13 August 2016 7 Comments

The 12 Letter Alphabet Astrology System Exposed

In a recent Facebook discussion relating to my post on 8th house misunderstandings a number of people reacted to my assertion that the 12-letter alphabet of astrology has no validity and promotes confusion among astrologers.
This article: The 12 Letter Alphabet Astrology System Exposed, is published in response to requests to explain this point of view.

Terminology

My understanding is that Zipporah Dobyns first introduced this the term “The 12-letter alphabet” in the 1970’s. This system has also sometimes been called the “ABC system of astrology”.

In the 12 letter alphabet system the houses are said to correspond with the signs and their planetary rulers. For example, the 1st house (A) is linked to the sign Aries (B) and to the sign’s ruling planet Mars (C). Together the house sign and planet combination are often referred to as “an archetype”.

In the adjacent diagram is shown the general layout preferred by those who use the 12-letter alphabet.12 Letter Alphabet
The 12 houses in the centre are aligned with the 12 signs in the central wheel and with the planetary rulers on the outside. I have greyed out the traditional rulers of the signs to highlight the general preference of those who use this system to use the outer planets as rulers of Scorpio, Aquarius and Pisces.

Archetypes

The combination of house, sign, and planet is sometimes referred to as an archetype. For example it is said that the 1st archetype comprises the 1st house which is linked to Aries and its planetary ruler Mars. The 2nd archetype links the 2nd house to Taurus and its ruler Venus. This system of archetypes follows the circle of houses around the horoscope in an anti-clockwise manner.
Dictionary.com defines an archetype as “The original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.”
I will discuss later whether houses signs and planets are things of the same kind.

Objections raised in the defence of the 12-letter alphabet

A. There are 12 houses and 12 signs.
This is too much of a coincidence.

B. There is a close similarity between the signs and the houses. 8 cited examples include:
1) Aries – initiative. 1st House – how we strike out as an individual.
2) Taurus – stability and enjoyment. 2nd house – money matters and living.
3) Gemini – interaction. 3rd house – learning and exchange of ideas.
4) Cancer – Homely, contained. 4th House – Home, community.
5) Leo – expressive. 5th House – creative expression.
6) Virgo – focussed, skilled. 6th Work.
7) Libra – engaged, gracious. 7th house – relationships.
8) Scorpio – destructive, intimate. 8th transformation, death, sex…

I will cover each of these objections. But first I will first describe some important differences between the signs and the houses.

Differences between the signs and the houses

1. Different systems

  • The signs are a celestial system
  • The houses are a terrestrial system

The celestial and terrestrial worlds are fundamentally different and cannot be interchanged.

2. Different measurement

  • The signs of the celestial zodiac divide the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun, into 12 equal divisions.
  • The houses measure terrestrial spaces above and below the horizon into 12 parts (places). These 12 parts are comprised of 4 quadrants each containing 3 signs.

The divisions of the ecliptic and the spaces above and below the horizon cannot be mixed

3. Cosmology

cosmology rgbIn the ancient cosmological system, the universe was comprised of two basic divisions:

  1. The world of the divine glory and perfection, comprising the The Prime Mover and the Zodiac.
  2. The world of manifest material reality which is subject to birth decay and death.
  • The signs belong in the sphere of divine perfection.
  • The houses exist within the material plane.

Equating the divine with the mundane demonstrates a lack of understanding about the structure of our universe.

4. Different cycle

  • The signs describe a yearly cycle which is the apparent orbit of the Sun around the earth.
  • The houses describe a daily cycle, which is the apparent cycle of the planets around the earth.

The Sun’s yearly cycle describes something very different to the daily passage of the planets around the earth.

Zodiac Sign modes elements polarity5. Different make-up

  • The signs are constituted from the combination of the 3 modes (cardinal fixed and mutable), the 4 elements (fire earth air and water), and the 2 polarities (diurnal/active and nocturnal/passive). Each zodiac sign is a unique combination of these principles.
  • The houses are discreet areas of human experiences (physical, social, psychological, spiritual).

The essential nature of the signs and houses is very different and should not be confused.

6. Different nature

  • The signs are latent descriptive qualities which are not tangible. Planets traversing signs are energized in a manner specific to the quality of the sign, qualified by the planet’s unique capacity to express this quality.
  • The houses relate to specific environments of human experience, which together comprise the sum of all possible experience in the material plane.

