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Do House Traits Reflect Tropical Signs?
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Michael Sternbach



Joined: 01 Mar 2014
Posts: 520
Location: Switzerland

Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 12:55 am    Post subject: Do House Traits Reflect Tropical Signs? Reply with quote

Hi everyone!

This thread spins off my Equal 10th house cusp verses MC
http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8254

There, an interesting conversation occurred about how far the houses reflect the signs.

The ongoing exchange started bringing that thread off-topic as Larxene reminded us (thanks for that).

So I open up this new thread for further discussion of this important topic. I have gathered all the relevant statements from that other thread.

Since including all the repetitions in this format would be tedious for the reader, I leave them out where unnecessary for understanding.

Michael wrote:
Quote:
It would seem to be derived from a view that regards houses and signs as analogous to each other, in this case 11th = Aquarius.


Mark wrote:
Quote:
I assume your aware your describing the modern 'alphabet zodiac' approach to the houses here. The original house meanings have no direct connection to the signs.


Michael wrote:
Quote:
Yes, Mark, I know that older astrologers don't talk about the houses as akin to the signs.

Personally, I do see them as analogous, like many modern astrologers (i.e. Howard Sasportas, Stephen Arroyo). In my opinion, their traditional attributes are actually suggesting this quite clearly.

William Lilly (who you mention in your post in a different context) was the first to imply this connection more obviously by ascribing the body parts traditionally associated with the signs to the houses accordingly.

I guess, to treat this topic more fully we would need to dedicate a special thread to it...


Mark wrote:
Quote:
You really need to read our web host's book Michael!

http://www.skyscript.co.uk/temples/contents.html

Deborah Houlding specifically discusses the ideas of Howard Sasportas's on the houses and why his (and modern astrologers in general)approach is problematic both logically and historically.

Quote:
William Lilly (who you mention in your post in a different context) was the first to imply this connection more obviously by ascribing the body parts traditionally associated with the signs to the houses accordingly.

That was a specific tradition relating exclusively to medical astrology. Nothing else. It long predates Lilly. Many of the traditional meanings of houses have nothing in common with the signs and unless we choose to twist them to make them fit. A good example is Leo. Traditionally a sterile sign yet given the 5th house of children in the alphabet zodiac. Pisces and the 12th house is an awkward fit that ignores centuries of ideas about what that house symbolises.

I could go on and on but I think I have railroaded the thread enough on this!


Michael wrote:
Quote:
In fact, I have already put Deb's book on my "to read" list not long ago.

Quote:
That was a specific tradition relating exclusively to medical astrology. Nothing else. It long predates Lilly.

Seeing the houses as representing body parts predates Lilly?

Who mentions it before him?


Paul wrote:
Quote:
I was actually posting at the same time as Mark but then saw his post so didn't post the message I wrote up.

Maybe I should have, I offered a quote from Umar al Tabiri who links both and al Kindi who mentions the houses.

The crux of my post was that this is for other "body part" astrology such as parts of a ship as well. I can provide references, I'm just posting from my phone at the moment.


james_m wrote:
Quote:
ot - regarding houses being analogous with signs - 12th house is similar to 12th sign - while this seems to be a modern astrology development i found it interesting reading morins views which i am only going to quickly summarize in how he looked at houses 4/8/12 as connected to the water element. i don't have the citation, but i recall him taking a similar line of thinking on this.

i think the big thing that deb continually emphasized in her book was the clockwise motion - while the house numbers go in an anti-clockwise manner. i personally think there are obvious parallels with some of the symbology. while the meaning of the signs is not the same as the houses, it is confusing to understand the basis for the symbolism and why there is so much cross over.. 2nd house - possessions - 2nd sign taurus.. call me thick, but i think ignoring the cross overs is dishonest. does one house flow into another? no matter which direction you focus on - clockwise or anti-clockwise movement of the planets - there is a cycle involved that implies a type of development of the idea captured in these cycles.


Michael wrote:
Quote:
Hello Paul,

Yes, you should have posted that message. Smile

Anyway, I'm greatly looking forward to your quotes and references!


james_m wrote:
Quote:
as for my ot comments on the overlap on houses and signs - i doubt i will get much if any feedback on this here as i believe it runs contrary to what i perceive as traditional astrology doctrine and the views expressed by deb in her book.. perhaps if she is around, she'd like to comment. i am sure there are a large number of examples where the 12th house doesn't mean the same as the 12th sign, but overall i think there is a crossover that has some affinities too.. anyone want to take that up here on another thread perhaps?


