Hellenistic Astrology

A new study by Professor McMahon at Vanderbilt University has found links between the season of birth and personality. Some astrologers are hailing this study, claiming it proves astrology. But before getting too excited, we should consider what this study, and many others showing a seasonal biological effect, are measuring and what the implications might be for astrology. (Click to join the discussion on Facebook about these studies.)

Kepler MA graduate Maria Mateus has done an excellent job of summarizing the Gauquelin controversy from The Case for Astrology by John Anthony West.

michel_gauquelin"Michel Gauquelin was a graduate in statistics and psychology from the Sorbonne who, together with his wife Francoise, conducted the most significant body of statistical research in astrology to date. While his work does not substantiate some canons of traditional astrology, it conclusively vindicates astrology’s fundamental premise: that there is a relationship between the planets’ positions at the moment of birth and the direction of individual lives."  Click here to read the full article.

Carol Tebbs gives an overview of techniques covered in the "Moving the Chart Through Time" certificate. Using Chelsea Clinton's chart, she touches on the effect of directions, progressions, transits and eclipses during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Preview a sample lecture from our Relationships certificate. Karen McCauley presents a technique from Claudius Ptolemy to determine the influence of the mother and father, based on whether it is a day-time or night-time chart.

In addition to webinars and workshops that are held at any time, there are regularly scheduled 10-week courses that are part of the primary Certificate and Diploma Program. These follow a specific schedule with four terms per year. You are welcome to begin taking courses in any term. Please click here for additional information on the certificate and diploma program. 

2014-2015

 

Register by

Term begins

Term ends

Fall Term

Sept 19, 2014

Sept 22, 2014

Dec 7, 2014 (11 weeks to allow for Thanksgiving)

Winter Term

Jan 2, 2015

Jan 5, 2015

Mar 15, 2015

Spring Term

March 27, 2015

March 30, 2015

June 7, 2015

Summer Term

June 19, 2015

June 22, 2015

Aug 30, 2015


 

As we have another eclipse this Sunday, July 11, it seems a good time to consider the Moon's nodes. Astronomically, the nodes are the points where the Moon's orbit around the earth intersects the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun (and planets) around the Earth. Whether it is a north or south node is determined by whether the Moon's orbit is has crossed the ecliptic going toward the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. When this intersection of the Moon's orbit and the apparent path of the Sun and planets occurs during a new or full moon, we have an eclipse.

Astrologically, there are different schools of thought with regard to interpretation of the nodes. In general, traditional astrology treated the South node as malefic and the north node as tentatively benefic. Vedic astrologers in India do not like either one. Here are some early interpretations:

Centiloquium of Hermes  Trismegistus (1262):
"The North Node with the infortunes denotes terrible mischiefs, for he increases their malice; but with the fortunes he works good, and augments their benignity. But the significations of the Dragon's tail are to be noted the contrary way."

Guido Bonatti (1296-1300 CE).
“Indeed, the Head of the Dragon is naturally a benefic, and of a masculine nature; but by accident it is sometimes a malefic. For its nature is composed of the nature of Jupiter and of the nature of Venus, and this signifies increase … Indeed its Tail is naturally malefic, and of a feminine nature; but if by accident it sometimes becomes a benefic. And its nature is composed of the nature of Saturn and Mars. And it signifies decrease, namely dejection and a fall and poverty, and the decrease of every good thing and every fortune.”

Later, the concepts of fate, karma and reincarnation became associated with the nodes. In this view, the south node represents the past and the north node represents this life or what the person should be striving toward.  On Molly's Astrology Blog is a good example of the karmic interpretation: "In a karmic sense, the Moon’s Nodes represent lessons to be learned in this Earthly incarnation. These lessons almost always have to do with the way we connect with others."

Personally, I seldom use the Nodes in interpretation unless they are within 2 degrees of being conjunct another planet or in a partill aspect. I treat them as a unity, not that you are moving from the South Node to the North node or focusing on one over the other. Always in opposition, they continually present us with the challenge of shining a light on our basic approach to life, our habits and unconscious patterns.   How do you use the Nodes? Do you find them useful? 

Features of Hellenistic Astrological Techniques
Joseph Crane
 
Here I address not the historian and scholar of the Hellenistic world, but instead I address the person who is trained in modern astrology and comes to this astrological tradition for the first time.
 
There are several issues that one who is familiar with other astrological traditions must confront immediately.  For some people, it would be easier to learn Vedic or Chinese astrology, which appears sufficiently different from custom to require any adjustments.
 
No Outer Planets: all of a sudden the natal chart looks more barren and appears to give much less information.  This means that we have to find more information from the visible planets than we are used to finding.  There is one consolation: during this course we will look at some additional positions in the birth chart: fixes stars and lots.  The natal chart will not seem so barren for long.
 
