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Patriarchal discrimination of Third 'House of the Goddess'?
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lihin



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Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:48 pm    Post subject: Patriarchal discrimination of Third 'House of the Goddess'? Reply with quote

Good afternoon,

The relative strengths of astrological places or houses attributed to the ancient Egyptian King Nechepso is coherent:

- pivotal strongest
- following less strong
- cadent weak.

There are thus eight stronger counter-clockwise counted places: 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11.

The parallel list attributed to the ancient Egyptian Priest Petosiris is supposedly based on aspect / aversion (conjunction and 4 Ptolemaic aspects only) to the place of the ascendant but in some versions (Timaeus, Dorotheus, Ibn Sahl - see Prof. B. Dykes' Introduction to Traditional Astrology, p. 118 and following) apparently contains only 7 of the 8 non-averse places. The third place, in a sextile aspect to the ascending place, is missing. However, it is coherently included as a 'Good Place' in the 'Good and Bad Places' related e. g. by Mr Chris Brennan, a notable contemporary Hellenistic astrologer.

Why was it left out by e. g. Timaeus, Dorotheus and Ibn Sahl?

Might we here have an instance of warp of originally Heathen astrology by patriarchal, absolute monotheistic influences? One may recall that the Indo-European ancient Greek tribes were patriarchal and replaced Gaia, the Goddess of Delphi, with the Gods Apollo (9 months yearly) and Dionysus (3 months yearly). This latter imbalance was a main theme of the German philosopher Prof. Dr. phil. Friedrich Nietzsche.

The two lists may be deemed complementary, the first more concerned with probability of manifestation, the second with benefit for whomever is represented by the ascendant.

(To avoid misunderstandings, it seems to me that matriarchies, patriarchies and mixed forms have oscillated throughout human pre-history and history. May one doubt the often purported assertion that the (re-)introduction of matriarchy will solve humanity's problems? In what ways, if any, are ruthless female rulers preferable to their male counterparts?)

Best regards,

lihin
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waybread



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Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lithin, I've tried to work out what might have been the Graeco-Egyptian origin of the houses, but my studies are far from complete, and I wonder if they ever will be. I am not an Egyptologist, and what has been published by scholars is often in books or conference proceedings that either require a trip to a (for me) distant major university library or a significant budget to purchase them.

1. As best as I can make out, the Hellenistic astrologers (minus the rationalist Ptolemy) who had some knowledge of Egyptian cultural astronomy believed that this knowledge was esoteric and restricted to priesthoods of the ancient Egyptian deities. It was not to be shared with secularists, scoffers, or common people. I think the quandry they faced was that astrologers' clients were mostly interested in basic life issues. So we get a shoe-horning of sacred beliefs into themes like material wealth, marriage, and professional reputation.

2. Egyptian religion was highly syncretistic. It was so old and diversified that many different beliefs sprang up, coalesced, diverged and morphed. As Plutarch explained in Isis and Osiris, the Egyptians didn't see contradictions in these disparate beliefs because they saw them as mere manifestations of more fundamental, underlying esoteric principles.

But this is why I think you find the third house representing both the goddess and siblings in ancient astrology. The third house also forms a pair with its opposite, the 9th house, the house of [the] God.

3. I can go back and check out the original sources when I have a moment, but the cadent houses were not specifically the "bad" ones. The really troublesome houses were the 12th and the 6th, but also the 8th. Certainly the 9th house was considered fortunate.

Some of the authors give a sort of rank-ordering of houses from best to worst. The 3rd is well back in this list, but not considered misfortunate.

4. According to Deborah Houlding, in The Houses, Temples of the Sky, the association of the 3rd house with short-term travel and communication does not derive from a relationship to Gemini and hence Mercury, but to the moon as the primary goddess of many ancient cultures.

This gets a bit troublesome when we recall that the moon was a (male) god in Babylonian and Egyptian cultures. However the moon-god Thoth was the scribe god of the Egyptians, who became associated with Mercury/Hermes in the minds of the Greeks. Another moon-god Khonsu, was associated with travel, as the moon could be observed to travel across the night sky.

I suspect that the goddess might have been Isis/Nepthys, or was a Greek overlay.

I don't think we need go into the old binary matriarchy vs. patriarchy debate to address the astrology. I see it as a red herring in this context.
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In his research on Demotic Horoscopes Micah Ross points out that some Egyptian horoscopes recorded in the ancient Demotic script actually assign the 10th place from the ASC as the House of the Goddess. This might explain why Manilius describes the 10th house as the Temple of Venus.

