The Classical Astrologer and Family Planning

Today, huge amounts of time and money are spent on genetic research, pre-natal medical counselling, and direct medical intervention such as fertility treatment to help couples who, for one reason or another, have difficulty in conception. While we may like to think of this as an enlightened modern pre-occupation, it is not by any stretch of the imagination. The desire to unlock the mysteries of procreation has occupied man for a long, long time!

In the past, the astrologer employed in the courts of the ruling class and nobility was the first and most important figure upon whom a ruler or noble would depend for counsel to ensure a primogeniture to whom the reins of power or authority would pass.

The traditional or classical astrologer had to be proficient in not only natal delineation, but he had to be skilled in the Arts of Questions[1] and Elections.[2] It was not enough that the astrologer could delineate the possibility of children from the subjects’ nativity, but the question of a successor was so paramount that his aid and direct participation was sought to find the best moment for the act of intercourse to result in the successful generation of a child; and in most cases the desire for a male child. The ancient classical and medieval astrologer, by all accounts, was expected to not only arrange things so that a child of the requisite sex was conceived but also, it was expected that the child would be born at the proper time. This was tantamount to nothing less than a type of astrological genetic counselling!

In his role as ‘family planner’, the astrologer would first delineate the natal charts of the couple, see if child birth was possible, and perhaps see anything that might hinder conception. A couple might also come to him with specific questions which were presented in the form of «interrogations» or horary questions. We can see several of the typical questions that were anticipated in the text of the 9th century Arabic astrologer, Sahl Ibn Bishr.[3]

«… if a man or a woman has asked whether or not he or she will have a child, look at the Ascendant; if there were benefics in it, or if the ruler of the Ascendant was in the Ascendant or in the tenth or in the eleventh or in the 5th, and Jupiter was in the best house from the Ascendant, a child will be born to him; and if the ruler of the Ascendant was in the Ascendant or in the 4th or in the 7th and Jupiter was in a good place from the Ascendant, a child will be born to him with some delay after [the time of] his own question. But if you have found a malefic in the Ascendant or if it aspects it by opposition or by square aspect, and the ruler of the Ascendant was in a bad place, and Jupiter was cadent or in the house of death or under the Sun beams, it signifies few children, and who will live only a short time if there are any…»

« …if the question was about some woman, whether or not she is pregnant and whether or not she will bear a child or whether it would be fortunate for her or not, look at the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon, which are the significators of children. If you have found the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon in the house of children, and if the ruler of the house of children is in the Ascendant free from the malefics, say that she is pregnant; and if the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon have given, i.e. if they have committed, their own disposition to any planet in an angle, there will be a pregnancy, and all the more so if it was received; and if they were joined to a planet cadent from the Ascendant, it signifies loss, and the pregnancy is in vain; and even more so if the Ascendant was a mobile sign or if there was a malefic in an angle, or if the Moon was joined to a malefic, because all of these signify loss…»

« …if you have been asked whether she will bear a male or a female, look at the ruler of the Ascendant and the ruler of the house of children; if they were in masculine signs, there will be a male in her belly; and if they were in feminine signs, there will be a female in her belly; and if one of them was in a masculine sign and the other one was in a feminine sign, look at the Moon’s sign and at the planet to which the Moon is joined; if the Moon was in a masculine sign and was joined to a masculine planet, she will bear a male, but if the Moon was in a feminine sign or was joined to a feminine planet, she will bear a female. And know that Mercury, when it is oriental, i.e. when it is behind the Sun, will be feminine, if God wills!»[4]

He would then «elect» the most auspicious time for conception to occur.

«When you want to elect an hour for intercourse, i.e. when you want to have intercourse with your wife, so that you can beget a male child, let the Ascendant and its ruler and the Moon and the ruler of the house of children be in masculine signs or in a masculine quadrant of the circle in the hour of intercourse, and in that hour you should not put any planet but a masculine one in the Ascendant and in the sign [house] of children. And if you want it to be a female, let these significators be in feminine signs and in a feminine quadrant of the circle…»[5]

 

Next, the astrologer/physician would cast a chart at the time of conception to determine the length of the pregnancy and find out how long the woman would carry the developing child! The ancient astrologers/physicians believed that fertilization  occurred at the time of insemination. They did not know that conception was a process that involved the fertilization of an egg by the male sperm. They simply assumed that the woman’s womb was a protected environment where the man’s «seed» would develop into an infant! Their idea of conception was formed largely from watching plants. It was not until the microscope in the 18th century that physicians learned what true conception was and it was not until the 20th century that physicians learned that true conception might not occur until days after coitus, therefore, it is difficult to credit astrological dicta.

One of the older extant texts containing the astrological instructions for determining the term of a pregnancy and the time of conception can be found in the writings of the Greek astrologer Vettius Valens![6]

It is difficult in such a short synopsis to go into all the details of the method for calculating the term of the pregnancy. In general it is based on the conception that the degree of the sign in which the Moon is at the time of the infusion of sperm will be the degree of the ascendant in the nativity and that the degree that was ascending at the time of conception will be the same degree as the Moon in the sign it will be posited in the nativity!

Vettius Valens writes,

«The Moon at birth will indicate the hour of conception in respect to the zoion[7] in which it took place,[8] while the hōroskopos of conception will have as many degrees as the Moon has at birth.»

It is later quoted as the 51st aphorism in the Centiloquium.[9]

«Make the sign occupied by the Moon at the time of birth the ascending sign at the conception; and consider that in which she may be posited at the conception, or the opposite one, as the sign ascending at birth.»

The method postulates that there are three terms of the pregnancy;[10] a least, a middle, and a greatest. The difference between each term is fifteen days. Which term was chosen depended on the position of the Moon in the chart of the conception. The least term is 258 days which was when the Moon was in the degrees of the descending sign above the horizon. The middle term was 15 days more than that, or 273 days and was attributed when Moon was in the ascendant. The greatest term was 15 days more or 289 days, when the Moon was in the degrees of the descendant below the horizon.

Let us say for example, 10º Cancer is rising, then, 10º Capricorn is setting. The conception is that between the setting degree (the least term) moving in the order of the signs to the eastern horizon[11] (the middle term) there are 180º, which are the equivalent of 15 days. Therefore, 30º equalled 2½ days, which can be further divided. 2½ days is 60 hours so 1º was equal to 2 hours. Likewise, from the Ascending sign continuing to move below the horizon in the order of the signs towards the west, those 180 º also equalled 15 days.

