The syntax of the horoscope emerges from combining and re-combining 36 First Principles. The axiom, ‘All unity is plural’, is graphically depicted (above) by the artist’s abstract rendering of the number 36. Introducing the subject of Decanates (a topic also identified with the number 36) we connect the Elements and the Signs of the Zodiac. The Fire Element is a theme of this post.
Decanates are important for two reasons: they share 36 as a common numerical value with First Principles, for one; and two, First Principles and Decanates, taken together, yield a subtle and powerful complexity to the tableau of the horoscope as language.
Decanates, for example, are fundamental to understanding the relationship between the Signs and the Elements–Fire, Earth, Air and Water. We will soon learn how each Fire Sign (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius) has (3) identities or Decanates. The importance of the number 36, held in common by Decanates and First Principles, invites more explanation.
Is the bigger point the commonality of a number shared by two distinct concepts? Or, the number 36 itself? Answer: the number held in common is the bigger point.
Shared numerological associations inter-connect symbols, often, when no apparent connection is suspected. This is why, as connections reach the level of waking awareness, we respond with “aha!” or “wow!”. “Aha” is a form of remembrance; it is not simply a delight of the Mind. “Aha” links inner deep-Self with the outer world of personality.
Forgetfulness is a feature of waking experience–we do not recall at a waking level, for example, our experience in the womb. Learning to “see” connections between and among symbolic forms is about remembering.
Non-waking awareness, on the other hand, remains fully congnizant of its connection with deep-Self. “Wow!” takes place when waking meets non-waking–when the Sun meets the Moon. Numerological associations can be facilitating.
The Numerology of English v Hebrew
English relies upon a symbol system apart from its alphabet of letters to convey numerical ideas; this number system is named Hindu-Arabic. The Hindu-Arabic system of numbers was developed in India (6-7th century CE) and introduced to Europe by Arab merchants (12th century CE)—thus its name.
In Hebrew, letters used to form words also represent numbers. Each Hebrew letter has a numerical identity. Or, said differently, every number in Hebrew can be expressed as a letter or a combination of letters. The number (1), for example, is expressed as the Hebrew letter Aleph:
The parallel in English would require the letter “A” = 1. Instead, English speakers use the following convention: 1 = 1 “A” = A
Noticing how different words occasionally share a number value in common–medieval Kabbalists were led to develop the Gematria –a discipline devoted to studying word-number associations and their interpretation.
- “Gematria or gimatria (Hebrew: גימטריה, gēmaṭriyā) is a system of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase, in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other” Source: https://www.gematrix.org/gematria.php
- The following horoscope, expressed in Hebrew, is replete with First Principle symbols as words that also convey Hebraic numbers!
The Hebrew letters Chet and Yod spell “Chai”. Chai is the Hebrew word for “Life”. In English Chai is pronounced as an aspirated “hi”.
Chet = 10 + Yod = 8 = Chai = 18.
The number 18 is associated with “Life” and, thereby, a very lucky number. Gift giving in multiples of 18 are routinely celebrated by Jewish families. 36 is just such a number. 36 = Life x 2!
The study of First Principles and Decanates share a hidden preciousness linking them at a level resonant with the deep-Self. Each draws upon Life as inspiration–and in their exuberance, re-doubles the connection as 2 x 18~!
(4) Elements of Universe are: Fire, Water, Earth, Air.
(12) Signs comprise the Zodiac.
Each Element is identified with (3) Signs.
Example: Fire Element = Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.
The horoscope is represented by a circle comprised of (12) houses each of which spans 30 degrees along its circumference.
The terms decan and decade are derivatives of Latin for “10”. In the horoscope “decan” refers to (3) equal subdivisions of (10) degrees each. Each (10) degrees = 1 decan.
A Sign is comprised of (3) decans or decanates.
The Sun transits each Sign for approximately 30 days. Aries is a Fire sign.
The traditional dates in the Gregorian calendar reserved for Aries are March 21 to April 20. The three subdivisions of Aries are:
Decanate 1 = March 21-30 Aries: Aries
Decanate 2 = April 1-10 Aries: Leo
Decanate 3 = April 11-20 Aries: Sagittarius
Decanates represent (3) different expressions of Aries Fire experience.
(March 21-30) A person born in the first ten degrees of Aries will express its Fire identity most like Aries. The focus on action, competition and leading is common to all Aries Decanates—but in Decanate 1 it is the most iconic expression of Aries Fire.
(April 1-10) A person born in the second ten degrees of Aries will represent the traits of Aries as influenced by the next Fire sign in the cycle, Leo! In the second Aries Fire Decanate the proclivity for action and accomplishment becomes radiant and idealistic thanks to the temperament of Leo Fire.
(April 11-20) A person born in the third ten degrees of Aries will represent the traits of Aries as influenced by Sagittarius (the fire sign following Leo). In the third Aries Fire Decanate the proclivity for action and accomplishment becomes expansive–generous in tone and theme thanks to the influence of Sagittarius Fire.
The famous Gertrude Stein lyric, “a rose is a rose is a rose” was not intended to describe the Decanates of an astrological sign. The Decanate permits (3) distinct aspects of the Fiery nature of Aries to break through while remaining faithfully, and recognizably, Aries. Early, mid and late Aries Sun signs reveal their unique Fire influences—Impuslive, Idealistic, Generous—Aries all.
Study the next two illustrations for Fire signs Leo and Sagittarius and determine if you can “see” the symmetry of the Decanates at work.
This post about Decanates is somewhat technical. Before we consider the remaining Elements of Earth, Air and Water, it will pay dividends to spend time with a notepad and pencil making lists of the the Decanates associated with the Element of Fire.
The chart following illustrates how the concept of the Decanate applies to Earth, Air and Water Elements. Practice and reflection make improvement.
Until next time, we bid you peace, Frater A
Should you have time to consider a musical reflection to accompany this post, we refer you to Lola Beltrán’s performance of “La Mano de Dios” —Canta 16 Éxitos de José Alfredo Jiménez. Post No. 6 is a working post. La Mano de Dios—a good tempo for work that is transformational, and thereby, personal and important!
A Reference of symbols, charts and definitions important to Western Mystery Tradition studies is listed as Post No. 900. Enter “900” in the Search box to be directed to this location.
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