11 March 2011 2 Comments

The fallacy of rising house cusps

Primary motion
One area of confusion regarding horary and natal astrology chart analysis concerns the question of planets and other points that are said “to be rising”.
The rising of planets concerns the primary motion of the planets as they move through the 1st house and continue ‘upwards’ by primary motion towards the 10th house.
This concept is employed in both horary and natal astrology.
House numbering
For example a planet that is in the 1st house will rise (move above the horizon) before a planet that is in the 2nd house. This is the reason that the houses are numbered 1-12. In spite of what some modern books will tell you, the numbering of the houses 1-12 has nothing to do with a psychological process.
Order of rising planets used to predict the order of events
The order in which planets rise, which depends on their position in the horoscope, is often used to predict the order of events. For example in a horary chart  if Saturn retrograde in Libra is in the 1st house and Venus in Capricorn is in the 4th house with no planets in between, then Saturn would rise first followed by Venus. Depending on the question this might be interpreted as a diplomatic obstacle followed by an accommodation assisted by the mutual reception.
Rising house cusps?
However in modern times some astrologers take the view that house cusps rise, and use a description of the ruler of these cusps to predict subsequent events.  For example the 2nd house cusp rises first, and if Scorpio happens to be on the 2nd house cusp then the condition of its ruler is used to predict events. This is further complicated if modern rulers are also used, in which case there are 2 rulers to consider.
A little bit of nothing
House cusps form an imaginary line that demarcate one house from another. House cusps have no substance, unlike planets, and therefore cannot be said ‘to rise’. House cusps are a little bit of nothing and a little bit of nothing cannot be used as a predictive tool.
However the planets are a substantial piece of something, each of which has a well defined meaning. Their rising is associated with events which reflect their condition. The planets are the essential components of astrology. House cusps are points relating to mathematical calculation and have no substance.
Fundamental principles
It is so important to stick to basic fundamental ‘first principles’ when learning astrology, and to combine this with common sense. Astrology is abstract enough without incorporating imaginary pieces of nothing.
I urge students in my horary astrology courses and astrology workshopsto take a minimalist approach and use only the 7 traditional planets as rulers of the zodiac signs, and the 5 Ptolemaic aspects.
Minimalist astrology produces maximum results
Although it may seem to be counter-intuitive, from fewer indicators more meaning and accurate interpretations can be extracted from the horoscope.
This minimalist approach brings astrology alive and provides extraordinary depth and subtlety.

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2 Responses to “The fallacy of rising house cusps”

  1. Caitlin Foster 13 March 2011 at 17:48 #

    Hello Peter

    Thank you very much for your website. Your articles are always extremely interesting and I learn something new from you each time I visit. I’m very sorry I’m not still in Melbourne and can attend your upcoming workshop. It sounds like good fun and a great opportunity to learn still more. Best wishes to you; hope you get a good roll-up and you and your students enjoy your afternoon.

    Cheers from Caitlin

    • peter 13 March 2011 at 19:14 #

      Thank you for your kind words Caitlin. The workshop went well and more are planned on a variety of subjects on the 28th March, 2nd and 9th of April. You are most welcome to join us next time you are in Melbourne. Astrology is going through a revolution with the application of new re-discovered techniques that add predictive accuracy and deeper psychological insights. It is exciting being part of this new movement.
      regards Peter Burns


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