Exegesis Volume 2 Issue #30

Exegesis Digest Wed, 18 Jun 1997


Date: Tue, 17 Jun 1997 20:31:16 -0600
Subject: The Axiom of Beginnings and Ptolemy...cont...

On June 04, 1997, Francis G. Kostella wrote:

>In the opening chapter of "Astrology Looks at History", Tyl tells
>us, "the danger within the rectification process is that
>astrologers engineer the astrology to show what they expect to
>see, what they want to see." How much more so than rectification
>are the dangers of projecting our conceptualizations on to those
>of the ancients. We have no real manner for understanding the
>circumstances surrounding the birth of Alexander nor if the
>astrology supposedly used was something we would dare call

The field of rectification of the Ascendant will continue being a sorrowful story until we find a way to reach peer consensus- A year and a half ago, in the Festival list, we were discussing the rectification of the chart of Bob Dole: there were 5 of us each claiming to have rectified Bob Dole's chart, and we had 5 different charts altogether, with different Ascendant signs and after dozens of interchanged postings and arguments, zero consesnus could be reached.. The astrologers using the Harmonics method could not understand my arguments based on my protractor method , and I could not understand how they could place more weight on their Harmonic charts arguments than in my reasonings based on aspectual and non-aspectual canonic planetary relations affecting the hypothetical relevant cusps on key transits of Bob Dole s life. Other people were using transits in a helter skelter fashion to arrive to altogether different Ascendants for Bob Dole. I have seen in the internet 3 different rectified charts for President Clinton, and 4 different rectified charts of the Pope John Paul II. I mean, really, things couldn't possibly be worse ! . The lack of consensus is just total, and that is among professionals who do this for a living, like myself !.

So, Yes !, I am very aware of all the pitfalls of rectification of the Ascendant, because for more than 20 years now I have been rectifying a chart every day. As a rule, I never give a reading without full rectification....particularly because almost always my readings include the cause and date of death of my clients. When you are predicting death from the chart, an imprecision of 5 minutes in the specification of the Official Birth Time (OBT) may signify a completely different story as to when and what of the person is going to die. The point I was making is that the fact that there is a precise instant when the snap-shot is taken is a reality you cannot ignore when you rectify the cuasps of a chart. Moving the birthtime even one minute has determining implications as to how long the person is going to live or about the cause of death. To me that's an application of what I have been calling Axiom Number Two, or the Axiom of Beginnings. Upon afixing a beginning, you afix a length of life. When you rectify the chart of someone who is already dead, and review his wedding day planets, you will find that the same instant of birth accounting for his wedding day, is the same instant of birth accounting for his cause and time of death. His fate by default is anchored to a punctual beginning, and there is no way to account for this unless you are standing in the firm Axiom of Beginning. To deny this, like you have done without further explaining, is really taking the bones out of the skeleton

I keep full documentation of close to 7,000 charts that I have rectified for clients....this includes information as to the number of siblings and their sexes, as well as number of children and their sexes, and listings of the most important dated biographical events, for each individual client I've seen. To rectify a chart, when there is an OBT ro start with, I cast the chart of the client in High Resolution format, and on it I place, coded with different colors using very fine tip markers, the planets for a half a dozen or so important dates of the client's personal history. Then, using a two-tips stainless steel protractor, I detect canonic relations. A canonic relation is a combination of at least 4 factors of which at least one is the relevant OBT Cusp , at least one relevant planet from the biographical date under scrutiny, and relevant natal planets.......the relevancy depends of course on the nature of the event being used for rectification: if it is the wedding day date, for example, the relevant Cusps will be 1 and 7, and the relevant planets will be the almutens, rulers and/or natural significators of the event in question. Thus, for the wedding day date, the relevant planets will be the almutens and the rulers of the relevant Cusps, plus Venus/Mars and Sun/Moon as zodiacal significators of the event independently of the mundane almutenships and rulerships. Each canonic relation becomes an equation which is rearranged algebraically so that the relevant Cusp is left alone on one side of the equal sign, with all remaining factors on the other. The equation is then solved for the hypothetical Cusp, whose hypothetical longitude is thus ascertained. A little arithmetics then allows us to obtain the Rectified Birth Time as per Hypothesis number N of family F. More canonic relations lead to more equations, each yielding another Hypothetical Rectified Birth Time that will be classified as of whatever family it converges with, timewise of course. Quite often, a very keen statistical sense is required then to decide how to ponder and average the numbered hypothetical birth times of the different families, to arrive to the Final Rectified Birth Time, that should be the True Birth Time.