As Waybread has pointed out the Moon God in Egypt (Thoth) was male so the assignation of Goddess to the 3rd (Joy of the Moon) possibly made less sense to Goddess worshipping native Egyptians.

Its difficult to know if this rival assignation was ever that popular compared to the more mainstream assigning of the Goddess to the 3rd. Its does open up the likelihood of different outlooks between astrologers from a predominantly hellenistic versus native Egyptian culture in Egypt.

Its quite ironic that later medieval astrology assigned the 10th as the house of the natives Mother. However, that designation seems to derive from an Arabic misreading of Ptolemy rather than a survival of ancient pagan ideas.

Mark
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Last edited by Mark on Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:56 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tom
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Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Might we here have an instance of warp of originally Heathen astrology by patriarchal, absolute monotheistic influences? One may recall that the Indo-European ancient Greek tribes were patriarchal and replaced Gaia, the Goddess of Delphi, with the Gods Apollo (9 months yearly) and Dionysus (3 months yearly). This latter imbalance was a main theme of the German philosopher Prof. Dr. phil. Friedrich Nietzsche.


Quote:
May one doubt the often purported assertion that the (re-)introduction of matriarchy will solve humanity's problems? In what ways, if any, are ruthless female rulers preferable to their male counterparts?)


What is the point here? Are we trying to impose retroactive political correctness on ancient texts?This is traditional astrology not a place for contemporary feminist musings or complaints.
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waybread



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Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting, Mark-- I always assumed that the relegation of the 10th house to the mother was a bit of derived house astrology. The 4th house was the father and one's patrimony. The mother was the wife (7th) from the 4th. But maybe not....

I have to say that where some Hellenistic astrologers see a coherent tradition, I see all kinds of diversity. This is especially true in the different meanings ascribed to houses by Hellenistic authors. As I suggested earlier, I think this was because there was a lot of syncretism in Greek and especially in Egyptian mythology. Rather than chuck out information that might be valuable, let alone sacred; they seem to have opted for inclusive house readings, nevermind the apparent lack of logical connections.

Manilius (2:856ff) seems to think of the god-house association in terms of tutelary deities. He gives the 12th & 6th to Typhon, a god cognate to the Egyptian god Seth. The 11th house belongs to Jupiter. The 9th house is Phoebus (sun, possibly Apollo.)

The third house is the moon/goddess. She is described as the sister of the 9th house god, possibly signifying the siblings Diana and Apollo. But there are other moon goddess contenders such as Selene and the Egyptian Nepthys. As mentioned above, the moon was a male god to both the Babylonians and Egyptians, so we may see some transposing here into the Graeco-Roman concept of a moon goddess. Similarly, the Egyptian moon god Thoth, as scribe of the gods, morphs into Hermes/Mercury.

One interesting thing here is that in giving the 10th to Venus, Manilius seemingly has to give the 10th dominion over marriage. Saturn gets the 4th house: "he wields as a father power over the fortunes of fathers..." Mercury gets #1. Pluto gets the 7th house, 2 millenia prior to the discovery of planet Pluto! The 5th is the house of the Daemon, and Mars seems not to have a house in Manilius's scheme.

Hey, Tom. Nuthin' wrong with a feminist take on astrology. However, the ca. 1980 matriarchy-patriarchy debate, and the notion of prehistoric Indo-European patriarchy replacing matriarchy, have been rendered moot by careful readings of archaeology, classical studies, and refusal by contemporary writers in gender studies to essentialize or naturalize men and women into outworn stereotypes. So a debate that no longer has legs to stand on is simply irrelevant to a discussion of the houses.
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Tom
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Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Hey, Tom. Nuthin' wrong with a feminist take on astrology.


Whether it was wrong or not, it's a matter of opinion and certainly not within the boundaries of a discussion of traditional astrology. It's contemporary spin - nothing more.

Quote:
So a debate that no longer has legs to stand on is simply irrelevant to a discussion of the houses.


Although I'm sure that your remark is not intended to stir up debate on a side issue, debate on side issues is what I'm trying to avoid. As sure as God made little green apples, someone is going to say the debate isn't over and then we get way beyond the purpose of the board.
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lihin



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Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:44 am    Post subject: Eternal present Reply with quote

Good day,

It seems to me that, regardless of how we might try, we are by definition always in a 'contemporary spin' as we cannot as yet use time machines to become e. g. ancient Greeks. We live in the eternal present. We view traditional astrologies through our current wraps and warps. 99 % of human history was the old stone age.

