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The Hermetic Lots
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Levente Laszlo



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Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Brennan wrote:
Could you expand upon this point? While I think that I understand the approach that you outlined in your previous post, and I think that I'm largely in agreement, I'm not sure how this would erase the issue that is being discussed here. It seems like even if lots are being counted by sign that you would still have an issue with some of the Hermetic lots moving faster from sign to sign than the other Hermetic lots, which is what Schmidt's correction tries to fix.


Well, yes, of course. Thanks for the question. Smile

It's completely clear for me what is seen as a problem but I must say it's only caused by the improper point of view how an astrologer used to computer-generated charts regards motion. I'll try my best to explain what I'm saying and I hope it'll be clear enough.

If you erect a series of charts with a certain interval in time, you'll see the planets moving with various speeds along the zodiac, but it's much more remarkable that the ascendant is moving fast in the succession of the signs and their degrees. Now, this is illusory; in fact the zodiac itself moves clockwise, resulting in an apparent movement of the ascendant, which is actually fixed. We are normally used to the clock where we find the hands moving on the clockface but in this case it's the clockface that moves under the hand, the latter being motionless. Of course, the planets do move like clockhands, though it's another question. So speaking about the "speed" of the ascendant is illogical in this model; we can certainly speak about the speed of the zodiac, which is the primary motion, or to put it in Platonic manner, the motion of the Same. This varying speed appears in the notion of ascensional times.

Now, the model I proposed says that in the original Hellenistic construction (and from now I'm using the Hellenistic astrological equivalents) images, places and lots are labelling different functions of the same principle, which is simply called twelfth-part. A certain twelfth-part, for example the fourth one from the starting point of the image-bearing circle (tropically, the vernal point), is always regarded as the same image; in the example, whenever we erect a chart, the fourth twelfth-part will be called the image of the Crab.

In the case of the places and lots the roles change as time passes. If some of a twelfth-part appears in the eastern horizon, we'll call it the Hour-Marker. After two hours, the same twelfth-part will be possibly called Evil Spirit, as in the case of places it's not the number of the position from the starting point of the image-bearing circle that counts but the number of the position from the eastern horizon, which itself is an equally legitimate starting point. As I pointed out above, there's no need for assuming a "speed" for the portion where the horizonal line intersects the image-bearing circle in the east (itself also called Hour-Marker); it's the whole circle that rotates. Its apparent speed varies as well but as we're accustomed to it in the form of the imaginary "ascendant-movement", we pay little attention to it.

So far there are two approaches to twelfth-parts, the one based on the starting point of the image-bearing circle, and the other on the horizon. And there is a third one where relations of wandering stars appear and their derivatives: these are the lots.

Now I'll give an illustration. Let's assume that the Hour-Marker is the image of the Bull, the hour-marking portion being at the beginning of it, while the Moon and the Sun are in the fourth and the sixth twelfth-part, respectively. (Normally we refer to images, but now I wanted to avoid doing it because I think being in an image or in a place is of the same level of importance, so I used a neutral approach.) It means the Moon is in the place of the Godness which is also the image of the Crab, and the Sun is in the place of the Good Fortune, also being the image of the Virgin. Now the Lot of Fortune will be the third place, which is both the place of the Godness and the image of the Crab.

About two hours later the role of the Hour-Marker will be assumed be the image of the Twins, so we'll say the fourth and the sixth twelfth-part is the Post-Ascending Place and the Subterraneous Place from now. What we call the Lot of Fortune is still the place of the Godness but no longer the image of the Crab. Movement hasn't happened, only some functions have changed.

But what if the Moon enters the next twelfth-part while the Hour-Marker still remains the image of the Bull? Now the Moon is in the fifth twelfth-part which is the image of the Lion and the Subterraneous Place. From this time the relation of the Moon and the Sun has changed, and, as a result, the Lot of Fortune will be the second place, the Post-Ascending one and the image of the Twins. That's even not a movement but a similar change in certain functions.

From a customary point of view this would be a strange libration in the "movement" of the lot. But there is no movement, only transposition of functions whose "speed" is illusory and not our concern. Actually from the perspective of a certain native it's really unimportant how many minutes or hours later the function of twelfth-parts will change. If we stop drawing lots in the charts and regarding them such as planets, we can abandon bothering ourselves with their "speed".

Chris Brennan wrote:
This is what I am leaning towards as well, although one issue that I have is that in the critical edition the Lot of Spirit and Fortune are reversed in the older calculations for Eros and Necessity that don't involve planets. They are the reverse of the ones in Valens and Abu Ma'shar at least. What do you make of that? Did Firmicus make a mistake? Or did some astrologers have opposite calculations from the ones in Valens?


I feel this is another example of Firmicus' idiosyncrasy but I can't prove it. At least Valens, the Byzantine excerpts associated with Dorotheus and the Arabs are equivocal while Firmicus differs.
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GR



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Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chris,

So you agree that your arguments about Dorotheus do not invalidate Schmidt's claim. Then why bring them up in the first place?

Schmidt has never claimed that presence of the three-planet lot in Dorotheus is conclusive evidence for his claim, only that it is one bit of evidence among many that needs to be taken into account, because it must have come from somewhere (as I have said repeatedly), and Schmidt has given a plausible derivation of it from his understanding of the Hermetic Lot of Eros algorithm. If Schmidt's interpretation of the Paul text is wrong, then there must have been one basic lot formula with two different ways of performing the reversal, one of which leads to a lot independent of the Asc both by day and by night, and the other of which leads to a lot independent of the Asc in one case and dependent on it in the other. Does this make sense?

