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Tropical origins of exaltations?

 
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Graham F



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Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:20 pm    Post subject: Tropical origins of exaltations? Reply with quote

Hello

I am quite happy and convinced, in practice, by the classical rulerships of the signs when applied sidereally (they are symbolically satisfactory and symmetrical, and they work), but not by the exaltations. Exceptions are perhaps Moon and Venus in relation to the Sun: Moon exalted just ahead of the Sun, when it reappears waxing, Venus just behind, where it is a bright morning star). Tropically they are a little more convincing theoretically: in addition to those already cited, there is also "Sun not too far from the VP, Saturn opposite".)

There are various hypotheses that have been put forward for the exaltaion arrangement, such as the chakra arrangement found in some Indian-inspired works (Mars= base chakra, Jupiter 3rd eye, Sun solar plexus etc). But Saturn and the Moon at the heart is odd. And this hypothesis ignores specific degrees, which astrologers don't really seem to know how to use, but are definitely part of the history of the exaltations.

There's also the Thema Mundi theory, or the Nabu temple one (Fagan), but these seem rather like the "a posteriori" explanations that astrologers are so good at, and really beg the question – why are those points so special?

I recently read Deborah Houldings "The Classical Basis of Antiscia" here on Skyscript. She notes that:
"Manilius's description differs from that of Firmicus because he uses the centre of Cancer and Capricorn as his reference points, linking the sign of Gemini to Leo, Taurus to Virgo, Aries to Libra, Pisces to Scorpio, and Aquarius to Sagittarius. The obvious explanation for this shift of reference is that the use of antiscia as an astrological technique has a very long history, originating from the time when 15° Aries marked the Vernal Equinox and the middle degrees of Cancer and Capricorn corresponded with the solstices" In a note, she adds: "References to the vernal point in the 15th degree of Aries are preserved in the writings of Achilles and Eudoxus. The vernal point fell near the 15th degree of Aries around 800 BC, so it is from this period that we can assume the zodiac (12 equally spaced signs of 30°) began to emerge as a replacement for the visible constellations in astronomical measurement.)".

Could a similar precessional slippage, but not adjusted for over time in this case, suggest an explanation for the origin of the exaltations? The tropical argument that the Sun is exalted at its Spring equinox position, while Saturn exalts when the Sun is declining at the Autumn equinox, is the most convincing one I've found. In this respect, it's interesting to note that in Indian (sidereal, or perhaps "re-siderealised") astrology, most of the values are the same as in the Western (Hellenistic) tradition, which is generally thought to come from Babylon but perhaps Egypt, but the degree for the Sun has "precessed" by 9°, that of Jupiter by 10°, and that of Saturn by 1°: 10 Aries, 5 Cancer and 20 Libra respectively).

So I wonder if, rather like the antiscia, the exaltation degrees may not originally have been sidereal degree placements of tropically defined points (i.e. degrees in relation to equinox/solstice points). Maybe approximations for equinox and solstice points, noted at different epochs and not corrected, because later misunderstood?
If we postulate that the shift in degree of Sun's and Jupiter's exaltations between the probably sidereally expressed Hellenistic and Indian values is due to precessional slippage, then we could construct a new list of (ordinal) exaltation degrees shifted proportionally forward by 18° from the Hellenistic positions to bring Sun to the conventional modern tropical vernal point at 0° Aries (1st degree of Aries, cardinal 0 Aries etc):

Sun : 0 Aries
Moon : 14 Aries
Mars : 9 Cap
Mercury : 26 Leo
Jupiter : 26 Gemini
Venus : 8 Pisces
Saturn : 2 Libra

(Expressed sidereally for today, with an ayanamsha in the region of Lahiri or Krishnamurti, some additional 24° would have to be deducted from these tropical values.)

We can see that Mars, Jupiter and Saturn fall close to solstice and equinox points. They are just in front or just after, probably too close for the difference to be explained as representing an effort to pinpoint heliacal rising points: this is not impossible, but it's perhaps more likely these values may have sought to pinpoint the actual equinoctial and solstice points.

