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Houses & cusps For discussions on houses and house cusps (i.e. planets on angles, house stelliums and so on)


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  #1  
Unread 11-13-2011, 03:20 AM
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Whole sign houses and the MC

When I use whole sign houses, the angle of the MC/IC axis can budge over into the 11th/5th house(s). How do whole sign practitioners view this? I mean, the houses are considered to be (as far as I know) always angular, succedent, cadent, in order from the first. But if the Angle that usually forms the cusp of the 10th is in the 11th, does that make the 10th house, err, unangular? And the 11th angular?

Hope someone can tell what I'm banging on about here

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Unread 11-13-2011, 03:51 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

As far as I know, the 10th is still the 10th with whole sign. I like looking at whole sign charts, because I think that it gives a better picture of which areas of the native's life will be activated. But, I find that using quadrant based systems help to tell you how strong a planet is...so determining if it is angular, succedent, cadent depends on how far it is from the angles. My husband has his MC in whole sign in the 11th, along with his Sun, Mercury and Venus. I see an 11 house MC as meaning that chances for advancement of his reputation will come through friends and his network of business acquaintances, or (gifts from the King?) being in the right place at the right time. Possibly a 9th house MC could show that a person's career/reputation/everything else related to the MC would come through 9th house opportunities...travel, foreign relatioships, spiritual matters, etc.

I also (in my brandy-new way) see looking at quadrant based systems has value in deterimining the strength or ability of the planets. With my dh, if I look at a Porphyry chart, or Placidus, all those 11th house (succedent) planets become angular, meaning they are more strengthened.
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Unread 11-13-2011, 04:01 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

Valens (2nd century AD) was clear about this (and this is definite evidence that he used whole sign and not quadrant houses in chart domification) He stated that the MC could float between the 10th, 11th. and 9th houses, and he said that when the MC is in a house other than the 10th, then that house must do double duty (his words), meaning that the house has to represent its own significations AND ALSO the signification of the MC.
(The same applies to the IC-it can float from the 4th to the 3rd or to the 5th house, and when that happens-if it is not in the 4th house-whatever house the IC is in also must do double duty and respresent both its own signification AND ALSO the signification of the IC)
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Unread 11-13-2011, 04:09 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

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Originally Posted by dr. farr View Post
Valens (2nd century AD) was clear about this (and this is definite evidence that he used whole sign and not quadrant houses in chart domification) He stated that the MC could float between the 10th, 11th. and 9th houses, and he said that when the MC is in a house other than the 10th, then that house must do double duty (his words), meaning that the house has to represent its own significations AND ALSO the signification of the MC.
(The same applies to the IC-it can float from the 4th to the 3rd or to the 5th house, and when that happens-if it is not in the 4th house-whatever house the IC is in also must do double duty and respresent both its own signification AND ALSO the signification of the IC)
The signification of the MC, but does that also mean everything else the 10th house might represent? Meaning that if the MC/IC axis is either 11/5 or 9/3, surely the 10th/4th houses, and whatever planets rule them, are still functional? Am I incorrect in thinking that the 10th, 11th or 9th would describe how or where the individual would best express the MC?
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Unread 11-13-2011, 07:43 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

MC never changes. One can use 4th sign from ASC as fourth house or 10th sign from ASC as 10th house. But whether MC is in 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th sign from ASC, it is there - it does not change as per convenience.
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Unread 11-13-2011, 08:30 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

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Originally Posted by tsmall View Post
The signification of the MC, but does that also mean everything else the 10th house might represent? Meaning that if the MC/IC axis is either 11/5 or 9/3, surely the 10th/4th houses, and whatever planets rule them, are still functional? Am I incorrect in thinking that the 10th, 11th or 9th would describe how or where the individual would best express the MC?
I believe you are correct. The quality of the MC as a cardinal POINT (not house, POINT) always remains the same, regardless of what sign/house it is posited in. The prinicpal reason quadrant domification formats were invented was to make certain that the MC always occupies/defines the place of the 10th house, because-due to the signification of that cardinal POINT (the MC)-it is always made to occupy the PLACE (the 10th house) which has the SAME signification. Which is to say that phenomena (the position of the MC) is forced to match theory (allocated signification) in the quadrant domification formats. Whole sign/Equal house allows the phenomena (the position of the MC) to be as it is in Nature, and then provides "exlplanations" (signification, theory) to interpret that phenomena (Valens statement that the houses in which the MC might fall-other than the 10th house-must do "double duty" relative to signification)
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Unread 11-14-2011, 12:35 PM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

