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Dominion, or the System of 8 Houses
by Patrice Guinard, Ph.D.
-- translation Matyas Becvarov --
This text includes Chapters 15, 28, 29, 30 and 31 of my doctoral dissertation (1993). An outline of my theory had already been published in a French journal in 1987. "The Astrological System of the 8 Houses" has been the object of a presentation at the CESPI - M.A.U. Conference in Angoulême (4-6 December 1992). The evidence of the reality of the eight astrological Sectors impressed itself on my attention in November 1982, and I worked out a model for house distribution and domification in May 1985 (without at that point being aware of any historical precedents). This Internet version has been expanded considerably, particularly in regard to the historical dimension and to the issue of domification.
I should logically begin my exploration of astrological structures by looking at the Planetaries (the structured ensemble of the Planets) and by reflecting on the notion of the operative factor in astrology. Despite that fact, I have decided to issue this important piece, dealt with so poorly by astrologers, first because the Houses are a fundamental element with regard to the comprehension of natal charts, and second because the theory of Dominion is probably the most original astrological part of my dissertation.
I propose a model based on eight divisions, somewhat similar to an ancient model called "octotopos" (literally, "eight places"), historically attested since the 2nd century A.D., but which in all likelihood predates the classical system of twelve houses. The House was originally "topos" (in Greek), i.e. "place, space." In other words, the Houses reveal a problematic of space, and not of Time. I have termed this model Dominion based on the organization of the diurnal cycle by domaines and the English term that underlines their power.
In this model there are only eight astrological Houses (Houses 3, 5, 8 and 12 of the classical 12-house system do not exist), centered on their "points," and following one another in the sense of diurnal motion, because they represent the successive phases of course one sees after a star rises above the horizon. It was probably in Alexandria, in the Greco-Egyptian milieu, that the Houses were reworked to fit the zodiacal cycle, where an artificial system of analogies was put into place (12 Signs/12 Houses), doubtless to meet the needs of horary astrology.
An analysis of the semantic distribution of the Greek names given to the 12 houses argues as well in favor of a previous organization by eight, and I believe I have recovered the ancient organization of the octotopos in its initial order: hôroskopos, agathos daimôn, mesouranêma, theos, dysis, kakê tuchê, hupgeion and aidou pulê, the gateway of death that closes the daily cycle. I have given less mysterious names to the 8 Houses, names closer to our practical sensibilities: Communication, Friendship, Situation, Harmony, The Couple, Knowledge, Mystery, and Reknown.
I would like to call attention to the fact that the Houses probably did not originally have the practical connotation they were given later. Their sense was in all probability ontological: they did not designate daily objects, persons or occupations, but rather represented the quality of a relationship established between consciousness and its environment, a job which obviously gave a good deal of leeway for interpretation. Kepler wrote this about the Houses: "You will not find your friends or your wife in the Sky ..." So in effect I am presenting a new method of domification, taking into account the East Point, a method that simultaneously resolves the problem of extreme latitudes and that of disproportionate houses.
1. THE FOUR INCLUSIVES OF PERCEPTION
2. WHAT IS SPACE?
3. THE THREE ARCHETYPES OF SPACE
4. THE ORIGIN OF DOMINION AND THE HISTORY OF THE 8 HOUSES
5. THE ORGANIZATION OF DOMINION
6. THE SEMANTICS OF THE DOMAINES
8. QUADRIVERSITY AND CULTURE
The 8 Houses (1/2): Space
1. The four Inclusives of Perception
"Every subject spins its relations like so many threads of
a spider's web with certain characteristics of things and
weaves them to create a fabric that holds its existence."
(Jakob von Uexküll)
Kant considers space and time as the a priori forms of what he calls "sensibility," i.e. the previously extant conditions of any perceivable representation (Vorstellung) of reality. They are the formal waymarkers of perception of the exterior world, the a priori forms of external sensing (according to which the "other" juxtaposes itself) and of "internal sensing" (according to which it follows). Through immediate representation of "sensibility" -- the material of consciousness -- objects are presented in their diversity; through the mediated representation of understanding -- concepts, or forms of consciousness -- they are linked together, unified, thought out. This distinction renews the Platonic antinomy between sensory world/intelligible world, for which it presupposes evidence: put in another way, there is a given "reality," or matter, and this reality can take form in the mind.
