Saturday, October 24, 2009

Signs within signs, wheels within wheels. Bells within whistles?

Pulling a slim bright yellow volume from my bookshelf I considered writing about its contents. "The Zodiac Within Each Sign" by Frances Sakoian and Louis Acker focuses on the division of each zodiac sign of 30 degrees into 3 cells of 10 degrees (known as decans or decanates), then into 12 two and a half degree cells (known as duads). I'm in two minds as to whether this astrological tool is useful. If we're not careful, bringing in everything but the kitchen sink could result in being able to make, or force, anything to mean anything. That's why I stubbornly stick to a minimalist system.

Still, decans and duads can be an interesting study, and I understand that it's a time honored system stemming from ancient astrological doctrine.

Each decan, or third of a sign is thought to have a different ruler. The first decan of any sign is ruled by the whole sign's ruler. Using myself as guinea pig, and for simplicity sticking strictly to the Sun's position: 27 January, 6.46 degrees of Aquarius, first decan, ruled by Aquarius's ruler Uranus. The second decan is ruled by the ruler of next sign in the same element - Air in this case, so it's Gemini's ruler, Mercury. The third decan is ruled by the ruler of the next Air sign Libra, so = Venus.

Taking another example - Aries: 1st decan ruled by whole sign ruler: Mars. Second by the next Fire sign Leo's ruler: Sun. Third decan by next Fire sign's ruler, Sagittarius = Jupiter.

And so on for each of the 12 signs. Diagram below is from the excellent website Skyscript.

Taking the system a layer deeper, duads split each sign into 12 cells. One theory is that rulership of each 12th goes like this - first 2 and half degrees ruled by whole sign ruler. Second by the next sign on around the zodiac, moving one sign for each 2 and half degrees. there's a helpful list to assist in calculation at Wikipedia HERE.

This system reminds me of.....

Using myself as an example again, as my Sun is at 6.46 Aquarius I'm in the third duad of Aquarius, ruled by Aries. Taking whole sign ruler, decan ruler and duad ruler into consideration gives me a Uranus/Mars or Aquarius/Aries flavour. Which is fine because my Moon and Saturn are both in Aries, so it would have been apparent without the decan/duad calculation that I have both Aquarius and Aries traits. Things might not be so simple for another person though.

I'll try my husband's chart - Sun at 1.48 Aries - first decanate ruled by Mars - he's an Aries-Aries. 1.48 Aries puts him in the first duad also, so again Aries, he's a triple Aries! That didn't tell us much that we didn't know already, and by the way he also has a strong Pisces presence in real life.

My mother's Sun was at 4.16 Libra - first decan - A Libra-Libra. Second duad though so duad ruler is Pluto (Scorpio's ruler - next sign along). Now that fits - and yet her Mercury was in Scorpio, so we could already have known she'd have a touch of Scorpio.

My father might be a better example - Sun was at 18.52 Aquarius which is 2nd decan, ruled by Mercury (Gemini's ruler). He's 8th duad, ruled by Virgo's ruler - Mercury again! Now I don't see that as accurate for him. He wasn't a great communicator, he was a quiet, shy guy. He was a self-employed master baker for most of his life, then a sub-postmaster, so I guess he was versatile (a Mercurial trait), but I'd have seen a better reflection of him had his duad ruler been Moon/Cancer.

Anyway, the theory is that taking into account another, more subtle, layer of traits associated with the ruling sign of your natal Sun's decan and/or duad could explain why your basic standard Sun sign description isn't a good fit. There are many other, possibly better, reasons of course. And the system of decans and duads can be used not only for the Sun's position, but for every planet and point in the natal chart. This promises to throw up an unintelligible soup, which doesn't appeal to me one bit, and could end up making anything mean anything.... and nothing!

As it happens, I did once make use of this system in a 2007 post about Dick Cheney: see here. I made it work for me then. If you go in deep enough, almost anything can be made to work in favor of the result you want to see, and that's the problem with bringing in too many astrological tools and methods. There's more than enough potential for complexity in a straightforward natal chart, no bells, no whistles.


anthonynorth said...

Your words on using minimalism within patterns is so important. It's a discipline I've been using for decades. Not following it can often lead to wish fulfillment.

Twilight said...

AN ~~~ Yes, that's a big danger, and can play right into the hands of those who would like to disprove the very point one is trying to make...not only in astrology, but in any type of pattern, as you point out.