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Astrological cosmos and its corelation with planetary houses

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Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 6:22 am    Post subject: Astrological cosmos and its corelation with planetary houses Reply with quote

When the astrological cosmos is mentioned, the Chaldean planetary order has been meant so far. The Chaldean planetary order is the basis of Aristotle's universe. This order can be represented as a series of 7 concentric spheres, each of which is assigned to one of the planets. The order of the planetary spheres according to the relative distance from the Earth is as follows: Moon - Mercury - Venus - Sun - Mars - Jupiter - Saturn. Beginning with the Renaissance, Aristotle's universe was and remains the paradigm of the astrological universe to this day. The question, however, is, does Aristotle's universe really represent an astrological cosmos, or is it just one of the possible alternatives? For example, Professor Lawrence Principe from Johns Hopkins University points us to the cosmological hierarchy according to Plato, which looks like this: Moon - Sun - Venus - Mercury - Mars - Jupiter - Saturn. Doubts about the validity of Aristotle's universe began to arise in me as I read Chapter 18 of the first book of Tetrabiblos - Concerning the Houses of Each Star. In that chapter, Claudius Ptolemy explains the rule of the planets over the zodiac signs by means of the cosmological hierarchy, which was known in his time. Ptolemy mentions Cancer and Leo as the northernmost zodiac signs closest to the zenith, and that is why he assigns the male sign Leo to the Sun, the female sign Cancer to the Moon. Two neighboring signs, Cancer and Leo, get lights as the most important planets for their houses. It would then be logical for the spheres of the Moon and the Sun to be adjacent; however, in Aristotle's universe, the sphere of the Moon is first, while the sphere of the Sun is fourth. In the following text, Ptolemy clearly and unequivocally states that the sphere of Venus is below the sphere of Mars! He states that the sphere of Mercury is below other spheres and that it is closer to the Sun and the Moon! Taking into account all that has been said so far, the astrological hierarchy of the heavens on the basis of which Ptolemy assigns signs to the planets looks as follows: Moon - Sun - Mercury - Venus - Mars - Jupiter - Saturn. In support of this arrangement of the astrological cosmos, the interior of an ark was painted, which was found on the territory of today's Egypt and which dates from the 2nd century AD - at the time when Ptolemy also lived. The ancient Egyptian goddess of the sky, Nut, is painted, who carries two rows of zodiac signs in her hands: in her right hand, the signs are arranged from Leo to Capricorn, in the left from Cancer to Aquarius. This is what the solar and lunar arcs that Ptolemy cites in the aforementioned chapter of Tetrabiblos actually look like. Nut (Ancient Egyptian: Nwt), also known by various other transcriptions, is the goddess of the sky, stars, cosmos, mothers, astronomy, and the universe in the ancient Egyptian religion. She was seen as a star-covered nude woman arching over the Earth, or as a cow. She was depicted wearing the water-pot sign (nw) that identifies her. The picture of the goddess Nut that I described can be found at the following link:
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Michael Sternbach

Joined: 01 Mar 2014
Posts: 548
Location: Switzerland

Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Antiochus and thank you for bringing up this topic. The ancient model of the astrological cosmos has been a central interest of mine for decades.

First off, Plato's order of the planets in the Timaios has always been a matter of debate, for it is given in the form of: Moon, Sun, Venus and Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn - where the clamping together of Venus and Mercury leaves some room for ambiguity if Plato actually meant to suggest a particular order for those two. Not least because other astronomers of his day advocated the very same order, however, with Mercury followed by Venus. (Quotes and references would be available on request, however, I would have to
go and search for them for a bit.)

This indeed looks identical to the order that Ptolemy hints at in the Tetrabiblos - a fact that I (just like you) found curious, as Ptolemy is known to be an advocate of the Aristotelian order (with the Sun in the middle of the series) otherwise, which is actually often referred to as Ptolemy's model of the cosmos.

The reconciliation between that model and what the domicile scheme seems to imply that (after giving the issue some thought) I came up with is to look at the two rows - from Leo to Saturn and from Cancer to Aquarius respectively - separately. Thus, one of them starts with the Sun, followed by Mercury etc., in accordance with our modern heliocentric view. The other starts with the Moon and again continues with Mercury etc., in line with the classical geocentric view.

Granted, the Earth that we are standing on does not show up as part of the "heliocentric row" on the left, much like the Sun is being omitted from the "geocentric row" on the right. I consider this fact to be highly significant - it hints at the ultimate equivalence of the two perspectives.

Now this is not to say that Ptolemy himself was aware of how these two models of the cosmos are interconnected. Reading the Tetrabiblos, I am often under the impression that Ptolemy provided the correct information while giving the wrong reasons (or rationalizations) for it. It actually becomes quite evident in certain places that he had gathered a plethora of astrological wisdom whose foundations he did not always understand.

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