|Exegesis Volume 5 Issue #46
Exegesis Digest Wed, 16 Aug 2000
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000 22:15:44 +1200
From: JG or DF
Subject: commentary on octagonal house division (4)
Concluding an appraisal of the octagonal house division rationale presented by Patrice Guinard at this site: http://cura.free.fr/02domi-e.html
Patrice is endeavouring to present a modern psychological derivation of an octagonal house system that is similar to the ancient one. I cannot judge his success in his native language, but I helped with the English language version on his website, to the extent that I could, without fully grasping his logic or perspective. Later, after much reflection, I produced some commentary (of which this is the final section). I offered Patrice the opportunity to add feedback to this, which is included below, sometimes followed by further comment from myself.
> The Dominion consists of four groups of two Houses, one diurnal
> and the other nocturnal. Each one of these groups marks a certain degree
> of opening of the consciousness to what surrounds it. I name them
> Individuation, Alligation (from latin ligare, to link), Participation
> and Objectivation. The opening of the consciousness is maximum in
> Objectivation, minimal in Individuation. One can define the conditional
> implications of these various relational modes which control the
> consciousness. Thus house 3 (nocturnal Individuation = house 10 of the
> dodekatopos) does not indicate the trade, the profession, nor even the
> career, the honors or the reputation, but the mode of integration of the
> consciousness in the world, the individuated mode, which encourages one
> to believe that the search for honors and for social gratification is
> the obvious value which justifies its existence, notwithstanding the
> effective results of the actions which it could initiate to carry out
> its ideals.
> The Individuation houses  produce a tendency to separate,
> to acquire distinctive character and develop unique particular personal
> features, strengthening subjective reality in contrast to the objective
> environment. The Individuated feels confined: he fights and struggles in
> the arena of the competition.
> The Alligation  houses produce a tendency to exteriorize < snip >
> The Participation houses produce a tendency to interiorize < snip >
> The Objectivation houses produce a tendency to be abstracted
> from reality, with focus on an exteriority < snip >
A diagram was really necessary here to visually correlate these with the axes of the horoscope. Your correlation above of 3 = individuation = midheaven is insufficient reinforcement for the full set of correlations you presented quite a few paragraphs back. I suggest you include one in your next edition. Seeing the psychological functions visually correlated with the axes would be most helpful.
The reasoning, much of which I have snipped, for making the correlations seems pretty good. Some consistency with commonly agreed psychosocial meanings of the 4 angles of the horoscope is evident. I'm intrigued that the pairs introversion/extraversion and interiorisation/exteriorisation are not complementary (opposed along an axis). I'm not convinced that these terms are accurate or essentially different to each other, and their meanings as given are not quite the same as my understanding, but the model seems sufficiently viable for serious consideration.
Patrice commented: "About introversion/extraversion and interiorisation/exteriorisation you're right as further discussion of these terms, as I understand them, is going in an other part of my thesis (a part which lies BEFORE in my thesis)."
< snip many paragraphs which expand house meanings into psychosocial functions, which I found too different to my own to allow me to relate to easily, like being in a foreign country >
> The 8 Houses fall under a rather logical succession. < snip >
Unfortunately I could see no logic to the sequence in the explanation, and the house labels attached for no evident reason.
Patrice commented: "Maybe you're right here. In my mind it was correlated with a somewhat symbolic succession of roles which we could play in the life, as in the hindu traditional succession."
> Greek designations of the astrological Houses (the Infernal
> Gate, the Evil Fortune, the God...) were abandoned and replaced by
> simple numbers, which seems to me to be a sign of the failure of the
> system of the symbolic meaning of the 12 Houses set. If one now compares
> the "meanings" of the 12 houses  with those which I propose in my
> interpretation of the octotopos, one observes a relative agreement:
> 1 (dodekatopos) life 1 (octotopos) the Communication,
> awakening in the world
> 11 (dodekatopos) friends 2 (octotopos) the Friendship
> 10 (dodekatopos) honors 3 (octotopos) the Situation, the
> career, the honors
> 9 (dodekatopos) travel, revelations 4 (octotopos) the
> Harmony, the spiritual experiment
> 7 (dodekatopos) marriage, wife 5 (octotopos) the Couple
> 6 (dodekatopos) health, work, sorrow 6 (octotopos) the
> 4 (dodekatopos) parents, origins 7 (octotopos) the Mystery
> 2 (dodekatopos) money, properties 8 (octotopos) the Fame, the
> heritage < snip >
Some of these correlations have no apparent common meaning. I agree that the fact that the house names were abandoned in favour of numbers is significant, but to me it just suggested one paradigm (temporal? mathematical?) replacing another (spatial, cultural). And nobody has yet given satisfactory cultural meanings for the oktotopos house names.
