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AP - Cold & Dry/Warm & Moist: planetary temperaments
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 945
Location: Australia

Posted: Sun May 30, 2004 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have gone over this thread a couple of times but became totally confused. I think I have worked out the source of my confusion. It appears that throughout the thread there have been times where oriental and occidental have been interchanged. For example, in the very first post that Mark made, he pointed out that in Book Three of CA Lilly says
Saturn is Cold and moist when oriental and Dry when occidental.
Deb then says
So my understanding is that the general quality of Saturn is cold and dry, but when oriental its quality becomes more moistening, and when occidental it becomes more drying.

Okay, so far, so good. But, further down the thread Deb says
Iíd also like to establish whether that Ďcold & moistí definition for Saturn when occidental, as listed by Lilly, represents a standard view found in earlier or contemporary texts or whether itís more likely to be a mistake that's been copied by modern authors.
The text has been corrected in that later edition to read Ďcold and dryí when occidental, which makes a lot more sense. So Iím now concluding that the reference to Saturn being Ďcold and moistí in the 1647 edition was a printerís mistake, later corrected.

As a matter of fact, the text from the 1647 edition and the 1659 edition are exactly the same. (There is no 1653 edition. That was just a simple mistake in the dating) Nothing has been corrected between editions. Much of the confusion is my fault. I thought we were looking at whether Saturn's occidental nature had been changed from moist to dry between editions. I don't have a copy of the 1647 editon so had nothing to compare it to. I just knew that in the 1659 edition, Saturn occidentally was dry. Orientally it is moist in both editions it seems. I've come to the conclusion that it should probably be 'cold and dry' but I don't think we can really know whether this was just an innocent error or he has a valid reason for saying 'cold and moist'. It seems strange that Saturn should be the only planet to change it's orientation between moist and dry according to oriental/occidental.
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
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Location: England

Posted: Sun May 30, 2004 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Itís good to get rid of the red herrings. If the text says Ďcold and moistí in the original and the later corrected version then thereís no reason to assume it was a mistake in the original. Sorry for leading everyone up the wrong path but it was worth checking out and very useful to get collective feedback.

Iíve found a couple of interesting references in AlBiruni but Iím short of time today and itís not easy to summarise what he is saying. Several passages in his text are very relevant to the matter of how the planetary influences adapt according to their placement and relationship within the solar cycle. His chapters 481-488 are particularly significant and offer detailed information on when the terms oriental and occidental apply. It is essentially about the influence of heliacal risings and settings but because this affects the outer planets differently to the inner planets and involves consideration of retrograde cycles and stations it is not easily simplified. It looks like Lillyís table is based on Al-Biruniís scheme or something similar presented in the sources that Al-Biruni drew upon, but in such a simplified manner that it barely represents what the original teachings are trying to convey. It all deserves a bit more time and consideration than I can give it at the moment.

One earlier passage that is directly relevant to this thread is in chapter 381 where AlBiruni says:

The indications of a planet do not remain constant; they are dependent on its relationship to the various signs, to other planets and to the fixed stars, to the position as regards the Sun and its rays, and to distance from, and proximity to the earth. Thus Saturn which is dry as it rises becomes moist as it sets.

He then goes on to detail how the varying influence is likely to produce different effects for different activities but doesnít say anything else that connects to Lillyís humours list.

Elsewhere and in all the 17th century sources Iíve managed to check the cold and dry nature of Saturn is strongly emphasised. So I still think that Saturn is considered essentially cold and dry, but merely less dry when oriental; and I canít think of any reason why it shouldnít always be recognised as cooling. But Iím still pondering. I only have so much interest in trying to sort out the reason behind Lillyís list for the sake of applying the list, but this whole issue of planets modifying their effects and influences according to the solar-cycle could be a key to clearing up a lot of confusion regarding when, how and why certain traditional terms were applied.
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Joined: 29 Apr 2004
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Posted: Sun May 30, 2004 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking personally, it stands to reason for me that Saturn's nature when oriental is cold & dry and *not* cold and moist, even though the second edition of 'CA' seems to confirm the cold/moist description in the original. It's always possible that a mistake was made in the original 1647 version and this mistake was overlooked in the 1659 version. We may never know, so I'm going with what seems to be a rational approach ~even though I know that what appears rational in astrology often falls at the first hurdle!

