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Lilly's Considerations
compiled by D. Houlding
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Combustion
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Sue



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
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Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:07 am    Post subject: Combustion Reply with quote

I’ve been thinking about the issue of combustion for a while now. Lilly says that for a planet to be combust, it not only has to be within 8° 30' of the Sun, but also within the same sign. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. The whole idea of combustion is that the planet has no power to act because it is being overwhelmed by the Sun. It is invisible. This is actually an astronomical occurrence. When a planet is that close to the Sun we cannot see it. This happens whether the two are in the same sign or not. Lilly doesn’t seem to explain why he only considers them combust when in the same sign. But by his definition, if Mercury is at 29° Aries and the Sun is at 1° Taurus, the planet is not combust. But if Mercury is at 21° Aries and the Sun is at 29° Aries then the planet is combust even though in the first situation the Sun and Mercury are much closer. I can see the point that sign boundaries are significant but then why is CA full of chart examples where sign boundaries are ignored? He sometimes uses aspects that are out of sign and even has charts where the Moon is not considered voc if it makes an applying aspect to a planet in the next sign. So why the adherence to sign boundaries in the case of combustion?

I went through some of the texts I have in my library to see if there was a precedent for Lilly’s definition of combustion but was unable to find one. Gadbury, who was a contemporary, follows Lilly. But other than that, all I could find in reference to combustion never mentions sign boundaries. I found references to combustion in Dorotheus(1st century), Firmicus (4th century), Abu ‘Ali Al-Khayyat (c. 800), Abu Mashar (c. 820), Ibn Ezra (1148), Bonatti (c. 1282), Dariot (1583), Culpeper(1655), Saunders (1677) and Partridge (1679) and I could find no reference to sign boundaries. I’m not saying there aren’t any, just that I couldn’t find them. I am only going by what I currently have at hand. As much as I would like to own a copy of every traditional astrology book ever written, it’s just not the case. I think Tom does though. Laughing

Many of the early modern astrologers mention sign boundaries (e.g. Ivy Jacobson) but they could be following Lilly. I know Lee Lehman has put forward an argument for dismissing sign boundaries and I tend to agree with her. I am not saying that sign boundaries don’t count. It may well be that combustion within sign is different from combustion out of sign, but I am not convinced that out of sign means no combustion.
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Tom
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Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Sue,

While it is true most traditional authorities do not mention combustion as having the Sun and the other planet in the same sign, it is not unreasonable to infer that they took it for granted. With the exception of Ibn Ezra, none of the ancient or medieval astrologers we defer to used out of sign aspects. Regarding combustion requring two planets in the same sign, it may just have well been a case of "We've established the principle elsewhere, why bother?" However this argument stands or falls on its own merits. We cannot read the minds of ancient and medieval astrologers.

We can look at some related arguments, however. It seems that our authorities did quibble over whether or not a planet in great dignity could be combust. If dignity negates combustion, then the visual component is moot. Finally, if we wish to stick to the visual as our major guide, then we have to take a look at all aspects. Squares in the chart are not necessarily 90 degrees apart in the sky. If astronomy is to be our guide with one concept, it isn't cosistent to ignore it in all the others.

Robert Schmidt made the interesting observation that it is quite likely that Hellenistic astrology sprang, more or less full blown, over a period of about 400 years and it was based on philosophy not observation. Observation, of course is the basis of the beginnings of astrology, and certainly played a role in the creation of Hellenistic astrology, but seems more at home with the omenology of the pre Hellenistic era. In other words, if we're going to base our astrology on observation and geometry (and some do with great effect), then the sign boundary is no barrier to combustion. However, if we are going to base our astrology on philosophy, particularly the philosophy of the Hellenists that gave us astrology, then sign boundries prevent not only combustion, but out-of-sign aspects as well.

Another way to look at this is the importance of geometry in our astrology. Is a trine a trine because two planets are roughly 120 degrees apart or because the planets are in compatible elements? Is combustion effective if the power of the Sun qualified by the nature of the sign it occupies different from that of the planet it is close to? Combustion is a conjunction. If we are going to allow for combustion across sign barriers then Mars at 29 Taurus is conjunct Jupiter at 2 Gemini. Many people argue, yes they are conjunct but the conjunction behaves differently. Well if it behaves differently than a conjunction then it is no longer a conjunction., it is something else. If "combustion" behaves differently out of sign, then it is no longer combustion, it is something else.

