# Sidereal or Tropcal? Placidus, or Equal.

#### nbennett

##### Active member
Yes, the problems of increasing high latitude with distorted house systems is cured with WH or EH. Pick your favorite!

#### Alice McDermott

##### Well-known member
Well, I would say that if you calculated a chart all based on equatorial directions and a chart all in ecliptic directions, they would both be valid. But to mix the ecliptic and equatorial together gets into problems. The main reason Placidus was so popular, it was the first table of houses printed in english. Although, as an aside, EH house is popular in the UK and India. Just as Vedic astrology is all sidereal measurements and there are heliocentric charts too. The key is that the system be consistent. Measurements should be apples and apples, not apples and oranges.

The calculation of a chart involves the two measurements that are consistently used on Earth, latitude and longitude.

Once a chart is calculated we can choose between two different perspectives:

1. Longitude measurements along the ecliptic (which are quite valid as the ecliptic is the Earth's orbit around the Sun) and latitude measurements north and south of the ecliptic.

2. measurements of Right Ascension and Declination.

Both systems are valid and useful. The mundane Right Ascension and Declination are becoming more popular, particularly through the use of Primary directions.

I agree that the reason Placidus became so popular was that it was the only house system available in English for quite a while. Other methods of calculating time and space, producing various house systems, can be just as valid.

Again, you can always put in the MC/IC as a point in the chart, and not give up your desire to blend the two directions. I always put the MC in the chart as a testing point. I put Chiron in there too, sometimes the Vertex to test and follow it. After 10-15 years, I'm not impressed.

I am truly astonished you are not impressed! I have had many, many years of working with people of all walks of life and have done years of study and research, particularly on the Vertex axis, and am very impressed!

Did you know that in natural births the child's Sun or its duads will very often echo the sign of a parent's MC or IC, or the duads of the MC or IC.

In all matters to do with prediction involving career and/or public life, it features very strongly.

I have done extensive work on the Vertex axis and have presented much of my findings here: http://aliceportman.com/category/vertex-axis/

I would never think of doing predictive work without using it as it consistently maps important events in a person's life.

Alice

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#### Alice McDermott

##### Well-known member
Hey everyone! I'm in a bit of a dilemma I'm not sure whether to use placid us, or equal, or sidereal, or tropical..? I can understand all of my charts, with all these possibilities, but I'm just wondering, and looking for a definite answer. Thank you in advance.

For a start:

Tropical astrology is mapped from the time the Sun moves over the equator at 00Norh00 declination, which is called 0 Aries on the ecliptic, and the signs of the zodiac are mapped in even, 30 degree segments from that point, with 0 Cancer at 23North26 declination, 0 Libra at 00South00 declination as the Sun moves into the Southern hemisphere and 0 Capricorn at 23South26 declination. I have done my best to describe this, with illustrations, here: http://aliceportman.com/what-is-the-difference-between-northern-and-southern-hemisphere-astrology/

So tropical astrology is based on the real orbit of the Earth around the Sun.

Sidereal astrology has many problems, including considerable differences in measuring when to start 0 Aries. From my point of view after many years of study, these problems need to be cleared up before it can be seriously considered. Perhaps it would interest you to read this critique by the highly respected Dieter Koch: http://www.astro.com/astrologie/in_vedic2_e.htm

Therefore I recommend you start your studies with Tropical Astrology.

As to house systems:

There are many ways of dividing time and space to arrive at various house systems. Placidus is the most commonly used and, for many, many people, very accurate indeed. Equal House is just equal 30 degree divisions from the Ascending degree, so it is not truly a house system that involves the division of time and space involving the Ascendant and MC, just 'houses' arranged from the Ascendant, so perhaps it should really be called Ascendant Houses. You can also do Equal houses from the MC and these could be called MC houses.

Equal houses are very simple, but from my own studies, not all that accurate in mapping events in the life.

So, if you are just starting your astrological studies, perhaps it would be a good idea to start with the Tropical Zodiac and a quadrant house system, the most popular of which is Placidus. This should give you a good, thorough and intelligent grounding in basic astrology. If your interest continues, it would then be a good idea to look at the reasons behind the various types of house systems and study the way these are calculated.

For a really good, clear practical understanding of how to use a house system in real life, I recommend Noel Tyl's Vocational Exercises here: http://noeltyl.com/discussion/index.php?board=2.0 Though the tutoring is based on how to determine a person's career or vocation, the principles hold true for any area of someone's life. It would probably be a good idea to start with the earlier examples as the shorthand they use in the more recent examples could be confusing for a beginner.

