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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. Specifically it relies on Ptolemaic aspects (sextile, trine, square, opposition and conjunction) and excludes modern planets (Neptune, Uranus and Pluto,) non-Ptolemaic aspects, 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 11-26-2011, 11:33 PM
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Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

I don't know if this board is the best one for this thread, but since some of us are trying to "research" traditional astrologers and no other board fits, I thought I'd try it.

We've had a bit of a cage match on other threads between two 2nd century AD Hellenistic astrologers. In this corner: Ptolemy, author of the astro-books Almagest and Tetrabiblos, who attempted to place astrology on a systematic, scientific (for his day) footing. And in this corner: Vettius Valens, author of Anthologies, who includes dozens of brief descriptions of horoscopes.

The betting odds appear to favour Valens, on the grounds that he was a "real" astrologer because of his many brief chart descriptions. However, Ptolemy is mounting a serious challenge. Not only was he a highly influential, experienced academic, but anciently and today we have legitimate branches of astrology, which Mr. Pt discussed, that have no bearing on birth charts.

And now for the first round....

It is painful, but I am trying to read my way through Mark Riley's on-line http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/rileymt/ translation of Vettius Valens, Anthologies. And I can't for the life of me determine why anyone should think Valens was Mr. Astrology of the Ancient World.

So he's got a lot of horoscopes? I do not think that most of them by p. 41 (book II) could have been his own clients! In anonymous example after example, Valens talks about people who became "governors" or other rich and famous positions. He couldn't possibly have known all of them personally; not back in antiquity when transportation around the far-flung Roman empire was limited. Although "celebrity astrology" dates back to the Babylonians; this sort of thing isn't the work of a professional astrologer checking through his own client files.

Furthermore, in Mark Riley's on-line companion essay ("A Survey of Vettius Valens," 1996) to his Valens translation, he notes that most of the horoscopes cannot be accurately dated (which in itself raises an eyebrow about Valens, given computerized ephemerises going back 1000s of years) but he gives dates for some of the horoscopes. Some of them are too early. Valens lived from 120-175 AD. He gives a bit of an autobiography in his Anthologies, and the earliest age at which he could have practiced astrology, according to his bio-sketch, would have been ca. 160 AD. Either his autobiography is mistaken and he got a much earlier start; or else he got the horoscopes off a predecessor.

We have natives' birth dates ranging from 74 to 127 AD, with most of them giving dates of death or crises ranging from 139-169 BC. So a bunch of these clients died or had the major events of their lives occuring prior to Valens taking up the practice of astrology. So far as I can tell.

This seems likely, also, because according to Riley, a professor of the classical Greek language, a lot of the Greek in the Anthologies is in a form that was archaic by the 2nd century AD. While plagiarism standards were pretty loose until modern times, this reinforces the idea that Valens borrowed from older sources (p. 16). And that's good if we want to excavate an older layer of astrology; so long as we don't overstep valid inferences. That's bad if we imagine that all those horoscopes were for clients whom "the real astrologer" Valens actually knew.

Moreover, the horoscopes that I have looked at so far are pretty light on details. We get planets in signs, planetary rulers of some of the triplicities, and "lots" (Arabian parts) material. Sometimes these famous people have house placements (regardless of house system) that Valens previously in his Anthologies identified as misfortunate or "inoperative." Go figure.

Hey, maybe I am too hasty. It happens. But it is question marks like this that make me reluctant to take much "recieved wisdom" at face value. If I had more riding on this, of course I would do a lot more homework before proposing this alternative viewpoint.

OK, sports fans-- round two?

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  #2  
Unread 11-27-2011, 08:31 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

I have no doubt that Valens was passing on material from the school of practice of which he was an exponent. Actually there are statements in Valens to this effect. See, back then hermetic (and other) arts were confined to special groups of people (usually requiring initiation), and several "schools" of practice usually existed at any given time. We find Manilius obviously doing much the same thing (in his "Astronomica") as Valens did-even translators Gould and Houseman say that Manilius was taking material from various earlier sources, and passing it on. Now this is VERY different than Ptolemy, who specifically tells us (in the lead in to his discussion of natal astrology) that he is NOT passing on the prevailing astrological doctrines, but rather, that he is introducing us to something entirely new-ie, his own creative model, wherein any material deriving from other sources is being reworked into the system Ptolemy presents us with. So, yeah, big differences between Valens-as a provider-perhaps even just a copyist- of a stream of ideas and practices representative of the particular "school" or tradition he was a part of-and innovator Ptolemy, presenting us with a brand new astrological model.