Paul wrote:
Quote:
Sorry for the delay. I suddenly became much busier than I expected, but here's one quote for the moment, and I'll find a couple more later. I wanted to make the analogy that it is not just body parts which gets this treatment, the 'body parts' of a ship also do. So it is not exclusively linked to medicine. But I will find quotes for this or start a new topic if you prefer.

For now, from Al Kindi's Forty Chapters. Translation is by Ben Dykes and the page numbers refer to Dykes' The Book of The Nine Judges.

In what limb he suffers (p191)
Quote:
For the Ascendant designates the head; by the second is denoted the neck; the hands and shoulders are designated the third...


On bloodletting and cupping (p200)
Quote:
We entrust the limbs of the body to the individual signs by such a distribution: and so, Aries looks to the head, Taurus to the neck, Gemini to the shoulders and hands...


So we see that there is a precedent for assigning both the signs of the zodiac, as well as the houses to the parts of the body.

I will post more on this later when I get more time.


Michael wrote:
Quote:
Thanks Paul

Great information!

Looking forward to more when you have time.


james_m wrote:
Quote:
it appears this concept of connecting houses and signs (1st house has a parallel with the 1st sign and etc. etc.) has been going on for longer then 'modern' astrology and has it's origins further back then some want to acknowledge.. deb?


Paul wrote:
Quote:
I think it's worth being clear on this. I can't remember what Deb's book says, but most people acknowledge that there is an historical link between signs and houses when it comes to the idea of 'body parts'. I will show later that there's a precedent for this with ships (ie, it's not unique to medicine).

The thing that people disagree with, which is indeed modern, is the astrological alphabet, which posits that Sign=House=Planet. So for example Libra=7th House=Venus and vice versa. That the second house signifies money, and therefore so does Venus and Taurus. That Pisces is spiritual etc. and therefore so too is the 12th house. That planets in the 4th show how emotional and caring you are (Cancer).

But we quickly see problems when we try to associate Saturn with recognition and career (10th House) or with Venus and lawsuits and enemies (7th house) etc.


james_m wrote:
Quote:
thanks paul,

i think the main criticism of the idea of equating signs with houses and planets too is how it turns everything into mashed potatoes on a plate, as opposed to delicate little potatoes each with a specific, quantifiable taste, lol.. i like my mashed potatoes with gravy, lol.. where can i read about that in the astrology cook books?


Paul wrote:
Quote:
I like to mash my own potatoes I guess.

Also, you talk to an Irish man of potatoes, you know you are going to both make me not only hungry but also make follow your posts with a new found respect and attention hitherto unseen.

But I agree, one of the things I notice with people who learn astrology is not understanding the difference between the signs and houses and whilst I do recommend this astrological alphabet as a nice quick mnemonic for getting the idea in place, I also think that as soon as we become fluent with the terms we drop the idea completely so we can add more nuance. But until we are at a level where we understand the planets and the signs and the houses on their own merit, these simple ABCs can be helpful to beginners. I presume that is why they came about in the first place, when astrology needed to be taught to the mass public.


Michael wrote:
Quote:
Paul, re: yours Wed May 07, 2014 5:08 pm

The way I look at it, the zodiac, the wheel of houses, and the planets are three different and differentiable levels. They should be taught as such, even though it is inevitable (and not always inappropriate, either) that, in modern astrological practice, they sometimes tend to blur.

Whether or not this was the reason for more traditionally minded astrologers to reject seeing the signs and the houses as analogous, I cannot decide. But I do think that this question is an extremely important one regarding astrology's philosophical foundations.

In this respect, it makes a lot of sense to me to think of astrology's three wheels (including the planets) as expressing the same archetypes, albeit in different ways. Plus, there are just too many very obvious parallels between signs and houses, even by their traditional descriptions, as James started demonstrating.

If we are talking about traditional sources, what is further supporting such a view with little ambiguity is the precise assignment of the same body part to a sign as well as to a house also by an astrologer like Al-Kindi (as we all know now).

You really don't need to be a great logician in order to see:

If body parts = signs, and body parts = houses, then signs = houses.
QED

Mark wrote:
Quote:
That was a specific tradition relating exclusively to medical astrology. Nothing else.

Except, it directly pertains to the BIGGIE how we are "supposed" to look at the basic foundations of astrology in the first place.

That the attributions of body parts to signs and their analogous houses holds true empirically seems evident from the published experiences of many an astromedical practitioner. I may mention my six years of working in close association with a medical doctor as another reference here.

