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AP - Sect in a chart

 
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Deb
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 12:22 pm    Post subject: AP - Sect in a chart Reply with quote

28 May 2002

Silvamom:

Although Astrologers use Essential Dignities all the time in delineating, and there is a lot written about this subject, does anyone put much emphasis on the sect of a planet when delineating a chart?

I have Robert Hand's book on Sect and know the concept, but never see it mentioned in a delineation.

Any thoughts on the subject?

Regards
Silva.

--------------------------

Deb:

Sect is very much a central issue in classical astrology and anyone pursuing classical techniques will rely on it heavily in judgement and interpretation. Traditional works emphasise its value, with frequent reminders that planets perform more productively when in their own sect or hayz, ie., a nocturnal planet in a nocturnal area of the chart etc. However, it’s true that their reliance upon it is more implicit than explicit.

Understanding the basis of sect is very important for anyone judging charts by traditional methods, especially those using essential dignities. The attribution of sect has defined our triplicity rulerships, and to continue to use that dignity requires some understanding of the logic behind them. However, the problem I have with sect is that the logic is skewed – the two ‘destructive’ planets being assigned to the sects you wouldn’t normally associate them with in order to balance their power.
So Mars, which is ‘hot and dry’ and therefore primarily heating and diurnal, is assigned to the nocturnal sect, whilst Saturn, which is naturally cooling and therefore nocturnal, is assigned to the diurnal sect. I can just imagine the response that Ptolemy would get if he were alive today and tried to push that one through! It seems a little like saying ‘now Mars is so naturally and so obviously masculine in nature, that we are all going to call him feminine and hope it tempers his testosterone levels a bit’.

So I personally have a problem with some of the underlying philosophy of sect and feel that maybe some contrived logical (or in this case illogical) explanation was offered by Ptolemy to justify an older scheme that was already in existence and didn’t quite match up with our definition of masculine and feminine planets. This is only speculation on my part, but we know that the Mesopotamians associated Mars with Nergal, Lord of the underworld, while the Egyptians saw Mars as a chthonic manifestation of the destructive summer sun, both of which would characterise the planet with a nocturnal energy.

I’m less than satisfied with the reasoning behind those definitions and some of the associated rulerships that remain as remnants of it, such as the one that gives Mars triplicity dignity in water signs. But in general I feel that awareness of and sensitivity to sect is extremely important, especially in the vital distinction that occurs between nocturnal and diurnal charts. I would say it forms a very important part in my own understanding and reading of charts but it’s a subtle influence that is hard to demonstrate briefly. The point I’d like to see stressed in every branch of astrology, is that apart from the luminaries, every planet has a diurnal and nocturnal rulership and – more importantly - every planet, including the Sun and Moon, have a diurnal and nocturnal mode of expression – the alternation of that is crucial in the delineation of a chart and fundamental to the evolution of astrology as a whole.


---------------------

DocWatson:

Just thought I'd add that sect, as applied to the chart, is essential for accurate calculation of many Arabic parts, such as Part of Fortune, and others less widely used.
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Pete



Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Posts: 301
Location: Kinnelon, New Jersey, USA

Posted: Sun May 02, 2004 1:49 am    Post subject: Sect in a chart. Reply with quote

Hi Deb and all,
I know it's been a while since this subject was discussed here, but I just want to include my contribution, which I first posted on Alt.Astrology.Tropical a month ago.
This definition of planetary sect is as I understand it after reading Robert Hand's book, "Night & Day" ( published by 'ARHAT', 1995 )

================================================

The astrologers of the late classical period made a very important
distinction between daytime horoscopes and night-time horoscopes, i.e.
charts where the Sun was above the horizon and those where the Sun was
below it. A chart was classified as either of 'diurnal sect' ( Sun
above the horizon ), or 'nocturnal sect' ( Sun below the horizon ). This
distinction was paramount to them and they would even interpret a chart
differently according to whether it was diurnal or nocturnal.

