Intensive Overview – Core Principles III

Sect – A Most Ancient Wisdom

This post presents some key points of the presentation.

Sect - By Day and By Night - Astrology Project Intensive 3

This Intensive reviews a code which seems a given in ancient astrological heritage, as many of the old texts appear to expect the astrologer to have a baseline understanding. It was knowledge which provided guidelines about which planets to focus upon and could indicate where benefit or challenge may more likely manifest.

This method was called Sect and used the division of night and day as the crux of an elegant doctrine. For the ancients in observing their world saw evocative nuances of light and dark come and go, to come again – as reflected in the antiquitous Poem of Parmenides:

There are gates of way for night and day.

Sect was a fundamental type of analysis which finetuned astrological symbolism and allowed for a doorway into delineation. It concerned a major dual distinction which profoundly affected chart factors and was a fascinating touchstone in setting a direction for further interpretation. Concepts such as the main luminary, chart and planetary sect, and sect-mates or sect-teams, were included in the consideration.

The idea originally stemmed from the primary wholes of the Sun and the Moon, where an entire chart was classed as either diurnal or nocturnal – producing one of these lights as the ‘main luminary’ or ‘the light of the sect’. When the Sun is above the horizon, nominating a diurnal chart, it becomes the main luminary. Conversely, when the Sun is below the horizon in a nocturnal chart, the Moon is the main luminary.

… it is necessary to teach what the solar as well as the lunar sect has been allotted, and that all things unite through these.
Paulus Alexandrinus – Introductory Matters (Greenbaum trans)

Sect was a conditioning principle of qualitative symbolic use which adjusted the meaning of a planet. It is postulated that it was an ancient version of essential dignity, which reinforced the archetypal nature of a celestial body. As a fundamental assignation, each of the planets was also classified diurnal or nocturnal, and ideally, a planet and its positioning would then match the sect of the chart. Generally, bodies of the diurnal class were considered more ‘comfortable’ in a diurnal chart, and nocturnal planets had an archetypal ‘comfort’ when the overall environment was nocturnal.

The predictions are changed by the condition of the planets, whether nocturnal or diurnal, as well as by the varying effects of the aspects.
Firmicus Maternus – Matheseos 6:1 (Rhys Bram trans)

Although the overall sect of the chart and the sect of the planets appeared the most primary symbolism, there were secondary sect factors. These other assignations reinforced the sect relationship between a chart and the planets in a form of symbolic ‘layering’. For instance each of the zodiac signs were also classed diurnal or nocturnal, according to triplicity or element.

Not only did sect have a qualitative function in adjusting planetary conditioning and delineation, but it also related to many other technical applications. Examples include calculating planetary lots, working with triplicity lords, calculation of hyleg or apheta, and certain predictive techniques such as ordering the firdaria for an entire lifetime.

Sect awareness was a notable factor of horoscopic astrology at its very beginning in the Hellenistic Era. As astrology travelled through the translation of many cultures and centuries this doctrine became diffuse and confused. Facets of sect partially survived after the Medieval and Renaissance periods and was slightly mentioned (and questioned) in some 17th century and early modern writings. By the 20th century the teaching was basically missing from the canon of modern astrology. It was in the late 20th century, through the work of Project Hindsight, that the principles of sect were rediscovered.

It seems prudent to consider that sect holds the potential of being an essential conditioning factor akin to essential dignity and debility – and may be useful in being carefully weighed within all other chart contexts. Generally, there seems room for interesting research to be undertaken on sect doctrine and its applications.

I believe that the understanding of planetary sect may be the single most important area of interpretation to have been lost, or at least mislaid, between the Greeks and modern astrology. And it is fitting that it should resurface at this time when we are paying more attention to the feminine and the positive aspects of darkness and night, the realms of the Moon, for, the proper understanding of sect in astrology restores these to equality with the solar and diurnal aspect of astrology which has arguably been overemphasized in the period since astrology came from the Greeks to the Arabs and thence back to the Latin West.
Robert Hand – Night and Day-Planetary Sect in Astrology

This intensive was first presented in Brisbane (QFA) in April 2009, on the Gold Coast (GCAS) in May 2009, and on the Gold Coast (GCAS) in revised form in August 2013.

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