Classifying Signs in Traditional Astrology

In astrology, sign classification systems promote the qualitative understanding of any given (sign-based) relationship. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate sign-based relationships relative to the obeying /commanding signs, their harmonious configurations, and oppositions. By exploring the significations of the ascensional signs, divided into sections below, further intricacies can be generated for educational purposes, equally applicable to chart delineations.

The Indirect and Direct Ascensional Signs

Dividing the zodiac along its ascension line, the twelve signs are classified into two groups of six. Simplistically, of the twelve signs, six are of indirect or crooked ascent while the other six are direct. This vertical division accentuates the lesser and greater ascensional times of the indirect and direct signs, respectively. Comparatively, signs ascending directly, from the start of Cancer to the end of Sagittarius, coincide with greater ascensional times, while signs of crooked or indirect ascension, from the start of Capricorn to the end of Gemini, have lesser ascensional times.

The configuration of (vertical) signs crossing the (horizontal) ascension divide are deemed to interact in concordance. Of course, depending on the author, this form of agreement differs in description. Ptolemy, for example, notes these signs as ‘seeing and hearing’, but omits specification (between signs that ‘see’ and ‘hear’). Medieval authors such as Abu Ma’shar reference the crooked and direct signs as relating ‘for prosperous actions’ alluding to the signification of a probable alliance. Despite the varying explanations, the underlying message is one of favorable consent.

Obeying and Commanding Signs

As signs straddling the solstices, obeying and commanding signs, horizontal from left to right, correspond with the arrangement of antiscia. When signs coordinate by sharing the same hour, they are said to compliment each other in a form of obedience. When signs are paired by individual degrees, or antiscia (antiskion), they are deemed to formulate a co-operative alliance. In essence, this counter-penumbra (skia= ‘shadow’, anti= ‘counter’) is said to form a potent, virtuous coalition. While the discussion of antiscia (and contra-antiscia) will be limited here, in order to fully explore the degrees of each sign pairing, it merits a separate (future) post.

A few terms: In Greek, prostassonta (or keleuonta) refers to commanding, while akounta is the term for hearing.

Via sign modality, the horizontal scheme begins and ends with the cardinal and mutable modalities. Therefore, from left to right, cardinal Capricorn obeys mutable Sagittarius, fixed Aquarius obeys fixed Scorpio, mutable Pisces obeys cardinal Libra, cardinal Aries obeys mutable Virgo, fixed Taurus obeys fixed Leo, and mutable Gemini obeys cardinal Cancer.

Therefore, to facilitate memorization, the indirect/ direct arrangement follows this pattern, via modality, from left to right:

1. Cardinal obeys mutable.

2. Fixed obeys fixed.

3. Mutable obeys cardinal.

4. Cardinal obeys mutable.

5. Fixed obeys fixed.

6. Mutable obeys cardinal.

This sequence encompasses all twelve signs, since the ascension line equally divides the zodiacal signs into two groups of six. For short: 1. CM, 2. FF 3. MC, 4. CM, 5. FF, 6. MC.

Crossing the Ascension: Harmonious Aspects Between the Obeying and Commanding Signs

Obeying and Commanding Signs to the Left and Right, respectively.

When obeying signs relate to commanding signs via trine or sextile, the dialogue is considered to be more agreable. In the diagram above, following the basic obeying/ commanding relationship, I begin to add the harmonious sextiles and trines to the top and bottom, respectively. Note that for the purposes of simplicity, clarification, and to prevent confusion, this first diagram is intentionally left incomplete. In other words, only the obeying and commanding signs via horizontal configuration are rendered, while introducing only four additional aspects, via sextile and trine (at the start with Capricorn to Scorpio and Virgo, and ending with Taurus and Gemini to Cancer and Leo, respectively).

The final diagram (displayed below) discloses all possible configurations between signs crossing the ascension line. In other words, given the example above, Capricorn, obeying Sagittarius via ascension, simultaneously obeys Scorpio via sextile, and Virgo via trine. The scheme continues the basic horizontal configurations, until it ends with indirect Taurus obeying Leo, and in sextile to Cancer (the trine to Virgo is added in the following diagram). Gemini, the last of the crooked signs, traditionally obeys Cancer while in sextile to Leo (its trine to Libra is, again, included in the last diagram below). To reiterate, note that these configurations are only formed betweeen signs crossing the ascension line, and that the harmonious configurations share the same electric/ magnetic expression. (*)

Obeying and Commanding Oppositions

Deemed contrary in esteem, oppositions still follow the obey/command principle. In the diagram below, all oppositions are illustrated, considering their locations naturally cross the ascensional divide. Indirect Capricorn opposes direct Cancer, indirect Aquarius opposes direct Leo, indirect Pisces opposes direct Virgo, indirect Aries opposes direct Libra, indirect Taurus opposes direct Scorpio, and indirect Gemini opposes direct Sagittarius. From the top of this diagram, first crooked or indirect sign, Capricorn diagonally opposes Cancer, as the rest of the signs follow a diagonal pattern, from left to right. Similarly, the obeying/ commanding sextiles and trines also align in diagonal symmetry.

Putting it All Together: The Symmetry of Concord

Obeying/ Commanding, Including, Sextile, Trine, and Opposition

Obeying/ Commanding, Including, Sextile, Trine, and Opposition

After observing the fundamental relationship between crooked and direct signs, strictly crossing the ascensional line, I added the sextile, trine, and opposition configurations, and arrived at the diagram above. In other words, this pattern is a result of studying the basic interaction between obeying and commanding signs, including those in harmonious aspects. Again, the core rule is that signs must cross the ascensional line in order to participate in a configuration that adheres to the commanding/ obeying principle. A sextile between Capricorn and Pisces, for example, is unable to extend beyond the left side of the diagram, and would contradict the relationship between obeying and commanding signs.