Planets are not energized by the houses in which they are located (unlike the signs though which they pass).
Instead the houses describe environments which control how planets’ energies are expressed and the area of life in which these energies manifest.

7. Opposite directions

  • The signs are ordered in an anti-clockwise direction. The rising sign, which is determined by the time of birth, is located on the ascendant and the other signs are extended in an anti-clockwise direction around the chart. The rising sign can be any of the 12 zodiac signs.
  • The houses extend from the horizon in a clockwise direction towards the Midheaven, following the direction of the diurnal movement of the planets. This is the opposite direction to that of the signs, and is explained by the fact that the numbering has to do with the r: planets in the 1st house rise first across the horizon, planets in the 2nd house rise second across the horizon; and so on.

This last point often comes as a shock to astrologers who are accustomed to viewing the order of the houses from 1-12 in from the ascendant, down to the IC, then up to the Midheaven.
It turns out that the numbers assigned to the houses actually refers to something quite different: it is the order in which planets pass across the ascendant in their apparent daily passage around the earth, beginning at the ascendant, culminating at the Midheaven, and heading downwards towards the IC; exactly opposite to the 1-12 sequence most astrologers assume to be true.

8. Different foundation

  • The signs are formed by the orbit of the earth around the Sun in an ANTI-CLOCKWISE direction.
  • The houses are formed by the rotation of the earth as it spins on its axis in a CLOCKWISE direction.

Signs Houses DirectionsThe numbering of the houses has to with the order in which planets rise above the signs as the earth spins on its axis.

The numbering of the houses has nothing to do with a natural order of the houses in an anti-clockwise direction.
The signs and the houses do not flow in the same direction.
It is a basic and fundamental error to assume that the meaning of the 2nd house naturally flows from the meaning of the 1st house; or that the meaning of the 3rd house is a flow-on from the meaning of the 2nd house; and so on.
The numbering of the houses actually refers to a flow in the opposite direction: the rising of planets across the ascendant. It’s like the houses are standing in a queue: planets in the 1st house get to rise first; planets in the 2nd house get to rise next; and so on. Planets in the 2nd house rise (or succeed – which is why it is called a sucedent house) into the first, and are second in line to rise above the ascendant.
The movement of the planets is from the ascendant up to the Midheaven, and from there to the descendant and on to the IC.
The numbers given to the houses (1, 2, 3 and so on) refers to order of the movement of planets as they move across the ascendant towards the Midheaven through the course of the day,

Response to the 1st objection

“There are 12 houses and 12 signs. This is too much of a coincidence.”

Sun's pathThis objection is very superficial.
Above I have described above eight important differences between the signs and the houses, which together show that any attempt at interchanging the signs and houses does not make sense.
The numbering of the signs and the numbering of the houses refers to a flow in opposite directions. That there are 12 signs and 12 houses does not imply that they are the same or that they can be interchanged.
The adjacent diagram shows the path of the Sun as it moves through the houses. The Sun in the 3rd house moves into the 2nd house, and from the 2nd house moves (or succeeds) into the 1st house, and from there rises into the 12th house; and so on.
The same principle applies to the planets as they appear to move around the earth during the course of the day.
The meaning of the numbering of the houses relates to the order in which planets in the houses rise above the ascendant, with planets in the 1st house rising first, planets in the 2nd house rising next; and so on. House numbers are ordinal numbers; the relate to a sequence or series. They were not intended to show a natural flow or sequence in an anti-clockwise direction.

Simplifying astrology

The association of the 12 houses with the 12 signs was a deliberate attempt to simplify astrology, and has made the teacher’s job easier. This attempt has been attributed to Alan Leo in early 20th century England who was fighting a battle to avoid incarceration and sought to promote the idea that astrology was merely psychological.
While working with 12 simple principles that interchanges houses signs and planets may reduce the astrology teacher’s workload, it hinders rather than helps an understanding of astrology.
The mistake of extending the anatomical model
While it is true that there is an anatomical correlation between the signs and houses, with Aries and the 1st house both associated with the head; Taurus and the 2nd house associated with the throat and so on, it is a mistake to extrapolate this correlation to a psychological or other type of flow. There is no natural flow in a psychological sense from the 1st house through to the 12th house. While it is true that attempts have been made identify a sequential flow, it doesn’t make sense.

