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Traditional Astrology For discussions on Traditional Astrology only. (Note: Typically, traditional astrology is defined as using techniques developed prior to 1700 by astrologers from the Hellenistic, Persian, Hebrew, and Renaissance eras. In general, it relies on Ptolemaic aspects (sextile, trine, square, opposition and conjunction) though there may be some exceptions, and always excludes modern planets (Neptune, Uranus and Pluto,) as well as any asteroids. The focus is less on what would be considered modern psychological chart interpretation and more on prediction. Members who wish to explore a combination of traditional and modern ideas should feel free to start a new thread in an appropriate forum for further discussion.)


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  #1  
Unread 10-23-2018, 03:06 PM
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Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

We all know who Ben Dykes is, right? He’s the traditional astrologer who has been translating all of those Bonatti books from Latin and also works by Masha’Allah and Sahl bin Bishr from Arabic. THAT Ben Dykes!

Well, it turns out that his academic background is in traditional philosophy; he received his doctorate and taught at the University of Illinois. This is in addition to having studied traditional astrology with Robert Zoller and being a long-time member of the current incarnation of the Golden Dawn, so he really sounded like my kinda guy…

I’ve taken courses from him in the past with titles like “Primary Directions without Tears”, and “Distribution and Directing Through the Bounds”. And happily, I’ve come away from his courses really learning something rather than being more confused than when I came in!

Anyway, I recently discovered Doctor Dykes has a course on traditional philosophy for astrologers, so I decided to take it. I’ve been enjoying it, he’s a really good teacher. Very clear with no hocus-pocus, so to speak. 😉. He also has a warm way of speaking, in a midwestern kind of way.

I’ve already taken his introductory lectures, which was essentially a history of philosophy and the occult as it relates to astrology from prehistory up to the renaissance. I’m currently on his second series of lectures, which covers the Pre-Socratic philosophers. I thought it might be interesting to share what I’ve been studying, as it seems relevant to this list.

Some of the earliest Pre-Socratic philosophers were of the mind that everything in the universe could be reduced to a single principle. Thales (c. 624-545 BCE) argued that this principle was water, Anaximenes (c.580-500 BCE) thought it was air, Heraclitus (c. 535 -475 BCE) argued that it must be fire. By the fifth century BCE, Empedocles outlined a theory that said there were four of these principles, which he called “roots”: earth, air, water and fire (Warren, Pre-Socratics).

So what are we to think of Thales, who believed that everything could be reduced to water? Are we to pity him because obviously he didn’t have access to all the modern information that we have today? Why did he think everything could be reduced to water? Was it because he didn’t know any better? What exactly did he believe, anyway?

Well, we don’t know exactly what he believed, because much of the work of the pre-Socratic philosophers exists in fragments. But when we piece together the fragments that we do have, as well as references to his work from later philosophers, it seems his beliefs came down to two basic ideas:

1) All things are from water.
2) All things are full of gods.

Hmm, that seems about as clear as mud, doesn’t it?

So I’ve been thinking about what Thales believed in, maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye…

I’ll be back on this tomorrow, in the meantime, if anyone cares to share their thoughts on Thales, please by all means do so!

Kind regards - Rhys

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Unread 10-23-2018, 03:58 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

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So what are we to think of Thales, who believed that everything could be reduced to water? Are we to pity him because obviously he didn’t have access to all the modern information that we have today? Why did he think everything could be reduced to water? Was it because he didn’t know any better? What exactly did he believe, anyway?
Some believe he first tried to explain everything materialistically rather than religiously (a claim one would encounter in communist literature), other thought he was making an explanation where the soul element is implicit. Most romanticized version of the history of science that is thought worldwide is that science began with the Greek philosophy because they first though of material first principles, but that always sounded bs to me. Science (or protoscience) and the making of causal natural inferences began long before the Greeks existed. A brief survey of anthropology, or of positivist philosophy will show that.

