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Aristotle's Elements and the Zodiac: Astrologers' Error?
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:38 am    Post subject: Aristotle's Elements and the Zodiac: Astrologers' Error? Reply with quote

Anyone who is fortunate enough to own a copy of Robert Schmidt's translations of Valens and Ptolemy can't help considering Rob Hand's notes on the assignment of the elements to zodiac triplicities.

We know that the first mention of the elements in connection with the sign triplicities is in Valens. But Valens was a Stoic, and the Stoics gave only one quality to each element: Fire: hot; Earth; dry; Air: cold and Water: wet. There are indications in Valens that he was referring to the Stoic elements rather than those of Aristotle, particularly in Book IV where zodiacal releasing is discussed. In reference to Valens' statement that fire (signs) turn to a mild mixture of the opposing air mass which is "ice-cold and opaque," Rob Hand adds these notes:

This seemingly offhand reference may in fact be most important! In the standard astrological doctrine the element Air is always described after Aristotle as hot and wet. However, the Stoic teachings on the elements would have Air as merely cold. Valens is the earliest source we have who attributes elements to the triplicities. Ptolemy does not. [....Rob here outlines the Stoic and Aristotelian sequence of elements and continues:]...Notice that the Stoic sequence agrees with the order of the elements in the signs and the Aristotelian order does not! Could it be that the later use of Aristotelian elements with the triplicities was an error? Much research will be required to answer this question. (The Anthology, Book IV, Golden Hind Press, pp. 7-8...)

Others must have realized that the distribution of triplicity elements as they are currently used by astrologers don't agree with Aristotle's arrangement where Fire is opposite Water and Air is opposite Earth. (Fire-dry-Earth-cold-Water-wet-Air-hot-Fire arranged clockwise.) How do astrologers deal with this dilemma?

Rob Hand also comments in Schmidt's translation of the Tetrabiblos:

Unfortunately, later astrologers consistently converted Ptolemy's wet to water, cold to earth, hot to fire and dry to air. The problem is that according to Aristotelian philosophy Water = Cold and Wet, Earth = Cold and Dry, Fire = Hot and Dry and Air = Hot and Wet. Or if one uses the Stoic system of elements, one gets Water = Wet, Earth = Dry, Fire = Hot and Air=Cold. What astrologers did was correct according to neither system of elements. (Tetrabiblos, Book 1, "5. Concerning Benefic and Malefic Planets," Golden Hind Press, p. 16)

A little consideration shows that the Stoic element-triplicity correlations make more sense in relation to the planetary lords of the signs. Two examples:

Saturn is said to be cold and dry. Saturn is lord of one air sign (Aquarius) and is exalted in another (Libra). But in the Aristotelian system the air signs are hot and wet. In the Stoic system air is cold.

Jupiter was a bringer of rain. In the Aristotelian system Jupiter's primary sign of Sagittarius is hot and dry. In the Stoic system fire is simply hot.

I've come to the conclusion that Aristotle's elements don't seem to correlate well with the triplicities, and that they may in fact be wrong. In my opinion Rob Hand's suggestions seem to be more correct. Somewhere between the late Hellenistic astrologers and the Arabic era the Stoic elements were apparently changed to Aristotle's elements in relation to zodiac triplicities.

Rhetorius, whom Robert Schmidt describes as "the last Hellenistic astrologer of consequence," mentions elements in relations to signs, but does not give them descriptions or qualities. They are simply fiery, earthy, airy or watery. Paulus Alexandrinus (c. 378 CE) doesn't mention the elements at all in his descriptions of signs.

Then it might be a good idea to explore the characteristics said to describe each element and consider how they might correlate with the triplicities. I align the Stoic elements with the sidereal signs, and I don't know how they would work in the tropical zodiac. This post is already too long; maybe I'll try to write another post on element characteristics.

Therese
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margherita



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Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Aristotle's Elements and the Zodiac: Astrologers' Error? Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:


Rob Hand also comments in Schmidt's translation of the Tetrabiblos:

[b][i]Unfortunately, later astrologers consistently converted Ptolemy's wet to water, cold to earth, hot to fire and dry to air. The problem is that according to Aristotelian philosophy Water = Cold and Wet, Earth = Cold and Dry, Fire = Hot and Dry and Air = Hot and Wet.


But where does Robert Hand take this?
I would not say that Ptolemy attributes elements like that.

I had many opportunities to explain my reading of Ptolemy (supported by the reading of Giuseppe Bezza notes to temperament and planet phases).