Alice

#### greybeard

##### Well-known member
I use tropical, Placidus.

But that does not mean that only the tropical zodiac and quadrant houses are to be used. If equal houses or other similar systems give good results (for you), by all means use them. The same applies to the different zodiacs in use. They are, after all, nothing but systems of measurement which can be chosen arbitrarily (although I happen to agree with the philosophical basis of the tropical.) The tropical zodiac keeps the signs lined up with the seasons (signs have symbolic relationships with the seasons) while the sidereal zodiacs do not...Christmas can come in summer in the sidereal zodiac -- and what would the world do without a White Christmas? Only an Australian can imagine such a thing.

The various sidereal zodiacs (there are pehaps a half-dozen different ayanamsas) are all based on the constellations (fixed stars) and are most appropriate for those astrologers who take a physical or material view of astrology -- who think its causative energy streams forth from some certain place in the sky. The tropical zodiac, which is earth-centered rather than cosmic because of its point of origin (the vernal equinox as measured each year), is more suited to the humanistic astrologer and the abstract -- rather than concrete -- type of mind. The sidereal zodiac(s) relegate astrology to the distant stars, while the tropical brings it down to Earth. Both allow for precession; the claim by the siderealists that tropical does not allow for precession is bogus. And the Fiduciary for any of the sidereal systems is arbitrary, whereas the zodiacal point of beginning in the tropical system is measured each year and not arbitrary but real.

As far as house systems go, the attempts to adjust for high latitudes in the quadrant systems fail. But the reason is that such phenomena actually occur at the high latitudes. The difference between ecliptic and equator causes these difficulties, but they are real and not created by systems. The systems only reflect the reality. The symbolism of the equator is "mundane" and that is why it should be the basis for houses. The signs are "cosmic" and rely on "the stars" (not actually, but at least symbolically). That is why the "star" positions are given in zodiacal (ecliptical) longitude. The houses, unlike the signs, are not "cosmic" but "mundane." They do not show deep and immutable essential characteristics as do the signs, but instead show "immediate surroundings", "the worldly condition of circumstances," or adventitious or accidental occurrences. That is why they should be determined from the equator rather than the ecliptic. It is the transference, translation or projection of the equatorial into zodiacal terms that "produces" the distortion at high latitudes.

Different astrologers adopt different systems. All of the systems work to a greater or lesser degree, and astrologers choose a given system based on their own personality and proclivities. My own experimentation with the whole-sign types of houses did not suggest to me that they are superior, and therefore I continue to use Placidus (and in some cases Regiomontanus) houses. Other astrologers, such as Robert Hand and Dr. Farr, have found whole-sign houses to work very well and use them.

When I cast a horary chart, using Placidus, for an urgent question regarding personal death (in the middle of the night) and the person's natal 8th cusp (in Placidus) appears as the Ascendant, it makes me think there is something significant in that house system. No other house system gave me the 8th cusp rising in a question of imminent death.

That is the question to answer in choosing your house system: Does this system provide sensitive degree points that correspond to actual experiences in the life? I have found that house cusp degrees given by Placidus do often meet this criteria.

As far as the two primary planes of astrology go, both the horizon and meridian are primary. They form the structural basis of any horoscope, in reality. The whole-sign group of house systems generally ignores the primary importance of one or the other in the horoscope. I find this unacceptable; the reality and primacy of the Midheaven can't be denied. The calculation of the entire chart depends on the RAMC; to calculate the chart based on this position, and then to ignore the point (or put it into a position of secondary importance) seems illogical to me. The meaning of the Tenth Cusp is "That which stands above all else -- i.e., the king, the highest authority, that which is over the native, what is elevated in his life. That is the same meaning as the MC, and the two should be one.

But as I have said repeatedly, if it works for you, use it. Astrology, although it indeed forms a body of philosophy, should not be judged on its philosophical merits but on its ability to produce consistently reliable results when applied to real world problems.

Actually, the testing of the zodiacs is not that hard to do. You can set the same chart in both systems. This will, in most cases, change the house rulers. Where, for example, Mars is lord of the Ascendant in one chart, it may be Jupiter in the other. The question then is: "Which of these two planets best describes the character and life of this real individual? Which rulers of derived houses seem to more accurately describe actual life circumstances? It shouldn't take too many test horoscopes to find out which system seems to give the better result. Such testing, even though it tends toward an objective evaluation, must still remain primarily subjective. Like it or not, astrology contains a highly subjective tone and it can't be helped. This is at once the strength and the weakness of astrology.