Kant, however, does not take the risk of considering that matter and those forms it takes also to be a priori conditions for the act of mental conception, as Schopenhauer observed. Space and Time, like matter (or Energy) and the possibility of forming concepts (or Structure) can be considered as milieux for the decomposition of reality, a priori frameworks of perception, inclusives of consciousness. As a result, "Energy" is for consciousness the possibility of the existence of a reality of whatever sort one pleases (visible, audible, imaginary, dreamed, fictive, mental ...), the fact that there is or that there appears something to consciousness rather than nothing at all. Likewise, I call "Structure" the multiplicity of forms that this reality can take, the possibility of appearing to consciousness in such a way rather than in some other way.
The real is a continuum that perception and consciousness demarcate according to the modalities appropriate to each of them, but also appropriate to each species. Humans live in one world, one that carries its own markings -- cultural in nature, to be sure, but more essentially innate. For these ways of dividing up reality differ from species to species. For Democritus, reality is constituted of atoms and combinations of atoms that are distinguisable by their size (energy), for example v and V, by their form (structure), for example V and N, but also by their appearance or their position (space), for example N and Z, and by the incessant temporal variations which associate and disassociate them (for example VN and VK). But these properties of Democritus' atom are those of the human perception of the atom and therefore depend on the inclusives of consciousness.
Durkheim described a paradigm suitable for societies without the written word: the existence of four categories of mind, the "permanent frameworks of mental life," that underlie the social organization of such societies: energetic force, the spatial place, the temporal moment, and the agency of those elements together, which assures correspondances and continuity. "Archaic" thought does not measure, it distributes: it does not quantify, it qualifies.
The population of primordial societies is divided into various groups or clans, each of which has a specific social function with its own areas of competence, its own privileges, duties, constraints and taboos. Belonging to a clan, to a "class," is not a matter of chance or even of filiation: it results from a natural distribution of group members within the social fabric. Clans constitute exogamous groups: each member belongs to the clan whose tendencies suit his personal nature.
Mana, the primordial category of energy (of substance, of causality), designates all beings, things or phenomena that exhibit a certain ineffable quality of force or power. Each clan claims its own mana, its own diffuse and impersonal force, its own magical power of action within the community. Each person has his emblem, his model, his totem, a symbolic mark of his mana and a sign of his recognition by the community and his belonging. Each person in a clan is a modality of his totemic being. Differences are respected and honored, speaking here not of the artificial differences due to a particular activity or contingent occupation, but rather in reference to "real" differences, intrinsic to the aspirations of each clan member. "The totem: it is only the material form by which this immaterial substance, this diffuse energy is represented to the imagination through all types of heterogeneous beings, and which is alone the true object of worship." Causality, as a possibility of producing transformation, and substance are simply modern interpretations of the idea of mana.
Specific attributes are associated with each clan: animals, plants, inanimate objects, natural formations or elements, colors, and also spatial directions and temporal points (a cardinal point of the compass and a season, if the clans are four in number). The clans are not only social groups; they are also human representatives of natural groupings. Consequently, the social organization reproduces the different types of relation between human beings and their environment, or rather, it harmonizes itself with the natural order.
There is no Nature/Culture antinomy: "The people of the clan and the things that are classified within it form by their ensemble a cohesive system all the parts of which are linked and vibrate sympathetically." The social order presupposes a distribution of psychic differences in accord with the characteristics observed in the natural elements. Thus mana actualizes itself in a specific place, a place of power, and at a precise moment: "The law of the world is the alternation of distinct qualities, clearly separated from each other, which come into prominence, disappear and reappear eternally." Natural forces simultaneously qualify impersonal psychic tendencies, the natural entities of daily life, and the the privileged function of each person within the social context. This is how the three spheres of the sacred, the natural and the social weave their fabric, as with Heaven, Earth and Man in Chinese thought.