So depending on where the Moon was posited, above or below the horizon, then a certain number of days and hours was added to either the least or middle term and that was the length of the pregnancy.

In our example then, if the Moon (for simplicities sake) was at 25º Taurus, then we could find the length of the pregnancy by counting the number of degrees between the descending degree of 10º Capricorn (280º longitude) and subtract that from the degrees of the Moon at 25º Taurus (55º of longitude). Since 55º is smaller than 280º, I add 360º to 55º, which is 415º. Now I can subtract; 415 – 280 = 135º. I can then divide that by 30º, which gives me 4 which a remainder of 15º. Each of those 30º divisions is equal to 2½ days, which gives me 10 days plus 15º, or 10 days and 30 hours,[12] or simply 11 days and 6 hours. This then would be added to the least term of 258 days giving 269 days and 6 hours as the term of the pregnancy.

Just as simply one could of course calculate the degrees between the Ascendant degree and the Moon and subtract the equivalent days from the middle term of 273 days.

I hope the reader realises this is a very simplistic overview of the technique. One finds much more complete instructions in Guido Bonatti’s text book, Liber Astronomiae Tractatus Decimus called, Trutine of Hermes on the Causation of the Length of Pregnancy. This of course, is not the only medieval text discussing the Length of Pregnancy. Dominicus Maria de Novarra[13] wrote an entire manuscript on the subject and found in the Biblioteca Paletina. There are several others from this period also.

What can I say as an astrologer? Does it work? I don’t know as I do not have enough experience in this particular ‘field’ to be able to judge one way or the other. That is the purpose of this short article, to expose this teaching in order to encourage further inquiry!

I do think it is fair enough to speculate in this regard and we should not just dismiss off hand such speculation. For while we may with no certainty say the method does or does not work, it was most certainly a major part of the medieval and classical astrologers ‘bread and butter’.

If such a method was effective and in fact widely practiced, then our predecessors were a long way ahead of us today in their medical ‘technology’ because such a method would be entirely without any deleterious side effects that are always present to some degree with our modern drug, hormone and surgery treatments! It would be an entirely natural solution!

[1] Horary astrology – casting a chart for the moment of an important question and determining the outcome from identification and particular circumstances of the significators of the querent and question

[2] Electional astrology – the art of determining the most auspicious moment to do something through examining the astrologicals at certain times

[3] The Arabian astrologer later known in the West as Zahel (or Zael), a Jew, who served as court astrologer to the governor of Khurasan in the period 820-822 A.D. and later to al-Hasan ibn Sahl (d. 850/851), the vizier of Baghdad during the reign of the caliph al-Mamūn (reigned 813-833). Among the 18 books that are attributed to him to have written, five were translated into Latin by 12th century translators in Spain.

[4] The Introduction to the Science of the Judgments of the Stars, translated from the 12th century Latin text by James H. Holden

[5] Ibid

[6] Vettius Valens was a young contemporary of Ptolemy. Valens tells us himself that he was conceived on the 13th of May 119 C.E. and born 9 months later on February 8, 120 C.E. His death is a little more uncertain but he is presumed to have died in the time period 173 – 175 C.E. in his 50’s. His major literary contribution, called the Anthology (Anthologiae) is probably the most massive and comprehensive picture of Hellenistic astrology that exists and not only includes detailed natal methodology but also 125 charts of apparently, Valens own «clients». The Anthology was a major reference work for Byzantine and Medieval Arabic astrologers.

[7] That is, sign

[8] That is to say, that the Moon in the nativity is the same as the hour, or ascendant degree, of the conception.

[9] This work, as the name implies, is a compilation of 100 astrological aphorisms. It was also known by the name Liber Fructus or Book of Fruit and often attributed to Ptolemy. However, this attribution has become very doubtful since a majority of the aphorisms deal with horary, which is a subject Ptolemy appears to disdain and ignore totally in Tetrabiblos. Modern scientific historians also cast much doubt on this attribution and suspect it was rather an ambitious Medieval Arabic writer’s work in the 9th century and assuming Ptolemy’s authorship in order to lend greater authority to his own writings!

[10] I.e. from conception to birth

[11] I.e. the ascending degree

[12] 1º = 2 hours

[13] Dominicus was the student of Marsilio Ficino, the great Florentine Platonist and advisor to the Medicis. He was also reputed to have been friend and associate to Copernicus.

Freedom or Fate?   

An (Almost) Eternal Question                                                                              
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This question has tortured the minds of philosophers as well that of people in general. No doubt, to the astrologer, this is a primary issue, since astrology looks for the interaction between the stars in order to predict human destiny.

With the rebirth of modern astrology in the beginning of the last century, several concepts based on the present issue were raised and it was postulated that ancient astrology was based on immutable destiny without any regard on free will.

The fact is that when Astrology was rediscovered  it had considerable differences from the kind of Art it  was practiced since remote ages until the seventeenth century. Based on the rationalism and in a time where there was no traditional  teachers and ancient books where almost lost or not translated in modern languages, such kind of astrology became muck akin of a  kind of psychological astrology and the predictive tool was lost.

Interesting enough. at the same time Freud developed the psychoanalytic theory, dividing the psychic instances in conscious and unconscious. Then, he spoke in Ego, Id and Superego, making it clear that small part of the mind was conscious and that, using his words, the Ego was a poor guy, having to manage and mediate conflicts between the Id, the pure instinct or the repressed impulses, the impositions of the Superego, and the reality.

Therefore  postulated that except the Ego, the major part of the other two psychic instances was unconscious, and even the moral standards have being created in large part by  unconscious influences. Thus instead of brag for having an human Ego the conscious is a poor thing trying to overcome influences that they had no idea from where they come from.

Freud´s theory initially aroused great rejection, especially with regard to sexuality, to which he gave excessive value for the moral standards of his time. But it was also a stroke  against the rationalism since it  limited the psychics  to the top of an iceberg, with the largest was submerged. Such a theory limited human freedom because the man himself has no access to the major part of his own mind, furthermore he is not able to handle with  thinks he do not know. The psychoanalysis as a self study  became the ideal way to gain some awareness and the increase at least in some degree knowledge e some domain of the mind and perhaps a little more of free will or control of internal states of mind.