But who is to argue with Al Kindi anyway... Smile


Deb wrote:
Quote:
I'm not really able to follow this or other forum discussions at the moment - too much illness in my household and other pressing issues on my mind. If you are interested I covered this point in my book, showing how it was an ancient attribution, and explaining (for example in my introduction) why it shouldn't be over-relied upon to suggest that the main historical attributions of the houses are derived from the signs. I would not discount anything as having to been able to lend its influence to house meanings, but of course, for the ancient anatomical associations it is quite possible that it was house meanings extended into signs, rather than vice versa - the attribution of parts of a ship is following the same principle of anatomical association. I'm not sure why it is being treated as some kind of new and startling realization that has not been previously acknowledged, but once I have published my own arguments, I think I should let others use them or disagree with them as they see fit.


Paul wrote:
Quote:
I really need to re-read your book. It was one of the first books I read which offered a new spin on the houses (previously having thought Howard Sasportas' book on the houses was the most important). I seem to have forgotten much more than I have remembered.


Saturngirl wrote:
Quote:
I have recently purchased Deb's presentation on the development of house meanings from the AA website & it is excellent! Thumbs up Laughing
Highly recommended!
Judy


Michael wrote:
Quote:
Hi Deb

Deb wrote:
Quote:
I would not discount anything as having to been able to lend its influence to house meanings, but of course, for the ancient anatomical associations it is quite possible that it was house meanings extended into signs, rather than vice versa - the attribution of parts of a ship is following the same principle of anatomical association.

I'm not sure why it would be essential if the sign meanings were extended to the houses, or rather vice versa? Wouldn't the result be quite the same in either case?

However, historically speaking, the question is interesting.

Quote:
I'm not sure why it is being treated as some kind of new and startling realization that has not been previously acknowledged

I'm rather under the impression that contemporary traditional astrologers treat it as some kind of new and startling realization that the houses would not reflect the signs. Smile


james_m wrote:
Quote:
thanks deb,

i will have to re-read your book which i read a few years ago.. it (houses=signs=modern astrology take) came up based on some of the earlier commentary on the same thread here.. i just kept it going, lol..

i find it fascinating to consider this in reverse. signs got their meanings from the houses. that seems like a novel idea to me for some reason.. i'd be curious the accumulated knowledge that might motivate you to say that.. perhaps someone else would like to talk about this?

the reason the zodiac signs were different sizes was due that houses were different sizes and all that kind of back and forth. it could get interesting! part of me is saying this in jest!@


In the context of this thread, I am interested in two questions:

1) What is the historical evidence in support or in contradiction to seeing the houses as analogous to the signs?

2) For those of us who do accept this analogy, how are related patterns expressed on the level of the signs as opposed to the level of the houses?

Michael


Last edited by Michael Sternbach on Fri May 09, 2014 2:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Paul
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Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael

I am probably going to re-read Deb's book before I make any more comments on this topic, and as Deb has mentioned she has addressed some of this in her book, it might be worthwhile were you to do similar?

I find it really interesting Deb maintains her view that this body-parts are likely derived from the houses first. I was going to speculate something similar. I was interested in this passage from Valens:

Rather than quote out a table (somehow) I'll just link it:
http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/Vettius%20Valens%20entire.pdf

page 47 and 48

Here we see Valens explain that older astrologers used houses derived from the lots to associate body parts. But Valens does not prefer this, he instead prefers to say that:

Quote:
Aries causes headaches...
Taurus is indicative of the neck
...
Gemini is indicative of shoulders, arms, hands ..


etc.

Is this his own view or one which is another approach that other astrologers use? I am not sure. As I say, I will read Deb's book again.

One more interesting thing from Valens:
Quote:

Of the body parts, Mars rules the head, the seat, the genitals
....
Of the parts of the body, it [Venus] rules the neck, the face, the lips,
the sense of smell, the front parts from the feet to the head, the parts of intercourse...
Of the parts of the body, it [Mercury] rules the hands, the shoulders, the finger


etc

So we see the planets may refer to this body part scheme too, though not in the straightforward way we have with modern astrology, in that we see unusual things like Venus ruling the lungs etc.

However the point is that this astrological alphabet may be seen, in some prototypical form, with body parts in traditional astrology. Though I am not sure it is seen anywhere else.

Looking forward to re-reading Deb's book again, even if this is only touched upon.
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Mark
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Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
Quote:
I am probably going to re-read Deb's book before I make any more comments on this topic, and as Deb has mentioned she has addressed some of this in her book, it might be worthwhile were you to do similar?


