Love your post Imeshikov, and your advice.
I will mildly put on record here (this one time) that no one understands the prohibitive tactics, coercive manipulation and sinister threats I, and other colleagues I know have been receiving for years, sometimes with collaborated efforts, designed to prevent the theoretical issue being fully explored. Why? because it seems not to suit the agenda of some astrologers? I hope everyone will be wise enough to understand that there is another side to every story.
I am not going into any of that further. Nor will I be responding to anything but questions put to me concerning my own understanding sincerely and honestly; then I will answer in the same vein. The one good thing to come out of all this is that there is community investment in looking at the issues again - we have to find a way to keep that spirit of enquiry moving in a positive direction. Many mistakes have been made, from many people involved in this - time for everyone to take a step back and re-evaluate, because it is not just in the handling of 'factual information' that things have not progressed as healthily as they should.
I want to return to exploring everything in a civil manner with a true spirit of enquiry. I think that Gansten's paper is a great catalyst and a fine starting point from which we can start to build clearer historical knowledge of what happened, where and when.
I also thought it might be good to start another post (soonish) listing all the historical astrologers of note that we know to have used a certain system, and keeping the list pinned to the top of a thread where people can add in new information as it is established. Like:
Albiruni - Alcabitius
Brahe - Campanus, Regiomontanus
Cardan - Equal then Regiomontanus
Dariot - Regiomontanus
Ezra - Placidus
Thank you for piping up. That has made me feel better after a way-too crazy week :)

Zagata wrote:What are you talking about, Martin? Deborah said in her video that no historical astrologer defined, discussed, recommended or said that he was using whole sign houses. Have you even watched her video?
Not recently, no (I watched the presentation just after it was first made, many months ago). But I know Deb and have discussed the topic with her a number of times. This can be an important factor in understanding what people mean, particularly in a spoken context (which is one reason I prefer the written word: most people are more careful when phrasing things in writing), and even more so when people don't share the same first language. As Tony Louis put it in that blog post of his, I prefer to try and understand the gist rather than pouncing on possible mistakes. However, I will leave it to Deb to clarify (if desired) precisely what she said in that video and what she meant by it.

For myself, I have yet to see any ancient or medieval source that formally defines or prescribes whole-sign houses (as their proponents do today), states that they are equal or superior to houses calculated by degree, or that the latter should not be used for 'topics' but only for strength or for particular techniques like life-span calculations. What I have seen, repeatedly, are statements of the opposite kind: that if you want to avoid error, be sure to calculate houses (and lots, etc.) by degree. Whether those authors practised what they preached is a different matter: that is where the question of Why comes in.

(And as B.V. Raman and Indian astrology was mentioned, let me add that I have not seen whole-sign houses formally defined or prescribed in any Sanskrit text either, the way quadrant houses are.)

Valens 1.4 Concerning the Horoskopos

It seems to me that any discussion of house systems in classical astrology must be predicated on an understanding of how the horoscope was constructed. Valens 1.4 Concerning the Horoskopos seems fundamental to this question. Unfortunately I can only read in translation, and have access the the PH work and the Riley translation.

PH acknowledge that Ch. 4 of Book 1 is notoriously difficult to understand and I defer to individuals with a greater knowledge of the original texts than myself. However, having read this chapter a couple of times it seems quite clear that Valens, and probably his contemporaries, were not calculating the degree of the ascendant using the time of birth in the way that we do now.

It seems that the calculation of the rising sign and ascendant degree was a process based on the position of the Sun at birth (which would have been known quite accurately for the day). Valens describes a complex series of algorithms used to define (divine?) the rising sign. Once the rising sign has been identified a further series of algorithms are then used to define (divine?) the actual rising degree.

As far as I can see Valens does not refer to any process involving the time of birth, beyond knowing the specific day of birth and the degree occupied by the sun. Given that wristwatches had not been invented, this seems quite a reasonable procedure, although I appreciate that some time-keeping methods may have been available (water clocks? and sun dials) that would have given time to the nearest hour perhaps.

