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connection between hellenistic and indian astrology

 
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james_m



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Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:07 pm    Post subject: connection between hellenistic and indian astrology Reply with quote

i think one aspect of astrology that seems to be missing in the indian astrology is the importance and emphasis that the hellenistic astrologers gave on whether a birth is daytime or night time... now, i have seen this topic come up in indian astrology, but it is not as prominent a feature as i thought it might be.. i find this curious and i am wondering if any others would like to comment on this topic of interest to me.. thanks...
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: connection between hellenistic and indian astrology Reply with quote

You are right that there is no preserved doctrine of sect (hairesis) in pre-Islamic Indian astrology. Tājika or Sanskritized Perso-Arabic astrology does include a number of considerations based on sect (such as triplicity rulers or lot calculations changing depending on whether the chart is diurnal or nocturnal), but there is still no systematic exposition of the idea, and no Sanskrit word corresponding to sect. (If one wanted to make one up, pakṣa would be the obvious calque.)
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Knightinte



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Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also need to say something about configurations or aspects, as Hellenistic Astrology has some significant differences from modern practice, or even the practice of William Lilly or J, B, Morin in the seventeenth century.

The commonality with the modern approach is the use of Conjunctions, Oppositions, Squares, Trines, and Sextiles but the differences lie in precisely how these are treated. The first difference is that Hellenistic Astrology has two ways of looking at them, by sign and by degree. The latter is the common approach now but was only part of the approach for the Hellenistic Astrologer. The first difference is that Hellenistic Astrologers would allow an aspect by the sign. So if you have Mercury at 3 degrees Cancer and Jupiter at 27 degrees Cancer, these two are treated as being in conjunction or to be more precise, to be 'with each other' (co-present). The very presence of the one will have some effect on the other, rather like two people having rooms in the same house, even if they rarely meet. If they are between 3 to 15 degrees of separation from each other, it's called Assembly or Meeting (such as Mercury at 13 degrees Cancer and Jupiter at 27 degrees Cancer). Finally, if they are less than 3 degrees apart they are Adhering to one another. In other words the closer together they are the stronger becomes the relationship, but it is never entirely absent.
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james_m



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Posted: Sat Dec 12, 2020 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

martin

i have read some of the tajika approach via dr. k. s. charaks work. the concept of sect is used ever so slightly in what i have read, but it is missing the broader details that have become available in the past 10 or more years.. there must be some cutting edge astrologers in india that are also exploring the available resources that have come out m ore recently.. but perhaps because this old approach is still quite new, it has not been integrated yet in any significant way.. thanks for your feedback!

knightinte,

i think the one big difference between hellenistic practice and the way that lilly or morin worked is in regard the use of whole sign houses, or not! indian astrology has adopted the whole sign house approach for the most part as much as i can tell, although the tajika approach is more nuanced and allows for across the sign aspects and etc.. so yes - these unique approaches to astrology treat aspect relationships very differently and one is left to make a decision on how they will do it personally... because there are so many floating variables in astrology, it is hard to know just what is or isn't working some of the time! i relate to what you are saying... i always fall back on my musical involvement and recognize that improvisers will play the same song in any number of different ways.. i think it is much the same in astrology.. the astrologer has to make a decision on how he will process the same ingredients that another astrologer will process differently.. neither one is right or wrong.. they are just taking their own unique approach to understanding or interpreting the astro data... thanks for your comments as well!
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Michael Sternbach
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Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Knightinte wrote:
I also need to say something about configurations or aspects, as Hellenistic Astrology has some significant differences from modern practice, or even the practice of William Lilly or J, B, Morin in the seventeenth century.