The gender assignments to planetary Divinities reflect the underlying societies. Regardless of the questions of history and prevalence of matriarchies, patriarchies and mixed forms, there seems to be widespread agreement that later ancient Babylonian and Egyptian civilisations were, like ancient Greece, predominantly patriarchal. This definitely influenced astrology, e. g. preference for order over chaos, symmetry over asymmetry (a positive word for the latter is missing in our languages!), whole numbers over irrational ones, right over left, active (male) over passive (female, genders reversed in matriarchies), light over darkness, heavens over underworld, spirit over matter, clarity over obscurity, etc.

To me, for whatever reasons, to leave out the third counter-clockwise house in the scheme based on lack of aversion (presence of Ptolemaic aspects) seems incoherent. To include the 3rd amongst the favourable in the framework of Hellenistic and Mediaeval astrologies makes sense. If one wished to exclude a place as unfavourable, the 7th would appear to be the more likely candidate as it opposes the ascendant.

Best regards,

lihin
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waybread



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Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lithin, I agree with your latest.

The contemporary astrological chart is based on the orientation of south at the top. My hunch is that the counter-clockwise sequence of houses was based upon an Egyptian view of north at the top.

If you put north at the top of the chart, then our order of houses makes sense. But here we get into a potential meaning of houses based upon the Egyptian view of the soul's journey.

Also, if you think about Egypt's geography, the sun rising in the east shines its light upon the western cliffs along the Nile, where many Egyptians were buried.

The north was important to them as the direction of the flow of the Nile to the sea. The northern constellations were also associated with their mythical land of the souls of the fortunate dead. Orion was their Osiris, who judged the dead. I can work out the other constellations in the northern sky in terms of Egyptian mythology of the passage of the soul of the dead, if you like.

For example, one of the closest constellations to Orion is Gemini, from which we may get the association of the 3rd house with brothers. This region was called the Dwat or Duat, and it appears in some Demotic horoscopes. However, these horoscopses were basically Hellenized, putting north at the bottom.

I think this is why you also get a polarity of linked opposites with the houses, as Hellenistic Egyptians (and Egyptianized Greeks) tried to combine multiple astrological systems and mythologies.

The 9th is the house of the god, for example, from which we get its association with theology. Its binary opposite, the 3rd, is the house of the goddess. The first is the house of the beginning of life as symbolized by the sun. The 7th is the house where the sun and soul do not die but change modalities, into the realm of night and the afterlife.

It is fair to say (Tom) that Hellenistic astrology was pretty male-oriented, although if you read what non-astrologer authors of Antiquity wrote about astrology, it appears that women were important consumers of chart-readings and a few even practiced it themselves. Certainly the study of astrology in Antiquity can reveal interesting information about those society's views of gender relations.
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Ile



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Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Eternal present Reply with quote

[quote="Kirk"]
lihin wrote:
Good day,
Quote:
. . . If one wished to exclude a place as unfavourable, the 7th would appear to be the more likely candidate as it opposes the ascendant.


That was traditionally accounted for. The 7th house was considered to be potentially and occasionally malefic. However, I'm not able to tell you the difference, if any, between the Hellenistic and Medieval practice concerning that.


Yes, the seventh was always kind of a mixed bag.
Abu Ma'shar in Libri Mysterium:

Quote:
However , the malefic stars cause offence when they are lords of the wicked places such as the sixth, the eighth , the fourth and the seventh.


Seventh is a house of opposition, in depicted the enemy in the electional charts (for battles) and the lawsuits and 'open enemies' in natal charts, in the later medieval tradition. For these reasons Morin too regarded 7th as negative, but 4th too, because it is a place where we inherit the sin of Adam and Eve, and it is a place of the end of life (according to his "Cabal of 12 houses").
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waybread



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Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea of an Indo-European patriarchy invading formerly peaceful matriarchal cultures had quite a following about 30 years ago. This was in part due to the work and arguments of archaologist Marija Gimbutas who studied "Old Europe;" influential books like Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade; and the development of a highly diversified field termed ecofeminism.

The story line goes that once upon a time, long ago and far away in the Neolithic, women ruled society with peaceful communities dedicated to agriculture and crafts, under the tutelage of powerful goddesses. This worked out just fine, until nasty armed Kurgans on horseback from the Black Sea area invaded and established a new social order of armed violence, patriarchal social institutions, and supreme male gods. They were followed by other waves of Indo-Europeans like the Celts and the forerunners of the Greeks and Romans.

Unfortunately for this narrative, it doesn't hold up for a lot of areas outside of a southeastern European core, if there. Either the archaeological or early ethnographic evidence doesn't support such a thesis, or there is evidence that goddess-worship did not translate this reverence to the status of actual women.