If the interaction between crooked and direct signs is indeed one of agreement or amant, then the symmetrical arrangement of its possible configurations is a visual affirmation of this acquiescence. Equally, signs promoting dynamic camaraderie as a result of equidistant ascensions (or in the words of the ancients, ‘giving themselves for prosperous actions’) are visual declarations of concordant symmetry.


Copyright © 2019 Saturn and the Sun Astrology. All rights reserved.


Notes: (*) ‘Electric’ and ‘magnetic’ are the terms I am currently using as substitutes for gender.

Etching by K. Kalynovych.

Hand-drawn diagrams are my own. Please do not reproduce without permission. As noted above, I have arrived at these diagrams by studying the source texts referenced below.


References:

Paul of Alexandria, Introduction

Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos

Dykes, Benjamin (trans.), Introductions to Traditional Astrology: Abu-Ma’shar and al-Qabisi

Brennan, Chris, Hellenistic Astrology

Full Moon in Virgo

Full Moon in Virgo

Full Moon in Virgo

Occurring within seven hours of perigee, the syzygy Full Moon in Virgo beckons the fertile earth’s patient procreativity. As the solar light newly bathes in Pisces’ oceanic undercurrent, the lunation’s ruler, Mercury, resides in polarity to its domicile and exaltation. Orchestrating the Moon and resurfacing from under the beams as it enters its pre-shadow phase*, the Messenger merges intuitive guidance with the prudence of meticulous artistry.

The lunation’s emphasis on the exiled Messenger is further exacerbated by its copresence with Neptune and the absolute, elemental air-void that permeates the celestial composition. As the stars swerve past the vacant airy trigon, the consummation of immediacy pervades earthly obligations. While the Virgoan lunation affords the patient application of physical productivity, its operative fortitude is primordially instinctual and dynamic.

At 0°42′ Virgo, the Full Moon is in the bounds of procuratorial Mercury, where the Messenger is traditionally deemed noble and eminent. However, currently exiled in Pisces, Mercury navigates tempestuously alongside Neptune and the Sun. Although graced by Jupiter, the traditional logician must still operate via dynamic intuition, an illogical method for the calculating Courier.

Nearly exact (at a distance of 36′), the full Moon in Virgo conjoins fixed star Regulus. The effulgence of the royal Persian star, cor leo, is attributed to the qualities of Jupiter and Mars. With the Virgoan Moon, Regulus promotes natural leadership propelled by amorousness and devotional drive. Embracing the lunar Bethulah, the Lion’s Heart bestows the courage to succeed amidst adversity.

Virgo Decan I: The Orb-Weaver

Virgo’s first decan evokes emblems carved by laborious temperance. Akin to the seemingly precarious grace of a gossamer’s glint, there is occult fortitude in the prudent cultivation of cyclical artistry. Assembling each silken filament with painstaking toil, the orb-weaver’s magnetic labrynthine becomes its efficient source of food. However, in order to accomplish this meticulous feat, a somber sacrifice is made in the form of energetic expenditure.

Noted by Agrippa, “the first face of Virgo ascendeth the figure of a good maide, and a man casting seeds; it signifieth getting of wealth, ordering of diet, plowing, sowing, and peopling”. As such, the agricultural artisan recurrently surveys the fertility of the strewing soil, patterning a craft capable of life-affirming sustenance. Both the spider and human laborour exchange physical hardship for nature’s nourishment. Echoed in the Picatrix, “this is the face of sowing, plowing, the germination of plants, of gathering grapes, and of good living”. The material sphere’s abundance is afforded to the weaver of intricate webs, fermenter of fertile soil, all at the humble cost of interminable perseverance. Arachnid or human, nature’s discerning eye secretively calibrates its offerings to the worker’s degree of servility.

Lunar Mansion Twelve: Al-Sarfah
The Full Moon in Virgo falls under the twelfth mansion of The Changer, Al-Sarfah. Thematic of juncture and severance, this lunar mansion is depicted as a man battling a dragon. When the Moon journeys through this mansion’s renewed cycle, Al-Sarfah cautions against conflict and confrontation [3].

In parallel to its Ptolemaic influences, Saturn and Venus, Al-Sarfah alludes to Saturnian limitations, while affording Venusian affirmations of harvest and allies. Nearly echoing the descriptive tone of the Full Moon’s bounds (for intimate strife enshrouds Virgo’s first two terms), both mansion and Egyptian term coincide with a cautionary restraint in personal relations.

Full Moon in Virgo: Configurations and Bounds

The full Moon carves an applying trine with the scarlet malefic. As the ferocious star overcomes the Moon, Mars is hosted by Venus (in Venus’ prolific and fertile term). In Taurus, the Warrior must abide by the benefic’s reconciliatory rules, a foreign concept to the naturally severing properties of (malefic) Mars. Via sign and degree-based trines, the full Moon aspects both malefics, Mars and Saturn, respectively. Likewise, the Saturn-Venus-Pluto copresense harmonizes with both luminaries.

The Piscean Sun is copresent with Neptune and Mercury, as the watery stellium is overcome and ruled by jubilant Jove. Of the three stars, Mercury applies via degree-based square to Jupiter, as the latter star overcomes the Messenger. Fortunately, still in its domicile, the Greater Benefic’s sign-based square to the Piscean stellium (including degree-based square to Mercury) lessens its tension. Resulting from Mercury’s thricely cast sextiles to Saturn, authoritative friction, while likely, is afforded amelioration. Under this lunation’s lens, the primary sextile is visually scrutinized, as the Messenger’s partile ray to Saturn nearly calibrates the ethereal Piscean sway with the Stoic’s stability.