No-sense

The 12-letter alphabet system suggests a natural flow from the 1st house through to the 12th house. However it simply does not make sense that the 5th house of children should come before the 7th house of relationships, or that the 8th house of death should precede the 10th house of career. If astrology does not make sense it is nonsense.

House construction

The fabric of house structure is constructed from different threads of meaning which bind them together, none of which has to do with a natural flow of the houses in an anti-clockwise direction. These threads include:

  • The diurnal movement of the planets through the angles, which begins with the ascendant and follows the Sun’s path to the Midheaven, then to the descendant and down to the IC..
  • Aspect relationships between the 1st house of life and the other eleven houses.
  • The joys of the planets.
  • The association of the Chaldean order of planets with the houses.

There is not the space here to describe how each of these threads contributes to the make-up of the houses.

Modern rulers

The addition of the modern rulers, Uranus Neptune and Pluto, to the 12-letter alphabet has further distorted the meanings of the 8th and 12th houses.
The primary meaning of the 8th house has to do with the resources and movable possessions of the partner, death fear and loss, and inheritance. Connecting the 8th house with Scorpio introduces the idea of sex and intimacy to the meaning of this house, qualities which in the very long history of astrology it never possessed previous to this invention. It is the 5th house which has long been associated with sex.
The association of Scorpio with Pluto further compounds these misunderstandings and adds intensity crisis and transformation to the meaning of the 8th house.
The 11th house is also an interesting case. Here the 12-letter alphabet system links the 11th house with Aquarius and Uranus. Uranus is said by some to rule networking and as a result the 11th house has become associated with groups.
One important irony here is that Uranus is also associated with individualism, which is at odds with the idea that the 11th house is associated with groups, a type of mutual exclusion which embodies a contradiction. It is actually the cohesiveness of Saturn in this sign of runaway ideas that makes it the perfect ruler of this sign.
Using the modern planets as rulers of the Scorpio Aquarius and Pisces ignores some fundamental astrological principles, which are beyond the scope of this article to explore thoroughly.
Most astrologers I have met who use the modern rulers are generally unaware of the logic of the ancient system of sign rulerships. Because their astrological education is lacking they have no reason to suspect that anything is amiss.
Secondly because their astrological education is lacking these same astrologers cannot explain what was so wrong with the original planetary rulers that they needed replacing. They don’t know what they don’t know. Did Mars stop being Mars? Is it true that the reason Mars rules Scorpio is no longer understood; forgotten? Perhaps it didn’t make sense that Mars would rule a water sign! Did Jupiter stop being Jupiter?

Response to the second objection:

There is a close similarity between the signs and the houses“: 8 examples

Example 1: Aries – initiative. 1st House – how we strike out as an individual

While the words “strike out” are a manner of speech there might be less confusion if they were replaced with “present”: The first house shows how we present as an individual. This presentation includes attitude, physical health, demeanour and appearance, among other things.

The 1st house is much more than how we strike out as an individual. It can actually show a ‘wait and see attitude’. If a passive sign is on the ascendant or the ascendant ruler in a passive sign there will be less ‘striking out’ and more withdrawal or cautious approach to life.

The 1st house is called ‘tJoys of the planets rgbhe house of life’ and rules health and vitality. It should not be confused with ill-health which is shown by the 6th house. Together with other factors such as the house location of its ruler and planets aspecting the ascendant, the 1st house shows temperament style and general attitude to life, which may be nothing akin to Mars or Aries.

The odds are only one in twelve that the sign on the ascendant will be Aries and the wide scope of other possible expressions cannot all be described as Arian or Martian.

Neither should we restrict the red planet to its daytime domicile of Aries. It is also the nocturnal ruler of Scorpio although this is rarely considered or understood.

Associating Mars with the 1st house also ignores the other two planets which have a connection to this house.

The first is Mercury, which has its joy in the first house. The joys of the planets is a worthwhile study of its own, anSoul's entry and exit into the bodyd worthy of a second article.
Mercury has a natural association with the brain and head and this correlates well with the association of the 1st house with the head.
Mercury is also associated with speech and communicating with others in our social sphere.
Mars has no natural association with the head or brain, unless you are thinking of using the head as a battering ram!
There is no logic in terms of astrological tradition to support the notion that Mars has an association with the 1st house.
In the system of planetary joys Mars is placed in the 6th house of injuries and sickness, a place where it is at home.
The 1st house straddles the boundary between day and night which is an apt fit for adaptable Mercury as the go-between.