At one point Valens says: "Thus is found the mystic and necessitated Horoskopos....Thus, even without the hours, you can find the zoidion that marks the hour, if you know whether it was a day or a night birth." (Schmidt, p.25) Without going back to the source text in the Greek I wouldn't like to give a definitive view on the meaning of 'even without the hours' but it might be reasonable to assume that it means 'without knowing the time (of birth) exactly'.

Without working through Valens' examples and trying to recreate the maths, I can't say how precisely his methods identify the 'real' ascendant degree. However, I think he might have been less interested in this (which is our peculiar modern obsession) and more interested in finding the sign and degree which is 'revealed' by this approach based on the Sun's degree on the day of birth.

In terms of this debate, my sense is that one level of astrological information would have been revealed to Valens based on the rising sign and, dare I say it, the whole sign positions planets in relation to the horoskopos. This might have been for 'beginners', or perhaps we might say to support a basic or elementary reading of the chart. Another 'deeper' (or more sophisticated) level of astrological information would have been revealed by proceeding to calculate the rising degree.

It is unlikely to be an 'either/or' position, and Valens, who must be counted as one of the greatest astrologers to have been able to record his methods, is unlikely to have been muddled in his thinking or unaware of the potential for imprecision in his calculations. Textual corruption, mistranslation, miseducation and astrological myth-making are likely to have played a part in obscuring his methodologies over the centuries.
"...the motions that are akin to the divine in us are the thoughts and revolutions of the universe."

Plato, Timaeus, 90.

Deb wrote: Ezra - Placidus
Thanks for the small table, Deb, but Ibn Ezra lived long before Placidus

If Ezra's house system should really anticipate that of Placidus, as some and
you(?) say, shouldn't it then be honored by his/its own name?

Martin Gansten wrote:
I have not seen whole-sign houses formally defined or prescribed in any Sanskrit text either, the way quadrant houses are.
Could you elaborate exactly what you mean here please? Outside the Tajika tradition are you questioning the use of whole sign houses?


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

Mark wrote:Could you elaborate exactly what you mean here please? Outside the Tajika tradition are you questioning the use of whole sign houses?
Not the fact that they are commonly used, but the idea that they are explicitly prescribed in (classical, non-T??jika) Indian astrological texts. Of course, I haven't read everything, so I'm open to new information.

The most well-known Sanskrit manual for calculating quadrant houses (using what we would call Porphyry cusps, attributed by Valens to one Orion) is Śrīpati Bhaṭṭa's J??takakarmapaddhati, but there are many others. Even some versions of the Bṛhatp??r??śarahor?? (such as the one translated by Girish Chand Sharma, published by Sagar) include one or two chapters on the topic.

The recent debate is not about the use of house division

I post on my facebook, but I don't have many facebook friends (only a few astrology teachers whom I really like and respect) (so I don't have much community influence)

I realize that many people may not understand what we are talking about. So it may be misunderstood that this is just a debate of personal preference or conception.


The recent debate is not about the use of different house systems (house division), but whether the signs and houses were the same thing in ancient times, rather than separate.

Putting the whole sign under the line of the house system itself is a logical or fundamental error.

Because the whole sign house system is not the house system we usually understand, which is related to daily motion.

This is not a personal preference. This is how you fundamentally view (understand) the (your) astrological system.

Whole Sign Houses , Hand, Robert. Page:34
Chapter 11 The Issue of House Division , Brennan ,Chris.
Ancient house division Holden, James, page: 21
House Division, Schmidt, Robert ,
Last edited by Wei on Tue Feb 14, 2023 7:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

Thank you for that pertinent reminder Wei. My understanding is that Chris changed his narrative after our so-called 'debate' in 2015, so that his book text accounted for my arguments then (and I haven't read it, so I cannot comment on that, but clearly he is still saying that other methods of division are "employed for different purposes").
We still have a massive amount of revisioning to do, as every time this issue gets raised, I still get bombarded with astrologers sending me links to, or PDF files of Rob Hand's work, as if this provides the answer I am missing -as if it has established a position that needs no more review, and as if I am unaware of his work.

