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Equal verses unequal house systems
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Larxene



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Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, like calculus, astronomy is difficult and confusing. Let's try this one:





As you can see, Saturn culminates above the Moon's culmination point. So Saturn at its peak has a higher altitude than the Moon at its peak. The same thing can happen to the Sun as long as the ecliptic is not at the zenith.

Which will very often be the case, especially if you live above or below 23.5 degrees North or South.





As for the original inquiry about why we use the horizonal ascendant but not use the horizonal zenith but instead we use the zodiacal zenith (which is the Midheaven, the highest point the Sun reaches), well, here's my opinion.

I think it's because the MC point in the chart is given meaning by the Sun, NOT the horizon. The Sun generally signifies promotion, honour, social visibility and basically all forms of loftiness. So logically, the culmination of the Sun is where we can find these things, not the highest part of our horizon.
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Konrad



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Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael, Paul and Larxene. Thanks, I think I get it now! I will read over again what was written and get back to you if I come a cropper once more.
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Paul
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Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larxene wrote:

I think it's because the MC point in the chart is given meaning by the Sun, NOT the horizon. The Sun generally signifies promotion, honour, social visibility and basically all forms of loftiness. So logically, the culmination of the Sun is where we can find these things, not the highest part of our horizon.


Whilst I agree that the Sun signifies those things, and that we ought to connect some of the signification of the Sun with the MC, I really think the MC gets it's meaning from its inherent properties of denoting the highest point at which a given point of the ecliptic can rise in the sky. I do think that the whole concept was probably best observed with the Sun, but really could be applied to any planet. The midheaven is the highest point that anything on the ecliptic can reach on that day and so it refers to this same sense of visibility and recognition, a planet on the MC is at the pinnacle of its altitude for that given day.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote: Apr 23, 2014 1:26 pm
Quote:
Thanks, I wasn't sure if you were implying that you ignore the MC-IC as not being useful, so thought I'd clarify as I wasn't sure of anyone who ignores the MC so would be interesting if you had just used the nonagesimal alone for everything the MC would do. As someone who uses both the Placidus and Equal house cusps the most dominantly, I like to look at both.


“As above so below” - there seems to be nothing (observable or mathematically deduced) in the sky inherently useless astrologically; everything is reflecting something happening on Earth.

I'm now just waiting for some astrologers to start delineating what it means if you have the International Space Station in the tenth house, and in Conjunction with Hidalgo. Laughing

But Paul, your comment actually implies an interesting question: What exactly is the difference between the MC and the nonagesimal as far as their astrological significance is concerned?

I was in fact replacing the MC by the nonagesimal for awhile, but eventually I decided in favour of the additional significance the MC brings into play, besides the meaning of the tenth house.

German astrologer Bernd A. Mertz was also using the equal house system along with the MC/IC axis. Mertz suggested that the positioning of the MC in different houses signifies different natives' vocation or true calling as opposed to their profession (10th house). The two will often be in accordance with each other but when i.e. the MC is in the 9th house the native may be more inclined toward finding spiritual fulfilment than a professional career. The house position of the IC is considered analogously.

What about you Paul, do you give special significance to the nonagesimal, perhaps by considering aspects to it?

Quote:
So far I'm following all the celestial mechanics (I think) but I am still not sure where the issue lies. Hopefully you can stick with me and help me out.

I think perhaps that you are viewing the matter abstractly as being a series of concentric circles and that we're using the 'axis' of one circle and comparing to the 'axis' of another circle and that this is where the apples and pears bit is coming from? This is an assumption but I want to be sure I understand that this is your position.


Yes, that's right.

Quote:
But really what I was thinking of is more imagining if I am standing and watching a planet that rises and sets as I think this is more 'true' to the heart of astrology. I would observe that planet rise in the sky until it can't rise anymore and then it would set. And really our quadrant based house systems are just based on this observation, as I mentioned in my previous post.


This seems to be the rationale for using unequal quadrants.

Quote:
This isn't really comparing apples and pears, it is not that we are abstractly dealing with two circles which are agnostic to one another, we are dealing with observation of the sky from a fixed position on the earth.


It's a matter of perspective, really (no pun intended).

Quote:
Real life physics is what mixes all these circles and we triangulate against these circles to track planets as they appear to rise and set. This is the whole premise of quadrant based house systems, at least as I understand them.


