View Full Version : Book - The Sun and The Aspects

21-02-2004, 05:29
I recently bought 'The Sun and The Aspects by Maurice McCann I'm currently about three quarters of the way through reading it.

McCann's expertise lies in his research into the technical roots of Astrology. Although a traditional Astrologer by leaning, his book is not designed to prove that the ancient ideas were right. Rather he tries to see if there is still any validity in some of the central concepts to traditional Astrology and whether these have any application or use to the modern Astrologer.

The book is just over 100 pages long but McCann packs an awful lot into that space. Indeed there is so much that one criticism I have is that he doesn't develop some of the points he makes, they are simply thrown out for consideration.

The central theme of the book is the vital importance of the Sun to the entire Astrological system and to show that the major aspects depend almost entirely on the Sun for their existence.

He goes on to examine the introduction of the minor aspects and asks to what extent they are based on Astrological principles and ends with a consideration of the present approach of allowing orbs to aspects rather than planets. He does not set out to explain a system of his own or to insist that his view is the only acceptable one. He is actually trying to start discussions about some of the ideas and freely admits that some of his views are speculation. As he seems to want people to discuss these issues, I thought it might be an idea to start one or two threads based on them.

If any of you find the ideas interesting and want to know more about them, his book costs 6.95 and is published by his own company Tara Astrological Publications. The standard of publication is not particularly good, but then at that price it is quite acceptable.

I'll add a few links in a further post to those of his views which I start a thread on.

22-02-2004, 06:43
I've now finished reading the book so I thought I'd just add a couple of last comments.

McCann shows four main periods (though not of equal length) in the history of Astrology. The first period he calls natural Astrology and says that during this period Astrologers first identified aspects by looking at the sky (the word aspect means to look at or view). In this period it's likely that the major aspects were identified, simply by looking andy using hands and fingers as a measuring rod. Later in this period real measuring rods were developed using the geometry of triangles. Signs were not really used at this stage, simply planetary relationships. So it didn't matter if aspecst were 'out of sign' Also during this period the inter-relation of Sun and Moon were identified and predictions of new moons, full moons, eclipses etc made. Predictions were of natural events, the coming seasons, when to plant when to reap, when the high tide would come.

By the second period signs were becoming important and Astrologers were beginning to codify their science. This reached its epitome in Ptolemy and the Tetrabiblos. This was a system based on Astrological theory and on observation. The Sun was at the centre of this system and all dignities, aspects and other astrological phenomena were recognised as being contrlled by the Sun.

The third phase was between Kepler and Alan Leo. Kepler invented aspects based both on dividing the circle and on musical harmonics. The minor aspects came into being - some by Kepler himself others developed later. McCann argues that these aspects were not based on Astrological theory or observable data - they were based on mathematics not Astrology. Thus he treats all minor aspects as being ungrounded in Astrology.

The last and current phase was started by Alan Leo - in this phase orbs were given to aspects, rather than planets (which had previously been the case). Leo also opened the door to the psychological approach to Astrology. Whilst this introduced good ideas such as an ethical approach to Astrology, most of the new bread of Astrologers did not understand the basis of the system and ideas they were using. Thus there was a move to get rid of old ideas (such as Cazimi or 'under the beams' or dignities such as Terms and Face). McCann actually feels that some of the historical ideas may not be valid - the original basis of the ideas may have been lost, or texts miscopied or miswritten. However the Ptolemaic system is valid and should serve as the basis for any discussion about improving Astrology.

The basic message appears to be that we should understand Astrology before we start to tinker with it or we are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

His main message is that Astrology is based on real observable planetary movements - without the planets there can be no Astrology, therefore we should spend more time looking at how the planets relate to each other, rather than inventing new aspects - he feels that you can't have aspects simply as arcs of a circle, there's much more to them based on the planets involved.

22-02-2004, 14:06
So does he consider the inconjunct aspects (semi-sextile and quincunx) invalid?

All I know about Maurice McCann is what I heard from friends who attended the first astrology symposium in Belgrade a few years ago -- that he's a wild man. :laugh:


22-02-2004, 14:15
The book sounds right up my alley...

If you have further details, please let me know.

Doing a quick search, I wasn't able to locate a copy.

edited to add:

here's a link to the book and his site:

Tara Astrology (http://www.tara-astrology.com/index.php?id=229)

(I don't know what happened in my earlier search!)