Last edited by petosiris; 10-23-2018 at 04:17 PM.
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  #3  
Unread 10-23-2018, 05:42 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

The problem with Thales is that most of what we know about his philosophy is via Aristotle and what he made of it. As Thales was one of the "seven sages", his thinking was probably more sophisticated than it may seem. But well, we'll never know for sure. Homer mentions Okeanos/Ocean as the source of gods, and the symbolism of water was also very important in Orphism. G. S. Kirk's theory* is that Thales might have distilled water (pun intended) as "arche" from the three great mythologies that were available to him. For the ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians and the Greek, the universe originated from a water deity (Nun, Enki & Okeanos).

*G.S. Kirk, The Nature of Greek Myths (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1974)
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  #4  
Unread 10-23-2018, 06:12 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

''Most of the moon's power consists of humidifying, clearly because it is close to the earth and because of the moist exhalations therefrom...

- 28 It was a doctrine as old as Thales that the moisture arising from the earth nourished the heavenly bodies; cf. (p35)Diels, Doxographi Graeci (Berlin, 1879), p276; J. Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy (London, 1920), p49.'' - http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...blos/home.html

The concept of the sky as ocean can be seen Egyptian and Hellenistic worldview as mentioned. Aratus and Manilius poetically refer to the horizon as the ocean.
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Unread 10-23-2018, 08:40 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

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Originally Posted by Rhys View Post
We all know who Ben Dykes is, right? He’s the traditional astrologer who has been translating all of those Bonatti books from Latin and also works by Masha’Allah and Sahl bin Bishr from Arabic. THAT Ben Dykes!

Well, it turns out that his academic background is in traditional philosophy; he received his doctorate and taught at the University of Illinois. This is in addition to having studied traditional astrology with Robert Zoller and being a long-time member of the current incarnation of the Golden Dawn, so he really sounded like my kinda guy…

I’ve taken courses from him in the past with titles like “Primary Directions without Tears”, and “Distribution and Directing Through the Bounds”. And happily, I’ve come away from his courses really learning something rather than being more confused than when I came in!

Anyway, I recently discovered Doctor Dykes has a course on traditional philosophy for astrologers, so I decided to take it. I’ve been enjoying it, he’s a really good teacher. Very clear with no hocus-pocus, so to speak.. He also has a warm way of speaking, in a midwestern kind of way.

I’ve already taken his introductory lectures, which was essentially a history of philosophy and the occult as it relates to astrology from prehistory up to the renaissance. I’m currently on his second series of lectures, which covers the Pre-Socratic philosophers. I thought it might be interesting to share what I’ve been studying, as it seems relevant to this list.

Some of the earliest Pre-Socratic philosophers were of the mind that everything in the universe could be reduced to a single principle. Thales (c. 624-545 BCE) argued that this principle was water, Anaximenes (c.580-500 BCE) thought it was air, Heraclitus (c. 535 -475 BCE) argued that it must be fire. By the fifth century BCE, Empedocles outlined a theory that said there were four of these principles, which he called “roots”: earth, air, water and fire (Warren, Pre-Socratics).

So what are we to think of Thales, who believed that everything could be reduced to water? Are we to pity him because obviously he didn’t have access to all the modern information that we have today? Why did he think everything could be reduced to water? Was it because he didn’t know any better? What exactly did he believe, anyway?

Well, we don’t know exactly what he believed, because much of the work of the pre-Socratic philosophers exists in fragments. But when we piece together the fragments that we do have, as well as references to his work from later philosophers, it seems his beliefs came down to two basic ideas:

1) All things are from water.
2) All things are full of gods.

Hmm, that seems about as clear as mud, doesn’t it?


So I’ve been thinking about what Thales believed in, maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye…

I’ll be back on this tomorrow, in the meantime, if anyone cares to share their thoughts on Thales, please by all means do so!

Kind regards - Rhys
Clearly
no water

then

no mud
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  #6  
Unread 10-24-2018, 04:50 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

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Clearly
no water

then

no mud
JupiterAsc, that's very funny, it brought a big smile to my face. Thank you. :-)
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Unread 10-24-2018, 05:08 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

Ok, so to take up where we left off, Thales thinks that:

1) All things are from water.
2) All things are full of gods.

Let's back up a bit to get some perspecitve on this...

