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(This article first appeared in The Mountain Astrologer, Dec./Jan. 1999-2000.)
For those of us who work primarily within the framework of Western astrology, the techniques and principles of interpretation we employ each day are something we may well take for granted. They have become so familiar that it is often hard for us to see them in a new light. One way of opening them up for fresh consideration is through a historical inquiry into their sources. The results of such an inquiry may occasionally be disorienting, but they should eventually lead to a greater awareness of presuppositions in contemporary astrological practice.
What follows are some of the newest findings of the Project Hindsight research. I will be concentrating on Hellenistic astrology, which was the type of astrology practiced in the Mediterranean area and the Near East from the second century B.C.E. up until the sixth century C.E. This type of astrology is, in fact, the true source of all later Western astrology, although it will be part of my concern to point out the ways in which the Medieval tradition began to deviate from this starting point due to errors in transmission and interpretation.
The purpose of this article will be to explain the underlying rationale behind the original assignment of topics to houses in Hellenistic astrology, which has determined thinking about the astrological houses ever since, albeit with several changes in Medieval times and a major conceptual transformation in modern times. My thesis will be that the twelve houses originally represented a systematic differentiation and articulation of the fate" concept. Like the Eskimos with their famously manifold words for snow, Hellenistic astrologers had, in their house system, a marvelously sophisticated language for identifying and distinguishing the manifestations of fate in every area of human life.
This employment of the fate concept in Hellenistic astrology was not confined to the house system alone. Hellenistic astrology was based on a cosmological model in which the fixed stars and
the planets represent the essential components of the cosmic soul, or cosmic consciousness itself. This model, in its numerous variant expressions, derives directly from the cosmogony of Plato's Timaeus, and is common to nearly all Hellenistic philosophy.(1) However, it is the conceptualization of this model in terms of the fate, concept that bestows on it a distinctively astrological character.
The Hellenistic Concept of Fate
Fate, what the Greeks called Moira, is perhaps best understood in this context as a cosmic principle of binding apportionment, at work both in the heavens and on Earth. It does not make a man a man, or a planet a planet, or in any way constitute the essences of things; thus, it is not a metaphysical principle in the sense that it concerns being as being. Instead, it takes as its province what is generally regarded as contingent or accidental matters that were excluded from serious philosophical consideration by the Athenian philosophers themselves as being ultimately unintelligible. It is Moira that makes a man such and such: dark-haired rather than light-haired, wealthy rather than poor, healthy rather than ill, and so on.
Moira is a principle of apportionment in that it counts out, divides, or distributes. From all the possible events that can befall human beings, Moira selects and distributes to each individual his or her "due portion." It is also Moira that measures out the span of the individual human life and arranges that the appropriate events happen in "due time." At the same time, Moira is a principle of recombination and synthesis. It binds together the various allotments in the different areas of the individual's life into a whole. From this point of view, a human life is a "package deal." Ultimately, the triumphs in one's life only make sense when we consider the tragedies, the peaks when we consider the valleys. The various events in a given human life can be truly bound into a whole only if they are binding on a given individual that is, if Moira attaches to him or her a destiny. Thus, from this point of view, the ultimate meaning of an individual human life is inextricably bound up with the fate concept.
Relative to human beings, the planets are the instruments of Moira. Hellenistic astrology understands planets in houses, planets in signs, and the various combinations of planets with one another, to symbolize events occurring within the cosmic soul, which has all the powers of cognition, appetition, perception, recollection, etc., of which the human soul is itself capable. This is not the place to enter into the highly interesting question of celestial causation in Hellenistic astrology. Suffice it to say here that it is only what the cosmic soul anticipates in its own inner workings that is allowed to happen in the human realm.
However, the stars and planets are themselves no less subject to Moira than human beings. For instance, it is Moira that divides the ecliptic circle into twelve signs and apportions to each its
own unique astrological role in the cosmic soul, which constitutes its own destiny. Without the operation of Moira, the zodiac is simply a continuous band of space without any obvious beginning or end, lacking any astrological meaning. But it is also Moira that recombines the signs of the zodiac into a system, so that they may be related to each other according to the triplicities, quadruplicities, etc.
We cannot dispense with the fate concept when talking about Hellenistic astrology. All Hellenistic astrological concepts and techniques ultimately derive their meaning and motivation from the articulation of the underlying cosmological model in terms of Moira. As we will see, it is central in the division of the zodiac into twelve houses, at the same time giving these houses their coherence and integrity in a system.
Of course, the idea of a fixed fate is something that modern astrology largely thinks it has overcome or outgrown. And in its own way, it is probably right to reject the notion that all the events befalling human beings are predetermined. However, this was never the understanding of fate in the earliest Hellenistic writings, and it would be unfair to reject Hellenistic astrology because of a crude caricature of its more sophisticated fate concept. So I would ask the reader to reserve judgment on this issue until he has considered what the ancient astrologers actually meant by this concept.
It occurs to me that people do somewhat glibly talk about karma, or the lawful consequences of an individual's past or present actions on his/her future. Now, in the Hellenistic house system, the direct consequences that one's own actions have on one's life are simply 10th-house fate (or, in some cases, 4th-house fate), although there is no evidence that the Hellenistic astrologers here or anywhere else broadened this notion to include past or future lifetimes in accordance with any doctrine of reincarnation. Can modern astrology characterize eleven other fundamental modes of fate? As the reader will see, Hellenistic astrology could.
Distinguishing between Topical, Dynamical, and Good/Bad Houses
The standard Greek word for what modern astrologers call a "house" is topos, which simply and most concretely means 'place', although, even in Greek times, this word also took on something of the meaning of a 'topic' (that is, a subject matter) in the modern sense. The word 'house' (oikos) is also part of the standard vocabulary of Hellenistic astrology; however, it is used only for those signs where the planet has rulership. (For example, Aries is the "house" of Mars, Taurus of Venus, Gemini of Mercury, etc.). To avoid confusion for modern astrologers, I use the term 'domicile' in this context. Although I will employ the modern term 'house' in this article, it is important to keep in mind that the original term was 'place', because the twelve basic "areas" of life were originally understood to
constitute a kind of "space." In fact, the Hellenistic house system gives exact meaning to the very expression "area of life," although the ramifications of this are beyond the scope of this article.
