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

I also need to say something about configurations or aspects, as Hellenistic Astrology has some significant differences from modern practice, or even the practice of William Lilly or J, B, Morin in the seventeenth century.

The commonality with the modern approach is the use of Conjunctions, Oppositions, Squares, Trines, and Sextiles but the differences lie in precisely how these are treated. The first difference is that Hellenistic Astrology has two ways of looking at them, by sign and by degree. The latter is the common approach now but was only part of the approach for the Hellenisitic Astrologer. The first difference is that Hellenistic Astrologers would allow an aspect by sign. So if you have Mercury at 3 degrees Cancer and Jupiter at 27 degrees Cancer, these two are treated as being in conjunction or to be more precise, to be 'with each other' (co-preseent). The very presence of the one, will have some affect on the other, rather like two people having rooms in the same house, even if they rarely meet. If they are between 3 to 15 degrees of separation from each other, it's called Assembly or Meeting (such as Mercury at 13 degrees Cancer and Jupiter at 27 degrees Cancer). Finally if they are less than 3 degrees apart they are Adhering to one another. In other words the closer together they are the stronger becomes the relationship, but it is never entirely absent.

A similar idea holds for the Opposition. There is opposition by sign, in which, say Saturn in 15 degrees of Capricorn gives 'testimony' to both Mercury and Jupiter in Cancer. But an aspect of 3 degrees or less allows the planets to scrutinise each other. This 3 degree orb can cross sign boundaries, whereas the whole sign aspect cannot.

With Squares, Trines and Sextiles, there is a very important distinction, which is rarely found in modern Astrology. That is between Left and Right sided aspects. Consider Venus in 27 degrees Aries. Venus squares Mercury in Cancer by a square in the direction of the signs (forward in the Zodiac). If you can imagine standing in the middle of the chart, looking at Venus, then Mercury will lie to the left of Venus. This aspect is taken as being more powerful than Mercury's square to Venus by sign. Indeed the Hellenistic Astrologers' theory of optics allowed Venus to see Mercury but made it very difficult for Mercury to see Venus (the idea being both are looking in the direction they are going - so Venus being behind Mercury can clearly see Mercury ahead, on the other hand Mercury is facing the wrong way to see Venus and would have to 'glance backwards' to stand a chance). They use the term Casting Rays, to describe Mercury's attempt at seeing Venus and casting rays is weaker than 'seeing'. So we have a way of distinguishing the relative power of two planets in a square (trine or sextile).

Now consider Venus and Jupiter. Both are in 27 degrees of their respective signs and the three degree orb comes into play. Within this range the analogy is that Jupiter can easily glance round and see Venus - the power of the aspect is more even between the planets. The phrase used is to 'hurl rays', so Jupiter is hurling rays at Venus. Which is going to prevail will now depend on additional factors (such as essential and accidental dignities).

This takes some getting used to as it's not something that crops up in a modern approach. Which is one of the reasons I need to see how this works in a few natal charts.

There are one or two additional configurations, but I'll deal with those if and when they arise.
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