Thanks guys. You've given me a lot to chew over.

tsmall, I think your idea of using the two different house systems in parallel is rather interesting.
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Unread 11-14-2011, 02:56 PM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

In short, in whole house system the MC must be treated like a planet would be; a wanderer through the houses. It is no longer the zenith in actuallity. The 10th house is simply the "10th division" and nothing more.

In other house systems the 10th IS the zenith/MC and therefore no distinction needs to be made. In other words, it literally IS the point above your head at the time of birth.
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Unread 11-14-2011, 07:08 PM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

Just a few counter-points here.

In some ancient astrology, and also today-- the MC indicates the highest point that the sun reaches along the ecliptic at mid-day.

This meaning has kind of a sympathetic analogy to meanings of the 10th house in Hellenistic astrology, such as public image and honours (as in, the high point of your life.)

The Hellenistic astrologer Robert Schmidt (article in The Mountain Astrologer, Dec. 2008) indicated several meanings that the houses could take: topical meanings (like public image and honours) and dynamic meanings (like a planet is strongest in an angular house, and weakest in a cadent house, although there were some important exceptions. In a topical sort of house discussion, it probably doesn't matter where you put the MC as a degree point in the chart, because although the MC might have other uses, saying anything about your public image or career doesn't have to be among them. In a dynamic interpretation of houses, it should matter whether the MC is at the high point of the mid-day sky or not.

The problem with putting the MC as somewhere other than the 10th house cusp, or outside of the 10th house, as I see it, is that someone with a high latitude birth could even end up with the MC in the 12th house, which the Hellenistic astrologers saw as The Worst house to have; and one that is antithetical to the MC's astronomical meaning. I recently saw the chart of a Finnish woman, where exactly that is what happened. Possibly Firmicus Maternus, living before Mediterranean people knew much about far northern societies, didn't envision this happening.

Firmicus Maternus (280-360 AD, Matheseos Libri VIII, 2:15) really doesn't use "midheaven" in our contemporary sense at all, and he was at odds with several other astrologers in antiquity. He also seems to contradict himself!

Essentially he said you have to figure out the degree of the ascendant, and then you just count 270 degrees around the ecliptic from that point, then your MC is at degree 271 from the AS. Even so, he called the MC (in translation) both "the zenith" and "the 10th house from the ascendant", while noting that the MC could appear in the 11th house. [Today we think of the zenith as something else. It is the highest point in the sky, but the sun wouldn't be there at mid-day if you live you live more than 23 degrees north or south of the equator; notably not closer to the solstices, where the sun would appear considerably to the north or south of the zenith.]

Well, which is it? The "zenith" (high point on the ecliptic) or 271 degrees from the ascendant? They're not identical in most horoscopes.

Then in book 2 ch. 19, Maternus says, that the 10th house, which starts at 270 degrees and ends at 300 degrees from the ascendant, "is located at the middle part of the universe. "This house we call the Medium Caelum...for it is located in the middle part of the universe..... The influence of this house is aspected to the ascendant very powerfully, for it can be seen to be in square aspect to the ascendant."

He goes on to note that the MC (as a point, not a house) can appear in the 11th house. Well, this isn't so bad because the 11th was a favourable house to ancient astrologers and it makes a sextile relationship to the ascendant. The 9th house for the MC would be OK, too, in making a trine relationship to the asc.

But what do we make of the MC in the 12th, as can happen with people born in Finland? The 12th was The Pits house, in part because it didn't make a classic aspect (sextile, square, trine, opposition) to the Asc.

