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Tropical And Sidereal Reconciliation
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Tue May 01, 2012 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astraea wrote:
I suspect that the reconciliation issue will remain controversial, as scholarship exists to support both sides of the debate.

Unfortunately, the amount of scholarship present in the debate is (as they say in India) 'very less'. Wilhelm's first major blunder appears in the second paragraph of page 1:

Quote:
The Greeks, Persians, Egyptians and the modern world of Europe along with its offspring in the Americas consider a Rasi to be a thirty degree arc of the ecliptic as measured from the Vernal Equinox (the position of the Sun as it crosses the equator on the first day of spring).

For all the amazing resources available on the Internet, I can't help wishing some people would read more books -- preferably peer-reviewed ones.
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Astraea



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Posted: Tue May 01, 2012 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Martin. The Internet certainly is a mixed bag and your assessments mean a great deal to me.
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varuna2



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Posted: Tue May 01, 2012 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Mark
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Posted: Tue May 01, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Astraea wrote;
Quote:
Here is another article on the subject, written by Ernst Wilhelm (an astrologer mentioned by Vic DiCara - author of the reconciliation paper - as a major influence): http://www.vedic-astrology.net/Articles/Mystery-of-the-Zodiac.pdf


I already gave the link to this article earlier in the thread and Varuna2 has commented on it. Smile

I agree with the criticisms of Wilhelm. He is clearly taking on more than he can handle in one article. I think he would have done better to offer a more modest introduction to the nakshatras for tropicalists. I also disagree with the kind of 'empiricism' that thinks only one zodiac can be correct. Its the mirror image of siderealist thinkers such as Cyril Fagan or Ken Bowser who offer the same kind of dogmatic dualism.

Mark
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Astraea



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Posted: Tue May 01, 2012 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Astraea wrote;
Quote:
Here is another article on the subject, written by Ernst Wilhelm (an astrologer mentioned by Vic DiCara - author of the reconciliation paper - as a major influence): http://www.vedic-astrology.net/Articles/Mystery-of-the-Zodiac.pdf


I also gave the link to this article earlier in the thread and Varuna2 has commented on it. Smile

Mark

So sorry, Mark, I completely missed that entire exchange. I hope that you and Varuna2 will excuse my error.
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Mark
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Posted: Tue May 01, 2012 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Varuna 2 wrote:
Quote:
In response to the idea of using the tropical zodiac with the sidereal nakshatras: How would it be possible to calculate the divisional charts by using a 12-fold division which shifts position relative to the nakshatras? The navamsha chart calculation would be rendered absurd by using the tropical zodiac with the sidereal nakshatras.


My knowledge of jytosh is pretty limited. However, one can surely still use the Nakshatras as a reference point. Principally for the location of the Moon but also the key angles and other planets. This is consistent with the style of Indian astrological classics like the Ravana Samhita.

I am also interested in learning more about how the dashas are calculated purely from the Nakshatras.

I am not necessarily suggesting a fusion of the two approaches. Indian astrologers have clearly developed techniques to do this but it wasn't always the case. The nakshatras were used as an independent astrological tool in India for centuries before the introduction of the 12 sign zodiac. This merger of these two completely different astrological systems has perhaps become rather blurred for a lot of Indians who have inherited this hybrid approach and accept it unquestioningly.

Mark
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varuna2



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Posted: Wed May 02, 2012 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Paul
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Posted: Wed May 02, 2012 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Gansten wrote:

For all the amazing resources available on the Internet, I can't help wishing some people would read more books -- preferably peer-reviewed ones.


My personal opinion is that early astrology was a fusion of sidereal and tropical influences. I do not think it's true that astrology was primarily sidereal in its outlook, nor that it was primarily tropical. I think it was a hybrid. Although we might argue for a non-tropical approach to, for example, the assignation of domicile dignity, no sidereal astrologer has ever presented me one and I think that it makes a lot of sense to take the Ptolemaic logic for it.

Which books would you recommend that debate both sides of the issue? I was disappointed by Nick Campion's history of western astrology for not touching on this debate, I had hoped for some scholarly information on this subject but he seemed to neatly side step the issue in its entirety.
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Wed May 02, 2012 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to try to keep this relatively brief, as I don't want yet another prolonged discussion on tropical versus sidereal. (This particular forum is, after all, exclusively devoted to sidereal astrology.)

I, too, think it obvious that early Mesopotamian and Greek astrologers (being generally unaware of precession) correlated the stars with the seasons, and as such were neither exclusively tropical nor exclusively sidereal in their outlook. At the same time, defining a tropical or equinoctial point as falling at, say, 8° or 10° of a certain sign of the zodiac seems to me equally obvious evidence that something other than the seasons (namely, the stars/constellations) was conceptually more important in defining the zodiac. I haven't the leisure at present to argue this further, so that's all I will say on the matter for now.