The odd one out is of course Mercury. But Mercury's exaltation in Virgo has long posed a problem (I see that quite a few modern astrologers exalt it in Aquarius). Shouldn't all planets theoretically be able to be exalted at once, so could Mercury have been "pushed out" of Aries, Taurus or Pisces by Sun, Moon or Venus, or perhaps "hidden" by the Sun? I wonder if Mercury could not be seen as exalted when bright and rising before Sun, like Venus, or perhaps at the same point as the Sun (ideally, in cazimi)? But I'll leave Mercury out, initially.

A similar table to the above could be made working from the Indian values, but the Hellenistic ones look older and (slightly) more consistent – it looks as though some, but only some, of the Indian values (Sun, Jupiter, Saturn) have been revised for a later date.

So, rounding out the values, might the degrees that the exaltation points seek to represent be (tropical cardinal values):

Sun 0 Aries
Moon 15 Aries ?
Mars 0 Capricorn
Jupiter 0 Cancer
Venus 0 Pisces ? or 15 Pisces (since Venus is brightest when still a crescent)?
Saturn 0 Libra
(pure speculation: Mercury at 15 Pisces ? 0 Aries?)

Again, expressed sidereally for today, those placements would be about 24° less advanced in the zodiac, depending on ayanamsha.

Of course this would have a knock-on effect on all sorts of calculations which seem to have served many well, as well as explanations of the arrangements of the terms, etc., but I thought I'd share it anyway. Something similar may well already have been suggested by someone else, and I would be interested to have any references.

Graham


Last edited by Graham F on Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:32 am; edited 2 times in total
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lihin



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Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:25 am    Post subject: Many proposed explanations Reply with quote

Good morning,

The transmitted degree values of planetary kingships (exaltations) have been a favourite subject of several astrological authors for quite some time. Perhaps wisely, Klaudios Ptolomaios included no such values in Tetrabiblos, Book I, Section 19 Of Exaltations.

The 20th century French astrologer-author Monsieur Jacques Dorsan, founder of the 'French sidereal school', included a long chapter on the subject in his book Retour au zodiaque des étoiles that has not yet been translated into English.

The current US-American 'sidereal' astrologer and author, Mr Kenneth Bowser, following the writings of the 20th century Irish astrologer-author Mr Cyril Fagan, included a chapter on the question in his book published this year, An Introduction to Western Sidereal Astrology.

A leading German astrologer-author has recently developed a theory to fix a 'sidereal' zodiac with reference to the galactic centre and to determine the degrees of planetary exaltations by applying the 'Divine Proportion' or 'Golden Ratio' (an irrational number, about 1:1.618) in several ways to the zodiac thus fixed.

May one mention that at least one of the planetary exaltation degree values (cannot recall which at the moment) in Indian astrology differs from its value in Hellenistic astrology?

Best regards,

lihin
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Graham F



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Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to Lihin for the references. I haven't read Dorsan. I have read a good deal of Fagan (Nabu temple, heliacal risings, etc), so I expect Bowser doesn't have much to add, if he bases his work on Fagan.
Lihin writes:
Quote:
May one mention that at least one of the planetary exaltation degree values (cannot recall which at the moment) in Indian astrology differs from its value in Hellenistic astrology?


One may indeed, and I did in my post, which can be read above. It was this that started me thinking there may have been "precessional slippage". After quoting Deborah Houlding on the probable precessional movement of the antiscia axis, I wrote:
Quote:
Could a similar precessional slippage, but not adjusted for over time in this case, suggest an explanation for the origin of the exaltations? The tropical argument that the Sun is exalted at its Spring equinox position, while Saturn exalts when the Sun is declining at the Autumn equinox, is the most convincing one I've found. In this respect, it's interesting to note that in Indian (sidereal, or perhaps "re-siderealised") astrology, most of the values are the same as in the Western (Hellenistic) tradition, which is generally thought to come from Babylon but perhaps Egypt, but the degree for the Sun has "precessed" by 9°, that of Jupiter by 10°, and that of Saturn by 1°: 10 Aries, 5 Cancer and 20 Libra respectively).

In a word, the ones which differ are Sun, Jupiter and Saturn.

