The Combination of Stellar Influences
The Combination of Stellar Influences
© copyright 1940/1950/1960/1972
Printed by Ebertin-Verlag
Ferreting out the most useful information from an astrology chart is the task astrologers must always face. Our clients expect this from us. How we construct our personal version of a sky map (chart), reveals our preferences. We include some things while overlooking others. Planets are the maker of things: events, states of mind, conditions in the environment. Ways of combining planetary influences usually boils down to aspects, and rulerships. However, “The Combination of Stellar Influences” addresses a third way. This is through a planet being halfway between two others. This place is called a midpoints. When a third planet occupies this place it expresses and synthesizes the energy of all three.
Midpoints are often overlooked. However, they have a long history of use. For those unfamiliar with the background of midpoint applications, read the first chapter of the 1990 book by Michael Harding and Charles Harvey, “Working with Astrology”. The development of this technique is given a lively discussion here. As Charles Harvey stated, Ebertin’s work is…”one of the single most important works on astrological interpretation ever written.”
About the time of the first world war, a small group of astrologers in Hamburg, Germany constructed a system that became known as Uranian astrology. The founder (Alfred Witte) had a student (Reinhold Ebertin) that attempted to simplify his complicated system of analysis. Ebertin published his results, “The Combination of Stellar Influences”, in 1940. This became the centerpiece for a new school of astrology. He later published 60 additional books for his method which he named Cosmobiology.
This work is the bible for using midpoints in chart analysis. Yes, there are many other books on midpoints, some published even before this one. And yes, the author intended this book to introduce a whole new system of astrology. He intended the work as more than just a reference book on midpoints. Still, because of the book’s clear organization, and vital insights into this dimension of astrology, it can be used by any astrologer using any system, to understand how planets relate to each other through aspects. The author deciphered how these influences manifest in people’s lives, after many years of research.
Here are Ebertin’s assumptions: 1) Planets are the most important element in astrological analysis. 2) Hard aspects are the ones that matter. Soft aspects can be ignored (along with signs and house). 3) When a planet is equidistant from two others, the three planets operate as a unit of meaning. 4) When a planet is in hard aspect to the midpoint between two planets, it will operate as if it was on the midpoint. (the orbs of influence for midpoints are very small, a degree or two at most. The closer to exact the more meaningful.)
If this sounds complicated, it is. But it is not hard to apply the tools of hard aspects and midpoints today. Every major astrology program on the market can calculate the midpoints and give them to the user in a very readable format. They can enrich and clarify any chart reading without taking you down the “rabbit hole” of some new system of interpretation. They fit neatly into any system, at least as an adjunct.
When I first started studying this book, it was necessary to transpose all planetary positions on to a 90 degree dial with a pointer to find the midpoints. Today, computers make mechanical calculations unnecessary.
Cosmobiology has practitioners in many countries. This system was a dominant force at the formation of NCGR, perhaps the largest astrology organization in the United States. Regardless of this, many people, myself included, have just extracted the midpoint technique, using it as supplemental.
Ebertin was born February 16th, 1901 at 4:45 AM in Gorlitz, Germany. He has Mars at 5 degrees 21 minutes of Virgo, on the Midpoint of Sun/Mercury. Sun is in Aquarius 26 degrees 48 minutes. Mercury is at 14 Pisces 9 minutes. Even using fairly wide orbs, we would not pay much attention to Mars being Opposite either the Sun or Mercury. Seeing that Mars is only 7 minutes away from being exactly Opposite the Midpoint between the two, we see the great affect Mars has on his thinking and his spirit of empirical inquiry. Even visually, some Midpoints just jump out at us with our analysis, like Mars/Saturn = MC, showing great endurance. Both planets are Sextile the MC. Some only become evident through close inspection, like Sun/Jupiter = Uranus, showing recognition. This is not visually clear by looking at an ordinary chart.
Why are these combinations important?
Although there are many books on astrological aspects, this book attempts to combine three or more planets into one interpretive pattern. The technique explored in this book allows the astrologer to see the interaction of many planets simultaneously. This facilitates synthesis of many ingredients into one consistent direction in horoscope analysis. Midpoint structures can bring features in a person’s character or life path into sharp focus.
Why this book?