Patrice commented: "You don't comment on this which I see as a beginning of justification (of the traditional names):
"In addition, I am for a long time disconcerted by the incoherent coupling of Greek designations of the 12 houses: Good Fortune (Agath tuch) and Misfortune (Kak tuch) of houses 5 and 6, Good Spirit (Agathos daimn) and Evil Spirit (Kakos daimn) of houses 11 and 12, God (Theos) and Goddess (Thea) of houses 9 and 3, the first two couples associating of contiguous houses, the third of symmetrical ones. I propose the following explanation: houses 5, 12 and 3 would have been added subsequently, as well as the house 8 whose Greek designation remains problematic besides. There would thus have been another model of the octotopos which did only include, in addition to the 4 angular houses, the houses 2 (Aidou pul = latin Porta inferna = the Gate of Hades), 6 (Kak tuch = latin Mala fortuna = Misfortune), 9 (Theos = latin Deus = God) and 11(Agathos daimn = latin Bonus daemon = the Good Spirit) of the later dodekatopos. This system is coherent for the following reasons: Mala fortuna (Kak tuch) and Porta inferna (Aidou pul) are found under the horizon (to be noted their female and negative character), Deus and Bonus daemon above the horizon; Mala fortuna is opposed semantically to Bonus daemon and Porta inferna to Deus; Porta inferna is logically the last house, that which marks the passage to death. Here thus the probably oldest Greek version of the octotopos, and its equivalence with the model of the Dominion""
Well, be that as it may, it seems to me that the Greek names are rather banal and arbitrary. For instance, it could have been empirically discovered that 9th house planets incline one to God. Allocation of the 3rd house to Goddess is then made for the purely aesthetic reason of complementarity. [Actually, amazing to see this at all, since feminist historical revisionism has produced an abundance of compelling evidence of organised suppression by the invading patriarchies in prior millennia - see Eisler, Gimbutas, Stone, Whitmont, Graves, etc]
Houses 5 & 11 are inherently positive, while 6 & 12 are inherently negative. Were these allocations made for spurious religious reasons, or amateur esotericism? I suspect so. If there is an empirical basis, we'd be obliged to conclude that ancient Greeks tended to poor health generally, or were too lazy or impractical to be productively employable, but were successful gamblers!
Regardless, Patrice has yet to demonstrate a basis upon which cultural meanings of the ancient octagonal houses can be reinterpreted in terms of modern psychological attitudes. However, this ambitious goal is certainly worth aiming for. One might expect a basis to both individual and collective human nature which would motivate the allocation of descriptive terms intended to capture the meaning of the houses, regardless of the system of division. If this exists, empirical findings would tend to accumulate. Much like the law of large numbers in statistics, a commonality that underlay each interpretive system would eventually be detectable. It occurred to me to ask Patrice where he got his empirical experience...
"I wonder if you apply the above system in case studies, or in work for clients. If you have used the system since the early '80s practical considerations must have reinforced its utility, otherwise you would have abandoned it. Perhaps you have just developed the theory since then, and not tested it in case studies. In that case you have retained it for aesthetic, philosophical reasons. Do you use conventional houses at all? As well, I mean. If not, yours must have been a lonely path, cut off from the astrocommunity, but I gather this is not so."
Patrice replied: "I use exclusively my 8 houses. But it's not a so lonesome way as you suggest, because there are astrologers who don't use any system of houses; there are also hundreds of different practices among astrologers, and each one has got his own..."
