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Skyscript Astrology Forum

Historical Argument for Sidereal Zodiac
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Mark
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Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton:
Quote:
Scholars have spent a great deal of time and money to become specialists in their fields. So we can't ignore them and claim that "academics isn't my forte."


I have to concur. If you expect people to radically transform their historical understanding of astrology you have to have a good understanding of history itself and the relevant academic research.

Mark
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Last edited by Mark on Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:17 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Konrad



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Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark,

Mark wrote:
This topic has come a few times on Skyscript as you know. I am not convinced we can objectively describe what the early hellenistic astrologers were doing as explicitly 'sidereal'.


Well no, but that is not really what I am claiming either. Vic was claiming that the tropical zodiac was adopted wholesale after Hipparchus, and that there was never a 12-fold division of the sky based on the stars. Now he says that the 400 or so years from Hipparchus to Theon were just the ancients figuring out that they should be using the 0 Aries tropical measurement. That is where my disagreement is.

Quote:
However, unlike the Babylonians use of fiducial stars the early hellenistic astrologers were using a seasonal rather than a sidereal frame of reference to do this since they utilised the annual position of the Sun entering O tropical Aries as their fiducial point.


Can you explain what you mean here?

Quote:
Moreover, the topic was fairly academic in this period as the tropical and Babylonian zodiacs almost exactly coincided


I disagree here. Of course, there was a time when the two measurement systems would have been about exact, but that is only for a short period of time relative to the 800 or so years we are discussing here, and even then, there are instances of astrologers casting horoscopes to the degree, and sometimes minute, so I doubt they would have been happy with 'just about' being correct in their calculations. According to the Jones article I cited earlier, every horoscope bar one or two cast from the 1st century to the 4th which has at least four planets calculated to the degree displays a sidereal reference system. Now the question which you are moving onto i.e. whether the astrologers were thinking sidereally or tropically was one I was not attempting to touch on, but rather only that there was a twelvefold sidereal measurement and it never died out with either Hipparchus or Ptolemy.

Quote:
Without a conscious understanding of the process of precession these astrologers never saw a choice between a sidereal and seasonal frame of reference.


Indeed, Jones actually concludes that most practising astrologers of the period I mentioned were unaware of precession, or in disagreement with the concept. The problem of what to measure planetary longitudes from is unfortunately ours alone, and a decision we must make individually. This decision is not something I sought to take away from Vic or anyone else, but if one appeals to history to validate that decision then it can, and should, be scrutinised.

Quote:
He [Ptolemy] quite naturally, followed the Greek astronomical tradition of calculating the zodiac from the vernal equinox.


He did, but it is not something that Greek-speaking astrologers followed until some 200 years after him, and beyond the Greek-speaking world, it wasn't followed wholesale for some centuries after. That is ultimately my point.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Quote:
Without a conscious understanding of the process of precession [astrologers in antiquity] never saw a choice between a sidereal and seasonal frame of reference. The two were integrally linked together in their thinking.

As for this history of an explicit tropical zodiac it can be traced continuously back to Hipparchus in the 2nd century BCE. Astronomers such as Geminus were using it in the 1st century BCE. Ptolemy, was therefore not the originator of the tropical zodiac but the pioneer in introducing an explicit concept of precession of the equinoxes to astrological thinking.

I think we have to remember that in this time period there were two traditions, but rather than being tropical/sidereal as such for astrologers, these traditions belonged to astronomer/mathematicians on one hand and practicing astrologers on the other.

Hipparchus and Geminos were astronomer/mathematicians, and it has often been suggested that Ptolemy himself didn’t practice astrology. In biographies Ptolemy is noted as a mathematician, geographer and astronomer, though astrology is often included in his legacy. Academics frequently try to avoid mentioning astrology as linked in any way to Ptolemy.

So while astronomers were developing the new measurement of a zodiac aligned with the equinoxes and solstices, from records translated so far (see earlier references to Alexander Jones in this topic), astrologers as a group continued to follow the Mesopotamian tradition of sidereal measurements and reference to the stars.

However, at this time in antiquity stars were still considered to be part of the 12 signs of either zodiac. Quoting from Geminos (my italics):

Quote:
1. On the Circle of the Signs

The circle of the signs is divided into 12 parts, and each of the sections is designated both by the common term “twelfth-part” and by a particular name taken from the stars that it contains and by which each sign is formed. 2. The twelve signs are: Aries, Taurus [etc....]