Yes I do think reading Deb's book should be a basic starting point of any informed discussion on the origin of the houses.

Paul wrote:
Quote:
However the point is that this astrological alphabet may be seen, in some prototypical form, with body parts in traditional astrology. Though I am not sure it is seen anywhere else.


I agree. Indeed I already stated this before on the other thread.

I was in the process of making a substantial post on the other thread outlining several factors that can be traced as reasons for the original meaning of houses in ancient astrology. These are not related to signs at all. I dont want to derail that thread any further so I will not make my post there now.

Frankly, I dont feel that inclined to post here as the way Michael has chosen to frame this thread will tend to scew the kind of answers you are likely to get. I regard confirmation bias as a real problem with the whole outlook here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

As natural symbolists astrologers are used to finding connections and can no doubt creatively make attractive arguments for the origin of house meanings based on the zodiacal order of the signs (ie alphabet zodiac). The problem is that this one dimensional outlook totally flies in the face of astrological history. That clearly doesn't bother some people. I happen to feel its a crucial omission and leaves an exclusively sign based outlook fatally flawed.

I am therefore rather inclined to open a separate thread on the origin of house meanings myself.

Mark
_________________
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Michael Sternbach



Joined: 01 Mar 2014
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Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
Quote:
I am probably going to re-read Deb's book before I make any more comments on this topic, and as Deb has mentioned she has addressed some of this in her book, it might be worthwhile were you to do similar?


Hi Paul

For the sake of this discussion, I think it would be best that those who studied the book, and support its conclusions, would represent them here. Not least in the interest of the readers of this thread who cannot be expected to all read the book.

Quote:
I find it really interesting Deb maintains her view that this body-parts are likely derived from the houses first. I was going to speculate something similar.


Agreed, this hypothesis is really interesting.

Quote:
Rather than quote out a table (somehow) I'll just link it:
http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/Vettius%20Valens%20entire.pdf

page 47 and 48

Here we see Valens explain that older astrologers used houses derived from the lots to associate body parts. But Valens does not prefer this, he instead prefers to say that:
Quote:
Aries causes headaches...
Taurus is indicative of the neck
...
Gemini is indicative of shoulders, arms, hands ..


etc.

Is this his own view or one which is another approach that other astrologers use? I am not sure. As I say, I will read Deb's book again.


Valen's correspondences between body parts and the signs was, prior to him, written about by Manilius in his Astronomica.

It is the one used by most ancient and modern practitioners of astromedicine.
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Deb
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Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd like to see the discussion reframed, so that it can develop in a way that doesn't force it into an "either/or" issue, but just looks at the issues and explores the evidence available. Co-incidentally, I was in private discussion with Chris Brennan about a week ago, about his concerns that the ancient sources make it hard to overlook the natural association between Gemini and the third house. This may be something he wants to contribute to the thread. Currently, it's a bad time for me, but perhaps in a week or so I'll be able to be more active.

Michael, if my book is on your "to read" list, it really would help if you read my arguments in full before developing the discussion. I certainly don't claim my work to be a full and final solution, but it does lay out the issues, and it was written precisely to explore the questions you raise. If it was possible to give my arguments in less words I would have, but it needed a book to do them justice. I'm happy to pick up points that remain dubious or unsettled, but don't want to try to squeeze something that has a lot of angles attached to it into a paragraph or two of a forum thread.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
Frankly, I dont feel that inclined to post here as the way Michael has chosen to frame this thread will tend to scew the kind of answers you are likely to get. I regard confirmation bias as a real problem with the whole outlook here.


Hi Mark,

I take it, it's the concluding remarks in my introduction that you don't approve of. I admit that a more neutral definition of the purpose of this thread may be preferable in light of the different perspectives invited.

I will therefore edit and rephrase that part of my introductory post accordingly.

Quote:
As natural symbolists astrologers are used to finding connections and can no doubt creatively make attractive arguments for the origin of house meanings based on the zodiacal order of the signs (ie alphabet zodiac).


To this, I would reply that many of the discussions on this forum revolve around the adequate understanding and application of symbolism.

Quote:
The problem is that this one dimensional outlook totally flies in the face of astrological history.


Is this really so? I think it's worth talking about further.

Quote:
That clearly doesn't bother some people. I happen to feel its a crucial omission and leaves an exclusively sign based outlook fatally flawed.


In order to clarify, I am indeed very interested in historical perspectives, and I do take them seriously.