I evolved my method through practice, through the years of rectifying charts for clients. It is not yet in its final form. Eventually, it will be ready to be algorithmisized, so that sometime it may become software that every astrologer may apply to rectify his/her clients charts prior to delivering a reading. The only currently extant type of rectification software, like Astrolabe's Jig-Saw for example, falls quite short of fulfilling its aim, due to the fact that they pretend to rectify considering only intensity of aspectation to the angular cusps on the key important biographical dates provided by the client. My method, is based equally on aspects and in non-aspectual relations, that the protractor facilitates finding, which are a lot more important and basic than aspects, at least when it gets to rectifying a chart, particluarly when the biographical datings data is scanty. After due practice, the astrologer learns that certain types of non-aspectual relations are extremely ubiquitous, on certain dates. For example, on wedding day, it is extremely frequent to find that the angle between wedding Venus and wedding Mars be the same, or an aliquote, than the angle from the natal Moon/Sun mid-point to the natal Horizon, either Cusp 1 or 7. So once you have the wedding day planets color coded on the OBT chart, you stick leg 1 of the protractor on wedding Venus and leg 2 on wedding Mars, so you have your protractor open now with the wedding Venus/Mars angle. With this angle afixed in the protractor, you bring now leg 1 to stick on natal Sun/Moon mid-point, and swing leg 2 to see where it cuts the ecliptic on either side. If thus pivoting on leg 1 on the natal Sun/Moon mid-point leg 2 comes to cut the ecliptic say 4 and a half degrees off natal Cusp 7, then that's a canonic relation, useful to derive an equation that will show you where the Cusp 7 should be, and thus you can obtain another rectified birth time as per hypothesis number N of the family F. This particular canonic relation states that the angle from wedding Venus to wedding Mars is close to the angle from natal Sun/Moon mid-point to the natal OBT Descendant. All what the corresponding equation does now, is to assume that the relation is partile, and that thus the approximately equal sign can be sustituted by the equal sign, so that we have now that the Hypothetical Cusp 7 of our client, as per this hypothesis #N of this family F, is equal to the natal Moon/Sun angle plus wedding Venus minus wedding Mars. Of course, the plus and minus signs will depend on whether Venus longitude is larger than Mars, or on whether the natal Sun/Moon mid-point is this side or that side of the natal OBT Descendant. So solving this simple equation will yield the position of the hypothetical Descendant as per this hypothesis, which in turn yields the Rectified Birth Time as per Hypothesis #N of family F. So now I am ready to go find another canonic relation which will yield another Hypothetical Cusp ending in another Hypothetical Rectified birth time, which may or may not converge within the moiety of the extant families, in which case it creates a new family. Compiling a fairly large number of hypothesis, each based on an equation derived from a canonic relation, justifies the assumption that the orb was partile for the relation upon which each rquation is based, because it is obvious that the probability of the orb being applicative can be considered a priori equal than the probability of the orb being separative, which thus tends to cancel out as effectively as large be the number of compiled hypothesis. This method allows one to know, with full certainty, the precise instant of birth, provided one is willing to process a sufficiently large number of hypothesis. This can take a long time, and that is why the pragmatics of the application of this method determines that the practicant be alert to find short-cuts to minimize the number of hypothesis. In my dayly practice, in an initial session with a new client, if after 5 hours of work compiling hypothetical rectified birth times with the client, the statistical sense of the extant families does not allow for an easy resolution, I take the family whose moiety captured the largest number of hypothesis and average them all up. The individual components of the moiety of the winning family may carry special ponderations, which should be taken into consideration when averaging. One possible example is when the equation is based on a relation that has as an element a mid-point of 2 planets that were in relative proximity, or in conjunction, and that both were relevant to the case, given the nature of the event under consideration, so working with this mid-point carries actually the weight of 2 different hypothesis, since each of the planets could have generated its own equation leading to its own hypothesis, and thus taking the mid-point amounts to already averaging these 2 results of these 2 equations, for which reason the weight of