by Hand Week 33
Interesting Passage from Schoener
we explored one astrological judgment whose meaning was not apparently
derived from any theory, but saw that it did in fact come from theory.
Now I want to look at another statement from Schoener that reveals something
very deep about medieval astrological theory.
Ascendant and the Moon are the significators of the body. The lord of
the first house and the lord of the house of the Moon are the significators
of the soul."
astrology we do not find such a distinction. The way most modern astrologers
read a chart, and I would have had to include myself in that number up
until recently, the entire chart signifies the soul, i.e., the psyche,
to use the more modern and psychological term. Modern astrologers (at
least psychologically oriented ones) tend to read the chart primarily
as a map of the psyche, and to regard all other manifestations in life
as being the result of the movement of energies within the psyche.
you-create-your-own-reality school of thought in new age circles is the
result of similar thinking outside of astrology. Interestingly, this point
of view is just about the perfect opposite of the materialist school that
dominates science and certain branches of psychology. There it is believed
that almost every manifestation (especially illness) in life is the result
of something changing in the body or is the result of a mechanical process
operating within the body or mind. So we have a nicely polarized pair
thinkers were somewhere in between. For them the body was matter and the
soul was an essence. How did this operate within astrology and exactly
what did this mean?
Double Meaning of the Planets
All of the
planets and other points (Ascendant, Midheaven, cusps, etc.) functioned
as indicators or significators in their own right. That is, they gave
indications about the chart based on their positions in the signs and
houses. But each of the planets, and only the planets, also had a second
kind of indication based on the houses and signs they ruled.
the Sun in the First House of a chart tells us something about First House
indications. But if the Sun is not in Leo, somewhere else in the chart
there is a house with Leo on the cusp. The Sun is said to “rule” that
house. In most modern books there is no difference made between a planet
being in a house and sign, and the planet ruling a house and sign. Was
there such a distinction in traditional astrology, and should we, as modern
astrologers, be looking at that distinction?
and Soul: The Difference
In our passage
from Schoener, we are told that the Ascendant and the Moon represent the
body but that their rulers indicate the soul. This is a difference between
houses occupied and houses ruled and it is quite significant. But what
exactly is meant here by the words “body” and “soul?”
answer would require a long digression into medieval philosophy, but for
the present let me just cut directly to the answer. The body is matter
out of which the soul arises and is formed. The soul is the essence of
the body, what makes it a living being in general and an individual living
being in particular. In other words, from the medieval point of view,
my soul gives my body life and also makes me Robert Hand, as opposed to
someone else. To put this into new age-style speech, my soul is my Robert-Hand-ness.
we get off the rails on the subject of matter, matter to the medievals
was simply anything out of which something else can be made. Matter is
not simply mass or "m" in the equation E=mc2, and matter is
not opposed to energy in medieval thought. If they had ever conceived
of energy in the modern sense, they would have regarded it as a kind of
matter, since things are formed from energy.
Illness Versus Mental Illness
and other astrologers are telling us that the Ascendant, the rising sign
as a whole and the Moon and its sign give indications for the physical
structure of the body. The rulers of these tell us about the soul or individual
living form that the body contains and manifests. Schoener continues that
passage with the following:
if the Ascendant and the Moon are impeded and their lords are free from
the malefics, these signify an infirmity of the body but the health
of the soul. And if the Ascendant and the Moon are free from the malefics
and their lords are impeded, these signify the health of the body and
the sadness of the soul."
Now we see
what the importance of the distinction is. If the material indicators
are in poor shape but the soul indicators are in good shape, there may
be a physical illness. If the reverse is true, the body is fine but there
is a soul illness. Next week, I will show another important distinction
between these two functions of the planets.