Glossary of Hellenistic Philosophy Terms

If some other source is not cited, all lexical entries are taken from Liddell-Scott Greek Lexicon.

A

αἰσχρός (aischros) = causing shame, dishonor.

ἀκολασία (akolasia) = licentiousness, intemperance.

ἀπάθεια (apatheia) – impassibility, insensibility, apathy, freedom from emotions, insensibility to. From ‘a’ with meaning ‘without, and ‘pathos’ with meaning ‘suffering’ or ‘passion’, is a Stoic term for representation of the state in which a sage should be found. It is translated also as ‘equanimity’. Stoics thought that one should avoid reacting passionately on the events and pertains state of perfect tranquility, equally on good and bad things befalling us.

ἀφροσύνη (aphrosunē) = folly, thoughtlessness.

ἀνδρεῖος (andreios) = courageous, manly, masculine, strong, vigorous.

ἀρετή (aretē) = goodness, excellence, virtue, good deeds, good nature, kindness.

ἀταραξία (ataraksia) = calmness, tranquility, impassiveness. This term was highly used by Epicurus and Epicureans as a representative of the state of tranquility from all the worries and distresses of the outer and inner world.

D

δειλία (deilia) = cowardice, timidity.

δικαιοσύνη (dikaiosunē) = righteousness, justice, fulfillment of the law.

E

ἔκκλῖσις [ekklisis] – turning out of one’s course, deflexion. In Stoic philosophy, things toward which we have aversion.

ἐγκράτεια (enkrateia) = self-control, mastery over.

ἐπαίνεσις (epainesis) = praise. Used in Aristotle’s ethical writings to note which things are praiseworthy.

ἐπιθῡμητικός (epithumētikos) = desiring, coveting, lusting after, that part of the soul which is the seat of the desires and affections.

εὐδαιμονία (eudaimonia) = prosperity, good fortune, full happiness. In Stoic philosophy it is often used as a representation of happiness. Human flourishing was proposed translation from some proponents of Stoic thought today. Eu = good and Daimon = spirit, is the etymology of this word. This word was also used in Aristotle’s ethical writings, alongside aretē (virtue) and phronesis (prudence or practical wisdom).

I

ὀργιλότης (orgilotēs) = irascibility.

K

καλός (kalos) = beautiful, of a fine quality, fine things. Used in Aristotle’s ethical writings, often with dual ‘καλά’.

κακία (kakia) = badness, cowardice, faint-heartedness, moral badness, vice.

L

λογιστικός (logistikos) = reasoning faculty.

M

μεγαλοψυχία (megalopsuchia) = greatness of soul, high-mindedness, lordliness.

Ο

ὄρεξις [orexis] – desire, longing, yearning after. In Stoic philosophy one of the three topoi or fields of study and exercise of the philosopher.

ὁρμάω (hormaō) – set in motion, urge on, rush headlong at. In Stoic philosophy it is associated with the impulses [hormas] to act and not to act [aphormas]

P

πραότης (praotēs) = mindness, gentleness.

προαίρεσις (proairesis but often times transliterated as prohairesis) = volition, will, choice, intention, moral choice, inclination, deliberate course of action. It is one of the main concepts in Epictetus’ moral philosophy, that man is capable of choosing how to react on the external influences and free to judge them as good or bad. In other words, they are neither good nor bad, but our judgment makes them so. This principle of right thinking about things and the power of choice to judge the externals is the principle of prohairesis, to choose how to react on the impressions.

S

σοφός (sophos) = skilled in any handicraft or art, clever, prudent, learned, wise. It is Stoic term for what we call today Sage.

σώφρων (sōphrōn) = sound mind, discreet, prudent, reasonable, having control over the sensual desires, temperate, self-controlled, chaste, moderate.

συγκατάθεσις (sunkatathesis) – assent, approval, affirmation. In Stoic philosophy, this is one of the three topoi or fields of study, practical exercises in practicing the moral character (prohairesis) and excellence (aretē) for living happy life (eudaimonia). Sunkatathesis is practical application of proper judgment upon the impressions (phantasia) by assenting to the things that our under own control and not lamenting upon the things that are outside our own control.

T

θυμοειδής (thumoeidēs) = high-spirited.

U

ὑπόληψις [hupolēpsis] = harsh-judgment, prejudice, suspicion. In Stoic philosophy, related to the value-judgment upon the impressions (phantasia) we receive.

Φ

φαντᾰσία (phantasia) = appearance, image, imagination. ‘Phantasiai’ was often used as ‘impressions’ and in Stoic thought for representing the equanimity in regard to the impressions and reactions upon them.

φρόνησις (phronesis) = purpose, intention, judgment, thought; in Aristotle’s writings used as ‘practical wisdom’ translated in Latin as ‘prudence’. Valens uses this word in description of the nature of Sun in the beginning of Anthology.

Ψ

ψεκτός (psektos) = blameworthy.

ψῡχή (psuchē) = life, spirit, soul, consciousness, the conscious self, personality, the self, psyche.

Critodemus on Violent Death

There exists a fragment compiled in CCAG (catalogus codicum astrologorum graecorum) from the pre-Valens astrologer by name Critodemus who Valens quotes in his Anthology. The fragment is on violent deaths and which factors in the chart are causers of violent death. The chapter also contains the principles for examination of the manner of death.