Generally speaking, ancient Greek philosophy takes the position that what we see in the material world is only apparent, that what we see, touch and experience is the result of something else behind the scenes, so to speak. So the quest among the philosophers of the time was to identify what this was.

Their explanations break down into two basic categories:

(1) Origin explanations: x is what it is because x comes from y. Why am I a human? I am a human because my parents were human. Why was Hercules a hero? Hercules was a hero because while his mother was a human, his father was a god.

(2) Constituency explanations: x is what is because of its constituent parts, it is what it is because of what it is composed of. This lead to a need to explain how the constituencies mixed together.

With the Pre-Socratics, there is little explanation of what links “the apparent” with that which lies behind it, but this changes with Plato, which we’ll get to later. Briefly, Plato solved the problem by positing the immaterial Forms, and provided us with a means of linking the world of appearance and experience with the world of Forms through the intellect.

Plato’s departure from Pre-socratic and Origin explanations is that Forms are abstract.

Thales, as was discussed in a previous post, believed that everything boiled down to water, so to speak…

Water is not abstract.

So THAT is the essential difference between Plato and those who came after and the Pre-Socratics: the underlying entities for the Pre-Socratics were not abstract or immaterial. Plato’s forms were.

So with that introduction out of the way, let’s focus on Thales. What do we know about him? Not all that much, as was noted in a previous post.

Thales of Miletus was born in ca. 624 BCE and lived until ca. 545 BCE. Miletus was in Asia Minor which is present day Milet in Turkey. Aristotle regarded him as the first philosopher of the Greek tradition (Aristotle, Metaphysics Alpha, 983b18).

What concerns us as astrologers was that Thales was noted for (a) famously predicting an eclipse, (b) after having been accused of “having his head too much in the stars”, he used astrology to predict market conditions and made a humungus personal bundle off it, and (c) he also made predictions about the weather.

His basic teaching can be summed up as follows:
1. He thought all things are comprised of water.
2. All things are full of gods.

So why did Thales think that all things were comprised of water?

Well, we don’t know for sure, but one thing that we do know was that many creation myths begin with water, including the account in Genesis. We know that Thales had Egyptian and Babylonian influences: there is an Egyptian myth of a mound rising from the water.

Babylonian and Chaldean religion held that god had begun creation by acting on pre-existing water, the world was said to have emerged from an infinite, lifeless sea when the sun rose for the first time. We’ll come back to this notion in just a bit (Sun/fire acting upon a lifeless sea…)

Thales did not answer the question of how water changes into other things, and this later became known as “the problem of the One and the Many”.

As petosiris noted in an earlier post, scientific materialists have tried to adopt Thales as one of their one, considering him a “naturalist” in thinking that all things were comprised of water. They forgot that he also said, “all things are full of gods”, so let’s get to that part now.

Dykes in his lecture said that Thales was influenced by Egyptian and Babylonian thought, which makes sense, but I can’t find any independent references confirming this, although admittedly I haven’t looked very hard.

Anyway, Doctor Dykes goes on to say that if all things are water and all things are full of gods, then this is likely to mean that Thales thinks that water has divine power and thus that everything is full of divine power. What is clear is that in the mind of Thales there is a connection between water and divinity, and that water has the power to become things and to generate things.

This brings us to a possible connection with the ideas of Thales with the Thema Mundi.

I think that’s enough for now. I’ll take up how this relates to the thema mundi tomorrow.

Let me know your take on this so far, if there are any questions or further insights. Thanks!

Warm regards - Rhys
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Unread 10-24-2018, 06:33 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

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I’ll take up how this relates to the thema mundi tomorrow.
Cancer rising confirmed!!!
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Unread 10-24-2018, 07:48 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

Clearly
no water

then

no mud
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhys View Post

JupiterAsc, that's very funny, it brought a big smile to my face.

Thank you. :-)
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Ok, so to take up where we left off, Thales thinks that:

1) All things are from water.
2) All things are full of gods.

Let's back up a bit to get some perspecitve on this...

Generally speaking, ancient Greek philosophy takes the position that what we see in the material world is only apparent, that what we see, touch and experience is the result of something else behind the scenes, so to speak. So the quest among the philosophers of the time was to identify what this was.