Which implies a direct translation of astronomical observations to the chart. But, um, this is not really what we as astrologers are doing, most of the time. Embarassed

All of astrology's elements other than the celestial bodies are basically mathematical deductions, plus our chart is a simplification of complex astronomical reality in various ways. The question is then, which abstractions do we prefer?

Quote:
A whole other philosophical premise, not predicated on imagining observing planets rise and set, is in division of just the ecliptic alone, which has its own advantages of course but is philosophically different to dividing using the quadrants.


This philosophical difference is really at the core of the controversy regarding the two basic types of house system, in my opinion.

Quote:
Both are valid surely? We're not comparing apples and pears, we're just looking at two different things.


I would say, we are looking at the same things differently.

Just to clarify, I don't deny that there may be validity to the unequal houses approach, also. Rather, I am trying to discern its rationale.

At the same time, one of my purposes in this thread is to demonstrate that the nowadays widely neglected equal house system, despite or because of its simplicity, has a sound astronomical and philosophical base. It is anything but primitive, outdated or unscientific.

Paul wrote: Apr 23, 2014 4:05 pm
Quote:
… you need to remember that the ecliptic isn't static in regards how much is rising over the horizon. In other words at certain times of the day you might have only a bit of the ecliptic rising over the horizon, in other words the highest point of the ecliptic, in terms of altitude, is quite low at those moments, and a few hours later the highest altitude that the ecliptic can reach may be much greater.


At any time, exactly half of the ecliptic is rising over the horizon. What you mean here is the varying altitude of the zodiac, obviously.

Quote:
The reason would be that in one form of division we are observing what is the point with the greatest altitude in the sky (90º from the ascendant, and so an equal division perhaps), and in another we are observing what is the point at which a given planetary body may culminate.
This makes particular sense to me if we ignore secondary motion from this equation and were to imagine that planets are static at the points they are at in the ecliptic. In this sense we're observing two things, the "life cycle" of a given planet in that 24 hours - namely the point at which it can rise no more in the night sky at that part of the ecliptic, and then also a more static momentary thing, namely, which part of the ecliptic has the most altitude.


It becomes clear that the former approach is highlighting the time-like side of the wheel of houses - especially in the case of the Placidus system.

The latter approach makes a spatially based division. There are systems other than equal doing this (i.e. Campanus, Regiomontanus), but they start out by dividing a celestial great circle different from the ecliptic. The equal house system is taking the more simple and direct approach.

Larxene wrote: Apr 24, 2014 4:50 am
Quote:
I think it's because the MC point in the chart is given meaning by the Sun, NOT the horizon. The Sun generally signifies promotion, honour, social visibility and basically all forms of loftiness. So logically, the culmination of the Sun is where we can find these things, not the highest part of our horizon.


Paul replied: Apr 24, 2014 10:25 am
Quote:
Whilst I agree that the Sun signifies those things, and that we ought to connect some of the signification of the Sun with the MC, I really think the MC gets it's meaning from its inherent properties of denoting the highest point at which a given point of the ecliptic can rise in the sky. I do think that the whole concept was probably best observed with the Sun, but really could be applied to any planet. The midheaven is the highest point that anything on the ecliptic can reach on that day and so it refers to this same sense of visibility and recognition, a planet on the MC is at the pinnacle of its altitude for that given day.


Obviously, if we look at the wheel of houses as analogous to the zodiac, we could conclude that just like the Sun revolves around the former in one year, he circles around the latter in one day (regardless of the particular system used). In either case, the Sun's circle serves then also the measuring circle for the other celestial bodies.

BTW, pretty graph, Larxene! - Thanks.


Last edited by Michael Sternbach on Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Larxene



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Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theoretically, we can use the nonagesimal (reminds me of infinitesimals) to mark the highest part a planet can reach in a native's individual horizon, at which point, the planet's natural qualities become emphasised in that particular individual's life.

[THIS PART WAS EDITED BECAUSE I MADE A MISCONCEPTION.]



Michael,

Mertz observation/speculation is interesting. I have two anecdotal evidence for this, as I was using the Equal House system when working with Maternus's delineation material.