However, I don't intend to limit this thread's scope to historical views exclusively.

To me, astrology is an evolving science. I don't think that all the answers to the open questions regarding astrology's foundations can or need to be found by way of historical survey alone.

Are you suggesting that the ancients' views are authoritative above anything else for us contemporary astrologers?

Quote:
I therefore rather inclined to open a separate thread on the origin of house meanings myself.


Surely, I and many others would miss your well founded contributions in the context of this thread.

Respectfully
Michael
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Mark
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Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
I take it, it's the concluding remarks in my introduction that you don't approve of. I admit that a more neutral definition of the purpose of this thread may be preferable in light of the different perspectives invited.

I will therefore edit and rephrase that part of my introductory post accordingly.


Thanks Michael. However, I think the way this thread is framed already assumes a prime significance for zodiacal associations for houses based on the Aries-Pisces sequence. For me at least I think the topic inevitably risks getting this issue out of all proportion in terms of the origin of house meanings.

Mark wrote:
Quote:
As natural symbolists astrologers are used to finding connections and can no doubt creatively make attractive arguments for the origin of house meanings based on the zodiacal order of the signs (ie alphabet zodiac).


Michael sternbach wrote:
Quote:
To this, I would reply that many of the discussions on this forum revolve around the adequate understanding and application of symbolism.


Agreed. But my point here is that once you present a theory as a given people naturally follow that direction of travel intellectually. I am making a case for questioning your direction of travel in the first place. Its not that it has no validity whatsoever. Simply that it inevitably gives a rather one dimensional view of things.

Mark wrote:
Quote:
The problem is that this one dimensional outlook totally flies in the face of astrological history.


Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
Is this really so?


Yes.

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
I think it's worth talking about further.


This thread feels like too much of an intellectual straightjacket already for me. Happy to contribute on my new thread though.

Mark wrote:
Quote:
That clearly doesn't bother some people. I happen to feel its a crucial omission and leaves an exclusively sign based outlook fatally flawed.


Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
In order to clarify, I am indeed very interested in historical perspectives, and I do take them seriously.


I confess to being genuinely confused regarding your motivations here Michael. You have told me before you are an astrological researcher. I was certainly very impressed by your work on sign rulerships and planetary order. I had assumed you would apply a similar careful methodology to an important topic like this. But you have already made declarative statements and seem keen to make a case that the traditional understanding of houses is basically synonymous with the modern one. You seem to be seizing on any traditional reference to bolster your existing view. I fear you are somewhat putting the cart before the horse in a way which risks seriously oversimplyfying a complex topic.

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
However, I don't intend to limit this thread's scope to historical views exclusively.


Fair enough. I agree it shouldn’t confine our final views. But it should be the basic starting point as I see it.

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
To me, astrology is an evolving science.


There are two preconceptions in the astrological community I always challenge. The first the idea that modern astrology represents some kind of axiomatic ‘progress’ in terms of astrological practice and the second the idea that traditional astrology is all a product of a golden age. I consider both assumptions to be myths.

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
I don't think that all the answers to the open questions regarding astrology's foundations can or need to be found by way of historical survey alone.


I am not trying to prescribe the conclusions people choose to make. However, on the other thread where this one emerged from you have raised the idea that the meaning of houses are fundamentally derived from zodiacal signs from Aries-Pisces. Whether you acknowledge it or not this is a historical question. That doesn’t mean I expect all astrologers to follow or reject an idea simply based on historical evidence.

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
Are you suggesting that the ancients' views are authoritative above anything else for us contemporary astrologers?


No. On a personal level I am very influenced by ancient astrology but that is only my take on this. What astrologers do (we are surely all contemporary here?) is totally their decision. I dont seek to universalise my personal views as a standard for everyone else to follow.

Instead, what I am suggesting is that if you want to claim the origin of house meanings is alphabet zodiac derived you need to provide considerable evidence to back up your theory. It appears to me that you have done minimal historical research into the subject yourself to date. You also need to consider a variety of explanations for house meanings which dont touch on the zodiacal sequence. I am not clear if you have even encountered these ideas yet.

I know Deb herself would never suggest that her book is the final word on this subject. However, it does explore important issues in the traditional source texts that seem to have been largely ignored in modern literature on the houses.

Mark wrote:
Quote:
I therefore plan to open a separate thread on the origin of house meanings myself.


Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
Surely, I and many others would miss your well founded contributions in the context of this thread.