The second planet that has a natural association with the 1st house is Saturn, because it traps the soul in the body as the soul enters this incarnation. Saturn is the natural ruler of doorways and the 1st house is the soul’s doorway into physical life. The 8th house is the exit doorway, also associated with Saturn.

Example 2: Taurus – stability and enjoyment. 2nd house – money matters and living

Yes Taurus is about stability and physical comforts and pleasure, but has little to do with money itself. Venus, the planet which rules Taurus, is about the comforts that money can buy, the adornments and beautiful things. But money itself is represented by Mercury, the natural ruler of exchange and financial dealings. Venus has absolutely nothing to do with money per se; that is Mercury’s domain.
The planet that has a natural association with the 2nd house is Jupiter, the planet of wealth and prosperity. In the Chaldean order of the planets Jupiter follows Saturn (see the diagram above).

Example 3: Gemini – interaction. 3rd house – learning and exchange of ideas

It is understandable that at first glance, to the beginning astrologer’s eye, the 3rd house would seem to have a natural association with Gemini and Mercury.
However in previous generations when horary and electional astrology were the mainstay of astrological practice, it was clearly understood that the 3rd house was the house of the goddess, and the Moon had a special relationship with this house.
In horary astrology the Moon is frequently seen as conveying messages between other planets in its role as ‘the translator of light’. Among the seven classical planets it is the fastest moving body, linking planets together as it aspects one and then another. This sequential linking by aspects is seen as very significant in questions relating to communication or the movement of goods. In this latter respect it also has an association with transport.

None of this is to deny Mercury’s role in communication or transport, just that historically the Moon has also played a significant role in this regard, although this seems to have been largely forgotten in modern times. Incidentally in mundane astrology the Moon represents the common people and is associated with public transport.

Gemini, with its dual nature, has no natural association with the house of the goddess.

It is the Moon which has its joy in the 3rd house. The joys of the planets is an ancient concept and plays an important role in the make-up and meaning of the houses.
Regarding the Chaldean order of the planets mentioned above in relation to the 1st house, it is Mars, the planet associated with sibling rivalry and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, that has a natural association with the 3rd house.

Example 4: Cancer – Homely, contained. 4th House – Home, community

4 Ages of ManHistorically the 4th house is associated with foundations and property, the land, deep roots, mines and wealth from under the ground.
Compare these fixed traits to that most fluid and movable of planets: the Moon. This is not a good fit. The changeable Moon is much better suited to the busy comings and goings of the 3rd house.

In the ancient model of the “4 Ages of Man” the IC is associated with the winter of our lives. Yet in the northern hemisphere where Western astrology arose the Sun passes through Cancer at the height of summer. Neither is the 4th house a good fit for Cancer.

Historically the 4th house is associated with the father, not the mother.

Example 5: Leo – expressive. 5th House – creative expression

The Sun is the supreme ‘Commander-in-Chief’, the symbol of might and mastery, power, truth, light and enlightenment. The superior planets genuflect and step backwards in retrograde motion when they come face to face in opposition with the Sun, and all the planets disappear in his blinding light when in conjunction with the Sun.

The 5th house is the house of fun and frivolity, parties pleasure and entertainment. In a sense this is the most superficial of houses and is in no way deserving as the home of the Lord of the Heavens.

The Sun represents so much more than parties, children, pleasure and sporting games. The importance of these activities pales into insignificance when faced with the majesty of his presence. In many religions and spiritual systems the image of god or the force which guides the universe has a solar representation.

To suggest that the Sun is restricted to the rulership of the house of fun and creativity is to diminish his great power and demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of his role in the heavens and in astrological interpretation.

In the diagram above describing the joys of the planets we see that the Sun rejoices in the 9th house, the house of higher learning, spirituality, and the search for the ultimate meaning of life. The joys of the planets describe places where planets are most comfortable and ‘feel at home’. The Sun is much more comfortable than in the 9th house of spirituality than in the 5th house of frivolity.

Neither is Leo a good fit for the 5th house as it is regarded as a barren sign because of its dryness. The 5th has long been known as the house of sex procreation and children. In horary astrology in questions of fertility and in electional astrology when choosing a suitable time for conception Leo on the ascendant or on the 5th house cusp is generally avoided because of its association with infertility and sterility.
To link the sign associated with barrenness with the house associated with fertility and creativity shows a misunderstanding of basic astrological principles.

