MONOMOIRIA: ESSENTIAL DIGNITY BY DEGREE
Author: EMA KURENT, DFAstrolS, QHP, CMA
monomoiria: This is the apportioning of individual degrees to each of the planets starting with either the sign ruler and continuing in descending Chaldean order, or the triplicity / trigon lord, and varying with sect.*
(The above definition is from the list of terms commonly found in the translations of ancient astrological texts by Robert Schmidt and Robert Hand.)
TABLE OF MONOMOIRIA
Much has been written on the subject of the 360 zodiacal degrees, the most widely known being the so-called Sabian symbols. I have never seriously researched them, nor have I researched any other method - except MONOMOIRIA which is the topic of this article. I don´t know of any contemporary astrologer who might have published anything on the subject of monomoiria, except the above mentioned translators of ancient texts.
This article is actually an essay which I wrote several years ago as part of my diploma work at the Qualifying Practitioner´s Diploma Course led by Olivia Barclay. Olivia herself was my tutor and she returned my writing with a short note saying: »You ought to get this published.« I never did - until this day. Therefore I dedicate this article to Olivia´s memory (she passed away in 2001).
There is evidence (however small) that ancient astrologers employed monomoiria as one of the essential dignities of the planets. PROJECT HINDSIGHT publications reveal that Greek astrologers used them, notably Paulus Alexandrinus (see his Introductory Matters, chapters 5 and 32, published by The Golden Hind Press) and Vettius Valens (see PROJECT HINDSIGHT publications and Greek Horoscopes by O. Neugebauer and H. B. Van Hoesen, published by The American Philosophical Society, 1987). According to Robert Schmidt and Robert Hand (Companion to the Greek Track, p. 39) there is also a text describing the system in Liber Hermetis, but it is in a very bad condition and has (at least until the time this booklet was published) not yet been wholly restored.
The word monomoiria comes from the Greek mono (single) and moira (degree). Technically, monomoiria is the allotment of individual degrees of the zodiac to different planets. There are two systems: in the system used by Vettius Valens, the first degree of each sign is ruled by the sign ruler while the other planets ie. »degree rulers« follow in the descending Chaldean order. Aries and Scorpio, for example, are Mars-ruled, therefore the first degrees of these signs are ruled by Mars, the second by the Sun, the third by Venus etc. Another example: Saggitarius and Pisces are Jupiter-ruled, therefore the first degrees of these signs are ruled by Jupiter, the second by Mars, the third by the Sun etc. The second system (the »trigonal type«) is based on triplicity rulers and varies according to day and night.
Both systems are described by Paulus. I have investigated the first system which in general seems less complicated, more logical and easier to remember - and, of course, very effective! There seems to be a reason to believe that the first system was more popular, beacuse Paulus describes it in the beginning of his treatise (Section 5), which follows chapters on zoidia (signs), boundaries (terms) and faces (decans), whereas the »trigonal type« is only mentioned briefly at the end of his book (Chapter 32). Besides, the first system was obviously used by one of the main authorities from the Greek period, Vettius Valens. It must be said, though, that in the collection of his horoscopes, published in Greek Horoscopes, Valens makes use of this concept only in one case, namely in horoscope No. L497 where he states that Mars is in the monomoiria of the Moon.
From what we know about the work of Valens and other Greek astrologers, it nevertheless seems that practical use of monomoiria was more an exception than a rule. The question arises: did they regard them so insignificant as not to be worthy of much consideration? Perhaps, but my guess is that their computations of planetary positions were rarely so exact as to allow for the amount of precision which is needed here. Even if they were not aware of the fact, the results they got with the use of monomoiria might (just might, I said) have been disappointing, so why persist with them? They dropped them, and later astrologers have never cared to pick them up again.
I dare say that the time has come when we should evaluate these »tiny« essential dignities anew. We might come to a discovery that they are not so tiny at all!
My hitherto research into the subject has made me come to the following conclusions:
1. In nativities, the house (or houses) ruled by the planet which by monomoiria disposes of the majority of the planets (or at least of three of them), is powerfully accentuated.
For example, four of the ill-famed Nazi leader Adolf Hitler´s natal planets (Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars) are in a Moon degree, and the Moon (being herself positioned in the dominating, politically minded Capricorn) rules his 9th house of expansion and foreign affairs, while four (Saturn, Uranus, Pluto and ascendant) are in a Mars degree, with that planet ruling (and being placed in) his 7th house of war. The Sun, ruler of his 10th house of status and accomplishment, is placed in the 7th in a Venus degree, with Venus co-ruling (and being placed in) his 7th house. The »cardinality« of his horoscope is thereby powerfully accentuated. It is also interesting that his 10th house Saturn is in a Mars degree (Mars being the natural ruler of war), while MC itself is in a Saturn degree.
