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Traditional vs. modern
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Astrojin,

Care to elaborate further?

Mark
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astrojin



Joined: 15 Nov 2005
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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello again,

To MarkC

I refer you to the following (Curtis Manwaring - Robert Schmidt explanation on Hellenistic method of caluclating SR and Profection):-

http://www.astrology-x-files.com/x-files/solar-return.html

one of the quote where the term renewed is found (which I already posted in this Traditional forum under subject "Profections":-

Vettius Valens Anthology Book IV (trans. Robert Schmidt, Project Hindsight, Pg 29):-

Quote:
Quote:
...if one pays attention, he will not go wrong. For when the same handings overs are signified in a twelve year period, they will not (always) posses the same operations of the effects but different. Whenever we will find the handing over after one or more years in certain cycle we will examine the renewed nativity for that year and whether the ingresses of the stars...

[emphasis mine]
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Astrojin,

Very interesting. Thanks for the link and quote from Valens. I seem to be hearing about him everywhere I go these days ..I really need to get a copy of the Anthology. Its an interesting precurser to the later use of Solar Return but seems totally different in practice.

In that sense maybe the Arabs still deserve the credit for developing the technique as it is understood today?

Does this tell us the Arabs were more sophisticated in their astronomical observations than the Hellenistic astrologers?
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yuzuru



Joined: 01 Apr 2005
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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In that sense maybe the Arabs still deserve the credit for developing the technique as it is understood today?

Does this tell us the Arabs were more sophisticated in their astronomical observations than the Hellenistic astrologers?


Steven Birchfield has said, that although some astrologers have now said that the arabic tradition is a "corruption" of helenistic astrology, that this is surely not true. Arabic astrology give helenistic a sense of movement and dynamics, adding new things, but that were agreeing with the basis, (not like today that every time an astrologer invent a technique he only have to say "it works for me")
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Yuzuru,

Yes I think Christopher Warnock said something similar in his articles on the history of astrology in the Mountain astrologer some years back. The Arabs gave a more dynamic focus to the aspects so that lots of technical terms for multiple aspects: frustration, refranation, beseigement , collection of light etc seem to have been first systematised by the Arabs. This change seems to have happened so suddenly Robert Hand suggests the ideas were possibly developed by the Persians who passed on these techniques to Arab Astrologers.

You raise a very interesting philosophical issue though, which is is their room for innovation in traditional astrology and if so when?

Modern astrology represents one extreme with its its obsession on the 'the shock of the new' at all cost. New=Good, Old=bad. Much better to invent a new aspect or interperet the deep meanings behind some obscure piece of astro-debris than look at the wisdom of our predecessors.

Sometimes though in an attempt to counteract this tendency I wonder if traditionalists are in danger of going to the other extreme ie Old=good, New=bad. I am not advocating opening the flood gates to all the rubbish out there but surely you can innovate and still stay close to traditional principles? Look at Placido De Tito with his development of Secondary progressions and his re-evaluation of Primary Directions?

Sadly, most of us aren't gifted with that kind of intelligence, knowledge and pure genius. Still as the principles of traditional astrology become more embeded can't we hope to see a more creative/innovative approach rather than just a parrot fashion use of sources? Maybe, it will take a bit time but in our fast moving culture with IT communication I think we can hope that process to be faster than the transmission of Astrology from the Arabs to medieval Europe. On the other hand they didn't have the choices we have today with all the varieties of 'tradition' available as well as all modernist psycho-babble around to befuddle people's brains.

On the application of innovation though let me give you the kind of example I mean. A local astrologer in my area uses Lilly's lost property rules and has adapted them for electional charts of house moves. The electional chart follows traditional principles but uses Lilly's associations to houses/signs to establish the fate of each room in the new house as indicated in the chart.

Thats the kind of creativity I mean..not one where we depart from sound astrological principles. Still I suppose I am more willing to try out modern ideas around predictive techniques than anywhere else.

Not least because in timing events there is less room for waffle that doesn't work. In that sense the proof of the pudding really is in the eating.

I disagree with you somewhat when you criticise modern astrologers for their 'it works for me' approach-especially in relation to predictive work. I know you mean of course...where does it stop?