Note: in re-reading Ptolemy in preparation from some comments to be made in our "whole sign" discussion, I have noticed how much Ptolemy sounds like Vedic astrologers! They actually seem to have a lot in common (wonder if Ptolemy had contacts with the large colony of "Gymnosophists"-Greek term for Indian Buddhists-who were residing in Alexandria during Ptolemy's time?)

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Unread 11-27-2011, 06:31 PM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Thanks for responding, Dr. Farr!

For sure the Hellenistic astrologers borrowed from their predecessors-- much as we do today (except that their plagiarism standards were pretty lax.) My post was more of a gauntlet thrown down to people who argue that Valens had to have been the "real" astrologer because he includes so many horoscope tidbits. Well, actually, these are usually extremely brief--mostly "planets in signs"; and then I argue that actually a lot of the horoscope precis could not have come from his own client files.

Ptolemy built upon previous work! How else could he have come up with basic planet and sign information? Or information that also appears in his forerunners' and contemporaries' works? When he gets to terms (I:20) he mentions two systems-- Chaldean and Egyptian. He didn't invent these, but merely passes them on; coming down in favour of the Babylonian method.

To cite Mark Riley, "Science and Tradition in the Tetrabiblos", on-line via the website given in my OP:

"It is difficult if not impossible in the present state of our knowledge [in 1988] wto determine whether Ptolemy contributed specific doctrines, data, or methods to the development of astrology, because almost any isolated statement in the Tetrabiblos...is paralleled in other writers. Ptolemy is unique in his attempt to establish a scientific foundation for astrology..."

Yet this very effort seems to integrate Ptolemy more fully with other Greek intellectual traditions, if not with professional readers of birth charts.

Ptolemy does attempt to get astrology on a more systematic "scientific" (for the 2nd century AD) footing. However, he doesn't completely invent his "science", either; as it builds upon earlier Greek research in math and astronomy, beliefs in the four humours, cause-and-effect relationships, and faith in rational thought as a means of making sense of the cosmos. This does contrast with Babylonians who saw the planets and eclipses as a system of omens dropped by gods who were fundamentally capricious and uninterested in human lives.

I also wish to stress the point that Ptolemy's project seems so different from Valens. Valens really doesn't get into what Robert Schmidt termed "universal astrology" (mundane, meteorological, geographical) yet these are legitimate pursuits for astrologers that do not require reference to individual birth charts. Astro-meteorology has a long Greek tradition, going back to authors like Hesiod (Works and Days) and Aratus (Phaenomena) prior to the introduction of astrology proper into the Hellenized world. so Mr. Pt. connects to that tradition, as well.

I've come across heated debates in the past (possibly at Skyscript, I don't recall) as to possible links between Vedic and Hellenistic astrology; and which one is older. If memory serves, Benjamin Dykes sees a link via the Persian empire. One of those classical authors refers to Vedic practices and traveled to India-- I gotta run now, but perhaps you recall which one.

Cheers!
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Unread 11-28-2011, 02:45 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Al-Biruni (1058 AD) travelled to India and wrote a book about it, and included "Hindu" astrological concepts and methods in his "Book of Instructions in the Elements of the Art of Astrology". Of course, on the other side, we have the 149 AD "Yavanajitaka", ("Greek Astrology"), considered an important classical book in Vedic astrology, and then, we have Varahamihira (6th century, considered-along with Parasara and Jaimini-as a leading contributor to early jyotish) who specifically incorporates (by his own admisssion) Roman and Greek elements in his Brihat Jataka (one of the 3 or 4 foundational classics of Vedic astrology)

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Unread 11-28-2011, 03:21 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Al-Biruni must be the one I was thinking of. I have a copy of his book. It also occurs to me that anyone traveling by sea from the eastern coast of Egypt (where our Alexandrain astrologers lived) could get to India by going down the Red Sea, and then coast-wise around the Arabian peninsula; with Iran (Persia) located part way in between, and just east of those Babylonians. No doubt astrological ideas did travel around this part of the world.
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Unread 11-30-2011, 04:41 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Ptolemy and Ancient Astronomy

Synopsis

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the ancient Greek astronomer and mathematician Ptolemy, and consider how and why his geocentric theory of the universe held sway for so many centuries. In his seminal astronomical work, the Almagest, written in the 2nd century AD, Ptolemy proposed that the Earth was at the centre of the universe...