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#### dr. farr

##### Well-known member
Whole sign does NOT ignore the importance of the MC as a horoscopic point, and never has done so: ONLY difference is that whole sign allows this point to FLOAT among signs/houses, and does not construct a house system so as to always and invariable make the MC the border ("cusp") of the 10th house; the MC stands above all else, and if that point happens to be in the 10th, then the generic indications of that house stand above all else in that chart for that individual (or event, etc); but if the MC is in the 11th or the 9th, then the generic indications of the 11th or 9th house stand above all else FOR THAT PARTICULAR individual (or event, etc); it was in fact the developing desire to MAKE the MC identical with the 10th, and insisting upon the 10th house and the MC as being the same in meaning, which led to the increasing adoption of the porphyry system (beginning around the 6th century) and then to the later systems (alchabitius dominating for many centuries, then later campanus, regiomontanus, placidus, etc etc) This is not to dispute these quadrant systems, just to point out the early concept (of the Hellenists and also of the early Vedic astrologers) regarding the MC and its relationship (meaning-wise) the houses at the "top of the chart"///

#### greybeard

##### Well-known member
Stand corrected. All I was really saying is that the meaning of MC and of 10th cusp is the same. Therefore, it seems to me, the two points should be identical (congruous) in the chart. I also said that the astrologer should choose his own systems and use them.

I see no point in arguing over house systems or zodiacs. Provided there is logical consistency, one system is about as good as another. Most people, it seems to me, never stop to think that the zodiac is simply an artitrary system of measurement. The difference between the two principal systems in use is nothing more than the arbitrarily chosen point of beginning.

The entire metric system of measurement (dimensions of length, volume, heat, mass...) is wholly based on one arbitrary measurement; the whole system follows out of that arbitrary measure. The English, or any other logically consistent system of measure, could be used with equal accuracy. The zodiacs work just the same way -- the whole system is based on one arbitrary measurement, and the rest follows.

#### JUPITERASC

##### Well-known member
Stand corrected. All I was really saying is that the meaning of MC and of 10th cusp is the same. Therefore, it seems to me, the two points should be identical (congruous) in the chart
You are of course entitled to your opinion, however obviously others are entitled to their opinion as well, therefore not unexpectedly some disagreement occurs
Whole sign does NOT ignore the importance of the MC as a horoscopic point, and never has done so: ONLY difference is that whole sign allows this point to FLOAT among signs/houses, and does not construct a house system so as to always and invariable make the MC the border ("cusp") of the 10th house; the MC stands above all else, and if that point happens to be in the 10th, then the generic indications of that house stand above all else in that chart for that individual (or event, etc); but if the MC is in the 11th or the 9th, then the generic indications of the 11th or 9th house stand above all else FOR THAT PARTICULAR individual (or event, etc); it was in fact the developing desire to MAKE the MC identical with the 10th, and insisting upon the 10th house and the MC as being the same in meaning, which led to the increasing adoption of the porphyry system (beginning around the 6th century) and then to the later systems (alchabitius dominating for many centuries, then later campanus, regiomontanus, placidus, etc etc) This is not to dispute these quadrant systems, just to point out the early concept (of the Hellenists and also of the early Vedic astrologers) regarding the MC and its relationship (meaning-wise) the houses at the "top of the chart"///
Historically then, as dr. farr has explained, the MC originally was NOT IDENTICAL with 10th cusp

#### dr. farr

##### Well-known member
I see no point in arguing over house systems or zodiacs. Provided there is logical consistency, one system is about as good as another. Most people, it seems to me, never stop to think that the zodiac is simply an artitrary system of measurement. The difference between the two principal systems in use is nothing more than the arbitrarily chosen point of beginning.