In repetitive trios, the applying, degree-based Mercury-Jupiter square (exact the following day at 21°06’ Pisces-Sagittarius), is the first (of three) during Mercury’s journey through Pisces. Likewise, the first Mercury-Neptune conjunction (previously exact at 15°34’ Pisces) currently separates and applies on March 24th and April 2nd, respectively. Finally, the Jupiter-ruled Sun is in the terms of Venus, as the emerald goddess structures her affirmations within the boundaries of Saturn’s stoicism.

Excessive Earth and the Elemental Air-Void

Full Moon in Virgo

Of the seven visible stars, Jupiter remains in his fiery domicile as excessive earth coagulates the Virgoan Moon’s elemental composition. Newly undulating in Pisces’ oceanic current, the Sun accompanies the Messenger, merging water with the strewing soil. While excessive earth overtly focuses on preserving existing conditions, practical efficiency and material concerns potentially dominate theoretical and ethical principles.

The Elemental Air-Void

As the solar light’s departure from Saturn’s stoic Water Bearer projects the lunation’s air-void, experience is primordially manouvered by the material, emotive, and dynamic spheres. Depleting its abstract qualities, against this elemental composition, the subtlety of air is concealed. Consummated by immediacy, personal detachment is a notable challenge, coupled with the Messenger’s tempestuous exile in Pisces.

Since the unifying properties of air are compromised, uncooperative behavior compromises partnerships, surging hesitance while adjusting to new people, ideas, and insights. In essence, the air-voids’ impediment spawns from an inability to objectively approach internal and external circumstances.

Irrationality surges as a response to poorly assimilated ideas. While the body’s response to the inconceivable can produce physical ailment and aggression, these reactions are (however inappropriately) intended to abolish threat. Physically, excessive air can lead to a highly activated and extremely sensitized nervous system. Consistent meditation and restful, recuperative retreats are necessary for replenishment and the prevention of cerebral exhaustion.

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Full Moon in Virgo: Summary

Nearing exact perigee, the Full Moon in Virgo illuminates the earth’s prudent fertility. Scrutinizing the sect light, the Piscean Sun bestows intuitive guidance merged with the patience of meticulous artistry. However, in exile and polarizing its Virgoan domicile and exaltation, Mercury’s opposes the very lunation it governs.

Simultaneously in the bound of Mercury, the lunation’s emphasis on the exiled Messenger is exacerbated by its conjunction to nebulous Neptune and the elemental air-void that permeates the celestial composition. As the stars swerve past the vacant airy trigon, the consummation of immediacy pervades earthly obligations. While Jupiter overcomes the Piscean stellium (Sun, Mercury, and Neptune) via degree and sign-based square, the absence of air necessitates reason before instinct.

While the Virgoan lunation affords the patient application of physical productivity, its operative fortitude is primordially instinctual and dynamic. Gathering these insights, mindfulness in relational efforts requires the application of impartial surveillance. Acclimating to air’s sanguine temperament, a third-person narrative must aid the tempestuous Messenger.

* The Full Moon at 0°42′ Virgo is exact on 2/19/19, at 10:53 AM EST.
* Two hours prior to the full Moon in Virgo, Mercury begins its pre-shadow phase at 16°6′ Pisces at 9:19 AM EST, on 2/19/19.


References:

Agrippa, Henry C., The Three Books of Occult Philosophy

Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos

Warnock, Christopher, The Mansions of the Moon

* Etchings by K. Kalynovych.


Copyright © 2019 Saturn and the Sun Astrology. All rights reserved.


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Heptazone and the Single Degrees of the Stars

Heptazone and Single-Degree Divisions

The purpose of this article is to introduce the concept of heptazone as it directly relates to monomoiria, the single-degree division of the stars. Upon defining both terms, their interrelation will be discussed, in order to integrate both concepts. For the purposes of clarification, this article solely intends to discuss heptazone as it relates to monomoiria, and its pertinent, sequential planetary scheme.

Heptazone

Heptazone, Greek for planetary sequence, follows the standard, Alexandrian order of the stars via mean motion. Heptazone dates back to the first century B.C., and, according to Holden, is speculated to be a century older. The planetary sequence for heptazone is Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon. This basic sequential scheme aligns with the order of the 36 decanates, the planetary days and their corresponding diurnal/ nocturnal hours, and the order of the stars’ single-degree division. Each of these correlations are discussed in the passages below.

Heptazone and the Thirty-Six Decanates

The order of the thirty-six decans, or sectors of the seven stars, are arranged in the same order suggested via heptazone. Therefore, following the heptazone sequence, 10° of each sign is attributed to its pertinent (sequential) star.

Beginning with Aries, Mars receives the first decan of the Ram, its corresponding (10) degrees, followed by the Sun, and finalized with Venus, the last decan of Aries. Following this order, Taurus is allotted Mercury (10), the Moon (20), and Saturn (30). Again, the three decans of Gemini correspond to Jupiter (10), Mars (20), and the Sun (30). Essentially, the entire structure of the decanates begins with Mars, as the planetary domicile of Aries, and follows heptazone sequence throughout the twelve zodiac signs. This order ends with Mars, the final decanate (and last 10 degrees) of Pisces. As an informational supplement, the table below intends to facilitate this explanation.

The thirty-six decans following sequential heptazone.

Just as the memorization of essential dignities is useful, recalling basic heptazone order affords immediate access to planetary arrangement. This is helpful when identifying specific planetary decans, including their significance in lunations, as well as the diurnal and nocturnal planetary hours. The relation between heptazone, planetary hours, calendar days, and monomoiria are explored below.

Heptazone, Planetary Hours, and Monomoiria

Coordinating with the planetary hours, heptazone also determines the sequence of single-degree division, more commonly known as monomoiria.

