Archive for Αυγούστου 2009

Alfred Witte

2-Mar-1878, 21:12 LMT, Hamburg -- 4-Aug-1941, 4:01 MET, Hamburg

Alfred Witte was an outstanding German astrologer of the early
20th century and the founder of the Hamburg School of Astrology
who wrote over 40 articles as well as the first
"Rules for Planetary Pictures" [1].
He was also a land-surveyor who worked on the Hamburg airport. In his private
life he was an unpretentious, withdrawn man. He was married and had two daughters.

Witte began his career as an astrologer in 1913 when he published his article
"Thoughts on Colour, Number, Tone" [2],
where he developed the ideas of Johannes Kepler, his compatriot, an astrologer and mathematician,
particularly on the idea of harmony or the music of the spheres. This
article discussed the mutual interrelation of planets' vibrations, as
well as their relation to other natural oscillations and waves according
to the tuning fork principle. But this article only was his first
probing step.

During the World War I, Witte was summoned to the Russian front, where he
tried to forecast moments of artillery bombardment, but suffered a
shattering defeat. Having realised the insufficiency of
classical methods, he began to search for his own approaches to obtain
practical results. Ultimately, he found them, and thus caused a
revolution in astrology of the 20th century, in the same way that Kepler
in the 17th century, who had discovered the laws of celestial mechanics,
created the most precise ephemerides of his era and worked out a new theory
of aspects based on music theory. Today few people
know that it was Kepler to whom we owe the aspects of 72°, 135°,
and 144°, angle analogues of three consonances not used by
Ptolemeus -- major third, minor and major sixth. Later, Kepler's
contribution to astrology was almost forgotten, and the original musical
theory, underlying the new aspects' introduction, was ignored.
Seventeen years after Kepler's death, William Lilly, in 1647, in his

"Christian Astrology" [4] added the aspects
of 30°, 36°, 45° and 108°, corresponding to discordant
musical intervals that obviously contradicted the tuning fork principle.

From 1919, Witte, being a member of the Hamburg "Kepler Circle",
started lecturing astrology. In his lectures he disseminated his
revolutionary views and ideas for the first time. Later, on October 31, 1925
at 9:45:51 PM MET (GMT+1:00) in Friedrich Sieggrün's house (9E57'24" 53N33'04")
the Astrologers Union "Hamburg School" (Astrologen-Verein "Hamburger Schule") was founded.
It was a precursor of the Hamburg School Astrological Study Group
(Astrologische Studiengesellschaft Hamburger Schule E.V.),
founded on December 27, 1947 by followers including Wilhelm Beckmann, Conrad,
Hellberg, Hermann Lefeldt, Karl Perch, Herbert Pauels, Ludwig Rudolph,
Heinz Schlaghecke, Wilms, and Schacht, with the aim of studying of Witte's

Unlike Kepler, Witte proposed rejecting aspects,
and to determine the relations between planets and points according to
the formula: a + b = c + d, where a, b, c, d

are the planets' coordinates, expressed in absolute degrees. The idea is
brilliantly simple, and gives the astrologer a powerful instrument for
checking the inner workings of the chart. Different modifications and
simplifications of the formulae create "planetary pictures" (Planetenbild)
of varying strength. For example, if we suppose that a = b, that is a and
b are the same point, then the original formula assumes the following form:
2a = c + d or a = (c + d) / 2.
It means that the a point is situated right in the middle between

c and d, that is in the "midpoint" (Mittelpunkt) between
them. The strongest planetary picture is produced when we suppose that
a = b and c = d. Thus, the original formula
is reduced to a = c, which means the conjunction between
points a and c. The sign of equality in those formulas may
not be an equality in the strict mathematical sense; planets may be
360° or 180° apart, yet we still consider them "equal";
thus the a = c formula can signify not only a conjunction,
but possibly also an opposition. Witte took into account all midpoints
or differences aspecting any given point or planet by 90° or 270°,
and today the Hamburg School extends this to include aspects of 45°,
22.5° and even 11.25°.