Ptolemy's model of the universe remained the dominant one for over a thousand years. It was not until 1543, and Copernicus's heliocentric theory of the world, that the Ptolemaic model was finally challenged, and not until 1609 that Johannes Kepler's New Astronomy put an end to his ideas for good. But how and why did Ptolemy's system survive for so long?

[deleted overly long quote against forum rules - Moderator]
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b017528d
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Unread 11-30-2011, 04:51 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Interesting question. Mine is, why do some astrologers think Vettius Valens was the real article-- a practicing astrologer-- when many of the charts he cited couldn't have been his own clients?
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Unread 11-30-2011, 05:01 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

I think I might have answered that in my previous post-Valens was passing on the doctrines/methods of the particular school he belonged to (notice his astrologers oath and other remarks he makes about practicing astrologers) However, Valens might just have been a hack transcriber of this material-Ptolemy was a creative genius (regardless of what we think about the model he created) Me? Well, since I am only a scavenger of information and methods, I appreciate Valens-even if he were merely a hack scribe-for passing on information likely derived from his school (or circle) of practitioners (Robert Zoller, in his 2 volume study of the ancient "Liber Hermetis", adduces some inferences that Valen's material might have ultimately been sourced to a master Egyptian text or document, from which the "Liber Hermetis" also derived)
Oh, if we only had Nechepso's and Petosiris' "Great Celestial Handbook" (c150 BC) before us, so much about the earliest sources, concepts and methodologies of Hellenistic astrology would be known!
Alas, only a few extracts from that seminal work remain...
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Unread 12-08-2011, 10:00 PM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Studying the ancient world, Ptolomey is actualy a family name, and can't be traced to just one man.

But what i've read about him as an individual as that he was simply at the library of alexandria, and wasn't an astrologer, Just a scribe and an astronomer. (ironically learned that from carl sagan)

If you want something interesting to help, i'd suggest reading,
"Carmen astrologicum" By Dorotheus of sidon. (David pingree verson)

Its got a lot of formulas and examples of specific occurrences and general effects. Its very very text book and cut and dry, Especially for back then.
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Unread 12-08-2011, 11:05 PM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Sorry, but the Ptolemy who wrote the Almagest and Tetrabiblos is pretty much identified as one man. His full name was Claudius Ptolemy (or variants.) And not to be confused with Egyptian rulers of the same name.

I have addressed the argument against Ptolemy so many times that I have neither the time nor the heart to repeat it here. Hopefully you can locate my previous posts on this matter.

Thanks for the reference. I have a copy.
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Unread 12-09-2011, 04:17 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imitation_Scorpion View Post
Studying the ancient world, Ptolomey is actualy a family name, and can't be traced to just one man.

But what i've read about him as an individual as that he was simply at the library of alexandria, and wasn't an astrologer, Just a scribe and an astronomer. (ironically learned that from carl sagan)

If you want something interesting to help, i'd suggest reading,
"Carmen astrologicum" By Dorotheus of sidon. (David pingree verson)

Its got a lot of formulas and examples of specific occurrences and general effects. Its very very text book and cut and dry, Especially for back then.
Ptolemy being discussed currently at this link http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewto...r=asc&start=60
one of the comments Chris Brennan makes is as follows:

"The question of Ptolemy’s preferred method of house division came up on the discussion forum on Skyscript recently. I said that I had always thought that Robert Schmidt did an adequate job in his translation of the Tetrabiblos in pointing out the instances in which Ptolemy clearly employed whole sign houses. I suggested that anyone who wishes to argue that Ptolemy was not using whole sign houses needs to tally up every single instance in which he uses the word “zōidion” to refer to a house/place, and then explain how exactly these reference should not be understood..."