Before monomoiria is discussed, the sequence of planetary days and their respective hours appear to be intricately aligned with the concept of heptazone. Aligning with the sequence of the planetary hours, planetary order via mean motion (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon) likewise unfurls the calendar week’s planetary order (Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn).

Following heptazone sequence, each planetary hour aligns with each sequential, single-degree division (monomoiria) for each sign. This applies to all signs relative to planetary ruler, their corresponding (planetary) day, and hour. Similar to the commencement of the decans (as the first 10 degrees of Aries are attributed to Mars), monomoiria assigns its first single degree to the respective star’s domicile (coinciding with Mars), immediately followed by standard heptazone sequence. In other words, if the sequence begins with Mars, as is the case with Aries and Scorpio (as noted below), it is followed by the Sun, Venus, Mercury, the Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter.

The single degree division scheme, beginning with the diurnal and nocturnal domiciles of Mars via Aries and Scorpio, end with the nocturnal and diurnal domiciles of Saturn, via Capricorn and Aquarius, respectively. As represented below, horizontally, the seven stars have the following order: Mars, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn. Vertically, following each planetary domicile, from 1-30°, the usual heptazone sequence applies (to each individual degree).

The single degree division aligned with the planetary days and nights.

Heptazone, Monomoiria, Planetary Days and Hours

While the first degrees of each sign correlate with the commencement of each planetary day, at 24 degrees of each sign, the corresponding planet aligns with the final planetary hour of each night. To elaborate, for Sunday, regarding the 24th single degree of Leo, Mercury coincides with the final hour of the night. For Monday (Cancer), the final hour is designated to Jupiter, for Tuesday (Aries/ Scorpio) there is Venus, Wednesday (Gemini/ Virgo), there is Saturn, Thursday (Sagittarius/ Pisces) the Sun, Friday (Taurus/ Libra) the Moon, and for Saturday (Capricorn/ Aquarius) the final hour is that of Mars.

Saturn: The First Heptazone Star

Using Saturn as the first star in heptazone order, Saturn becomes the day’s lord and governs the entirety of said day. Immediately, Saturn is assigned the first hour, where it is simultaneously the ruler of the day and starting hour. In procession, the second hour is assigned to Jupiter, yet the day is still surveyed by Saturn. The standard heptazone sequence continues until the eighth hour, when Saturn is, once again, the day and hour-ruler. Furthermore, heptazone order repeats with Jupiter as the ruler of the ninth hour. Once the first hour of the nocturnal sect arrives, Saturn remains the day ruler as Mercury rules the first nocturnal hour. The second hour of the night is attributed to the Moon, and by the third hour, again, Saturn governs both the day and nocturnal hour. The nocturnal scheme proceeds accordingly, concluding with Mars, and commencing anew with the day of the Sun.

Heptazone and the Seven Star Zones

Using heptazone, each of the seven stars is assigned a zone in accordance with planetary temperature and attributes. Due to its paralyzing frigidity, Saturn is allotted the first and nethermost zone, described by Paulus as ‘being very cold and lying in the frost.’ In direct contrast, surveying the secondary zone, Jupiter is described as nourishing, temperate, and a bestower of life. Mars, the lesser malefic star, is assigned the tertiary zone on account of its ‘destructive’ and fiery essence. Ascribed to ether, its fiery yet life-sustaining counterpart, the Sun, is afforded the fourth and central zone. Curiously aligned with her planetary Joy, Venus surveys the affirming fifth zone, mirroring the associations of conception and offspring. Described as ‘common’, Mercury is granted the sixth zone on account of its moisture and quotidian semblance. Finally, narrowing in proximity to earth, the Moon is granted the final, seventh zone. Here, the Moon is described as phlegmatic and ‘most powerful’. Likewise, the pallid sphere is said to embrace the diversity of all stars, and considered inclusive towards planetary divisiveness (an attribute afforded to Mercury in the Joys). Because the Moon occupies the final zone, in the heptazone scheme, this star is considered the foundational core that sustains the upper zones.

The Seven Zones of the Stars  

1. Saturn: Gelid – First Zone

2. Jupiter: Nourishing – Second Zone

3. Mars: Fiery-Destructive – Third Zone

4. Sun: Ether – Fourth Zone

5. Venus: Conception – Fifth Zone

6. Mercury: Moist/ Quotidian – Sixth Zone

7. Moon: Phlegmatic/ Inclusive – Seventh Zone

Heptazone and Monomoiria: Summary

Notes (and obligatory disclaimers): Described by Paulus in his Introduction, the zones of the stars remain a theoretical framework. As stated in the objective of this article, while earlier planetary schemes exist, the heptazone sequence is still worthy of exploration and research.

The convenience of combining heptazone with monomoiria resides in the seemless, sequential composition of planetary order via degree. Using the single-degree division of the stars, it is easy to reference a particular planetary decanate, day, diurnal, and nocturnal hour. Once a degree aligns with the day’s planetary ruler, this allocates a form of dignity, akin to the standard essential dignities of the stars.


References:

Holden, James Herschel (trans.), Paul of Alexandria, Introduction to Astrology

Etching by K. Kalynovych.


Copyright © 2019 Saturn and the Sun Astrology. All rights reserved.

Interpreting Aspects in Traditional Astrology`

Interpreting Aspects in Traditional Astrology

Objective and Overview

The word aspect, derived from the Latin term aspectus, infers to the act of seeing or looking. Essentially, it is the sense of sight: the visibility, appearance, aspect, presence, mien, countenance, form, and color. Therefore, indicative of the word aspect, in Hellenistic astrology, configurations perform an optical operation: the ability to visualize planets.

