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Zodiac with 24 sectors
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:06 pm    Post subject: Zodiac with 24 sectors Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

In the "Arkana Dictionary of Astrology", Fred Gettings mentions an ancient subdivision of the zodiac into 24 sectors, meaning that every sign gets subdivided into two equal parts. Such a half-sign was called a hora. However, I am not aware of any ancient astrologer writing about this.

Vedic astrologer Valerie J. Roebuck mentions such a system of "horas" in "The Circle of Stars", but doesn't explain it much. Supposedly Vedic astrology got the idea from Hellenistic astrology.

Any information and / or references any of you can give on the ancient or contemporary use of this concept would be greatly appreciated.
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Deb
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Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing at the front of my mind, but the word hora means hour, and since a planet passes through all 12 houses in 24 hours - so each house, idealistically, in 2 hours - then a division of a house into two horas is identifying the two hours in each house division. So this is really a break down of the 24 hour day, which is going to have a direct association with the 24 planetary hour rulers for each day. Excuse me if you already knew that and wanted some other sort of interpretative information.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Deb,

Thank you for your astute remark re the planetary hour rulers. Indeed, hora could mean "hour" as well as "double-hour", the latter being correlated with the twelve signs.

Yes, I'm still hoping for somebody having specific information on the 24 sectors as used in astrology, but your thoughts are much appreciated.

Best regards
Michael
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Michael,

The hora is one the divisional charts used in Indian astrology. These are collectively called the vargas.

The varga charts are a unique method only employed in Indian astrology to study various aspects of life. Each sign of 30 degrees is further subdivided to generate additional divisional charts. There are 16 divisional charts and they are studied to analyze the finer conditions, strengths and effects of the planets. These charts are also employed to study certain specific aspects of life like spouse, children, parents etc. The hora chart is used especially to study wealth.

The following are the varga divisions:

1. Rashi or the Lagna chart as it is of 30º to study all aspects of life.

2. Hora or one-half of a sign -15º is the varga to study wealth.

3. Drekkana or one-third of a sign – 10º is the varga to study siblings.

4. Chaturthamsha or one-fourth of a sign – 7º30′ is the varga to study destiny and home.

5. Saptamsha or one-seventh of a sign – 4º17`8.5″ is the varga to study progeny.

6. Navamsha or one-ninth of a sign – 3º20′ is the varga for spouse and many other things.

7. Dashamsha or one-tenth of a sign – 3º- is the varga to study ones profession.

8. Dwadashamsha or one-twelfth of a sign -2º30′- is the varga to study parents.

9. Shodashamsha or one-sixteenth of a sign -1º52’30″- is the varga to study conveyance.

10. Vimshamsha or one-twentieth of a sign -1º30′- is the varga to study spiritual progress.

11. Chaturvimshamsha or one-twenty fourth of a sign -1º15′- is to study knowledge.

12. Saptavimshamsha or one-twenty seventh of a sign -1º6’40″- is to study the strength.

13. Trimshamsha or one-thirtieth of a sign – 1º00′- is misfortunes and nature.

14. Khavedamsha or one-fortieth of a sign – 0º45′ is for auspicious & inauspicious effects.

15. Akshavedamsha or one-forty fifth of a sign 0º40′ is for all areas of life.

16.Shashtyamsha or one-sixtieth of a sign 0º30′ is for all general effects.

If you want follow this up it might be wiser to post on the Indian forum. I am pretty sure there is no comparable system like the vargas in hellenistic astrology. They seem to be unique to Indian astrology.

On the other hand the lots never seem to to have been adopted in Indian astrology.

regards

Mark
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Valens talks about calculating the "winds and the steps". The winds of the planets are calculated from their exaltations and the division of each sign into two "steps" of 15 degrees each is outlined.
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Deb
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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I also realised this was the "steps" after posting yesterday - they have a very ancient recognition in Babylonian astrology, but I haven't seen meanings attributed to them in that way that Mark illustrates above.
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Lunlumo



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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In traditional Chinese astrology the year is subdivided into 24 so-called li chun, the first one (called "early spring") begins in early February - with the sun at 15 degrees AQU.
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the references Michael gave from Gettings and Roebuck there doesn't seem any doubt they are discussing the Indian varga known as hora.

Its an interesting point whether this has any direct antecedents in hellenistic or babylonian astrology. Or is the common 15º division just a coincidence?

In a recent podcast Kenneth Johnson and Chris Brennan discussed the hellenistic influences on Indian astrology but they seemed to conclude that the varga were an indigenous Indian development.

What Curtis describes above does seem rather different. The distinctive thing about the varga is that a whole new horoscope is generated from these divisions. The closest analogy in western astrology seems to be harmonic charts although the two are not strictly synonymous.

Deb wrote:
Quote:
I also realised this was the "steps" after posting yesterday - they have a very ancient recognition in Babylonian astrology.


This sounds interesting. Could you say a bit more on this please? What sources are you getting this from?

Deb wrote:
Quote:
I haven't seen meanings attributed to them in that way that Mark illustrates above.


