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origins of the tropical zodiac
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Graham F



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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Waybread

I read Gavin White's book some years ago, I don't have it now. It's very interesting. I remember some of these points about the Leo-Cancer duo, related to a Taurus spring equinox, and the significance of Scorpio (the rising sign at sunset when Sun in Taurus. But these, and the question of Sirius as the start of the year, are sidereal (or "sidero-tropical") considerations, and I'm interested here in the relation of the rulerships to the fully tropical year and its ecliptic, structured around the solstices and equinoxes.

You mention exaltations. The possible association of most of the exaltations with what were originally the solstice and equinox points is very plausible, and I think White mentions that as well - or maybe I read it somewhere else, and found it quite convincing. If it's true, there now in the wrong places in the sidereal zodiac, but nearer their proper places in the current tropical one.

I think the weather associations in Ptolemy and others just show how the zodiac was already at least partly being interpreted tropically. Or was rather a muddle - they're not very convincing, at least on the surface, I haven't investigated them properly.

I'm not convinced by the argument about it being hotter in Egypt in late July, August and September than in June. Mainly because I think the tropical year, astrologically, is firstly about light (solstices and equinoxes), and only incidentally about heat. Also because I feel that even if Alexandria was a great place of diffusion of learning, astrology has a deeper and more universal validity than being a set of local correspondences can explain.

Fagan suggests that the images of the zodiacal constellations which we've inherited come not directly from looking at the sky, but from finding images for what was visible in the sky, when the VP was in early Taurus, by projection of what was going on the earth locally and seasonally (e.g. a plague of insects = Scorpio; flooding= Aquarius; lots of fish to catch= Pisces). I don't know how justified this is hisotrically, but it seems plausible.

And Ptolemy, in his explanation of the rulership scheme, specifically says "Since of the twelve signs the most northern, which are closer than the others to our zenith and therefore most productive of heat and of warmth are Cancer and Leo, they assigned these to the greatest and most powerful heavenly bodies, that is, to the luminaries, as houses[/quote]
I know, this is easy to dismiss as a msitake, but still, his reasoning is that the logic of light precedes and determines taht of heat. And like I said, a slip can be an unconsiously deliberate mistake. His logic (commen sense?) got the better of his preconceptions, I'd say.

Graham
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Graham,

I must confess I find your position somewhat hard to fathom. So please excuse me if I have missed your point. That maybe in part because your take on this is so singular. Alternatively, I am possibly being unintentionally obtuse.

One point you have made here and in the previous thread is that since the original Mesopotamian zodiac began around the 'star cluster' or Pleaides we should be looking at Taurus as the first sign of the zodiac.

However, historically this lunar zodiac developed hundreds of years before 12 twelve sign, equal zodiac around the 5th century CE.

In particular this was the so called MUL.APIN (Path of the Moon) which comprised 17-18 constellations or asterisms. There were no 12 sign/rulership scheme at this time.

Most scholars seem to believe the tablet recording this very early lunar zodiac dates from around 1000 BCE.

And at this time the only 'rulership system'' we can come close to is the exaltations used in Mesopotamian Omen Astrology. As you have yourself acknowledged many scholars have concluded the exaltations developed through seasonal observation of the planets. In that sense they may predate the formation of a 12 sign zodiac itself.

Graham wrote:
Quote:
You mention exaltations. The possible association of most of the exaltations with what were originally the solstice and equinox points is very plausible, and I think White mentions that as well - or maybe I read it somewhere else, and found it quite convincing. If it's true, there now in the wrong places in the sidereal zodiac, but nearer their proper places in the current tropical one.


As I recall Gavin White suggests Jupiter may have acquired its exaltation in Cancer because the planet reaches its highest point in the ecliptic in the northern sign of Cancer. Equally, this is the highest point the Sun reaches in the Northern Hemisphere and is high summer. The reverse applies to the malefic Mars in Capricorn associated by the Babylonians with war, disease, foreign countries and the underworld where planets reach their lowest point in the ecliptic at 0 Capricorn. This is the lowest point the Sun reaches in the Northern Hemisphere in mid-Winter.

But if we are discussing the domicile rulerships known to hellenistic astrology it is surely a misnomer to link this to when the Babylonian lunar zodiac which began in the Pleiades when there simply were not domicile rulers and no 12 sign zodiac.

