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Traditional Techniques in the Sidereal
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Tom wrote:
Quote:
Skyscript might attract some new blood and we'll all benefit from that.



Indeed that would be good. In the last year we have lost quite a few knowledgeable traditional forum regulars for varying reasons.

Mark


Big thank you to Deb for doing this:
http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6581
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I received an enquiry about whether it would be possible to set up a thread that would only deal with sidereal interpretations. That would seem contrary to the focus of this particular forum, which has a broad interest in how ancient and traditional principles have become defined within mainstream western practice. Evaluating the historical and theoretical development of ancient techniques naturally generates debate, and in threads such as this it is impossible to censor posts so they are only adhering to one viewpoint.

To accommodate those who want to explore the practise of sidereal astrology without comparison to the tropical zodiac perspective I have set up a new forum area:

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewforum.php?f=17

As Tom mentioned earlier "The Traditional Forum was established as kind of a safe haven for traditionalists to discuss their favorite subject without interference from modern critics trying to establish their superiority."

Many sidereal astrologers are important, valued contributors to this forum and hopefully that will continue without any change. The idea of a forum area dedicated to the sidereal perspective is only that they now have a "safe haven" area too.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I may answer your second point first, Paul:

Quote:
For example, what is the logic behind sidereal astrologers using domicile rulership? If we accept the commonly accepted view that the luminaries line up with the signs of the brightest warmest months with saturn as the coldest body being the furthest away relating to the coldest months etc. how does this logic get applied in a purely sidereal away.

You are absolutely right: if we accept that premise (first formulated, as far as I know, by Ptolemy), then applying rulerships in the sidereal zodiac makes no sense -- and neither does applying those same rulerships in the tropical zodiac when casting charts for the southern hemisphere. But I don't see that Ptolemy's logic is very compelling to begin with. The association of the Sun with heat is natural, but why the Moon? And shouldn't the actual solstice point then fall in or close to the Sun's sign, rather than at the demarcation point between the signs ruled by Mercury and the Moon?

(As an aside, I will say that I routinely verify clients' birth times from the sidereal rulers of their ascendants, and so far they have never failed me, even when I have sent people away to double-check their seemingly precise birth times. But that is perhaps a topic more suitable for the newly-created sidereal forum.)

As for your second point:

Quote:
I actually don't see why it's so problematic that the ancients calculated the equinox incorrectly [...]

As I said in an earlier post, there is no 'correctly' or 'incorrectly' to it. Saying that Aries coincides with the equinox, or that it begins such-and-such a number of degrees before it, are stipulative definitions. The point is that you can't have a purely tropical zodiac and then miscalculate the distance between its zero point and the equinox. In order to say that the equinox falls at 8° or 10° or 15° of Aries, you must have a different, visible point of reference for the beginning of Aries. In other words, such a measurement can only arise in a conceptually sidereal zodiac.

I feel I am beginning to repeat myself, and others are doing the same, so I may not participate much further on this thread -- at least I hope not to. Smile I suspect all the good points have been made already.
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Paul
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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Gansten wrote:

You are absolutely right: if we accept that premise (first formulated, as far as I know, by Ptolemy), then applying rulerships in the sidereal zodiac makes no sense -- and neither does applying those same rulerships in the tropical zodiac when casting charts for the southern hemisphere. But I don't see that Ptolemy's logic is very compelling to begin with. The association of the Sun with heat is natural, but why the Moon? And shouldn't the actual solstice point then fall in or close to the Sun's sign, rather than at the demarcation point between the signs ruled by Mercury and the Moon?


Right, it's a big if. I don't deny that, nor do I deny that it raises theoretical problems with a southern hemisphere perspective. These are all valid considerations. However it doesn't address the issue of domicile rulership in a sidereal scheme. I'm not fully aware of the entire history of domicile rulership, but to the best of my knowledge we have no (that we know of) examples of domicile rulership explicitly mentioned in the babylonian sources - though we may infer from it that they were aware of domicile dignity? I do not know enough about this to accurately make any statement one way or another. However we do know that the hellenistic astrologers were using domicile dignity, but what was the logic that it was based upon if not Ptolemy's?

