An Ancient Technique Retrieved for the 21st Century
The pre-natal moon has been used in astrology for birth-hour rectification since a long time ago. Ptolomy (2nd century) introduced this method at the beginning of book three of his seminal work “Tetrabiblos.” Reading Paulus Alexandrinus (4th century), another important astrologer of ancient times, made me suspect that the use of pre-natal astrology was much richer than in rectification alone and I began to search for more information about it. In his book, Paulus Alexandrinus points to certain transits of planets over the pre-natal moon, for example, as a warning of possible crisis ahead.(1) Rather than the pre-natal new moon that Rudhyar and other modern astrologers have taken into account, my work considers that the pre-natal moon is the NEW MOON or FULL MOON before birth, whichever is the lunation which most immediately precedes the birth.
Stumbling Onto an “Archaeological Treasure”
I’m not the “inventor of the wheel.” Rather, I’m doing some kind of archaeological astrology, collecting ideas in ancient texts and, as a metaphor, “assembling puzzles” with them. I had a “Eureka!” moment when an old man asked me to read his astrological chart, but he didn’t know his birth time. I knew that this man’s life had been in danger years ago and he underwent heart surgery. Then, I looked into his pre-natal moon, because Paulus Alexandrinus talked about signs for crisis in life related to certain transits over it. When I calculated the pre- natal moon I was intrigued by the position of the other planets in the chart, for the reason that Mars in Leo was in opposition to Saturn, and Saturn is located in the eighth house, an evident sign of heart crisis and surgery (the eighth house is frequently associated with surgery in astrology).
Mr. Aparecido was a client of mine and he is included here because this was the starting point of my research into pre- natal astrology. His birth data is as follows: October 4, 1934 in Pirassununga- SP Brazil (47W25; 21S59). His pre-natal moon chart (located on the next page) is calculated to the natal city’s coordinates for September 23,1934 at 1:19 AM local time, giving him an ascendant of 07 Cancer 59 and an M.C. of 20 Ar.13. His pre-natal moon is at 29 Pisces 27. On the day of his surgery, August 3, 1999, the transiting sun was at 10 Leo 17, in conjunction with his pre-natal Mars, lord of the fifth house (the house related to the heart). Transiting Mars was in house 5 of the pre-natal chart at 12 Scorpio 22, and transiting Saturn was at 16 Taurus 33, forming a square with the transiting sun and pre-natal Mars while in opposition to transiting Mars. The transiting planets were about to form with Saturn a pattern known in modern astrology as a “grand cross” in the chart in the 8th house of the chart.
Then I decided to look into the secondary progressions of the pre-natal chart (located on page 87), thinking “I wonder if a pre-natal chart could behave like a natal chart?” The pre-natal chart progressions for August 3, 1999 are based on the ephemeris date of November 27, 1934, at 0:58:14 UT.
The ascendant of the progressed pre-natal chart is 20 Virgo 14, and the M.C. is 23 Gemini 12. In this progressed chart, Mars, the lord of the 8th progressed house, and the fifth house of the pre-natal chart, is located in 22 Virgo 33, in conjunction with the progressed pre-natal ascendent. What attracted my attention were two partile (exacts) aspects between progressed planets: Mars is in partile (exact aspect) quincunx (150 degrees) with Saturn, located in the sixth house of this progressed chart.That connection between Mars/Saturn repeats the connection of the pre-natal chart between the same planets. This is a sign in pre- natal astrology (and in other branches of astrology) of important things in life. I called this “the mirror principle, when there is a repetition of aspects in several cross-checked maps.
The quincunx has frequently been associated in modern astrology with health issues. The pre-natal progressed moon was in 10 Leo 23(heart), making a partile square with Jupiter 10 Scorpio 07. The moon is the lord of ascendant in the pre- natal chart, and Jupiter is lord of the sixth house in the same chart. The progressed pre-natal Mars, lord of the eighth house, was afflicting the pre-natal moon by opposition, a very dangerous aspect!
If we calculate the solar return to the pre-natal chart (that is, a solar return chart calculated for the pre-natal sun position), there is another confirmation of danger to health. I calculated the pre-natal solar return for September 22, 1998 at 1:11:02 PM in São Paulo, Brazil (46W38; 23S33), where he lives. The ascendant is 25 Capricorn 10, and the M.C. is 18 Libra 54 with the moon at 21 Libra 01. In the pre-natal solar return, the moon is in quincunx with Jupiter, the same aspect we saw in the progressed chart. Mars is in Leo in the eighth house. The solar return (pre-natal) chart for the next year (1999) showed the moon at 27 Aquarius 22 making a conjunction with pre-natal Saturn, located in house 8 in pre-natal chart.
