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Polar houses
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Jens



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Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 7:34 pm    Post subject: Polar houses Reply with quote

http://hem.bredband.net/ivawil/program/polar/index.htm



Article with pictures.Looks very helpful
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Paul
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Posted: Thu May 11, 2017 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's often misunderstood by whole (and equal) sign advocates that the definition of the MC is an important factor in determining how we imagine the houses in general, even for whole and equal who do not use the MC in their calculation.

In response to the idea that "whole doesn't break down at the poles", I created this image not so long ago showing that depending on how you define it, you can have a retrograde ascendant.

http://imgur.com/a/CnS6N
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Ruud66



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Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 9:56 am    Post subject: Re: Polar houses Reply with quote

Jens wrote:
http://hem.bredband.net/ivawil/program/polar/index.htm



Article with pictures.Looks very helpful

I'm always in awe when people can conjure those intricate 3-d graphs out of a computer. According to me the creator has a deep understanding of the mechanics of the arctic sky.

The problems he's running into at the end of his article are not necessarily problems at all in my opinion, but more an artifact of using the Alcabitius houses. Alcabitius runs into problems in the arctic (as well as many other quadrant house systems). These are problems pertaining to the quadrant house systems, not necessarily to the arctic sky itself.

Another very good introduction to this subject is Dieter Koch's article on astrodienst. http://www.astro.com/astrology/in_polar_asc_e.htm
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Ruud66



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Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
In response to the idea that "whole doesn't break down at the poles", I created this image not so long ago showing that depending on how you define it, you can have a retrograde ascendant.

http://imgur.com/a/CnS6N


Hello Paul,
Your set of images is not entirely correct, I think.

* There is only one definition of the Ascendant: the rising node of the ecliptic over the rational horizon.
* The Ascendant is located on the eastern horizon at all times.
* In the polar regions the slow rising signs rise in direct motion and the fast rising signs rise in retrograde motion.
* The Ascendant is the cusp of the first house in all quandrant systems.

Therefore, how can the Ascendant ever be in the whole-sign 7th house?

In order to demonstrate the behaviour of the arctic sky, I created a table of houses for the Placidus system for 60-89 degrees of northern latitude some years ago.
This table proves beyond doubt that Placidus houses does not break down in the polar regions, at least not according to its own internal definitions.

http://www.astro.com/swisseph/Table_Arctic_Placidus.pdf
http://www.astro.com/swisseph/Table_Arctic_Placidus_readme.pdf
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Paul
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Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ruud66 wrote:


Hello Paul,
Your set of images is not entirely correct, I think.


Well that's going to depend on what you mean by 'correct'. If you mean it's doctored or something it isn't. It is however however particular computer programs deal with the problem of the whole sign divisions in the arctic circle - really what I was trying to demonstrate with this image is that the idea that issues relating to astronomy at the poles being only affecting quadrant division is too simplistic precisely because we have to define what the MC is -depending on how that is defined can depend on how computer programs render the houses and we have this phenomenon of an apparent retrograding ascendant. Of course it's not *really* retrograding, that's a quirk of how we draw charts.

Quote:

Therefore, how can the Ascendant ever be in the whole-sign 7th house?


Actually that's sort of more my point, but what I wanted to show here is more that a reliance on computer generated charts can lead to unusual behaviour depending on how we define the MC - in this case that apparent unusual behaviour would be that the 7th house is rising rather than the first - really we could have flipped the chart 180 instead or done something else here.

The whole purpose of this graph, which is really out of context here unfortunately was to contradict the notion that whole signs are unaffected by polar regions - in this case casting for a static time in whole sign can mask or simply hide a real astronomical effect that affects both quadrant and whole - this effect or better seen when animated. Not every part of the zodiac rises of course but again we might overlook this if we simply cast the chart in whole and imagined that because the MC doesn't form the 10th house cusp, that it doesn't get involved in the chart calculation itself - this graph was an attempt to demonstrate that it does.

Broader to this graph was the discussion that if we actually accept the above, that actually Placidus also doesn't "break down" but rather needs to be addressed differently by astrology software etc.

The impetus for creating this graphic was to be used as part of a longer explanation of how a simplistic statement like "whole signs don't break down at the poles, but placidus and quadrant houses do" is too simplistic.
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Ruud66



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Posted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your explanation.

I'm not sure if I understand your intentions for creating the animated images. But I was alarmed to see that some of the horoscopes were drawn incorrectly, as I stated earlier.
Incorrect in the sense of demonstrably wrong.
I guess you were demonstrating in what way a particular astrology program solved the problems of casting a chart for arctic latitudes.
I hope the creators of this program have corrected these errors by now!

I was further alarmed by your use of the term "Descending Ascendant" in the 7th house and your statements about the "apparent" retrograding ascendant that "of course is not *really* retrograding."

I hope you agree that a descending ascendant is a contradiction in terms. I have no idea how to visualize something like that and I think it is an absurdity.
Then the Ascendant really, truely, undeniably runs retrograde through the fast rising signs in an arctic or antarctic chart.
I can proof that for you if you want.

So if you are changing the location and behaviour of the ascendant, depending on how you define it, then you're not talking about the ascendant anymore, but about something else.
The ascendant and its behaviour is very clearly defined all over the globe (see my previous post.)

Which brings us to equal houses and whole sign houses. When the rising sign is known and the location of the ascendant is known without a shadow of a doubt, then the house system follows automatically from that.
Considerations about the definition of the MC and the orientation of the ecliptic in local space are relevant for quadrant house systems and not for equal houses and whole sign houses. This is so because these two systems are defined completely on the ecliptic.

Therefore, I totally agree with the statement that the equal houses and whole sign houses are unaffected by the conditions in the arctic and antarctic.
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Paul
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Posted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see my "retrograde" ascendant can be imagined differently than I meant. By retrograde I had in mind that the primary direction doesn't retrograde but I'll come back and clarify this if not later today than tomorrow. I realise I should have provided greater context and explanation when I quickly posted before.
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Posted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ruud

It has been said by various people that either equal or particularly whole sign houses "solves" the problem of the houses at the poles, or else that one cannot use houses like Placidus or other quadrant divisions at the pole because "they don't work". I'll explain the backdrop of this discussion a bit because your post made me realise I've not really given any context to anything I've said here, and then explain my rationale for why this is important as much for whole as any other house system - I'll explain the astronomical side more to portray my thinking because obviously I know you know all this (better than I do).

Now in the course of a discussion with some people on this very subject I argued that actually there is an astronomical reality happening at the poles and our house systems describe various ways of encapsulating or visualising the mundane sphere for astrologically meaningful reasons but regardless of how we choose to render the picture, the astronomical reality remains the same - the only differences that one house system will give over another is more on what areas of the astronomical reality we wish to focus on.

Now as part of that discussion a point I made was that whole and to an extent equal somewhat obfuscate some of this, whilst at the same time we can still render Placidus cusps - the problem in both cases is often one of a reliance on computers to do the hard work for us.

I don't need to explain to you about the Placidus cusps in the pole and how they can be rendered, so let's jump over that and get straight to whole. But before I do, let's go back to the graphic I created. In this graphic (which is taken from Solar Fire which I believe remains the most popular astrology programme) we see something somewhat unusual happening in the poles. Putting aside what's really happening astronomically the animation shows us that at the poles Mars is rising as we might normally expect but is rising very slowly, then when we might normally expect it to continue into the 12th house, instead it suddenly falls back to the ascendant and very dramatically and quickly sinks right under the horizon. It makes its way right to the bottom of the chart and then stops and starts rising again as normal. Only for the cycle to continue again.