If we argue that it isn't behaving differently but rather lesser in effect, then we would have to take the nature of all of the signs into effect. Surely Sun in early Cancer; Venus in late Gemini is not the same as the reverse. But both in Gemini or both in Cancer we can more precisely define its impact.

As for distance, combustion is like any aspect. The tighter it is, the more profound its effect. So Sun and planet 8 degrees apart and separating does not have the same impact as planet applying to the Sun from only a degree or two away.

Obviously I prefer the philosophy to the observation and geometric measurement. The observation may have led to the concept, but it is the philosophy that gives us meaning.

Best,

Tom

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Ben



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Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Tom is right that the older authorities rarely raise this question. (I think this issue was discussed somewhere in another post, too.) But my impression is that they would have allowed out-of-sign combustion (I do too). If you look at the sources, you find two things:

1. Conjunction is not technically an aspect, so that the issue of aspects and whole-sign aspects is not directly applicable.

2. The authorities never (so far as I have seen) discuss combustion when they discuss the zodiac (which is where they discuss aspects and conjunctions). They always combustion in special sections covering relationships to the sun (like orientality/occidentality).

Paulus Alexandrinus is the clearest. He specifically relates combustion to orientality/occidentality, saying that combustion takes place regardless of sign (p.21, ARHAT edition).

By the time you get to Alchabitius, Abu Ma'shar, and Al-Biruni you find combustion treated as a matter of being visibly hidden by the sun's rays -- not in terms of aspects -- and in special sections on the sun. Al-Biruni treats all planets as combust up to 6 degrees from the Sun, and then assigns what seems to be an average number of degrees each planet will be under the sunbeams before it appears as an evening or morning star.

This says to me that combustion is not a matter of signs and aspects, so that out-of-sign combustion is valid.

Best,
Ben
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Tom
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Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ben,

Hate to disagree, but ...


Quote:
Conjunction is not technically an aspect, so that the issue of aspects and whole-sign aspects is not directly applicable.


This, I believe, is hair splitting. The difference between an aspect and a conjunction is largely semantic. Yes, the reasons for their influence is different, but there is also a reason why astrologers don’t mention the difference any longer. The reason for using out-of-sign combustion is proximity. The reason some use out-of sign aspects is based on the importance they place on proximity. If neither the rules that apply to aspects nor conjunctions apply to combustion, we're saying combustion is a unique concept that has rules that, although similar, do not apply to other concepts. It satnds alone.

On the other hand, the one authority that unambiguously approves of out-of sign aspects, Ibn Ezra, does not approve of out of sign conjunctions.


Quote:
”Conjunction is when there are two planets in one sign and each one is in the [orb of] influence of the body of the other [planet], then they are said to be joined.” (page 117 The Beginning of Wisdom translated by Meira Epstein, ARHAT)


So, if we apply the rules for conjunction to combustion, then out-of-sign combustion is prohibited. If we don’t, then we can have a planet that is combust, but not conjunct. The Sun's proximity has effect on one concept, but not the other. The sign prevents conjunction, but not combustion. Observation is important for one concept, but irrelevant for the other. I have a tough time integrating these inconsistencies.

Ben writes:


Quote:
The authorities never (so far as I have seen) discuss combustion when they discuss the zodiac (which is where they discuss aspects and conjunctions). They always combustion in special sections covering relationships to the sun (like orientality/occidentality).

Paulus Alexandrinus is the clearest. He specifically relates combustion to orientality/occidentality, saying that combustion takes place regardless of sign (p.21, ARHAT edition).


I’m not reading Paulus the same way you are. The heading of page 21 is:

14: Concerning the Phases which the Five Stars Make to the Sun.

The discussion is on morning and evening stars. I will gamble a bit, and say your position rests on this quote:


Quote:
“The Stars occur as morning risers whenever they may separate from the Sun by 15 degrees in leading [i.e. leading in zodiacal order] degrees and/or leading zoidia [italics in the translation] until they may be found making the move into the [the Sun’s] right triangle.”