In the last 70 years, both Witte and his followers have
studied all variants of transaction according to the 2a = c + d
formula in the most detailed way, describing all midpoints in all combinations
with planets and points of the horoscope. At the same time, nowadays
there are no fundamental works on the a + b = c + d

formula where all four parameters would be different points of the chart,
and this question appears to have been neglected. The main and the only
well-known book by Witte, "Rules for Planetary-Pictures: The Astrology of
[1] is completely devoted to
midpoints. It offers interpretations for every triad of planets and points
connected by the condition of 2a = c + d.
The short preface to the book discusses the main tenets of the astrological
system, based on the six personal points (Individuelle Punkte),
which are:

We shall briefly explain this scheme.
From a philosophical viewpoint, the assumption is that the world consists of
"Ego" (Me) and "non-Ego" (You). If we consider these two opposites at three
levels (body, soul, spirit), we shall get six main points, which give us an
idea about an individual person and his/her interaction with the world.
These six points present us the key to all the forthcoming horoscopes
and their analyses.

Witte solved the problem of house systems in an even more revolutionary
way than the question of aspect systems [5].
He proposed to use an Equal House system, taking six personal points
in turn as the starting reference points, and developing six different
house systems
. He explained the choice of Equal House system by the fact
that it was the only natural angle coordinate system, and all the house
systems that cannot be reduced to it were to be discarded. The original
character of such an approach is that only the ASC and Moon's Node are
taken to be the cusp of the first house of the Equal House system.
The corresponding horoscopes are called Ascendant and Node

house charts. The coordinates of the Moon and MC are taken to
be the cusp of the 10th house and are called Lunar and Meridian
horoscopes. The Sun is taken to be the cusp of the 4th house in the
Solar horoscope, and 0° Aries is taken to be the cusp of the
7th house in the Earth horoscope. Thus, having six horoscopes, and
correctly synthesising the information taken from them, one can describe the
complexity of processes existing between man and his environment with great

Besides that, Witte used not only the 360° scale,
but its harmonics as well, especially the 90°, where the whole circle is
considered to be equal to 90°; and where all the planets situated 90°
or 180° from each other form a conjunction on this circle. Harmonic charts
made it possible to analyse aspects in an even deeper way with
application of the formula a + b = c + d in
all its variant harmonics, despite the seeming rejection of aspects.
Peculiar to Witte's achievement was an invention of the 360° Dial,
that made it easy to draw a horoscope, analyse it in different Equal House
systems, and search for the planetary pictures.

One more of Witte's innovations of no less importance
was four, and later eight transneptunian planets (Transneptuner, TNPs), which are
called Uranian planets in the US. The first four planets were calculated
by Alfred Witte himself, and the rest were calculated by his student and
collaborator, the founder of the Hamburg "Kepler Circle", Friedrich
Sieggrün. The first discovered transneptunian was Cupido,
the planet of marriage and family. Witte's was concerned with the fact
that at the moment of marriage, the directed MC or Moon (meaning the direction
of the solar arc, approximately 1° per year) must aspect another planet.
And when there was no such planet, Witte made a supposition that this person
must have a yet undiscovered planet at this place. While comparing many
horoscopes with the known date of first marriage, it was found, that for
people of similar age all these "missing" points were situated very close
to each other. In this way, the first version of Cupido ephemerides was created.
It was followed by other planets: Hades, Zeus, Kronos,
Apollon, Admetos, Vulcanus and Poseidon.
The table below shows symbols, periods of circulation, key words
and concepts, used for their explanation
*κάντε δεξί κλικ στην εικόνα και επιλέξτε προβολή

I would like to draw special attention of the reader
to the fact, that Witte himself actively used only the first four
transneptunian planets (Cupido, Hades, Zeus and Kronos), and the other four,
calculated by Friedrich Sieggrün, were included together with Pluto
in the classical books of the Hamburg School, such as
"Rules for Planetary Pictures", only in 1947, six years after Witte's death.