Here I will make a list of these pointers, using the original Greek text found in CCAG 8, 4 and Schmidt’s translation of the chapter named “General Figures of Violent Death” found in the book-compilation: ‘The astrological record of the early sages in Greek’. After giving the list, I will give an example of violent death.

  1. Calculate the Lot of Destroyer (Asc + Moon – Lord of Ascendant reverse by night)
  2. When Moon sees the Lot of Destroyer, causes violent deaths.
  3. It is worse if the Moon is in sign with limbs cut-off.
    [this is a controversial topic as to which of the signs are with limbs cut-off? This is obviously related to the constalletional images of the corresponding signs, but the list varies from author to author. Schoener lists Aries, Taurus, Leo and Pisces, of which Leo appears to be without the limbs cut off. So, I suggest to skip this one, but just have it in mind for your own edification].
  4. When the Lord of the prenatal lunation is in aversion to the sign of the prenatal lunation, AND it is contemplated [regarded] by malefics.
  5. When the prenatal lunation is regarded only by malefics.
  6. The first triplicity lord of IC  or the 4th whole-sign house, is in bad house and is regarded by malefics without intervention of Jupiter and Venus.
  7. Find the Lot of Death (Asc + 8th Whole Sign – Moon by day and night without reversing).
  8. Examine the planets regarding the Lot. If only malefic/s regards it, it causes violent deaths.
  9. Moon enclosed in a sign with Saturn and Mars, causes violent deaths.
  10. Mercury when distant 24° from the Sun, causes violent death, Venus does this when distant 28° from the Sun.
  11. Examine the 3rd, 7th and 40th day of the Moon. When 40th day of the Moon should be found with malefics, causes violent death.
  12. Look at the Nodes. When Ascending Node is in the 8th Place, with Mars, Saturn and Mercury regarding it, causes violent death. In such cases, either native’s head is cut off, or they are impaled. If Sun testifies, these nativities are wounded in the eyes or the feet.
  13. Descending Node in 8th Place with Jupiter, Venus and Mars there, causes violent deaths, those whose head is cut off.
  14. Lord of Lot of Fortune and Lord of 8th are opposite each other, they cause violent death.
  15. Mercury opposing the Whole Moon and contemplated by malefics causes violent death.
  16. Moon in 4th in sign of Mars, without benefic planets regarding, causes violent deaths.

Manner and Places of death

–          Look at the bound (term) lord of the 7th whole sign. If it is malefic and under the Sun’s beams, it causes death by guile and treachery.

–          And if it is out of Sun’s beams, signifies those who are put to death openly.

–          If this bound lord is malefic and stationing or ascending, it destroys with injuries, drugs and wounds.

–          If this bound lord is in signs of human shape, and contemplated by malefics, it causes death from men.

–          If in watery signs, from water.

–          If in signs of animal shape, from animals or heights.

–          Saturn ruling the 8th house and witnessing it and benefics do not intervene, death by water. And if Saturn is in watery sign, in rivers or seas, but if in earth-like sign, on mountain or desert.

–          Sun as Lord of 8th house and in someone else’s sign, while Sun and 8th being afflicted, gives death from heights.

–          Mars ruling the 8th house (read whole sign, or Place) and the 8th house afflicted, gives death by robbers, beasts or enemies. But if Mars is witnessed by the Sun, gives death from crucifixion by the people or multitude, or kings or decapitation or making them to fight with animals.

–          Venus as Lord of 8th and she and 8th place afflicted without Jupiter intervening, gives death from women or too mooch vine.

–          Mercury as Lord of 8th place and it and 8th afflicted, gives death from slaves or writings.

–          Jupiter as Lord of 8th and afflicted alongside the 8th, gives death by kings and leaders.

–          Lord of 8th not looking at the place (in aversion) and in someone else’s sign, gives death in foreign land. And if it looks at that place and is in its own place, trigon or exaltation, these things will happen in his own fatherland.

–          Benefics only contemplating the 8th Place, without Mars and Saturn, they cause pleasant death.

Example

I will now give an example of how to use these rules. I will examine the natal chart of Sharon Tate.

The procedure of examining natal chart with a set of rules, is that one of collecting testimonies for y/n. The more testimonies in one direction, more assurance will give for the definitive judgment of the astrologer.

Let’s start with examining the rules.

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1. First calculate the Lot of Destroyer with the algorithm given above. Sharon’s Lot of Destroyer is found on Ascendant.

2. Moon sees the Lot of Destroyer which in this case happens to rule. Even though she rules the Lot, we will follow the rules given even though I am not sure if in this case Moon would indicate this [violent death]. (y)

3. Moon is not in the signs with limbs cut-off on the list above. (n)

4. Prenatal lunation is Full Moon in 0° Cancer. Moon is not in aversion, but it is contemplated by malefics. (y/n/)

5. Prenatal lunation (in the natal chart?) is not regarded only by malefics. Jupiter is here. (n)

6. First triplicity lord of 4th is Venus in bad place (8th) and without contemplation of Jupiter – the other benefic.  (y)

7. Find the Lot of Death using the 8th sign instead of the cusp of 8th house division. Sharon’s Lot of Death is in Sagittarius.