But this concerns qualification as a morning star (and later the text describes qualification as evening stars). I would use the following quote from page 21 to bolster my position, if I were to use this part of the text at all:

Quote:
“And they become conjunct whenever they happen to be in the same degree as the Sun in the same zoidia, not being away from it more than 59 minutes. And when more than that, the stars become weak and unprofitable in their specific outcomes, whenever any of them may be within 9 degrees distance of the Sun whether they happen to be in morning or evening setting.”


Ibn Ezra says the same thing about conjunctions, so if we separate the rules for aspects and the rules for conjunctions and we apply the rules for conjunctions, then it seems to me that out of sign combustion isn’t acceptable.


I see your point, Ben, but I think Paulus’ text is anything but clear. To me it is saying that to qualify as morning or evening star, the planet may be in a different sign, but to be conjunct, it must be within the same sign. If I were to assign a definition of combustion based on this, I would put it in the same sign only since conjunction relates to combustion, but rising and setting stars do not necessarily relate to combustion.

Ben writes:


Quote:
By the time you get to Alchabitius, Abu Ma'shar, and Al-Biruni you find combustion treated as a matter of being visibly hidden by the sun's rays -- not in terms of aspects -- and in special sections on the sun. Al-Biruni treats all planets as combust up to 6 degrees from the Sun, and then assigns what seems to be an average number of degrees each planet will be under the sunbeams before it appears as an evening or morning star.


But by the time we get to Lilly combustion occurs within sign only. I think it is possible to find authority on the different sides of this issue. And Aristotle tells us that appeals to authority are the worst kind of evidence (as I appeal to the authority of Aristotle to make this point Wink )Out of sign combustion simply doesn’t make sense to me. If the effects of combustion are different because the Sun and planet are in different signs, then it isn’t combustion. If the effects are lessened I can’t see how, if distance determines impact. If a planet is seriously combust within two degrees of the Sun, why is it less so if a sign separates those two degrees? We can’t have it both ways, i.e. if combustion is the result of distance then the signs don’t matter, but if the effects are different, when the Sun and planet are in different signs, then the signs do matter.

It seems to me we have to juggle the rules and work hard to keep all the balls in the air in order to justify out-of-sign combustion. Or, failing that, we have to apply principles for combustion that we apply nowhere else.

Ben writes:


Quote:
This says to me that combustion is not a matter of signs and aspects, so that out-of-sign combustion is valid.


What, then, do you say of cazimi? From an observational standpoint, the planet is just as invisible as it is when it is combust. Why should it be considered strengthened? If anything, it should be considered dangerously debilitated, but no authority, to my knowledge considers being in the heart of the Sun anything but a great strength.


Thanks for writing,

Tom
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Ben



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Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tom,

Let me step back a second and explain how I'm approaching the question. I think we could agree that the discussions of topics like orientality, being matutine/vespertine, combust, and so on, are somewhat vexed when we compare different authors or even look at different comments within the same author -- Ptolemy is a good example of the latter. There are some issues like out-of-sign combustion that we wish they would have addressed simply and clearly, but lacking such resources we have to find another way.

Likewise with the cazimi issue: authors generally agree it is good for a planet to be cazimi. But then Abu Ma'shar comes out and says a planet in cazimi is like "like a man who purifies himself and so lacks strength, but will regain health afterwards" (Astrol. Metaph., II.178). This seems to contradict his view in the Abbreviation. So is a planet in cazimi strong, or not?

So my approach to the out-of-sign combustion question is to ask: when do the old authorities talk about combustion, why do they talk about it like they do, what issues do they raise and what do they omit?

What I think I find is that authorities do not discuss combustion in connection with their chapters on aspects. They tend to deal with aspects in a very general way, and only in terms of the zodiac, in one chapter; then later they talk about aspects between planets. But they always seem to treat combustion in a special section, in connection with the various ways planets can be related to the sun, and especially how planets become visible/invisible in relation to the sun. Even when they speak of how many degrees away from the sun a planet needs to be to emerge from combustion, they are connecting it with when a planet will be visible at morning or evening.

