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Tarot and Astrology

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.astrology,alt.tarot,alt.divination,alt.magick,alt.pagan.magick
From: nagasiva 
Subject: Tarot and Astrology (Decans, Faces and Planetary Order)
Date: Sun, 04 Jan 2004 07:13:37 GMT

50040103 vii om   

Astrology and Tarot
            Decans, Faces, and Planetary Order

this is relevant once more to the Sacred Landscape forum (as it
delves into history, science, and natural orders argued by human
scientists and mystics and presupposed based on astronomy and myth)

# ...comparing the meanings of cards [in Mathers] to meanings 
# of *decans* [in Agrippa]. 
by 'meanings of decans' do you just mean the Planetary matches
in Agrippa labelled "Faces" which the GD apparently used? I'm
looking at a Tyson Agrippa (Three Books of Occult Philosophy)
and it has decans in a different configuration than the GD used.
is Tyson off-base? see below.

# The difference is that a Etteilla and Mathers both wrote 
# about cards, so borrowing is natural, while Agrippa talked 
# about decans, so borrowing is not natural, but rather a 
# statement that the each card draws on the decan's powers.

it's more complex than this. Tyson's Agrippa has Planetary 
attributions/rulers for the decans different than the GD
Small Cards 2=>9, while Mathers appears to have been using 
*FACES* for these cards, differing by some accounts (at 
least Agrippa's) from that of DECANS.  

in Google I discovered the following compound of assertions
(roughly falling into about 3 different astrologic theories
which I'll try to categorize as I go (knowledge-cataloguing):


# Decan (Decanate)
# A one-third (ten-degree) sector of a sign. 
# Each sign has three decanates: 0-10 degrees, 11-20 degrees and 
# 21-30 degrees.
# Each decan has its own ruler. 
# Each decan is divided into two faces, a positive and a negative, 
# each with its own ruler.
# Face 
# Each sign of thirty degrees is divided into three segments called 
# decans (decanates) of ten degrees, each with its own planetary ruler. 
# Each decan is divided into a positive (active) and a negative 
# (receptive) face of five degrees, expressing the polarity of the 
# planetary ruler of the decan. Thus each sign has six faces, three 
# positive and three negative, depending on the rulership of the 
# decanates. 

Theory A ('Traditional'?)
  10 decans : 10' x (3 x 12 signs) = 360' (degrees)
  20 faces  :  5' x (6 x 12 signs) = 360'

# Signs divided into three 10-degree divisions. In contemporary 
# astrology the first decan of a sign is governed by its natural 
# ruler. The second and third decans are governed by the rulers 
# of the signs in the same element. Traditional rulership differs 
# slightly, where each sign has three 10 degrees faces ruled by 
# the seven classical planets in Chaldean order, starting with
# Mars ruling the first Face of Aries.
# FACE: 
# Decanates - each sign divided into 10-degree division and 
# assigned a ruler. 

Theory B (Error?)('Contemporary'?)
	decanate = face = 10 degrees
        possibly runoff from Chaldean faces = Egyptian decanates?

# A triplicity is a triple of signs forming an equilateral 
# triangle in a horoscopic diagram.  The terms arise from a
# subdivision of each zodiacal sign into five unequal parts, 
# and the faces from a subdivision of each zodiacal sign 
# into ten equal parts (so the ecliptic is subdivided into 
# 360 parts, the number of days in an ancient Egyptian year).  
# The faces derive from the ancient Egyptian decans.  Three 
# different ways of determining the terms are given by 
# Ptolemy: an Egyptian, a Chaldean, and one of his own. 
# ...
# decan
# decanate Based on the subdivision of a sign into three 
# parts of 10' each. Each decan of a sign expresses subtle 
# differences that distinguish it from the other two decans 
# as described by its planetary sub-ruler, which operates 
# in conjunction with the natural planetary ruler of the 
# sign. The first decan of a sign (0' to 10') is sub-ruled 
# by the natural ruler of the sign; the second decan 
# (10' to 20') is sub-ruled by the ruler of the next sign 
# in the zodiac that belongs to the same triplicity; the 
# third decan (20' to 30') is sub-ruled by the ruler of the 
# remaining sign in that triplicity. An older (Chaldean) 
# method of assigning decan sub-rulers is based upon the 
# rulers of Planetary Hours beginning with Mars as ruler 
# and sub-ruler of the first decan of Aries and continuing 
# the natural order of Planetary Hours' rulers through each 
# successive decan, repeating as necessary until the zodiac 
# is completed.
# ...
# face 
# An obsolete term meaning the division of each sign into 
# six equal parts of 5' each.

this is the most elucidating quotation yet since it begins
to identify historical progressions of decanates and faces
rather than attempt to enshrine one system as The Rulers.

