Hellenistic Astrology


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Minderwiz  Minderwiz is offline
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Originally Posted by LeiifA View Post
Hi Minderwiz,

Did my comments add enough for you to move forward or do you need more details?
Sorry, I've not shifted my cought, which has now been with me for two weeks and causes interrupted nights. It's been easy to address the outstanding horaries, than to take on the research needed. I had hoped it would be over by now but my wife had the same thing and it's only just going after about four or five weeks.

I was hoping that I could address the issue of your childhood move but wihist I've looked, I can't see anything that ties in clearly with your time frame. I'll try giving you what I've got and see if it makes any sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeiifA
And on another note I would like to know if you could clarify an aspect of Hellenistic methods that can be confusing? The explanations of the attributes of Dexter and Sinister seem a bit perplexing. I have read articles by D. Houlding and several others that are either missing something or not completely clear.

Could you elaborate on your understanding of this topic and then I will ask for clarity if needed?

Thank you, be well
Firstly Dexter and Sinister are simply the Latin words for Right and Left, respectively. What is being described is the direction of the aspect. As an aspect involves tow planets it's important to be clear what our reference point planet is. Otherwise, it does get confusing and contradictory.

So for this example, have a look at the attached diagram. Mercury is placed in Aries in the tenth place. All signs from Taurus to Virgo inclusive are on the left hand side of the diagram and run in the order of signs. Mercury therefore casts its left hand (Sinister) sextile to Gemini, its left hand (Sinister) square to Cancer and its left hand (Sinister) trine to Leo.

Signs from Pisces through to Scorpio lie on the right hand side of the diagram. So Mercury casts its right hand (Dexter) sextile to Aquarius, its right hand (Dexter) square to Capricorn and its right hand (Dexter) trine to Sagittarius. Right hand aspects are against the direction of the signs or if you prefer are in the direction of the Earth's diurnal rotation.

Aspects in the direction of signs, are considered the stronger. Thus Mercury's Sinister square is stronger than its Dexter square.

So to firm up the example, if Venus lies in Cancer it receives the left hand square of Mercury in Aries, a square in the direction of signs. But Mercury receives the Dexter square of Venus because it is a square against the direction of the signs or if you prefer, in the direction of diurnal rotation.

Which planet dominates? As Mercury's Sinister square is in the direction of signs, it is stronger than Venus' Dexter square against the order of signs. Mercury dominates.

So where does the confusion come from? Consider the situation of you and me standing facing each other. Your left side is on my right and my left side is on your right. So left and right only make sense if we know which of us is the reference point for the terms right and left.

Consider Venus as the reference point. Mercury's square comes from Venus' right. So Venus is overcome by a square from the right whereas Mercury is able to overcome Venus' square from Mercury's left.

The important thing is that you are clear about which planet is your reference point when you are using the terms right and left.

It's the reference point you measure from that determines whether the aspect is from the right or from the left. But an aspect in the direction of signs always dominates the same aspect against the direction of signs. The planet earlier in the zodiac wins (for these purposes the zodiac wheel is a circle with no start or finish, only a direction of movement).
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LeiifA  LeiifA is offline
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Get well first


Hi Minderwiz,

Take your time as I understand this takes more effort than some. Your health is most important so do not put any effort into this until you are well enough. When I do not sleep research is fruitless.

My main question about dexter, sinister is how do you choose the side of an aspect to start from as it could go both ways?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeiifA View Post
Hi Minderwiz,

Take your time as I understand this takes more effort than some. Your health is most important so do not put any effort into this until you are well enough. When I do not sleep research is fruitless.

My main question about dexter, sinister is how do you choose the side of an aspect to start from as it could go both ways?
You don't choose the side of an aspect, you choose the planet. If you're interested in, for example, Jupiter in a night chart, you start off in the usual way of checking which house and sign Jupiter is in and assessing it's essential and accidental dignities.