So Paulus Alexandrinus does connect being matutine/vespertine with combustion on account of a planet's visibility; and if you look at the scholia to this section on p. 28, the ancient commentators make just this point. Likewise Olympiodorus on p. 85.

Al-Biruni makes some illuminating comments along these lines, which directly addresses a concern you raised. Al-Biruni says that Venus can sometimes be conjunct the Sun and yet not combust, because she is still visible on account of her occasional extreme latitude (Book of Instruction, section 483). Here we have a case where a planet is definitely conjunct, but not combust, and for reasons of visibility, not longitude or sign cusps.

So what these considerations say to me is that conjoining (and being in the same sign as) the sun, as a matter of aspect, is not the same as being combust, as a matter of being harmed by the sunbeams. One has to do strictly with longitude, the other has to do with visibility. We do not need to apply rules of conjunction to rules of combustion, because they are distinct. If so, then to me it seems fair to say that most authorities would allow out-of-sign combustion, and they were right to do so because the concepts are distinct.

How does that sound?

Best,
Ben
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Tom
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Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ben,

We are on different wavelengths on this topic Wink

Quote:
So what these considerations say to me is that conjoining (and being in the same sign as) the sun, as a matter of aspect, is not the same as being combust, as a matter of being harmed by the sunbeams. One has to do strictly with longitude, the other has to do with visibility. We do not need to apply rules of conjunction to rules of combustion, because they are distinct. If so, then to me it seems fair to say that most authorities would allow out-of-sign combustion, and they were right to do so because the concepts are distinct.

How does that sound?


Not persuasive. Sorry. What I believe you’re saying is that the rules for conjunction are different from the rules for combustion because they are not mentioned in the same place by the authors, and one has to do with longitude, the other with visibility (actually lack of bisibility). Furthermore, combustion is mentioned in the same sections as those areas where sign placement is not an overriding concern. The basis for your argument seems to be that the explanation of mautine/vespertine occurs in the same place as combustion. Therefore, since maututine/vespertine is not affected by a sign boundary, despite it not being mentioned specifically, combustion shouldn’t be affected by sign boundaries either. To me that’s a non-sequiter. The original idea behind combustion is lack of visibility due to the Sun’s light. The mautine/vespertine concepts have to do with proximity, not necessarily obscurity. The concept of matutine/vespertine is distinct from combustion just as combustion is distinct from conjunction. If such distinction prevents combustion from following the rules of conjunction, then such distinction should prevent combustion from following the rules for matutine/vespertine

The origin of this discussion made the point that regardless of sign boundary, a planet combust is obscured by the Sun. This is irrefutable. Therefore, the reasoning went, the sign boundary is irrelevant. This is logical if we apply the same principles to other concepts, e.g. conjunctions, cazimi, planets in great dignity. That a planet can be combust without being conjunct is a bit more than I can accept. Even if we eliminate conjunction from this list, we still have to deal with cazimi and dignified planets. In order to be completely logical, we have to reverse the majority of opinion on cazimi, eliminate the possibility that planets in dignity are not combust, and have separate delineations for planets close to the Sun (a. combust, b. conjunct [this last may not be impossible to do though]).

My point is that we don’t do that consistently. To me ignoring the sign boundaries in cases of combustion is an example of picking and choosing where and when we will apply certain rules with no respect to the foundations of those rules. This, frankly, is the sort of thing that drove many of us from modern astrology to traditional. It may be true that the concept of combustion emerged from visual observation in Babylon or some other pre-Hellenistic locale, but this, in my opinion does not grant it primacy in select instances.

On the other hand, one can make a philosophical case for conjunctions, combustion, and cazimi having separate delineations. We can make a philosophical case for planets in great dignity acting more like a mutual reception than an otherwise combust planet. We can’t do that if we base our delineations strictly on astronomical observation. If we grant primacy to observation in this case, why not all cases? If lack of visibility is our benchmark, do we ignore planets below the horizon? Also it is true that the Sun obscures all planets above the horizon in day charts. Shouldn’t we claim them all to be powerless since sign boundaries do not apply? Obviously this is absurd. I believe the importance of what we see (or can’t see) is secondary to the importance of the underlying philosophy. And if it is philosophically inconsistent to ignore sign boundaries in the case of combustion, then we shouldn’t do it.