Now a casual observer may be baffled by this and wonder what the hell is happening here, is the ascendant suddenly retrograding? In my post earlier I said no of course it's not **actually** retrograding, let me explain what I mean by that and why your response causes me to rethink that. Let's imagine Mars moving in secondary motion as normal through the zodiac. At a certain point in time it's progress through the zodiac stops and it starts to apparently move backward through the zodiac. In relation to the zodiac, mars moved backward. It appears the same thing is happening here, the degree of the ascendant moves through the zodiac, then stops and moves backwards - like a retrograding planet. However, what I was trying to distinguish here is that actually if the chart was rendered as it looks someone would think that the sky to the east, where the ascendant is, rises and then suddenly the sky to the east starts going backwards and falls - as in the just as mars ordinarily moves in secondary motion and then goes backward when retrograde, the ascendant normally moves contrary to primary motion and then appears to go backward, like a retrograde. The distinction here is that unlike a retrograde in which the planet really does appear to move backward through its path of motion (secondary/the zodiac), the sky to the east at the ascendant is not going backward through *its* motion (primary motion).

It only occurred to me from your response that we could imagine that all retrogrades be measured from the zodiac - this is somewhat an unusual way of thinking about it for me, but from that perspective I suppose you really could say the ascendant appears to retrograde.

Now my reason for focusing here was to demonstrate that of course the sky to the east is *not* going backwards, in otherwords primary motion doesn't slow to a halt and then Mars doesn't start setting to the east where once it rose. The problem then is how the computer program chooses to deal with the MC.

Why does the MC matter? As you know these problems arise because the MC dips below the horizon and so where mars was rising in the east, it now sets in the west as normal, even though the chart makes it look like it is setting in the east. The problem is they've decided that the MC has to be above the horizon - by calculating it in this way the MC jumps to the west of the chart, the zodiac does stays as it was but now we have the false impression of a sky setting in the west.

This is my reason for focusing on this graphic - because like it or not, astrologers rely on software. What ought to perhaps really happen here is that as the MC coincides with the ascendant that the entire zodiac flips such that the sign that was rising now goes over to the west and starts setting. This would be more astronomically realistic and prevents the false assumptions we might otherwise make of the chart.

The problem, to reiterate it, is how we imagine the MC.

You say
Quote:
Considerations about the definition of the MC and the orientation of the ecliptic in local space are relevant for quadrant house systems and not for equal houses and whole sign houses.


Let me explain now why I disagree with this and hopefully demonstrate that actually the MC is important for the equal and whole sign houses, just not perhaps in the way you think.

Before that though, let's take a little detour and go back over some basics.

What is the MC? The MC is as you known the meridian running north-south through the poles connecting to the equator at right angles and the MC point itself is the intersection of this line with the ecliptic - so far so good. The problem is that so is IC - the description of the MC above is just as true for the IC as the MC so we need an additional modifier to this description. Well we could say that the MC is in the intersection of the meridian with the ecliptic to the south, from a northern hemisphere perspective, or north from a southern hemisphere perspective, and therefore the IC is the point opposite. So far so good. We could have also said that the MC is the intersection of the meridian with the ecliptic above the horizon.

You perhaps start to see where this is going, because in the poles both of those descriptions are not always true. The MC can be to the north and under the horizon - what then do we say the MC actually is? Another description we could have given is that the MC is the point of greatest culmination of for a given point on the ecliptic.

As we can see, the program in the image I have used clearly locks itself into a particular understanding of the MC - that it ought to be above the horizon and south.

Let's jump to another bit of basic astrology - what the hell are houses anyway.

I hope it's not controversial to say that as the zodiac models secondary motion of the planets and points etc. through the celestial sphere, that the houses are chiefly about modelling primary motion of those planets and points etc. through the mundane sphere. In this way we have built up a schema where by we have recognised that a planet/point rises over the horizon at that point where obviously the ecliptic intersects with the horizon and primary motion carries it away from this astronomically significant point and carries it up so that it gains altitude whilst it moves steadily south (from a northern perspective) until it at some point will move as south as it can possibly make, therefore equally gain its maximum altitude, and at this moment obviously coincide with the meridian. This is another astronomically relevant point and then the planet begins to move now on the western side of the sky and starts to make its way back to the horizon to set and so on.

Now at some point in the lifecycle of this rising and culimating, either before or after culimination, the planet will reach a point whereby it is at the maximum altitude of the ecliptic - that is, the point 90 from the ascendant (the nonagesimal or equal 10th house cusp). At this moment in time, ignoring latitude for convenience, the planet is the highest thing in the sky. Now if this happens before the planet is at the MC, then it means that whilst its currently higher than anything else in the sky, it can still go higher still which it will do at the MC. Otherwise whilst it may be currently higher than anything at the nonagesimal, it was once upon a time even higher than it is now.

What this means is that the 90 angle from the ascendant, as well as the MC both carry a significant astronomical point of relevance.

Now regardless of what house system you use, this cycle is embedded both in the symbolism and practical rendering of the houses. The name we give to these astronomically important points are angles. And so a planet at and angle or a cardine is at a point of turning and is imagined as being at a place of activity or strength in some capacity. In fact this whole motion to and from the angles (which are astronomical points) are so important we've grouped the houses to tell us whether this house is moving toward this point of astronomical relevance (succedent), at that place (angular) or falling away from that place (cadent). It can be equally seen that the actual astrological relevance of these houses is, in part, dependant upon its relationship to the angles. For example it can be argued fairly easily that the IC or the nonagesimal under the horizon gains some of its meaning precisely because it is imagined lowest part of the chart and that it's under the horizon - we have buried things, hidden things, death and so on associated with it. Likewise, that point of great altitude over the horizon (which either the MC or equal 10th could be imagined as) likewise can be argued to gain meaning from the fact that it's so high and visible and we associate with it honours, visibility, standing in the world, recognition and so on.

Just as an aside, I don't want to debate the efficacy of any particular house system but where equal houses uses the exact point of this astronomically relevant moment, whole signs merely abstracts or broadens it out into being chiefly that the sign itself is coloured or empowered etc. from having the point in it - so the whole 10th is meaningful as being the sign of highest altitude or containing the point of highest altitude, where equal begins from the exact point itself. Either way both use it - not in its calculation, only equal implicitly does that, but nevertheless the information is encapsulated in the philosophy of the house meanings.



So far so good, let's go back to the problem of the houses at the poles.

You've probably twigged where I'm going here. But let's return to the chart I created. In this case as an astrologer imagine I cast my chart for 8:48am, which is one of the snapshots in the animation. I think great, Mars has just risen over the horizon at some point and is now cadent from the ascendant in the whole sign 12th. Now remember our basic house meanings - by being cadent from the angle it is stripped of its angular significance, is in a place of depression until such time as it succeeds to a new angle, normally the 10th which it starts to do when it enters the 11th house by the backdoor of the 12th house cusp steadily succeeding to the angle whilst it is in the 11th until it enters the 10th and builds up angular power etc.

Now if I am an astrologer who is comfortable and safe in my knowledge that whole signs are unaffected at the arctic circle and that all of those problems are problems for those pernickity quadrant house users I will utterly and totally failed to realise an astronomical property of great importance which affects my astrological significations, because Mars at this moment in time is actually succeedent not cadent, and the entire signification of the 12th is now one of succeeding to the angle. But which one? The first? If we are so comfortable as whole sign users we don't care about how the MC is calculated (after all it doesn't affect us) then we would A) think mars is cadent, B) if we animate the chart, think its succedent to the 1st house, when in fact the truth is C) it suddenly jumps to being succedent and incredibly quickly angular and then blink and you miss it, it's in the real cadent 6th house placement, even though our animation here will show it moving through the angular first house.

What a mess for that whole sign astrologer.

Worse. I'm a horary astrologer who uses whole signs. I am doing my missing item horaries and I notice my signification at the whole sign 10th, let's imagine. No problem, I know the tenth is south. Right? Because I'm a whole sign user and the problem of the poles doesn't affect me, off I go looking for my missing item in the south. When in fact, in this case the 10th is actually north.

In fact I notice someone with a lot of MC/10th house influence and I think, great that means career, honours, visibility and so on, because as we know whole sign users are not affected by the arctic circle. Unbeknownst to me, the 10th/MC is actually below the horizon, whilst that malefic characteristic on the IC i wasn't focusing on is now actually the highest point of the chart.