The Hellenistic astrologers did, in fact, use a number of different systems for dividing the zodiac into twelve houses. However, these various systems were employed for very different purposes. One purpose was to investigate specific areas of one's life, such as siblings, parents, profession, etc. This is what modern astrologers seek to do with all their manifold house systems. We will call a division used for such a purpose a topical house system, because it deals with topics in one's life. Now, generally speaking, the Hellenistic astrologers used only the whole-sign system (sometimes called the "sign = house system") for topical purposes.(2) In this system, the sign in which the Ascendant degree falls defines the 1st house the beginning of the 1st house is the beginning of the ascending sign, and the ending of the 1st house is the ending of that sign; and the remaining houses are coincident with the next signs in zodiacal order.
However, the Hellenistic authors also used a division into twelve sections when they wished to investigate the strength of a planet (that is, these early astrologers noted that planets seemed more powerful in some parts of the horoscope than others). We will call such a division a dynamical system to contrast it to the topical.(3) In general, the preferred method was simply to trisect the ecliptic arcs between the four angles, in the manner later called "Porphyrean."(4) For example, if there happened to be 99 degrees between the Ascendant degree and the IC, each section in this quadrant would consist of 33 degrees. The angular houses so defined were considered to be strongest, the succedent intermediate in strength, and the cadent weakest of all. Only at the end of the Hellenistic era did there emerge any confusion regarding the specific purposes for which the topical and dynamical systems were to be used.
It is one of the many ironies of the history of astrology that the term 'house' became attached to topical places in the very effort to keep whole-sign division distinct from other kinds of divisions, such as the dynamical. Because whole-sign places are coincident with signs, it was also possible to refer to them as 'houses' or 'domiciles', because the signs themselves were the domiciles of the planets via rulership. We can see this convention already being employed in the early Arabian tradition. However, as the distinction between topical and dynamical houses began to be lost in the later Medieval tradition, the term 'house' came to be used without any real justification for any of the various systems of dynamical division that had been under experimentation.
The Hellenistic astrologers used the twelve-fold division for yet a third purpose: to define "good" and "bad" houses, or places where the effects of a planet will tend to be more benefic or malefic. The "good" places were the 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th, and 11th houses in the whole-sign system; the remaining places were considered "bad." The 3rd was added to the list of "good" places by some authors. This system is evidently based on aspect configurations to the Ascendant. Places configured with the Ascendant by sextile, square, trine, or opposition are the "good" places; those
unconnected with the Ascendant by configuration are the "bad" places. Because the Greek terms for 'good' and 'bad' can also mean 'capable' and 'incapable' (as they also do in English), which belongs more to dynamical thinking, there was some tendency later in the Hellenistic era to blur the distinction between the good/bad places and the dynamical places.
Topics Associated with the Twelve Whole-Sign Houses
I would like to begin my investigation of the rationale behind the Hellenistic topical system with a survey of the meanings actually assigned to the twelve places by the various Hellenistic authors who address this issue explicitly. The following list is compiled from the opinions of Thrasyllus (who also mentions house assignments attributed to Hermes),(5) Vettius Valens,(6) Antiochus,(7) Paulus Alexandrinus,(8) Firmicus Maternus,(9) and Rhetorius.(10) Ptolemy does not use houses very much, but when he does, his assignments are consistent with the other authors. The only author from the Hellenistic period whom I have omitted is Manilius, due to his sketchy and often aberrant assignments.(11) Many of the entries attributed to Hermes are also atypical, but I have included some of them due to the fame of this legendary figure. There are numerous small differences among these authors although the central indications are fairly clear, and it is those that I will summarize here. Any house assignment recorded by only a single author has his name in parentheses. I have also appended some of the major changes introduced into the system of houses by Medieval astrologers.(12)
1st House, called "Helm": Life and Breath of Life; Body and Physical Appearance; Behavior as the visible expression of Quality of Soul; Place where native goes from Dangers and Shadow to Light and Life (Rhetorius); Siblings (Hermes); Basis of Fortune (Hermes). The same topics are assigned to this place by Medieval astrologers.
2nd House, called "Gate of Hades": Livelihood or the means by which one lives, which includes one's Property and Possessions as well as Acquisition of same; Partnership; Income and Expenditures; Good Expectations. Virtually the same topics are associated with this place by the Medieval astrologers.
3rd House, called "Goddess," "Good Decline," "Shaded Place," "Place between Worlds": Siblings, Friends, and Relatives; the Guest/Host Relationship; Traveling; Kingdom or Royalty, Queen; Authority (Office or Resources); Dreams and Religious Worship (Rhetorius). In the Medieval tradition, Travel is specified to Short Journeys without Hellenistic precedent; the Hellenistic themes of Authority and Royalty are lacking; theme of Letters, Messages, and Communication is added here, themes that are not mentioned in the Hellenistic sources.
4th House, called "Foundation of Happiness" by Hermes: Parents, Paternal Circumstances, and Patrimony; what pertains to the Ground (Foundations, Lands); what is associated with Abiding and Dwelling and Permanence (Household, City); Confinement; Retribution (Valens); Old, Mystical, or Hidden Matters; Matters after Death; Children (Ptolemy and Valens); Wife (Valens). The Medieval astrologers replace Parents with the Father and shift the Mother to the 10th.
5th House, called "Good Fortune": Children; Friendship and Society (Valens); Beneficent Actions (Valens). The Medieval astrologers extensively elaborate the idea of Good Fortune and also add themes such as Romance and Love Affairs, Pleasure, Merriment, etc., all of which seem to derive from the fact that the 5th is the joy of Venus, but these themes are conspicuously missing from the Hellenistic sources.
6th House, called "Bad Fortune," "Base Decline," "Retribution" (Paulus), "Place between Worlds" (Rhetorius): Injuries and Accidents, Sickness, Weakness; Slaves, Enemies and their Plots; Vengeance (Hermes); Quadrupeds (Rhetorius). The Medieval tradition does not have Enemies here, as the Hellenistic tradition does, but transfers the topic to the 7th house; it adds Moves from Place to Place, again without Hellenistic precedent; also, it specifies Quadrupeds to Beasts not Ridden.
7th House: Marriage or Sexual Union; Wife; Travel Abroad; Death. The Medieval tradition here makes much about Enmity, Hostility, and Contention, which Hellenistic astrologers reserve for the 6th and which seems to be clearly derived from the opposition of the 7th to the 1st; it generalizes marriage to include any sort of partnership, again without precedent; the theme of death is lacking.
8th House, called "Idle Place": Death; Weakness; Inheritance or Benefits from Death; Justice (Valens); Life and Livelihood (Hermes). The Medieval treatment is largely the same as the Hellenistic sources, except it adds the theme of "Other People's Money."