Ptolemy's cycle is based on the sequence:moist-hot-dry-cold (Tetr. I, 8 ) which corresponds to hot and moist- hot and dry- cold and dry- cold and moist (III,11).


The Moon at first quarter being cold and moist that's not Ptolemy, it's Galen. We discussed very recently with Mark.

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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Margherita wrote:

But where does Robert Hand take this?
I would not say that Ptolemy attributes elements like that.


Rob Hand's note refers to Book 1, 5: Concerning Benefic and Malefic Planets. His entire quote begins:

From here on in Book 1 Ptolemy uses these four qualities exclusively and never refers to the elements that became so dominant in later astrology. Unfortunately later astrologers....(as in previous quote)

Quote:
Ptolemy's cycle is based on the sequence:moist-hot-dry-cold (Tetr. I, 8 ) which corresponds to hot and moist- hot and dry- cold and dry- cold and moist (III,11).


Tetr. I, 8 relates to lunar cycles and planetary stations, not to the zodiac. Rob Hand has a very extensive note on this section. This note follows this statement in the text:

"For the Moon, from its rising up from the first quarter, is increasingly [note here] productive of moisture." Rob Hand's note begins:

This is one of those seemingly trivial items which in fact lies at the basis of a fundamental misunderstanding of Ptolemy. As rendered in most translations, based in part on incorrect emendations of the original text, Ptolemy has seemed to say that the whole first part of the quarter of the Moon is wet, the second quarter hot, the third quarter dry and the last quarter cold. But if the Greek is interpreted correctly, Ptolemy is saying something quite different....

This note is very extensive, and I wonder if it would be all right to scan that page and somehow post it on Skyscript? Does anyone have information on this? If not, I can take the time in a day or so to type out the entire note. But this illustrates why we badly need translations with comprehensive notes by professional astrologers.

Therese
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margherita



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Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:



This note is very extensive, and I wonder if it would be all right to scan that page and somehow post it on Skyscript? Does anyone have information on this? If not, I can take the time in a day or so to type out the entire note. But this illustrates why we badly need translations with comprehensive notes by professional astrologers.

Therese


I have Schmidt translation, I will give a look tomorrow, here it's dinner time.

We have a wonderful commentary of the first book of Tetrabiblos (472 pages) by Giuseppe Bezza with comments from Medieval and Renaissance astrologers and Greek philosophers.

In every case I don't understand why according Hand air should be dry....

It seems to me Ptolemy gives air to moisture, and following fire to hot, earth to dryness and water to cold from what we infer from Tetrabiblos.

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Mark
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Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese wrote:
Quote:
We know that the first mention of the elements in connection with the sign triplicities is in Valens. But Valens was a Stoic, and the Stoics gave only one quality to each element: Fire: hot; Earth; dry; Air: cold and Water: wet. There are indications in Valens that he was referring to the Stoic elements rather than those of Aristotle, particularly in Book IV where zodiacal releasing is discussed.


Yes this precise point was mentioned by Dorian Greenbaum in her excellent book on astrological temperament Temperament , Astrology's Forgotten Key first published in 2005. More recently, Chris Brennan has picked up Greenbaum's theme in one of his online radio broadcasts.

Your covering some similar ground on lunar phases and qualities that Margherita and myself just discussed in a thread only a few weeks ago. Have a look at this thread on sect in the General forum which eventually picks up the issue.

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6483

As I commented on that thread neither Valens or Ptolemy conform to the later medieval notion of signs and qualities. Here are my comments:

Quote:
I agree that Ptolemy is strongly influenced by Aristotleanism. His technique is systematic, rigorous and in its own way empirical. However, studying the Tetrabiblos I have been surprised that I haven't found a reference to the Aristotlean qualities linked to signs in the conventional way used in medieval and renaissance astrology.

Just to recap the Aristotlean system would assign the following:

Fire-Hot and Dry
Air-Hot and Moist
Water-Cold and Moist
Earth-Cold and Dry

It seems that one of the main influences in disseminating this approach astrologically was Galen not Ptolemy. We know that Galen was strongly Aristotlean in his approach. By the time of Abu'Mashar this approach seems to have entered in basic astrological teachings. Hence it was fundamental to subsequent medieval and renaissance astrology,

Going back to Ptolemy though we find a quite different approach of assigning qualities to signs. Its clearly influenced by Aristotlean naturalistic philosophy but Ptolemy develops his own approach to the signs which seems principally motivated by planetary rulerships and solar season.



