View Single Post
Minderwiz's Avatar
Minderwiz  Minderwiz is offline
Student of Astrology
Join Date: 20 Apr 2002
Location: Wigan, UK
Posts: 7,888

Originally Posted by Larxene View Post
It's been awhile Minderwiz,

Some time ago, you mentioned Martin Gansten's book Primary Directions - Astrology's Old Master Technique. I have been contemplating about purchasing this book for learning how to interpret directions.

However, from what I've seen in Dorotheus, Ptolemy and Valens, the technique that came to be known as Primary Directions was only used by them to forecast the length of life. In your opinion, which author was the first to expand the use of PD to other aspects of life other than the length of life?


The short answer is that I don't know.

It's certainly medieval in terms of its extension to life in general rather than specifically the length of life in particular. I picked up the technique from Lilly and Morin, when I mainly concentrated on a seventeenth century approach.

Lilly actually does give a run down of the technique and where he got it from. His main source was Andrea Argoli,, who he refers to as Argolus. Argoli lived from 1570 to 1657 and so was still alive when Lilly wrote his Christian Astrology Book III. Argoli was part of a movement to decipher what Ptolemy really meant and to construct an accurate version of Ptolemy and to if possible bring it up to date, whilst remaining true to the original (reference his book Primum Mobile).

Lilly goes on to say that before Regiomontanus (Johannes Muller, 1436-1476) produced tables '"Antiquity"' was much perplexed on directing a significator which did not lie on the cusp of a house. So that puts us back to the middle of the fifteenth century.

Lilly does refer directly to Ptolemy's method, or at least the version he has through David Origanus (1558-1628). He does not refer to Bonatti, (1207-1296) and Gansten himself describes Bonatti's treatment of directions as being 'scant'. Gansten really sees no development in the method between Ptolemy and Regiomontanus.

Now that doesn't mean that medieval writers did not make the attempt and Gansten refers to Sahl in his book but not in a direct 'smoking gun' way. He does seem to have been a link in a chain between Ptolemy and through Omar Tiberiades (Umar at-Tabari, c815) Alcabitius, who gives a detailed description of Ptolemy's method and al Biruni describes the method of Ptolemaic directions as 'long and difficult'.

So it appears that no real extension was made in terms of the application of the technique until Regiomontanus developed his tables. The main use therefore falls in the sixteenth and especially the seventeenth centuries.

If you're concentrating on Hellenistic and early Medieval Astrology, I don't think Gansten will help you. If you simply want to know how the method became more widespread and what it looked like at its zenith, then Gansten is good.

Be warned though, Gansten uses a sidereal zodiac and if you want to check his examples you'll find a mathematical challenge. I ended up developing a spreadsheet to cope with it. Of course you can fall back on Morinus, which deals well with PDs (Gansten rates it the best) and is, of course, free'
Top   #37