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The Houses - FAQ

To: alt.meditation,alt.mythology,talk.religion.newage,alt.theosophy,alt.divination
From: Expert Astrologer 
Subject: The Houses - FAQ
Date: 24 Apr 2003 20:08:56 -0000


 Q1: I've noticed that some astrologers do not use the
     houses in their calculations, while others prefer
     certain types of houses over others. Or they pick  
     one kind of house for certain kinds of charts and
     some other variety of house for other chart types.
     What is the prevailing rationale for using houses 
     in astrology and are houses really that important?
 A1: The houses are a very important part of astrology,
     so important in fact, that we couldn't adjudicate
     charts without them! The houses are quadteruncian* 
     just as the caelestial constellations are, except
     that houses are terrestrial, not caelestial. They
     commence on the event meridian, that is the local
     meridian of the subject in question. Also, houses
     are dynamic to the Earth, this in contrast to the 
     fixed meridians delineating the caelestial zodiac
     (*Latin quadteruncius, four times three-twelfths).

     The stellar zodiac is "fixed" by fiducial marking
     stars whose imperceptibly lethargic proper motion
     is generally ignored by most sidereal astrologers, 
     where speaking in round numbers like five degrees
     Leo or fifteen degrees Taurus is all the accuracy
     that is needed. But for those of us who are stick-
     lers for astronomical precision, there are modern 
     star catalogues and planetary ephemeredes precise
     to several milliarcseconds--vastly beyond what is
     needed for astrological purposes. However, any of
     the software you might need can be downloaded off
     the internet as freeware, like Astrolog 5.41g and
     the Swiss Ephemeris, and the "fixstars" catalogue
     of Steve Moshier, as improved by Valentin Abramov.
     And there's the freeware Cartes du Ciel with star
     catalogues galore from which you can edit the fix-
     stars file in Astrolog to chart the stars of your 
     choice from the catalogue of your choice. Not bad
     for free. Thus there's no reason that your charts 
     can't be ultra-precise, as we can still round off
     to the nearest most astrologers do.
     What does need to be accurate are the house cusps
     and positions of naked-eye visible planets herein,
     which means time and location need to be accurate.  
     This is likely what turns off amateur astrologers,
     since mathematical accuracy demands due diligence,
     which is more than mere math, but takes intuition,
     a difficult marriage for the majority of gentiles.

     Consider the classic Vedic houses, "whole" houses
     in Astrolog, in which the local Ascendant numbers
     the caelestial constellation upon it as the first
     house. These are really not houses, but is simply 
     a way of recognizing the local Ascendant, without
     having to do any math to speak of. This is by far
     the simplest way to include houses in your charts,
     but is also the most irrelevant method for houses,
     since these are not really houses at all, but are
     merely the constellations on the celestial sphere.

     The longitudinal meridians of the Earth subdivide
     her local hemispheres i.e. east and west from the
     geographical position on the event meridian, into 
     four equal quadrants, which in turn are trisected,
     for a total of twelve contiguous meridian segments
     or "lunes" spanning the globe. Where these twelve 
     segments intersect Earth's ecliptic or short-term
     mean Earth-Sun plane, these twelve points are the
     cusps of Earth's meridian houses. So you see that
     the Earth's houses have three distinct references:

     1) The subject's geographical location, which can
        be a person, place or thing, anywhere on Earth.
        Note, this is strictly a terrestrial reference,
        and follows subjects in motion as in real-time.  
        Thus wherever you go your meridian is with you,
        out to the Van Allen Belt which you can't pass,
        and down to the depths of subterranean caverns. 
        On the global scale, this is a very thin field
        or theatre of human existence, under 300 miles,
        but for the vast majority just a few miles top
        to bottom from the highest peak you've climbed, 
        down to the deepest of caverns you've explored.
        This is the confined realm of human experience,
        rarely exceeding forty thousand feet elevation.
        That's assuming you've flown on a jet airplane.

     2) The rotational axis of Earth, which is forever
        perpendicular to the terrestrial equator. This  
        is strictly a terrestrial reference cf. item 1;

     3) The ecliptic, combining caelestial-terrestrial
        references namely the Sun and the Earth. These
        are accurately calculated in Astrolog/Sweph as

       "The original JPL ephemeris gives barycentric
        equatorial Cartesian positions of the equinox 
        2000. Moshier provides heliocentric positions. 
        The conversions to apparent geocentric eclip-
        tical positions were done with the algorithms
        and constants of the Astronomical Almanac as
        described in the 'Explanatory Supplement to
        the Astronomical Almanac'." . . . "conversion 
        from the solar system barycenter to the geo-
        center. Original JPL data are referred to the
        center of the gravity of the solar system. 
        Apparent planetary positions are referred to
        an imaginary observer in the center of earth."

        So the subject, or event location, is referred
        to the rotational axis of the Earth describing
        a great circle, as two terrestrial hemispheres
        joined at that geographical meridian across to
        its antemeridian at global opposition. This in
        turn is referred to the ecliptic, the sidereal
        orbit of the Sun and Earth as relative to each
        other. The naturally chromatic sub-division of 
        the local longitudinal hemispheres into twelve
        geographically-equal segments measuring 30* in
        equatorial longitude by 180* in equatorial lat-
        itude, that intersection of these twelve lunes  
        on the ecliptic defines the actual house-cusps.

        Most floor or table globes of the Earth depict
        her approximately 23.4 degree obliquity to the
        ecliptic, by showing the Earth tilted relative
        to her caelestial equator, a.k.a. "planisphere"
        or level sphere, which later became synonymous
        with the mechanical device which projected the
        stars and caelestial zodiac onto flat surfaces 
        with adjustable circles plus other attachments
        used to approximate local polar coordinates of
        caelestial events at a particular latitude and
        longitude, e.g. transits, heliacal, achronycal
        phenomena. In all cases, it is understood that
        Earth's terrestrial equator is level with her  
        rotation, while Earth's caelestial equator is
        level with her ecliptic. Remember this simple
        rule: Don't confuse Earth's rotational equator
        with Earth's caelestial equator, since they're
        two very different things--modern nomenclature 
        notwithstanding. To reiterate, the three parts
        of the houses are geographical location of the
        subject, Earth's rotation and Earth's ecliptic.
        It's that simple. That's all houses really are,
        four quadrants trisected via the 12-tone scale
        of the zodiac, beginning on the local meridian.

     While the definition of Earth's houses is clearly
     explained hereinabove, numbering the houses isn't  
     so easily expounded. For that, I've written FAQ's
     and entire books for the reader's edification and
     elucidation. The FAQs are posted on my Beginner's
     Reference, and the on-line books are linked below.

     So next time someone tries to tell you why you do
     or you do not need to use houses in astrology, or  
     what kind of houses you should use, you will know 
     the answer. Beware those who teach against houses.
     They are mis-informed, and would have you also be
     mis-informed. Houses are fundamental to astrology. 
     These are meridian houses numbered by the planets.

That's all for now,  
Daniel Joseph Min
*Min's Light & Sound:

*Min's Compleat Tarot Manual:  

*Min's Compleat Tarot Pak:

*Min's Beginner's Reference: 

*Min's Charts of World-Famous Persons:

*Min's Charts of Unknowns & Anonymous:

*Min's Official PGP Public Key:

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