Quote:
The planets also have familiarity with the parts of the zodiac, through what are called their houses, triangles, exaltations, terms, the like. The system of houses is of the following nature. Since of the twelve signs the most northern, which are closer than the others to our zenith and therefore most productive of heat and of warmth are Cancer and Leo, they assigned these to the greatest and most powerful heavenly bodies, that is, to the luminaries, as houses, Leo, which is masculine, to the sun and Cancer, feminine, to the moon. In keeping with this they assumed the semicircle from Leo to Capricorn to be solar and that from Aquarius to Cancer to be lunar, so that in each of the semicircles one sign might be assigned to each of the five planets as its own, one bearing aspect to the sun and the other to the moon, consistently with the spheres of their motion and the peculiarities of their natures. For to Saturn, in whose nature cold prevails, as opposed to heat, and which occupies the orbit highest and farthest from the luminaries, were assigned the signs opposite Cancer and Leo, namely Capricorn and Aquarius,with the additional reason that these signs are cold and wintry, and further that their diametral aspect is not consistent with beneficence. To Jupiter, which is moderate and below Saturn's sphere, were assigned the two signs next to the foregoing, windy and fecund, Sagittarius and Pisces, in triangular aspect to the luminaries, which is a harmonious and beneficent configuration. Next, to Mars, which is dry in nature and occupies a sphere under that of Jupiter, there were assigned again the two signs, contiguous to the former, Scorpio and Aries, having a similar nature, and, agreeably to Mars' destructive and inharmonious quality, in quartile aspect to the luminaries. To Venus, which is temperate and beneath Mars, were given the next two signs, which are extremely fertile, Libra and Taurus. These preserve the harmony of the sextile aspect; another reason is that this planet at most is never more than two signs removed from the sun in either direction. Finally, there were given to Mercury, which never is farther removed from the sun than one sign in either direction and is beneath the others and closer in a way to both of the luminaries, the remaining signs, Gemini and Virgo, which are next to the houses of the luminaries. Tetrabiblos, 17. Of the Houses of the Several planets.


Reducing these to qualities I get the following possible arrangement:

Cancer/Leo -hot
Capricorn/Aquarius-cold
Aries/Scorpio-dry
Taurus/Libra-moist
Sagittarius/Pisces-moist
Gemini/Virgo-hot

This approach is reminiscent of the use of solar season in temperament analysis where say a Virgo or Cancer Sun are seen as adding to choler not melancholy or phlegmatic quality. Ironically though Ptolemy avoids solar season in temperament analysis.

Mark
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GR



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Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all,

Keep in mind that Aristotle gave to the elements a primary and secondary sub-quality, eg. Air is Wet and also Hot, not just Hot & Wet, as if they were both of equal magnitude.

This might be a nice intro into Aristotle's element theory. http://knol.google.com/k/aristotle-s-physics-the-five-elements#

I'm also sceptical of the "Valens was a Stoic" argument, if there is one. That he might have been familiar with Stoic ideas would be more like it.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Mark,

I have gone back and reviewed the thread you referenced and read your posts. I've also reviewed the Greenbaum book which I have filled with sticky notes and underlines. Due to my rather poor memory I had forgotten much of her discussion on the elements. Yet, when all is said and done, she has a chart on page 88, "Analysis of Temperament in the Natal Chart." This chart has the standard elements according to Aristotle in relation to triplicities. "Hot and wet" for air signs, "hot and dry" for fire signs, etc.

So we're back to the question suggested by Rob Hand's commentaries. Why do astrologers consider the air signs "hot and wet," for example, when cold, dry Saturn is lord of Aquarius and exalted in Libra? This is a direct contradiction in temperament and symbolism. The same could be said for some of the other planetary rulerships in relation to the triplicities based on Aristotle's elements.

So what is the answer to the question that the triplicities aren't arranged in diameters according to Aristotle? Why should "hot" be opposite another trigon of signs that are also hot? The opposite of hot is cold. Have astrologers considered that the accepted arrangement must be Galen's instead? And what of the rulership/element contradictions? Does adopting the Stoic elements to the triplicities present a problem? Is it possible that in general elements don't even belong to the triplicities, and we should be thinking of ruling and exalted planets instead?

It's occurred to me that the cyclic lunar charts (New, Full, etc.) set for locations with extreme weather conditions might be a way to investigate sign/element correlations. I know there are astrologers who work with the weather, but I don't know how much emphasis might be given to the traditional sign elements.