If people are happy with Maternus's logic, there's no harm in following him. I just find the above highly problematical for viewing Maternus as a consistent thinker and for practising astrology today.
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Last edited by waybread; 11-14-2011 at 07:21 PM.
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Unread 11-14-2011, 09:44 PM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

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Then in book 2 ch. 19, Maternus says, that the 10th house, which starts at 270 degrees and ends at 300 degrees from the ascendant, "is located at the middle part of the universe. "This house we call the Medium Caelum...for it is located in the middle part of the universe..... The influence of this house is aspected to the ascendant very powerfully, for it can be seen to be in square aspect to the ascendant."

Yes, this is a very poetic description and holds true from the terestrial observers point of reference. Mathematically, when celestially calculated and placed into an astrological chart, it doesn't appear that way, depending on the house system you use. Extreme latitudes and/or time of year, skew the precision of his description, as you know, and bunch things up a bit.

He goes on to note that the MC (as a point, not a house) can appear in the 11th house. Well, this isn't so bad because the 11th was a favourable house to ancient astrologers and it makes a sextile relationship to the ascendant. The 9th house for the MC would be OK, too, in making a trine relationship to the asc.

This would only be true for some house systems where the ASC and MC become more like sensitive points rather than actual house cusps. The Meridian house system is an example of this where the ASC is a sensitive point, not a house or cusp, or the Morinus house system where both the ASC and the MC are sensitive points rather than actual house cusps.

Depending on your latitude the MC can actually float all the way to the 7th or 8th house in systems where the MC is not used as a house cusp.

Going back to Morinus system for a moment. The sensitive points (Asc and MC) are still in relation to each other as Maternus describes. It's just the houses used as a framework for the chart are not in the same relationship to these sensitive points. Using the Morinus system, the 1st and 10th houses are calculated differently from the sensitive points of the ASC and MC and a distinction is made between all these; the 1st is not the Asc and the 10th is not the MC as would be true in other house systems where they are one and the same. This is apparently taken into account in delineation where these house systems are used, such as Uranian astrology that favors the Meridian house system.

But what do we make of the MC in the 12th, as can happen with people born in Finland? The 12th was The Pits house, in part because it didn't make a classic aspect (sextile, square, trine, opposition) to the Asc.

Right. This is why perhaps, a Topocentric house system might be more useful when going to extreme latitudes. In any case, the point you make is why the Topocentric house system came into existance in the first place. It resembles the same degrees at the lower latitudes as most other houses systems like Regiomontanus, but it makes up for the imperfections in the math that break down in other house systems at extreme latitudes.

If people are happy with Maternus's logic, there's no harm in following him. I just find the above highly problematical for viewing Maternus as a consistent thinker and for practising astrology today.
I think one benefits most from his work from the essence of what he is describing. He would be more like the art teacher that taught the theory or appreciation of art, rather than actual methods and practice of artistic techniques. At least, that is how I view his wonderfully vivid descriptions.
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Unread 11-15-2011, 03:44 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

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tsmall, I think your idea of using the two different house systems in parallel is rather interesting.
Moog, this isn't really my idea. In addition to having been pointed in that direction by a couple of members here I found this thread to be particularly helpful.

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewto...er=asc&start=0
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Unread 11-15-2011, 06:02 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

I spent a little time with charts of Finns over at the Astrodienst Astro-DataBank.

Here is the chart of a former Finnish prime minister, which illustrates the problem of whole sign houses at high latitudes. He was born at 64 degres north latitude. The Arctic Circle is at about 66 degrees 30'. In a winter birth there, the sun would have been very far south at mid-day, which accounts for the skewing of the MC. His MC is squarely in his 12th house, which does not seem to be a possibility that Firmicus Maternus contemplated.

Of course, Placidus looks horrible for his chart, as well.

