Al Biruni & Ptolemy on Aspects

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Abu Ma’shar

This is one more very brief introduction to the schemata of astrological aspects as expressed by Al Biruni in his Book of Instruction. The aspects he uses include the Inconjunct or Quincunx, refered to by Claudius Ptolemy as an aversion, rather than an aspect . Al Biruni has discussed the Inconjunct immediately before the insertion of the schemata. Oddly enough he opts not to include it in the visual presentation but gives a full written explanation. We will lok at what he has to say as well as Ptolemy’s comments on the subject in his Tetrabiblos.

Al Biruni provides a commentary for the schemata. Much of it is self explanatory, such as Gemini and Sagittarius forming and opposition. In section 373 he writes:

As the complex must follow the simple,we have now to consider the relations of the signs to each other.

Each sign is in Sextile aspect to the third and seventh left and right of it, and there is s sixth of the zodiac (60 ° ) between any degre of that sign and the same degree of those named. Similarly the Quartile aspect is a between a sign the fourth and tenth, left and right,  separated by 90  ° , and the Trine between the fifth and ninth, distant 120°  and the Opposite sign is the the seventh, 180 ° There are therefore seven signs to which the sign in question turns its face and which are consequently considered to be bound in aspect to it. The two signs which are each side of the one in question and their opposites viz. the second and the twelfth and the sixth and the eighth are not in aspect and are inconjunct. (Instructions p. 20).

20

In section 375 though he discusses the relative strength or “power” of the aspects:

The  following is the order of power of the various aspects. The most powerful is Conjunction. i.e. meeting in the same same, then the opposite [Opposition] then the dexter Quartile, sinister Quartile, dexter Trine, sinister Trine, dexter Sextile, sinister Sextile, When there are two aspects the powerful renders the weaker one incompetent and takes away its power.  (Instruction 21).

Ptolemy writes :

All signs, between which there does not exist any familiarity in any of the modes above specified, are inconjunct and separated. For instance, all signs are inconjunct which are neither commanding nor obeying, and not beholding each other nor of equal power, as well as all signs which contain between them the space of one sign only, or the space of five signs, and which do not at all share in any of the four prescribed configurations: viz. the opposition, the trine, the quartile, and the sextile.Aspects-ptolemy-tetrabiblos-1533_Hervagius

All parts which are distant from each other in the space of one sign only are considered inconjunct, because they are averted, as it were, from each other; and because, although the said space between them may extend into two signs, the whole only contains an angle equal to that of one sign: all parts distant from each other in the space of five signs are also considered inconjunct, because they divide the whole circle into unequal parts; whereas the spaces contained in the configurations above-mentioned, viz. the opposition, trine, quartile, and sextile, produce aliquot divisions.

(Tetrabiblos p. 27)

Although there is overall agreement, there are significant differences. Ptolemy doesn’t specifically mention the Conjunction that Al Biruni put at the top of the list of aspect power is concerned. I get the impression that here is simply taking it for granted.  He was universally understood as including the Conjunction as far as I know.Astronomes_-_miniature_ottomane_XVIIe

Ptolemy makes no distinction between Dexter and Sinister. Most importantly, he doesn’t provide a hierarchy of power to the aspects at all. Neither Al Biruni nor Ptolemy discuss aspect patters, such as Grand Trines, Grand Crosses or even T- Squares.

Al Biruni’s statement that the most powerful aspect renders the weaker one incompetent is broad in its compass. When reading a specific chart we may have some difficult choices to make in judgement but he dose provide us many toosl to make that choice easier. However, as the statement stands alone, it seems reductionist.

Consider for a moment a hypothetical chart with a tight Air Trine. One of the   planets is forming a square or opposition to a fourth planet. Particularly if the square is applying, that is very strong aspect. It may even be  in aspect to a malefic, making it far worse. But I still can’t see how the grand trine is entirely erased from the equation.. massively weakened perhaps but not without any life at all.

