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Quadrant House Systems in Hellenistic Astrology?
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chris,

This is really just a marker to let you know I have read your post. You make some very interesting well balanced points. I will be getting back on some of your ideas when time allows. I particularly want to take up your comment about general classical sources. However, it may be a wee while due to other commitments I have at present.

I have to state the thoughts expressed are purely my own. I haven't come across the ideas of Robert Hand or Nicholas Campion on this. However, I have just ordered Campion's book 'The Dawn of Astrology' which should hopefully set out his position. Could you direct me to where Robert Hand has written on this topic?

Equally, I have only picked up some statements by Robert Schmidt on the Project Hindsight and ACT sites. I would be interested in reading more from all these people. However, as I stated earlier I feel sound ideas should stand on their own merit irrespective of who advocates them.

Mark
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Rodd



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Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my main concern in whole sign houses is in the problem of the absence of intermediate cusps in each sign. There is a way to solve this using lots but the experience shows that house cusps are as sensitive as lots. Otherwise, this is a very a straightfoward system.

Other concern of mine is the innumerable evidences that adding topic meanings to quadrant houses works fine. Lest I had been right by the wrong way... It would be nice to read any example of the colleagues of the thread.

So there is my question. A house cusp has a share of significance in delineation. a planet aspecting a house cusp is effective in describing the form the houses' matters will manifest, lest it has not any dignity there.

To me, a house without cusp is like a TV without antenna, or a greek lot without exact degree... without a cusp, how can it accept the planets' "signals?"

If I should draw a conclusion to that quagmire, would be something like the equal house system adapted to an whole sign perspective, another way of division some jyotishs had already devised. but I would be in a theoretical island since none of the hellenistic astrologers had devised such a house system.

Indeed, my astrology is a mish mash of abu mashar, valens, rhetorius and bonatti... Sick orange juice shaked with pizza and haggies!
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CJ



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Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rodd wrote:

So there is my question. A house cusp has a share of significance in delineation. a planet aspecting a house cusp is effective in describing the form the houses' matters will manifest, lest it has not any dignity there.


Give the wealth of cusp-based house systems I would be more cautious about asserting that cusps are beyond doubt effective.

Rodd wrote:

To me, a house without cusp is like a TV without antenna, or a greek lot without exact degree... without a cusp, how can it accept the planets' "signals?"


Indeed cusps seem to be useful in this view of astrology, in particular when analyzing transits to the natal and seeing them as a kind of astrological "weather-map". However it's my understanding the ancients only used sign ingresses and conjunctions as transits, I've read somewhere the Greek for word transit means passing over (and the traditional Indian system also only has these kind of transits).

Giving more emphasis to house placement than cusps seems to support an astrology where not every area of the life is equally deterministic all the time, some areas are just not particularly good or bad but more indifferent. And in real life I believe most people have most of the time only a crisis affecting one life area at a time (unless it's at least to some extent self-initiated such as nervous breakdown through stress or alcholism etc.).
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Rodd



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Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Give the wealth of cusp-based house systems I would be more cautious about asserting that cusps are beyond doubt effective.


It is not a rare ocurrence to find most of the cusps of different quadrant systems in approximate degrees. If we stick to the concept of orb, that assumption would not be a challenge. I think the discussion is focused on using a whole sign approach without the intermediate sensitive points versus a quadrant house usage.

Quote:
Giving more emphasis to house placement than cusps seems to support an astrology where not every area of the life is equally deterministic all the time, some areas are just not particularly good or bad but more indifferent. And in real life I believe most people have most of the time only a crisis affecting one life area at a time (unless it's at least to some extent self-initiated such as nervous breakdown through stress or alcholism etc.).


Crisis are not shown merely by aspects to house cusps. It is a intrincated combination of different predictive technics which will give to the astrologer the sense of importance of an celestial event representing a crisis. I do not use then in that way; instead, I am advocating their use in natal delineation, although the immediate outcome of this consideration is the spreading of the cusp's usefulness also in predictive technics.
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CJ



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Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rodd wrote:

Crisis are not shown merely by aspects to house cusps. It is a intrincated combination of different predictive technics which will give to the astrologer the sense of importance of an celestial event representing a crisis. I do not use then in that way; instead, I am advocating their use in natal delineation, although the immediate outcome of this consideration is the spreading of the cusp's usefulness also in predictive technics.


I guess I then just have a different philosophy. I do not belive Jack Welch or Bill Gates were fated to be rich and one need to find an aspect to some cusp to explain their career, they got rich through hard work and self-initiative. But say Gates' fortune in marriage or geeky appearance is something he has not influenced as much himself.