As for Firmicus, I brought this up primarily to correct what you said about all we know about the Hermetic lots being from the vantage point of Paul. As for what the alternative text in Firmicus says: clearly he would have us reverse the order of counting by day and by night. Schmidt's interpretation also does this, and I outlined this in the algebra earlier, but in addition Schmidt reverses the order of projection, consistent with what he believes to be the correct reading in the Paul text, and as he has shown in the last post. In other words, when we are dealing with lots formed from lots, there is always a double reversal. Whether Firmicus knew this is anybody's guess. It is not contested that Olympidorus did not perform the double reversal. Schmidt is claiming that Olympidorus misunderstood the Paul text, as most of the tradition has up to this point.
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GR



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Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all,

More from Bob Schmidt. Gabe

Response to Mr. Brennan

Thank you, Osthanes, for those details of the textual transmission. It is indeed a messy tradition that we have to deal with. I believe that the Paul text should have been critically edited more along the lines of what Pingree intended with Rhetorius.

I have to say in preface that I believe that Mr. Brennan does not have enough experience in reading Greek texts in general, and astrological texts in particular, to be making the textual remarks he has. He also appears to be assuming that ancient compositional devices meet the same standards as our modern ones, which is clearly not always the case, even leaving aside the possibility of ‘esoteric’ writing.

There is no question that all three versions of both algorithms I cited have segregated a muted men/de construction so as to make a statement about reversing the order of projection. There is no other grammatically sound reading, and Mr. Brennan is simply wrong. This is not a matter of opinion; it is a matter of knowing the principles of Greek sentence construction.

(This did not actually become clear to me until I separated the different manuscript versions; the critical edition actually obscures these points somewhat by normalizing the text throughout, and I was carelessly taken in by it when I did my first translation of Paul. We always have to keep in mind that the principles of compiling a critical edition are not always based on what makes most sense according to other standards.)

This is not necessarily the case with the algorithms for Eros and Victory, where the grammar and men/de points easily (but not unequivocally) to a reversal of the order of counting, and I do believe that this is what is emphasized in those two cases.

The point is that when we take all the planetary algorithms together, we see that the overall paradigm is a men/de construction addressing the reversal of the order of projection, within a men/de construction addressing the order of counting, with the de clause sometimes explicitly serving one purpose, and sometimes the other. It is interesting to me that the order of counting reversal is generally muted in the Fortune lots, while the order of projection reversal is muted in the Spirit lots. But in each case the muted construction is always hinted at.

In other words, each one of the five algorithmic expositions gives us another piece of the total puzzle about how to calculate these lots. It is in this way that this text displays a “compactness” of writing.

It is true that kai with an imperative need not have the sense of 'and now'. But it does so often that anyone reading the text would have to consider that possibility. Since there is no question in my mind about the segregated men/de construction on other grounds, there is no other plausible reading.

The only way that homoiōs could be taken as a synonym for ta isa is if ta isa does not refer to a distance but to either the process of counting or the process of projection.

Mr. Brennan is completely wrong that the first paragraph “clearly” sets up the paradigm for the counting and reversal of the following lots. The algorithm for the calculating the Lot of Fortune is contrasted with the upcoming algorithms. The first paragraph ends: But [de] for the rest it is necessary to cast out in like manner [homoiōs] from the portion of the Hour-marker. This is itself another implicit—that is, muted—men/de construction. He is assuming that it means in like manner to the algorithm for the Lot of Fortune. I say that this contrast draws attention to the word homoiōs, which will be central to understanding the other algorithms. In other words, there is something done in the other algorithms that is not done in the Fortune algorithm. As I have argued repeatedly, that is a reversal of the order of projection.

It is this reversal of the order of projection that is addressed in the exposition of the successive planetary algorithms. A reversal of the order of counting has been hinted at throughout, but not brought out with complete clarity. That is why near the end the Paul text has to finally address this issue. Right after the sample diurnal calculation for the Lot of Eros, when the issue of reversal comes up, he indicates that we also reverse the order of counting along the lines of the Fortune paradigm, but only in that respect.

In other words, in all five planetary lot algorithms we have to perform a double reversal: one of the order of counting, the other of the order of projection from the Hour-marker.

To be sure, if one reads over the text quickly, skating quickly over thin ice, one will come up with the reading Mr. Brennan is proposing. But when upon a more careful reading one comes upon strange snags and knots in the text itself, then we have to either assume that the text is fairly corrupt and give up in despair—a possibility that Osthanes has emphasized and of which I am acutely conscious—or else we have to attempt to make sense of it in an overall consistent manner. When another consistent reading slowly emerges beneath the icy surface of the text—and this is the hallmark of 'esoteric' writing—and when that interpretation is capable of dealing with those textual snags and knots in a less tortured way without resorting to a 'textual corruption' explanation, and above all if such a reading resolves the glaring asymmetry that I have been harping on for years, I at least opt for that interpretation.

The only thing I am uncertain about is whether the projection of the three Fortune lots is backwards from the Hour-marker, as the Z manuscripts indicate for the Lot of Necessity. If it is, then they too reduce to three-planet lots independent of the Hour-marker both by day and by night. If it is not backwards, then they become lots dependent on the Hour-marker both by day and by night. I can live with that.

Robert Schmidt
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Osthanes wrote:

...Of course, the planets do move like clockhands, though it's another question. So speaking about the "speed" of the ascendant is illogical in this model; we can certainly speak about the speed of the zodiac, which is the primary motion, or to put it in Platonic manner, the motion of the Same. This varying speed appears in the notion of ascensional times.