I personally find a model, even if it takes some imagination to be more compelling than no model whatsoever. Is there a model that the sidereal astrologer would put forward to explain the logic behind domicile rulership?

I always saw the idea as less to do with heat as first and foremost to do with light. So the luminaries being the brightest objects were given the brightest months, though it is, admittedly, baffling why the brighter of the two, the sun, shouldn't get the cardinal sign. Either way, is there a sidereal logic that makes sense?


Quote:

As I said in an earlier post, there is no 'correctly' or 'incorrectly' to it. Saying that Aries coincides with the equinox, or that it begins such-and-such a number of degrees before it, are stipulative definitions. The point is that you can't have a purely tropical zodiac and then miscalculate the distance between its zero point and the equinox. In order to say that the equinox falls at 8° or 10° or 15° of Aries, you must have a different, visible point of reference for the beginning of Aries. In other words, such a measurement can only arise in a conceptually sidereal zodiac.


Right, but I thought that's what they were talking about? Maybe I've misunderstood this all along. I always thought it was that the hellenistic, for the most part sidereally defined, astrologers were calculating the equinoctial point in relation to their sidereally defined zodiac. As in, in comparison to 0 Sidereal Aries, the equinoctial point was at 8, 10, 15 Aries. But this might have just been my massive assumption all along? If it is as I think it is, then I don't see why having several guesses in relation to the sidereal zodiac is so flawed, the basic principle behind it of trying to find the equinox and calculate from there is the same, it's just that the calculation is incorrect. With this in mind I don't see how it's all that different than taking an otherwise arbitrary fixed star such as Spica and using it as the basis of an ayanamsha - both are an attempt to define an otherwise fixed point and define their zodiac from it, even if there are competing calculations for how to do so.

Maybe I've been thinking of it obtusely though, I'm genuinely unsure now. I had always thought it was quite clear that the 8 degrees, 10 degrees etc. were in relation to a sidereal zodiac, almost the opposite to an ayanamsha, rather than subtracting from the tropical zodiac, instead adding to the sidereal zodiac if that makes sense. Am I wrong in that though?
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:

Quote:
Many sidereal astrologers are important, valued contributors to this forum and hopefully that will continue without any change. The idea of a forum area dedicated to the sidereal perspective is only that they now have a "safe haven" area too.


Thank you, Deb. I hope that with a safe haven we might see more posts by astrologers who use the sidereal zodiac. I have been very curious about the sidereal investigations Konrad mentioned.


Therese
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Note to Martin:

Martin, somewhere in a quick scan of posts this morning (no time to carefully read posts until evening), you mentioned that you check the sidereal ascendant lord before reading a chart. If you have time, I'd like to see you elaborate on that point under a new topic heading ("The Ascendant Lord"...or whatever) on the new Sidereal forum Deb just set up.

Having a few concrete examples would help others to understand how we use sidereal rulers.

Therese
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
However we do know that the hellenistic astrologers were using domicile dignity, but what was the logic that it was based upon if not Ptolemy's?

Well, the schema is the same irrespective of the starting-point used for the zodiac: the signs of the luminaries are flanked by those of the other planets in the order of the 'spheres'. I confess I don't know precisely when Cancer and Leo were first assigned to the luminaries, or why -- but I would consider a symbolic connection between the Crab and the Moon, and between the Lion ('king of beasts') and the Sun, at least as feasible an explanation as Ptolemy's would-be naturalistic one. (I say 'would-be' because of the hemisphere issue.) However, this is all speculative.

