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Aspects and optics

 
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PFN



Joined: 28 Dec 2008
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Posted: Sat May 28, 2011 4:01 am    Post subject: Aspects and optics Reply with quote

I was wondering about the source theory on which aspects are based, and especially, the concept of aversion, and remembered that often it is related by astrologers to the concepts of optics, as it was in the hellenistic period. Another thought that amuses me is how the "spreading of light" phenomenon would be interpreted by the ancients...

So, does anyone know which works, dealing with these matters, have survived (classical period or medieval)? Is there an english translation? Are any of these avaible for download anywhere?

Thanks in advance to all those who help out on this.
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Eddy



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Posted: Sat May 28, 2011 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margherita and I changed some thoughts on the etymology of the word aspect and ancient Greek theory of human vision a, while ago in this thread: http://www.skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5404&start=0&sid=c5accda364b184357f35d16a8b52d6a3
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Sat May 28, 2011 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schmidt was the first to start talking about the anthropomorphic ideas behind some of the Greek words such as "epitheoreo". He made the statement back in the 90's that the powers of the zoidia as a "cosmic animal" had the same powers that humans do in perception and pointed out that as humans we have blind spots approximately 150 degrees from the center of our field of view because of where the optic nerve is positioned in the eye. He also said that the distinctions (which exist in the Paulus Alexandrinus text) about like engirding, equipollent, commanding and obeying, etc were analogous to the 5 human senses of seeing, hearing, touch, taste and smell... Most of what Steven Birchfield wrote about originally derives from Schmidt:

http://www.astrologycom.com/livingsigns2.html
http://www.astrologycom.com/livingsigns3.html
http://www.astrologycom.com/livingsigns4.html

But he did not cite the original sources of those ideas. He incorrectly cites me and should have cited Schmidt where he cited me because I cited Schmidt for that same section of the first article above. Were it not for Schmidt's pointing out this fact, I doubt that few astrologers would have connected the dots. Before this astrologers thought of aspects as "distance relations measured in degrees" and were divorced from the anthropomorphic paradigm that was implied between planets and had no concept of testimony, courtrooms in the heavens, the planets as emissaries seeking guidance from the temples (zoidia), and so on.

It would be a mistake to assume that seeing and perceiving are the same thing. There is a directionality issue with Greek optical theory where Schmidt has said that there is a ray emanating from the right eye to an object and that the ray comes back to the left eye. This is obviously not a statement of fact in the physical sense, but has metaphysical implications that have to do with the nature of looking and the filtering of perception.
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margherita



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Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Curtis,

zoidsoft wrote:
Schmidt was the first to start talking about the anthropomorphic ideas behind some of the Greek words such as "epitheoreo". He made the statement back in the 90's....Before this astrologers thought of aspects as "distance relations measured in degrees" and were divorced from the anthropomorphic paradigm that was implied between planets and had no concept of testimony, courtrooms in the heavens, the planets as emissaries seeking guidance from the temples (zoidia), and so on.


that's not exactly true. Traditional astrology is not just from English mother tongue astrologers.

Bezza published the comment to the first book of Tetrabiblos in December 1990 (from the book cover) where he explains the same things.

It's a mistake thinking that other astrologers in other countries have not worked at traditional astrology, or don't have translated ancient books.

As already recently mentioned I believe I'm very lucky to have the possibility to read and know so many astrologers worldwide.

margherita
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

margherita wrote:
Hello Curtis,

zoidsoft wrote:
Schmidt was the first to start talking about the anthropomorphic ideas behind some of the Greek words such as "epitheoreo". He made the statement back in the 90's....Before this astrologers thought of aspects as "distance relations measured in degrees" and were divorced from the anthropomorphic paradigm that was implied between planets and had no concept of testimony, courtrooms in the heavens, the planets as emissaries seeking guidance from the temples (zoidia), and so on.


that's not exactly true. Traditional astrology is not just from English mother tongue astrologers.

Bezza published the comment to the first book of Tetrabiblos in December 1990 (from the book cover) where he explains the same things.

It's a mistake thinking that other astrologers in other countries have not worked at traditional astrology, or don't have translated ancient books.

As already recently mentioned I believe I'm very lucky to have the possibility to read and know so many astrologers worldwide.

margherita


I'm familiar with Cielo e Terra and have read Giuseppe Bezza's writing, but have never encountered the ideas of a "cosmic courtroom" and the powers of the zoidia expressed as the 5 senses expressed elsewhere until after I wrote about it (citing Schmidt as the source). Maybe the translator does not translate the same on some of the Italian, but some of his work was in English. Please do point out exact references if I have missed them and when they came out. It seems odd that there would be such close resemblance by independent chance.
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PFN



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Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for the fine answers.