22-02-2004, 23:46
I'm not sure whether McCann is indeed a 'wild man' but yes he does treat the inconjuncts as not being aspects. In so doing he follows tradition. Ptolemy took these as not being aspects and virtually every Astrologer till the 20th Century follows suit.

The reason that these two 'aspects' were not allowed was based on the relationship with other signs. Aspects required two signs (so the conjunction is not an aspect) and the two signs had to be involved either in a 'commandin/obeying' relationship or an 'Equal power' relationship. These relationships are dependent on the signs being equi distant from the same equinoctial sign (either Aries or Libra). Signs that are not equidistant cannot form aspects - So Taurus and Pisces can form aspects but Taurus and Gemini cannot.

Lee Lehman in her book on Classical astrology shows that it's possible, to treat some inconjuncts as aspects, even keeping to Ptolemy's rules

This approach does much to debar any other aspects than the major ones - so all the minor aspects are removed :)

Now this isn't McCann's idea it was basic Astrological theory till the time of Kepler and even beyond. If minor aspects are to be allowed then we need some Astrological basis on which they can be seen to hold. McCAnn doesn't allow the nature of numbers as an underpinning element of aspects, Kepler did.

The treatment of aspects is quite complex so I might start a thread on that as an issue.

23-02-2004, 00:04
Minderwiz, please excuse a dumb question, but could you explain what you mean by allowing orbs to aspects rather than to planets?

Thanks --

23-02-2004, 01:17
Originally posted by Minderwiz
I'm not sure whether McCann is indeed a 'wild man' but yes he does treat the inconjuncts as not being aspects. In so doing he follows tradition. Ptolemy took these as not being aspects and virtually every Astrologer till the 20th Century follows suit.

Does that mean that Ptolemy was aware of these -- for the sake of argument, let's call them degrees rather than aspects -- aware of these "degrees", that they had been promulgated by other astrologers, but decided that they didn't qualify as aspects because they didn't conform to his rules? Or does it mean that Ptolemy never considered their existence in astrological terms because those degrees didn't conform to his rules?

I'm a little leary of arguments suggesting one whole approach is wrong because that's not how they did it back in umpty-hundred B.C. or because it's not "natural" but rather man-made. They didn't used to pasteurize dairy products either, and lots of people got sick and died. Because it's old doesn't make it better. And as for McCann's diatribe against mathematics, I don't remember Plato arguing for the banishment of mathematicians in his Republic. Ancient Greeks in general got along quite well with mathematics.

New approaches may not always be right, but they do deserve consideration. Having formed an hypothesis, one tests it. Those tests, if structured and performed correctly, will either prove or disprove the hypothesis. But if you refuse to even consider the hypothesis because it flies in the face of accepted theory, then in my opinion, you have lost your value as a member of that field of endeavor. Closed-mindedness is the death of any system, including astrology.



23-02-2004, 02:48

Yes Ptolemy was indeed aware of both therse 'aspects' - he refers to them as being disjunct. So he clearly decided that they did not meet the criteria he was using for aspects.

You are quite right to have a degree of scepticism about these areas. For a long time it was assumed that Ptolemy codified what was then known about Astrology and Astronomy. However it is by no means clear that he was either a practising Astrologer/Astronomer - he may simply have written down the work of others.

Furthermore as we learn more about Arab and Greek Astrology there are doubts as to whether Ptolemy represented mainstream Astrology of his day. The discovery of the works of Dorotheus of Sidon, amongst others poses some questions. However as far as I'm aware none of the other classical Astrologers treated the semi-sextile and the quincunx as aspects. They did seem to recognise that their existence might indicate problems in things coming to pass - if the relevant significators couldn't 'see' each other then they might not co-operate. :)

The issue of mathematics is an interesting one. The Greeks did indeed have a fascination with maths and, as you say, it underlay many of their approaches to life and a belief in order.

When Kepler introduced the quintiles he drew not only on the mathematics of the circle but also the mathematics of harmony. The Ptolemaic aspects correspond to music intervals, the sextile corresponds to a minor third, the square to a perfect fourth, the trine to a perfect fifth and the opposition to an octave. Kepler introduced the Quintile (corresponding to a major third) the bi-quintile (a major sixth) and the sesquiquadrate (135 degrees corresponding to a minor sixth). All other possible aspects (except the majors) he rejected.

McCann's case is that music is not Astrology and that aspects should only be allowed if they have a basis in Astrology. Now whilst the Ptolemaic ones do, I'm sure that Ptolemy would have been aware of the connection to the intervals on the musical scale and would have seen this as confirmation that these aspects were important. From a numerological point of view it's possible to argue (as Plato would) that the underlying structure of the world has order and system and that whole numbers can show the essence of that system.