Freud´s disciple and dear friend, at least in the beginning of the development of the psychoanalysis, Carl G. Jung finished by disagreeing of the master and adopting a kind of spirituality. Because of this, the friendship between them was broken. Jung sought what was common in the human unconscious and his research revealed that the unconscious had certain standards and archetypal myths that had great importance in the formation of the psyche. He believed in a mystical human side that played an important role in human mind.

Jung was all that the new astrology needed to use astrology the in a “younguian” approach: it gave them some legitimacy, but the problem is that they were mixing two distinct disciplines.

I cannot blame them since I was myself during 20 year a modern astrologer and when in 1980 I got interested in reading Morin I was not able to find a book of his in any place. We must remember that  the internet was in its beginning and there was no Google to send us any tip.

Even with the development of the traditional astrology in the end of the last century the majority of the astrologers became loyal to what was inferred by Alan Leo books or Jung, going astray and  currently remaining in a border between the Jungian psychological counseling and a kind of astrology based on recent concepts. The predictions ceased to be of importance because each person was able to “live” using free willing, a subjective manner of dealing with an astral configuration, so we, as astrologers cannot say much about any outcome.

The native is seen as somebody able to “deal” with astrological aspects, instead of being subject of them. There are no malefic planets for example since it depends on how you live them: astrological life become a bless.

As for Freud and Jung, both teachers were right, and they disagreed because they were like blinds, paraphrasing the old saying, looking to different parts of the elephant and describing it just touching only at its part.

This discussion took me back  to my youth and I hope you will not mind this tour. It was 1960 and I was still very young, attending high school. It would  happen  a formal debate in the school on the subject “determinism versus free will.”  I chose to defend the part of the group who advocated determinism, which was considered a kind of heresy.

The teachers looked at me with earnest air. By the way I got used to this behaviour: later in university when I embraced Freud and the psychoanalysis, many thought that if I was not mad I was following mad people. After that, when the psychoanalysis turn out to be the big idea of the moment I already was disappointed with it and quit to embrace spirituality and astrology, only to cope more social disapprove from my pairs.

Back to the my young age: I knew Freud only by listening about him but I defended determinism because I felt that Freud was right, and it was better to be supported by his ideas than to my strong feelings  in the مكتوب  or  Maktub meaning in Arabic that something was written.

Although my thesis was defended with passion, teachers gave cause to the group that advocated free will, simply because it was the obvious and correct while the determinism was a caveman thing.

Today, fifty years elapsed, it ceased to be something to discuss, in my point of view. On these deep waters of existence we are not sure of anything, and only the study of our own personal astrological chart  against the accidents that occurred  in our life, added to some wisdom, can be able to advise a man to choose one or the other way. That is, we do not vote in favor or against fate or free will by choice, but by studying and living and finally comparing both points of view after a experienced life.

Determinism rests on an apparent view that what came to be reaches its destination route accordingly to what was written before. Now, may I ask you what is the “before” if it has no existence in things that just happened and do not exists anymore, are no more in our hands to look at, being only reminded according to our fail and temperamental memory in the present?

Hieraclitus said that we never bath in the waters of the same river. How true are these words!

The future, in turn, is something that is expected, contained and restrained causing anxiety about  what may or may not be happen: the future is an interrogation. How can we change what we do not have?

Seeing past and future against these perspectives how we can construct a basis for an astrological chart interpretation? In which bases predictive astrology can be practiced? How can we know through heavens, planets and houses and according to way they are configured how is the native´s parents, children, finances, honors and adversity, siblings, health, etc.?

The only possible answer is that we see the astrological chart as the present. All is contained there: the past or future, but we do not distinguish what is one or the other.The present contains both.

To score them we developed techniques based on our mental temporalprocesses.

Past and future does not exist in the chart: but our mind based on time tries to put some temporal order on it.

The determinism is created by our own mind because all that exists contains the past and the future. The natal chart is like a seed. The orange seed creates a tree which is able to turn into an orange tree which will be strong and fruitful, or not so much, but it is determined to produce, if able, only oranges and not, even with chemical  amalgamation, other sort of fruits, like bananas.

While classical astrology describes the psychological characteristics of the individual, this is not its main idea. Even taking into account Moon, Ascendant and Mercury, to talk about the person of the native, is only one of the traditional astrologer´s focus.

As we are humans inserted in our memories and expectations we know that the native will or still has been married, prosperous, unfaithful, etc. because this is the present of his chart. Ordering in time all this material requires something very human: the notion of time.

Directions are the way that astrologers use temporality to put the chart in the context of time.
Thinking that this issue of determinism against  free will was of much dispute among philosophers and nowadays, I would like to made some more considerations to endorse my rationale.

At the beginning of Western philosophy the traditional astrology that we have notice emerged among people of Greek language, based on Neoplatonic and Stoic philosophy.

The Greek philosophers when thinking about this kind of matter suggested that the primordial seed being released it is the fate of anything, or hermamene, the organizing principle. Focusing on such seed the laws of necessity acts, the organizational principle,  that I  understand as being the laws of physics, a  unavoidable event in Earth. Perhaps this order provides the temporality phenomena in our world. The interesting part is the existence of Tucké, Fortuna, which provides random experiences. For example, against all odds, you do not take that plane that will explode in the air, or have got good luck in the lottery, where millions lose fortunes. In a humbler picture, you go to the city to buy bread and find a debtor and …you get paid.

Sure, Tuché can act as a misfortune: against all odds the horse you bet loses or even being able to a job you lose the train, arriving later, and other person was contracted, etc.

My question is : in what extent all this  examples were not able to be delineated, predicted. There are people who was doomed to win in games of all sorts. We can hardly think in this kinf of  fact as many coincidences happening to one only persons. In the same way there are others that always lose. Tuché being aspected by its rulership or exaltation lord explains the good fortune, but the Fortune, and at this point I agree to the philosophers, is not able to maintain anything not seeded or not provided in the chart as a whole.

Valens thinks such fortunes are fleeting and illusory and that the nativity at the end follow
its course, based on the radical chart, Hermamene and the Necessity, the physical laws and ordering (directions) happening accordingly to the first chart, the natal chart.