For this kind of chart, I would be tempted to look at several house systems collectively.
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Unread 11-15-2011, 08:54 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

Valens fully accepted the concept of the floating MC, and his statement of whatever place (house) the MC is in having to do "double duty" (representing its own signification PLUS that connected with the MC) shows the attitude of "whole signers" about this apparent problem; further, Robert Hand goes into this "problem of the MC" in his "Whole Sign" booklet, and his outlook convinced me that in reality it is a "no issue" matter! Further, I would like to point out that Valens statements regarding the floating MC could NOT have been made by someone who followed any kind of quadrant house system of domification-the MC is, by definition, ALWAYS at the 10th place (house) by any quadrant house system-if Valens were using quadrant for domification, he COULD NOT have made that MC statement and "double duty" comment; or if here were using a quadrant house system alternately with whole sign (or equal house) he would have instructed us that in one approach to chart erection the MC floats and that in a different approach to chart erection the MC is always at the 10th place (house)-but Valens did not make any statements to this effect, only that the MC can float, and ONLY someone using a non-quadrant domification format could make such a statement!

(Hand also uses an example chart where the MC falls in the 12th house, and shows in his delineation just how delineatively accurate such a placement of the MC can be, with the 12th house doing "double duty"-I think it was the nativity of Lenin that Hand looks at in this respect)

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Unread 11-15-2011, 09:27 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

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Originally Posted by tsmall View Post
Moog, this isn't really my idea. In addition to having been pointed in that direction by a couple of members here I found this thread to be particularly helpful.

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewto...er=asc&start=0
Ahh, well there's nothing new under the sun eh? Standing on the shoulders of giants and that.

Thanks for bringing it to my mind anyway (and links are always good)
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Unread 11-15-2011, 06:47 PM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

Dr. Farr, I've looked high and low on-line for a copy of Robert Hand's book(let) on whole signs, and it doesn't seem to be available at amazon.com, amazon.ca, abebooks.com, Robert Hand's website (which refers purchasers to the AFA on-line bookstore), or at the AFA bookstore. It isn't available at Banyan Books, which is a super New Age book store in Vancouver, BC if you're ever up there. I have found it on a couple of other small on-line book sellers, but I am reluctant to trust my credit card to a small unknown entity. The original two-part article on which the book is based is available on CD from The Mountain Astrologer, and I may end up ordering it, although it contains a lot of other articles that don't particularly interest me. In the interim, I am unfortunately unable to comment on Robert Hand's hard evidence for the ubiquity of whole signs in antiquity.

My comment above was based entirely on Firmicus Maternus, not on Vettius Valens. While I understand the value of explaining what Valens said as opposed to FM, the point has to be made that just because Valens said something doesn't mean that anyone else said it. We would have to go through the tiny handful of extant sources from Hellenistic times and examine each of them separately. If you think I've misinterpreted FM, please correct my errors.

My point here and on the other whole signs thread has never been that "none of the ancient astrologers used whole signs". It is that I don't think that everyone used them prior to late antiquity. Also, the whole signs system has some of the same problems of other house systems for high-latitude births if we assume a dynamic house system where it matters whether a planet is in a cardinal, succedant, or cadent house; independently of the topical content of the house. The meanings of the 12th house versus the MC as well as of the 10th house are just so different when we view the meaning or "strength" houses from the dynamic point of view that I can't see whole signs (as well as Placidus) working very well in some (not all) high-latitude charts.

I've downloaded Mark T. Riley's recent translation of Valens's Anthologies. It isn't indexed and it is a big document that I haven't read in its entirely, however on p. 10 Valens says how to calculate the MC. His method is based on some basic arithmetic, dependent on counting from the degree of the ascendant, not direct observation of the "natural" MC which is the highest point that the sun reaches at mid-day on the ecliptic. To use Valens's method, one would have to work out some of his other calculations (like the hours of daylight on the birth date at a particular latitude belt.) I can't tell (with my limited math abilities) whether this would, in fact, give you the "natural" MC or not. (Or even, for that matter, whether current methods of calculating the MC would give the same results. I've looked up the method of chart construction in Avelar and Rebeiro's recent traditional astrology textbook, On the Heavenly Spheres; and so far as I can tell, their method is different, although they use Regiomontanus houses and have the modern advantage of consulting tables of houses.)