In the course of his essay, Durkheim -- speaking from a standpoint of assiduous positivism -- rejects the rapprochement between his categories and the possibility of the existence of permanent structures in consciousness. That fact notwithstanding, the hypothesis of their "social origin" does not explain their specificity or their number, just as the categories themselves explain only imperfectly the diversity of social life and the specificity of cultural manifestations -- and doubtless for that reason they are hardly current any longer among sociologists and ethnologues. In point of fact, the social engenders a process of collective exteriorization in the form of cultural representations, the inclusives of consciousness. The diversity of power-mana, their points of manifestation, their moments of actualization and their orderly distribution -- things attested to nearly everywhere in different modalities, from the Zuñi Indians to the ancient Chinese -- are merely the manifest cultural exteriorization of "permanent frameworks of mental life" (Durkheim), of "a priori forms of sensibility" (Kant), of "conditional milieux," or even of the inclusives of perception, as I have called them.
2. What Is Space?
"You should immediately determine your rightful direction,
and immediately face in that direction."
(Carlos Castaneda: A separate reality)
Space is not a neutral and inanimate milieu, continuous and isotropic, a kind of haphazard container of objects or an abstract baseline for motor acts: "There is in reality no space, or 'Space' writ large, but rather 'spaces' that are distinct, heterogeneous, endowed with singular properties. Everything that belongs to one of these spaces is by that very fact of belonging localized in something like a force field, and becomes infused, as if by osmosis, with the qualities that characterize that space. Instead of a neutral, homogenous milieu, like a piece of cloth all the same color, there are different atmospheres, environments qualitatively determined and equally capable of being determinative elements themselves." Space cannot be measured any more than time can be measured: there is a infinitesimal "distance" between two distinct points that belong to the same field, just as there is an incommensurable "distance" between two contiguous points belonging to different fields. Speed, activity and displacement are the things one measures, not the organic fields or domains that form indivisible entities.
Valéry in his commentary on Zeno of Elea says, "One can only speak of a half after having envisaged the totality, i.e. after having crossed over into it, so that to begin the movement of starting out, one commences by dividing it up, and thus by laying it down. The space to be traversed is nothing more than a movement." What is commonly understood by space, when one observes an object "in space," is the quantified and culturally determined framework of a perceptive experience, the field of mobility of a contingent motricity, the convention necessary to establish the separability of objects for perception. Space, then, is really nothing in itself if it is not the formal container of these discrete forms. The qualitative assignments, be they traditional or primordial, have been replaced by quantitative measures that are extrinsic in nature. The "extended matter" [matière étendue] of Descartes explicitly marks this substitution. Things no longer appear except through their quantifiable relations, which determine their otherness.
Space is neither the homogenous range of mathematics -- the idea of an infinite and conventional divisibility -- nor is it the homogenous, function, unformed field of needs and practical ends. Between the One and the Multiple, a place must be made for the Number, so dear to Plato. The loss of qualitative belongingness to space and the uprooting of modern consciousness, projected in its net of pragmatic and contigent relations, shows its rupture with the Earth.
Space is the World, Cosmos and no longer chaos, qualified, differentiated, oriented, pre-organized, the different regions of which, in limited number, possess specific qualities, transmissible to the living beings associated with them. To put it another way: each domain, each sector, each direction, each orient, is an "organic being," of which the separate entities that live within it are visible manifestations.
The World is Habitat, a symbolic field of exteriorization for living beings. To deny or violate these qualified spaces is to reduce consciousness to its most vulgar dimension, although one should not call it "bestial," because animals above all retain memory of their spatial belongingness. "Spaces measured by interior states essentially presuppose a qualitative space, discontinuous, of which each interior state is itself the measure." Space is the field of projection of an interiority of which one learns to recognize the different colorations. So the four directions of anisotropic space, associated with the seasons of the year, were marked through association with colors and animals in ancient China (e.g., Blue or Green Dragon / Red Bird / White Tiger / Black Tortoise) and among the Zuñi Indians, or with the winds in the case of the Aztecs. The entire earth becomes subject to this quaternary organization, and those who in primordial societies proclaim themselves to be "men" or "human beings" occupy the center, region, city or house, Temple. And for each one, it is a question of finding one's right place, one's sitio, taking into account social distribution, temperament and one's existential situation at the moment.
