It’s unnecessarily complex, and the only reason that it’s as popular as it is today is because it was set as the default on astro.com. It’s the “#1″ system largely because people who were first learning astrology in the late 90′s and such weren’t exposed to anything else and didn’t think to experiment. A lot of older astrologers use(d) Koch, Regiomontanus, sometimes others… In the Spanish speaking world Polich-Page is the most popular. It all seems really arbitrary to me. You also get really strange phenomenon like certain houses being drastically larger than others, interceptions, duplications, small houses, etc. This can be useful to a point, but I personally think that simply because you were born at a greater latitude it doesn’t make you inherently different from the rest of the world in some way.
I do think that quadrant house systems (ones in which the ascendant and midheaven are tied to the 1st and 10th house cusps) are important in psychological astrology and character analysis, since they speak of the orientation of a persons inner universe. I’ll probably end of moving to Porphyry though. You take the degree of the ascendant and draw a line. You take the degree of the midheaven and draw a line. You divide each quadrant into 4… done. The mathematics in astrology (less so astronomy) have always been simple and elegant. You divide a 360 degree circle into 12 and get the Zodiac, you divide the Zodiac by 2 and get meaning, you divide the Zodiac by 3 and get meaning, you divide the Zodiac by 4 and get meaning… Even the aspects are simple: you make a triangle, you make a hexagon, you make a square…
It’s where I’m at lately anyway. I’m becoming kind of disillusioned with some Modern Astrology because I keep learning that a large portion of it is simply made up or a misinterpretation of more ancient and reliable techniques. 🤔 That isn’t to say that it doesn’t work, but if you arbitrarily add in a bunch of meaningless things you end up with a lot of dilution.
He himself could hear the harmony of the Universe, and understood the music of the spheres, and the stars which move in concert with them, and which we cannot hear because of the limitations of our weak nature,
Death, therefore, is twofold: that which is generally recognized, when the soma separates from the psyche; and that of the philosophers, when the psyche separates from the soma. And the one does not at all follow the other.
I stand with Apollonius of Tyana, Theophrastus of Eresus, Empedocles, Proclus, Porphyry, the Pythagoreans, and the Orphics in opposing animal sacrifice in Hellenic and Roman polytheistic practice.
This is my opinion; I do not mandate that others must agree with it. I wish it to be noted that this isn’t a New Age fad, and that antique sources exist in support of bloodless sacrifice in the practice of Hellenic and Roman polytheism. I practice and encourage veganism and vegetarianism for a number of reasons. I am not addressing the practice of animal sacrifice in other religions, which is none of my business.
Some likewise are of opinion, that the bodies in the air, and in the heavens, are nourished by vapours from fountains and rivers, and other exhalations. But the Stoics assert, that the sun is nourished by the exhalation from the sea; the moon from the vapours of fountains and rivers; and the stars from the exhalation of the earth.
In working out each new experiment,
As five ounces, or six, it may well be,
Of silver, or some other quantity?
Or tell you all the names, my memory fails,
Of orpiment, burnt bones, and iron scales
That into powder we ground fine and small?
Or in an earthen pot how we put all,
And salt put in, and also pepper dear,
Before these powders that I speak of here,
And covered all these with a plate of glass,
And of the various other gear there was?
And of the sealing of the pot and glass,
So that the air might no way from it pass?
And of the slow fire and the forced also,
Which we made there, and of the care and woe
That we took in our matter’s sublimating,
And in calcining and amalgamating
Quicksilver, which is known as mercury crude?
For all our skill, we never could conclude.
Our orpiment and sublimed mercury,
Our litharge that we ground on porphyry,
Of each some certain ounces- it is plain
Naught helped us, all our labour was in vain.
Neither the gases that by nature rose
Nor solid matter either- none of those
Might, in our working, anything avail.
For lost was all our labour and travail,
And all the cost, the devil’s own to pay,
Was lost also, for we made no headway
There is also full many another thing
That to our craft pertains in labouring.
Though name them properly I never can,
Because, indeed, I am an ignorant man,
Yet will I tell them as they come to mind,
Though I’ll not try to class each one by kind;
Armenian bole, borax, the green of brass,
And sundry vessels made of earth and glass,
Our urinals and all our descensories,
Vials and crucibles, sublimatories,
Cucurbites, and alembics, and such freaks,
All dear enough if valued at two leeks.