8. Only malefics are regarding the Lot. Mars is with the Lot and Saturn is regarding it from opposition. Remember that the Pivots (angular signs) from some place are most energetic. Jupiter is in aversion and Venus is too weak to help. (big Y)

9. Moon is not enclosed in a sign with the Malefics on both sides, but she is kind of enclosed tetragonally by the two malefics, Saturn is in superior square and Mars in inferior square. Saturn is Lord of 8th, so Lord of Death is in superior square to the Lord of Life (Moon ruling ascendant). (Y)

10. Mercury is not 24° distant from the Sun and Venus is not 28° distant from the Sun. (N)

11. Approximation in calculating the 3rd, 7th and 40th day of the Moon is the following. On the 3rd day, Moon is in the sign next to that in which she falls in natal. On the 7th day she is in the sign in square to the one in the birth chart. On the 40th day she is in opposition to the sign in which she is found in natal chart.
On the 7th day, Moon being found in Sagittarius, is hurt by natal Mars and Saturn, and by Saturn in that chart of the 7th day. Mars already ingresses in the next sign.
On the 40th day, Moon being in Pisces, is in square to Saturn and Mars in natal, and in square to transiting Saturn, Moon is being combusted under the Sun’s beams. (Y)

12/13 Descending Node is in 8th Place with Venus, Sun and Mercury, contemplated by Mars and Saturn (Y).

14. Lord of Lot of Fortune and Lot of 8th is one = Saturn. (N)

15. Mercury does not oppose Whole Moon. (N)

16. Moon is not in the 4th sign. (N)

We have several big ‘Yes’ here, and bear in mind that some indications are more powerful then the others, so the likelihood that she would die violent death is rising in percentage. Critodemus doesn’t mentions here, but in the chapter in Anthology, where Valens examines violent deaths, chapter which is based on some of these rules, he continuously notices Moon in 8th sign from Fortune in nativities who died with violent death. Sharon has Moon in 8th from Fortune.

Examining the manner of death, we would notice that the bound lord of the 7th place is Mercury, found in the 8th place of death, under the Sun’s beams and in a sign of a human shape (Aquarius). This gives indication that the native would die violent death caused by men, which was the case, she died by the knife of the Manson’s women.
Critodemus says that the native would die due to treachery or guile if the bound lord is placed under the Sun’s beams. Guile and Treachery are natural significations of Mercury, and in a way she died because of a guile of Mercurial type. I mean, the guile of fate, to put it in this way. Namely, Manson’s family didn’t go in that house to kill Sharon Tate, they didn’t know which celebrity is receding in that house, their aim was about to kill a celebrity, no matter who that celebrity would be. The house was often rented by celebrities, and in this period of time it happened to be rented by Sharon and her husband – the famous Roman Polanski who was traveling in this time, while Sharon was in the house with her friends. This was pretty much of an ill fate for Sharon and she was at the wrong place at a wrong time. The death indicated by the bound lord of 7th Place being under the beams of the Sun, would probably give indications of the ‘secret’ death in her home. That is, the death was not public, was not on the city square or something.

As you can see, these rules given by the ancient sages are relevant and used by skillful astrologer can give indications for the type of death of the person whose chart is under examination.

Disclaimer: One should not predict death if one doesn’t know what is doing here. The time of death, and the manner of death should be predicted if only the person who is interested in doing this for their own chart, is knowing the consequences of such an analysis and is fully capable of receiving the answer which the astrologer would provide. Astrologer should always bare in mind that while Astrology is a true Art, astrologer can err and such an err can cause a despair in someone’s life. So, be careful whenever you are analyzing the time and manner of death in prediction. While exercising the techniques of a person who is already dead, in hindsight is not probably as harmful, predicting death publicly for a person be it unknown or someone who is celebrity, is a sign of a lack of wisdom.

Hermes – The Music-maker

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We are accustomed to associate music with Venus and we ‘are done’. Well, the story doesn’t ends here. Hermes (Mercury) was also associated with Music in Ancient Greece and Rome. Hermes was the father of the musical instruments, the inventor of musical instruments. Hermes stole from his half brother Apollo, part of the cattle, the best one, and thought that Apollo would never know about this. But because Apollo was gifted with a foresight, he knew. Zeus their father found Hermes guilty. Hermes tried to please them both and started to play on his own lyre. When Apollo – the god of music, saw the beautiful instrument, he was amazed by it and by the invention of Hermes and as an apology for what he has done, Hermes gave the lyre to Apollo.

Valens says that Hermes signifies the musicians or composers (musikoi), those skilled in music, those who are professional musicians.

But not only Valens, later in early Medieval, Arabic times, Abū Ma’shar says:

“Virgo signifies dancing, singing harmonies, lyres and other musical instruments” [Liber Mysterium]

So, let us re-examine the significations of Mercury, Hermes – the god and inventor of the musical instruments.