I fully agree here, there is no point in disputing these matters; I respect all house systems, and even the no-house system (Cosmobiologie) And for over 30 years, I used Placidus, and with (what I consider) good results. During that time I was aware of Equal House, but I really didn't find much to recommend Equal over the quadrant systems (the Placidus I was using) I was much impressed by Charles Carter's praise of Campanus as perhaps being the "most accurate and consistent" of the quadrant systems (Carter himself ultimately using a type of Equal house which he called equipollent), but that was before computers allowed one to erect a chart in a second or two, and back then (before the 1990's) we pretty much only had access to Placidus (tables of houses, etc) so I really didn't try out the Campanus system, sticking with my "tried and true" Placidus.
When I learned (re-learned) horary (in the early 1970's), our teacher (of what I call the "Ankara" horary method), Pasha, used Alchabitius, but back then that was pretty much completely unavailable (its available now on astro.com and other chart-erecting computer programs), so we students stuck with the easily available Placidus format.
...so, I do have respect for Placidus and the other quadrant systems; just that since my leraning about, testing of and conversion to whole sign (late 1990's) I feel that for me, I have found a better way (but this is simply my own personal experience)

#### NancyS

##### Well-known member
(Disclaimer: I have not read one full book on astrology. Below is my gut talking, not my brain):

I pick Tropical because I believe the philosophy of astrology is based upon the elements, the elements on the seasons, and the seasons on cycles which more closely coincide with the Tropical system. Constellations are nothing but nametags to me.

For houses I believe in perspective and the present moment. When you are born, are turned head-side up and take your first breath of air, the point directly above your head is the MC, below your feet the IC, and the ASC/DSC the east and west horizon. So, Equal it is for me.

#### greybeard

##### Well-known member
I pick Pistachio. Anyone can see that ice cream should be green.

The MC/IC axis, which is always overhead/underfoot in the real world, is not often placed in that position in the equal house system. Check your premises.

At the end of the day, it turns out that the proof is in the pudding. The only real question is Does it give consistently reliable results? No matter the underlying philosophical elegance or logical coherence. If it doesn't work it should be discarded; if it does, use it.

#### greybeard

##### Well-known member
The matter of zodiacs is relatively straightforward.

In essence, the zodiac, a zodiac, is nothing more than a system of measurement. In a geocentric zodiac the point of view (Earth) is the same; the only question is Which point shall we ordain as the point of beginning of the zodiac?

Both types of zodiac (tropical and sideral) work. The positions of the planets are not changed at all. Only the "denomination" of their positions is changed. This results in changes of sign on house cusps, and of rulerships of houses and planets. The relationships of the planets to each other, and the Angles, does not change in the least.

I happen to use tropical, always have and always will. It pleases me philosophically. I have tropical Cancer rising, but sidereal Gemini. Cancer fits me well, Gemini not at all. Seems to me that if we are to choose between one and the other zodiac, it should be efficacy that guides our choice and not whether or not we find one more esthetically pleasing to our personal fancies.

The matter of house system is much more complicated.

First question is, Should we even use houses? Isn't the Ascendant enough to individualize the chart?

What if, having decided that some sort of house system is needed, we opt to use an eight-fold division of the heavens rather than twelve-fold? It is quite logical; the midpoints of the meridan/horizon axes are known to be sensitive points.

If we decide on a twelve-fold house system, perhaps thinking that the complexity of life requires it, or that the houses should provide correlates of the signs... we run into the problem of just what we should divide by twelve to produce our house system, and then we bump into how we should divide that.

Astrology, while based on and derived from the reality of the heavens around us, is not "real" in the sense that its whole fabric is simply an expression of the cosmic reality. It is a formalized system of thought. In other words, it is a creation of man's mind that attempts to impose order on what seems at first glance to be a chaotic world.

Seems to me the Meso-American astrologers used 20 houses. And those guys were top-of-the-line astrologers. They knew their stuff. Recall that the Aztec priests predicted the arrival of Cortez and the fall of their empire in graphic detail.

Because astrology is a formalized system of thought, a symbolic representation of reality, any set of symbols that is logical and coherent will suffice. Once again, the question we must answer is Does it work?

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#### dr. farr

##### Well-known member
I agree-does it work, and then how WELL does it work (ie does it produce consistent and reliable results/outcomes) are the essences of the question, regarding PRACTICAL astrology, that is, astrological delineation and prediction. Like my experience with Placidus-yes it worked, but then (for me at least) whole sign worked even better than the good results I had previously (for several decades!) obtained with Placidus-so (for me) I have chosen whole sign. If I find something which works even better than whole sign, then I will follow that method! Same for all the various methods/techniques, and interpretations, found in the broad field of astrological practices.

#### greybeard

##### Well-known member
I wholeheartedly agree, in principle if not in practice.

I have stuck with Placidus all these years. I experimented with equal house (and several quadrant systems) for a time, did not find them superior, and out of complacency, reverted to placidus.