9th House, called "God," "Good Decline": Travel; Kings and Sovereignty; Religion; Astrology, Esoteric Subjects and Practices; Dreams and Manifestations of Gods; Community and Friendship (Valens). In Medieval astrology, Travel is specified to Long Journeys without Hellenistic precedent; the subject of Kingship and Royalty is conspicuously absent here and has been transferred to the 10th.
10th House: Action, Profession, or Occupation; Reputation; Rank, Honors, Privilege, and Advancement; Fatherland; Children; Wife and Marriage; Ruling and Leading (Hermes); Change and Renewal (Valens); Life and Soul (Hermes and Maternus only). The Medieval astrologers add Mother here, which is almost certainly due to a misreading of a passage in Book III of Tetrabiblos,(13) unless
it is based on opposition of the 10th to the place of father, which would be derivative house thinking; Kingship, Ruling, and Leading are transferred to this house from the 9th, whereas only Hermes had assigned Ruling and Leading to this place; theme of Children is missing altogether, whereas this was arguably the principal place of children in Hellenistic times.
11th House, called "Good Spirit": Hopes and Good Expectations; Gifts; Friendship (particularly with superior persons); Alliance, Patronage, Preferment; Children; Emancipation of Slaves. The Medieval house assignments are largely the same as in the Hellenistic tradition.
12th House, called "Bad Spirit": Enemies; Slaves, and Submission of Slaves; Quadrupeds; Dangers; Ailments and Injuries (sometimes fatal); Foreign Travel; Courts of Judgment (Valens); Substance and Livelihood (Hermes). In the Medieval tradition, Enemies are specified as Hidden without Hellenistic precedent, probably corresponding to its assignment of open enemies to the 7th; also, it adds Prisons; it specifies Quadrupeds to Animals that are Ridden; it does not emphasize Travel.
In comparing the Medieval house assignments with the original Hellenistic ones, we find several transferences of topics from one house to another (e.g., King and Sovereignty to the 10th instead of the 9th, Mother to the 10th instead of the 4th, Enemies to the 7th instead of the 6th); much specification without precedent in the Hellenistic sources (e.g., Long-Distance Travel in the 9th versus Short-Distance Travel in the 3rd, Hidden Enemies in the 12th); and some topics entirely unrepresented in the Hellenistic lists (e.g., Communication and Messages in the 3rd).
The clue to the underlying structure of the Hellenistic system of the houses lies partly in the basic names assigned to the twelve places from the earliest Hellenistic times, partly in the deep-level connections of concepts established by the Greek terms for the individual topics themselves, and partly in what the astronomical descriptions of these places symbolize astrologically.
For instance, the 5th and the 6th whole-sign places are called "Good Fortune" and "Bad Fortune," respectively; the 11th and 12th are called "Good Spirit" and "Bad Spirit," respectively. Now, the word translated here as 'fortune' is the Greek word tuche; the word for 'spirit' is daimon. But both these Greek words are general words for fate or luck, often even used interchangeably, although the word 'spirit' more specifically refers to the special tutelary deity for a family or individual person, whereas 'fortune' refers more to the spontaneous workings of fate that we moderns often call "chance" or "accident." In the astrological context, the fortune-like fate of the 5th
and 6th houses has a more impersonal character, as when you go downtown to buy something and "accidentally" meet up with someone who pays you money he has owed you(14) (5th-house fate), or have a car accident that gives you whiplash (6th-house fate); this kind of fate is what accompanies your own deliberate activity but was not something that you yourself intended. By contrast, the spirit-like fate wears a more personal face, as when fate seems to embody itself in a benefactor or "good angel" (11th-house fate), or in an enemy who despoils you like an "evil demon" (12th-house fate); this kind of fate can be a godsend and the fulfillment of your expectations, or else the material manifestation of your worst fears.
The connection between the different kinds of fate associated with the 2nd and 3rd houses, and the 8th and 9th, respectively, does not lie on the surface, readily available in the mere names of these places, but it is implied in a more riddling manner by the topics assigned to these places. The usual Greek word for money or possessions is chrmata; death is often referred to as to chreios, the debt that all men must pay; an oracular response or decree issuing from an authority is ho chrmatismos; and friends are hoi chrmenoi, those who make use of each other in a familiar way. All of these Greek words stem from the verb chraomai, which originally meant 'to consult an oracle for a needful answer', was later generalized to mean 'to make use of [anything]', could be used of personal relationships where the individuals 'make use of and need one another', and, in a different verbal form, meant 'to need' or 'be in want of' or even 'to be indebted to'. All these four houses, then, concern to chren, another Greek fate word from this same verb meaning that which is obligatory or "needs must be." Accordingly, in the 9th house, one's fate is resolved and decreed or made binding by an oracle or sovereign, while the 8th house exacts payment in death for the debt that all must pay. In the 3rd house, the native may affirm his obligation to family and friends through acts of hospitality, whereas in the 2nd, the native may exact a payment or debt from others as rent or income. The 9th and 10th, then, concern the universal debts and obligations that are binding on all men, whereas the 2nd and 3rd concern the debts and obligations involving other persons.
Remember that I defined fate at the beginning of this article as "binding apportionment." In general, the quadrant from the Ascendant to the Midheaven and the quadrant from the Descendant to the IC were traditionally masculine and active for the Hellenistic astrologers, which means that they have more to do with the operations and workings of fate in its apportionment. The quadrant from the Midheaven to the Descendant and the quadrant diametrically opposite this were regarded as feminine and passive, and here concern the manner in which fate binds a destiny to an individual through the obligations to which he or she is subject.