In a quadrant system, the MC is going to be in the same place independently of the specific house system used.

I didn't find Valens discussing the MC in the 12th house, unfortunately--would you be willing paraphrase what Robert Hand said about it?

I did find (book 2, p. 28,) Valens calling the 10th house, "Midheaven", just to confuse matters. Also confusing is that some of his house meanings are very different from how we think of them today. For example, from a topical perspective, he sees the 2nd house as very misfortunate.

On. p. 34, Valens does seem to depend upon a dynamic house perspective, when he links the location of houses to the strenth of the part of fortune. "...it is necessary to...see what part of the cosmos it is located: at an angle, just following an angle, or just preceding an angle." If the P of F is in a cadent house, it is really bad news for the native. Well, I'm not sure how this works if you have an angle (the MC) in the 12th, as is the case for the Finnish chart I posted above; because we can't just squash 3 houses into one using the whole sign system.

If you can enlighten me on these matters, I would be grateful. I am not trying to be difficult, BTW, I am just trying to figure out some of the basics of Hellenistic astrology at this point in my (steep) learning curve.

Hey, the good news is that I see you as the resident expert!
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Last edited by waybread; 11-15-2011 at 06:57 PM.
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Unread 11-16-2011, 07:23 AM
dr. farr dr. farr is offline
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

You know, I had another rather lengthy comment and this time when I hit send it blew it out! I am starting to get superstitious that something doesn't want me to make extensive posts about this subject!

Anyway, Waybread, you can obtain the Hand whole sign booklet from astroamerica.com which is a very reliable source for astrology books.

I don't know if your thinking of me as the "resident expert" on this matter is justified; I am no historian, and certainly no expert on Hellenistic astrology! I guess I am an accidental historian on this stuff, because I have studied this material, but only in a search for some ideas or methods which might prove of use to me! Purely utilitarian! But in so doing I have gotten a good idea of what I THINK the authors I have read were doing or talking about (Manilius, Ptolemy, Valens, Antiochus, Anubion, Maternus, Hepahestio, Maximus, Sextus Empiricus, Paulus Alexandrianus, Rhetorius are the authors I have read; only a few of the authors to be found in the great collection-12 volumes-of ancient Greek astrological documents called the "C.A.G" most of which remains untranslated into English)

After reading the Hand booklet in the late 1990's, I looked into the material I had from those authors, and-realizing that what non-astrologer academic historians had claimed was Equal house in these authors was in reality the closely related sign=house (whole sign) domification method-EVEN THE METHOD OF FIRMICUS MATERNUS turning out to be whole sign and NOT Equal house (Hand clears that up by pointing out the incorrect Rhys translation of a defining word in the Maternus description of how to set up the dodecatropos), well, this changed my mind about what I had believed up until then about what the Greeks and Romans did (relative to chart erection), and that is pretty why I continue to accept the idea that sign=house (whole sign) dominated the ancient practice.

Later, in my scavenging for concepts and techniques among the earliest Vedic authors (Parasara, Jaimini, Varahamira, etc)-and being greatly influenced in my outlook by the 2 volume Pingree analysis of Greek influences upon early jyotish*-I came to discover that these guys weren't using Equal house either (the received wisdom from historians is that the Vedics always used Equal house, from ancient times to today) When I read their original material, what they did (with some possible doubt relative to Parasara) was sign=house (whole sign), just like the Greek and Roman authors-during that same period of time-14 AD up to the mid-500's AD- had done.

Now, can I be mistaken about this? Sure, with my limited intelligence I might have gotten it wrong. Again, I say, I am no academic and am no expert on the history of either Hellenistic or Vedic astrology. I just go on what I've read from the original authors (as translated into English)
But from all of this it seems TO ME that the Hand hypothesis (followed by other experts since the late 1990's) is likely accurate, viz, that sign=house (whole sign is the name of this given to it by Hand) was the predominant domification method from Alexandria to the banks of the Ganges, at least from the time of the beginning of the Current Era, through the beginning of the 6th century AD.

