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Aversion and the 2nd house?
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margherita



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Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Martin

Martin Gansten wrote:
Our only clue is when Ptolemy says that the 9th, 10th and 11th houses are in trine, square and sextile to the ascendant, respectively; but again, he may have been speaking ideally. In any case, it's not Placidus.


well to be honest this sounds like Placido...

But in any case as I wrote in an earlier post, I don't want enter in a controversy like this. As Deborah wrote there is no evidence, neither on one side nor the other, that's my idea too.

The only thing I care that in my experience divisional houses work very well in reading a birth chart, without that whole sign houses could add further information in my method of judging a chart.
Obviously others have their method and work for them as we see from Mark example. For me in this case it's impossible to have a more precise idea, because I don't know the man we are talking about, it's like a blind chart for me.

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Deb
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Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Martin,
Martin wrote:
This said, there really is nothing about Placidus houses in Ptolemy. Not in the Tetrabiblos, not in the Almagest. The principle (proportional semi-arcs) is there -- it is what the Ptolemaic system of directions is built on -- but it really is nothing to do with houses

Yes, it's the principle. My comment was:
Quote:
it's in the Almagest that his discussion of time division reveals the logic that underpins the 'Placidus system'.

We don't know what that principle was applied to, but Ptolemy advises that the correct length of day and night is determined by the Sun's alignment with the ascendant and descendant, that division of this period by 12 creates the seasonal hours, and that multiplication of the seasonal hours is used to establish the positon of the midheaven with respect of the ascendant, or vice versa and so forth.

All we can say is that this is a clear example of time division being used to establish division of the astronomical sphere at any given time and place. The seasonal hours are what we call the 'planetary hours' which is what the time-based Placidean system is built on. When the Almagest gets heavily mathematical and technical in its astronomical details its meaning is beyond my understanding, but Placidus reported himself that he followed the logic of Ptolemy. Whether Ptolemy was indeed describing something that was used as a basis for astrological house division, or just talking about the main framework of quadrant division, or just talking about arc ascensions used only for directions, I don't know. But given his declared adherence to Ptolemaic logic I think it's reliable to assume that the house system ascribed to Placidus was based upon Placidus' own understanding (or assumption of understanding) of what Ptolemy wrote in the Almagest.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

margherita wrote:
Martin Gansten wrote:
Our only clue is when Ptolemy says that the 9th, 10th and 11th houses are in trine, square and sextile to the ascendant, respectively; but again, he may have been speaking ideally. In any case, it's not Placidus.

well to be honest this sounds like Placido...

No it doesn't. Placidus does it backwards: instead of defining the 9th house as the place in the zodiac where the trine of the ascendant falls, which is what Ptolemy says, Placidus calculates the 9th house in a different way and then defines the relationship of that space to the ascendant as a 'mundane trine', unrelated to the zodiac -- a concept which did not exist prior to his time.

Quote:
But in any case as I wrote in an earlier post, I don't want enter in a controversy like this. As Deborah wrote there is no evidence, neither on one side nor the other, that's my idea too.

There is very little evidence, but some.

Deb wrote:
When the Almagest gets heavily mathematical and technical in its astronomical details its meaning is beyond my understanding, but Placidus reported himself that he followed the logic of Ptolemy [...] given his declared adherence to Ptolemaic logic I think it's reliable to assume that the house system ascribed to Placidus was based upon Placidus' own understanding (or assumption of understanding) of what Ptolemy wrote in the Almagest.

That's rather large-spirited of you! Very Happy I don't think it's safe to assume any such thing. Placidus invented secondary directions, progressions, mundane aspects, etc, etc, and he tried to foist them all off on Ptolemy, along with his house system. Given his obvious intelligence, I find it extremely hard to believe that Placidus really thought Ptolemy intended any or all of those techniques. A simpler explanation is that Placidus just wanted to establish Ptolemaic authority for his own ideas. He wasn't the first to do so: the followers of the Regiomontanus method swore by Ptolemy, too. (And then the two camps swore at each other.) Wink
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Deb
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Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Placidus was an Italian monk, whose life coincided with that of Lilly. Yet hardly anything is known about his person because he was private - why assume he was so ego-driven that he was motivated to twist the truth, and invent falsities about the subject he clearly had a deep and sincere commitment to?