Sun as Intelligence or Practical Wisdom

I really think that we understand very little of the significations of the Sun, especially on a an inner level, psychological level so to speak. These days I am contemplating on the first chapter of Valens’ Anthology and on the Greek terms in the original text while comparing them with the both translations of Schmidt and Riley.
There is one very interesting signification of the Sun written in Valens’ text, and that is the word ‘phronesis’ which is a word very much build with philosophical meanings. The main problem in studying these original words is in the great variety of usages of these words in different philosophies and in the same time, usage of the same word in every day language of the Ancient Greeks. We do not know for sure whether Valens was using this word in a more ‘every-day’ level or in a philosophical way, that is, he was having in mind the philosophical impregnation of that particular word. For example, the word phronesis means intelligence and comes from the verb phroneō (to think, to understand), from phrēn (mind). However, this same word was highly used by Aristotle in his ethical writings, and little less in his other writings. In his terms phronesis is used as ‘practical wisdom’ and this is how Schmidt translated phronesis word in the chapter where Valens speaks about the significations of the Sun. Riley translated this word as ‘intelligence’. So, Schmidt is following the philosophical impregnation of this word, and Riley is using the more simple translation, that one of the so to say ‘everyday’ language. In the treatise on Virtues and Vices [atributed to Aristotle] phronesis is characterized as the

“Wisdom to take counsel, to judge the goods and evils and all the things in life that are desirable and to be avoided, to use all the available goods finely, to behave rightly in society, to observe due occasions, to employ both speech and action with sagacity, to have expert knowledge of all things that are useful” (translated by H. Rackam).

This is not mere intelligence but practical wisdom, intelligence used by an experienced mind to choose right actions and reactions on life’s events. In other place Aristotle says that for a young person it is almost not possible to attain phronesis:

“Whereas young people become accomplished in geometry and mathematics, and wise within these limits, prudent young people do not seem to be found. The reason is that prudence [ϕρονησιϛ] is concerned with particulars as well as universals, and particulars become known from experience, but a young person lacks experience, since some length of time is needed to produce it (Nicomachean Ethics 1142 a)”.

Phronesis understood as practical wisdom is more broader definition of the word, while phronesis used as intelligence is more single (not to say simple) translation of the word. We would probably never know what Valens had in mind when he said that Sun signifies phronesis, but I bet that not many of us when we hear the word intelligence would associate it with the Sun, and our minds would go immediately to Mercury. According to Valens, after all, Sun is ruling the intelligence, that is, signifies (semainei) intelligence on the microcosmic level. Valens also says that Sun is mind (nous), organ of perception of the soul (psuchikēs aisthēseōs organon) and intelligence or practical wisdom (phronēsin). All this requires contemplation and deep thinking on the significations, re-examination of what we know and what we think we know, as the new discoveries requires from us to re-evaluate our epistēmē (knowledge), our scientia, and only in that way we could enter the hearts of these ancient sages and their art which we aim to adopt.

The Realization of Natal Promise – Case Study

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Here it is another example of the power of the derived charts and local determinations of the planets, to use Morin’s terminology.
The chart is of a person who this year had huge fights with the long-term girlfriend of her brother and live often in their house for the past year, that is, she stays and goes because she is from another city. Now if we look at the natal chart, we would notice that Moon represents her sister-in-law (let’s call her like this even though they are still not married) because she rules the 7th from 3rd (brother’s wife or girlfriend) makes applying opposition in one degree with Mars ruler of ascendant. This is natal promise: friction, quarrels, opposition with/from brother’s wife (long-term girlfriend). The repetition of the same configuration in the solar return chart shows when will this happen, the thing that it is promised in natal chart, would be realized. First, she is in Mercury/Mars Firdariyyah, Mars is distributing the firdar of Mercury and in this way, by assuming Time-Lordship even in sub lord participation, would activate this configuration with the Moon, especially because in the Solar Return, this configuration is repeated though not in applicative figure, but in separative. However, the Whole Sign aspect is still here. So, we see here in SR that Scorpio is rising, that is, the sign of the natal ascendant is rising, telling us that the natal promise of the chart is highly accentuated. Not that when other sign is rising natal promise is not realized, but when the sign of the natal ascendant rises in the year, this is somewhat highly accentuated, because the whole natal chart comes to the fore in this years, the significations are doubled and you have more testimonies for your judgments. We have Mars – Lord of natal and solar ascendant on ascendant by sign and we have Moon in 7th on descendant. Remember that the specific significations of the Moon as Lord of brother’s girlfriend by virtue of ruling the 9th or 7th from 3rd, are still counting from the solar ascendant as they are counting from the natal ascendant. So the significations are doubled by rulership and also by configuration (Moon – Mars). This means that a woman (Moon) who is probably related to the brother, his girlfriend let’s say (lord of 9th) will stand as an opposition or will create a conflict (on descendant, the place of conflicts) with the native (casting opposite aspect toward the Yearly Ascendant and the Lord of Ascendant). Moon as faster moving planet is the bringer of the activity, and going toward Mars in natal chart, shows that the brother’s girlfriend will be the one who will bring the opportunities for conflict. And this is true, the girlfriend came into their home and started acting like she is in her own home, acting domineering (probably Moon in 7th in exaltation?!) which provoked resistance inside this person whose chart we are examining here. In the Solar Return Moon is separating of Mars, and as the bringer of the activities, she would be the one who will ‘go away from the native’. And actually, the person with this chart said to me that this sister-in-law started avoiding her (Moon separating) in every occasion. We can see in the Solar Return chart, how this Mars and Moon are kind of independent and hot-headed. They are in fixed signs, the one in its own sign, the other in exaltation, this shows conflict that is kind of unresolvable.