The seven classical planets were also classified as either diurnal or
nocturnal. The Sun and Jupiter were seen as diurnal, because they were
essentially masculine and therefore generated more heat, whereas the
Moon and Venus were considered nocturnal because they were essentially
feminine and therefore generated more moisture.
The two malefic planets, Mars and Saturn were treated somewhat
differently. Mars was seen as malefic because of its *excess* heat, so
he was given to the nocturnal sect, where the moisture would counteract
his maleficity somewhat. Similarly with Saturn, who was considered
malefic because of its excess of coldness. He was assigned to the
diurnal sect, where the heat would counteract his malefic qualities.

So ~ the classical astrologers considered the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn to
be diurnal planets, and the Moon, Venus and Mars to be nocturnal
planets.
Mercury is considered neutral, but classified as diurnal if he rose
before the Sun ( 'morning star' ), and nocturnal if he set after the Sun
( 'evening star' ).
A diurnal chart ( Sun above the horizon ) benefited the 3 diurnal
planets and a nocturnal chart ( Sun below the horizon ) benefited the 3
nocturnal planets.
With me so far? Good, because here's where it gets a bit complicated.<g>

Up to now we've looked at 2 types of sect: whether the chart is a
diurnal one or a nocturnal one, and the sect to which the 7 classical
planets naturally belong. There is another type of sect that is linked
to the above two, and this type is known as "placement". Here I'll quote
briefly from Hand's book, as he describes it simply:

"A planet may be placed diurnally or nocturnally in a chart regardless
of whether the planet is diurnal or nocturnal according to its own
nature, and regardless of whether the sign in which the planet is
located, or the chart itself, is diurnal or nocturnal.
Any planet is *placed diurnally* when it is above the horizon in the
daytime or *below* it at night. Any planet is *placed nocturnally* when
it is below the horizon by day or above it by night."
That's it. If you read the above paragraph slowly ( I had to - twice! )
you'll get it.

So there are three factors that relate to the strength of a planet:

a) Whether the chart itself is diurnal or nocturnal.
b) The nature of the placement ( iow: is it diurnally or nocturnally
placed? )
c ) The sect of the sign it is in. ( Air and Fire signs are diurnal,
Earth and Water nocturnal )

The Sun, Jupiter and Saturn are most benefited if they are in a diurnal
chart, above the horizon and in a diurnal sign.
The Moon, Venus and Mars benefit most if they are in a nocturnal chart,
above the horizon and placed in a nocturnal sign.
This condition is known as being in "Hayz", and was seen as being a very
powerful placement; like a king or queen in his/her rightful kingdom,
bequeathed with all the power to rule, according to his/her essential
nature. Even the malefics, when in Hayz, are considered to be less
malefic. Mars is more able to bring about the beneficial results of
assertiveness, rather than just pure, raw, aggression. Saturn can
exercise beneficial restraint and the benefits of maturity through the
passage of time and the wisdom gained through experience, rather than
just producing restriction and loss.
In other words, a malefic in sect is made less malefic. If it is out of
sect entirely, it is rendered more malefic.

Sect seems to relate to the "quantity" of energy a planet is able to
generate, and this seems to hold true regardless of whether a planet is
essentially dignified by sign or not.
Of course, if a planet is also dignified by sign, then not only do we
have "quantity", but pure "quality" as well, so that if we see the Moon
in a *nocturnal* chart, above the horizon in her own sign of Cancer, or
in her exaltation in Taurus, then we have a *very* powerful Moon in
terms of both power *and* quality. Even if she were in another nocturnal
sign, such as Virgo or Pisces, she'd still be pretty powerful. Of
course, she's in her detriment in Capricorn and her Fall in Scorpio, so
the "quality" of her power would be altered in these two signs, but the
classical astrologers would still see a strong Moon here ~ sort of like
a powerful but perhaps strict or despotic Queen.