According to theoretical principles, the composition of an astrological configuration varies between traditional and modern practices. In traditional astrology, aspects are largely based upon optical theories and planetary affinity. The concept of minor aspects, later introduced by Kepler in rebuttal of the zodiac signs (while labeling the 12 places or houses as “Arabic sorcery”), became more prominent in the 20th century. Noting these disparities, this article’s objective is to explain, from an introductory level, the aspect principles in the context of traditional astrology. Additionally, this information intends to supplement aspect delineations provided throughout this site, generating further context and specifications when analyzing any given configuration.

Sign-Based and Degree-Based Configurations

A notable difference regarding traditional configurations is the ability of two planets to ‘witness’ each other independent of degree. Sign-based configurations are possible via trine, sextile, square, and opposition, on account of the visual spectrum between two planets. Copresence, the final configuration included in later Hellenistic texts, is essentially equivalent to the modern-day conjunction. Again, like other sign-based configurations, copresence can also exist independent of degree.

Degree-based configurations involve two planets in mutual testimony while punctuating their acuity by degree. While degree-based aspects are a popular construct of modern astrology, in traditional astrology, these configurations must still, in accordance with theoretical principles, bear witness to one another. This is why the introduction of ‘minor aspects’ such as the ‘inconjunction’ or ‘quincunx’, ‘semi-sextile’, ‘semi-square, ‘novile’, ‘quintile, and ‘bi-quintile‘, to name a few, cannot logically cohere to the traditional aspect doctrine.

Planetary Aversion

The absence of affinity by sign creates planetary aversion, which can can have both mitigating or afflicting implications. For example, in electional astrology, placing the malefic contrary-to-sect in aversion to the first house can help protect planets positioned in said place. Contrastingly, an of-sect benefic in aversion to the Hour-Marker cannot benefit the chart ruler, again, because it is unable to witness the planet in question. Therefore, planets in aversion can work favorably or unfavorably, depending on their qualities and tasks in any given chart.

Exact Degree-Based Configurations: The Seven Partile Rays

A basic note to keep in mind is this: at any time, a planet aspects seven signs while remaining in aversion to the remaining four.

Similarly, each planet incessantly emits seven partile rays. The word partile is indicative of exactitude via degree. In an acute aspect, a planet emitting a partile ray has complete visibility, entirely beholding another planet in exact degree. As a celestial composition of consistent mobility, each of the seven traditional planets are constantly witnessing and emitting seven partile rays. Once a ray strikes any given planet, an aspect is acutely activated, and its delineation is dependent upon the significance of the planetary emitter.

The Branches of Copresence: Assembly and Adherence

Copresence, also known as the conjunction (both bodily and degree-based) is considered the first original configuration. Independently defined from the four optical aspects, copresence occurs when two planets occupy the same zodiacal sign. Implying affinity via bodily presence, this configuration was initially separated from the remaining four visual aspects. In later Hellenistic texts, it was introduced and combined with the other configurations by authors such as Rhetorius.

Under the branch of copresence, there are two variations, namely termed assembly and adherence. Within the same sign, assembly is an applying aspect more than 3 degrees apart but less an 15 degrees away. With adherence, the traditional term for the more commonly known ‘conjoining’ aspect, one planet applies bodily within three degrees to another planet. Technically, assembly and adherence are both forms of copresence, yet the orb narrows as adherence becomes the closest (degree-based) branch of copresence.

Engagement and the Four Optical Aspects

Engagement, an applying ray effecting any of the four optical configurations (as discussed below), is neither a bodily conjunction nor a form of copresence. Instead, engagement is simply considered an applying aspect within three degrees, via trine sextile, square, or opposition. The important principle regarding engagement (as opposed to adherence, for example) is that it corresponds via degree, or the ray of one planet as it applies to another.

The Four Optical Configurations

Initially, the four traditional configurations indicate one face of an entire shape or figure. In fact, configurations are literally regarded as figures, alluding to the form of each associated polygon. Succinctly, the four geometric aspects correlate with the malefics and benefics in Hellenistic astrology as follows:

  • The tetragon or square. The square is four signs apart, or separated by 90 degrees. It is deemed the signature aspect of (lesser malefic) Mars.
  • The diameter or opposition. The opposition is seven signs apart, or separated by 180 degrees. It is deemed the signature aspect of (greater malefic) Saturn. Via opposition, each exalted planet witnesses its sign of depression. With each rise and fall, these extremes contrast the equilibrium and efficiency of planetary domicile.

Planets in exaltation opposite their depressions.

  • The hexagon or sextile. The sextile is three sign apart, or separated by 60 degrees. It is deemed the signature aspect of (lesser benefic) Venus.
  • The triangle or trine. The trine is five signs apart, or separated by 120 degrees. It is deemed the signature aspect of (greater benefic) Jupiter.

Note: By trine in the diurnal exaltation scheme, each exalted planet aspects its domicile. The exalted Sun in Aries trines its domicile in Leo, exalted Jupiter in Cancer trines its domicile in Pisces, and exalted Saturn in Libra trines Aquarius.

Exaltation Scheme

Nocturnal Exaltation Sextiles

Similarly, in the nocturnal exaltation scheme, exalted planets aspect their domiciles by sextile. Again, the correlation between day, trine and Jupiter echoes the night, sextile, and Venus.

The Luminaries and the Optical Configurations

The Luminaries

The luminaries aspecting the benefics and malefics.

With each planet in its domicile, the solar and lunar hemispheres reflect the quality of each optical configuration. With Mercury in aversion, each light casts a sextile, square, trine, and opposition, mirroring the distinct signature aspects of the benefics and malefics. Jupiter and Venus govern the trine and sextile, respectively, as the malefics, Saturn and Mars, govern the opposition and square, respectively. This planet-aspect association (regarding the benefics and malefics) adds an additional layer to delineation, especially when coupled, for example, with considerations such as overcoming and upon the tenth. The two latter considerations are discussed below.

Overcoming and ‘Upon the Tenth’

Upon the Tenth

Left: Jupiter, upon the tenth, overcoming Mars. Right: Mars overcoming Jupiter.

