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Signs


The key properties of the domiciles are:

Planetary rulership

Quadruplicity/Mode

Triplicity/Element

Gender

The other thing to bear in mind is that there's no 'Astrological Alphabet'. The first house (place) is not equivalent to Aries or to Mars (though it is the Domicile ruler of Aries) The Astrological Alphabet is a very modern invention to try and help beginners, though it ends up leading them into error.
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Domicile Rulership


There are at least two explanations of the origin of the classical rulerships, one by Ptolemy based on the seasons of the year and the one which appears to be the more prevelant, given by most of the rest of the texts we have.

That one uses the Thema Mundi, or birth chart of the world (or even Cosmos). This chart was not believed to be the actual chart for the moment the Earth came into being but as a teaching aid to illustrate the rulerships.

I've attached a copy to this post. It assumes that the Ascendant was in Cancer (notice not Aries - Cancer and Capricorn had links to this idea of creation and destruction since Babylonian times).

The chart has Moon in Cancer, then Sun in Leo, and the planets in order of believed distance from the Earth, so Mercury in Virgo, Venus in Libra, Mars in Scorpio, Jupiter in Sagittarius and Saturn in Capricorn.

On interesting speculation from the Thema (my own speculation) is that if the Hellenistic Astrolgers had been aware of the outers would they have continued the sequence, thus giving:

Uranus - Aquarius
Neptune - Pisces
Pluto - Aries

When the astrolgers of the time argued over the rulership of Pluto, there was a sizeable argument for Aries! - perhaps the Hellenistic Astrologers knew something the moderns didn't

Actually there's other connections in the Thema Mundi system that would have made that difficult.

In the event, the domicile rulerships of the other signs were taken as the mirror image of the Thema Mundi - thus Saturn got Aquarius, Jupiter Pisces, Mars Aries, Venus Taurus and Mercury Gemini.
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File Type: pdf Thema-Mundi.pdf (84.1 KB, 55 views)
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Other planetary dignities


The exaltations were the main dignity after the domicile rulerships. There's some debate as to whether these were Babylonian in origin though Chris Brennan argues that they are in fact Hellenistic. The reason for that is as follows:

The domicile rulers are certainly Hellenistic so it cannot be coincidence that the exaltation of each planet makes a major aspect to one of it's domiciles.

The exaltation of the Sun is Aries which trines its domicile of Leo
The exaltation of Jupiter is Cancer which trines its domicile of Pisces
The exaltation of Saturn is Libra which trines it's domicile of Aquarius

The exaltation of the Moon is Taurus which sextiles its domicile of Cancer
The exaltation of Venus is Pisces which sextiles its domicile of Taurus
The exaltation of Mars is Capricorn which sextiles its domicile of Scorpio

Note all the diurnal planets aspect one of their domiciles by trine and all the nocturnal planets aspect one of their domiciles by sextile. That could not happen by chance - it appears to be a matter of deliberate construction. Incidentally if the outers had their modern rulerships the exaltation rationale would break down in the case of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.

There are at least two other rulerships mentioned by Hellenistic authors, the Bounds (which they called confines) and the Decans. Of these the Bounds were used a lot, especially in the length of life calculation.
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The Quadruplicities and Gender


Tropical/Cardinal - Quick, changeable, initiates new actions but doesn't seem them to completion

Solid/Fixed - Fixed, slow to change, but can see things through

Double bodied/Mutable - Ambiguous, moving from stability to change, can signify two of whatever is being considered.

Masculine - active, can literally represent males,

Feminine - passive, can literally represent females

Clearly in the 21st Century it can be argued that the qualities of active and passive are based on gender stereotypes, however for Astrology a way of distinguishing between active and passive is useful and the planetary placements may signify males or females with those qualities.

Their use in a literal sense is more for say predicting the sex of an unborn child or the sex of an unknown person.
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The Triplicities


We are so used to identifying these sign/domicile groupings with the elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water that it can come as a shock to find that this use originated with the Hellenistic Astrologers, but was not the dominant one. A minority of Astrologer used them, of which Vettius Valens, Firmicus Maternus and Rhetorius are the main ones. Ptolemy did not assign the elements to the four sign groupings though he did, like all the Hellenistic Astrologers, recognise the signs/domiciles in each 'Trigon'. It so happens that Valens and Rhetorius were the two main writers to be used by the Arabs, and so their identification passed on into medieval Astrology.

One of the reasons why Ptolemy didn't adopt the elements was that unlike the others, he used an Aristotelian philosophy and world view compared to the dominant Stoicism of Valens and most of the others and assigned the qualities of the elements differently. For the Stoics, Fire was hot, Air was Cold, Water was moist and Earth was dry. Ptolemy saw Air as Moist and Water as Cold.