It appear that there is a bit of the "Other" in the motion of the "Same" here because the varying speed of the ascensions is Dyadic, irregular and contrary to Sameness.
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Gabe,


GR wrote:
So you agree that your arguments about Dorotheus do not invalidate Schmidt's claim. Then why bring them up in the first place?



That is not entirely what I agreed to. You were the one who brought Dorotheus' marriage lot up in the first place, saying that it was textual support for Schmidt's correction because it had a parallel calculation, and implying that that meant that Dorotheus must have gotten that lot from a source who understood the reversal of the Hermetic lots in the same way that Schmidt does. What I said in response is that you are overreaching with this argument, and that its not necessarily proof of anything.


GR wrote:

Schmidt has never claimed that presence of the three-planet lot in Dorotheus is conclusive evidence for his claim, only that it is one bit of evidence among many that needs to be taken into account, because it must have come from somewhere (as I have said repeatedly), and Schmidt has given a plausible derivation of it from his understanding of the Hermetic Lot of Eros algorithm. If Schmidt's interpretation of the Paul text is wrong, then there must have been one basic lot formula with two different ways of performing the reversal, one of which leads to a lot independent of the Asc both by day and by night, and the other of which leads to a lot independent of the Asc in one case and dependent on it in the other. Does this make sense?



I think that this conclusion mainly only makes sense if Schmidt's interpretation of Paul is correct. Schmidt wants to use the marriage lot in Dorotheus as an example to indicate that the reversal can sometimes be from the direction of the ascendant rather than from the two points involved, the latter of which is the norm. From there he extends that to the Hermetic lots in Paul, saying that the same rationale in that one lot in Dorotheus could be extended to those lots as well. So this would set up a scenario like you described, where there would be one basic formula with two different ways of doing the reversal.

If we go with what you said above though, that Schmidt were hypothetically wrong, then this would put us in the position where there is only really ever one main way of reversing the lots, which is to reverse the points counted from and to. In that case that one single lot in Dorotheus couldn't be used to say that there is this whole other approach to reversing lots, since it would only be one isolated instance, and 99% of the other lots would still follow the normal method.

It is still the case either way, whether Schmidt's correction is right or wrong, that the vast majority of the tradition regards the reversal of any lots as involving the two points used to compose the lot. So then even if Schmidt was correct in his interpretation, lots that involve reversing the direction from the ascendant rather than the points involved would be exceedingly rare.


GR wrote:
Hi Chris,
As for Firmicus, I brought this up primarily to correct what you said about all we know about the Hermetic lots being from the vantage point of Paul. As for what the alternative text in Firmicus says: clearly he would have us reverse the order of counting by day and by night. Schmidt's interpretation also does this, and I outlined this in the algebra earlier, but in addition Schmidt reverses the order of projection, consistent with what he believes to be the correct reading in the Paul text, and as he has shown in the last post. In other words, when we are dealing with lots formed from lots, there is always a double reversal. Whether Firmicus knew this is anybody's guess. It is not contested that Olympidorus did not perform the double reversal. Schmidt is claiming that Olympidorus misunderstood the Paul text, as most of the tradition has up to this point.


You may have been right in that context to have brought up Firmicus, in response to my statement that Paul was the first author we know of to mention the Hermetic lots, although it kind of comes down to whether or those calculations were interpolations. I think that this still requires more investigation before we can come down on either side of that issue strongly, although I am personally leaning more in the direction that the Lots that the editors put in the body of the text were the ones that Firmicus knew about, otherwise he likely would have mentioned the rest of the set rather than just the two.

I don't think that you could take the calculations in the critical apparatus in favor of your argument that the reversal is from the ascendant though, because if it was then there would have been some special statement to that effect. Unless you are going to argue that all lot calculations from the Hellenistic tradition should be subjected to the same reversal from the ascendant, I think that we are all in agreement that the typical approach is to reverse the points counted from and to. I think that we could also agree that this is the approach that Firmicus took all throughout his chapter on the lots. If that is the case, then within that context there wouldn't be a different approach to Eros and Necessity. When he says by day or night the reverse, we can say quite confidently that he would still be talking about reversing the same points. If that was not the case, then there would have been some sort of special caveat.

In response to your last point, you must see that it is an extraordinarily bold claim to say that Olympiodorus simply "misunderstood" Paul. I know that this isn't your claim necessarily, it is Schmidt's, although your earlier statements about Olympiodorus indicate that you've adopted it. We are talking about a Neoplatonic scholar from the 6th century who was writing detailed commentaries on Plato and Aristotle, and giving expositions of astrological texts to students over the course of the summer in his spare time. He was someone who spoke Greek, and he was actually from Alexandria, the home and likely birthplace of Hellenistic astrology. From that perspective, it seems like a rather dubious claim to just write him off as being some sort of idiot, or to say that he didn't use the lots, for the sole reason that his statements contradict your theory. There is something about that that is deeply disturbing to me, because there is nothing stopping you from applying to same argument to just about any other area of the tradition in which you would like to promote one interpretation of a text over another, even if your interpretation is explicitly contradicted by the extant tradition. While you guys seem to then opt for the answer of "well, then the tradition must be wrong," it seems to me that the more logical answer is that your interpretation is wrong. That is just my perspective though.
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My response to Schmidt's comments are below.


GR wrote:
Hello all,

More from Bob Schmidt. Gabe

Response to Mr. Brennan

Thank you, Osthanes, for those details of the textual transmission. It is indeed a messy tradition that we have to deal with. I believe that the Paul text should have been critically edited more along the lines of what Pingree intended with Rhetorius.

