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TheMysteriesinHellenisticastrology

CleliaRomano,DMACopyright20072008

ThisarticlewasinspiredbythelecturespresentedbyRobertSchmidtduringtheVll
AstrologicalConclaveinCumberland,July2007.
RobertSchmidttogetherwithRobertHandandRobertZollercreatedthememorableproject
Hindsight.Inthebeginningof1990theybeganthetranslationtoEnglishofGreekandLatin
astrologicalsources.Thetranslationwasanessentialtoolinorderthatthecurrentastrologers
couldrecoverandrecallthegreatArtandthenobilityoftheancientastrology.

ItsimpossibletodiscussHellenisticAstrologydisregardingsomeimportantphilosophical
concepts.TheGreekswerereallygreatphilosophers,andtheyhadaquitecomplexinsighton
thecosmosandhumanexistence.
Sometimesitsdifficulttounderstandtheirwayofthinking,butifwecanleaveasideour
analyticmindinjustlikewerelinquishedtheCartesianviewuponbecomingastrologersand
begantobelievemoreinthesymbolicthaninthecoldwayofmeasuringthings,wewillbe
abletoenvisionthetruemeaningoftheGreekswayofthinking.
Wewillseesomequiteunusualandattimesweirdconcepts:therearemanycluesin
Hellenisticastrologydevisedtoforceyouintothinking.Hence,bepreparedforunsettling
ideas.
Someofthem,accordingtoRobertSchmidtinformation,arerelatedtoesotericaspectsthat
arebeingrevealedthroughrecentlydiscoveredancientTabletscontainingverynewwaysof
dealingwiththemeaningofhouses.OneoftheseTabletsendswiththefollowingwords:
He,Trasyllus,describeshowTrimegistussaid

TheMysteryoftheHouses

Thehousesaredividedinangularhouses,succedentsandcadentsfromtheangle.Thefirst
onesarecalledpivotsbytheGreeksandtheyworklikehingesaroundwhicheverything
revolves.
Thesuccedenthousesarethosethroughwhichyouenteracadent,ahousebetweenworlds.
Theirfunctionistosupportthehousebeforethem.Thecadenthouse,ontheotherhandhas
thefunctionofdestroyingtheprevioushouse,andisusedlikeabridgetothenextone.
Wherethedivisionofhousescamefrom?TheGreekswerethefirsttodescribethe
Hroskopos,theexactpointoftheAscendantandthishappenedinthesecondcenturyBC
whenHypsiclesofAlenxandriadiscoveredthemathematicalmethodforcalculatingit.Atthis
timeappearedthefirstchartwiththerespectivehoroskopus.VettiusValens,inhisAnthology
writteninthe2ndcenturyAC,usedwholesignsandalsotopicdivisionbasedinPorphyry.

TheHroskoposisthepointfromwheretheotherhousesaredescribed.FortheGreeks,
however,anypointcanbeusedasHroskopos.ThechartcandepartfromaLOT(theFortune
Lot,theSpiritLot,theErosLot,etc)orevenanotherhousecanbecameaHroskopos,apoint
ofdeparture,thefirsthousetoanalyzetheothersunderaspecificsubject.Forexample,ifthe
issueisafinancialproblem,wecandepartfromtheLotofFortuneorfromtheSecondHouse.
ThedetaileddescriptionofthisvirtuosityintheHellenistastrologyiswelldescribedinthe
introductionbyRobertHandtotheBookllofVettiusValensAnthology
InspiteofthedeterminationoftheexactpositionoftheHroskopos,theGreeksalwaysused
wholesignsinsteadofdynamichouses.
LetsassumetheAscendanttobeat22ofCancer.Thefirsthouseinitiatesinthebeginningof
Cancerandgoesasfarasitslastdegree.Aplanetat29ofCancerwouldbeconsideredinthe
firsthouse.
Butwehaventdiscussedanymysteriesyet...wejustdescribedsomeastrologicalHellenist
statementssofar.
Weknowtheterrestrialhousesare12andthattheyhaveameaning,accordingtotheir
aspectsrelativetotheAscendant.
TheEighttopichousessystemcoexistedwiththecurrent12housessystematthattime.
TheGreekshadtwoworksforlife:
Zoo:thephysicalexistenceandBios,thelifeyoulive,thelivelihood.
AndyouliveyourlifeinPlacesthattheGreeksnamedToposorHousesaswenamethem
nowadays.

