An Introduction to Delineation of the Profession

Do not blindly follow the rules!

 «We are looking for a rational means of leading us in the right direction to come up with the right conclusions.» – Robert Zoller

When it comes to delineating the profession, we are faced with problems with which our predecessors were not faced. The professions available to people today are numerous. Many jobs are simply spin-offs or alterations of other professions which can cause problems for the astrologer and make it difficult to distinguish one from the other. For example take my profession, how do you distinguish and interior designer from an architect or building engineer. All three of these professions share construction knowledge and experience which is also common to the construction labourer! While Venus is generally more prominent in the charts of interior designers than say construction workers, architects, or engineers, this in itself is not enough since we find the same true with painters who may also fall within the category of construction workers.

The interior designer is usually more involved with the finish work, decorating, furnishings etc., than with the more mechanical structure of the building. But then we find architects who are employed in planning departments as an interior designer. What we end up with is that we have to say such things as, “Your chart indicates your profession is related to the building trades.” But in that case, the delineation covers everything from demolition to carpentry, to electricians, plumbers, painters, architect, engineer and interior designer!

In the same manner there are professional financiers who work with money and we are often faced with the job of distinguishing these people in their different guises e.g. the pawnbroker, loan shark, merchant banker, stock broker, teller, accountant etc. Then when we have determined the category (and this is not helped by the specialisation within professions) we are faced with the further need for distinction. How do you distinguish the everyday bank manager from the Rothchilds or Morgans? How do we distinguish the bank teller from the bank owner?

How does one distinguish the differences between a soldier and a bandit or between the head of a band of pirates and a regular king? To the British, Washington, Jefferson et al, was no more than renegades, brigands and terrorists who afterwards became statesmen and founders of a new nation! Or Ariel Sharon, who was viewed by many as nothing more than a terrorist; blowing up hotels, wiping out refugee camps, and had innocent people murdered and yet became the Prime Minister of Israel!

Then there is the more modern problem that we may have more than one profession in our lifetime! I spent years as a missionary, have worked as a common construction worker, worked in the retail clothing business, have been a bartender and restaurant co-worker, acquired my living through music, have been a building project leader, engineer in the ship industry,  involved in project development as an engineer and now working in city development! So variations of profession within one person’s lifetime are also something that we, as astrologers, have to deal with. As a practicing astrologer, sooner or later you will be asked, “When will I have what profession?” Right now, we will deal with the classical and medieval considerations of delineating the “mastery” or profession an individual has their entire life, i.e. the skill they have which will always be there in the background throughout their entire life. Like myself, I did not always give vent to that skill and when I did not, this was reflected in my professional life (in the modern sense). There may be periods when an individual does other things, but the theme or mastery will always be there seeking expression. So in this sense, we are viewing profession slightly different from the more modern viewpoint. We have to adopt the medieval astrologer’s viewpoint which is that the profession or theme is actually the native’s function and his/her place in society.

In contrast to the middle ages where an individual did not lightly change professions, today the economy often forces us to re-train as the economic circumstances change which often forces us to look for a new job. While many more opportunities are open to us today, we nonetheless will have some over-riding quality that dominates our professional picture even when we are forced to change jobs or careers frequently. It is true that many will hold one job for many years, like my stepfather who worked in construction nearly his entire life! Many change jobs but not radically, remaining in the same field while others change jobs radically going from one field to another.

As I already mentioned at the beginning, the professional theme has parameters that define certain aptitudes and that list of aptitudes is an expression of this or that planet and if these planets are in certain places and ruling certain places they become professional significators showing the skills the native will use in his or her profession no matter what appellation we may give that profession. In the practice of astrology, it will be necessary to say when the native will change jobs or make a radical change from one field to another. That is a matter of prediction and is based on this first delineation of professional significators. That is something we will have to address later. For now, I am only dealing with the delineation of what work, what kind of profession or mastery is shown in the nativity and that is with the provision being that generally, people stay with their natal patterns.

Modern society has brought complexity and specialisation. There are numerous kinds of physicians, physicists, dentists etc. Consequently, we as astrologers may not attempt to declare the name or title of the job the native will pursue. We may not declare, “This woman is a plastic surgeon,” or, “This man is a foreign car specialist.” It is enough that we say, “Mercury is your professional significator. Mercury makes geometers, designers, scribes and all who make a livelihood from interpretations, explanations, record keeping etc.” For all the reasons above and more, I recommend that you start with this more general approach rather than jumping in and immediately try to be too specific when determining the profession. So the question is, can we get more specific? And if so, how do we do so?

There are several things we have to consider when delineating a person’s vocation and profession.

1. The natives’ physical qualities (health) and natural “qualities of the soul” (i.e. his natural aptitudes), the temperament[1] and modal type,[2] and finally the native’s own motivations (principally the Almuten Figuris and Lot of Spirit). Most of these considerations are based around the Ascendant sign, the planets in the Ascendant or aspecting the ascendant and the rulers of the ascendant.

2. The natives’ social status – Is the native born in difficulty (lower social status)? Is he/she born in a middleclass? Upper class? Does the chart indicate social mobility for the native, i.e. is there indication the native moves up, down or stays within his/her social rank.

3. The natives education – in what way is their education connected to profession if at all. Is there a higher education for the native or is the education normal or interrupted etc.

4. Finally we determine a professional significator(s) or Almuten of the vocation and what vocational class the native will belong with the significations of the 10th.

As you can see, while the 4th point is probably the most important indication, it will be very much limited or enhanced by the other 3 factors. We could say that the first three points are parameters of the 4th point! It is much more difficult for someone born and raised in an poor inner city to achieve a vocation and fruitful profession than another who is born in another social rank for example. Also, it is easier or more difficult for the profession with regards to both the person’s natural aptitudes and education. There is a harmony to all of these points that cooperate together to produce what the native will or will not do or accomplish!

It is evident there are other delineations that one needs to make before a final delineation of profession and vocation can be made. As earlier mentioned, temperament and modal type for example, needs to be delineated. There are many methods advocated for delineating temperament. Some are good and some are useless considerations that lead one away from simplicity! There are also diverse and multitudinous theories concerning the Almuten Figuris or Lord of the Geniture. Again, I keep things simple and I avoid straying into the slippery world of “psychology”.

The first three points then ought to be delineated before the 4th in order to understand what parameters define the profession and vocation!

[1] i.e. choleric, sanguine, melancholic or phlegmatic

[2] vital, mental or motive

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