Anyway, Waybread, I will be discussing the Maternus question and some of your other points (which I did in the post that got blown out when I sent it) over the next few days.

Enjoying our discussion perhaps the information we bring to light will be of interest to some of our AW friends!

(*"Yavanajataka of Sphujidhavja", 2 volumes, David Pingree; the meaning of the funny sounding title is "Greek astrology", the book dates from 149 AD and the comments by Sphujidhavja from about 100 years later; the book purports to be an outline of Greek astrological docrines and practice of that ancient time; the only domification methodology described in it is sign=house, ie, whole sign; nothing about quadrant houses, nothing about Equal house)

Last edited by dr. farr; 11-16-2011 at 07:34 AM.
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Unread 11-16-2011, 05:32 PM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

Great, thanks, Dr. Farr! Blame it on my Mercury retrograde (although not in Scorpio, thank goodness,) that once a problem intrigues me, I get sufficiently intense about it that I start questing for answers. Even if I never find them or if my initial hunch is mistaken, I learn a lot during the process. And that's good. Oftentimes the information recycles later in connection with something else. (Spare me any "dog with a bone" remarks, though!)

Actually-- I hate to get woo-woo about this, but it probably isn't an accident that your posts vanished. While all of us have had this happen, generally our posts aren't that profound. But some years ago, I was doing some research on an esoteric subject about ancient cultural astronomy and thought I had really found some keys, and then all my notes simply vanished. A couple of years later, they reappeared, but by then I wasn't so inclined to revisit the topic. Then about six or seven years ago, I was delving into another topic (dealing with pagan Northern/Germanic beliefs), and kept several notebooks on what I thought were the foundational meanings of runes and some of their mythology; and--you guessed it. The notebooks crawled off four years ago during a house move, and I still haven't found them. And I thought Iwas being terrifically careful with where I put this stuff.

To me, astrology has the potential to operate on that profound esoteric level. It can be about the underpinnings of the soul and the cosmos. I think some of the ancients understood it in that manner. How one conceptualizes the dials and gears of the cosmos is fundamentally a metaphysical topic. And that taps into other streams of consciousness.

I am also stuck with the English translations, and there aren't enough of them.

I hope that as your time permits, you will re-send portions of your vanished posts. Piecemeal would be super.

Best wishes, W.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 04:07 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

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Enjoying our discussion perhaps the information we bring to light will be of interest to some of our AW friends!
I for one am enjoying your discussion. Please, both of you, continue?
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Unread 11-17-2011, 07:10 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

Waybread:
Don't worry about getting "woo woo" as far as I am concerned! I fully agree with your outlook about the essential nature of astrology; regarding esoteric ideas, well, I am primarily an esotericist, and a nickname that could well apply to me would be "Dr. woo-woo" (add it to some of the other names I've been given: "Fixed Star Farr", "Dr. Whole Sign", "Dragon's Tail Farr", and we've got a good list of my aliases!)

I too must pretty much rely on the English translations of the old time material; I don't read Greek; but I still remember my high school Latin classes, and, with my trusty Latin/English dictionary, I can read Latin at least at a low level, and am usually able to understand the gist of what the Latin author is saying. And I have noticed that certain words and even phrases in the "Astronomica", don't mean (to my understanding of the Latin words at least) what Gould tranlsates them to mean; I also noticed this in Maternus, in the Rhys transaltion, being directed there by Hand's statements in his Whole Sign booklet regarding Rhys mistranslation of a number of Latin words, especially the word "residuum", which Rhys mistranslates to mean "following", when it actually means "residue", "rest of" or "remaining". The context of this word is in Maternus instructions about how to erect the dodecatropos (ie, the chart), and it is the "30 degrees of the ascendant" statement that is involved: with the Rhys mistranslation it reads... "the 30 degrees FOLLOWING the ascendant" (which means an Equal house domification method) With the correct translation of "residuum" it reads "the REMAINING (or REST OF) 30 degrees of the ascendant" (which is whole sign, pure and simple) Maternus here is describing how the circle of places ("houses") is to be constructed starting from the ascendant. Hand goes into this further in his booklet, but the point I am making is that, even with my very limited ability to read Latin and to understand Latin words and phrases, I HAVE come across what appear to me to be certain mistranslations of Latin into English, in a couple of the original source books (like Manilius) where the Latin text is provided alongside the English translation.

