Classifying Signs in Traditional Astrology

In astrology, sign classification systems promote the qualitative understanding of any given (sign-based) relationship. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate sign-based relationships relative to the obeying /commanding signs, their harmonious configurations, and oppositions. By exploring the significations of the ascensional signs, divided into sections below, further intricacies can be generated for educational purposes, equally applicable to chart delineations.

The Indirect and Direct Ascensional Signs

Dividing the zodiac along its ascension line, the twelve signs are classified into two groups of six. Simplistically, of the twelve signs, six are of indirect or crooked ascent while the other six are direct. This vertical division accentuates the lesser and greater ascensional times of the indirect and direct signs, respectively. Comparatively, signs ascending directly, from the start of Cancer to the end of Sagittarius, coincide with greater ascensional times, while signs of crooked or indirect ascension, from the start of Capricorn to the end of Gemini, have lesser ascensional times.

The configuration of (vertical) signs crossing the (horizontal) ascension divide are deemed to interact in concordance. Of course, depending on the author, this form of agreement differs in description. Ptolemy, for example, notes these signs as ‘seeing and hearing’, but omits specification (between signs that ‘see’ and ‘hear’). Medieval authors such as Abu Ma’shar reference the crooked and direct signs as relating ‘for prosperous actions’ alluding to the signification of a probable alliance. Despite the varying explanations, the underlying message is one of favorable consent.

Obeying and Commanding Signs

As signs straddling the solstices, obeying and commanding signs, horizontal from left to right, correspond with the arrangement of antiscia. When signs coordinate by sharing the same hour, they are said to compliment each other in a form of obedience. When signs are paired by individual degrees, or antiscia (antiskion), they are deemed to formulate a co-operative alliance. In essence, this counter-penumbra (skia= ‘shadow’, anti= ‘counter’) is said to form a potent, virtuous coalition. While the discussion of antiscia (and contra-antiscia) will be limited here, in order to fully explore the degrees of each sign pairing, it merits a separate (future) post.

A few terms: In Greek, prostassonta (or keleuonta) refers to commanding, while akounta is the term for hearing.

Via sign modality, the horizontal scheme begins and ends with the cardinal and mutable modalities. Therefore, from left to right, cardinal Capricorn obeys mutable Sagittarius, fixed Aquarius obeys fixed Scorpio, mutable Pisces obeys cardinal Libra, cardinal Aries obeys mutable Virgo, fixed Taurus obeys fixed Leo, and mutable Gemini obeys cardinal Cancer.

Therefore, to facilitate memorization, the indirect/ direct arrangement follows this pattern, via modality, from left to right:

1. Cardinal obeys mutable.

2. Fixed obeys fixed.

3. Mutable obeys cardinal.

4. Cardinal obeys mutable.

5. Fixed obeys fixed.

6. Mutable obeys cardinal.

This sequence encompasses all twelve signs, since the ascension line equally divides the zodiacal signs into two groups of six. For short: 1. CM, 2. FF 3. MC, 4. CM, 5. FF, 6. MC.

Crossing the Ascension: Harmonious Aspects Between the Obeying and Commanding Signs

Obeying and Commanding Signs to the Left and Right, respectively.

When obeying signs relate to commanding signs via trine or sextile, the dialogue is considered to be more agreable. In the diagram above, following the basic obeying/ commanding relationship, I begin to add the harmonious sextiles and trines to the top and bottom, respectively. Note that for the purposes of simplicity, clarification, and to prevent confusion, this first diagram is intentionally left incomplete. In other words, only the obeying and commanding signs via horizontal configuration are rendered, while introducing only four additional aspects, via sextile and trine (at the start with Capricorn to Scorpio and Virgo, and ending with Taurus and Gemini to Cancer and Leo, respectively).

The final diagram (displayed below) discloses all possible configurations between signs crossing the ascension line. In other words, given the example above, Capricorn, obeying Sagittarius via ascension, simultaneously obeys Scorpio via sextile, and Virgo via trine. The scheme continues the basic horizontal configurations, until it ends with indirect Taurus obeying Leo, and in sextile to Cancer (the trine to Virgo is added in the following diagram). Gemini, the last of the crooked signs, traditionally obeys Cancer while in sextile to Leo (its trine to Libra is, again, included in the last diagram below). To reiterate, note that these configurations are only formed betweeen signs crossing the ascension line, and that the harmonious configurations share the same electric/ magnetic expression. (*)

Obeying and Commanding Oppositions

Deemed contrary in esteem, oppositions still follow the obey/command principle. In the diagram below, all oppositions are illustrated, considering their locations naturally cross the ascensional divide. Indirect Capricorn opposes direct Cancer, indirect Aquarius opposes direct Leo, indirect Pisces opposes direct Virgo, indirect Aries opposes direct Libra, indirect Taurus opposes direct Scorpio, and indirect Gemini opposes direct Sagittarius. From the top of this diagram, first crooked or indirect sign, Capricorn diagonally opposes Cancer, as the rest of the signs follow a diagonal pattern, from left to right. Similarly, the obeying/ commanding sextiles and trines also align in diagonal symmetry.