Therese
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margherita



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Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GR wrote:
Hello all,

Keep in mind that Aristotle gave to the elements a primary and secondary sub-quality, eg. Air is Wet and also Hot, not just Hot & Wet, as if they were both of equal magnitude.

This might be a nice intro into Aristotle's element theory. http://knol.google.com/k/aristotle-s-physics-the-five-elements#



Thanks for the link. That's exactly like I read Ptolemy combining together chapters of Tetrabiblos I mentioned above, because there is a cycle that Ptolemy uses everywhere and always starts from moisture and from spring (hot and moist).

I know that this is not what Greenbaum or Hand write, but I believe Bezza has a point about this.

margherita
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is the link to the podcast that Mark mentioned where I discussed this issue a few months ago:

http://traditionalastrologyradio.com/2011/11/11/recent-developments-in-traditional-astrology/

The discussion takes place between 46:35 and 61:00 in the recording. Mark and I had some discussion about it in the comments section on that page as well.

I don't see how these two approaches can be reconciled, because it seems to me that the inescapable conclusion here is that the way that the elements were assigned to the signs was done in a way that deliberately follows the Stoic rationale, which is fundamentally at odds with Aristotle's scheme.

If one wanted to apply Aristotle's qualities to the elements then you would have to change the assignments so that the proper qualities are opposite to each other in the circle. To not do so basically defeats the entire premise of Aristotle's rationale for the qualities to begin with, which is that they exist in a state of contrariety with their opposites.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Brennan wrote:
Here is the link to the podcast that Mark mentioned where I discussed this issue a few months ago:

http://traditionalastrologyradio.com/2011/11/11/recent-developments-in-traditional-astrology/

I don't see how these two approaches can be reconciled, because it seems to me that the inescapable conclusion here is that the way that the elements were assigned to the signs was done in a way that deliberately follows the Stoic rationale, which is fundamentally at odds with Aristotle's scheme.

If one wanted to apply Aristotle's qualities to the elements then you would have to change the assignments so that the proper qualities are opposite to each other in the circle. To not do so basically defeats the entire premise of Aristotle's rationale for the qualities to begin with, which is that they exist in a state of contrariety with their opposites.


Thank you, Chris and Mark, for the link. I could not listen to the podcast because my computer is old and slow, but I read through the discussion. I see it as you do, Chris, as you wrote above. The next step it seems to me, is to try to understand as much of the nature of the Stoic elements as we can.

The conclusion I've come to so far is that the observed traits (and I emphasize "observed") of the tropical triplicities are valid. But do they match any system of elements, even the Stoic?

Therese
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:
The next step it seems to me, is to try to understand as much of the nature of the Stoic elements as we can.



Yes, exactly! This is actually what I've been working on for the past couple of years. I've been combing through ancient philosophical and medical texts and trying to find any references that I can to the way that the Stoics conceptualized the elements and their individual qualities. Unfortunately the amount of material that has survived is rather slim, although I have been able to find enough to indicate that they did have an alternate temperament theory that differs from the Aristotelian model adopted by Galen. I'm trying to tease out as many of the nuances of this approach as I can based on what little material survives, although at this point I'm starting to think that the full reconstruction of the model is going to require a lot of conceptual speculation based on only a few scraps. The results would be worthwhile though, because it would allow us to have a conceptual model for interpreting the elements that actually matches the original motivation underlying their assignments.
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margherita



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Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Brennan wrote:

If one wanted to apply Aristotle's qualities to the elements then you would have to change the assignments so that the proper qualities are opposite to each other in the circle. To not do so basically defeats the entire premise of Aristotle's rationale for the qualities to begin with, which is that they exist in a state of contrariety with their opposites.


Honestly I don't understand how English based world read Ptolemy. I'm not satisfied at all with this interpretation....

It lacks in my opinion of a general idea of what is Ptolemy's vision of the world, and why for example a rising Saturn is moist, and spring should be moist and warm.

It's because there is something missing that Frawley can say that Ptolemy was wrong or it is a copyst's mistake.

In every case it's not a problem, obviously, if you could do traditional astrology without Ptolemy.


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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Brennan wrote:
Quote:
I've been combing through ancient philosophical and medical texts and trying to find any references that I can to the way that the Stoics conceptualized the elements and their individual qualities. Unfortunately the amount of material that has survived is rather slim...