Al Biruni on Directions

This beautiful compass is a few hundred years old. It is a part of Middle East exhibition in Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Compass – Part of Middle East exhibition in Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

This is but a simple introduction to determining and interpreting directions, using astrological methods according to Al Biruni. Abū al-Rayhān Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Bīrūnī known as Alberonius in Latin and Al-Biruni in English, was a Persian-Chorasmian Muslim scholar and polymath of the 11th century.

Today he is well known and respected by Traditional Astrologers, a well as by students of the history of medicine, mathematics, his insightful views on India and other nations from the point of view of one of the most learned men of his generation. In his The Book of Instructions in the Element of the Art of Astrology, written in 1029 AD Al Biruni provides a chart of directions. It’s very easy to read and has obvious applications in different forms of astrology It seems to me this would have the most immediate use in Horary as well as Weather Prediction. If you wish to go deeper, he provides a great deal of information about the nature of the elements and how they interact, giving very specific examples of  precise weather prediction among many other things.

directions The table can also be used as a stand alone reference for Horary and Electional work.  But there is more to it.  Al Biruni writes:

 “Aries denotes the middle of the East, Leo a point to the left of that towards the North and Sagittarius one to the right toward the South; similarly with each of the other triplicities. This Taurus indicates the centre of the South, Virgo a point to its left toward the East and Capricorn one to the right and West. Gemini occupies the centre of the West, Libra a point to its left and South and Aquarius one to its right and North. Cancer is in the centre of the North, Scorpius a point to the left and  West, Pisces to the right and east.” (Instructions p.8).

Astrolabe of 'Umar ibn Yusuf ibn 'Umar ibn 'Ali ibn Rasul al-Muzaffari,

Astrolabe of ‘Umar ibn Yusuf ibn ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali ibn Rasul al-Muzaffari,

If you use this simple reference tool with the knowledge of what combinations of signs, planets, fixed stars and other elements of chart delineation, produce what results you’ll find it very useful in predicting the weather, including such details as the direction of the wind This system could be used to find lost objects and  play a role in casting Elections.

Al Biruni is something of a genius when it comes to simplifying what might otherwise be off-putting to many readers.  He is deceptively simple.

Coronation of Elizabeth I

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We know the Election for the Coronation was calculated by Dr. John Dee. Elizabeth’s personal astrologer, mathematician, navigator and magician. However to the best of my current knowledge, the timing has been passed in good faith and no contemporary written document to this effect is extant. Most troublesome is when the information was first passed on. Although we should be quite safe in assuming it’s using the Julian calendar, there is the lurking possibility that the date was passed on after the Gregorian calendar was adopted. With these things in mind I would like to read and compare both possible charts.

If nothing else this provides a good study of Electional astrology at work. I’m often surprised how many people view their life without contemplating alternatives, if they are possible, favorable or disastrous.  This is the difference between a strong election with fair results and another that actually makes things worse. Personally, I see both charts as candidates. Although tradition would favour the Julian date, I do not claim that either is the definitive charts. Even Frawley gives no source for the time he uses for the Coronation chart.

Elizabeth was vulnerable at a particularly dangerous point in English history. Her legitimacy was questioned on all fronts and being a woman made it worse

The enmity between Scotland and England and Roman Catholic vs Protestant were events that could tear the realm apart

John Dee Demonstrating an Experiment at Court - Artist Unknown

John Dee Demonstrating an Experiment at Court – Artist Unknown

It’s a marvel that she survived at all But she was to be the greatest Queen, if not the greatest Monarch England has known.

The portrait at the top of the page is of Elizabeth in her prime. The painting is known as the Armada portrait.

I have little doubt that John Dee played a role in the annihilation of the Armada.  Beyond being the Queen’s astrologer he is said to have used a powerful magical curse against Her Majesty’s adversaries.

coro

Coronation Chart 1

The perfect Election exists only in the mind of God. I’m frequently asked to do an Election for all manner of events. Often I’m asked to do so with precious little notice.