As for the whole oriental/occidental theme, I'd like to put forward my theory about how far a planet must be from the Sun in order to regain its inherent nature. I believe that the 34 degree orb encompassed by the Sun's beams (17 degrees either side) is the limit.
A planet, let's say Venus, is moving more swifty than the Sun and begins to approach from behind. It is occidental and 20 degrees away, and its nature is 'temperately cool and moist'. When it is 17 degrees behind the Sun it enters the sunbeams and loses it's temperature and is now just 'moist' It remains moist (somehow!) throughout combustion and cazimi, and as it emerges ahead of the Sun and becomes oriental it has been heated by the Sun's rays and is now 'hot and moist' until it leaves the sunbeams, whereupon it regains its inherent coolness.
This idea works for all the planets except Saturn, who is dry when occidental yet *cold* and dry when oriental. Why should this be? The only speculation I can offer is that the sources that Ptolemy drew upon (Hellenistic? Babylonian? Egyptian?) considered Saturn to be the antithesis of the Sun in temperature and therefore impervious to the Sun's heat. It was the greater malefic and very, very cold. That's why they gave Saturn to the solar sect: they considered it the only way to decrease some of its maleficity.
Again, this is just a theory I'm putting forward for consideration, for which I'm using 'Occam's Razor', ie: the simplest solution among many is usually the right one!

Cheers... Very Happy
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
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Posted: Sun May 30, 2004 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


I mentioned our discussion to Dorian and in particular mentioned Lilly using cold and moist to describe Saturn oriental. For those who may not know her, Dorian is the translator of Late Classical Astrology: Paulus Alexandrinus and Olympiodorus published by ARHAT. Anyway she wrote back:

Re Saturn cold and moist when oriental -- this is common practice among the medieval astrologers, so I imagine Lilly was just following the crowd. I wonder if it has anything to do with the idea that planets oriental produce larger bodies, more flesh, etc. and thus are wetter -- so even though Saturn is intrinsically cold and dry, when oriental it makes things fatter/wetter just like other oriental planets do. Orientality/occidentality thus ties in with the waxing/waning idea.

Just some additonal food for thought.

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Posted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please thank Dorian Tom and tell her that her book is looking very appealing. I go along with that as Iíve ruled out any possibility of this being a printerís error in CA. Dorianís views tie in with AlBiruniís comment and seem to make sense from that angle. Iíd have liked to have seen more evidence of this being a common view than I found myself. I went through quite a number of 17th century texts and couldnít find any other reference to it, but there are obviously loads of medieval sources I havenít seen so I can take Dorianís word on that. (At least I found out how to make a healthful tonic by mixing human blood and grease with ground skull ĖBlagrave- and a number of other interesting facts I never knew before).

Iím still giving a lot of thought to this whole humours issue and itís raising a number of issues in my mind. Iím now uncomfortable with the qualities applied to the Moonís quarters. The 2nd (and 3rd) quarters define the Moon as drying in effect, but this goes against the grain of traditional astrological gardening lore and the studies that demonstrate the full Moon is a time of moisture with increased floods, heavy rainfall, etc. (For some details see ).

Gardening lore relates much more naturally with Ptolemyís definition of the Moonís quarters (listed earlier in the thread), where the onus was on the waxing Moon bringing moisture and warmth to facilitate growth, and the waning Moon bringing dryness and cold to demonstrate a Ďclosing downí process. The later definition seems to spring from that but with some redefinition to align the Moonís qualities more closely to the humours as they are linked with the elements. Both Ptolemy and the later authors matched the Moonís humour to that of the Sun through the four seasons but at a sensible level it seems to work with Ptolemyís scheme in a way that it doesnít with later definitions. Ie, with Ptolemy both the Sun and Moon are more easily associated with the concept of the first halves of their cycle bringing increase and the 2nd halves bringing decrease; but the later schemes relate the Moonís approach to full Moon more directly with the hot and dry qualities of the summer Sun. Iím finding that logic quite difficult to accept Ė is the Moon at the fullness of its power really expected to share the same hot and dry humoural qualities as a mid-summer Sun?

Ah well, I suppose the good news is that Iím becoming much more aware of issues that pertain the humours and temperaments than I ever was before.
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