If you look at the oppositions by sign you will find that Fire signs are opposed by Air signs and Water signs are opposed by Earth signs. The organisation of elements by sign actually reflects the Stoic view of the elements. This view seems to have been misunderstood or corrupted during the medieval period and the dominant view as incorporated into the four humours was Fire as Hot and Dry, Air as Hot and Moist, Water as Cold and Moist and Earth as Cold and Dry.
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Subdivisions of the Zodiac


The Hellenistic Astrologers subdivided the domiciles into smaller sections. The ones that have survived till the present day are the Decans (10 degree segments, so three decans comprise each sign). These are not widely used and when they are, it it often a modern system, which assigns the decans to the rulers of the triplicty of which they comprise. For example Aries decans being ruled by Mars, Sun and Jupiter.

There were more than one system of decans in Hellenistic times but the one that was most used assigns the decans to the planets in Chaldean (Babylonian) order, starting from Mars ruling the first decan of Aries. The sequence thus goes Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury (first decan of Taurus), Moon, Saturn, Jupiter (first decan of Gemini) Mars, and so on repeating the seven planet cycle throughout the zodiac. ending with Mars ruling the last decan of Pisces. There is a clear order and pattern to this system.

The other sub dignity which was if anything more widely used was the Bounds or Confines. This system does not have an obvous order or system except that one of the malefics, Mars or Saturn rules the last Bound of each domicile. There are 5 bounds per sign but they don't have equal sizes, nor is the pattern of sizes regular. Only 5 planets are used (which might explain why there are 5 bounds per sign) - the two lights, Sun and Moon do not have bounds anywhere in the zodiac.

The 'system' used seems to come from semi-mythical astrologers named Nechepso and Petosiris, who allegedly were an Egyptian King and a High Priest. The system of bounds was therefore called the Egyptian bounds.

The Astrologer Ptolemy tried to tidy up this system, along with Astrology generally and introduced a system of bounds which he says he found in an ancient manuscript and was more logical. Whether or not he did find it that way, his bounds never caught on till the Seventeenth Century. William Lilly and other astrologers 'rebelled' against some of the material coming from the Arab Astrologers and mounted a back to Hellenistic campaign. Unfortunately the only Hellenistic text they had was Ptolemy and they therefore mistakenly took Ptolemy as the original system of Astrology. In fact Ptolemy was a deviant, and the Astrology of the Arabs was more in tune with actual Hellenistic practice than Ptolemy was.

The final division I'll mention is the 'twelfth parts' or Dodekatemoria. (spellings vary). This seems only to be used occasionally and there are again several variants. I may mention them later on if I feel the need
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Aspects/Configurations


The Hellenistic Astrologers invented the aspects that are used in Modern Astrology. However their system differs in important respects from those used today. Our English word 'aspect' comes from the Latin 'aspectus', which means to 'see' or to 'view', to look at or a look. It's the Latin term used to translate the Greek descriptions of what the called 'configurations' all of which involved terms that reflect seeing. Thus they used words that translate as

- Witness
- Testimony
- Scrutinise
- Contemplate

Their doctrine of configurations involved a theory of optics and the relationship between the observed and the observer. They used both 'sign' based configurations and degree based configurations. The 'sign' or domicile based configuration is the weakest form but it still gives a relationship between the planets involved. Thus Sun at 1 degree Virgo has a trine relationship with Venus at 29 degrees Taurus. The fact that both are in signs of the same Triplicity or element and the Same Gender brings them together.

They used five configurations

- Conjunction or Co-presence
-Opposition or Diameter
- Trine or Trigon/Triangle
- Square or Tetragon
- Sextile or Hexagon

The last three configurations involve regular polygons that can be inscribed in the circle of the zodiac and shows that the relationship is not simply from one sign to another but derives from a more important pattern. In a sense the Hellenistic Astrologers had a doctrine of configuration patterns, akin to those used in Modern Astrology, except that they did not require a planet at the corner point of each polygon. Configurations are thus a look at one of the sides of the relevant regular polgyon.

Originally the Conjunction was not seen as an aspect - they used different words to denote two planets in the same sign compared to two planets in related signs/domiciles though the meaning was essentially the same. By the end of the period there was a recognition that we're talking about the same thing - relationships between planets in one or two signs/domiciles.

They did not use minor aspects, indeed the first minor aspects were invented by Kepler in the Seventeenth Century and these are mentioned and in part used by Willam Lilly. Kepler though was trying to reform Astrology and he wanted to scrap the zodiac entirely and just go for geometrical relationships by degree. It's rather ironic that the astrologers who used his aspects still use the zodiac as a foundation of their Astrology.

Whole sign configurations involve a qualitative relationship for the Hellenistic Astrologers.

Sextiles are between two domiciles of the same Gender - Aries to Gemini involves two masculine domiciles.

Trines are between two domiciles of the same element (Trigon) and the same Gender. Aries to Leo involves two Fire domiciles and two Masculine domiciles

Squares are between domiciles of the same quadruplicity or mode. Leo to Scorpio involves two Fixed or Solid domiciles.