Western vs Eastern

Back in 1960’s, the famous German psychoanalyst and psychologist Erich Fromm co-wrote a book with D.T. Suzuki and Richard de Martino called “Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis” where D.T. Suzuki’s entry begins with comparation of the Eastern vs Western mind.

As a source for comparation Suzuki gives two poems, one of an Eastern poet and one of a Western. He begins with a poem of the famous Japanese poet from 17th century, Basho:

“When I look carefully
I see the nazuna blooming
By the heghel!

Yoku mireba
Nazuna hana saku
Kakine kana.”

Basho is talking about a country road and how by approaching it nearly, he notices a wild plant unnoticed by the passers-by.  This haiku poem as Suzuki comments, has no special music and feeling in it except in the last sylable ‘kana’ which is a praise of sorrow or joy and in English can’t be no other translated but with some exclamation marks. Suzuki next coments that the Japanese poets were a nature poets, praisers and admirers of the nature, so this short poem is just an exclamation of the inner praise and wonder to the nature. Suzuki then criticizes the Westerners as an alienated people from the nature, like observers of the nature, but not merged with it in a poetical and divine way.

Then as a comparation, Suzuki gives a poem by Tennyson:

“Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the carnnies; –
Hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower – but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is”.

Suzuki notices several points in this poem. First he notices that Tennyson plucked the flower and while holding it in his hand looking at it intently. Both Basho and Tennyson wonder the flower, but the difference is that Basho didn’t plucked the nazuna flower in order to observe it. He just looks at it and absorbs it with his thoughts. Tennyson seeks to understand, to examine it, to put it in a laboratory, while Basho is satisfied with the just being of the flower as it is.

This is actually the Western scientific mind and curiosity, the need to understand, to explain. In general, Easterners do not have this need, at least not to the extent of the Westerners. This was one of my first impressions I had in my first encounter with Hindu astrology, especially those astrologers of the ‘old school’, the astrologers of India do not have this need to explain themselves be it in their books or in their analysis. It is interesting the example James Braha gives in his autobiography. When he examined the charts of his close ones with his Indian teacher, at one point the teacher said to him that his wife is of an artistic nature. Braha replied enthusiastically ‘yes, in a matter of fact she is, but how did you see that in the chart’? And the teacher show to him some chart factors through which he judged the above about his wife. Braha as a Westerner was not satisfied: “But why would this give her the artistic nature?” [I am paraphrasing of course]. The teacher replied simply ‘yes’! : – )

I do not think that in subjects like astrology, not dwelling too deeper into the explanation of why things work or doesn’t work, in other words, into the philosophical background, is so tragic. I mean, I do like philosophy, and as a Western-like educated, I do like explanations, I do like knowing the reasons for something, but in the same time I am satisfied with the mystery of the workability of something, some technique for example, even though I can’t get into the background of the explanation as to why this work or doesn’t work, it just works. Many Hindu astrologers have this approach.  For them it works just because it works, and because they learned it as such from their teachers, their Gurus, they do except it as a fact of the experience and knowledge of the Guru. At first I was resistant to this approach: “But this is not logical to me, there must be some explanation behind” – was my initial reaction. But then after I started working with the techniques, I noticed that this is the Spirit of Hindu astrology, and the Western mind should adapt to it or will never learn authentic Jyotish.

On the other side is the Hellenistic astrology, filled with so much philosophy and metaphysics in it which holds great beauty as such. Not that Hindu astrology doesn’t has philosophy and metaphysics behind it, it has believe me, and it is very deep and meaningful, but this philosophy is not inherently integrated in to the practice of everyday Hindu astrologer. Many of them are working astrology in a very practical manner, to find the problems and give solutions. This is what I like in their approach. I think that we who study Hellenistic astrology, should also bear in mind that we should apply the techniques in very practical manner and make a balance between the philosophical approach and practical astrological approach. When an ordinary client comes to you, you should be able to find the problems and give solutions astrologically, especially if the client is not at all philosophically oriented. Then, if you have someone more philosophically inclined, you can introduce him into the beauty of the metaphysics of astrology and astrological philosophy.

Sources:
Zen Buddhism and psychoanalysis, by Daisetz Teitarō Suzuki, Erich Fromm, Richard De Martino
James Braha, Astro Logos – Revelations of a Hindu Astrologer.

Cosmic Impulses

[These thoughts of mine are ad hoc improvisation which I post from time to time on my FB page, that is, on the FB page of this blog.]

The Lot of Spirit represents the Actions as we said previously. In Zodiacal Releasing from Spirit technique, the planets inside the sign of the profection are said to provide motives for action, or impulses. Impulses for action are also provided from the planets that are aspecting Lot of Spirit or its Lord. For example, if I natally have Venus conjuncting Lot of Spirit, out of her own nature, Venus would provide impulses for action related to her natural qualities like pleasures, enjoyment, probably piety, laughter, etc. [The idea of the impulses and motives for action, and the relationship with the ZR and Lot of Spirit is of Robert Schmidt]

The doctrine of the impulses is very interesting one, and Stoic philosophers elaborated quite good on this subject. The basic function of the impulse is to initiate motion. The doctrine of the impulses is closely related to the passions. The subject is very deep and worth of investigation and it is of paramount importance for studying Hellenistic astrology, especially the Lot of Spirit as representative of native’s actions or works in Zodiacal Releasing from Spirit.

