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Combustion Again
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stephast



Joined: 11 Dec 2004
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Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much Deb. I would be very grateful indeed if you could do that.

Best wishes, Stephanie
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Ben



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Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Stephast,

The information I learned from Bob Schmidt (from Project Hindsight) and Demetra George (associated with them, but with Kepler College) is that according to the Hellenistic astrologers who thought this all up, a planet that is combust while in its own domicile will not be harmed.

The way they (the Greeks) explained it was that a combust planet in its own domicile was like a person in a chariot -- except that the Greek word being used is a "covered chariot". So such a planet is traveling in a covered chariot, safe from the beams of the Sun. This means it will not be burned up. This is what I got from the conference, though there may be more to understanding just how a planet in such a covered chariot would operate (and the first book in their new series, on Astrological Definitions, probably has more). But the bottom line seems to be that a planet will not be afflicted. The significations of the Sun and the planet will combine normally.

Ben
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
according to the Hellenistic astrologers who thought this all up ...


Who thought what all up? Astrology? The principle of combustion? The notion that a planet loses its strength in its union with the Sun is embedded into the very heart of ancient astrology, and was a major feature of the Babylonian and Egyptian contributions. The Hellenistic astrologers were the inheritors of this tradition and the majority of their texts (at least the ones that I have studied) perpetuate that view, seeing the cycles of the planets as they set and rise into the Sun as the foundation from which their accidental strength emerges. We obviously need more information about these sources, what they say exactly and how authoritative they should be considered. Even the phrase ‘covered chariot’ is suggesting that the effect of combustion is operating, because it implies the invisibility of a planet masked by the Sun’s light. My argument isn’t that combustion is always going to harm (see my earlier posts), but it does still operate. So far, the only reference that I have seen to suggest a planet can escape the condition of combustion as a principle is Al Biruni’s, where he says Venus can avoid combustion if it’s latitude is high so that it is not rendered invisible by the Sun’s light. That does make sense.

Obviously we need to get more information on this but I don’t think we should be rewriting 2000 years of a fairly consistent tradition just yet.

Thanks for the info Ben Smile
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stephast



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Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Deb said, thank you very much for the info Ben. I am more than grateful. And I have to say, that as one who actually has her Venus in Taurus, combust the Sun, ruling Sun and the Ascendant, I don't feel one little bit as though my Venus is 'burnt up'. :D But as you say Deb, it will be interesting and its clearly important to find out more.

Once again Ben, thank you so much for your quick response.
Regards,
Stephanie
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Ben



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Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Deb,

I was probably being too flip. By "thought all this up," I mean the intricate terminology and concepts that suddenly sprang up in Greek horoscope delineation. Apparently some of them are directly related to the Greek legal tradition. So far as I understand we do not know exactly what the Egyptians did in terms of practical horoscopy, or what their terminology was. Even the semi-mythical Egyptians to whom the tradition is attributed (Hermes, Asclepius, etc.) were living (so far as I can remember) were living in Greek Hellenistic Egypt. So whatever they did pick up, they then made their own.

Clearly the notion of combustion comes from the experience of actually seeing the Sun's rays. My introduction to some of the Greek vocabulary at ISAR suggests that familiar terms like application, separation, and so on, come from Greek concepts via Arabic and Latin, but that the Greek vocabulary was very extensive and we are only now recovering it and seeing how it was applied. So maybe this business about being in a covered chariot, which suggests a protection from a Sun that is still casting hot rays, is a useful point that was omitted from the tradition for one reason or another. The real test is -- does it work?

Ben
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your reference to chariots reminded me of a note I had for Antiochus of Athens and so I have found a reference that is significant here:

Antiochus of Athens (presumed 2nd half of 2nd century BC). (From the PH 1993 text Antiochus of Athens, The Thesaurus, p.31:

Quote:
Planets are in their own chariots when they should be found in their own house (sign), exaltation, or boundaries (terms). And they rejoice at these places even if they are found under the beams of the Sun. For the benefics augment good things, and the malefics change to benefics.


