|Management of Measurement Constructs
Fixing Angles - The Proper Measurements of Fixed Pointsby guest expert, Philip Sedgwick
Philip Sedgwick has been an astrologer since 1975, beginning his study in 1969. He has authored three books on astrology: "The Astrology of Transcendence," "The Astrology of Deep Space," and "The Sun at the Center." He compiled a Deep Space add-on for Solar Fire entitled "Galastro". He also publishes a Galactic Ephemeris (epoch 2000.0) for over 8,700 points in space that includes all major constellational stars and notable fixed stars. He maintains two taped courses on astrology - on the Centaurs and Kuiper Belt Objects and Galactic Astrology. He sends out a free electronic newsletter entitled "The Galactic Times". Contact Philip at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone in Phoenix AZ: (480)451-3070.
Perhaps the greatest challenge facing the modern astrologer remains that of accurately assessing the position of fixed points in space in relation to a horoscope.
With the advances of modern astronomy and the simultaneous renaissance of the ancient roots of astrology, the incorporation of fixed stars becomes more relevant. Add in the latest and greatest galactic anomalies and the interpretive value of the horoscope unfolds with startling accuracy and new insightful depth.
For example, the recent world events of the World Trade Center attacks and the crash of the American Airlines Airbus near New York indicate the star Algorab on the ascendant. But is it really on the Ascendant?
Fortunately for the modern astrologer, the excellent software packages such as the planetarium feature in Solar Fire (and the fixed star files can be edited) clearly show the distinctly southern persuasion of Algorab. This displacement to both the Celestial Equator and the Ecliptic holds the star in longitudinal conjunction, but too far south to be of major influence.
Knowing where an object actually resides still represents a crisis of perception. Just because an object appears conjunct in longitude, its vertical range might actually shift the object off the degree of another object more closely linked to the ecliptic - such as planets. Even Pluto, still bonded with the ecliptic, possesses vertical ranges extreme enough as to not be conjunct when it appears conjunct!
Another flaw in astrological thinking quickly emerges. Astrologers often use declination when defining the north/south range of an object relative to its longitudinal or zodiacal position. This is like mixing apples and oranges, since the reference planes are not the same.
Longitude, more commonly the degree of the zodiac - measured from the Vernal Equinox eastward relative to the ecliptic - goes hand in hand with latitude, which bears the same circle of reference. Latitude refers to north/south range in degrees from the ecliptic to the object as measured along the circle of celestial latitude through which it passes.
Right Ascension, the position of an object in either degrees or hours, measures from the Vernal Equinox in the easterly direction, referenced to the celestial equator. Declination defines the range of a body in degrees north or south from the celestial equator as measured along the hour circle through which it passes.
Using declination with longitude combines reference planes offset from one another by an average angle of 23 degrees and 27 minutes.
A similar erroneous effect can be seen by observing heliocentric planets in a geocentric horoscope, points which vary by only 93 million miles.
Even within a given system the vertical range can shift the actual hour or degree measure of any object from the "apparent" position. Objects lying at more northern ranges increase in longitude position while objects south decrease in longitudinal position.
This commentary does not negate the value of any given contact of a deep sky celestial object. An object in true longitudinal conjunction takes on all the merits of a classical conjunction. Such an object, though, if also parallel to a point or planet in any horoscope increases its weight of influence dramatically. But this is only one possible reference system.
Another valuable and largely overlooked measurements comes from the integration of the Celestial Equator. Truly, if an object maintains a conjunction of Right Ascension with another object, it is indeed conjunct. Although no sign nor specific quality of degree attaches to this measurement, it offers an equal insight in astrological dynamics. --In the investigation of mundane events this measure offers great value. Often, due to celestial geometries, a conjunction in longitude of a planet to a fixed star, or a fixed star to a critical angle does not appear. Thus, there is no obvious interpretive quality.
While some astrologers scratch their heads, others investigate the angular relations along the potent Celestial Equator circular reference.
Often when measuring to the Celestial Equator instead of the ecliptic, other unnoted parallels and contra-parallels emerge. Again, a parallel or contra-parallel on this circle operates the same as such an alignment on the other circle.
Meanwhile the factor of the Paran adds a doubled effect as well. Using either the Celestial Equator or Ecliptic, a Paran technically can be measured. A Paran on the Celestial Equator would not correlate to one on the Ecliptic. And again, remaining attached to only one sphere of measure ignores other critical angles calling out for interpretive attention. Paran, comes from paranatellonta, meaning literally, "rising side by side." This refers to a transiting object and natal object rising over the horizon and meridian at the same time. Many combinations of Parans are available coming from the factors of oblique ascension, oblique descension, and right ascension.
One other geocentric note needs to be included. The Ascendant of the horoscope is where the celestial horizon and ecliptic intersect. This is not the visible horizon. These often vary as much as three degrees from one another. So, in some cases, a Moon above the Ascendant cannot be seen.
One other reference system can be considered calling up the essence of the powerful fixed stars and galactic points. That would be the Solar referenced heliocentric astrological positions. These points are measured in longitude and latitude. Since the Solar Equator is the system of reference and since there exists no tilt on the solar axis, only one spherical plane is subject to measure.
There are also no Earth oriented angles to consider. However, in the highly investigated horoscopes of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Venus-Jupiter conjunction aligned with Saturn's perihelion (closest point in orbit to the Sun) goes unnoticed - as do other fixed star and galactic notable contacts. Should you be pondering the parallax effect of systems some 93 million miles apart and the possible difference of longitude, it is negligible. Even with closer objects such as Proxima Centauri, the effect is not discernable.
Perhaps a modest investment into either an astronomical program or a few comprehensive astronomical texts on the geometric parameters of the systems of measure and the planes of reference would be of great benefit. These generally provide easily clarifying figures and diagrams that resolve the perceptual problems stemming from the tilt of the Earth on its axis.
~~~Meanwhile, should you find that a fixed star or other galactic contact forms multiple conjunctions, parans or parallels in multiple systems, you can rest assured that the potency of the nativity under investigation increases phenomenally.
The intent my clarifying these circular considerations is to keep the interpreting astrologer from going in circles him/herelf! Once some basic geometric ideas settle into the one's grasp, the interpretive realm opens new doors. Beyond these portals lies the ability to effectively integrate the worth of objects such as traditional fixed stars, the Galactic Center, Super-Galactic Center, Black Holes
Next Update: December 30, 2001