so I am trying to wrap my head around minor aspects, harmonic aspects and harmonic charts. They are all interconnected, but since the idea in western astrology is rather new, it's hard to come by sources.
I am not hear to convince you of their usefulness, I am not even convinced myself yet, but sometimes people ask questions about harmonics and I have put time into a bit of research, so i thought i do a little compiling it together. If you have insight/sources or ideas yourself, feel free to add them in the comments, we are all students, right? :) And of cause discussion. This is a giant wall of text, but i think it's worthy of that.
For the start on minor aspects i recommend looking into Johannes Kepler - The introduction minor aspects quintile, biquintile and sesquiquadrate: http://www.skyscript.co.uk/kepler.html
As you can read, the whole idea of harmonics is based on harmonics in music-theory. The idea that there are subtle overtones in the chart, that are not covered by ptolemic/major aspects is an exciting one in my opininon and it's not new. The idea of harmonic charts is one that is prevelant in vedic astrology for a very long time.
But what is a harmonic chart and what is the connection to the the harmonic aspects? Now I will add an explanation, which i put together from various sources, that i find easiest to understand and the explanation covered in the article that i have translated later is a really hard to understand one in my opinion. Computing a Harmonic Chart
The first thing you need to compute a harmonic chart is the question: What harmonic do i want to compute. There is an arbitrary number of them, but the challenge is in interpreting them. Let's take the fifth harmonic that highlights the quintile and the biquintile.
Assume you have a a sun at 18° aries and a mars at 0° cancer. They are 72° apart - a quintile. To compute the fifth harmonic takes three steps:
- Compute the absolute degree of a placement, starting at 0° aries. In our example the sun is at 18° absolute, the mars is at 90° absolute - Remember how each sign covers exactly 30°.
- Now you mutliply the placement by the order of the harmonic. Every harmonic has a number n, therefore called the nth harmonic - the order is this n. So for our example n equals 5. We take the absolute degree of the sun 18° and multiply it by five. 18° x 5 = 90°. And for the mars: 90° x 5 = 450°.
- The last step is to project the absolute degrees we now have back on the chartwheel, which is 360°, no more no less. To do this, we divide our absolute degree in integer division by 360 and take the remainder as the result in our harmonic chart. (If you have difficulty here - because i explained it badly - just substract 360 until you get a number smaller than 360 - I use the modulo [%] as an operator for this operation). So our sun is in 90° % 360 = 90° and our mars is in 450° % 360 = 90°.
In table format:
|Placement ||Step 1 ||Step 2 ||Step 3 |
|Sun ||18° ||90° ||90° |
|Mars ||90° ||450° ||90° |
You follow up with this for all placements and you get the fifth harmonic chart. Changing the multiplier changes the harmonic. Thats all there is to the computation.
Now what you see is that the quintile turns into a conjunction in the fifth harmonic. That is the main use of harmonic charts, highlighting aspects. Interpretation of signs and houses in harmonic charts is something that is not recommended by most sources. If you think a bit about what we just did, you can see why.
So basically we have constructed a lense through which we can see the chart from a different perspective.
It is obvious that the first harmonic is our birth-chart, but what about the rest? Like I said in principle it is possible to compute arbitrary harmonics, which could allow to understand aspects that are not exact in the chart on a deeper level. This is primarily gated by a) the exact birthtime - the higher the harmonic order, the bigger is the error induced by an incorrect birthtime, as the error in the orb gets multiplied by the order of the harmonic. b) because of the question of interpretation of the harmonic - we will get to that.
In the fifith harmonic it is not just quintiles you see as conjunct, it's also conjunctions themselves as conjunct. Another thing is that it's not only the conjunctions in the harmonic chart that become relevant, but also oppositions, squares, trines and sextiles. If you have understood the core quality of those, you can start your interpretation of the harmonic chart. Interpretation
Wait. No you can't, because now comes the most important question: What am I actually looking at? What is the core quality of the harmonic?