I'm therefore by no means sure that I would reject Kepler because his aspects are 'musical' rather than 'astrological'. However if we simply allow any division of the circle (including what would be discordant notes in music) are we really adding anything new and indeed where do we stop?

McCann doesn't particularly say that Ptolemy was right - the end. He simply says that if we want to introduce new ideas we should start from an understanding of why astrology is as it is. The Ptolemaic system may not be perfect, or even correct, but it offers a starting point for the analysis of what works and what doesn't.

He seems to be trying to be open-minded but wants new ideas to rest on clear Astrological principles rather than psychological, musical or mathematical. I don't think that's unreasonable, cetainly as a basis for discussion.

24-02-2004, 02:25
Well, Minderwiz, your author sounds like "my kind of guy." As you and others are aware, I often work with "just the basics" of astrology -- the planets, the angles, a few major aspects -- and not the houses and signs and minor aspects and rulers.

While this is not always true of all my work, as evidenced by the Life Purposes threads where I do use rulerships, I have found that sometimes simplicity leads to greater insight and greater accuracy of readings -- as well as requiring a lot less work. I'll be interested in any other comments you offer. I haven't seen the book in our local book stores yet but I'll look for it.

Thanks for sharing. Dave.

24-02-2004, 06:35
Originally posted by Lee
Minderwiz, please excuse a dumb question, but could you explain what you mean by allowing orbs to aspects rather than to planets?

Thanks --
Lee Anyone? Help...? :)

-- Lee

24-02-2004, 08:27

McCann does indeed try to get down to basics - I infer from what he writes that he believes that early Astrologers took aspects from what was visible in the sky, so yes those early aspects were not sign related.

However, McCann argues that they were Sun related - the trines of the Sun to the superior planets are closely associated with their stations retrograde and direct and McCann argues this led to the 'discovery' of the trine. The opposition of the superior planets to the Sun occurs only when they are retrograde.

Ptolemy's system is also Sun related because to be in aspect planets must be in signs equidistant from the four cardinal points of the Sun - the equinoctial signs and the solstice signs. However by Ptolemy's day signs clearly have some importance, even if their relationships are still Sun related. Even so it does introduce a question about the importance of the signs compared to planets and their inter-relationships.


Originally Astrologers attributed orbs to planets - the orbs for the Sun and Moon being larger than the rest, and the orbs held whatever the aspects. So in an aspect involving the Sun and Saturn; the Sun had an orb of 15 degrees (according to Al Biruni) and Saturn had an orb of 9 degress (also Al Biruni) add the two orbs together and divide by 2, which gives 12 degrees. Each time the Sun and Saturn come within 12 degrees of a major aspect (irrespective of which one) they are taken as being in aspect. This range of 12 degrees is referred to as being within moeties or half-orbs.

The orbs belong to the planets not the aspect - Modern Astrology (since Alan Leo) attributes the orbs to the aspects - thus a conjunction may be said to have an orb of 8 degrees and a square an orb of 6 degrees (or whatever system is used) irrespective of the planets involved.

McCann's argument is that planets determine the nature of aspects, not angles and that as per 2000 years of tradition orbs relate to the planets (which have physical existence) and not to angles (which have no physical existence)

isthmus nekoi
24-02-2004, 08:57
Sometimes the modern system encorporates orbs in respect to planet and aspect, as I've read greater allowances for aspects to the sun. I think the older system makes more sense b/c it has a practical reason for it.

24-02-2004, 09:24
Ah, now I see. Thank you! :)

-- Lee

24-02-2004, 12:56
Let us assume that a conjunction between two astrological bodies should be anywhere within 16 degrees of separation. When a planet is in opposition to another, should the 16 degrees still be operative? Most would say no! Let us agree that 8 degrees (half of the conjunction's 16 degrees) would be appropriate for two planets in opposition since they are dividing the visible sky between them.

On this basis, the square aspect would receive a 4 degree orb, the trine a 5 or 6 degree orb (we are keeping the numbers whole), and a sextile would have 2 or three degrees orb. The semi-square (and perhaps the square-and-a-half ((135 degrees)) would have 2 degree orbs. The 30 and 150 degree aspects might have a single degree orb.

