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3D Houses: The most accurate method of house placement?
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Cruiser1



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Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:38 am    Post subject: 3D Houses: The most accurate method of house placement? Reply with quote

The concept of three dimensional houses or "3D houses" refers to a method of placing planets in one of the 12 houses that requires considering the planet's latitude in addition to its zodiac longitude. All the various classic systems of house division (e.g. Placidus) attempt to define a single zodiac position for each house cusp. That model is simple and easy to work with, however it's limited because it doesn't take into account the third dimension, or a planet's ecliptic latitude. "3D houses" is not a standard system of house division like others, because it goes beyond the old model of picking a single zodiac position for each house cusp.

Visualize the nature of a house to begin with. The sky or celestial sphere is divided into 12 equally sized wedges (like pieces of an orange) with respect to the local horizon, with houses 1-6 below the horizon, and houses 7-12 above it. Similarly, houses 10-3 are to the east of the meridian, and houses 4-9 are to the west of the meridian. To compute 3D houses or determine which house a planet lies within, convert the planet's zodiac longitude and latitude to local horizon coordinates centered on the prime vertical. That means the azimuth or 0-360 degrees (representing house positions 1-12) follows the prime vertical from the horizon east point through the west point via the nadir. Similarly, the altitude or -90 to +90 degrees ranges from the north to south points on the local horizon.

The signs of the zodiac are also a set of 12 "orange wedges", however they're oriented to a different coordinate system, or more specifically are rotated to be aligned with the ecliptic. The fact that houses consider the local horizon, and zodiac positions consider the ecliptic, and standard house systems attempt to use ecliptic coordinates to fully define houses, could be considered a distorted model and therefore less accurate astrology. Perhaps the reason why there's so much debate about which house system is correct, is that they're all wrong! In other words, each house system only seems to work in certain circumstances when the planetary latitudes happen to place them in the correct house. It's like how a slow or stopped clock is still correct a couple of times a day! Wink



For a visual example, see the image above for a local horizon display of my chart in "Astrolog". The middle horizontal line is the horizon, the middle vertical line is the south meridian, the vertical lines on either side of it are the prime vertical passing through the east and west points, and the far edges are the north meridian. The 12 houses are marked by the green dotted lines (and labeled with green numbers). The ecliptic and the signs of the zodiac are marked by dark blue dotted lines (and labeled with blue glyphs). Planets are plotted near the ecliptic, and the Asc, MC, and house cusps are plotted where they intersect the ecliptic. Notice how the star Sirius (labeled "Sir") is clearly in the 5th house below the horizon, however with a zodiac position slightly later than the Descendant, all ordinary house systems will place it in the 7th house, making one think it's above the horizon! Similarly, the star Polaris (labeled "Pol") is high in the sky on the meridian and therefore correctly on the 10th cusp, however ordinary house systems will place it way down in the 6th house.

With 3D houses, a standard chart wheel display doesn't work well. That's because house cusps don't have single zodiac longitude positions anymore. In effect there needs to be something equivalent to a "chart sphere" instead of a "chart wheel". With 3D houses, each planet is still unambiguously in a single house. That means it's still possible to have a simple table listing each planet's zodiac position and house placement. However, it's important to realize that two planets at the same zodiac position may be in different houses, because their latitudes differ.

Note that Campanus is the standard house system most similar to 3D houses. Campanus houses are defined by the intersection of the ecliptic with the 12 house "orange wedges". That means Campanus houses and 3D houses give the same house placements for planets exactly on the ecliptic. Since most planets are near the ecliptic, and it's only things like asteroids and especially fixed stars that are located any significant distance from it, Campanus houses can be used as a rough approximation for 3D houses.

In one of the articles on this site by Deborah Houlding, she also considers 3D houses and "chart spheres", or how a planet's latitude can change what house it's properly within. Below are two excerpts from: http://www.skyscript.co.uk/houprob_print.html#6back


"Those who consider the three dimensional perspective important, argue that defining house positions by zodiacal degree alone can often prove inaccurate since it assumes that the cusps cut through the ecliptic in a straight line whereas in reality the lines are curved, formed by great circles passing through the earth and meeting at the poles. This curvature results in an angle that moves several degrees across the ecliptic when latitude is considered. David McCann has illustrated how this distortion manifests in the chart of William Butler Yeats, for whom Pluto has a latitude of 15S. By zodiacal degree alone Pluto appears to be in the middle of the 2nd house but when latitude is taken into account it is actually on the 3rd house cusp."

"Rudhyar also proposed that a future development of the houses could utilize Campanus as the basis of a three dimensional 'birth sphere', in which the effect of planetary latitude could be fully acknowledged; although to do so requires some alternative way of representing this information other than our two-dimensional chart forms which only show measurements along the ecliptic."
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waybread



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Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an intriguing idea. There is this age-old problem of mapping a 3D form onto a 2D sheet of paper. Or computer screen, which now has many more graphic possibilities.