3. The Three Archetypes of Space
The Earth is Space in all its extension;
the Temple hallows its intrinsic qualities;
the Mirror is the form of its intensification.
The ternary archetype of Earth / Temple / Mirror is the matrix-based configuration of sacred space according to astro-philosophy. It prefigures and reinforces the symbology of the "summer signs." Cancer is Earth, Leo is Temple, and Virgo is Mirror. Cancer is the sedimentation and expansion of undifferentiated potential; Leo is the centering and organization of spaces through the establishment of relations between the internal and the external; Virgo is the shrinking of space and the emotional rapprochement within the reciprocity of those relations. Earth is plasticity, Temple is density, Mirror is intimacy.
Earth is "all space," the absolute limit of the range of the atmosphere, the indefinite surface of the imagination of consciousness. Temple is at once local concentration and a going beyond the limits, residence at close range and openness to the external, place and link of coincidence between the earth and the sky. Mirror is the ultimate limit of space, the hearth where it turns inward upon itself and absorbs itself through self-reflection. And on the other side of Mirror, upon crossing the Equinox, lies the time that begins, the Time of the "autumnal signs."
"The shortest route to oneself leads one round the world."
In Cancer/Earth, space is undefined, diffuse, variable, plastic, at once open to the exterior and turned back upon itself. High and low, in front of and behind, left and right are all capable of extension into infinity, and open to the imagination of the "inner voyager." At the same time it becomes larger, space retracts to the inner dimensions of a shell, a cocoon, a nest. The plastic protection admits of an extreme variability with regard to the localization of limits. Every living element is given the spark of life and can be realigned by sedimentation. The borders are supple and mobile. The internal mixes with and becomes indistinguishable from the external, the inside with the outside, the near with the far. Maximal exteriorization, by which one surrounds space and becomes surrounded, because one carries it in oneself.
"The virtue of the Imago Templi (...) is to make us find ourselves
in the interior of us that lies outside ourselves."
(Henry Corbin, Temple et contemplation)
In Leo/Temple space organizes itself, takes on structure, qualifies itself. Its contours order themselves within and without. Height, length and depth stabilize. Space achieves balance around a vivifying center, the image of Heaven on Earth: "Space is represented as a succession of limited extensions, arranged concentrically around the sacred space, an arrangement in which each exterior extent is of a quality opposite to that which it encloses. At the same time it is the central point of one part, the boundary of another part, equivalent to everything that surrounds them." The original directions divide up the extensions of spaces into specific qualities. The center is envelopped by demarcated atmospheres, with definite properties, and to which manifested beings are put in association. The Temple is the habitat of the gods on earth and the place of sacred encounters between humans beings. It accomplishes the permanent and living fusion of worlds, because it is the sacred and sanctified image of the Cosmos.
"The most exciting surface of the entire earth,
for us, is that of the human face."
(Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Aphorisms)
In Virgo/Mirror, space retracts, intensifies. The limits become specific; the boundaries are demarcated; "It is often by concentration itself in the most reduced intimate space that the dialectic of the within and the without takes on its greatest force." The distant, the foreign and the exterior are jettisoned: all that remains are the links to whatever is closest. The Self, at the same time itself and the Other, the loved one, is ferociously protected from all undesirable indiscriminate contact. Relationships become fixed and particularize themselves in discrimination. Privileged relations become established according to visceral affinities.