Hi, Deb

I know you aware of their works.

I didn't post it for you to see. I know this topic is mainly for you to clarify other people's misunderstanding about you.

I understand your concern. But it seems that many people don't understand your central argument and concern.

Many people confuse signs and houses by thinking they are the same thing.

Actually Wei I may as well put on the record that I don't know what Chris Brennan has written - I haven't read his book and choose to stay away from his work. If something is of relevance to the historical texts we will find it in the historical texts.

Hi Zagata

Thank you for all your efforts here and your patience with me. Please bear with me as I try to sift through what seems important against what is (to me) not so relevant in your post. My ability to focus is impeded as I am called upon with an avalanche of messages and questions coming from all directions right now, so apologies if I appear a little slow or easily confused.

I first want to clear up this point and get it out of the way:
“Deborah said in her video that no historical astrologer defined, discussed, recommended or said that he was using whole sign houses???
Without checking the actual words I used, I would hope that the full context of my presentation makes clears what my argument is about: the lack of recommendation of signs for houses as a preferred technique in ancient and historical texts (as opposed to a convenient approach adopted when precision is unnecessary or time is unknown).

I am not unaware of examples where we might assume that approach was taken, although I do believe that we often make assumptions for that unnecessarily. So, to me, someone putting up charts and making arguments along the lines of “look at these chart as evidence of WS use??? is irrelevant. I am looking for evidence of it being recognised as a ‘system’ or a definable method within the texts that have fed into the lineage of western astrology, alongside evidence that some astrologer actually recommended it as a preferred technique.

Your quote doesn’t show any kind of recommendation of use – and the fact that we have to hunt so hard to try find one says a lot. But what you have presented predates any other text I am aware of, that offers evidence of recognition through formal definition.

So I think this is important in showing a historical definition belonging to a 16th-century European astrologer – there may be others pre-dating this, but I’m unaware of their existence to date.

I’d like to formalise the details of the source text here in this thread, as something to benchmark other potential discoveries against. I am less interested in the details of the al-Qaṣr??ni text as I am in the 16th century text of the commentator.

Hence, would you mind confirming and clarifying who wrote this text quoted again below (where and when etc), because I see this as very important and I am still feeling confused about the source information for that, and want to get the details right:
It is assumed that the reader is familiar with the methods of erecting a horoscope. There are several systems for calculating intermediate houses, and there is also no uniformity as to what constitutes a "main point" of the horoscope: Medium Coeli or Ascendant. Here is a brief overview of how the doctrine of the houses has evolved from ancient times to the present day (1547):

a. At first the signs of the zodiac were houses, with the "beginning" - the first house - being the sign where the rising point of the ecliptic - "horoscopos" or "ascendant" was located, and the following houses were located in the successively coming signs of the zodiac.


There are many more different opinions about erecting the horoscope. This is especially characteristic of our time. Now, practically every author comes up with more or less witty ways. So, for example, many erect a horoscope according to Placidus, but divide half the distance between the cusps and get the cusps somewhere in the middle of the houses, while the houses remain of different size. But Andrussar, whose treatise is presented below, adheres to what was said in point 1.a.???

johannes susato wrote:
Deb wrote: Ezra - Placidus
Thanks for the small table, Deb, but Ibn Ezra lived long before Placidus

If Ezra's house system should really anticipate that of Placidus, as some and
you(?) say, shouldn't it then be honored by his/its own name?
No, because the point is to identify the method used, and Ezra is known to have employed what we refer to as the 'Placidus' method of house division.
We know Placidus didn't invent it (neither did Ezra) but it is commonly known by his name - just like the Alcabitius system was named after Al-Qabisi, but only because Al-Qabisi used it, not to suggest that he invented it.