Alcabitius is the Latinized version of Al-Quabisi, a tenth century Christian Egyptian. He is notable because the house system that bears his name predates him, but he described it in his only extant work “Book of the Introduction to the Craft of Astrology” written in Arabic and Latin and two, he encouraged the scientific aspects of the craft without religious bias.
Janus 5.0 has Alcabitius with semi-arcs; Kepler only uses daily arcs; and they do make different charts. After viewing each, I think the semi-arc method is much better. I will show the differences ala Madame Signoret’s chart. In the beginning of this crazed enterprise, I used Koch and Alcabitius, and while I have been correcting the text over from SabianEarth, I have kept the charts in the same format.
Placidus and Koch are variants of Alcabitius’ s method but instead of a trisection of the quadrant onto the ecliptic and then projecting it onto the equatorial latitude, the latter two use the intersection method. Alas, there is little out there on the two different methods to fully understand the difference other than by observation and then you do not get the underlying nuances because unless you can find the math behind the method, you do not know what you are seeing: it may just be serendipity that something matches or not.
The Porphyry system predates Alcabitius and is named after the discipline of Ptolemy, though Ptolemy is thought to have used the Equal system and like the Alcabitius method is named for a man who did not invent it. We know this because Vettius Valens describes such a system in his works, and I guess it received Porphyry’s name because it would give the method his stamp of approval and validity.
The similarity between Alcabitius and Porphyry is they both divide the hemispheres into three, not four, equal parts, but Alcabitius then uses the right ascension while Porphyry uses the equatorial longitude (the ecliptic). The idea behind triangulation is you have to know at least two of the points to make a mathematical estimate of the third. Since knowledge of the earth’s sphericity was not yet proven, but speculated, that this works at all is rather remarkable.
Charles Burnett and Keiji Yamamoto wrote a book for the Warburg Institute, London, on Al-Qabisi: the Introduction to Astrology published in 2004 that is superb but a lot of the footnotes are in Latin; some in Greek and some even in Arabic. A full fifty pages is the Latin-Arabic glossary.
A more recent tradition, probably written because the Burnett-Yamamoto translation is out of print by Dr. Benjamin Dykes, that runs about $20.00. I have never read it, so I cannot comment. I would recommend inter-library loan, which is how I read the Burnett version, though based on the scarcity of the book, and the ridiculous price, AbeBooks is quoting $350.00, I doubt they will release it beyond their four walls.
In Burnett-Yamamoto’s book, Al-Qabisi says the Tetrabiblos and the Almagest 1 ibid, pp. 5-6 are required reading for an astrologer for they must understand how the earth and the skies interrelate: it is the crux of his science. I cannot disagree there.
Al-Qabisi then gives 4 stages of an astrologer:
- the highest the one makes his own house system, orbs and aspects based on “rational demonstrations and experiments.”
- This is the historical mundane astrologer who understands and can explain the world in which they live.
- The next is the astrologer competent in his skills but does not understand the mathematical pretexts for it.
- This is the genethlialogical (natal) astrologer who investigates how an individual lives within their world.
- The third knows only one technique that they got from their master and no other
- and the fourth relies on his instruments and dutifully recites them.
It is obvious though by all the writers, Al-Qabisi quotes, he was very well read. He cites Abu Masar, Vettius Valens and Dorotheus and their pronouncements on the Tetrabiblos — where they agree, disagree or expand but he himself makes no value judgements on their work because that is something the reader, the working astrologer, must do for themselves. This was the traditional method of teaching and journalism, and why old textbooks are back in style, since currently these institutions have thrown unbiased reporting out the door for political positioning.
On another note, valuable to those who follow Marc Jones’s idea of a high-focused planet, and that is Alcabitius strongly urges the astrologer to discover the most important planet in the chart and work for there. I believe that is where the similarity ends, for Jones always defaults to positional emphasis while Alcabitius uses aspectual. I tend to agree with the latter.
And now Madame Signoret…
Simone Signoret in Porphyry
The Porphyry system is far older than Alcabitius’s and dates from the 3rd century AD. It is named for the Porphyry, the Neo-Platonist philosopher, best known for his works on his mentor Plotinus Marc Jones loved the philosopher and wrote many “lesson sets” on his works.
Porphyry’s method, based on his notes on Ptolemy, was written in his “Introduction to Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos, ” (that I have never read), and uses the 10th House cusp for the midheaven. Therefore, many systems do still.
Kent McClung, an astrologer and author of the Hyperion Symbols, uses the Porphyry, probably because of the Plotinus connection, though to be honest I never asked. He did say how he tried to persuade his mentor and great friend, Marc Jones, to do the same, but Jones would have none of it and stayed with Placidus throughout his career.