Graham
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lihin



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Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:35 pm    Post subject: Use of degrees? Reply with quote

Good afternoon,

To the best of my current feeble knowledge, some Hellenistic astrologers, ex. gr. Vettius Valens, used degrees of planetary kingships to determine a cycle starting at the degree and returning there with stronger or weaker 'winds' of varying directions in the cycle's four quarters.

Mr Kenneth Bowser has indeed elaborated Mr Cyril Fagan's reference to 'sidereal' (but equal-length signs) positions in a specific year during the 8th century BCE. Monsieur Jacques Dorsan took a different approach primarily involving sextiles to the exaltation degrees from bright fixed stars with qualities similar to the planet concerned.

My own meagre understanding to date is that 'sidereal' zodiacs with equal-length signs are compromises between the unequal astronomical constellations and the desire for more precise time measurement incited by the late stone age shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture. They attempt to maintain symbolism based on the mythology and agricultural connexions assigned once upon a time to the ecliptical constellations whilst supporting more accurate timing with fixed-length units (degrees, minutes, seconds). As Dr Fox has mentioned, the geocentric procession of the fixed stars has made it quite difficult to 'have one's cake and eat it'. The agricultural seasons of the northern hemisphere are no longer aligned with the relevant astronomical constellations.

Antiscia and contra-antiscia are quite awkward in practice except when using a tropical zodiac. Until now i have heard of no astrologers who routinely use both a 'sidereal' equal-sign zodiac and antiscia. The latter are based on the symmetries amongst the rising times of the tropical signs.

Klaudios Ptolomaios, adopting the tropical zodiac of the northern hemisphere, mostly abandoned the direct relationship of astrological zodiacal delineations to symbolism based on mythologies attributed to the unequal astronomical constellations. This abandonment should, if one in my humble opinion applies the methods correctly, be balanced by routinely including fixed star configurations and delineations in chart analyses based on a tropical zodiac. As one can read for example in books by Mr John Worsdale (19th century), this was indeed standard practice until rather recently. There is, however, still considerable controversy if ecliptical fixed star positions, positions in right ascension and / or paranatellonta are better or perhaps complementary.

Best regards,

lihin
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Graham F



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Posted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wrote
Quote:
Something similar may well already have been suggested by someone else, and I would be interested to have any references.

Just to be clear, I really meant that I'd be interested in references or ideas concerning this specific idea that the exaltation degress may have been points on the ecliptic of the solstices and equinoxes, originally expressed sidereally. To be precise, I'm wondering if the Sun and the outer planets were not perhaps assigned to those four angles of the year, while Venus, Mercury and Moon were exalted at points determined by their phases in the vicinity of the Sun's exaltation at VP (or perhaps around the Sun wherever it was).
I realise that that have been innumerable other hypotheses about the origin of the exaltations, a number of which I have already mulled over.
I didn't intend this thread to deal with the sidereal tropical debate per se, or how the zodiac is divided into twelve parts, or ancient mythologies versus Ptolemy etc. Just the exaltation degrees.
Graham
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waybread



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Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another view is that exaltations are Babylonian in origin, 1st millenium BC, prior to the development of Hellenistic astrology. They were called "secret places" of the planets. I'm sure I got this from the work of Francesca Rochberg (author of The Heavenly Writing: Divination, Horoscopy, and Astronomy in Mesopotamian Culture) but I'd have to dig for the reference. Egyptologist Joanne Conman argued that exaltations were much older and of Egyptian Origin. ("The Egytpian Origins of Plentary Hypsomata," Discussions in Egyptology, 64 (2006-9):7-20.

Either theory would be pretty much sidereal.
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Graham F



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Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Waybread
Sorry I've been SO long picking up this thread, partly because of following up on your leads.
As you say, the exaltaions are generally considered to be Babylonian, 1st millennium BC, in origin. Cyril Fagan, amongst other, proposed this, and Rochberg goes into it, as you say. An interesting article by Chris Brennan points out that that the earliest "secret places" were all in Scorpio (or Libra – they almost look like a candidate for the origin of the concept of Via Combusta…) and only in the Hellenic period did thy settle more or less into there present exaltation places:
http://horoscopicastrologyblog.com/2008/11/16/the-questionable-origins-of-the-exaltations-in-astrology/