[deleted quote from another forum over 100 words against forum rules - Moderator]

link to Chris Brennan's article "Did Ptolemy Use Whole Sign Houses?" http://www.hellenisticastrology.com/...e-sign-houses/
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Unread 12-09-2011, 05:40 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

I'm going out of town for a long weekend, but next week I will probably respond to Chris Brennan's article.

Unfortunately he posits his own "cage match": whole signs vs. a quadrant system. This binary is not helpful, because a lot of Tetrabiblos suggests that Ptolemy avoided using houses for all kinds of determinations in which we would use houses today. Brennan admits as much. Also, since he does not look outside the whole-signs or quadrant box, he doesn't consider that sometimes Ptolemy might not have necessarily intended a match-up of houses and signs, and that he doesn't address the issue of house cusps at all except in one passage in III: 10 (his 11) that has been read as an argument for whole-signs.
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Unread 12-09-2011, 06:46 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

House cusps in whole and Equal are always the projected points of the ascending degree; this emphasis on the ascendant and its degree is significant (in my readings) for both the Hellenists and the Vedics; actually, in predictive work, and in using whole sign, we are provided with 2 sensitive areas for each house: one, the cusp and the second, the border of the sign/house, both of which places (cusp and border) can potentially become activated by planetary aspects (or planetary conjunctions) to them.

PS: enjoy your happy long weekend and have a great time!
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Unread 12-12-2011, 05:35 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Thanks, Dr. Farr. We did!

Dr. Farr (or anyone) have you come across anything on the origins of the house system? Any house system. Babylonians didn't use houses. Prior to Hellenization, the Egyptians didn't really have horoscopic astrology, so far as I can determine. Prior to the intro of astrology from the East, the Greeks didn't have astrology. Both the Egyptians and Greeks made elaborate use of the heavens as an agricultural and religious calendar, but that's different than reading a nativity.

There is a big question in my mind as to why houses should be numbered counter-clockwise. Sure, houses are stationary, but even so, we run into problems with considering a (geocentrically) rotating progression of signs or stars, where they wouldn't match up 100% with 30-degree houses most of the time. Any ideas on this, anyone?

So we face the prospect of a horoscope not even being a stylized picture of the heavens with a whole-sign division, because it wouldn't account for the visual effect of signs rotating through 6 fixed 30-degree pie sectors.

Alternatively, if we view the houses as not-fixed, but rotating slightly to accommodate rotating signs for a 100% fit, then I don't see much discussion of that in ancient sources, either.

So the conclusion I'm left with is that signs-and-houses were not to be taken literally as a stylized picture of the heavens. (This would be further reinforced by some of the early verbal-only or square horoscopes.)

So what sort of picture was it, then? I think it was more of a mythological picture, based upon myths, such as Demeter-Persephone, Isis-Osiris, Orpheus-Eurydice. These have reference both to the agricultural and seasonal calendars, as well as to metaphors for human life. While each myth varies in its particulars, they all map pretty well onto the theme of the dying god who is reborn, the agricultural calendar, and spiritual metaphors for the soul's passage.

If we look at the esoteric mystery cults of the ancient Mediterranean world, some of them gave the analogy that the soul's true home was not this-world. Being born on earth was comparable to a descent into hell, because earthly life was inherently difficult. Dying to earthly life was essentially a return to the soul's higher disembodied state.

So a goddess like Persephone is portrayed as living on earth with her mother, being abducted into the underworld by Hades, and eventually being returned to her mother Demeter for part of the year-- constantly alternating between the two modalities. Esoterically, "earth" is heaven (or something comparable) and the underworld is actually earthly life. Persephone, then, is a metaphor for the human soul.

A lot of esoteric lore was hush-hush and for initiates only; which is why it isn't directly spelled out.

So if we take this metaphor, we can apply it to the houses as they were named in antiquity.

The following is only a rough and speculative sketch-- I would really appreciate feedback or recommended references.

12. Some of the early sources (like Manilius) actually started with the 12th in their house enumerations. It is the worst house, symbolically representing the soul's entry into this care-ridden world. Manilius identifies this house of the "bad spirit" or "daimon" with Typhon. Intriguingly, Typhon (Seth) was an Egyptian god of drought and destruction, seemingly perpetually battling the good forces of Isis and Osiris. Some of the Hermetic literature (Mead, Thrice-Great Hermes) gives a tradition that Typhon, Osiris, and Horus were daimons, and not properly gods!