There is no need to specify them all,
The reddening waters and the dark bull’s gall,
Arsenic, sal ammoniac, and brimstone;
And, too, of herbs could I name many a one,
Valerian, agrimony, and lunary,
And others such, if I but wished to tarry.
Our lamps that burned by day and burned by night
To bring about our end, if but we might,
Our furnace, too, white-hot for calcination,
And waters all prepared for albication,
Unslaked lime, chalk, and white of egg, I say,
Powders diverse, and ashes, dung, piss, clay,
Little waxed bags, saltpetre, vitriol;
And many a different fire of wood and coal;
Alkali, salt, potassium carbonate,
And our burnt matters, and coagulate,
Clay mixed with horses’ or men’s hair, and oil
Of tartar, alum, glass, yeast, wort, argoil,
Realgar, and our matters absorbent,
And with them, too, our matters resorbent,
And how we practised silver citrination
And our cementing and our fermentation,
Our moulds and testers, aye, and many more.
Plotinus said: “I have been a long time waiting for you; I am striving to give back the Divine in myself to the Divine in All.” As he spoke a snake crept under the bed on which he lay and slipped away into a hole in the wall: at that same moment Plotinus died.
Porphyry, On the Life of Plotinus and the Arrangement of his Work
“Since we were formally intellectual natures, we ought not only to think earnestly of the way, however long and laborious, by which we may return to things truly our own; but that we may meet with a more favourable reception from our proper kindred, we should meditate in what manner we may divest ourselves of everything foreign from our true country, and recall to our memory those dispositions and habits, without which we cannot be admitted by our own, and which from long disuse have departed from our souls. For this purpose we must lay aside whatever we have associated to ourselves from a mortal nature; and hasten our return to the contemplation of the simple and immutable light of good. We must divest ourselves of the various garments of mortality, by which our true beauty is concealed; and enter the place of contest naked, and without the incumberance of dress, striving for the most glorious of all prizes, the Olympiad of the soul.”
PORPHYRY, YOU ASS. DO NOT WRITE 82-WORD SENTENCES. DO NOT USE A PRONOUN FOR SOMEONE YOU MENTIONED APPROXIMATELY HALF OF THAT GIANT SENTENCE AGO, BEFORE YOU WENT OFF ON A LONG TANGENT ABOUT HIS STUPID COW. GET IT TOGETHER.
In fact Plotinus possessed by birth something more than is accorded to other men. An Egyptian priest who had arrived in Rome and, through some friend, had been presented to the philosopher, became desirous of displaying his powers to him, and he offered to evoke a visible manifestation of Plotinus’ presiding spirit. Plotinus readily consented and the evocation was made in the Temple of Isis, the only place, they say, which the Egyptian could find pure in Rome.
At the summons a Divinity appeared, not a being of the spirit-ranks, and the Egyptian exclaimed: ‘You are singularly graced; the guiding-spirit within you is not of the lower degree but a God.’ It was not possible, however, to interrogate or even to contemplate this God any further, for the priest’s assistant, who had been holding the birds to prevent them flying away, strangled them, whether through jealousy or in terror. Thus Plotinus had for indwelling spirit a Being of the more divine degree, and he kept his own divine spirit unceasingly intent upon that inner presence. It was this preoccupation that led him to write his treatise upon Our Tutelary Spirit, an essay in the explanation of the differences among spirit-guides.
Amelius was scrupulous in observing the day of the New-Moon and other holy-days, and once asked Plotinus to join in some such celebration: Plotinus refused: 'It is for those Beings to come to me, not for me to go to them.’
What was in his mind in so lofty an utterance we could not explain to ourselves and we dared not ask him.
Plotinus, our contemporary philosopher, seemed ashamed of being in the body.
“So deeply rooted was this feeling that he could never be induced to tell of his ancestry, his parentage, or his birthplace.
“He showed, too, an unconquerable reluctance to sit to a painter or a sculptor, and when Amelius persisted in urging him to allow a portrait to be made he asked him, ‘Is it not enough to carry around this image in which nature has enclosed us? Do you really think I must also consent to leave, as a desired spectacle to posterity, an image of the image?’
“That which nature binds, nature also dissolves: and that which the soul binds, the soul likewise dissolves. Nature, indeed, bound the body to the soul; but the soul binds herself to the body. Nature, therefore, liberates the body from the soul; but the soul liberates herself from the body.