The article you mention by Joanne Conman can be consulted on the web:
http://www.academia.edu/418596/The_Egyptian_Origins_of_Planetary_Hypsomata

There is a more in-depth treatment of the same subject by Conman ("It's about Time: Ancient Egyptian Cosmology") which can be consulted by registering for a JStor account (free): http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/25152883?uid=3738016&uid=4577127397&uid=2&uid=3&uid=60&sid=21101544043323

Conman's argument, which seems well supported, is that the decans were already equal 10° segments of the ecliptic as early as 2000BC (Asyut coffins); they were pinpointed by the heliacal rising of stars which were near, but not necessarily very near, the ecliptic. She dismisses Neugebauer's theory that the decans were a bound south of the ecliptic, and thus did not all rise at some time each 24 hours.
She equates certain "honoured" decans with the later Greek hypsomata, but as far as I can make out, this is simply by virtue of the pattern (four decans situated 7 and 20 decans inclusive away from each other which correspond to the locations of what later became established as the exaltations of Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Venus). She does not indicate that these decans were explicitly associated with particular planets by the Egyptians.
I certainly agree with you that the hypsomata, and the Egyptian decans which may lie behind them, were expressed sidereally, but although I do find the sidereal zodiac "works" much better for rulerships than tropical, I don't think Conman says anything to rule out the decans being perhaps conceived as sidereal markers to tropical phenomena, notably the annual flooding of the Nile in Summer. She says: "This model works at various times in Egypt's history, as well as at different locations throughout Egypt. While there are some differences in the actual stars that rise at different locations and/ or at different times in history, the pattern itself remains consistent." Conman doesn't explicitly say, when she gives Greek zoidia equivalents for the decans, whether she the positions are to be read sidereally or tropically, and she associates Regulus with the 3rd decan of Cancer, where it was tropically between about 900 and 100BC, whereas sidereally it's at 5-8 Leo, depending on ayanamsha (Regulus is helpful since, being practically on the ecliptic, it's heliacal rise is not muddled by latitude).
The choice of the heliacal rising of Sirius to mark the New Year would seem to reflect the unique feature of Sirius: it "wobbles" back and forth a bit over the years, but is not subject to the usual precessional movement in relation to the solstice/equinox (Wikipedia: "As prof. Jed Buchwald has pointed out, "Sirius remains about the same distance from the equinoxes — and so from the solstices — throughout these many centuries, despite precession." For the same reason, the helical rising (or zenith) of Sirius does not slip through the calendar (at the precession rate of about one day per 71.6 years), as other stars do. This remarkable stability within the solar year may be one reason that the Egyptians used it as a basis for their calendar whereas no other star would have sufficed. […] Sirius, due to its proper motion, remains practically stationary making it the ideal marker for ancient Egyptian planning purposes."
Conman also makes an interesting distinction between Babylonian star-gazing, which she sees as more spatial, and Egyptian which is more temporal: " The Babylonian constellations do not appear to have had any intrinsic characteristics that were transmissible to planets; rather, they functioned as the landscape, the scenery against which the planets and moon moved. This should not be surprising since people who use the stars for navigation, such as caravan traders or seafarers, rather naturally tend to see and think of the sky as map. But sedentary people who use the stars primarily for timekeeping just as naturally tend to associate certain cyclic events on earth with the appearance of coinciding celestial phenomena. The correlation suggests cause and effect. The latter is, of course, exactly what the ancient Egyptians did with the heliacal rise of Sirius and the Inundation."

Of course, at a deeper level, time=space and vice versa, but on a more obvious level, a tropical conception of the zodiac is perhaps pore obviously time-based, a sidereal one seeing the sky more as a space. I don't find in practice that the conventional tropical exaltation degrees give better delineations than sidereal, rather the contrary (at least for Mars), but I'm a tad uncomfortable about using systems whose logic pretty much escapes me.
Thanks again for pointing me in the direction of J. Conman.
Graham
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Graham F



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Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just found the thread on Egyptian/Hellenistic astrology in the "News, Books..." section, which contains an overview of the question by Mark and an excellent bibliography by Waybread - more reading!
http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5935
Graham
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Graham F



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Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found another old thread dealing with the sort of questions I was asking in this one (origins of exaltations, possible association withe the solstices and equinoxes):
http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4554
One thing that bothers me a bit is the easy assumption that the Nothern Path of the Babylonians would be associated with the Summer solstice, the Southern path with the Winter:
Quote:
The northern the middle and the southern path. These were related to the solstices and the equinoxes. [...] The three paths would be different, the winter path longer below the horizon than above and vice versa for the summer path. The middle path equal time.