Now, consider that you can't accept a 16 degree orb for the conjunction but instead would accept an 8 degree orb. This would reduce other aspect-orbs to very small numbers. Would half degree and quarter degree orbs be useful?

Now look at the use of signs as a basis for considering planetary relationships in terms of "aspects." You probably wouldn't feel comfortable with a rule that said Mars in Aries can't be considered as being square to Moon in Cancer no matter where in the signs those bodies might be. Yet, when we use rulerships in the way that we say Mars in Virgo influences Venus in Aries because Mars rules Aries -- well this might just be (as an example) as absurd as having a 16 or 25 degree orb.

Yet, there are times when both beginner students and highly capable astrologers do this -- only the more-than-beginners and the many middle-range students and practicioners avoid this. Why?

The beginning student is just following rules, guidelines and the last two books he/she read and may have no real understanding of why and what. The highly capable practioner may not be able to clearly define why he did so -- but it is done partly on intuition and partly on the fact that many other factors support doing so. Its just like reading the cards using the Celtic Cross. One reader just reads the book-keywords for the cards, the other reader relates the cards to their positions, blends the meaning into a story line that unifies or depicts understandable conflicts and choices, and then goes on to combine specific card positions into sub-groupings of meanings (called clustering) -- plus utilizes similar suites and ranks to add robustness and clarity to the reading. Some things are hard to explain except to others who are further along in their ability to synthesize complexities.

In the thread where M-Press is sharing her thoughts on her life's purpose I have posted a message that both deals with tight orbs and with planets in opposing signs but without tight aspects. This comes from experience. Now, we haven't heard yet from M-Press (as she is traveling right now) but I had no thoughts about going out on a limb in the statements made that involved tight aspects and included just "sign" aspects. It just all fits. Thats all I can say. There are rules, then there's also "no rules" applications. Its hard to explain.

So, in summary, I think it is best to work with the most basic of tools while also learning about the conventional tools. We all reach various points in our travels where we can add new things to our tool box. The important thing, perhaps, is to avoid just filling up our tool box with everything that can fit into it. Dave.

25-02-2004, 00:39
Just following on from the observations you make,

There seem to me to be two reasons for the narrow orbs for aspects that you mention. The first is the one which is based on divisions of the circle - thus if you allow 16 degrees for the orb or a conjunction (division by 1) you use half of that, 8 degrees for an opposition (division by 2) 4 degrees for a square (division by 4), etc.

The second argument seems to be that small orbs are necessary to prevent overlapping. If 10 degrees were used for all aspects then is a separation of 82 degrees a wide square (90 degrees exact) or a wide quintile (72 degrees exact)? One answer is to give major aspects precedence but then someone's going to claim that a quintile is, in their opinion a major aspect.

The other day I saw a book advertised, which concentrated on the quindecile aspect of 165 degrees. Now I sadly confess I've never heard of this aspect but my immediate response was along the lines of is this indeed a new aspect or simply a wide opposition (or possibly a wide quincunx)? It apparantly sheds light on obsessive compulsives - one example presumably being those who have an obsession/compulsion to devise new aspects.

The argument about giving orbs to the planets and keeping to the major aspects (because these are the only ones dependent on the Sun) is that whilst there are fewer aspects, those that exist are wider and so more opportunities for aspects exist.

Lilly attributes an orb of 17 degrees to the Sun 12.5 to the Moon, 12 to Jupiter, 10 to Saturn, 7,5 to Mars, 8 to Venus and 7 to Mercury (these are different to those used by Al Biruni). To get the orb of an aspect you simply add the orbs of the planets concerned and divide by 2. So ANY aspect between Sun and Moon will occur when these planets are within 14.25 degrees. Thus a sextile will occur between Moon in Cancer and Sun in Virgo when these planets are between 45.75 degrees and 74.25 degrees apart in those signs.

The nature of the aspect depends more on the planets involved than it does on the angular separation. Thus a trine between Mars and Saturn is a more stressful relationship than a square between Venus and Jupiter. In evaluating an aspect we should pay less attention to the 'type' and more attention to the planets (and indeed their placements).

Aspects will also be affected by the speed of the planets - all textbooks will tell you that an applying aspect is formed when a faster moving planet approaches a slower moving planet. They will then talk, for example, of Venus moving faster than Mars. It's easy to draw the conclusion that Venus must always apply to Mars and that the reverse is impossible. However it's quite possible for Mars to apply to Venus - when Venus is approaching or has reached one of its stations it can easily be slower than Mars (this is not the only possibility but serves the example).

