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Valens: equal houses not whole signs
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Deb
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Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I agree that is a persuasive example in regard to Firmicus's use of lots.

Here is the link to the Culture and Cosmos edition that published his paper:
http://www.cultureandcosmos.org/issues/vol11.html

The page says it is being reprinted in 2013 so hopefully it is still available.

Also, Chris I wanted to ask you for a couple of refs if you don't mind. Where you say:

Quote:
Regardless of what Valens was doing, by the late Hellenistic tradition it seems clear to me that both Rhetorius and Olympiodorus were using whole sign houses and quadrant houses at the same time, so that the end result was a sort of hybrid approach rather than an either-or situation.


I'm not sure if you mean that they appear to do this in the same text, or that they consider meanings by quadrant division and whole-sign simultaneously within interpretation? Can you give a ref or two so I can see what you mean? (Feels like I'm playing reference swapsies today Smile )
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
Chris Brennan wrote:
The Michigan Papyrus says that Asclepius was the author of the Eight-Place system (Octatopos), and if you read carefully you will notice that in the delineations Valens will only derive the first 8 places relative to whatever house he is talking about.


Hi Chris, good to see you join in the conversation.

Can you expand a little on your comment here though? I am not sure why you consider that Valens only derives 8 places from a given place.


Hi Paul,

Sorry, I didn't state this point very clearly. I meant to say that in the delineations that Valens gives he only derives each house relative to one of the first 8 houses.

So for example, in the paragraph for the first house he says that it is the:

  • 11th relative to the 3rd.
  • 10th relative to the 4th.
  • 7th relative to the 7th.
  • 9th relative to the 5th.

Then he stops. So here he only ended up deriving from the 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 5th houses. Let's look at the 2nd house delineations for another example:

  • 12th relative to the 3rd.
  • 11th relative to the 4th.
  • 10th relative to the 5th.
  • 8th relative to the 7th.

And then again, he he stops there. It is the same with all 12 houses. He never gives the derivative house significations for what a house is relative to beyond the 8th.

The connection with Asclepius is not just that he is the alleged author of the Octatopos, but if you look at the list of significations that different authors give from the Octatopos it matches the specific topics Valens is deriving from. For example, Firmicus says that these are the significations in the Octatopos:

  1. Life
  2. Money/hope
  3. Brothers
  4. Parents
  5. Children
  6. Illness
  7. Spouse
  8. Death

This is consistent with the lists of significations that other authors give for the Octatopos. If you go through and note the significations of the houses that Valens is doing derivative houses from you will see that they all match the significations from the Octatopos. For example, in the 1st house paragraph he only derives from the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 5th, which he says are associated with brothers, parents, "women"/marriage partner, and children, respectively. It is the same for the rest of the delineations here.

It seems a little too coincidental for me that Valens invokes Asclepius when he introduces this section, and then only derives houses relative to the first 8 places while using the exact same significations as those associated with the Octatopos.
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Deb,

Deb wrote:


Chris Brennan wrote:
2. Valens (or his source) may be introducing equal houses specifically for the purpose of doing derivative houses.

I think the text itself makes that possibility unlikely:
    “First of all, it is necessary to calculate the positions of the Places in degrees: count from whatever point has been determined to be the Ascendant until you have completed the 30° of the first Place; this will be the Place of Life.”

What is the 1st place, of life, being derived from, if not from the ascendant? Besides which, we need to adopt a whole new theory to consider this. It would be a real screw-up of a system to have radical houses calculated one way but derived houses calculated in another. Fair enough, we cannot project our expectations backwards onto ancient authors, but if a proposal doesn’t make much practical sense to begin with, and there is a complete lack of evidence for it in all other available texts then I think we should consider it very unlikely; especially since contemporary works demonstrate that the principle was applied to radical houses.



It seems to me that there were a lot of different ideas and theories floating around in the early tradition, and some of them did contrast with or even contradict other important ideas.

For example, in the Dodekatopos associated with Hermes the topic of death is associated with the 7th house, but in the Octatopos it was associated with the 8th. Eventually at some point astrologers seem to have decided to go with the 8th, and the early attribution to the 7th was largely forgotten. This happened so long ago that it almost seems like the 8th has always been the proper house of death to us.

This is the reason why I think it is more important to try to work out what happened as best we can first, and then sort out what we consider to be more practically plausible in a contemporary context later. On the one hand, everything in the early tradition doesn't have to fit together perfectly, even if it often does a surprising amount of the time. On the other hand, sometimes if we reject things for not making practical sense to us then we overlook the ways in which it might have made sense to them.