 Emmanuel Kant, Critique de la raison pure, French translation by Jules Barni and P. Archambault, Paris, Garnier-Flammarion, 1976, p. 81-96. « Text
 "Causality itself is the form of our understanding:, for, just as with space and time, it is given to us a priori. So up to this point matter, in this quality, belongs as well to the formal part of our knowledge; it is the intellectual form of causality itself." (in Le monde comme Volonté et comme Représentation, French translation by A. Burdeau, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1966, p. 1024.) « Text
 I borrow this term from Karl Jaspers. « Text
 Cf. Democritus, Fragments, in Les Présocratiques, edited and translated by Jean-Paul Dumont, Paris, Gallimard, 1988, p. 767. « Text
 Emile Durkheim, Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse, 1912; Paris, Presses Universitaries de France, 1968, p. 628. « Text
 Distribution by clans is the mark of a "primitive" type of archetypology as appears to be shown by the survival of more than a dozen categories, nominal types or "class prefixes" in the Bantu languages. « Text
 Emile Durkheim, op. cit., p. 270. « Text
 Emile Durkheim, op. cit., p. 213. « Text
 Jacques Soustelle, L'univers des Aztèques, Paris, Hermann, 1979, p. 165. « Text
 This expression comes from the astrologer Jean-Pierre Nicola. « Text
 Jacques Soustelle, op. cit., p. 136. « Text
 Paul Valéry, in Cahiers, Judith Robinson (ed.), Paris, Gallimard, 1973, vol. 1, p. 510. « Text
 Mircea Eliade describes profane space in contradistinction to sacred space: "All true orientation disappears, because the 'fixed point' no longer enjoys a unique ontological status: it appears and disappears according to daily necessity. To tell the truth, there is really no longer a 'World,' but instead only fragments of a scattered universe, an amorphous mass of an infinity of 'places' more or less netural where human beings move, commanded by the obligations imposed on all existence within an industrial society." (in: Le Sacré et le Profane, Hamburg, 1957: French ed. -- Paris, Gallimard, 1965, p. 23). « Text
 Henry Corbin, Temple et contemplation, Paris, Flammarion, 1980, p. 201. « Text
 The social field can only be organized through reserving a plasticity too loose or an intimacy too close. Communal sociability resides in the confines of the enormity of mass and the paltriness of communion. (These three forms of sociability -- mass, community, communion -- have been distinguished by Georges Curvitch in his Dialectique et sociologie, Paris, Flammarion, 1962.) « Text
 The signs of autumn are linked to temporal archetypes (Libra -- Return; Scorpio -- Duration; Sagittarius -- the Spiral), and those of winter to structural archetypes (Capricorn -- Crystal; Aquarius -- the Code; Pisces -- the Matrix). The vernal signs are associated with energetic archetypes (Aries -- Shock; Taurus -- the Bomb; Gemini -- Flux). « Text
 The Baltic count Hermann de Keyserling (born on 20 July), author of the Journal de voyage d'un philosophe and of Méditations sud-américaines, notes in his autobiography his coming to awareness of the earth as a constituent part of his nature (in Voyage dans le temps, French translation, Stock, Paris, 1961, p. 224). « Text
 S. Czarnowski, "Le morcellement de l'étendue et sa limitation dans la religion et la magie," in: Actes du Congrès International d'Histoire des Religions, Paris, Champion, 1925, p. 352. « Text
 Jung (born on 26 July), an architect of sorts, undertook the contruction of his dream house, his symbolic "temple" near the Zürcher See. « Text
 As Mircea Eliade points out, "The Temple continually resanctifies the World, because it represents it and at the same time contains it." (in: op. cit., pp. 53-54) « Text
 Gaston Bachelard, La poétique de l'espace, Paris, P.U.F., 1957; 1974, p. 205. « Text
 Goethe (born on 28 August, and hence a Virgo by position of the Sun, like Lichtenberg) notes in his Affinités électives: "A heart that searches feels good because it lacks something." (in: Romans, French translation, Paris, Gallimard, 1954, p. 229.) A fine conoisseur of the human heart, he distinguishes between "living with someone" and "living in someone," and underscores the fact that "Voluntary slavery is the most beautiful of states. How would it be possible outside of love?" (in: Maximes et réflexions, edited and translated by Geneviève Bianquis, Paris, Gallimard, 1943, p. 246.) « Text
(version 1.1 : 11.2004)
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