Overcoming, especially when ‘upon the tenth‘, is often considered one of the most potent configurations in Hellenistic astrology. On the right side of a chart, planets positioned earlier in zodiacal sign exert a prevailing influence, considered the superior position, over inferiorly positioned planets on the left. Of the two, the overcoming planet directs the relationship, independent of degree. For example, taking the tetragon or square, Venus overcoming Mars differs from Mars overcoming Venus. In the former, the benefic dominates the configuration, in the latter, the malefic prevails. This occurs independent of degree.

Regardless of degree, a planet in the tenth sign relative to another planet forms a superior, sign-based square. Termed ‘upon the tenth’, this branch of overcoming can extend either benefic or malefic implications, relative to the qualities of the dominant planet. When delineating configurations, concepts like overcoming and upon the tenth can help direct prevalence regarding planetary dominance. Again, using the above chart example, Mars overcoming Jupiter via superior square has, doubly, the essence of Mars by placement and configuration (the square being associated with Mars).

Containment or Beseigment 

Containment

The Sun contained by Saturn’s rays.

A planet is contained or besieged when located in a sign encapsulated by the sign-based rays of another planet. As each planet emits seven partile rays, a benefic like Jupiter or Venus can mitigate a besieged planet by protecting it with a sign-based aspect. Similarly, a malefic can contain another planet by emitting rays to that planet’s surroundings. As a result, the besieged planet feels obfuscated by the malefic rays, and benefits from a sign-based aspect from a benefic planet.

Enclosure

Either bodily or via degree-based configuration, enclosure occurs when a planet is between two planets in the same sign. As with containment, the center planet can be maltreated or bonified, depending on the planets that enclose it. If a planet is enclosed by malefics, a degree-based aspect from a benefic can help mitigate its condition. Conversely, a planet that is shielded by the enclosure of benefics can be maltreated if a malefic planet aspects the otherwise graced planet.

Aspects in Traditional Astrology: Summary

Derived from the Latin term aspectus, an aspect infers to the act of seeing or looking. Essentially alluding to the sense of sight, aspects infer to the visibility, appearance, and presence of planetary formations. According to theoretical principles, the composition of an astrological configuration or aspect varies between traditional and modern practices. In traditional astrology, aspects are largely based upon optical theories and planetary affinity.

The subtle gradations within the spectrum of degree-based and sign-based configurations in Hellenistic astrology can provide valuable insight and precision into an otherwise basic aspect delineation. While this article is intended as an introductory guideline to traditional configurations, and various specifics have been omitted (serving as the initiatory article of a forthcoming series), the intent is to define and differentiate traditional aspect delineations from the modernized approaches in order to facilitate further precision and accuracy.


References:

Brennan, Chris, Hellenistic Astrology

Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos

*Etchings by K. Kalynovych

*Hand-drawn chart illustrations are my own.


Copyright 2019 Saturn and the Sun Astrology. All rights reserved.

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Latin for lion, Leo is the only sign in the zodiacal sphere portrayed as a predatory animal, or ‘beast of prey’. The Latin etymology of Leo, namely, to ‘blot out, to annihilate, to destroy’, aligns with the foundational nature of the lion, described by Ezra as embodying a scorching and deconstructive heat. Leo synthesizes with the human body’s fifth division via motion, and the anatomical parts corresponding with the heart and motor nerves. Concerned with dividing, lifting, and circulating the blood, the heart’s great mass of muscular tissue receives Aries’ initiatory blaze. Harmoniously laboring with the Ram, all precipitated energy must be constructively forged by the Lion.

At 0°51′ Leo, the total lunar eclipse occurs near the ascending Lunar Node in Cancer, in Jupiter’s bound, and under the Saturn-ruled, first decanate of Leo. While the eclipse is exact at 12:14 AM EST, lasting one hour, one minute, and 59 seconds, the Moon will also be perigee at 2:59 PM EST. Following the initiatory, solar eclipse in Capricorn, this lunation culminates a 2.5 year cycle (since 11/18/16), of eclipses on the Leo-Aquarius axis. Unsurprisingly, both Saturn-ruled luminaries chisel an opposition, the Time Keeper’s signature configuration. Via superior, sign-based trine, Mars overcomes the Moon, further punctuating the elemental fire-air composition of this eclipse. As Saturn overcomes Mars via sign-based, superior square, the applying Mars-Saturn configuration is nearly exact via degree. When Mars’ swift severance is halted by Saturn, the primal drive is consistently oppressed by apprehension. Both malefics, Mars and Saturn, are poised in their diurnal and nocturnal domiciles, respectively.

In the background, the applying Venus-Jupiter conjunction narrows, further bonding the affirming grace of both benefics. While a superior trine is forged as both benefics grace the red planet, the final Lunar eclipse still encompasses the densely dramatic captivity of light. While it’s proximity to the ascending lunar node in Cancer further amplifies cascading emotive heights, reciprocal nurture, and instinctively maternal inclinations, the presence of the Dragon’s Head or Rahu cautions against egoism and the potentially deconstructive heat of the Leonine eclipse.

Leo Decan I: The Feline’s Ferocity

Often, discordance with malefics spawns from the displeasure imparted by their subjectively cruel lessons. Habitually, Mars does not operate lovingly, it opposes Venus. Naturally, Saturn does not function emotively, it opposes the Moon. Yet it is often the most excruciating trials that obligate life-transmuting perspectives. The final eclipse in Leo surveys the first decanate of the Gatekeeper, a stoic and cautionary presage against the Lion’s illimitable and annihilating blaze.