Quote:
Maybe I've been thinking of it obtusely though, I'm genuinely unsure now. I had always thought it was quite clear that the 8 degrees, 10 degrees etc. were in relation to a sidereal zodiac, almost the opposite to an ayanamsha, rather than subtracting from the tropical zodiac, instead adding to the sidereal zodiac if that makes sense. Am I wrong in that though?

I think you are quite right that the degree numbers refer to a sidereal zodiac -- after all, what alternative is there? And that, indeed, is my point: in order to measure the position of the equinox as a point somewhere within a sign, irrespective of how accurate your calculation of that point is, you must have a framework for the signs which is based not on the equinox but on the stars.

What Ptolemy did (following Hipparchus and other non-astrological writers) was not to say 'the Babylonians miscalculated the position of the equinox within the sign Aries; here is the correct calculation'. Rather, he simply defines Aries as beginning with the equinox: not calculation, but pure stipulation:

Quote:
For this reason, although there is no natural beginning of the zodiac, since it is a circle, they assume that the sign which begins with the vernal equinox, that of Aries, is the starting-point of them all, making the excessive moisture of the spring the first part of the zodiac as though it were a living creature [...] (Tetrabiblos 1.10, Robbins's translation)
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Mark
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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin wrote:
Quote:
That's exactly right, and (I think) obvious from my original comment, particularly if taken in context.


Hello Martin,

The exact context of your comment I replied to was a comment by Paul:

Paul wrote:
Quote:
Of course sidereal astrologers have tried to remove the tropical considerations from their usage as would only be natural I guess.


To which you replied:
Quote:
Just as tropical astrologers have tried to remove the emphasis on the stars contained within the signs, yes.


I can see why you and Therese concur in your perception of this issue from an exclusively siderealist perpective. Nevertheless, your statement either consciously or unsconsciously ignored the fact that tropicalists continue to work with the stars. So there was never an attempt by tropicalists to completely remove stars from the tropical signs. I accept that wasn't your focus but that is exactly my point. Tropicalists dont perceive the matter like you and we have every right to challenge your presentation of this issue.

As for tropicalists rejecting the sidereal focus on 'signs' defined by stars this is something that is hardly controversial. However, I do think your position is historically contentious if we are discussing the notion of 'sidereal signs' ever existing in Greek astrology. This works on the assumption that the Hellenistic zodiac was defined on the basis of fixed stars defining 30 degree sign boundaries. What actual evidence do you have to support this claim?

Martin wrote:
Quote:
We were talking about the signs, and I said that just as contemporary sidereal astrologers must disregard the tropical references in ancient definitions of the signs, so contemporary tropical astrologers must disregard the references to particular stars in ancient definitions of the signs. To me this seems perfectly obvious, and it is a mystery to me what could appear 'historically unbalanced' or 'grotesquely inaccurate' about it.


I have searched this thread but cant find where you stated this explicitly . Its certainly not made at the point of this thread I replied to. However, this is a 15 page thread! The whole issue of the role of fixed stars and asterisms is a very interesting one. As Deb has stated the ancient astrologers had no conflict in mixing seasonal and sidereal considerations together. Both the tropical zodiac and the varying sidereal zodiacs must deal with the implications of precession.

However, it occurs to me there is a difference between the tropical and sidereal attitude to precession. You suggest siderealists must reject all seasonal considerations in how sign symbolism developed in ancient astrology. However, as I have been trying to point out tropical astrologers don’t see the need to totally disconnect from the stars and constellations in the same way. Although I accept we don’t see this fundamentally changing the nature of tropical signs. Still these constellations can have a lot of influence through particular degrees of the tropical signs. So the sidereal dimension is still seen to exert an influence. For example, I give a lot of thought to the fact that much of the constellation of Scorpius is currently in tropical Sagittarius. This means that many of the degrees of Sagittarius are affected by malefic stars in Scorpius. Following the logic of ancient astrology I would suggest the shifting equinoctial and solsticial points in sidereal zodiac signs should have a changing influence in those signs too. Yet modern siderealism seeks to deny this important dimension in the development of sign symbolism. This modern siderealist view doesn’t seem consistent with the view of the ancient astrologers.
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Mark
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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin wrote:
Quote:
I think you are quite right that the degree numbers refer to a sidereal zodiac -- after all, what alternative is there? And that, indeed, is my point: in order to measure the position of the equinox as a point somewhere within a sign, irrespective of how accurate your calculation of that point is, you must have a framework for the signs which is based not on the equinox but on the stars.