Example 6: Virgo – focused, skilled. 6th Work

Confusions relating to the meaning of the 6th house are worthy of an article on its own.
The association with work in the sense of career or profession can be attributed to a misreading of Lilly where he refers to the 6th house as the house of service. He was actually referring to servitude and servants.
The modern equivalent are the working poor doing menial jobs, in the service of another. There has never been, at least until recent times, a sense that the 6th house is associated with anything resembling a career. Historically this is, among other meanings, the house of slaves. While perhaps there are few real slaves in the Western world, the unskilled worker going from job to job is a close equivalent. These workers are typically more lacking in skills, rather than being skilled.

Going back to the objection mentioned above that Virgo is focused I am not sure how focus is a noteworthy trait of the 6th house; or even that Virgo is especially focused. irgo is after all a double-bodies sign. Scorpio Aries and Capricorn also have some claim to being focused.

It is more common for people to confuse the 6th house with Virgo because of Virgo’s association with health. However the 6th house is not the house of health; that honour belongs to the 1st house. The 6th house is the house of ill-health and also injuries, the opposite of health. The preoccupation with exercise and diet typically associated with Virgo is better explained by the combination of the dry earth qualities of Virgo when combined with its discerning ruler: Mercury.

It is the 1st house which is the house of life and health and vitality. Mercury rejoices in this house and is much more comfortable here than in the 6th house of sickness and injuries.
It is Mars which rejoices in the 6th house. It is of course the minor malefic and is well suited to the house where the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune beset us all from time to time. Incidentally in mundane astrology the 6th house is associated with the military which has an obvious connection with Mars.

Example 7: Libra – engaged, gracious. 7th house – relationships

Yes the 7th house is about relationships of all types. As well as amorous relationships and contractual business type relationships, also included are adversarial relationships with open enemies and those involving a sporting or other type of contest.

Relationships involving open conflict can hardly be confused with the graciousness associated with Libra or the pleasantness associated with Venus. These relationships could better be described as Martian. As the enemy rides over hill towards you, gun at the ready, or you are going over the trench with bayonet attached, Venus is nowhere to be seen. These situations are better described by Mars. So should we associate Aries and Mars with the 7th house, as well as Libra and Venus? The logic is similar. It should not be ignored that the 7th house is as much about engagement with the enemy as it is with the lover or friend.

The 7th house is about ‘the other’ we engage with, for whatever reason, whether it be the terrorist or the lover, the violent bully or the loving spouse. The relationships associated with the 7th house can be associated with love or hate. The 7th house is primarily about the people we engage with, and the type of engagement cannot be restricted to just Venus or Libra. The planet which usually best describes the type of engagement is the one ruling the sign on the 7th house cusp or a planet conjoining the descendant.

Example 8: Scorpio – destructive, intimate. 8th transformation, death, sex..

The confusion concerning Scorpio is connected with the adoption of Pluto as its modern ruler. Pluto is associated with transformation and therefore because it has become associated with Scorpio and the 8th house has taken on the meaning of transformation.

And because Scorpio is associated with sex the 8th house has become associated with sex, and therefore somehow also Pluto has also been associated with sex.
The eighth house is the house of death. Yes it is true that some astrologers have associate the 8th house with sex because sexual orgasm is sometimes called ‘the little death’. Call it what you wish but aside from pleasure the purpose of sex is to procreate, to bring life into the world, not death.

Never, previous to the modern era, in the 2000 year history of the astrological tradition has the 8th house ever been given rulership of sex. This is a modern fantasy perpetrated by astrologers who have become confused about the primary functions of the houses. Sex is a 5th house matter, as is pleasure, birthday parties, fun and frivolity. Death and bringing life into the world are opposite things. One should not be confused with the other.

I have often heard it said that death is only one form of transformation and somehow this justifies assigning transformation as a core meaning for the 8th house, which in turn validates Scorpio’s and Pluto’s association with the 8th house.

And with this mixing of meanings Pluto has somehow become associated with rape. As Joseph Crane has pointed out the type of sex that Pluto is associated with is rape.

The tangled web of confusions associated with the interchange of Scorpio Pluto and the 8th house is mind boggling and really does take us a long way from the real meaning of the 8th house.
Intimacy seems to be attributed to the 8th house because of its association with Scorpio and the supposed connection with transformation.