As for Ms. Signoret’s chart, the time is from Amazon’s IMBD.com She has no interceptions though the fourth house looks odd, split with a full thirty degrees between Uranus in Pisces and the Sun in Aries. As it is a quincunx to the ninth, where Neptune lies, shows her strong devotion to the Soviet Union and Communism, while The tenth shows how her “Moon” made her receptive to how outsiders and avant-garde politicos thought. Her understanding and portrayal of them would lead to her career success, and since acting is a performing art, the combination the Moon and Jupiter represents the field, and the multitude of characters and people it deals with, well.
Alcabitius (Kepler) Daily Arc & Simone Signoret
This is a great disappointment, as only the cusps changed between the two and Ms. Signoret had no planets lurking near them. We did not even get any interceptions. Obviously, we must move on. Still, Saturn and Jupiter are now in the tenth, highlighting her cultural appeal and also her use of her status to push her Communist philosophy, with the Moon in Libra in the eleventh, for the ardor of her fans.
Venus in the fifth in Taurus, where she is exalted, highlights her beauty and great allure and charm, and it is hard to ignore her presence in any scene she appears in. Of course her size plays into that, but that is all part of the Bull’s majesty. Her fifth house is trine the ninth where we find Neptune in Leo and highlighting her many roles as either mistresses to married men, as in Diabolique, or as outright whores because of her political beliefs that whatever she does is above reproach. An idealistic attitude, but then this is Neptune, and that planet tends to impart both to person and philosophy a rosy glow.
Kamala Harris, who shares this opinion, has Neptune in Scorpio, a different fixed sign and in the sixth thus coming from a different angle: this time making her empathetic to women who work for a living and thus more fiercely protective. It is important to note, that it is not the Neptune that makes either woman sympathetic to prostitution, but it is Neptune that colours their eye when regarding their own sex regarding the circumstances that Neptune evokes.
The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, for example, has Neptune in Sagittarius, and while I do not know her views on prostitution, I can say that with Neptune’s placement there in the third house in her chart, she wrote because while crippled and frail, her spirit would not be kept down and she demanded to be heard.
Alchabitius (Janus & Semi Arc) & Simone Signoret
Eureka! We have a difference, though no interceptions. Still, Signoret has a balanced chart in this layout, though lacking in air, showing how she was rather headstrong, practical and dynamic. Of course this fits her cinematic personality too because as the saying goes “no one acts that well” and having done enough film stars, the old saw is true.
Jupiter and Saturn have moved to the eighth house from the previous Alcabitius daily arc ninth and here depict her hard work and persistency in carrying out her dreams. Perhaps here is it also showing her desire to topple the capitalism of France and all of Europe, in the French Communard spirit.
Venus previously square it’s essential house of the second is now sextile, suggesting friends and reputation helped her career. Now conjunct Mars Venus highlights her great sex appeal.
Mercury and Uranus, for her personal resources, are in the second but square their own essential ruler and show how she was a woman who smoked too much. Unfortunately, that led to her poor health and premature death from a heart attack at 61.
Uranus is opposite Jupiter, highlighting both her performances and own personality, but also Montand and going to Moscow to visit the Premier to give him a piece of their mind. Amazing but true, and while this was all rather avant garde and shocking for the time, now does not surprise much.
Koch and Simone Signoret
We have a difference here as well, and the similiarities between Koch and Alcabitius semi-arc suggests Koch used the semi-arc method. Another thing I had been expecting was interceptions, because they typically come for German births, and Signoret, her stage name, was born in Wiesbaden. Here with Koch, her third and ninth houses have interceptions and so Jupiter and Saturn (also her Line of Motivation) hide in Virgo still showing us her hard work ethic and dedication to her craft, but as they are latent making it appear natural.
Mercury and Uranus hide in Pisces too, perhaps suggesting that she preferred to get success on her own terms but also why she was banned from coming to America and thus Hollywood because of Communist viewpoints that got on the U.S. State Department “do not enter list.”
**Frankly, I missed this as I could not find any real for this duo in the ninth, much less intercepted, M. K. Saladin pointed that one out., which I used in the pull-quote above.
Her being listed there is a bit of a misnomer because it was her father who was Polish Jew, not her mother, much like Roman Polanski. Since Jews trace their lineage through the female line, as explained in this article from the Jewish Telegraph Archive, she could not have a Jewish ceremony at the funeral, nor would the family sit Shiva afterwards.
As a reward, watch Diabolique and know why she is such a brilliant actress. Her many charts surveyed are below in one pdf package. Vera Clouzot, the director’s wife, is also a treat. Frankly, I think she steals the show.
- 1ibid, pp. 5-6