I have myself some dramatic  examples of this kind of thing:  people who were born with an unlucky, poor and sick,  with a good Part of Fortune, aspected by its ruler. This kind of charts happens to rose by Tuché for many years for later be defect in consequence sometimes of the Fortune itself that exposed the native to risks highlighted in the natal chart.

In the Timaeus, Plato’s famous work, it is said that when the Demiurge has created Earth and all that is contained in it, accordingly to the beautiful and love, the elements interfered  and  the order was not perfect. So it is possible that chance or Tuché was one of those things interfering in the order. They, the philosophers, did not think in this way, but my idea is that elements, initially were winds, with no big powers before Dorotheus got fanatic by them. I hardly believe that originally a thing made by the Demiurge was able to be destroyed by confuse elements. Before Dorotheus there was not given such importance to the elements. Anyway  for a reason or another Earth wasn´t an ideal plae to construct the beautifull and the lovely Demiurge´s idea and even  so, he decided “it was good”.

Human beings  need to believe in good luck and hope, there is some of demiurge in them, so they can go on. They prefer to believe in his own power and in his will to overcome the worst of human life: the generation and corruption, the inexorable fate of existence that distresses humanity: we are born, we grow and we die. What power we have about it, except through the interference of the physical laws?

And they are powerful: with our rational minds we have been able to do extraordinary things, but I do not know to what extent this road will be every time a happy one. Our rational mind elevated largely the rank of life, but the fact of maintaining a life that sometimes no longer brings any pleasure perhaps is not a good thing. I refer to exaggeration: people who live to see the point of the third passage of Saturn, and repeat in extreme old age which was already in the birth chart, that is, physical dependence, limitation, contempt of kin or, conversely, if the chart point in this direction, have four or five caregivers and live as babies.

Valens, in Book 5, talks about destiny and about the things that modifies it  apparently, but later what is in the natal chart prevails. He talks also about the directions that attenuate facts postponing them but at last the seed reveals itself.

Let me quote a paragraph taken from the Anthology Book V, which is a translation of the same work by Mark Riley.

9K;6P. The Reason Why the Same Results Do Not Happen at Twelve-Year Intervals. Why Bad Results Happen Although Good Were Expected and Vice-Versa. Why Great Good or Bad Results Happen Even Though the Distribution is Located in Empty Signs.

It is necessary to inspect the past, the current, and the future chronocrators and to determine if they are passing from propitious to unpropitious, or from malefic to benefic places. <I say this> because often a nativity experiences an anxious period subject to the law and is condemned because of the chronocratorship of malefics. Later, however, when benefics take over and when the overall chronocratorship indicate that the nativity is secure, the nativity experiences a restoration of rank and livelihood through some defenses and the basis of the nativity advances to greater fortune. But whenever the nativity is carried to an inferior overall chronocratorship, and the chronocrators are in accord, then various disputes,accusations, trials, losses, and hatreds are prepared in advance until the nativity meets the crisis which is fated to happen. In the same way, if a cause of good occurs in the sequence of chronocrators, then friendships, associations and ties with the great, stewardships, legacies, and gifts are prepared.

As a result, those who were lowly and weak in their period of crisis are treated as noble, sensible, and charming because of the terms of good fortune. On the other hand, those who are entirely courageous and well educated (at least, according to the basis of the nativity from the beginning) are condemned and are considered coarse, cowardly, and ineffective, and they are oppressed by their inferiors.

These men bear their abasement nobly and yield to the laws of Fate. In the case of ruling nativities, we find that when the chronocrators are making the transition in succession with the others, even though the time of rule has not yet been reached, some men attain noteworthy and profitable rank, others tarry in na opposite, ruinous condition. As a result, for some men bad things become good and a source of safety; for others even apparent good later becomes a cause of evil.

Fate has decreed for each person the immutable working out of events, reinforcing this decree with many opportunities for good or bad consequences. Through the use of these opportunities, two selfbegotten gods, Hope and Fortune, the assistants of Fate, control man’s life and make it possible for him to bear Fate’s decrees by using their compulsion and deception. One of the two <Fortune> manifests herself to everyone through the forecasted outcome, proving herself to be good and kind at one time, at another time dark and grim. Fortune raises some high only to cast them down, and degrades others only to raise them to glory. The other of the two <Hope> is neither dark nor bright; she moves everywhere in disguise and in secret, smiling on everyone like a flatterer, and she displays many attractive prospects which cannot be attained. She controls men by deceiving them: these men, even though they were wronged and were enslaved to their desires, still are attracted to her again, and full of Hope, believe that their wishes will be fulfilled. They believe her—only to get what they do not expect. If Hope ever does offer solid prospects to anyone, she immediately abandons him and goes on to others. She seems to be close to everyone, but she stays with no one. As a result, those ignorant of the prognostic art—or those not willing to engage in it at all—are led away and enslaved to these previously mentioned gods. They endure all blows and suffer punishment along with their pleasures. Some partially attain what they hoped for, their confidence begins to increase, and they await a permanently favorable outcome—not realizing how precarious and slippery are these accidents of Fortune. Others are disappointed in their expectations not just once, but always; they then surrender body and soul to their passions and live shamed and disgraced—or they simply wait, living as slaves to fickle Fortune and deceitful Hope, and they are entirely unable to achieve anything.

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With these stitched considerations I finish this article,  hoping it have been a useful reflection on what is “a given” and what is “free”.

Btw, each individual should think about why to chose this or that point of view and, if you allow me to observe, if the choice was not inherent in the very chart of yours and already indicated for each one.

Clélia Romano, DMA

August 2014

The Mysteries in Hellenistic astrology

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The Mysteries in Hellenistic astrology

the original article and some 2014 review

Clelia Romano, DMA Copyright 2007-2014

This article was inspired by the lectures presented by Robert
Schmidt during the Vll Astrological Conclave in Cumberland, July 2007.

Robert Schmidt together with Robert Hand and Robert Zoller created the memorable
project Hindsight. In the beginning of 1990 they began the translation of
Greek and Latin astrological sources to English. The translation was an essential
tool in order that the current astrologers could recover and recall the great
Art and the nobility of the ancient astrology.

It’s impossible to discuss Hellenistic Astrology disregarding some important
philosophical concepts. The Greeks were really great philosophers, and they
had a quite complex insight on the cosmos and human existence.