Putting it All Together: The Symmetry of Concord

Obeying/ Commanding, Including, Sextile, Trine, and Opposition

Obeying/ Commanding, Including, Sextile, Trine, and Opposition

After observing the fundamental relationship between crooked and direct signs, strictly crossing the ascensional line, I added the sextile, trine, and opposition configurations, and arrived at the diagram above. In other words, this pattern is a result of studying the basic interaction between obeying and commanding signs, including those in harmonious aspects. Again, the core rule is that signs must cross the ascensional line in order to participate in a configuration that adheres to the commanding/ obeying principle. A sextile between Capricorn and Pisces, for example, is unable to extend beyond the left side of the diagram, and would contradict the relationship between obeying and commanding signs.

If the interaction between crooked and direct signs is indeed one of agreement or amant, then the symmetrical arrangement of its possible configurations is a visual affirmation of this acquiescence. Equally, signs promoting dynamic camaraderie as a result of equidistant ascensions (or in the words of the ancients, ‘giving themselves for prosperous actions’) are visual declarations of concordant symmetry.


Copyright © 2019 Saturn and the Sun Astrology. All rights reserved.


Notes: (*) ‘Electric’ and ‘magnetic’ are the terms I am currently using as substitutes for gender.

Etching by K. Kalynovych.

Hand-drawn diagrams are my own. Please do not reproduce without permission. As noted above, I have arrived at these diagrams by studying the source texts referenced below.


References:

Paul of Alexandria, Introduction

Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos

Dykes, Benjamin (trans.), Introductions to Traditional Astrology: Abu-Ma’shar and al-Qabisi

Brennan, Chris, Hellenistic Astrology

Full Moon in Virgo

Full Moon in Virgo

Full Moon in Virgo

Occurring within seven hours of perigee, the syzygy Full Moon in Virgo beckons the fertile earth’s patient procreativity. As the solar light newly bathes in Pisces’ oceanic undercurrent, the lunation’s ruler, Mercury, resides in polarity to its domicile and exaltation. Orchestrating the Moon and resurfacing from under the beams as it enters its pre-shadow phase*, the Messenger merges intuitive guidance with the prudence of meticulous artistry.

The lunation’s emphasis on the exiled Messenger is further exacerbated by its conjunction with Neptune and the absolute, elemental air-void that permeates the celestial composition. As the stars swerve past the vacant airy trigon, the consummation of immediacy pervades earthly obligations. While the Virgoan lunation affords the patient application of physical productivity, its operative fortitude is primordially instinctual and dynamic.

At 0°42′ Virgo, the Full Moon is in the bounds of procuratorial Mercury, where the Messenger is traditionally deemed noble and eminent. However, currently exiled in Pisces, Mercury navigates tempestuously alongside Neptune and the Sun. Although graced by Jupiter, the traditional logician must still operate via dynamic intuition, an illogical method for the calculating Courier.

Nearly exact (at a distance of 36′), the full Moon in Virgo conjoins fixed star Regulus. The effulgence of the royal Persian star, cor leo, is attributed to the qualities of Jupiter and Mars. With the Virgoan Moon, Regulus promotes natural leadership propelled by amorousness and devotional drive. Embracing the lunar Bethulah, the Lion’s Heart bestows the courage to succeed amidst adversity.

Virgo Decan I: The Orb-Weaver

Virgo’s first decan evokes emblems carved by laborious temperance. Akin to the seemingly precarious grace of a gossamer’s glint, there is occult fortitude in the prudent cultivation of cyclical artistry. Assembling each silken filament with painstaking toil, the orb-weaver’s magnetic labrynthine becomes its efficient source of food. However, in order to accomplish this meticulous feat, a somber sacrifice is made in the form of energetic expenditure.

Noted by Agrippa, “the first face of Virgo ascendeth the figure of a good maide, and a man casting seeds; it signifieth getting of wealth, ordering of diet, plowing, sowing, and peopling”. As such, the agricultural artisan recurrently surveys the fertility of the strewing soil, patterning a craft capable of life-affirming sustenance. Both the spider and human laborour exchange physical hardship for nature’s nourishment. Echoed in the Picatrix, “this is the face of sowing, plowing, the germination of plants, of gathering grapes, and of good living”. The material sphere’s abundance is afforded to the weaver of intricate webs, fermenter of fertile soil, all at the humble cost of interminable perseverance. Arachnid or human, nature’s discerning eye secretively calibrates its offerings to the worker’s degree of servility.

