Sky Asks:

“Could you please tell me about Firdaria and Profections and how to work them out?”

Kevin Answers:


Firdaria and Profections are two different systems of time lords that became popular in the middle ages and medieval astrology. The revival and discovery of classical astrology techniques has brought these techniques back into somewhat specialized use by many classical astrologers, myself included, and although I’m going to answer your question (at least on a rather high-level), let me spare you all the suspense and state up front that I don’t find either of these techniques terribly useful.

Just because a technique was used in classical astrology and has been rediscovered (and even, in the case of Firdaria, incorporated in Astrolabe’s Solar Fire chart calculation program) doesn’t mean that the technique is necessarily useful. Many are, of course (as most of you know, I absolutely swear by the essential dignities); but other techniques fell into disuse for good reason.

What we must understand about classical astrology is that in ancient and medieval times, it wasn’t possible to come up with accurately timed and calculated charts. Up until the late 1500s, there was only one house system: the equal house system. We take it for granted that we can know the Moon’s position down to the second of arc today; in ancient and medieval times, that kind of accuracy was unheard of—in fact, planetary positions were often wrong by degrees, not minutes or seconds.

We must also remember that in those days, astrology was about prediction — and most kings and rulers employed astrologers who were expected to be able to make accurate forecasts about the future of the kingdom, the country, and the royal progeny. Transits weren’t terribly helpful back then because they didn’t have an accurate way of measuring the position of the planets—and the ephemeredes of the time were very inaccurate. They needed to come up with predictive techniques that didn’t rely on accurate timing or planetary positions. What they came up with were Time Lord systems.

Time Lord systems step through the chart planet by planet, giving each planet “rulership” over a period of time in an individual’s life. There are many different time lord systems, each with different rules and time periods; however, they all share the common idea that each planet has a period of greater years and a period of lesser years. The individual’s life is broken up into time periods ruled by a planet or pair of planets, and the quality of life at that time is shown by the nature of the planets involved. A Venus-Jupiter period would indicate great prosperity and joy, while a Mars-Saturn period would be one of hardship, and, considering we’re talking about royalty here, probably a period of war as well.

Firdaria is one of the simplest of the time lord systems, because the only thing you have to determine is whether the chart is diurnal or nocturnal, and you begin with either the Sun or Moon as the ruler of the first major period of life. Each period is divided into 7 sub-periods, ruled in order by the other planets, beginning with the ruler of the major period.

Profections work by stepping the chart forward one sign per year (or per month or per week). As each planet symbolically changes signs, it’s behavior for the coming period is governed by the planet that rules the new sign. There are several ways of calculating profections and of determining on what date each year each planet and point in the chart “hands off” to the next sign.

I have to reiterate here, that while these systems of prediction worked reasonably well in their time, they were only used because at the time, more accurate means of prediction and timing were not possible. You’re going to find far more timely and useful information looking at transits than you will at profections.

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People in this conversation

  • Hellenistic astrologers claim that they are able to get very precise predictive results... Are they relying on profections do you think? Do you think their claims are off-base? Thanks for any response to this...

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  • Kate,

    I don't think you know how big of a can of worms you're asking me to open here. ;)

    I can't speak to a whole category of astrologers, or even to the use of certain tools. There are tools and approaches to predictive astrology that are very practical, and can provide precise, specific information. However, few astrologers understand what predictive astrology actually does and doesn't do, especially when using tools that relate to the natal chart.

    Virtually every claim of how accurate or precise a tool may be is unfounded, and collapses under critical thinking. Predictive astrologers tend to present a chart, event, and example of the technique showing the profection, transit, direction, etc. making some exact contact or other, suggesting this shows how accurate and precise the tool is. What no one ever notices is that the "exact" contact was "exact" for days, weeks, or months before and after the particular event, as well as during the event.

    There's great value in predictive astrology — but not in the way most people think. This is something I explore in the Online Predictive Astrology Class.

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