If this doesn’t explain my position any better then I’ll blame it on Mercury Rx.

Best Wishes,

Tom
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Sue



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Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tried to send this a couple of hours ago but had trouble. So I hadn't read Tom's latest post when I wrote most of this.

Hi guys,

Thanks to both of you for the interesting discussion. And thanks for the further references.

Tom said:

Quote:
While it is true most traditional authorities do not mention combustion as having the Sun and the other planet in the same sign, it is not unreasonable to infer that they took it for granted.


Well, that would never stand up in a court of law. Smile How is it reasonable to infer that they took it for granted when most of them spelled everything else out in fine detail but didn’t say a word about sign boundaries in relation to combustion? Traditional astrologers are always accusing modern astrologers of not following the evidence that was given to us by the traditional writers. Robert Schmidt says that astrologers, misinterpreting or adding their own bits, tainted astrology in the Middle Ages. Lilly was the first author I could find to specifically refer to combustion as being in sign only. He doesn't actually say why this applies. We have most authors explaining why combustion weakens a planet but nowhere is it explained why it needs to be in the same sign. If sign boundaries are that important in combustion then why is it never mentioned by the older authors? I really can't buy the 'it was infered' argument. If it were that important then surely at least one of the traditional astrologers would have left nothing to chance and mentioned it. To say that something is implied without it being said opens us up to the potential of putting things there that were never meant to be there just because we're sure that even though they didn't say it, it's what they meant.


Tom said:
Quote:
With the exception of Ibn Ezra, none of the ancient or medieval astrologers we defer to used out of sign aspects.


Yes, but Lilly was known to have done it on occasions. In fact, Lilly wasn't afraid to change the rules to suit his own purposes. His definition of VOC Moon, for example, was different from that of many others. He also gave specific details when it came to 'Considerations' and then went ahead and ignored them in some of his charts. This could be just another case of Lilly interpreting what he believes should be the case.

I don't agree that combustion and conjunction are necessarily the same thing. I agree with Ben that they are clearly two different topics. As Ben said, the two concepts are distinct and therefore do not need to have the same rules applied. Maybe rules of combustion aren't applied anywhere else because they're not appropriate anywhere else. We don't apply the 5 degree rule to anything other than house cusps. We don't say that Mars at 27 degrees Aries should be read as being in Taurus because it is almost there. I realise this might sound like a silly example but the point is we have different rules for different things. We cannot apply certain rules across the board.

In all of the texts I have read, combustion is clearly mentioned in relation to visibility. Dariot, for example, says 'When any planet is hidden under the beams of the Sun, so that we cannot see it, then it is said to be combust or burnt....' (A Brief and Most Easy Introduction to the Astrological Judgement of the Stars, Chapter 9). Another example is to be found in Bonatti. 'After Saturn, Jupiter and Mars appear from under the rays of the sun and are completely beyond combustion such that they may be seen....(Liber Astronomaie, Robert Zoller trans. p148). There are plenty of similar references.

However, astronomical visibility does not preclude a philosophical interpretation. In fact, part of the interpretation of combustion clearly involves a philosophical approach. When authors talk about the planet being 'burned up by the Sun' they obviously do not mean this in an astronomically real sense. It is descriptive of the planet losing its power. It's a bit like the myth of Icarus who flew too close to the Sun and his wings (his power to fly) were destroyed.

Ben said:

Quote:
Al-Biruni says that Venus can sometimes be conjunct the Sun and yet not combust, because she is still visible on account of her occasional extreme latitude


Very interesting indeed. I hadn't come across that one. That very clearly states that conjunction and combustion are two different things and are therefore required to be treated differently.

I really have to think about this some more. I must say, however, that I am more convinced that combustion isn't specifically confined to being within the same sign only.

Tom said:

Quote:
If this doesn’t explain my position any better then I’ll blame it on Mercury Rx.


Well, you could try but since Mercury is now direct I would have a hard time accepting that argument. Smile

Tom, I'll get back to you on your last post when I have read it properly and thought about it. One of the really good things about disagreeing with you is that it always challenges me to dig deeper. This is a very good thing. Thumbs up

cheers
Sue
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Ben



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Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tom,

This is an interesting conversation on an important topic, and I’m glad we're having it. It's partly philosophical and partly a textual mystery. I should make it clear I’m not making a strictly deductive argument about combustion, it’s more an argument from the best explanation. I think the question of whole-sign aspects and combustion are different enough that we have to see if special considerations come into play.