Their explanations break down into two basic categories:

(1) Origin explanations: x is what it is because x comes from y. Why am I a human? I am a human because my parents were human. Why was Hercules a hero? Hercules was a hero because while his mother was a human, his father was a god.

(2) Constituency explanations: x is what is because of its constituent parts, it is what it is because of what it is composed of. This lead to a need to explain how the constituencies mixed together.

With the Pre-Socratics, there is little explanation of what links “the apparent” with that which lies behind it, but this changes with Plato, which we’ll get to later. Briefly, Plato solved the problem by positing the immaterial Forms, and provided us with a means of linking the world of appearance and experience with the world of Forms through the intellect.

Plato’s departure from Pre-socratic and Origin explanations is that Forms are abstract.

Thales, as was discussed in a previous post, believed that everything boiled down to water, so to speak…

Water is not abstract.

So THAT is the essential difference between Plato and those who came after and the Pre-Socratics: the underlying entities for the Pre-Socratics were not abstract or immaterial. Plato’s forms were.

So with that introduction out of the way, let’s focus on Thales. What do we know about him? Not all that much, as was noted in a previous post.

Thales of Miletus was born in ca. 624 BCE and lived until ca. 545 BCE. Miletus was in Asia Minor which is present day Milet in Turkey. Aristotle regarded him as the first philosopher of the Greek tradition (Aristotle, Metaphysics Alpha, 983b18).

What concerns us as astrologers was that Thales was noted for (a) famously predicting an eclipse, (b) after having been accused of “having his head too much in the stars”, he used astrology to predict market conditions and made a humungus personal bundle off it, and (c) he also made predictions about the weather.

His basic teaching can be summed up as follows:
1. He thought all things are comprised of water.
2. All things are full of gods.

So why did Thales think that all things were comprised of water?

Well, we don’t know for sure, but one thing that we do know was that many creation myths begin with water, including the account in Genesis. We know that Thales had Egyptian and Babylonian influences: there is an Egyptian myth of a mound rising from the water.

Babylonian and Chaldean religion held that god had begun creation by acting on pre-existing water, the world was said to have emerged from an infinite, lifeless sea when the sun rose for the first time. We’ll come back to this notion in just a bit (Sun/fire acting upon a lifeless sea…)

Thales did not answer the question of how water changes into other things, and this later became known as “the problem of the One and the Many”.

As petosiris noted in an earlier post, scientific materialists have tried to adopt Thales as one of their one, considering him a “naturalist” in thinking that all things were comprised of water. They forgot that he also said, “all things are full of gods”, so let’s get to that part now.

Dykes in his lecture said that Thales was influenced by Egyptian and Babylonian thought, which makes sense, but I can’t find any independent references confirming this, although admittedly I haven’t looked very hard.

Anyway, Doctor Dykes goes on to say that if all things are water and all things are full of gods, then this is likely to mean that Thales thinks that water has divine power and thus that everything is full of divine power. What is clear is that in the mind of Thales there is a connection between water and divinity, and that water has the power to become things and to generate things.

This brings us to a possible connection with the ideas of Thales with the Thema Mundi.

I think that’s enough for now. I’ll take up how this relates to the thema mundi tomorrow.

Let me know your take on this so far, if there are any questions or further insights. Thanks!

Warm regards - Rhys
meanwhle
back at the observatory
we have
good news
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Cancer rising confirmed!!!
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  #10  
Unread 10-25-2018, 04:50 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

So as we were saying, if all things are water and all things are full of gods, then this is likely to mean that Thales thinks that water has divine power and thus that everything is full of divine power.

What is clear is that in the mind of Thales there is a connection between water and divinity, and that water has the power to become things and to generate things.

This brings us to a possible connection between the ideas of Thales with the Thema Mundi.

The early Hellensitic astrologers had a diagram that they called the Thema Mundi or the chart of the world, which was used as teaching tool.

Firmicus Maternus tells us that it was handed down by two of the seven legendary founders astrology: the Egyptian Petosiris (not to be confused with the learned savant petosiris of our list!) and Nechepso among others. This chart has Cancer rising (see posted jpeg) the reason for this evidently having to do with a connection to the star Sirius and the flooding of the Nile (perhaps someone can fill this out a bit more?), the point is that there is a water connection here.