Signs and Constellations

3. The word “sign” is used in two ways. According to one way it is a twelfth-part of the zodiac circle, that is, a certain interval of space demarcated by stars and points. According to the other [way] it is an image formed from the stars, based on resemblance and the position of the stars.

There is an interesting note at the bottom of this page by the translators:

Quote:
Although Hipparchos discovered precession in the second centry B.C, Geminos nowhere alludes to this phenomenon. Ptolemy (Almagest vii 1-3) suggests that Hipparchos had left several questions about precession unresolved or inadequately proven, and it appears that Hipparchos’s lost work on precession never circulated very widely. Indeed, there was no mention of precession outside of Ptolemy until late Antiquity, when Ptolemy’s influence was clearly felt. (p. 13)

Then on page 115 Geminos states:

Quote:
The two solstices and the two equinoxes occur, in the way of thinking of the Greek astronomers, in the first degrees of these signs; [Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn] but in the way of thinking of the Chaldeans they occur in the eighth degrees of these signs.

Geminos’s Introduction to the Phenomena, translators James Evans and J. Lennart Berggren, Princeton University Press, 2006.

The translators’ notes elaborate on this statement. My main point in posting these quotations is that at this time in antiquity signs of the zodiac were very much related to the stars and constellations, and precession may have been ignored or poorly understood.
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james_m



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Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:

Scholars have spent a great deal of time and money to become specialists in their fields. So we can't ignore them and claim that "academics isn't my forte." At least not if we want to appear to be intelligent and knowledgeable astrologers.


it's an interesting and fairly locked in attitude that i don't fully concur with..

i am prone to making comparisons between astrology and music all the time... there are many musicians in the world today that never got a degree from a music school... the one's that did, don't generally ever have their certificate up on the back of the stage when they perform either, lol... so is it that the musician who went to school and knows how to articulate music theory or history, is thus more qualified to play music? i don't know that the beatles, tom petty and a wide array of musician/artists would agree with this!!

there are astrologers who practice their art and then there are astrologers who get degrees at astrology university and may not be involved in a professional astrological practice... not everyone is interested in history. and as i understand it, history is written by the winners, lol... i am not sure how that applies to astrological history and on a day to day basis, i am not sure how much that matters in the life of an astrologer...

speaking of which, whatever happened to that vedic astrologer that was swearing on a stack of vedas that hillary was going to win? well - maybe i am pulling your leg a bit theresa, but i just don't buy into a lot of thinking that seems rigid and boxed in as i read it..

stuffy, stuffy, stuffy, lol...
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Vic DiCara



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Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Skyscripters,

First, let me express my respect for you. This is a very rigorous and intellectual community, I have not found a comparison to it elsewhere in the subject of astrology. I am lucky to have access to your thoughts, opinions, and research.

I’m very comfortable being wrong. Being wrong and finding it out is a valuable opportunity to improve and grow.

Paul asked me if I could cite an academic holding my opinion, and I answered that I couldn’t. This does not mean that I don’t know what I am talking about, it means that I can’t cite an academic. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t an academic with my basic view, either. Nor does it mean I haven’t carefully studied the subjects I discuss. Not everyone studies through academics. James_M made this point nicely in this thread.

People have really misunderstood a statement I made in response to Andrew Foss that, “There aren’t really two zodiacs...” I admit, it is a statement begging to be misunderstood, and in hindsight I would rather not have said it. However please realize that it is not the same as saying “There was never a twelve-fold sidereal zodiac.”

Konrad, you have stated that a sidereal 12-fold zodiac was used consistently from mid 5th Century BCE through the 4th century. You claim that the reason I think otherwise is because I am ignorant. I may indeed be ignorant of many things, but the main reason I don’t agree is that I don’t trust this evaluation. Mark has given another point of view in this thread, surely not based on ignorance of facts.

It's a pleasure to be around people with superior research and study to myself.

