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Thema Mundi - the World Horoscope
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astrojin



Joined: 15 Nov 2005
Posts: 469

Posted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:33 am    Post subject: Thema Mundi - the World Horoscope Reply with quote

Hello again,

I remember reading about Thema Mundi (birth chart or horoscope of the world) in another forum. It would be nice if we had a birth horoscope for the world. It would be a major reference for mundane astrology (provided it's the correct one!).

As it is with other traditional methods/techniques/..., there are more than one suggestions of the World Epoch Horoscope:-

One suggestion:-
The world started when all the 7 traditional planets were in their exaltation signs (in their respective exaltation degrees).

I have problem with this. We can't have both Sun and Mercury in their exaltation signs (you can't have sun in Aries AND Mercury in Virgo).

Another suggestion (Firmicus Maternus, Matheseos, Liber Tertius):-
The world started when all the 7 planets were in one of their their ruling signs (sun and moon only rule one sign each) i.e. Sun in Leo, Moon in Cancer, Saturn in Capricorn, Jupiter in Sagitarrius, Mars in Scorpio, Venus in Libra and Mercury in Virgo. They were also all in 15 deg in their said signs.

Firmicus said he followed Nechepso and Petosiris who followed Hanubius, Aesculapius and Mercury. Mercury is of course the legendary Hermes Trismegistus (Thoth), Aesculapius could be Imhotep (the legendary Egyptian Sage) and Hanubius could be Anubis, and Egyptian Deity.
Firmicus also said that the Asc of this chart is Cancer, MC = Aries, IC = Libra and Dsc = Capricorn (remember that the Ancients most probably used Whole Sign House system). By this arrangement, all the planets would be aligned in the lower hemisphere of the thema mundi, from Cancer all the way to Capricorn (the signs of long ascension in Northern hemisphere). Why Cancer rising? Probably, because the Egyptians saw that the rising of Sothis (Sirius - the dog star - Harry Potter's godfather!!!) in Cancer is related to the flooding of the Nile (which they begin their calendar with).

Has anybody have any other suggestions of the thema mundi? Does anybody find this concept useful in their predictions? I better check my other reference - the astrological history of MashaAllah - perhaps something is mentioned there...
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yuzuru



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
Posts: 1393

Posted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AStrojin
I don´t know if this concept is really useful in mundane... whatever is the chart of the thema mundi, we poor human beings are too little for it to bother to tell us something about ourselves Wink
But maybe a great conjunction in 1 Aries would work ?
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skippy



Joined: 06 Jul 2006
Posts: 88
Location: england

Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whats with Aries 1 then? Shocked
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yuzuru



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
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Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don´t understand your question skippy...
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skippy



Joined: 06 Jul 2006
Posts: 88
Location: england

Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Yuzuru

You said and I quote:

Quote:
maybe a great conjunction in 1 Aries would work


I'll re-frame my question. What is the signifcance of 1 degree Aries you mention in your quote. Confused
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yuzuru



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
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Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, the Aries Point has a significance in mundane astrology, but to be sincere, I don´t have any serious source to quote right now, I would have to look for it. :-)

But every 200 years or so, the conjuction shifts triplicity, and it show the changes in dinasties and shifts in the hegemony of power.
Every 1000 or so, the conjuction of jupiter saturn shifts to fire, and we have the change in the religion and in the social order, the begin and fall of the great empires.
And a great conjuction in first degree of Aries would be specially significant. Remember that each year the year is "reborn" when the sun enters the first degree of Aries.
But in at least the last 5000 years the triplicity shifts to fire have been in the sign of Leo. The last one took place in the sign of sagitarius and in itself was a great change into the world structure !
Yuzuru
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Sue



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 945
Location: Australia

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Astrojin,

I find the thema mundi a ‘birth chart’ for the beginning of the world a fascinating topic. It was a popular theme in cosmological representations of the universe, particularly during the Middle Ages. However, I cannot see that this chart can be useful for any other purpose than as a philosophical doctrine. There is no real birth chart of the world and Firmicus makes it clear that he sees it as nothing more than a teaching tool.

The thema mundi, partially related to the doctrine of the periodic creation and destruction of the world, is a doctrine which was essentially a development of the Stoics. According to the Stoics, all things in the universe obeyed the same laws of Fate and had a cosmic sympathy. The Babylonians and Egyptians, who both had a strong belief in Fate and cosmic sympathy, and an understanding that the same physical laws would apply to heavenly bodies as to earthly bodies, were the first to develop the thema mundi. However, the Stoics were among the first who formalised it into their doctrine. The fundamental principle is that at the beginning of the world all planets started their journeys from a particular position in the heavens. These planets will periodically return to that position marking destruction and renewal and the coming of the new age. According to Rupert Gleadow, the doctrine of the Great Year stated that when the universal conjunction that was present at the creation of the world was repeated, there would come a restoration of all things – a return of the Golden Age.