I don't think its "large spirited" to consider what he said himself as relevant to what he thought himself. You are basically suggesting he was too intelligent to not realise that he was lying, but did it anyway to draw down the authority of Ptolemy for ideas he invented himself. I constantly see the reverse in astrologers of that period - astrologers claiming originality for ideas they have taken from elsewhere.

I also don't accept that mundane aspects were not part of ancient astrology. I'm aware you've made this claim before but I don't agree with it because it doesn't stack up with the research I've done myself on the early origin and development of aspects. I'll leave that argument until I can publish my full exploration of it. It may be that others disagree, so rather than get into that let's assume that I've got some details wrong, made a big mistake, and assumed the presence of a technique that didn't really exist at that time. If I do it will be an honest mistake based on my own analysis of what I've studied and sought to understand myself. I hope no one will accuse me of making something up because my real motive was to claim ancient authority for an idea I just wanted to promote for whatever reasons I might have. Just to be clear, I don't use mundane aspects myself, but I have come to conclude that they were used, and considered to be very important by ancient astrologers. So maybe Placidus was right on that; or maybe he just thought he was right on that; or (being lesser spirited) maybe he had taken some vow of silence which left him physically unable to swear at the Regiomontanians, so he sat in his monastery and amused his baser instincts by designing new and novel ways to get on their nerves? At the end of the day, who knows??
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I can say, Deb, is that if you have found any evidence of Placidean mundane aspects (that is, by proportional semi-arcs -- not aspects in right or oblique ascension) prior to Placidus, it will be an absolute sensation. But even if such evidence should exist, which I doubt, it certainly wasn't known to Placidus, or he would have quoted it.

Claiming ancient authority has been done since astrology began, and it is still going on today (and not just in astrology, I might add -- it is there in all fields of religion and esotericism). Nothing new or unique about Placidus in that respect. I am sure he believed his ideas to be correct, which probably justified ascribing them to ancient authority. As for the 'who knows?' argument, even in the absence of absolute certainties not all scenarios are equally probable.

Anyway, I didn't want to tread on any toes -- I mainly jumped into this discussion to say I think you are right about quadrant houses being present from the beginning.
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Deb
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Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
it certainly wasn't known to Placidus, or he would have quoted it.


Maybe he died before he published the book where he intended to do that?
I can see how that might happen...

Glad you agree on my fundamental point - let's stick together on what we can. The view I wanted to express, which I find hard to turn away from, is that a lot of ancient astrology springs from the application of symbolism to time measurement, and the most ancient *astronomers* who were also acting as astrologers were keen on precision and don't show the same inclination towards idealism and rough and ready measurement that we find in later authors. In the classical period we have astronomers like Ptolemy working with astrology - hugely knowledgeable in mathematics and the technical details of astronomical calculation, and then we have reports of Roman astrologers throwing sticks up in the air and letting the sign it falls upon act as the ascendant for the client (pretty sure a whole-sign approach would have been taken there). So we can't realy too heavy on what any individual astrologer did, no matter how important that astrologer was. Even today we can see how some astrologers naturally lean more heavily towards mathematical precision in technique than others. It just strikes me that a great deal of astrological divsion draws its origin from calendrical division - zodiac/year - sign/month - degree/day; and the seasonal hours were obviously very important in ancient astronomy and astrology. We know that the order of the houses follows the order of ascension of stars which were monitored by two-hourly watches of ancient astronomers, and the ascendant was referred to as the 'horoscope' because it 'marked the hour' - so *maybe* there was an as yet unnapreciated association between houses and hours in ancient, pre-Hellenistic astrology. I don't know that - I'm just throwing out a suggestion. What we know is that quadrant division (such as 'Porphyry's') was discussed and explained, so obviously some astrologers were not just taking a whole sign approach. The point of debate is how much they were working within or against the representative technique of that era.