The commonality with the modern approach is the use of Conjunctions, Oppositions, Squares, Trines, and Sextiles but the differences lie in precisely how these are treated. The first difference is that Hellenistic Astrology has two ways of looking at them, by sign and by degree. The latter is the common approach now but was only part of the approach for the Hellenistic Astrologer. The first difference is that Hellenistic Astrologers would allow an aspect by the sign. So if you have Mercury at 3 degrees Cancer and Jupiter at 27 degrees Cancer, these two are treated as being in conjunction or to be more precise, to be 'with each other' (co-present). The very presence of the one will have some effect on the other, rather like two people having rooms in the same house, even if they rarely meet. If they are between 3 to 15 degrees of separation from each other, it's called Assembly or Meeting (such as Mercury at 13 degrees Cancer and Jupiter at 27 degrees Cancer). Finally, if they are less than 3 degrees apart they are Adhering to one another. In other words the closer together they are the stronger becomes the relationship, but it is never entirely absent.


Knightinte,

Coming from a background of "revised classic" that allows orbs to aspects nowhere as generous as common in the more ancient astrology, looking at a chart, I often can't help feeling that two celestial bodies share a special relationship with each other just by being united in the same sign. And this applies to other major aspects accordingly.

So are the orbs you gave for the three zones independent from the particular celestial bodies involved? And which particular Hellenistic astrologers talk about this scheme? Would you perhaps have a link to share?

Thanks!

Michael
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james_m



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Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

these comments are from AJ, a poster who used to post at skyscript, but is prevented from posting due the lack of technical upgrades needed to the forum.. they were given to me in an e mail...

A Response to James’ and Martin's on the use of Sect in Indian Astrology
Thank you James for bringing this topic up. It is very relevant in ways that perhaps will have a great impact on later researchers that we cannot foresee now. Just a feeling…

This is an indirect response to Martin as I cannot participate on Skyscript for the lack of technical upgrades needed to the forum. You can relay my thoughts as you see fit, I trust you in this regard as my astro friend but also don't intend for you to be a moderator either. That is too much work for what my comments may have to say on the matter.

First of all I must state that I am not a scholar of Sanskrit though I am very familiar with the astrological/astronomical meanings of many of the Sanskrit words used in traditional Indian astrology.

Here is Martin Gansten’s response to your query James found at the Skyscript forum. I will respond to various break out quotes below.

“Skyscript.co.uk :: View Topic - Connection between Hellenistic and Indian Astrology.” 2011. Skyscript.co.uk. 2011. http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11146.

Martin Gansten wrote:

‘You are right that there is no preserved doctrine of sect (hairesis) in pre-Islamic Indian astrology. Tājika or Sanskritized Perso-Arabic astrology does include a number of considerations based on sect (such as triplicity rulers or lot calculations changing depending on whether the chart is diurnal or nocturnal), but there is still no systematic exposition of the idea, and no Sanskrit word corresponding to sect. (If one wanted to make one up, pakṣa would be the obvious calque.)’

‘You are right that there is no preserved doctrine of sect (hairesis) in pre-Islamic Indian astrology. …’
None of my Jyotish (Parashari) Gurus ever made a teaching on it except that maybe a particular yoga having a distinction between day and night chart. Though in Parashari calculations of Shadbala per BPHS, a variation on the Hellenistic concept of Sect is considered in the Kaala Bala portion of the calculations. So there is almost a ‘subconscious’ tradition of sorts that considers sect in Indian astrology. It is not a main consideration to be sure.
[It must be noted here that Sect when found in Indian astrology does not match the use of Sect in Hellenistic Astrology. This does not include sign rulers in the TriRashi calculation in Tajika (see later) but there is a definite twist on their usage.
It is no surprise that in one of the earliest Sanskrit texts citing Greek horoscopy, The Yavanajātaka of Sphujidhvaja, (dates vary, some put it 2nd century CE to 4th or 6th centuries) the concept of sect though not named is the same as the Hellenistic. In sloka 83, ‘Saturn, Jupiter, and the Sun are strong in the day-time, Mars, Venus, and the Moon at night; Mercury is strong either by day or at night. The benefics are strong in the bright paksa, the others in the dark.’
Like many other introduced concepts in Indian astrology later practitioners modified them to suit a particular Paddhati]


‘Tājika or Sanskritized Perso-Arabic astrology does include a number of considerations based on sect (such as triplicity rulers or lot calculations changing depending on whether the chart is diurnal or nocturnal), but there is still no systematic exposition of the idea, and no Sanskrit word corresponding to sect.’