So a starting point could be this document: http://www.astrosoftware.com/harmonicfirst32.pdf
A lot of other sources, that do not reference vedic astrology, quote the same sources as this document, just without actually referencing. Yeah thats plagiarizing, but whatever, we are not in the academic world, right... The problem is to find out where a source got it's knowlegde, if everyone is just quoting the same hack, who can tell then?
Which brings us to a source that i think is interesting but gated by language barrier. It's this site: http://www.astrologiedhs.de/html/harmonics.html
Now the first part covers basically this link verbatim (and references it right at the top): http://www.astro.com/astrologie/in_harmon_g.htm?lang=e
The second part is a compilation of Hans-Jörg Walters research on harmonics. Born 1925 in Zurich - Switzerland. A chemist and astrologist, who did publish in german language and put quite some research into harmonics, with focus in prime-numbered harmonics. Prime numbered harmonics are specifically interesting, because they do not appear in some form in other harmonics and are therefore alone harder to decode. The most prominent prime harmonic aspect is the Quintile propably.
Now Herr Walter has put really quite some time into the research of those harmonics and had finally published a book - as far as i am aware only in german - the "Divina Commedia Astrologia" about exactly this subject. The following translated text is based on the book.
Beware that I am not a professional translator, i tried to do it as verbatim as possible, while trying to make it readable, without loosing to much of it's meaning in the process. It's always a bit of a balancing act. TRANSLATION Bernhard Rindgen: About Harmonics 1. The technique of harmonics
Harmonics have been introduced to the german speaking community in the 1992 published book "Die Feinanalyse des Horoskops" (The finer analysis of the horoscope-chart), by Michael Harding and Charles Harvey. In the english language John M. Addey has first introduced the harmonic idea with his 1976 published "Harmonics in Astrology".
I want to ask and answer two interrelated questions here: What are harmonics in the technical sense and what dimensions psychologically do they open? Only if they actually unlock a new dimension to interpret the horoscope and understand the human soul, does it make sense to use them - they also have to prevail in astrological practice on the basis of assured interpretation and decoding approaches for individual harmonics. Harding and Harvey have tried to do the latter in their aforementioned book, but Hans-Jörg Walter has gone far beyond in his multiple decade spanning research, that he summarized 1999 in his "Divina Commedia Astrologica" after he published first results with the 19th and 29th harmonic in the "Meridian" in 1987.
Hans-Jörg Walter writes: "The harmnonic chart is not a replacement of the natal chart, it is no alternative to the natal chart. It is merely the natal chart itself... represented in such a way that certain aspects are easier to spot." Are harmonic charts therefore "nothing but" new aspects?
The normal natal chart is the "H 1": A circle divided by the twelve signs, or 360° respectively and there the factors are stringed together and make up in this matrix the aspects and midpoints. The "H3" is: the same circle divided by three and each of those three parts is a new complete circle with twelve signs/360° each; now those three parts are "overlayed with one another". A best illustration to this would be an example: In "H 1" - the natal chart - The sun is on 10° Aries and the mercury is 20° apart at 0° degree Taurus. In H 3 the sun now is in 0° Taurus, Mercury to 0° Cancer. Both now create a sextile - an aspect they could never have in the H 1! Every 20° aspect in the H 1 now becomes a sextile in the H 3, therefore the harmonics make up a "new found" group of aspects - and yet they are more. Because in the natal chart 20° is not an aspect and can not be interpreted, only in H 3 the aspect can be intepreted since it "transforms" into a sextile. The idea of harmonics therefore does not "flood" the natal chart with a number of undifferentiable new aspects, which are now supposed to become a meaning, but add a new dimension and with this background new differences of angles (translators note: difference between placements - so aspects
) get an astrological significance, since they have a psychological one. Of cause they are "hidden" in the natal chart, they highlight what the midpoint-idea already implies: Anything is connected with everything - in the myriad of harmonics eventually all planets get in aspect to one another, under the colour of the new harmonic. (translators note: i prefer to think of it as lense and not colour...