This brings you to an assessment of Jupiter's interaction with other planet in the chart, that is does it aspect them or is it averse to them. This is the stage where you identify those aspects. If jupiter is in Leo and is squared by Saturn in Taurus, As it is Jupiter we are concerned with here, Jupiter casts its aspect to its right against the order of signs and receives Saturn's aspect coming from Jupiter's right, in the order of signs. Taurus being earlier in the zodiac than Leo. Jupiter will be overcome by Saturn.

We now know that Jupiter's benefic effect is reduced, firstly because it's a night chart and it is out of sect. Secondly it is reduced because it is afflicted by Saturn. It any planet is in Sagittarius or Pisces, they will not get much support from their ruler. Nor will Jupiter deliver what might have been hoped for from it's sign and house placement.

'Left' and 'Right' have no meaning other than as directions relative to a specific planet. Any aspect to/from that planet in the order of signs will overcome a matching aspect to/from that planet against the order of signs.

If you go planet by planet, you will know what your reference point is and you will be eventually be able to assess the chart.

At some point you will reach Saturn and as you already know that it's square to Jupiter is such that it overcomes Jupiter, there is really no need to reassess the aspect. Simply remember that for Saturn, Jupiter's aspect comes from its left against the direction of signs and its own aspect goes to its left and is in the direction of signs. (the direction of the aspect is what matters).
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LeiifA  LeiifA is offline
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Thank you for that. I do get the dominating part. I think the confusion this topic causes is due to 2 things. Firstly there is the problem of Zodiacal motion verses Diurnal motion, which, from my limited understanding, the Hellenistic astrologers considered primary. Secondly there is the problem of "to or from".

I think everything you state coincides with Houlding here:
http://www.skyscript.co.uk/gl/dexter.html
http://www.skyscript.co.uk/aspects.html#sd
and this also:
http://astronor.com/sinister.htm

However, I still feel confused. I will reread all of what you state and those 3 pages and see if the confusion clears up. I also went to a thread at skyscript and that made the confusion worse.

Can you tell me if the information provided by the links posted are correct and equal to what Chris Brennan has in his course?

P.S. Hope you are feeling better
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeiifA View Post
Thank you for that. I do get the dominating part. I think the confusion this topic causes is due to 2 things. Firstly there is the problem of Zodiacal motion verses Diurnal motion, which, from my limited understanding, the Hellenistic astrologers considered primary. Secondly there is the problem of "to or from".

I think everything you state coincides with Houlding here:
http://www.skyscript.co.uk/gl/dexter.html
http://www.skyscript.co.uk/aspects.html#sd
and this also:
http://astronor.com/sinister.htm

However, I still feel confused. I will reread all of what you state and those 3 pages and see if the confusion clears up. I also went to a thread at skyscript and that made the confusion worse.

Can you tell me if the information provided by the links posted are correct and equal to what Chris Brennan has in his course?

P.S. Hope you are feeling better
I can see your confusion because in the second link there's an error in the diagram. in that the arrow between Saturn and the Moon should be reversed. The text is correct, in this aspect Saturn dominates the Moon.

The third link is to a very confused article and one that shows no clear understanding, despite the author's qualifications. It appears to suggest the reverse of the Skyscript articles (and the reverse of reality). It is particularly confused because it seems to link the nature of the aspect to which planet is applying and then gets it wrong.

Take the example of a swift Mercury in 5 Aries and applying to Mars in 6 Leo; if Mars is the significator, then Mars will receive the sinister trine form Mercury; if Mercury is the significator, then he will form a sinister trine to Mars. The applying planet tells who is initiation or moving into the event.

This is badly expressed to say the least (and it gets worse later on). The use of the word 'form' shows lack of clarity and understanding. Mars does indeed receive the Sinister Trine from Mercury. But in the second case, Mercury receives the Dexter trine of Mars (and overcomes it). It does not 'form' a Sinister Trine (whatever that means).