I would understand your position if you were arguing the ayanamsa of a sidereal zodiac could be traced from the Pleiades (Krittika). There seems to be some Indian astrologers who even today reject the use of Ashwini as the first Nakshatra and and still use Krittika as the starting point of the Nakshatras. This was the order of the Nakshatras before the fusion of the Nakshatras with the twelve sign equal zodiac in India. But of course this relates to the Indian lunar zodiac not the Luni-solar derived 12 sign zodiac. So that seems irrelevant to our consideration.

Alternatively, I suppose one could argue for Pisces as the first sidereal sign since the VP is there today. But by definition the vast majority of siderealists favour a fixed zodiac not one determined by the movement of the equinoxes and eclipses.

As for your problem on domicile rulerships in the tropical zodiac I think Paul and Deb have theoretically dealt with your issue as I see it.

On a practical basis though I find it difficult to reconcile how you can say you find the tropical zodiac working better but not its rulership system.

I think it would help a lot if you actually set out what alternative rulership system you propose instead for each sign. Otherwise your position will remain opaque and stratospherically abstract to me at least.

Mark
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Graham F



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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote
Quote:
I must confess I find your position somewhat hard to fathom. So please excuse me if I have missed your point. That maybe in part because your take on this is so singular. Alternatively, I am possibly being unintentionally obtuse.


I think a lot of this is my fault for not being clearer right at the beginning, and indeed starting a new thread entitled perhaps "Internal logic for the classical tropical rulership scheme", or better, "Internal tropical logic for the classcical rulership scheme". What's very frustrating for me is that I feel my main point is consistly being consistently ignored, and sidetracked into minor points of historical justification etc, that can't prove something, that there's no historical justification for it etc. (and my sorties are these areas are often just my attempted responses to someone else's objections).

I asked whether "Taurus" (i.e the Venus ruled sign in the lunar half, never mind what we cal it, because were' talking tropically, no connection to the constellations), rather than "Aries" (the Mars-ruled sign) would not be a a more logically justificable "sign" to place immediatly following the VP, as Fagan suggested. I wanted to know if only else had floated this idea.

I now think I have an answer – Ptolemy did, but no one else. The link betwen constellation name and rulership is so strong that everyone has ignored Ptolemy's explanation of the internal logic of the rulership scheme (his attempt at explaining why) in favour of his more frequent, well-known and simple statements that Aries is the first sign (whihc I think he chose because it did indeed start at the VP, sidereally). His chapter on The Houses of the Planets, with a logical justification for giving the sign before the summer solstice to Cancer, the one after to Leo etc, is simply considered a mistake, if it's noticed at all (I would suggest it's a , a Freudian slip : a consciously deliberate mistake, what the French call an "acte manqué", a "failed act", which Lacan and other psychoanalysts see as "inadvertently successful acts").

I'm interested in the logic of what Ptolemy said here, as it is more of less what I was trying to say. His explanation of the rulership scheme organises them symmetrically around the solstice (antiscial) axis - the rulerships were "dished out" by the sun and moon :
Quote:
of the twelve signs the most northern, which are closer than the others to our zenith and therefore most productive of heat and of warmth are Cancer and Leo, they assigned these to the greatest and most powerful heavenly bodies, that is, to the luminaries, as houses, Leo, which is masculine, to the sun and Cancer, feminine, to the moon. In keeping with this they assumed the semicircle from Leo to Capricorn to be solar and that from Aquarius to Cancer to be lunar, so that in each of the semicircles one sign might be assigned to each of the five planets as its own, one bearing aspect to the sun and the other to the moon


Ptolemy's explanation in that section fits very nicely with the gnerally accepted logic for the rulership scheme in terms of
- the sequence of orbital periods as seen from earth (the lunar half)
- the distance of the planets from the sun (in the solar half)
But no one (except me, it seems) wants to link this symmetrical scheme to the antiscial axis (the solstice axis), as Ptolemy does in the quote above (even if "mistakenly"...). No one seems to see the point of wanting the two symmetries to match up. OK; it seems obvious to me, I don't know what else to say.

Or maybe I should say that I I'm intimately persuaded, on a deeper level, that there is a spiritual dimension to astrology going well beyond historical linearity, and what the standard texts say. I believe, in particular, that the doctrne of some sort of melothesia, a "cosmic man" which astrology somehow reflects, has some validity and enriches astrology.