Let us return to the symbolism of transneptunian planets. It is not
difficult to notice that the symbol of Cupido is a combination of Venus
and Jupiter, the symbol of Apollon is a combination of Jupiter and
Gemini, and the symbol of Poseidon is Pisces turned on 90°. It is not casual.
Alfred Witte purposed his own unique system of the planetary
rulerships of the zodiacal signs. The main idea was that the orbit
between Mars and Jupiter, where asteroid belt is located, could be by no
means excluded from the number of ruling planets, because there could
have been (and possibly were) a planet. That is why the system of
rulerships according to Witte looked like this:

SignExternal RulerInternal Ruler
CancerMoon KronosSun Zeus
LeoSun ZeusMoon Kronos

SignExternal RulerInternal Ruler

The external ruler shows what the sign looks like from the outside,
and the internal one shows what happens inside of it. If we extend this scheme
logically, the four TNPs, discovered by Sieggrün, will rule:
Apollo Apollo

-- Gemini Gemini
and Virgo Virgo,
Admetos Admetos
-- Taurus Taurus
and Libra Libra,
Vulcanus Vulcanus
-- Aries Aries
and Scorpio Scorpio,
Poseidon Poseidon
-- Pisces Pisces

and Sagittarius Sagittarius.

Later, in 1930, when Pluto Pluto
was discovered, and in 1938, when its first astrological ephemerides [8]
were published, this factor had to be included into astrological schemes.
Witte had insufficient time to do it since he died in 1941, but his followers,
without thinking twice inserted the new planet together with
Neptune Neptune
in Scorpio Scorpio
and Aries Aries,
having left the Cupido Cupido
to rule Libra Libra

and Taurus Taurus.
If Witte were alive, most likely he would reconsider his
views, and would qualitatively reform TNPs (their ephemerides and cycles) with
the consideration of Pluto. But, unfortunately, his life ended tragically.
Hitler, having come to power in Germany, prohibited activity of the Hamburg
School, and Witte and his family were threatened by internment in a
concentration camp. It lead to his suicide in August of 1941, thus hoping
to save his family from repression. The majority of his students were sent to
concentration camps, but the most faithful ones carried in their hearts
through the hell and flames of World War II the name of innovator
astrologer Alfred Witte, and the knowledge of his unique system that is
truly revolutionary even today, almost half a century after the death of
its author.

As we said above, thanks to those Witte's followers, who stayed alive,
the Hamburg School of Astrology
was restored. Still, many astrologers
who followed the ideas of Witte, were not satisfied by their concrete
realisation, and began to develop and supplement the original set of
methods of the Hamburg School. The farthest in this direction was
Reinhold Ebertin, the father of Cosmobiology, an methodology popular
in the US [see, e.g., 9]. Having rejected many
ideas of Witte, he constructed his system exclusively on harmonics and
midpoints, with which he made the techniques much simpler and less divergent
from already popular astrological techniques. Due to this, Cosmobiology got
much wider dissemination and recognition than the Hamburg School.
Richard Svehla and then Hans Niggemann began to popularise Witte's ideas in USA
as "Uranian Astrology" or "Uranian System",
but later Niggemann also started introducing of changes and corrections which
seemed to be valuable to him, and called his techniques "Uranian System of Astrology".
As a result, the Hamburg School for a long time left him
in isolation and obscurity. Unfortunately, this situation seems to
remain today.

Discussing the revolutionary ideas of Alfred Witte, one can not help
noticing the archaic level of their practical realisation, both in
Hamburg School and in all subsequent branches, which, in fact, did not
really bring about anything new. The main drawback of Hamburg School's methods is
connected with their attachment to ecliptics, while Witte discussed the
idea of six personal points, and of the six horoscopes [3]
in indissoluble connection with the necessity to consider them in different
planes -- ecliptic, equator, prime vertical, and so on. The middle points
and other connections according to the formula a + b = c + d
also can not be realized in one single dimension. For example, if we convert the
formula 2a = c + d into a - c = d - a,
the angle (a - c) may well lie in one plane, and (d - a)

may well lie in another one. Harmonic charts are consonances in relation
to the original horoscope, and therefore they are a mere technical expedient
for a more detailed analysis of aspects in the Keplerian sense.