If the psyche models the surrounding cosmos, we would expect horizon & meridian to endow it with a primal quaternary structure. Any secondary bisection of these quadrants can only be theorised on numerological grounds, so far as I can tell. Why 8 houses? I have yet to see any satisfactory answer. As to the direction of progression, we may choose clockwise on the basis of apparent solar diurnal motion, an energising effect changing focus every 3 hours in the octagonal system. As for the 12 houses of popular usage, the direction of progression is chosen to be anticlockwise because that is the order they rise in. The rationale seems to be that each sign rising and culminating successively colours mundane developments at the time in a more overtly influential way according to its own unique style.
I remain uneasy with the proposition (from both Patrice for the octagonal system and Rudhyar for the duodecagonal sytem) that the houses correspond with sectors of spatial consciousness in the psyche. I suspect we cannot credibly eliminate the temporal context. I do accept that consciousness of space may correlate closely with the axes of the horoscope, but I'm inclined to a view that the psyche's model of the cosmos has an encoded spatio-temporal structure of finer detail that no simple model will readily depict. I've found the Placidus system sufficiently close to this in my experience, thus far, to give me no reason to abandon it. I stress that this opinion derives solely from empirical assessment. I have no ideological attachment to it, and don't even claim to understand it's rationale.
While my initial scepticism of all house systems has given way to pragmatic support for Placidus, I must commend Patrice for his intellectual valour in providing a contemporary rationale for octagonal house division on a psycho-spatial basis. A worthy endeavour in a field where substantial philosophical innovation is rarely attempted, much less accomplished. I will be interested to see any further development of the project.
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 11:37:03 +0200
From: Patrice Guinard
Subject: Re: Exegesis Digest V5 #42 (and #41, #44)
First I approve the mail posted by Dennis, "Neptune rules, okay?" (in Exegesis Digest V5 #41). I quote: "As regards current theory, it means identifying elements of astrological theory and philosophy that are consistent with the emerging paradigm in science, to the extent that this is currently possible."
"Consistent with" yes, but it doesn't mean, I suppose, "dependent on", because, if the purpose of astrology may be the "psychic states", science hasn't demonstrated that it is able to work properly about this, and Jungian psychology (with its sympathetic insights, as with its weaknesses) for instance, doesn't pertain to science.
I hope others would react (about Dennis's paper), and I have developed some similar views (see my Manifesto, chapter 13: "Astrologers's incompetence")
Dennis (Exegesis Digest V5 #42):
> Can we deconstruct the belief underlying modern
> astrological practice as a triadic holarchy: heavens above, social
> interaction beneath, psychological states within?
I would suggest: heavens above, and psychological states within, BECAUSE social interaction beneath.
I mean that I'm not Aries or Libra or Saturnian, only thanks to heavens, but because I live with people who are not Aries nor Libra nor Saturnian. We all know that. The "astral qualities" operate only through a process of differenciation in the social interaction.
> Cynthia made a good point about such use of astrology as a 2nd language...
> "The second-language speaker can become an adept in his chosen second
> language only if he accepts the discourse which frames it, the register in
> which it operates, and only if he surrenders to the mechanisms which
> underlie it; and, these last, he need not identify nor understand in order
> to use the language. (We here on this list, however, are invited to identify
> and define those mechanisms.)"
I "know" three langages: the mathematical one (which refers to objects), the langages properly (which refer to signs), and the astrological one, which refers to psychic states.