 Sometimes it’s difficult to understand their way of thinking, but if
we are able to leave aside the analytic mind just like we did when we relinquished
the Cartesian point of view in order to become astrologers, believing that
we can find more in the occult than in the cold way of measuring things, we
will be able to envision the true meaning of the Greek thinking.

We will see some quite unusual and at times weird concepts: there are many
clues in Hellenistic astrology devised to force you into thinking. Hence,
be prepared for unsettling ideas.

Some of them, according to Robert Schmidt´s information, are related
to esoteric aspects that are being revealed through recently discovered ancient
Tablets containing new ways of dealing with the meaning of houses. One of
these Tablets ends with the following words:

“He, Trasyllus, describes how Trimegistus said”

                            The Mystery of the Houses

The houses are divided in angular houses, pos ascensional and and cadents from
the angle. The first ones are called “pivots” by the Greeks and
they work like hinges around which everything revolves.

The post ascentional houses have the function of supporting the house before
they are those through which you enter a cadent house. The cadent house, a house
between worlds, on the other hand has the function of destroying the previous
house, and is like a bridge to the next one.

From where the division of houses came from? The Greeks were the first to describe
the Hõroskopos, the exact point of the Ascendant and this happened in
the second century BC when Hypsicles of Alexandria discovered the mathematical
method for calculating it. At this time appeared the first chart with the respective
horoskopo.

Vettius Valens, in his Anthology written in the 2nd century AC, used whole signs
and also topic division based in Porphyry.

The Hõroskopo is the point from where we depart to describe the other
houses. For the Greeks, however, any point can be used as Hõroskopos.
The chart can depart from a LOT, for example, (the Fortune Lot , the Spirit
Lot, the Eros Lot, etc ) or even any other house can became a Hõroskopos,
a point of departure, the first house to analyze the others under a specific
subject. For example, if the issue is a financial problem, we can depart from
the Lot of Fortune or from the Second House, or use the system of derivative
houses.

The detailed description of this virtuosity in the Hellenist astrology is well
described in the introduction by Robert Hand to the Book ll of Vettius Valens
Anthology

In spite of the determination of the exact position of the Hõroskopos,
the Greeks always used whole signs instead of dynamic houses, even if we have
testimonies of the topic division as well.

What means to use the whole sign systm of houses? Let’s assume the Ascendant
to be at 22º of Cancer. The first house initiates in the beginning of Cancer
and goes as far as its last degree. A planet at 29º of Cancer would be
considered in the first house.

But we haven’t discussed any mysteries yet…so far we just described
some astrological Hellenist statements.

We know the terrestrial houses are 12 and that they have a meaning, according
to their aspects relative to the Ascendant.

The Eight topic houses system coexisted with the current 12 houses system at
that time.

The Greeks had two words for life:

“Zoo”: the physical existence and “Bios”, the life you
live, the livelihood.

And you live your life in Places that the Greeks named Topos or Houses as we
name them nowadays.

The “Hõroskopos ” is the first house and represents “Zoo”,
the physical life. This life is supported by the activity of the Second House.
The issue of the Second House is a Bios´s issue.

Now we will see the explanation of life in a different way.

According to the new material being translated, the life that we live is shared
by the 12th, the 10th and the 8th houses.

This is really a mystery and a weird one, because what kind of life you can
live in the 8th house, the place of death if your life is restricted to being
alive?

In the 10th house, the statement is perfectly understandable because in the
10th is where you live and act without restriction your adulthood.

And the 12th house, a cadent house, “apoclima”, between worlds?!
You are not alive yet, this is prior to our existence! How can we understand
such a weird statement?

I invite you to empty your mind and listen carefully:

The 12th house has a meaning of preparation: at the same time it’s the
apoclima, a decline, a turn backwards from the first, but it is the house where
you choose your Bios, where you’re not living your life, but choosing
the one that you will have to live.

Greek astrology was not reincarnationist but used a lot of Plato’s theory,
and Plato believed in reincarnation.

According to this theory, after the 12th we have the birth of the body, the
First House.

As soon as we live the three houses after the 12th and go directly to the end of
the Second House, which supports the First, we find the abyss of the Third House.
It is an initiation and we have to jump over it. At this moment we don’t
go to the Third, but to the 9th house: it’s the death of our childhood:
the 9th is the 8th of the Second.

The first return of Saturn occurs at this time and it represent the good-bye
to the first youth, in order to enter the adulthood. This event occurs at about
thirty years of age: we reach our maturity.

In the 9th, a cadent house, we prepare for our prime, we get subsidies, guides
and learning to achieve our acts in life. We reach the 10th house , the Praxis,
prepared to act in the public life, having children included, matter of the
10th for the Greeks.

The 11th house is the patronage, the friends and institutions that support our
public life and position.

Additional 30 years are spent in the 9th, 10th and 11th houses. It is the period
between the 30 and 60 years of age.

Once you lived the 11th house it is time for your second initiation: -you’ll
have to jump to the 6th House, the illnesses of the body, which will prepare
you for death, which will happen in the 7th House. Indeed, the setting place
makes opposition to the Ascendant.

The next thirty years of the native life will revolve around this new theme:
the destruction of life.

Back to our initial theme: what kind of activity can we have in the 8th house,
also called “lethargy” and when our body is supposed to be dead?

In this house we have to drink the water of forgetfulness, to forget the life
we lived and our Bios. This is the activity of the 8th: to forget.

So, the 12th House is a preparation for the Bios. We get a Zoo, a body, and
we begin to live our life going straight to the end of the Second House, where
our first thirty years of life are spent.

After this rite of passage that occurs -not by coincidence at the same time
we have the first Saturn´s return -there is a jump from youth to adulthood,
where we will live the next thirty years of our life, in the prime of our adulthood
and living the good houses, the 9th, 10th and 11th. Next, we have the second
Saturn’s return, another jump, this time to a worse place, the illness
of the 6th House which will prepare us for death.

Let’s suppose that someone lived more than 90 years. This person would
jump to the 8th of the 8th: i.e. from the 8th house to the Third (a between-worlds
house), cadent, preparing for the 4th, the Hades, and after this to the 5th,
the fame after death.

In the Hellenistic texts, action is Praxis, and Praxis is matter of the 10th
house, but also of the Third, because Praxis means practice but also means to
transverse spaces and to travel, matters of the Third: the travel to Hades.

