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Tropical zodiac and the Southern hemisphere
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Mjacob



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
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Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:

In practical terms, Mark's sample charts leave me without a doubt that the Zodiac doesn't need to be modified for south hemisphere nativities.

Also, South American astrologers are generally quite happy with using the zodiac as given.


In view of this and the rest of your post I am now reluctant to test my previous idea about reversing the seasons of the signs and their rulers and assessing temperament to any great extent but I did take a look at The Pope, Oscar Pistorius and the actress who plays Xena Warrior Princess and simply checking the ascendant sign, the moons sign and its ruler they seem right using the usual scheme. For instance Pistorius is surely a choleric and he has Asc ruler in a hot and dry Sag and Moon in Leo. The moons ruler is only arc minutes from entering Sag as well

Matthew
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
However, it is very hard to deny that seasonal and sidereal considerations were not seen as rigidly separate in ancient astrology. Going back to Babylonian astrology for example we know the beginning of their zodiac originally started with the Pleiades in sidereal Taurus and only later shifted to sidereal Aries.

Strictly speaking the zodiac as such didn't begin with the Pleiades since the 12 equal sign zodiac arrived fairly late in Babylonian astrology. But I don't want to distract from the central theme of this thread, so won't elaborate further.

Quote:
Similarly, the starting point of the Indian nakshatras or lunar mansions seems to have shifted more than once.

This is true as well, but this was before the introduction of a 12 sign zodiac into India's astrology. (Again, a debate point among traditionally based historians of India's astrological history such as David Frawley.)

Quote:
Both these shifts in sidereal order seem to be a reflection of the ancients desire to align their asterisms to seasonal changes.

India still considers the solstice and equinox points important times to schedule festivals. They are just not aligned with signs of the zodiac. I agree that those points are key divisions of the annual path of the earth around the Sun and should be noted in astrological charts. The question is whether the solstice and equinox points necessarily mark signs of the zodiac or are simply key annual cyclic points. This would make an interesting discussion on the sidereal forum.

Quote:
Ancient cultures were dependent on seasonal cycles for their very survival so they clearly would have utilized the stars as seasonal markers.

This is true, but those stars weren't necessarily aligned with signs of the zodiac.

Quote:
Therese Hamilton wrote:
There isn't really much debate left on the ayanamsa either.

Mark replied:
Perhaps not on Skyscript. We hardly have a thriving community of siderealists here or in the west in general. But if you look at the wider world of sidereal astrology today this issue does seem to generate incessant heated discussion on the Indian astrology forums I have looked at. Its comparable to the diversity of opinion on house systems amongst tropical astrologers.

I haven't participated on those forums, so there may be more debate than I realized. However, if it comes down to numbers, the Lahiri zodiac has been adopted by the majority of astrologers in both east and west. Or at least the majority of sidereal spokesmen who conduct classes and seminars and write books. (Again, this might be a topic for the sidereal forum.)

Quote:
Therese Hamilton wrote:
But the interpretation of sidereal signs is a hotly debated topic. At present there are no standard interpretations.

Mark replied:

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7706

There certainly seems to be a big difference between siderealists like say Ken Bowser and yourself on[sign interpretation]. I know you have been putting a lot of effort into getting more discussion of this issue going amongst western siderealists. However, if we consider India in your comment I don't detect this issue as remotely as popular for siderealists as discussions on the various ayanamsa.

Yes, since traditionally India has placed very little emphasis on zodiac signs except as sign depositors of planets and the ascendant, sign interpretation tends to be a "non-topic" in India. We don't know what percentage of astrologers may be represented by discussion on the forums. Are there only a few very strident voices supporting a particular ayanamsa? I don't know the answer to that question.

As you pointed out in the link above, the ayanamsa question has been discussed on the sidereal forum.

I've kept my replies brief as I don't want to distract from the central theme on this thread. There is only one basic zodiac question: If there is a "true" zodiac, is it aligned with the seasons or with some unknown point or star in the sky? Is the zodiac sky based (sidereal) or earth based (seasonal)?

The truth is that now we have the software and data tools to dig fairly deeply into that question. I've made some small beginnings into this question on the sidereal forum. We no longer need to speculate as we have many thousands of birth charts that can be examined.

The primary tropical zodiac knot is the southern hemisphere (a fairly big question!). The sidereal knot is the question of ayanamsa or the precise starting point of the zodiac (another big question).