The problem, as I see it, is the false assumption that the 'problem' of the poles is chiefly a problem of calculation - if you can calculate the houses then all is good, off you go, no more information needed. As a whole sign user I know the MC doesn't get used in my calculation, so screw what happens with it at the poles, I don't need it.

But the actually the problems of the poles are affecting the entire way we normally conceptualise the ecliptic as a whole, at one point the ecliptic will 'sit' or 'lie' on the horizon itself for example. Now how we divide up our charts means absolutely nothing whatsoever about any of that - that's the astronomy of the matter. We ought to be modelling our astrology to best render that astronomical reality, not merely decide that if I close my eyes to the problem that the problem goes away, we model the sky with our charts, the sky doesn't alter itself to model our charts.

And so with that in mind the whole sign house user who doesn't pay attention to the MC as it moves toward the ascendant will not realise the fact that everything is about to flip - especially if they don't animate the chart forward but instead assume things go on as normal and that my beautiful Jupiter election etc will carry on through the 11th in time to meet my MC or whole sign 10th etc. when in reality it's just about to, within minutes, find itself in the 6th house.

I hope this makes sense of what I'm getting at. Of course there is no such thing as a descending ascendant, this was just a play with words to help highlight to anyone with no astronomical knowledge the absurdity of the situation so as to help get people thinking about this problem. I am curious what you think of all this though as I know you have spent a great deal of time considering the issues of the poles and how they affect placidus cusps.

One other thing I want to then draw out from this is that the MC is important regardless of the house system being used (or if not the MC the nonagesimal). So what do we do about this because it's a problem that affects us all precisely because it does not matter what house system you use, even whole sign houses.

Do we switch the IC with the MC at such times when the MC as might ordinarily understand it is below the horizon? Clearly this is in a way what the program is doing what I took this animation from. This may make sense for some house systems but not for others.


It's a problem, but it's a problem for whole and equal house users as well, it's just not a problem of calculation and so it goes, normally, totally lost because everyone is so fixated on the problem of calculation they've forgotten what it is we're actually meant to be really calculating.

(so many typos, hope this makes sense)
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Ruud66



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Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Paul,
Now I have to ask for some more time. The detail and length of your reply forces me to formulate my ideas more precisely and in a coherent way, for which I need more time than you would need, I guess. But I'm very happy to take on this challenge. This quality of discussion is very rare after all.
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Paul
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Posted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take your time Ruud

It's worth highlighting that I'm not really trying to convince anyone of my opinion here and I'm okay with agreeing to disagree on anything here, but I just wanted to actually explain the background to that graphic and what was behind what I had said earlier.
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Ruud66



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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul,
Your main point, as I understand it, is the definition and the role of the midheaven in the construction of not only the quadrant houses, but also the equal and whole sign houses, especially in the polar regions. So let's start from there.

There are several definitions of the midheaven point, as you also describe in your post. For example, in Solar Fire you can change the definition of the midheaven in your preferences. If you edit settings for calculating the MC in polar regions you can choose between "Always towards equator" and "Always above horizon". Both refer to the intersection of the ecliptic with the meridian in a certain direction. But there are other definitions too, like "Longitude of the RAMC", or "Culminating point of the ecliptic."

So which definition is true?
Already I can see a discussion unfolding where the contributors come up with their favourite arguments and at some point have to agree to disagree. The same pattern is happening when the subject of the different house systems comes up for the umpteenth time. Always I have seen these discussions go in the direction of a cul-de-sac.
I think this is so because astrologers do not agree on the foundations first. For example, what constitutes a good argument?

So let me digress in this direction first.
In science there are strict rules about logic and consistency, about what constitutes corroboration for your hypothesis, etc. The study of the philosophy of science deals with this subject.

For example, in astrological discussions, I see sometimes the argument from verification. The idea behind this is that if you provide enough examples of your system working with stunning accuracy, then at some point everyone must agree that the system works. This is an example of a kind of argument that is never going to be successful.
In science, the strongest argument is not verification, but falsification. This design is used in key experiments and it involves the formulation of an alternative hypothesis. This alternative hypothesis is formulated in such a way that, if found true, it would falsify the original research hypothesis. But if the results of the experiment show that this alternative hypothesis is not true, then this is actually one of the strongest pieces of corroborating evidence you can produce for your research hypothesis.

Another weak argument that I see sometimes in astrological discussions is the argument from authority. For example: "If Ptolemy said it, it must be true" (Ipse dixit), or "I only use whole sign houses, because it is the oldest system." The argument that you have illustrated, saying: "If my astrology program calculates it, it must be true" is also an argument from authority. Such arguments are a kind of belief or misplaced reverence and it excuses you from researching the matter yourself and forming your own opinion.

Of course, astrology is not a hard science that deals with measurable effects that are determined by identifiable, physical causes. Neverthless, I think we astrologers must also formulate some basic principles that we can use as foundations for our arguments. If all participants are on the same page first, maybe the above perennial discussions have a chance of becoming more successful.

As a starting point I give here my own formulations-under-construction of some astrological "guidelines" that apply to techniques that are derived from the astronomical reality. I formulate the following three principles:

1. Consistency
2. Symmetry
3. Correspondence

Consistency
With this word I mean that for each astrological technique or system, there must be a single "point of view" in the actual astronomical reality, by which all elements of that technique or system make sense. Putting this in a different way: the astronomical reality is multifaceted, maybe even multidimensional and our astrological techniques and systems should each choose one single way of looking at the sky, formulated in such a concise way that all aspects and elements of these techniques and systems follow logically from that formulation or definition.
It guards against the mistake of mixing several arguments together that come from a different formulation or "point of view" of the astronomical reality and therefore should never be placed together, because the implicit viewpoints are mutually exclusive.

For example, when you use a static system like whole signs and you add a dynamically defined midheaven into the mix, then you violate this principle. (a static definition of the midheaven is "intersection of the ecliptic with the meridian in a particular direction" and a dynamic definition is "culminating point of the ecliptic".) More about this later, when I give my opinion on your main argument.
Another example is the Porphyry house system, that tries to divide the sky in order to represent the diurnal cycle of the earth in the chart and it uses a coordinate system that deals exclusively with the annual cycle of the earth (the ecliptic.) These two points of view should not be mixed together like that.

Symmetry
This applies primarily to the design of house systems. Each house system is an attempt to emulate the simplicity and symmetry of the twelve signs of the zodiac in the division of the diurnal cycle of the earth, the cycle of the rotation of the earth around its axis. Each house system chooses a different strategy, but in essence tries to divide something in twelve equal parts. If the end result subsequently does not show this symmetry in the twelvefold division, then there is a flaw in the design of the system according to this second principle.

Obvious examples of this are most of the quadrant house systems, namely the systems that trisect quadrants "after the fact". With this I mean that for the construction of such a system, you first need to know where the ascendant and/or the midheaven is in order to define the quadrants. Only after this operation the quadrants are divided into three parts according to some method.
Systems of this kind are: Porphyry, Neo-Porphyry, Alcabitius, Koch, Azimuth, Krusinsky/Pisa, A.P.C./Abenragel.
Basically the mundane quadrants are always exactly the same. They are formed by the circles of the local horizon and the local meridian, two great circles in local space that square each other by necessity. However, the above systems divide the mundane quadrants in such a way that the end result can be extremely asymmetrical.

The system of Placidus does not violate the principle of symmetry. The mundane placidean house curves that divide the local sky are defined in such a way that each house always has exactly the same surface area (one 12th of the total area) on the two-dimensional canvas of the celestial sphere. This is so on all geographic latitudes.
Another attractive property of the placidean house curves is that they are stationary: they do not move at all in relation to the horizon, in contrast to all of the above systems. Their shape is only dependent on the geographic latitude.
The result with the sometimes very unequal distribution of the ecliptic cusps that we see in our horoscopes, is caused by the insistence of astrologers to see everything through the lens of the zodiac. The ecliptic runs through the two-dimensional placidean system at an angle (the obliquity) and apparantly destroys the original symmetry. The ecliptic, however, has no role in the design of the Placidus houses.