Hello Martin,

I have been reading Alexander Jones article 'Ancient Rejection and Adoption of Ptolemy's Frame of Reference for Longitudes.' Alexander Jones has given us the most detailed scholarship on early Greek horoscopes for decades.

The article is only 30 odd pages long but extremely detailed and copious in its discussion on the issue of the reception of Ptolemy's ideas. It also discusses the so called 'Alexandrian zodiac' used by hellenistic astrologers before Ptolemy. Looking at Valens, Jones concludes that the frame of reference Valens was was working with was essentially 'tropical' not sidereal.

You seem to assume that references to the equinox 8 degrees into a 'sign' necessitates a fixed star reference point. In particular you present this as if we are dealing with a sidereal 'sign' with the equinox 8 degrees within it. Jones suggests there is no evidence of a sidereal basis to the hellenistic zodiac signs. The basic frame of reference was derived from tables of solar longitudes not star positions. Valens utilised the solar longitude tables of Hipparchus which suggested that the zodiac began at O Aries. He used these but subtracted 8 degrees from those longitudes.

Hence the astrological tradition Valens followed insisted on a fixed equinox 8 degrees within the the astronomical zodiac signs of Aries and Libra. Valens calculated his horoscopes with 8 Aries as the starting point not 0 Aries. It is true that astronomically this was not the correct position of the equinox. However, Valens shows no knowledge of precession and appears to have believed like many of his contemporaries that the equinox lay at 8 degrees Aries. So the Greek astronomical equinox lay at O Aries (the correct tropical one) while the Greek astrological equinox lay at 8 Aries within the astronomical zodiac. In practical terms for Valens 8 Aries in the astronomical zodiac was actually O Aries in the astrological zodiac.

The fact that Valens was using an incorrect position for the equinox doesn't change the fact he calculated his charts from the position from which he and other hellenistic astrologers perceived as the equinox point. The basic notion of calculating the beginning of the zodiac at the equinox is essentially a tropical not a sidereal one.

Jones comments regarding Valens:

Quote:
...according to the internal logic of the system the frame of reference is tropical.


Interestingly, at least one early demotic horoscope appears to be calculated on 0 Aries as the beginning of the zodiac.

Jones considers that from the third century CE onwards hellenistic horoscopes based on O Aries predominate following the influence of Ptolemy.

I fully concede I am necessarily heavily oversimplfying a complex thesis by Jones. One can certainly dispute how useful it is to describe a position as explicitly 'tropical' or 'sidereal' in a period before the proper understanding of precession.

Still, from my reading of Jones research it looks very difficult to continue to maintain the existence of some 'sidereal zodiac' prior to Ptolemy amongst the Greek astrologers. Ptolemy was therefore not as astrologically revolutionary as siderealists have long maintained. Instead he continued the tradition of earlier hellenistic astrologers in starting the astrological zodiac with the equinox. Ptolemy simply introduced greater astronomical precision into the existing astrological tradition.

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Paul"]
Therese Hamilton wrote:
Such as the beginning of Aries: "Aries is by nature, watery, with thunder and hail," etc....

Obviously a "watery" Aries doesn't correlate with its designation of fiery.