Its bread and butter technique in Indian astrology. References to the various vargas exist in the very earliest Indian astrological texts we have preserved such as Sphujidhvaja's Yavanajātakam .

http://hssa.sayahna.org/ojs/index.php/hssa/article/view/1/3

Mark
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
The distinctive thing about the varga is that a whole new horoscope is generated from these divisions.

That is certainly the modern practice. For what it's worth, though, I can't recall seeing any textual evidence (in pre-modern texts) to support that practice. I'd be interested to know if anyone has.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
From the references Michael gave from Gettings and Roebuck there doesn't seem any doubt they are discussing the Indian varga known as hora.


Mark, I may be wrong (alas, I don't have access to the "Arkana Dictionary of Astrology" at the moment) but I was quite sure that, by hora, Gettings was referring to HELLENISTIC astrology. (According to a note I took, the reference would be on p. 237 f.)
Also, Franz Boll: Sphaera, p. 311 ff. speaks about an assignment of the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet to the zoidia by Teukros/Rhetorios which may be relevant here.
By the way, thanks for the "crash course" in vargas. Yep, let's follow this up in the Indian section once we're done with Greece.

Quote:
The winds of the planets are calculated from their exaltations and the division of each sign into two "steps" of 15 degrees each is outlined.


Curtis, at least based on the Valens translation that I have got, I find it quite unintelligible how Valens is doing this calculation, and what it means. Confused Can you explain it, or refer me to a clear explanation?

Quote:
Yes, I also realised this was the "steps" after posting yesterday - they have a very ancient recognition in Babylonian astrology


Just like Mark, I would love to hear more about this, and know your source.

Quote:
In traditional Chinese astrology the year is subdivided into 24 so-called li chun ...


Interesting, especially in light of the theory that the Chinese and the Hellenistic zodiac are related to each other (Boll).

Many thanks to all of you!
Michael
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Deb
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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Quote:
Yes, I also realised this was the "steps" after posting yesterday - they have a very ancient recognition in Babylonian astrology


Just like Mark, I would love to hear more about this, and know your source.


-- Glad you repeated that because I missed it in Mark's post. I don't know a lot about this, but remember it as one of the arguments proposed by Neugebauer for the reason the Sun's ray's extend 15° either side of its body - he pointed out that this 15° was the distance of the "steps" noted by Babylonian astrologers - a point which might be relevant to how old that association is. He also observed that altogether the Sun's rays then fill one zodiac sign, and give the convenience of the Sun's influence mirroring a calendar month.

Actually, I will check for the ref - I'm no longer sure how much of that was his view, or what I might have taken from elsewhere.
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Deb
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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I doubt this will be of much use to anyone here, but just in case. This is an endnote I have in an as yet unpublished paper on the early history of orbs. It is attached to a comment I make myself, that the Sun's 15° orb is both philosophically pleasing, in giving the Sun full reign over one (monthly) division of the zodiac; and convenient, for the systematic recording of distinct synodic phases. In regard to that 15° orb of the Sun, the footnote reads:

Quote:
Suzanne Denningmann writes (p.196; f.16) “In ancient astrology the approximate value of 15° was commonly regarded as this distance. The earliest evidence for this value in Hellenistic astrology is Ps.-Eudox. ars [a 2nd century BCE papyrus] 14.7-10 p.20-21. It is already attested in Babylonian testimonies”.

Neugebauer’s comments are also of relevance (II, p.760ff.):

Quote:
Theodosius determined the time of visibility of fixed stars by applying the rule that the Sun should be ½ sign away from the horizon, measured on the ecliptic. It seems likely that this visibility limit, ½ sign ahead or behind the Sun, is related to the old measurement of arcs by multiples and fractions of signs, a norm of which the “steps” of 15° are a remnant… From an astronomical viewpoint a universal 15° visibility limit is a rather crude simplification of facts which obviously are much more complex. It cannot have escaped notice that not all stars appear or vanish simultaneously or that the eastern or western parts of the horizon are not the same in darkness near sunrise or sunset. Nevertheless the 15° limit – or the equivalent 15-day limit for the solar motion – was generally accepted.

It is interesting to compare the measure of “½ sign away from the horizon, measured on the ecliptic” with the approximation that Valens employs for finding the date when the Moon will become invisible (Valens, 1.13; p.37): “Wherever the Sun should be found, take half the ascension of its zoidion”. His system of sign ascensions employs the relationship of signs that hear each other (which generate the contra-antiscia) and is explained at 1.6. It shows that a half measure could range from 10° either side of the Sun for the spring signs Aries and Pisces, up to 20° either side for the autumnal signs Virgo and Libra. Again, taking an average of the yearly figures results in a mean value of 15°.


In case any of that might have some relevance, the details of the sources mentioned are:

Denningmann S., ‘The Ambiguous Terms ewa and esperia anatolh, and ewa and esperih dusiv’ [these should be Greek characters, which are not showing here]; Culture & Cosmos, Vol. 11, no. 1 and 2, Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter 2007.