Correspondence
This is an elaboration of the first principle of consistency. What I mean by correspondence is that a particular point of view in the astronomical reality should correspond to a particular point of view or approach in the astrological interpretation.
Different points of view in the astronomical reality are, for example, geocentric versus heliocentric, tropical versus sidereal versus draconic, geocentric versus topocentric, in mundo versus in zodiaco, and in the arena of the house systems: Placidus houses is formulated with a totally different point of view in mind than Campanus, for example.

I'll use the different points of view of the house systems because that is pertaining to the original subject of this thread.
Most astrologers use one house system and they use it for all purposes. Why the astrologer is using a particular house system is usually a process of chance: it depends on the teacher of the astrologer and sometimes also the philosophy of the astrologer which system he-she is going to use. There may be other factors involved, but very rarely there is a consideration about the design of a particular system and what that means for the approach, scope and limitation in astrological use and interpretation.
What I'm trying to say is that you cannot use one system for all purposes, because all systems represent a series of choices and limitations in depicting elements of the astronomical reality and these choices and limitations should be translated into the approach and limitations of its use in astrological interpretation. This is the principle of correspondence.

This principle has some important consequences. For example, it becomes necessary to use multiple systems next to each other, keeping clearly in mind what the approach of each system is in interpretation. Or choosing a particular system for a particular purpose.
For example, in my astrological work I use Placidus houses for a dynamic, time-sensitive approach and whole signs and equal mixed together for a basic, more static approach. And I weave one approach through the other during my reading. In this way I try to make the reading more three-dimensional.

Again, this is only a first attempt to formulate some basic principles. All three principles need a philosophical foundation for themselves, for example. They are not the basic laws of astrology because I say so. Maybe there is a better formulation of these principles, maybe others can be formulated. I only hope that this is worthy of serious discussion.


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Ruud66



Joined: 05 Apr 2009
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Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I said in my previous post, it is my opinion that a discussion on the properties of house systems and their elements of construction is impossible if you don't agree on some principles first. So I'm going to try and demonstrate why I disagree with your idea that the midheaven plays a role in whole signs and equal house, using the principles I explained above.

Firstly, I think that the series of horoscopes you made only demonstrates that you shouldn't rely blindly on astrological software, because some of the horoscopes are calculated incorrectly by that program. And I'm not talking about the ambiguity of the midheaven or the orientation of the chart wheel. Locating the ascendant in the western hemisphere is a geographical absurdity. The earth rotates anti-clockwise around its axis and it is not going to reverse its rotation temporarily and only in the polar regions. If you want a standard for comparison: astro.com is spot-on as far as the technical stuff is concerned.
I'm sorry to be so critical about it, because it probably was a lot of work to make it. And I'm also a bit jealous, because I have no idea how to do such things on a computer.

Then let's jump right into the meat of the matter.

Paul wrote:
I hope it's not controversial to say that as the zodiac models secondary motion of the planets and points etc. through the celestial sphere, that the houses are chiefly about modelling primary motion of those planets and points etc. through the mundane sphere.

Here I have to disagree with you already. As soon as you say "modelling primary motion of planets and points through the mundane sphere", you have pinned yourself down to one specific point of view of the astronomical reality. Only one house system fulfills this particular requirement: Placidus houses. If you go by the above definition, you have disqualified all other house systems. Note that I'm not saying your statement is wrong, I'm just saying you're choosing one specific point of view.

Quote:
Now at some point in the lifecycle of this rising and culimating, either before or after culimination, the planet will reach a point whereby it is at the maximum altitude of the ecliptic - that is, the point 90 from the ascendant (the nonagesimall or equal 10th house cusp). At this moment in time, ignoring latitude for convenience, the planet is the highest thing in the sky.

Rising, setting, ascension, descension, culminating, and anti-culminating belong to one particular point of view of the astronomical reality: the one you started with above. I would call this point of view a dynamic modelling of the primary motion of the earth. As soon as you start talking about the highest and deepest point in the sky, you have shifted your point of view. You're not talking about the primary motion anymore, but now you are looking at the altitude above and below the horizon. This is not a dynamic point of view: in stead of looking at how something moves, you're looking at where something is.

Quote:
What this means is that the 90 angle from the ascendant, as well as the MC both carry a significant astronomical point of relevance. Now regardless of what house system you use, this cycle is embedded both in the symbolism and practical rendering of the houses.

My critique here, as you've probably guessed already, is that you are using two different points of view in one argument, a violation of my first principle. The midheaven, dynamically defined as culminating point of the ecliptic, is only relevant to Placidus houses and not to any other house system.
The nonagesimal is a measurement that has no relevance to Placidus, because it is not a dynamic point modelling primary motion. It is a point with a specific quality in local space from a more static point of view. The nonagesimal is also the ecliptic longitude of the zenith, for example, another static space-based point.
Therefore, it is highly relevant which house system you're using. Note that I'm not saying that you have to choose your system. In fact I would say that it is necessary to use multiple systems next to each other, each representing a particular point of view in the astronomy and in the astrology, as I explained earlier.

At this point I think it is necessary to have a closer look at whole sign and equal houses. What point of view of the astronomical reality do they represent?

These two house systems were conceived of early on in the development of hellenistic astrology. Maybe equal house is a later development of whole signs. And I think that these systems developed side-by-side with the development of the twelve places of the zodiac (the 12 signs) and how they can be used technically in hellenistic astrology.
The twelve places have their own names (we call them Aries, Taurus, etc...) and they can be numbered as first place until twelfth place. And by turning the horoscope wheel you can answer different questions. You can start with the place of the Sun, or Moon, or the place of the Lot of Fortune, etc., and you can also start with the rising sign, et voil: whole sign houses. Then a further development could be noting the degrees in partile to the ascendant as the most powerful degree in a particular house, or the degree that is most in focus.

This is therefore my take on whole sign and equal houses: they follow the laws of the zodiac and its order of consecutive places. The astronomical point of view is 100% ecliptocentric. I don't see any connection to ideas of ascension, above/below the horizon, highest/lowest point. I see a one-dimensional system, just as the ecliptic is. The tenth whole-sign house is not the tenth, because it is the highest point, or the culmination of the horoscope. In the whole sign system it is the tenth house, because it is the tenth place from the rising sign counted in the order of the zodiac. Using the rising point of the ecliptic as the feducial of this system doesn't make it two-dimensional, or modelling ascension all of a sudden.

Now, also in hellenistic astrology ideas like higher and lower and rising, culminating, setting, etc. were extremely important. But for that purpose there were the early forms of the quadrant houses. I believe that is what Alcabitius houses were used for, or maybe Porphyry. One way or the other, there was a clear distinction between the two kinds of house systems. The whole signs were used for topics and the quadrant systems for determining relative strength, or angularity and to observe the primary motion.
I'm not an expert on hellenistic astrology, but I believe the hellenistic astrologers used the same kind of distinction that I'm trying to make: using different systems with different points of view for different purposes.

Quote:
So far so good, let's go back to the problem of the houses at the poles.

I wonder if you're familiar with this site? http://www.astronor.com/polarcharts.htm
This is an astrologer talking from direct experience about natal and horary astrology north of the arctic circle.

Quote:
But let's return to the chart I created.