The core meanings of the 8th house have to do with death in the physical and real sense; fear and loss; the resources of those we engage with, and inheritance.
The 8th house is not a particular pleasant place no matter how much we might like to romanticise it or give it a positive spin. The sign on the cusp of the 8th house and the planet which rules that sign are what is relevant in any type of astrological interpretation of the 8th house.

Consequences of using the 12-letter alphabet

The 12-letter alphabet represents a shift away from the fundamental principles of astrology.

New invented meanings for planets

In some cases, users of the 12-letter alphabet make further associations between the planetary ruler of the sign and the house with which it is associated and come up with new invented meanings for planets, which are a corruption of the meanings of these planets.
Example 1: Because in the 12-letter alphabet Venus is associated with the 2nd house it is said to rule money, which is a 2nd house matter. Before this invention Venus was only said to rule the pleasures and comforts that money can buy. Mercury rules agents and exchange and is a perfect fit for money.
Example 2: Users of the 12-letter alphabet associate the Sun with children because it rules the sign of Leo which they associate with the 5th house. Before this invention the Sun ruled royalty, leaders and leadership, domination, truth and life giving energy, among other things, but not children.

Signs take on planetary meanings

With the interchange of meanings used in the 12 letter alphabet signs are seen to rule things. However the signs describe and embed qualities into planets which move against their backdrop, but the signs do not themselves have rulership over things.
An analogy can be made with signs to adjectives: the signs describe. However in the 12 letter alphabet system the signs are referred to as ruling over various things. For example, Cancer is said to rule women, the home and babies; Libra beauty and art, Aries war and destruction.
It is the planets which are analogous to a noun. Planets are like the actors on a stage; they take action. The signs can be compared to the various costumes worn by the actors. It is the planets which have rulership over the many things in our universe.
It astrological conversations it is easy it is to slip into the habit of referring to the signs’ rulership over different aspects of life. This happened in previous eras but even then it was generally taken for granted that the reference was connected to the planetary ruler of the sign spoken about. While it is a convenient way of talking it is very easy to forget that the signs do not rule things. They imbue qualities to the planets which pass against their backdrop and it is these planets which have rulership over things in this world.

New source of meaning

Perhaps the greatest irony is that many modern astrologers are now informed of the meaning of the signs by the links they have made between the planets and the houses using the 12-letter alphabet of archetypes.
The 12-letter alphabet has become the new source of astrological education, totally bypassing the wealth of knowledge contained in the long tradition of astrology. The result is a corrupted and largely impotent form of astrology.

Conclusion

The claim that the 12 letter alphabet describes 12 archetypes is simply not correct. An archetype is a pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied. However the astrological houses signs and planets are not things of the same kind and therefore cannot together form an archetype.
Above I have described important differences between the astrological houses and signs. One example is that the houses are terrestrial in nature and the signs are celestial in nature.
I have also shown that the numbering of the houses from 1-12 does not describe an order in which the house meanings follow each other. Rather I have shown that these numbers refer to an ordinal number series which describe the order of planets as they rise above the ascendant through the course of the day.

Changing the mindset – my personal experience

When I first began my astrological studies in the late 1980’s I was taught the 12-letter alphabet system. Over the next 10 years I used this system, gained recognised qualifications, and like most of my peers, assumed that this system was correct.
However I was presented with Robert Zoller’s work and gradually I came to the understanding that what I had previously been presented with wasn’t the full story. There was much more to be learnt, and also un-learnt.
I think it is only reasonable to change one’s mind about something when you are presented with new evidence or information that was previously unavailable. I respect and admire other people who are able to do this.
I also understand that it is really difficult for some people to change their views, no matter how much new information they are presented with. Some seem to take it as a personal attack when it is suggested that the system they are using could be improved upon.
However would like to encourage those who use the 12-letter alphabet system to at least consider alternative presentations. I was able to do this and so perhaps so can you. My personal experience is that the shift back to core astrological meanings has enriched my astrology enormously. The world has become a more understandable place. My capacity for accuracy and precision in astrological interpretations has also improved.
I should also point out that the publication of this article is not intended to mock or ridicule those who use the 12 letter alphabet system. How could I do this when I was originally taught and believed that this system was correct? However the 12 letter alphabet system is based on some fundamental misunderstandings which seriously weaken astrological practice.
I believe that the 12 letter alphabet system does need to be challenged and exposed. I am not suggesting that it is a deliberate fraud, but it is a path that leads to confusion and seriously weakens our noble Art.
I invite you to at least consider, to open your mind to the possibility that there may be something more, that there may be more effective ways of using the astrology to interpret the world.

