is tracing the chronology of migration of the Sphaera Barbarica, and states that it was Abu Ma’shar’s work which is deserving praises for surviving of the decanic images which later on served to the mentioned compilation of Peter of Abano.

Amy suggests that the Sphaera was traveling from Asia Minor by way of Egypt to India, and found its way to Persia through the work of Abu Ma’shar (Great introduction).
This text was then translated by a Spanish Jew by name Ibn Ezra (supposedly John of Spain?). Then, his translation was translated into French by a person named Hagins, a Jewish Scholar, and Amy suggests that this French translation served as a basis for the Latin translation made by Peter of Abano in 1293.

In investigating the source of the decanic images, Amy is of opinion that Abu Ma’shar had an ‘unacknowledged’ Hindu source. This is the sixth century Indian author by name Varahamihira “whose Brihat jataka was Abu Ma’shar’s unacknowledged source”:

“The first Drekkana of sign Aries is a man with a white cloth tied around his loins, black, facing a person as if able to protect him, of a fearful appearance and of red eyes and holding an ax in his hand. This Drekkana is of the shape of a man and is armed. Mars (Bhauma) is its llord”.

Abu Ma’shar (Boll, Sphaera 497) writes:

“ The Indians say that in this decan a black man arises with red eyes, a man of powerful stature, courage, and greatness of mind; he wears a voluminous white garment, tied around his midriff with a cord; he is wrathful, stands erect, guards, and observes”.
(German Essays on Art History, Amy Warburg: Italian Art and International Astrology in the Palazzo Schifanoia Ferrara, Continuum International Publishing Group, Jun 1, 1988 edited by Gert Schiff p.242)


(Decans of Aries from Astrolabium Magnum)

Lynn Thorndike in his “A history of magic and experimental science” says that although he was the most celebrated astrologer of 9th century Bagdad astrologers, he was also accused for plagiarism (p.649).
Some things never change?!

David Pingree, in his article published in Viator Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Volume 1, by name “The Indean and Pseudo-Indian Passages in Greek and Latin Astronomical and Astrological texts” compares texts in Abu Ma’shar’s “On Solar Revolutions” in the section dedicated to the Novenaria with that of the Hindu “Navamsas” as explained in III.9 of this book. I here refer to the translation by Benjamin Dykes in his series of Persian Nativities, but Pingree discusses the Arabian original by name “Kitab ahkam tahawil sini al-mawalid”.
Abu Ma’shar in that particular chapter tells us that in determining the ruler of the year, the Indian astrologers used the lord of the first navamsa in the sign in which the revolution of the years of the nativity has reached.

Pingree says: “Abu Ma’shar frequently in his other works in Arabic refers to Indian theories of one sort or another, but little of this material was translated into either Greek or Latin”. (p.173)

Pingree argues that Abu Ma’shar was one of the most important transmitters of a knowledge of Indian astrology among the Arabs. His pupil Shadhan says that his teacher had some direct contact with India.

Abu Ma’shar was highly influential in the years to come after his death.
He influenced as we said, Bonatti’s monumental work Liber Astronomiae, but he also influenced Morin even though Morin was probably not aware of the fact that he is reading and quoting an Arabian astrologer.
In quoting him in his Astrologia Gallica nr.23 dedicated to the Solar Revolutions, Morin thinks that he quotes some person by name (or pseudo-name) “Hermes the Philosopher”. At this moment I’m not sure whether Morin knew who the author was but decided not to quote the name due to his despise of Arabs (political reasons), or he truly didn’t knew about the fact that he is quoting the famous Abu Ma’shar.
Morin’s delineation style of the Solar Revolutions depends a lot on this treatise of Abu Mashar.
We saw also how Abu Ma’shar’s works was important for the persevering the ancient decanic images, which he probably took from Indians through some corrupted version of the original Greek or Babylonian sources. He has tremendous importance for the preservation of the knowledge of mundane astrology practiced in Perso-Arabian times, and has great value for us today.
It is important to note though that Abu Ma’shar preserved the ancient tradition of Hellenistic Astrology migrated through the Sassanian sources. Abu Ma’shar got his basics in astrology from Valens:

And when Abu Ma’shār transferred to the Great Introduction the elements (of astrology) from al-Bizīdhaj (The Anthology), he mentioned that the Persians called the first type which is equipollent (lit. corresponding in strength) potent, and the type which is corresponding in ascension he called corresponding in course, and he left the third type as it is. And when Abū Muḫammad al-Saifī has mentioned it and called the first type equipollent and he called it also corresponding in course. And he judged Abu Ma’shār (adversely) for calling the second type the ones corresponding in course, and he ascribed it to ignorance of the heavens. And in spite of his (Abu Ma’shār’s) telling the truth, he (Abū Muḫammad) still degrades Abu Ma’shār, and he does not give him his due esteem. For after all Abu Ma’shār does not deserve all this attribution of ignorance, even though he erred in his nomenclature here and followed partially the author of al-Bizīdhaj. (Valens)

This is documented in Al Biruni’s On Transits; but this can be observed as correct by knowing the similar approach to certain techniques Abu Ma’shar had with that of Valens. For example, taking into consideration the planet present into the sign in which the annual profections (or Solar Return Ascendant) came as a Lord of the Year, instead of the Ruler of the Sign. There exist other similarities of which I will talk in the next series dedicated on Abu Ma’shar.
If we trace this thread of influences, we can draw an interesting line between Valens, Abu Ma’shar and Morinus, who even though didn’t incorporated the “non-natural” segments of the astrological tools (such as the lots for example, which are numerical fractions and not real astronomical phenomena) into his Astrology, it is obvious that the approach in delineating is very similar.
I hope I was able to spark your curiosity for this very important astrologer, and your impatience to read some of my further articles on this subjects 🙂

1.Robert Zoller – Abu Ma’shar: Prince of Astrologers, p.4.
2.Thanks to Steven E. Birchfield for pointing me out this and the quote from Al-Biruni [later in the text].


– Robert Zoller – Abu Ma’shar: Prince of Astrologers (A New Library Publication, electronic edition 2002)
– German Essays on Art History, Amy Warburg: Italian Art and International Astrology in the Palazzo Schifanoia FerraraContinuum International Publishing Group, Jun 1, 1988 edited by Gert Schiff.
– Lynn Thorndike – “A history of magic and experimental science”. (Volume II, Columbia University Press,1923).
– David Pingree – “The Indean and Pseudo-Indian Passages in Greek and Latin Astronomical and Astrological texts”, published in Viator Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Volume 1.
– Abu Mashar – “On Solar Revolutions”, translated by Benjamin N. Dykes PhD, Persian Nativities III (The Cazimi Press 2010)
– Al-Bīrūnī on Transits – A study of an Arabic Treatise entitled Tamhīd al-mustaqarr li-taḫqīq ma´nā al-mamar (5:10-19 p6.), By Abū l-Rayḫān al-Bīrūnī Translated by Mohammad Saffouri & Adnan Ifram With commentary by Edward S. Kennedy, Institute for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science, At the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Islamic Mathematics and Astronomy Volume 33 ©1998

© Beyond The Heaven, Oct. 2012