Wonder how often such mistranslations have occured in the available eNGLISH translations of those ancient works?

Anyway, on with our discussion (even if the goblins don't like it and continue blow out my posts!)

Last edited by dr. farr; 11-17-2011 at 07:27 AM.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 04:07 PM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

There are some excellent threads on here discussing the philosophy of having the MC marking the beginning of the 10th house. While I still don't know enough to propose one thing or another (which I will do), it's a shame we can't integrate some of those ideas/people into this, and the similar threads we've been discussing this.

I also see that floating MC in the 12th as contradictory or as slightly disjunct from how the rest of the chart has been created. In this instance, I consider this as one possible point against whole sign; if as mentioned above, northern (and southern) civilisations weren't considered when whole sign dominated, they to me it's on a fast-track to obsoletion for those of us whose charts are significantly affected.

So are some of these matters essentially mathematical/astronomical problems, which require philisophical consideration? If it's a question of that, I think we have all we need to venture making up our own minds (through such helpful discussion).

(p.s. I have personally noted and likened some people's reflections on old/new, trad/modern astro. as similar to the break of the Church of England from the Holy See. I'm no expert but I believe that C of E believe that Christianity needed adaptation to modern times e.g. allowing women the same right to ordain as men etc. I'm not Christian, but in that case I favour the C of E in that case.)

Last edited by byjove; 11-17-2011 at 04:10 PM.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 06:53 PM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

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Originally Posted by byjove View Post
I also see that floating MC in the 12th as contradictory or as slightly disjunct from how the rest of the chart has been created. In this instance, I consider this as one possible point against whole sign; if as mentioned above, northern (and southern) civilisations weren't considered when whole sign dominated, they to me it's on a fast-track to obsoletion for those of us whose charts are significantly affected.
Yes. In essence the 'floating MC' in equal or whole house systems is still given it's traditional and known signification. However, the equal or whole houses system is adding another level of interpretation to the MC depending on where it falls in a whole or equal house system.

However, and someone correct me if I am wrong here but, although we have traditional examples of a 'floating MC' we don't have really have any traditional examples of it being delineated in this format.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 07:27 PM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

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However, and someone correct me if I am wrong here but, although we have traditional examples of a 'floating MC' we don't have really have any traditional examples of it being delineated in this format.

Yes, I'd love to see that, anyone got an example? How would someone interpret the MC in the 12th?
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Unread 11-17-2011, 09:04 PM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

Hey, thanks, tsmall. I'm glad I am not merely annoying anyone whose interests in which house system to use aren't so historical; let alone the infinetly patient Dr. Farr.

Dr. Farr, you are one seriously Good Guy.

I did some sleuthing at Astrodienst's Astro-DataBank for charts of people born in Finland, as I was alerted to the problem of people with high-latitude births potentially having incredibly skewed angles in any house system. I previously posted the chart of a former prime minister of Finland, born at 64 degrees north latitude. (The Arctic Circle is at about 66 degrees.) Here he is again. Apparently he was a successful politician who held several cabinet posts, but he had a serious drinking problem which eventually led to his resigning from office. I don't know any more about him than that.

A lot of how one would interpret this whole sign chart depends upon whether you do traditional or modern astrology. Let me try it with the latter, blended with some Hellenistic astrology ideas.

1. From a topic-based definition of houses, the ancients viewed the 12th house as really misfortunate. This was the "house of secret enemies and all kinds of misfortunes.

