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midpoints ancient or modern?

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Joined: 12 Jul 2006
Posts: 26
Location: Malone, NY

Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 1:33 am    Post subject: midpoints ancient or modern? Reply with quote

I was curious to know if midpoints are a modern invention or do they derive from classical sources? Also, can anyone list the earliest written sources about midpoints.
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 3506
Location: New Jersey, USA

Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first delineations of midpoints per se, to my knowledge, are in Alfred Witte's Rules for Planetary Pictures first published in 1928 in German. This text can still be found in English. The work usually associated with midpoints in our own time is Reinhold Ebertin's The Combination of Stellar Influences (1940) From what I can tell, this is a revision of Witte's work.

In the introduction to this work Ebertin tells us:

The use of half sums (i.e.midpoints - tc) is not new, as can be seen from the rectification used by Guido Bonatti (apparently born the year 1230 at Casica near Florence) who was the famous Court-Astrologer of the Emperor Federick II. Furthermore Alan Leo, the well known English Astrologer and founder of "Modern Astrology," a journal now edited by Charles E.O. Carter in London, speaks of the mid-point between two planets which is touched as it were by the passage of a directed stellar body.

Another astrologer, Frank Glahn, writes that he got his first knowledge of he "intersecting points" from Albert Kniepf, a particularly gifted astrologer, whose writings had appeared at about 1900 in Hamburg. Alfred Witte, the founder of the Hamburg School of Astrology, had also been informed by Kniepf about the application of this method according to Glahn, and it is to Witte's credit that he has introduced the pattern working method to modern astrological practice coining the name "planetary pictures."

[The Combination of Stellar Influences, AFA 1972, page 21]

What is interesting is the "hit and run" treatment of Bonatti (what rectification? where?) without so much as a hint as to what he did or where it can be found. The reference to "Frank Glahn," on the other hand, gets a footnote citing the work.

Some astrologers have made mention of a connection between the Arabic Parts and midpoints, claiming, as all good Darwinists do, "evolution," but I've never been able to resolve that connection. They are both derived mathematically (so is antiscion), but the parts have a dispositor who pays a role in the delineation, whereas the midpoints are just that: "points" that become activated when contacted either by conjunction or aspect. In this respect they more closely resemble antiscion. So they're calculated a little bit like the lots and used a little bit like antiscion.

I would be surprised if the inventor(s) of midpoints looked at Bonatti and said, "Oh look, here's an idea!" My guess is that he was tossed in by Ebertin in order to maintain some sense of historical continuity.

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Joined: 30 Sep 2005
Posts: 5151
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cannot comment on Bonatti but I do remember that Olivia Barclay in her book Horary Astrology Rediscovered quotes at least one example of what she considers midpoint use by William Lilly in Christian Astrology.
Indeed, Barclay's enthusiasm for midpoints is one of things that most surprised me when I was reading the book. I thought it all stemmed from Uranian Astrology and Cosmo-Biology as Tom states above. In practical terms it did since whether it existed or not in the tradition it was only the influence of Witte and Ebertin that brought Midpoints use into prominence.

I don't have Barclay's book to hand right now. I will post the details later.


Last edited by Mark on Mon Aug 14, 2006 5:17 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Location: New Jersey, USA

Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was a bit surprised to learn this and ran to my copy of Horary Astrology Rediscovered. I looked up "midpoints" in the index and found recommendations for their use, but nothing on Lilly. Then on page 309 I found this:

[There is only one instance where Lilly almost used a midpoint: the Moon's sextile fell at a degree midpoint a Sun/Mercury opposition, and saved the ship]

She gives no reference, which means someone will have to check out ships in CA, although the above sounds like a translation of light. I'll get back to this later today.

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Joined: 01 Apr 2005
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Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just thinking in Olivia Barklay ! In an article in go all the way down, is almost the last paragraphe, she says:

For general use, I recommend Lee Lehman's 'Book of Rulerships', published by Whitford Press. And none of us can omit 'The Combination of Stellar Influences'. Did you know Firmicus mentions midpoints in the fourth century?

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