The excessive unrestraint of the ascending Lunar Node and its proximity to the first decanate of Leo is fittingly illustrated by Agrippa as “… a man riding on a Lion; it signifieth boldness, violence, cruelty, wickedness, lust and labours to be sustained.” The seemingly minimal imagery of a man riding a predatory wildcat emphasizes the inexhaustible primal will, a theme sternly punctuated in this final lunar eclipse. When in “the face of strength, liberality, and victory”, one’s primal core truly unsheathes. Accentuated triumphs often dismantle the true character beneath thinly-veiled veneers. Considering the ‘heroic’ and seemingly victorious undertones of this decanate, this final lunar (and solar) eclipse in the Leo-Aquarius axis can consummate with boundless engorgement.

Al-Jabhah, The Lion’s Brow

The total lunar eclipse in Leo falls under the Al-Jabhah, the tenth lunar mansion, originally posited in the Leo constellation along with Regulus (the royal fixed star now in Virgo). Know as “The Brow”, Al-Jabhah is claimed to assist in recovery and bestow fortitude. However, a total lunar eclipse near the ascending Lunar Node still accentuates both the captivity of light and excessive insatiably.

Giraftagi: The Light’s Captivity

During a total lunar eclipse, earth’s penumbra veils the Moon. Al-Biruni calculated that the ratio between the size of the earth’s penumbra cloaking the moon’s facade and the size of the moon was 2 3/5 to 1, corresponding with the results obtained by Ptolemy and Al-Battani. The subtle sunlight that absconds through earth’s atmosphere is refracted on the Moon, casting a transfixed, tenebrous tint. From Luna’s perspective, a blackened sphere barricades the Sun, carving a circular glow upon earth’s silhouette. Known as giraftagi, this captive light results from earth’s obstruction. Thus, during a lunar eclipse, the earth’s spherical glint plunges before the Moon.

“And in whatsoever countries or cities we discover a familiarity of this kind, we must suppose that some event will occur which applies, generally speaking, to all of them, particularly to those which bear a relation to the actual zodiacal sign of the eclipse…”

As the total lunar eclipse is exact, North America, South America, parts of Western Europe, and Africa will witness the eclipse’s complete visible spectrum. Apart from Madagascar, all of Africa will see a partial eclipse, as will the Middle East and Afghanistan. In Asia, the eclipse’s visual impact will be omitted, as the event occurs during daylight hours, and is void of lunar visibility.

Of fixed modality, the final lunar eclipse in Leo reaches a critical stage of culmination, suggesting long-term, finalizing results in both intimate and global settings. Legislation, leadership, public groups and political arenas are some possible arenas of manifestation.

The total lunar eclipse in Leo is exact on 1/21/19, at 12:14 AM EST.


References:

Raza, S. Jabir. “Al-Biruni on Eclipses.” Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, vol. 56, 1995, pp. 293–300., http://www.jstor.org/stable/44158632.

Agrippa, Henry C., The Three Books of Occult Philosophy

Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos

Warnock, Christopher, The Mansions of the Moon


Copyright © 2019 Saturn & the Sun Astrology. All rights reserved.

Mercury Cazimi in Aquarius

Mercury Cazimi: January 29, 2019

The King’s Heart

When a planet is ‘in the heart’ of the King, or Cazimi, it is, simultaneously, shielded and strengthened in the commencement of a new solar cycle. The Medieval term Cazimi is the Latin transliteration of the Arabic term ‘kaṣmīmī’, implying ‘as if in the heart’. Essentially, this is the translation of the Greek term egkardios (meaning ‘in the heart’), originating in the works of Rhetorius of Egypt, circa 7th century CE.

*There are disparities amongst Medieval sources regarding the exact proximity between the Sun and another planet in order to be deemed Cazimi, with earlier authors attributing a broader 1° value and later astrologers decreasing range to 16’. However, even the 16′ value presents discordance amongst later astrologers. For example, in the Renaissance tradition, William Lilly extends Cazimi to 17′. As a general rule, I choose to focus on (or work within) the 16′ range, particularly when merging Cazimi portals with electional astrology.

Meticulous Messenger: The Traditional Associations of Mercury

Traditional associations of a dignified Mercury punctuate sharp intellect and cogitation. Here, debaters and logicians mastering knowledge and articulation are rendered, as are seekers of mysteries, amalgamating information without external guidance or teachers. Of additional Mercurial attributes, Lilly emphasizes those being “ambitious of being exquisite in every Science, desirous naturally of travel and seeing foreign parts: a man of an unwearied fancy, curious in the search of any occult knowledge; able by his own Genius to produce wonders; given to Divination and the more secret knowledge; if he turn Merchant, no man exceeds him in a way of Trade or invention of new wayes whereby to obtain wealth.”

Currently of swift motion, on /29/19, Mercury Cazimi is exact at at 9°54′ Aquarius. The superior Mercury-Saturn conjunction is posited in Saturn’s diurnal domicile, in the affirming bounds of Venus, and simultaneously journeying through the final arc minutes of the Venus-ruled, first decanate. The Mercury-Saturn conjunction is in aversion to Saturn, and overcomes Mars via sign-based sextile. Mirroring this month’s earlier (Saturn) Cazimi, both charts unfurl with a Libra rising, featuring angular malefics in their domiciles. In the background, Saturn overcomes Mars, a configuration that also echoes the backdrop of the total lunar eclipse.

Mercury Cazimi in Aquarius

Mercury remains in Cazimi after midnight, come 1/30/19, in the bounds of Venus. Likewise, the Messenger is in an applying sextile to the Moon as the benefics overcome the Sun-Mercury conjunction. As an inceptional chart, clarity in communication is accentuated, along with presentation. The solar rays are persuaded by mercurial matters, and decisions, logistics, and contractual matters are favorable under this configuration. Third place matters receive the benefics’ grace, via sign-based sextile, and siblings, friends, learning, and quotidian excursions can benefit from this brief portal. As with the previous chart, in aversion to the Cazimi and first house placements, Saturn merely emits a partile ray to Mars, as both separate from a square.