Quote:
Hi Therese

What source is this from? I'm curious, because when I quoted from Valens you replied stating that "Velens is problematic in that he combines seasonal and weather symbolism with constellational, star and planetary rulership symbolism"


This is from the Riley translation of Valens on Aries. By "problematic" I meant that there are several different sources for sign designations in Valens, and before even discussing Valens on signs, the symbolism has to be sorted out: stars, seasons, ruling planets, triplicities, constellations, etc.

Quote:
If you look at a map of the sky with sidereal boundaries drawn in, you see that the entire first part of Aries contains a big part of the constellation of Pisces including the primary "knot," Alrisha, and the long cord of the northern fish and the fish itself.


Quote:
Do you mean that the first part of 'tropical' Aries is contained by sidereal Pisces? Or do you mean that the first part of sidereal Aries is contained by the constellational Pisces?


The constellation of Aries is small, not nearly 30 degrees in length. But the sidereal signs are each 30 degrees. On the other hand, the constellation of Pisces is much longer than 30 degrees. So when the ecliptic is divided into 12 equal segments of 30 degrees each, stars in Pisces land in Aries, which is in the same location as Hellenistic Aries. Tropical Taurus is now where Hellenistic Aries used to be. (And where sidereal Aries is still located.)

In the tropical zodiac Taurus now contains stars of the constellation of Pisces as well as stars of Cetus, the sea monster.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
However, it occurs to me there is a difference between the tropical and sidereal attitude to precession....As I have been trying to point out tropical astrologers don’t see the need to totally disconnect from the stars and constellations in the same way. Although I accept we don’t see this fundamentally changing the nature of tropical signs. Still these constellations can have a lot of influence through particular degrees of the tropical signs.


This is true, but with so many stars of Pisces contained in the early degrees of tropical Taurus, how many tropical astrologers do you know who consider the symbolism of Pisces when they see planets in those early degrees? And from about the middle of Tropical Taurus is the head of Cetus and a long section of Aries. How many tropical astrologers routinely use symbolism of those constellations when they interpret a birth chart?

Yes, individual stars are used by some Tropical astrologers, Diana Rosenberg being the "fixed star lady." But this is entirely different than giving an entire section of a sign symbolism linked to these constellations that lie beneath the tropical signs. (In India's astrology the actual stars and asterisms are reflected in the interpretation of the lunar mansions.)
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese wrote:
Quote:
This is true, but with so many stars of Pisces contained in the early degrees of tropical Taurus, how many tropical astrologers do you know who consider the symbolism of Pisces when they see planets in those early degrees? And from about the middle of Tropical Taurus is the head of Cetus and a long section of Aries. How many tropical astrologers routinely use symbolism of those constellations when they interpret a birth charts?


Hi Therese,

I have no idea of how many. Probably very few indeed. But then excluding the 12 sidereal signs how many sidereal astrologers work extensively with constellations?

Personally, I give more focus to the stars of the constellation of say Aries in tropical Taurus than stars in constellations well outside the ecliptic. I use various methods of working with fixed stars: ecliptical projection, in mundo rising/settings and declinations.

Therese wrote:
Quote:
Yes, individual stars are used by some Tropical astrologers, Diana Rosenberg being the "fixed star lady." But this is entirely different than giving an entire section of a sign symbolism linked to these constellations that lie beneath the tropical signs. (In India's astrology the actual stars and asterisms are reflected in the interpretation of the lunar mansions.


I dont necessarily disagree with you there. I am probably quite odd amongst tropicalists in being interested in the Nakshatras. I have also looked at the Arabic Lunar mansions. Personally, I see no logic for a lunar zodiac derived from the tropical zodiac. Hence I dont like the Arabic Lunar mansions derived from tropical positions. For me its quite possible to have a solar tropical zodiac and a lunar zodiac derived from sidereal marker stars.

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
But then excluding the 12 sidereal signs how many sidereal astrologers work extensively with constellations?


Some of the extra zodiacal stars and asterisms are preserved in India's lunar mansions, but there are probably very few astrologers like myself who keep a map of the sky on their desk and use it constantly when studying charts.