I don’t think you could ask for a better contribution on this subject than Deborah Houlding. So if your patient and wait until she has time to properly reply next week I think you will get all you want from her and an awful lot more than you were ever expecting.

Getting an offer of a response from a leading authority on the topic sounds like pretty good going to me.

So whether I choose to post here or not is small potatoes.

regards,

Mark
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Quote:
I'd like to see the discussion reframed, so that it can develop in a way that doesn't force it into an "either/or" issue, but just looks at the issues and explores the evidence available.


Hi Deb,

Considering your and Mark's objections, I have edited my introductory remarks meanwhile to give this thread a neutral onset.

Quote:
Co-incidentally, I was in private discussion with Chris Brennan about a week ago, about his concerns that the ancient sources make it hard to overlook the natural association between Gemini and the third house. This may be something he wants to contribute to the thread.


Needless to say, Chris' contributions would be most welcome.

Quote:
Michael, if my book is on your "to read" list, it really would help if you read my arguments in full before developing the discussion.


I will receive your book in a few weeks.

Michael
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
For me at least I think the topic inevitably risks getting this issue out of all proportion in terms of the origin of house meanings.


Well, that's your perspective. From mine, I would say that you are downplaying something that you don't want to be part of your astrological picture.

Quote:
This thread feels like too much of an intellectual straightjacket already for me.


I'm sorry that you feel this way. I am open to discussion of the issue, otherwise I wouldn't have started this thread. Like everybody, I'm certainly happy to hear arguments that would support my opinion. But that doesn't mean that I don't consider or respect other views.

Quote:
I confess to being genuinely confused regarding your motivations here Michael. You have told me before you are an astrological researcher. I was certainly very impressed by your work on sign rulerships and planetary order. I had assumed you would apply a similar careful methodology to an important topic like this. But you have already made declarative statements and seem keen to make a case that the traditional understanding of houses is basically synonymous with the modern one. You seem to be seizing on any traditional reference to bolster your existing view. I fear you are somewhat putting the cart before the horse in a way which doesn't really assist in understanding such a complex topic.


My view of this topic is indeed strongly supported by my research into astrology's foundations in a context of natural philosophy. On this basis, I have good reasons to think of the wheel of houses as corresponding with the zodiac. Further comments on this particular aspect must await the publication of my theories, however.

That the traditional understanding of houses is basically synonymous with the modern one is a statement I would not subscribe to. I think you got me a little wrong here. The following statement further confirms this:

Quote:
Instead, what I am suggesting is that if you want claim the origin of house meanings as alphabet zodiac derived you need to provide considerable evidence to back up your theory.


No, I don't say that the house meanings were derived from the zodiac, necessarily (or vice versa, for that matter). I actually consider it quite possible that the two wheels were discovered independently.

Much like electricity and magnetism were first observed by different people at different times, but understood to belong to each other much later.

I would say that astrology is still pretty much an emerging science on its way to a more sophisticated formulation. So it may be possible to see in historical sources the seeds for a concept that reached its fruition only in modern times.

The accumulation of any astrological knowledge was, and still is, a step-by-step process.

Quote:
It appears to me that you have done minimal historical research into the subject yourself to date.


Right, getting more information about this is one of my objectives in starting this thread. It looks like I took some traditional astrologer's blunt denial of this idea existing in ancient times at all at face value, so far.
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james_m



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Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

first off - i haven't read closely what everyone has said here. i am just going to offer a viewpoint on the question michael asks, as i have been thinking about this again since it came up on the other thread a few days ago.

the concept of cardinal/fixed/mutable is overlapped on signs and houses in what i think is a very similar manner for helping to understand either. this is one system that seems to connect directly to similarities with houses and signs. where it differs is when a fixed or mutable sign is on the ascendant or midheaven axis.

a more general comment - we are looking at two different cycles when we think of signs verses houses.. yearly verses daily. is the microcosm reflected in the macrocosm? i think it is and i think this forms a fundamental idea of astrology. does it mean it is the same thing? no.. i think there are parallels and it is hard to ignore them. we are looking at different cycles though as they relate back to the person born at a certain time of the year and day..

i pulled out debs book.. i don't know if i want to try to read it thru quickly to find where she tried to make the distinctions between these 2 cycles, or more specifically the nature of houses verses signs. but i will look at it over the weekend.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, James, for bringing the thread back on its topic.

james_m wrote:
Quote:
the concept of cardinal/fixed/mutable is overlapped on signs and houses in what i think is a very similar manner for helping to understand either. this is one system that seems to connect directly to similarities with houses and signs. where it differs is when a fixed or mutable sign is on the ascendant or midheaven axis.