No mention of being covered here – I would be interested to see a reference to that to establish whether it does mean covered as in being protected from the Sun, as opposed to covered as in ‘hidden’ meaning rendered invisible by the Sun. Classical astrologers usually referred to planets as matutine or vespertine or absconsae meaning 'hidden' (Firmicus says the Greeks used the term afaneis for hidden)

The meaning of this seems pretty clear in denying the harmful effect I’ll admit. But this is saying that a planet isn’t harmed by combustion even if it is in its own terms, which is taking this to another level of ambiguity.

An argument I would make against this being taken up too readily is the fact that it also conflicts with the Hellenistic concept (I say Hellenistic, it’s actually much older and later than that, but it certainly applied in Hellenistic astrology) of planets being favourable when in their correct phase, and the advantages gained by being oriental or occidental, (or matutine, vespertine or absconsae), which is pretty major. Most of the classical authors tell us that a planet is most ‘favourable’ (Ezra calls them ‘lucky’ when in this position, other authors call them strong), when departing from a union with the Sun. Why? Because this perpetuates the much more ancient origin of the observational astrology that founded this. In your earlier post you said:

Quote:
So far as I understand we do not know exactly what the Egyptians did in terms of practical horoscopy, or what their terminology was.


It’s not disputed that Egyptian astrology was heavily shaped by the notion that the stars and planets experienced the ending of a cycle as they underwent their heliacal setting, and that they were considered to be reborn at their helical rising where they emerged refreshed at the start of a new cycle. This was a very strong principle for the Egyptians (and the Mesopotamians too) and had a tremendous influence upon their culture and calendar.

I have written about this in more detail at http://www.skyscript.co.uk/heritage/egyptians.html

Hellenistic astrology continues this philosophy in stating that planets which are separating from the Sun, and have passed the influence of the Sun Beams, are considered to be refreshed in energy and at the peak of their positive influence. When they are reuniting with the Sun they are weakened and dried. It’s hard to dismiss this latter concept, which is so consistent and readily apparent in Hellenistic astrology, without questioning the whole basis of all the Hellenistic understanding that extends from it. Yet if this principle holds, then a planet is going to undergo a transformative process in its union with the Sun no matter how dignified it is. Hence I can only return to my view that it may affect the interpretation of the nature of the combustion, but it is still going to experience a quality of combustion nonetheless.

Gosh, I don’t shift my opinions easily do I? But I hope you can understand why I feel that having a deeper understanding of the philosophy that has introduced the term in the first place is much more important than any simplistic rule or snapshot definition. Especially as these vary from author to author, as we can see from the quote I gave from Firmicus earlier.

I'll continue to add any references that touch upon this matter. I know I have seen some recently that discuss the limits of combustion with varying opinion, some suggesting that the orb of influence for Mars is greater than that of the other planets. And I definately saw a classical reference recently which defined cazimi (being 'at one' with the Sun) as operating within 1 degree instead of 16 minutes.
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Ben



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Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Deb,

I absolutely agree with you that understanding the underlying concepts is more important than snapshot definitions or just saying, "And Abu Ma'shar said..." I believe the first volume that Hindsight is putting out does include Antiochus of Athens (which I do not have). I will be interested in seeing what it has in it.

Planetary phases w/r/t the sun. Apart from combustion, I rarely pay attention to them because I am not convinced that their meaning is really that clear. Usually they appear in generic lists like, "If Venus is oriental, free from the beams, unafflicted by the malefics, direct," etc. But I hope this will be clarified soon.

Ben
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think they are really very important because they underlie a lot of other principles - but most astrologers have been ignoring them, so far... Trust me, it's a hot issue that's about to come to the surface. It's only a matter of time before P.H. will be telling us that we can't understand astrology at all unless we know more about this Laughing

Stephanie - I am so glad your Venus is holding out

Mark - been meaning to say this for some time. Of course I never imagined you were making anything up, I just couldn't see the point of discussing someone else's views through a third party.

Tom - I trust you are too much of a gentleman to make an immature comment like "I told you so!"
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Tom
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Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Tom - I trust you are too much of a gentleman to make an immature comment like "I told you so!"