I'm sure many of you have seen diagrams of the the rulership scheme arranged to show a suggested link with the 6 principal chakra of many Indian spiritual traditions. I think the application of this to astrology may possibly be as recent as Yukteswar, since David Frawley (one of his disciples) gives it in his writings (yes, I know, Frawley's not much of a scholar, but many others have also written and spoken of it - Ray Grasse explains it better than Frawley):


The central channel around which the breath/energy/prana goes up and down these solar and lunar halves, some say in an interwoven arrangment like a caducee, others say up and down on either side, fits nicely with Ptolemy's explanation of the rulership scheme going up and down the solstice axis: up to it's most northerly point (in the N hemisphere) corresponding to the cusp between the domains of the two lights (specifically, to the start of the sun's domain), and down to the deepest part ot Saturn's two domains (the cusp Cap/Aq).

I know there are other more involved associations proposed, involving planets/signs/chakra. This one seems the simplest and the most appropriate, I find it helpful and I'm beginning to find it "true". Sorry if this all sounds too New-Agey to many of you, but I just don't believe/feel that the the Sun starts its upward course somewhere near one of the hips and goes to the opposite throat, and its down ward one from throat to hip (talking "energy centres" here, not bits of bone and flesh). It must, even if we want to take all this simply as a metaphor, go from bottom (the root) to top (to the "third eye" area) and back down to the root. (The top of the head is usually reserved for some sort of enlightenment, 7th chakra, off the scale, so to speak). I dn't feel that in the diagram above, the Moon should be up in the brow area with Mercury, the Sun in the throat with Venus etc.

That's the best I can do. If you don't see it logically, and you don't see it intuitively or "feel" that it resonates, then yes, it's easy just to write off Ptolemy's linking of the rulership pattern to the solstice axis as a mistake, reject as insufficiently supported Fagan's hypothesis of a Taurus start to the zodiac, and be satisfied with the skew of one full sign between the rulership axis and the solstice axis. And you can always meditate leaning 30° to the side.

Graham


Last edited by Graham F on Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Graham F



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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul - just another point from your prevous post.
Quote:
Quote:
Similarly, Curtis Mainwaring in an earlier thread re the straight and crooked signs (which are symmetrical around the antiscial axis):


I havne't double checked that thread, but the straight and crooked signs are symmetrical around the contra-antiscial axis. Is that what you meant? I don't know what Curtis' thoughts are on straight/crooked signs and rulership, or whether he'd be surprised. As I recall, rulership wasn't mentioned much or at all in that thread.

Yes, sorry, I was muddling with the antiscia. Straight and crooked signs are mirror images around the equinoctial axis and complimentary images around the solsiticial one. For the antiscia, its the reverse.

It's true that rulerships were not much mentioned specifically in that thread, but the sign-names were, you exlpained that the crooked signs went from Cancer through Sagittarius, the straight ones from Capricorn through Gemini. For most readers, the orthodox rulerships of those signs would be tacitly and implicitly assumed. I found it interesting (because my ears prick up when someone else also seems to me even vaguely to intuit what I do) that Curtis pointed out that this scheme (symmetrical around the contra-antiscial axis, i.e. coherent in terms of the cardinal points of the solar cycle) was nearly aligned with the rulership scheme.

This is what I've been trying to say all along: the orthodox rulership scheme is nearly aligned to the solstice axis, but it could do better.

Regarding the rulership scheme, you write:
Quote:
For me, Ptolemy provides an explanation, but I see no reason to assume his explanation is correct, especially as the scheme predates him."


That seems sensible. I think that's what I'm doing too, we each take the bits of Ptolemy that make sense to us with our present knowlege and experience, and leave (at least provisionally) the ones that don't. But we should give the bits that don't make sense to us due thought before rejecting them, and maybe come back to them later for another look.

I should add again that the intiitial reason I was drawn to this idea of a tropical zodiac starting with Taurus at the VP, when I read Fagan's rather off-the-cuff remark that it "would be more logical", is that it seemed to me defintiely to work better, which I still find to be true, most of the time. But since astrology is (also, at least) divination, God/the Cosmos can surely choose to make up for our errors and misunderstandings, if we are sincere.

So we are probably all better off sticking with what makes sense to us. It's a pity for me that it's difficult to share these ideas, participate in discussions about charts etc.

Graham
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lifestudent



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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graham when you say:
Quote:
I should add again that the intiitial reason I was drawn to this idea of a tropical zodiac starting with Taurus at the VP, when I read Fagan's rather off-the-cuff remark that it "would be more logical", is that it seemed to me defintiely to work better, which I still find to be true, most of the time.


Are you referring to when Fagan was discussing how to find out the sidereal Navamsha or what he calls Novien chart?

The sidereal VP is around 5 Pisces now.

