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What are the Primary Directions? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 25 April 2007

In the authentic primary directions, we note the natal position of a point as relative to the birth horizon and meridian. Then we observe how much time is required for this point, carried with the motion of the celestial sphere, to reach a new position. This second position of the point has to satisfy certain conditions depending on the kind of direction we calculate.


A major division of the primaries is that of MUNDO and ZODIACAL directions.

The mundo are calculated with the bodies of the planets or their mundo aspects. The mundo aspects are points on the diurnal path of the planet that are a certain number of house-distance away from the planet.

The zodiacal directions are being calculated with the zodiacal aspects of the planets.

The mundo directions are much stronger.

If we compute mundo directions of planets to the horizon and the meridian, then we have to see how many minutes and seconds after the birth the planets in question will rise, set, culminate or reach lower culmination.

If we calculate interplanetary mundo conjunction between two planets, such as for Jupiter and the Sun, we need to compute how much time after birth one of the planets, let it be Jupiter, will be carried to the same proportional position relative to the meridian and the horizon which the Sun occupied at the birth moment.

In this respect, the primary directions are real and observable. They correspond to real astronomical phenomena. Venus in culmination on a clear night can be a spectacular thing to see. Logically, employing primaries, we can expect clear and spectacular results.

Historically, there have been two major traditions of primary directioning: the Placidian and the Regiomontanian.

Lately, there have been attempts to formulate primary directions in other house systems such as Campanian, Horizontal, Meridian, Koch, Topocentric, etc.

The Campanian system is identical with the Regiomontanian except for the mundo aspectual directions other than conjunctions and oppositions and never has had practitioners.

From the rest, only the Topocentric system of directioning has presently an observable following. However, after close scrutiny, the Topocentric system of primaries turns out to be practically the same as the zodiacal Placidian Under the Pole directions. And formulating a mundo position in this system runs in unsurmountable obstacles.

Primary directions in the Horizontal or the Meridian house system are not possible as far as the fact that in these house systems, the mundo (house) position of the planets does not really depend on the place of the planet relatively to the meridian and the horizon.

Similarly, in the Koch system, the definition of mundo position leads to very serious incongruities, should we try to direct.

What is left to deserve the label Primary are the Placidian, the Regiomontanian, the Campanian and, after some proviso, maybe the Topocentric directions.

Since the primary directions are due to the apparent rotation of the celestial sphere and seek for the proportional positions of the planets as related to the birth horizon and meridian, all claims on the title primary directions by a technique which does not take these two considerations into account, have to be brushed aside as invalid.

To assess the authentic primary directions or any other Astrological technique, we have to consider their theoretical basis, visual logic and practical efficiency.




As early as the first century A.D., Dorotheus of Sidon describes the primary directions in the third book of his "Carmen Astrologicum". He gives detailed examples for the calculation and interpretation of primary zodiacal directions to the ascendant.

One century later, in Book III Chapters XIV-XV of "Tetrabiblos", Ptolemy describes the primary mundo directions to the angles as well as the interplanetary conjunctions and mundo parallels. His method of directing now would be called Placidian.

Astrologers who followed this method were Alcabitius, Lucas Gauricus, Placidus, Alan Leo and others.

Regiomontanus (1436-1461) formulates the laws of the spherical trigonometry and invents a house division and a primary directions system that carry his name.

After Regiomontanus a number of astrologers direct according to his system. Among them: Argolus, Maginus (1555-1617), Manginus, Zobulus, Leovitius (1529-1574), Naibod (1527-1593), Morin de VilleFranche (1587-1656), William Lilly (1602-1681), Henry Coley.

Cardanus (1501-1576) was another famous scholar and astrologer of this time. He directed in a different way, which comes close to the method of Ptolemy and Placidus.

The Italian astrologer of the 17th century Placidus de Titti (1603-1668) was the one destined to remain in the history of Astrology as the first astrologer to systemize and clearly explain almost all the kinds of primary directions. Even now, his brilliant treatise "Primum Mobile" remains a classic. He was also the inventor of the house system that carries his name.

Placidus rediscovered the methods of house division and primary directioning of Ptolemy.

The teaching of the primary directions survived well into the middle of our century. First it was the astrological school thriving during the end of the last century in Britain.

Alan Leo employed Placidian primary directions. Sepharial worked more with Placidian under the Pole of the Significator.

Later, in the first half of our century, the tradition found fertile ground in Germany. Such illustrious astrologers as Kuehr, Kuendig, Pracht, Kloeckler, Knappig, Korsch and some others made the second "golden age" of the primary directions.

All of them worked with the Placidian system; either with the Placidian directions proper or with the Placidian Under the Pole.