Hence there is a twofold death; the one, indeed, universally known, in which the body is liberated from the soul; but the other peculiar to philosophers, in which the soul is liberated from the body. Nor does the one entirely follow the other.”
— Porphyhy, Auxiliaries to the Perception of Intelligible Natures
* * *
Roman wallpainting of Perseus freeing Andromeda House of the Dioscuri, Pompeii, Italy (1st century AD)
(Porphyry in fact gives a much more extensive account of the origin of this custom, but it’s involved enough and lengthy enough that I don’t think it’s really well-suited to a Tumblr post. If people are particularly keen on the legendary origin for the custom, I can put it up another day).
They chose maidens to be water-bearers (these girls carry
the water so they can sharpen the axe and the dagger). When they’d finished the
sharpening, they handed over the axe to another man, who struck the ox, and
someone else cut its throat. After this, they flayed it, and they all ate a
part of the ox. When this had been done, they sewed up the hide, stuffed it with
hay, and stood it back up, so that it had the same appearance as it would have
done when it was still alive, and they yoked it to a plough so it looked like
it was at work. Then they held a trial for murder and called everyone to defend
themselves if they had a part in the deed. Of these, the water-carriers accused
the sharpeners of being more to blame than they were; the sharpeners accused
the man who handed over the axe; he accused the one who cut its throat; and the
one who did this accused the knife, which was condemned for murder, not even
able to give a murmur in its defence.
having stuffed the hide, when they had been brought to trial, they threw the
knife into the sea.
(Porphyry, de abstinentia 2.30; my translation)
They put barley mixed with wheat on the altar of
Urban Zeus, and set no-one to guard it; an ox, which they keep prepared for the
sacrifice, walks around about the altar, and tastes the seed. They call one of
the priests the ox-killer, the one who slaughters the ox and then throws the
axe to the side – all this being according to their usual custom – and runs away.
The rest, as if they did not know the man who did the deed, then bring the axe to
(Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.24.4; my translation)
The one called the [court] in the Prytaneion – there they
judge iron and all similarly non-living things, which I think originated in the
following way. At the time when Erekhtheus was king of Athens, the ox-killer
first slaughtered an ox on the altar of Urban Zeus; and he left behind there
the axe when he fled the country; the axe was immediately acquitted after a
trial, and every year down to this one it is judged again.
(Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.28.10; my translation)
Imaginary debate between Averroes (1126–1198 AD) and Porphyry (234–c. 305 AD). Monfredo de Monte Imperiali Liber de herbis, 14th century.
“For the polity of the Indians being distributed into many parts, there is one tribe among them of men divinely wise, whom the Greeks are accustomed to call Gymnosophists. But of these there are two sects, over one of which the Bramins preside, but over the other the Samanaeans. The race of the Bramins, however, receive divine wisdom of this kind by succession, in the same manner as the priesthood. But the Samanaeans are elected, and consist of those who wish to possess divine knowledge. And the particulars respecting them are the following, as the Babylonian Bardesanes narrates, who lived in the times of our fathers, and was familiar with those Indians who, together with Damadamis, were sent to Caesar. All the Bramins originate from one stock; for all of them are derived from one father and one mother. But the Samanaeans are not the offspring of one family, being, as we have said, collected from every nation of Indians.
A Bramin, however, is not a subject of any government, nor does he contribute any thing together with others to government. And with respect to those that are philosophers, among these some dwell on mountains, and others about the river Ganges. And those that live on mountains feed on autumnal fruits, and on cows’ milk coagulated with herbs. But those that reside near the Ganges, live also on autumnal fruits, which are produced in abundance about that river. The land likewise nearly always bears new fruit, together with much rice, which grows spontaneously, and which they use when there is a deficiency of autumnal fruits. But to taste of any other nutriment, or, in short, to touch animal food, is considered by them as equivalent to extreme impurity and impiety. And this is one of their dogmas. They also worship divinity with piety and purity. They spend the day, and the greater part of the night, in hymns and prayers to the Gods; each of them having a cottage to himself, and living, as much as possible, alone. For the Bramins cannot endure to remain with others, nor to speak much; but when this happens to take place, they afterwards withdraw themselves, and do not speak for many days. They likewise frequently fast.