Neugebauer, O., A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy, (3 vols.). Berlin/Heidelberg/New York: Birkhauser, 1975.

Valens, Anthology V & VI: tr. Schmidt, ed. Hand. Berkeley Springs: Golden Hind Press, 1997.
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
The distinctive thing about the varga is that a whole new horoscope is generated from these divisions.


Martin Gansten
Quote:
That is certainly the modern practice. For what it's worth, though, I can't recall seeing any textual evidence (in pre-modern texts) to support that practice. I'd be interested to know if anyone has.


Ok. Perhaps my comment misled by leaving open the implication that separate divisional charts had an ancient origin. I wasn't aiming to get into a historical discussion on the practice. Simply reflecting the fact that (like it or not) most Indian astrologers seem to utilise this kind of technique today.

Perhaps you could explicitly define what you mean by the term 'modern' in the context of Indian astrological practice? I am not entirely clear what the term means in this frame of reference.

Its true enough that ancient texts like The Yavanajātaka of Sphujidhvaja dont really mention separate divisional charts. What we get are various delineations based on divisions of the zodiac signs.

Here is a sample from David Pingree's translation:

Quote:
In the odd signs, the first half is solar, the second lunar, they say; in the even signs, the Moon is lord of the first half, and the Sun of the second.

Halves of the signs in the circle of (zodiacal) constellations are called by
the name of their series Horas. I will describe them briefly, but in detail,
together with their various shapes, insignia, distinguishing marks, and
forms.

The first Hora in [b]Aries wears red clothes and is flaming like the Sun at Doomsday. He holds a sword and a firebrand in his hands. His hair is
tawny and sticks up, and his ear-rings are of gold. He is a fierce man who
has raised the staff of Death for the sake of protection.

This is a man-shaped creature whose cry is loud and who has a long,
thin face. Standing in the midst of flocks of goats and sheep, and mounted
on a goat, he rules his host.

The second Hora in Aries wears a garland of skulls. His bow blazes with arrows. He has the strength of an elephant. He is bound with a half-girdle, and his clothes are black His limbs are adorned with snakes. Bearing a sword and (elephant’s) skin, and of terrible figure, he wears the diadem
(of Siva).

Entering the forest with his swift thieves, he lets loose destruction, this
fearful-faced man, splitting open the highest peak with his bolts. His
anxiety is destroyed and lost.

..........

The first Hora in Gemini holds a lyre in his hand. His completion
is the colour of a parrot’s tail-feather. He is an artistic man with a lowhanging robe whose nature it is to love singing, dancing, and listening (to music). Seated on a cane chair he composes poetry.

He runs after women and is clever in love. His sides are bound in the
embrace of a maiden’s arms. He is not much of a businessman, but he
speaks gently and sweetly, a very reprehensible person.

The second Hora in Gemini is established as being a woman
whose actions are charming and glowing with youth. She is pale and redlimbed, clever and grateful. She is besieged by the leader of an army in a wide-spreading war. Clothed in red, she wears a long red necklace.

Raising her arms, she cries out when she is robbed, She is made
naked by thieves in a park, but is brought back by means of an armed
conflict.

The Yavanajātaka of Sphujidhvaja translated by David Pingree, 1978

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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
Its true enough that ancient texts like The Yavanajātaka of Sphujidhvaja dont really mention separate divisional charts. What we get are various delineations based on divisions of the zodiac signs.


Really interesting! So the Yavanajātaka attaches this kind of images to all the horas... In ancient times, were these used for general interpretation of the natal chart (as opposed to the more specialized applications of the horas in later times)? Or for what purposes?

Is anything known about the origin of these images?

Was this type of iconography also in use for other zodiacal subdivisions (apart from the horas and, as far as I know, the decans/drekkana)?

Regards
Michael
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Mark
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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb quotes:
Quote:
In ancient astrology the approximate value of 15° was commonly regarded as this distance. The earliest evidence for this value in Hellenistic astrology is Ps.-Eudox. ars [a 2nd century BCE papyrus] 14.7-10 p.20-21. It is already attested in Babylonian testimonies”.


I know this is a tangent but I find an interesting link here to the thinking of the early 20th century German astrologer Johannes Vehlow. In his monumental 8 volume work Lehrkursus der wissenschaftlichen Geburts-Astrologie Vehlow discusses his proposed equal house system (which has cusps in the house centre) in Volume 1 which was published in 1933.

Vehlow also realised the traditional orb of the Sun is 15° on either side and imagined it rising on the ASC degree. Hence he calls his type of house system 'solar'.

This type of equal house system (with cusps in the centre not the edge) seems to have independently developed in Indian astrology.

Vehlow attributed his house system to Egyptian astrology although this seems rather different from the whole sign house system that most commentators now think predominated in the early phase of ancient astrology.

Arguably, whole sign houses are symbolically 'solar' too in terms of their mirroring the annual motion of the Sun in each sign and their connection to the Sun's 15° orb if we imagine it in the middle of each whole sign house.

Mark
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