If I may quote myself (Manifesto 4/14: The Threefold Nature of Knowledge): "In essence, reality impresses itself upon consciousness in three distinct modalities: as an object, as a sign, and as a state of being, which can expressed alternatively as an entity either physical, mental or psychic. On the basis of this delineation, one can infer the existence of three principle domains in the development of knowledge and three corresponding "sciences" which apply to them: the objective sciences, empirico-analytical (biochemical and physical sciences), which observe, measure, test and model material phenomena; the interpretative sciences, historico-hermeneutic (termed "social" or "humanistic"), which arise through working with the products of cultural activity and their interpretation; and the sciences of states of being, psycho-synthetic (astrology and its related disciplines), which perceive reality in relation to the totality of psychic being. (...) The astrological process no longer seeks to explain a phenomenon, neither to interpret data, but rather to understand an underlying reality, in so far as phenomena and cultural data have their source in the psyche. Matrix is at once present and outside of time: it aligns itself with the present moment while at the same time it carries forward a pre-existent and permanent foundation. (...) Astrology is the gateway to a structural comprehension of the psyche. Astrological understanding differs from the explanation of the physical sciences and from the interpretation of the humanistic sciences. To understand, in the astrological sense, is not to demonstrate, but rather to reveal or show. No hermeneutic or philosophical method, no analytical or statistical technique, can represent knowledge without diminishing it. Matrix-based thinking has as its goal not to render uniform the enormous diversity of mental representations, but rather to preserve the organization of the multiplicity which exists beyond the representations themselves. It consists of thinking severally about the many. Astrology cannot be defined in any domain but its own: the egalitarian domain of the qualitative potentialisation of psychic reality."
Of course, it remains to identify the mechanisms through which, the planetary cycles could become, first astral "impresses", secondly astrological discourse, and, as Cynthia has suggested, we are invited to try to do so here. But see my paper: "From Semiotic to Astral" (http://cura.free.fr/04semas.html), not yet translated.
> Bill (Exegesis Digest V5 #42):
> I would have astrology be rediscovered as an open ended exploration of the
> celestial sphere with a focus on how it impacts mankind, and astronomy
> understood as a rather closely defined subdiscipline thereof.
I guess that astronomers wouldn't agree. Astrology and astronomy haven't the same object (see my text above).
> As such, astronomy could never be in a proscriptive position with regard
> astrology. Astronomy would contribute what it may, but on questions it is
> unable to address would be required to stand mute and refrain from dictating
> what may or may not be possible.
Juan (Exegesis Digest V5 #42):
> There would be nothing wrong with this plethora if astrologers would be
> aware how much what they do contradicts what they say or think about the
> nature of astrology. The plethora is not the evil, but the
> inappropriateness of the models that claim to explain it. They may not be
> contradictory at all, but natural results of basic astrological principles.
> Perhaps the apparent contradictions of many practices is a sign that the
> model we have to explain astro-practice is inadequate.
I suggest 3 points for the accuracy of an astrological model:
- that it isn't contradictory with physics likelihood.
- that it's intrinsically coherent and logical.
- that it can explain (or show) why others models are not coherent and satisfactory.
After, the "It works" will ever (!) follow.
> You didn't address my argument that in practice, as opposed to theory, the
> astrologer doesn't deal with the stars except indirectly. Once the map is
> done, the astrologer deals with the map, not with the observed reality of
> the heavens. There are even many who believe that calculating planetary
> positions is not astrology but astronomy... in which case astrological
> practice *never* deals with "the stars".
A good point. I agree. A real study about the accuracy or not of the ecliptical projection of all the planets, and the relations of the planetary positions within the circle of Houses, and with the definition of aspects, must be attentively examined.
- as this:
> 6-) It is common to "sense" the time when an *astrological* planet is on
> the ascendant or descendant, but this refers to the intersection of
> coordinates and abstract geometrical planes, not to events in the sky. By
> the same token, a person experiences very powerfully a Moon/Pluto
> conjunction that only seldom corresponds approximately to something
> happening in the sky (they are often separated by more than 20 degrees even
> though the conjunction may be exact in the chart).
> 7-) The real angular distance of objects in the celestial sphere is never
> considered in astrology. You work with discrete coordinates always, be them
> latitude or longitude or declination or right ascension, what is
> interpreted is events happening between coordinates.
> When people say that astrology in general, or astrologers, do relate to
> what happens in the sky, to the real stars or planets "appearing" out there
> (at night at least, if its not cloudy or hilly or below the horizon), this
> is immediately contradicted by what they do when they practice their
> astrology. The above points are the reasons why I say this. I would
> appreciate any clarification of any of those pints.
Some astrologers have worked about these problems. They must be again discussed. A general reflection about the ACCURATE CHART must be promptly engaged. No astrological practice without it.
UNIVERSITY CENTRE FOR ASTROLOGICAL RESEARCH
End of Exegesis Digest Volume 5 Issue 46
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