But the Samanaeans are, as we have said, elected. When, however, any one is desirous of being enrolled in their order, he proceeds to the rulers of the city; but abandons the city or village that he inhabited, and the wealth and all the other property that he possessed. Having likewise the superfluities of his body cut off, he receives a garment, and departs to the Samanaeans, but does not return either to his wife or children, if he happens to have any, nor does he pay any attention to them, or think that they at all pertain to him. And, with respect to his children indeed, the king provides what is necessary for them, and the relatives provide for the wife. And such is the life of the Samanaeans. But they live out of the city, and spend the whole day in conversation pertaining to divinity. They have also houses and temples, built by the king, in which they are stewards, who receive a certain emolument from the king, for the purpose of supplying those that dwell in them with nutriment. But their food consists of rice, bread, autumnal fruits, and pot-herbs. And when they enter into their house, the sound of a bell being the signal of their entrance, those that are not Samanaeans depart from it, and the Samanaeans begin immediately to pray. But having prayed, again, on the bell sounding as a signal, the servants give to each Samanaean a platter, (for two of them do not eat out of the same dish,) and feed them with rice. And to him who is in want of a variety of food, a pot-herb is added, or some autumnal fruit. But having eaten as much as is requisite, without any delay they proceed to their accustomed employments. All of them likewise are unmarried, and have no possessions: and so much are both these and the Bramins venerated by the other Indians, that the king also visits them, and requests them to pray to and supplicate the Gods, when any calamity befalls the country, or to advise him how to act.”
~Porphyry, excerpt from “On abstinence from animal food”
“Contrariwise it is often asked why Achilles, in as much as him being the greatest and most noble, that the poem is not called the ‘Achilleid’ in the manner of the ‘Odyssey’. We answer that while in the case of the latter, seeing that the plot of the story concerned a single hero alone, and is thus well named; in the case of the other, that is to say the ‘Iliad’, even if Achilles greatly outshone all others, still they too proved themselves to be excellent. For Homer did not wish to show us what sort of man Achilles was alone, but more or less and in a way, show us all all men. Therefore, he did not name the poem after any one man, but named it for a city, but a city which rightly suggested the name of Achilles.” (trans. abalienataecogitationes)
Oh the troubles I went to quote this passage in my paper. I had to hunt down an old 19th century German edition of Porphyry’s Quaestiones Homericae to find the passage, and as far as translating the Greek, well, Porphyry is uncommonly dense. A great many relative pronouns whose antecedent nouns are sentences away or never stated, and a preponderance of meandering hypotactical structures. It almost made me miss struggling through Thucydides, almost.
Early in the De Mysteriis Iamblichus chides Porphyry for stating that “it must be granted that there are gods.” For Iamblichus this statement is not strong enough. We have an innate knowledge of the gods, he says, that is “coexistent with our very being,” existing prior to any decision or judgement (i.3.7). Strictly speaking it is not knowledge at all, for knowledge involves separation; it is rather contact and constitutes our very selfhood (i.3.8). The philosopher’s task is not to demonstrate that the gods exist, much less to conjecture or suppose it, but rather to recover this knowledge as an active principle, entering once more into the union with the gods that is already the true ground of our being.
David Bradshaw - Aristotle East and West: Metaphysics and the Division of Christendom
Reflection tells us that we are in sympathetic relation to each other, suffering at the sight of others’ pain, melted from our separate moulds, prone to forming friendships; and this can be due only to some unity among us. There is, then, nothing strange in the reduction of all souls to one.
Invoking the help of God, let us assert that the existence of many souls makes it certain that there must first be one from which the many rise. This one is competent to lend itself to all yet remain one, because while it penetrates all things it cannot itself be sundered; this is identity in variety, like a science with its various sections standing as a whole; while the portion selected for meeting a particular need is present actually and takes the lead, still the whole is in every part; the part invites the immediate interest, but its value consists in its approach to the whole. The detail cannot be considered as separate from the entire body of speculation; potentially it includes all.
It is our feebleness that leads us to doubt these truths; here the body obscures them, There they stand out clearly each and all.