At the death of his mother on December 26, 1964, the progressed pre-natal chart calculated for October 23, 1934 at 10:31:47 UT shows the progressed M.C. in square with Saturn in a near-exact aspect. Saturn is the lord of the 8th house of pre-natal chart. In applying ancient methods, Mars is lord of the year 98/99 for the pre-natal chart of Mr. Aparecido by profection.
Profection is a technique that was born in ancient Greece and is simple predictive method to calculate. If you attribute to house 1 the first year of life (0 to one year), at the age of 12, 24, 36, 48, 60 and so on, you “are” successively “ruled” by house one. At 13, 25, 37, etc., .you “are” in house two, and so on. The lord of the house is the lord of the year; therefore at 60 Mr. Aparecido was in his year of the ascendant, and at 64 he was in a house 5 year, ruled by Mars. This is the Greek method of profection but there are other methods. For instance, William Lilly (17th century) would give two lords for the 5th house, because both Scorpio and Sagittarius are in house 5 by the Placidus and other more modern houses systems. But the Greeks in ancient times used the “whole sign” system of houses, with zero degrees as the beginning of each house and ending at 30 degrees. In the whole sign system, house 5 of Mr. Aparecido’s pre-natal chart begins at 0 degree of Scorpio and ends at 30 degrees, because it’s the fifth sign after Cancer, the sign of the first house.
Pre-Natal Charts and “Turning Points” in Life
I have been looking in several pre-natal charts patterns that appear in a repeated manner One of these patterns happens when there are planets in angles or ruling angular houses in the pre-natal chart; sometimes when there are returns of these planets some kind of” turning point” occurs in life – especially when these planets are ruler of the year by profection, or by Firdaria. Firdaria is a medieval method of prediction that uses planetary periods that follow a fixed order. That planet is a “ruler” of time during its period, and there is a sub-period ruler too. I will not explain firdaria in detail here, and I advise the reader to read Robert Hand’s excellent paper about it at www.robhand.com/firdar2.htm. Another feature that shows “turning points” are transits of planets to the angular houses of pre-natal chart, specially when these planets are in evidence, by the profection or firdaria method. When the progressed pre-natal chart shows angular planets, there’s a possibility of a turning point too. Look for several of these features happening at the same time – it is a good hint. Also notice, as we saw in the first example of Mr. Aparecido, whether transits, progressions, solar or other planetary returns repeat signs or aspects of the pre-natal chart. If they do, these are important features to note. Again, I’m following a conception of Paulus Alexandrinus, when I speak about angular planets, for the reason that he spoke about the return of planets as a sign of “Crisis”( I would say: crisis or opportunity). I’m expanding this conception, taking into account the angular positions of planets in the pre-natal charts, not only transits; therefore, if Venus is in your pre-natal chart ascendent, and you are having a return of Venus, and Venus is the ruler of the year (by profection or by firdaria you are in a Venus period or sub-period. Also, if Venus is angular in the progressed pre- natal chart, you may have some kind of “turning point” related to Venus in your life. The pre-natal Return Venus chart would give indications too. It’s interesting, because a planet that seems to have less expression in your birth chart may be more important than you thought.
For example, in the birth chart of Ayrton Senna, (on next page) the racing driver and Formula One World Champion, we see the moon in a cadent house (12) in detriment in Capricorn. The sun is cadent too, near the cusp of house 3 and using whole sign houses system is in house 3, cadent. He was born on March 21, 1960 at 2:35 AM in São Paulo-SP, Brazil (46W38; 23S33) according to “Folha de São Paulo,” a newspaper printed in São Paulo quoting his maternity register in the May 2, 1994 edition.
His pre-natal lunation occurred on March 13, 1960 at 5:25 AM in São Paulo. The ascendant is 12 Pisces 15 and the MC is 12 Sagittarius 05 with the pre-natal moon at 22 Virgo 46.
In the pre-natal chart, the fame, success and realization of Ayrton Senna are more evident: he had sun, moon, Jupiter and Mercury in angular houses; sun in the ascendant may be a sign of prestige or honor. Mercury has more dignity than in the birth chart for being angular and in his proper terms.* Mercury is combust, but it seems that combust planets don’t have the same bad signification in pre-natal astrology and the conjunction sun- Mercury is good to several modern astrologers (in Vedic astrology too, Mercury-sun is a “budha aditya yoga,” a planetary combination that gives intelligence, good reputation, respect).
