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House Cusps: Points, Not Lines

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Joined: 08 Jul 2004
Posts: 1380

Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 2:21 am    Post subject: House Cusps: Points, Not Lines Reply with quote

My post for the ‘Delineation of Arabic Parts’ thread got out of hand and wanted to become a new topic. I will quote what I posted there and will follow with the rest of what I had written.

Rob Hand in ‘Whole Sign Houses: The Oldest House System’ (2000) mentions the Lot of Death (p.24). The formula is Saturn + 8th house cusp – Moon for both day and night. He writes that this lot and others were in use at the time that Whole-Sign houses were in use. There are no existing examples of charts with the lots computed using Whole-Sign houses, but Hand strongly suspects that the cusp – as a point of intensity within the house, not as the begining of the house – was determined by using the Ascendant degree in each of the signs. An Ascendant of 21 Libra would give an 8th house cusp of 21 Taurus, but the 8th house would start at 0 Taurus.

As Hand points out, ‘cusp’ means ‘point’. As he puts it “Remember that bicuspid teeth are teeth with two points, not two beginnings”. That’s a great way to clear away the idea of cusp as house doorway or beginning.

It’s interesting that for 'cusp' the OED gives as #1 the astrological definition of “The initial point or entrance of a house”. Definition #2 is a general meaning as “An apex, a pointed end or tip”. Then there follow meanings of ‘point’ in geometry and architecture. It looks like astrologers have often wandered from the ‘point’ concept and have lost the sharpness and focus of “an apex, a pointed end or tip”and the intensity implied in that location of power within a house. We are repeatedly told that the cusp isn’t the actual beginning of the house and that the house starts somewhere before it. But it doesn’t seem to soak in – and it's a mess to work with. We see the lines of the chart that are associated with the calculated house cusps and we can’t help but make those lines the beginnings of the houses. We want to cross those displayed lines to cross from one house to the next.

With Whole-Sign houses the house beginning is easy to find...and it works! Mr. Hand's idea of the cusp as Ascendant degree applied to each sign makes sense: the importance and power of the Asc. is carried throughout the chart, and ties in well with aspects and their relation to the Ascendant.
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Joined: 25 Jan 2006
Posts: 142
Location: Long Beach, NY

Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll do my darndest to get the most exact house cusps available. But let's face it, the birth chart houses are the formation of a hypothetical map. There are not "lines in the heavens." We contruct this map so that it's easier to read the planets potentials.

If you have enough experience, you can place the planets on a circle without any house divisions, and if the planets are placed correctly (with a MC and horizon line), you can read the chart.
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