Therese (sideral zoidac spokesperson!)
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Therese,

Thanks for your response. While I would have liked to have debated some of your comments I dont want to distract this thread any further from its original focus which relates to The Tropical Zodiac and the Southern Hemisphere. So on this occasion I think its wiser to leave you with the last word.

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
Logically, I think there is a reasonable argument for reversing the signs but for some reason I cannot really explain the existing tropical zodiac seems to work with southern hemisphere charts.

I see the explanation as transparently simple, an explanation that can be answered with a key question.

As a long time astrologer and one who trained (London's Faculty of Astrological Studies) and worked in the tropical zodiac for ten years before changing to the sidereal, I can say that my observations indicate that the tropical signs don't change their natures even a tiny bit for southern hemisphere births or for southern hemisphere seasons. Aries is always Aries, Taurus always Taurus, and so forth.

The big question then becomes: Just how valid are the seasonal attributes of the tropical signs? Do they really exist? Are signs really "hot and dry," "cold and wet" and so forth? Are the traits of Aries, for example, due to the season of spring or to something else entirely?

Are there other explanations for observed sign traits that in the northern hemisphere appear to be seasonal? This is a question I grappled with before moving to what I call "the zodiac of the stars." (But I don't think that this thread is the place for any further discussion of the sideral zodiac.)

This is not to say that seasonal variations don't exist in relation to temperament, moods and so forth, but these WILL be different in the southern hemisphere, though not connected to zodiac signs as such. They'll be connected to the actual weather and seasonal changes.

So how do we determine which traits really belong to signs? Surely that is not so difficult with the many thousands of people we now have birth data for along with biographical notes? But a discussion of theory won't get us very far. We have to do the nitty gritty work of studying many many birth charts with their biographical data. Talk is easy. Research is not.

(Editing note: Mark, I see that our posts crossed. I agree totally that this thread should stay on track with the southern hemispere question, which is why I posed the question above relating to the source of seasonal attributes in the tropical zodiac. I have no desire to futher discuss the sidereal zodiac in this thread. I wrote my previous post so that it didn't need a reply.)
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Last edited by Therese Hamilton on Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:
Quote:
Are signs really "hot and dry," "cold and wet" and so forth? Are the traits of Aries, for example, due to the season of spring or to something else entirely?


Going back to Ptolemy on this its interesting that his approach was basically to assign the quality of a sign based on the domicile planetary ruler not the season. So both Aries and Scorpio were described by him as dry which is the main characteristic of Mars. The idea that Aries is hot + dry comes from Perso-Arabic astrology not Ptolemy. I had been planning to open a thread on Ptolemy's own system of sign qualities on the traditional forum anyway but this issue has really brought it to the fore.

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark, we're apparently on live chat! You wrote:
Quote:
The idea that Aries is hot + dry comes from Perso-Arabic astrology not Ptolemy. I had been planning to open a thread on Ptolemy own system of sign qualities on the traditional forum anyway but this issue has really brought it to the fore.

Recently I've really been questioning the physical element assignments (hot and dry, etc.) to signs of the zodiac. I don't question the observed energy of the tropical signs related to what are called the four "elements" in relation to the four trigons. Those tend to be related to the expression of the personality and have nothing to do with the physical elements.

Yes, the ancient astrologers assigned many traits to the signs based on the association of planetary lords.

The problem with the traditional forum is that we cannot mention anything connected to the sidereal zodiac as per moderator policy.
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Mark
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Posted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese wrote:
Quote:
Recently I've really been questioning the physical element assignments (hot and dry, etc.) to signs of the zodiac.


Me too! But from a tropical rather than a sidereal perspective. I really like the idea of sign qualities linking into planetary rulers. Hence I am wondering whether Perso-Arabic astrology rather went down the wrong track on this.

The triplicities are very ancient in astrology but they originally related to the four winds not the four elements. Following the Babylonian tradition Ptolemy makes no reference to the four elements in reference to the four trigons. Instead he relates the trigons to the four winds. The trigons were always central to astrological directionology.

I am intrigued by your distinction between the more psychological nature of the elements in the trigons and the more physical qualities of the signs. I think you have an interesting point in distinguishing between the two.

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:

Therese wrote:
Recently I've really been questioning the physical element assignments (hot and dry, etc.) to signs of the zodiac.

Mark replied:
Me too! But from a tropical rather than a sidereal perspective. I really like the idea of sign qualities linking into planetary rulers. Hence I feel Perso-Arabic astrology rather went down the wrong track on this.