At present there are only a dozen astrologers scattered all over the world, who still keep the tradition alive. In USA (Guatemala) Jerry Makransky is the authority on all kinds of primary directions. Makransky is a member of the center Zenith.

In Bulgaria it is the center Zenith with director the author of the program Placidus. The center Zenith investigates all kinds of authentic primary directions as well as directions that claim the name. It collects, examines and makes executable in a software all possible books on the subject, preferably from classic authors from the XIV-XVIII centuries, who wrote in English, German or Latin.

At present, the center offers the program Placidus and two books on the Placidian primary directions available in English, Bulgarian and Japanese.

More books on the subject are in the making. The interested may contact the center at:

This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

From the rest of the world there are reports that some astrologers from England, the USA, the Netherlands, Israel, Austria and France also examine the primary directions. However, the world astrological press and the conferences schedules are lacking, so far, with presentations on the topic showing a high degree of competence.



In the primary directions we have two points we are working with: Promissor and Significator.

The Significator stays fixed on the celestial sphere as it was in the birth moment. It can be a planet, a star, a place of an aspect, a circle (the horizon, the meridian...) or a locus of points (the Placidian house boundaries).

The Promissor is another point, most often a planet or a point of zodiacal aspect, that we move with (direct) or against (converse) the rotation of the celestial sphere.

The aim is to bring the Promissor to the same proportional position in regards to the horizon and the meridian (same mundo position) as the one which the Significator had at the birth moment.

Depending on the definition of the mundo position, we may accomplish this through different algorithms.

So far, there are three clear cut definitions of a mundo position: Placidian, Regiomontanian and Campanian. Accordingly we can have three types of primary directions. (We can add the Topocentric after some provisions.)

The directions that are most easy to explain and imagine are the mundo directions of planets to the Angles (ASC, MC, DESC, IC).

Here, we are looking for how much time after or before the birth moment a planet (the Promissor) rises, culminates, sets or reaches lower culmination.



Depending on the system we are directing in, the primaries can be:

1. Placidian

2. Regiomontanian

3. Campanian

4. Topocentric

The old Masters directed either Placidian or Regiomontanian.

In the PLACIDIAN system we can have:

1. Mundo directions.

Here we consider the positions of the bodies of the planets in the houses (NOT the ecliptic). The author considers the mundo directions the most efficient.

2. Zodiacal.

2A. Zodiacal with latitude = 0.

2B. Zodiacal with latitude.

3. Under the Pole.

Here we choose a Significator (a planet), calculate its Pole and draw a new horizon passing through the planet. The Pole of the significator is actually equal to the latitude that this new horizon corresponds to. Then we direct points to this horizon of the significator as we would do in the directions to the Horizon in the radix. The rules to compute the Pole are different in the different systems. However, the Pole of a planet is the same computed Regio or Campanian. Calculated Placidian or Topocentric it is almost the same.

The subdivisions of the directions Under the Pole:

3A. Mundo

3B. Zodiacal

3B1 Zodiacal with latitude = 0.

3B2 Zodiacal with latitude.

In the old times, the astrologers directed all kinds of mundo only in the Placidian system.

In the Regiomontanian and Campanian systems we may have only the 1st and 3rd kind of directions. Only the 3rd one has been practiced.

In the Topocentric one, we are restricted to Under the Pole directions only. We cannot make the mundo directions in this system without running into numerous problems.

In the Regiomontanian one were computed only Under the Pole and from these, only interplanetary conjunctions and oppositions were calculated in mundo.

Zodiacal with latitude means that we impart latitude to the places of the zodiacal aspects of the planets. The most wide spread system to do this in the REGIO directions, has been the system of Bianchinus, also known as the system of Argol or Lucas Gauricus. All of these astrologers and others, such as Henry Coley directed this way.

Placidus directed Zodiacal with latitude, only in his directions under the Pole of the Moon (with the Moon as a Significator). He imparted the same latitude to the promissor (usually a point of aspect) that the Moon would have reached once she arrived at its longitude (in her motion through the zodiac).

Another system of computing the latitudes of the points of the aspects, has been that of Morin de VilleFranche who used Regiomontanian directions.

It is important to know that if we direct Zodiacal with latitude as according to Bianchinus-Argol-Gauric, then the conjunctions and the oppositions will actually be the same as the mundo conjunctions and oppositions.

According to whether we rotate the celestial sphere with its natural rotation or converse, the directions can also be:

1. Direct

2. Converse

The majority of the old astrologers directed only direct.

However, Manginus, Morin and H.Coley raised the question of directing also converse. In the 19th and the 20th centuries, most astrologers started to consider the converse directions.




The mathematics of the primary directions is not so complex as it looks at first glance. The problem is the lack of manuals on the subject which can present the material in an up-to-date, graphical and sci-calculator ready form.