1. The ascendant, the point of incarnation, symbolized as the horizon. Indicated as a point, an angle, and/or a house.

2. One early name for the second house was "the Gates of Hell". Another one was "provision of life"--i.e., material goods. The link here is that Hades (Dis, Pluto) not only ruled the underworld, but also the riches that the ground produced. Here Persephone (or her other mythological counterparts) has passed into earth-as-hell.

3. The house of the lunar goddess or the house of brothers. A cadent house, sometimes also seen as misfortunate. All kinds of potential associations here: the Graeco-Roman Hecate (waning moon), Egyptian Nepthysis (subteranean phase of Isis), Babylonian Erishkegal. One Hermetic view is that Osiris and Dionysius were lunar gods-- both characterized by myths of death and resurrection. In Egyptian lore, Anubis (jackal-headed god of the dead) Osiris, and Typhon were brothers. Manilius: the moon "reflects human mortality in the dying edges of her face." [i.e., her waning moon phase.]

4. In Egyptian, the house of the "lake of dwat", which was a region of the sky around the constellation Orion, visible in winter. The father-- but also in the sense of patrimony and inheritance of land, another earth-bound tradition.

5. The good spirit. Children. Part of the Isis and Osiris and Demeter mystery cults involked the birth of a miraculous child: Horus to Isis and Iachus or Brimus to Demeter or Persephone.

6. a misfortunate house involving illness. Here the body is ageing.

7. In some Hellenistic/Egyptian horoscopes (discussed by Neugebauer), this was called the house of fate-- not the house of marriage! In Egyptian lore, one's fate was decided at death by a group of gods, depending upon how one had lived. In Graeco-Roman lore, one's fate was decided by the Moirae (fates) at birth. But here in a counter-clockwise house system, we see the disincarnating soul.

8. The house of death. The disincarnate body then ascends to...

9. The house of God. Note that houses 9, 10, and 11 are all very fortunate. (cf. the modern association of house #9 with theology.) The Egyptian sun-god or Apollo at the top of the ecliptic.

10. MC "midheaven"

11. House of the good spirit. Might be Osiris, who was called a Daimon in one part of the Hermetic literature.

12. In the 12th the soul prepares once more for its next incarnation, regarded as a misfortunate prospect.

These esoteric house meanings vanished with non-initiate astrologers more interested in interpreting human life in material terms. Ptolemy was determined to make astrology into a more "scientific" discipline.

So far as I know, houses were far less common in mundane and electional astrology, as well as astro-meteorology. Probably because the myths-- if operative in astrology-- really refer to spiritual matters about the human soul.
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My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we値l change the world. Jack Layton, "Letter to Canadians"

I thought we went along paths--but it seems there are no paths. The going itself is the path.
C.S. Lewis, Perelandra.

Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. Message on a refrigerator magnet.

Last edited by waybread; 12-12-2011 at 05:38 AM.
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Unread 12-12-2011, 08:10 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

here's a link to a very new skyscript discussion on the subject of an ancient text known as the Salmeschoiniaka

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6257

"The Salmeschoiniaka: The Original House System?"

QUOTE
"I am intrigued by the ancient text known as the Salmeschoiniaka which appears to be the earliest text on the astrological houses mentioning topics or areas of life in a work on horoscopic astrology. The text is traditionally associated with Nechepso and Petosiris legendary founders of horoscopic astrology along with Hermes Trismegistus. Only fragments of this work survive, but fortunately a piece quoted by Hephaistio of Thebes employs the 36 decans as places having governance over special issues. (II 18 [219"
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  #16  
Unread 12-12-2011, 08:54 AM
dr. farr dr. farr is offline
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

I have been led by my esoteric studies (and by certain associations with esoteric lines of tradition) to conclude that "houses" (the domification matter) were orgininally derived from mythological and numerological (neo-Pythagorean) considerations, rather than from astronomical considerations-I largely agree with Waybread's take on this matter as expressed in the above post; I also believe that examples of these initial "signs/houses" as based upon these considerations (mythological/numerological) are to be found in the equator based, non-asterism connected, fixed decans (10 degree "equal houses') of the Egyptians and also in the equator based 72 facets (5 degree "equal houses") of the earlier Babylonians.
I believe that astrology was originally a "temple science" and was used for practical purposes in "drawing down" the "above" to the "below", and that after the ancient civilizations collapsed, what remaining knowledge survived from the destroyed temples, began to be disseminated among initiatic groups, and also began to be applied (or modelled) into applications for individuals (beginnings of natal horoscopy), possibly around the 5th century BC (in the West).