Sorry about the length of this post. but I just wanted to give an
explanation of planetary sect as I understand it from Hand's book, and
I've *tried* to make it as simple and as easy to follow as possible. (
honestly! )
I'm preparing another post where I want to take a look at the concept of
planetary sect with an example. I'm thinking of looking at the chart of
George Dubbya Bush with this in mind.
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Tom
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 3464
Location: New Jersey, USA

Posted: Sun May 02, 2004 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Deb,

I didn't read all the way thorugh these posts, so I hope this hasn't been addressed in a similar fashion earlier. I will read them later, but I do want to mention this:


Quote:
Understanding the basis of sect is very important for anyone judging charts by traditional methods, especially those using essential dignities. The attribution of sect has defined our triplicity rulerships, and to continue to use that dignity requires some understanding of the logic behind them. However, the problem I have with sect is that the logic is skewed – the two ‘destructive’ planets being assigned to the sects you wouldn’t normally associate them with in order to balance their power.
So Mars, which is ‘hot and dry’ and therefore primarily heating and diurnal, is assigned to the nocturnal sect, whilst Saturn, which is naturally cooling and therefore nocturnal, is assigned to the diurnal sect. I can just imagine the response that Ptolemy would get if he were alive today and tried to push that one through!


While I'm quite sure Ptolemy would have a problem with this in 2004, since the contemporary worldview is so different. I don't see it as a problem, however, if we look at it a slightly diferent way. Now I know you and everyone else knows this but it is the crux of the matter: Mars and Saturn are malefics. When they act like themselves, they can cause problems. Therefore, if we can cool Mars off a bit or heat up Saturn they will be less likely to be so much trouble, and their better qualities might be put to better use a little easier. Is a pushy Mars in Aries or a dour Saturn in Capricorn really so wonderful? Stong, yes, but desireable? True they get things done, but it is by force or cold calculation with little thought given to the consequences.

Put another way, which Martial movie character would you rather spend dinner with (assuming readers are familiar with these American movies), Emilio Esteves "Billy the Kid" or "Sylvester Stallone's "Rocky?" A slightly cooled Mars or heated Saturn will behave better at dinner and elsewhere.


Quote:
It seems a little like saying ‘now Mars is so naturally and so obviously masculine in nature, that we are all going to call him feminine and hope it tempers his testosterone levels a bit’.


I think this is exactly the purpose. Too much masculinity can be anywhere from annoying to dangerous, and not necessarily criminally dangerous. I work with these types. Just this Thursday a 22 year old man fell off a bridge to his death. He is required by law to wear a safety harness which would have saved his life. Was he negligent? No, the company he worked for is known to discourage or outright forbid the use of harnesses. They think it cuts into productivity and to wear one is an indication of fear or lack of masculinity. A little empathy can be a good thing.

Tom

PS As for the negligent company, the various safety agencies are quite harsh when an avoidable death occurs. But some people just don't get the message.
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Sue



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 945
Location: Australia

Posted: Wed May 05, 2004 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tom,

I have been thinking about this quite a bit over the last couple of days and I’m afraid I haven’t made sense of it yet. I don’t really know enough about it but I’ve been trying to find some sources that predate Ptolemy that might give a clue as to why Mars was given the nocturnal sect and Saturn the diurnal. Is Ptolemy the first to give this reasoning? This doesn’t make sense to me. I can see your point about too much Mars being a problem sometimes but I can’t understand the reasoning of putting it in a sect that is contrary to its nature in order to modify it in some way. It’s the job of Mars to behave like Mars, not a watered down version of it. Sometimes Mars is totally destructive whether we like it or not.

Deb said:

Quote:
This is only speculation on my part, but we know that the Mesopotamians associated Mars with Nergal, Lord of the underworld, while the Egyptians saw Mars as a chthonic manifestation of the destructive summer sun, both of which would characterise the planet with a nocturnal energy.


Now this makes much more sense to me. I can see some logic in that. I would really like to research this further but unfortunately I don’t have the time right now. I would like to find the earliest source that mentions Mars and Saturn in their respective sects and why they were placed there. The earliest reference I could find with my very limited resources and time was Thrasyllus who died in 36CE. There was no mention of the reasons for the placement. If anyone has this information I would be very interested.
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