First, I have the MC in the 9th house by the EH system. Indications of education and philosophy is very prominent in my life. At six years old, I spent my free time reading detective novels like Famous Five, Trixie Belden, etc (English was not my native language, but I had a preference for it; I mainly learned it from reading crime novels). I began thinking about the meaning of life around that time. When I was younger I was quite the idealistic and philosophical person; my tendency to philosophise (which got me into questioning the education system) got me in trouble with my friends and teachers.

Even now, I spent my time learning all sorts of things when my peers are already completing school and preparing for their profession. A nerdy person, I dabbled with the Rubik's cube (11 seconds was my best), chess, math, psychology, mechanics and so on. Perhaps the greatest indication is my persistent study of astrology.

The second person I have in mind is Sherloc-- I mean, Arthur Conan Doyle Smile. Using the EH system, he has the MC in the 8th house! Now, presumably we all know he created one of the most popular fictional detectives of all time. When we talk about detectives, we talk about crime, but most importantly, death. He was not originally a writer; his works simply got popular. If the MC was in the 10th, he may have been more prominent as a writer before he started the Holmes series.

Using Whole Signs, his MC would be in the 9th.

Please excuse me for my ramblings. Tongue Out



The picture was from Stellarium, a free open-source software that is very useful for astronomical and astrological enthusiasts alike.
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Paul
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Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:

“As above so below” - there seems to be nothing (observable or mathematically deduced) in the sky inherently useless astrologically; everything is reflecting something happening on Earth.

I'm now just waiting for some astrologers to start delineating what it means if you have the International Space Station in the tenth house, and in Conjunction with Hidalgo. Laughing


Ha, I understand what you mean. For me I think both the MC and the nonagesimal are both valid astronomical positions that a planet can be said to be "at its highest", and so are equally valid.

I do think the question of what is the significance of both is interesting. I tend to use them both more or less evenly as indicating issues of career and recognition etc.

Quote:
German astrologer Bernd A. Mertz was also using the equal house system along with the MC/IC axis. Mertz suggested that the positioning of the MC in different houses signifies different natives' vocation or true calling as opposed to their profession (10th house). The two will often be in accordance with each other but when i.e. the MC is in the 9th house the native may be more inclined toward finding spiritual fulfilment than a professional career. The house position of the IC is considered analogously.


I was taught astrology using the equal house system, and this has always been one of the things I have enjoyed about using it. I would probably, now, change it slightly to be more that those with a 9th house MC are more comfortable away from the spotlight than those with MC in the 10th.

Quote:

What about you Paul, do you give special significance to the nonagesimal, perhaps by considering aspects to it?


One of the things I like about the equal house system, unique to it, is that the house cusps represent an aspectual relationship to the ascendant. Detouring for a second to Hellenistic astrology we have the idea of planets which are ten signs away hurling its rays in a manner which overcomes the planet to which it casts its ray. And with the nonagesimal we have any planet positioned here doing just that to the ascendant, and so I think of this whole area of the sky as being particularly heightened even if for only this reason, in fact I wondered if it wasn't the other way around and that planets at the equal 10th were clearly the most heightened they could be in the sky and that this is where the idea of overcoming derives from, but I have no real idea, this is just a thought that passed through my mind at one point. I realise we need to account for applying aspects etc. but just putting that aside and recognising that a dexter square is powerful. We only have this with the equal house 10th cusp.

But really I like the equal cusps as they indicate the focus points of any aspect, or aversion, to the ascendant, and as, to an extent, some of the house meanings are derived from that theoretical aspectual relationship to the ascendant I think it's fitting that we should focus on them. But, for me, I also like the idea of recognising the division of time it takes for a planet to rise and set, and for that reason use Placidus as well. By using both I can imagine focus points for aspectual relationships to the ascendant as well as observe the motions of the planets through a pair of planetary hours and how it would seem as if a given planet is whipping through one part of the sky in a given time period, and appears to be moving very slowly through another for the same time period later in the day. (I hope this makes sense as I explain it). So for me using both is very useful to me.

Quote:
This seems to be the rationale for using unequal quadrants.


Now that we've begun discussing it, do you think it's a fair enough rationale?
In you first post you referred to this as a theoretical "problem". And that the german astrologer you cited believed it to be a mistake in our understanding of ancient texts. Do you still think this, keeping in mind that one of the most natural things for any ancient observer to do would be to observe the rising and setting of planets/stars?