Upon some reserach, I found a book on amazon by Ptolemy, translated to english, that I think is worth buying, and that deals with the subject:

http://www.amazon.com/Ptolemys-Theory-Visual-Perception-Philosophical/dp/0871698625

I do not know how usefull the content would be to astrology, but my guess is that it is a lot. Anyone has read this book and found it usefull for astrology? Another writer would be Al-Hazen, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhazen, which is famous for an extensive treatise on optics as well, based on Ptolemy and Euclid, if I'm corret.

What triggered my interest in this was my reading through several articles about optics, and the relation of this with angularity and field of vision. Although there is a philosofical basis regarding aspects, I wanted to know how optics could corroborate this, even modern optics. As I'm no math wizard or physicist, I was completely lost Confused. Still, I find that more could be explored relating the knowledge of optics to aspects, and that would be an interesting subject to discuss and build a even more solid philosofical basis to astrology (that, or I'm completely oblivious to this discussion and need references Lala Happy).

Also, this caught my attention, on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_field:

Quote:
The normal human visual field extends to approximately 60 degrees nasally (toward the nose, or inward) from the vertical meridian in each eye, to 100 degrees temporally (away from the nose, or outwards) from the vertical meridian, and approximately 60 degrees above and 75 below the horizontal meridian. In the United Kingdom, the minimum field requirement for driving is 60 degrees either side of the vertical meridian, and 20 degrees above and below horizontal. The macula corresponds to the central 13 degrees of the visual field; the fovea to the central 3 degrees.


So, has anyone had this kind of curiosity as well? Any further thoughts on the matter?
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margherita



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Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Curtis,

zoidsoft wrote:
[but have never encountered the ideas of a "cosmic courtroom"


which "cosmic court"? Some traditional author talks of it or it is Schmidt metaphor?

Bezza never mentions any trial or court, at least I never found reading his things. Bezza prefers following Ptolemy and his Medieval/Renaissance commentators, but without forgetting some Hellenistic authors when Ptolemy is short.


margherita
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Mon May 30, 2011 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

margherita wrote:
Hello Curtis,

zoidsoft wrote:
[but have never encountered the ideas of a "cosmic courtroom"


which "cosmic court"? Some traditional author talks of it or it is Schmidt metaphor?

Bezza never mentions any trial or court, at least I never found reading his things. Bezza prefers following Ptolemy and his Medieval/Renaissance commentators, but without forgetting some Hellenistic authors when Ptolemy is short.


margherita


Schmidt has spoken about several metaphors: one called the "nautical metaphor", and another called the "legal paradigm". These are based upon a careful epistemological examination of the original Greek words used by Valens, Antiochus, etc... He made reference to Greek optical theory of Plato of vision projected from the eye (aspects as a way of looking related to vision), etc and has linked the cancellation of aversion conditions of Paulus to the other 4 human senses of hearing, touch, taste and smell (though generally and not directly to each type), speaking of the zoidia as a "cosmic animal" and the "12 temples" (zoidia) and planets as emissaries as participating in a relationship of seeing and testimony within the context of a "cosmic courtroom" where the essential dignities were used in the context of "rules of evidence". There is a lot of ground that he covered here and these are just the highlights.

For example, one of the words for ascendant is "oiax" which Schmidt has translated as "helm" in some cases - as in "helm" of a ship. When the lord of the ascendant is not connected to the helm (presumably by ropes - these are the places configured to the ascendant that Valens talks about), then Valens says "ektrope" can result. Ektrope literally means "turning out", but within the context it was used, it can indicate "shipwreck". The metaphor is one of the planet which is responsible for the helm which is supposed to "steer" the life in a certain direction is not "manning his post".

Schmidt felt responsible for some of the earlier misunderstandings that he caused such as the idea that there were only whole sign aspects in Hellenistic astrology which was false which is why later on in his career he did not want us releasing his ideas to the public. He gave me permission to publish some of his stuff online years ago, but his opinion changed when I showed him a copy of Delphic Oracle version 1 which had what I called the "Testimony Wizard". He was adamant that it should be taken out. I asked if there was a way I could fix it to be more representative of the tradition, but I found out then that he was bound by a contract with Matrix and couldn't help me with my software at that time (this was in fall 2003). The result was that at the time I yanked a significant amount of material from the web that pertained to this theory. This probably contributed to the accusations of PH being a "secretive cult" which is nonsense, however they have been having a difficult time getting promised publications out on time. I haven't spoken to Schmidt in quite a long time so I don't know much about what they are doing anymore. I have felt that it was too narrow to base my software on one person's opinion and have worked the last 3-4 years to bring it back into the mainstream, so I have placed all of Schmidt's material in the "System of Hermes" section and have a different menu / group bar for classical / medieval techniques.