Still don't all astrologers do this? By all means lets study the sources and see if the traditional predictive methods work best. Ultimately, though doesn't it come down to the judgement of the astrologer? Surely we are not arguing to keep techniques just because they are traditional? If they don't work that effectively why bother with them? Are we historians or astrologers?
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Tom
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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I really need to get a copy of [Valens] Anthology


The long awaited new translation of Valens et al is, supposedly, about due out from Project Hindsight. http://www.projecthindsight.com/

Of course this was promised last year and now it is promised within the next couple of months. So who knows? The least expensive way to buy it is via subscription rates, which means you get everything else Schmidt et al are translating as they are published, for a predetermined fee, to be charged upon shipping, and you will have quite a library, or you buy the works you wish selectively at a steep individual price.


Quote:
Steven Birchfield has said, that although some astrologers have now said that the arabic tradition is a "corruption" of helenistic astrology, that this is surely not true.


As I've mentioned elsewhere, I have both an interest and a problem with primary directions. The interest is that they were used by every great astrologer of the past and the problem is that it seems as though (but is probably not literally accurate) that no two used precisely the same methods to calcuate them. Anyway, on another list, in a discussion of primary directions it was pointed out that the Hellenists did not have the Arab knowledge of trigonometry. This is not a slight on the Hellenists as mathamatics developed over time like a lot of other things. One needs a grasp of spherical trigonometry in order to try to calculate the primary directions, and therefore Ptolemy wouldn't have had some of the advantages later "Arab" authors would have. So to call Arab astrology a "corruption" of Hellenistic is needlessly prejorative. The "Arabs" applied what they knew to what they learned from the Greeks. Applying advanced math to astrology is hard to see as a corruption. This isn't to say that all Arab contributions are positive and corruption isn't possible. Rather we need to be careful when applying such a broad brush.

Secondly, we have to be careful when using the trem "Arab" to describe some medieval astrology. "Arab" usually means medieval astrologers who wrote in Arabic. Not all were Arabs or even Muslim (or even wrote in Arabic. Ibn Ezra wrote in Hebrew, and he might fit into that group). It is a very broad term and therefore the term "Arab Astrology" is also very broad, and should be used cautiously.


Quote:
I disagree with you somewhat when you criticise modern astrologers for their 'it works for me' approach-especially in relation to predictive work. I know you mean of course...where does it stop?

Still don't all astrologers do this?


The problem traditionalists have with the "It works for me" approach is that it reduces the validity astrological technique to purely personal judgment. No other discipline permits this. A physician, for example, might believe that apricot pits do cure cancer, but the American Medical Association might yank his license, if he prescribes this and nothing else, no matter how sincere he is, or even if his practice indicates success (the sample is too small. What would we ever do without statistics?). Many modern astrologers seem to believe that can dream up any old meaning or any old aspect or any old technique, without any reference to any previous astrology upon which their idea is based (because there is none) and claim it is valid becuse they say so. This is a far cry from looking at an idea that is based on something that came before, and developing it.

Take an oversimplified example: midpoints. The halfway point between two planets is determined by midpoint supporters to be a sensitive part in the chart. OK, upon what basis? The most obvious is that other mathematically derived points are used in astrology and have been found to be effective, e.g. antiscia and the lots. This makes at least the inquiry into midpoints valid, and then work is done to determine whether or not these points are sensitive and (and here is the key) can be used effectively by other astrologers. Scientists (whom I rarely quote much less believe) call this "reproducibility."

On the other hand take the "skipping houses" approach. The first spouse is the 7th, the next is the 9th and the third is the 11th. There is nothing in the astrological literature or in any philosophy associated with astrology to support this. In fact it can be argued that it is a misunderstanding of the concept of derived houses. But if an astrologer becomes indignant being confronted with these inconvenient facts, he plays what he believes to be his trump card, "Well it works for me." This is not valid, because, at the very least, it should also work for almost everyone else. This is what the criticism is aimed at. No one is anti-thinking. We're anti-wishful thinking.

Tom
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Tom,

I keep meaning to sign up for Project Hindsight's Astrologers Edition. Then I keep checking my bank statement... Still it is an excellent investment long term over trying to buy things individually. Valen's Anthology was supposed to be available from May by installment but I see I still have time to catch up.

Yes the old maxim 'define your terms' is always useful to keep in mind. I agree the words 'Arab Astrology' is a bit too vague and generic. Of course we can't call these astrologers Islamic either as many were Jewish or Christian. Perhaps a term like Astrology in the Islamic World?