I was thinking this from either a tropical or sidereal perspective. I agree that Perso-Arabic astrology went down the wrong track on the physical element assignment to the signs. And this assignment has been perpetuated during the modern classical revival.

Quote:
The triplicities are very ancient in astrology but they originally related to the four winds not the four elements. Following the Babylonian tradition Ptolemy makes no reference to the four elements in reference to the four trigons. Instead he relates the trigons to the four winds. The trigons were always central to astrological directionology.

Yes, the four winds were the original assignments to the trigons. But as we are discovering in modern times, the trigons have additional much greater importance just as Dorotheus emphasized.

Quote:
I am intrigued by your distinction between the more psychological nature of the elements in the trigons and the more physical qualities of the signs. I can think you might have a good point in distinguishing between the two.

I do think there is a real distinction there, and it might make an interesting discussion.
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Mark
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Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:
Quote:
Yes, the four winds were the original assignments to the trigons. But as we are discovering in modern times, the trigons have additional much greater importance just as Dorotheus emphasized.


Not sure what exactly you mean here. You are referring to the planetary ruler of each trigon? Interestingly, this idea seems to derive from Babylonian astrology too. However, the notion of night and day rulers seems a purely Greek development.

Mark
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
Therese wrote:
Yes, the four winds were the original assignments to the trigons. But as we are discovering in modern times, the trigons have additional much greater importance just as Dorotheus emphasized.

Mark replied:
Not sure what exactly you mean here. You are referring to the planetary ruler of each trigon? Interestingly, this idea seems to derive from Babylonian astrology too. However, the notion of night and day rulers seems a purely Greek development.

I see that I combined two different thoughts or concepts in my statement. To clarify:

(A) Modern tropical astrology has given a lot of psychological emphasis to the trigons which was not noted by earlier authors prior to Alan Leo and those who followed him. Then there are those who are attempting to apply triplicity rulerships in their work as per Dorotheus. I'm not sure how that is working out, and I'm not sure how they are being used. Perhaps in timing the length of life? The classical revival has received much more attention in the UK and Europe than in America where I live.

(B) I've been using the Dorotheus triplicity rulerships to help define the nature of sidereal trigons. But I don't think tropical astrologers are looking at triplicity lords in the same way. http://www.snowcrest.net/sunrise/aatriplicities2013.htm (Ancient Triplcities: Key to the Sidereal Zodiac)

But I don't see Dorotheus as relating to the southern hemisphere question. Wouldn't we have to take each sign individually and look at traits that are supposedly related to the seasons? I see that there are two separate topics here: (1) Beginning the tropical zodiac at the northern hemisphere spring equinox and (2) traits that are supposedly related to different seasons.

(1) could be true, but (2) doesn't necessarily follow. When one thinks about it, the major problem with the tropical zodiac (the southern hemisphere) is precisely how that zodiac is defined: Seasonal
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Mark
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Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
While the seasonal changes concerning most of the Northern hemisphere are certainly symbolic for the signs, I would say they aren't totally based on this; it's just one level of correspondence. For instance, it's hard to see how the signs' elemental attribution would have been directly derived from the seasons.


I think your right that this transcends any simplistic seasonal analogy. The sign associations were not initially linked to the four elements at all. For example Ptolemy makes no reference to them.

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
As far as the classic domiciles are concerned, these reflect the order of the planets in the Solar system (Sun in Leo, Mercury in Virgo etc.). Indeed star catalogues in ancient Greece started with Leo and not with Aries (Franz Boll: Aus der Offenbarung Johannis).


That is an interesting point. In hellenistic astrology the so called Thema Mundi or world horoscope was used as a teaching tool and Cancer was the rising sign in it.

Although the relationship of the signs to both luminaries by aspect was a also an important way the signs were described in ancient astrology. Hence both the Saturn ruled signs (Capricorn + Aquarius) were each in opposition to the sign of a luminary. The Leo starting point reminds me that esoteric groups like the Golden Dawn also started their zodiac with Leo. Although that seemed linked to focus on the Great Pyramid of Giza. More fundamentally, we have the signs of the two luminaries together. Clearly, the later Perso-Arabic assignations were not related to season. Cancer by season is not cold + wet and Sagittarius is not hot + dry. Ptolemy’s qualities for the signs don’t link directly into seasons either.

