Exegesis Volume 07 Issue #040

In This Issue:

From: L:Smerillo
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #38

Exegesis Digest Sat, 09 Mar 2002

Date: Sat, 09 Mar 2002 09:08:31 +0100
From: L:Smerillo
Subject: [e] Re: exegesis Digest V7 #38

 > >Rog:
 > >>
 > >>>would seem very likely that a critical shortage of accurate and dependable
 > >>>astronomical data might logically lead astrologers of antiquity to invent
 > >>and
 > >>>rely upon a system like the progressed natal chart if only to enable their
 > >>>*predictions*, which they must make to fulfill the expectations of their
 > >>>clientele.

 > >Dennis:

 > >>Doesn't really explain it. Transits are sufficient for prediction of
 > >>adverse or suitable times and periods, and the planetary positions are
 > >>readily observable most of the time. It's not as though they were afflicted
 > >>by typical English weather. Climate in the classical period was generally
 > >>good in the astrology-originating countries as it is these days.

Even at the very origins of astrology, charts were not caluclated on the basis of observation, but on the basis of written records of planetary positions. No Babylonian chart exhibits any form of observation at the moment, indeed some of the texts do explicitly exclude it, as they reference astronomical events which occur after the birth (such as Neamenea). Nor do any of the extant Hellenistic and Late Antique materials exhibit any such observation. After Ptolemaeus there were his 'Handy Tables', only replaced by the Alfonsine Tables much later, although with some revision by Theon in Late Antiquity.

Weather conditions were not so ideal in the classical period, if by that you mean Babylonia, as is evidenced by the numerous references to observation of the sky not being possible becasue of clouds.

The ideal place for such observation would have been the deserts of the Sahrah or the southern central portions of the Arabian peninsula. There was no such observation in those parts.

 > >I was thinking that people are people, yesterday as today, and the act of [unless they have been to see Dr Jaynes and have a bicameral mind!!]
 > >observing the heavens to make one's own measurements on a regular basis would
 > >not be any more prevalent in the past simply because the skies were clear at
 > >night in any given location. The use of a list of planetary positions which
 > >has already been cataloged, perhaps debated and revised for 20-30 years, would
 > >be more available and likely inspire more confidence in the accuracy of the
 > >observations. To predict the exact positions of transiting planets and
 > >project the timing of their aspects *in the future* would seem to require more
 > >astronomical prowess than was actually available, or at least require "the

Nor is this true, the Seleucid documents do contain much material on prediciton of placement which were worked out in excruciatingly complex mathematical calculations. This is contained in the Goal Year texts. The astrologers seem to have relied upon the Diaries and GYT to fashion their calculations.

 > >astrologer" to gamble on the timing of future aspects and thereby add more
 > >risk of error concerning thier predictions. Laboring to make regular
 > >astronomical observations and adding to the risk of error by making
 > >astronomical projections (based on whatever model of these motions) does not
 > >seem a likely behavior to be expected from a majority of persons claiming to
 > >be astrologers...no matter what their social status may have been.

This is less nuanced than it might have been. Certainly the Babylonian astronomers and astrologers of the Seleucid period, and slightly before in the Achaemid period were working on the same material, if not in fact the same persons. The aims of astronomical observation and calculation were however quite different from those evidenced in the extant astrological texts. Thus we have two diverse scribal traditions operating along side one another, but the contribution of the astronomical tradition to the astrological tradition was 'astronomical', whereas there was no do ut das.

For the Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman periods, what records we have indicate that astrologers were absolutely dependent upon their 'tables.' This only stands to reason as an astrologer would be consulted only well after the birth, except in the case of an influential birth (such as the case of the son of Leo I), when information was required of the child's viability for later roles in his life, i.e., will he survive to adulthood, and will he become the Imperator. But again such calculations were made from tables, not observation. This has been the universal practice of astrologers, then, since the beginning, and is evidenced as late as the case of Morin recording the time of the birth of Louis XIV, not the planetary positions.



End of exegesis Digest V7 #40

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