It's also possible that aspects will never be perfected even though they are applied to - planets stationing and changing direction are the obvious way in which this happens. Thus Venus might apply to Mars but then station retrograde and move away without every perfecting - this is called refranation.

Now should an aspect which will never actually be formed be treated as having effect? Horary Astrologers certainly allow for refranation but how often do you check a nativity to see if the aspect applied to is actually formed at a later date? So is application enough to establish the link or must the aspect be capable of perfection in order to be treated as valid. In my own chart Saturn is applying to a sextile with Uranus just over 4 degrees away - but it never actually perfected that aspect because it turned retrograde first - so have I really got Saturn sextile Uranus?

So we now have two factors to consider as well as the angular separation and the orbs - what are the planets involved in the aspect and how fast are they moving. This I think keeps us to the basics but allows a system that also can deal with a variety of circumstances.

25-02-2004, 12:07
We have to consider the nature of astrologers and astrology in times past. Let us consider an astrologer of the 1400's.

1) Most of these practitioners would have little in terms of accurate measuring devices to determine where planets were relative to a zodiacal measuring point. They might be lucky to be accurate within a couple of degrees.

2) In terms of ephemerides, many practitioners might have tables copied from other's tables covering planet, sun and moon positions at periodic dates in prior years. These tables would not have been any more accurate than the measuring instruments of those who tabulated them.

3) In terms of time (hours and minutes), town clocks did not come into somewhat general use for some time after the 1400's. Rising points (for an Ascendant) might be sign-related at best. I.e., a constellation was observed rising or a bright fixed star was overhead.

The above three points suggest that charts were not highly accurate in terms of present position, may have been based on badly constructed birth charts in terms of positions and ascending angles.

4) Since there were only 7 astrological bodies the use of those seven elements may have contributed to two considerations: A) The chart interpretation may have been based on just a few aspect patterns which may or may not have provided a satisfactory reading for a client. B) The attribution of planets as rulers of signs (along with debilities and other stuff) would expand the interpretive reading and would have provided enough ambiguity and contradictions to satisfy the astrologer and the client who wanted to believe.-- a rich mixture of good and bad information which could be taken or discarded as one saw fit.

All of the above, if related to natal astrology, current transit pronostications and future predictions would be cause for doubt, hard work and poor results. It is no wonder that Hoary practices became so prevelant. One could more easily work with the day's current data -- it didn't go far out of date much since the day before and the current ascending degree/position could be somewhat easily determined. As you are well aware, this became the astrology of the day for several centuries in most countries.

There were exceptions of course. Benitio of Italy in the 1400's was working with mid-points and was historically documented as having tremendous success on behalf of his royal supporters. Of course, he had access to fairly good past-position tables and good measuring equipment.

As for your recounting of the author's view that Trines were probably inspired by retro's and direct station points -- that seems highly reasonable and could have led practitioners to look at other minor aspects other than conjunctions, oppositions and squares. Once you get beyond these particular aspects your observation that planets at equidistant points from a cardinal cusp (equinox or solstice point) were in aspect doesn't hold. So it is possible that the awareness of "trines" led to determining other new aspects. This could have evolved along with the growing prevalance of town clocks, better measuring equipment and printed astrological tables as the 1600's and later came along.

So, all of our heritage (astrological) has to considered in terms of when and under what conditions it developed. We do owe it to ourselves to not be misled or limited by poor concepts that are either outdated or which were never valid in the first place. This is something that beginning students can't pursue -- it places the burden on others of more experience to consider, dialog on, and teach/share with others.

This is a good thread. We can probably consider other issues at a later date to pursue. Dave.

26-02-2004, 02:47
Yes some good points there

The problem of accurate copies of texts is certainly one which is valid - it may well be that there are significant errors either in translations of books (often through three or four languages) and the copying of tables. Indeed to a much smaller extent these problems continue in errors in proof reading modern books :)

Time measurement may be much more technically accurate now - however record keeping may not be - in England and Wales there's still not accurate recording of the time of birth - and even in countries where it's supposed to be recorded there may be errors or delays - witness some of the threads on this forum :) But you are quite right, horary became popular because of the lack of any accurate birthtimes (or dates) for most of the population.

The angular separation of planets can be accurately measured in the sky using very simple triangle based techiques. To measure a sextile for example all that is needed is to have a stick as long as an arm and holding the ends of the stick between the fingers of outstretched hands and arms will give quite an accurate 60 degree angle. The square can be achieved using a stick equal to the square root of two arms lengths, a trine using a stick equal to the square root of three arms lengths and an opposition using a stick equal to the square root of four arms lengths (which will point in exactly opposite directions).

