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Aristotle's Elements and the Zodiac: Astrologers' Error?
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Petr



Joined: 25 Aug 2008
Posts: 78
Location: Czech Republic

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Assigning qualities planets has not been uniform for all astrologers.

The status is in the table:

Sun Moon Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn

Ptolemaios hot+dry hot+wet cold+dry hot+wet hot+dry hot+wet cold+dry

Abu Ma’shar hot+dry cold+wet cold+dry cold+wet hot+dry hot+wet cold+dry

equally Abu Ma'shar: Al-Biruni, Ibn Ezra, Lilly...

Kusyar hot+dry cold+wet cold+dry hot+wet hot+dry hot+wet cold+dry
Morin hot+dry cold+wet cold+dry hot+wet hot+dry hot+dry cold+dry

equally Morin: Wronski, Yelow, Kefer...


Last edited by Petr on Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Petr wrote:
Quote:

Ptolemaios hot+cold hot+wet cold+dry hot+wet hot+dry hot+wet cold+dry


Hi Petr,

I feel this description is too much of an over simplification of what Ptolemy actually said and misses all his subtleties. As I have already stated his position on Mercury depends on planetary phase. Moreover, in Ptolemy's system Jupiter is not essentially 'hot and wet' as you state. Jupiter as the great benefic is warm (not hot) and moist. The benefics avoid the extremes characteristic of the malefics. Saturn is not simply cold + dry. According to Ptolemy the essential characteristic of Saturn is its coldness and its dryness is secondary. Similarly, for Ptolemy Mars is primarily dry and its hotness secondary. That is why a straighforward imposition of Aristotelian qualities on to Ptolemy's system is too unsophisticated to properly capture his ideas.

Mark
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Petr



Joined: 25 Aug 2008
Posts: 78
Location: Czech Republic

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark,

We are not in conflict.
The values ​​given are medium. Essential qualities are continuously variable.
The value depends on the position of the planets. Planets have a primary or complementary basic quality.Therefore, I'm talking about the axis of the old rulers.
My view is based on the ratio of basic qualities.The elements are a combination of basic qualities.I see the use of Aristotle's logic here.

Petr
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Petr,

I see you cite the Sun as hot and cold under Ptolemy. But surely its hot and dry?

Interesting that Kusyar and Morin had Venus as hot and wet. I had assumed that idea totally disappeared in the medieval period. Thanks for those references.

I am intrigued how Morin works out Jupiter is hot and dry! Confused
He was no respector of tradition and was clearly quite willing to sweep out out the old ideas where he disagreed with them. Still, Jupiter dry? Shocked

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



Joined: 22 Feb 2011
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Location: California, USA

Posted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
Therese wrote: A Third Way---Aristotle's Qualities of hot, cold, wet and dry: I'm surprised that these haven't been given more attention by astrologers. They seem to present the best correlation with triplicities when ruling and exalted planets are taken into consideration. These qualities are the basic components that combine to make up the elements, and each has its own distinct personality, so to speak.

Quote:
Well we do have a system presented by Ptolemy. Very Happy


Ptolemy doesn't give any characteristics to his qualities. He merely names them and then uses them in his own way.

Quote:
The 'problem' you identify with Ptolemy has another description...the tropical zodiac! As you are a committed siderealist I didn't really expect you to come round to Ptolemy's way of thinking.


Let's not forget that I used the Tropical zodiac for ten years, and was trained by Jeff Mayo at the very well regarded London Faculty of Astrological Studies. I have nothing but the highest regard for British education. I've also attended many seminars and classes by well known Tropical astrologers. So I can do a type of "double think" in relation to the signs in the two zodiacs. I have a fairly complete library of books by Tropical authors, Rob Hand being my favorite.

Quote:
Ptolemy's system is broadly influenced by Aristotle but doesn't adopt a simplistic approach of trying to pidgeon hole each sign into a hot, cold, wet and dry perspective. In Ptolemy's system there is more of a continuum within these.


