This course considers a range of astrological techniques and methods that share a common principle – symmetry. Uranian Astrology and the use of midpoints are obvious examples. But there are many other common techniques such as the distribution of elements and qualities, traditional rulerships and antiscia that also use symmetrical principles.
Much of astrology is done using signs, houses, and aspects which are essentially spatial but do not necessarily involve symmetry. 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 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.
Required books can be found under the Symmetry and Uranian section HERE.
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 every 20 years, but not in the same sign successively. The conjunctions take place in signs of the same element but move one sign backward in the zodiac. After roughly 200 years, the conjunctions will shift element, this change is 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 antiscia 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 technological 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
The course website will have recorded lectures, readings, discussion forums, assignments and more. Students can contact the instructor at any time with questions.
Prerequisite - basic knowledge of astrology
Bruce Scofield, PhD University of Massachusetts; MS History of Science, Montclair University; BA, History, Rutgers University. Mr. Scofield has been a practicing astrologer since 1975 and has been a teacher and lecturer at many regional and national conferences over the last twenty years. He has written many articles for various astrological publications and has published a number of important astrological texts, including Timing of Events: Electional Astrology; The Aztec Circle of Destiny; Native American Astrology from Ancient Mexico, and Signs of Time: An Introduction to Mesoamerican Astrology. Mr. Scofield recently received his PhD from the University of Massachusetts where he works on Gaia theory and solar system influences on climate and life. His PhD thesis examined temperature variations in the northern hemisphere correlated with Saturn-Sun geocentric alignments. Bruce is a faculty member at both Kepler College and the University of Massachusetts.