Deb wrote:

Also, Chris I wanted to ask you for a couple of refs if you don't mind. Where you say:

Chris Brennan wrote:

Regardless of what Valens was doing, by the late Hellenistic tradition it seems clear to me that both Rhetorius and Olympiodorus were using whole sign houses and quadrant houses at the same time, so that the end result was a sort of hybrid approach rather than an either-or situation.


I'm not sure if you mean that they appear to do this in the same text, or that they consider meanings by quadrant division and whole-sign simultaneously within interpretation? Can you give a ref or two so I can see what you mean? (Feels like I'm playing reference swapsies today Smile )


For Rhetorius it is chapter 113, when he delineates the nativity of the grammarian. He seems to switch back and forth between house systems, noting that a planet is in one house "by degree" but in another house "by sign". He seems to be employing both whole sign houses and quadrant houses (Alchabitius) at the same time. For example:

Quote:
"Investigating the foregoing nativity, I found the Moon and Saturn and Venus and Mars by degree to have been cadent, but by sign the Moon and Saturn and Venus angular, and the Sun and Mercury and Jupiter by sign to have been cadent, but by degree the Sun chanced to be in the succedent of the DSC." (trans. Holden, pp. 160-1.)


Holden also notes this simultaneous use of both house systems in a footnote at the bottom of page 160.

For Olympiodorus the situation is different because he's largely drawing on and paraphrasing Paulus, who appears to use whole sign houses, but then Olympiodorus adds his own chapter on house division where he advocates the use of Porphyry houses. This chapter (p. 118f in Greenbaum's translation) is interesting because he notes right at the beginning that there was a lot of ambiguity over the issue of house division in his time, and he seems to say that most astrologers used whole sign houses, but he objects to this because then it doesn't incorporate the degree of the MC properly as the starting point for the 10th house. He makes it clear here that he endorses a modified form of Porphyry houses as his primary form of house division, although I wish that there were more examples in his work so that we could know if he rejected the whole sign approach completely, or if he still sometimes incorporated whole sign houses as a consideration like Rhetorius appears to.

Edit: Cleaned up a couple of typos.
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Paul
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Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris Brennan wrote:

Sorry, I didn't state this point very clearly. I meant to say that in the delineations that Valens gives he only derives each house relative to one of the first 8 houses.


Thanks for the clarification, this makes more sense. Still, I wonder why, in actual fact, it is only relative as far as the 7th house, not the 8th. I automatically assumed this was because it is at this point that the derivatives may repeat or reflect. I think it is noteworthy that there is no deriving relative to the 8th, but perhaps this is coincidental.
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:


Thanks for the clarification, this makes more sense. Still, I wonder why, in actual fact, it is only relative as far as the 7th house, not the 8th. I automatically assumed this was because it is at this point that the derivatives may repeat or reflect. I think it is noteworthy that there is no deriving relative to the 8th, but perhaps this is coincidental.



Yes, I think that that is probably correct, and this is probably the reason why the Octatopos only extends through the first 8 whole sign houses to begin with, because if the idea of derivative houses is wrapped up with it then the 8th is the point where they begin to reflect. This is one way in which understanding this passage in Valens as taking place within the context of a discussion of derivative houses and the Octatopos helps to explain something that had been unclear previously -- why anyone would create a system that only dealt with the first 8 houses.

The other point that connects to this is that the Octatopos is unique in that it introduced some of the family member assignments to each of the houses that were missing in the Dodekatopos. So for example, the 3rd place as siblings, the 4th as parents, 5th as children, and the 7th as the spouse. In the derivative house delineations Valens as a tendency only to derive houses from those places that are associated with one of these specific family members. This almost seems to imply that derivative houses were first introduced only or primarily in order to study other family members through the native's birth chart, and not just abstract things about the houses. This holds up in almost every instance except for one, where he says that the 9th house is the 8th from the 2nd. Anyway, this may be why he doesn't go beyond the 7th. He also skips the 6th and 2nd most of the time as well, since those are the only other two houses that don't have family members assigned to them.
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Deb
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Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chris

Thanks for providing those references. I was aware of Olympiodorus’s comments and that’s why it struck me as odd that you described him as using whole-sign houses and quadrant houses at the same time. I can’t see anything in the text to suggest he uses whole signs personally – he does mention that others do this, but whilst pointing out that this leads to faults; and then explaining the procedure for calculation. So I think we can safely assume Olympiodorus to be an advocate of quadrant division.