For a person who does not know the primaries, reading Ptolemy or Placidus even in plain English can be a nightmare and a morass of confusion...

With this in mind, the relevant help topics were designed for easy understanding of the meaning of the directions, and the algorithms are presented as for a scientific calculator.


Practical and Theoretical Consideration 


To assess the practical value of the different primary directions or any other predictive technique, we should analyze 3 theoretical and 3 practical parameters pertaining to the technique scrutinized.

The theoretical parameters are:

1. Astronomical Sense

The astronomical sense shows the logic: visual and mathematical, behind the technique. It shows whether the method corresponds to real astronomical phenomena. Pushing the planets with the solar arc or degree per year hardly agrees with any astronomical fact. In contrast, computing the mundo primary direction Jupiter direct to MC means calculating how much time after birth Jupiter will reach culmination or its maximum elevation above the horizon. Similarly, the computation of the Placidian direction Venus mundo direct to conjunction with the Sun, is to find out how many minutes and seconds after birth Venus will be in the same proportional position between the horizon and the meridian as the Sun was at the birth moment.

The astronomical sense is connected with the Efficiency of the technique.

2. Time Sensitivity

The time sensitivity means how much the direction will change its arc and hitdate as a response to a shift in the birthtime with a certain standard number of minutes (in the system of the author, 4 minutes are accepted as a standard).

The time sensitivity can disclose the Exactness of the direction.

3. Frequency

The frequency, in the definition of the author, is the number of directions with all ten planets, direct and converse, and of the directional type examined, that are expected to hit in a standard life span of 100 years. For example, the frequency of the planets mundo to Angles type of direction, is around 12. That of the interplanetary Placidian mundo parallels is around 90.

The frequency can show the Power of the direction type.

The practical considerations are:

1. Efficiency

The efficiency shows by what percentage we can expect an event which agrees with the symbolism of the direction. It usually depends on the astronomical sense underlying the technique. 100% efficiency means events in 100% of the cases.

2. Exactness

The exactness means the time-orb of influence of the direction when the event may happen. It depends on the discs of the planets involved, the time-sensitivity of the direction, the kind of direction and other factors. Usually the greater the time sensitivity, the greater the exactness of the direction. According to the research so far done, the most exact prove to be the Placidian mundo interplanetary parallels.

3. Power

The power shows the magnitude of the event and is connected to the frequency of the direction. Planets mundo to the Angles has a frequency of 12 for a life of 100 years. Mundo parallel with the Sun occurs on the average 10 times in one life-span (100 years). Transits of Venus over the Angles is expected 400 times for a standard life span!

An additional practical parameter may be the Typicality (Consistensy) of the direction type. It speaks about the predictiveness of the event coinciding with a direction. To some extent it is connected with the efficiency of the direction, but not fully. It seems to depend more upon the nature of the planets involved. It is very high for Venus, Saturn or the Moon, moderate for Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and the Sun and low for Neptune, Uranus and Pluto, in this order.

For a detailed discussion of the parameters of the Placidian Primary Directions, you can check the topic Practical Evaluation of the Primary Directions (based on the Placidian directions).


WRITTEN  by  Rumen Kolev   in  1998


Bibliography about Primary Directions 

1.  "Ptolomy's Tetrabiblos", Foulsham 1917
2. "Carmen Astrologicum", Dorothei Sidoni, Leipzig, 1976
3. "De Nativitatum liber praeclarisimus", A. de Montulmo, Nuernberg, 1540
4. "Liber VI, De iudiciis Geniturarum" - Tomus Quintus, Hieronymi Cardani, Lyon, 1663
5. "Tabulae de primo mobili…quibus annactitur tractatus…", Lucae Gaurici, Rome, 1557
6. "Primum Mobile", Placidus de Titis, Calverts Press, London, 1983
7. "Primary Directions - Astrologia Gallica Book 22", Morin, AFA, 1994
8. "Astrologische Kollection", K. Brandler-Pracht, Linser Verlag, Berlin, 1926
9. "Berechnung Der Ereigniszeiten", E. K. Kuhr, Wien, 1951
10. "Astrologische Prognose", H. Kundig, Zuerich, 1955
11. "The Progressed Horoscope", Alan Leo, 1989
12. "Directional Astrology", Sepharial, London, 1921
13. "Complete Method of prediction", R.DeLuce, 1935
14. "Primary Directions Made Easy", Sepharial, Sun Books, 1991
15. "Primary Directions", Jerry Makransky, Dear Brutus Press, Guatemala, 1988
16. "Correspondence Lectures on Primary Directions", Rumen Kolev, Bulgaria, 1996 

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