From another side, siblings are matter of the Third, but the ruler of the Third,
Mercury, is the same ruler of the 12th in the Thema Mundi [iii], Mercury, means
that brothers and sisters are those who came for the same purposes and with
the same agenda. Our brothers are those who came from the same symbolical womb.

The Third House, between worlds in the Thema Mundi, is represented by the double
sign of Virgo [ii], disposed by Mercury, who is Psycho pomp.

What does the soul have to do in the Third house? It´s suppose to travel
to the underworld, to the Hades.

The 4th house is Nemesis’ house, the reward, the justice, the place where
the soul will be weighed. The Fourth House has its own Lot, the Lot of Nemesis
or Justice, based on the relationship between the Lot of Fortune and Saturn.

Nemesis becomes a contributing cause of fate coming from underground sources.

In the underworld´s house the soul will be weighed and evaluated until
it reaches the 5th house and again, jump to the 12th, where a new beginning
will be prepared.

In the 12th House, after the soul passes by the place of the Necessity it is
ready to live another life and another Bios. Hermes said that the Bios was supported
by the second house and for the Praxis, i.e. the 10th House, but besides this,
for the Third House that is a place of travel and dreams.

The Greeks had a very consistent way of seeing the houses.

We notice that they went clockwise and counterclockwise, and the use of derivative
houses was a rule. Besides this, each house could be used as the “horoskopus”
for the matter it represented.

So, if the Fourth House has to do with Hades, the place where the soul is weighed,
it has to do with both parents as well, and the First House is the 10th of the
Fourth: we are the result of our parent’s action. A house has many meanings,
as we can see, depending on its relation of the other houses.

In the Thema Mundi, our next topic, we will see that the Fourth House has to
do with Saturn and Nemesis, because the Fourth House is Libra in the Thema Mundi,
where Saturn exalts.

The 5th house is the posthumous fame, good or bad, and represents what will
happen to our body or ashes after death. At the same time, the 5th house has
to do with the legacy from the parents.

The meaning of the houses is mixed and it is important to consider everything
that was said, not discarding the news just because they are news. The ideas
are very consistent, and for sure they demanded a lot of dedication from the
ancients sages of Greece ,trying to figure out the human destiny facing the
large cycles and initiations of the life that ends with death, at least regarding
to our Zoo and present by Bios.

 

                                        The Thema Mundi

450px-Thema_Mundi_svg

Now we will take a first tour of the underlying philosophy in the Hellenistic
astrology. We went through a place where the meaning of the houses is virtual,
and each of them can represent the most varied kind of things, including the
journey of the soul to the earth and to the underworld.

To better explain the philosophical issue and the underlying Mystery of the
astrological houses, we will use the Thema Mundi, a hypothetical chart on the
birth of the world.

Such a chart is very ancient and is certainly used before the Christian Era.  Pingree says  in “Essays on Islamic Philosophy and Science”ed. G.F. Hourani that Gayomard, the first persian man had the Ascendent on 19th of Cancer. The myth of creation is not the same as the neoplatonic , but Cancer as the birth of the world seems to be common.  Keyumars, the first man, is named Gayomard in the sacred Zoroastrian text, the Avesta ( 6the century BC).

The Greeks had contact with astrology as it was practiced by Babylonians and Egyptians and they used the Thema Mundi to construct their own philosophical and astrological understanding,

As we can see the Thema has the rising sign in Cancer and the MC in Aries,
which seems coherent, since Cancer is the universal symbol of generation. The
choice was not random. In the origins of the Persian civilization, astronomers
realized that in the sky in Cancer´s place, instead of constellations
and stars there was a vast black hole, without stars. For some scholars, the
round and big shape of this hole resembled a large crab or a turtle, from which
the idea of the Crab would come. Also the word “to cut” in Arcadian
has some similarity to crab, and “cut” should mean the division
between two sides of the sky, coinciding with the summer solstice in Cancer
divind the year.

The MC in Aries is quite appropriate, also, as the MC is where we develop our
actions to be seen in the world. The 7th House, that has the signification of
Death for opposing to the Ascendant, shows the sign of Capricorn and the IC
, Hades or underworld, is represented by Libra.

The Greeks explained the exaltations of the planets through geometrical drawings.
The trigons and hexagons drawn by the houses regarding the Rising Sign of the
Thema Mundi were regions where planets had their exaltations. Likewise, the
houses considered good for the Zoo had benefic planets in exaltation.

So, the 9th, the 10th and the 11th Houses are considered good places because
they “look” so to the horoskopus.

In the Rising Sign of the Thema Mundi, Cancer, Jupiter, the most benefic planet
has exaltation. In the 9th in the Thema Mundi, where is the sign of Fishes,
which makes a trigon to the horoskopos happens the exaltation of Venus, the
second benefic.

The Fifth House, in the Thema Mundi, is Scorpio and it has no planet in exaltation
in this sign. Though it makes a trigon with the Horoskopo, Scorpio is the fall
of the Moon, ruler of the Rising Sign in the Thema Mundi. Nothing can have exaltation
in the fall of the “horoskopo”´s ruler, it was said.

The two planets that exalt in Pisces and Cancer have to do with the Zoo, the
maintenance of life.

The 10th house is also beneficial to the Ascendant because it is a place where
the Bios works in the world and completes itself: in the Thema Mundi, we have
the sign of Aries, where the Sun exalts linking the action with visibility and
fame.

If the Sun exalts in the 10th, the other luminary, the Moon, exalts in the 11th,
making a hexagon with the Ascendant. In the Thema Mundi we have the Sign of
Taurus, giving support to the 10th house and making a sextile with the ASC.

In order of importance, after the first “pivot”, i.e. after the First
House, we have the 10th house and after the Seventh, Finally we have the 4th
House.

The 7th house is an important house since it is in a “pivot”, but
it is not good for the native. As a matter of fact, it makes an opposition to
the native´s life, represented by the horoskos and because of this, Mars
has his exaltation there, in the sign of Capricorn of the Thema Mundi: it is
the house from where injury comes.

The 7th house, however, even being a not good house for life is not as bad as
the 4th House, the Hades, the worse of the “pivot” houses, so the
exaltation of the biggest malefic, Saturn, is in the 4th of the Thema Mundi,
Libra, where “Bios” and Zoo are still destroyed. Saturn and Libra
weigh the souls in the house of Nemesis, the distribution of the justice.