Lunar Mansion Twelve: Al-Sarfah
The Full Moon in Virgo falls under the twelfth mansion of The Changer, Al-Sarfah. Thematic of juncture and severance, this lunar mansion is depicted as a man battling a dragon. When the Moon journeys through this mansion’s renewed cycle, Al-Sarfah cautions against conflict and confrontation [3].

In parallel to its Ptolemaic influences, Saturn and Venus, Al-Sarfah alludes to Saturnian limitations, while affording Venusian affirmations of harvest and allies. Nearly echoing the descriptive tone of the Full Moon’s bounds (for intimate strife enshrouds Virgo’s first two terms), both mansion and Egyptian term coincide with a cautionary restraint in personal relations.

Full Moon in Virgo: Configurations and Bounds

The full Moon carves an applying trine with the scarlet malefic. As the ferocious star overcomes the Moon, Mars is hosted by Venus (in Venus’ prolific and fertile term). In Taurus, the Warrior must abide by the benefic’s reconciliatory rules, a foreign concept to the naturally severing properties of (malefic) Mars. Via sign and degree-based trines, the full Moon aspects both malefics, Mars and Saturn, respectively. Likewise, the Saturn-Venus-Pluto copresense harmonizes with both luminaries.

The Piscean Sun is copresent with Neptune and Mercury, as the watery stellium is overcome and ruled by jubilant Jove. Of the three stars, Mercury applies via degree-based square to Jupiter, as the latter star overcomes the Messenger. Fortunately, still in its domicile, the Greater Benefic’s sign-based square to the Piscean stellium (including degree-based square to Mercury) lessens its tension. Resulting from Mercury’s thricely cast sextiles to Saturn, authoritative friction, while likely, is afforded amelioration. Under this lunation’s lens, the primary sextile is visually scrutinized, as the Messenger’s partile ray to Saturn nearly calibrates the ethereal Piscean sway with the Stoic’s stability.

In repetitive trios, the applying, degree-based Mercury-Jupiter square (exact the following day at 21°06’ Pisces-Sagittarius), is the first (of three) during Mercury’s journey through Pisces. Likewise, the first Mercury-Neptune conjunction (previously exact at 15°34’ Pisces) currently separates and applies on March 24th and April 2nd, respectively. Finally, the Jupiter-ruled Sun is in the terms of Venus, as the emerald goddess structures her affirmations within the boundaries of Saturn’s stoicism.

Excessive Earth and the Elemental Air-Void

Full Moon in Virgo

Of the seven visible stars, Jupiter remains in his fiery domicile as excessive earth coagulates the Virgoan Moon’s elemental composition. Newly undulating in Pisces’ oceanic current, the Sun accompanies the Messenger, merging water with the strewing soil. While excessive earth overtly focuses on preserving existing conditions, practical efficiency and material concerns potentially dominate theoretical and ethical principles.

The Elemental Air-Void

As the solar light’s departure from Saturn’s stoic Water Bearer projects the lunation’s air-void, experience is primordially manouvered by the material, emotive, and dynamic spheres. Depleting its abstract qualities, against this elemental composition, the subtlety of air is concealed. Consummated by immediacy, personal detachment is a notable challenge, coupled with the Messenger’s tempestuous exile in Pisces.

Since the unifying properties of air are compromised, uncooperative behavior compromises partnerships, surging hesitance while adjusting to new people, ideas, and insights. In essence, the air-voids’ impediment spawns from an inability to objectively approach internal and external circumstances.

Irrationality surges as a response to poorly assimilated ideas. While the body’s response to the inconceivable can produce physical ailment and aggression, these reactions are (however inappropriately) intended to abolish threat. Physically, excessive air can lead to a highly activated and extremely sensitized nervous system. Consistent meditation and restful, recuperative retreats are necessary for replenishment and the prevention of cerebral exhaustion.

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Full Moon in Virgo: Summary

Nearing exact perigee, the Full Moon in Virgo illuminates the earth’s prudent fertility. Scrutinizing the sect light, the Piscean Sun bestows intuitive guidance merged with the patience of meticulous artistry. However, in exile and polarizing its Virgoan domicile and exaltation, Mercury’s opposes the very lunation it governs.

Simultaneously in the bounds of Mercury, the lunation’s emphasis on the exiled Messenger is exacerbated by its conjunction to nebulous Neptune and the elemental air-void that permeates the celestial composition. As the stars swerve past the vacant airy trigon, the consummation of immediacy pervades earthly obligations. While Jupiter overcomes the Piscean stellium (Sun, Mercury, and Neptune) via degree and sign-based square, the absence of air necessitates reason before instinct.

While the Virgoan lunation affords the patient application of physical productivity, its operative fortitude is primordially instinctual and dynamic. Gathering these insights, mindfulness in relational efforts requires the application of impartial surveillance. Acclimating to air’s sanguine temperament, a third-person narrative must aid the tempestuous Messenger.