I think we could agree that since all of these phenomena are taking place with respect to the sky, longitudes are going to come into play one way or another. For instance, Jupiter could be exalted and yet be combust – being exalted and being combust are not the same, but that doesn’t mean they have nothing to do with one another at all. For me the issue here is: in the absence of a clear statement by traditional authorities, how could the different elements of being out-of-sign and being combust compare with one another to help us with the answer?

My point is that the old texts always treat relationships to the sun as special considerations because of what the sun’s rays are taken to do. But aspects (conjunction) and combustion are not absolutely distinct, and do not necessarily require (as you suggest) completely different delineations for being conjunct the sun and being combust. Concepts can be different without being absolutely unrelated.

The cycle of a planets’ appearing oriental, combust, cazimi, combust, occidental and so on are special things that happen because of the sun. From what traditional authorities both say and don’t say, I think it’s reasonable to assume that out-of-sign combustion is one of those special times when – if you do not normally allow out-of-sign aspects at all – out-of-sign combustion still harms a planet. The harm remains because of the sun’s rays. If so, then it is consistent to treat combust planets as harmed even if out-of-sign, because the sun’s rays burn within a certain orb regardless of sign. So the exalted Jupiter is exalted because of the sign he is in; but he is also harmed by combustion even if in another sign. Similarly he would be helped if (as a masculine, diurnal planet) he were also above the earth by day. It would require fine-tuning to delineate him, but it is not inconsistent to say that all of these factors are in play.

I think this is a way of making a consistent set of considerations. We don’t have to rely only on one standard (sign cusps) to accommodate them.

Best,
Ben
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Ben



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Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi All,

This would probably be a great time for someone with an example of a horary or natal chart with out-of-sign combustion to step forward! I have a few, but the planet in question is retrograde, thus skewing the results because of the debility of retrogradation.

Anyone out there to help us resolve this with an actual chart?

Ben
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Sue



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Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I couldn't find any examples in my horary files but plenty in my other files.

Here is a chart you might want to look at. I chose it based on the fact that we all know who he is and that he has both an in sign combustion and an out of sign combustion:

Jeffrey Archer
15th April 1940
11:45am BST
Mark, Somerset, ENG
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Tom
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Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sue

Quote:
Well, that would never stand up in a court of law.


Heh, heh, heh, this isn't a court of law. Courts have differing rules of evidence depending on the type of case. Criminal law is the most stringent, but lots of things get by in civil cases that wouldn't pass muster in a criminal case.

The problem we all have with the texts is that they are largely incomplete (not all of them of course). Rob Hand has suggested that some of them are closer to study guides rather than full blown texts, so inference isn't as far fetched as one might seem. Besides, whichever side we take on this and other issues that are not spelled out, we are using inference one way or another.


Quote:
Yes, but Lilly was known to have done it on occasions. In fact, Lilly wasn't afraid to change the rules to suit his own purposes.


Yes, and this is one of the things I admire most about Lilly. But Lilly did it on a case by case basis. We're discussing a rule or general priinciple.


Quote:
I don't agree that combustion and conjunction are necessarily the same thing. I agree with Ben that they are clearly two different topics. As Ben said, the two concepts are distinct and therefore do not need to have the same rules applied.


Not in delineation, but they are both dependent on the same thing: proximity to the Sun. To me common sense tells us that there is something out of synch with a priciple that allows combustion but denies conjunction in precisely the same position.


Quote:
When any planet is hidden under the beams of the Sun, so that we cannot see it, then it is said to be combust or burnt....'




This is a philosophical principle. Obviously, as you say below, the planet in combustion is not literally "burnt," and just as obviously we can't see any planet in day time because of the Sun's light. "Under the beams" is a specific concept that pertains to distance from the Sun, not just visibility or lack of visibility. It has to do with distance only, but as a philosophical principle "under the beams" or combust can be omitted for a sign boundary on the same grounds that sign elements not distance determine aspects.


