Our NCGR Group Insights
This Summer, three more degree systems were introduced to our group. They are by David & Gina Cochrane, Mohan Koparkar, and Henry J. Gordon. This brings our total of degree systems assessed to date up to 23. There are still more than 3 systems on hand that we have not yet gotten to and several others that we are still looking for. I (Robin) made a trip to West Virginia in July to attend and lecture at Project Hindsights’ 2nd PHASE Conclave conference. This has got to be one of the most significant astrology conferences held in the world today. It is put together by Rob Schmidt, Ellen Black, and Rob Hand. It is about the roots of western astrology: Greek, Latin, Arabic, and even Hindu. It has sprung up from an astrologically- aware translation of original astrological texts. In an attempt to rediscover our astrological roots the need has arisen to replace or redo the academically accepted biased translations. What started out as a new wave in astrology will, in my opinion, turn out to be a Tsunami! Cowabunga dudes! Get ready to relearn what you thought you already knew.
In any case, this ancient material is filled with references to degrees and their significance. In fact, much of ancient interpretation was based on the heavenly meaning within the degrees. We have worked specifically with Paulus Alexandrinus and his Monomoiria (degree rulerships) and his Faces of the Zoidion (decan rulerships). When we added the monomoiria as coming from a Face in the Heavens, it really became useful and easy to relate to.
One of the most exciting factors of this conference is that the lecturers are well informed and the attendees are exceptionally intelligent, specialist in their fields, and they represent a vast array of special perspectives. The discussions and debates are intense. This summer Rob Schmidt presented an exceptional insight into various aspects of ancient Greek Astrology, while Rob Hand concentrated on Renaissance astrology. There was a daily forum consisting of Hindu astrologers, the two Robs and others about the similarities and distinctions that arose between early European systems and the Hindu techniques. This conference was professionally taped. EVERY SERIOUS ASTROLOGER , HISTORIAN, AND MYTHOLOGIST WOULD BE WISE TO OBTAIN THE TAPES FROM THIS CONFERENCE.
If astrological universities or colleges ever get established, this material will have to be part of their curriculum. It corrects many misconceptions in history and in the development of literacy in the western world. This annual conference will be a permanent item on my summer schedule as long as it lasts. It was a privilege to be there. Thank-you Rob Hand, Rob Schmidt, and Ellen Black for your great work!
Project hindsight also publish their translations as soon as they are completed. To get this material for yourself, you can subscribe to any or all of three translation tracks: Latin, Greek, and Arabic, with a Hebrew track coming soon. I am a subscriber of all three tracks and I am yet to be disappointed. Every booklet has contained material of relevance to my astrological studies and practice. My biggest problem is finding enough hours to keep up with the flood of good information.
Subscriptions to Project Hindsight can be made by calling (304) 258-5873, or writing to : Project Hindsight, P.O. Box 002, Berkeley Springs, WV. 25411.
David and Gina Cochrane’s degree system entitled “New Foundations for Astrology” was published by Astrological Counselling and Research, Route 2, Box 44B, Alachua, FL. 32615, in 1977. We studied these interpretations and were generally positive about the results. One of the things that David and Gina did was to explain their system of degree meaning development. They gave graphs and explanations. They presented basic meanings they attributed to each planet, sign and house. Then they explained the degree divisions. They refered to Hindu source material, and sidereal techniques. They explained the degree systems they referred to and studied.
The basic system is based on subdivisions of the zodiac. They use Decans, Navamsas, Dwadasamsas, Saptasamsas, Tradamsas and some Quintamsas. Navamsas divide each sign of the Zodiac into twelves divisions of 2.5 degrees: one for each sign. The first Dwad in each sign is the same as the sign it is in. Tradamsas divide each sign into thirty divisions: each degree is given a sign association. Masculine signs (fire & air) start their sequence count with Aries. Feminine signs (earth & water) start their degree count with Libra. Each degree is given a sign association in order starting with Aries or Libra. (Aries is 1°, Taurus is 2°, Gemini is 3°,…..etc…). Saptamsas divide the Zodiac by 7ths and Quintamsas divide the circle by 5ths.
Cochranes’ degree interpretations are simple and not always applicable but by giving you the signs for several subsystems he allows you to make associations and interpretations yourself. We found this to be very useful.
Mohan Koparkar’s “Degrees of the Zodiac Magnified”, was self-published in 1976, by Mohan Enterprises, P.O. Bax 8334, Rochester, NY. 14618. His book attributes various house meanings to each degree. It seems like he is using some kind of house derivative system. Perhaps he puts the degree as if it is on the Ascendant and then reads the so-formed eaqual house cusps into that degree meaning. We found Koparkar’s interpretations to be rather repetitive and narrow in scope. It was difficult to accept his advice concerning each degree because it was restrictive and too mundane. To his credit he did follow his system throughout. Unfortunately it was not received well by those of us who worked with it.
Henry J. Gordon’s Rectification of Uncertain Birth Hours” was first published in 1934. It was reworked with many words added, and republished in 1972 by Vantage Press. The author in his introduction says that he ran across a manuscript that contained these degree meanings, while he travelled through Europe in 1920. He re-translated the manuscript and applied them to the Midheaven degrees and then to the Ascendant degrees. This book is the results of the retranslation. Unfortunately he does not mention from what language or author he translated from. His keywords and some meanings seem to be already familiar to our group members, but we have not yet decided which system or systems he was copying from. At first glance there might be some use of the La Volsefera degree symbols that Sepharial used. If so he slightly adapted the keyword to something similar. He also gives astrological conditions for the manifestation of the degree meanings. These conditions (interpretations) are very similar to the manner in which Charles Carter wrote. In any case Gordon does not claim originality. He simply has adapted his system to apply to the MC and the Asc. His comments do get you thinking about your entire chart to confirm the degree meaning. For this he deserves applause. As far as our judgment as to his accuracy, the verdict is still out.
A hearty thanks goes out to Mark Johnson of San Diego, California. Martin called me to talk about the works of Maurice Wemyss, who he was emphatically fond of. I too hold him in high regard. Wemyss’ major 5 volume work on the degrees entitled “The Wheel of Life, or Scientific Astrology” is an extensive compilation on degrees of the Zodiac, however, it has many lists and references compiled by astrological concern listed alphabetically rather than by degrees. This has delayed us from studying his works. Mark sent us a copy of a degree sorted organization of Wemyss’ work. It is greatly appreciated and makes it much easier to approach now. There will be more about Wemyss in our next issue.
We welcome any and all feedback. Please send in your comments and questions. If you would like to participate, you can send in your own particular experiences of any degree symbol. If you know of any degree systems that we have not used, please let us know.