The applying planet may tell us who is intiating the event but that is not always the case. The context of the situation tells us who does the 'initiating'. Quite clearly the Moon is slower than Saturn but can be dominated by Saturn, as the Skyscript 2 shows.

It seems to me that the error comes from a misreading of Lilly who correctly identifies the direction of Sinister and Dexter aspects but does not make it clear what he is talking about when he says the Dexter aspect is more forcible than Sinister (or he doesn't understand his source texts or he is using a source that is wrong). I looked at the first couple of examples quoted from Lilly and it is clear that Lilly is using the term correctly however there's no relevance to the issue of which is the stronger.

I then checked with Barbara Dunn's Horary Astrology Re-Examined and she says the Dexter aspects are stronger than the Sinister aspects, even producing a list. She attributes this to Lilly and says that both Lilly and those before him saw it that way. Her only other explicitly quoted source is Al-Biruni, wh does indeed list the dexter quartile (square) as stronger than the sinister quartile (square). He repeats this for the other aspects. However he doesn't make it clear exactly what he means by a dexter quartile (or at least he doesn't in my translation). His description of the aspects is very reminiscent of that given by Sahl about two hundred years earlier.

Sahl Ibn Bishr, who produced the first real Horary text, says:

...the sextile aspect is from the third sign and the eleventh. The square aspect is from the fourth sign and the tenth. The trine aspect is from the fifth sign (and the eleventh).....and the second sextile is stronger than the first sextile aspect and the second square is stronger than the first square aspect. And of the trine aspects, the second is tronger than the first

The Introduction to the Science of the Judgement of the Stars.

Now Sahl doesn't use the terms 'left' and 'right' but it is abundantly clear that an aspect cast in the direction of the sequence of signs (from elventh to first, from tenth to first and from ninth to first) is stronger than an aspect that goes against the direction of signs (from the third to the first, from the fourth to the first and from the fifth to the first).

Sahl is explicit and contradicts Dunn. Clearly she's wrong, but it's interesting that she is the Principal of the QHP program of which the author of the third link is a graduate.

I'd advise you not to use that third link. I doubt there's any real understanding behind it.

A point about Primary Motion. Yes the rotation is from left to right, that is the Sun, Moon and planets rise in the East (left in a horoscopic chart) and set in the West (right in a horoscopic chart) but you will notice that in the Hellenistic/early Medieval model, the overcoming planet is further ahead in diurnal motion - that is the planet in the tenth 'overcomes' the planet in the first. The one in the tenth has risen whereas the one in the first either has just risen or is below the Earth. The planet furthest ahead in diurnal (primary) motion wins.
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LeiifA  LeiifA is offline
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Thank you again for the input. If you think these are confusing you should see the thread about this on skyscript. I will disregard the 3rd link article, reread those others again and read your info several times. I know it will click at some point. I was reading the pdf by Douglas Noblehorse on the Thema Mundi and had to reread one section 3 times and sleep on it before I was able to understand clearly what he was saying.

Only one statement you made caught me off-guard:
Quote:
...Quite clearly the Moon is slower than Saturn but...
(5th paragraph in your reply)

Is that what you meant to say? If so could you explain?

Best to you
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Minderwiz  Minderwiz is offline
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No, I meant to say faster LOL. Serves me right for not checking before posting
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeiifA View Post
Thank you again for the input. If you think these are confusing you should see the thread about this on skyscript.
Not sure which thread you mean but the one I found was:

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewto...df8c4aa2318d17

I have a lot of time and respect for Deb Houlding, she helped me quite a bit in my early days studying Traditional Astrology. However, I'm not sure that I agree with her here, though her point is quite elegant.