Maybe my brain is just in a lateral odd space today but all this discussion of the importance of tradition and not allowing an over-subjective approach to develop reminds of a historical comparison...

In the early Church the so called heresy of Gnosticism was based on the idea of 'gnosis' ie truth/wisdom through individual experience. The Church Fathers attacked this approach as heresy by denying the hierarchy and the orthodox teachings.

At the heart of the debate was whether spiritual experience needed to be mediated by the Church or whether it was purely a matter of individual experience. The problem for the Gnostics was that as everyone's experience was different was no real common ground left. On the other hand the Church Father's were unwilling to accept any individual questioning of religious teaching.

In some ways is the traditional approach an attempt to restore greater unity and cohesion to astrology by coalescing around a core series of astrological principles? Are traditional astrologers the equivalent of the Catholic/Orthodox to the moderns rampant individualism/gnosticism?

Perhaps I am being too kind to the moderns comparing them to Gnostics and unfair to traditionalists as the Catholic/Orthodox Church Fathers? Or perhaps I am just talking complete nonsense...its been one of those days...
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Tom
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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Firstly, in the early Church the so called heresy of Gnosticism was based on the idea of 'gnosis' ie truth/wisdom through individual experience. The Church Fathers attacked this approach as heresy by denying the hierarchy and the orthodox teachings.


I'm not 100% sure of what you mean here, but, if your information is coming from the DaVinci Code, you can do yourself a favor and promptly forget it. In the history of publishing there is no work, claiming to be well researched, that is more inaccurate. And I'm being kind. The foundation of Church orthodoxy is a long and complicated story, well beyond the scope of this discussion, but Christian Gnostics did not base their knowledge (gnosis) on individual experience but rather through secret knowledge and Christ.

One gnostic tenet teaches:


Quote:
" ... the world we live in was nto the idea of creation of the One true God, but the result of a cosmic disaster, and that within some humans there resides a spark of the divine that needs to be liberated in order to return to its real home.

The only way this salvation can occur is for the divine spark to learn the secret knowledge that can bring liberation from its entrapment in the world of matter. Knowedge is thuse central to these systems, knowledge of who one really is."


While at first blush it seems like personal experience is the way to this knowledge, Gnosticism doesn't teach that.

Quote:
" ... Christ provides the knowledge necessary for salvation. As the Gospel of Phillip says, "The one who possesses the knowledge (gnosis) of the truth is free." (Gospel of Phillip 93). Not everyone can expect this liberating knowledge. In fact most people have obviously never received it and never will. Both quotes are from Lost Chrstianites Bart D. Ehrman Oxford University Press 2003 page 125


Orthodox Christianity, or what would become orthodox Christianity teaches that salvation comes through Christ's suffering, death and resurection, not secret information or understanding. Gnosticism's view of Christ is enormously different than orthodox Christianity.

In other words there is a knowledge or wisdom that is not available to all via experience. If you are interested in this subject, and it is fascinating, I strongly recomend the above referenced book.


Quote:
On the other hand the Church Father's were unwilling to accept any individual questioning of religious teaching.



Yes and this is what churches do. Churches are based on teachings, not personal opinions. We don't go to the Pope and say, "Your Holiness, you really ought to give up on the virgin-birth idea. Its scaring the customers away, and our polls show that a lot of people don't buy it any more." Popular opinion is irrelevant in church teachings - any church. They're not political parties. If they make changes, and they do, those changes are based in theology, not in election results. It is not that churches are never influenced by popular opinion, but popular opinion is not the basis of belief

When there is a conflict in teachings, one side wins and one side loses. For better or for worse, the Gnostics lost. I don't see astrology in exactly those terms nor do I see astrological differences as having the same gravity as orthodox/gnostic or any religious difference. I've said this before, virtually all of us come to astrology via the modern route. Some of us become enamored of the traditional ways, others do not. The difference is that most moderns have no real knowledge of the traditional methods or philosophy, yet feel free to criticize and condescend. Just this morning on another list I saw the pompous remarks by someone who claimed to have been burned by the terms "malefic" and "benefic." He then claimed to be a newcomer to astrology. How badly was he burned by something he didn't understand is the obvious question that will never be asked.