The rulership idea has been explored thoroughly in the Gauqelin research and data, showing us that the sidereal zodiac is more accurate:
http://www.solunars.com/essays/realzodiac.htm
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Paul
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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Graham

Graham F wrote:

Paul wrote:

Graham, I may be really misunderstanding some of your basic argument, but why do you suppose that the rulerships seemed to be sidereal in nature at the time? What evidence do you have that they were sidereal?


...Aries is the constellation-area that the VP was at the beginning of in Ptolemy's day, i.e. where it was sidereally. And Aries was, I thought, already deemed to be ruled by Mars at least a certain time before he wrote. It's the placement that is sidereal, not necessarily the astrological practice. That's all.


I've emphasised part of my post in this quotation - what I mean is that whilst we can measure the rulerships sidereally, there's no reason to suggest that their nature is sidereal - in other words that they derive some meaning or foundation from the stars or the constellations.

You suggest that nowhere does Ptolemy etc. suggest that the rulerships be fixed, and that they seemed to be fixed sidereally at the time, but I'm trying to show is that if we just ignore the stars altogether, the rulerships aren't so much fixed to the stars but they're assigned to the zodiac - which we can define a number of ways, but chiefly either from solstices/equinoxes or from star patterns. Perhaps there is a philosophy, such as the Thema Mundi or something else, which allows us to link rulership to the signs.
Or perhaps it really is a tropical reference which begins the planetary orbits from the sign of the greatest declination, Cancer, and goes in order - Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter Saturn.

Quote:
You also contested the suggestion that the rulerships were sidereally defined before Ptolemy. So you must believe that if he had been writing in 2000BC or today, he would still put Aries on the VP, not Taurus or Pisces. Fair enough, but I don't think so.


I don't recall contesting any suggestion that the rulerships were sidereally defined before Ptolemy - if by defined you mean measured within a sign. What I believe is that some quality of Aries was linked to the fact that the VP was found there, coinciding with the civil new year. And likewise that the solstice is found in Cancer. Now I'm not contesting that these points were measured sidereally. What I would contest is that the rulerships were meant to be seen as static in the sky linked with the stars. I see no reason to think that at all.

What we know is that the vernal equinox was in Aries when the equal zodiac was envisioned and only since then do we have evidence of rulership. Why on earth would we push it to Taurus? That's my point. And if we did, what would change?

Quote:
Not sure what "the tropical zodiac itself" is, without the rulerships. If it's just saying that the VP is the best place to start the circle, I agree. My problem is with calling it Aries (for ever) and having it ruled by Mars, which looks like a carry-over from the sidereal situation at the time.


I think this is a good example of what I personally find so confusing about your posts. Surely you recognise that the tropical zodiac is much more than the rulerships? Why would it be a problem calling the first sign Aries? Is that where the deal breaker is? What if I called it "Sign One"? Would this be better? Let's imagine I called it Taurus but gave it all the same qualities etc. as Aries. In what way would this just not be Aries with a new name?

But then if you want to shift the rulership the problem isn't in the naming convention. That's what gets confusing about some of your posts. It's almost as though your focus is on naming convention, but once you establish this, in many ways arbitrary change, you then want to push back the tropical scheme onto it again - which you've just changed. It once again assumes that either the rulerships are defined by a sidereal position, and that the tropical zodiac needs to update itself over time to account for that sidereal position - or else that the rulerships are defined tropically, but the tropical sign names need to update to match the positions of those planets as to where they were sidereally. But the problem I have is that you dont' give any compelling reason why either of those would be the case.

Let's ignore Ptolemy for a second, and imagine that we have a scheme of rulership which runs based on orbital period which we recognise as follows: Moon, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. Now we can, in theory, apply that anywhere. We can start from any sign. Maybe Aries.
But one way we can approach it is to recognise that Cancer is the point of greatest declination (north) of the Sun, and that the solstices and equinoxes have astrological value in defining the quadrants of the zodiac. If you're not a tropical astrologer you won't care about the declination of the Sun so much in defining anything about the zodiac, but if you are, you do. This seems a pretty sensible place to start the rulership scheme, so apply the first planet to this sign, the next planet to the next sign and so on. Or you might do it by the Thema Mundi. Or something else.

Ptolemy, much after the fact, describes what makes sense to him, but, describes it post factum. He is not originating the scheme. Whether the solstice point is in 15º or 0º of sidereal Cancer, the point is that there is a section of the ecliptic, defined by the solstice point in some manner, and that from this section of the eclitpic we begin our association of planet to sign. He may not be correct with this. Actually it makes sense ot me to do this, but I recognise it may make sense just from the Thema Mundi alone, or form some other scheme we don't know or haven't paid enough attention to.