She mentions Dorotheus, is I thought I'd start with what Dorotheus said on the matter. Writing about Quartile (Square) aspects, he said:

If Saturn aspects Jupiter from quartile it will diminish him in his property...it is worse than this if the place of these two is exchanged and Saturn is above Jupiter while Jupiter is in the left quartile but if Jupiter is overpowering Saturn then it is less for evil

That is if Jupiter receives the left square aspect of Saturn it comes off worst but if Saturn receives the left square aspect of Jupiter, the situation is mitigated to an extent.

Deb gives an example where Mars is the querent and Jupiter signifies the questited (note she is talking about horary here) and says that when Mars is applying to Jupiter by dexter aspect, Jupiter's influence over Mars is strong (my italics) which fits perfectly with the Dorothean and indeed Hellenistic and early medieval interpretation.

She then goes on to say that Mars gets a strong return out of the connection but if Mars makes a sinister aspect Mars is already in the dominating position so Jupiter is less able to convey strength to Mars.

As it's a horary question, the querent wants as much as possible out of the quesited, and whilst something is better than nothing, even more is preferable. So it's better for the querent if his/her significator applies by a dexter aspect because the questited's significator is more able to provide the goods.

Now that might be so in horary but it's not necessarily the case in natal, or indeed in other branches and to me it seems a bit of sophistry. I'm not convinced by her argument that the situation is analagous to the waxing Moon (which is always makes a dexter aspect to the Sun) because the thing about the waxing Moon is that it's growing in light, whereas there's no such situation with, say Mars and Jupiter, neither grows or diminishes in light during their synodic cycle, as a direct result of that cycle (though they do gain and lose light through combustion with the Sun).

If Deb's argument is what is taught in the QHP, then I can see why Dunn and others claim that the dexter aspect is stronger (in a horary context), though early practitioners of horary, like Sahl, made no distinction between natal and horary work.

It's also worth pointing out that horary came along after the Hellenistic period and so it's not really relevant to this thread, however I'm glad you raised the issue, so don't worry about continuing the discussion.
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LeiifA  LeiifA is offline
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Actually it was this one


That wasn't the thread I meant. Now I need to go through that one several more times too, with your caveats in mind, of course. Actually it was this one:

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewto...er=asc&start=0

And while not specifically dexter, sinister this thread also had some optical info and contributions by Curtis M and Chris B:

http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewto...42e83fa5d76cff

As you can see by that first link it is messy for many. Once it clicks (I am getting closer) it will probably seem easy. The dominating part is from much earlier in this thread. When you say, "imagine standing in the middle of the chart and the planet to the right is the dominant one", that was easy and clear.
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I took a look at that first thread and I agree it degenerates into confusion. The contributions of 'astroart' explains both Schmidt's work but also the texts (allowing for translation) well. I've looked at several texts from Dorotheus to Sahl and they all say the same thing, so translation issues can't be relevant. Aspects cast in the direction of signs overcome the corresponding aspect sent against the order of signs. The only exception I know of is if the planet on the left of the aspect is within an orb of 3 degrees and 'hurls its rays' at the planet on the right. The planet on the right overcomes, in all other instances, even if the aspect is only sign based.

It seems to me that Deb Houlding reinterprets Sinister and Dexter to mean more than left or right. This she does but her analogy to the lunar cycle of waxing and waning (which is not referred to in any of the texts I've read, up to Sahl and so must be a later addition, possibly a modern addition).

She also introduces the idea that sinister and dexter depend on which planet is applying. This concept is, as far as I can tell absent from Hellenistic Astrology, I've not come across any reference to that being the case, and implicitly it can't be if Saturn can overcome Venus in a square from the left. Venus would be the applying planet and its aspect is a one to the right, against the order of signs.

That might well be a medieval addition (though later than Sahl, who does use applying aspects to indicate which planet pushes its disposition.

Deb in other words differentiates 'dominating' from the terms sinister and dexter and claims that 'domination' is not a 'sinister' or a 'dexter' aspect.

The thread is nearly five years old, and given the research since then, I'm not sure that the same views would still be expressed.
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