Saturday, March 28, 2009

Reasons for Rulership

One of the things that distinguishes traditional from modern astrology is not just additional techniques, but a much more nuanced and variant application of underlying theories. In modern, all assignment of rulerships, be it planet or sign, is on the theory of like rules like. Thus Uranus being the revolutionary rules revolutionary Aquarius (the very traditional side of Aquarius, in traditional astrology, is lost).

However, in traditional astrology, while "like rules like" is definitely used for rulership, other theories are also used. The assignment of sign rulerships, for example, is based more on the negative and positive aspects of Cancer & Leo to the benefic and malefic planets, ie Mercury, being changeable, rules Virgo & Gemini, the signs adjacent to Leo and Cancer, Venus, the Lesser Benefic rules Taurus and Libra, sextile to Cancer and Leo, Mars, the Lesser Malefic rules Aries and Scorpio, signs square to Cancer and Leo, Jupiter the Greater Benefic rules Sagittarius and Pisces, signs trine to Leo and Cancer, and Saturn, the Greater Malefic, rules Capricorn and Aquarius, signs opposite to Cancer and Leo. Very logical, but not "like rules like"

Another alternative rulership methodology is the triplicities, which use a tempering rule for the malefics, putting for example, cold and dry Saturn as ruler of hot and wet air to moderate his malefic impulses.

In terms of the choice of triplicities over sign or exaltation, for the most part our traditional sources have focused on obtaining maximum power. The standard schema is sign = 5, exaltation = 4, triplicity = 3, term = 2 and face = 1.

However, there are variations on this arrangement. In Al-Qabisi (Alcabitiuis) Introduction to Astrology trans. Burnett (Warburg, 2004), Al-Qabisi says that terms are more powerful for movement and triplicities for nourishment. IA at 29.

Also we note Mashallah, in On Reception trans. Hand (Arhat, 1998) says, "...exaltations are of greater authority in matters of kingship, to wit if something is done by a king, the lord of the exaltation is stronger [in signification] than the lord of the domicile [sign]. OR at 3.

When, then is a malefic of maximum strength for evil, however? We know that a malefic in sign or exaltation is powerful, because then as Bonatti says, "the malefic is restrained from its malice just like a vicious horse is restrained from its viciousness by a strong bridle and whatever evil is in it is converted to good..." Consideration 44, Liber Astronomiae, trans. Dykes at 291.

Note however, that there is some confusion over whether or not a malefic is simply weak or strongly malefic when in detriment or fall. Normally this doesn't make much difference as we are normally looking for a benefic result, thus weakness or downright evil are effectively the same, the good we wish we do not receive.

So let's look at an acceptable "curse" talisman, Rat's Begone from Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy itself from Thabit Ibn Qurra's De Imaginibus,

But to chase away certain animals from certain places, that they be not generated or abide there, let an image be made under the ascension of that animal, which thou wouldst chase away, and after the likeness thereof; as if thou wouldst chase away scorpions from any place, let an image of the scorpion be made, the sign of Scorpio ascending with the Moon...[A]nd thou shall make unfortunate the ascendant, and lord thereof, and the Lord of the house of Mars; and thou shall make unfortunate the lord of the ascendant in the eighth house and let them be joined with an aspect malignant, opposite or quadrant:

Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk. II, Chapter 50

Clearly to do the maximum damage we wish to afflict as many significators as possible. But this still has not answered our question regarding the placement for maximum power for evil for malefics.

Let's get another clue from William Ramesey's Astrology Restored/Astrologia Restaurata, where he says, "Jupiter and Venus; neither (as I say) are they always fortunes: for accidentally they may be infortunes: and when they are Lords of the eighth, twelfth and sixth, they are occasions of sickness, poverty,
imprisonment, mischief and death as effectually as Saturn or Mars" RA at 123-4.

So perhaps we can come to some conclusions. For malefic power, Saturn or Mars in detriment or fall, in a conjunction, square or opposition would be rather nasty. Similarly Saturn or Mars as rulers of the 12th, 8th or 6th, and in sign or exaltation, thus very powerful, would be powerful for affliction (12th) death
(8th) and illness (6th) when making a conjunction, square or opposition.

So, in the end we return to our standard traditional approach which is not to have just one approach!

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