Sincerely,
Vic
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
Therese Hamilton wrote:

Scholars have spent a great deal of time and money to become specialists in their fields. So we can't ignore them and claim that "academics isn't my forte." At least not if we want to appear to be intelligent and knowledgeable astrologers.


it's an interesting and fairly locked in attitude that i don't fully concur with..

i am prone to making comparisons between astrology and music all the time... there are many musicians in the world today that never got a degree from a music school... the one's that did, don't generally ever have their certificate up on the back of the stage when they perform either, lol... so is it that the musician who went to school and knows how to articulate music theory or history, is thus more qualified to play music? i don't know that the beatles, tom petty and a wide array of musician/artists would agree with this!!

there are astrologers who practice their art and then there are astrologers who get degrees at astrology university and may not be involved in a professional astrological practice... not everyone is interested in history. and as i understand it, history is written by the winners, lol... i am not sure how that applies to astrological history and on a day to day basis, i am not sure how much that matters in the life of an astrologer...

speaking of which, whatever happened to that vedic astrologer that was swearing on a stack of vedas that hillary was going to win? well - maybe i am pulling your leg a bit theresa, but i just don't buy into a lot of thinking that seems rigid and boxed in as i read it..

stuffy, stuffy, stuffy, lol...


As an astrological and occult researcher, I do try to take into account all pertinent literature, regardless of its origin. Many excellent source works were written by professional scientists.

However, you and I share an understanding that academic perspective can be biased and limited. Thus, many important discoveries in history were made by outsiders to the established schools of thought.

So once again, my own outlook could be called dialectical. And that has got do with my grandfather having been an academic who actually published books about openness in research, and about dialectics. Leery
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Konrad



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Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vic DiCara wrote:
Konrad, you have stated that a sidereal 12-fold zodiac was used consistently from mid 5th Century BCE through the 4th century. You claim that the reason I think otherwise is because I am ignorant. I may indeed be ignorant of many things, but the main reason I don’t agree is that I don’t trust this evaluation. Mark has given another point of view in this thread, surely not based on ignorance of facts.


Vic,

Yes, I get you don't trust the evaluation. There has been ample opportunity for you to express clearly why you don't, though this might be my fault for not specifying that this where I have trouble following you. Let me try to rectify that. In your updated article you write:

Quote:
I would date this transition period beginning around the second century BCE, and extending not long into the Christian Era


What evidence are you seeing that makes you conclude that? Have you read and considered the articles and other evidence which contradict that viewpoint? If so, why are they incorrect?

You write:

Quote:
Early astrology relied on interpreting immediate sidereal observations in tandem with easily observable omens. Later on, as calculations improved, the ancients made less use of omens and sidereal observations, and more use of the tropical divisions. Eventually they preferred the tropical divisions almost entirely.


Part of the problem here may be the vague assignations of time you are using. Who exactly are the 'ancients'? I am having trouble placing your timeline here too. I think you are referring to the Mesopotamians as having improved their calculations while making use of a sidereal measurement, but, even taking your assertion of a 2nd century BC date for the adoption of the tropical zodiac, there is still 300-400 years of history that you appear to be glossing over to get there. Regardless of Greek astronomers measuring longitude from the equinox, do you have evidence of astrologers casting horoscopes in the tropical zodiac from the 2nd century BC until the 4th century AD? If so, can you point me towards it so I can read of them myself?

You write:

Quote:
By the fourth century this migration was essentially complete; the use of a 12-fold sidereal system had almost completely disappeared.


You claim that the time of the sidereal zodiac until the 4th century was a 'transition period'. Do you not think that this is an anachronistic observation?

To Paul:

Quote:
People have really misunderstood a statement I made in response to Andrew Foss that, “There aren’t really two zodiacs...” I admit, it is a statement begging to be misunderstood, and in hindsight I would rather not have said it. However please realize that it is not the same as saying “There was never a twelve-fold sidereal zodiac.”


I never heard the statement you made to Andrew Foss, I was going off of what was implied in you pre-edited article:

Quote:
Eventually we preferred the tropical divisions almost entirely, which is why everyone’s mother knows “Cancer, Leo and Virgo” but very, very few people know the ancient sidereal divisions.


Some of the ancient sidereal divisions, both constellational and zodiacal, were known as Cancer, Leo and Virgo. If I am picking you up incorrectly here, please correct me, but it looks like you are drawing a distinction between a tropical twelvefold division whose segements are named 'Cancer' and so on, and the rest.

James, regarding the point about scholarship, I tend to agree that there can be stagnant and rigid theories and outlooks propagated and held in academia, but I think Mark and Therese are advocating a scholarly approach to astrological history, not a slavish following of academic findings. If we assert something about astrological history, is it not a good thing to cite our sources so that others can follow our reasoning and then agree or disagree as they see fit?
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vic DiCara wrote:
Not everyone studies through academics. James_M made this point nicely in this thread.