Michael Jackson, the world-famous rock star, has four planets (Sun, Moon, Jupiter and Neptune) in a Venus degree, with this traditional ruler of music (and femininity!) ruling his 5th house of creativity and being placed in the stage-oriented Leo. (Mind you that Venus also rules his 12th house of secrecy, sorrow and isolation.) It is also worth mentioning that his Venus is in a mutual reception by degree with his 10th house Moon (musical career).
John Lennon, the legendary Beattle, has no less than five planets (Moon, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune) in a Sun degree, with this planet also ruling his 5th house of creativity. The Sun, Mars and MC are all in a Moon degree, with this planet ruling his cardinal 4th house and being placed in his 10th. The pattern is accentuated by the Sun´s mutual reception by degree with his 10th house Moon (as in the case of M. Jackson).
Prince, yet another charismatic rock star, has five planets (Moon, Mercury, Mars, Saturn and the north node) in a Mars degree, with Mars ruling his 1st and 5th houses (»me and the stage«), while no less than seven planets and angles (Venus, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, ascendant and MC) are placed in the artistic Venus degree, with Venus ruling the people-oriented 7th and 11th houses. You will notice that both Venus and Mars are in their own degrees which gives him much sex appeal.
The former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin has the Sun, Venus, Jupiter, Pluto and ascendant (5 in all) in a Venus degree. He is not an artist (at least not by profession), but this planet rules his 4th house (love for the native country?), while three planets (Mercury, Saturn and Neptune) are in a Sun degree, with the Sun ruling his 1st house of personal power and being placed in the 7th. It is interesting to note that his 10th house Uranus is in a Saturn degree (very typical for a politician, by the way), with Saturn ruling his 7th house of war (as with Hitler). Although striving for peace, Yeltsin couldn´t have escaped war!
A similar pattern can be found in the chart of another well known politician, the ex-German leader Helmut Kohl, known for his striving to unite both Germanies, which has the majority of planets (Moon, Uranus, Neptune and ascendant) in a Moon degree, with the Moon also ruling his »national« 4th house, while 3 planets (the all-important Sun, Venus and Mars) are in a Saturn degree, with this planet ruling his 10th house and being placed there, in his own sign of Capricorn and in a Venus degree (showing his policy of peace, harmony and unity), with this planet ruling his 7th house.
Margaret Thatcher, the well known ex British leader, has four planets (Mercury, Mars, Neptune and Pluton) in a Moon degree and three (Moon, Venus and the north node) in a Sun degree, with both planets ruling her 9th house of international affairs and also publications. (She became famous for her successful war at the Falkland Islands, and she has written a bestseller.) Sun, Uranus and MC are all in a Mars degree, with Mars ruling her 1st house (personal power). Jupiter, ruling her 4th house of native country, is in a Saturn degree and sign, with this planet being exactly conjunct her ascendant.
Next we have an interesting case of Joseph Mengele, the »villain doctor« of the Nazi war, whose chart shows the majority of planets (Moon, Venus, Mars and Saturn) in a Jupiter degree, with Jupiter ruling his 10th house of career (he was the leading doctor in concentration camps) and being placed in the death sign of Scorpio, conjunct the »saturnian« south node. Jupiter itself is in a Mars degree, therefore Mars and Jupiter are in mutual reception by degree. (Mars is conjunct his 8th house cusp and in square of Saturn.) Interesting are also the monomoiria of his nodes: the south node is in a Saturn, the north node in a Mars degree. Mercury in his 10th (career), Uranus in his 7th (war) as well as MC itself are all in Saturn degrees.
There is another feature in this chart which strikes me as being especially interesting form the »monomoiria« point of view. It is an accepted astrological fact that the 8th house describes the kind of death the native dies, or the circumstances surrounding it. Mengele´s 8th house cusp is in Aquarius, conjunct Mars and square Saturn (Taurus, 11th house), with no other planets in there. He died because of an accident while swimming. Now, swimming is a sporting or leisure activity and therefore a 5th house matter, while water is obviously a »water sign« matter. There are no obvious connections between bots sets of significations (except that Mars in the 8th indicates accidents), but the fact that both Saturn (8th ruler) and Mars (occupant of the 8th) are in a Jupiter degree, with this planet being placed in Scorpio (a water sign) and in the 5th house of pleasurable and sporting activities, throws a different and very revealing light upon the matter!