(I had a feeling when I started, that I should have left it at one line !)
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Clelia Romano



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Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Deb, Margherita, Eddy, Martin, Mark and all:

I had a busy work day so only now I´m having the opportunity to read your great posts!
I´ll attain to one only point, since you have already discussed the matter in detail. Thanks Deb for the contribution!

Quote:
Deb said:
“What we don't have, is a clear astrological example which proves one way or another which house system Ptolemy was working with - so we don't know whether it was the case that Ptolemy actually applied the same approach to house division as he did to time division, as Placidus supposed, or whether he used whole signs as you suppose


Quote:
And in other post, Deb said:
“All we can say is that this is a clear example of time division being used to establish division of the astronomical sphere at any given time and place”


Deb, I agree that all this division in time correspond to a division in space, and I also believe that Ptolemy and other ancient were aware of some kind of houses division, Porphyry, for example, but I have not seen in Ptolemy´s books any hint or mention of using them.
Instead we read that that houses 11th, 10th and 9th aspects the ASC, so because of this, Ptolemy is the only author who accepts the Moon in the 9th , even cadent, as apheta ( both in masculine and feminine signs). The geometrical division was very important to him and the perfect mathematical division only can be achieved using whole signs.


Quote:
“We have no evidence of any ancient astrologer using whole sign houses to determine planetary topic and then applying a quadrant division to determine planetary strength”


In Valens we have a bunch of charts analyzed and we see the exclusive use of whole signs and the huge importance gave to cadency.( the same we read in Ptolemy). It is not necessary to go too much far IMO to conclude that they used whole signs with an eye in cadency to determine the effectiveness of a planet. In my opinion this is suggestive that the delineation was made both by whole sign and cadency or not, what can be linked with a division of cardinal and cadent houses, even if not necessarily based in a "system” of houses division.

But my intention here is to point out that cardinality and cadency gave room to suppose that ancients used position to evaluate strength and whole sign to evaluate meaning.


Regards

Clelia
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Deb
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Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Clelia

Thanks for the comments. A quick reply as I have limited internet access. I covered your first point in a chapter in my book called 'Ptolemy's Powerful Places'. If you don't have it and would like to read it you can view it on Google books on this link.

The chapter begins on p.109 but the relevant section that refers to this point is on p.115. What Ptolemy's text appears to present is an equal house system rather than a whole sign system; however the point I make in my book is that we can't rely on that brief passage as proof of either system being used by Ptolemy in practice. Check the quote I give from Antiochus who describes the matter as Ptolemy does (from 5° above through the 25° that remain), but adds an extra detail to say that the principle only holds:

“if the squares [i.e, angles] should occur through ninety degrees. But if they should occur with a different number of degrees, divide the degrees of the square numbers equally into three parts, and you would know how many degrees each place of the zodiac has”. Thesaurus, ch. 26.

I would probably present some of the details in that chapter differently now, but my basic point on this, that Antiochus elaborates and demonstrates this further by example is very telling - we shouldn't expect to see the same degree of detail in the Tetrabiblos because Antiochus was offering an explanation of how to divide the houses whereas Ptolemy was only defining which of the areas were 'places of power'.

By the way, I slip into using the term 'house' but I do agree its more correct to call them 'places' for this period of astrology.