If there was a point to James's post, I think it was more along the lines that practice and theory have little to do with each other. It is an attitude with which I, for one, profoundly disagree, for several reasons.

There aren't really different kinds of study, with academic study being a special kind -- just different standards of rigour, breadth and honesty. Ideally, studying something outside of an academic institution could/should be just the same as studying within academia; but in reality, without proper training, most of us tend to fall short of those standards. That is why academics matter.

Quote:
Konrad, you have stated that a sidereal 12-fold zodiac was used consistently from mid 5th Century BCE through the 4th century. You claim that the reason I think otherwise is because I am ignorant. I may indeed be ignorant of many things, but the main reason I don’t agree is that I don’t trust this evaluation. Mark has given another point of view in this thread, surely not based on ignorance of facts.

I think Konrad's contributions have been eminently balanced and nuanced. As he pointed out, 'tropical' and 'sidereal' are categories that are only meaningful once precession has been accepted as a fact. But I think Mark and you are talking about slightly different things. Mark's post touched on conceptual distinctions, a rather subtle matter. You, as I understand it, are advocating the use of 'the tropical zodiac', that is, the one using the vernal equinox as the zero Aries point. This is something much more concrete. And there is absolutely no avoiding the fact that, in the zodiac definitions used for horoscopy in both Mesopotamia and the Hellenistic world (as well as Persia and India), the equinox was not used as the zero point. When academic authors speak of 'sidereal' measurements, that is typically what they mean. It is a negative definition, not dependent on whether particular fiducial stars are named.
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james_m



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Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Gansten wrote:

If there was a point to James's post, I think it was more along the lines that practice and theory have little to do with each other.


hi martin,
i wouldn't characterize what i was communicating that way but i can see how someone else might.. how relevant is it to playing music, that one does or doesn't understand all the theory and history that is involved in it? obviously an academic would argue that it is critical, but it isn't as there are many examples of musicians playing and being highly successful at it too.. some would argue that a good classical training in 17th century counterpoint is essential to writing music for example... it isn't, or it only is in so far as someone might think it is - typically an academic type.

i feel that i witness the same dynamic here in the astrological world.. even worse - those folks who are determined to hold up what they think is the holy grail and generally want to clobber anyone else who has a different view on it.. a recent interview that was had comes to mind as i say this..

doing and studying are two different worlds.. they can overlap, or not.. this is why i personally am much more interested in seeing someone who is doing astrology, then to read about a theory about it generally.. as for reading on the history of astrology - i think the origins will always be clouded in mystery and that in all likelihood astrology has been practiced a number of different ways with different perspectives - none of them the "one and only holy grail''' that some would like to believe or think..
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Paul
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Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vic DiCara wrote:

That I can't tell you which academics believe this or that doesn't mean I have not done research.


Right, what I meant was it would be worthwhile to study what has been written on the subject by academics precisely because like you they have also studied the subject, but unlike you they have systematically put forth that study in a way that allows for peer review and for others to critically examine the work - there would be references, relations to other work done by other academics and so on and it allows a reader to actually independently take that work and evaluate it in relation to the rest of the work out there. It's hard to do that with something like this because you don't really draw many references but make many conclusions without expanding or letting us go through your rationale. That's all I meant. I agree with Konrad in a way who says if this is just your opinions then I guess nobody can really say much about that. But because this is a summary or rendition of something historical it just helps the audience to refer to why you're saying what you're saying. When you said that "some people" say that the sidereal zodiac was used in Babylon it felt a little bit odd to me, because it connoted a sense that this is widely disputed with some people saying this and some people saying that when in fact it's fairly widely understood that the zodiac was at least originally measured sidereally.

Quote:
But what I find is definition of tropical measurements in ancient texts, alongside definitions of sidereal measurements.


Right, but maybe I confused the premise of your research here because it seemed to me that you were going much further than saying this and suggesting instead that a tropical reckoning was used for the zodiac signs much earlier than I undersatsnd we can say for any surety. One of the problems we have with these ancient sources from Babylon is that we are left inferring much from what is there because we don't really have much in the way of explanation.