) The harmonic idea therefore creates a complete, a hollistic view of the natal chart, the whole, but extremly differentiated.
A counter-argument to harmonics is: They are mathematical constructs and for that alone can be dismissed. This argument ignores that the zodiac itself, who every astrologer works with is nothing but a mathematical construct, without relationship to the cosmological zodiac of star-formations, yet the zodiac proves relialbe every day, because the underlying math is a "math of the soul". Aspects and midpoints to are nothing but "mathematical constructs". If it is not offensive in physics - why should it be irritating in astrology.
Aspect-relationships in the H 1 change in another harmonic. Assuming the H 1 Venus is in 10° Taurus, she now creates a semi-sextile aspect to H-1-Sun in 10° Aries. In H 3 the Venus is in 0° Leo, whereas the Sun is in 0° Taurus, creating a square. The relationship now changes character in H 3 compared to H 1, but this relationship is only different in context of the "new dimension of H 3".
The three, through division of the H-1-circle, created zodiacs are to be "overlayed", they can be imagined as connected by a compressed spiral: One can imagine the zodiac to be cut up at 0° Aries and curled three times and those three curles are in perfect concordance; 0° Aries, 0° Leo and 0° Saggitarius are perfectly "on top of each other" - as are 22° Gemini, 22° Libra and 22° Aquarius by the way. In different harmonics of cause different degrees are "overlayed" of cause.
The tradition of indian astrology consider mainly the 9th harmonic, which it calls "Navamsa". A zodiac in H 9 encompasses a width of 40° in the H 1 (360°/9 = 40°), the nine points of Aries are : 0° Aries, 10° Taurus, 20° Gemini, 0° Leo and so on. Inside this mini-zodiac each sign only has one ninth of the original size in H 1, it is only of size 3°20'. Here already it becomes clear that the exactness of position is of utmost importance! Is for example the sun only exact to the degree (known birthday, with unknown birthtime), then aspects in H 1 can be recognized and interpreted - in H 9 the imprecission is nine times as large, that means such a sun would be impossible to place more exact than with an error of ± 41/2°. The moon is even more extreme, even more so in even higher harmonics. Therefore the exact birthtime and exact software is immiment to the harmonical interpretation.
What is possible with three and nine is in principle possible with any number. The zodiac can be divided by nineteen, the resulting mini-zodiacs are 360/19 = 18,95° in size and an aspectless uninterpretable distance of 19°, 38° or 1701/2° in the natal chart becomes a conjunction of highlighted importance in H 19. Therefore unaspected planets in H 1 can become aspect-figures, which allows a completely new interpretation, interpretation in the colour of the harmonic - which is yet to be discovered.
There is the question if it is useful to look at every single division of the zodiac and further, if there are affinities between different harmonics - "families" of sort, whereby the number of harmonics would be reduced due to "kinship".
Due to their character of being a root - prime numbers, e.g. 19 and 29 - had catched Hans-Jörg Walters' attention. If every harmonic chart opens up a new dimension, then it is most likely for prime-numbered harmonics to open up a completely new dimension of depth-psychological importance, which woul be hard, or impossible to grasp by just looking at the H 1. Each prime is an "original number" and can only be related to it's multiples. The H 19, only with the H38, H 57 and so on. Therefore mathematically the H 13 and the H 19 can not be brought together, like the H 3 and H 9, and therefore also not psychologically. (Theoretically this could be done by multiplication, so for H 13 and H 19 the H 247, but such a high harmonic is practically without meaning. Walter regards the H 181 as a "chaotic boundary" of exponential errors after which there is no reliable basis to work with astrologically). The archetypical dimension of H 13 can be regarded as completely different from that of H 19. Both harmonics - all harmonics - have the H 1 in common, the "Sun-harmonic", the natal chart, because the one is the divisor of all numbers. The sun truly is the center of all existence/being.