The task then becomes not necessarily to find an ideal chart but one with the least problems. I do not know how much notice was given to  John Dee, but I suspect it wasn’t much. Nevertheless it’s a fine piece of work.

The chart date and time given is 15 January 1559 AD  at 12.00 Greenwich, using the Porpyhry House system. That is the first chart. The second is adjusted to ten minutes later and showing Al Biruni’s planetary parts We are told it was around noon, so we have room for a little maneuvering, but not very much.

First of all we have a chart for a few minutes after high noon, with Sun and Jupiter in The Tenth house, disposited by Saturn Rx in the Twelfth House, in his own Joy. The Hour is Jupiter The Day is the Moon. The Sun is with the fixed star Altair and in partile  Trine to the Ascendant.

Adjusted to 12.10

Adjusted to 12.10

The Tenth House is the place of high office, preferment, standing, command and honour. Primarily the Sun but also Jupiter are royal in this context.

We have Mercury and Venus in Capricorn in the Ninth House as well. The Saturn signature is pervasive. The Eleventh House informs or influences the Tenth. Venus in Capricorn is cool and with the Fixed Star Vega but also suggests a favorable relationship between Religion and Finances.

The Moon is separating from a Sextile to Jupiter and will then Trine the same when she passes into Libra. I’m not happy about the Moon in the Eighth, but having both Malefics in their Joy in the Twelfth and Sixth House is always a good idea.. Mars in the Sixth is said to be like a tiger in a cage.

It might seem detrimental having Saturn disposit Jupiter, Sun, Mercury and Venus, particularly considering his condition. First of all, the old Devil is doing the best and transferring his light to Mars. This I believe neutralizes the Saturn and Mars opposition. Elizabeth’s hidden enemies are thus significantly weakened. I don’t know what Dee had in in mind, but I strongly suspect he would have interpreted the Scorpionic Mars in the House of Servants as a strong and  loyal military.

A phoenix is a mythological bird which never dies but, after 500 years, is consumed by fire and born again, making it a symbol of the Resurrection, endurance and eternal life. Only one phoenix lives at a time, so it was also used to symbolize Elizabeth's uniqueness and longevity.

A phoenix is a mythological bird which never dies but, after 500 years, is consumed by fire and born again, making it a symbol of the Resurrection, endurance and eternal life. Only one phoenix lives at a time, so it was also used to symbolize Elizabeth’s uniqueness and longevity.

The Part of Fortune is in the Fourth House and parallel to Fixed Star Aldebaran. I’m not sure if Dee planned this or not because there is more than one way of reading Aldebaran. It is  often referred to as the Eye of God It is also associated with blindness.

If he had reversed the calculation from the one above, the Pars Fortuna would then be found in the Eleventh House and that is a great blessing  The House is known as that of the Good Spirit and speaks of influential friends and alliances. It’s at the degree of the twelfth cusp but hasn’t crossed the threshold. Things like this make us realize how tricky it can be to construct an Election with a small window of time to work with.

The Almuten of the Chart is fortuitously the Sun according to rules set down by Ibn Ezra. He is in Sect. Venus in the House of God and Religion has the highest score for Essential Dignities

After all, Elizabeth is not only to be the Queen but the head of the Church of England as well.

Elizabeth I in Coronation Robes

Elizabeth I in Coronation Robes

The Lady of the Geniture is the Moon, which I find highly appropriate. She is strong with Procyon, a Fixed Star of high magnitude possessing  the nature of Mercury and Mars. The Planetary Parts according to Al Biruni offer another dimension.

The Part of Jupiter is beautifully placed in the Ninth House, lending it more strength and depth. The Parts for both Malefic are in their House of Joy  just as are the planets themselves. The Parts of  Mercury and Moon sit well in the Eleventh. But the Part of Venus in Royal Leo in the Fourth Angular house is exquisite.

I received a comment that the chart may be questionable because the ruler of the twelfth is applying to the ruler of the ascendant. I freely admit that isn’t prefect by any mean, but doesn’t undermine the entire election. Electional astrology is what Frawley refers to as the “art of the possible.”

