Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fossilized Techniques

I had a recent question about an oddity of traditional essential dignities, the exaltation of the Moon's Nodes!

The fact that the Dragon's Head, Caput draconis, or the North Node of the Moon is exalted in Gemini and the Dragon's Tail, Cauda draconis, the South Node of the Moon is exalted in Sagittarius, and in particular at the 3rd degree of these signs, does indeed appear in traditional sources. Al-Qabisi, Introduction to the Science of Astrology, 1.15, in Dykes, Introductions to Traditional Astrology (Cazimi 2010) page 45.

Ben footnotes this and notes that exaltation of the nodes derives from Persian or Indian lore, because this does not appear in Hellenistic astrology.

An excellent example of fossilized technique in traditional astrology! What do I mean by fossilized technique? Often our sources will mention some technique or method in passing, but then not explain how to use it or not use it at all. The exaltations of the Nodes are indeed mentioned, but I've never seen them used in a delineation.

This is a bit odd to modern thinking. There is this sense that everything should be open and obvious and logical in a linear fashion. If I don't understand something clearly the fault lies in the material, throw it out! That there are these pockets of technique that we know about but whose origin or use are mysterious is simply wrong.

However, the traditional astrology mindset is more appreciative of the past and willing to take a wait and see attitude. Through translations like Ben Dykes the really old Arabic techniques are being unearthed and revived. Even if the technique is not revived however, there is no harm, for the traditionalist, in recounting what the sources say even if we ourselves don't understand it.

Of course the automatic modern response will be to speculate about the origin and use and start spinning theories to understand the exaltation of the Nodes. For me, I just file it away for possible future study when more has been revealed to me!

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