Last edited by dr. farr; 12-12-2011 at 08:58 AM.
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Unread 12-12-2011, 08:30 PM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Dr. Farr, can you say more on this?

The Egyptian systems of star calendars, decans and exaltation are pretty well written up (Joanne Conman's article on the Kepler College website, Robert Schmidt, "House Division, Planetary Strength, and Cusps in Hellenistic Astrology at www.accessnewage.com/articles/astro/houses.htm .)

My take on the problem comes from prior reading on Greek and Roman mythology, with forays info neighbouring cultures. I think Manilius was hinting at some of the esoteric meaning of houses with his "temples", which sometimes have exact parallels with Hellenistic mythology and sometimes with Egyptian mythology. Further digging may reveal more commonalities. He also has links to older traditions of star calendars and has a very mythical/religious take on the heavens.

We have to ask ourselves, why should Manilius and other early astrologers identify the 2nd house with both the entrance to the underworld and the source of material wealth? Why should the 4th house be called "the house of the father"?

We have "the house of the good spirit" (daimon) and "the house of the bad spirit." Does anybody ask who were they? Were there actual spirits that could be named?

We aren't going to find the answers somehow up in the sky.

I think Manilius was working in pieces of several myths-- further digging may enable them to be sorted out.

The so-called "rape of Persephone" story absolutely fits with the concept of the second house as the "Gates of Hell" and simultaneously the sources of wealth. Both were the god Pluto's dominions.

Why should Neugebauer's (1943) discussion of 4 papyrus horoscopes from the 1st century AD simultaneously translate the 4th house as "the lake of dwat" (or duat) and the house of the father? This fits pretty well with Osirus myths. "Dwat" was the underworld. "Lake" probably refered to a region of the sky, but it fundamentally refered to the Egyptian underworld. Well, not bad for the IC-- but the father?

We find one answer in myths of Osiris and his father Re (Ra), and of Horus and his father Osiris. Both depict the solar cycle. The solar god in the underworld (under the horizons) becomes assimilated to his father in a way that spiritualizes and empowers them both (cf. Jesus saying, "The Father and I are one" or his transfiguration.) Osiris was often depicted as ruler of the underworld, notably in terms of judgement of the dead. The empowered son becomes transfigured. The reborn young son then moves into the 5th house-- the house of the child.

The whole thing works, further, if we put north at the top of the chart, at the MC. The MC=south makes sense, because north of the equatorial zone, the sun will appears to be in the south, although it visibly moves north and south.

Ptolemy put north at the top of his famous map of the known world, although many map makers before and since did not.

With north at the top, the West (Egyptian land of the dead) is on the left-hand where we place the ascendant. The East (land of the sun's rebirth) is on the right-hand. With a re-oriented chart (original meaning covers both horoscope and map) we can trace the voyage of the solar god, vegetation cycle, or human soul through various stages.

In Egyptian lore, South was good--the source of the Nile. The north was bad (where the life-giving Nile vanished into the sea.) As the soul descends into the West/land of the dead (like the sun), it enters the gates of the underworld (2nd house.)

The house of the goddess (#3) somehow becomes the house of brothers. Again, we won't find the answer in the sky-- nor most likely, with numerology. There are all kinds of potential associations here, because Egyptian mythology was not uniform or orthodox: many stories, many versions.

The Egyptians believed the sun traveled around its course on a boat (bark), and that the goddess Isis protected it during the day; and her sister/underworld persona Nepthys protected it during the night. Against what? Well, Osiris's trickster, disruptive brother Seth, for one. In the underworld, the soul further meets Osiris's brother Anubis. god of embalmers.

So all of this mythology disappears under Hellenistic astrologers fixated on telling clients how long they will live, whether they would die in some gruesome manner, or whether they will inherit Dad's money. The house names remain, but not the religious symbolism.