My Tajika guru did not treat Sect in particular as a specific teaching to be applied across the board but did point out its importance in certain situations unlike my Parashari gurus. There may not be a structured doctrine of Sect in Tajika like in Hellenistic astrology but it is an important consideration for some crucial areas of determining strength and lordship. To expand on Martin’s comment here, the doctrine of Sect with some variation does have importance in determining Harsha Bala or ‘happiness’ of a planet and is also used in calculating the TriRashi used to determine the Lord of the Year or Varshesha of the solar return (Varshphal).

Harsha Bala is one of the Tajika systems to calculate planetary strength in the Varshphal chart one component of which was that depending on being a diurnal or nocturnal chart the placement of a planet in a house belonging to its own sex was given points for being strong.
[Note of interest… My Tajika guru used a hybridized system that included Harsha Bala. I assume he found it to be more accurate or maybe more fundamentally it was due to being much simpler to calculate than the other methods. It’s like before computers, if you can really remember such a time as hand casting charts (lol), manual calculation of full Shadbala and 16 vargas rarely happened as it took so long.

The Tajika TriRashi (3 sign) table for determining one component of the Varshesha by rising sign is interesting, for diurnal it starts by assigning the first sign (cardinal) of each Triplicity the day ruler, the second sign (fixed) with the night ruler, and the third sign (mutable) the partner. For nocturnal it assigns the cardinal sign the night ruler, the fixed sign the day ruler and the mutable sign the partner. I don’t know enough about Hellenistic astrology to know if this is unique to Tajika or not. A question for Martin I think.
James: Any thoughts on this? Does it correlate with anything you know of Sect in Greek astrology? It seems an interesting variation not without a logic behind it.
… Aside… I wonder if it could be applied to natal astrology? For us as nocturnal Scorpio rising natives the ruler is Venus, ruler of the 7th and 12th. For me at least as I consider my chart it doesn’t add a chord of insight at the moment.

Martin is correct that sect is considered for many of the Sahams or ‘lots.’

‘... there is still no systematic exposition of the idea, and no Sanskrit word corresponding to sect. (If one wanted to make one up, pakṣa would be the obvious calque.)’
True, there is no global word for Sect in Sanskrit that I have ever come across but there are technical words to express the variations noted above and another example is Nathonnatta Bala (diurnal and nocturnal strengths) used in Shadbala calculations under Kaala (Time) Bala.
Martin is right also that there is no systematic exposition of Sect. From Harsha Bala in Varshphal to Nathonnatta Bala used in Shadbala calculations there is no agreement between the associations of the Tara Grahas to which sect (night or day) they belong.

I have only encountered ‘paksha’ (literally ‘side’) in the context of describing one or other of the fortnights of the lunar month. Even though the literal meaning is mostly correct for the concept of sect but due to the overstrong association of paksha with the lunar cycle in Indian astrology I don’t think this would be an appropriate word to adopt. Ganah meaning team or village might be better suited to the idea.

Sect in Harsha Bala
A variation of Sect makes up half of the Harsha Bala calculation used in Tajika. Instead of signs it is based on houses and splits the concept of domain into two distinct concepts.

Stri-Purusha Bala (Strength from gender or a variation of domain in Hellenistic astrology).
In the annual chart, the houses 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, and 9 are feminine houses. The remaining ones, i.e., houses 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, and 12 are masculine houses. Female planets (Moon, Mercury, Venus and Saturn) get this Tritiya Bala ('Third' strength) by their location in the feminine houses, while the male planets (Sun, Mars and Jupiter) obtain this bala by their location in the masculine houses.