Theory C (Egyptian/Chaldean Comparison/Derivations):

faces come from Egyptian decans (what does this mean?)

Chaldean method of assigning decan sub-rulers based 
upon the rulers of Planetary Hours beginning with Mars 
as ruler and sub-ruler of the first decan of Aries and 
continuing the natural order of Planetary Hours' rulers 
through each successive decan, repeating as necessary 
until the zodiac is completed.
# Face 
# a planet being in the decan in which it is strong of a sign. 
# Each sign is divided into three faces or decans of ten degrees. 
# This is the weakest of all the dignities
# Degrees: 00-09    10-19    20-29   
# Aries     Mars     Sun     Venus    
# Taurus Mercury    Moon    Saturn  
# Gemini Jupiter    Mars       Sun  
# Cancer   Venus Mercury      Moon   
# Leo     Saturn Jupiter      Mars 
# Virgo      Sun   Venus   Mercury   
# Libra     Moon  Saturn   Jupiter  
# Scorpio   Mars     Sun     Venus
# Sagit  Mercury    Moon    Saturn
# Capric Jupiter    Mars       Sun
# Aquarius Venus Mercury      Moon

Theory B
	decanate = face = 10 degrees
# The sixth column shows the degrees where rulership by face
# transfers. That is, Mars rules the first ten degree of Aries, 
# from 0'00" - 9'59"; the Sun rules rules from 10'00" - 19'59" Aries. 
# Notice how the order of planetary rulership over the faces winds
# across the column in descending order of their proximity to earth;
# that is - Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. 

they do? here's more of that apparent 'proximity justification'.

subTheory D: Planetary Proximity to Earth Explanation for Order
# As you read their order down the column, you find the pattern that
# matches the order of the days of the week - Sun, Moon, Mars,
# Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn: 
# Sun - Sunday 
# Moon - Monday 
# Mars - Tuesday (equivalent Scandinavian god Tyr - O.E.: Tiw) 
# Mercury - Wednesday(equivalent Scandinavian god Odin - O.E.: Woden) 
# Jupiter - Thursday (equivalent Scandinavian god Thor) 
# Venus - Friday (equivalent Scandinavian god Frigg) 
# Saturn - Saturday 

supplemental table (Ptolemy):

# Face. This is the weakest of all the essential dignities it 
# happens when planets are placed within certain degrees in 
# certain signs.  See Ptolemy's table of essential dignities.
#            _The Faces of 
# _Signs       the Planets_        ---            ---
# Aries       Mars 10              Sun 20         Venus 30
# Taurus      Mercury 10           Moon 20        Saturn 30
# Gemini      Jupiter 10           Mars 20        Sun 30
# Cancer      Venus 10             Mercury 20     Moon 30
# Leo         Saturn 10            Jupiter 20     Mars 30
# Virgo       Sun 10               Venus 20       Mercury 30
# Libra       Moon 10              Saturn 20      Jupiter 30
# Scorpio     Mars 10              Sun 20         Venus 30
# Sagittarius Mercury 10           Moon 20        Saturn 30
# Capricorn   Jupiter 10           Mars 20        Sun 30
# Aquarius    Venus 10             Mercury 20     Moon 30
# Pisces      Saturn 10            Jupiter 20     Mars 30

by far the most common: Theory B : decanate = face = 10 degrees
# Face (Decanate): 
# These are not the hindu decanates but rather 3 equal divisions 
# of a sign into 10 degrees. The planets are then assigned in 
# descending chaldean order beginning with Mars for the first 
# 10 degrees of Aries. There are 36 faces. Schmidt says that the 
# greeks did not use this as a dignity but only had the 4 
# dignities above and used this last section to judge the natives 
# appearance or say something personal about the native. He also 
# says that the decanates do not act as dispositors because they 
# are personal property, not a form of "realty" (domicile, houses, 
# etc...) as are the other dignities. Schmidt says that the 
# decanates speak something in either 1st, 2nd or 3rd person 
# (3 decans per sign) about the native that basically becomes 
# that persons epithet. {9} [From notes on Robert Schmidt's 
# lectures in Cumberland in early July 2000.]