I've been doing the same thing, but I think on a much smaller scale. And yes, the material is slim. Recently I found a lecture on "The Physics of the Stoics" which offers a few clues to Valens' comments in The Anthology on the signs. http://hume.ucdavis.edu/mattey/phi143/stoaphys.htm (Quotes and thoughts below are mainly from this lecture.)

Quote:
...although I have been able to find enough to indicate that they did have an alternate temperament theory that differs from the Aristotelian model adopted by Galen. I'm trying to tease out as many of the nuances of this approach as I can based on what little material survives...


Chris, could you possibly post what you've found? It has seemed to me that the Stoics thought on more of a cosmic scale that can't easily be applied to the astrology of personality and temperament.

Quote:
...although at this point I'm starting to think that the full reconstruction of the model is going to require a lot of conceptual speculation based on only a few scraps.


This is the impression I've been getting as well: conceptional speculation because there's not much to go on.

Quote:
The results would be worthwhile though, because it would allow us to have a conceptual model for interpreting the elements that actually matches the original motivation underlying their assignments.


I'm wondering if there even was an original motivation in relation to astrology. It seems to me at this time that Valens took the philosophy of the Stoics, and more or less tossed a few concepts into his astrology. Here is an example: (I'll use S for Schmidt, R for Riley and G for Gehrz)

Valens separates the signs into two groups, fire and air on one hand and earth and water on the other.

He calls fiery and airy signs [S: ascending; R: upward-trending; G: inclined or carried upwards]

He calls earthy and watery signs [S: descending; R: downward trending; G: inclined-downwards]

Then we look at this from the Stoic perspective:

"The universe is said to fall under two principles: an active principle which is rational, and a passive principle which is matter without any qualities."

The active is eternal and penetrates all matter. It can be called "the craftsman." Fire is pre-eminent, commanding, and the element from which the others emerge in the order of air, water and earth. Fire and air are active, water and earth are passive.

A blend of fire and air make up the soul of animals (including the human animal) and nature. The human soul is rational in that it can use judgement to accept or reject what is presented to it. This ability provides the basis of action. (The unspoken word here is perhaps that earth and water don't have that ability and so are "passive"!?)

Fire and air are sustaining; water and earth are sustained.

So then we come to Valens on signs of the zodiac:

Beginning with Aries (fiery), which he calls "commanding and just, authoritative, bold in purpose."

Taurus (earthy) is "unprolific, semi-vocal, mute, common, incomplete..."

I've only chosen a few words of Valens' discription of these two signs to make a point. I have yet to make a thorough study of all he says about the twelve signs, but we can perhaps see that he rates the "higher" Stoic element of fire over the "lower" element of earth. (I can expand on this later and reference the remaining signs.) There are also some curiosities in his description of signs that I'll try to review. Again, there seems to be a connection with the philosophy of the Stoics. There is a Stoic explanation as to why he calls the airy signs [S: effeminate; R: feminizing; G: womanish] (Though these are masculine signs.)

Please correct me, Chris, if necessary. I believe you've done a lot more research on Stoic philosophy than I have. This is pretty deep water, and as astrologers we're rather out of our depth. Speaking for myself at least!

Therese
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese wrote:
Quote:
I have gone back and reviewed the thread you referenced and read your posts. I've also reviewed the Greenbaum book which I have filled with sticky notes and underlines. Due to my rather poor memory I had forgotten much of her discussion on the elements. Yet, when all is said and done, she has a chart on page 88, "Analysis of Temperament in the Natal Chart." This chart has the standard elements according to Aristotle in relation to triplicities. "Hot and wet" for air signs, "hot and dry" for fire signs, etc.


Its undeniable that Dorian Greenbaum concentrates on the main tradition of astrological temperament. Her book would be a very odd work indeed if it airbrushed out the only tradition of qualities linked to signs to pass on to medieval and renaissance astrology. Her book is after all a work examining the tradition of temperament as it evolved western astrology not a might have been 'sliding doors' alternatve astrological history. To seek to resurrect a long neglected Stoic approach as you and Chris are doing is a very different project.

Having said that Greenbaum is fully aware of this issue as she points out in her book:

Quote:
The Stoics
So let us turn to the Stoics, whose school began with Zeno of Citium in around 300BCE. Like Empedocles, Plato and Aristotle before him, Zeno believed in the theory of the four elements composing the physical world. However, unlike Aristotelian, only one quality was assigned to each of the four elements. Thus, fire is associated with hot and air with cold ; fire and air are the ‘active’ elements. Water and earth, the ‘passive’ elements, are associated with wet and dry respectively.
These associations have great ramifications for astrological theory. Both Stoic and Aristotelian philosophy were incorporated into Hellenistic astrology, and the principles of both concerning elements (especially, Aristotlian, for temperament) and cosmology ( especially Stoic) were used by astrologers in the Greek-speaking world from Ptolemy to Olypiodorus and beyond. Temperament : Astrology’s Forgotten Key, p14, Dorian Greenbaum, 2005.