When he won his first world championship in 1988, Senna was 28 years old. In firdaria he was in the beginning of his Jupiter-moon period. Both are angular and in aspect to the sun in house 1. The sun’s dodekatemoria (see explanation below) falls in house 10, a good sign of honor, bringing luck to him. According to Shoener (1477-1547), when the solar or lunar dodekatemoria falls in house 10 the effect is similar to having the sun or moon located in house 10.(2) Jupiter, the lord of the period, is in the house 10 of pre-natal chart, and was transiting in Gemini, aspecting house 10 when he won the prize in October 30, 1988. Jupiter is lord of ascendant and house 10 of the pre- natal chart. Saturn was in transit to house 10 of the pre-natal chart, and transiting Mars was in the ascendant, in conjunction to the sun. Finally, three planets in transit in “pivotal” houses is another sign of a turning point in pre-natal astrology, according to my research.
His progressed pre-natal chart (located on the previous page) shows moon in house 7, in 9 Libra 45, in separating aspect from the pre-natal progressed M.C. The date of progressions of pre-natal chart is April 10, 1960 at 23:35:13 UT. The moon is lord of the year, by profection. The moon is angular in the pre-natal chart as well as its progressed and solar return charts (calculated for São Paulo). If we use the natal chart, moon is in house 12, in detriment and in conjunction with Saturn, a very different picture. The transits to natal chart are apparently less significant than the pre-natal chart. This is a mystery: why in certain charts, in certain periods of life, pre-natal astrology works so well, almost as well as natal astrology?
Role of Dodekatemoria in Pre-Natal Charts
Dodekatemoria is an important concept that has been forgotten in modern astrology. It’s a “power point” calculated by the multiplication of the degrees and minutes of a planet by 13. It’s similar to harmonic 13 in modern astrology (“nothing new under the sun”). Let me give an example: your sun is in 12 Aries 30. Multiplying degrees and minutes by 13 = 156 degrees and 390 minutes, we get 162 degrees and 30 minutes. Beginning with 0 degrees of Aries, we need to count 5 whole signs (150 degrees) more (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo) and add 12 degrees and 30 minutes to find the sun’s dodekatemoria. Therefore 12 Virgo 30 is the dodekatemoria of the sun.
I found that when the sun, moon or Jupiter’s dodekatemoria falls on an angle, it has an important role in significant periods in life. According to Paulus Alexandrinus, “The dodekatemoria of benefics contributes much whenever it falls in the Zoidion where the sun, moon, or star of Hermes (Mercury) is, or on one of the four pivots (Angles), the lot of fortune, spirit or even necessity ( Asc+fortuna – Mercury), or on the prenatal conjunction of the Whole Moon.”(3)
I found that when Jupiter’s dodekatemoria is in a good position in thepre-natal charts and the Jupiter period or sub-period arrives by Firdaria, or Jupiter is the lord of the year in the pre- natal chart, the transit of Jupiter in the angles (especially in the sign where Jupiter’s dodekatemoria falls) it corresponds to turning points in life and great success follows it. Jupiter is usually associated with ideals, philosophy, luck, optimism, and abundance in astrology, and, in ancient times, with sects or political parties. As usual, it is necessary to look to all the transits, progressions etc, to confirm this.
I invite you to take a look into a very well-known political leader for the twentieth century: Margaret Thatcher was born on October 13, 1925 at 9:00 AM in Grantham, England (W39; 52N55) according to Reinhold Ebertin, in Meridian Journal, 02/1979. Her pre-natal chart (next page) is calculated for October 2, 1925 at 6:23 AM BST. The ascendant is 00 Libra 21; and the M.C. is 00 Cancer 28, with the pre-natal moon at 8 Aries 29.
The lord of the year by profection is Jupiter (here I’m using the Greek method. Therefore if at the age of 26, the 3rd house rules the year, and the third sign after Libra is Sagittarius, the lord is Jupiter).
She was married in December 13, 1951 in London. The dodekatemoria of Jupiter in the pre-natal chart is 25 Gemini, falling in conjunction with the M.C. It’s interesting that in Vedic astrology, transits of Jupiter and Saturn in aspect to the seventh house or the seventh house lord are reputedly signs of possible marriage (when the dasas or planetary periods point to it and there’s promisse of marriage in natal chart). As we know, the seventh house is related with relationships, marriage and associations. Jupiter and Saturn were active and in transit and have influence over the seventh house. In December 13, Jupiter was conjunct the seventh house cusp and the pre-natal moon. Saturn was in the ascendant in opposition to the moon. Mars had made his return (another sign of a turning point, because he is angular) and was in house 1. In the natal chart, transiting Jupiter makes an aspect to Venus, lord of seventh natal house. Another feature I’ve noticed in pre-natal astrology is a connection in important events linking both the lords of the year by profection, the lord of natal chart and the lord of pre- natal chart. It is possibly additional evidence that this method turns back to ancient Greece because profection is Greek in origin. An evident link between natal and pre-natal charts showed by transits probably was not disregarded by the ancients.