On your second point, the strongest example of an astrologer considering house position by both 'division' and 'counting' I have seen (in fact the only compelling example I have seen myself) is Masha'allah, and where I have seen him do it, as I mentioned earlier, he doesn't use the quadrant division to merely establish strength, but draws most of the house meaning from that, with occasional reference to what it might also mean, by 'counting'. It's not clear to me why Masha'allah worked that way, or how usual it was for other astrologers; I know that there are hints of this in Valens too but I'm not aware of any actual evidence to support the suggestion that astrologers drew meaning from whole signs and then reverted to quadrant analysis purely to determine effectiveness. If it was standard practice, wouldn't we expect to see at least one ancient astrologer explain that this is how it is done and why, in at least one place?There is no evidence and for me personally, there's no logic to the suggestion either. The cadent houses, for example, signify 'alien places' and places of weakness because they decline from the angle. It is clear that a great deal of house meanings are derived from whether or not the places are areas of effectiveness or weakness of expression, it is not something that can simply be detached from that principle as if there is no connection between effectiiveness of the placement and the meanings we derive from it.

All in my opinion, of course!

Regards
Deb
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margherita



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Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Martin

Martin Gansten wrote:
margherita wrote:


Quote:
But in any case as I wrote in an earlier post, I don't want enter in a controversy like this. As Deborah wrote there is no evidence, neither on one side nor the other, that's my idea too.

There is very little evidence, but some.



I don't think so. If no newcomers to astrology as Deborah Houlding and Giuseppe Bezza think in a different way, if Diedo before Placido believed that "Placido" house system was Ptolemy method
http://www.cieloeterra.it/articoli.diedo/diedo.html

if we can find the same principle in IbnEzra
http://www.cieloeterra.it/articoli.cablais/cablais.html

some doubt should arise. Otherwise, all scholars and astrologers agree on this matter.

Told this, again for me that's not so important who is right and who is wrong, I had not mentioned Placido in my reading because I was sure someone would mention this stuff of the "true Ptolemaic house system".

I was more interested in the fact an astrologer can read very well a chart without using whole sign houses, they don't add anything in my opinion to an easier and more direct reading based on Renaissance method.

margherita
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Mark
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Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All,

Most modern commentators suggest Ptolemy used a variant kind of equal house (Ben Dykes) or whole sign (Robert Hand) in his length of life calculation in Tetrabiblos. However, there was one commentator in the hellenistic era that thought otherwise. In particular one of the earliest commentators on the Tetrabiblos, Pancharios (as quoted by Hephaistio), did not think that Ptolemy had in mind an equal house division of the zodiac at all, but rather a house system similar to the Porphyry system utilised by Valens. The only difference being that Pancharios accommodates the five degrees above the Ascendant unequivocally required by Ptolemy. Pancharios was a Byzantine author well known for writing a work on medical astrology in the 4th century CE. He may have possessed material now lost to us.

I dont find that idea all that controversial. Its quite possible Ptolemy was applying a similar method to Valens cited above by Clelia. This would explain why he doesn't challenge the conventional whole sign orthodoxy of the time elsewhere in the Tetrabiblos. Unlike most of his contemporaries or successors Ptolemy had the mathematical skills to erect any number of ingenious house systems. We also know that the hellenistic astrologers used the ascensional rising of signs and primary directions which fits the time based kind of logic of a system like Placidus. However, I think the issue of planetary hours is something of a red herring. Planetary hours were an ancient Babylonian system. I dont know precisely how old but probably more ancient than horoscopic astrology itself. They might fit the logic of Placidus houses quite well but noone seems to have thought of that until much much later. Its one thing to suggest Ptolemy might have used a quadrant house system (Porphyry) in his length of life calculation. Its another leap of the imagination to suggest he was using Placidus houses. This kind of retrospective logic was clearly very attractive to Ibn Ezra and Placido De Tito. However, the available evidence just doesn't support this theory.