The correlation between 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th and so on, is obvious a "trigonal-family". The 4th, 8th and 12th create a "quadratic-family". Therefore the H 12 has synthetic character, which brings together the trigonal and quadratic "lines". In a mathematical sense it is therefore easy to create "families", but does it make psychological and astrologocal sense to do so? Here only research can help in finding the answer.
With "interpretation of harmonics" is to be understood in harmonics-astrology: First and foremost, recognizing if a harmonic is strong or weak, if the matrix of mini-zodiacs have strong and clear aspect-patterns, or not - and secondly what the underlying theme, the specific coding, of the harmonic is. If i can recognize significant aspect-patterns and midpoint constellations in a specific harmonic, then it does not mean that i as an astrologist have gained a deeper insight or access into the natives subconsciousness, to the underlying motives of the soul of the native - because i have recognized the importance of the harmonic in the life of the native - but i am still missing the underlying specific code of the harmonic. Therefore i can not yet continue, i can see the mathematical significance, but can't "read it psychologically", which is the method of astrology overall.
Because the depth-psychological importance of individual harmonics is not common knowledge of astrologists, this must be the true reason for the continuing ingorance towards harmonic charts by astrologers in theory and practice. 2. The first 12 harmonics
Walter correlates the planets in useful order to the known aspects. The base idea is that there exists an underlying planetary principle, e.g. Venus has a double-character - like the light has both wave and particle properties, as the physicists assure us. The planet Venus is therefore the "particle aspect of the principle venus", the trine-aspect is the "wave character". In the relation of "particle" (planet) to "wave" (aspect), Walter was influenced by the heliocentric distances of the "particles". translators note: i skipped the next part and compiled it as a table - i decided to use the names of the link, but i've never heard e.g do-decile, 30° is semi-sextile and 150° is inconjunct/quincunx:
|Harmonic [H] ||Planet [Particle] ||Aspect-Family [Wave] |
|1 ||Sun ||Conjunction (0°) |
|2 ||Mercury ||Opposition (180°) |
|3 ||Venus ||Trine (120°) |
|4 ||Moon ||Square (90°) |
|5 ||Mars ||Quintile (72°, 144°) |
|6 ||Jupiter ||Sextile (60°) |
|7 ||Saturn ||Septile (51°26' and multiples) |
|8 ||Uranus ||Octile (45°, 135°) |
|9 ||Neptune ||Novile (40°, 80°, 160°) |
|10 ||Pluto ||Decile (36°, 108°) |
|11 ||Ceres ||Un-Decile (32°43' and multiples) |
|12 ||Mercury ||Do-Decile (30°, 150°) |
The correlations can be astrologically easily related for plausibility, the psychological character of the aspects is widely known, as is true for the related aspects. Every astrologist has to make their own experiences here: For me, Walters associations connections of planet and aspect has been a fertile seed of thought, which intuitively furthered my understanding of planet and aspect, instead of dogmatically limiting it. It's not an arbitrary system either. Critical mercury and opposition: enlightening. Harmonic Venus and trine, fitting. Moon and square, but why? After deeper reflection the connection becomes clear: the square makes the native suffer in "form and over time" to bring something from the unconsciousnes to the conscious. The moon represents the unconscious, for form and time, the humanities oldest clock. Mercury and moon are connected in the mind, as through the 4th in the second harmonic, where every 90°-(moon) is hidden inside a 90°-(mercury). The moon in esoteric psychology represents the lower-me related mind, a subfunction of the abstract power of mind of mercury. translators note: for a little different perspective to the same conclusion, consider the glyphe of mercury. the transformation (cross) of the sickle (subconscious/moon) through the conscious (circle/sun).