Quote:
Which implies a direct translation of astronomical observations to the chart. But, um, this is not really what we as astrologers are doing, most of the time. Embarassed

All of astrology's elements other than the celestial bodies are basically mathematical deductions, plus our chart is a simplification of complex astronomical reality in various ways. The question is then, which abstractions do we prefer?


Right, they're all abstractions, but it is not that astrologers are mixing apples and pears when calculating positions of planets. We need to use these axes in order to measure when a given planet will rise, culminate, and set. We're not comparing apples to pears, just using the correct axes for the job - even if we simplify the positions and are more interested in the positions abstractly.

Quote:
At the same time, one of my purposes in this thread is to demonstrate that the nowadays widely neglected equal house system, despite or because of its simplicity, has a sound astronomical and philosophical base. It is anything but primitive, outdated or unscientific.


Right, I completely agree. In fact one of the things I've sometimes run into is the notion that equal house systems represents "Kindergarten astrology", or a primitive and, the implication being childlike, use of astrology that must surely result from this. When of course this is not true and we really have no reason why we ought to suggest that the conclusions an astrologer can make from equal are any less valid than those from someone using placidus.

Complexity of calculation does not result in complexity of astrology, nor does a simple calculation result in a simpler astrology.

And yet some people do seem to think so.

In any event nobody calculates placidus cusps by hand, nobody really ever did. They used tables and calculated from those, and today we use computers.

Quote:
What you mean here is the varying altitude of the zodiac, obviously.


Ack, my bad! Thanks for that, yes of course that's correct.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote: Apr 25, 2014 10:39 am
Quote:
One of the things I like about the equal house system, unique to it, is that the house cusps represent an aspectual relationship to the ascendant. Detouring for a second to Hellenistic astrology we have the idea of planets which are ten signs away hurling its rays in a manner which overcomes the planet to which it casts its ray. And with the nonagesimal we have any planet positioned here doing just that to the ascendant, and so I think of this whole area of the sky as being particularly heightened even if for only this reason, in fact I wondered if it wasn't the other way around and that planets at the equal 10th were clearly the most heightened they could be in the sky and that this is where the idea of overcoming derives from, but I have no real idea, this is just a thought that passed through my mind at one point. I realise we need to account for applying aspects etc. but just putting that aside and recognising that a dexter square is powerful. We only have this with the equal house 10th cusp.


Brilliant astrological thinking here, Paul.

It may interest you that traditional astrologer Rafael Gil Brand in fact gives exactly the same explanation for the dexter square in his “Lehrbuch der klassischen Astrologie”, p. 240 f. – He further remarks that a planet at the nonagesimal will be “elevated” over a planet at the ASC.

Quote:
But really I like the equal cusps as they indicate the focus points of any aspect, or aversion, to the ascendant, and as, to an extent, some of the house meanings are derived from that theoretical aspectual relationship to the ascendant I think it's fitting that we should focus on them.


This is an interesting view. I would certainly think of zodiacal degrees in aspect to the ascendant as “sensitized”.

A problem with seeing the equal house cusps primarily as aspects to (or from) the ascendant could be that their orbs extend on either side of the exact degree, so a house cusp should become the same house's centre, really. Also, a 15° orb is wider than any other factor has (except the Sun in classical astrology).

Possibly, though, this is the rationale for the version of the equal house system which is indeed positioning the ASC in the middle of the 1st house.

Quote:
But, for me, I also like the idea of recognising the division of time it takes for a planet to rise and set, and for that reason use Placidus as well. By using both I can imagine focus points for aspectual relationships to the ascendant as well as observe the motions of the planets through a pair of planetary hours and how it would seem as if a given planet is whipping through one part of the sky in a given time period, and appears to be moving very slowly through another for the same time period later in the day.


This made me wonder - if unequal houses have their rationale in the apparent daily revolution of the Sun (or, by analogy, another celestial body) – like Placidus in particular implies – shouldn't the signs have different sizes as well? After all, the Sun doesn't traverse the zodiac at a constant speed either.