Quote:
Tom said:


If this doesn’t explain my position any better then I’ll blame it on Mercury Rx.


Well, you could try but since Mercury is now direct I would have a hard time accepting that argument. :-)


Maybe in Austrailia Mercury went direct, but here in New Jersey he is still driving me nuts! Wink

Best wishes,

Tom
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Sue



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Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The problem we all have with the texts is that they are largely incomplete (not all of them of course). Rob Hand has suggested that some of them are closer to study guides rather than full blown texts, so inference isn't as far fetched as one might seem. Besides, whichever side we take on this and other issues that are not spelled out, we are using inference one way or another.


In that case, we could just as easily say that they didn't specifically mention that it can be out of sign because it was so obvious to them that combustion was all to do with the relationship between the planets themselves regardless of sign. But I do agree that, either way, we might be reading something into it that isn't there.

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Not in delineation, but they are both dependent on the same thing: proximity to the Sun. To me common sense tells us that there is something out of synch with a priciple that allows combustion but denies conjunction in precisely the same position.


Why? If they are two different things and follow two different principles, then why can't you have one without the other? Combustion only applies to a planet's proximity to the Sun whereas conjunction applies to all planets regardless. And you can have the Sun in conjunction with a planet at, say, 9 degrees but they are not combust (even though they are under the Sun's beams). So there you have two different rules. And Lilly didn't always stick to aspects being within sign. There are at least four charts I could find where Lilly used out of sign aspects. (These are charts on p153, 387, 401, and 471. This is something that Deb points out in the footnotes of her annotated CA) These aren't cases of conjunction but it is the same principle. Signs aren't always a boundary that prevents perfection of an aspect according to Lilly. Nowhere in the delineation of these charts does he emphasis that they are out of sign aspects and are an exception to the rule. If you only ever saw those charts, you would be excused for thinking that sign boundaries are never taken into account. I couldn't actually find where Lilly specifies that aspects need to be in the right signs. I am not arguing for the use of out of sign aspects. I understand the principles behind the relationship between the signs. I am just trying to get a clear picture of when it is okay and when it isn't according to Lilly. But I have to wonder if he knew.

I just happened to be flipping through Raphael's 'Key and Guide to Astrology' a little while ago and noticed his definition of combust.

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Within the Sun's beams or within 8.5 degrees of that luminary. It is said to be an affliction, but I doubt it. The Sun conjunct Jupiter is certainly not an affliction.


But then he also says that a separating aspect carries more strength than an applying aspect.

Cheers
Sue
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Tom
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Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello All,

I’ve been really tied up with Holiday stuff, so I hope whatever has passed since I last wrote isn’t covered here. I had this really clever response dreamed up and started to write, when I began to look a bit more seriously into combustion. What I found mildly startled me. Combustion is a medieval concept. It is not Hellenistic in origin, but probably Arab. Ptolemy, Dorotheus, and Abu Ma’shar, to mention just three, do not mention it at all. Among my texts (hardly a complete library), the earliest mention of it is Al biruni, and it is possible, in fact probable that his idea comes from something a bit different in Tetrabiblos.

Ptolemy, and Dorotheus discuss the issue of the qualities of oriental and occidental and the relative increase/decrease of strength those qualities represent. There is no mention of “under the beams,” “combustion,” or "cazimi." There is nothing that remotely approaches the later or even contemporary delineations of those terms.

Ptolemy discusses the positions of the Superior planets and their distance from the Sun in longitude and used 15 degrees, to determine when these planets would be “eastern (oriental)” or “western (occidental).” For the inferior planets, Venus and Mercury, he used 7 degrees. It is apparently from this that Al biruni derived “under the beams” and “combustion.” The “heart of the Sun (cazimi),” is the turning point for Ptolemy, and that’s it. Things seem pretty much the same for Dorotheus.

In Charles Burnett’s translation of The Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology, a note on page 19 says this in part:


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“Dorotheus and Abu Ma’shar agree on the number of degrees for Saturn and Mars being Under the Rays. Neither mentions the distinction between under the Rays and Combustion which forms part of the later tradition.”


I was wondering why I found no mention of combustion in Paulus or Ibn Ezra for that matter. I just figured I missed it, and I admit I might have.