Rumen Kolev is also quoted as saying Jupiter is associated with the Northern path and the 4th Month (i.e. tropical Cancer). But when the Sun is in the Northern path, if this includes tropical Cancer, you can't see any planets in it at night, because it's the southern path, lower in the sky, which is visible at night. Perhaps we are assuming the Babylonians meant where Jupiter would be if it was visible. But it is perhaps more likely that they would associate the summer solstice with stars appearing with the full moon at that time, or the stars rising in the east at the time of the new crescent moon (i.e. in both cases the southern path, low in the sky).
But I've now got plenty of reading to follow up...
Graham
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Graham,

I would have participated earlier in this thread but I felt you were focusing too narrowly for me on the exaltation degrees as opposed to the basic topic of the origin of the exaltations in general.

I have posted a fair bit on this topic in the past but dont mind getting involved here if we can widen the topic a tad.

Mark
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Graham F



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark
Yes, of course take "degrees" in a very wide sense. I was very interested in this from Gavin:
Quote:
The Gu-text lists the constellations in very rough North-South columns. The text is incomplete but does explicitly mention Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn as follows:

String E – ‘Jupiter behind the Crab [Cancer] in front of the Lion [Leo]’
String K – ‘Mercury with the Furrow [eastern half of Virgo] in front of the Raven [Corvus]’
String L – ‘Saturn in front of the Scales [Libra]’

All this is obviously sidereal - but could it represent marking of tropical phenomena (probably solstices for Jupiter and Saturn)?
Graham
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Graham F



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Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just found Gavin White's article on Skyscript:
http://www.skyscript.co.uk/exaltations.html#4back
which confirms what I suspected. In White's view:
Quote:
The basic pattern emphasises the great cross of the solstices and equinoxes - Jupiter and Mars, the most beneficial and malevolent planets, are located close to the stars that, by their rising, mark the summer and winter solstices respectively. On the equinoxial arms of the cross, Saturn occupies a position close to the autumn equinox, and opposite it, at the station of the New Year, are the Sun and Moon. The Sun marking the spring equinox proper while the Moon occupies its ideal calendrical position at the start of the year in the west. The Exaltations of Mercury and Venus are a little more problematic as they don't fit into the solstice-equinox pattern. So far the only reasonable explanation put forward is that they are 'precursors of autumn and spring' respectively.

All this seems very logical, and corresponds more or less to what I speculated in my first post, plus Mercury as "precursor of autumn" (rising heliacally before the equinox Sun, like Venus in spring):
Quote:

Sun 0 Aries
Moon 15 Aries ?
Mars 0 Capricorn
Jupiter 0 Cancer
Venus 15 Pisces ?
Saturn 0 Libra

Doesn't it look as if the current exaltation need to find their Ptolemy, to fix them at the equinoxes/solstices? Particularly for the Moon, which, if White is correct, should fall in mid "Aries" (modern tropical).
White goes on to mention the earlier "Astrolabe" texts from the late 2nd millenium BC, which divide the ecliptic sky into 3 (equatorially defined) bands through which the sun and planets move in the year, and which place Jupiter in the north in June/July), Venus in the equatorial path in March-April, and Mars in the southern path in Month 9 (November-December).

I'm still a bit worried by this:
Quote:
The location of Jupiter's Exaltation is found between the constellations of the Crab and the Lion (Cancer and Leo) on the most northerly section of the ecliptic, where it's rising coincides with the summer solstice.