The Moon is moist and represents the body, in the Thema Mundi, the Moon is in the first house/place. Jupiter is exalted in Cancer and in it produces moisture and growth. So the rising sign, or the sign signifying life at the beginning of the world in the Thema Mundi has to do with moisture, bodies and growth, and as Thales said, all things are made from water!

So this "all things are made from water" idea is all starting to make sense after all!

To back this up, in his lecture Doctor Dykes quoted from a translation he made from the book Mathesis by Firmicus Maternus, a notable Latin astrologer who lived in the reign of Constantine, this is from Book 3, Ch 1, Section 9:

Maternus first says that every 300,00 years the world is supposed to be destroyed by fire and then renewed by water, he then goes on to say, “therefore then the flood (cataclysm) follows the conflagration (burning) for from no other thing were burned-up things able to be reborn, nor to be revived from any other thing, to the original appearance and form, unless the matted, dust of the ashes would provide the collective fertility of all the generative seeds through the admixture of water.”

Personally, I found this quote highly interesting as it links to the first two letters of the traditional kabbalist formula for creation: yud, heh. Yud being Fire acting upon Water in the manner described by Maternus, but I drift…

Getting back to Maternus: the world is burned up by fire, and somehow water gets involved and reproduces everything.

So it seems that a myth like this about the destruction of the world and water playing a key regenerative role could have been in the mind of Thales when he made his statements about all things being made of water and all things containing gods.

Ok, so enough on water already! What about fire?

This bring us to Anaximander (ca. 630-545 BCE) who did not believe that all things were made of water, he believed that all things come from "the indefinite".

I'll take it from there the next time I post.
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  #11  
Unread 10-25-2018, 05:10 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

The world is destroyed by fire when all planets align in Cancer, and by flood in Capricorn, not by reason of the constellational images, such as Cancer being moist, but merely because that the summer solstice was placed somewhere within it during the time of Berossus. This is why you get fire in a moist sign.
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Unread 10-25-2018, 05:22 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

Firmicus is repeating a commonly held belief of ekpyrosis (conflagration) by the Stoics at the time, which was first ascribed to Berossus.
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Unread 10-26-2018, 04:50 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

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The world is destroyed by fire when all planets align in Cancer, and by flood in Capricorn, not by reason of the constellational images, such as Cancer being moist, but merely because that the summer solstice was placed somewhere within it during the time of Berossus. This is why you get fire in a moist sign.
That's very interesting, petosiris, thanks.

Can you let me know what your source is on that (the world is destroyed when all planets align in Cancer, and by flood in Capricorn)?

I remember reading that somewhere, I think, but I can't place it.
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Unread 10-26-2018, 05:15 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

So we've discussed already Thales and his belief that all things were made of water, and that all things are full of gods, which brings us to Anaximander, who rejected the water notion of Thales in favor of something else...

Anaximander lived from about 610-545 BCE. Anaximander, like Thales, was from Milesia and was about 14 years younger than Thales. It is thought that he introduced the sundial into Greece from Babylonia, so here we have another astronomical connection with Babylonnia.

Anaximander also had a connection with geometry, map making, and he wrote in prose, not in poetry, as Thales was supposed to have done. There is very little from Anaximander written in his own words, but there is quite a bit of testimony from other people, probably because his ideas were more original and intriguing than those of Thales.

His main belief has to do with something that he called “the Indefinite”.

Anaximander says that the underlying principle of all things is the Indefinite, not any particular element (like water).

For each physical elemental quality, there is an opposite: hot/cold, wet/dry.

So Anaximander thinks that it doesn’t make sense for one of the opposites itself to be the principle for everything else.

Instead, Anaximander thinks, determinate concrete objects and phenomenon arise out of The Indefinite , and these objects and phenomenon ultimately will pass away and be absorbed back into it (The Indefinite). Anaximander says that the Indefinite is eternal, ageless and encompasses all the worlds.