Examining the Buddhism, one can see a connection between the concept of Shenpa and Impulses. Now, I know that these two things are not related but my train of thought will become clear in what follows.
Shenpa is usually translated as ‘attachment’ but this word does not translate the word shenpa in its fulness. Shenpa is an inner impulse to do things in a habbitual manner. This is the conditioning of the previous Karma, which is now part of our habbitual behavior or reaction to the world and events in life. I like Pema Choldron’s analogy of how Shenpa is the itch and the urge to scratch. It is the hook of our habituation.

The philosophy behind Hindu astrology is quite interesting for making analogies with Western traditional astrology (in general).
In Hindu philosophy, the stories of the Puranas are representation of the Universal laws but also representations of the inner qualities in our soul, that is, they work on microcosmic level. This is very similar to the Hermetic doctrine of as above so bellow, so widely popularized today but without much deeper understanding of the phrase. In these Puranic stories, planets and their mythology are representing inner qualities in every human being. Narayana is the Supreme Being in Hindu cosmology, and even though many today think that Hinduism is not monotheism are people who have little knowledge of the Hindu doctrines. Hinduism holds that there is trully only One Supreme God, but has different Avatars or embodiments of the same, appearing in every age as to give guidence to the people of that age, to enlighten them and give more principles of how one can follow the path to the true liberation of the chain of successive lives and attain unity with the One. So, Narayana is the Supreme Lord, and each of us is representation of the microcosm of Narayana. For Hindu astrologers and inside this philosophy, Jupiter rules intelligence, wisdom, judgment, etc. Venus rules enjoyment, Mars agression, Sun is the Soul, Saturn is hard work and patience, etc.

When we study the works of the Hellenistic astrologers and later, we see that certain planets are representing certain inner qualities, or psychology so to speak. It is interesting that Valens and Hellenistic astrologers use two different words for the significations of planets. In some occasions they use the word ‘semainō’ (to signify) and in other occasions use the word ‘poieō’ (to cause). So, we again here speak about the macrocosmic principles transferred on microcosmic level. When Hellenistic astrologers use the word ‘poieō’ they do not think about physical causation directly through some ‘energy’ or similar modern usages of the words ‘causation’. The word holds metaphysical connotation just as much as it is the case of ‘causation’ in the Hindu philosophy and metaphysics appleid there as to the connection between planets and microcosmic level of every individual, or the events in life.

These are really interesting subjects for one to urge for deeper understanding, and I just rambled a bit here, further exploration is very much needed if we want to understand the Cosmos and hence the Astrology of the ancients. We can’t understand the one without the other, they are very much interconnected.

Sun and Consciousness – short philosophical exploration

Nowadays throughout the Astrology world we  can hear how Sun is referred to as the Consciousness. Is this true from traditional astrology perspective, from the ancient doctrines and is this how the ancients looked at the Sun and its associations? I think that the truth is not far  away, and I will explain this in a minute.

The English term ‘consciousness’ comes from the Latin ‘conscientia’ which in itself involves the verb ‘scire’ (to know), with preposition ‘cum’ (together with). Latin scientia is used to translate Greek ‘suneidésis’ which is equivalent of our consciousness, awareness, etc. As a philosophical term, ‘consciousness’ was introduced by Ralf Cudworth, in his True Intellectual System of the Universe (1678). However, the term suneidésis was used by several different philosophical schools in Ancient Greece and different philosophers in different context and with different meaning. Stoics used it in the context of -self-awareness, or perception of ones body, something which every living being posses, like animals who are self-aware of their own bodies, and not in a sense we are using the term ‘consciousness’ today, instead, more like ‘awareness’ – having a mental perception of the things inside your body. Now, the term ‘awareness’ has broader meaning, for example, being aware of what is going on around you, not only inside you. Other philosophers seems to have used this term in a sense that a human being is aware of the sensations inside the body, be they of a physical nature, be they of a psychological nature. So, the word suneidésis can be more accurately translated like self-awareness, at least in philosophical terms.

The word consciousness is very much pregnant in today’s New Age thought and hence New Age astrology. It is filled with very much poorly understood Hindu philosophy and hence many of those modern astrologers who use it doesn’t even know what it actually means. I will explain this further in my elaboration here. For now, let’s stick with Ancient Greece.

At the very beginning of Anthology, Vettius Valens gives description of the 7 planets, and starts with the Sun: ‘the light of the mind (intellectual light), the organ of mental perception of the soul’ (φῶς νοερόν, ψυχικῆς αἰσθήσεως ὄργανον [fōs noeron, psuchikēs, aistheseōs organon). Noun αἴσθησις (aisthēsis) means ‘self-perception, sensation, senses, means of observing, impressions of sense, visible things, etc’. The verbal form of this noun is ‘aisthomai’, with meaning ‘I perceive’. So, Sun is the organ of perception of the Soul. This is very much similar to the notion of self-awareness or consciousness as it is used today but not in all terms. Now we should go to the Hindu philosophy to see what is their take on ‘consciousness’ and what do they mean by that term.