TheHroskoposisthefirsthouseandrepresentsZoo,thephysicallife.Thislifeis
supportedbytheactivityoftheSecondHouse.TheissueintheSecondHouseistheBios.
Nowwewillseetheexplanationoflifeinadifferentway,though.
Accordingtonewmaterialbeingtranslated,thelifeweliveissharedbythe12th,the10thand
the8thhouses.
Thisisreallyweirdbecausewhatkindoflifeyoucanliveinthe8thhouse,theplaceofdeathif
yourlifeisrestrictedtothebody?
Inthe10thhouse,itisunderstandablebecauseinthereisthelifeyoulivewithoutrestriction
inyouradulthood.
Andthe12thhouse?Acadenthouse,apoclima,betweenworlds?!Youarenotaliveyet,this
ispriortoyoubodyexistence!Howcanweunderstandsuchaweirdstatement?Iinviteyouto
emptyyourmindandlistencarefully.

The12thhousehasameaningofpreparation:atthesametimeitstheapoclima,adecline,a
turnbackwardsfromthefirst,itsthehousewhereyouchooseyourBios,whereyourenot
livingyourlife,butchoosingtheonethatyoullhavetolive.
GreekastrologywasnotreencarnationistbutusedalotofPlatostheory,andPlatobelieved
inreincarnation.
Accordingtothistheory,afterthe12thwehavethebirthofthebody,theFirstHouse.
Assoonwelivethethreehousesafterthe12thandgodirectlytotheendoftheSecond
House,whichsupportstheFirst,wefindtheabyssoftheThirdHouse.Itisaninitiationandwe
havetojumpoverit.AtthismomentwedontgototheThird,buttothe9thhouse:itsthe
deathofourchildhood:the9thisthe8thoftheThird.
ThefirstreturnofSaturnoccursatthistimeanditisagoodbyetothefirstyouth,inorderto
entertheadulthood.Thiseventoccursataboutthirtyyearsofage:wereachourmaturity.
Inthe9th,acadenthouse,weprepareforourprime,wegetsubsidies,guidesandlearningto
achievetheactsinthelife.Wereachthe10thhouse,thePraxis,preparedtoactinpubliclife,
havingchildrenincluded,matterofthe10thfortheGreeks.

The11thhouseisthepatronage,thefriendsandinstitutionsthatsupportourpubliclifeand
position.
Additional30yearsarespentinthe9th,10thand11thhouses.Itistheperiodbetweenthe30
and60yearsofage.

Onceyoulivedthe11thhouseitstimeforyoursecondinitiation:youllhavetojumptothe
6thHouse,theillnessesofthebody,whichwillprepareyoufordeath,whichwillhappeninthe
7thHouse.Indeed,thesettingplacemakesoppositiontotheAscendant.
Thenextthirtyyearsofthenativelifewillrevolvearoundthisnewtheme:thedestructionof
life.

Backtoourinitialtheme:whatkindofactivitycanwehaveinthe8thhouse,alsocalled
lethargyandwhenourbodyissupposedtobedead?
Inthishousewehavetodrinkthewaterofforgetfulness,toforgetthelifewelivedandour
Bios.Thisistheactivityofthe8th:toforget.
So,the12thHouseisapreparationoftheBios.WegetaZoo,abody,andwebegintoliveour
lifegoingstraighttotheendoftheSecondHouse,whereourfirstthirtyyearsoflifearespent.
Afterthisriteofpassagethatoccursnotbycoincidenceatthesametimewehavethefirst
Saturnsreturnthereisajumpfromyouthtoadulthood,wherewewilllivethenextthirty
yearsofourlife,intheprimeofouradulthoodandlivingthegoodhouses,the9th,10thand
11th.Next,wehavethesecondSaturnsreturn,anotherjump,thistimetoaworseplace,the
illnessofthe6thHousewhichwillprepareusfordeath.
Letssupposesomeonelivedmorethan90years.Thispersonwouldjumptothe8thofthe
8th:i.e.fromthe8thhousetotheThird(abetweenworldshouse),cadent,preparingforthe
4th,theHades,andaftertothe5th,thefameafterdeath.
IntheHellenistictexts,actionisPraxis,andPraxisisthematterofthe10thhouse,butalsoof
theThird,becausePraxismeanspracticebutalsomeanstotransversespacesandtotravel,
mattersoftheThird:thetraveltoHades.
Fromanotherside,siblingsarematteroftheThird,buttheruleroftheThird,Mercury,isthe
samerulerofthe12thintheThemaMundi[iii],Mercury,whatmeansthatbrothersandsisters
arethosewhocameforthesamepurposesandwiththesameagenda.Ourbrothersarethose
whocamefromthesamesymbolicalwomb.