EDIT: For the record I should maybe say I believe Venus and Mercury have been interchanged at some stage (not so much the meanings) and Welch does seem to have an exalted Mercury in the 10th sidereally. But a total determinist would also have to explain his 2nd, 11th, 9th and 4th house etc.
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Rodd



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Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we must address to house cusps as we are adressing on lots. After all, aren't they all based on the horizon? The vast majority of the lots are cast from the ascendant.

One thing, however, is to discuss intermediate house-cusp significance; another is the "free will versus fate" discussion. I think we are messing up two separate issues.

On the other hand, I am now spelling out a different sense of your argument. The significance of house division is likely linked to the conception of topic determination.

If we rely too much on fate, every issue of our lives would have its counterpart in a house system; if we stick to an uncertain sense of free will, there are less motives to use intermediate cusps. This argument sounds coherent, however, if you do not use so much lots for every life topic you ant to know, yet greeks and arabs had so much of them in their practice.
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MarkC wrote:
Hi Chris,

I have to state the thoughts expressed are purely my own. I haven't come across the ideas of Robert Hand or Nicholas Campion on this. However, I have just ordered Campion's book 'The Dawn of Astrology' which should hopefully set out his position. Could you direct me to where Robert Hand has written on this topic?



Unfortunately Hand hasn't actually published anything on the topic at this point. He did give a rather detailed lecture on the issue one evening at Kepler College back in 2005 though, and that is where any comments that I have made about his opinions come from.


MarkC wrote:

Equally, I have only picked up some statements by Robert Schmidt on the Project Hindsight and ACT sites. I would be interested in reading more from all these people. However, as I stated earlier I feel sound ideas should stand on their own merit irrespective of who advocates them.

Mark



I agree. I like citing those five sources not so much due to their eminence or apparent familiarity with the subject matter, but rather because each one seems to take one particular side of the argument or another, and it sets some nice boundaries for the discussion when you know what the extreme sides of the argument look like.
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Martine



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Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi CJ

You wrote

Quote:
For the record I should maybe say I believe Venus and Mercury have been interchanged at some stage (not so much the meanings)


Do you know the work of Maurice Nouvel, his book, "Mercure et Vénus démasqués" on this subject ? Are you refering to what Rudolph Steiner said about Mercury and Venus ?

Sorry for intruding.

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CJ



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Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martine wrote:
Hi CJ

You wrote

Quote:
For the record I should maybe say I believe Venus and Mercury have been interchanged at some stage (not so much the meanings)


Do you know the work of Maurice Nouvel, his book, "Mercure et Vénus démasqués" on this subject ? Are you refering to what Rudolph Steiner said about Mercury and Venus ?


No, I haven't but been thinking about it for a while. Aside from the fairly obvious symbolism of the "Mercury" glyph being very similar to Taurus, Ishtar was also a horned goddess (both were bisexual, depending on being evening or morning star). Also the symbolism of Virgo seems at least to me to fit the contemporary interpretation of "Venus" more than Taurus (the Sumerians also celebrated Inanna at the Sun's entrance into Spica and Virgo).

Also if one agrees with the hermetic as above so below with a heliocentric perspective, then the planet more connected to imaginative thinking would be closer to the Sun (top of the head) and the planet more connected to speech and verbal logic farther from the Sun.

(Reading some remarks by Steiner on this got me thinking about it, but as far I know he only says there was some confusion by Kepler when shifting geocentric to heliocentric models which is not supported. He wanted to jutify the chaldean geocentric order of planets Moon-Mercury-Venus-Sun in a heliocentric context.)
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Martine



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Posted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CJ wrote

Quote:
(Reading some remarks by Steiner on this got me thinking about it, but as far I know he only says there was some confusion by Kepler when shifting geocentric to heliocentric models which is not supported. He wanted to jutify the chaldean geocentric order of planets Moon-Mercury-Venus-Sun in a heliocentric context.)


Yes, Rudolf Steiner spoke of an inversion of the names of Mercury and Venus by the astronomers of the Renaissance, for instance, on 15th April 1909 in Dusseldorf and on 22nd March 1910 in Vienna. Nowadays, Maurice Nouvel, a disciple of Rudolf Steiner, has done extensive statistical research, in order to prove the need to invert these two planets in a chart. He uses the sidereal zodiac, with the Fagan SVP and the Vehlow house system. He has published several books on this subject.