Tropical Zodiac: this is a complicated issue, especially since the constellations and tropical signs were roughly aligned during the first and second centuries C.E., a period of time that gave much astrology to the world.  The pictorial dimensions of the twelve signs of the zodiac stem from utilizing the constellations, not tropical signs, for astrological purposes (although there is evidence for the Hellenistic use of sidereal positions). But if we confine ourselves to the tropical zodiac,  essential issues like symmetries of rising times and times above the horizon, which correspond to symmetries to the Aries/Libra and Cancer/Capricorn axes respectively, and the use of ascensions for predictive purposes will not be compromised.
 
Whole Sign Houses: these may be familiar through Vedic astrology.  According to this house system, the first house or place was the entire sign of the Ascendant and the eleven others proceeded around the zodiac.  This was the first one used and, in my view, has a compelling and enduring intellectual attraction.  Astrology’s subsequent use of quadrant system for houses is an accident of history and not necessarily a positive development in the field of astrology.  Although many people are habituated to quadrant house systems, during this course students are required to cast charts in a whole sign system. I suspect that several students will continue to use whole sign houses after they have completed this course.
 
Whole Sign Aspects: The Hellenistic tradition does not use aspect orbs as do modern astrologers, nor are there planetary orbs as used by medieval astrologers.  Using sign-to-sign aspects unconditioned by orb does not create an unwieldy amount of information. Instead, there is a strong limiting factor: the aspects that are most critical are from a benefic or malefic to a significator for a particular issue.  One does not use all aspects from each to each planet, nor do we find complex aspect configurations as we do in modern astrology.
 
Planetary-based Predictive systems: Modern astrologers are accustomed to using predictions based on transits – mostly transiting outer planets when they form aspects to fast-moving natal positions like the angles and the luminaries.  Ancient astrologers also used transits but did not emphasize them.  Instead, profections by year and by month can give detail to prediction for shorter amounts of time.  What is unusual to the modern student of astrology, however, is the prevalence of planetary lords or chronocrators to depict shorter or longer periods of time in a person’s life.  The interpretation of this time is based on the intrinsic natures of the planets involved and how they are placed in the natal chart.
 
There are chart factors from the Hellenistic tradition that are less demanding to the modern student and add to natal astrology.  These are considerations of planetary sect, orientality and other configurations with the Sun, lots and fixed star positions, triplicity lords and compound dispositors.  Having made the adjustments outlined above, the student may find these considerations of lasting importance in their understanding and use of astrology.
By Joseph Crane, MA, BCIA
 
Here I address not the historian and scholar of the Hellenistic world, but instead I address the person who is trained in modern astrology and comes to the ancient Hellensitic astrological tradition for the first time.
 
There are several issues that one who is familiar with other astrological traditions must confront immediately.  For some people, it would be easier to learn Vedic or Chinese astrology, which appears sufficiently different from custom to require any adjustments. Here are a few:
 
No Outer Planets: all of a sudden the natal chart looks more barren and appears to give much less information.  This means that we have to find more information from the visible planets than we are used to finding.  There is one consolation: Hellenistic astrology uses some additional positions in the birth chart: fixes stars and lots.  The natal chart will not seem so barren for long.
 

For the first time the Vatican has published one part of the 16th century documents related to Science and natural Philosophy censored by the Inquisition. "[W]hen members of the Inquisition started to study some documents, more specifically the ones related with astrology, they catalogued them as hidden science. Two of the most affected astronomers were Copernicus and Galileo."  Click here for video and print article

A Bangalore astrologer stole cars to impress his clients. Hmmmmm..... Click here for article

Here's a blog by Lynn Hayes that I fully agree with on "Don't let astrology support a life of fear." Click here for blog.

The origins of "woo." Jim Lippard is tracking down the origin of the term "woo". He finds a few references (mostly to "woo-woo" or "woo woo") in the 1990s, and then a gap until an article in The North British Review, vol. 1, no. 11, p. 340, in a discussion of "Our Scottish fishermen" from 1842: "When beating up in stormy weather along a lee-shore, it was customary for one of the men to take his place on the weather gunwale, and there continue waving his hand in a direction opposite to the sweep of the sea, using the while a low moaning chant, Woo, woo, woo, in the belief that the threatening surges might be induced to roll past without breaking over."  Read more.

Jupiter caught another asteroid or comet - and it was caught on video. Read more

Two recent studies postulate that life can exist on Saturn's moon Titan. But an astrobiologist from NASA says wait a minute ... Read more.

The Cassini orbitor has captures more stunning pictures of Saturn. Click here to view.

Research suggests that "extreme life on Earth could survive on Mars."  Read more.

Comet McNaught C/2009 R1 will be visible in the early morning sky by mid-June. Read more.

New research suggests the Earth and Moon formed 120 million years later than previously thought. Read more here and here.

Curious about what astrology is and does?  This short video by Enid Newberg, who teaches in the Fundamentals of Natal Astrology certificate, gives an overview of what astrologers have said about astrology and the different branches of practice.