Quote:
I use various methods of working with fixed stars: ecliptical projection, in mundo rising/settings and declinations.


And there you are working with the stars just like the western sidereal astrologers.

Quote:
Personally, I see no logic for a lunar zodiac derived from the tropical zodiac. Hence I dont like the Arabic Lunar mansions derived from tropical positions. For me its quite possible to have a solar tropical zodiac and a lunar zodiac derived from sidereal marker stars.


Yes, a good combination. Tropical astrologers would find it very interesting to incorporate India's mansions in their work. They'd start to notice differences in how their signs manifest in charts depending on the mansion location of planets.
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Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Mark, there is a Swedish saying: Trägen vinner, 'Dogged wins'. You are repeating your arguments over and over, and I find them no more convincing or relevant now than at the beginning of the discussion; but I have neither the time nor the inclination to go on repeating my own. (Also, I think you are quote-mining Jones's excellent article.) If you want to know my response to your points, please go back and read my earlier posts, perhaps a tad more carefully this time.
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Paul
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Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:

The constellation of Aries is small, not nearly 30 degrees in length. But the sidereal signs are each 30 degrees. On the other hand, the constellation of Pisces is much longer than 30 degrees. So when the ecliptic is divided into 12 equal segments of 30 degrees each, stars in Pisces land in Aries, which is in the same location as Hellenistic Aries. Tropical Taurus is now where Hellenistic Aries used to be. (And where sidereal Aries is still located.)


Right, but I'm not sure exactly what you were trying to highlight with this then. What you've demonstrated is that sidereal astrologers, and we can take Valens as being fairly sidereal presumably, no longer associate their sign meanings with the constellations. You seemed to be applying this to tropical astrologers, but actually it's true of sidereal astrologers too.
You say
Quote:
Obviously a "watery" Aries doesn't correlate with its designation of fiery. Tropical astrologers today use the fixed stars in their work, but these are constantly changing degrees with precession, and don't have their initial influences in the signs. So they are no longer used to describe the signs themselves. Also the sign of Aries (in ancient times) contained the major part of Cetus, the sea monster. So Hellenistic Aries can indeed be called "watery" if we look at the totality of the sky.


Well sidereal Aries still contains as much of Pisces as it did then, and as much of Cetus or whatever. But modern sidereal astrologers still call Aries fiery. What you seem to be demonstrating is that the idea of breaking up the sidereal zodiac into equal pieces is somewhat flawed as in practice the sidereal astrologers of old despite having equal signs still went ultimately by constellations and so sidereal Aries, because it contains constellational Pisces, becomes part watery. In otehr words it's the constellations and not the signs that the symbolism is taken. If that's the case, why bother with an equally divided ecliptic in sidereal astrology? I do admit that this is another puzzler for me with sidereal astrologers. If you believe that the association is truly sidereal why not keep the constellational boundaries? If you go by your own example, Valens is actually more interested in the constellations than the signs himself. This of course has less to do with tropical astrology than it does with sidereal astrology. It would appear that the argument you've made actually weakens the idea of an equally divided ecliptic for sidereal astrology and the emphasis should instead be on the constellations.
This is just another place that where I find the internal logic of sidereal astrology baffling and why, from a theoretical viewpoint, tropical seems more consistent and again why I always feel uncomfortable using a sidereal zodiac. It just seems to contradict itself. On one hand it is saying that the link to the stars if what's important and in the next breath ignoring every single other star and constellation (for the purposes of calculation that is) except the one which they use for their ayanamsha. It never made sense to me to suggest that the real stars and constellations are important and then to basically ignore them in favour of an equally divided ecliptic. Your comment then to Mark could be applied to sidereal astrologers as well, namely when you ask "How many tropical astrologers routinely use symbolism of those constellations when they interpret a birth chart? ", well how many sidereal astrologers routinely use the constellation of Pisces when interpreting sidereal Aries?
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