The chart of Joseph Goebbels, political writer, journalist, publisher and leader of the Nazi propaganda, also shows a powerful Jupiter influence in terms of monomoiria. Jupiter, which by monomoiria disposes of the Sun, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, north node and ascendant (6 in all), is posited in his 3rd house (communication, writing) and rules his 5th (children, creativity), 8th (death) and 9th (publications, foreign matters) houses. At the end of the war this monster made a suicide together with his wife and 6 children! Jupiter itself is in a Venus degree, with this planet ruling his 4th house (home, country) and being placed in a Saturn degree (Saturn rules his 7th house - spouse).
2. The natural rulership of the planet which by monomoiria disposes of at least three planets (or angles), is important in the nativity.
With Hitler, the Moon could mean publicity and »folk«, Venus in Michael Jackson´s chart artistic aspirations and a pronounced femininity (not even one of the planets this side of Saturn orb, or angles in his chart is in the »masculine« Mars degree!), the Sun and Moon in John Lennon´s chart could mean the eternal »soul and spirit« which he seems to personify, Venus and Mars in Prince´s chart have powerful sexual connotations etc.
But the most striking example I have come across is the chart of an Austrian intersexual ski champion Erik/a Schinegger. Born as Erika (female), this human being became a ski champion. In the course of a regular medical examination she was once discovered to have male sexual organs beside female ones. They were hidden in her belly! In 1967 she decided to become Erik (male), had an operation and married a woman. Her Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars (all the sex planets) plus ascendant are ALL in Mercury degrees, with her Sun also in Gemini! Of course we know that Mercury is the traditional »hermaphrodite«!
3. The nature of the planet which rules the monomoiria of a planet occupying (or ruling) a specific house, throws additional light upon the matters of that house.
For example, many politicians have a planet in the 10th in a Saturn degree (to mention just one additional example: Hilary Clinton has Moon in the 10th in Pisces, but in a Saturn degree), artists in a Venus degree, writers in a Mercury degree etc. Without any thorough investigation being made so far, it also seems quite common to find a »male« monomoiria dispozitor in the 5th (or ruling the 5th) giving sons, a »female« one daughters.
4. In a birthchart, the Sun shows the manner in which one expresses his or her vital force. The nature of the Sun´s dispozitor by monomoiria can give some crucial information concerning this.
If the Sun is disposed by the Sun itself, the manner would be proud, paternal, strong, self-assured, "sunny" etc., if by the Moon, sensitive and maternal, if by Venus, charming and pleasant, if by Mercury, intellectual or talkative, if by Jupiter, honest, optimistic and magnanimous, if by Mars, bold, daring, assertive or aggressive, if by Saturn, grave, serious, scientific or perhaps melancholic and even cruel. The 12 charts of murderers (mainly mass and sex murderers: Denke, Haarman, Kuerten, Petiot, Suthcliffe, Swanenbrug, Strack, Speck, Seefeld, de Sade, Weber and White) that I have examined, show the following monomoiria disposition of the Sun: in 5 charts the Sun is placed on a Saturn degree and in 4 charts on a Mars degree, while the Sun in the remaining three charts is placed on a Sun, Jupiter or Moon degree respectively. (But also the Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal has his Sun on a Mars degree, representing a positive agressive drive!)
A cursory examination of the Sun monomoiria in charts of writers suggests that their Sun is placed mainly on a Mercury and sometimes on a Venus or Jupiter degree; with ballet dancers this is Venus, with surgeons Mars, with politicians Jupiter, Mars or Saturn, with mediums the Moon and with scientists Saturn.
A vulcano eruption would certainly come under the rulership of Mars (nowadays Pluto, of course, but here we only count the "old" planets). Out of the 13 "vulcano charts", presented in IHL, 6 (nearly half of them) have the Sun on a Mars degree. The other charts show the Sun on a Jupiter (2), Moon (2), Sun (1), Mercury (1) and Venus (1) degrees.
I have also examined the Sun´s disposition by degree in 114 charts of successful sportsmen. The results are:
The combination of Jupiter nad Mars (the highest scoring planets) could certainly be described as "a successful sportsman", while Venus and Saturn (the lowest scoring planets) are no doubt the planets least associated with sports. It is not surprising that the Moon scores high, because one of the main requirements for a successful sportsman is that he be quick (the moon is the quickest "planet").
I am of course not suggesting that monomoiria are more powerful then the other "lesser" traditional planetary dignities (terms and faces), but my research has persuaded me that they deserve our attention. Perhaps this article will spur someone to do a better, more thorough or let´s say "scientific" research.
All the birthdata mentioned in the text (with the exception of that of Michael Jackson) are taken from Internationales Horoskope Lexikon by H. Taeger, published by Verlag Herman Bauer, 1992:
Michael Jackson: August 29, 1958 at 23:45 LT, 41°35´N, 87°20´W, GMT 4:45.