Instead what you're doing is zeroing on one tiny part of Ptolemy's work, and either assuming he means that and everyone else is wrong, or else suggesting that he got the logic correct, and he himself was wrong in his conclusion.

But in order for us to change anything, to 'correct' for that, we have to assume that Ptolemy was exactly correct in that logic, and that he described what he felt perfectly, and that, more to the point, he originated the topic. But he didn't. He didn't originate it, so we can't just shift around what was there before him based on his attempt at an explanation. If he was the first to do this, it may make more sense. But he wasn't.

Notice we can read Ptolemy, keeping in mind we're not reading it in its original language, as being essentially a list, like saying the most northerly is Cancer, then Leo, and so the rulership is Moon, then Sun, in that order. And we follow the order the sun itself moves through those signs. He is giving a quick snapshot of things relating to warmth and light, to associate light producing planets with those signs, but we don't have to zero in on this explanation, exclude everything else, and imply he really meant the signs either side of the solstice are Leo on one, and Cancer on the other.

Quote:
Yes, but I did say it looks like it was designed for such a time, not that that anyone did actually design it at the time.


But it doesn't look like it, that's my point. It looks like it was designed at a time when the solsitce/equinox points were more or less central in their signs. When you see it looks like it was designed for such a time, what you really mean is that it looks like Ptolemy may be describing such a time. But designed for such a time, and millennia later Ptolemy describing something which you can read as describing such a time are two different things. How we can verify for sure is to move beyond Ptolemy's description and actually see what was done and how it developed. We know that such a scheme doesn't exist during the time period you say it looks like it was described for.

Quote:
I asked whether "Taurus" (i.e the Venus ruled sign in the lunar half, never mind what we cal it, because were' talking tropically, no connection to the constellations), rather than "Aries" (the Mars-ruled sign) would not be a a more logically justificable "sign" to place immediatly following the VP, as Fagan suggested. I wanted to know if only else had floated this idea.


I guess I just don't get why this would solve anything - unless you see the nature of the signs or the rulership as distinctly sidereal, so that Taurus retains what we say of Taurus but we just move it counter to the direction of precession. Precession brings the equinox to Pisces, but you're not even suggesting following that scheme, but instead doing the reverse, moving it forward to Taurus. And I really don't understand why still.

Quote:
I now think I have an answer – Ptolemy did, but no one else.


But he didn't. He linked rulership to the something related to the solstice. He didn't mention constellation. Keep in mind in Ptolemy's own time, the solstice was at roughly 0 Cancer, but what you're supposing is that he temporarily forgot and thought it was at 0 Leo, or he, somehow, ignored this fact and talked about a time when it was there - but just decided to ignore the fact it no longer is.

Quote:
It's true that rulerships were not much mentioned specifically in that thread, but the sign-names were, you exlpained that the crooked signs went from Cancer through Sagittarius, the straight ones from Capricorn through Gemini. For most readers, the orthodox rulerships of those signs would be tacitly and implicitly assumed. I found it interesting (because my ears prick up when someone else also seems to me even vaguely to intuit what I do) that Curtis pointed out that this scheme (symmetrical around the contra-antiscial axis, i.e. coherent in terms of the cardinal points of the solar cycle) was nearly aligned with the rulership scheme.


But the rulerships weren't implied. I re-read the thread, and Curtis doesn't mention rulership either. I talked about the astronomical fact that the area of the ecliptic will rise either straighter or more obliquely from the point of the equinoxes. I didn't have rulerships in mind, nor did I consider that straight or crooked signs says anything at all about rulership - nor, that I can see, did anyone else. In fact it makes no sense to assume it does - what we talk about is signs but not rulership, no more than say the element or the bound rulers or whatever else.

I have no idea why you would jump to an assumption about rulership.
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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't bother to re-read the thread. When I brought up the symmetry of ascensional times, it was to point out that this only works in a tropical zodiac which suggests that this part of the logic is tropical.

There is another dimension to this that Robert Schmidt mentioned years ago that is largely misunderstood by astrologers today (the popular "as above, so below"). In the platonic sense, one could take below to mean "hule" (or matter), and above to mean "nous" (or form). In this latter case, the "above" doesn't mean the physical stars, but the noetic ones (in other words the essence of "starness"; what is it that makes a star, a star?). The realm of Nous contains the natures of planets, motions, numbers, etc... Whereas the "below" represents the physical earth. The realm of Nous is not visible because its "objects" come closer to the realm of Mind.