One day there will be a group of moderns who began with traditional astrology. I actually look forward to that. They will see modern astrology in a seriously different light than the contemporary moderns. It will be interesting to watch.

Tom
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Tom,

No time for a proper response but pleeeeeese the Da Vinci Code? Give some credit No my source is by the respected academic Elaine Pagels and her classic book 'The Gnostics'.

Anyway have to dash..

Mark
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Tom
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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No time for a proper response but pleeeeeese the Da Vinci Code?


Whew! I'm relieved.

Tom
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Sue



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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark and Tom,

I have to agree that it is a fascinating area of study and one I have spent years researching. I even get to teach it next month which, apart from having to stand up in front of people, I am really looking forward to.

Speaking of the Da Vinci Code, which I read on a flight back from London, there is nothing particularly new in it. This is why the authors of 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' one of whom was astrologer Michael Baigent, felt the need to sue Dan Brown. For example, claims such as Mary Magdelene being the wife of Jesus are hundreds of years old. I didn't find anything in it that I hadn't heard before in one form or another. The trouble is that the Catholic Church has done such a job of saying that it is all lies that people will now argue that he made up the organisation Opus Dei. But, of course, I am not suggesting for a minute that anything Dan Brown said was an historically accurate representation of these stories. If people were genuinely interested in some of his stories then they should find out for themselves because there is a lot of information out there. And let's not forget that it is a fictional work.

Quote:
Are traditional astrologers the equivalent of the Catholic/Orthodox to the moderns rampant individualism/gnosticism?


Mark, at first glance I would have said that it is the other way around. I have read two of Elaine Pagel's works, as I have with Bart Ehrman, and they are both very interesting. There have been claims that Paul was actually a gnostic. I think it was in one of John Shelby Spong's books that I read the argument for this. I think the fourth gospel, that of John, borders on some of these concepts. It surprises me that the people who decided on the four gospels would include John's. But it is as Tom says, there are winners and losers in these arguments and once the winners win they set about erasing any remaining traces of the losing side. The Arian controversy is a classic example.
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Monk



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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would only like to add it wasn't only Da Vinci that painted interesting paintings, Jacopo Bassano's painting in 1542, was another!
www.galleriaborghese.it/borghese/en/eultcena.htm
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Tom
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Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies in advance. I can't let this go.

Quote:
And let's not forget that it is a fictional work.


Not according to the author. Oh the little romance story that moves the plot is fictional but Dan Brown on TV shows and on his website insists his book is historically accurate. It isn't even close. It is, as you say based largely on Holy Blood Holy Grail and a book about the Knights Templar whose name escapes me. Both of those have been discredited for years.

It is dishonest for Brown to claim historical accuracy and then hide behind the "It's only fiction," each time one more of his "facts" is shown to be pure bunk.

I'm having a Saturn return soon, so I'm grumpy, and I needed to get some astrology in here.

Tom
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Sue



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Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Apologies in advance. I can't let this go.


Most likely because you are having a Saturn return. Try living with four planets in Capricorn (including Sun and Saturn) and a Capricorn ascendant. I can never let anything go. Apparently I am the most argumentative person on the planet according to my ex-partner.(even though the likelyhood of having met every person on the planet is quite small).


I haven't read anything from Dan Brown about his book and I'm not all that interested. But I wonder what he identifies as historically accurate. As I said before, most of the arguments he uses in his book are centuries old. They are not facts but ongoing debate. The argument that Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene is centuries old. Whether it is true or not is impossible to prove. We have no historical proof that Jesus existed but most people believe that he did. Historical accuracy is a very tenuous thing. As we have said before, absence of proof is not proof of absence. The argument that the person on the right of Jesus in Da Vinci's 'Last Supper' is a woman is, again, a very old argument and impossible to prove. That Opus Dei have been searching for the Holy Grail is unlikely but the organisation exists and they make no secret of the fact that part of their philosophy involves self flagellation. I have to wonder whether Dan Brown is claiming historical accuracy because all of his arguments have been raised before and therefore belong to history rather than that they are factual accounts.
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skippy



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Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As this is yet another parallel universe that engender another squabble on tradition v modern, I refer to you to Rob Hands immensely well written paper on www.astro.com. I totally endorse this view and have nothing more to add other than what I've said recently on other threads.
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