Domification represents the scheme of universal Life taking shape in the human being.

Italian version


The Houses system represents the dynamic extension of the individual faculties originating from the Ascendant, and that unfolds in the key sectors of human experience, overlapping the archetypal contents given by the simple planetary presences in the zodiacal signs. It is the bridge between two realities, one still potential, the other representing the dialectic moment in which the being meets the world and becomes an individual; it is the passage of the unconscious towards the conscience, of the light towards the thought.

The cosmic order, witnessed by an annual revolution which expresses in the twelve symbols of the zodiac the ever-changing energetic relationships between the Sun and the Earth – the alternation of the seasons – reveals itself in the daily equatorial motion, where the twelve sections are the earthly counterpart of the heavenly archetype. A form is born that is static and, simultaneously, dynamic, unravelling over time, and tells of the rise, growth and decline of our daily microcosm.

Domification offers, together with the other components of the chart, a wide variety of astrological types. Even in this way, the interpretative possibilities offered still fall within a statistic-symbolic generalisation, highly fine-grained but far from being individual.

Actually, we can’t see the formation of a separate identity in the astronomical representation exclusively; in the example of astrology twins, two destinies, with the same configuration, despite their symbolic appearance, can follow different paths. Taken separately, the genetic, cultural, family foundation and the astrology concurrence of the event are sterile in providing a cause for individuation. Only their union brings to maturity the link between signifier and signified, in the circumscribed locus of the birth event where the individual will be the bearer of the self’s instances.

The Incarnation Cross

The horizon and meridian axes [1], the foundation of astrology domification, constitute the incarnation cross’s skeleton. This spatial model represents the scheme – so to speak, the dress – of universal Life when it reveals itself in the form of a particular being in the realm of human representation.

The cross scheme is a reference model; think of it as a structure that ‘isolates’ the planes of human representation according to a space division into hemispheres and quadrants, offering the unborn child – symbolically represented by the centre of the cross – a system of spatial orientation. In this sense, the unborn child is ‘squared’, inserted in a subdivision of space at right angles. The symbolism of the number 4 takes on the value of ‘petrifying’, of fixing the anima mundi within an individuality [2]. This process becomes necessary because there is no ‘space’ except when the subjective vision arises, creating the need for a reference system that can relate the self with those who at that point become the objects of his experience, the non-self.

The horizontal axis, the Ascendant-Descendant line, identifies the event’s horizon – in our case, the place of birth – which divides the space into what is visible (the sky) from what is hidden by the Earth’s mass. In this first and immediate representation, the ‘sky’ is synonymous with the awareness of the external world made possible by the senses, which tune in, so to speak, to represent a humanised universe.

The vision of science

Continuing along the lines of thought leading to this ‘humanisation’ of reality, one cannot help but notice that even the scientific community sometimes uses methodological principles that identify an inclusive role for the observer beyond pure objective experimental data. In the formulation, for example, of the Strong Anthropic Principle (SAP), the universe’s laws must be compatible with the observer’s consciousness; that is, the universal constants allow conscious life development. But the Participatory Anthropic Principle (PAP) goes even further, postulating that the universe needs an intelligent observer who triggers the collapse of the wave function, which decays from a superposition of states into a relatively concrete reality. It is the concept underlying the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, according to which the phenomenon becomes real only when observed during an experiment. In other words, the observer’s consciousness is necessary to give meaning to the universe.

Stephen Hawking’s proposal stands on a more cosmological level, which is still valid to continue our discussion. In his theory of imaginary time, the universe has neither beginning nor end. Trying to solve the paradox given by a singularity – the Big Bang, he leverages the concept of imaginary numbers that transform the time parameter of spacetime coordinates into a space coordinate. In this scenario, the singularity appears like any other point in boundless four-dimensional spacetime, except to arise as a singularity in ordinary time.

The metaphysical expression

It is interesting to note in this regard how Guénon, speaking of the realisation of the integral or universal man – and greatly anticipating Hawking’s idea – cites the need to leave the representation of a temporal succession to access simultaneity, transforming time in a fourth spatial dimension. The primordial point, without shape and dimensions, is opposed to itself, creating the first determination of space – the distance – which in the temporal condition becomes movement; it is the centre from which it measures the entire spatial extension through the expansion of the six directions cross or cardinal points. The primordial point can be identified with all the potential points of space successively – or simultaneously by leaving the temporal condition. Space is the pure power of being, the passive element; any point within this spatial representation is comparable to a centre of being in the representation space, but only in a virtual way until it is assimilated to the primordial point.