Theory E: Hindu decanates! to what does *this* refer?
# A division of each sign into three 10 degrees segments. There 
# is a Hindu division of each sign into three decans ruled by the 
# three signs of the same element. There is a Chaldean division 
# of each sign into three 10 degrees faces ruled by the seven 
# classical planets in Chaldean order, starting with Mars ruling 
# the first Face of Aries.
# ...
# FACE: 
# The weakest form of essential dignity, "like a man about to be 
# turned out of doors.". Each sign is divided into three 10 degrees 
# faces, and a different planet has dignity in each face of the sign. 
# See Decanate.

here we apparently have a combination of Theories B *&* E!
and yet there is distinction: Hindu decanate, Chaldean faces.
                             (/html version via Google)
# Table Four. Comparison of Faces (Chaldean decanates) 
#                                     and (Oriental) decanates.
# Point value given by Lilly was +1.
# Sign      0 - 10  10 - 20 20 - 30 0 - 10 10 - 20 20 - 30
# Aries       g        a       f      1       5       9
# Taurus      d        s       j      2       6       0
# Gemini      h        g       a      3       7       -
# Cancer      f        d       s      4       8       =
# Leo         j        h       g      5       9       1 
# Virgo       a        f       d      6       0       2 
# Libra       s        j       h      7       -       3 
# Scorpio     g        a       f      8       =       4 
# Sagittarus  d        s       j      9       1       5
# Capricorn   h        g       a      0       2       6 
# Aquarius    f        d       s      -       3       7 
# Pisces      j        h       g      =       4       8

The two appear here combined in a single table cyphered
with the language: Faces (Chaldean decanates) 
                   and (Oriental) decanates.
and no mention of 6 faces per sign (which sounds Babylonian).

so not only are there three different types of astrology
from which to take "decans" (Chaldean, Egyptian, Ptolemaic),
but as time wears on some conventions are being established
in the public mind about decans (such that they are identical
with faces, which many seem to know little or nothing). as
I'm curious about Tarot, I'd like to know whether Tyson's
notes on Agrippa reflect the accurate sequence, whether it
was Agrippa who omitted some background study, or whether
his mention of decans and faces includes attributions at 
*all* (Tyson inserts it in the notes I think).

here's the best Decker and Dummett I could dig up on it:

#  The associations of the numeral cards formed the most
#  most elaborate part of Mathers' theory. First, he
#  associated each rank with one of the *sephiroth*: the
#  Aces with *sephira* 1*, Kether, and so on to the 10s
#  with *sephira* 10, Malkuth. But he also associated
#  the numeral cards other than the Aces with the 36
#  decans of Egyptian astrology, each covering a third
#  of the period of one of the signs of the zodiac, and
#  each influenced by one of the planets.
#  -----------------------------------------------------
#  "A History of Occult Tarot", Decker/Dummett, p. 98;
#   Duckworth, 2002.
#  =====================================================
no mention of varying decan attributions, varying *meanings*
for the term 'decan' (no entry for the term!), and no section
on astrology (an oversight on their part?). 
for good measure I'll toss in some of Tyson's Agrippa, so 
that we won't keep recycling vague contentions in confusion:

#  When planets are of most powerful influence.
#  Now we shall have the planets powerful when they
#  are ruling in a house, or in exaltation, or
#  triplicity, or term, or face ....
#   [relevant ed. note:
#     *face* -- There are three faces in each
#       sign, each face ten degrees. In ancient
#       times the faces were assigned to the
#       planets in their Ptolemaic order:
#                  ------------ FACE ------------
#   _Sign          1st          2nd          3rd_
#   Aries          Mars         Sun          Venus
#   Taurus         Mercury      Moon         Saturn
#   Gemini         Jupiter      Mars         Sun
#   Cancer         Venus        Mercury      Moon
#   Leo            Saturn       Jupiter      Mars
#   Virgo          Sun          Venus        Mercury
#   Libra          Moon         Saturn       Jupiter
#   Scorpio        Mars         Sun          Venus
#   Sagittarius    Mercury      Moon         Saturn
#   Capricorn      Jupiter      Mars         Sun
#   Aquarius       Venus        Mercury      Moon
#   Pisces         Saturn       Jupiter      Mars
#       The faces are distinguished by Agrippa
#       from the decans, which have a different
#       system by which planets are assigned to
#       rule them (see note 3, ch. XXXVI, bk. II).
#       In other respects the decans and faces,
#       as Agrippa uses the term, seem indis-
#       tinguishable. See also note 12, ch. XXII, 
#       bk. 1.]
#  -------------------------------------------------------------
#  "Three Books of Occult Philosophy", by Agrippa, ed. and 
#   ann. by Donald Tyson, Llewellyn, 1997; pp. 359-360.
#  =============================================================
it seems *very* interesting when we combine it with the following
(because Mathers is usually said to have attributed the material
looking like the *above* to the Small Cards 2->9, rather than the
material about the DECANS *below* provided in Tysons's Agrippa:


#  Of the images of the Zodiac, what virtues they being
#  engraven, receive from the stars.
#  ...
#  ... at the hour of the Sun, the first degree of the sign
#  of Leo ascending, which is the face and decanate of
#  Jupiter....
#   [relevant ed. note
#     *decanate* -- The Decans are divisions of the
#       zodiac into three portions, each comprising
#       ten degrees. In this sense they are the same
#       as the faces, as Agrippa uses this term. The
#       first decan in each sign is strongly of the
#       nature of the sign, and is ruled by the 
#       ruling planet of the sign. The second decan
#       is ruled by the ruling planet of the next 
#       sign in the elemental triplicity to which
#       sign belongs. The third decan is ruled by the
#       ruling planet of the third sign of the same
#       elemental triplicity. The following table shows 
#       the decans and the planets that rule them. 
# [               ------------ DECAN ------------ ]
#   _Sign          1st          2nd          3rd_
#   Aries          Mars         Sun          Jupiter
#   Taurus         Venus        Mercury      Saturn
#   Gemini         Mercury      Venus        Saturn
#   Cancer         Moon         Mars         Jupiter
#   Leo            Sun          Jupiter      Mars
#   Virgo          Mercury      Saturn       Venus
#   Libra          Venus        Saturn       Mercury
#   Scorpio        Mars         Jupiter      Moon
#   Sagittarius    Jupiter      Mars         Sun
#   Capricorn      Saturn       Venus        Mercury
#   Aquarius       Saturn       Mercury      Venus
#   Pisces         Jupiter      Moon         Mars ]
#  -------------------------------------------------------------
#  Ibid., Agrippa, ed./ann. Tyson, Llewellyn, 1997; pp. 375-376.
#  =============================================================
and presumably the reason one might not like *this* set is
that its awkward 7=>12 matching is ugly, and much uglier 
than what was selected by Mathers and the GD for their 
Small Cards (you tell me: faces or decanates or both?).

some people maintain that what I was calling the Nigris Sequence 
(because I'd found no other name for it) is what should be called 
"The Chaldean Order of the Planets". is this different than "The 
Order of the Ancients"? what's up with this?  are the Ancients 
Egyptians or Chaldeans? is more than one order associated with 'em? 
is the whole stream of knowledge riddled with legends and falsities?

# LI = Lilly, William. 1647. Christian Astrology. Reprinted in 1985 
# by Regulus: London. Also available: Just Us & Associates.
#  [who was often referenced by astrology sources but not cited]
# ...
# Chaldean order: the sequence of the planets and lights in order 
# of geocentric mean motion, from the slowest to the fastest: 
# Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. This sequence 
# is used in all sorts of different classical techniques.

this appears to be the most consistent and convincing argument,
attaching "Chaldean Order" to 7-6-5-1-3-2-M: 4-centered mean motion.
# ...
# [note here:
# Face: One of the minor dignities, also called Chaldean decanates. 
# The faces are 10' slices of the signs, marked by planetary rulers 
# falling in the sequence known as the Chaldean order.... ]

faces are here 10' slices, not 5'.


# Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. The first 
# (geocentrically outermost) Chaldean planet, Saturn, is the
# "heaviest" or "slowest," and the 7th or last (geocentrically 
# innermost) Chaldean "planet," the Moon, is the "lightest" 
# or "swiftest." 
while geocentrically Mercury is not next innermost, the speed
relation points back to 4-centered mean motion.

Planetary Hours & Days

#   The planetary hours are based on an ancient astrological system,
#   the Chaldean order of the planets. This is the sequence: 
#               Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, 
#                            Mercury, Moon, 
#   then repeating endlessly Saturn, Jupiter, etc. The Chaldean order 
#   indicates the relative orbital velocity of the planets. From 
#   a heliocentric perspective this sequence also indicates the 
#   relative distance of the planets from the center of their orbits, 
#   i.e., the distance of the planets from the Sun (with the Sun 
#   switching places with the Earth in the sequence) and the distance 
#   of the Moon from the Earth. From a traditional geocentric 
#   perspective the Chaldean order also shows the arrangement of the 
#   planetary spheres.              

Tyson's Agrippa has these spheres as (outward-in):

        Primum Mobile, Zodiac, 
         Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, 
                             Mercury, Moon, 
                                        and Elemental

still no 'Order of the Ancients' -- is this made up by occultists?