I do not know if Dee had read Al Biruni, but it would very odd if he didn’t. He was a polyglot, an occultist and well supported by the Queen. I’m sure he could get any book he desired.

frawleytime

Coronation Chart 2

Let’s now look at the chart most frequently quoted, with the same time and date, but using the Julian calendar. This chart has much to commend it, not least the fact that we have Regulus both conjunct and parallel the Pars Fortuna in the fourth.tudorrosemain  Regulus is of the Nature of Mars and Jupiter. The Pars is also with the Arabic Part of Abundance in House.  This would help meet the need of a strong foundation.

The chart gives us the Day of the Sun and the Hour of Mars. The first is a blessing, the second is a mystery.  It could be that the time is slightly off by perhaps  minute, when the Hour of Jupiter would have ended, but I still see this as a compromise. It’s cutting it too fine. I have looked at the Lunar Mansions and their is nothing particularly auspicious, so I’m guessing Dee didn’t use them.

Saturn is direct in this chart, dispositing Jupiter, the Sun, Venus and Mercury. However, the Saturn – Mars opposition is much stronger. Mars is applying to the opposition and is but one degree from perfection. Nevertheless they are still restrained by House placement, each in their Joy. This is a trade off many would be reluctant to make.

Elizabeth's Radix Chart

Elizabeth’s Radix Chart

My remarks on the previous chart regarding a strong and loyal military are still true, although somewhat diluted. Mars is not receiving the light from Saturn.

Saturn is the uncontested Almuten of the chart in the Fixed Earth sign Taurus, dispositing the Fixed Air signs in Aquarius. While this might seem a bit gloomy, it is excellent for stability and longevity of the reign.

The Ninth House is still in very good shape, auguring a favorable and financially harmonious relationship with the Church.

That only leaves the Eleventh House, the House of the Good Spirit. When considering a Monarch, this would be best represented as court, courtly advisors and others in a supportive role.  Moon in Aries means changeability, volatility and ill will in this position.  She is also in an applying Square to Venus.

coronation parade1

Coronation Parade

The transits to Elizabeth’s natal chart at the time of the second Coronation chart are notable. They include Jupiter Sextile Jupiter and Venus Trine her Sun. This speaks strongly for the second chart.

We don’t know how much time Dee at his disposal, it might have been very little. That would have diminished his options. All in all, I tend to favor the first version.

The Lion & the Unicorn

hunt_captive_unicorn1I have long wondered about the deeper significance  of the Lion and the Unicorn myth or folklore. I had suspected it to be astrological

The Lion and Unicorn are perhaps best known these days as the Royal insignia of the United Kingdom. The emblematic qualities of the lion are well known. We can’t say the same for the unicorn. James I saw the lion and unicorn as solar and lunar. He insisted the unicorn be in the Bible that bore his name.

There is a nursery rhyme about the conflict and the clear associations of the Lion with England  and the Unicorn with Scotland:

The lion and the unicorn

Were fighting for the crown;

The lion beat the unicorn

All round about the town.

However it doesn’t tell us why the Unicorn was chosen for Scotland to be then coupled with the Lion for England. The association of Solar and Lunar makes sense. Writ large it’s a reconciliation of opposites and a harbinger of a united realm. We have the first astrological clue: but there is more to this story.

In the seventeenth century, the Unicorn was added as a constellation:  translated as Monocerus, it’s a  faint constellation on the celestial equator. This doesn’t really signify very much except the popularity he enjoyed in the seventeenth century.

The Lady & the Unicorn

The Lady & the Unicorn

In works of art, the Lion and Unicorn are shown with other animals, holding the gates to the tent open. There is a lady in the  centre, accompanied by a smaller, probably younger lady.  Considering the context it’s easy to see this as a form of sexual initiation in the guardian presence of the Lady and the Unicorn. This all starts to look like an elaborate rite of passage.