Oppositions are between two domiciles of the same Gender and quadruplicity. Ths Aries to Libra involves two Cardinal or Tropical domiciles both of which are masculine.

The shared qualities help the planets 'see' each other and relate to each other - though not necessarily in an easy way. If there are no common qualities involved in the signs then the planets are said to be in 'aversion' to each other. The Latin translation was 'inconjunct' and the modern aspects involved are the semi-sextile and the quincunx.
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Optical Theory


The optical theory of the time saw the eyes as emitting rays. In particular they saw seven rays coming from the eyes. When the crossed a body or object they reflected back allowing us to see.

The seven rays correspond to the configurations; Thus Mercury in Leo sends rays to:

Gemini and Libra (the two sextiles of Leo)
Aries and Sagittarius (the two trines of Leo)
Taurus and Scorpio (the two squars of Leo)
Aquarius (the opposition of Leo).

So a planet in any sign sees 7 other signs and is in aversion to the remaining four. Note that you don't count the sign that it is in, where it may have co-presence.

Notice that there are two sextiles, two trines and two squares. There is a difference between them which settles which of the two planets is the more dominant in the relationship.

If you imagine Leo on the MC (the top of the chart) then Libra lies in the left hand side of the chart and Gemini lies in the right hand side of the chart. Signs on the left are later in zodiacal order than Leo, those that are on the right are earlier in zodiacal order.

The Hellenistic Astrologers saw the planet on the right (earlier in the zodiac) as being the dominant one. Thus if you imagine Mercury in Leo, Moon in Libra and Jupiter in Gemini, Jupiter will dominate Mercury for better or worse, Jupiter will dominate the Moon and Mercury will also dominate the Moon. The Moon is in an 'inferior' position compared to the other two. Jupiter is in a superior position compared to the other two and Mercury is in a superior position compared to the Moon but in an inferior position compared to Jupiter. This general process of planets on the right dominating was known as 'overcoming'.

For delineation, for configurations that are dominated by a benefic, even the square, things will come out quire well, though the square may produce a cost to the native of success - it is a challenging configuration.

Where a malefic dominate things will not go as well. For the square, a dominant malefic might produce quite a bad outcome, and Trines and Sextiles will be weakened.

There's a special case of 'overcoming' where a square aspect is involved and one planet is in a tenth house relationship to the other. For example Jupiter in Libra is in a tenth house relationship to Mercury in Capricorn. If you turn the chart so that Mercury lies on the Ascendant, then Jupiter lies in the turned tenth House.

Planets 'on the tenth' can be very positive if it's a benefic but very negative if it's a malefic.
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Degree based configurations


As well as the sign/domicile configurations the Hellenistic Astrologers used degree based configurations - note that these configurations also have to satisfy the qualities criteria, so they are domicile based.

The most used degree based configuration involves a range of 3 degrees or less and the planets had to be applying, i.e. moving towards the perfection of the configuration (the side of the polygon is straight and in the right angle to the rest of the polygon). Separating configurations, whilst recognised were not seen as qualifying for the degree based treatment.

There are two exceptions

Firstly the Moon was allowed 13 degrees for application because of its speed.

Secondly for co-presence only an applying range of 15 degrees was allowed as an intermediate stage between simply sign based and into the 3 degree range this range from 15 to 3 degrees was called 'Assembly'
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minderwiz View Post
The optical theory of the time saw the eyes as emitting rays. In particular they saw seven rays coming from the eyes. When the crossed a body or object they reflected back allowing us to see.

The seven rays correspond to the configurations; Thus Mercury in Leo sends rays to:

Gemini and Libra (the two sextiles of Leo)
Aries and Sagittarius (the two trines of Leo)
Taurus and Scorpio (the two squars of Leo)
Aquarius (the opposition of Leo).

So a planet in any sign sees 7 other signs and is in aversion to the remaining four. Note that you don't count the sign that it is in, where it may have co-presence.

Notice that there are two sextiles, two trines and two squares. There is a difference between them which settles which of the two planets is the more dominant in the relationship.

If you imagine Leo on the MC (the top of the chart) then Libra lies in the left hand side of the chart and Gemini lies in the right hand side of the chart. Signs on the left are later in zodiacal order than Leo, those that are on the right are earlier in zodiacal order.

The Hellenistic Astrologers saw the planet on the right (earlier in the zodiac) as being the dominant one. Thus if you imagine Mercury in Leo, Moon in Libra and Jupiter in Gemini, Jupiter will dominate Mercury for better or worse, Jupiter will dominate the Moon and Mercury will also dominate the Moon. The Moon is in an 'inferior' position compared to the other two. Jupiter is in a superior position compared to the other two and Mercury is in a superior position compared to the Moon but in an inferior position compared to Jupiter.
So, the East is dominant, right? This is still considered when we speak of rising planets, especially in return charts.

What about the planets below the horizon?

Being practical here, I don't really think my Sun is dominated by nearly every other planet in my chart, as this distinction suggests. I guess this is just one consideration of more.
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