Incidentally, I did understand the point you were making in your post of Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:53 pm – and what you have said subsequently doesn’t change the view I expressed in my earlier response as to why I think this is highly unlikely. I agree that there were a lot of different ideas and theories floating around in the early tradition, but we also have evidence of them being employed.

With regard to the meanings of the houses, mostly it is possible to understand the basis of the symbolism - and that it derives from their placement in the 12-fold scheme, utilizing associations of power (angularity/cadency), visibility, aspectual connections to the ascendant, the sense of rising or declining, and the associations of the planetary joys.

If I am reading your post correctly, you seem to be implying that an 8-house scheme might have existed as a separate construct and lent its meaning to the 12th house scheme. Yet the evidence that a 8 house scheme existed independently – as opposed to simply relaying the meanings of the first 8 houses of the 12-fold scheme is minimal (Goold regards this idea as being a mistake); and evidence that any such scheme existed before the 12-fold division of houses acquired their meaning is non-existent, and IMO implausible. Because there is a logic as to why the 4th house - the root and foundation of the chart - signifies foundations, ancestors and parents, but there is no logic to why the 4th-part of an 8-fold scheme does that. Each of the house meanings can be evaluated in the same way – the 8th house was described by Ptolemy as being “the beginning of death” because from that place a planet moves towards the western angle where ‘light and life’ are ended, but then the 8th house theme of weakness, diurnal decline, and lack of aspect to the light of ascendant all suit the theme of loss and weakness that results in the association with death and decay. In this instance, it is true that the 8th part of an 8-fold scheme might represent “the end”, but it offers no logic for why the 7th part is wives or women, or the 5th house is children, in the way that we understand by exploring the symbolic attachments of the 12 places.

It is good to consider, ponder and explore possibilities, but in this instance, the more I consider the possibility of what you are proposing, the more difficulties I encounter, compared to having no difficulty in assuming that when Valens talks about the 11th house from the 3rd house, he means exactly what we would naturally assume he means: that he is showing how relationships can be identified from the 12 places he is describing.

However, I did find your views on the Octatropos interesting. Coincidentally, a couple of days before you made your first posts I was in private correspondence with an astrologer who is exploring references to that, and is very inclined towards seeing it as something important which has been effectively masked in the tradition. I’ve never had much interest in it myself – perhaps I have been swayed too much by what Goold writes of it in his introduction to Manilius’ Astronomica (pages lxi to lxii) - that the idea that such as scheme existed independtly is a mistake, and has been forced upon readers by the clumsy actions of an interpolator. No one seems to know very much about this; or why, if it was a mistake, it gathered attention in the first place, so it is begging out for further research. I don’t see its relevance in this place, but agree that the fact it is alluded to in a margin note justifies your attempt to explore and ponder that connection.

It would be good at some time if there could be a forum thread dedicated to that.

Sorry I didn't thank you for your references more quickly - I'm probably going to be out of action for a few days as I finalize some presentation material for the upcoming conference in Istanbul. (Just a few days left and there's the whole dilemma of fate and freewill to resolve ... Smile )
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is said that the whole of the natives life can be understood from the octatropos. We stay upon the earth and work within terrestrial concerns and when we are done, we leave by going up (8th). The sky is the realm of the gods and the earth is for those of us incarnate.
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Hi Chris
If I am reading your post correctly, you seem to be implying that an 8-house scheme might have existed as a separate construct and lent its meaning to the 12th house scheme.

...

However, I did find your views on the Octatropos interesting. Coincidentally, a couple of days before you made your first posts I was in private correspondence with an astrologer who is exploring references to that, and is very inclined towards seeing it as something important which has been effectively masked in the tradition.




I think that either I wasn't clear enough about this in my posts or you misunderstood what I was saying, because the Eight-Place system that I was referring to is the same as the Octatopos. I do not think that it was a separate 8-fold division of the entire circle of houses that competed with the 12-fold division, but instead it was just a system for determining a set of significations for the first 8 houses in zodiacal order, and this added some additional significations to the set of significations that already existed for the 12 houses.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patrice Guinard wrote an article about the 8 house system that has everyone confused. These are not the 8 watches of the Chaldean towers. The 7 houses of ones family and personal life are all below the horizon or touching the earth (if one thinks of the average in terms of whole signs, they all connect to the earth). The house that has no connection to the earth is death.

http://cura.free.fr/11domi2e.html
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Chris Brennan



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Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zoidsoft wrote:

We stay upon the earth and work within terrestrial concerns and when we are done, we leave by going up (8th). The sky is the realm of the gods and the earth is for those of us incarnate.

