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Minderwiz  Minderwiz is offline
Student of Astrology
Join Date: 20 Apr 2002
Location: Wigan, UK
Posts: 7,888
Your Stars!!

I know I often criticise these columns because they emphasise the Sun alone and ignore the rest of a person's chart. So in this post I'm going to be a bit kinder to them (though not a huge lot).

The main reason why the Sun is the only planet to be used is that these columns are aimed at the general reader, who may have little knowledge of Astrology and the vast majority of whom has no idea what their chart looks like. Given that the age range of readers may be between 10 and 90, the Sun is the only planet whose position is reasonably predictable for all ages. All that the publisher need do is list the day/month(but not year) ranges for the Sun in the various signs, and the reader can then select the prediction that applies to them.

The problem for the Astrologer who writes the column (assuming that the publisher bothers paying one) is that the position of every planet other than the Sun is totally unknown and in the case of the Sun has possible range of 30 degrees. And that's where Hellenistic Astrology comes to their aid.

Helenistic Astrology used Whole Sign Houses for 'topics' that is the various areas of a person's life, each house was co-incident with a sign, depending on the sign in which the Ascendant lies. Now a modern Astrologer would simply cast a Sunrise chart for someone for whom the time of birth was unknown, in effect assuiming that everyone is born at sunrise. And the degree of the Ascendant would be part the way through a sign, depending on how far into the solar month the person was born. This would leave part of the sign above the horison (and thus in the twelfth house).

Using Whole Sign houses would make ALL of the rising sign the first house, irrespective of how much of it had risen. Thus someone born with say 3 degrees of Leo rising would have exactly the same first house as someone with 28 degrees of Leo rising. For both all of Virgo would be the second house, all of Libra the third, all of Scorpio the fourth. through to all of Cancer for the twelfth. Thus casting the prediction chart for a Leo Ascendant automatically fixes all the other houses and threfore allows predictions to be directed to particular areas of life.

Indeed the Hellenisitic Astrologer was used to casting charts which did not have the Ascendant as the first house but had a different starting point such as the Lot of Fortune, or the Sect light (that is the Sun by day and the Moon by night). Although the Ascendant was used for the large majority of charts, this acceptance of other 'starting points' was what led eventually to the concept of 'turning the chart' which is still used by modern Astrologers.

So we have a blank chart, with the houses as whole signs, starting from the sign of the Sun (we can't do a nocturnal version because we don't know which sign the readers' Moon is in), and the 12 houses laid out.

The next stage is the only one that requires some research. We look up in an ephemeris the current planetary positions for the period for which we want to make a prediction. You can find an online ephemeris here:

If we are doing predictions for a daily newspaper, we really only need to bother with the classical 7 planets (unless we want to allow for these being conjunct or in aspect to the outers) and even then it's really Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars, that will figure the most, except for when Jupiter and Saturn change signs and indeed the outers in this way). So for our 'Leo' we could have predicted on 6 October that Saturn had entered their fourth House (Scorpio) and that they would find the situation with parents (or simply at home) getting more constrained over the next few months.

We would plot the planets daily on our blank chart, and look also not just for sign ingresses but also stations retrograd and direct and indeed when they leave a sign. We would also look for major aspects between the transiting planets and each other and to the Whole sign houses.

Now Hellenisitc Astrology used whole sign aspects, so Saturn entering Leo is not only bringing domestic constraints, it's also squaring the Ascendant by whole sign, so those constraints are going to make life difficult for the 'Leo' That might come to a head when the Sun enters Tauru sin April, because now the Sun will be in opposition to Saturn and the Sun is the 'Ascendant' ruler. As we can see that this will occur on the 28th April, we can used that to pin down the day in which domestic issues come to a head.

Strictly speaking Hellenisitc Astrologer were a little more sophisticated, whole sign aspects were mainly seen as being more effective if they came from a planet earlier in the zodiac So the Sun would be opposing Saturn from the moment it entered Taurus to the moment it left, but the period when the degree aspect is 3 degrees or less would indicate it's strongest effect (in both directions), so we might build a 3 day range either side of that prediction.

Hellenisitic Astrology labelled Venus and Jupiter as having a favourable effect and Mars and Saturn having an unfavourable effect (which is still seen as the case). So When Jupiter enters Aries (the ninth House for our Leo) it will not only benefit areas such as overseas travel or education, it will also trine the Ascendant from the right, so this will also have a good effect on the person's health and spiritual well being. When Venus enters the fifth House (Sagittarius) she will also have a beneficial effect not only on children (born or as yet unborn) but also on the affairs of the Seventh house (Aquarius by sextile), so the marriage might be blessed with a child or existing children bring happiness to the parents.

These are all simple statements that could be made for our predictions. and all we need to do is complete the same information for the other eleven 'solar Ascendants' using the same positions by sign (but not house) which we have taken from the ephemeris.

So our newspaper column is constructed using the Hellenistic whoe sign houses and whole sign aspects plus planetary ingresses, stations, and egresses coupled with aspects between transiting planets and especially aspects of those planets to the Ascendant. You can't really do this using modern Astrology because it doesn't use whole sign houses and aspects are only seen to be by degree, not by sign. Thus even if we know that Saturn has ingressed into Scorpio we are not sure which house that is, under a quadrant house system. Indeed the fourth cusp might be in any one of Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius.

Now does that mean that newspaper columns are to be trusted. Well not really because they only show a small amount of what is going on astrologically and any self respecting Hellenistic Astrologer would have been wary about using their techniques in this way (unless of course Murdochius offered them a lot of drachmas to do it). But it does show there is a kernel of genuine Astrology there and it's something you can actually do for yourself or others (any volunteers to do the Aeclectic 'Your Stars' column?).

So if you know your Ascending sign, you might actually try reading the predictions for that, instead of your Sun sign and you might find that it works better. If you wish to keep to your Sun sign and are born within a day or so of the quoted range of days, please check using the epehemeris for your birthday to see which sign the Sun actually was in on that day and indeed if it changed signs at some point during the day, check to see if that was before or after you were born. There is some annual variation in solar ingresses and you shouldn't go through your life believing tht you are a Leo when you are in fact a Cancer
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