Hellenistic Astrology
Hellenistic Astrology

Hellenistic Astrology

Here’s a chart example to demonstrate many of the major themes of the Hellenistic tradition of astrology.  In this essay I refrain from outright interpretation and simply discuss how one would see a chart according to the Hellenistic tradition. I choose a person well known to many Americans as both or either a politician and an entertainer.

 

Rush Limbaugh, according to some (Democrats), was the de facto leader of the Republican Party, yet he has never held elected or appointed office.  He is an influential talk-radio host and self-proclaimed spokesperson for the conservative cause.  He has been a national figure for the past twenty years.  He has helped steer many a political cause, his depictions of liberal politicians can be devastating, and he is not particularly beloved by women.  Yet even some liberals find him an entertaining guilty pleasure. 

Let’s take our time with what we have here. First of all we’re seeing his astrological chart using whole sign houses, the original house (or “place” topos) system. In the next image of his chart, to make the contrast more clear, I have deleted the Midheaven degree, which in the ancient tradition was mostly used for predictive purposes. I have included the Ascendant that always falls somewhere in the first house or place.

Ptolemy’s Harmonics

The Harmonics [12] is probably earlier than the Tetrabiblos.[13]  Although Ptolemy is well known for his astronomy and astrology, he was also one of the ancient sources for theories of harmony.
The work studies this universal field of knowledge for which music and geometry are considered subsets. Much of the material in Harmonics is exclusively concerned with music, including setting up exact number ratios for the different modes.

The Harmonics Book III applies his previous exposition of intervals, scales, and ratios to ethics and psychology, and to astronomy and astrology. Unfortunately, some of Book III has been lost to us. In Chapter 9 of Book III, Ptolemy presents the astrological aspects and their ratios to one another. Curiously, in this presentation Ptolemy does not use degree numbers for the aspects. Instead, he considers the twelve zoidia as discrete units and the whole number relationships between them that yield moriai and epimoriai. This discussion might have fit better into the Tetrabiblos Book I, within his treatment of the qualities and relationships between whole zoidia.

Ptolemy’s Digression: Astrology’s Aspects and Musical Intervals
Statement of the Problem

This essay addresses a problem in the development and continuity of astrology: how do astrologers, past and present, account for the astrological aspects? Aspects are the means by which a planet or position (Ascendant, Lot of Fortune) has contact from another planet or other planets. Once an astrologer has designated planet or a position to answer a question posed to the astrological chart, aspects to the designated position provide information to answer a question and determine an outcome.