Can you say how reading a chart with a 3D house system would change your insights, compared to a conventional system?

I think declinations (parallels, counter-parallels) do have meaning in chart interpretation.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Walter, and welcome to Skyscript!

I was immediately thinking of what Rudhyar wrote when I saw this topic. Great how you took this idea up and developed it into something applicable. Smile

So I take it that the latest version of Astrolog can do this kind of calculation? I have known this program for many years and appreciate the fact that it includes numerous techniques that many a commercial astro software is incapable of.

Keep up the good work!

Michael
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Cruiser1



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Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread wrote:
Can you say how reading a chart with a 3D house system would change your insights, compared to a conventional system?
The short version is they wouldn't change. Smile "3D houses" is merely a more accurate version of house placement when compared to a standard "house system". The insights gained from a planet being in a house are the same. That said, 3D houses does lead to additional types of analysis that can be done...

waybread wrote:
I think declinations (parallels, counter-parallels) do have meaning in chart interpretation.
Indeed, (contra)parallel aspects are one existing technique that takes into consideration the latitude of planets. However, they only look at latitude separately from zodiac position longitude. One additional type of analysis that can be done is "3D aspects", or looking at the true 3D angle/orb between planets, taking into account both longitude/latitude at the same time on a great circle across the celestial sphere. "3D aspects" suggests that an exact time New Moon in which the Sun and Moon are different by 3 degrees in latitude, has the same orb or energy as a standard Sun/Moon conjunction different in longitude by 3 degrees.
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Cruiser1



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Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Hi Walter, and welcome to Skyscript! So I take it that the latest version of Astrolog can do this kind of calculation?
Thank you for the welcome, and it's good to be on this quality forum. Smile Yes, the latest version of Astrolog (6.30, just released the other week) can do the new calculation types described. Thumbs up


  • 3D Houses: You can toggle whether house placements are determined using "3D houses". Select the "Setting / House Settings / 3D Houses" command, or just press the "a" key.
  • Chart Spheres: Show them with the "Graphics / Show Chart Sphere" command. An example chart sphere, or 3D wheel chart, is above. Sign wedges are in blue, and house wedges are in green. Aspect lines (not shown in this picture) are interesting because they're 3D lines passing through the middle of the sphere. For more explanation about this display see: http://www.astrolog.org/ftp/updat630.htm
  • 3D Aspects: Turn on 3D aspects in the "Setting / Calculation Settings" dialog. If you do this, aspect grids will change in that orbs will increase by up to the latitude difference, causing some aspects to disappear if they're pushed beyond the orb limit.
  • Transit graphs: Astrolog 6.30 also introduces transit graphs, which map the orb of aspects over time, such as seen below. Yes, turning on "3D aspects" will affect it, and cause most of the peaks to be rounded down somewhat, because most aspects no longer ever become exact since their latitudes differ.

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waybread



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Posted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The chart in your 4th post would take some getting used to, and possibly there is a little more legibility to get to with the graphic design compared to the Astrodienst fixed stars chart, but I really liked how it showed the 3-D solar system at a glance. It would be nice if the ecliptic were more visible, for example. In your example, it seemed to highlight Saturn as an outlier, so this type of chart might draw more attention to particular placements in the 2D chart. Then showing the declinations is to me a big advantage, though I would have to look at degrees, as well as just the planetary symbols.

Are you in touch with Alois Treindl at Astrodienst www.astro.com? They have a huge chart selection but not one that captures the 3D solar system like this one. It would be nice if they did.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Walter,

I just downloaded the new version. The additional functions rock! Lala Happy

I wrote a brief but enthusiastic review of your program for the astrology section of this new Tarot forum that I helped founding:

http://eclectic.jomay.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1210&p=9013#p9013

If you wish to subscribe and talk about it on Eclectic Tarot yourself - be my guest! Smile
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Last edited by Michael Sternbach on Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops... double post.
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Cruiser1



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Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

waybread wrote:
The chart in your 4th post would take some getting used to, and possibly there is a little more legibility to get to with the graphic design compared to the Astrodienst fixed stars chart, but I really liked how it showed the 3-D solar system at a glance. It would be nice if the ecliptic were more visible, for example. Are you in touch with Alois Treindl at Astrodienst www.astro.com? They have a huge chart selection but not one that captures the 3D solar system like this one.



Indeed, chart spheres are new and take some getting used to. The sphere is by default displayed transparent, such that both sides of the sphere are overlapping. Being 3D, chart spheres are effective when animated, to get a better sense of their depth. See above for an animated chart sphere!

