THE LUMINARIES

Here at AstrologySphere, much of what we focus on is the inter-play between – dark and light as represented by the various cycles of the luminaries, that is, the Sun and Moon.

From astrological sect to lunar phases and eclipses, the two ‘lights’ of astrology are responsible for regulating much of what we constitute to be the primary cycles of life.

COSMIC TIMEKEEPERS

s the two planets responsible for regulating the ratios of light vs darkness that govern the length of our days, months and years, the Sun and Moon are, above all things, cosmic time-keepers.

However, perhaps because we are no longer reliant on their light-giving properties to enable our day-to-day activities, we tend to forget how pivotal the so-called ‘lights’ are in this regard.

  • For instance, the Moon’s waxing and waning produces the synodic month of 28-9 days, which affects the tides, women’s menstrual cycles, as well as the habits of many animals. Many ancient civilisations also used it as the basis of their monthly calendars to regulate practical routines and recurring human activities such as agriculture, hunting and market days.
  • The Sun is largely responsible for creating the seasons of the year via its annual revolution through the zodiac (from the geocentric perspective). The solar stations, marked by the solstices and equinoxes, represent different ratios of heat and light which create the earth’s climate – while its daily cycle gives us the time (clock faces were originally modelled on sun dials). Many annual festivals were timed according to solar phases, eg. the autumn equinox, which is traditionally harvest time.

Indeed, many of our current ways of measuring time still hark back to these ancient civilizations and the sexagesimal system of time and space measurement we inherited from them: there are 60 minutes in both an hour and one degree of planetary motion. This is why both clocks and horoscopes are circular and why our units of space and time co-ordinates are all divisible by 12.Indeed, many of our current ways of measuring time still hark back to these ancient civilizations and the sexagesimal system of time and space measurement we inherited from them: there are 60 minutes in both an hour and one degree of planetary motion. This is why clock faces resemble sundials, and why we have 12 hours in a day, and 12 months in a year.

NATURE’s REGULATORS

This dance between light and dark created by the Sun and Moon also affects natural cycles such as the weather and seasons through related factors like temperature and moisture fluctuations. It is easy to see why the ancient Greeks saw them as important agents of what they termed ‘natural philosophy.’

  • As the earth’s primary source of both heat and light, the Sun was considered to rule over daylight hours and the peak (waning half) of the summer season, making it a natural fit with the sign of Leo and the months of July and August – some of the hottest and driest times of the year in the northern hemisphere.
  • As Queen of the Night, the Moon was associated with the cool of the evening and the darker, somewhat colder months of early spring and summer (waxing), when there tends to be an increased level of moisture in the air. Think of morning dew, which forms via condensation overnight or spring/autumn rainfall. Although she rules the sign of Cancer, which happens at the summer solstice in northern climes, June was also the month associated with the flooding of the Nile in ancient Egypt, an occurrence that was strongly associated with the mother goddess, Isis because it coincided with the heliacal rising of Sirius.
A soli-lunar calendar from a medieval book of hours

This may sound counter-intuitive at first until you encounter sect, and its division of the celestial sphere into four quadrants, a bit like the waxing and waning of the lunar cycle. And realise that at any given time, the horoscope contains two circles (the houses and zodiac) that are simultaneously spinning in opposite directions.

THE LUMINARIES AND TEMPERAMENT

These natural characteristics of the luminaries and early theories about the role of the elements in creating the seasons and humours, lead in time, to the development of medico-psychological models, including Galen’s temperament theory, one of the earliest forms of personality profiling, which is still used to some extent in both natal astrology and other divination systems such as the tarot.

The combination of humours, elements, qualities and temperaments that go into creating the 12 different zodiac personality types.

Indeed, many modern personal assessment tools and techniques such as Myers Briggs and the Enneagram are also loosely based on classical theories concerning the composition of, and inter-relationships between, the four elements and their building blocks, the Pythagorean qualities of heat-cold and dryness-wetness. (See the diagram below for details of their inter-connections.)

LUNAR NODES & PHASES

The interaction of Sun and Moon, as expressed via the nodes (the crossing point in the paths of the luminaries where eclipses occur) and lunar phases, have also inspired many modern astrological offshoots and techniques, including evolutionary astrology, which interprets the lunar nodes via the lens of theosophy) as well as Dane Rudyar’s model of psychological astrology, which include a strong focus on studying what phase of the moon a person is born under and how this may influence their overall disposition (the eight lunation personality types).

ECLIPSES

In more ancient times, however, astrologers placed more emphasis on studying the binary contrasts produced by the luminaries though phenomena such as eclipses, the Arabic parts or lots, the antiscia and contra-antiscia, as well as sect.

You can read more about the soli-lunar connections to eclipses in the dedicated pages I have created on that topic.

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