As the Messenger journeys through the Water Bearer, be advantageous and efficient in mercurial matters. Come 2/11/19, Mercury enters its detriment in Pisces, followed by its retrograde. Aptly, The Messenger enters Aries on the day of Mercury, 4/17/19, in the term of Jupiter and decanate of Mars. By then, with Mars in Gemini, mutual reception will mitigate both planets.


References:

Lilly, William, Christian Astrology

Brennan, Chris, Hellenistic Astrology


Copyright © 2019 Saturn & the Sun. All rights reserved.

Mars Square Saturn

Mars square Saturn

Kalynovych, The Babel Tower

Mars Square Saturn in the Natal Chart

The natal square between the malefics, Mars and Saturn, indicates a weighty discord between the impetus of desire and the restraint of responsibility. The Mars-Saturn square surges a defensive nature, often propelling hindrances in personal relationships. The square between Mars and Saturn propels a defensiveness within the context of personal relationships. Saturn, the excluding influence, acclimates fear of rejection coupled with restraint. The melancholic temperament of the Time Keeper punctuates this configuration, requesting a counteraction to pessimism, brooding pensiveness, and disconsolation. The oscillating pull between assertion and lethargy, aggression and apathy, can delay personal progress, until conscious application of consistent will is emplooyed. Laboriousness and persistent effort are adequate antidotes to the Mars-Saturn square. We need only understand the nature of both malefics to gain insight as to their operative function (within the context of natal square). When Mars’ swift severance is halted by Saturn, the primal drive is consistently oppressed by apprehension.

Imagine the sluggish scorch of an expanding fire, where its force is unsustainably dense. While its embers require preservation, Saturn’s slow, consistent pressure is exhausting. Anger and frustration are at the core of this aspect, stemming from internalized hurt and tension. Irritability and tension surges, requiring temperance and controlled separation. Inhibition and rejection (Saturn) are present with this aspect, coupled with a limiting sense of self-value.

Saturn (along with the Sun) is often attributed to the father, and with this aspect (as well as the natal opposition and conjunction), the native’s early relationship with the paternal figure mirrors Saturn’s gelid austerity. As with all aspects, none should be interpreted in isolation. It is important to consider the entirety of the birth chart, including the condition of the planets described.

The Natal Square

The natal square, often illustrated as a visual enmity, is traditionally (strictly in isolation here, for informative purposes) considered less challenging than the opposition. The natal square, also known as the tetragon, occurs when planets are four signs apart, or separated by 90°. As with all degree-based configurations or aspects, the relationship between two planets is intensified according to proximity via degree. Traditionally, the square is referred to as adversarial, indicating rivalry or discord. Malefics (Saturn and Mars) are considered particularly challenging when configured via square, especially considering that, traditionally, Mars rules the tetragon, or square (the Saturn configuration is the diameter, or opposition).

Applying and Separating Aspects

In traditional astrology, planets applying within three degrees participate in engagement, or coming together. As opposed to separating aspects, applying aspects are considered more potent because they indicate future circumstances. Contrastingly, separating aspects are interpretive of past events. Within the context of the natal chart, applying aspects also indicate, from the moment of inception, the nativity’s future potential.

Meaning and Correspondences of Mars in Astrology

Mars represents the spirit of energy, courage, and enterprise. His energy, when implemented strategically, is the polarity of shiftlessness and cowardice. At its best, Mars mirrors the unconquerable energy and potent will of a warrior. This is the necessary masculine energy that initiates and asserts without subjection to reason. Traditionally, as a nocturnal malefic, Mars negates via severance or separation.

Mars (also known as Mavors, Ares, Pyrois, or Gradivus), appears as a fiery star of sparkling color. He is a masculine, nocturnal planet of the night sect. His temperament is hot and dry, choleric and fiery. His approximate course completion is one year and 321 days. His greatest northern latitude is 4°31′ while his southern latitude is 6°47′. [1] Mars has his domicile in Aries and Scorpio, is exalted at 28° Capricorn, sees its depression/ fall at 28° Cancer, and is in detriment/ fall in Libra and Taurus. Mars stations before his 80-day retrograde, and governs the water triplicity (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces, respectively). In traditional astrology, Mars is known as the lesser malefic, and finds his Joy in the sixth place. He governs Tuesday, in the first and eighth hour from the Sun. He solely befriends Venus, remaining antagonistic to all other planets.

Meaning and Correspondences of Saturn in Astrology

Saturn (also known as Kronos, Phainon, or Falcifer), the greater malefic, is aligned with boundaries, discipline, and structure. His four main groups of rings, metaphors of limitation, range in temperature from -163 to -203° Celsius. He governs time, is associated with maturity (70+), and is attributed to subjectively negative experiences such as suffering, pain, isolation, and loneliness (reflective of his traditional joy in the 12th place). Just as benefics (Jupiter and Venus) have the power to say ‘yes’, malefics are inclined to negate, or say ‘no’. Saturn denies via rejection or exclusion.

Saturn’s nature is cold and dry, principally melancholic, and of the diurnal sect. Saturn is the traditional, domicile lord of Capricorn (nocturnal) and Aquarius (diurnal), exalted in Libra (exaltation degree: 21° Libra), in adversity/ ‘detriment’ in Cancer and Leo, and in its depression/ ‘fall’ in Aries. His energy may be more or less constructive in one’s chart relevant to sect. His taste is astringent and his color is dark brown (along with grey and black). He governs substances such as lead (in part, due to its toxicity), stone, and wood.


References:

1. Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos

2. Brennan, Chris, Hellenistic Astrology


Copyright © 2018 Saturn and the Sun Astrology. All rights reserved.