Much of astrology is done using signs, houses and aspects which are essentially spatial, but do not necessarily involve symmetricality. The astrological chart itself is a grid on which planets are located in specific compartments, i.e. houses and signs. The planets can be shown to relate to each other by aspects based on the the division of the circle by various integers. In this way a delineation is produced. In this course we will consider only astrological techniques that are based on symmetry, which turns out to be quite a few. Best known is the distribution of signs by element and quality, a scheme that is based on equal distances along the ecliptic and that produces perfect triangles and squares.
Another example of symmetry in astrology is the arrangement of traditional sign rulerships. In the scheme sometimes called the “ladder of the planets,” an axis is established between Cancer and Leo, and Capricorn and Aquarius. With this axis in place, planetary rulerships are equally divided laterally in spite of the varying angular relationship between signs ruled by the same planet. For example, both Venus and Mars rule signs that are in a quincunx relationship, but in the rulership scheme they form a symmetrical pattern relative to Aries/Taurus and Libra/Scorpio cusp. The one exception is the single sign rulership of the Cancer and Leo by the Moon and Sun, respectively.
A third example is found in the positions in the zodiac of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions over a long period of time – roughly 800 years. The conjunction of these bodies happens evey 20 years, but not in the same sign sucessively. The conjunctions take place in signs of the same element, but move one sign backwards in the zodiac. After roughly 200 years, the conjunctions will shift element, this change being thought to mark significant shifts in collective behaviors that generate historical events.
A major part of the course will concern itself with an organized set of techniques that are entirely based on the positioning of points and planets at equal distances from each other. These techniques have an ancient pedigree in the form of antisica and parts, but they blossomed in the 20th century as the core principle of the Hamburg School, or Uranian Astrology. This development, surely one of the most important technical developments of the entire century, has had a profound influence on modern astrology in Europe and in the eastern United States. More than half of this course will be concerned with the methodology of this radical development in modern astrology. For those who wish to take this study further, there will be a more advanced course offered next year taught by Gary Christen.
Topics include: Coordinate systems - measuring the sky; Declination and Latitude; Antiscia and proportional arcs, equal openings; Lots (Arabic Parts); Introduction to Uranian Astrology; Midpoints and Planetary Pictures on the 360 degree dial; Midpoint trees, midpoint sorts, arc openings; The 90 degree dial and houses; Solar arc and the TNPs; Edith Wangeman and the Composite Chart
To read some additional information on the development of Symmetrical Astrology, please see Gary Christen's articles at Astrolabe:
- Symmetrical Astrology: An Overview of Its Origins
- Planetary Pictures: An Introduction
- Planetary Pictures 101