I agree with you that this inversion taking place at the time of the Renaissance is not supported. Even Elisabeth Vreede, who taught astronomy at the Goetheanum, did not believe in it. However, the esoteric and statistical arguments presented by Maurice Nouvel are rather impressive.
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chris,

Quote:
Unfortunately Hand hasn't actually published anything on the topic at this point. He did give a rather detailed lecture on the issue one evening at Kepler College back in 2005 though, and that is where any comments that I have made about his opinions come from.


I suspected as much. All I have seen from him in the last few years was his article in Culture & Cosmos last year updating his research on whole sign houses.


Quote:
I like citing those five sources not so much due to their eminence or apparent familiarity with the subject matter, but rather because each one seems to take one particular side of the argument or another, and it sets some nice boundaries for the discussion when you know what the extreme sides of the argument look like.


Ah not just a dialectic but a multiverse of views! I now have Nicholas Campion's book and see my views are very similar to what he argues although I didn't know it before!

He justifiably gives a lot of focus to the figure of Berossus. Hardly surprising really as classical sources are littered with references to how this Babylonian astrologer (and others) brought astrology to the Greeks. The more I read about this period the more unconvincing I find the full blown sudden emergence theory espoused by people like Robert Schmidt. It seems to fly completely in the face of all the historical sources from that period.

However, if a figure as respected as David Pingree supports a sudden emergence view maybe I better not reach any hasty conclusions. Great scholar as he was I suspect the more recent research of people like Francesca Rochberg has possibly overtaken his research on this. What particular source by Pingree sets out his views on this? Its probably very hard to get a hold of like most of Pingree's research but it would be good to know at least.


Quote:
I don't think that anyone really doubts the indebtedness that the Hellenistic astrologers had to the earlier Mesopotamian and Egyptian astrological traditions. I think that the main question is exactly how much was inherited from the previous traditions, versus how much was developed subsequently from the synthesis of those traditions that occurred in the Hellenistic period. Some degree of cross-fertilization is a given. However, that does not tell is if the Mesopotamian astrologers had developed a full-fledged aspect theory, if they used houses, planetary rulers of signs, time-lords, etc. That is to say, aside from the techniques and concepts that we do know were inherited from the earlier traditions (the zodiac, decans, twelfth-parts, natal astrology, etc.), what do we say about the techniques that do not have known traditional antecedents?


Agreed this is really the crux of the debate. Well thats quite a few things already! It seems to me its quite possible that the ascendant degree and houses arose in a late Babylonian astrology (Seleucid dynasty) cross fertilised by hellenistic ideas. I will add back in the exaltations too which you omitted from the above list. I am aware Demetra George, Robert Schmidt and yourself have called into question this assumption and suggested a hellenistic origin.

Certainly the so called 'micro-zodiac' or link between signs and planets and parts of the body, plants, animals,l stones, locations etc seems to have a Babylonian root in magical practice there. Rochberg's research points to other areas such as basic aspects and the triplicities although I know you dispute this too.

I even have a theory that the Thema Mundi (at least in very rudimentary form) might be Babylonian in origin. Shocked I know such a view would be regarded as heresy in some hellenistic astrological circles. Laughing

Mark
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MarkC wrote:
Hi Chris,

However, if a figure as respected as David Pingree supports a sudden emergence view maybe I better not reach any hasty conclusions. Great scholar as he was I suspect the more recent research of people like Francesca Rochberg has possibly overtaken his research on this. What particular source by Pingree sets out his views on this? Its probably very hard to get a hold of like most of Pingree's research but it would be good to know at least.



Pingree's 1997 book 'From Astral Omens to Astrology' outlines his views on the matter pretty well.



Quote:

Agreed this is really the crux of the debate. Well thats quite a few things already! It seems to me its quite possible that the ascendant degree and houses arose in a late Babylonian astrology (Seleucid dynasty) cross fertilised by hellenistic ideas. I will add back in the exaltations too which you omitted from the above list. I am aware Demetra George, Robert Schmidt and yourself have called into question this assumption and suggested a hellenistic origin.




I omitted it because I still consider it to be somewhat of a murky issue in which I feel that some assumptions are being made. The point about the exaltations is just that the assumption that they corresponded to the Mesopotamian 'secret places' predates the publication of the majority of the birth charts, and no one has really offered a plausible explanation as to why the birth charts don't fit the pre-established assumption. The Hellenistic concepts tied into the exaltations raise additional issues, but that is almost beside the main point, which is that the technical meaning of the bit nisriti in the Cuniform horoscopes is still unknown to this day. People are free to go ahead and assume that the exaltations and the bit nisriti are one and the same, but in making such a blanket assumption across the board I fear that this requires them to overlook a glaring contradiction which still needs to be addressed, one way or another.