So we do have evidence of a solar year with there appearing to be the equinoxes and solstices in the centre of the sign - the question is now more about whether this was, say, used primarily agriculturally for example, or chiefly as a prognostication or an astrological tool? What about the asterisms? What about after the developement of an equal 12 sign zodiac? Further complicating the problem is that we cannot tell whether they knew about precession so we have to face three possibilities:
A) They were using sidereal measurements to measure tropical effects
B) They were noting the equinoxes and solstices for some calendrical purpose outside of a stellar astrological foundation
C) Some combination of the above

The problem is really that we don't know and this is the crux of the debate. As a tropical astrology the tropical symbolism and approach makes sense to me for a variety of reasons and the sidereal measurements are therefore a matter of mnemonic or measuring convenience because they were chiefly measuring something of tropical significance whilst I still believe that they didn't fully differentiate them because they didn't know of precession so threw in a whole host of sidereal considerations in one melting pot. Maybe this is what you're saying too. Sidereal astrologers will of course disagree, and the point is that ultimately right now each side sees enough of evidence to find their position at the very least compelling.

But to return to my earlier point about references and citing academia, a part of the problem is making a bigger conclusion than I think we can say for sure. It's one thing to say that they measured things of a tropical nature and they did so siderally but it's another thing to imagine that the 12 fold zodiac was only momentarily sidereal and then was basically tropical - not only does it contradict the idea you laid before of a time period in which the tropical zodiac was aligned to the centre of the months (which seems to be earlier than the 12 equal sidereal signs) but I really personally do not feel we can make that conclusion based on the evidence we have. But instead you allude to some additional evidence that I must not be grasping and unfortuantely you don't provide that evdience
Quote:
There is evidence of the Babylonians and others using a 12-fold zodiac in sidereal context during a relatively short transition period where the focus shifted from the older systems based on multifold sidereal divisions to the newer systems based on the 12-fold tropical system


What do you have in mind?

Quote:
There I disagree.


Why? Even by your own logic this should be a natural conclusion. If you recognise that tthe babylonians had a calendrical system in which the equnoxes and solstices were in the middle of the signs and then by the time of the records we have more surety of it was at 10º sidereal Aries and later 5 and so on, it's surely evident that by Hipparchus it becomes obvious that one might recognise this drift in equinox against the sidereal point and want to affix it for that reason. Why else call it Aries? By Geminos we see clear evidence (2 centuries before Ptolemy but after Hipparchus) that the Greeks employed a system of tropical measurement which explicitly affixed the zodaic to 0 Aries but again explicitly highlight this as being different to the system of the Babylonians who place the equinox in the first few degrees of Aries. Surely it is precisely because of a recognition of apparent sidereal phenomena (keep in mind we have to imagine at this time that the stars themselves were the things coming out of synch, not the equinox).

Quote:
I don't see those fingerprints, what are they?


Surely its the very names and divisions of constellations into an equal 12 fold system to begin with is the biggest hand smudge (much less finger print) of the sidereal foundation at the heart of at least its mnemonic attributions, with very few exceptions. The sky was envisioned sidereally at a time when precession was not understood, or at least we have no evidence of their understanding it. So the constellations are the thing which derive our divisions into an equal named zodiac we more or less keep today. We also have attributions in the earliest hellenistic authors to parts of this or that sign which have various qualities because of either how the constelaltions of the same name appear (whether this or that sign rises head first and so on) as well as being stormy or cloudy or dim or so on - clearly references to an observational system which therefore can only be sidereal.

Quote:
What I see are rulerships, elements, modes and even the sizes and number of the divisions having nothing to do with stars and everything to do with the sun's relation to the equator (sometimes also the Moon's relation to the sun, in the case of the number and size).


I have to disagree with you. Rulerships appear not to have a huge amount to do with a tropical division explicitly. The orbital periods of the planets in relation to a geocentric position give rise to the domicile rulership - the problem is that despite what Ptolemy would have us believe, the logic for explicitly associating them with the tropical signs may not make much sense. By his logic Gemini ought to be ruled by the Moon and Leo the sun. It isn't the case. Instead what we could notice is that at some we have the Thema Mundi in which the horoscope of the world is imagind and it has Cancer rising.

Now it's perfectly sound to imagine that for whatever reason Cancer rises (we cannot jump to any conclusions on that), once we have this we can now place the rulerships spreading outward from here such that the first and second house contain the luminaries. LIkewise for the cardinal points - in this system the equal/whole sign associations of the angles are the points of turning (the cardinal points) which they would be astronomically.

Now the next problem is the issue of the triplicities which we have at least some evidence for in the Babylonian tradition. For all we know these are merely geometric distinctions but I don't see anything particularly tropical in symbolism here so I'd love to known what you have in mind here.