* The Full Moon at 0°42′ Virgo is exact on 2/19/19, at 10:53 AM EST.
* Two hours prior to the full Moon in Virgo, Mercury begins its pre-shadow phase at 16°6′ Pisces at 9:19 AM EST, on 2/19/19.


References:

Agrippa, Henry C., The Three Books of Occult Philosophy

Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos

Warnock, Christopher, The Mansions of the Moon

* Etchings by K. Kalynovych.


Copyright © 2019 Saturn and the Sun Astrology. All rights reserved.


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February 2019 Astrology Forecast

February 2019 Astrology Forecast Calendar

Under the Jupiter-ruled first decanate, February emerges with the Saturn-surveyed Moon in the bounds of Mercury. Post Cazimi, Mercury is now blindingly under the beams, and will enter its pre-shadow phase on the 19th, coinciding with this month’s Full Moon. Seemingly bifurcated by Mars, February’s celestial composition formalizes on 2/1/19 with the friction of Mars confronting Pluto via square at 21°39′ Aries-Capricorn, squaring the ascending node at 26°32′ Aries-Cancer, and finally, conjoining Uranus at 29°11′ Aries, directly prior to its ingress into Taurus.

In the Martian terms of Sagittarius, Venus completes a jubilant trine to Uranus before committing to Capricorn’s structural stoicism. Ingressing into the Sea Goat on 2/3/19, Venus’ affirmative qualities grace the sector of one’s chart signaled by Capricorn. This ingress will impact nocturnal charts more poignantly, and can help calibrate charts burdened by Saturn’s more sobering lessons. While this shift from fiery, Jupiter-ruled territory to the solidified boundaries of earthy Capricorn are seemingly somber, the practical objectivity of Venus in the Sea Goat can elucidate and concretize endeavors. However, as elaborated below, contention can surface, partly resulting from Mercury’s condition in Pisces.

This month, simultaneously starting their journeys in the bounds of Venus, both Mercury and Mars ingress into their detriments, Mercury into Pisces (2/10/19) and Mars into Taurus (2/14/19). Stationing retrograde come 3/5/19, the Messenger in Pisces nearly foreshadows March’s mercurial challenges. Prior to this, on 2/19/19, Mercury conjoins Neptune at 15°34′ Pisces, the first in a sequential trio, and enters its shadow phase before its sextile to Saturn at 16°55′ Pisces-Capricorn. As for Mars, on 2/14/19, the red planet is graciously hosted by Venus. In Taurus, the Warrior must abide by the benefic’s reconciliatory rules, a foreign concept to the naturally severing properties of (malefic) Mars.

Nine sextile configurations forge February’s trajectory, beginning with Mercury-Jupiter at 18°15′ Aquarius-Sagittarius and ending with Sun sextile Mars at 9°2′ Pisces-Taurus.

As it began, February’s terminal is chiseled by the Capricorn Moon as Venus completes her journey through the Mars term of the Sea Goat. The notable air-void further accentuates the mercurial labyrinth that must be delicately traversed. On 3/1/19, Venus squares Uranus at 29°47′ Capricorn-Aries before ingressing into Saturn’s diurnal domicile (or sequel) in Aquarius.

Exploring February’s Elemental Air-Void

Essentially, the air affinity is akin to the third-person perspective of a book’s narrative, or a bird’s eye view of a moving picture: impartial surveillance of any given scenario.

In both mundane and natal astrology air-voids are cumbersome to navigate when the remaining elements are heavily activated. In other words, experiencing life through the active/ dynamic (fire), emotive (water), and material (earth) spheres can conceal the subtlety of air. If we look to its qualities, air is, comparatively, easily dissolvable against the remaining elements. Personal detachment is challenging, since the experiences are consumed in immediacy.

Since the unifying properties of air are compromised, uncooperative behavior can beget unsatisfactory partnerships, as hesitance surges when adjusting to new people, ideas, and insights. An amount of distrust and suspicion is applied to purely intellectual pursuits and people. In essence, the main air-void obstacle stems from the inability to objectively approach internal and external circumstances.

Air-voids are often linked to delicate nervous systems with psychosomatic manifestations. When ideas fail to be assimilated (mentally and emotionally), irrational reactions can surge. While the body’s response to inconceivable ideas can produce physical ailment and aggression, these reactions are intended to abolish threat. Physically, excessive air can lead to a highly activated and extremely sensitized nervous system. Consistent meditation and restful, recuperative retreats are necessary for replenishment and the prevention of cerebral exhaustion. Additionally, it is imperative to implement a change of scenery away from the quotidian in order to escape from systematic preoccupations, second thoughts, and interminable plans.