When I hear a gaggle of astrologers arguing about "the best--or only" system, whether of zodiac, house or other technique, I am reminded that my daddy can beat up your daddy. Today a friend of mine observed that many, probably most, people think that their opinions are them; they identify with their opinions. Very true. They will then defend their opinion as if their very person were under attack.

We interpret a chart according to our own outlook, perspective. We find the sort of thing we are looking for, and fail to see what is not within us. Astrology can't help but be subjective, because it involves the interpretation of symbols and interpretation of anything depends on what we carry within ourselves.

That is why it is so important for the astrologer to adopt methods and techniques that are coherent and well-ordered (even if only in his own mind). They are what allow us to attain at least some measure of reliable objectivity.

#### NancyS

##### Well-known member
Greybeard,

I'm well aware that this is a thread of opinions. And I like pistachios.

If I look straight out in front of me, there's the Descendant. Behind me is the Ascendant, where the sun rose. Perpendicular to that is straight overhead, no? That would be 90 degrees I hope. There's my premises.

#### greybeard

##### Well-known member
The horizon and the meridian are always at 90 degrees from each other; they are planes perpendicular to each other.

However, they are seldom at 90 degrees from each other when measured along the ecliptic. Equal houses are measured from the Ascendant (the usual method) along the ecliptic and not the equator. Therefore, If the Asc is, say, at 17 Taurus and the cusp of the 10th House at 17 Aquarius, the Midheaven (which lies on the plane of the meridian) may be at 26 Capricorn, and does not coincide with the "vertical" (perpendicular) position of the 10th cusp.

No matter how you slice it, any house system creates distortion, the reason being the obliquity of the ecliptic to the equator.

For a thorough discussion of the astrological houses, go to

http://www.scribd.com/doc/6495552/An-Astrological-House-Formulary

#### byjove

##### Account Closed
Greybeard,

I'm well aware that this is a thread of opinions. And I like pistachios.

If I look straight out in front of me, there's the Descendant. Behind me is the Ascendant, where the sun rose. Perpendicular to that is straight overhead, no? That would be 90 degrees I hope. There's my premises.

Hello, may I ask how northerly/southerly you are positioned in the world? The vast majority of equal house users that I know of are in northern Europe, especially the UK. Also, is it popular where you live?

Thanks

#### greybeard

##### Well-known member
I live in "rural Idaho" among a bunch of spud farmers and cowboys. Also, this is Mormon country; astrology is not on the menu in these parts. My house sits at 43N38.

I started studying astrology in 1972. At the time I was living in Mexico. I never have had a personal teacher, and where I was astrology texts were a rare commodity. (My first "astrology" book was A Time for Astrology by Jess Stearn, who wasn't even an astrologer). I didn't know what I was doing, and Placidus were the only tables available to me. So I got used to Placidus. I spent a couple of years (later on) experimenting with several other house systems and thought that my good old Placidus worked about as well as any of them. Now I have other things that interest me more than the houses, so I plod along with Placidus. I'm happy, what the heck.

#### JUPITERASC

##### Well-known member
Another option of course is - NONE - i.e. neither Sidereal nor Tropical, neither Placidus nor Equal

BECAUSE there are astrologers who use NONE of the more than thirty possible house systems currently available

- furthermore FOURTEEN of those thirty are offered as options on astro.com Extended Chart Selection page

Meanwhile the Uranian school of astrology continues to successfully use no house system at all
http://www.uranian-institute.org/

#### greybeard

##### Well-known member
If you read one of my prior posts in this thread, I offered the possibiities of no houses, 8 houses, 12 houses, 20 houses.....

And have said repeatedly, if it works for you, use it.

I'm afraid you're stuck with using some form of zodiac though. Even if we use nothing more than mathematical coordinates, it amounts to a zodiac; the zodiac is a system for measuring (locating) celestial positions relative to Earth, and astrology could not exist without some system of that sort. So you might think about it before you burn your ephemeris (and you might think about it before you publicly propose using no zodiac; sort of makes a fellow look like he doesn't understand the fundamentals of astrology. But then perhaps I am the one who doesn't understand. Maybe you would like to explain how your "no zodiac" astrology works).

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#### Zuri

##### Well-known member
To me (a non-astrologer), the major question should be: which system is effective in accurately describing the native's personality and life? On that score, I personally have found tropical and sidereal to be about equal. The approaches are different, but generally converge when discussing the native.