We appear to have three contrasting approaches to applying qualities to signs offered to us in 2nd century CE astrology. In essence that of Ptolemy, Valens and Galen. As we all know it was Galen’s approach, originating from medical astrology, that emerged as the predominant model so that by the time of Abu’Mashar it was the unquestioned paradigm of qualities linked to signs.

I think Ptolemy’s perspective is equally as intriguing as that of Valens. Ptolemy’s approach is both naturalistic in being linked to the solar seasons and the domicile rulerships. Fertile signs are linked to the benefics (Taurus, Sagittarius, Libra and Pisces). They have the quality of moistness which is life affirming. Signs linked to the malefics are either cold (Capricorn and Aquarius) or dry (Aries and Scorpio). Both these qualities are traditionally seen as destructive in excess symbolised by the malefics. I confess the signs I have main difficulty clarifying the quality for in Ptolemy’s system are the mercury ruled signs. Ptolemy simply states the mercury ruled signs form a sextile to the luminaries but doesn’t state an explicit quality. On reflection it seems that a dry quality may fit the traditional association of Mercury. Due to its common mutable nature though its difficult to be emphatic here. there is certainly an argument that diurnal signs tend to more warmth in general terms. Thus it would seem logical for Gemini to have some of the warmth of the day while Virgo has the coolness of the night. I need more time to reflect on this and will come back to this topic later in the thread.

We can obviously apply this kind of sect based logic to the other signs. Hence for Aquarius we see the diurnal sign of the diurnal planet Saturn as relatively less cold than Capricorn due to the daylight warmth. In terms of the luminaries Cancer is a nocturnal sign and its ruler the Moon is a nocturnal planet. Hence of the luminaries Cancer is warm but not as hot as the Sun. Its warmth comes puerly from the collection of light from the Sun. Ptolemy actually, consider the Moon as a life affirming benefic when it has the light of the Sun. Unlike the later medieval tradition Ptolemy describes the Moon’s essential nature as warm and moist.

So is Ptolemy’s approach Aristotelian or actually more reminiscent of a Stoic approach? His approach clearly has some links to the Stoics with a single quality attributed to each sign. Equally, there appears to be a diamtrical opposition between qualities in line with the ways the Stoics suggested. However, as so often with Ptolemy he appears to have evolved his own approach. Hence the air signs are not all associated with cold as a purely Stoic approach would suggest. More fundamentally, Ptolemy doesn't arrange the qualities to signs by triplicity.

In short:

Aries (dry)–Libra (moist)
Taurus (moist)-Scorpio (dry)
Gemini-(dry?)-Sagittarius (moist)
Cancer (warm)-Capricorn (cold)
Leo (hot)-Aquarius (cold)
Virgo (dry)-Pisces (moist)

Mark
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‘’As thou conversest with the heavens, so instruct and inform thy minde according to the image of Divinity…’’ William Lilly


Last edited by Mark on Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:43 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
Posts: 1361
Location: California, USA

Posted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:

Quote:
However, as so often with Ptolemy he appears to have evolved his own approach. Hence the air signs are not all associated with cold as a purely Stoic approach would suggest.

In short:

Aries (dry)–Libra (moist)
Taurus (moist)-Scorpio (dry)
Gemini-(dry?)-Sagittarius** (moist)
Cancer (hot)-Capricorn (cold)
Leo (hot)-Aquarius (cold)
Virgo (dry?)-Pisces (moist)


Mark, isn't this playing havoc with sect and nocturnal/diurnal triplicity rulerships? Those were such a solid part of Hellenistic astrology. And if you take all the moist signs, for example (Libra, Taurus, Pisces, Sag), these signs have hardly anything in common with each other via observed traits. They are from four different triplicities! So I really can't see this working with the zodiac signs as we know them. (Tropical or Sidereal)

Though I've done some research and thinking on the Stoic elements, I reserve judgement as to whether they belong with the trigons in the psychological sense, though they may work with lunar cycles and weather prediction. I haven't studied the correlation enough to come to a conclusion, except that these elements do tend to agree with planetary lords and exaltations in the signs.

Therese
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