February 2019 Ingresses

  • 2/3/19: Venus ingresses into Capricorn
  • 2/10/19: Mercury ingresses into Pisces
  • 2/14/19: Mars ingresses into Taurus
  • 2/18/19: Sun ingresses into Pisces

February Lunations

  • 2/4/19: New Moon in Aquarius: At 15°45′ Aquarius, as the luminaries apply to a Jupiter sextile, the new Moon is copresent via degree with Mercury. In the background, the ongoing Saturn-Neptune sextile is exact. Likewise, the luminaries, in aversion to Saturn, Venus, Pluto, and Neptune, sextile the Mars-Uranus conjunction. Via sign, a Mars-Saturn square is activated. In the bounds of Venus, the New Moon falls under the Mercury-ruled second decanate.
  • 2/19/19: Full Moon in Virgo: At 0°42′ Virgo the perigee syzygy is in the bounds of Mercury, under the Sun-ruled first decanate. As the Moon’s ruler is ingressed into its Piscean adversity, the full Moon punctuates Mercury’s fleet-footed urgency with an ethereal sublimation. In Mercury’s bounds, the full Moon falls under the solar-ruled first decanate.
  • February 2019 Astrology Calendar

    • 2/1/19: Mars square Pluto at 21°39′ Aries-Capricorn
    • 2/2/19: Venus trine Uranus at 28°55′ Sagittarius-Aries
    • 2/3/19: Mercury sextile Jupiter at 18°15′ Aquarius-Sagittarius
    • 2/3/19: Venus ingresses into Capricorn
    • 2/4/19: New Moon at 15°45′ Aquarius
    • 2/7/19: Sun sextile Jupiter at 18°56′ Aquarius-Sagittarius
    • 2/7/19: Mercury sextile Mars at 25°40′ Aquarius-Aries
    • 2/9/19: Mars square Ascending Node at 26°32′ Aries-Cancer
    • 2/9/19: Mercury sextile Uranus at 29°5′ Aquarius-Aries
    • 2/10/19: Mercury ingresses into Pisces (adversity/ detriment) I
    • 2/12/19: Ascending Node stations direct at 26°24′ Cancer
    • 2/13/19: Mars conjunct Uranus at 29°11′ Aries
    • 2/14/19: Mars ingresses into Taurus (adversity/ detriment) II
    • 2/17/19: Venus sextile Neptune at 15°29′ Capricorn-Pisces
    • 2/17/19: Ascending node stations retrograde at 26°29′ Cancer
    • 2/18/19: Sun sextile Uranus at 29°21′ Aquarius-Aries
    • 2/18/19: Venus conjunct Saturn at 16°46′ Capricorn
    • 2/18/19: Sun ingresses into Pisces
    • 2/19/19: Mercury conjunct Neptune at 15°34′ Pisces
    • 2/19/19: Mercury sextile Saturn at 16°55′ Pisces-Capricorn
    • 2/22/19: Mercury square Jupiter at 21°06′ Pisces-Sagittarius
    • 2/22/19: Venus conjunct Pluto at 22°17’Capricorn
    • 2/23/19: Mercury sextile Pluto at 22°18′ Pisces-Capricorn
    • 2/25/19: Venus opposite Ascending node at 25°58′ Capricorn-Cancer
    • 2/26/19: Mercury trine Ascending node at 25°58′ Pisces-Cancer
    • 2/27/18: Sun sextile Mars at 9°2′ Pisces-Taurus

    Copyright © 2019 Saturn and the Sun Astrology. All rights reserved.


    Etchings by K.Kalynovych.

    Interpreting Aspects in Traditional Astrology

    Interpreting Aspects in Traditional Astrology

    Objective and Overview

    The word aspect, derived from the Latin term aspectus, infers to the act of seeing or looking. Essentially, it is the sense of sight: the visibility, appearance, aspect, presence, mien, countenance, form, and color. Therefore, indicative of the word aspect, in Hellenistic astrology, configurations perform an optical operation: the ability to visualize planets.

    According to theoretical principles, the composition of an astrological configuration varies between traditional and modern practices. In traditional astrology, aspects are largely based upon optical theories and planetary affinity. The concept of minor aspects, later introduced by Kepler in rebuttal of the zodiac signs (while labeling the 12 places or houses as “Arabic sorcery”), became more prominent in the 20th century. Noting these disparities, this article’s objective is to explain, from an introductory level, the aspect principles in the context of traditional astrology. Additionally, this information intends to supplement aspect delineations provided throughout this site, generating further context and specifications when analyzing any given configuration.

    Sign-Based and Degree-Based Configurations

    A notable difference regarding traditional configurations is the ability of two planets to ‘witness’ each other independent of degree. Sign-based configurations are possible via trine, sextile, square, and opposition, on account of the visual spectrum between two planets. Copresence, the final configuration included in later Hellenistic texts, is essentially equivalent to the modern-day conjunction. Again, like other sign-based configurations, copresence can also exist independent of degree.