The tropical zodiac in the nature of it's measurement participates in the nature of Sameness (rather than Otherness) and most appropriately belongs to the realm of Nous and has limits. Schmidt said that the planets participate in the nature of Otherness in regards to their motion, because their motions are irregular (as stated in the Timaeus) and limitless.

It occurred to me (Schmidt probably thought of this first and didn't tell me) that when dealing with the ideal year of the Egyptians of 360 days, that what we are measuring belongs to the realm of Nous. Several of the Hellenistic time lord techniques use this method of counting years, but some notably don't such as the Lunar Quarters, Lunar Monomoiria, and the 9 years of the Moon methods which use the 365.24259... days/year measurement (the misnamed solar year from a platonic perspective). What do these latter methods have in common? Schmidt says that the Moon is the most "Dyadic" of all the planets and was assigned the leader of the nocturnal sect and participates in the realm of the "Other" which is more closely aligned with Hule (or matter) and the principle of limitlessness.

Matter doesn't like to conform exactly to the Sameness of Nous which is why you need real numbers to represent it. Integers participate in the nature of Sameness and have orderly (limited) operations.

When modern scientists try to get at the "truth" they measure as precisely as possible (unwittingly participating in the Dyad/Otherness). The modern view of "Hule" or matter representing "the truth" mimics Descartes view who said that the only thing that can be measured is extension such as "miles per hour" (what Schmidt calls extensive magnitudes). Other measurements such as the saturation of color, intelligence, brightness of light are intensive magnitudes which participate in the realm of the Other and limitlessness. When Einstein discovered general relativity, speed became an intensive magnitude (usually miles/second) because it became dependent upon the realm of the Other (space in using light-years) and mass. Objects approaching light speed develop intensive magnitude measurement issues and generate a red-shift when moving away from the observer. Astrologers should be careful to pay attention to which realm they're dealing with.
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graham wrote:
Quote:
I now think I have an answer – Ptolemy did, but no one else. The link betwen constellation name and rulership is so strong that everyone has ignored Ptolemy's explanation of the internal logic of the rulership scheme (his attempt at explaining why) in favour of his more frequent, well-known and simple statements that Aries is the first sign (whihc I think he chose because it did indeed start at the VP, sidereally). His chapter on The Houses of the Planets, with a logical justification for giving the sign before the summer solstice to Cancer, the one after to Leo etc, is simply considered a mistake, if it's noticed at all (I would suggest it's a , a Freudian slip : a consciously deliberate mistake, what the French call an "acte manqué", a "failed act", which Lacan and other psychoanalysts see as "inadvertently successful acts").


I note Ptolemy is being quoting exclusively from his comments in the Tetrabiblos. But we should also not ignore his comments from his great astronomical classic The Almagest from which we can glean a mass of relevant information on his thinking. In particular he makes clear that he has no use for a sidereal frame of reference and indeed criticises the logic of such an approach.

The frame of reference for measuring longitudes along the ecliptic is established, in 2.7 from the Almagest , where Ptolemy writes,

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We shall employ the names of the zodiacal constellations also for the twelfth-divisions of the inclined circle [i.e. the ecliptic] and on the hypothesis that their starting points are taken from the solstitial and equinoctial points, calling the first twelfth-division starting from the vernal equinox in the direction of the trailing parts in the motion of the totality [i.e. eastwards] “Aries,” the second one “Taurus,” and likewise
for the ones that come next, according to the order of the twelve zodiacal constellations that has been handed down to us.


Ptolemy establishes two things here: that that for the purpose of expressing longitudes the ecliptic is considered as divided into twelve equal arcs of 30° named after the zodiacal constellations, with the degrees counted eastwards, and that these arcs (i.e. zodiacal signs, as distinct from constellations) are fixed such that Aries 0° is the vernal equinoctial point. Thus the frame of reference is strictly tropical.
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margherita



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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:

Do you have a reference for where David Pingree suggests that Margherita?

Mark


I quoted by heart, but I found for you the quote.
David Pingree, From astral omens to astrology from Babylon to Bikaner, ISIAO (Italian Institute for Africa and East, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Istituto_Italiano_per_l'Africa_e_l'Oriente) 1997 - page 26
I believe the book is out of print because the Institute was dismissed.


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Mark
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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margherita wrote:
Quote:
I quoted by heart, but I found for you the quote.
David Pingree, From astral omens to astrology from Babylon to Bikaner, ISIAO (Italian Institute for Africa and East, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Istituto_Italiano_per_l'Africa_e_l'Oriente) 1997 - page 26


Thanks very much. Both for the exact reference and the scan.