Ptolemy further distances himself from house systems. This would make sense if he were clued into their religious, esoteric meanings. His whole project was to render astrology more scientific. Notably, he says next-to-nothing about houses 2-6, in which I believe the Egyptian mythology of the dead was most pronounced.

I think this thesis also explains why he doesn't address houses in mundane and other non-genethliacal forms of astrology. The solar passage/soul's passage has no meaning in their contexts.
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Last edited by waybread; 12-12-2011 at 08:34 PM.
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  #18  
Unread 12-13-2011, 12:11 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

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Originally Posted by byjove View Post
You two might do this forever.

JupiterASC and myself particularly will drop by and join in whenever there's a gap in the cage.

I might add that if we could have gotten Ptolemy and Valens to do exactly this ...wow!
Another link for you byjove "Early Egyptian Constellations - The Decan Stars" http://members.westnet.com.au/Gary-D...page11-18.html
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  #19  
Unread 12-17-2011, 11:24 PM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Thank you Jupiter,

I mean to reply when someone links something of interest! I read everything you link!

As for the wider discussion, I've been referring a lot recently to an astro. site online linked to me. The gentleman has some strong views (especially against reliance on dignity...) but is clearly a very well-read man and an experienced, practicing astrologer (that one wasn't a poke a Ptolemy!)

Anyway, I just found he's addressed what's been discussed here and in several related threads. He, an astrologer who follows the Hellenistic tradition and holds Persian (Arabic as the rest of us are used to seeing) in high regard, writes that even Hellenistics weren't all in agreement on things, and perhaps less so than today...so, I think he's saying, great stuff, very original/seminal, but note the imperfections too...

http://www.sevenstarsastrology.com/a...s-chart-lords/

--the link returns an error now. The page must have been moved.--

Last edited by byjove; 07-09-2013 at 04:03 PM.
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Unread 12-17-2011, 11:56 PM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

I just loved this post by "Anthony", byjove. Spot on.

This is why it is important to distinguish between "Hellenistic" or "ancient" astrology, and the neo-Hellenistic distillate that some traditionalists posit today.
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  #21  
Unread 12-18-2011, 02:19 AM
dr. farr dr. farr is offline
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Nothing unusual in this: classical Vedic astrology also had a significant amount of variances and differences: Parasara, Jaimini, Varahamihira, held common concepts and also held variant concepts and methodologies: classical Vedic astrology was not a monolith, just as ancient Hellenistic astrology was not a monolith.

I also believe that attempting a distillation and reformulation of elements taken from Hellenistic astrological traditions is a positive thing: its kind of eclectic in essence, and I support such efforts. Practical astrology is not an academic historical review: it is a practical methodology to try to get RESULTS (in delineative analysis and prediction): those who are trying to distill "what works" from material drawn from the old time authors, I think are undertaking a very wothwhile project, and I wish them well. I, of course, have no such agenda (trying to set up any kind of system, such as neo-Hellenism) because I am merely a pure utilitarian eclectic, but I do think efforts by the neo-Hellenists in creating a systematic approach based on elements taken from the divergent Greco/Roman authors, is interesting and worthwhile.
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  #22  
Unread 12-18-2011, 06:53 AM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Quote:
Originally Posted by byjove View Post
Thank you Jupiter, I mean to reply when someone links something of interest! I read everything you link!
thank you byjove, glad to be of any assistance and 'tis good to have appreciative feedback

Quote:
Originally Posted by byjove View Post
As for the wider discussion, I've been referring a lot recently to an astro. site online linked to me. The gentleman has some strong views (especially against reliance on dignity...) but is clearly a very well-read man and an experienced, practicing astrologer (that one wasn't a poke a Ptolemy!)

Anyway, I just found he's addressed what's been discussed here and in several related threads. He, an astrologer who follows the Hellenistic tradition and holds Persian (Arabic as the rest of us are used to seeing) in high regard, writes that even Hellenistics weren't all in agreement on things, and perhaps less so than today...so, I think he's saying, great stuff, very original/seminal, but note the imperfections too...

http://www.sevenstarsastrology.com/a...s-chart-lords/
An interesting read byjove, many thanks.