There are quite a few ways chart spheres can be customized in Astrolog, such as you can select what things to display and what colors to use for them. The ecliptic was in dark blue in the first picture, but in this animation I've changed it to a brighter purple. You can also see aspect lines crossing through the interior of the sphere.

Yes, I've been in contact with Alois Treindl at Astrodienst for a number of years. Thumbs up Astrolog computes its planetary positions using the Swiss Ephemeris that Astrodienst created. Astro.com features "Pullen charts" which call Astrolog and display the result in your browser, although currently it uses an old version of the program. I've posted about the newest version on the Swiss Ephemeris forums.
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Cruiser1



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Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:
I just downloaded the new version. The additional functions rock! Lala Happy I wrote a brief but enthusiastic review of your program for the astrology section of this new Tarot forum



I'm glad you like the new Astrolog version 6.30. Thank you for writing and sharing your positive review of it! Thumbs up I'll indeed subscribe to that forum, and not just to talk about Astrolog. Outside of astrology, I've actually produced my own deck, titled "The Labyrinth Oracle: Cards for the Spiritual Path". This deck is also hosted on my astrolog.org site at: http://www.astrolog.org/oracle.htm

Although "The Labyrinth Oracle" is primarily Maze and Labyrinth themed, it does have some relation to astrology. There are 109 cards total, although minus the final "joker" card there are 108 cards, divided into 12 groups of 9. That makes one group for each sign of the zodiac, in which each group of 9 is a decanate of decanates, or a triplicity of triplicities.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent, Walter.

That deck looks awesome. I am sure, our oracle fans on ET will just love it. Smile
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waybread



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Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really like the animation! Thanks for posting it.
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Mark
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Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks very much for a most interesting post and details of this free software.

I wanted to pick up one partular point:

Cruiser1 wrote wrote:
Quote:
Note that Campanus is the standard house system most similar to 3D houses. Campanus houses are defined by the intersection of the ecliptic with the 12 house "orange wedges". That means Campanus houses and 3D houses give the same house placements for planets exactly on the ecliptic. Since most planets are near the ecliptic, and it's only things like asteroids and especially fixed stars that are located any significant distance from it, Campanus houses can be used as a rough approximation for 3D houses.


So am I right in thinking that just like Campanus the focus is to divide up the prime vertical in relation to to the ecliptic? In particular the Campanus house system divides the celestial space above and below the horizon like an orange into twelve equal segments. The 'axis' of the 'orange' lies on the horizon and is aligned from north to south. So, the division into twelve segments happens on the 'prime vertical', i.e. the great circle that runs through the East point, the zenith, the West point and the nadir. The places where the segments or 'slices' of the 'orange' intersect the zodiac, make up the Campanus house cusps.The Campanus system divides space and is therefore considered a space-oriented house system or to use your language a 3D system. The idea originated in European astrology with the Italian mathematician Campanus of Novara (1220-1296). But i believe it was originally proposed much earlier in Perso-Arabic astrology. In her book on the houses Deborah Houlding also mentioned that some astrologers (in particular Prudence Jones) have speculated that the Roman 1st century astrologer Manilius may have been describing this system. Deborah Houlding clearly supports this view in her book:

Quote:
Certainly from Manilius's text we have evidence that the original concept of houses was based upon a division of the local mundane sphere of the observer, which was determined by the circles of the local horizon, local meridian and prime vertical, in a manner that was similar to how the ancient Babylonian priests quartered and then further divided their other tools of omen analysis.


However, this claim remains controversial and is disputed by other astrologers writing on ancient astrology. In particular those astrologers arguing whole sign houses were the original template for all later house systems.

Leaving aside the historical debate though a practical issue concerning the Campanus system is that the house cusps tend to fold in together at northern latitudes long before you get up to the poles. The system is much more prone to this than any other quadrant system. So excluding the historical, philosophical or astronomical arguments for or against any particular house system this is the practical difficulty I have with this kind of approach. From my location on the planet this is not just a theoretical objection! If the logic is similar in ''3D houses'' I am wondering if they suffer from the the same practical difficulty as Campanus houses do?