I traded links with Dr. Bezza back in 1996 (Cielo e Terra) back when I was webmaster for the Project Hindsight website (during Robert Hand's tenure there).
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Mon May 30, 2011 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW, Schmidt's explanation of the legal paradigm which is part of the "System of Hermes" got published in the Texas Law Review in 1999:

http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/stexlr40&div=26&id=&page=
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margherita



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Posted: Mon May 30, 2011 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zoidsoft wrote:


Schmidt has spoken about several metaphors: one called the "nautical metaphor", and another called the "legal paradigm". These are based upon a careful epistemological examination of the original Greek words used by Valens, Antiochus, etc... He made reference to Greek optical theory of Plato of vision projected from the eye (aspects as a way of looking related to vision)


You see these are two different levels.

Obviously metaphors are personal ones. and if I can say, from my European eye, the "legal paradigm" is typical American. You can understand more than us in Italy, we don't have such a thing, we have the Roman law.

About the theory of aspects on the other hand Bezza mentions it in 1990 book, the quotes from Plato, the ones from Aristotle, and so on.

What I want to say that it is difficult to think there is just one influence to traditional astrology, every country gave its contribution. To ignore what others translated and their elaborations can be very limiting.

margherita
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astroart



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Posted: Mon May 30, 2011 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
He made reference to Greek optical theory of Plato of vision projected from the eye


It is considered that Empedocles was the author of the first comprehensive theory of light and vision(Empedocles lived before Plato).Schmdit wrote on this topic as follows in the chapter about aspects(P.H.A.S.E. Watch Fancy, 1997, vol.1, chapter “The Hellenistic Conception of Aspects”, p.80):

“The seeing words should probably be understood within the context of Greek(Empedoclean) optical theory, where vision consists of a ray emanating from the eye(the visual ray) and the ray(or efflux) thrown off by the body seen."
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astroart



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Posted: Mon May 30, 2011 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Bezza published the comment to the first book of Tetrabiblos in December 1990 (from the book cover) where he explains the same things.


What I can see in the Bezza’s comments on aspects in the first book of Ptolemy is mainly a link between Pythagorean theory of music (universal harmony and proportions), Ptolemy's treatise on music(Harmonica) and Ptolemy's book on astrology(Tetrabiblos)-pages 254-258.
Only in the chapter about sinister/dexter aspects(epitheoria/aktinobolia) he speaks about the sight and vision(pp.266-267).

So I think that the conceptual basis behind the aspects is different according to Schmidt(Greek optical theory) and Bezza(Pythagorean theory of universal harmony and proportions).
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Posted: Mon May 30, 2011 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Dimitar,

astroart wrote:


So I think that the conceptual basis behind the aspects is different according to Schmidt(Greek optical theory) and Bezza(Pythagorean theory of universal harmony and proportions).


I don't see any contrast, they are both mentioned in the same chapter, the one about " of the aspects of the sign", Quad., I, 13.

This is usual in Bezza, especially here, a comment to Ptolemy. In the first part he mentions the theory of music, which is Ptolemy method, then he explains the two forms of the aspect based on optics; while in the next chapter he explains seeing and hearing signs.

I believe the difference is Bezza starts always from Ptolemy, Schdmidt is more oriented to Hellenistic astrology, but obviously are the same river.....

margherita
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:42 am    Post subject: Re: Aspects and optics Reply with quote

I've been doing a lot of work on the relationship between Greek optical theories and the concept of aspects in the early Hellenistic tradition over the past few years, so I can answer some questions about it.

From what I can tell, the Hellenistic astrologers seem to have drawn pieces from a few different Greek optical theories in order to explain the aspect doctrine, and I've had some difficulty nailing it down to a specific school.

When it comes to aversions the primary motivation seems to be a concept that first shows up briefly in Plato's Timaeus and then later became a core component in the optical theories of Plotinus. In Plato it is initially couched in this sort of innocuous statement that when the visual ray emanates from the eye "like meets with like" and this is what allows sight to take place. Plotinus seems to have taken this statement and merged it with the Stoic concept of sympathy in order to create an optical theory where vision takes place due to an affinity between the observer and the observed. When two things share some sort of affinity or sympathy this allows them to see each other or relate to each other, but when they share no affinity or sympathy they are unable to see each other or relate to each other.

This optical theory that requires sympathy in order for there to be a connection actually becomes a core assumption in the Hellenistic aspect doctrine. Manilius and Ptolemy explain it the most clearly when they talk about the nature of the aspects within the context of the mutual affinity between the signs that the planets are placed in, or a lack thereof. All of the signs that are configured are those that share some affinity either by gender, modality or triplicity, while all of those that are in aversion share none of these affinities.

So, in this way the traditional aspect doctrine is intimately tied into the zodiac and the relationship between the signs. It wasn't until Kepler came along that the aspects became completely divorced from the zodiac and instead conceptualized solely as geometrical relationships between planets. What is weird about that though is that while the later tradition didn't really follow Kepler in downplaying the use of the zodiac, they did follow his approach in conceptualizing the aspects in purely geometrical terms. It appears to me that this is one of the fundamental conceptual distinctions between modern and traditional astrology.
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Posted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris,

Thank you for your considerations, they where really helpfull. If you ever have anything else to add on the subject, that would be much appreciated.
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