Some References

The Houses, Temples of the Sky, by Deborah Houlding.
On the Heavenly Spheres, A Treatise on Traditional Astrology by Helena Arelar and Luis Ribeiro
Traditional Astrology for Today, An Introduction by Ben Dykes.
Scala Coeli, The Ladder of Heaven, A Collection of astrological Essays by Mari Garcia and Joy Usher.
The Real Astrology by John Frawley.
Other works by these authors.
My writings are informed by these and other authors such as Robert Zoller, Robert Hand and Joseph Crane. I do not mean to suggest that astrological study should be restricted to these few, or that one should be preferred to the other, but I do recommend them as a starting point.

Horary Astrology Reading Request a reading. Most subjects covered.
The Horary Astrology Practitioners Diploma correspondence course contains the foundation principles for natal and modern astrology.
The Palmistry Practitioners Diploma correspondence Course provides basic logical principles underlying hand reading as well as the "how-to" practical application about how to read the hands.

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7 Responses to “The 12 Letter Alphabet Astrology System Exposed”

  1. Caleb Grayson 14 August 2016 at 00:46 #

    I really appreciate all the good information here comparing the signs and houses as well as a very good attempt to unravel this deep seeded theoretical problem of modern Astrology.
    however, i think the article leans too much towards the straw man fallacy. that is, i don’t believe it presents the 12-Letter argument at its best. the references mention no sources that are pro-12 Letter, not even a reference source for Zip Dobbyns much less a quote.
    in that light i think it’s a misunderstanding to say the best possible version of 12-Letter says signs and houses are equal. the key to understanding 12-Letter, in my opinion, is in the understanding of archetype. i don’t think that that is presented well enough here either to understand what it is and how it fits into Ancient Astrology — if at all.
    you either think all things are necessarily archetypally related or not, just unique particulars not related into a systematic whole. if the first, then the problem of the 12-Letter correlation of signs and houses is one of finding the details of those correlations — why one is clockwise and the the other counter-clockwise for example. to think it is more true that the houses are ‘randomly’ or non-sequentially or unrelatedly ordered without flow makes for a very difficult astrological theory. without systematic deduction all we are left is personal intuited opinion with no means of validation. the 12-Lett then becomes as equally valid as ANY other. I’d like to know what the logic is behind the order of the houses is and in that I would search for a systematic archetypal correlation.

    • peter 17 August 2016 at 10:00 #

      Caleb I think an important issue with your comments is the assumption that house-signs-planets constitute an archetype. This is not good astrology in my opinion. And if they do not constitute an archetype it does not follow that the houses are ‘randomly’ or non-sequentially or unrelatedly ordered without flow. There is a definate pattern and several layers of meaning. I mentioned these as brief points but there was not the space to provide a full explanation; the article was already long enough.

      • Caleb Grayson 17 January 2017 at 03:47 #

        i wouldn’t and didn’t say “house-signs-planets constitute an archetype”. rather, houses, and sings, and planets are composed of archetypes.. for example. the 5th sign ♌︎ and the 5th House both contain the archetype of ordinal number 5 or 5th. its arguable whether more than this, the cardinal number 5 or some other meanings associated with 5 are also present, but they both contain that archetype of 5th. derivative houses for example, require this archetypal system to make it’s claims. it seems 12-letter is more similar to that— there’s a mathematical coherency of all the astrological components.

        • peter 16 February 2017 at 12:31 #

          Caleb imposing numerology onto astrology does not do astrology any justice. Your proposal that the 5th house and the 5th sign share the archetype number 5 and that this somehow connects and therefore validates the 12 letter alphabet system is simplistic and seriously flawed. Somehow you have completely ignored the fact that the counting of the houses has to do with the movement of planets within them across the ascendant in diurnal motion.

  2. Franco 15 August 2016 at 00:44 #

    Hey buddy, good article. Long time no see. Hope you guys are doing well.

    • peter 17 August 2016 at 11:33 #

      Wishing you and your good lady the very best Franco.
      Our turn to buy at our next meal!
      When are you coming to Australia?

  3. Nana 16 August 2016 at 18:48 #

    Well done, maybe the most complete and informative article I’ve ever read on thw topic. Congratulations!


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