TheThirdHouse,betweenworldsintheThemaMundi,isrepresentedbythedoublesignof
Virgo[ii],disposedbyMercury,whoisPsychopomp.
WhatdoesthesoulhavetodointheThirdhouse?Itssupposetotraveltotheunderworld,to
theHades.
The4thhouseisNemesishouse,thereward,thejustice,theplacewherethesoulwillbe
weighed.TheFourthHousehasitsownLot,theLotofNemesisorJustice,basedonthe
relationshipbetweentheLotofFortuneandSaturn.

Nemesisbecomesacontributingcauseoffatecomingfromundergroundsources.
Intheunderworldhousethesoulwillbeweighedandevaluateduntilitreachesthe5thhouse
andagain,jumptothe12th,whereanewbeginningwillbeprepared.
Inthe12thHouse,afterthesoulpassesbytheplaceoftheNecessityitisreadytoliveanother
lifeandanotherBios.HermessaidthattheBioswassupportedbythesecondhouseandfor
thePraxis,i.e.the10thHouse,butbesidesthis,fortheThirdHousethatisaplaceoftraveland
dreams.

TheGreekshadaveryconsistentwayofseeingthehouses.
Wenoticethattheywentclockwiseandcounterclockwise,andtheuseofderivativehouses
wasarule.Besidesthis,eachhousecouldbeusedasthehoroskopusforthematterit
represented.
So,iftheFourthHousehastodowithHades,theplacewherethesoulisweighed,ithastodo
withbothparentsaswell,andtheFirstHouseisthe10thoftheFourth:wearetheresultof
ourparentsaction.Ahousehasmanymeanings,aswecansee.
IntheThemaMundi,ournexttopic,wewillseethattheFourthHousehastodowithSaturn
andNemesis,becausetheFourthHouseisLibraintheThemaMundi,whereSaturnexalts.
The5thhouseistheposthumousfame,goodorbad,andwhatwillhappentoourbodyor
ashesafterdeath.Atthesametime,the5thhousehastodowiththelegacyfromtheparents.
Themeaningofthehousesismixedanditsimportanttoconsidereverythingwassaid,not
discardingthenewsjustbecausetheyarenews.Theideasareveryconsistent,andforsure
theydemandedalotofdedicationfromtheancientssagesofGreece,tryingtofigureoutthe
humandestinyfacingthelargecyclesandinitiationsofthelifethatweendwithdeath,atleast
regardingwithourZooandpresentBios.

TheThemaMundi

WetookafirsttouroftheunderlyingphilosophyintheHellenisticastrology.Wewentthrough
aplacewherethemeaningofthehousesisvirtual,andeachofthemcanrepresentthemost
variedthings,includingthejourneyofthesoultotheearthandintheunderworld.
TobetterexplainthephilosophicalissueandtheunderlyingMysteryoftheastrological
houses,wewillusetheThemaMundi,ahypotheticalchartonthebirthoftheworld.
SuchachartisveryancientanditwasfirstusedinPersia,withthestoryofthefirstmanofthe
world,sunginpoemsforthegreatFirdausi'sShahnama(900ACto100DC),whowrotehis
poeticworkunifyingthePersianhistoryinonesinglelanguage.Thisbookisbasedinthestory
oftheCreationoftheWorldaccordingwithZaratustra(6thcenturyBC).Keyumars,thefirst
man,isnamedGayomardinthesacredZoroastriantext,theAvesta.
GayomardshouldhavetheThemaMundiashisbirthchart,havingbeenborninamoment
whenalltheplanetswereexalted.Accordingtothemyth,hewas30yearsoldwhenhedied.
TheGreekshadcontactwithastrologyasitwaspracticedbyBabyloniansandPersians,using
thesameThemaMunditoconstructtheirownphilosophicalandastrologicalunderstanding.