The hard fact is there is absolutely no proof of any time based house system being used until at least the Byzantine astrologer Rhetorius in the 6th /7th AD. The relevant text is the Compendium of Rhetorius and in particular Chapter 12 IV of the work. However, the authenticity of that bit of the text has been questioned in that respect by Osthanes (Levente) here on Skyscript a while back:

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4412&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

I dont know that much about Byzantine astrology. Most of what I have read though suggests it was very conservative and undertook no astrological innovations on the earlier tradition. And here we have for the the first time a time based house system (Alcabitius) developed by a Byzantine in the 6th-7th century AD! It seems more likely to me that ,as Levente suggests, later astrological techniques were incorporated into the text. In particular Levente suggests the 10th century CE Byzantine compiler Demophilus wrote the step-by step instructions for delineating a nativity which includes Alcabitius houses. The text is clearly corrupted in parts with later additions. Hence Sahl's planetary orbs make an appearance! It therefore seems quite plausible that the reference to Alcabitius houses in the text has been imported via the influence of Persian and Arabic Astrology into a Byzantine text. I tend to think there were no quadrant systems other than Porphyry developed in hellenistic astrology.

This article is from Robert Schmidt's introduction to Book III of the Tetrabiblos published by Project Hindsight (1996). Although its quite old it still has a lot of interesting information on the subject being discussed:

http://accessnewage.com/articles/astro/houses.htm

The more interesting question for me is are later astrologers describing house systems that effectively replaced whole sign houses or were they combining them in their delineations? We know in his Introduction to the Tetrabiblos Porphyry (3rd century CE) suggests a trisection of the ecliptical degrees that gave that house system his name. In chapter 43 entitled "Determination of the Angular, Cadent, and Succedent Houses to the Degree," Porphyry states that the cusps are derived by trisecting the semi-arc between the Ascendant and Midheaven.

Actually, I think Porphyry's text is where the quote from the Thesaurus of Antiochus used by Deb above really originates but I need to check that point.

The Roman astrologer Firmicus Maternus (4th century CE) in his work the Mathesis doesn't seem to be applying standard whole sign houses either. His approach is either equal house or if Robert Hand is right a combination of whole sign and equal house cusps.

Why is it so odd astrologers would look at different charts in delineation? Could it be that our contemporary astrological mindset in the west is blinkering our outlook? We know early astrologers like Valens effectively turned the chart using the Lot of fortune. If astrologers used a quadrant house for length of life calculation and whole sign for topics (as Valens did) it doesn't seem a massive leap to suggest this approach could have become more widespread in delineation. Look at Indian astrology. They inherited Whole sign and Porphyry houses from the Greeks and Romans. In Indian astrology several different kinds of chart can be applied to natal analysis.

Mark
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Margherita,

We've been over this topic before, so I won't comment further after this. Let me just say, on a methodological note, that complete scholarly consensus is a very rare thing indeed in any field -- which doesn't mean that all theories are equally strong.

In the present case, when I say there is 'some evidence', it's not a matter of opinion: it is there in the Tetrabiblos, in the passage I cited. We may interpret it differently, but Ptolemy does say that the 9th house trines the ascendant (etc) in the zodiac. That's beyond debate: it's a fact.

I hadn't heard of Diedo (thanks for the link), but it doesn't alter the case. It's not a matter of majority vote; and if it were, the Placidus party would lose: for every astrologer who has believed Ptolemy advocated used Placidus houses, there are hundreds, if not thousands, who believed differently. Of course Placidus houses are based on Ptolemy -- but on his method of direction, not of house division. Ptolemy describes no method for dividing the houses, and the little he does say about the houses (or places) doesn't agree with any quadrant method. (I suggested an explanation for that earlier.)

That's all from me on this thread, I think. Smile
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Deb
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Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Martin

Judged without reference to any other text, and with the assumption that Ptolemy intended to be specific and clear (which is doubtful given the brevity of the reference) then I agree with you. But the comment I made earlier shows how the same point, when described by Antiochus, receives elaboration which throws a whole new light on it. I know of many scholars who are only able to establish a reliable understanding of a passage of text by reference to how the point is made in other contemporary reports. At the end of the day you are right – Ptolemy’s text is not detailed enough to be determinate. Few of these ancient texts are without the reader having a reliable sense of context. For that we do need to examine the point across as wide a range of other contemporary writers as possible.