Yes, you've explained that very well, and I understand what Ptolemy does. But this is an entirerly different use of Aristotle's qualities. I'll try to explain in a new topic: "Traditional Techniqes in the Sidereal"

As an added note, I've been reviewing some of Ben Dykes' wonderful articles and translations, and I see that Valens did make his way into the Arabic astrological literature. That must be the source of the extensive descriptions of planetary traits that we don't see in Hellenistic writers after Ptolemy. Velens seems to have been mainly discarded in favor of Ptolemy in the Hellenistic tradition.

Therese
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james_m



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Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what is astrological about the elements?

it seems to me that they are a philosophical construct that someone tried to attach to astrology. while the planets have characteristics, and some would say the signs, whether tropical or sidereal have characteristics, it mostly seems to me someone wanted to latch something onto astrology that wasn't astrological way back when... now it looks astrological, as it is a part of the history..
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
what is astrological about the elements?

it seems to me that they are a philosophical construct that someone tried to attach to astrology. while the planets have characteristics, and some would say the signs, whether tropical or sidereal have characteristics, it mostly seems to me someone wanted to latch something onto astrology that wasn't astrological way back when... now it looks astrological, as it is a part of the history..


I believe they have been misused in astrology, yes. They have been divorced from their original philosophical meanings.
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Mark
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Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese wrote:
Quote:
The problem that Ptolemy presents is that he has made the qualities seasonal, related to climate, temperature and weather. This wasn't the primary meaning of Aristotle's qualities. So I believe we have been left with a jumbled understanding of the four qualities according to Aristotle. I'm not a scholar of Aristotle's principles and philosophy, but it's possible to obtain something of a student's understanding of his four qualities of hot, cold, wet and dry. I will try to put together a post on that topic in relation to the zodiac.


Mark wrote:
Quote:
The 'problem' you identify with Ptolemy has another description...the tropical zodiac! As you are a committed siderealist I didn't really expect you to come round to Ptolemy's way of thinking.


Therese wrote:
Quote:
Let's not forget that I used the Tropical zodiac for ten years, and was trained by Jeff Mayo at the very well regarded London Faculty of Astrological Studies. I have nothing but the highest regard for British education. I've also attended many seminars and classes by well known Tropical astrologers. So I can do a type of "double think" in relation to the signs in the two zodiacs. I have a fairly complete library of books by Tropical authors, Rob Hand being my favorite.


Hello Therese,

My comment wasn't meant to put you on the spot personally. You have no need to confirm any credentials to post here. Its just that Ptolemy is the main originator of modern tropical astrology ( based on 0 Aries as the equinox). The tropical zodiac is essentially, a seasonal zodiac so the case I was making would seem harder to accept on a deep level if you are coming from a sidereal perspective. I certainly wasn't trying to be patronising or chauvanistic in suggesting a siderealist couldn't fully understand my point!

I am no authority on Aristotle but I find it hard to accept his version of the elements theory (there are several remember) was completely divorced from natural phenomena like the seasons. However, unlike you I dont regard compliance with Aristotle as the final arbiter in deciding on qualities assigned to planets and signs. I am more of a Platonist than an Aristotelian.

Mark
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese wrote:
Quote:
The problem that Ptolemy presents is that he has made the qualities seasonal, related to climate, temperature and weather. This wasn't the primary meaning of Aristotle's qualities.


I would say that they are. The Aristotlelian principles (which can be traced back in their roots to older, Babylonian principles) are used to offer a rationale of the origin of life, the definition of what causes things to be animated, and the cycles of growth and decay. They arise out of all of the things you mentioned above. Aristotle is prominent but he is only a link in the chain. He brought philosophical clarity to arguments developed by others. The last issue of the Mountain Astrologer carries an article where I discuss the lingering influence of Hippocrates on temperament theory. It's very clear from what we have of his works, or those attributed to him, that season, climate, temperature and weather defines the temperament, along with things like physical landscape, genetic influences, quality of air and daily diet. These are the ideas that were 'in the air' and occupying the minds of philosophers like Aristotle. I show how in my article how these ideas link to passages in Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos, to demonstrate how Ptolemy was only explaining (and not originating) astrological ideas that have a much older legacy, and which remain pertinent to modern references (such as we find in Jung) of how astrology is the analysis of the quality of the moment of time in any specific place.