If Jupiter's rising coincided with the solstice sun, it couldn't be seen, and if it was heliacally rising before the solstice sun, it should be behind it in the zodiac (sidereally, the solstice was in mid Cancer around 700 BC). We must be assuming, then, that they worked out it's position rather than observing it.
Graham
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james_m



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Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi graham,
i am trying to understand a few things in this so maybe you or someone else could help me out here. quote from gavin white "The basic pattern emphasises the great cross of the solstices and equinoxes - Jupiter and Mars, the most beneficial and malevolent planets, are located close to the stars that, by their rising, mark the summer and winter solstices respectively. "

i was unaware that mars was considered the ''most'' malevolent planet. i always thought saturn got that honour.

what i'd like to know is how has he latched them onto the summer and winter solstice here? is he saying the heliacal rising of jupiter and mars always happens in the same part of the zodiac and it happens to be next to stars that mark the summer and winter solstice like it sounds like he is saying? what stars do you think they would happen to be? 3 questions and if you have any ideas on any of them - please share your thoughts.

here is a fun little tool for exploring heliacal rising.
http://astro.unl.edu/classaction/animations/ancientastro/heliacalrisingsim.html
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Graham F



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Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James
White doesn't specifically say that Jupiter and Mars are places in the Babylonian texts are at there heliacal risings; he says that (as I understand him) only for Venus, Moon and Mercury. Jupiter is "between Cancer and Leo", and Saturn "in the Scales" (the Gu-text says "in front of the Scales, i.e. in early Libra?). The Sun he says is at the "Spring equinox proper", with Venus preceding it, Moon following it.
Jupiter would thus be on the summer solstice point some time in the 2nd millenium BC. Satunr (whihc is associated witth Sun) does not seem to be asmalefic as for us, at all. I think this tallies with ancient mythology - a "Golden Age" of Saturn etc. For Mars, he just says it's in the stars of the Goatfish: "As the most malevolent planet his special station has probably been placed on the lowest sector of the ecliptic to nullify his detrimental influence.
So Jupiter, most beneficial, would mark SS, Mars, most malefic the WS. Saturn marks the WS point (perhaps preceding it, by heliacal rising - if the autumn equinox is in late Libra, Saturn's place in early Libra would allow this).
Quote:
is he saying the heliacal rising of jupiter and mars always happens in the same part of the zodiac and it happens to be next to stars that mark the summer and winter solstice like it sounds like he is saying? what stars do you think they would happen to be?

Not sure if you're thinking sidereally or tropically. Tropically, of course the stars marking the solstices will change. Sidereally the positions of the solstices will change. White says that Jupiter is "between Cancer and Leo", "'Jupiter behind the Crab (Cancer) in front of the Lion (Leo)'", etc. So he's talking about constellations and stars. That would date the idea to the 2nd millenium BC, when the SS was there. Saturn is not quite so clear, but seems to be deliberatly opposite the Sun, and White puts the Sun at the equinow "proper". Maybe they forget to move Mars back as precession kicked in, and left him right at the end of Capricorn (where the WS was sidereally when the SS was "between the Crab and the Lion").

It all seems logical to me - looks like the exaltations could be tropical in logic (expressed sidereally) and should be considered to mark the solstices and equinoxes, once they've been "straightened out". Even if the equinoxes and solstices were pinpointed by associated heliacal risngs of stars, it would also seem logical tha what they were trying to get at, with the "grand cross", was the points proper, not somewhere rising before them (except for the inner planets, Ve, Me, Mo, which would have this "herald" funcion).

Afraid I can't say more about what Gavin White means precisely, but that's how I understand it.
Graham
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Graham F



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Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
I have posted a fair bit on this topic in the past but dont mind getting involved here if we can widen the topic a tad.

I've changed the title of the thread, and a number of the points raised (possible Egyptian decan origin, Babylonian solstice/equinox origin) are not specifically about degrees. I mentioned degrees because I thought it was generally accepted that the exaltations were originally specific degrees, later extended to whole signs. I thought the degrees or degree areas may have preceded the organisation into signs.
So far, I'm pretty convinced by White and Conman's arguments that wheter the exaltations are of Babylonian (probably) or Egyptian (maybe) origin, they probably were designed to mark seasonal phenomena such as the solstices and equinoxes.
I still also think a fully sidereal option imight be valid, where they mark a sort of "ideal" location of the tropical points, which only truly match up once in a precessional cycle.
Graham
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