I am composing a reply to Mark and will post that and then I'll too have to leave the discussion as I can't commit more time to this at the moment.

Deb
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Deb
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Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark,

Because this is not a simple argument I'll give an answer to some of your comments but then I need to leave this. I have just noticed that your post has grown a lot since I started writing my response, and I have differences of opinion on some of your new comments. However, I don't have time to add more than what I've written (which is already quite long) so I'll offer this as food for thought and let others continue the discussion, knowing that there will obviously be many who take a different view to mine.

Mark wrote:
Its quite possible Ptolemy was applying a similar method to Valens cited above by Clelia. This would explain why he doesn't challenge the conventional whole sign orthodoxy of the time elsewhere in the Tetrabiblos.

Was there a “conventional whole sign orthodoxy” that Ptolemy felt any compulsion to ignore or challenge – or is this just a widely held current assumption based on the influence of the early Project Hindsight theories (many of which have had reason to be investigated further in the light of new evidence)?

Quote:
The more interesting question for me is are later astrologers describing house systems that effectively replaced whole sign houses or were they combining them in their delineations?

Again, this assumes that the whole sign approach was the original and correct method, that was subsequently replaced or amalgamated into something new, rather than a matter of convenience or the acceptance of an ideal – the ideal being that the signs matched the spatial divisions, not vice versa. Robert Hand has championed this theory but I think there is good evidence to suggest otherwise.

Quote:
Manilius doesn't seem to be applying standard whole sign houses either. His approach is either equal house or if Robert Hand is right a combination of whole sign and equal.

There is no doubt that what Manilius describes is meaning derived from spatial division, and the effect of increase and decline of power as planets are raised to prominence in the angular places and then suffer weakness as they fall from angles by diurnal revolution. Whole sign is out of the question for Manilius. He describes the places as the spaces between the permanently fixed cardinal points (asc/mc/desc/ic) and stresses the point that “the nature of the position prevails”. His text has been studied in great detail by many scholars within and without of astrology. Most accept that he was speaking only of some kind of spatial division of the local sphere, with the expectation that the house divisions reflected this. As the earliest extant text to describe the meaning of the houses to a level of detail clear enough to show how the spatial effect was the dominant source of house meaning, Manlius’s text is an argument against the notion that the whole sign approach offered an original method.

With regard to the article you referred to, this is the one that Robert Schmidt published in the 1990s to propose the notion that meaning comes from whole sign placement but quadrant divisions were used to evaluate planetary strength. Astrologers have relied upon the authority of this article without appreciating how many of the comments made within it are subject to debate.

For example, the suggestion that the whole sign ‘method’ was the oldest method of all, draws a lot of its weight from this being the apparent method of Valens (whilst admissions are made elsewhere that Valen's approach was often ‘crude’ in regard to technicalities). So when Robert Schmidt discusses why there is a very clear and explicit passage that describes the process of division adhering to what we call the ‘Porphyry method’ his suggestion is that we should consider this to be a separate technique, used only to judge planetary strength from position, rather than with respect to house meaning. Putting all other previous conceptions and contextual knowledge of other sources aside, this is not an irrational suggestion because the passage identifies the places as being powerful, average or weak – what we are all familiar with in the concept of angular houses being strong, cadent houses weak and suceedent houses intermediate.

However, because Valens doesn’t appear to reference the meaning of these places, other than strength of position, Robert Schmidt suggests:

    "He in no way indicates that he is establishing a division into topics, or a house-system in the proper sense. In fact he makes it clear that he is not when discussing the second place so constructed, "and to judge another 1/3 part of the degrees as middling neither more good nor more base on account of the post-ascension of the Horoskopos and the Goddess and the diameter of God."

