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Combust or not

 
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Anna



Joined: 05 Jun 2004
Posts: 61
Location: Sweden

Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 6:49 pm    Post subject: Combust or not Reply with quote

Hi everyone!

I did (all I rather have) a Horary question concerning the Querents Personal Economy 2004-09-24, 7:10 am Stockholm Sweden. Sun has just slipped into Libra and Mars and Jupiter and Mercury is still in Virgo. Would you consider Mars, Jupiter and Mercury combust? They are all Conjunct but in different sign from the Sun. I would (after reading Lilly) say that they are not Combust. What do you think?
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Ben



Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 167
Location: Minneapolis, MN USA

Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I would say they are combust.

Ben

P.S. Anyone know where this rule of Lilly's came from? It sounds like Ptolemy, who used whole-sign aspects. As far as I can remember, the medievals I've read did not follow this rule.
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Tom
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 3446
Location: New Jersey, USA

Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And for the other side I would say they are not combust. Those who prefer observation to philosophy disagree with me. However, if we are disposed not to allow out of sign aspects (and I am not), then having an out of sign combustion makes little sense. It would be like saying, "Well it's combust but not in conjunction."

The other debate this question brings up is whether or not a planet in its own sign (Like Mercury in Virgo here) is combust even if the Sun is in VIrgo. There seems to be some debate on this among the authorities with one side saying, "Yes a planet in strong dignity can be combust." And the other side saying, "No ,combustion negates strong dignity."

I hope Deb can shed some light on the origin of Lilly's opinion. I'm not sure where it came from either.

Tom
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Ben



Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 167
Location: Minneapolis, MN USA

Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tom,

Being combust is not the same as being conjunct the Sun, but I can see that if you aren't inclined to allow out of sign aspects, you would be less likely to allow out-of-sign combustion (or sunbeams).

I haven't heard about rejecting combustion if the combust planet is in its own domicile. I should think it would be a debility, but that by being in domicile and receiving the sun, it would mitigate the problems. But it's such a fine distinction: how much less debilitated is a combust planet if in its own domicile?? I wish the authorities addressed this sort of thing.

Incidentally, Abu Ma'shar has some interesting things to say about different planets under combustion. He says that Mercury can bear combustion better than some other planets: it's "like a man accustomed to difficulties and misery and poverty, but is able to bear them because they are familiar."

Best,
Ben
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Tom
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
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Location: New Jersey, USA

Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ben,

I was taught that some authorities, and I can't think of any off the top of my head, treated a planet having high dignity that was within range of combustion (or under the beams) would behave more like a mutual reception, i.e., the two planets would feed each other. There is no consensus on this matter, and I think the astrologer should be familiar with the arguments on all sides and see what best fits his or her practice.

Of course conjunction and combustion are different, but I don't think the effects of combustion negate the effects of conjunction either. This is a bit of a sticky problem and it probably requres a good deal more work than I've been able to put into it. If I get a chance, I'll throw out some charts and lets see what we can come up with. Others should feel free to supply charts of well known individuals with planets in these various positions

Tom
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Deb
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
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Location: England

Posted: Thu Sep 30, 2004 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Anyone know where this rule of Lilly's came from? It sounds like Ptolemy, who used whole-sign aspects. As far as I can remember, the medievals I've read did not follow this rule.


I think it is linked to the fact that commentaries exist saying that an aspect isn’t valid if it crosses sign boundaries. But other commentaries exist saying that they do count if they are uninterrupted (presumably within orb), so I tend to acknowledge them but expect that the sign boundary has an interpretive significance that either means the effect of the aspect / combustion is escaped or that it must overcome some kind of barrier or cross some kind of threshold. The specific meaning I apply is judged from the chart as a whole. In the case of combustion, I certainly wouldn’t consider combustion over a sign boundary as being as powerful or straightforward as one that fully occurs within the sign.

Lilly used out of sign aspects (see p.385 as an example). So do I if they fulfil the criteria set out by Ibn Ezra in Aphorism 36, Chap 8 of his Beginning of Wisdom, (available online here). This seems to be the criteria that Lilly applies.

Quote:
If a star is about to enter into conjunction with a second star but, before the conjunction is consummated, the second star leaves for a different sign, and the first star pursues it and overtakes it, and if, before overtaking it, no other star unites with it, then the thing requested will be accomplished after the despair.