It turns out that venus, jupiter and neptune too create a line/family with their aspect-associations, the neptunian novile (40°) is hidden in the venusian trine (3x40°=120°) like the jupiterian sextile (2x60°=120°).This correlates with neptune, venus and jupiter being higher octaves of one another in a psychological sense (Oskar Adler explained this in his "Testament der Astrologie" (testimony of astrology
Hans-Jörg Walter and myself have created tables that correlate keywords with harmonics. These can be seeds of thoughts for practical astrology, followed by the researchers mind, driven by both psychological intuition and astrological application, alike to the tarot card "The charriot".
*translators note: see picture: " https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9b/RWS_Tarot_07_Chariot.jpg
|Harmonic ||Keywords |
|1 ||mind, vibration, whole |
|2 ||information, seperation, selection |
|3 ||form, senses, love |
|4 ||matter, reproduction, drive |
|5 ||power, movement, aggression |
|6 ||order, hirarchy, society |
|7 ||time, inhibition, structure |
|8 ||energy, mutation, sublimation |
|9 ||passive chaos, dissolution/resolution, illusion |
|10 ||active chaos, catastrophy, creation |
|11 ||commitment, heroicity, ecstasy |
|12 ||cycle, change, replacement/exchange |
Walter's planet-aspect associations for the first twelve harmonics and aspects are worth reflecting over repeatetly, since they are of complex mathematical connection and mathematical connection represents - this is pure astrology - psychological connection. This can be experienced personally, as well as used for interpretation in astrology. It must be mentioned that mars and his higher octave pluto are related naturally (see the 36° aspect and it's multiples), which is completely in lockstep with previous astrology.
The correlation of Ceres to eleven is but worthy of discussion. What made Walter do this? It isn't simply the result of intuition and research. There are no classical planets further from Pluto, therefore eleven would be the first "wave" without "particle". Astrology is not just schematic and makes reasonable associations with mythological motives (which again are of psychological nature). In this perspective the continuation of the line from sun to pluto through an introverted (translators note: introjovial is not a word i know how to translate properly
) dwarf-planet is not by accident. The mythology of Demeter-Ceres, which can not be further explained here, is tightly connected with the mythology of Hades-Pluto - and Pluto as lord of the underworld of the dead finds a fitting supplement in Ceres as lord of the earth of the living. (This is also explained in Dieter Koch's article of januarey 2001 in the "Meridian"). However Walter has continually found 11th harmonic charts of people that had a Ceres-quality to their lives, so people that in a heroic-orgiastic way that brought forth a Ceres way of expression - due to a very strong H 11. And the mutlples of H 11 confirm this, especially H 11 x H 11 = H 121. Especially in the last harmonic the psoitive and negative Ceres-characteristics manifest in the psyche very strong, so that a highlighted H 121 shows up for talented mystics as well as for berserkers of death-rush. (Lama Anagarika Govinda - Fritz Haarmann). This double sided nature, has been found by Walter again and again for every harmonic: the unfolded good, as well as the unleashed evil, which is the reason why his book of harmonic decoding is named after Dante's Divine Comedy: A journey from the depths of hell to the heights of heaven.
The correlation of H 12 to mercury and the semi-sextile seems inconsistent on first look, since mercury is already related with the H 2 and the opposition. Walter calls H-12-mercury the "quicksilver one", which he wants understood in the sense of alchemical hermetics. Mercury is not just the smart thinker, merchant and writer, he also is the occult inagurator who brings together opposites. Here the arcane alter ego is shown, of the otherwise rational mercury. (An astrological understanding of this has not grown yet significantly). Mathematically this is highlighted by the number twelve: Bringing together the "families" of the numbers three (Venus, Jupiter, Neptune) and four (Mercury, Moon, Uranus). Of the classical planets only Mars, Saturn and Pluto are outside of this union - and in this context it is interesting that saturn is considered the "guardian of the threshold" in the occult teachings, like the kabballah, the one to resist the thirst for knowledge of the adepts, whereas Mars and Pluto are considered "unholy planets" that represent energies to be made holy. The continuation of this post can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/astrology/comments/7v3sw2/harmonic_charts_an_introduction_and_a_german/