The unicorn is invariably seen with a female figure. In the picture at the top of the page, she is holding up a mirror to the unicorn. This furthers the lunar imagery by introducing the topos of reflected light. The female figures look like madonnas, as in the golden statuary below.  The Virgin holds the Unicorn.

As benevolent as unicorns may be, they were mercilessly hunted in an elaborate tradition. Hildegard of Bingen wrote some material on the best way to do this. She suggested that one should use more than one virgin, One can distract him while the other facilitates his capture.

We need to step back and refer to ancient history and cosmology for the meaning of the Lion and the Unicorn. There is a legend well-known throughout the middle east for which I cannot find a definitive written source. It may very well be in the oral record only.

At the beginning of Creation or dawn of time, the lion and the Unicorn chased each other across the heavens. For 14 years the lion chased the unicorn, and it ran away, and the next 14 years, the unicorn chased the lion, until it began to gain on it, and the lion headed towards earth where, either, it hid behind a tree which the unicorn charged into, got stuck and then eaten by the lion, or, it speared the lion with its horn.

This has to be an allegory for the Lunar cycle in relation to the Solar cycle –  using a day for a year. This a cosmic dance, not warfare. It looks as if an ancient pagan legend has been adopted and developed by Christianity. It certainly wasn’t the first time.

This simple but valuable allegory of the Sun and Moon had to accept some additions, even some highly irrational ones. The fairly obvious gesture towards the person of Christ also facilitates the subject of virginity, The Unicorn is only be accessible to virgins.220px-Poliptyk_Zwiastowania_z_Jednorożcem_02

The Christian iconography of the Madonna and Child seems perfectly at home here; but we still have a Unicorn who doesn’t want to be tamed and has to be trapped into service, which undermines the Christ analogy.

Apparently, he also needs to be fenced in or shall we say harnessed. This seems to refer to the passage in Job wherein the Unicorn is a great power if he can be domesticated. In Job 39:9–12 we read that the unicorn, “whose strength is great,” is useless for agricultural work, refusing to serve man or “harrow (plow) the valley.” He must be tamed.

I can’t help but think the always circular Unicorn enclosures are but another dimension of the marriage of the Sun and Moon.

I’m certain there is a great deal more behind this iconography and allegory, but it really looks like Lunar and Solar iconography gone slightly off the grid.

The Uranian Muse, the Serpent & the Monochord

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muses – Athanasius_Kirchener

This Seventeenth Century engraving shows the Classical, ascending celestial spheres or orbs. Each planet has a corresponding Muse. But when we get to the Uranian Muse she is beyond Saturn and Polyhymnia, immediately beneath the Primum Mobile.

Hesiod and the Muse (1891)—Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Hesiod and the Muse (1891)—Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Some contemporary writers have interpreted the serpent as the Kundadlini. While this is within the realm of possibility, given the extent of cultural exchange in the Hellenistic world, I would have to ask why the serpent is descending. The Kundalini is coiled at the base of the spine until awakend, at which time she ascends

In the Science & Art of Renaissance Music, the authors turn to key passages in the Saturnalia by Macrobius. There we find the “The Three Graces dancing at Apollo’s right and the three headed

Serpent extending from Apollo to the Earth. This Serpent might be seen musically as a bow – not a very well made one – drawn across the Celestial lyre strings; or it might represent the single string of the Cosmic Monochord, like that depicted in Robert Fludd’s Utriusque Cosmi.” (James Haar, Paul Edward Corneilson p. 82).

Robert Fludd - Celestial Monochord

Robert Fludd – Celestial Monochord

The nine muses and their associations1.

1) Clio: muse of history  was always represented with a clarion in the right arm and a book in the left hand.

1. Clio: muse of history Clio was always represented with a clarion in the right arm and a book in the left hand.

2. Euterpe: muse of several musical instruments, courses and dialectic. She was always depicted holding a flute, with many other instruments around her.