As to agreement amongst astrologers... I predict that to occur on the day when snow survives a landing on an active volcanic eruption!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr. farr View Post
Nothing unusual in this: classical Vedic astrology also had a significant amount of variances and differences: Parasara, Jaimini, Varahamihira, held common concepts and also held variant concepts and methodologies: classical Vedic astrology was not a monolith, just as ancient Hellenistic astrology was not a monolith.

I also believe that attempting a distillation and reformulation of elements taken from Hellenistic astrological traditions is a positive thing: its kind of eclectic in essence, and I support such efforts. Practical astrology is not an academic historical review: it is a practical methodology to try to get RESULTS (in delineative analysis and prediction): those who are trying to distill "what works" from material drawn from the old time authors, I think are undertaking a very wothwhile project, and I wish them well. I, of course, have no such agenda (trying to set up any kind of system, such as neo-Hellenism) because I am merely a pure utilitarian eclectic, but I do think efforts by the neo-Hellenists in creating a systematic approach based on elements taken from the divergent Greco/Roman authors, is interesting and worthwhile.
I would agree that a practical methodology designed to obtain results in delineative analysis and prediction is the most important factor
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  #23  
Unread 12-18-2011, 04:43 PM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

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Originally Posted by dr. farr View Post
Nothing unusual in this: classical Vedic astrology also had a significant amount of variances and differences: Parasara, Jaimini, Varahamihira, held common concepts and also held variant concepts and methodologies: classical Vedic astrology was not a monolith, just as ancient Hellenistic astrology was not a monolith.

I also believe that attempting a distillation and reformulation of elements taken from Hellenistic astrological traditions is a positive thing: its kind of eclectic in essence, and I support such efforts. Practical astrology is not an academic historical review: it is a practical methodology to try to get RESULTS (in delineative analysis and prediction): those who are trying to distill "what works" from material drawn from the old time authors, I think are undertaking a very wothwhile project, and I wish them well. I, of course, have no such agenda (trying to set up any kind of system, such as neo-Hellenism) because I am merely a pure utilitarian eclectic, but I do think efforts by the neo-Hellenists in creating a systematic approach based on elements taken from the divergent Greco/Roman authors, is interesting and worthwhile.
No argument here, but I have found some proponents assuming a unified system of Hellenistic astrology in the past, or presenting what they do today as the Hellenistic tradition.
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I thought we went along paths--but it seems there are no paths. The going itself is the path.
C.S. Lewis, Perelandra.

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  #24  
Unread 12-18-2011, 06:10 PM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

Waybread: yes that is exactly what the author of the above link points out, that as tremendously important as Hellenistic material is, they were not as unified as is being said now. I say this in a welcoming way; I'm more comfortable with difference when I read this.

JupiterASC, yes, that link I particularly wanted to point out to you, it was linked to me recently on another thread. Check out his section on over-reliance and misinterpretation on dignity and debility, I don't know how much I agree yet but I'm very moved by the arguements...
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Unread 12-18-2011, 07:10 PM
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Re: Problems with Vettius Valens... et al.

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Originally Posted by byjove View Post
Waybread: yes that is exactly what the author of the above link points out, that as tremendously important as Hellenistic material is, they were not as unified as is being said now. I say this in a welcoming way; I'm more comfortable with difference when I read this.

JupiterASC, yes, that link I particularly wanted to point out to you, it was linked to me recently on another thread. Check out his section on over-reliance and misinterpretation on dignity and debility, I don't know how much I agree yet but I'm very moved by the arguements...
Good to view an opinion written by someone who clearly is well acquainted with the matter byjove

He is saying that it is evident that
simply because up to date translations to English are in the main attributable solely to Schmidt, we are constrained by Schmidt's personal interpretations which have resulted in "Hellenistic Astrology" being unsurprisingly mostly regarded as 'set in stone' and considered as having been easily delineated in specific ways by all ancient astrologers.

However it is common knowledge that often much is 'lost in translation' therefore unless everyone learns Ancient Greek that's just one of the pitfalls of not reading the subject in the original language.

It has been so interesting to read Mark Riley's alternative offering - even though as Riley himself admits, it is 'full of errors'.

Schmidt is not an astrologer and neither is Mark Riley. Schmidt is a Classics scholar and Mark Riley is a mathematician and linguist
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Last edited by JUPITERASC; 12-19-2011 at 02:11 AM.
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