Again, since the Ascendant is characterized in terms of a movement from the invisible to the visible, whereas the Descendant involves the reverse movement, it is reasonable to infer that the entire upper hemisphere has to do with the more visible workings of fate, as seen or decreed, while the lower has to do with the more invisible, or what we would call the inscrutable workings of fate.(15) This can be brought out plainly in the oppositions of the remaining places. Thus the 10th has to do with reputation and how successful one appears to others in one's actions; the domestic
privacy or even imprisonment connected with the 4th keeps the native out of sight from the prying eyes of the world. The 12th does not have to do with secret enemies (this is an Arabian innovation) any more than the 11th has to do with secret friends, but rather with enemies that rob and despoil or harm the native openly and in the light of day; it is the 6th that has to do with the intrigues and secret plots of enemies, and thieves in the night. The 5th is concerned with unforeseen good fortune, the 11th with the fulfillment of expectations. The 9th has to do with the manifestation of gods (for healing purposes, for instance), or the spectacle for which one travels; the 8th with the specter of death, which all men must face. As far as the 2nd and 3rd are concerned, I suspect that they address the paradox that we are not really conscious of our wealth as long as we have it, while we are always keenly aware of what we lack and what is no longer in evidence; likewise fate seems to have arranged things so that we tend to overlook our family members and close friends while they are close at hand and only begin to see them clearly when they are gone.(16), (17)
The Key to the Topical Nature of Each of the Twelve Hellenistic Houses
Let us continue to examine the language used by the Hellenistic astrologers. The four angles in the whole-sign house system were collectively designated by the highly suggestive term kentron, which generally means any kind of point, but concretely means a sting, a goad, and the point around which a compass arm turns (from which we get our word 'center'). In our astrological context, it means a pivot or turning point. Each of the pivots, then, must be understood as a special kind of turning point,(18) with respect to which planets in the whole sign surrounding these pivots are understood to be centered.
Whereas the Hellenistic astrologers called the 1st house the Ascendant (anaphora) just as we do, the 2nd house was called "post-ascension" (epanaphora) because planets in this house rise after the 1st house planets do; similarly, the 6th house was called "pre-setting" because planets contained therein set before those in the 7th, which was itself called "the setting place" (dusis). However, the succedent houses were collectively designated by the same name (epanaphora), which makes sense only if we understand that, in common Greek, this word also has the sense of a backward reference to something else. Implied in this sense of the word is the notion that planets in the succedent houses move away from their respective angles or pivots by their own natural motion around the ecliptic from west to east, yet they are carried back to these stationary points by the faster diurnal rotation, which causes all the planets to rise in the east and set in the west once a day.
Again, the 9th house was called "the good decline" because planets contained in that place slope down or decline (apoklin) from the Midheaven, which is perfectly obvious astronomical imagery. However, the cadent places were also collectively called "declines," because the word apoklima also contains the related sense of turning away, turning aside, diverting or averting from. Consequently, we must understand planets in cadent houses to be tending toward their respective
stationary pivots by their own natural motion around the ecliptic, yet they are diverted or turned aside before reaching it by the diurnal rotation.
I maintain that the astronomical motions of the planets in the various houses the pivotal character of planets located in the four angular houses, the backward reference of planets in succedent houses, and the turning aside of planets in the cadent houses are symbolic of the topical nature of those houses. Now, the general Greek term for the astronomical motion of a celestial body is phora, which is at the root of many of the words we have already explicated. The noun phora comes from the Greek word pher, an extremely common and important Greek word that has more or less the same range as the meanings of the English words 'bear'(its direct Germanic cognate), 'fare', and 'carry': 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12) 13) 14)
To bear or carry a burden; of a woman with child. To bear or carry along, as a horse carries a chariot along. To bear, endure, or suffer. To bring, fetch; bring to offer, present; bring forward, produce.
To pay something owing, as in bearing tribute. To receive rent, especially from what property bears or yields. To bear, bring forth; be fruitful. To carry off or away, as booty; to rob, plunder. To carry out, gain, win, achieve. To lead to a place, as with roads; be conducive to. To be applicable or have a bearing on something. To aim at or refer to a thing. To carry in the mouth, speak about; bring word, report, announce. To bear out, or turn out, well or ill.
In addition, to pheron, or that which carries or bears, is another Greek expression for fate or destiny, there being a famous Greek aphorism that states that "you must bear (or endure) that which the gods bear you (or bring to bear on you)." But notice that almost all the meanings of pher listed above can immediately be translated into primary topics associated with one or more of the twelve places: the mother as the one who bears the burden of the native (4th place); the slave who bears the burden for the native (6th place); the suffering of the native himself (also 6th place); the enemy who robs or carries off booty from the native (12th place); the rent or yield the native receives from his property (2nd place); etc. The trick is how to organize these correlations into a system.
In our preliminary considerations we have already explained how the Hellenistic house system can generally be explicated in terms of the fate concept. In what follows, we will examine whether the astronomical description of the twelve places in terms of a distinct kind of motion (phora) may not also be the astrological symbol of distinctly different kinds or modes of fate (to pheron). That is, we must see whether the system of houses is an articulation of the fate concept on an individual house-by-house basis, topics from human life being assigned to the houses in accordance with these different modes of fate. This approach must also account for the unusual groupings of topics assigned to a given place, as well as the fact that some topics are assigned to more than one place.
My strategy will be, first, to articulate the fate concept for each of the four pivots (that is, angles) individually in accordance with the special kind of motion (phora) given in its astronomical description that is, what kind of turning point they represent; these four characterizations will all be independent of each other and will not be defined in terms of aspect configurations to the Ascendant. Second, I will articulate the two places flanking each pivot, respectively, in accordance with their relationship to that pivot alone, with their own astronomical descriptions symbolizing the kind of fate appropriate to that place.
Explaining the Twelve Places in Accordance with the Fate Concept as Bearing
The 1st-House System
1st The bearing of the native. Insofar as being born at all is a passage from invisibility to visibility, this place is associated with making an appearance and, consequently, the native's physical appearance in the light of day; it also relates to his physical carriage, bearing, and upbringing that is, how he bears or conducts himself. Making an appearance and bearing oneself in a certain manner are primary reflexive or self-referential acts on the part of the native, where the action is turned or directed back upon the native himself, as befits a pivotal place.
2nd What bears or yields in the interest of the native. Since planets in the 2nd place move away from the Ascendant, only to be carried back to it by the diurnal rotation, this motion directly symbolizes expenditure and income, as well as the possessions and useful items that one acquires to support one's life; also, letting out one's lands to receive rent from what the property bears or yields. This place also signifies business partnerships that the native enters into for his own financial interests, particularly what we would call investments. Here, livelihood is generally conceptualized as all acts that are directed outward toward the world with the expectation of having some return relevant to the native's well-being.
12th That which bears off or carries away from the native. Planets in the 12th are approaching the Ascendant but get away or turn aside in accordance with the diurnal rotation. This motion directly symbolizes everything that invades or trespasses into the space or environment of the native in order to carry off his life, or what is essential to his existence, such as the enemies who plunder him, often doing him physical injury in the process, depriving him of his sight or a limb, for instance; but it can also be courts of judgment that confiscate his property. It can be the native's submission to slavery, where his life is no longer his own. And because roads and pathways also bear us along, it also signifies travel, like most of the cadent places, but specifically travel that is hazardous to life or leads one astray; for similar reasons, it can signify an animal that is ridden or otherwise carries one along.