the hypothesis should be double at the time of averaging all the hypothesis within the moiety of the winning family. The moiety here refers to the interval of convergence of all the hypothesis comprising a given family. The width of this interval, like the cumulative average of all the hypothetical birth times comprising that family, are clearly essential to decide when one can safely assume that there is no need to continue accruing hypothesis because one has already found the True Rectified Birth Time. The practicants good statistical sense comes into play at various moments in the procedure. Once you have compiled many quantitative hypothesis of several families, the overlapping of the moieties of these families of hypothesis are often inviting to average them up as a single family, this is a decision calling for sound statistics. Suppose for example that you have a cluster of 14 hypothesis all converging in less than 3 minutes arc of the ecliptic, meaning about 12 minutes of clock time, right ? This means, of course, that you have compiled 14 different hypothetical rectified birth times, each through an equation grounded on a canonical relation spotted with the protractor like I have shown above, and that these 14 hypothesis converge in points spanning 3 degrees of arc for the averaged rectified Ascendant resolving these 14 individual hypothesis of the same family, implying that the moiety of this family of hypothesis is of 12 minutes of clock time. But now imagine another family of, say, 7 hypothesis converging in a moiety whose onset in the ecliptic lies only less than 2 degrees away from the limit of the moiety of the other family of 14 hypothesis ......should you averge up the 21 hypothesis as a single family ? Should you consider only the winning family and consider that the near by moiety is another sensitive point, maybe linked to the first, like for example the Descendant and the Vertex, they are always close together and on the wedding day, for example, both serve as factors of canonic relations with the relevant natal planets and the wedding transits, and yet the Descendant is always a stronger zero than the Vertex and allows to accrue more relations with the protractor with the angles between the lords of the natal horizon on the wedding day, or with wedding Venus/Mars angle or Moon/Sun angle. So you have to go check that too, of course, before proceding to just average up the 21 hypothesis of those 2 families to ammalgamate them into a single family of wider moiety If you then had a third family of 8 hypothetical rectified birth times converging in a moiety to the other side of the initial family of 14 hypothesis than the second family of 7 hypothesis, and provided this third family s moiety elso ends only a couple of degrees away from the first family s moiety, then you would not hesitate to average the 3 different moieties into one single family comprising the 29 hypothesis of the 3 families. This would be sound, statistically speaking, and the Ascendant you thus obtain carries all the probability of being right on the mark, meaning that it is the True Ascendant what you have found. The ultimate proof, is of course, to start all over with different biographical dates from the client's life and arrive again to the same figure through totally different relations and equations and everything. Of course, that takes a lot of time. The pragmatics of the astrological consultation imposses other kind of limits as to the degree of precision achieved in the rectification of the Ascendant of a given client.. I have found that a minimum of 4 to 5 hours of analysis is necessary for the astrologer to get some degree of conviction as to the exact degree of the Ascendant, in an initial session with a client . Practice certainly shows you shortcuts to shorten the time required to acquire a firm conviction of having already arrived to the True Ascendant. You learn that, for example on wedding day, certain canonic relations have to resolve in the Descendant/Ascendant axis, so you zero right away into finding these. I have done this every day all my life, and I do the work with the protractor in front of the client, while at the same time I inerrogate him/her about the basic facts of his/her life: number of siblings and their sexes, number of children and their sexes, etc, because all this has to be acquainted by the Cusps we are seeking to afix. The number of the siblings of the client, for example, has to be spelled out by Cusp 3 of siblings. Every sibling is a degree even though other scales may impose on that one....So, moving the birth time 4 minutes of time implies having one more brother. There is no way you can come to inject neptunian confusion into the system by saying that radicality doesn't has anything to do with the Axiom of Beginnings, when they are not even the 2 sides of the same coin but actually the same side of the same coin. I mean to say Francis, that you cannot take the bones out of the skeleton.