Oh no not at all. It's a holiday here in the States, and I've been too busy with guests to follow this. I do think I said something about losing the battle and winning the war though. Wink

Tom
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stephast



Joined: 11 Dec 2004
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Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 6:43 am    Post subject: venus combust Reply with quote

May I ask a question. Would it be possible to offer some suggestions as to how a person with a Venus Combust would experience it, if it were not protected from the Sun, but in fact was 'burned up'. I believe that my Venus works well. I may be wrong, but I believe it does. And it occurs to me that that 'covered chariot, protecting my Venus from the Sun' may be the reason that I've been in some situations in my life where perhaps I could have ended up hurt, but haven't been. Maybe I have flown a little too close to the Sun occasionally, but seem not to get burned up. If Venus was put out of action by Combustion, I wonder if I would feel this way. What, instead, would be my experience? Or am I mistaken in feeling that my Venus works well?

Forgive me if I'm not asking the sort of question that should be asked here. I'm just so interested in trying to understand this. Put it down to my Mars in Aries, also 'under the beams of the Sun' also in the 7th! Smile

Regards,
Stephanie
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Deb
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Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do think that natal astrology calls for a different perspective on this, because mundane or event astrology, or horary, limits the application of the symbolism to a narrowly defined set of circumstances. But all the experience that a person gets in a lifetime makes them so much more than their birth chart - it is never about whether your Venus works well, but do you work your Venus well?

Try not to get stuck on this phrase ‘burnt up’. Combustion can mean many things and they all derive out of the fact that a planet is so close to the Sun that there is no part of the diurnal cycle in which it can be seen in its own light. The notion that this can be useful in certain situations (ie, a protector) is valid, just as there are times in electional astrology when we would seek to commence the event on conditions we would normally avoid. One of the traditional interpretations of combustion, for example, is secrecy and things that can be hidden from view. On a more psychological level, the ancient view upholds the idea of transformation – planets entering into conjunction with the Sun are bringing to a close a major cycle of experience. Those that are separating from the Sun are starting out on a new cycle, but – at least until they can be seen in their own light - they are vulnerable, in the sense that young children are vulnerable. The Sun is seen as the greater force that overwhelms them and during this period the theme is either about bringing understanding and resolution to past actions and events, and letting go of that old skin; or it is about preparing for something new, but not yet being in a strong position to activate it. Either way combustion describes a focus on internalisation.

You can understand the principle of combustion in birth charts very clearly from the kind of approach we take to the Moon when it is either ‘old’ or ‘new’. We are merely extending this principle to the other planets. Traditionally, conjunction with the Sun is one of the worst states of affliction for the Moon, and we can understand how all the traditional descriptions of death, loss, and weakness apply. But at the same time we accept that something very creative and fertilising is taking place, so we don’t drop our jaws on the floor in horror when we see someone with a New Moon in their birth chart! I think it will be much easier for you to understand the principle in operation in your birth chart, if you don’t focus so much on the word ‘combust’ and think of your Venus as an ‘old’ Venus or a ‘new’ Venus instead.
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stephast



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Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very helpful Very Happy . Thanks very much Deb. Regards, Stephanie
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Deb
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Posted: Sat Sep 17, 2005 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On this matter I did a horary just a couple of days ago regarding a family member’s ‘ex’. That chart had Mercury, ruling the 8th and placed in the 8th applying to combustion. What I didn’t know at the time was that the ex had been found in a street having taken an overdose. He was taken to hospital and his stomach was pumped. Initially he was fine – full of remorse for what he’d done. (He’s had a bad drink problem for a long time). Yesterday the news emerged that his liver has been so badly damaged by this that he won't be expected to live beyond the next few days. I’m not closely involved with this man but my family member is and it’s a tragic situation.

Lilly tells us that combustion in the 8th house is the strongest argument of death (where death is an issue of course). Actually no one anticipated this man being anything more than a lingering nuisance when this chart was cast and it’s not the first time I’ve seen this sort of combustion give a clear indication of death. The astrological point is that Mercury was strongly dignified but combust. However, it was the ruler of the 8th house – so we could argue that Mercury wasn’t debilitated by the combustion, far from it. The effect was still debilitating though. This demonstrates why you can’t just take a black and white approach to these things; you can only make a judgement using the principles of the symbolism involved.
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