The 10th-House System
10th How the native fares and carries on in his actions. The fundamental meaning of this place is praxis, or action, which, in Greek, originally meant 'to pass over' or 'accomplish' a journey, but later came to mean 'to accomplish' or 'effect' any action, generally 'to do'. Action so conceived is both transition and innovation. Accordingly, the passage of planets in the 10th over the peak of the chart does not symbolize actual travel, but rather the performance of actions, principally in the career of the native, and whether things turn or bear out well or ill for him in terms of rank, reputation, and advancement that is, what one gains or achieves as a direct result of his actions. More broadly, this place is associated with children as a natural consequence of the sex act; also, with the wife that one "wins" as a reward for one's efforts (modern idiom speaks of "trophy wives"). Notice the self-referential, almost "karmic" character of the fate connected with this place.
11th That which is conducive to the native's action. Planets in this place move away from the immediate context of the 10th and the native's action, but are referred back to it by the diurnal motion. The motion away from the Midheaven symbolizes the solicitation or petitioning of others for purposes that will be conducive to the native's action, or the introductions and recommendations of him made to others. Accordingly, the 11th signifies the patronage, protection, gifts, and favors that the native receives to facilitate his endeavors; also, the authority or preferments granted him (not the authority over him, which is a matter of the 9th) to facilitate what he hopes to accomplish. If the
native happens to be a slave, this place signifies his emancipation, giving him freedom of action. The theme of friendship, especially friendships and alliances with superior persons, also belongs to the 11th insofar as such friendships assist the native in the performance of his work. Thus, the 11th does not deal with the direct consequences of the native's actions, but the pre-conditions that make his work possible. Children also belong to this house insofar as they may assist their parents in their work (particularly if the native pursues some trade for a living), and may take over this work after their parents and help continue it or bring it to completion; they may also contribute to the reputation of the native.
9th What guides or leads the native's actions. Here the original 10th-place meaning of praxis, passing over or traveling to a destination, predominates, but with the special sense of going somewhere as a spectator (we might almost say, as a tourist). The Greek word for a person who goes somewhere as a spectator was theros, which originally meant a person who was sent to consult an oracle. Later, the Greek verb therein, formed from theros, came to mean any act of spectating, beholding, or contemplating, and, so conceptualized, could be applied to the fundamental theoretical activity of the philosopher. So, the fundamental 9th-place meanings of travel, philosophy, and the oracular are all beautifully joined in the Greek word therein. By extension, leaving home to become a member of a group joined together for the purpose of religious worship or philosophical study would account for the notion of community and friendship also associated with this place (the members of Plato's Academy called each other "friends"). Unlike the 6th and 12th, the cadency of the 9th has a positive expression, since the road to wisdom is thought to take away ignorance and turn the native from error, and one consults an oracle or engages in philosophical inquiry ultimately in order to decide upon the proper courses of action. And, in governing, the king or sovereign imposes his authority on the native in order to direct or control his activities.
The 7th-House System
7th The "immergence" of the native. As the birth or genesis associated with the 1st place is emergence from invisibility and the familiarity of the mother's womb into the strangeness of the light, so dusis is the key Greek word for the 7th for, emergence comes from a Latin word that literally means 'to plunge out of', whereas dusis comes from a Greek word that means 'to plunge into', which is "immergence." Although it is hard to find a neat English term derived from bearing or carrying that connotes the opposite of "being born," the range of meanings in the Greek verb dun perfectly conveys this opposition. The verb dun means to set or plunge into the womb of the ocean, retiring from life and light into darkness and obscurity, which is a standard metaphor for death. It also means to enter into a strange foreign country and live there, to merge with the foreign inhabitants, another primary meaning of the 7th. Again, it means to penetrate into a body, like a sword thrust, and, in our astrological context, refers to the sex act itself, where the man enters the womb of a woman in intercourse, or merges with her in marriage. Here, and not in the 8th, the phrase "little death" may be appropriate. Valens also considers the 7th a place of friends, presumably as those with whom we merge and form especially close bonds.
8th That which bears the native down to oblivion. Planets in the 8th tend away from the Descendant pivot by their own motion, but are carried down upon it by the diurnal motion. This directly symbolizes the life force of the native futilely trying to stay in the light of day, striving against the darkness and the finality of death, which belongs properly to the 7th (remember that Hermes assigned life to the 8th). It is not so much death as the act of dying itself, where the native sinks down to the Descendant in exhausted lethargy a word that comes from the Greek word lth, meaning oblivion, and the word argos, a key word of the 8th place, meaning idleness. The adjective kataphorikos, which comes from kataphora, another word applied to planets being brought down to the Descendant, as a medical term actually refers to the lethargy or weakness that bears one down. The only positive manifestation of the succedency of the 8th is that it can bring the native inheritances from the deaths of others, and this is the only sense in which it concerns other people's money. Again, it emphatically has nothing to do with the sex act, which belongs to the 7th, nor with power and authority, which belong to the 9th. Such associations are purely modern innovations with no precedent in the tradition.
6th That which the native bears or suffers. Planets in the 6th move toward the Descendant by their own natural motion, but they are turned aside or carried back before reaching it by the diurnal rotation. Thus, the 6th has to do with the illness and suffering that invade the body and deprive it of strength and health, and also accidental injuries (since it is the place of bad fortune), though such ailments and injuries are turned away before they bring the native to the point of death, which is properly the 7th. Here, it is the cadency that actually spares the native. Similarly, the 6th concerns enemies that seek to get behind the guard of the native through their plots and intrigues; it is this place, not the 12th, that has to do more with secret enemies. (By the way, the two meanings mentioned so far both relate to the Greek word dusis, which is the principal keyword for the 7th, but here it is the native that is entered into, rather than the native entering into something else; consistently enough, the 6th is called produsis). Since the 7th, as kataphora, also bears down on the 6th, the 6th would also seem to signify the suffering that comes to the body by bearing burdens; but the cadency here diverts the burden from the native and places it on slaves and animals that bear the burden for or on behalf of the native. (A slave, by the way, was often referred to simply as a "body.") In an amusing but perhaps overly specific confirmation, Rhetorius adds the feet and injuries to them, presumably because the feet also bear the burden for the native's body. Travel is not explicitly mentioned for this cadent place, and, in fact, its logic does not suggest it.