Whereas Ezra speaks about this bringing some sense of despair, I see it as offering a range possibilities constrained by the circumstances of the chart. An example I can think of which I demonstrate to students is where the querent recovered lost goods indicated by the Moon applying immediately to the trine of the Sun but with the perfection occurring after the Moon changed signs. The querent initially despaired of recovery but later found her goods after moving to another country (sounds bizarre but there’s a longer story, obviously). The important point is that some barrier or threshold was crossed before the recovery was made. In relationships charts this sort of application may suggest a barrier to a good relationship developing in the fact that a spouse stands in the way; or in other circumstances (such as combustion) it can show that something terrible looks like it is going to happen, but the querent escapes by moving house / country or otherwise changing their circumstances. My interest within horary is in using the event in a descriptive manner; that’s different to how I might apply it in natal work but I still use the same principle of expecting that it means something, but the crossing of sign boundaries means something too.

Ben – do you know of any examples of medieval chart judgements where a planet has been described as combust, though in a different sign to the Sun?
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Ben



Joined: 02 Aug 2004
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Location: Minneapolis, MN USA

Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I am currently looking through a bunch of old authorities to see about out-of-sign combustion. Al-Biruni says something very interesting about combustion that I'll factor in when I report my findings tomorrow or Saturday.

But I did find an interesting comment by Abu Ma'shar on Tom's question about planets that are combust but in their own domicile. From the Astrological Metaphors (linked through this site):

"II., 179. The reason why people who say that a star which becomes burned in its own domcile or elevation does not offend, are mistaken:

"Some people say that when a star becomes burned in its own domicile or in its own elevation it does not cause offense. However, when Saturn, which is cold and dry becomes burned, it is similar to stone which being burned by the fire, decays and breaks. When Jupiter becomes burned it is similar to gold that melts and when it moves in the rays of sunlight its pure substance takes on a red hue. Then, when Venus and the Moon become burned they are similar to the quicksilver that if we throw it into the fire, the fire escapes from it like from something different from its nature and is not able to tolerate it."

Note that Abu Ma'shar's "explanation" uses similes to describe how combustion works -- he does not actually explain why being in domicile does not affect the planet. I think he's trying to say that since combustion affects the planet itself, the sign is irrelevant. But since the sign affects a planet's zodiacal state, I should think the combustion would be partly mitigated.

In the end, I'd say we have to see what actually happens in charts, instead of demanding that the chart conform to our preconceived notions.

Note on out-of-sign aspects: The reason I use out-of-sign aspects is because of a story Bob Zoller once told me. Many years ago he used to ignore them, and specifically told a client that such-and-such would not happen because the aspect was out-of-sign. But it had happened, and it was a significant event. He said he never made that mistake again.
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Pete



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

Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ben, for looking all of that up. I note with interest that Mars isn't included in the quote. I wonder if Abu Ma'shar deliberately excluded Mars because, like the Sun, Mars is hot and dry anyway and is more "immune" to the burning that combustion generates? That may be true, but what about the other effect that comes from combustion? viz: the inability to be seen? The glaring light of the Sun overpowers the meagre reflected light of the planet and it becomes invisible as well as powerless.
But then, of course, we have the other scenario of 'cazimi', when the planet is within 17' of arc of the Sun, and in the Sun's heart. Lilly tells us that such a planet becomes fortified thereby, and yet also, of course,still invisible. If this planet were one of the malefics, and debilitated essentially, one supposes it might have the power to wreak havoc since it cannot be seen?
I don't have any charts where this condition obtains, but if there are any out there it would be fascinating to see how that horary transpired.
==
Pete
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Tom
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Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Pete,

Quote:
If this planet were one of the malefics, and debilitated essentially, one supposes it might have the power to wreak havoc since it cannot be seen?


Good point re: cazimi. I was having a discussion with an astrologer friend who recently lost her brother to complications where drug abuse played no small part. Her brother had Saturn in Leo cazimi (I do not have permission to post the chart data), and she told me his constant refrain was "Everybody's against me." Saturn in Leo can produce serious cases of the "Oh poor me(s)," and this man had such a disposition for this and other reasons in the chart. She also noted his life lacked self discipline and structure.

My point is that cazimi, in this case and two others I'm aware of (my ex wife and Leona Helmsley had Venus cazimi, in neither case was Venus particularly strong) magnified the weakness of the planet. In other words, in these cases Venus was anything but benefic.

Lilly says of cazimi, " ... it's an addition of fortune and wonderous strong." (CA P. 300). Well strong may not be the best word. "Increase of effect" might be more accurate.

Tom
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Ben



Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 167
Location: Minneapolis, MN USA

Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Pete,

Abu Ma'shar does mention Mars in the paragraph right above the one I quoted, where he describes what happens to each planet under combustion. Mars is "like a very wicked man whose wickedness and offense increase." I think he might have omitted Mars from the "combust while in domicile" paragraph either because he forgot or maybe he just didn't have a gemstone or metal analogy that worked for his argument.