When you rectify charts everyday with the stainless steel protractor, you learn that the Cusps are real points that keep trapping your protractor s tips as you scan arround in search of pattern linking the angles of the relevant transiting planets both at the time of the event used for rectifying and the natal chart. In some Houses (like 7 and 8) the Apex of the House (mid-point of its arc) carries as much significance as the Cusp of the House (initial point of its arc). Other elements introduce noise at the time of weighing the hypothesis, the interference of the other House systems being the most important one, of course.. But basic statistics allows us to rise about this easily. Just like the position of an electron may be fuzzy and neptunian, because of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and the statistical nature of quantum physics, that fuzzy electron is going to behave like a tiny billiard ball when it collides at high speeds with another fuzzy cloud of indeterminacy; so the Cusp and the Apex of a House appear as solid entities revealing their position to the scanning protractor because of their ability to function like a sub-fiducial or origen for all matters pertaining the House in question.. The connecting angles linking from the relevant transiting planets to the relevant natal planets become sensical when the protractor transposes them to that Cusps position

But then you come on and say that the fact that you do away with the Axiom of Beginnings does not imply that the natal chart is radical, and here you are only introducing heavy neptunian fuzz, probably even tongue-in-cheek, as some listers have suggested to me in their personal communications. Let me put it this way: if John was born at 06:06 that means that the snap-shot of heavens is taken for that moment in that place. You are freezing that chart which in itself, without transits and progressions, for example through the Alchochoden formula for determining life span , contains the exact number of days that John is going to live in his body. If you move that frozen instant 2 minutes, the story might be totally different, because the Hyleg may now be another planet, and you need the Hyleg to determine the Alchochoden, which is the natal planet that will give you the number of days that John is going to live according to the algorithm. If the Hyleg is different, the alchochoden will be different too, and thus his life span, measured in days, will be different as well.

>Just to be clear, no original manuscripts of the "Tetrabiblos" are
>known to exist. The Greek editions we now have were translated
>from the Arabic in the fourteenth century. 

Yes, you are correct on that....I apologize for my misunderstanding. My new Spanish edition of Ptolemy reads on the cover "Brand new translation from most accurate sources", but now that I've read the preface by the translator I see that you are right about the primary sources being actually secondary. However, you also said that Ptolemy was not a compilator of earlier tradition, and that does not coincide with what this translator says. The translator is Demetrio Santos a well known astrologer and mathematician, and he says the following (my translation into English from the Spanish):

" We cannot consider that Ptolemy was an original thinker himself,
and nowhere in his work does he pretend to be one, either:  he
always tries to quote his sources, when they are known to him, or
else he tells us that his sources are old but unknown to him. 
Particularly as it concerns astrology, he succeeded in his attempts
 to compile the knowledge of his predecessors and of his
contemporaries, confering this knowledge a coherent form  while
making it understandable, some times too understandable as a matter
of fact, since he himself was often uncapable of truly fathoming
the foundations of what he was talking about, and facing this
difficulty, he rationalized factual data in an attempt to account
for them.  In his interpretations of Hypparcus data, for example,
we can quickly realize that he was wrong where Hypparcus right.  It
is easy to see that the same happened also in his astrological
reasonings.  In the context of his mediocre students, anyhow he was
not more than  a fair professor.  He wasn`t a genius, only a man
with common sense aware of his strategic position in the center  of
the intelectual activity of his times, who had the good sense of
making it his aim to gather a compendium of what was known up to
his time". END OF QUOTE

This same man, who translated this edition of Ptolomey into Spanish, Demetrio Santos, has some good books of his own who have never been translated into English: I particularly enjoyed his "Theoretical Astrology" where he deduces the astrological system, including the nature of the signs, the planets, the aspects, the Houses, the dignities and so forth, strictly from some key differential equations derived from wave mechanics. In another book of his, also not in English, called "Physical Astr9ology", he builds a monumental physical model of the astrological effect as mediated by physics fundamental forces (electromagnetism, gravity, nuclear strong and nuclear week). Even though I donot subscribe to the theory that the astrological correspondence is mainly a physical effect, Demetrio Santos s reductionistic approach is very sound and commendable, under the politics that only taking that road with our heart and mind will allow us to define whether it is true or not that the limits are finite. Of course, I am talking about the limits of the reductionistic approach. They may very well actually tend to infinity. Beyond certain limits, any structure requires skeleton and astrology is not a jelly fish, even though it may have some jelly fish like structures floating around. The reductionistic approach is Saturn's astrology, astrology with a backbone Showing pictures of jelly-fish is no argument against the reductionistic way. The fact that a jelly fish lives and swims is no argument against the existence of verrebrate organisms. Elsewhere I have made the point that astrology is like Physics before Newton. Astrology is waiting for a mathematical genius to come do for the Tetrabiblos what Newton did for the Almagest. Mathematics studies relations between sets. Astrology studies the relations existing between the state of the heavenly variables on the one set, and the characteristics of the events that manifest in the world, on the other. We need the equivalent of an algebra and a calculus, that allow us to follow a reasoning to derive its implications, through operational transformations according to combinatorial logics, and thus be able to arrive at predictions about the qualities and the quantities pertaining the characteristics of future events. We need to mathematize astrology, like Newton mathematized physics by discovering the derivative and the integral that allowed to handle motion with differential equations. Mathematics made possible to trust propositions like "within 10 years from now the position of Saturn will be such and such longituude" and that meant that physics had gone beyond the Almagestus. Same way, we are awaiting for the discovery of the proper mathematical tool that will allow us to go beyond the tetrabiblos, to mathematize fully our interpretation of the chart to derive knowledge of the characteristics of the native's future in terms of specific actual events and his experience of them.