...

The house that has no connection to the earth is death.



That actually makes a lot of sense to me Curt, especially since the point of entry into life is the Ascendant and the first place, and then the houses are subsequently numbered downwards, into the earth. Then eventually you are flung out again at the Descendant and the 8th place. This would fit the Hermetic philosophical context of the Hermes and Asclepius texts, and the notion of descending through the spheres in order to incarnate, and then ascending back up through the spheres after death.
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Deb
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Posted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, very interesting Curtis - and Chris, thanks for clarifying your position.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Book 2, pg 28 after the section on the hour or the lot, Valens explains each of the 12 houses / places... (Riley translation):

Quote:
6. The <XI> Place of the Good Daimon. Many Configurations. The Hearing and the Beholding Signs Must Also Be Investigated.

If the benefics are in the Sign of the Good Daimon, located in their proper places and in their proper faces, they make men illustrious and rich from youth—even more so if they are trine from the right with the Lot of Fortune or sextile with the Ascendant.


Note the italics. It says that the sign is capable of being a house.

The Schmidt translation has this as the first sentence in that paragraph in book 2, pt 1, pg 10:

Quote:
If the benefics should be suitably situated upon the zoidion occupying the Good Spirit...


Where Riley uses the word sign, Schmidt transliterates it to "zoidion". This should leave no doubt that for topical analysis Valens is using whole sign houses.
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Deb
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Posted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This should leave no doubt that for topical analysis Valens is using whole sign houses.


Of course, it leaves no doubt if we close our eyes to everything that suggests otherwise in the rest of his work Smile
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deb wrote:
Quote:
This should leave no doubt that for topical analysis Valens is using whole sign houses.


Of course, it leaves no doubt if we close our eyes to everything that suggests otherwise in the rest of his work Smile


Well lets look at the rest of his work then... Here's several more quotes (Riley):

Book 2, pg 25:

Quote:
2. The Distinguishing Characteristics of the Triangles, the Houserulers, the Helpers, and the Sects
If <the> happens to be in the Ascendant or at MC or is in one of the operative signs...


The "operative signs" are these:

1. the Helm
4. Subterraneous pivot
5. Good Fortune
7. Setting
9. The God
10. The midheaven
11. The Good Daimon

Schmidt translation of "operative" would be "busy or telling" the Greek being "chrematistikos"... The other places are considered "inoperative" or "ektrope" according to Valens. With difference of opinion on the 3rd depending upon author.

Book 2,pg 28:

Quote:
/64K/ 8K;9P. The VIII Place of Death. Various Views....If Mercury alone is in this Sign and is ruler of Intelligence (as Daimon is called), it makes fools, dullards, those handicapped in speech, illiterates.


Book 2 pg 29:

Quote:
9K;10P. The <VII> Place of the Descendant
...If Mercury is with Mars in the Setting Sign...


Book 2 pg 30:

Quote:
If Mercury is with the moon in the Sign of the Goddess and rules the Lot of Fortune or the Ascendant, the native will foretell everyone’s future and will share in the mysteries of the gods.


Book 2, pg 32:

Quote:
Mercury trine with Jupiter is indicative of great deeds, especially if Mercury is at morning rising. Men become secretaries of kings, of cities, or of the masses, or they become financial officials. Since Mercury is altogether concerned with occupations and provides the active influence, the native will have a high status and the possession of a livelihood, especially if Mercury is in operative signs.


Boo2, pg 40:

Quote:
As a result, the previously mentioned places and stars, when found in operative signs, make glorious, governing, royal nativities. When found in moderately active signs, they make noble and famous men who take control. When found in signs which just precede an angle, they make wealthy and vigorous men, stewards of others, men thought worthy of positions of trust and responsibility.


This is an obvious reference to angular signs, succeedent signs and cadent signs...

How many more of these do you need? It appears as though it is you who has closed your eyes and I wonder if you have even read this part of the text.
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Deb
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Posted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curtis, all of these references can a) simply show that Valens was not precise in distinguishing between the terminology of place and sign; and b) show that he often did apply a casual sign=place, although not regarding this as the correct procedure he outlines elsewhere (and which he states elsewhere is the way to do it), for the practical reasons that have already been explored in previous posts of this thread.
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