Now, the fact that Anaximander says that the Indefinite is “ageless” gives us a clue that he thinks the Indefinite is divine, because in ancient Greek thought, things that were everlasting or eternal were usually considered divine.

On the one hand, Anaximander is saying that the underlying principle of all things cannot be an opposite or contrary (in the sense that it has got to be beyond opposites).

So, according to Anaximander, Thales’ idea of water being behind all things is ruled out. Because there is a THING about water… Water is WET! It is wet and therefore oppositional and not Indefinite.

Strictly between us, though, note that there is a problem with the argument of Anaximander:

If the underlying principle of the universe can’t be oppositional, then the Indefinite can’t be this principle because the opposite of indefinite is definite!

True, it isn’t the same as the opposition between hot and cold, because hot and cold are co-equal in relation to each other. Whereas the Indefinite is over and above all oppositions, being the source of all oppositions, and thus being the original opposition, as it were, between it (the Indefinite) and what is concrete and definite.

Anaximander recognized that this was a problem, which comes up again and again in philosophy. The Pythagoreans and Platonists later called this problem the opposition between the One and the Dyad, between the limitless and the limited.

Dykes points out that this notion of something generating its own opposite out of itself is a feature of dialectical thinking, which is the process of arriving at truth through a process of comparing and contrasting various solutions. This process, also known as logic, originated in classical Greece with the philosopher Aristotle and has evolved into the present through the works of other philosophers such as Hegel.

But there are astrological connections:

Astrologically speaking, this belief of Anaximander in the indefinite is interesting in that the planets and heavens move in circles and circles have no beginning or end: the course of a circular shape is indefinite. But there are two ways to make a circle definite, which are astrologically relevant.

First: with the intersection of the celestial equator by the ecliptic at the spring and fall equinox points, which represent a kind of beginning, an end, or if you like, a determinacy. And the Sun’s relation to these points creates the seasons and all of their symbolisms. So the indefinite circle becomes definite through the intersection of another circle, and it points towards manifestation.

We might also consider the division of the zodiac into 12 signs, which is also based on this intersection of the equator and the ecliptic, as well as the geometrical figures forming the aspects, are also ways in which the limitless motions of the planets become determinate in our own charts! It’s as if the universe is saying to you: “This is your own determinate nature! This is how you fit into and have manifested within ultimate reality”

Now we move to the second major notion of Anaximander, which has to do with injustice and is very interesting astrologically as it will allow us to see where the where the idea of each of us being a mixture of elements had its roots.

I'll cover it the next time I post.
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Unread 10-26-2018, 05:23 PM
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petosiris petosiris is offline
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

http://www.academia.edu/34437184/M._...9._2_2005_1-19

''Berossus … affirms that the whole issue is brought about by the course of the planets. So positive is he that he assigns a definite date both for the conflagration and the deluge. All that the earth inherits will, he assures us, be consigned to flame when the planets, which now move in different orbits, all assemble in Cancer, so arranged in one row that a straight line may pass through their spheres. When the same gathering takes place in Capricorn, then we are in danger of the deluge. 2''

''2 Berossus, Babyloniaca, apud Seneca, Naturales Quaestiones, 3. 28. 7 – 3. 29. 2, tr. Burstein, S.M., The Babyloniaca of Berossus (‘Sources from the Ancient Near East’, 1. 5; Malibu, 1978); compare Bidez, J., ‘Bérose et la Grande Année’, in Mélanges Paul Frédéricq (Brussels, 1904) [hereafter Bidez, ‘Bérose’], p. 12; F. X. Kugler, Sibyllinischer Sternkampf und Phaëthon in naturgeschichtlicher Beleuchtung (‘Aschendorffs Zeitgemässe Schriften’, 17; Münster, 1927), p. 52; Gundel, W., ‘Weltperioden und Planetenlauf’, in Sternglaube und Sterndeutung; die Geschichte und das Wesen der Astrologie, eds. Boll, F., C. Bezold & W. Gundel (Darmstadt, 1977), 200-205 [hereafter Gundel, ‘Weltperioden’], p. 201; Campion, Great Year , p. 66f., 516. In the ‘age of Aries’, Cancer and Capricorn were the constellations through which the sun passed at the summer and the winter solstice respectively. Aristotle, apud Censorinus, De Die Natali , 18. 11, was the first to use the terms ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ in this context.'' - van der Sluijs, M. A. (2005). A Possible Babylonian Precursor to the theory of Ecpyrōsis'. Culture and Cosmos; A Journal of Astrology and Cultural Astronomy, 9, 1-19.