I have to say in preface that I believe that Mr. Brennan does not have enough experience in reading Greek texts in general, and astrological texts in particular, to be making the textual remarks he has. He also appears to be assuming that ancient compositional devices meet the same standards as our modern ones, which is clearly not always the case, even leaving aside the possibility of ‘esoteric’ writing.


Chris Brennan wrote:

It is true that I do not have as much experience with Greek as you, or in working with the astrological texts in Greek. That doesn't invalidate all of my criticisms of this argument though, nor does it make your argument right. You may still be reading too much into the text, even if your command of Greek is far superior to mine.




There is no question that all three versions of both algorithms I cited have segregated a muted men/de construction so as to make a statement about reversing the order of projection. There is no other grammatically sound reading, and Mr. Brennan is simply wrong. This is not a matter of opinion; it is a matter of knowing the principles of Greek sentence construction.


Chris Brennan wrote:
I retract my previous statements about this paragraph, as they were poorly made, but only with respect to that one paragraph. I was making a general statement about all of the paragraphs when taken together, although it was not accurate with respect to this one paragraph, which is unique.

Men is outside of the calculation of the interval between the two planets in the paragraph on the Lot of Courage. I concede this now, and I agree that taken in isolation this is strange, and could support your argument that the reversal involves the direction from the ascendant. However, this only applies to that one paragraph, and it is not the same when you look at the other paragraphs.

Here is a picture of the critical edition with the location of men and de in the various paragraphs highlighted in order to emphasize this:

http://www.chrisbrennanastrologer.com/img/men-de.jpg

The paragraphs with blue check marks have men in a place which indicates that the reversal involves the points counted from and to, while the paragraph with a red X has it in a place that seems to implicate the direction from the ascendant. Men is missing from the paragraph on Nemesis altogether, so it is uncertain.

When taken together the paragraph that you translated here which gives the calculation for the Lot of Courage is seen as more of an outlier than it is as representative of the entire chapter. From that perspective, it makes more sense to me to view the placement of men in the paragraph on the Lot of Courage as being suspect, rather than taking that one paragraph to mean that all of the others have it wrong.

I still maintain that when you read the paragraphs together, instead of taking them out of context, that this is the clear role of the men/de construction throughout the chapter. To reverse the direction between the points counted from and to rather than the direction from the ascendant.




(This did not actually become clear to me until I separated the different manuscript versions; the critical edition actually obscures these points somewhat by normalizing the text throughout, and I was carelessly taken in by it when I did my first translation of Paul. We always have to keep in mind that the principles of compiling a critical edition are not always based on what makes most sense according to other standards.)

This is not necessarily the case with the algorithms for Eros and Victory, where the grammar and men/de points easily (but not unequivocally) to a reversal of the order of counting, and I do believe that this is what is emphasized in those two cases.

The point is that when we take all the planetary algorithms together, we see that the overall paradigm is a men/de construction addressing the reversal of the order of projection, within a men/de construction addressing the order of counting, with the de clause sometimes explicitly serving one purpose, and sometimes the other. It is interesting to me that the order of counting reversal is generally muted in the Fortune lots, while the order of projection reversal is muted in the Spirit lots. But in each case the muted construction is always hinted at.

In other words, each one of the five algorithmic expositions gives us another piece of the total puzzle about how to calculate these lots. It is in this way that this text displays a “compactness” of writing.

It is true that kai with an imperative need not have the sense of 'and now'. But it does so often that anyone reading the text would have to consider that possibility. Since there is no question in my mind about the segregated men/de construction on other grounds, there is no other plausible reading.

The only way that homoiōs could be taken as a synonym for ta isa is if ta isa does not refer to a distance but to either the process of counting or the process of projection.

Mr. Brennan is completely wrong that the first paragraph “clearly” sets up the paradigm for the counting and reversal of the following lots. The algorithm for the calculating the Lot of Fortune is contrasted with the upcoming algorithms. The first paragraph ends: But [de] for the rest it is necessary to cast out in like manner [homoiōs] from the portion of the Hour-marker. This is itself another implicit—that is, muted—men/de construction. He is assuming that it means in like manner to the algorithm for the Lot of Fortune. I say that this contrast draws attention to the word homoiōs, which will be central to understanding the other algorithms. In other words, there is something done in the other algorithms that is not done in the Fortune algorithm. As I have argued repeatedly, that is a reversal of the order of projection.


Chris Brennan wrote:
I take this last sentence at the end of the Fortune paragraph to complete the statement that Paul was making about the calculation of the Lot of Fortune by night, as you did in your previous translations of this passage, and the other translators have as well. It doesn't necessarily have to be a separate clause that is being applied to the rest of the calculations in the chapter, as you now appear to be interpreting it.



It is this reversal of the order of projection that is addressed in the exposition of the successive planetary algorithms. A reversal of the order of counting has been hinted at throughout, but not brought out with complete clarity. That is why near the end the Paul text has to finally address this issue. Right after the sample diurnal calculation for the Lot of Eros, when the issue of reversal comes up, he indicates that we also reverse the order of counting along the lines of the Fortune paradigm, but only in that respect.


Chris Brennan wrote:
Quote:
Here I would have to strongly disagree. I think that Paul is explicit enough in this closing paragraph that what is being reversed is the measurement from Spirit to Venus, just in the same way that the distance from the Moon to the Sun is reversed for the Lot of Fortune. In some ways this is why I think it isn’t even necessary for me resort to Olympiodorus in order to prove that the astrologers understood the reversal to involve the the direction between the points rather the ascendant, because Paul is quite explicit about it here. I will quote your own revised translation of this passage from Paul in the Kepler Sourcebook that was published just a few years ago:

“Similarly also for the Lot of Eros, from the Lot of Spirit to the degree of Aphrodite. The Lot of Spirit is the 11th degree of the Virgin, while Aphrodite is the 15th degree of the Water-Pourer. We will calculate from the Virgin to Aphrodite; the result is 154 degrees. When the 11 degrees of the Hour-Marker are added to these, we will count out from the Hour-Marker itself, and the Lot of Eros is found at the 15th degree of the Goat-Horned One.