It is no doubt that Witte consciously simplified the realization of his
ideas, for them to be easily applicable -- at his time there were no
ordinary calculators, to say nothing about computers! Witte's
refined ingenuity in the task of tabulation, simplifying the complex
astronomical calculation to the ordinary operations of addition and
subtraction, deserve a special mention. Still, we must take into
consideration the fact that today, having advanced electronic calculators
in the form of computers at our disposal, we can realise his ideas,
which, according to his contemporaries, were to turn astrology into
a real science in an absolutely new way.

The subject of calculating ephemerides of transneptunian planets needs
to be explained separately. Witte used in his mathematical calculations
for the forward approximation of planet cycles from Mercury to Neptune,
including the asteroid belt. As it was found out later, in the region of
Neptune this dependence suffers a slight curve, and Pluto is situated
closer to the Sun than it could have been guessed earlier through
examining the planets up to Neptune inclusive. According to this reasoning,
the cycles of the transneptunian planets calculated by Alfred Witte were a
little larger than the real ones. To prove it, we shall use the scheme
of dependence of the distance from the Sun in astronomical units on the
number of the planet:

Drawing of dependence of the large axis of an orbit in astronomical units on the number of the orbit

Black dots mark the discovered planets from Mercury to Pluto.
The curve, drawn through them is a smooth approximation of this dependence
[10]. Transneptunian planets of the Hamburg School are marked by square marks
on the scheme. As you can see from the drawing, the first four
transneptunian planets, calculated by Alfred Witte himself, are situated
close enough to the smooth curve, and the last planet of Kronos is very
close to it. It can be seen from the scheme, that the hypothetical
Cupido is really the approximately calculated Pluto, because the
difference in their cycles is not far more than 10 years, and the
ephemeris of Cupido in the 20th century differs from the ephemeris of Pluto
no more than half a sign at average. As for the planets calculated by
Friedrich Sieggrün, they can not be put into accordance with any smooth
approximation, thus proving an evident mistake in determination of their
cycles; but, possibly, because of the very slow orbital motion, their
empirical ephemerides calculated by Sieggrün have acceptable precision.
But if there are 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th planets in the solar system,
they must have significantly larger cycles, vividly expressed by
the above scheme. According to the smooth approximation shown in it, the
cycles of transplutonian planets must be approximately equal to 346
(Hades), 440 (Zeus), 530 (Kronos), 617 (Apollon), 699 (Admetos), 777
(Vulcanus) and 856 (Poseidon). And according to the latest astronomical
data, received by American astronomers with the help of the Hubble Space
Telescope (HST), there is another asteroid belt behind Pluto (about
346 years), because the number of discovered distant asteroids with cycles
from 270 to 330 years already have been counted at more than 40. That is why the
existence of Hades as a planet is put under question. Nevertheless, it's
quite possible that the one of the biggest planetoids of the transplutonian
asteroid belt was astrologically discovered as "the planet" Hades.

In conclusion, it's necessary to say that Alfred Witte
was one true astrologer who has combined in his works an innovative
approach with deep knowledge and understanding of classical astrology at the
level of modern sciences such as mathematics, astronomy, and physics.
Today his works have not lost their applicability at all, although more than a
half a century has passed since the moment of their publication. At this
time, Albert Timashev and Yuri Karpenko have initiated and successfully
implemented the Translation Project of all works by Alfred Witte into Russian.
This Project is finding an active
support and understanding from Germany in the person of Udo Rudolph, today's
leader of the Hamburg School of Astrology.
Participants to the Project hope that
Alfred Witte's works will find a lively response from Russian-speaking astrological community.

We'd like to suggest our English-speaking friends should initiate the
same Project and translate Alfred Witte's works into English. You'll find
every possible effort and assistance from our part in its implementation.

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