Quote:
Now that we've begun discussing it, do you think it's a fair enough rationale?
In you first post you referred to this as a theoretical "problem". And that the german astrologer you cited believed it to be a mistake in our understanding of ancient texts. Do you still think this, keeping in mind that one of the most natural things for any ancient observer to do would be to observe the rising and setting of planets/stars?


Even though I find the idea that ancient astrologers created the unequal system by misinterpretation of even more ancient texts intriguing, it would take a careful study of the relevant source material to see if this theory holds true.

I don't deny that it does make sense to view the wheel of houses as mirroring the apparent daily course of a celestial body the way i.e. the Placidus system suggests.

This said, unbiased laypersons often note the awkwardness of unequal systems immediately. When showing them their “unequal” charts, I have heard some of them exclaim: “Why the [insert your preferred expletive] is my chart so distorted?!!”, and also: “Are you sure your PC is o.k.?”

Of course, I would then confidently refer to most widely accepted astrological lore... But is their spontaneous bewilderment really so unfounded?

Then again, I was using the Koch (GOH) system for quite a long time and generally found it quite descriptive of my clients. Out of curiosity, I'm occasionally experimenting with systems like Campanus and Regiomontanus. So you see, I want to keep an open mind here; I haven't reached any “final” conclusion yet, but I do like equal houses.

Quote:
Right, they're all abstractions, but it is not that astrologers are mixing apples and pears when calculating positions of planets. We need to use these axes in order to measure when a given planet will rise, culminate, and set. We're not comparing apples to pears, just using the correct axes for the job - even if we simplify the positions and are more interested in the positions abstractly.


It really depends on where you draw the lines (no pun intended).

If the foundation of your quadrant system is the rising, upper culmination, setting and lower culmination of a celestial body, then the ASC-DSC and the IC-MC axes belong to each other, and your statement is entirely correct.

If you look at this in basic geometrical terms, however, then you are working with two axes that have no (straightforward) relation to each other; that's why I was talking of “mixing apples and pears”.

Quote:
In fact one of the things I've sometimes run into is the notion that equal house systems represents "Kindergarten astrology", or a primitive and, the implication being childlike, use of astrology that must surely result from this. When of course this is not true and we really have no reason why we ought to suggest that the conclusions an astrologer can make from equal are any less valid than those from someone using placidus.

Complexity of calculation does not result in complexity of astrology, nor does a simple calculation result in a simpler astrology.

And yet some people do seem to think so.


Very nicely said. In general, I find truth's most shining characteristic to be its mind-boggling simplicity – once I get there!

Michael
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larxene wrote: Apr 25, 2014 5:11 am
Quote:
Mertz observation/speculation is interesting. I have two anecdotal evidence for this, as I was using the Equal House system when working with Maternus's delineation material.


Thanks Larxene

Your two cases (including your own) are indeed noteworthy.

Incidentally, I have the MC in the 9th equal house myself, and my own earlier life experiences seem to reflect yours in so many ways.

Never quite came to terms with Rubik's cube, though - I regularly ended up using a screwdriver... Smile

Quote:
Please excuse me for my ramblings. Tongue Out


Much appreciated. Feel free to "ramble" on!
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Larxene



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Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am still wondering why the MC and the nonagesimals do not coincide despite both being in the local meridian. However, by observing the stars in Stellarium, I have a hunch as to why that is so. Perhaps it is like this:





If we look above, we see the constellations Taurus, Aries and Pisces (which roughly correspond with the equally sized sidereal zodiac) arranged in a slanted manner. So maybe it's because the zodiac circle is slanted with regard to the Earth, so the nonagesimal occupies a different degree in the zodiac compared to the MC.

This makes me further wonder: why does the MC even stray as far as the 12th sign when in extreme latitudes? I will have to think about it.



The Rubik's cube is difficult to solve without using any algorithms, so even for myself, I have to use algorithms for the last layer. Smile
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larxene wrote:
Quote:
I am still wondering why the MC and the nonagesimals do not coincide despite both being in the local meridian.


Quote:
This makes me further wonder: why does the MC even stray as far as the 12th sign when in extreme latitudes? I will have to think about it.


In my naive and simplistic way of looking at things I had assumed the MC was derived from the highest culmination point of the planets in a particular location where they intersect with the ecliptic.