The 4th-House System
4th The native's existence as bearing up under. Whereas the 10th conceptualizes the action or work of the native ultimately in terms of his own transition or passing over to a fixed mark or destination, the 4th conceptualizes the native's very act of existence in terms of dwelling and standing fast, persisting in one place in the midst of life's vicissitudes and bearing up under them.
And whereas the 10th signifies both the work for which the native is destined, which allows him to live through his actions in the world, and also the reputation and success that are the direct consequences of his action, the 4th signifies the home or city to which the native is firmly attached, the foundations of his existence against which he defines himself and which allow him to stand firm in the world, and also the parents for whom the native is destined, who likewise bear the burden of his existence (the mother quite literally). But because the native stands firm in this place, the 4th also signifies what he himself can support, such as his own children and wife. This place also signifies death as the cessation of existence, when the native is no longer supported by his foundations and thus can no longer hold his ground and stand forth, but rather tumbles into the grave as his final resting place. True dwelling can also turn into mere occupancy of another's house, where the native tarries without really standing firm, or even incarceration, where he is obliged to tarry without wishing to dwell. Again, since he is, so to speak, a stationary target, events can turn back on him in retribution and find him where he lives.
5th What is borne to or brought together with the native. As a succedent place, planets in the 5th move outward and away from the centering pivot of the 4th, but the diurnal motion brings the planet to the pivot. Since this is also the place of good fortune (tuch), and fortune is the spontaneous source of heavenly action, such planets symbolize all accidental good fortune that accompanies the native's intentional actions in the city or home itself, as when you run into someone who pays you money he owes you, although you are downtown for some entirely different purpose. By contrast, the 2nd represents the intended income or benefits that the native receives from renting out his land or making investments. Specifically, this place is associated with children, since they may be the accidental (or, at least, unintended) consequence of the sex act performed merely for the sake of pleasure. The logic of this place suggests that these may also be children out of wedlock, or perhaps even those adopted and brought into the household, whereas the 4th place concerns children insofar as they are supported by the native himself; the 10th, children as the deliberate result of his own actions (evidently the principal place of children for Hellenistic astrologers); and the 11th, children as the heirs and apprentices to one's own work. Similarly, the 5th place signifies all manner of windfalls and spontaneous acts of kindness done to the native, as well as friendships or other associations that result from accidental encounters.
3rd Those who are born with the native and are bound to bear with him. Planets in the 3rd move toward the 4th, the home of the native, but are made to leave it by the diurnal motion. This symbolizes those who are welcomed or admitted into the native's home but do not remain there, such as siblings, relatives, close friends, and foreign visitors with whom the native and his house are bound by the guest/host relationship, which, in Greece, meant that they were obliged to host each other. It also signifies the board where the native is obliged to set out his own resources to feed and entertain his guests. Conversely, it signifies travel to visit relatives or close friends, or even foreign travel in which one is hosted by a family with which the native's family has the special guest/host tie; in such travel, the native is away from his own home but, in a sense, never leaves his "house," consisting of his extended family. This place has nothing to do with short-distance travel per se, but only travel to persons or places close to him in familiarity, who can even be in a foreign country.
Similarly, the 9th has nothing to do with long-distance travel per se, because the oracle one travels to may be in the neighboring district, as may be the sights one wishes to see, although the road to wisdom may be long indeed. The 3rd place also signifies the authority to which those in the household are subject, which usually resides with the mother or mistress of the household, although, in the larger sense, this is the queen as mistress of the kingdom.
General Observations on the Hellenistic System of Places
As I have explained it above, the four pivots each appropriate their respective succedent and cadent houses to produce a well-defined system of three contiguous places, articulated according to the fate concept.
Each of the four pivots is a unique kind of "turning point": the Ascendant is a motion from the invisible to the visible, whereas the Descendant is the opposite; the Midheaven is a changeover from what is ascending to what is descending, while the IC is the opposite. These four turning points symbolize the ultimate self-referential and reflexive activities that define life: the 1st is being born and making a physical appearance; the 7th, merging one's self with another (or with oblivion in death); the 10th, rising over obstacles and successfully coming down to arrive at one's goal in action; the 4th, the bearing up against what bears down that constitutes dwelling and existence.
Consistent with the symbolism of the planets in succedent places, where the planets move away from their pivot only to be carried back to it by the diurnal motion, each succedent place represents outward activities performed by the native for his own interests, as defined by the angle or pivot: in the 2nd, the native makes use of his own resources, such as his property or money, in order to support his life; in the 11th, the native solicits or petitions help for his work; in the 8th, the native does what he can in a futile struggle to avoid death, seeking treatment for the preservation of his body, for instance, or taking measures to avoid the violence of others; in the 5th, he meets with good fortune in his daily existence while simply minding his own business and looking after his own affairs.
In the cadent houses, on the other hand, the planet intrudes into the space defined by the pivot only to be carried away by the diurnal motion. Thus, each cadent place symbolizes something taken away from the native or diverted from his own interests, although, consistent with the meaning of each pivot, this is not necessarily negative. In the 12th, enemies attack the native and carry off his life or items necessary to his physical existence; however, in the 9th, the native apprentices himself to religion or philosophy to lay aside his ignorance, or else relinquishes authority over his actions to a higher governing power; in the 6th, disease invades the body, or physical burdens are placed on it, but in the first case the disease is turned back before death, and in the
second case the burdens are diverted to slaves or beasts of burden; in the 3rd place, friends or relatives are admitted into the native's home and leave after having partaken of the native's own sustenance.(19)
Our task has been to determine the rationale underlying the Hellenistic assignment of topics to houses as summarized above. We have tried to understand those assignments on their own terms, stripping off any contamination resulting from astrological matters extrinsic to the topical places per se. Consequently, we reject any meanings that derive from the harmonious or disharmonious aspect configurations that the various places have to the Ascendant, or from their total lack of such configuration (as is the case with the 2nd, 6th, 8th, and 12th places). Such thinking belongs to the distinction between good and bad places, and not the topical place system. For example, the topic of contention and open enemies, deriving from the opposition of the 7th place to the Ascendant, is entirely lacking from the topics assigned to the 7th place in the above summary of Hellenistic meanings, although it was a principal characterization for the Arabian astrologers. The meaning attaching to a place due to its configuration with the Ascendant does, in fact, play an important role elsewhere in Hellenistic astrology, but it has nothing to do with establishing the principal topical significations of twelve houses.