Thus, for day births, the reverse for night ones. For example, we took the Lot of Fortune for a diurnal birth from the Sun to the Moon, but for a nocturnal birth we deal from the Moon to the Sun. And similarly with the others."



It cannot get any more explicit than this. The reversal involves the points that compose the lot, not the ascendant.




In other words, in all five planetary lot algorithms we have to perform a double reversal: one of the order of counting, the other of the order of projection from the Hour-marker.

To be sure, if one reads over the text quickly, skating quickly over thin ice, one will come up with the reading Mr. Brennan is proposing. But when upon a more careful reading one comes upon strange snags and knots in the text itself, then we have to either assume that the text is fairly corrupt and give up in despair—a possibility that Osthanes has emphasized and of which I am acutely conscious—or else we have to attempt to make sense of it in an overall consistent manner. When another consistent reading slowly emerges beneath the icy surface of the text—and this is the hallmark of 'esoteric' writing—and when that interpretation is capable of dealing with those textual snags and knots in a less tortured way without resorting to a 'textual corruption' explanation, and above all if such a reading resolves the glaring asymmetry that I have been harping on for years, I at least opt for that interpretation.


Chris Brennan wrote:
This is an important point though, because it confirms something that I have been saying all along, which is that your conceptual objection to the way the Lots are outlined in Paul came first, and you have been “harping” on that issue for years, as you say. But it is only recently that you’ve discovered a way to interpret the text so that it could follow your set of corrected lots. This shows that it is the conceptual issue that is motivating the re-interpretation of the text rather than some sort revelation about the text itself which is actually motivating your re-interpretation of it. If you didn’t object to the way the lots are outlined by Paul and Olympiodorus conceptually, then you wouldn’t have the same motivation to interpret the text differently, as you are doing now. Sure, your admirable attention to detail would cause you to raise an eyebrow at the position of men in the paragraph on the Lot of Courage, but then you would consider it within the context of the entire chapter, and then perhaps not see it as necessarily being a major deviation.

I think that it is only to the extent that one thinks that there is something wrong with the calculations that Paul outlines that there is any major motivation to interpret the text as you have. I do not agree that the aesthetic arguments related to the speed and symmetry of the lots is sufficient justification for this re-interpretation or "correction" of the calculations though. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Lots being fast or asymmetrical. Obviously we disagree on that issue, but that is the perspective that I am approaching it from, and that is what leads me to question your motivation and evidence for making the argument.




The only thing I am uncertain about is whether the projection of the three Fortune lots is backwards from the Hour-marker, as the Z manuscripts indicate for the Lot of Necessity. If it is, then they too reduce to three-planet lots independent of the Hour-marker both by day and by night. If it is not backwards, then they become lots dependent on the Hour-marker both by day and by night. I can live with that.

Robert Schmidt

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GR



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Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all,

Bob Schmidt has also pointed out that there may be evidence of the Hermetic Lot of Nemesis in Firmicus' text.

In Book VI Firmicus briefly mentions a Lot of Nemesis, whose algorithm by night is from Fortune to the Moon. Presumably it is from the Moon to Fortune by day.

These reduce to 2*Moon - Sun by night, and 2*Asc - Sun by day, which certainly has the appearance of nonsense. It is Schmidt's conjecture that that the Moon is an error for Saturn here, although the text is admittedly messy here.
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Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Gabe
Thank you for presenting Robert Schmidt’s views on this issue, and please thank Robert for forwarding them to us. Sometimes, as here, it is very useful to request and then present a statement from an astrologer personally involved in the issue being discussed, and I think it has been illuminating to publish Robert Schmidt’s comments in the way that you have so far.

But I also have to keep in mind that, usually, only members are allowed to publish comments and create discussion in the forum. So at this point I think it would make more sense for Robert Schmidt to directly contribute any further comments. I say this wary of the fact that earlier in this thread I steered the discussion away from another well known astrologer’s views, in order to keep the focus on the discussion generated by internal members (being of the opinion that it is easy enough for anyone to join the forum and make their own argument if they wish to). I hope you can understand that.

I also want to ask all the contributing members to please remember to give references to the passages of text they are discussing. Many of us have the texts being discussed, and want to be able to refer to them to see what the discussion is about, but we need a little guidance to locate those passages Smile

Thanks
Deb
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Robert Schmidt



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Posted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To Chris Brennan:

You have not understood what I meant by an implicit or muted men/de construction. I mean one that is actually lacking the word men, but the contrast implied by the de clause alone brings men to mind. Such an implicit men/de construction usually signifies a weaker contrast than if men were explicit. In the Paul text it needs to be weaker because the contrast is not total; the de clause introducing the nocturnal reversal is addressed either to the order of counting or the order of projection, but not both at the same time.

In fact, as I pointed out earlier, men is not present in the Courage algorithm in either Y or Z. The text editor has picked it up and placed it there from β alone, indicating that the scribe of this manuscript was simply strengthening the contrast he was sensing in the text. The scribes of Y and Z did not feel the need to do this for the simple reason that the construction already set up the contrast between the clause referring to the projection from the Hour-marker and the clause stating the reversal. This is not an isolated example, as you assert. The algorithm for Necessity does the same thing by what seems to have been a full stop, among other things.