To Mercury is given the exaltation in Virgo, the Third House, since it’s
a house that makes a sextile with the ASC (using the hexagonal figure)

The third house is the least bad of the cadent houses, and is named the Goddes´s
house.

The 9th is the best of the cadent houses, named the House of God.

With these considerations we hope to have given a small idea of the astrological
Greek philosophy. There are more articles to come up on this subject.

                                            xxxxxxxx

                                                The Cadent Houses and
the Thema Mundi as Inexhaustible Source 
of Astrological Knowledge

                                                 Clélia Romano,DMA  copyright 2014

There are articles not worthing to review . Even their eventual failures must
remain , otherwise we can delete some that was written when our memory was fresh
with astrological immersion in some important phase of our life . This is the
case, just now.

However it is important add further clarification that occurs after meditation
on certain topics and our own astrological maturity .

One of the things I could not help to clarify is how much of egyptien philosophy
in embedded on all the abpve explanation: we can´t forg that the sp called
Greek astrology was praticed in Egypt even if transmitted in Greek language.

The egyptien were much more interested in the soul and its destiny after life
than in encarnation, as Nick Campion made clear in the workshop that he gave
in Rio de Janeiro in 2011.

Traditional astrologers as Chris Brennan and Benjamin Dykes have offered a good
hypothesis explaining the position of the planets in the Thema Mundi in the
very house where they have exaltation.

My goal here is only to cover certain gaps relating especially to the cadent
houses , which are difficult to understand especially why they are ruled by
certain planets .

The first houses in each quarter of the chart are called ” pivots ”
or points that act as key points of life .

The houses hereinafter called post- ascensional houses have the function of
giving support to the previous ones. The following are called the cadent houses
or between worlds , and their function is to serve as a bridge to the next house
, the next pivot.

In this sense we can say that the Twelve House is a house where we choose our
incarnate life , where we choose our ” bios” .

Notice that both the 12 House and the 3rd House are ruled by Mercury. For this
reason they have important similarities . At first, Mercury forms a bridge between
the missing and the existing bios, ” chooses ” next life that will
have to be lived and this is quite near in its meaning of a thinking planet.

Mercury is also a psychopomp planet, mediating between what is above and what
is below.

Thus , in the third house , it also makes his role , as it was rumored that
the third house was related to travel and dreams and also to the brethren, children
of the same womb , the symbolic womb represented by the Twelve House .

But we can´t wonder why the 6th House, a house of diseases , has Jupiter
as ruler , just as the 9th : apparently this is not consistent with the maleficient
sense of the house .

My idea is the following: the 6th House is the 9th house from the 10th, which
means praxis, everything that we do. In this case , Jupiter , wisdom , prepares
to face the 7th House, which is the 10th House from the 10th. It is not a coincidence
that the 6th House is ruled by the same lord of the 9th House in Thema Mundi.
This may well be related to the fact that Jupiter represents the wise actions
necessary to accomplish our partnership.

Moreover and more relevant, is the fact that the 7th House is a dangerous one,
being ruled in the Thema Mundi by the malefic Saturn and having the lesser malefic
in exaltation there. Saturn rules also the 8th House , which is a house giving
its support to the 7th, the enemy of life, in other words, representing death.
So what kills is the 7th House and the the 8th House is death already happened
.

It seems to me that in the sixth house we need to prepare ourselves spiritually
for death. First , we get sick , we learn that our life and health is a miracle
, we prepare well or not so well , developing acceptance or another way to look
wisely to what is or was the course of our life and its end, waiting for us
.

It needs wisdom to make a good use of the 6th house! This is my explanation
on why Jupiter has rulership of the 6th House on the Thema Mundi .

The End

Nativity Charts and Free Will

QVcoronation

With the “discovery” of the outer Planets and the movement into Modern Astrology, many traditional associations of the seven Traditional Planets were re-assigned to the Outer Planets.  For example, the genius of Mercury was attributed to Uranus and the idealism and spirituality of Jupiter was assigned to Neptune.  In Modern Astrology, the Outer Planets were assigned transcendent qualities, and astrologers started to believe that these planets were the “higher octave” of the Traditional Planets.  After some time, asteroids and other bodies were “discovered” and given meaning, and astrology got to the point where anything could mean anything.  Astrologers began to teach and believe that one could not truly predict anything because people had “Free Will.”

Many of us began our studies of Classical Astrology against this backdrop.  We discovered that Classical Astrology gave us tools that vastly improved the accuracy of readings and gave us rules to be able to give predictions with reasonable confidence.  Many of us still struggled with the problem of Free Will and what that meant in our ability to give accurate predictions.

I think that the difficulty lies in a Western misunderstanding of Free Will as the ability to do whatever one wants.  This is not the traditional concept of Free Will.  For the traditional concept, it is instructive to look at the symbolism of the cross, which is found in the glyph of all of the non-luminary planets.  The cross is the symbol of materiality, but contained within this symbol are the elements of Free Will.  The cross consists of a vertical line intersected by a horizontal line.  The horizontal line represents substance, or outward movement; the vertical line represents upward and downward movement.  Humans stand at the axis.

Classical Astrology is filled with rules and axioms.  When practicing horary and electional astrology, these rules and axioms are necessary, and to achieve accurate and helpful results for our clients, we do need to be rather strict about application of these rules and axioms in horary and electional work.  When it comes to Nativity readings, though, a strict reading of rules and axioms can create some difficulty.  As a reaction against the vagueness and ambiguity of Modern Astrology and some of the silliness of the New Age movement, I think that Classical Astrologers have tended to shy away from spiritual language and have focused heavily on the material.  Of course, accurate material predictions are quite helpful to our clients, and Classical Astrology has much to offer in terms of assisting us in giving good, practical advice.

On the other hand, I think that there is a rich spirituality in Classical Astrology as well, and we do not need to limit ourselves to strictly material matters.  Just as Modern Astrology stripped away material associations from the Traditional Planets and assigned them to the Outers, Modern Astrology also stripped away the spiritual and transcendent meanings of the Traditional Planets.  One example of this is Neptune.  Somehow, Modern Astrology assigned spiritual and transcendent language to Neptune.  The positive spiritual qualities that Modern Astrology assigned to Neptune are fully subsumed in the Traditional Planets.  Our Solar Hearts unite us with the Divine and with each other, sacrificial Love is shown in both the Lunar and Venusian principles.  Venus is also associated with the spiritual Way of Love.  Mercury is associated with Wisdom/Sophia and with the spiritual Way of Light.  Jupiter is associated with the spiritual Way of Good Works.   There is no need for us to cede the realm of spirituality to Modern Astrology, and Classical Astrology has a lot to offer to those seeking a spiritual path.