AswecanseetheThemahastheRisingsigninCancerandtheMCinAries,whichseems
coherent,sinceCanceristheuniversalsymbolofthegeneration.Thechoicewasnotrandom.
IntheoriginsofthePersiancivilization,astronomersrealizedthatinCancersplaceinthesky,
insteadofconstellationsandstarstherewasavastblackhole,withoutstars.Forsome
scholars,theroundandbigshapeofthisholeresembledalargecraboraturtle,fromwhich
theideaoftheCrabwouldcome.AlsothewordtocutinArcadianhassomesimilarityto
crab,andcutshouldmeanthedivisionbetweentwosidesofthesky,coincidingwiththe
summersolsticeinCancer.
TheMCinAriesisquiteappropriate,also,astheMCiswherewedevelopouractionstobe
seenintheworld.The7thHouse,thathasthesignificationofDeathforopposingtothe
Ascendant,showsthesignofCapricornandtheIC,Hadesorunderworld,isrepresentedby
Libra.

TheGreeksexplainedtheexaltationsoftheplanetsthroughgeometricaldrawings.Thetrigons
andhexagonsdrawnbythehousesregardingtheRisingSignoftheThemaMundiwereregions
whereplanetshadtheirexaltations.Likewise,thehousesconsideredgoodfortheZoohad
beneficplanetsinexaltation.
So,the9th,the10thandthe11thHousesareconsideredgoodplacesbecausetheylookso
tothehoroskopus.
IntheRisingSignoftheThemaMundi,Cancer,Jupiter,themostbeneficplanethasexaltation.
Inthe9thintheThemaMundiwherewehavethesignofFishes,whichmakesatrigonwith
theASC.wehavetheexaltationofVenus,thesecondbiggerbenefic.
TheFifthHouse,intheThemaMundi,isScorpioandithasnoplanetinexaltationinthissign.
ThoughitmakesatrigonwiththeASC,ScorpioisthefalloftheMoon,regentoftheRisingSign
intheThemaMundi.Nothingcanhaveexaltationinthefallofthe"horoskopo"sregent.
ThetwoplanetsthatexaltinPiscesandinCancerhavetodowiththeZoo,themaintenanceof
life.
The10thhouseisalsobeneficialtotheAscendantbecauseitsaplacewheretheBiosworksin
theworldandcompletesitself:intheThemaMundi,wehavethesignofAries,wheretheSun
exaltslinkingtheactionwithvisibilityandfame.
IftheSunexaltsinthe10th,theotherluminary,theMoon,exaltsinthe11th,makinga
hexagonwiththeAscendant.IntheThemaMundiwehavetheSignofTaurus,givingsupport
tothe10thhouseandmakingasextilewiththeASC.
Inorderofimportance,afterthefirst"pivot",i.e.aftertheFirstHouse,wehavethe10th
houseandaftertheSeventh,Finallywehavethe4thHouse.

The7thhouseisanimportanthousesinceitisina"pivot",butitisnotgoodforthenative.As
amatteroffact,itmakesanoppositiontothenative,theASCand,becauseofthis,Marshas
hisexaltationthere,inthesignofCapricornoftheThemaMundi:itisthehousefromwhere
injurycomes.
The7thhouse,however,isahousenotasbadasthe4thHouse,theHades,theworseofthe
pivothouses,sotheexaltationofthebiggestmalefic,Saturn,isinthe4thoftheThema
Mundi,Libra,whereBiosandZooarestilldestroyed.SaturnandLibraweighthesoulsinthe
houseofNemesis,thedistributionofthejustice.
ToMercuryisgiventheexaltationinVirgo,theThirdHouse,sinceitsahousethatmakesa
sextilewiththeASC(usingthehexagonalfigure)
Thethirdhouseistheleastbadofthecadenthouses,andisnamedtheGoddesshouse.
The9thisthebestofthecadenthouses,namedtheHouseofGod.

WiththeseconsiderationswehopetohavegivenasmallideaoftheastrologicalGreek
philosophy.Therearemorearticlestocomeuponthissubject._

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[ii]seeThemaMundi
[iii]seeThemaMundi