“The Combination of Stellar Influences” can be read like a novel (which I recommend); but it can also be used as a reference work (which I also recommend). As a reference, you can look up any planetary combination, read an interpretation, then see a further meaning any third body on the Midpoint. The first part of this work describes Ebertin’s thought process and the evolution of his method and system. Additional research notes are included at the end of the main chapters.
Ebertin (and many other researchers in his group) set the stage for consistent analysis of Midpoints. Although his work is built on the foundation of another system, it is the first work that really allows the extrapolation of the Midpoint technique so it could be applied to any other system. This a byproduct of his careful organization.
Ebertin’s work came on the shoulders of the Hamburg school, commonly referred to as Uranian astrology. This system came to the astrology community as “the astrology of tomorrow.” One of the founders of this system, Ludwig Rudolph, expressed his ideas through the foundational work, “Rules for Planetary-pictures”. First published in 1928, this work has been through many iterations. This system of astrology is worthy of careful study. It is very complex, with the addition of eight hypothetical planets, the addition of the Aries point (zero degrees of any cardinal sign and 15 degrees of the fixed signs). The techniques of this system include algebraic formulas called half-sums, and a series of house divisions uncommon to most other schools of astrology.
What Ebertin did was eliminate the trans-Neptunian planets, the Aries point, the complicated house systems. He took the complex formulas of half-sums and reinterpreted them as Midpoints. This made the core of the planetary combinations simpler and more transportable to other astrological systems.
About the book
The organization of this work is fascinating. With normal German comprehensiveness and precision, he takes the time in the introduction to the 1972 version of the work to explain his thought process, his reformation of the Hamburg school’s system, and elimination of many traditional astrological techniques. In the process, he gave birth to Cosmobiology.
In place of a traditional astrology chart, Ebertin has us construct a cosmogram. This is a 90 degree wheel where every degree of any cardinal sign is the first 30 degrees of the wheel. The fixed signs form the degrees from 30 to 60; the mutable signs form degrees 60 to 90.
Even though Ebertin is strongly opinionated, he is not mean-spirited, acknowledging many other researchers, within and without his system.
He only uses hard aspects, the division of the 360 degree wheel by 8 (1 Conjunction, 2 Semi-squares, 2 Squares, 2 Sesquiquadrates, and 1 Opposition). He doesn’t use Trines or Sextiles, Semi-sextiles, or Quincunxes; acknowledging that they have meaning, they aren’t important to his analysis. Even though he doesn’t use signs or houses, he suggests they do have meaning.
His primary predictive techniques are solar arc directions and transits.
Starting with the Sun (and continuing through the Midheaven) he devotes two pages each to describing the Principle, Psychological Correspondence, Biological Correspondence, Sociological Correspondence. This preliminary step is to give us a comprehensive overview of all human endeavor. This is followed by a description of the placement by sign and house.
The heart of this book is the Midpoints. He gives a page to describing these same features for each planetary combination, starting with the Sun and Moon (continuing through the Ascendant and Midheaven). On the facing page, he gives the meaning of when a placement falls between the pair, both Natally as well as by Solar Arc and Transit.
It would be easy to use this work as a dictionary of combinations, but it has benefits by just reading it to expand one’s knowledge.
My relationship to the book
It is hardly possible to overestimate the value of this work. I’ve worn out several copies through the years. It remains the major work on Midpoints. There are many other books on Midpoints, all have value. Because this is the most important work, many authors since have followed Ebertin’s format. By dividing the chart into eight repeating segments, he has in fact created the 8th harmonic chart. This is one dimension of Harmonic astrology that John Addey developed 1971 – 76 (first published work in 1958). And in recent years, David Cochrane who has led the very successful research into “Vibrational astrology”. This is his name for the work with harmonic charts. [He has lots of instructive videos on Youtube and a well attended conference every year.]
“The Combination of Stellar Influences” is important in its own right. This seminal work opens a porthole into another dimension of astrology. Ebertin’s insights in Midpoints can be another way of looking at a chart un order to get confirming information. so many times I’ve been working on a problem in a client’s chart and have turned to his work for another insight. Using Midpoints is very useful in chart rectification because the Midpoints have such narrow orbs of effectiveness they pinpoint time measurements. Using planetary Midpoints, with solar arc directions and transits, it is possible to zero in on perfect moments electional astrology. His efforts here truly lay a foundation for the astrology of tomorrow.
Book Review by Bob Mulligan
This book is available on Amazon, Abe Books, AFA and several; other places, both new and used.