About the birth of Alexander the Great, and Tyl's story of how Necanebus carried on the astrological planning of his conception and birthtime to optimize the necessary characteristics necessary to enable him to conquest the whole worlld with the sword, I think that there is no way you can defend your thesis that this might not have been what we call now astrology. It's like if you argued that the bridges built by these peoples were not really civil engineer. Some of those old bridges may be still extant now days, and you may call them what you wish, but they are what they are: solid bridges serving their purpose according to design.

In his introduction to the Spanish translation of Ptolemy, Demetrio Santos explains how before accomplishing this translation he read all the extant works on astrology by al of Ptolemy's contemporaries (and he cites Higinio, Vitruvio, Mannilius, Hermes and Macroobio ) as well as the other works by the arabic translators (citing Haly Geber, Messahallah, Zahel, Albubather, Ben Ezra, etc.) He is clearly trying to put the puzzle together the best he could.

>> But check now the work of
>> Vettius Valens, contemporary
>> of Ptolomy . . . the Axiom of 
>> Beginnings is simply taken for
>> granted.
>I have been on the waiting list for the existing translations of
>Vettius Valens at one of the university libraries nearby, once it
>become available you can be sure that I will be reading it closely
>for "Seeds and Beginnings". Are there any portions in particular
>that you feel unambiguously support the concept?

I have recently acquired all of the extant translations of Valen in English (4 books so far, another 4 coming soon), from Project Hindsight, and am planning to alot time to an in depth study of this other author contemporary of Ptolemy. Since anyway this reply has gotten to be too long, I will leave continuing with this discussion for another posting sometime soon, but I will close this posting now with a quote from Robert Schmidt, Director of Project Hindsight and translator of Vettius Valens into English (he has also translated Ptolemy into English). This quote is taken from one of his lessons in Phasewatch mailing list and it addresses the question of to what extent the greeks took the Axiom of Beginnings for granted:

Let me also mention that the degrees of the zodiac are called
moirai, or fates.  The allotment for an individual man is
presumably the various degrees or fates he is allotted at birth (as
marked out by the planets). 

But Heimarmeneh does not simply mean man's allotment at birth; it
also refers to his destiny or his fate.  And according to
Hellenistic Astrology all the "events" in a man's life are
apotelesma, things brought to a conclusion from some katarcheh or
inception.  I have argued that these words belong to the context of
ritual, and that "the history of the nativity" should be understood
in terms of ritualistic connection.  END OF QUOTE

So, you see, the concept of Inception, implying the Axiom of Beginnings, was a central concept of Hellenistic astrology: the allotment of fate occurred at katarcheh, a seed moment, a commencement,,,,,,. like it has always been in all traditions. That's why I have given this principle the rank of Axiom, Like Axiom Number 3 or the Fiducial Axiom, as I call it, stating that there is a point that serves as beginning, that has fiducial. I call Axiom number 4 the Dodeka Axiom, which states that the submodulation in 12ths of the ecliptic is superior to all other submodulations of the ecliptic modulus both for zoodiacal or mundane purposes.

I will continue replying to your comments and objections in future postings as time allows it......

Thank you very much for your kind attention

Most Attentively

Dr. Gonzalo Pena Tamez


P.D.: My very long article on _The Prediction of Death and the Alchochoden_ can now be accessed in full in the web by pointing your browser to the Zodiacal Zephyre.


Unless otherwise indicated, articles and submissions above are copyright © 1996 -1997 their respective authors.

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