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
Note that the unequal distribution of land and water can be seen reflected in the northern half of the zodiac (relative to the celestial equator) containing two earth signs, the southern half containing two water signs. In contrast (the Yin in the Yang, and vice versa), the one water sign in the northern half - Cancer, the most northern sign - is symbolic of earth's north-pole which has no land mass, whereas the one earth sign in the southern half - Capricorn, opposite to Cancer - represents the south-pole which is a continent. Thus western astrology's zodiac is really analogous to the entire earth. I like to envision it as the space surrounding the earth (or the plane of earth's orbit projected into infinity).


That is a beautiful way of putting it. I haven’t seen anyone make that point before. Did you come up with this idea yourself? If so kudos to you. You should copyright that before someone else claims it on the internet! We have a northern hemisphere which is 40% land and 60% water while the southern hemisphere is only 20% land and 80% water. As you point out the zodiacal signs traditional direction expresses that really well.

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
In practical terms, Mark's sample charts leave me without a doubt that the Zodiac doesn't need to be modified for south hemisphere nativities.


Yes. The more charts I examine the more convinced I am of that. This seems to be one of those theoretical objections that doesn’t appear to cause any practical problems. The challenge is explaining why it works the way it does not if it works.

Michael Sternbach wrote:
Quote:
Also, South American astrologers are generally quite happy with using the zodiac as given.


Indeed. One of our former moderators here Yuzuru is from Brazil and he was clear that the normal tropical zodiac worked fine for all the charts he worked with. Similarly, Clelia Romano who posts here is also Brazilian and teaches astrology with the signs in the traditional way. We have also had several Australians here who have reported no problems. Deborah Houlding has also stated that horary seems to work perfectly well when she has visited Australia.

Mark
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Last edited by Mark on Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Paul
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Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:

India still considers the solstice and equinox points important times to schedule festivals. They are just not aligned with signs of the zodiac.


Hi Therese

I would question this a little. I remember a couple of years ago I was in Thailand and celebrated the Thai new year, Songkran, on Koh Phangan, and was speaking to some locals and I learned that it was the new year as this was the time which indicated that the light and dark balance changes. In other words they were celebrating the spring equinox. When I came home I examined it a bit more and it turns out they're celebrating the beginning of Aries as the spring equinox and using the sidereal zodiac to do it. In addition, many eastern cultures celebrate the "turning north of the sun" (the winter solstice) as the ingress of the sun into Capricorn, but the sidereal capricorn. I do not think this is as divorced as we may want to think.

Quote:
The truth is that now we have the software and data tools to dig fairly deeply into that question. I've made some small beginnings into this question on the sidereal forum. We no longer need to speculate as we have many thousands of birth charts that can be examined.


I don't think we should turn this into a sidereal vs tropical debate, as you say, we could open a new thread for that. But it's worth pointing out that we ought to celebrate what was being used with what they thought they were using. For example, someone could measure something sidereal and see be under the mistake that what was being measured was a tropical phenomenon. It is, perhaps, not as clear cut as we might think. Hence my example above. Songkran is clearly measured using a sidereal zodiac, but the symbolic meaning behind it is tropical.
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Paul
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Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:

That is an interesting point. In hellenistic astrology the Thema Mundi or world horoscope was used as a teaching tool and Cancer was the rising sign in it.


Right it's possible that the domiciles are actually derived from the Thema Mundi instead - Luminaries from the ascendant, Moon and sun respectively.

This appeals to me as it bypasses the arguments about the problem of the southern hemisphere as well as fitting snugly with siderealist positions as well. If we use the thema mundi and put a question mark over Ptolemy's logic then there is really no problem at all.


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Mjacob



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Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have edited my post of 15 March but it mainly concerns the geography rather than astrology

Matthew
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Nixx



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Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:


Right, Martin Gansten made this point in one of the discussions on tropical and sidereal that actually the domicile scheme needs nothing to do with seasons at all but could be based from the thema mundi instead.

.


Are you and/or Martin suggesting here the Thema Mundi does not have a seasonal rationale?

''Planetary domiciles

The Sun and Moon, the two luminaries, are assigned to the two signs that correspond to the brightest and warmest times of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, Cancer and Leo. The other planets are assigned to signs by halving the zodiac between Cancer and Leo and assigning each planet to one sign on the solar half and each on the lunar half. Mercury is assigned to the two signs next to the luminaries, Gemini and Virgo, because it never travels more than one sign away from the Sun. Venus is assigned to the next two signs, Taurus and Libra, because it never gets more than two signs away. Jupiter and Mars are assigned to their signs Sagittarius and Pisces, and Aries and Scorpio, respectively, in this same way. Finally Saturn is assigned to Capricorn and Aquarius because of the cold and lack of light during this time of the year''
.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thema_Mundi
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