Thanks

Mark
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Last edited by Mark on Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Cruiser1



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Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



Mark wrote:
So am I right in thinking that just like Campanus the focus is to divide up the prime vertical in relation to to the ecliptic? In particular the Campanus house system divides the celestial space above and below the horizon like an orange into twelve equal segments. The 'axis' of the 'orange' lies on the horizon and is aligned from north to south. So, the division into twelve segments happens on the 'prime vertical', i.e. the great circle that runs through the East point, the zenith, the West point and the nadir. The places where the segments or 'slices' of the 'orange' intersect the zodiac, make up the Campanus house cusps.The Campanus system divides space and is therefore considered a space-oriented house system or to use your language a 3D system.
Yes, the above is all true. Smile See the picture above from the page http://www.quadibloc.com/other/as01.htm for a graphical depiction of Campanus houses. However, remember that only "3D houses" fully uses the orange wedge model of space to determine house placement. If a planet is anywhere within the 12th house orange wedge on the local horizon, then 3D houses places it in the 12th house. Campanus houses starts with the orange wedge model to determine where the ecliptic intersects each house, however once determined then Campanus becomes a standard house system like any other, in which a planet changing its ecliptic latitude will never change its house placement.

Mark wrote:
Leaving aside the historical debate though a practical issue concerning the Campanus system is that the house cusps tend to fold in together at northern latitudes long before you get up to the poles. If the logic is similar in ''3D houses'' I am wondering if they suffer from the the same practical difficulty as Campanus houses do?
"3D houses" doesn't suffer from any polar zone issues. Thumbs up All houses cover an equal percentage of space of the local horizon, or 1/12 of the celestial sphere, and this is true no matter where on the world you're positioned.

It is true that Campanus houses (like all quadrant based house systems) tend to pinch houses together and make them smaller as you approach the poles. That is because when nearer the poles the Asc and MC become closer together (or closer to 180 degrees apart). At extreme latitudes, some house systems become undefined (like Placidus and Koch), or have strange effects once the Sun is set 24 hours a day, which means that the ecliptic intersects the south meridian below the horizon. Some house systems (like Campanus, Regiomontanus, and Topocentric) have house cusps progress backwards through the zodiac in this case. But again, none of that weirdness applies or is a concern to 3D houses, because 3D houses look at the actual wedge of space on the local horizon, and don't try to force houses to be defined as between two zodiac locations along the ecliptic.
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Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cruiser1 wrote:
Quote:
3D houses" doesn't suffer from any polar zone issues. Thumbs up All houses cover an equal percentage of space of the local horizon, or 1/12 of the celestial sphere, and this is true no matter where on the world you're positioned.


Now you really are intriguing me! In my experience every house system has its merits and downside. All conventional house systems-Placidus, Regiomontanus, Alcabitius, Whole Sign, Equal, Koch, Topocentric, Porphyry, Sripati, are challenged at polar zones.

Its not just the issue of the ASC and MC becoming closer together as you approach the poles. Equal and whole sign houses also fail to work in polar zones. As we get to the poles some signs fail to rise at all while others take up more and more ascensional rising time. So this challenges conventional horoscopic astrology.

Arguably this isn't a failure of these house systems but simply a reflection of astronomical reality and how the ecliptic interacts with the earth at higher latitudes.

There are of course some house systems can be used at the poles. But like everything in life they come at a price! So to avoid the issue of polar zones something has to be sacrificed.

For example the Meridian house system which is popular with Uranian astrologers can be used at the poles. But this is because it replaces the ascendant with the East Point. Also known as the Axial system, or Equatorial system, it divides the celestial equator into twelve 30° sectors (starting at the local meridian) and projects them on to the ecliptic along the great circles containing the North and South celestial poles.

Another house system that can be used in polar regions is the so called Morinus House system which was proposed by Jean-Baptiste Morin (1583-1656), known as Morinus. The Morinus system uses great circles that pass through the poles of the ecliptic and through points that are spaced at 30-degree intervals along the Celestial Equator, beginning with the intersection of the Celestial Equator and the East Point. The cusps are determined by the intersections of these great circles and the ecliptic. The lunes of the houses are not of equal size. The MC is not the same as the 10th cusp. The ascendant is not the same as the 1st cusp. The great circle for the 1st house passes through the east point of the horizon.

Am I right in thinking you have side stepped the polar problem by adopting a similar kind of solution?

Cruiser 1 wrote:
Quote:
It is true that Campanus houses (like all quadrant based house systems) tend to pinch houses together and make them smaller as you approach the poles. That is because when nearer the poles the Asc and MC become closer together (or closer to 180 degrees apart). At extreme latitudes, some house systems become undefined (like Placidus and Koch), or have strange effects once the Sun is set 24 hours a day, which means that the ecliptic intersects the south meridian below the horizon. Some house systems (like Campanus, Regiomontanus, and Topocentric) have house cusps progress backwards through the zodiac in this case. But again, none of that weirdness applies or is a concern to 3D houses, because 3D houses look at the actual wedge of space on the local horizon, and don't try to force houses to be defined as between two zodiac locations along the ecliptic.


Yes. I am aware of all this. My point about Campanus at higher latitudes was quite specific. Basically Campanus becomes unworkable at higher latitudes much earlier than any other quadrant system I am aware of.
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