Chrysippus makes the Stoic position explicit:
Quote:
The Stoics say that when the planets return to the same point in longitude and latitude, where each was at the beginning when the cosmos was first formed, at specific periods of time they bring about a conflagration and destruction of the world, and then return the cosmos to the same state. When the stars are brought back to the same position everything that happened in the previous period is repeated in exactly the same way. There will again be a Socrates and a Plato and everyone else along with the same friends and fellow-citizens; the same things will happen to them and they will do the same things again, and every city and village and field will return. The restoration of the whole occurs not once, but many times – indeed without end into infinity… There will be nothing strange compared with what happened before, but all will be exactly the same right down to the smallest detail. Quoted in M.R. Wright – Ancient Astrology


This universal conjunction, according to Gleadow, was all planets in Aries. In the Middle Ages, it was commonly feared that a conjunction in Capricorn would see the return of the great Deluge and a conjunction in Cancer would signify fire.

Early variations of the thema mundi exist due to the differences between the Babylonians and the Egyptians as to when they celebrated New Year. Each culture believed that the beginning of the world should fall on the same day as the beginning of New Year. The Egyptians celebrated New Year with the summer solstice and heliacal rising of the star Sirius, which coincided with the flooding of the Nile. At this point, the Sun was in Leo. Babylonians, and later the Graeco-Romans, on the other hand, celebrated their New Year beginning with the spring equinox when the Sun was in Aries. This led to two different charts of the thema mundi. Christians generally went with the Cancer ascendant.

One of the most familiar thema mundi charts, as you pointed out, was explained by astrologer Firmicus Maternus in his book commonly known as Mathesis. Maternus wrote extensively about the thema mundi, which he saw as a birth chart of the world consisting of each planet in the 15th degree of its own sign. He claimed that this chart did not indicate that the world had any original birth in the sense of creation, particularly one that could be conceived of by human reason or empirical observation. Firmicus believed that this origin exceeds the span of human records of observation, there is no way of determining the birth of the world.

Macrobius also wrote extensively about the beginning of the world in his Commentary on the Dream of Scipio. According to Macrobius, Aries was called the first because at the beginning of that day which was the first of all days Aries was in the middle of the sky; and because the middle of the sky is the summit of the universe, Aries was considered the first of the signs, since at the first dawn of light it appeared to be the head of the world.

Macrobius explains the reason that the twelve signs are assigned to the influence of different divinities. When the world was being born, believes Macrobius, at the very hour of birth, Aries occupied the middle of the sky and the Moon was in Cancer. The Sun then rose in Leo, Mercury in Virgo, Venus in Libra, Mars in Scorpio, Jupiter in Sagittarius, and Saturn in Capricorn. So it came about that each planet was considered lord of the sign in which it was believed to have been when the world was born.

I do not believe that there is any reason for choosing one chart over the other. Neither are right or wrong but are both representative of doctrines that express the philosophy of different groups.
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amelia



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 400
Location: Wales

Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Astrojin

I agree with Sue that it is interesting from a philosophical perspective but not useful from the point of view of mundane prediction etc.

You mention one option as being:
Quote:
The world started when all the 7 traditional planets were in their exaltation signs (in their respective exaltation degrees).

I have problem with this. We can't have both Sun and Mercury in their exaltation signs (you can't have sun in Aries AND Mercury in Virgo).


My understanding is that this was not how the world began in its current form - but prior to that- so the fact that the planets are now not all able to be in their signs of exhaltation is part of the reality of our world, post whatever paradise you ascribe to. Presumably prior to this the planets could have had different orbits altogether- I won't try to speculate on the form the solar system could have taken then. ... Confused
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astrojin



Joined: 15 Nov 2005
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Posted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Sue and Amelia and thank you all for your time and efforts...

Another small (but rather stupid) question though. Did the majority of ancient astrologers believe there is a thema mundi or did the majority believe otherwise?
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Tom
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Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hold the phone. THere is a "chart of the World" used by medieval Arab astrologers. Rob Hand lectured on it a few years ago. I think, I'm not sure, that it is the first of a great cycle that begins with the first entry of the Jupiter Saturn conjunction in Aries. The conjunction drifts through one sign after the other and, again I'm not 100% sure of this, it takes bout 760 years to complete such a cycle and begin anew. Hand used this chart to make some interesting points in his talk, but I'll have to hunt for the notes.

The idea is that of either Masha'Allah or Abu Masar. I don't recall which one. I hate to tease, but I know there is such a chart. I'll have to look for it.