    Degree-based configurations involve two planets in mutual testimony while punctuating their acuity by degree. While degree-based aspects are a popular construct of modern astrology, in traditional astrology, these configurations must still, in accordance with theoretical principles, bear witness to one another. This is why the introduction of ‘minor aspects’ such as the ‘inconjunction’ or ‘quincunx’, ‘semi-sextile’, ‘semi-square, ‘novile’, ‘quintile, and ‘bi-quintile’, to name a few, cannot logically cohere to the traditional aspect doctrine.

    Planetary Aversion

    The absence of affinity by sign creates planetary aversion, which can can have both mitigating or afflicting implications. For example, in electional astrology, placing the malefic contrary-to-sect in aversion to the first house can help protect planets positioned in said place. Contrastingly, an of-sect benefic in aversion to the Hour-Marker cannot benefit the chart ruler, again, because it is unable to witness the planet in question. Therefore, planets in aversion can work favorably or unfavorably, depending on their qualities and tasks in any given chart.

    Exact Degree-Based Configurations: The Seven Partile Rays

    A basic note to keep in mind is this: at any time, a planet aspects seven signs while remaining in aversion to the remaining four.

    Venus scrutinizes seven planets.

    Similarly, each planet incessantly emits seven partile rays. The word partile is indicative of exactitude via degree. In an acute aspect, a planet emitting a partile ray has complete visibility, entirely beholding another planet in exact degree. As a celestial composition of consistent mobility, each of the seven traditional planets are constantly witnessing and emitting seven partile rays. Once a ray strikes any given planet, an aspect is acutely activated, and its delineation is dependent upon the significance of the planetary emitter. Remaining in aversion to 4 places, each planet hurls 7 partile (degree-based) rays: 2 sextiles, 2 squares, 2 trines, and 1 opposition. While planets witness each other via sign-based configurations, they keenly scrutinize (katopteuō) each other when configured by degree.

    The Branches of Copresence: Assembly and Adherence

    Copresence, also known as the conjunction (both bodily and degree-based) is considered the first original configuration. Independently defined from the four optical aspects, copresence occurs when two planets occupy the same zodiacal sign. Implying affinity via bodily presence, this configuration was initially separated from the remaining four visual aspects. In later Hellenistic texts, it was introduced and combined with the other configurations by authors such as Rhetorius.

    Under the branch of copresence, there are two variations, namely termed assembly and adherence. Within the same sign, assembly is an applying aspect more than 3 degrees apart but less an 15 degrees away. With adherence, the traditional term for the more commonly known ‘conjoining’ aspect, one planet applies bodily within three degrees to another planet. Technically, assembly and adherence are both forms of copresence, yet the orb narrows as adherence becomes the closest (degree-based) branch of copresence.

    Engagement and the Four Optical Aspects

    Engagement, an applying ray effecting any of the four optical configurations (as discussed below), is neither a bodily conjunction nor a form of copresence. Instead, engagement is simply considered an applying aspect within three degrees, via trine sextile, square, or opposition. The important principle regarding engagement (as opposed to adherence, for example) is that it corresponds via degree, or the ray of one planet as it applies to another.

    The Four Optical Configurations

    Initially, the four traditional configurations indicate one face of an entire shape or figure. In fact, configurations are literally regarded as figures, alluding to the form of each associated polygon. Succinctly, the four geometric aspects correlate with the malefics and benefics in Hellenistic astrology as follows:

    • The tetragon or square. The square is four signs apart, or separated by 90 degrees. It is deemed the signature aspect of (lesser malefic) Mars.
    • The diameter or opposition. The opposition is seven signs apart, or separated by 180 degrees. It is deemed the signature aspect of (greater malefic) Saturn. Via opposition, each exalted planet witnesses its sign of depression. With each rise and fall, these extremes contrast the equilibrium and efficiency of planetary domicile.
    • The hexagon or sextile. The sextile is three sign apart, or separated by 60 degrees. It is deemed the signature aspect of (lesser benefic) Venus.
    • The triangle or trine. The trine is five signs apart, or separated by 120 degrees. It is deemed the signature aspect of (greater benefic) Jupiter.

    Diurnal Exaltation Trines

    Note: By trine in the diurnal exaltation scheme, each exalted planet aspects its domicile. The exalted Sun in Aries trines its domicile in Leo, exalted Jupiter in Cancer trines its domicile in Pisces, and exalted Saturn in Libra trines Aquarius.

    Exaltation Scheme

    Nocturnal Exaltation Sextiles

    Similarly, in the nocturnal exaltation scheme, exalted planets aspect their domiciles by sextile. Again, the correlation between day, trine and Jupiter echoes the night, sextile, and Venus.