In your argument you apply ideas of cadent-succedent-angular qualities to the equal/whole-sign placements of Mars in your example charts.
Let's follow the house placements of Mars through time from 3:48:22 am until 4:48:22 pm every hour.
According to the charts you used the equal house placements evolve like so:
1-1-12-12-12-12-12-12-2-4-4-4-4-3
And in whole signs:
1-1-1-1-1-1-12-1-3-4-4-4-4-4

If I place the ascendant in the correct hemisphere and count houses in the order of the zodiac we get the following progression in equal house:
1-1-12-12-12-12-6-6-8-10-4-4-4-3
And in whole signs:
1-1-1-1-1-1-6-7-9-10-5-4-4-4

Then if I do the same as above, but invert the order of the houses when the midheaven is below the horizon, just as an experiment, I get the following in equal house:
1-1-12-12-12-12-7-7-5-3-4-4-4-3
And in whole signs:
1-1-1-1-1-1-8-7-5-4-5-4-4-4

But if we follow the house position of Mars on its own semi-arc, calculated by astro.com we get the following:
1.31-12.91-12.02-11.12-10.23-9.34-8.44-7.54-6.86-6.51-6.16-5.82-5.47-5.12

I think this is a good demonstration that equal house and whole signs just don't make sense in the polar regions if you are looking at the house placements of a planet over time. One way or the other there are going to be strange jumps and inexplicable backward movements. While the progression of placements on the semi-arc make perfect sense. The relative house placements are beautifully spaced at equal intervals above the horizon and at a different interval below the horizon, just as Mars will spend different amounts of time above and below the horizon.

So if you want to know in what location of the zodiac a planet is in relation to the ascendant or rising place, use equal and/or whole signs and if you want to know the relative position of a planet in relation to the horizon as it changes over time, use Placidus.

Quote:
Do we switch the IC with the MC at such times when the MC as might ordinarily understand it is below the horizon? Clearly this is in a way what the program is doing what I took this animation from. This may make sense for some house systems but not for others.

Let me finish with a quote from you that I completely agree with. What we need to do with the midheaven depends on the house system we're currently using.

My current position on the house systems is that there are four categories.
1. The one-dimensional ecliptocentric systems, like Whole signs and Equal. For these systems the midheaven does not play a role as I argued above.
2. The two-dimensional space-based systems, Campanus and Regiomontanus. I didn't talk about these systems yet. They are completely static and space-based and that means that for these systems the cusp of the 10th is always above the horizon and therefore could be in the south or in the north.
3. The system that models the primary morion of the earth, Placidus. For this system the midheaven is always the cusp of the 10th in the south (for the arctic region), because the midheaven is defined dynamically as the culminating point of the ecliptic.
4. The other quadrant systems I mentioned violating the principle of symmetry. As I argued above, these systems are problematic and are always fudging different points of view together. As a result what to do with the midheaven cannot be deduced from the construction of the house system.

Then there are the systems that do not incorporate the ascendant and midheaven, like Meridian, Axial and others. I'm not sure what the use of those systems is. And there is also the exceptional category of systems that are just barking nonsense, like Morinus and Topocentric.

I hope all this gives you an idea about how I think about this subject. I thank you for giving me the inspiration to formulate my ideas more clearly and "forcing" me to put all this into words.
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Paul
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Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ruud

Thanks for getting back to me, and with so much to think over. I disagree with some of what you're saying or your approach but I actually wonder if I conveyed my own thinking well (in some ways this is my first time articulating all of this as I've moved beyond my initial discussion about whole signs).

In some ways I did a lot of talking and meandering through my thinking and the background to why I created the graphic. But actually I sum up a lot of it when you say, in your second post:

Quote:
I think this is a good demonstration that equal house and whole signs just don't make sense in the polar regions if you are looking at the house placements of a planet over time. One way or the other there are going to be strange jumps and inexplicable backward movements.


This strange jumping about is really what I was trying to eventually get toward and the graphic was one of the stepping stones along that journey if you like. What I was trying to show is that the idea that people who use whole signs don't need to consider the MC is a little too simplistic, because if we dont' consider the issue, we don't realise that our software could be assuming one position of the MC which, at a static chart cast for a given moment, could have the apparently wrong Ascendant, and then we have issues when it comes to moving to and from the angles.

In fact if we were to stop there, that's pretty much the backdrop of my previous conversation from which this graphic emerged. I think it's important in reading my earlier replies that the focus was on debating the idea that whole signs solve the problem of house division at extreme latitudes as being perhaps too simplistic and demonstrating where we might have problems with that (the MC simply came up 'along the way' as it were).

I am going to go through your other points as best as I can and be as articulate as I can be, but some of these issues are really forcing me to pin down my thinking on this and articulate it where I haven't quite done that before, and some of these things I simply disagree with your premises and so whilst I explain my own rationale, I am not trying to convince anyone else it is the best or only way to view the matter, and so am happy to simply agree to disagree on certain things, or even explore them further so we can better understand one another, even if we ultimately never agree. Ive not been sequential, as I wanted to jump straight to some points you made in your second post to then go back to the premises of that point in the first post etc.



Quote:
Firstly, I think that the series of horoscopes you made only demonstrates that you shouldn't rely blindly on astrological software, because some of the horoscopes are calculated incorrectly by that program.


Right but this is sort of the reason I created the graphic, because the obvious logical step forward is that no matter what house system you are using, it benefits to understand, even in broad terms, what is happening at the poles. But the trick is in recognising that if you do use whole and equal, and you think you can ignore the MC, you will not recognise that moment that the MC in this or that chart is super close to the Ascendant - and if you do that, you have lost the realisation that this means your ascendant is about to flip. This is part of why I brought up the MC to begin with. I wonder if you disagree with this from that point of view though? Surely you would recognise that the idea that someone is using whole or equal and therefore concludes that the MC is of little practical interest in how the the houses are not just drawn at this very moment in time in my software but going forward would be a mistake? If you don't understand that a difference in definition of the MC could redefine what your ascendant sign is (on your chart) to begin with as well as what the planets are about to do or if your signs are going to flip and the houses jump across to a different hemisphere etc. then you could imagine a whole sign astrologer making a disaster of their astrology.

Quote:
locating the ascendant in the western hemisphere is a geographical absurdity. The earth rotates anti-clockwise around its axis and it is not going to reverse its rotation temporarily and only in the polar regions. If you want a standard for comparison: astro.com is spot-on as far as the technical stuff is concerned.


Right but that's exactly my point and why I wanted to create the chart to show how blindly following the software and not recognising the importance of the MC and how it might be defined could lead to the very problem that allowed me to so casually create that graphic. Now most people of course know that the sun, at least, always rises in the east even in the Arctic, for example, and so would quickly realise that something else is amiss. Really the graphic was meant to be a shock factor that would force more nuanced thinking - most people would be shocked or surprised to see their signs descend where they thought they were ascending. The rest of what I wrote or said was to explain the problem.

Quote:
As soon as you say "modelling primary motion of planets and points through the mundane sphere", you have pinned yourself down to one specific point of view of the astronomical reality. Only one house system fulfills this particular requirement: Placidus houses.


I respectfully disagree with you here. Every single house system seems to contain a localised frame of reference in which the planets are, at a given moment in time, displayed around the mundane sphere and right from our very earliest example of houses in the Hellenistic era this notion of moving to and from astronomically relevant points is encapsulated from the get-go. Even more, if you go back further to the kind of proto-typal house systems of the Egyptians we likewise have a major focus, in fact an even more major focus, on the moving toward and away from the ascendant and MC in particular.

Now every single houses system utilises at last one of the three major astronomically relevant points (Asc. Nonagesimal, MC) and all of them divide up the houses into terms or ideas we call cadent, angular and succedent and the same names and so on are given regardless of house system.

Let's take Regiomontanus as an example for a second. The primary motion modelling part can be derived from the division of the equator into equal sections and as the earth turns obviously we can see a relatively fixed point like a planet pass through the degrees of the equator in right ascendant and therefore move through the houses. Of course those points are then projected through the pole of the prime vertical and so we have an ascendant degree and not, say, an east point. And so we have primary motion as it pertains to this local observer against their local horizon. But either way planet move because of prime motion through the sky, and if we divide up the mundane sphere along some astronomically or astrologically interesting plane the planets will no less pass through them than they would anything else and we continue to consider that they move from succedent to angular to cadent - even in whole sign we use this terminology.

