Hi. I moved this article to my new website. Please read its updated and improved version there. Thank you.
Last month, Ben Dykes published his long awaited full translation of Abu Mashar on the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities aka Persian Nativities IV from the original Arabic. I would like to once again express my heartfelt gratitude for his work and enormous contribution for the revival of Ancient Astrology. Quite simply, the book is a must for anyone who is committed to the continuous and demanding practice of delineation and prediction. It is no surprise it is a required reading for Ben’s upcoming natal course. I recommend Abu Mashar’s Persian Nativities IV to all students of Zagata’s 24 Hour Astrology Rectification Course. My copy is full of notes and I have not yet finished reading the book.
Persian Nativities IV is one of the most demanding astrological textbooks (not just because of its volume), which take a lot of time to reveal their intricacies and nuances. Even though Ben Dykes translated the Latin incomplete version of this book back in 2010, which I also immediately purchased back then, considering how much I have learned and progressed over these past 9 years, I am noticing many more intricacies and important details which I did not before. It is a tremendous feeling connected with the enthusiasm of small, but significant, discoveries which help explain some difficult exceptions and nativities I have dealt with, not just for prediction but calculating the length of life with some of these ancient astrological techniques.
The purpose of this short article is to draw you attention to the approach that Abu Mashar takes in regards to delineation and prediction and how it is very similar to my approach to (24 hour) rectification that I teach. I also want to stress that what he is doing is not Arabic or Persian Astrology, it is also Ancient Astrology, as his sources are ancient, and in fact Robert Schmidt translated parts of this book from Ancient Greek. For example, Abu Mashar quotes the 1st century CE Dorotheus for some of the delineations. The reason this is very important is because Abu Mashar (and his sources) are distinguishing the various types of nativities/horoscopes according to their eminence. This is a fundamental principle (which can be found in other ancient authors) that I have long recognized and codified as such in my practice and Astrology Rectification Course.
In regards to the approach of delineation and prediction, Abu Mashar is adamant that the practitioner must use different types of techniques. One must use both Rulers of the Times techniques (incorrectly called “time lords”) and real time techniques, such as solar revolutions (SR) and their derived monthly charts, ingresses/transits, etc. He also makes use of important concepts such as sect, emphasizes the use of the Lot of Fortune, etc.
All these, plus many more, are not just used in Zagata’ s 24 Hour Astrology Rectification Course, they form a system comprising of various ways to enter a given nativity, of various approaches to delineate it, of various techniques, each with their strengths and weaknesses, and of a hierarchy and sequence in which to apply all these. In fact, my System for birth time rectification is way more clear-cut and hierarchical than what Abu Mashar presents for prediction in Persian Nativities 4. It is also more encompassing and larger in scope because it deals with the whole life of the native. Abu Mashar’s System, on the other hand, while excellent for what it does, is meant above all for annual methods and those that span about 5-12 years. As such, it does not contain crucial information about other very fundamental approaches and techniques which are more encompassing and which better depict the nativity’s underlying nature and totality, and to what extent, if any, they fluctuate over the course of the native’s whole life.
One last important issue which needs to be addressed is that in order to use to the fullest the type of Ancient Astrology presented in Abu Mashar’s Persian Nativities IV, one must know how to do birth time rectification to the minute and closer. This is because Distributions/Directing through the confines is the most time sensitive technique. So is the one about the fixed stars.
Again, Zagata’s 24 Hour Astrology Rectification Course teaches the student how to rectify and use these techniques and many more. While the stated purpose is to rectify to have a workable chart that is within 10-15 minutes, all the charts in my Course are rectified to the minute/or within seconds.
This is where Perso-Arabic Astrology surpasses Hellenistic Astrology, namely in the accuracy required to cast the chart (due to historical reasons such as more correct tables of planetary movement, etc). There are those modern practitioners of Hellenistic Astrology which either refuse to use primary directions and/or to do birth time rectification on charts with AA data. This is a grave a mistake due to either laziness/lack of time or skill on their part. It is not such a big deal to do that with after-the-fact analysis or article (provided the Asc is the correct one), but in some serious cases with real clients it could be the difference between the native in question surviving danger to life versus actual death, due to a change in the Rulers of the Times.