Quote:
It has nothing to do with stars, and the year is best measured by the length of shadow (tropical).


But having nothing to do with the stars doesn't suddenly mean it has something to do with a tropical zodiac!? The best we can say is that a synodic period of the moon more closely matches 12 signs per year than a sidereal measurement. But is this the same as imagining that the 12 months per year match the zodiac - in my opinion no, because from one year to another whilst there will be more or less 12, they will not each subsequent year "start" from the same point on the ecliptic.

Quote:
The fact that it is 12-fold (not 18, 28 or 36) is what betrays it as luni-solar and not stellar.


But again, this doesn't mean it points to a tropical zodiac as you yourself defined it. It just means they recognise months for example or something for agricultural or seasonal reasons. I'm not saying they *didn't* use it astrologically but all our evidence shows the zodiac emerging in the Mesopotamian region - we would have to rewrite history as instead saying that the tropical zodiac emerged in India and moved west to Mesopotamia, but we not only have no evidence of this, we have evidence to the contrary.


I hope you take my points here in the spirit of wanting to improve better communication and discussion of the zodiacs - as I mentioned on my thread in response to Ken Bowser on the sidereal zodiac, there's been ultimately too much of what I at least see as confusion or misinformation on the issue of the zodiacs. I'm a tropical astrologer and am happy to have anyone promote a tropical approach, but I think we need to keep the reality of the sidereal measurements in context and not overstate the case for tropical.
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Paul
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Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:

Hipparchus and Geminos were astronomer/mathematicians, and it has often been suggested that Ptolemy himself didn’t practice astrology. In biographies Ptolemy is noted as a mathematician, geographer and astronomer, though astrology is often included in his legacy. Academics frequently try to avoid mentioning astrology as linked in any way to Ptolemy.


I think this is a very weak argument Therese. There is no indication that there existed an astronomical understanding of the zodiac as used by mathematicians and astronomers and then a whole separate one used by astrologers. Geminos is a brilliant resource precisely because he is conveying the astronomy and astrology of his day and he explicitly highlights in disagreement areas where things contradict or differ from various traditiotns which gives us unique insight into the culture of astrology of the time. By highlighting that at this time 0 Aries as used as the start of the zodiac he also highlights that this differs from the Babylonians. Whether or not Geminos was an astrologer, we should imagine that this was not invented by Geminos himself nor that there's a distinction between some mathematical Aries and some astrological Aries. Aries was aries.

Quote:

However, at this time in antiquity stars were still considered to be part of the 12 signs of either zodiac. Quoting from Geminos (my italics):


I'm not sure what you're saying, because Geminos is not concluding what you are - namely he's not saying that the signs are composed of stars, but rather they are named for the star constellations that contained them during his time. Well, ye, but who would disagree with that? I'm not sure what relevance you're drawing from that.

In fact the very quotes you highlight seem to actively contradict the point you seem to be trying to make, Geminos goes out of his way instead to differentiate the signs from the constellations of the same name and shows how the two differ.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
Quote:
In fact the very quotes you highlight seem to actively contradict the point you seem to be trying to make, Geminos goes out of his way instead to differentiate the signs from the constellations of the same name and shows how the two differ.

Paul, I think you misunderstand my point, which is that at the time when the spring equinox began to be aligned with zero Aries, forming the tropical zodiac, there was still reference to the constellations and stars as a backdrop for the (tropical) signs. Geminos didn't begin his discussion of the equinox alignment as an abstract mathematical principle apart from mention of the constellations. I wasn't saying that the constellations themselves defined the position of the equinox. (Then later Geminos discusses the importance of key stars.)

Now at a time when the tropical offset from the constellations is very large, we are seeing concepts such as David Roell placed before us in "Astrology Under Your Feet." That is, that the tropical zodiac is an earth-Sun relationship and has nothing to do with the sky (stars and constellations) as such. As we have lists of star longitudes from the Hellenistic period, we know that major stars were still considered an important part of astrological delineation. Now fixed stars are more or less a separate auxiliary study rather than part of a sky backdrop for tropical signs.

Thus, the rationale for those who promote "tropical Vedic" is that the lunar mansions/nakshatras are the 'sky' component, and the equinoctial zodiac is the earth-Sun component. (If I am understanding this correctly.)