2. From a "dynamic" definition of houses, the 12th doesn't fare any better, because the MC was normally construed as approximately synonymous with the 10th house, even if it landed in a different whole sign house. Houses decline in power with distance from the angles; though not uniformly so.

3. Houses also decline in power in terms of whether the signs are in a major aspect relationship with the AC/first house. These aspects would be the opposition, trine, square, or sextile. The 12th, 6th, and 8th houses got a bad rap because the ancient astrologers didn't see a semi-sextile (12th) or quincunx (6th and 8th) relationship with the first house as a valid aspect. Having a 6th house focus, for example, was seen as truly misfortunate.

4. So we might consider that the MC is in kind of a rotten place in the 12th house. Conversely, the Hellenistic astrologers were aware of cases where the MC fell in the 11th or 9th, but this was OK because these were seen as fortunate houses. The 11th was the house of "the good spirit" and the 9th was even called "the house of god" (hence its relationship to theology and prophecy.)

5. If we look at aspects in the modern sense, AK's MC conjuncts Jupiter which is good. It squares his sun-part of fortune. This isn't necessarily bad, because it would give him a lot of ambition (however stressful) to identify with (sun) his career or vocation (MC.) I would use outer planets, and note that MC-Jupiter square to Neptune. He may have been inclined to excess. ("If a little is good, a lot is better.")

6. The house cusp ruler with Scorpio on the 12th cusp is Mars (traditional) and Pluto (modern.) Mars is strongly placed in its own sign of Aries. Either way (modern) we have a Mars-Pluto square involving Chiron. This looks to me like a lot of power struggles, as well as painful experiences from them (Chiron.)

7. Mars trine moon/ASC in the Jupiter-ruled sign of Sagittarius looks helpful, however.

8. Alcoholism does seem to show up in charts of people with Neptune in a tough aspect to a personal planet, and we do see sun opposite Neptune. We might also recall a name for the 12th as the "house of self-undoing."

9. The 10th house is ruled by Mercury, which shows a square to Saturn. Pessimistic thinking or even depression? Saturn is the father or authority figure. It has even been nicknamed "the prime minister". It is strongly placed in Libra, but the square suggests tension rather than an easy flow of energy.

So a real mixture-- a man who rose to the pinnacle of his career, but who had some personal demons that eventually got him.

Anyway, y'all--what is your take on it?
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File Type: jpg Finnish prime minister, whole signs.jpg (79.4 KB, 13 views)
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I thought we went along paths--but it seems there are no paths. The going itself is the path.
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Last edited by waybread; 11-17-2011 at 09:07 PM.
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Unread 11-17-2011, 09:15 PM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

waybread, quick (noob) question...isn't the MC an angle? Though if it's in the 12th, that puts it pretty close to the ASC, also an angle. Not sure where I'm going with this, but thought it might be worth considering.
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Unread 11-18-2011, 12:07 AM
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Re: Whole sign houses and the MC

Yes, the MC is an angle. In a "quadrant" system like Placidus, it also marks the beginning of the 10th house cusp. In a whole sign or equal house method, it is not the same as the 10th house cusp. Sometimes their meaning is the same, but sometimes it varies, depending upon which source you cite. For example, you might do a calculation based on the MC position regardless of where it was located.

High-latitude births are an interesting problem, because all systems except the equal house system (that I'm aware of) can end up with a really skewed MC/IC axis, depending on the birth date. I could be mistaken, but I think this corresponds to the problem of the sun appearing so far north in the summer and so far south in the winter, and really different numbers of hours of daylight and darkness.

But even with whole signs, I think the traditional astrologers didn't always calculate the MC in the same way. Firmicus Maternus (Matheseos Libri VIII, book 2, xv) says you just find the ascendant, and then count 270 degrees from that to locate your MC. Well, no problem for those Scandinavians and Alaskans. Others (like Manilius) seemed to define a "natural" MC as the high point on the ecliptic at the moment of birth.

Regardless, you would interpret the 10th house and its cusp in the usual way.
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