I also think that the division of the houses into angular, succedent, and cadent is strongly reminiscent of the signs' three qualities.

Quote:
a more general comment - we are looking at two different cycles when we think of signs verses houses.. yearly verses daily. is the microcosm reflected in the macrocosm? i think it is and i think this forms a fundamental idea of astrology. does it mean it is the same thing? no.. i think there are parallels and it is hard to ignore them. we are looking at different cycles though as they relate back to the person born at a certain time of the year and day..


This also suggests that the wheel of houses mirrors the zodiac - on a different level.
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james_m



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Posted: Fri May 09, 2014 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:


I also think that the division of the houses into angular, succedent, and cadent is strongly reminiscent of the signs' three qualities.


thanks michael. that is what i meant by that, but thanks for putting the proper labels to it.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Sat May 10, 2014 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
So whether I choose to post here or not is small potatoes.


Make sure that Paul doesn't get to read this!

Quoting from a reply he gave to James recently:
Quote:
Also, you talk to an Irish man of potatoes, you know you are going to both make me not only hungry but also make follow your posts with a new found respect and attention hitherto unseen.


Michael Laughing
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Mark
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Posted: Sat May 10, 2014 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
I would say that you are downplaying something that you don't want to be part of your astrological picture.


I don't have a fixed agenda in the way you seem to be implying Michael. If you or anyone else can show the kind of core influence you are implying in ancient foundational texts I will be as interested as anyone. My scepticism is founded on my reading many of the relevant ancient texts themselves. However, I cannot claim to have read absolutely everything so its possible there might be important gaps in my knowledge. Equally, I may have missed points in what I have read. Despite what you may assume I retain an open mind and I am receptive to further evidence. But the key point I feel is evidence.

I haven't seen any ancient texts explicitly setting out an association between the houses and body parts tied to zodiacal order Aries-Pisces. But that doesn't mean there might not be any. One ancient source that I would be very intrigued to check out on this is Claudius Galen of Pergamum. He was the greatest physician in the Roman world and lived in the 2nd century CE so he was a rough contemporary of both Claudius Ptolemy and Vettius Valens. Apparently something like a remarkable 1/6th of all the surviving texts from the classical era are by Galen! And about one half of all the texts surviving from ancient Greek. Galen was remarkably prolific. But I suspect the survival of so much material also reflects the enduring practicality of Galen's medical work across cultures. Galen was a crucial influence on later medical astrology. So it would be extremely interesting to see what he had to say on the topic of houses. I have a hunch (which is totally unsubstantiated at present ) that the Perso-Arabic astrologers may have got the body part association of houses from Galen. Unfortunately, very little of his work has been translated into English or other modern European languages. Update: I later rejected this theory as a source for the Zodiacal Man applied to house meanings for reasons I set out on page 4 of this thread

There is of course another historical issue here which is how we got to the modern outlook almost exclusively based on a tripartite of sign, planet and house e.g. Aries=Mars=1st house. It clearly has some embryonic roots in the association of body parts to houses in Perso-Arabic astrology.

I seem to recall Deb stating that by the early modern era the general linkage of signs to houses was already being applied by some astrologers. I think she had a quote from someone (Richard Saunders or Nicholas Culpeper?) complaining in the 17th century about they perceived as a degeneration of the art.

Anyway, rather than continue a somewhat negative dialectic with you here I have decided to post up in summary what I consider the key influences on early house meanings.

Mark
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Last edited by Mark on Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:59 pm; edited 7 times in total
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Mark
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Posted: Sun May 11, 2014 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are multiple explanations for the origin of house meanings in ancient astrology. However, I think the following are the most crucial. Each one of these factors could arguably generate a thread on their own.

The Relationship to the Ascendant-Ancient astrology only looked at so called ptolemaic aspects ie sextile, square, trine or opposition. There we have no inconjunct aspects. Hence we have the fundamental idea of houses that can literally ‘see’ or cannot see the ascendant. The houses that could not see the ascendant were in aversion to that house. Hence the 2nd, 6th, 8th, and 12th place from the ascendant had unfortunate associations. For example the 2nd place from the ascendant was originally known as 'The Gates of Hades'. Its interesting that Indian astrology still considers the 2nd house unfortunate today. The mitigation for the 6th and 2nd place is their trine to the 10th house so they have a relationship to career and status matters. This idea of aversion is found more generally in ancient and Perso-Arabic delineation when houses have a ruler that is in aversion to them.

