On the Image and the Original in Hellenistic Astrology

“On the Image and the Original”, the third of Robert Schmidt’s new intensives on Hellenistic astrology, begun in March 2009, picks up on the theme of hidden information in the Hellenistic chart, first introduced in his intensive on the Hermetic lots.

The present intensive was originally planned to be simply an interpretation of the Hellenistic concept of the twelfth-parts (in modern parlance, 12th and 13th harmonics), with some treatment of antiscia. Shortly before the event, however, it morphed into an in-depth, programmatic exposition of Hellenistic astrology as applied Platonic metaphysics.

All of the attendees regarded this event as a landmark in Schmidt’s ongoing restoration of Hellenistic astrology. So much indeed was brought out at that March intensive that it took several more working meetings with attendees, both separately and together, with a lot of thinking between times over five months, to bring the unfolding ideas to some completion in this finished product.

The centerpiece of this intensive is still the meaning of the twelfth-parts and antiscia, and Schmidt does in fact do a thorough job of interpreting the three different algorithms for calculating twelfth-parts, and he does present a new way of conceptualizing antiscia. Auditors of this intensive will see how the Hellenistic astrologers regarded such hidden information in the natal chart as pointing to the manifestation of deity in the human soul and in the world around us.

But, by making full use of the Platonic notion of the image and its original, Schmidt manages to extend the scope of the intensive to include other Hellenistic concepts such as the mask/persona of a planet, and retrogradation in planetary configuration (a subject left unaddressed in his December intensive on Planetary Configuration).

Along the way, Schmidt addresses the employment of ideal numerical values in Hellenistic astrology, such as the 15-portion (“degree”) interval of heliacal rising and setting, and the minor periods of the planets as the “numbers of time”. He also has a short foray into the relation between the tropical and sidereal zodiacs, all of this approached from a Platonic perspective.

In a more speculative vein, the Platonic understanding of memory and recollection is invoked to give an astrological motivation for the use of transits and secondary progressions in astrology.

One of the most interesting outcomes of the Platonic approach to these issues is how it brings out the uniqueness of each of the seven traditional planets in a way that is consistent with their recorded significations, even though these deeper meanings may not have been explicitly stated in the Hellenistic sources.

The intensive also includes an attack on the problem of how the planets with their multiple significations might be used in topical inquiries without having to resort to local determination, and concludes with Schmidt’s first systematic approach to the problem of “Fate” versus “Free Will” in Hellenistic astrology, here basing himself on Middle Platonic formulations.

Those purchasing this intensive should not expect concrete delineations of all these concepts just yet. What Schmidt is doing is laying the groundwork upon which secure delineation principles may be developed. As he has said more than once, we cannot delineate a chart factor until we know exactly what we are looking at in the chart. Delineation is the theme that he took up in his April intensive, which still requires editing and some finishing touches.

If you have liked Schmidt’s approach in the past in his two earlier intensives, or in the first volume of translation in the new TARES series, you will love this intensive.

This is the most important intensive Schmidt has done to date.

Regular Price:   $259 + s&h

TARES Subscribers:   $199 + s&h

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