This is from Wikipedia:
Quote:
The other very important angle of the chart is the Midheaven (also called the M.C. for the Latin Medium coeli, or "middle of the sky.") The Midheaven represents the highest point in the sky reached by the Sun, or its culmination, as it crosses from one horizon to the other—the noon point in a chart which is plotted for dawn. At the Earth's equator, it is the point on the ecliptic which is directly overhead from the observer; as the observer moves north or south from the Equator, the midheaven appears to withdraw, so that from points north of the equator, the noon point of the Sun appears lies in the southern sky, and south of the equator, it appears in the northern sky.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angle_(astrology)

I suppose an obvious question here is why isn't the MC a fixed point calculated for local solar noon in a chart for a whole day? We all know the Sun at local solar noon directly coincides with the MC. In other words why does the MC position keep changing? My understanding is that the MC indicates the point where the planets reach their highest declination in their arc between the ascendant and descendant and since the ASC/DESC axis is constantly shifting so must the MC.

As you travel further north of the equator the MC occurs more frequently nearer the horizon. Hence more charts with an MC located in the 12th whole sign house in northern latitudes. We get quite a few of those here in Scotland. Eventually, when you get to polar regions you will have charts where the Sun is too low in declination to ever rise at all so the MC is below the ASC! You also have the problem of certain zodiacal degrees not rising at all.

Here is an interesting article on the practical astrology of polar astrology by Andrew Bevan:

http://www.astronor.com/polarcharts.htm

If your more mathematically inclined you will be enjoy Michael Wackford's series of articles on the mathematics and astronomy of house division and the challenge of polar astrology:

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/books.html#ah

Overall, Michael Wackford seems to be a strong supporter of the placidus house system above any other.

On the nonagesimal my understanding is that it is derived from the local zodiacal zenith. Hence the etymology of nonagesimal being derived from 90 degrees from the ASC.

To quote Michael Wackford on the nonagesimal:
Quote:
This cusp, which is always the point of the ecliptic highest in the local sky, is the ecliptic point closest to the celestial position of the birthplace ( = the celestial zenith)


So in contrasting the MC/nonagesimal we have the difference between the highest culmination point of the planets in terms of declination and the highest point of the ecliptic in the local sky.

Mark
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larxene wrote: Apr 26, 2014 6:41 am
Quote:
I am still wondering why the MC and the nonagesimals do not coincide despite both being in the local meridian.


Not sure if I follow you here, Larxene. Confused

The nonagesimal coincides with the local meridian only twice a day (when the equinoctial degrees 0° Aries and 0° Libra are at the ASC). While the MC (by definition) is always at the meridian.

In my last post I wrote that the ASC-DSC and the MC-IC axes don't have any straightforward relation to each other. This is true by comparison with the simple constant 90° angle between the ASC-DSC and the 10th-4th equal house cusp axes.

However, thinking about the issue some more, actually the former pair does have a mathematically well-defined mutual relationship as well, albeit not of such a simple nature.

While the MC-IC axis (aka the meridian) stays in place, the zodiacal ASC-DSC axis is shuttling forth and back periodically over the fixed horizontal positions the equator is rising and setting at (east and west, in other words). This is rather interesting in the geometrician's eye.

But if we do base our wheel of houses on the unequal quadrants thus derived, we are next, of course, faced with the question how to calculate the cusps in-between the axes. Treating this theoretically, it would be logical to assume that the further cusps somehow need to follow the same rationale like the main axes. - Perhaps the Placidus system accomplishes this.

As I mentioned before, some time-honoured systems start out by dividing one of the great circles other than the zodiac, such as the prime vertical (Campanus), or the equator (Regiomontanus). We would need to ascertain what these circles represent metaphysically in order to get a better perspective on their appropriateness in this respect or, possibly, on what level of a native's experience a particular house system pertains to.

Maybe all the different house systems have meaning, but in (subtly) different respects. If we were able to discern this, we could conceivably always use the house system that best suits the case at hand.

Perhaps the equal system (the simple division of the zodiac) could then be seen as the most basic and generally valid approach while additional house systems would be brought into play for inquiries into more specialised areas?

Paul's use of Equal and Placidus in parallel points in this direction.

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The Rubik's cube is difficult to solve without using any algorithms, so even for myself, I have to use algorithms for the last layer.