Measuring these in terms of sign position doesn't require a great deal more accuracy if a tropical zodiac is used. It's clear that the equinox points and the Solstice points were very accurately measured over 5000 years ago. Using a degree a day for the Sun's movement will produce reasonable accuracy, which can be corrected every three months.

It's also the case that Greek and Arabian mathematicians were quite adept at the geometry of circles and spheres (we still have much of their work as part of our own mathematics courses in schools). I don't see any reason why they couldn't have invented a host of aspects (and indeed found a way of measuring them) if they had wanted to. It's more likely they believed that the major aspects were the only aspects because of matters unrelated to geometry of the circle.

The dignities and the debilities are a highly debatable area. Whilst the rulership allocation has system and reason, there are problems with some of the other dignities, such as exaltation, triplicity, terms and face. The basis of the Terms in particular is rather obscure and we really don't know in any detail why they are as described in the ancient texts. However where explanations exist they are clearly based on Astrological principles. I don't think they were just invented to give more possibilities. The Greeks invented the various Parts or Lots and it would not have been difficult (and indeed was not difficult) to use these to facilitate a wide variety of astrological data. Indeed so much data that there really isn't much need to introduce new aspects, new planets or asteroids :)

If much of early Astrology is related to the seasons and planet/Sun relationships then it isn't outdated because the same relationships exist today. Where there are gaps in our knowledge of why some beliefs were held, we are right to suspend judgement but we still need to recognise that some of these concepts may still have validity.

26-02-2004, 03:47
I have a model of an Astrolab. This tool was quite helpful in the measurement of time relative to an ascending star, of latitude (which was helpful in measuring solstice and exquinox points as well as the moon's high-low points to determine nodal positions) and measurements along the zodiac.

Astrolabs were constructed by the Arabs, probably from the 7th century onward and were in use well into the 1600's. They spread to Europe slowly but were not generally available to those who practiced astrology -- although I'm sure the court-sponsored practitioners would have had them as well as other resources.

Anyways, I've always been very judgemental about my own practice of astrology and the processes I use. I look for consistent results -- if I don't get them I stop using the methodology and go on to what works. Dave.

27-02-2004, 05:24

An excellent point - what we should be looking for is Astrology that produces consistent results - in part I think that means using a system which we understand and have confidence in. Using an approach that we don't understand is bad practice.

I also agree strongly with a point that you made earlier - that the Astrologer and their interpretational skills are vital to the process. I think you likened the Astrologer to the Tarot reader. I also feel that there is a 'psychic' dimension to the reading.

I don't mean (necessarily) that the Astrologer acts as a medium or is guided by the spirit world but that in some way or other the Astrologer is able to tap in to the the 'transcendant' or 'divine' or whatever you wish to call it, or simply makes an intuitive leap that goes beyond the fragmented evidence. The fragments are assembled into a picture of true reality.

Now I've seen Astrological societies claim that Astrology is simply the application of rules and that anyone can be taught to do it. To an extent this is true but the really good Astrologer can go beyond the rules, or even ignore the rules to get to a clearer and better description of what a chart shows.

This isn't anything new - it's clear that William Lilly was quite adept at breaking the rules he laid down - even to the extent of turning squares into trines by claiming that this could be done when signs of long ascension were involved. I think the answer is not so much that Lilly failed to apply the system but that he saw a situation where the system didn't work as it should and therefore by-passed it. A good Astrologer then needs to know when to break the rules. Those rules may be those of Ptolmey or the Arab writers or the rules of Alan Leo or the rules of, say, Stephen Arroyo. The system is important but it is not the be all and end all of Astrological intrepretation. This also suggests that to good Astrologers could use different systems and yet come to the same conclusion because they see beyond the confines of the rules.

That being said - I wouldn't go to the extent of 'rule free' Astrology. With Saturn so near my Ascendant, I value structure and rules. With Uranus trine to my Sun, I can see that rules are not everything :)

28-02-2004, 20:17
As I've been doing a little research around this area, I've seen claims that Dorotheus of Sidon - who predated Ptolemy - based his approach on the numerology and geometry of Pythagoras.

If this is true, then it certainaly calls into question whether the Sun related theory is the original one. I hope to get a copy of the text in the not to far distant future so I'll post anything from it that is particularly relevant here