Diurnal Motion of the Signs-Angularity/Succedent/Cadent . The concept of signs rising by primary motion before angles (succedent), reaching a peak of power on an angle (angularity) and then falling away from the angle (cadency) is basic to astrology and seems to have very ancient origins.

The cadent houses are 12th, 9th, 6th and 3rd. Hence we have two reasons for finding the 6th and 12th unfortunate houses in ancient astrology. The 3rd and 9th had significant mitigations which meant they never acquired the purely negative association of the 6th and 12th. Firstly, both houses can see the ascendant 3rd=sextile and 9th=trine. Secondly both houses are planetary joys to the luminaries. I return to the important issue of planetary joys and house meanings below.

The Diurnal Life Cycle of The Planets. Ancient sources are simply awash with references that support this idea. The cycle of life i.e. birth, maturity, decline, death and rebirth were understood through the diurnal motion of planets in a horoscope. Hence the ascendant= birth, the midday sun =mid life , 7th house =later life, decline, 4th house =death and rebirth of soul. Hence you find astrologers like Paul of Alexandria stating that Moon in the 7th house could indicate a late marriage or living abroad. Because the 7th opposes the ascendant it was a house associated with travel in ancient astrology. Ancient Egyptian solar mysticism seems to have been an important factor in influencing house meanings. Symbolically, decline or death is traced after the Sun reaches its culmination in the sky and sinks closer to the horizon.

The Planetary Joys. These also seemed to have strongly influenced ) house meanings. The traditional joys are: Mercury=1st, Moon=3rd, Venus=5th house, Mars=6th house, Sun=9th, Jupiter=11th, 12th=Saturn.

Hence as the house of the God/Gods the 9th is linked to the Sun. Jupiter is associated with the 11th house of the Good daimon. Hence the 11th was regarded as a very fortunate house. While people today might link this to Aquarius/Uranus its origins are very different. The 11th was all kinds of benefactors, money from others, and liberation from suffering (12th house). While the 11th was associated with a quite literally the Good Daimon, the 5th had association with the Goddess of good luck (Tyche). The links between Venus and the 5th are obvious. Pleasure , creativity and children. Note that Leo the 5th sign from Aries is a traditionally sterile sign. The malefics Mars and Saturn are said to ‘joy’ in the traditionally unfortunate 6th and 12th house.

The Oppositional Nature of The Houses Valens states that the house opposing the other often shares in its nature. Hence the 1st-7th, 2nd-8th, 3rd-9th, 4th-10th, 5th-11th, 6th-12th. Many of the house associations cross over somewhat or have a common theme.

The Thema Mundi-This is not discussed by Deb in her book on the houses but it is an idea I have commented about on Skyscript before. I think its possible the Thema Mundi may have been at least a partial influence on how the houses came to be regarded. Or to be more accurate the house placement of the signs in the Thema Mundi influenced the view of the signs. This actually, fits with Deb's earlier comment about houses influencing the meaning of signs but I don't know what she had explicitly in mind. I suspect she was thinking more of the primary motion of the signs.

So in the Thema Mundi here we have possible influence of signs on houses but starting with Cancer not Aries! Many of the ancient sources cite this such as Thrasyllus, Valens and Firmicus. Valens actually chooses to describe the signs through their sequence in the Thema Mundi.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thema_Mundi

I wouldn't suggest its a smooth fit in every instance (the 6th with Sagittarius is the most problematic I feel). However, I do think the Thema Mundi, Cancer-Gemini sequence often fits better with the ancient thinking on houses in relationship to signs than the Aries-Pisces sequence.

A good example is the negative view of Aquarius in ancient sources like Valens. Of course the sign is ruled by the greater malefic Saturn. But beyond that it is associated with the 8th house of the Thema Mundi. A house which is in aversion to the ascendant. Quite at odds with this signs' positive placement in the 11th place in the Aries-Pisces sequence.

The Chaldean Planetary Order with Houses .
Despite its ancient sounding name this association seems to only date from the medieval period in relation to the houses. By this time the Thema Mundi had fallen into disuse. In this sequence the associations are:
1st-Saturn, 2nd-Jupiter, 3rd-Mars, 4th-Sun, 5th-Venus, 6th-Mercury, 7th-Moon, 8th-Saturn, 9th-Jupiter, 10th-Mars, 11th-Sun, 12th-Venus.

Mark
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‘’As thou conversest with the heavens, so instruct and inform thy minde according to the image of Divinity…’’ William Lilly
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