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Synodic & Heliacal Phases

9 Class Meetings
Prerequisites: None provided

Course Description:

This course offers an in-depth education in synodic and heliacal cycles – their history, mechanics, and integration into natal and transit work. If the birth chart is an example of “Astrology as a Particle,” synodic cycles demonstrate “Astrology as a Wave.”

This course begins with an in-depth review of the astronomical factors responsible for the astrological influence of synodic events, covers the important choice of “perspective” or coordinate system, continues with the 5 types of synodes with special emphasis on heliacal cycles and phases, and completes by teaching how to incorporate synodic phase meanings into horoscopic delineation.

Software: Computer software is not required but encouraged for those students wishing to "fill in" their astronomical understanding. Individual class lectures will often include Sky Engine (synodic) software as well as Voyager astronomy software to visually demonstrate key points. Calculations taught in this course include elongation, sky appearance and approximation of earth proximity and speed using only the horoscope. Students of IAA receive a discount on Sky Engine software.


Class Meeting 1: Astronomical factors in the astrology of synodes and heliacal phases

At the heart of any planetary cycle is its astronomy. This class teaches the astronomy of the main factors in any synodic cycle: sky appearance (Morning, Evening, Invisible), relative motion, Earth proximity, relative magnitude, longitude elongation, latitude and declination.

Class Meeting 2: Heliocentric vs. Geocentric vs. Topocentric perspectives

This week extends last week’s learning by developing a multi-perspective understanding of synodic cycles: from the center of the Earth, from the surface of the Earth and from the Sun. We’ll assess the strengths and weaknesses of each perspective in chart work.

Class Meeting 3: 5 types of synodic cycles

This week we’ll begin learning synodic delineations by examining the differences between the five types of synodic cycles. Here we begin building on the foundation we’ve established in the prior classes and assignments.

Class Meeting 4: Heliacal phases in Traditional and Modern Astrology

This week we learn the major differences between the ancient and modern view of a planet’s heliacal cycle and discover what they reveal about our underlying assumptions, both personally and societally. Comparing them, we will discover the strengths and weaknesses of each for our practice today. We’ll compare “events” and “periods” to uncover how use of synodic cycles has evolved since those ancient times.

Class Meeting 5: Heliacal Phases - superior planets

This week we dive into the cycles and phases of the visible outer planets, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and explore their basic structure, periods and keys timings to look for in practice. Knowledge of these cycles can be applied to all outer bodies.

Class Meeting 6: Heliacal Phases - inferior planets

This week we will dive into synodic cycles with the heliacal cycle of Mercury and of Venus, learning their basic structure, periods and keys to look for in practice. We’ll learn to identify the natal phase from only the horoscope.

Class Meeting 7: Integrating heliacal phase into the horoscope 1

This week’s focus is the delineation of heliacal phases for individual natives and the appropriate integration of them with horoscopic delineations.

Class Meeting 8: Integrating heliacal phase into the horoscope 2

This week we continue our learning how to integrate phase and horoscopic delineations for accuracy and proper context.

Class Meeting 9: Integrating phase returns, transits and progressions

In our final class, we’ll expand our work with heliacal phase delineation through phase transits and progressions, covering the Major and Minor synodic returns of the visible planets.

Required/Suggested Materials:

Required materials:

The following required materials are available through the IAA online shopping areas:

Suggested/supplemental materials:

The following suggested and supplementary materials are NOT available through the IAA online shopping areas, but may be available elsewhere:

  • Sky Engine Software, by Adam Gainsburg

Class Offerings and Registration:
This course has no class offerings currently taking registrations.

Please note: In addition to the tuition fee, this class registration is subject to a non-refundable $75.00 administrative fee ($27.00 administrative fee for Pocket Courses). Please also read our tuition refund policy.

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