Sanskrit word for consciousness is ‘Chith‘. Chith is not an active process like feeling or perceiving actively, it is more like passive observation. When we sleep we are not aware of the outer world but when we are awake we are aware of the world around us. Hindu philosophy teaches that there is illusion or maya and what sages do is actually going beyond this conditioning of all the people and they ‘evolve their consciousness’, it is not that it is ‘their’ consciousness, but more like taking more space of the consciousness itself which exist separately and of which every human being is part, but due to the illusion or maya, is not able to perceive. It is a complex subject and different Hindu schools posses different particulars on this teaching, but for us it is only desirable for now to know the overall notions and their application in Hindu astrology.

The great Hindu astrology classic Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra says:

 सूर्य नत्वा ग्रहपतिं जगदुत्पत्तिकारणम्‌।‌।वक्ष्यामि वेदनयनं यथा ब्रह्ममुखाच्छ्रुतम्‌॥ ६॥

6. And having bowed to Surya (Sun), the Lord of the grahas [planets] and the source of creation, I shall now describe the eye of the Vedas (Jyotish) as heard from the mouth of Brahma. [translated by Joel Lumiere].

Sun is greatest of all planets, the principle planet, the Paramatma (the Supreme Soul), in every particular chart it is Atmakaraka or Significator of the Soul.

Parashara again says: ” The lord of the sky (Sun) is all atma.”
Atma is soul or consciousness. Moon is Mind and as Moon is borrowing the light of the Sun, in that way the Mind is borrowing the light of the Soul or the consciousness itself from the ocean of the All Consciousness (Paramatma).

As we can see from this short elaboration, Sun it is consciousness, the organ of mental perception, the intellectual light and the means of the awareness of the soul, in both systems, the particulars and philosophy behind is different though. However, the importance of the Sun in any horoscope is not to be underestimate, we should pay due attention to the examination of the Sun and its associations in the chart with other points and planets.

Dignity and Work – Case study

Little bit of Arabian astrology.

In the chapter “On the native’s dignity and work and on what is signified by the 10th house” Abū Ali advices us  how in order to measure native’s dignity and success in work, we need to look at the compound almuten of these places:

1. 10th Sign
2. Its Lord.
3. Lot of Exaltation
4. Its Lord.
5. Sun by day and Moon by night.

The planet having most dignities in these places will be almuten. Then Abū Ali goes to say:

“…because if it were an ‘ittisāl or a commingling or configuration between the one which had more dignities and the Lord of the Ascendant, the native will be a royal man, and will get rich from a kingdom, and will obtain the highest honor. And if there were not an ‘ittisāl nor a conjunction nor configuration, the native will be unknown to the king, of middling value, and little power.”. [Abū Ali, On the Judgment of Nativities, p.294, trans. Benjamin N. Dykes, PhD]

ittisāl is application to the degree by conjunction or aspect.
What is 10th House?

Abu Mashar:The tenth is the place of authority, promotion, the king, renown,  fame, skills, actions and mothers.

Al Biruni: Rule of Sultan, government with council of nobles, absolute authority, success, in business, commerce, professions, well-behaved children, liberality.

Bonatti: “Albuas and all the other ancients said that the tenth house is the kingly house and that it signifies imperium and rule and professions and dignities and offices and every skill which you may exercise and be called a “master”. And he was called The Master whom God desired. But it (tenth house) signifies mothers, the paternal grandmothers, and all such old women and female friends on the side of the family. Adila said that it signifies divine things and honours and political offices, and similar things. And Al-Kindi said that it signifies the king, glory and fame of praise”.
[Bonatti, Liber Astronomiae Basel 1550, Third Part of the Second Tractate col. 61-97. translated  by Robert Zoller]

To summurize, 10th signifies promotion, status, honors, success in work, actions, skills, the king, fame, authority, etc.

What Abū Ali is trying to say here is that if the Almuten of the places connected to all these meanings above, has ‘ittisāl with Lord of Ascendant, this native will be known by the king, and if not, he will remain without acknowledgment and hence little power. Knowing the King is possessing great power. Nowadays this can be translated as knowing people in government, political leaders, or knowing someone who posses great power in the society.

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Look at Albert Einstein’s chart. Almuten (using MC instead of 10th sign) is Venus and she is to be found in 10th sign and Moon Lord of Ascendant is making ‘ittisal, or trinal application toward it inside 3 degrees of orb. Now this in Hellenistic astrology is called ‘Figural Conjunction” and is very powerful, more powerful then application with wider orbs. I think this is also what is meant by the ancient authors that sometimes planet in 6th will give indications for native’s work BUT if they are configured with planets in the 10th. I think this is perfect example of what ancient meant when they said this, and wouldn’t apply if there are no planets or even more, ‘ittisal with the planets in the 10th. The same holds true for the 2nd Place.

Then Abū Ali says:

“Which if the planet who had greater dignity in these things were in its own domicile, and in a good aspect with the Lord of the Ascendant, the native will have a kingdom and great power”.

So, the ‘good aspect’ is also prerequisite. Here we can see that Moon applies toward Venus via trine, which is most beneficial aspect.

“..and will get rich from a kingdom.”

Did Albert Einstein get rich from a Kingdom?