Perhaps I did not say this clearly enough, but I do regard the men/de construction in Eros and Victory as establishing a contrast between the order of counting by day and by night. There are a few interesting things to say about Nemesis as well, but I cannot not go into them at this time.

My point is that there is an overarching paradigm that is set out over the course of all five algorithms, where in some cases the reversal of projection is emphasized, and other times the reversal of counting. This is what I meant when I said that by putting all these together, we have a men/de construction (implicit or explicit) within a men/de construction (explicit or implicit). It is actually a fairly elegant compositional device. It is not I who is taking paragraphs out of context; I am trying to view them as a whole.

As for the final clause at the end of the first Fortune paragraph, I was simply wrong in my earlier translation. It has to be a separate clause, because ta de loipa ‘the rest’ is being contrasted to something by the placement of de, and this can only be the Fortune algorithm itself. It is true that de does not always have to have the force of contrast. Taken out of context it could simply herald an additional point, as I originally thought. But given the constant playing with implicit men/de constructions throughout the text, I hardly think this is the correct reading.

I agree that what is addressed in his closing paragraph is the order of counting, and I thought I said as much. This is because the reversal of the order of counting has not been made explicit up to this point. I am saying that the issue of the order of projection from the Hour-marker is brought out in the individual algorithms themselves. My point has always been that there is a double reversal going on in each case. It is interesting that this double reversal reduces to the diurnal algorithm (with merely Spirit reversed) in the case of the Spirit lots. And I have said that the nature of the double reversal of the Fortune lots hinges on the evidential value of palin as ‘backwards’ in the Z class manuscripts.

As to your last point, I do not see what difference it makes how I first got onto this problem by noticing a potential difficulty with the algebra of the reversal. To be sure, I cannot say for certain that I would have come up with my present preferred reading of the Paul text without have this problem in mind. I believe there is a good chance I would have, because my experience with the Antiochus material in Definitions & Foundations has alerted to the possibility of clever writing on the part of the Hellenistic astrologers, probably more prevalent the farther back in the tradition we go, and I am scrutinizing these texts as carefully as I can, always looking for textual snags and knots.

You keep insinuating that I am imposing my interpretation on the text. I will tell you this: If you attempt to put the entire Greek text of this chapter in Paul under the microscope with your interpretation in mind, you are going to find instance after instance of subtle textual problems that you will have to take desperate measures to resolve, either by glossing over what the text actually says, or by invoking textual corruption. I know this, because I have tried to read it that way myself. With my interpretation, these problems are at least minimized.

I do not have time to go into any more of these textual intricacies at present, which in any case must be rather tedious for most of the other readers on this forum. I do have a few more points to make about some related issues, which I will put in separate posts.

Robert Schmidt
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Robert Schmidt



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Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish to thank Gabriel Rosas for so faithfully representing my position on the Hermetic lots before I joined this forum.

Chris Brennan wrote a few posts back:

“If we go with what you said above though, that Schmidt were hypothetically wrong, then this would put us in the position where there is only really ever one main way of reversing the lots, which is to reverse the points counted from and to. In that case that one single lot in Dorotheus couldn't be used to say that there is this whole other approach to reversing lots, since it would only be one isolated instance, and 99% of the other lots would still follow the normal method.

It is still the case either way, whether Schmidt's correction is right or wrong, that the vast majority of the tradition regards the reversal of any lots as involving the two points used to compose the lot. So then even if Schmidt was correct in his interpretation, lots that involve reversing the direction from the ascendant rather than the points involved would be exceedingly rare.”


I think that lots that are themselves functions of two-planet lots may require special treatment. The reversal issue is already more complex because the two-planet lot component of such lots itself presumably reverses by day and by night.

Since Valens’ versions of Eros and Necessity have been brought up several times already on this thread, let me use them as an example.

Diurnal Eros = Asc + Spirit – Fortune = Asc + (Asc + Sun - Moon) – (Asc + Moon – Sun).

Therefore diurnal Eros = Asc + 2 (Sun – Moon).

If for a nocturnal Eros we use nocturnal Fortune and Spirit and simply reverse the order of counting as Chris Brennan enjoins us to do, we get:

Nocturnal Eros = Asc + Fortune – Spirit = Asc + (Asc + Sun – Moon) – (Asc + Moon – Sun)

Therefore nocturnal Eros would also be: Asc + 2 (Sun – Moon).

In other words, the lot would have the same position by day and by night.

The same thing is true of Necessity.

If this is the correct way of performing the reversal, then Eros and Necessity would not mirror one another in the way that Spirit and Fortune do by always being symmetrical around the Asc/Dsc axis.

If we perform a double reversal of the type for which I have argued with the Hermetic lots, then these two lots do change their position by day and by night and do mirror one another like Fortune and Spirit.

Now, perhaps the originator of these two lots intended them to end up in the same place by night and by day; perhaps he did not. To my knowledge this question cannot be resolved on the basis of the surviving sources. So what are we to do? And while we are at it, how do we choose between Valens’ versions of these two lots and the versions of Firmicus Maternus (if in fact he did not have the Hermetic versions of these lots instead), who has Spirit and Fortune reversed from the way Valens does?

Robert Schmidt
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert Schmidt wrote:


Since Valens’ versions of Eros and Necessity have been brought up several times already on this thread, let me use them as an example.

Diurnal Eros = Asc + Spirit – Fortune = Asc + (Asc + Sun - Moon) – (Asc + Moon – Sun).