I note this is one of David Pingree's later works i.e 1997. So I wonder if Robert Schmidt just ran with this speculation of David Pingree or developed it independently? I suppose Robert Schmidt could have been speculating like this in his conclaves for years before he put this idea out publicly.

Mark
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
I note this is one of David Pingree's later works i.e 1997. So I wonder if Robert Schmidt just ran with this speculation of David Pingree or developed it independently? I suppose Robert Schmidt could have been speculating like this in his conclaves for years before he put this idea out publicly.


Schmidt, before the first conclave in August of 1994 (The Back to the Future Conference by NCGR in Princeton, NJ), gave a talk on the Platonic solids and how they might relate to aspect theory (along with several other Platonic ideas). I don't think Schmidt cared much for the Aristotelian tweaks favored by Ptolemy which digressed from many of the other Hellenistic texts. He had said that he thought that most of the elements of genethlialogical astrology were from the Platonic school. From these early days (The PHASE lectures) which started around 1995/1996, he had been throwing his classical training into understanding these texts. I attended many of these in Cumberland at the time.
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Mark
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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zoidsoft wrote:
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Schmidt, before the first conclave in August of 1994 (The Back to the Future Conference by NCGR in Princeton, NJ), gave a talk on the Platonic solids and how they might relate to aspect theory (along with several other Platonic ideas). I don't think Schmidt cared much for the Aristotelian tweaks favored by Ptolemy which digressed from many of the other Hellenistic texts. He had said that he thought that most of the elements of genethlialogical astrology were from the Platonic school. From these early days (The PHASE lectures) which started around 1995/1996, he had been throwing his classical training into understanding these texts. I attended many of these in Cumberland at the time.


Thanks Curtis,

I had been rather hoping you might respond on my question. Its seems plausible from what you are saying that Robert Schmidt formulated his rapid development theory of hellenistic astrological principles before David Pingree's book appeared in 1997.

Mark
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Zoidsoft wrote:
Quote:
...From these early days (The PHASE lectures) which started around 1995/1996, he had been throwing his classical training into understanding these texts. I attended many of these in Cumberland at the time.


I should correct the bold above to say Berkeley Springs, WV. The Schmidt's weren't in Cumberland until after Ellen's mother died in fall '96 after which time Ellen inherited the mansion. I first visited them in Cumberland in Feb 1997.
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waybread



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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Graham F wrote:
Waybread

I read Gavin White's book some years ago, I don't have it now. It's very interesting. I remember some of these points about the Leo-Cancer duo, related to a Taurus spring equinox, and the significance of Scorpio (the rising sign at sunset when Sun in Taurus. But these, and the question of Sirius as the start of the year, are sidereal (or "sidero-tropical") considerations, and I'm interested here in the relation of the rulerships to the fully tropical year and its ecliptic, structured around the solstices and equinoxes.

You mention exaltations. The possible association of most of the exaltations with what were originally the solstice and equinox points is very plausible, and I think White mentions that as well - or maybe I read it somewhere else, and found it quite convincing. If it's true, there now in the wrong places in the sidereal zodiac, but nearer their proper places in the current tropical one.

I think the weather associations in Ptolemy and others just show how the zodiac was already at least partly being interpreted tropically. Or was rather a muddle - they're not very convincing, at least on the surface, I haven't investigated them properly.


I think the weather associations in Tetrabiblos are highly plausible. If we take Tetrabiblos as a whole, it has a lot of astro-meteorology in it. Book 2 might be called a treatise on cultural anthropology or regional human geography, which Ptolemy explains through astral and climatic determinism. This book seems terribly racist today, but it leaves no doubt that Ptolemy thought the sun's intensity was a major factor in human physiognomy and temperament. He wrote of the Ethiopians (probably meaning sub-Saharan Africans) that their country's oppressive heat adversely affected their culture, and that "their climate and the animals and plants of their region plainly give evidence of this baking by the sun."

There's so much more in book 2:2. But briefly, eastern cultures are more masculine because "one would reasonably assume that the orient partakes of the nature of the sun." Western peoples are more lunar and feminine (or effeminate.) So Ptolemy's got a lot more ideas going on about the sun and moon than the one out-of-context passage on the antiscia that nevertheless inform it.

Moreover, regarding the Cancer-Leo primacy, we might even take Ptolemy at his word when he talks about the hottest months.

Quote:
I'm not convinced by the argument about it being hotter in Egypt in late July, August and September than in June. Mainly because I think the tropical year, astrologically, is firstly about light (solstices and equinoxes), and only incidentally about heat. Also because I feel that even if Alexandria was a great place of diffusion of learning, astrology has a deeper and more universal validity than being a set of local correspondences can explain.