Riiiight, Larxene... Why for heaven's sake couldn't I think of such a perfectly simple solution myself back in my elementary school days?! Rolling Eyes
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
Perhaps the equal system (the simple division of the zodiac) could then be seen as the most basic and generally valid approach while additional house systems would be brought into play for inquiries into more specialised areas?


Leaving aside the controversial topic of 'validity' by 'equal system' can we assume you also include the other systems that do not use the MC as the 10th house cusp. In particular Whole sign houses and the Vehlow-Raman system?

Mark
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote: Apr 26, 2014 10:01 am
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I suppose an obvious question here is why isn't the MC a fixed point calculated for local solar noon in a chart for a whole day? We all know the Sun at local solar noon directly coincides with the MC. In other words why does the MC position keep changing? My understanding is that the MC indicates the point where the planets reach their highest declination in their arc between the ascendant and descendant and since the ASC/DESC axis is constantly shifting so must the MC.


Actually, the ASC-DSC axis is constantly shifting, but the MC-IC axis is not. The projection into the flatness of our charts makes it look like the MC and IC were shifting during the course of the day while in reality only the ASC and the DSC are.

Quote:
As you travel further north of the equator the MC occurs more frequently nearer the horizon. Hence more charts with an MC located in the 12th whole sign house in northern latitudes. We get quite a few of those here in Scotland. Eventually, when you get to polar regions you will have charts where the Sun is too low in declination to ever rise at all so the MC is below the ASC! You also have the problem of certain zodiacal degrees not rising at all.


I was waiting for somebody to bring this one up!

The discussion about what happens to our different house systems in more extreme latitudes is quite a complex one. It is somehow reminiscent of the “tropical zodiac and the southern hemisphere” thread over on the Philosophy & Science forum.

Surely our understanding of astrology's foundations can only gain by considering such topics, tricky as they may be.

Thanks Mark for the informative articles you have linked. I didn't read them all yet but I will do so as my time allows.

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On the nonagesimal my understanding is that it is derived from the local zodiacal zenith. Hence the etymology of nonagesimal being derived from 90 degrees from the ASC.


This is why the Equal house system is sometimes also called the Zenith system. - As an aside, Arthur Schult calls it the Hermetic system in his “Astrosophie”.

Quote:
So in contrasting the MC/nonagesimal we have the difference between the highest culmination point of the planets in terms of declination and the highest point of the ecliptic in the local sky.


Right on the mark! The question now is what distinguishes the two in regard of their astrological meaning.

Mark wrote: Apr 26, 2014 10:11 pm
Quote:
Leaving aside the controversial topic of 'validity' by 'equal system' can we assume you also include the other systems that do not use the MC as the 10th house cusp. In particular Whole sign houses and the Vehlow-Raman system?


The whole idea would be quite controversial. So far, I've only been thinking aloud, really.

And I wouldn't exclude any house system as insignificant a priori.

Let me take a brief look at the theoretical foundation of the Equal systems you mention here (from my current perspective):

Whole sign houses

Here, the first house cusp is at 0° of the ascending sign, not at the Ascendant per se. This could be based on an ancient view that regards signs as a whole rather than taking into account individual degrees. It would seem a little simplistic from a modern astrologer's perspective. Personally, I never worked with this system. But I find the concept interesting, nonetheless.

Vehlow-Raman

In regard to this system, let me quote what I wrote above in response to Paul (in my post of Apr 25, 2014 10:39 am):

Quote:
A problem with seeing the equal house cusps primarily as aspects to (or from) the ascendant could be that their orbs extend on either side of the exact degree, so a house cusp should become the same house's centre, really. Also, a 15° orb is wider than any other factor has (except the Sun in classical astrology).

Possibly, though, this is the rationale for the version of the equal house system which is indeed positioning the ASC in the middle of the 1st house.


Michael
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Larxene



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Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's hard for me to explain verbally, so let me use pictures instead:




Both the nonagesimal and MC lie on the local meridian, so they should be both 90 degrees from the eastern horizon. In other words, the nonagesimal and MC should both coincide; they should both be 90 degrees clockwise from the Ascendant. And yet, in natal charts, they do not. Why?
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Larxene,

If you let us know the date, time, and location of this skyview, I will see what I can do for you.
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