The issues get complicated when you have class-based societies as occured with the ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Babylonian Societies. Women of a given social class generally had a lower status than men of the same class, but an upper-class woman commanded a lot of deference from men of lower social classes.

Goddesses in the pantheistic cultures retained a lot of authority in ancient religions, even where actual women might not have had much in everyday life. This is one reason why I don't think the third house of the moon goddess (whoever she might have been) was interpreted as misfortunate; although it didn't have the strongly positive attributes of the 1st, 11th, 10th, 9th, and 5th houses. It wasn't lumped in with the truly misfortunate 12th, 8th, and 6th houses.

Events unfolded in a particular way in the past, but its people had their own particular perspectives on them; and each generation of archaeologists and historians have reinterpreted past events in light of their own contemporary cultural values and concerns.

Astrology can hardly escape this process, as Kirk pointed out.

I find it fascinating to read the Hellenistic astrology texts as social commentary. You do get a lot of insights into how astrologers construed gender relations, among other topics. Marrying well seemed extremely important, for example. Dorotheus indicates how to judge a woman's marriage prospects and a man's relationship to his mother, even where he skips over the meaning of the 3rd house
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Tom
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Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Certainly the study of astrology in Antiquity can reveal interesting information about those society's views of gender relations.


And when this Forum becomes a place to discuss gender relations that might be relevant. The purpose here is astrology, not gender relations and this concept is not difficult to understand and from this point on the topics will be astrology not gender relations or complaints about patriarchy etc.
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waybread



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Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, Tom, I must be misreading your concern. Confused There hasn't been a 1970's-style feminist rant on this thread, and it doesn't seem to be heading in that direction.

The line between topics of current (or historical) interest and astrology is so hard to draw, because astrology is most often an applied field.

It is hard to separate out much of astrology from its topical applications, whatever these might be. A lot content in traditional astrology texts, indeed, concerns gender relations, with specific emphasis on marriage prospects. I gave one example in my previous post of Dorotheus.

Traditional astrologers delineated masculine and feminine signs, and assigned to Venus and the moon all kinds of topics relating to women.
I just thumbed through Rhetorius, to cite another example, who says things like, "Mercury in the Ascendant, if in a feminine sign, gives advancement and status to the native through his wife."

In answer to the OP, in Rhetorius's section on the third "house of the moon goddess", well placed planets are extremely beneficial oftentimes because they bestow "favours from women." Certain badly placed planets in the third can lead the native to disputes with women or adultery in the marriage, according to Rhetorius.

So to apply these bytes to the OP: in the astrology of late Antiquity, we do find a pattern of a moon goddess association with the third house, and one which--like other houses in Hellenistic astrology-- has good and bad potentials. And a number of third house delineations do concern gender relations.

I am sticking to what you posted in your "read before you post" announcement on this board:

"What do we talk about? Pretty much the same stuff that has always been on this forum, but let’s not limit ourselves. Everything that concerns traditional astrology belongs here; as does anything contemporary that is written by and about traditional astrology by contemporary authors as well as those in the past....."Finally, and most importantly, let’s have fun. There is no purpose served in putting time, effort, not to mention money into this craft and not taking pleasure from it. Astrology has so much to give. ...Relax and enjoy, and be grateful for this endlessly fascinating subject..."

Hear, hear!!! Very Happy Cool
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Nixx



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Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Tom's point is pre 1700 there was no ''gender relations''. I assume this to be in these days Men were Men and Women were Women or something like this. Afterall in the old texts are there any delineations of hermaphrodite transexuals with a penchant for engaging in Diversty modules at the local college? These days, alas, 'gender relations'' is a pivotal concern whenever a Horoscope appears in front of me.
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waybread



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Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could it be that you guys misinterpret the term "gender relations"? They've existed since Adam and Eve. Their study would include social interactions between men and women, different conditions faced by men and women, and factors that influence these relationships.

Hard to see how one would do synastry without considering gender.

Actually, the Hellenistic astrologers did have material on the native's sexual proclivities as expressed in their horoscopes. Ptolemy, for instance, says how to determine if the native has a preference for boys.

Lithin has posed a reasonable question, which is how gender concepts in Antiquity might have influenced the formulation of the third house in astrology.
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waybread



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Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, Tom, a "moderate" approach might be simply to move this thread to another board. Some of the issues we've raised would be just as appropriate to the philosophy or general boards.

I don't think any of us has been disrespectful of traditional astrology here. Maybe I missed something.

I also note that Deborah Houlding started an interesting thread on the earliest historical mention of a female astrologer, so it isn't as though the history of astrology or women in astrology are forbidden topics on this forum.
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