3. Thalia: Muse muse of comedy, geometry, architectural science and agriculture.

4. Melpomene: muse of Tragedy. She was depicted holding a tragedy mask and usually bearing a bat.

5. Terpsichore: muse of dance, invented dances & the harp.

6. Erato: muse of Love and Love Poetry..

7. Polymnia: Muse of the divine hymns and mimic art

8. Ourania: Muse of the celestial objects and stars : muse of Astronomy and astrology

9. Calliope: Muse accompanying kings and princes to implement  justice and peace. Calliope was Homer’s muse.

The Taurean Venus

Venus Consoling Cupid - Benjamin West

Venus Consoling Cupid, Stung by a Bee – Benjamin West

Planets and Signs are Archetypes. Astrology is an art that considers the microcosm in relation to the macrocosm. That isn’t a modern idea. It’s an ancient one. So when we talk of the astrological Venus we refer to a rich matrix of attributes, each of which will manifest according to her Sign, her placement and her relationship to other planets and luminaries.

The glyph for Venus consists of the circle of Spirit, having precedence over the cross of matter. In medicine and in all the biological sciences it is still the symbol for the feminine.venusglyph Venus is the Ruler of both Taurus and Libra. In this article, I will be focusing on what I will call the Taurean Venus. This is her Earthly domicile. She is very much at home here, so it affords an opportunity for discussion of this particular expression of the Venus archetype

Taurus is a fixed earth sign and here Venus is the Earth Mother or womb from whose energy the earth receives the beauty of the natural world, as well as the comforts and pleasures it may afford. In Taurus, Venus is in her dignity and is best described as the voluptuary, a lover of physical, earthly beauty. This is the embodiment of Eros.

As the Sun waxes in Taurus, the Earth is green and full of new life. Venus delights in beauty, including the arts of poetry, dance, music and visual art.  She’s the creative force that bringing new life through erotic love as well as procreation. She rules the sense of touch. In Classical Astrology, she is naturally said to take her joy in the fifth house.

Venus was identified in tradition as the daughter of the Moon. The Moon and Venus are both reflective, feminine archetypes in the chart.

Venus is more than the figure of Aphrodite can describe. In Classical mythology she was a powerful, but potentially treacherous deity.

Lucretia Borgias by Lucas Cranach- A Darker Side to Eros

Lucretia Borgias by Lucas Cranach- A Darker Side of Eros gone awry. Cranach did a few paintings on the same theme, But here there is some ambiguity. Lucretia committed suicide but had poisoned countless people. She has been considered as an erotic serial killer .

The metal associated with Venus is copper. We know that copper is widely used in the cosmetic industry!  In alchemy, Venus is externally beautiful and highly receptive, but with a corrosive core.

The Venus cycle corresponds to the gestation period and underscores her role as bringer of life.Lakshmi - The Hindu Goddess of Wealth & Beauty

Lakshmi – The Hindu Goddess of Wealth & Beauty

In Babylonian tradition she was a “star” in a trinity with the Moon and Sun. She was at one time personified as the Great Goddess who gave birth to the Sun, and at other times known as Lucifer, the light-bearing attendant to the Sun.

As River and Gillespie have written, the deities associated with Venus in the Ancient Near East were “active initiators, for they brought in the day, awakening solar vitality. As the gentle and loving Evening Star, Venus was Zib, Hesperus and Shalem,said to speak the Word of Peace nightly to the Sun, giving the Hebrew and Arabic word for peace, shalom and salaam.

As Evening Star, Venus returns to the lunar world of the imagination.” (The Knot of Time. p. 79). It is easy then to see her connection to the idealistic,  spiritualized love of Pisces, the sign of her own exaltation.

The Venus element in the natal chart is a place of potential vibrancy and sensual delight. An unafflicted Venus in the fifth house can produce great artistic ability. Venus in the same house but afflicted and in a different sign, may signal no more than a profligate gambler.