Because every single house system has this encapsulated within its thinking I think it's perfectly valid to say that we are modelling, in some way or another, the prime motion of the planets through the mundane sphere. Now you may imagine that in a particular way which leads to a conclusion of placidus, but if we took Campanus as a more obvious counter example, I think it's misleading to imagine that this is only true for Placidus.

You go on to conclude that I discount the other house systems because this limits my view, but in fact I think the exact opposite, I've allowed a definition that's broad enough to allow all the house systems to fall under its umbrella. I would be interested in hearing a counter definition for the houses however.

Quote:
Rising, setting, ascension, descension, culminating, and anti-culminating belong to one particular point of view of the astronomical reality: the one you started with above. I would call this point of view a dynamic modelling of the primary motion of the earth. As soon as you start talking about the highest and deepest point in the sky, you have shifted your point of view. You're not talking about the primary motion anymore, but now you are looking at the altitude above and below the horizon. This is not a dynamic point of view: in stead of looking at how something moves, you're looking at where something is.


I don't recognise your distinction as much between dynamic and static. If you imagine that the ascendant is always moving north and south there is always going to be some sense of movement for nearly all the house systems (perhaps excepting Campanus). But I also don't differentiate so strongly, from a philosophical (rather than computational) measure that there is such big difference from culmination and altitude - if you think about it, the MC is the maximum altitude a planet can, typically, gain in the course of its journey through the mundane sphere. The nonagesimal is the point of highest altitude at this moment in time. And so I think altitude or ideas of reaching a height are actually present in both ways of imagining the problem.

So far were not doing too great in even agreeing on what the houses are in general.

Quote:
Neverthless, I think we astrologers must also formulate some basic principles that we can use as foundations for our arguments


I agree, but I actually suspect its a lot more difficult and one of the reasons I wanted to jump straight to some of those later points is to point that out.

The reality is however, that we likely do not agree on some of the foundational principles of the houses and part of that may be in understanding the history of the houses differently and in agreeing on what were using the houses for in the first place.

Sadly I cannot agree with your three word guideline with this in mind (consistency, symmetry, correspondence). I will try to explain why.

When reading some of my counter arguments below keep in mind one fundamental premise I make of the houses which is that were trying to recognise certain astronomical realities and find a way of systemising or modelling that reality in some way.


Consistency
Quote:
It guards against the mistake of mixing several arguments together that come from a different formulation or "point of view" of the astronomical reality and therefore should never be placed together, because the implicit viewpoints are mutually exclusive.


The problem I have here is the idea that one plane of measurement or viewpoint precludes the use of other ones - the reality is that there is an astronomical reality (I agree with this) but ultimately no one point or plane can capture that reality by itself. Even whole sign doesnt do this - it needs both the plane of the ecliptic as well as the plane of the horizon to make its case for itself.

The implicit viewpoints are therefore, for me, not mutually exclusive (if I understand you right) but rather different ways of examining the same problem or indeed of trying to measure it.

You give the example of the MC and say that imagining it as a culminating point (dynamic) as well as static (meridian meets ecliptic) violates the principle for you - but the astronomical reality is that the very reason it is the culminating point of the planet is precisely because it is the intersection of the meridian with the ecliptic. The two astronomical properties are not mutually exclusive and whilst it may be neat or convenient to at any one point only focus on one of those properties, and whilst this make make it more manageable to deal with, I cannot get behind an argument that imagines that to take the point holistically is somehow flawed. Now some house systems may implicitly prefer the MC as one or the other and I am okay with that - I conclude as much in my previous post. But we should be careful of employing the logic that we cannot imagine a house system for which the fact of the MC itself (which is not binary in its understanding) may simply model the reality of what the MC is - which is that for most latitudes it is indeed both a static point for the observer and dynamic point for the planet and is such for both for the exact same reason.

Symmetry
Quote:
Each house system is an attempt to emulate the simplicity and symmetry of the twelve signs of the zodiac in the division of the diurnal cycle of the earth, the cycle of the rotation of the earth around its axis. Each house system chooses a different strategy, but in essence tries to divide something in twelve equal parts. If the end result subsequently does not show this symmetry in the twelvefold division, then there is a flaw in the design of the system according to this second principle.


Is it though, is it really an attempt to emulate the zodiac? Can we be sure? We know there was likely an 8-fold house system and a 36 place house system in antiquity - maybe it really is that the one we use is because there are 12 signs of the zodiac, but then again, maybe its for some other reason. Can we be sure?

This aside Im curious which house system is not an even division into 12 - in other words, arent they all already symmetrical? Maybe a better question is, symmetrical from what dividing axis/point?

You give the example of Porphyry (to use a simple one) to demonstrate lack of symmetry - but lack of symmetry where? It seems pretty symmetrical to me. When you define symmetry what exactly do you have in mind and what is the frame or plane of measurement that you allow to be symmetrical and why? All of the houses will for example have 180 of the zodiac, as one plane for example, above and below the horizon. Well thats some symmetry at least. Same for east and west. What kind of symmetry do you mean then?

Sorry if this seems flippant or deliberately obtuse or something - I think we might need to articulate this point if we might ever want to find some common ground (or we can agree to disagree as ever).

In any event, Im still not clear what the rationale was that says that the house system must have some symmetry let alone symmetry in what sense.

Another problem I would have is that anything which dismisses the Prophyry house system essentially cuts against the historical evidence we have of how houses were used - we have at least as old a reference to Porphyry as we do to anything else if we believe our ancient astrologers. We should be careful in conflating what we would want for a house system for ourselves for what is meaningful to us personally vs what a house system can (and indeed has) been imagined as.

I know you focus on Placidus here, but it is not the only house system that is symmetrical, however until I understand exactly what you mean by that I cannot comment too much.

Correspondence
Your points here are quite interesting, but as I see it, this is more a movement of focus from qualifying or disqualifying house systems themselves, to qualifying or disqualifying the use of house systems by astrologers - in other words it shifts from houses to astrologers.

Im going to go through some of your other points in another post, these lengthy posts can sometimes take a while to write up.
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Paul
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Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me try to go through some of the rest of your points now. I agree with a lot of what you say and disagree with others, so I'll focus on areas of disagreement so we can either choose to expand our thinking on that more or agree to disagree.

Ruud66 wrote:
a discussion on the properties of house systems and their elements of construction is impossible if you don't agree on some principles first. So I'm going to try and demonstrate why I disagree with your idea that the midheaven plays a role in whole signs and equal house, using the principles I explained above.


Right, a problem though is that I don't quite agree (if I understand you right) on some of your principles. And you likewise didn't agree with my definition of houses either. But then I can't imagine either of us imagined that this would be easy!

One thing I think is worth keeping in mind though, is where I said earlier:
Quote:
One other thing I want to then draw out from this is that the MC is important regardless of the house system being used (or if not the MC the nonagesimal)...It's a problem, but it's a problem for whole and equal house users as well, it's just not a problem of calculation and so it goes, normally, totally lost because everyone is so fixated on the problem of calculation they've forgotten what it is we're actually meant to be really calculating.


Some, but not all, of your subsequent reply focuses again on calculation. The rest focuses more broadly on historical consideration and so on and so I'll focus mostly here whilst highlighting some of the calculation stuff first just to get it out of the way and give an idea of where I am disagreeing and why.

Quote:
The midheaven, dynamically defined as culminating point of the ecliptic, is only relevant to Placidus houses and not to any other house system.


But this imagines again, a focus on the calculation of what's happening with placidus. For every single house system, the MC regardless of how we calculate our houses is both a relatively static point - the intersection of the meridian with the ecliptic (which of course is not static in terms of altitude as it rises and falls) as well as a more dynamic, to use your terminology, point as being the place where every planet will culminate. But whilst it may make sense to separate these for calculation purposes, even if we do not use the MC for our calculation (like in equal and whole) we will still have this point which is astronomically meaningful and for which we know from the earliest days of Hellenistic astrology was used and was meaningful irrespective of house division. We are told that the MC could fall into the 9th or 11th and what to do with it when it does - we're not always explicitly told what the 9th and 11th means in terms of calculation. But what we have instead is an astronomically meaningful point and where its properties I do not think can be easily disentangled - the very fact that it is the meeting of meridian and ecliptic (static) is what gives rise to the fact that it is the point of culmination (dynamic).