Therefore diurnal Eros = Asc + 2 (Sun – Moon).

If for a nocturnal Eros we use nocturnal Fortune and Spirit and simply reverse the order of counting as Chris Brennan enjoins us to do, we get:

Nocturnal Eros = Asc + Fortune – Spirit = Asc + (Asc + Sun – Moon) – (Asc + Moon – Sun)

Therefore nocturnal Eros would also be: Asc + 2 (Sun – Moon).

In other words, the lot would have the same position by day and by night.

The same thing is true of Necessity.

If this is the correct way of performing the reversal, then Eros and Necessity would not mirror one another in the way that Spirit and Fortune do by always being symmetrical around the Asc/Dsc axis.




Why does this necessarily have to be viewed as an issue that needs to be resolved or corrected rather than simply a unique property of those lots?
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GR



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Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the reversal simply does not matter for the placement of these lots, then why did 'they' write the reversal in the first place?

Gabe

Chris Brennan wrote:
Robert Schmidt wrote:


Since Valens’ versions of Eros and Necessity have been brought up several times already on this thread, let me use them as an example.

Diurnal Eros = Asc + Spirit – Fortune = Asc + (Asc + Sun - Moon) – (Asc + Moon – Sun).

Therefore diurnal Eros = Asc + 2 (Sun – Moon).

If for a nocturnal Eros we use nocturnal Fortune and Spirit and simply reverse the order of counting as Chris Brennan enjoins us to do, we get:

Nocturnal Eros = Asc + Fortune – Spirit = Asc + (Asc + Sun – Moon) – (Asc + Moon – Sun)

Therefore nocturnal Eros would also be: Asc + 2 (Sun – Moon).

In other words, the lot would have the same position by day and by night.

The same thing is true of Necessity.

If this is the correct way of performing the reversal, then Eros and Necessity would not mirror one another in the way that Spirit and Fortune do by always being symmetrical around the Asc/Dsc axis.




Why does this necessarily have to be viewed as an issue that needs to be resolved or corrected rather than simply a unique property of those lots?
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GR wrote:
If the reversal simply does not matter for the placement of these lots, then why did 'they' write the reversal in the first place?

Gabe



Perhaps the process of doing the reversal is intrinsic to they in which they were conceptualizing the lots. Shaking the helmet and letting the shards fall out, so to speak. Maybe reducing the calculations like that misses the point? I don't know.
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Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The final question I posed in my last post was:

“Now, perhaps the originator of these two lots [Eros & Necessity] intended them to end up in the same place by night and by day; perhaps he did not. To my knowledge this question cannot be resolved on the basis of the surviving sources. So what are we to do? And while we are at it, how do we choose between Valens’ versions of these two lots and the versions of Firmicus Maternus (if in fact he did not have the Hermetic versions of these lots instead), who has Spirit and Fortune reversed from the way Valens did it?”

Chris Brennan has responded as follows:

“Why does this necessarily have to be viewed as an issue that needs to be resolved or corrected rather than simply a unique property of those lots?”

Gabriel Rosas has asked why the term ‘reversal’ should be used at all if Chris’s reckoning be correct.

Now, I find this a very interesting question, since Chris could very well have replied that if my interpretation of the Hermetic lots and these two Valens lots is correct, and I keep insisting on a double reversal, why do these lots algebraically reduce to lots in which the diurnal formula stays the same, and all that happens is that Fortune and Spirit change in the normal way by day and by night. In that case, why use the word ‘reversal’ then? (Some would no doubt counsel me not to be putting arguments into the hands of my antagonist in this issue.) I think we should return to this after a bit.

Chris has said that 99% of the lots that have come down to us clearly reverse the order of counting and not the order of projection from the Hour-marker, and so why should this not be the case with the remaining lots as well?

I could simply say in return that it is also true that 99% of the lots do not end up in the same place, so why should this one?

However, what I was really getting at with my question is a different approach to resolving issues like the present one. Chris Brennan has emphasized earlier how important it is to have an exact understanding of the texts and tradition as it has come down to us, in order to have a “baseline” to work from in the future. I totally agree; in fact, I myself have made this same point and used this very same metaphor on numerous occasions. We must indeed make every effort to first understand the texts on their own terms and out of their own presuppositions and not impose our modern thinking on them. I also agree with him that arguments drawn from chart reading experience have little evidential value in resolving apparent ambiguities and even contradictions in the tradition—at least at this stage in our attempt to restore the tradition.

However, I maintain that there is a deeper approach for resolving such problems, one more in accord with the foundations of Hellenistic astrology. For years I have been expressing my view that Hellenistic astrology at its origins was an elaborate and well-ordered system. It could not have been developed through centuries of empirical observation over many centuries; instead, it was a rational construct. By saying this, I do not mean to cast suspicion on its validity. After all, modern science is itself a rational construct.

In a system of concepts and techniques, everything has its place in the overall context of the system and ultimately takes its meaning from that context. If we can understand the principles behind the systematic construction, we can resolve ambiguities and contradictions in the source texts.

I wish to move the argument concerning the reversal question a little bit in the direction I have suggested. I also hope to show how by doing so we can begin to connect different and scattered statements in different authors.

To recapitulate my algebraic derivation in the last post:

Diurnal Eros = Asc + 2 (Sun – Moon) in both my understanding of this lot and Chris Brennan’s.

Notice what happens if I simply group the terms of this formula differently.

Diurnal Eros = (Asc + Sun – Moon) + (Sun – Moon)

But: Asc + Sun – Moon is the diurnal formula for the Lot of Spirit.

Therefore:

Diurnal Eros = Spirit + Sun – Moon.