Quote:

Rochberg's research points to other areas such as basic aspects and the triplicities although I know you dispute this too.




No, I do not dispute Rochberg's point that the grouping of the triplicities is derived from Mesopotamian sources. What I disputed was her sloppy use of technical terminology in order to convey her argument, which consequently made it look like she was arguing for something that she was not. The article that I wrote addressing this issue can be read at this address if anyone is interested: http://horoscopicastrologyblog.com/2007/01/09/the-alleged-babylonian-aspect-doctrine/

It was originally simply a post on a Kepler College discussion board during a class on ancient history with Nick Campion, Lee Lehman and Rob Hand. One of the reading assignments that week was a long paper on Mesopotamian astrology by Campion. In the paper Campion made the statement that recent evidence indicated that the Mesopotamians used the 'trine aspect', citing something that Rochberg had written.

When I went back and read the Rochberg paper it became clear that what she was actually arguing was that the Mesopotamians had developed the concept of the triplicities, or grouping of the signs into four sets of three, and she explicitly rejected that they had a geometrical conceptualization of 'aspects'.

The confusion in Campion's article was derived from the fact that Rochberg mixed up the modern astrological terminology that she was using to refer to the techniques, by saying 'trine' when she meant 'triplicity'. To some extent this is understandable since the same Greek term is used to refer to both concepts, and only context allows one to differentiate, but it is still mistaken for people to go around saying that that the Mesopotamians had the 'trine aspect' based on that paper. That is certainly not what Rochberg intended, and my statements were merely meant to draw attention to the issue so that it could be clarified.




Quote:

I even have a theory that the Thema Mundi (at least in very rudimentary form) might be Babylonian in origin. Shocked I know such a view would be regarded as heresy in some hellenistic astrological circles. Laughing



Elements of earlier Mesopotamian and Egyptian traditions have already been identified by Demetra George and others such as Bouché-Leclerc a while ago, so I'm not sure that it would necessarily be regarded as heresy, although I guess that it depends on the degree to which one sees earlier origins as being relevant to some of the ways in which it was applied in the later tradition.
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CJ



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Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Brennan wrote:

The article that I wrote addressing this issue can be read at this address if anyone is interested: http://horoscopicastrologyblog.com/2007/01/09/the-alleged-babylonian-aspect-doctrine/


From what I know of the Babylonian astronomy I would for my part tend to agree with that if they had aspects it would more likely have involved arithmetic counting from one place to another than geometrical relationships according to Pythagorean ideals (although that does not exclude orbs, they can just be described in a more complex way as substraction of degrees as they are in Indian astrology).

But that article seems to contradict itself somewhat. Here aspects are geometrical relationships
Quote:

This is an important point because in the Hellenistic tradition the ‘aspects’ between planets were geometrical in nature, and they served a very important function of providing means of interaction between the planets in a chart.


and here they "hurl rays" against each other, witness each other etc.

Quote:

The conceptual basis for these ‘aspects’ seems to have been based on some sort of optical theory where planets in sign based relationships were said to provide ‘testimony’ with one another, while those in degree based relationships were said to ‘look upon’ or ‘scrutinize’ one another.


To me it seems possible there may be a newer and older aspect theory between these two quotes in the Egyptian astrology.
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CJ wrote:


But that article seems to contradict itself somewhat. Here aspects are geometrical relationships...


...and here they "hurl rays" against each other, witness each other etc.





The Hellenistic aspect doctrine was primarily based on the notion that each planet has a field of vision, and Greek optical theory had been closely tied into geometry at least since the 4th century BCE, for example such as in Euclid's work on optics. So, I'm not sure what you see as contradictory about the above statements I made.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see the question of whether Hellenistic astrology had a sudden onset, or whether it was piecemeal and gradual to be an either / or question that is mutually exclusive. There are too many different ideas out there as to what Hellenistic astrology is composed of and by these definitions, both have happened at the same time. It is natural to assume that most astrologers practicing from that era were not on the same page. The small group of people who appear to have worked elements of the middle Platonic school into Antiochus were doing something quite different from what Dorotheus, Ptolemy, Valens, etc. were doing, but most of them have many elements in common. Just as is happening in these days, the so called "founders" didn't agree with each other either (as you have "defined" them).

At some fundamental level each of you will have to decide whether to trust observation and empiricism or philosophy and consistency. I have chosen the latter because perception and observation has placed upon it demands that are too limiting (such as truly having observed adequately to see as a God), but with philosophy there are guidelines and ways to make the accidents of existence intelligible.
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