Quote:
The nonagesimal is a measurement that has no relevance to Placidus, because it is not a dynamic point modelling primary motion. It is a point with a specific quality in local space from a more static point of view.


Maybe it's best to define what static means in the context you're referring to it - of course the ascendant moves north and south and so the ecliptic itself seems like its moving and 'east to west' as it were and therefore so too is this static point. I think I take your general meaning, but again you have focused on imagining placidus division of the sky for astrological purposes as being chiefly a problem of calculation. Again, whether we use no houses or whether we use Placidus or anything else, the equal 10th is the highest point of the ecliptic, and the MC is the highest point any point on the ecliptic will reach - they therefore both contain a sense or connotation of highness and being visible and I believe it is precisely from this consideration that many of the astrological meanings of the 10th are found.

Right, now more into the historical side of things.

Quote:
These two house systems were conceived of early on in the development of hellenistic astrology. Maybe equal house is a later development of whole signs. And I think that these systems developed side-by-side with the development of the twelve places of the zodiac (the 12 signs) and how they can be used technically in hellenistic astrology.


Right, the popular thinking amongst Hellenistically inspired astrologers is that the whole sign house system emerged from an unknown figure or figures and was at least inspired by Egyptian decan systems. Equal and Porphyry at least followed shortly after.

I disagree somewhat with this view in that I prefer a more conservative and I feel accurate statement of simply saying we have little direct evidence of which house system came first and must therefore only make educated guesses and inferences based on the assumption that the records we have recorded their own history accurately - a fact we know in other instances at least to be simply incorrect. Whilst a first century century Hellenistic astrologer may believe the houses came from X, Y or Z several centuries before him, there's no reason to assume he's right, especially when we see instances of where his history was quite wrong in other fields.

In any event from our very earliest records we appear to have at least three house systems that were around - equal and prophyry which were explicitly defined, and whole which was never explicitly defined and must be inferred or seen as implicit in the use of reference to houses as signs.

However, the development of the zodiac did not occur side by side with the houses, or at least we have no evidence to imagine that they did, but instead are an earlier introduction by a couple of centuries from what evidence we have. The zodiac emerged from a prototypal division, by the Mesopotamians, of the ecliptic into various constellations of different arcs of longitude and of different number (sometimes 1Cool and either developed into or was merged with a system of measuring the sky based on the synodic periods of the Moon in a given year (averaging 12). In this sense the division of the ecliptic likely began as a lunar focus and subsequently a solar one, or, perhaps more accurately was lunisolar one. In a relatively short amount of time the ecliptic was divided into several constellations of varying length and then suddenly an equal 12 division.

The houses on the other hand were not found in the Mesopotamian tradition that we have any evidence for, but we do have evidence of a focus on the rising times of the ecliptic as well as star groups as they cross the meridian. There is a direct relationship obviously in rising times for the ecliptic with the when these stars cross the meridian. The babylonian system of rising times would later find its way into Greek hands from which incidentally various house systems could be used or calculated. However these stars (ziqpu stars) which crossed the meridian were clearly used in Mesopotamia for both calendrical and time keeping purposes and in particular marking observations of various astronomical phenomena (such as eclipses). Positional astronomy was used here too where things were recorded east or west of a given ziqpu star. How this all ties into houses is anyone's guess and how it later formed or inspired house system thinking, if at all, is also anyone's guess. I mention it just to clarify the history of the signs and the houses. The use of the ascendant times and the meridian crossings all precede the use of the zodiac. No babylonian 'horoscope' contains any mention of the ascendant etc. at all.

Contemporaneously to some of this, and in some instances far far preceding it (as in 2000 years older), was the Egyptian astronomy. Here we have an ancient use of various stars, normally 36 groups of 10 stars (decans) and a focus on when they rise, culminate and set. From very early in its development, likely the reason for its development, this was used for time keeping purposes. Certain prayers or rituals may need to occur when a given decan crosses the meridian or rises, and if we imagine this to have astrological meaning, even if not in the sense that we recognise it today, this was originally temporal in the sense that the decans themselves were not astrological meaningful, it was the crossing of the meridian that was meaningful. So if today I see the rising of a given decan at sunset, it will take 10 days before I see the rise of the next decan at sunset. In the meantime if I track the rising decans through the night, I will see a temporal association of the decans linked to the seasonal hours (similar to placidus) so that every seasonal hour a new decan will rise.

Other decans were later used to further refine time considerations as they were observed culminating. So again here we have an antecedent for the use of the ascendant and MC from stellar observational phenomena but for which the use of the zodiac is not only not developed side by side, but instead the use of the zodiac comes much later, when in the 3rd century BC the Babylonian equal Zodiac was imported into Egypt and the decans began to be associated with it such that each sign contained three decans.

As these were subsequently understood by Hellenistic authors we get glimpses of understanding of their original usage such as in Anubio who refers to the decans as time keepers. These decans are soon referred to simply as horoscopes and then 'the horoscope' in question being the ascendant and then subsequently the exact degree of the sign rising.

I just wanted to offer this brief history of the development of the cardinal points in relation to the zodiac because it's possible that many of my assumptions, in particular divorcing the idea that the houses were 'originally' whole sign or indeed that we can tell, may form part of my thinking here.

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This is therefore my take on whole sign and equal houses: they follow the laws of the zodiac and its order of consecutive places. The astronomical point of view is 100% ecliptocentric. I don't see any connection to ideas of ascension, above/below the horizon, highest/lowest point. I see a one-dimensional system, just as the ecliptic is


But the fact that we're positioning the ecliptic in relation to the horizon, by way of the ascendant, moves it beyond a purely one dimensional view. Now we don't just have a division of the ecliptic, we have a division of the ecliptic from a given horizon - we have to have that. The fact remains that the equal 10th house cusp is now the point 90 from the ascendant and represents that part of the eclipitc which has the greatest altitude.

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The tenth whole-sign house is not the tenth, because it is the highest point, or the culmination of the horoscope. In the whole sign system it is the tenth house, because it is the tenth place from the rising sign counted in the order of the zodiac. Using the rising point of the ecliptic as the feducial of this system doesn't make it two-dimensional, or modelling ascension all of a sudden.


The question we then need to ask is, why on earth is the 10th sign, or the point 90 from the ascendant (sign or point) connected to ideas of highness and visibility and recognition and so on if not for the fact that there is an astronomical cardinal point here that astronomically describes those very things? There is nothing about the zodiac itself which has this feature, the fact is that the zodiac or ecliptic only has this feature from a given horizon precisely because this point is indeed astronomically describing that very thing. Similarly we have a setting point - the seventh house derives much of its meaning precisely because it is setting, the fourth because it is buried at the deepest point of the ecliptic (however we define that) and in this case the MC because it is the highest.

If you disagree with that, I would be interesting to hear a more compelling theory for the why the 10th is connected with connotations of height, visibility and what exactly is 'angular' about the whole or equal 10th if not this very astronomical point?

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Now, also in hellenistic astrology ideas like higher and lower and rising, culminating, setting, etc. were extremely important. But for that purpose there were the early forms of the quadrant houses. I believe that is what Alcabitius houses were used for, or maybe Porphyry.


But we have no evidence of that whatsoever and we do have evidence that the 10th and 4th are considered angles, for example, irrespective of what form of house division is being employed - what exactly is the angular/cardinal/turning point/pivot here precisely if not an astronomical point which actually describes that?

There is no reason to limit this to quadrant divisions - both quadrant as well as equal (and whole) have an angular point which is different to the MC but which nonetheless models a different perspective of similar things relating to being high/visible/applauded etc.