Tom
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Sue



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
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Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Astrojin,

This question is neither small or stupid. There is a lot of speculation as to when the thema mundi was first developed and how widely accepted it was. There has always been creation myths and each culture saw them as essential. Stoicism was founded in the fourth century BCE by Zeno and they clearly had a philosophy of the cyclical nature of the planets. But as to the actual development of the thema mundi as an astrological chart, no one seems to know. The oldest horoscope we are aware of is from about 410BCE. It is likely that there were others before this but none survive. Weinstock says that the Egyptians continually depicted the thema mundi since the second century BCE. The most famous example of this is the Zodiac of Denderah from the first century BCE that shows the planets in their exaltation. Cramer, in his book 'Astrology in Roman Law and Politics' seems to suggest that Thrassylus, astrologer to Emperor Tiberius, originated the thema mundi chart and that Manilius followed him. It is difficult to know how widespread it became at this time. In the Middle Ages and Rennaisance periods the thema mundi chart was very popular and was depicted in such diverse ways as the writings of The Venerable Bede in the eighth century (he believed the world began when Aries was at the spring equinox point) to several works of art including Giovanni di Paolo's 'Creation of the World' in the fifteenth century.
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granny_skot



Joined: 20 May 2004
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Posted: Fri Aug 25, 2006 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a thought, but is one really discussing when the World Birth Chart begins? or are we discussing the Human Envirnonment and its birth? There are a small few who care as much for every creature, great and small, as they do for human existance. It has been my experience that when people discuss the beginning and end of the world, they Generally mean the beginning and end of Human era. (as I say, there are some exceptions, but so far I've found them to mostly be paleontologists)

An Aries point Birth chart for the current Human civilization would make sense in that context.

Granny
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carnna



Joined: 07 Jul 2006
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Posted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm, there are many traditions on this. I remember reading a hebrew text which states that the heavens was stationary in the time of eden. After the "fall" G-d commanded the angels to push forth the sun and the moon and the "wandering stars" and from these ......came the seasons and changes and the signs......and something more on the "fixed" stars. Have to look it up.
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Sue



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Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, it is true that there are variations in regard to the creation myths. But these are different from the actual thema mundi, which was not developed until the advent of the horoscope. In the Old Testament, for example, there are two creation myths that contradict each other. There has been long term debate over this issue and many scholars point to this as being convincing evidence that the bible is not to be taken literally.

Some of these debates originate from the first century CE. Origen asks what man of common sense could ever persuade himself that there had been a first, a second, a third day, and that each of those days had their evening and their morning without there having been yet either Sun or Moon or Stars? Philo pointed out that the stars were not created until the fourth day in order that it might be perfectly clear that they were not the primary source of things. But this left the question of when it was that time began.

The Venerable Bede (672-735), who had been particularly concerned with the astrological configurations of Creation in Genesis, explains that the difference of opinions concerning the actual date of Creation – whether it occurred on 19th March or 23rd March, according to him – reflects the problem of how one might determine the first day of Creation if, strictly speaking, there was no time prior to the Creation of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. Even though God created light and shade during the second day of Creation, it was not until he created the stars that he could place the Sun in its equinoctial position. Bede believed that the universe began with time – on the fourth day of Creation when God placed the Sun on the vernal equinox in the zodiacal sign of Aries.

Even though the two stories of creation in Genesis and Ennuma Elish have long been compared and contrasted, Ennuma Elish is not about creation in the traditional Christian sense. It is a story of how a pre-existing universe was organised into its present shape. The order of creation in Enuma Elish is not quite the same as it is in Genesis, with the heavenly bodies in the Babylonian epic being created immediately after the formation of the firmament while in the Hebrew version this is postponed until after the earth and vegetation have been made. One of Marduk’s first acts in creating the universe was to organise the heavenly bodies, and particularly the schedule of the Moon – creating the Mesopotamian calendar based on the lunar month. In other words, Marduk creates time from the very beginning. In the Biblical creation myth, according to some, time is not dependent on the creation of the heavenly bodies of the Sun and the Moon. In other words, time already existed before the creation of these heavenly bodies. This has interesting implications for a thema mundi in the Christian sense. If the stars and planets did not exist when time began then how can we have an astrological representation of the thema mundi using tools that did not yet exist?
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granny_skot



Joined: 20 May 2004
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Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

why would I use the bible to decide on time?

or any other philosophical work?

If I am looking at a world birth chart I would need to decide what it is I was really asking.

The world does not need humans to exist, we are a blip in its life time.

I would still consider that what is being asked, unless otherwise specified was about human environment and era, not the earth itself. the only context in which I could see the actual earth birthdata being significant is if oen was looking for some armageddon type alignment. Okay just a thought or two...

for instance when people talk about destroying the earths environment, they really mean the human environment, the earth would continue, even if we stripped it of all its atmosphere with our stupidity. it is self preservation that is being discussed in such instances.

Granny
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