Also, the proper house meanings are emphatically not derived from their relationships to signs in the modern manner, where the 1st house is supposed to have meanings related to Aries, the 2nd, meanings related to Taurus, etc. This is a totally modern astrological idea without precedent in the earlier tradition. In fact, the only correlation Hellenistic astrologers make between the places and the signs comes from the thema mundi, the chart of the creation of the world that has Cancer ascending and Aries on the Midheaven. Accordingly, Rhetorius can call Cancer the "Horoskopos of the cosmos" and Aries the "Midheaven of the cosmos." But even here, the Ascendant and the Midheaven do not get their meanings from the signs in the thema mundi, but instead, certain signs are marked as being potential exaltations of the planets because they occupy good or profitable places in the chart of the world.(20)
Finally, it would be a mistake to assume that the original meanings of the twelve houses come from any special associations that the planets have with these places. The only such associations mentioned in the Hellenistic literature relate to the system of planetary "joys," where Mercury rejoices in the 1st whole-sign house, the Moon in the 3rd, Venus in the 5th, Mars in the 6th, the Sun in the 9th, Jupiter in the 11th, and Saturn in the 12th. But the meanings of the 9th house, for instance, are not derived from the meanings of the Sun. Rather, it is the other way round, with the Sun rejoicing in the 9th house because it has certain natural affinities with the original meanings of the 9th.(21)
There is something important at stake here. Within the limitations of an article such as this, I have tried to uncover the rationale underlying the assignment of topics to houses in the original house system of Western astrology. I have also indicated that this system has its integrity from an underlying cosmological model. The changes introduced into this system by Medieval astrologers suggest that they had already lost touch with this model. Now, the modern understanding of the houses does have its own clearly stated rationale in terms of person-centered or humanistic astrology, although this modern system is, in large measure, based on a reconceptualization of the house meanings drawn from late Medieval times. As a result, modern house assignments are often radically different from those at the beginning of the Western tradition. Is this an "evolution" and improvement of astrological doctrine, or is it merely error? It is by no means clear that this question can be answered simply on the basis of astrological experience, whether ancient or modern particularly if the historical process, which presumably includes the history of astrology, can itself be studied in astrological terms. But now, being aware of the vagaries of the transmission of astrological doctrine, aren't we at the very least under a binding obligation to reconsider the house system that has been apportioned to us in modern times?
References and Notes
1. A good discussion of the role of this cosmological model in Hellenistic philosophy may be found in Origen and the Life of the Stars by Alan Scott (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991).
2. There are two apparent exceptions to this. In Book II, chapter XIX of his Mathesis, Firmicus Maternus appears to be defining an equal house system starting from the ascending degree. However, it is clear from the Latin text and from his delineations of planets in houses in Book III that he regards the lst house, or locus, as the very ascending degree itself, the 2nd house the degree 30° from the ascending degree itself, although he does say that this ascending degree extends its power over the next 30 degrees. The second instance is in Book IX, chapter 3 of the Anthology of Vettius Valens, where such an equal house system is recommended for the purpose of turning the wheel or taking derivative houses from houses. I may treat of these two apparent exceptions in more detail at a later date. Let me just mention here that, in both these cases, a distinction is being made between partile analysis, which focuses on degrees as units, and zodiacal (or platic) analysis, which concerns itself with the signs themselves as the fundamental units of analysis. (This distinction is obscured in the original English translation of Jean Rhys Bram (Park Ridge: Noyes Press, 1975), as well as in the revision of this translation issued by Ascella Publications in 1995.)
3. Because my article follows so closely upon an article by Robert Hand on the use of whole-sign houses ("The Oldest House System: Whole-Sign Houses, Part One," The Mountain Astrologer, June/July 1999; and Part Two in Aug./Sept. 1999), I feel particularly obliged to reference the
publications where I first made the distinction between topical and dynamical house systems, lest it appear that I am plagiarizing from Hand. I first mentioned this distinction in 1994 in a footnote to Volume VIII of the Greek Track (p. 35). I subsequently researched this issue at great length while translating Book III of Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos (Vol. XII of the Project Hindsight Greek Track, Berkeley Springs: The Golden Hind Press, 1996). In the translator's preface to the latter translation, I even made a fairly detailed study of this distinction (pp. viii-xvii). In that preface, I coined the terminology "topical" to describe houses concerned with subject areas of life, and "dynamical" for house systems concerned with planetary strength. Although Hand does not use my terminology, he makes exactly the same distinction. In his own preface to the same translation (p. iii), Hand praised this discovery of mine lavishly, saying: "The results of what Schmidt has found may well rock the astrological community to its foundations." Yet there is no acknowledgment of this work of mine in Hand's TMA article.
Again, compare Hand's discussion, in that same article, of the problem of Ptolemy's purported equal house system as presented in chapter 11 of Book III of the Tetrabiblos. Hand writes, "We do not know from the Greek whether these degrees constitute the eleventh topos, or whether they have to be both in the eleventh topos and in sextile as well to the degrees around the Ascendant." (TMA, June/July 1999, p. 96)
Compare with my own statement: "In the second case, it is possible to continue to regard the Good Spirit as the 11th whole-sign house, and only accept degrees which are simultaneously in the 11th sign and hexagonal to the 30 degrees above and below the Ascendant as defined in the preceding phrase." (p. 30, note 2, of my translation)
Here also, it seems that Hand's point is directly derived from my lengthy footnotes (pp. 30-33) to the above cited translation, without proper acknowledgment or attribution.
4. Another dynamical division, which resembles the system later associated with Alchabitius, was considered by astrologers at the end of the Hellenistic era. This system derives from a "creative" reading of Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos, Book III, chapter 11, by a commentator named Pancharius, and does not stem from the earliest tradition, although the Porphyry system does.
5. Translated by Robert Schmidt in The Astrological Record of the Early Sages in Greek, as Vol. X of Project Hindsight Greek Track, pp. 59-60 (Berkeley Springs: The Golden Hind Press, 1995). This passage also contains house assignments attributed to the legendary Hermes. These are sometimes at variance with the usual Hellenistic house meanings, although they begin to make sense according to my exposition of the rationale underlying the house assignments in Hellenistic times.
6. Translated by Robert Schmidt in Vettius Valens, The Anthology, Book IV, as Vol. XI of the Project Hindsight Greek Track, pp. 32-33 (Berkeley Springs: The Golden Hind Press, 1996).