So it is fair to say that we can safely ignore Paulus, Ptolemy, et al when trying to determine whether or not a planet is combust out of sign. Ptolemy and Dorotheus dwell on the gain or loss of moisture as the planets encounter the Sun within a specified number of degrees. In fact, we can re-think the whole thing, if we want to, or we can claim Al biruni as our source and just stop there. But if Al biruni can claim, directly or indirectly, that planet and Sun do not need to be in the same sign, then so can Lilly, a Ptolemy man, claim otherwise (unless we find more).

In The Astrologer’s Guide 1886 edition, the editor, William C. Eldon Serjeant, makes a peculiar observation in a footnote on page 18. On that page Lilly in response to the 53rd consideration lists the separation by degrees for under the beams, combustion, and cazimi (without mentioning signs). Serjeant objects to Lilly’s depiction of cazimi as beneficial:


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“This fortitude is very doubtful; a planet so situated should be regarded as in the worst state of combustion.”


I don’t know anything about Serjeant, but his lack of familiarity with cazimi or his rejection of it as being positive is interesting.

So Al biruni, or some near contemporary or contemporaries of his developed the concept (assuming my desktop research has merit) and Lilly and Lilly’s students are the only ones that definitely defined combustion as having to occur in the same sign as the Sun. Any others? Yes, I checked through Book XXI of Morinus and he doesn’t even mention it. His concern with planetary strength seems to depend on essential dignity and placement only, and combustion is not among his accidental debilities. I somewhat hastily went through Books XVIII, XXI, and XXII, and found no mention at all. Given Morinus’ disdain for “Arab” astrology, this is not too surprising.

So where do we go from here? The Hellenists were concerned with gaining and losing moisture, not position in signs or visibility or being “burnt up.” Al biruni may have taken Ptolemy’s range for superior and inferior planets and converted that to under the beams and combustion, and used Ptolemy’s turning point as the spot for cazimi, but more work is needed to make this statement. Maybe, the moderns are right for the wrong reasons. Maybe we need to re-think combustion, etc.

Whatever we do, we can do it after Christmas, and with that I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Best wishes

Tom
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Sue



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Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought I did find reference in Dorotheus but I could be wrong. And I'm also confident that Abu Ma'shar talks about it. But I am away from my books at the moment. I can't understand it myself but my parents don't appear to have any astrology books in the house. I know that Ptolemy and others talk about planets conjunct the Sun as attendants (was there something about spear carriers in there as well?) As Tom mentions, we can carry on after Christmas.

Happy Christmas or whatever it is you chose to celebrate to all of you and stay safe.

Sue
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Sue



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Posted: Sun Dec 26, 2004 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just working on some charts in CA (nothing to do with combustion) and came across something interesting. In the chart on page 165, ‘Example of Another Ship’, Lilly mentions that Mercury was entering combustion even though at that stage they were too far apart to be considered combust. In her footnote to this, Deb says:

Quote:
Some authors do not allow combustion unless it perfects within the current sign. Lilly here, shows that he allows the state of ‘entering combustion’ consideration (Mercury and the Sun are 12° 29' apart and will not meet until they get to 11° Aries.)


So there we have consideration of combustion even though both planets are not currently in orb of combustion and have to move signs for it to be combust according to the rules of Lilly. So sign boundaries appear to be a little flexible at this point. I have a little trouble following the use of Lilly’s rules of combustion and accepting ‘consideration of entering combustion’ when Mercury is not combust and won’t be combust in its current sign or even within orb of being combust. Venus, however, is currently within orb of being combust the Sun (7° 39') but is already in Aries. So, for those people who accept out of sign combustion, Venus is already combust the Sun. What I find interesting is that Venus will be combust the Sun within the same sign long before Mercury will be. So why would Mercury’s combustion be considered but not that of Venus? It might well be that Venus was not an issue in this particular chart but it is still likely that Lilly would not have given consideration to Venus being combust or entering combustion if Venus was a significator. I guess there is a possible argument that there is a difference between saying Mercury is moving towards combustion whereas Venus is not moving towards combustion but is ready to receive combustion from the Sun. But I haven’t quite worked out what this might be yet.
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