On the question of domicile dignity, the system is the same irrespective of zodiacal starting point. Ptolemy's contribution was to state that:

Quote:
of the twelve signs the most northern, which are closer than the others to our zenith and therefore most productive of heat and of warmth are Cancer and Leo

which is not true: the most northern signs in the tropical zodiac are Gemini and Cancer, not Cancer and Leo. So much for Ptolemy's naturalism. Again, this is all I have to say on that matter for now.

But the statement from Ernst Wilhem that I criticized was not actually about the conceptually tropical or sidereal origin of the zodiac (which can be debated, depending on how you define the two terms). It was about something much simpler. Wilhelm had claimed that:

Quote:
the Greeks, Persians [and] Egyptians [...] consider a Rasi [zodiacal sign] to be a thirty degree arc of the ecliptic as measured from the Vernal Equinox

This is manifestly false: all Greek astrologers (not astronomers) before Ptolemy, and most of them for centuries after his death, used a zodiac which did not begin with the equinox, and the same is true of the Persians. I do not know much about pre-Hellenistic Egypt, but I am pretty sure they didn't have a twelve-sign zodiac at all, much less one beginning with the equinox. (I include Hellenistic Egypt in the 'Greek' category.)

As for recommending books, perhaps I was too hasty: there really aren't any good scholarly books that I know of on precisely this issue. But there is some information scattered in various books -- and, above all, articles -- on Mesopotamian, Greek and Persian astrology, naturally including the various writings of David Pingree and his collaborators.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Thu May 17, 2012 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm coming in very late to this discussion...after it's finished, actually..., and offer my analogies. Lately life has called me elsewhere. But I can add a few notes about Ernst Wilhelm, the author of "The Mystery of the Zodiac."

Ernst Wilhelm's history as an astrologer is interesting. In his own words:

"...I started out studying Western astrology and in a short while felt very confident and began reading horoscopes until one day I was asked specific questions by a client that I could just not answer. This sent me into a new frenzy of study that only served to cause me physical nausea every time I looked at a horoscope... After three years of study with the hope of becoming an astrologer, now I could not even look at charts without becoming ill..."

Ernst's next step was to check into an ashram where he later began his study of Jyotish. He was content for some years as a Jyotish astrologer until through his reading he decided that the Tropical zodiac must be the correct zodiac to use for astrology. This decision was based on an incomplete understanding of the texts he consulted.

At the time Ernst wrote "The Mystery of the Zodiac," I'm quite sure he had not read the current Hellenistic and Medieval translations that are now available. He really had little or no background in the western tradition, and had used two or three older Indian texts to reach his conclusions about the zodiac. (I understand how he reached his conclusions, but explaining that would take a long article.)

My sense is that of a man who can become extremely fixed in his opinions, but who doesn't have the academic training to support clear, logical thinking and true scientific investigation.

However, Ernst wrote four Jyotish books earlier in his career, all of them quite good. His book on the planets, Graha Sutras, could be considered a classic. Unfortunately, all four books are out of print, but two of them can be downloaded from his web site. I don't know if he has stayed with the Tropical zodiac while using Indian astrological techniques. His approach is unique only to himself, and hasn't convinced other Jyotish astrologers.

Therese
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lihin



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Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:31 pm    Post subject: Wilhelm Theodor Wulff Reply with quote

Good afternoon,

Wilhelm Th. Wulff, 1893 - 1984, one of the best German 20th century astrologers, forced to work as 'court astrologer' for the SS from 1941 to 1945 (see translation of his autobiographical book at this forum), applied Indian astrology intensively and translated Viraha Mihira's classic book Brihat Jataka on natal astrology into German.

Wulff used a tropical zodiac for all Indian techniques. Had Wulff's analyses and predictions been frequently inaccurate, he might well have perished in a concentration camp.

The introduction by the translator into English, N. Chidambaram Iyer, lists the use of various 'sidereal' zodiacs as first of the four most important sources of erroneous predictions by Indian astrologers, the other three being inaccurate ephemerides, inaccurate published tables of the rising times of signs and inaccurate tables published for major cities. Iyer also demonstrates the differences in precession arcs from one major city to the next used in the latter. Presumably these things have improved in India since the 1920s.

Best regards,

lihin
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lihin



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Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:45 pm    Post subject: Erich Carl Kühr Reply with quote

Good day,

Another leading 20th century German astrologer, Erich Carl Kühr, 1899 - 1951, refers explicitly in his excellent work Berechnung der Ereigniszeiten (Calculation of the Event Times), 388 pages, published 1936 in Vienna, to Wilhelm Wulff's translation of Brihat Jataka.

Kühr also applied some Indian techniques, e. g. noviens, using a tropical zodiac exclusively.

Best regards,

lihin
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Erich Carl Kühr Reply with quote

A discussion on the use of the tropical zodiac in Indian astrology would be better suited to the Indian forum than to this sidereal one.
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