7. CCAG (Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum), Vol. VIII, Part III, p. 117 (Brussels: 1912). From my unpublished translation.
8. Translated by Robert Schmidt in Paulus Alexandrinus, Introductory Matters, as Vol. I of the Project Hindsight Greek Track, pp. 46-57 (Berkeley Springs: The Golden Hind Press, Revised Edition, 1995).
9. The Mathesis of Firmicus Maternus, Book II, chapter XIX. As already indicated above in footnote 2, the original English translation by Bram is unsatisfactory for the purposes of astrological research; a lot of the delineation text has been left out or abbreviated, and many of the procedural descriptions are simply wrong. The "revised" translation published by Ascella Publications, 1995, is not much better.
10. CCAG, Vol. VIII, Part IV, pp. 126-174 (Brussels: 1921). From my as yet unpublished translation.
11. In her recently published book, The Houses: Temples of the Sky, (Ascella Publications, 1998), Deborah Houlding has made a case for the importance of Manilius in understanding the house system, partly on the basis of his antiquity. However, Manilius's characterizations of the houses are so sketchy, and often so aberrant, that I have little confidence in them. The summary of the work of Thrasyllus, who was the astrologer for Tiberius and a contemporary of Manilius, is completely consistent with later Greek tradition, so I see no reason for giving Manilius any privileged consideration.
12. Here, I have relied on Bonatti's 13th-century summary of Arabian opinions on the subject of house meanings. Originally translated by Robert Zoller in Liber Astronomiae, Part II, as Vol. VIII of the Project Hindsight Latin Track, pp. 46-69 (Berkeley Springs: The Golden Hind Press, 1994).
13. At the risk of belaboring a point, I would again like to draw the reader's attention to Hand's recent article on whole-sign houses, specifically his discussion of the Ashmand and the Robbins translations of the topic of brothers and sisters in chapter 6, Book III of the Tetrabiblos. After quite rightly pointing out that these two translations do not make sense, Hand adds that "The Robbins translation would be correct if changed to the following: '... it is more naturally to be taken ... according to the sign which culminates with respect to the place of the mother, that is, that [place] which contains by day Venus and by night the Moon.'" (TMA, June/July 1999, p. 50)
Compare this with my translation of the same passage: "... would be taken from the culminating twelfth-part, [that is, sign] of the maternal place, that is, from the place containing Aphrodite by day and the Moon by night." (p. 19)
There is no mention of my translation of Ptolemy here, despite the fact that I have an extensive footnote on this page explaining how this topic involves taking a derivative house from the planetary significator, etc., which is just the point that Hand is making and how misunderstanding this passage may have led the Arab astrologers to associate the mother with the 10th house. I believe that my translation of this passage is the first time anyone has ever made sense of it. So this is neither common knowledge nor based on Hand's own research. In fact, in his preface to my translation, he explicitly attributes this insight to my footnotes (p. ii), although he makes no mention of my translation in the TMA article.
14. This is Aristotle's own example of a chance event. See his discussion of tuche in Book II, chapters 4-6 of the Physics.
15. Compare a definition of tuch, or chance, found in a collection of definitions accompanying the Platonic corpus. "Tuch is a motion (phora) from the invisible to the invisible, and it is the spontaneous cause of heavenly activity." p. 411, 11-12 according to the standardized numbering of pages in the Platonic corpus.
16. Cf here Heidegger's discussion, throughout Being and Time, of "use objects" and the "circumspection" with which we are conscious of them. Use objects are all the things in our environment that are "ready to hand" and available for our use. They exist for us in a different manner than the objects of scientific scrutiny, which are "present at hand." Of course, the same object may exist in both ways. Heidegger's stock example of a use object is a hammer. As long as it is working, or "ready to hand," we use it almost unconsciously. But when the hammer is broken and lies before us as a useless implement, we see it in an entirely new way, as something "present at hand," something made of wood and steel possessing properties such as color, shape, and inertia.
17. We can also contrast the houses in the two hemispheres defined by the MC/IC axis. Astronomically speaking, planets in the 8th and 9th houses descend or bear down upon (katapher in Greek) the 7th; this signifies the weight of authority to which the native is subject and that which bears him down to oblivion, respectively. From the 7th, planets in the 6th and 5th houses fall down to the 4th; here another common Greek word for the accidental fate that is characteristic of these two houses finds application, and this is sumptma, which means that which falls down together with the native, whether favorable or unfavorable. Conversely, planets in the 3rd and 2nd houses bear the
native upward (anapher in Greek) from the 4th to the 1st. The 3rd signifies the resources, family connections (exousia), and sources of his own authority, what allow him to hold his head high and stand out from his contemporaries; the 2nd signifies his livelihood or the means by which he exists, the substance (ousia) that supports him and allows him to exist and stand forth as a living being. From the 1st, planets in the 12th and 11th houses rise up to the 10th, and here yet another Greek fate word comes into play; these houses represent sumphora, the fate that is borne along together with the native, and is either conducive to his own rise into the world beyond his own family circle (as in the case of the 11th), or contrary to it (as in the case of the 12th).
18. I introduced the non-standard English translation of kentron as pivot right from the beginning of the Project Hindsight translations, partly influenced by the Latin term cardo. However, I had no idea at that time how important it would be to emphasize the "pivotal" character of the angular houses, or how felicitous that translation might be.
19. For those who are interested in astrology as a symbolic language, these interpretations of the places exhaust the meanings of the Greek middle voice.
20. Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Capricorn, Pisces, Aries, and Taurus are the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 9th, 10th, and 11th places, respectively, in the chart of the world.
21. In her well-written book, The Houses: Temples of the Sky (see Footnote No. 11), Houlding does a creditable job at clearing away many of the accretions to the house meanings that have accumulated in modern astrology due to the equation of houses with signs. However, she then apparently derives several of the principal house meanings from the planet that rejoices in that house, which I believe to be an error of exactly the same order.
© 1999 Robert Schmidt - all rights reserved
Robert Schmidt is currently Director of Research for The PHASER Foundation, a non-profit "thinktank" specializing in first-principle research in a number of fields, including astrology. For the past ten years, Robert has dedicated his background in philosophy, classical languages, the hard sciences, and the history of thought to the problem of astrology. In 1993, he designed the historical research arm of The PHASER Foundation, Project Hindsight, which has as its goal the translation of all the primary source texts in the astrological tradition into English, and he has translated numerous astrological works from Greek, Latin, and other languages.
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