In other cultures, such as India the equivalent of Ishtar, Aphrodite and Venus is revered as the Goddess Rati and as the Tantric Goddess Shakti. However. the most Venusian Hindu Goddess is Lakshima, particularly in relation to the Taurean Venus

The Hindu god Krishna Surrounded by Ladies - British Museum

The Hindu god Krishna Surrounded by Ladies – British Museum

In the painting above the god Krishna is enjoying the sensuality of earthly life. Many of the attributes of this painting seen quite Taurean to me.

Salt of the Earth

Alchemical Symbol for Earth

Alchemical Symbol for Earth

This is the final part of an introductory series on the four Elements in Astrology

Earth is among the four classical elements in ancient Greek philosophy. It was associated with qualities of heaviness, matter and the terrestrial world. Earth is the tangible, the solid. The elements remain very much the same in several cultures. In some, the Quintessence is also present as the source of all things. This is the primary meaning of the pentagram.

The Earthy Tripicity consists of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn: Fixed, Mutable and Cardinal, respectively. Consider some of the qualities attributed to each sign: the Bull is latent potency – see the word Aleph inPan God the Hebrew alphabet. Virgo is the harvester, the anaylist, separating the wheat from the chafe. Capricorn is the Sea goat or Pan. The latter was at the top of his pantheon, dweller in wild places, half man half goat. He is the model for Satan, with cloven hoofs. Such was the malignant interpretation of monotheists with the intent of rendering the pagan gods extinct.

Earth is also physical sensuality  – in Water we have feelings,empathy and intuition. In Air we have intellect, discernment and the realm of ideas. In Fire we have Spirit, the forge and the will. In Earth we have nourishment, groundedness and perhaps most importantly the tangible — what can be known by the senses

Empedocles proposed four archai by which to comprehend the cosmos: fire, air, water, and earth.  The word archai is the root of the word Archetype. Plato uses the term Forms.

Plato conceived of  the elements as geometric forms: what we have previously discussed as Platonic Solids. The cube was assigned to the the element of Earth in Timaeus.

I wonder if it is too exotic to think of our association of Earth in the term ‘square deal.” We mean that it is what it appears to be and grounded in reality. We use the term ‘square’ to refer to a reliable, as well as a dull person.tree-roots

Probably it is; but when we use the term Salt of the Earth it has a universal meaning. Although the origin comes down to us via the New Testament, we use it to refer to someone who is completely reliable, unassuming, down to earth , humble and good hearted.

The meaning of Salt and Earth are closely related in Alchemy. In alchemy, Earth is primarily cold, and secondarily dry. Further, the chemical substance salt, was associated with earth and its alchemical symbol was a downward-pointing triangle, bisected by a horizontal line. It’s the same as the usual symbol for Earth.6-Ways-to-Be-Salt-of-the-Earth

Aristotle tells us that Earth is the heaviest of all elements. Reasoning from his theory of natural place he concluded that any earth–laden substances would drop rapidly  to the center of the cosmos.crystal-cave-1 Nat Geo

In Greek and Roman mythology, various chthonic gods and goddesses represented the Earth, seasons, crops and fertility. These belong to the element of Earth in her cycles. Among the better known are Hades and Persephone.

Chthonic pertains to spirits of the underworld. Many ancient cultures believed caves were the gateway to the underworld, which was not to be taken negatively in most cases. The idea of *going deep* to be raised up is a recurring theme.

The Triplicity itself is of course a cycle, from Cardinal to Fixed, to Mutable These expression of Earth are distinct from each other while sharing the same essence. Never make the mistake of taking these archetypes in the sense of Sun sign astrology.

Finally, a physician who was not also an astrologer was considered a charlatan prior to the 18th Century. Astrology, theory of the element and medicine all go hand in hand.

Buddha: Entangled by Roots

Buddha: Entangled by Roots

In Traditional Western medicine , each of the four humours is associated with an element. Black bile was the humor identified with earth, since both were cold and dry. An excess of black bile lead a more serious form of Melancholy. It is crucial to note, however, that determining the humour (s) was a skill. Diagnosis and decumbitures were astrological To be clear, someone might have their Sun in a certain sign, but they may not have the corresponding humour as dominant.