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One way or the other, there was a clear distinction between the two kinds of house systems. The whole signs were used for topics and the quadrant systems for determining relative strength, or angularity and to observe the primary motion.


Actually it's not clear at all and is attested absolutely nowhere. Not a single author makes this claim. Isn't that odd, if this was a distinction that was really made? Schmidt and others have made this argument, but they've done so by inference from the chart examples we have, and sadly some of the examples which contradict the idea are simply ignored. Schmidt has subsequently moved on from this idea himself too - this was only ever a theory, it was never clear, it was never proven, and in some cases evidence which contradicted it was ignored.

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using different systems with different points of view for different purposes.


There's certainly an argument to be made for that, but whether they did so out of any other reason than their authorities did is hard to know. Incidentally it's as good a time as any to say that I principally use Placidus and Equal pretty much at the same time for most of my chart readings so I'm quite sympathetic to using multiple house systems whether at the same time or for different purposes.

This post is already getting quite long so that's as much as I'll say right now about the history angle of all of this!

I'll just reply briefly to a few of your other points.

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I wonder if you're familiar with this site? http://www.astronor.com/polarcharts.htm
This is an astrologer talking from direct experience about natal and horary astrology north of the arctic circle.


Thanks for the reference, I wasn't aware of it! I will have a flick through it and see what comes out of it, I don't do any real astrology at the arctic circle myself so this could be quite useful.

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I think this is a good demonstration that equal house and whole signs just don't make sense in the polar regions if you are looking at the house placements of a planet over time. One way or the other there are going to be strange jumps and inexplicable backward movements.


Right and actually this is the very phenomenon I wanted to bring up in the first place in my original discussion outside of skyscript which precipitated me creating that graphic. We all have problems of dealing with houses at the arctic circle precisely because all our houses are finding a way to model some astronomical reality and we have to deal with some of the problems that this poses, and this is one obvious place. I focus on the MC because depending on how you define it, it may make more or less sense for some house systems, but for every house system by tracking it or paying attention to it (and in particular what your software is doing with it), you can tell whether you are looking at a chart that has the ascendant on the right when it should be on the left, or whether you are about to get a 'flip'. It really spins us all around when it comes to ideas like succeeding to or falling away from an angle.

Far from being the case that whole is the only house system that works reliably or is not affected by the arctic circle (the original point of disagreement), instead we see how in many ways whole is at least equally affected, and in some instance even more affected, depending on how you envision whole and equal sign houses.

Keep in mind my purpose was to break this thinking of Placidus doesn't work at the poles, whole is completely unaffected at the poles. (I dont' mean the literal poles, but rather the polar circles)
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Ruud66



Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 33
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello again, Paul

I needed some time to survive the Pluto transit over my Capricorn Moon, but now I love to continue our discussion about the foundations of domification.

If I read through everything you say, I can’t escape the feeling that we actually agree on 95% of the ideas we have each brought to the discussion. And many of the “disagreements” are simply due to us coming from a completely different direction and misunderstanding or misinterpreting each other. Especially the discussion of the series of charts you made, shows clearly that we agree on most things, but sometimes interpret words quite differently.

I gracefully bow for your superior knowledge on the history of astrology and will try not to say any more stupid things on the subject.

Maybe it is a good idea that we concentrate on the subject of principles by which we can try to find common ground in the minefield of the houses of the horoscope and how they might be used in arctic charts. I’m actually quite curious if you know of other astrologers who have tried to say something fundamental on this subject. And I’m equally curious how your own thoughts are evolving about this.
I’m actually quite close to the position of Michael Wackford, who wrote extensively on the problem of polar horoscopes on Skyscript.

Paul wrote:
I hope it's not controversial to say that as the zodiac models secondary motion of the planets and points etc. through the celestial sphere, that the houses are chiefly about modelling primary motion of those planets and points etc. through the mundane sphere.

I think this was our first point of disagreement. I must say that I can move in your direction. Yes, most house systems model primary motion.
The point of reaction that I made was that most house systems incorporate the primary motion in their design in an inconsistent way. The way they model primary motion is unrelated to the actual movements of the celestial sphere. This is the point that Wackford made in his article “It's the Oblique Sphere Stupid!” where he criticises the house circles used in the Campanus and Regiomontanus systems.

But do Equal and Whole signs model primary motion? I don’t know. How can we be sure?
You explained that the ideas of the angles or pivots and the movements of the planets towards them and the falling away from them, were present in the earliest manuscripts. Maybe you could say that this is ample evidence. However, the early astrologers lived in the Middle East and in Southern Europe, where the ecliptic is always close to perpendicular to the horizon.

Were the ancients not confusing one way of domification with another?
One way of domification describing the primary motion and the apparent movement of the planets in relation to the angles and another way of domification where the zodiac can be used as is, but starting from a different fiducial. Like the technique of turning the horoscope: we don’t start our zodiac from the vernal equinox, but from the rising sign. Do you see where I’m heading?
If we adopt the viewpoint that the whole signs system is just the zodiac, but turned in such a way that the rising sign is the starting point, then we don’t need the MC or nonagesimal in the construction of this system. We DO need the MC and nonagesimal to find out more about the first way of domification and we need that very much to follow astrologically what is happening in an arctic sky. But we don’t need the MC and nonagesimal in the actual construction of the Equal/Whole system itself if we adopt this viewpoint. Does that make sense?

The ancients never had to cast a horoscope for way up north, so how could they ever know the difference? In the temperate and tropical zones of the earth, there is little difference between the house systems, but at the higher latitudes they make all the difference in the world.

This distinction between two ways of domification is also the basis of my use of the terms static and dynamic and why I put more emphasis on that than you do. Either you view the house system dynamically as modelling the primary motion and therefore viewing everything in relation to the entire diurnal cycle of the earth’s rotation, or you view the house system in a static way by making a snapshot of the sky and go on from there.

Paul wrote:
Consistency
The problem I have here is the idea that one plane of measurement or viewpoint precludes the use of other ones.

One plane of measurement or viewpoint precludes the use of other ones within the design of one particular system of houses. What I meant is that you must adhere to only one point of view in the design of a house system. I have a problem with most quadrant house systems, because they use two unrelated points of view of the mundane sphere and fudge them together in their design.
I did not mean that other points of view are not relevant, or cannot be used in conjunction with one another. On the contrary, I’m a proponent of using multiple house systems together. But I very much prefer each system to be monolithic in its design.

Paul wrote:
Symmetry
You give the example of Porphyry (to use a simple one) to demonstrate lack of symmetry - but lack of symmetry where?

The mundane sphere is divided into four quadrants by the horizon and the meridian. These two great circles are perpendicular to each other by definition. If you look at the division of the celestial sphere, therefore, the division of the canvas of the sky in two dimensions, then the Porphyry system can produce very unequal quadrants, especially when the ascendant is close to the midheaven. So do almost all other quadrant systems. Only Placidus and Campanus of the quadrant systems, produce house sectors in two dimensions on the celestial sphere that are always of equal area. That’s what I meant. Maybe symmetry is the wrong word?

Paul wrote:
Correspondence
Your points here are quite interesting, but as I see it, this is more a movement of focus from qualifying or disqualifying house systems themselves, to qualifying or disqualifying the use of house systems by astrologers - in other words it shifts from houses to astrologers.

I lost you here. Are you saying this is therefore irrelevant? I tried to explain a philosophical point that choosing your perspective in the design of a house system, automatically has implications on the way you can use this system in astrological interpretation. One thing leading to the other: an a-priori connection. How astrologers actually use this, is up to them and not for me to prescribe.
This point is actually the reason that I prefer a "monolithic" house system design as I said earlier. So it is interconnected in that way.

I hope this post clarifies my ideas a little more. Because that's what this is all about: being forced to formulate one's ideas in different ways and ever more clearly. I'm actually quite curious where this discussion will lead us.
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