In support of this he makes an illogical point. He continues (I've emboldened some particularly sgnificant comments):
    "The post-ascension of the Horoskopos is the second whole-sign, while Goddess is the traditional name for the third whole-sign. In other words, this division has an intermediate activity level because the two second and third traditional whole-signs overlap on it. Notice that he does not reassign the name "post-ascension" to the second interval nor the name "Goddess" to the third interval of his new mundane division.

    Furthermore, Valens offers this assessment of activity levels as his own correction of a tradition that preceded him, in which the first 1/3 of the mundane quadrant was considered to be powerful, but all the remaining degrees weak. Thus, it may have been Valens first of all who extended the activity assessment to twelve places instead of eight, and such a system could not in that case have preceded him."
What Robert Schmidt is saying is that the way the first part of the explanation is written is confusing and seems to be proposing something less straightforward than a three-fold divsision between the ascendant and IC. However, the next paragraph, which is not quoted by Schmidt, is perfectly clear in its meaning and restores the necessary clarity to know that what we would naturally assume was indeed the case. Quoting from Mark Riley’s text for convenience it reads (III.2):
    It is necessary to calculate likewise from MC, and to consider the first third of the distance between angles as operative, the second third, following MC, as of average influence (thus it was called Good Daimon by the ancients), and the last third, up to the Ascendant, as afflicting and inoperative. The Places in opposition to these will have the same force. Orion expounded all this in his book.
The fact that Valens acknowledges this to have been done by the ancients is relevant, and the fact that he defines the places by name is very significant, because these names are not, as Robert Schmidt suggests, the names of whole signs, they are the names of the celestial ‘places’, ie ‘houses’, as made clear by an abundance of other sources which give their names and expand upon the house meanings which extend from or relate to those names. As for example, in Manilius, where we are told that the first place is called horoscope because it is on the same level as the earth and marks where the stars rise and the time is divided into hours; or for example that the 11th house is called ‘good fortune’ because it is a place where planets are moving upwards towards the towards the summit of heaven; the third, which rises by diurnal motion form the lowest region, called goddess, etc.

I could spend many hours debating other points in that article if I had the time, but I don’t. This always turns into a very controversial discussion so let me be clear that I’m not denying that a whole sign approach can be effective or denying the use of it in ancient practice. I am pointing out that some arguments are being exaggerated to the point of astrologers assuming the matter is cut and dried when it isn’t. Robert Schmidt concludes his article by saying: “it is apparent that no astrologer writing in Greek ever used a dynamical division topically.”

The fact is that outside of Valens we still have very few examples of the practical application of these principles and very few examples indeed of graphical reproductions of charts that would make the matter clearer. However one of the very rare examples we have access to which offers a diagram to accompany the astrological analysis of the chart - in Greek - demonstrates the use of the Porphyry system of divisionand it clearly shows what Robert Schmidt says was never done. That’s obviously something to be considered. I'll give the link to the chart and my narrative on it below.

Although I am aware of arguments that this - like any other - might have been altered by a copyist, I see no reason to dispute the validity of this chart because I have checked all the details carefully. To suggest that the chart itself may have been later reconstructed in a system which was not that of the original astrologer's is not feasible unless we assume that the translator, for reasons of his own, changed the recorded text so that it matched with the chart details exactly, and also recalculated the whole thing, using the necessary tables of construction for the original time and place (which were not his own), down to minute details of agreement, rather than simply copying out what he saw before him (and then doing all this without leaving hint of a promotion of argument nor any reason as to why he would want to do all that complicated research rather than simply preserving and reproducing the original, which was the purpose of his work). Given that the method of Porphry division is so clearly described by a number of classical works, it is not necessary to assume that the system was never applied in practice. I think (well as far as I know) I was the first person to check the graphical chart details thoroughly and notice that this demonstrated Porphyry division. How many other examples may exist which have not yet been checked as this one has?