Excerpt from “Are All Souls One?” in The Enneads by Plotinus/Porphyry, c. 270 AD
But if you investigate nothing else, being established in yourself and your own essence, you will be assimilated to the intelligible Universe, and will not adhere to any thing posterior to it. Neither, therefore, should you say, I am of a great magnitude. For omitting this greatness, you will become universal; though you were universal prior to this. But, together with the universal, something else was present with you, and you became less by the addition; because the addition was not from truly-existing being. For to that you cannot add any thing. When, therefore, any thing is added from non-being, a place is afforded to Poverty as an associate, accompanied by an indigence of all things. Hence, dismissing non-being, you will then become sufficient to yourself. For he will not return properly to himself who does not dismiss things of a more vile and abject nature, and who opines himself to be something naturally small, and not to be such as he truly is. For thus he, at one and the same time, departs both from himself, and from truly-existing being. When, also, any one is present with that which is present in himself, then he is present with true being, which is every where. But when you withdraw from yourself, then, likewise, you recede from real being; - of such great consequence is it for a man to be present with that which is present with himself, (i.e., with his rational part), and to be absent from that which is external to him.
Porphyry, Auxiliaries to the Perception of Intelligible Natures, Sec 3, translation Thomas Taylor
…the symbol of the sublunar air which is affected by light and darkness is Leto; for she is oblivion caused by the insensibility in sleep, and because souls begotten below the moon are accompanied by forgetfulness of the Divine; and on this account she is also the mother of Apollo and Artemis, who are the sources of light for the night.
Porphyry, “On Images” (translation by Edwin Hamilton Gifford)
remarks there is a time delay in vision between that which sees and that which
is seen and so our consciousness [ie sensationalist consciousness] is more
memory than presence. It relies on images as it is beholden to time. It subsequently reduces these time-delayed images to language. However, self-consciousness
suffers no time delay – the self is in pure presence with self – true? See Derrida’s retaliatory remarks on the Metaphysics of Presence. Plotinus
asserts this difference splits us in two: the sensationalist self of memory and
the self-conscious interior self of pure presence. See Ennead V 8, 11, 4-12 Plotinus teaches the sage can also see the truth behind the material world, the exterior
world of appearances - of presence or appearing [see Heidegger]; the world of Forms is in fact visible to us – as in
Beauty; All is One; the One is in All. See Xenophanes
of Colophon & Parmenides. ‘Our world is not separated from the spiritual world.’ See Ennead II 9, 16, 11 This obliterates
mind/body duality [see the modal logic of Descartes’ Sixth Meditation].Divine presence is in All. God is total,
pure presence. God is always already there; nature is immediate, immanent in the All. The
Forms ARE in the sensible world; they ARE the sensible world; the sensible
world IS the Forms contemplating themselves. Contemplation and proper seeing
reveals it. ‘It is up to the gods to come to me, not up to me to go to them,’ Plotinus [Life of Plotinus, Ch 10,
Archytas [the Pythagorean] not merely wrote a lot himself, but he collected the writings of older Pythagoreans, and of Pythagoras himself, and combined them to form a corpus. The most detailed report on this is found in a long fragment from a work by Porphyry, given by the Arabic physician Ibn Abi Usaibia in his dictionary of physicians (5). Porphyry distinguishes between “authentic books”, written by Pythagoras himself and the “heirs of his wisdom”, and “false books” which “were placed in the mouth of the sage and written under his name.” After he has noted the titles of twelve such forgeries, Porphyry tells us that there were 280 “books on which no doubt rests”, and that 80 were by Pythagoras himself, and 200 by the “mature men who belonged to the group of Pythagoras, to his party, and to the heirs of his knowledge.” These books, so he says, in particular were collected by Archytas. They were then “forgotten, until they regained their place in a host of ways, mainly by showing their instrinsic good intent and devotion.”
Since thte MOHS scale rating is 6-7, and it’s rare, I would say they would be part of a middle-high caste. They would be generals, or high ranking officials because of how rare they are, compared to Quartz soldiers, which are common but has around the same hardness.
The emperor Gallienus and his wife Salonina honored and revered Plotinus most highly. And he, taking advantage of their friendship, proposed to resurrect a city of philosophers said to have been founded in Campania, but which now wrongly lay ruined; and to favor the city once settled with the surrounding countryside; and that those intending to settle there should live under Plato’s Laws; and to name it Platonopolis; and he undertook to retire there with his comrades. The plan could easily have gone the philosopher’s way, if some in the emperor’s entourage, whether jealous, resentful, or for some other base reason, had not thwarted it.