Wednesday, March 19, 2008

An Introduction to Hellenic Astrology - Zodia and Aspects

The most important concept to understand when using Hellenic Astrology is that of the zodia. Zodia are what are called "signs" in modern Astrological systems - the 30 degree divisions of the Tropical Zodiac which are named Ares, Taurus, Gemini, etc. I will give their full characteristics in another post, but for now it's enough to just know that "zodia" are the same as "signs".

Hellenic Astrology uses house=sign chart design. This is different from many of the house systems used in most modern Astrology. In Hellenic Astrology, the houses are called topoi or topos in the singular; this is Greek for "place" and has the same connotation as "house" does in modern Astrology... for example, the second topos is the topos of land, material goods, and talents. Because each topos = a single zodia, it becomes very easy to see the relationships between planets based upon the relationships between their polarity, modalities, and elements. It is the interactions between these qualities of the planets that provide the key to understanding and interpreting an aspect pattern within a chart (either personal or mundane).

The major difference between aspects as used in Hellenic Astrology and aspects used in Modern Astrology is that aspects are determined according to topoi and zodia as opposed to individual planets. For example, all planets within a single zodia and topoi are considered to be aspected to all of the planets in another zodia and topoi. The aspects that are discussed within Hellenic Astrology are often referred to as the "Platonic Aspects" as they were first outlined and described in Ptolemy's work Tetrabiblos.

The Ptolemaic aspects are:

The Opposition:
  • the planets are separated by six zodia (or 180 degrees)
  • the planets share the same polarity and modality
  • this aspect represents the Platonic form of the line

The Trine:

  • the planets are separated by four zodia (or 120 degrees)
  • the planets share the same element
  • this aspect represents the Platonic form of the triangle

The Square (also known as Quartile):

  • the planets are separated by three zodia (or 90 degrees)
  • the planets share the same modality, but have different elements
  • this aspect represents the Platonic form of the square

The Sextile:

  • the planets are separated by two zodia (or 60 degrees)
  • the planets share the same polarity, but have different elements and modalities
  • this aspect represents the Platonic form of the hexagon

The Conjunction:

  • not an "aspect" as such in Hellenic Astrology, but rather a sharing of the same Zodion by two or more planets.
  • this aspect represents the Platonic form of the point

The conjunction is important (even more important than all of the other aspects!) in that the planets that share the same zodion or "sign" are seen to work together and will influence each other within the life of the individual or during the event being studied.

The planets within the shared zodion may work together so well and with such a common mind that they combine their energies. Because the two planets (like the two Gods that represent them) are united in their goal and motivation - differing only in their personalities - they can become intimately connected. The closer that the two planets are to each other (based upon the number of degrees between them) added to whether or not they are applying (moving closer to each other) or separating (moving apart from each other), can cause the two planets to actually fuse into one force within the chart. This is especially important because even when the two planets separate later, they will still be acting in one force - just in two different places in the chart. (For example, consider an individual who has Venus and Neptune in the same zodia at birth... for their entire life, wherever Venus or Neptune are in their chart, it will act as Venus!Neptune. This means that they will often be feeling the influence of Venus!Neptune in two different topoi!)

In a future post, I will discuss polarity, the elements, and modalities - which will help to illustrate the different dynamics that each aspect will produce within a chart.

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