Well, if we apply the power comparation, then receiving the Nobel Prize award and the money from the Nobel Foundation, can be treated as getting rich from Kingdom. I mean, this is not Kingdom, but it is highly official organization, and in those times when Abū Ali wrote this, the only highly official organizations were the King (Sultan) and probably the Religious governors. Nowadays we have a lot of powerful organizations. The thing is that the 10th house is associative with power and authority. Every organization with power and authority, and the native receiving power from this, can be treated as ‘being known by the king’. Actually, Albert Einstein was known by the ‘king’ and the greatest officials in Germany, and through out the world. His letters to the highest officials and asking for remaining the peace in the world, are widely known today.

“…and will obtain the highest honor”.

Nobel Prize is the highest honor for a physician.

Even if we don’t want to use compound Almutens, Venus is Lord of exaltation of MC and also rules the triplicity, so she is disposing the things related to the 10th house, that is, she is determined toward the things relating to career, status, honors, etc.

Venus is not in dignity, actually she is in her anti-domicile or what the Medievals call the detriment. According to Serapio planets in their anti-domicile ‘turn bad’, and examining his life, we could say that something of that sort happened, but this is not the place to enter in all the story of his. What is more important here is that the good aspect between the Moon as Lord of Ascendant and determination toward the Esse of the native, is making ‘ittisāl toward Venus – almuten of Work and Status, and Almuten of MC, positioned in 10th sign pertaining to the same: work, status and honors.

Furthermore, Sun in 10th is often considered to bring recognition, status and honors, because Sun is natural significator of the same. Now the natural significator of these things, in the house signifying this things, and visible above in the sky is giving recognition. So another testimony for success and recognition on the account of Albert Einstein.

Lot of Fortune in 10th sign is again, powerful testimony of fortunate nativity, especially because its Lord Mars is in 10th from it in exaltation. Now we came to this Mars. This Mars even though of the contrary sect, it is nonetheless very powerful, being on a Pivot, in its exaltation and Lord of Fortune in 10th from Fortune.

All this is an indication of a successful nativity, recognized by the ‘king’ and society and achieving certain degree of power in the world.

Now, what would have happened if Albert had only the ‘ittisal between the almuten of work and Lord of Ascendant without the further testimonies? Well, I think he would have been recognized by the higher officials, and would have achieved certain degree of power, but this could have been in accordance to the measurement or proportion of testimonies. The more good testimonies, better.

Forecasting death through Descendant

“..ὅταν δὲ περὶ θανατικῶν ἢ μεταβολῆς ἢ σκυλμῶν, ἀπὸ τοῦ δυτικοῦ”
[transliteration: ‘hotan de peri thanatikōn hē metabolēs hē skulmōn, apo tu dutiku’]
{translation: ..for [matters] concerning death or change or trouble, [forecast] from Descendant}.

This is from Book IV of Valens where he speaks about the transmissions or the ‘profections’ as we know them today.
He says that transmissions starting from Descendant are pertaining to times relating to danger, troubles, death.
It is interesting that rarely people today connect the setting place with death, but Hellenistic astrologers did connect the setting place with death. The same regard to this place is still holding practical value in Hindu astrology today. They call 2nd and 7th Place – Maraka Sthana or death afflicting place, and the time-lordship of the lord of Maraka Sthana is considered to bring the time of death. For example, when Lord of 7th rules the Dasha period, if all things are equal, this lord can cause death.
I think we should re-examine this place and ponder more on the original doctrines of the Hellenistic astrologers and try to use them in our practice. Look for the profection of Descendant over critical places, or sensitive points profecting to descendant, but since this will repeat in 12 years interval, look for repetition of testimonies in other time-lord techniques.

As an exemplification of the previous quote, let us check the chart of Jackie Kennedy. She died on 19 May 1994 when was 64 years old.

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The profections of the Ascendant in her 65th year of life, or 64th birthday, are to the 5th sign Pisces. Now we move all places 5 signs forward. The death-indicating place (Descendant) moves to 11th sign Virgo where Mars is positioned. Mars is Lord of Ascendant and hence the profection of Descendant to Mars is highly sensitive, since Mars is determined toward rulership of the overall disposition of the native: body, soul, character, life. This is one indication of dangerous period, especially because Mars as natural malefic, from 11th is in opposition to the profected ascendant in Pisces. Saturn is in a Pivot from profected ascendant and is overcoming [being in 10th sign from it] the profected ascendant. Remember that Pivots (angular signs from) are very important in any case study. So, we can expect dangerous year, but we could not announce danger to life yet, it is too soon from these testimonies only.

Now we would use some long-term time lord technique like Decennials. On the right side of the screen, you can notice that in 1993, Jackie entered Mercury Decennials period on major level and this is problematic due to the reasons that Mercury rules the 8th – also place of death. Mercury rules the months also, Moon the days and Sun the hours. We can see here how the Lord of the Place indicating Death (8th), is distributing to itself, to Moon and Sun. Moon and Sun are the source of life, so the Lord of Death by virtue of ruling the 8th, is handing over to the Lords of Life naturally. Moon is the body and Sun the Life itself, the organ of mental perception, of consciousness if you like.

In the month of her death, Saturn already made an ingress to the sign of profected Ascendant (Pisces), which makes this period of time really dangerous to her life, because Ascendant and its profections represent the length of life (according to Valens again) and both malefic is transiting it. Profected Ascendant is the Esse (being) of the native for that particular year, or the disposition of her body and soul if you like. We can see from all this that the times are dangerous to her body and life.