India's solution is different as the 12 sign zodiac has been harmonized with the original nakshatras. So certain areas of the constellations become part of the interpretation for signs of the zodiac, particularly for the Moon. Traditionally we don't have an interpretation for 'Moon in Aries.' Instead we have 'Moon in Ashvini' or 'Moon in Bharani,' etc. Modern astrologers are beginning to adapt the influence of nakshatras to the Ascendant, Sun and planets as well as the Moon.

Western sidereal astrology has lost much of its star and constellational meaning as the emphasis is almost solely on the nature of planets. This astrology is mainly concerned with the return of planets to their 'true' sidereal position in relation to the sky. The majority of sidereal astrologers in the west today were first trained in tropical astrology. Most have decamped from western sidereal as too dry and mathematical, and instead have embraced India's astrology and its still vibrant relationship to the sky, stars and constellations.

I think it best to carefully read Geminos' quotes again, and consider the perspective in antiquity as compared to the modern emphasis in tropical practice. Particularly note Geminos here:

Quote:
1. On the Circle of the Signs

The circle of the signs is divided into 12 parts, and each of the sections is designated both by the common term “twelfth-part” and by a particular name taken from the stars that it contains and by which each sign is formed.

So we can't simply state that Geminos used a tropical zodiac without qualifying that statement with his description of that zodiac.
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Vic DiCara



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Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
Right, what I meant was it would be worthwhile to study what has been written on the subject by academics precisely because like you they have also studied the subject, but unlike you they have systematically put forth that study in a way that allows for peer review and for others to critically examine the work - there would be references, relations to other work done by other academics and so on and it allows a reader to actually independently take that work and evaluate it in relation to the rest of the work out there.


There are plenty of sources cited in my article. Maybe not as many as you would like, or not of the type you are used to.

Paul wrote:
When you said that "some people" say that the sidereal zodiac was used in Babylon it felt a little bit odd to me, because it connoted a sense that this is widely disputed with some people saying this and some people saying that when in fact it's fairly widely understood that the zodiac was at least originally measured sidereally.


I corrected the "some people" thing because, I agree, it is most people, not some people.

I myself do not agree. The 12-fold zodiac is essentially non-stellar. It is then projected onto the stars to show its relevance to the stellar systems. So, yes, it was originally "projected" onto the stars. But was not originally "measured" by the stars. It was measured by non-stellar phenomenon: the ideal year divided by ideal months.


Paul wrote:
I have to disagree with you. Rulerships appear not to have a huge amount to do with a tropical division explicitly. The orbital periods of the planets in relation to a geocentric position give rise to the domicile rulership - the problem is that despite what Ptolemy would have us believe, the logic for explicitly associating them with the tropical signs may not make much sense. By his logic Gemini ought to be ruled by the Moon and Leo the sun


The planets consider not only the compass direction but also the elemental nature of the signs, so the Sun vastly prefers leo over cancer, and the moon vastly prefers cancer over gemini.

Paul wrote:
Now the next problem is the issue of the triplicities which we have at least some evidence for in the Babylonian tradition. For all we know these are merely geometric distinctions but I don't see anything particularly tropical in symbolism here so I'd love to known what you have in mind here.


Elements are associated to cardinal directions. East is fire (sunrise), west is air (sunset and relaxation). South is earth. North is water. The four cardinal points have these elments, and distribute them by trine to the rest.



Paul wrote:
But again, this doesn't mean it points to a tropical zodiac as you yourself defined it. It just means they recognise months for example or something for agricultural or seasonal reasons.


That it is 12 equal divisions shows that its not sidereal. That it is measured by the ebb and flow of light and shadow shows that it is tropical.


Paul wrote:
All our evidence shows the zodiac emerging in the Mesopotamian region


What I am saying is that they had their 12-fold equal divisions, and their 18 unequal constellations, and they had their correlation between the two. It took a while to figure out that the correlation is not permanent. And then it took a while to figure out what to do about that.

Another interesting thing I'm saying is that, while in the mediterranean area they decided to go with tropical achors, in India they didn't - because their 27 constellations were too important to them, and, in particular, the systems that had developed linking the two were too compelling and important. So in India we have a strange dichotomy where we have tropical definitions of the zodiac very explicit and clear, yet in practice the use of a sidereal zodiac.
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Paul
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Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Therese Hamilton wrote:

Paul, I think you misunderstand my point...I wasn't saying that the constellations themselves defined the position of the equinox. (Then later Geminos discusses the importance of key stars.)


Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

I think I might well be misunderstanding you. You said "However, at this time in antiquity stars were still considered to be part of the 12 signs of either zodiac. Quoting from Geminos (my italics)" - I guess I may be misunderstanding what you mean by part. If you mean that the sign is composed of the stars then I would disagree, and I don't think Geminos is saying this. If you mean instead that the stars are measured or positioned in the sign, then I can follow that.


Quote:
That is, that the tropical zodiac is an earth-Sun relationship and has nothing to do with the sky


Well I agree that the tropical zodiac is an earth-Sun relationship and I'm sympathetic to the idea that it's not a sky centred relationship, but whereas several years ago I might have gone along with this, I think increasingly that we simply cannot separate the sky from all of this. After all, the Sun, for a start, is imagined as being located in the sky, and of course the ecliptic and the tropical points might actually be reimagined as being the relationship with earth and the ecliptic as a whole - which encompasses something which obviously includes and indeed can be described by the Sun's apparent path, but which is more than the Sun. With that in mind, the tropical zodiac whilst it's much more earth-focused than the sidereal, is still quite sky based. I was thinking about this recently and how the tropical zodiac can be imagined as existing along the horizon, and we have the antiscia points and so on and how in some ways the idea of an embodied or earthed sky is really what the tropical zodiac is describing, in some way it brings the sky down to earth, as above so below.

Quote:
Thus, the rationale for those who promote "tropical Vedic" is that the lunar mansions/nakshatras are the 'sky' component, and the equinoctial zodiac is the earth-Sun component. (If I am understanding this correctly.)


Ah right, okay, I didn't realise this.


Quote:
Western sidereal astrology has lost much of its star and constellational meaning as the emphasis is almost solely on the nature of planets. This astrology is mainly concerned with the return of planets to their 'true' sidereal position in relation to the sky.


I don't have much exposure to western sidereal astrology except that it seems more less identical to western tropical astrology but with a different zodiac. Maybe that's too simplistic.

Quote:
I think it best to carefully read Geminos' quotes again, and consider the perspective in antiquity as compared to the modern emphasis in tropical practice. Particularly note Geminos here


I originally read Geminos several years and only recently re-read it cover to cover so it's still pretty fresh in my mind. I think I may have simply misunderstood what it was you were saying - I wasn't sure if you were imagining a zodiac chiefly composed of stars but, almost by coincidence, started at 0 Aries (almost like a sidereal zodiac with an ayanamsha of 0) but I think I understand that you're just acknowledging that tropical or not, a sidereal component was always still important.
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Therese Hamilton



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Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
Quote:
I think I may have simply misunderstood what it was you were saying - I wasn't sure if you were imagining a zodiac chiefly composed of stars but, almost by coincidence, started at 0 Aries (almost like a sidereal zodiac with an ayanamsha of 0) but I think I understand that you're just acknowledging that tropical or not, a sidereal component was always still important.

Yes, that is what I am saying: That tropical or not, a sidereal component was important in the time period when the equinox began to be used as the zero Aries point. And by 'sidereal component' I mean the visible stars and constellations. This is also what I mean by 'sky.' Thus in tropical reckoning the sky itself continues to change, and if the stars and constellations have any influence at all when using the tropical zodiac, then logically the signs have to continually reflect these changing meanings.

India has nicely eliminated what might have been a sky problem by aligning the nakshatras (star groups or lunar mansions) with the 12 signs themselves. It's really a very interesting study to see how specific star groups show through in the signs in the birth charts of individuals and mundane events.

Then we might ask, "What happens to these lunar mansion effects when using the tropical zodiac?" (I term 'nakshatras' lunar mansions because we now have an equal division of 27 mansions rather than specific stars that long ago were identified as the nakshatra stars. In some cases these are no longer aligned.) Obviously in the tropical zodiac we can no longer consider the actual (possible) effect of the stars and constellations that were originally aligned with signs measured from the equinox.

I do see this as a major problem for tropical astrology, so I can understand why David Roell stated that the tropical zodiac is limited to an earth-Sun relationship without any relationship to the sky (stars and constellations).

Traditionally, of course, India gives an overall interpretation to each of the lunar mansions. The question remains (assuming these interpretations have some validity) whether in practice there is a general influence extending throughout the longitude range of each mansion, or if only specific stars have effects. In this case the same stellar influence would show through in tropical charts, but would continue to shift with the centuries.
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