Dina-Ratri Bala (Strength from 'day' and 'night' another variation of domain in Hellenistic astrology.
Male planets (Sun, Mars and Jupiter) acquire the Chaturtha Bala (the 'Fourth' strength) when the Varsha Pravesh commences during the day and female planets (Moon, Mercury, Venus and Saturn) get it when the Varsha Pravesh occurs during night time.

This is a different allocation of the sexes of the Grahas found in Parashari where the male planets are the Sun, Mars and Jupiter; female planets are the Moon, Venus and Rahu; neuter planets are Mercury, Saturn and Ketu.

Kaala Bala in Shadbala vs Hellenistic Sect
Kaala Bala is one of the six systems that comprise Shadbala for determining a planet's strength. Kaala Bala has to do with the strength which a planet has because of the time of the day. It is the strength of time. There are nine different factors that are apprised for each planet. The one that concerns Sect is Nathonnatta Bala. Thribhaga Bala though it deals with the time of day IMO is a more of a special condition of Dig Bala, or directional strength and not Sect as expressed in this discussion.

Nathonnatta Bala is different from the Hellenistic Sect assignments of the planets. Instead for day births being the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn it is the Sun, Jupiter and Venus.

For night births instead of the Moon, Venus and Mars as assigned in Hellenistic astrology it is the Moon Saturn and Mars.

Where the Hellenistic system has a natural malefic and natural benefic paired with the Luminaries Parashara in BPHS has benefics paired with the Sun and malefics paired with the Moon. Mercury probably due to being a neutral is always at full strength in Nathonnatta Bala.

~AJ
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2020 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blimey, that was a long post. To start with the least important point, pakṣa (which in the most literal sense means ‘wing’, as in bird) is in fact the natural choice in Sanskrit to describe any scenario with two opposing sides. It is typically used in describing situations where there are two conflicting opinions, etc. But as there is no systematic teaching on sect in Sanskrit sources, and none of us (I presume) is contemplating introducing one, we may let it go.

More importantly, when I say that something does or does not exist in Indian tradition, I mean in the written sources, as it is obviously impossible to keep track of what every contemporary teacher of Indian astrology is or is not saying. (Also, we are now in the 21st century, and Indian astrology has been mixing with modern western astrology since the end of the 19th.) But whether we reference living people or classical authors, I think real names are useful.

I didn’t mean to suggest that there is never any distinction made between day and night in Indian astrology. There is, especially in the kālabala or ‘time strength’ part of the ṣaḍbala (‘six strengths’) calculations, as AJ says. But there is not the pervasive notion of the planets forming two distinct groups, or of the distinction between daytime and nighttime being fundamental to how planets express themselves. Also, again as noted by AJ, the groupings used for kālabala are different (except for that quotation from Yavanajātaka 1.83, which I didn’t remember; thanks for bringing that up).

Regarding Tājika with its various doctrines (such as harṣabala, which is the ‘joys’ of the planets used by Greek- and Arabic-language authors), I would recommend anyone interested in it first to acquaint themselves with the basics of Perso-Arabic astrology, on which Tājika is based; it does make things much easier to understand. In particular, Sahl ibn Bishr’s Introduction and On Questions (both rather short works included in Ben Dykes’s recent Sahl volume found here) are extremely useful, as Sahl is the main source for many Tājika doctrines. Large portions of the Praśnatantra commonly but wrongly attributed to Nīlakaṇṭha are in fact abridged passages from On Questions, versified in Sanskrit; an oldish paper of mine on that topic is freely available here:
https://doi.org/10.18732/H23W27

For technical discussions, in sometimes excruciating detail, on the dignities/strengths used in Tājika, see this paper:
https://doi.org/10.18732/hssa.v6i0.34

An overview of the same issues are found in the introduction to my edition and annotated translation of Balabhadra’s Hāyanaratna (The Jewel of Annual Astrology), and Balabhadra’s own treatment of them (with quotations from many earlier Tājika authors including Nīlakaṇṭha, his guru’s brother) is found chiefly in Chapter 2:
https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004433717
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