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Unread 10-29-2018, 07:39 PM
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

I promised to finish with Anaximander, so here is the final installment:

Now we move to the second major notion of Anaximander, which has to do with injustice.

The contrary nature of the four elements, as in fire air water earth and how one changes into the other or is overcome by another, these oppositional characteristics are depicted by Anaximander as moral qualities, he views them as injustices. So when one element is overcoming another, in his view, it is committing an injustice.

For example, when something becomes moist, this moistness is overcoming dryness and is considered by Anaximander an injustice, an imbalance. When something disintegrates, it is paying reparation according to the ordinance of time. So when one thing is overcome by another, and then it itself is overcome by another thing, it is though it is paying for its injustice, is a way of looking at this.

Either transformation into something else is a way of paying reparation, or perhaps losing one’s determinacy completely is the only way to make up for injustice! Ultimately, the justice that one deserves will be administered over time. This implies that while the process of cosmic change implies injustice it is both necessary and lawful that this process happens, and here we have the notion that the world is running according to a law of some kind that is built into things.

However, law is a legal and religious notion: leaders and gods lay down the laws. What makes the hypothesis of Anaximander stand out is that he is saying that it is the elements themselves that make the laws; he is applying this moral and legal concept to the elements! Aristotle goes on to write that Anaximander thinks that the Indefinite steers all things.

This idea of the physical world being a scene of injustice suggests that this world is a scene of continual injustice and that only the divine world or the totally indeterminate being of absolute reality (i.e. the Indefinite) has justice in it. Dykes points out that this could lead to notions which are quite radical about evil and disruption, which ultimately reach down to the basic components of our bodies. Later, the gnostics pretty much have this view, that the working of matter itself involves evil.

Astrologically there is a notion in Hellenistic astrology, according to Doctor Dykes, that living one’s life involves paying off a debt, as though being incarnate is like borrowing money. Except here, one is borrowing one’s own being from ultimate reality. Weighty stuff, this…

Being incarnate involves us in clashes, oppositions and so on and while our life plays out according to the changes shown in our natal chart, one only pays off one’s debt of existence and its injustice at the end of our lives when we die.

Then the talk turned to the next Milesian philosopher, Anaximenes, who was the youngest of the three Milesians, said that all things were air. And he added a mechanism to explain how change and transformation occurs, which neither Thales nor Anaximander did.

I'm concerned that these notes are too long for web reading, so I'm thinking of trying to keep each post to no more than a paragraph or so.

I'll try that for the next post on Anaximenes.
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Unread 12-16-2018, 04:37 PM
aldebaran aldebaran is offline
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Re: Astrology and the Pre-Socratics

Thinking on Thales it's worth remembering the famous Ode of Pindar:

Ariston men hydor,
ho de kryssos aithomenon pyr
hate diaprepei nukti...


"Better is the water,
the gold burning fire
stands out in the night.."

No one dares to say Pindar was a naive gentleman, 1/30 of his full works that moderns have access to makes them trembling with humility; however, once no one can read Thales, they usually make him the "Beotian", who had this "naive" idea of everything coming from water, etc...

I find reasonable to interpret Thales and the others as disputing which element was greater in a world that presented around 4 primordial elements possibilities. XIX's fanatism labeled all these theories as "pure greek", like the Milletians were astonished only by the Gold of Gyges and nothing else.

Modern physics say the 4 states of matter are solid, liquid, gas and plasma...
Only Plasma makes them escape the naive Empedocles.
They have long boring debates in order to keep clear that "plasma" is not fire, and long boring debates about what happens when a candle is put on fire, if there's plasma there or not. Conservateurs says no, rebels says yes, and some screamed "Eureka" on the 90's and claim to have found a 5th state of matter - perhaps it's Aristotle's aither.
And they call Astrologers charlatans.
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