    The Luminaries and the Optical Configurations

    The Luminaries

    The luminaries aspecting the benefics and malefics.

    With each planet in its domicile, the solar and lunar hemispheres reflect the quality of each optical configuration. With Mercury in aversion, each light casts a sextile, square, trine, and opposition, mirroring the distinct signature aspects of the benefics and malefics. Jupiter and Venus govern the trine and sextile, respectively, as the malefics, Saturn and Mars, govern the opposition and square, respectively. This planet-aspect association (regarding the benefics and malefics) adds an additional layer to delineation, especially when coupled, for example, with considerations such as overcoming and upon the tenth. The two latter considerations are discussed below.

    Overcoming and ‘Upon the Tenth’

    Upon the Tenth

    Left: Jupiter, upon the tenth, overcoming Mars. Right: Mars overcoming Jupiter.

    Overcoming, especially when ‘upon the tenth‘, is often considered one of the most potent configurations in Hellenistic astrology. On the right side of a chart, planets positioned earlier in zodiacal sign exert a prevailing influence, considered the superior position, over inferiorly positioned planets on the left. Of the two, the overcoming planet directs the relationship, independent of degree. For example, taking the tetragon or square, Venus overcoming Mars differs from Mars overcoming Venus. In the former, the benefic dominates the configuration, in the latter, the malefic prevails. This occurs independent of degree.

    Regardless of degree, a planet in the tenth sign relative to another planet forms a superior, sign-based square. Termed ‘upon the tenth’, this branch of overcoming can extend either benefic or malefic implications, relative to the qualities of the dominant planet. When delineating configurations, concepts like overcoming and upon the tenth can help direct prevalence regarding planetary dominance. Again, using the above chart example, Mars overcoming Jupiter via superior square has, doubly, the essence of Mars by placement and configuration (the square being associated with Mars).

    Containment or Beseigment 

    Containment

    The Sun contained by Saturn’s rays.

    A planet is contained or besieged when located in a sign encapsulated by the sign-based rays of another planet. As each planet emits seven partile rays, a benefic like Jupiter or Venus can mitigate a besieged planet by protecting it with a sign-based aspect. Similarly, a malefic can contain another planet by emitting rays to that planet’s surroundings. As a result, the besieged planet feels obfuscated by the malefic rays, and benefits from a sign-based aspect from a benefic planet.

    Enclosure

    Either bodily or via degree-based configuration, enclosure occurs when a planet is between two planets in the same sign. As with containment, the center planet can be maltreated or bonified, depending on the planets that enclose it. If a planet is enclosed by malefics, a degree-based aspect from a benefic can help mitigate its condition. Conversely, a planet that is shielded by the enclosure of benefics can be maltreated if a malefic planet aspects the otherwise graced planet.

    Aspects in Traditional Astrology: Summary

    Derived from the Latin term aspectus, an aspect infers to the act of seeing or looking. Essentially alluding to the sense of sight, aspects infer to the visibility, appearance, and presence of planetary formations. According to theoretical principles, the composition of an astrological configuration or aspect varies between traditional and modern practices. In traditional astrology, aspects are largely based upon optical theories and planetary affinity.

    The subtle gradations within the spectrum of degree-based and sign-based configurations in Hellenistic astrology can provide valuable insight and precision into an otherwise basic aspect delineation. While this article is intended as an introductory guideline to traditional configurations, and various specifics have been omitted (serving as the initiatory article of a forthcoming series), the intent is to define and differentiate traditional aspect delineations from the modernized approaches in order to facilitate further precision and accuracy.


    References:

    Brennan, Chris, Hellenistic Astrology

    Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos

    *Etchings by K. Kalynovych

    *Hand-drawn chart illustrations are my own.


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    Copyright © 2019 Saturn and the Sun Astrology. All rights reserved.

    Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

    Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

    Latin for lion, Leo is the only sign in the zodiacal sphere portrayed as a predatory animal, or ‘beast of prey’. The Latin etymology of Leo, namely, to ‘blot out, to annihilate, to destroy’, aligns with the foundational nature of the lion, described by Ezra as embodying a scorching and deconstructive heat. Leo synthesizes with the human body’s fifth division via motion, and the anatomical parts corresponding with the heart and motor nerves. Concerned with dividing, lifting, and circulating the blood, the heart’s great mass of muscular tissue receives Aries’ initiatory blaze. Harmoniously laboring with the Ram, all precipitated energy must be constructively forged by the Lion.