In December 1951, Jupiter, lord of the year of the pre-natal chart, and Saturn, lord of the year of natal chart by profection, are in aspect by transit. Even if we choose to use Mars as lord of the year (because he is lord of the cusp of third house), transiting Mars is conjunct Saturn in transit on the day of marriage.
The secondary progressions of Thatcher’s pre-natal chart(next page) are calculated for December 13, 1951, equivalent to October 28 at 10:04:49 UT. Progressed Venus and Mars are in partile sextile here and are lords of the pre –natal 1st and 7th houses as well as the natal 1st and 7th houses. Therefore if these two houses are linked (house 1 = myself and house 7 = my partner), a marriage occurs!
The solar return pre-natal sun (set for London coordinates) calculated for October 2, 1951 at 1:14:03 PM yields an ascendant at 13 Sagittarius 48, a M.C. at 14 Libra 56 and a moon at 26 Libra 28. Venus at 3 Virgo 9, makes a partile conjunction with the natal M.C., a more accurate aspect than Venus in the solar revolution of the natal chart. Venus is the lord of the seventh in the natal chart. Jupiter, lord of ascendant of the solar pre-natal revolution is in conjunction with the pre- natal moon in house seven of pre-natal chart.
Thatcher was elected Prime Minister on March 28,197. Here, we are in the territory of vocational affairs and therefore look to 10th house connections. The firdaria shows a Venus-Jupiter period. At age 53, the profected ascendant falls in house 6.The lord of the sixth house in the natal chart is Mars; the lord of sixth house in pre-natal chart is Jupiter. On March 28, 1979 Mars was in the sixth house of the pre-natal chart by transit, making a trine with transiting Jupiter in house 10 of the same chart. Transiting Mars was at 22 Pisces and transiting Jupiter was at 29 Cancer 01. Again, the lords of the year by profection are in aspect with each other. On the day of victory, the transiting moon was in Aries, the sign of the pre-natal moon. If we calculate the dodekatemoria of the moon, we see that it falls at 20 Cancer, in house 10. The moon’s dodekatemoria in house 10 is similar to having the proper moon there.
As we saw, pre-natal predictive astrology provides a lot of material to research – the astrology of the 21st century can gain using the ancient approaches. Looking for the future in astrology may have to do with retrieving the roots of our art and formulating new methods from it.
*Terms are essential dignities in traditional astrology, unknown to modern astrology. Every sign is broken into several segments, each one “ruled” by a planet; when a planet is in a segment that it rules, it gains dignity. One of these dignities or divisions is called “terms.”
Charts in this article are calculated with tropical Zodiac, Placidus house system. Pre-natal charts calculated to the birth coordinates.
1 Late Classical Astrology: Paulus Alexandrinus and Olympiodorus, translated by Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum, Arhat, 2001: “Concerning crisis” chapter 34, pages 30-31
2 On the Judgments of Nativities by Joannes Schoener, translated by Robert Hand, Arhat, 2001: “Concerning the honor and dignity of the native” chapter 10, page 157
3 Greenbaum, Tr., op. cit., Chapter 22 concerning dodekatemoria, page 40, third paragraph
Gerson Aron Pelafsky – Biography: Born in July 22, 1965. Since he was an adolescent, Gerson has studied philosophy and symbolic systems in a search for understanding – some losses in his early life gave rise to a questioning about destiny. In his twenties he followed a course in Philosophy at the university, but, dissatisfied with the coldness of the academic environment, he turned away in 1988 and became a student of astrology, I Ching and other alternatives branches of knowledge. Performing meditations developed by Osho Rajneesh, he believes that this pratice activates both cerebral hemispheres in him, leading to a more creative approach in astrology. He lives in São Paulo, Brazil and has been studying Greek, medieval and Vedic astrology; he also has an interest in music, performing instruments and singing in a chorus. He may be reached by mail: R.Oscar Freire, 1221/ap.21, São Paulo –SP, Brazil 01426- 001; by fax: (011) 30 82 74 82; or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org