The details of that chart, which are interesting for all sorts of other reasons, are here:

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/greek_horoscope.html

(And just to be clear, I have never said that Ptolemy was using Placidus houses!)
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margherita



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Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Look at Indian astrology. They inherited Whole sign and Porphyry houses from the Greeks and Romans. In Indian astrology several different kinds of chart can be applied to natal analysis.

Mark



But do we really need?

It's a little like introducing Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and then Lilith, Vertex, Black Sun and more.

A lot of stuff in a chart does not give necessarily further information. But this should be the Virgo Sun Smile

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Clelia Romano



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Location: São Paulo

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Deb!

Quote:
quoting Deb

Thanks for the comments. A quick reply as I have limited internet access. I covered your first point in a chapter in my book called 'Ptolemy's Powerful Places'. If you don't have it and would like to read it you can view it on Google books on this link.



I already have your book, one of the first I read when I went into traditional astrology, but I will check it again specially focusing on the issue you pointed out!

Quote:
The chapter begins on p.109 but the relevant section that refers to this point is on p.115. What Ptolemy's text appears to present is an equal house system rather than a whole sign system; however the point I make in my book is that we can't rely on that brief passage as proof of either system being used by Ptolemy in practice.


I always understood that this was an explanation applicable only when dealing with length of life. Why he did not stressed to pick a planet before 5 degrees from the MC or from the 9th? Ptolemy mentions the rule only dealing with the ASC Wink

Quote:
Check the quote I give from Antiochus who describes the matter as Ptolemy does (from 5° above through the 25° that remain), but adds an extra detail to say that the principle only holds:
“if the squares [i.e, angles] should occur through ninety degrees. But if they should occur with a different number of degrees, divide the degrees of the square numbers equally into three parts, and you would know how many degrees each place of the zodiac has”. Thesaurus, ch. 26.


Quote:
my basic point on this, that Antiochus elaborates and demonstrates this further by example is very telling - we shouldn't expect to see the same degree of detail in the Tetrabiblos because Antiochus was offering an explanation of how to divide the houses whereas Ptolemy was only defining which of the areas were 'places of power'


Antiochus certainly is not using a whole sign division! it seems that he divides the houses proportionally when the degrees between the aspects were not exact. I have to read all this stuff again! Thank you for mention it!
Anyway this kind of equal house division beginning 5º before the cusp up to the 25º has no logic if we think that by primary motion the 5 degrees before are entering in the previous place.
But I got your point: perhaps Ptolemy was using this kind of division, even if we do not have any proof, besides the use of considering a planet belonging to the horoskopo and for purposes of length of life.


Quote:
On your second point, the strongest example of an astrologer considering house position by both 'division' and 'counting' I have seen (in fact the only compelling example I have seen myself) is Masha'allah, and where I have seen him do it, as I mentioned earlier, he doesn't use the quadrant division to merely establish strength, but draws most of the house meaning from that, with occasional reference to what it might also mean, by 'counting'.


Do you remember if you saw this in his book On Reception? This book had a huge influence in all my thinking. But he uses whole signs in it as far as I remember Confused


Quote:
but I'm not aware of any actual evidence to support the suggestion that astrologers drew meaning from whole signs and then reverted to quadrant analysis purely to determine effectiveness. If it was standard practice, wouldn't we expect to see at least one ancient astrologer explain that this is how it is done and why, in at least one place? There is no evidence and for me personally, there's no logic to the suggestion either. The cadent houses, for example, signify 'alien places' and places of weakness because they decline from the angle. It is clear that a great deal of house meanings are derived from whether or not the places are areas of effectiveness or weakness of expression, it is not something that can simply be detached from that principle as if there is no connection between effectiiveness o f the placement and the meanings we derive from it.


You have a good point here! Perhaps I jumped to conclusions and It does not make much logic, I agree, but, as you also said, the position of the places are linked to their significations, even if other condition also helped to give meaning to them.

Quote:
All in my opinion, of course!


And a very valuable opinion! You made me think a lot! Thank you!

Clelia
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