    At 0°51′ Leo, the total lunar eclipse occurs near the ascending Lunar Node in Cancer, in Jupiter’s bound, and under the Saturn-ruled, first decanate of Leo. While the eclipse is exact at 12:14 AM EST, lasting one hour, one minute, and 59 seconds, the Moon will also be perigee at 2:59 PM EST. Following the initiatory, solar eclipse in Capricorn, this lunation culminates a 2.5 year cycle (including the foreboding Full Moon at 25°52′ Aquarius of 8/18/16), of eclipses on the Leo-Aquarius axis. Unsurprisingly, both Saturn-ruled luminaries chisel an opposition, the Time Keeper’s signature configuration. Via superior, sign-based trine, Mars overcomes the Moon, further punctuating the elemental fire-air composition of this eclipse. As Saturn overcomes Mars via sign-based, superior square, the applying Mars-Saturn configuration is nearly exact via degree. When Mars’ swift severance is halted by Saturn, the primal drive is consistently oppressed by apprehension. Both malefics, Mars and Saturn, are poised in their diurnal and nocturnal domiciles, respectively.

    In the background, the applying Venus-Jupiter conjunction narrows, further bonding the affirming grace of both benefics. While a trine is forged as both benefics grace the red planet, the final Lunar eclipse still encompasses the densely dramatic captivity of light. While it’s proximity to the ascending lunar node in Cancer further amplifies cascading emotive heights, reciprocal nurture, and instinctively maternal inclinations, the presence of the Dragon’s Head or Rahu cautions against egoism and the potentially deconstructive heat of the Leonine eclipse.

    Leo Decan I: The Feline’s Ferocity

    Often, discordance with malefics spawns from the displeasure imparted by their subjectively cruel lessons. Habitually, Mars does not operate lovingly, it opposes Venus. Naturally, Saturn does not function emotively, it opposes the Moon. Yet it is often the most excruciating trials that obligate life-transmuting perspectives. The final eclipse in Leo surveys the first decanate of the Gatekeeper, a stoic and cautionary presage against the Lion’s illimitable and annihilating blaze.

    The excessive unrestraint of the ascending Lunar Node and its proximity to the first decanate of Leo is fittingly illustrated by Agrippa as “… a man riding on a Lion; it signifieth boldness, violence, cruelty, wickedness, lust and labours to be sustained.” The seemingly minimal imagery of a man riding a predatory wildcat emphasizes the inexhaustible primal will, a theme sternly punctuated in this final lunar eclipse. When in “the face of strength, liberality, and victory”, one’s primal core truly unsheathes. Accentuated triumphs often dismantle the true character beneath thinly-veiled veneers. Considering the ‘heroic’ and seemingly victorious undertones of this decanate, this final lunar (and solar) eclipse in the Leo-Aquarius axis can consummate with boundless engorgement.

    Al-Jabhah, The Lion’s Brow

    The total lunar eclipse in Leo falls under the Al-Jabhah, the tenth lunar mansion, originally posited in the Leo constellation along with Regulus (the royal fixed star now in Virgo). Know as “The Brow”, Al-Jabhah is claimed to assist in recovery and bestow fortitude. However, a total lunar eclipse near the ascending Lunar Node still accentuates both the captivity of light and excessive voracity.

    Giraftagi: The Light’s Captivity

    During a total lunar eclipse, earth’s penumbra veils the Moon. Al-Biruni calculated that the ratio between the size of the earth’s penumbra cloaking the moon’s facade and the size of the moon was 2 3/5 to 1, corresponding with the results obtained by Ptolemy and Al-Battani. The subtle sunlight that absconds through earth’s atmosphere is refracted on the Moon, casting a transfixed, tenebrous tint. From Luna’s perspective, a blackened sphere barricades the Sun, carving a circular glow upon earth’s silhouette. Known as giraftagi, this captive light results from earth’s obstruction. Thus, during a lunar eclipse, the earth’s spherical glint plunges before the Moon.

    “And in whatsoever countries or cities we discover a familiarity of this kind, we must suppose that some event will occur which applies, generally speaking, to all of them, particularly to those which bear a relation to the actual zodiacal sign of the eclipse…”

    As the total lunar eclipse is exact, North America, South America, parts of Western Europe, and Africa will witness the eclipse’s complete visible spectrum. Apart from Madagascar, all of Africa will see a partial eclipse, as will the Middle East and Afghanistan. In Asia, the eclipse’s visual impact will be omitted, as the event occurs during daylight hours, and is void of lunar visibility.

    Of fixed modality, the final lunar eclipse in Leo reaches a critical stage of culmination, suggesting long-term, finalizing results in both intimate and global settings. Legislation, leadership, public groups and political arenas are some possible arenas of manifestation.

    The total lunar eclipse in Leo is exact on 1/21/19, at 12:14 AM EST.


    References:

    Raza, S. Jabir. “Al-Biruni on Eclipses.” Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, vol. 56, 1995, pp. 293–300., http://www.jstor.org/stable/44158632.

    Agrippa, Henry C., The Three Books of Occult Philosophy

    Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos

    Warnock, Christopher, The Mansions of the Moon


    Copyright © 2019 Saturn & the Sun Astrology. All rights reserved.