Planets, houses, and signs by Pam Ciampi  
#      What is the Chaldean Order?
#      The Chaldeans were a people who lived in Babylonia in the 11th
#      century BC. They developed astrology to such an extent that
#      Chaldean came to mean "astrologer".
#      The Chaldeans created the planetary order of influence by
#      listing the visible planets by the real or "apparent" speed of
#      their orbit.
#      The length of time it takes a planet to complete one
#      revolution in its orbit measured with respect to the fixed
#      stars is called its sidereal year.
#      Moon takes 28-30 days to orbit the Earth
#      Mercury - 88 days
#      Venus - 225 days
#      Sun - 365 days "apparent motion"
#      Mars - 1.88 years
#      Jupiter - 11.86 years
#      Saturn - 29.46 years
#      Uranus - 84.08 years
#      Neptune - 164.8 years
#      Pluto - 248.4 years

rationality in detail.



john.wallace writes of:

#    Otto Neugebauer's The Exact Sciences in Antiquity 
#    (I highly recommend it). All kinds of good info but 
#    pertinent to your search for planetary orders I refer 
#    you to Neugebauer's chapter entitled "Origin and 
#    Transmission of Hellenistic Science", especially p. 169.
#    He states that the earliest horoscopes in Egypt date 
#    to the time of Augustus and says the spread of astrology 
#    in general dates from this time period (p. 168). 
#    As for the planetary orders the standard sequence in 
#    the Seleucid cuneiform texts is: 
#               Jupiter-Venus-Mercury-Saturn-Mars 
#    (the reason is "unknown"); the standard Greek horoscope 
#    order is: 
#           Sun-Moon-Saturn-Jupiter-Mars-Venus-Mercury 
#    (this follows the planets perceived depth per their 
#    periods of sidereal rotation); and finally points out 
#    that our current seven day week is a modification of 
#    this plan based on a scheme that assigns the planets 
#    to the 24 hours of the day:           
#             Sun-Moon-Mars-Mercury-Jupiter-Venus-Saturn 
#     (p. 169).        
#    ...Neugebauer does make this interesting comment regarding 
#    the Hellenistic planetary orders: 
#               "Here we have a system which is obviously 
#                Greek in origin and not only because it 
#                is based on the arrangement of the celestial 
#                bodies according to their distances from the 
#                earth but also it supposes a division of the 
#                day into 24 hours, a form of reckoning which 
#                is not Babylonian but a Hellenistic product 
#                of ultimately Egyptian origin. It is totally 
#                misleading when this origin is called 
#                'Chaldean' in modern literature" (pp 169-170). 
#    But didn't the Graeco-Romans themselves *assume* this 
#    information was "Chaldean"...? I do find it interesting 
#    that astrology takes off in earnest following the Julian 
#    Calendar reforms and that both the person behind the 
#    reforms (Sosogines) and the planetary order of the 
#    seven day week have Egyptian origins....

so is this 'Chaldean' the same as 'The Chaldean Oracles' 
in that it isn't an accurate reflection of the origins 
of either these oracles *or* the planetary order?

curiouser and curiouser.


for fun and SL (Aquarian seasoning)

Antonio Grilo writes:
#    Cato presents the Seasons as follows:
#    1st day of Spring: when the Sun is in Aquarius
#    1st day of Summer: when the Sun is in Taurus
#    1st day of Autumn: when the Sun is in Leo 
#                         (he also refers the rising of Sirius)
#    1st day of Winter: when the Sun is in Scorpius
#    As to the activities prescribed for the Seasons, 
#    two of them have called my attention:
#             - Sowing: from the Winter Solstice 
#                         to the beginning of Spring.
#         - Harvesting: from the start of Autumn 
#                         to the Autumn Equinox.           
#    This is for the case someone wants to explore the 
#    agricultural aspect of Mithraic iconography.

[and check out this "natural" ordering:

#  The ten planets are in their natural order from the Sun: 
#         Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, 
#            Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto 

what makes this 'natural' in any sense????? ack!


I don't pretend to know how these notions progressed in
their popularity to the state or condition of knowledge
in which we now find them. like the series of tarotic
attributions, they get a kickstart from someone and
later others play with them differently for their own
purposes. as usual, my main interests are natural and
scientific: those series which are sustained by 
observation and symbolic significance simultaneously.

thanks for your attention.

            posted to ritual-magic
                      sacred landscape
                  and tarotl
                  apologies for any duplication

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