Graham, I don't know how much time you have spent in a hot desert climate, but the afternoon summer heat can be seriously life threatening. The hottest time of the year is not at the summer solstice, when the earth's surface is still heating up following the winter cooling, but in the subsequent months. As the climate graph linked in my previous post above shows, the hottest time is not smack dab on the summer solstice, but subsequently, even into September. And it doesn't rain all summer in this climate.

If I posted climate graphs for other parts of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern desert regions, you would see the same climate pattern as I showed for Alexandria. We recall that the cradle of astrology was nowhere near temperate Europe.

Moreover, at the latitudes of Babylon and Egypt, the differential in dark and daylight hours is significantly less than it would be in temperate Europe. Religiously, the solar dying god who was reborn (Tammuz, Dumuzi) was a major celebration, but in summer when the god died, probably a bigger consideration was that during the summer drought season, vegetation and crops died off with him.

For sure, the equinox and solstice points were critical in Babylonian civic and religious calendars. But the ancients dealt with all kinds of other phenomena critical to their survival. I could even argue (as I think Paul did, previously,) that you don't actually need to care about where the solstice and equinox points are located in order to cast a horoscope.

Quote:
Fagan suggests that the images of the zodiacal constellations which we've inherited come not directly from looking at the sky, but from finding images for what was visible in the sky, when the VP was in early Taurus, by projection of what was going on the earth locally and seasonally (e.g. a plague of insects = Scorpio; flooding= Aquarius; lots of fish to catch= Pisces). I don't know how justified this is hisotrically, but it seems plausible.


Sorry, I've not read Fagan (and should.) But we do not have to speculate a great deal about what the ancients thought about their months, because their textual and archaeological remains often tell us. The constellation of Taurus as the front part of a bull is probably Paleolithic, given an apparent star map on one of the ceilings of the cave at Lascaux. Gavin White has some interesting material on the evolution of star-pictures in Babylonian Star Lore. The newer scholarship would have been unavailable to Fagan (d. 1970.)

Quote:
And Ptolemy, in his explanation of the rulership scheme, specifically says "Since of the twelve signs the most northern, which are closer than the others to our zenith and therefore most productive of heat and of warmth are Cancer and Leo, they assigned these to the greatest and most powerful heavenly bodies, that is, to the luminaries, as houses.
I know, this is easy to dismiss as a msitake, but still, his reasoning is that the logic of light precedes and determines taht of heat. And like I said, a slip can be an unconsiously deliberate mistake. His logic (commen sense?) got the better of his preconceptions, I'd say.


Graham, I don't think so, for reasons I've tried to explain in more depth here. Rather, I would see Ptolemy's primary project as the systematization, Hellenization, and secularization of a whole heap of disparate astrological information available to him in the 2nd century CE. He probably sorted through and weighed up the lot, then came up with the most plausible system available, based on the disparate knowledge at hand.

As Deb's excerpt from Neugebauer's Greek Horoscope shows, the present system of sign rulerships pre-dated Ptolemy. Valens actually gives two (and maybe more) different systems of sign rulerships in different parts of the Anthologies. Ptolemy was probably familiar with the Greek custom of hinging the agricultural cycle on the Pleiades, and the Egyptian New Year based upon Sirius. He favoured Aristotelian proto-science and Greek mathematics. What to make of all of them?

One thing he wouldn't have included was a big influx from Hindu astrological beliefs, as the transmittal of horoscopic astrology minus the Nakshatras, as the diffusion seems to have gone from West to East.

Just to muddy the waters, sidereally, in Ptolemy's day, the spring equinox had visibly moved to late Pisces. Ptolemy must have known that. Not so neat and tidy, though, is it? 0 degrees Aries has an efficient systematic look to it, and was close enough for his purposes. For another thing, it enabled the Ptolemaic system to fit tidily into pre-existing religious and civic calendar sensitivities of his day.
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margherita



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Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:

I note this is one of David Pingree's later works i.e 1997. So I wonder if Robert Schmidt just ran with this speculation of David Pingree or developed it independently? I suppose Robert Schmidt could have been speculating like this in his conclaves for years before he put this idea out publicly.

Mark


I would say the opposite.
Pingree was a very very famous orientalist and his PHD "Materials for the Study of the Transmission of Greek Astrology to India" was written since 1960.
It is quite possible he wrote something like that previously than 1997.
I tend to think like that, especially because (I forgot this) "from Babylonia to Bikaner" is just a collection of lectures he gave around the world.

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