For me, the paradigm of the Symbol of the Cross has been extremely helpful in applying the rules and axioms of Classical Astrology to Nativity work.  The paradigm of the cross tells me that there are three main expressions of all astrological configurations in a chart.  The most common expression is the horizontal axis.  This is the material, outward expression, or what will happen naturally.  The horizontal axis represents matters such as vocation, money, social status, hobbies, education, et cetera.  Many of the rules and axioms in Classical Astrology will work well in predicting the horizontal axis.  Yet, humans are Axial Beings, and they can also express their charts upwardly and downwardly along the vertical axis.  Often, it is when a native’s choices on the horizontal axis are most limited that their choices along the vertical axis become most profound.

Queen_Victoria_(c_1839)As an example, a native may be on her deathbed and confined to a hospital.  Her choices on the horizontal axis are severely limited, and she is going to die very shortly.  Despite this, she still has profound choices on the vertical axis.  For instance, suppose she has a relative that she has been estranged from.  On her deathbed, she has many options.  One of the options would be to do nothing, to let herself die with the ruptured relationship as is.  Another option would be an upward choice.  She could write a letter to the estranged relative seeking and extending forgiveness.  Yet another option would be a downward choice.  She could write a vindictive Will to do lasting harm to this relative.  The choice the native makes under these circumstances has profound spiritual impact for herself, the relative, and perhaps the rest of her family.  While an astrologer may be able to predict the native’s likely actions, the choice always remains with the native.

Using this paradigm, I internally translate rules and axioms when I apply them to Nativities.  For example, when reading William Lilly’s description of the planets, I mentally translate “when well placed” to “upwardly expressed” and “when ill placed” to “downwardly expressed.”  I then use dignities and debilities to get a sense of how easy or difficult it will be for the native to express her chart in an upward manner and for the temptations to express her chart in a downward manner.  I also use the rules and axioms to predict the outward and natural tendencies.

An interesting example of this is the chart of Queen Victoria.  She reigned during a pivotal period in the history of England.  Interestingly enough, she had many periods of solitude, including a period of almost ten years after the death of her husband.  During that time, her enemies gained power.  There was a three year period in which she neglected her official responsibilities and became a terror to her children.

Queen Victoria

Even a cursory reading of Queen Victoria’s chart would enable an astrologer to predict a tendency towards isolation, particularly under stress.  Three out of seven planets are deeply situated in her twelfth house, including Mercury, the ruler of her Ascendant, and the depositor of her Sun and Moon.  Using Egyptian terms, Mercury is dignified by term and face, so she is not peregrine; however, she is in the fixed sign of Taurus, so once she isolated herself, it would be difficult for her to come out of such a state.   Often when someone has a difficult planetary placement, I will look to the dispositor of the planet to see if the native can find help there.  Mercury’s dispositor is Venus, also in the 12th House, in detriment, with dignity only by face.  Venus is in worse shape than Mercury, so there is not much help there.  Venus is in turn deposited by Mars, who also in the 12th House, and Mars rules the 12th House.  Mars does have dignity, though, as the ruler of Aries.

If one traces the chain of disposition in this chart, the only planets that can not trace disposition to Mars are Jupiter and Saturn, who are in mutual reception.  They are also the only planets not in or near the 12th House.  By the rule of 5, Queen Victoria’s Sun and Moon are in her first house; however, they are physically located in her 12th.  Saturn rules her 10th House, her duty and her official responsibilities and Jupiter rules her 7th, her husband.  In this chart, Jupiter is the planet that is most favorably placed, being in the 10th House and dignified by triplicity and term.  It is quite predictable that Queen Victoria would respond to her husband’s death with self-imposed isolation, as her marriage was a place of relief from her heavy 12th House.

This chart provides a good illustration of the application of Free Will because Queen Victoria did take a downward path for a time after her husband’s death.  Once she started down this path, one would predict that it would be difficult to impossible for her to change course.  Yet, somehow she did change course.  She slowly resumed her duties and returned to public life.  It took a long time, but eventually, she did.

If I were the royal astrologer trying to help Queen Victoria, the planet I see that could provide assistance to the queen would be Mars.  While I would judge Jupiter as more favorable in her chart, being in the 10th House rather than the 12th, Jupiter really does not have the ability to impact Mercury the way that Mars does.  Jupiter is loosely square Mercury, but he is not connected through disposition to Mercury or the other 12th House planets.  Mars is in a better position to be directly helpful.

In this chart, Mars in Aries is situated in and ruling the 12th House.  The 12th House is tricky, being the House of Troubles.  Is there any way we can use the 12th House in a positive way to give Queen Victoria helpful advice?  Looking to the symbol of the cross, at that point in her life, Queen Victory was spiraling downward.  Even though an upward direction is the highest path, when one is on a downward spiral, one must first be brought to the horizontal, outward axis.  An upward 12th House path would most likely be a spiritual retreat.  In Queen Victoria’s case, this would add to the isolation, and she would likely fall further down the path of despair.

Queen Victoria on HorsebackSo, we are looking at a way to express the 12th House on a physical level in a helpful manner.  This is not an easy problem to solve.  The 12th House is the house least suited to positive outward expression, so it requires a bit of creativity on the part of the astrologer giving advice.  A creative astrologer might look to the traditional associations for the 12th House and remember that horses are associated with the 12th House.  In thinking about this, she might remember that horseback riding and caring for a horse involve physical exertion and exercise, which also make good use of Mars in Aries.

Interestingly enough, horseback riding is exactly what Queen Victoria’s physician did suggest.  Queen Victoria hired a groom, Mr. John Brown, to assist her in following this advice, and she did slowly work her way out of the downward spiral she had been in.  Mr. Brown seemed to have a bit of a Martial manner about him, so it is likely that this was quite helpful to Queen Victoria as well.

As you can see, the paradigm of Free Will and the cross does not change anything in terms of mechanics of delineation; however, this paradigm does give structure to draw upon when working with our clients in giving them helpful and practical advice.