By transposing the image in a metaphysical key, we see the principle ‘man’ (which is not to be understood limited to the human figure, male and female, as we know it) at work. It represents the ‘power’ of the universe to know itself, not precisely in a teleological or finalistic sense – because the finality assumes a time’s arrow – but as the very being of the universe, of the “whole”. The possibility for the universe of being ‘two’, reflecting itself through the extension of a spacetime process, constitutes one of its boundless possibilities.

Let us now return to the configuration of the local space. In the two-dimensional horoscope representation, the vertical and horizontal axes of the cross represent the active and passive principle, respectively. Although not localised, the central or primordial point of the macrocosm cross, once space is created, becomes the centre of the universal manifestation. By symbolic transposition, it becomes the centre of man, that is, the ego. From this point of self-awareness – the ether or the quintessence of alchemists – the elements of the quaternary (Fire, Air, Water, Earth) descend by order of production, not to be understood as the material and gross substances, but as the principles or primordial causes at the origin of their physical manifestation.

The meaning of the horizon in human experience

The ‘invisible’ experience, because the Earth-mass hides it, is related to the sensitive aspect, that is to say, with the inner transformation caused by objective perception, which in this context acts as an entry channel for the heavenly principle in its role as fecundating genesis. This ‘entrance’ is felt as a ‘sensation’, which is how the individual becomes aware of the outside world. Such is the birth of the Other’s awareness, symbolically represented by the Descendant as the Houses’ natal point above the horizon. However, the sensation is not sufficient to attest to an understanding of oneself, which alone can arise from the presence of the other from the self, which comes to light as an intuitive process (in the etymological sense of inner vision) as opposed to an outer image. The Ascendant represents this self-awareness arising in the world.

The merging of intuition and sensation, of inner sense and objective expression, is represented by Rudolf Steiner – the founder of anthroposophy – in the soul’s tripartite division, the formative principle of waking consciousness, which continually awakens life from the unconscious condition of the dreamless sleep. In the sentient soul, the perception of an object gives rise to its representation, following which a process takes place between the soul and the ego (the latter for Steiner is what experiences the sensation of permanence through memory), giving rise to the duration of knowledge. In the rational or affective soul, the ego directs its activity towards elaborating the objects of perception, preparing their contents intimately. Finally, in the conscious soul, the ego becomes independent of external events, becoming self-knowledge, an internal process that reflects itself in universality. The soul principle splits into three parts for ease of understanding, but in reality, it is a single body that unfolds its potential within time.

For Dane Rudhyar, a famous humanist astrologer who partly follows the Jungian classification, the intuitive process underlying the sense of self gives rise to feeling, an inner category of intuitive motions. At the same time, sensation, based on sensory impression, generates thought, a stabilisation offered to the vagueness and provisional nature of the feeling itself. As you can guess, different words describe the same experience: the integration of an internal and external perceptual process – represented by the Ascendant/Descendant axis – through sensation and thought. Intuition acts as a mirror because the very existence of a world outside of us is nothing but the possibility of knowing ourselves through reflection.

The evolutionary principle

Now, we come to the meaning of the vertical axis of the incarnation cross. The intersection point with the horizontal axis represents a core of self-awareness that takes on an individual value. It is precisely the formal manifestation of the hierogamy between Heaven and Earth – the Active and the Passive, the Spirit and the Soul, the Pneuma (breath) and the Matter – that meet on the horizontal axis. The vertical axis provides direction to the existence, penetration of the embodied self into the forms of the objective world – the Midheaven. In the opposite sense, it is a descent into the inner core of one’s being, as the symbolism of the Imum Coeli indicates.

The lowest point of the horoscope, the ‘Midnight Sun’ of Freemasonry, represents consciousness in its non-differentiated state, wrapped in itself because it is not yet manifest or ‘spatialised’. Facing the awareness of its form in distinguishing between self and non-self – the horizontal axis that creates the space of representation – the consciousness becomes the power of individuation – the Midheaven – the element that brings together the inner and external world. In a spiritual sense, this model highlights the potential for ascent and overcoming the human condition; on a denser level, it represents the tendency towards extra-individual realisation offered by development in social life.

The hemispheres

The Ascendant/Descendant line generates the subdivision into the upper and lower hemisphere. The former will need the limelight to show up fully, and the latter represents an existence lived under the inner light experience. The Midheaven/Imum Coeli line gives the subdivision into the eastern and western hemispheres. The prevailing in the horoscope of one or the other hemisphere (by planetary presence) will provide indications of an evolutionary activity based on one’s own efforts (eastern hemisphere) or favoured by environmental circumstances (western hemisphere).