Consequently, we may say that diurnal Eros is a kind of Lot of Spirit cast out from the primary Lot of Spirit instead of the Hour-Marker, a kind of second derivative from one of the two primitive functions involving the two lights—or, as I like to say, it is Spirit’s Lot of Spirit.

Now, this makes quite a bit of sense to me. All our texts agree that the Lot of Spirit signifies the soul, but we find in Valens the interesting slant that this is the soul largely insofar as it is moved or roused to action—the soul insofar as it is purposive and has intentions to act. To cautiously use a more modern concept, and at the risk of anachronism, as a faculty of the soul the Lot of Spirit is more like the will than either the intellective or appetitive parts of the soul.

Now this line of reasoning leads me to speculate that Eros is a specification of the Lot of Spirit. If we ask what faculty of the soul most moves us to action, I believe that most people would agree it is our faculty of desire: that is, Eros.

(At some point I would dearly love to discuss this issue with Osthanes in the context of the Phaedrus and the two horses. But perhaps I am presuming too much on what I take to be his Platonic predilections, in which I of course partake, and for which methexis all astrologers should strive. Is a well positioned Lot of Spirit and its lord obedient to the commands of nous, the Sun; and is not a more poorly positioned Lot of Spirit and its lord subject to epithumia in the sense of orexis and the Moon?)

Now, my version of the nocturnal reversal of Eros (involving the double reversal) gives:

Nocturnal Eros = Asc + 2 (Moon – Sun).

Regrouping the above terms:

Nocturnal Eros = (Asc + Moon – Sun) + (Moon – Sun)

Or: Nocturnal Eros = Spirit + Moon – Sun

Here again, we have Spirit’s Lot of Spirit for a nocturnal chart.

By similar reasoning, I find the Lot of Necessity to be Fortune’s Lot of Fortune, or a Lot of Fortune cast out from the primary Lot of Fortune rather than the Hour-marker, and I have no trouble seeing Necessity as a further specification of Fortune.

This is what I mean by conceptual consistency in a system.

Surely this analysis begins to cast some light on the remark of Rhetorius in the ‘Tabular Examination’ that the lord of Basis—Basis being either Eros or Necessity in any given chart--indicates the ‘foundation of Fortune’ in the native’s life. I notice that the Lot of Basis is being discussed on another thread.

This is how we can use arguments of conceptual consistency to link texts and help us understand the delineation of astrological factors.

Now, by Chris’s reckoning, the reversal by night would have each lot ending up in exactly the same place. His diurnal Lot of Eros is the same as mine, and reduces to Spirit’s Lot of Spirit. However there is a major difference in his nocturnal calculation.

Algebraically, Chris’s reckoning leads to:

Nocturnal Eros = Asc + 2 (Sun – Moon) = Fortune + Sun – Moon.

This would correspond to Fortune’s Lot of Fortune in a nocturnal chart, not Spirit’s Lot of Spirit. I have a hard time understanding how such a formula would relate to Eros at all, since there is nothing in this formula to signify the soul, although I am open to suggestions.

And according to Brennan’s approach, nocturnal Lot of Necessity would become Spirit’s Lot of Spirit. I cannot see any meaning here either.

This is what I mean by conceptual inconsistency in a system.

In general, Chris’s approach in each case leads to a lot that does not change its position by day and by night, but changes its character from Eros to Necessity or Necessity to Eros with a nocturnal reversal. Does this make sense? Such a lot would have a unique property indeed! But such a lot would be conceptually inconsistent with the entire system of lots.

We do indeed need to examine our source texts with care. We also have to use our minds.

Robert Schmidt
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Clelia Romano



Joined: 31 Mar 2008
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Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Mr. Schmidt:

Nice to see you!

I have been following the discussion, kind of preoccupied because if you´re right many things I have been using with good results, can be simply wrong!
Anyway, I can live with the fact of beginning from the scratch in the case of lots.
My question is that I´m not obtaining the same results as yours.
You wrote that:


Quote:
Since Valens’ versions of Eros and Necessity have been brought up several times already on this thread, let me use them as an example.

Diurnal Eros = Asc + Spirit – Fortune = Asc + (Asc + Sun - Moon) – (Asc + Moon – Sun).

Therefore diurnal Eros = Asc + 2 (Sun – Moon).

If for a nocturnal Eros we use nocturnal Fortune and Spirit and simply reverse the order of counting as Chris Brennan enjoins us to do, we get:

Nocturnal Eros = Asc + Fortune – Spirit = Asc + (Asc + Sun – Moon) – (Asc + Moon – Sun)

Therefore nocturnal Eros would also be: Asc + 2 (Sun – Moon).

In other words, the lot would have the same position by day and by night.


I´m not good in math, so I did the calculation by hand, and I found out a different result from your formula. I reversed the lots maintaining the Asc. They did not fall in the same place. If I´m right and if I got what you meant it was supposed that the result would be the same for diurnal or nocturnal nativities, even reversing the lots.
In my counts I obtained different results, as I said.

I´ll explain what I did:

I switched the Fortune and Spirit maintaining the ASC.

Let´s suppose it is a nocturnal chart and the ASC is at 27 Libra, the Fortune is at 1º Pisces, and Spirit is at 24º Gemini.
Nocturnal Eros= Asc + Fortune – Spirit
207+ 331º-84º=94º59’ =(4º59’ Cancer)

Now, maintaining the ASC and changing to the diurnal formula (just to check it out):
Asc + Spirit – Fortune
207+84º-331º=320º59’=(20º59’ Aquarius)

Thank you in advance for your explanation:

Clélia
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