He does say that different planets bear combustion differently, which was news to me. Some bear it well, others not:

Saturn is "like an old shabby man unable to bear pains, sorrows, and punishments."

Jupiter is "like a man put to the test, able to bear pains and sorrows, since he hopes to take advantage of it."

Mars: (see above; not sure if Mars can bear it, but I think not)

Venus: Absolutely weak and without strength.

Mercury: "like a man accumstomed to difficulties and misery and poverty, but is able to bear them because they are familiar."

Abu Ma'shar denies that cazimi strengthens a planet -- he says something like: it's like a man who has been purified (purged?), and has no strength but will later. Not sure what exactly that means.

Both Abu Ma'shar and Ibn Ezra have such interesting analogies for different planets in different situations, I really appreciate them!


Ben
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Pete



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

Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My point is that cazimi, in this case and two others I'm aware of (my ex wife and Leona Helmsley had Venus cazimi, in neither case was Venus particularly strong) magnified the weakness of the planet. In other words, in these cases Venus was anything but benefic.


Perhaps, then, strong essential dignity is necessary in order to enable a planet to take advantage of cazimi?

Quote:
Well strong may not be the best word. "Increase of effect" might be more accurate.


Yes, that's sounds better: there is an 'increase' of the energy of the planet, but this only produces beneficial results on the individual or horary if the planet has good dignity. If it happens to be peregrine, or holding only weak dignity it will probably cause problems rather than benefits.
Interesting...
==
Pete
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Pete



Joined: 29 Apr 2004
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Posted: Fri Oct 01, 2004 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Mars is "like a very wicked man whose wickedness and offense increase."


Yes, just as I thought.

Quote:
Saturn is "like an old shabby man unable to bear pains, sorrows, and punishments."


Which sounds a lot like the man Tom spoke of in an earlier post, doesn't it?

Quote:
Jupiter is "like a man put to the test, able to bear pains and sorrows, since he hopes to take advantage of it."


I have a friend with this placement of Jupiter, and this describes her pretty well, or at least certain portions of her life.

Quote:
Mercury: "like a man accumstomed to difficulties and misery and poverty, but is able to bear them because they are familiar."


I wonder why Mercury finds "difficulty, misery and poverty" familiiar? At first I thought it was because Mercury, being closer to the Sun more often, becomes cazimi more often? But then I realised that the Moon moves faster by far, and would enter cazimi more often than even Mercury. So, I'm at a loss at this point, but I'll think on it more...

Quote:
Abu Ma'shar denies that cazimi strengthens a planet -- he says something like: it's like a man who has been purified (purged?), and has no strength but will later. Not sure what exactly that means.


Perhaps simply that as the planet moves out of cazimi and becomes more and more visible in the sky it regains its ability to act without distortion.
Like a very sick man who eventually recovers after surgery.
Not the best analogy in the world, but it's the best I can come up with.

Quote:
Both Abu Ma'shar and Ibn Ezra have such interesting analogies for different planets in different situations, I really appreciate them!


Yes, they are very good teachers and worthy of much study.

==
Pete
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Ben



Joined: 02 Aug 2004
Posts: 167
Location: Minneapolis, MN USA

Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2004 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all,

I looked at the following authorities on the issue of combustion: Firmicus Maternus, Paul of Alexandria, Olympiodorus, Abu Ma’shar, Alchabitius, Al-Biruni, Ibn Ezra, Bonatti, Dariot.

What I found was this. Combustion was always framed in terms of (a) planets’ varying relationships with the sun (being matutine/vespertine, oriental/occidental, and whether combustion occurred during retrogradation); and (b) in terms of the planets’ visibility when near to the sun. Some authorities said that certain planets became visible at different degrees of separation, others gave a uniform radius for combustion’s influence.

These authorities never discussed signs or aspects in the same place as they did combustion, even though they sometimes made a point of saying where they stood on the issue of out-of-sign conjunctions. Aspects and conjunctions were framed in terms of degrees of the zodiac.

In discussions of charts (where I could find them), there were cases where a planet was in a different sign but within the number of degrees to be combust, but the authors never mentioned it one way or another.

Finally, Al-Biruni said something that was very interesting. He said that Venus’s visibility is so great that if she is at a high latitude, she will not be in conjunction with the Sun or even combust even if she is in the relevant degrees of the ecliptic.

What this says to me is that signs are irrelevant to combustion: it was originally a matter of visibility vis-à-vis the sun – literally being in the sun’s rays – and that there is nothing to prevent out-of-sign combustion.

This coming week I will be attending Bob Zoller’s seminar on mundane astrology in Vancouver – I’ll ask him about what he does in his practice.

Best,
Ben
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