Ancient philosophers approached these ideas with different perspectives and many internal debates. Aristotle presented certain ideas that are not found in the teachings of the Stoics and vice versa. The astrological theory which is presented by Ptolemy is righly described by most astrological historicans as being drawn from both sources and offering a combination of Aristotelian and Stoic philosophy. This is what characterises the astrological theory that was taught in medieval universities according to Ptolemaic principles - the fact that its reasoning is a unique astrological combination of those prevailing philosophies. So I wonder about how much benefit we get by trying to establish a 'purer' scheme which is more distinctly one or the other. I agree it's useful to understand where the ideas come from, and how they developed, but there could also be a point where we seperate ideas too much and then start to lose the philosophical cohesiveness that binds influential and persuasive astrological theories together.
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Petr



Joined: 25 Aug 2008
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Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark,

I thank you for the correction Smile .The error crept in.I wrote the first line wrong for all authors.It's fixed.
Morin writes:
Quote:
Chapter 1.
That Ptolemy, Cardan, and the other Old Astrologers made Many Errors in Handing down the Elemental Nature of the Planets.


He was not the first who criticized Ptolemy.Jofrancus Offusius(1505- 1570) writes(De Divina Astrorum facultate, In laruatam Astrologiam):

Quote:
In book I, chapter 3 he(Ptolemy) asserts that the Moon humidifies because he says that it comes near to the Earth, from whence humid exhalations issue forth.Likewise, he says that Saturn dries things because it is furthes from the Earth's humidity.Now surely it is not a wise saying to claim that the eternal is self-evident by comparsion with the corruptible.Yet, in the same way, his reasons imprison us: for it would follow that Jupiter is drying up because it falls between two drying, since he says that stars carried betwen a cooling and and a heating are tempered.And there are other things from him that are unworthy of a man who is a philosopher.


Offusius makes the first quantitative classification of the essential qualities.
Morin criticizes his mistakes in the 13 book Astrologia Gallica.He publishes a table middle distribution essential qualities there.He justifies why Jupiter is to be hot and dry.Is Morin the real author of the table?That is the question.
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petosiris



Joined: 08 Oct 2017
Posts: 141

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know why no one mentioned what Ptolemy says in 3.11 (Robbins).

Aries, Taurus, Gemini are moistening and heating (Air)
Cancer, Leo, Virgo are heating and drying (Fire)
Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius are drying and cooling (Earth)
Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces are cooling and moistening (Water)

In 1.10, he mentions only the first qualities, which is in accordance with Aristotle, that the second quality is only moderately present within these elements and seasons.

Source: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Ptolemy/Tetrabiblos/3C*.html#11

''Rhetorius'' (Thesaurus) also mentions describes this scheme in more detail, perhaps drawing on Antiochus, he says the Sun in Aries, Taurus and Gemini makes air, ''which is spring'', and so on for the remaining, again, using the quadrants like Ptolemy.

Of course, in 2.11, Ptolemy describes specific natures of the signs (like Sagittarius is windy), and apparently the constellations within them.

And Jupiter can't be dry because that would make him malefic or common, which is contrary to observation.
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SGFoxe



Joined: 13 Apr 2006
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Location: Chicago, IL

Posted: Wed May 15, 2019 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in the Chinese metaphysical hierachies ... there is a creative and a destructive cycle of the five elements which have planetary nuances ... for instance water/fire/wood as a destructive triad ... and, come to think of it, the ancient Persians would demand earth and water as a symbol of defeat to assert their dominance
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