Cyril Fagan, an Irish astrologer (22 May 1896 – 5 January 1970), wrote extensively on sidereal astrology after discovering that the ancient Babylonian astrologers used a sidereal rather than a tropical zodiac. He is one of the authors of the the Fagan-Bradley Ayanamsha.
In his Primer of Sidereal Astrology Fagan notes the importance of the mean daily motion of the Sun, which is the basis for many methods of progressing a chart. He refers to the “right ascension of the mean Sun” and points out that in the 12 Noon ephemeris set for 12 hours UT, the sidereal time at Noon UT in the Ephemeris increases at a rate of 9.855 seconds per hour. Consequently, Cyril Fagan suggests that for purposes of calculation the so-called “mean Sun” can be treated as if it were a planet traveling at a constant rate of 3 minutes 56.556 seconds per day.
In discussing primary directions, Ptolemy used a rate of one degree of movement of the Equator (one degree of Right Ascension or R.A.) is symbolically equivalent to one year of life. In this formula, one degree of R.A. has a duration of 4 minutes of sidereal time because the entire 360-degree circle corresponds to 24 hours of sidereal time. Fagan discounts the primary directions of Ptolemy as having long ago gone out of fashion and instead favors the method of secondary progressions, which he believes gives “astonishing” results.
As an example chart, Fagan uses the nativity of a woman named Susan Walker, born on 8 October 1949 at 2:33 A.M. GMT (Rodden rating AA) in London (0W09.44, 51N29.33). Here is the sidereal birth chart with Placidus houses.
Fagan goes on to study an important event in the life of this woman. At 10.48 years of age Susan had a serious accident when she was thrown from a pony and rendered unconscious with a likely concussion, from which she fortunately made a full recovery. The pony accident occurred on 27 March 1960 around Noon GMT in Blewbury, Berkshire, England (01W17, 51N35).
In progressing the chart, Fagan notes that there are many methods of advancing the MC including the rate of Ptolemy (one degree of R.A. = one year), the rate of Naibod (0d 59m 8.33s of R.A. = one year of life) and his preferred bija rate in which 3 minutes 55.91 seconds (3.931833 minutes) equals one year of life.
As I understand it, the bija rate adjusts for the difference between sidereal and standard clock time as the Earth makes one complete rotation on its axis. A “solar day” consists of 24 hours of elapsed time on the clock. It differs from a “sidereal day” (measured against the fixed stars, hence “sidereal”) which is the amount of time it takes for one complete rotation of the Earth on its axis, a period of 23 hours 56 minutes 4.09 seconds. Fagan’s idea was that astrologers should equate one complete rotation of the Earth on its axis (a sidereal day) with one 360 degree cycle of the Sun, which is a year or 365.242 days on Earth. Put simply:
One sidereal day = One tropical year of life
Astrologer Edward Johndro back in 1929 noted the discrepancy in secondary progressions between equating one solar day versus one sidereal day with a tropical year. Cyril Fagan in his book on sidereal astrology points out that if we equate a solar day of life with a tropical year, then secondary progressions perfect one day too early for every year of the native’s life.
To calculate the “primary directed” MC at the bija rate we takes the woman’s age at the time of the accident (10.48 years) and multiply it by 3.931833 minutes per year. The result is 41.2056 minutes, which we must add to the birth time to get the time that corresponds to the directed MC. Adding 41.2 minutes to the birth time of 2:33 AM gives us a time of 3:14:13 AM GMT as the birth time for the directed MC at age 10.48 years. The directed MC lies at 12 Taurus 37, and the directed Asc at 18 Leo 13. Neither of these directed angles is particularly close to a perfect aspect, although the directed Asc is near the body of natal Saturn and the directed MC is near the trine of natal Mercury. This emphasis on Saturn and Mercury sets a background tone in which a travel-related accident is possible but does not pinpoint the event very precisely.
If we look at transits at the time of the accident, we see that there was a solar eclipse on the very day of the pony incident at 12 Pisces 27 in her 8th house of death. This solar eclipse opposed her natal Mercury in Virgo in the 2nd and squared her natal Uranus in Gemini in the 11th, thus strongly activating the natal Mercury/Uranus square. The solar eclipse very closely sextiled the directed MC at 12 Taurus 37 from the unfortunate 8th house.
If we look at her primary directions (which Fagan eschewed) calculated by Placidus semi-arc with latitude and a key of true solar equatorial (R.A.) birthday arc, we see the following aspects:
Toward the end of 1959 the square of 12th house Pluto came to the MC, coloring the period of the pony accident (March 1960). Almost exactly on the day of the accident Jupiter (ruler of the 8th of death) came to the square of the Asc-ruler Sun (the body). Less than a month after the accident the square of 5th-house Jupiter (recreational activities) came to the Sun.
Just two weeks after the accident Mercury and the Sun conjoined by converse primary direction. Here “converse” means that the significator (the Sun) is carried clockwise towards the promissor Mercury via primary motion of the Earth’s rotation from east to west, so that Mercury at 11 Virgo 52 Rx is activated. Mercury rules the 3rd (travel, transportation, including pony rides) and the Sun rules the 1st (the body). This point was further activated by the transiting solar eclipse which opposed it on the day of the accident.
It’s unfortunate that Cyril Fagan did not investigate primary directions because they can also offer “astonishing” results in predictive astrology.
Below is the tropical zodiac chart for Susan (calculated at http://www.carta-natal.es) with the primary directed chart for the date of the accident outside the inner natal chart and a list of the primary directed aspects within orb at the time.