How the astrological Transneptunians were created - and why.
(c) 2009-2014 by Michael Feist, Hamburg, Germany
Translation Werner E. Popp, Wiesbaden, Germany
Lecture at the 4th International Conference of Uranian Astrology, Hamburg, June 2009
Published inHamburger Hefte, Hamburg (in German) Journal N°171, July 2010
Edited English Version, October 2010, April 2012
Update January 2014
On the 2nd IUF-Conference in The Hague 2007 a man joined me when I was standing near the book table where I had sold books the day before. Speaking a mixture of German English and Dutch he made a joke that his wife will get divorced if he continues to buy more books. He spoke about his books which he had already bought or intends to buy next time – except his wife will not change her mind and attitude. I particularly praised to him the special advantages of one book dealing on the Uranian System of Astrology but without the Transneptunian planets.
Frightened he answered: „Without Transneptunians? But this would be Ebertin-School“!
Now I was surprised by the impetuous reaction because the original method of the Uranian Astrology did neither include the Transneptunians by Alfred Witte (1878-1941) nor the Transneptunians by Friedrich Sieggrun (1877-1951) and the Ebertin-School, which originated only 20 years later, has not been included either. I told it to my Dutch friend to his surprise and he started thinking.
Ludwig Rudolph (1893-1982) pointed out that using Transneptunians will not mean practicing Uranian Astrology at all. You may practice Uranian Astrology even without Transneptunians, if you examine the horoscope chart by mathematical-symmetric structures. The Transneptunian planets are only part of the research project which had been started by Alfred Witte.
This attitude also will be recognized by the symbol of Witte Publishing House. The symbol points out the symmetrically thinking and concept. It is the sketch of Witte´s horoscope chart in a very roughly heliocentric manner but without the Transneptunians. On Ludwig Rudolph’s request Alfred Witte designed this symbol in 1932 for the 2nd edition of the Rulesbook (Rules for Planetary Pictures) – nine years after :
1932, Trademark of the Witte Publishing House
In order to understand the historical background of the Transneptunian planets we have to review and reconsider our understanding of the current conception and definition of the Hamburg School. The method we know as “Hamburg School” or “Uranian System of Astrology” today is marked by the 1946 decision of Ludwig Rudolph to integrate the Transneptunian planets of his astrological teacher Sieggruen, and Pluto, into the Rulesbook. The aim was to integrate the Transneptunians as coequal planets into the system of the Hamburg School for the first time. Ludwig Rudolph assigned this task to his former student Hermann Lefeldt (1899-1977). There was criticism and protest by the widow of Alfred Witte but Ludwig Rudolph resisted successfully.
During the lifetime of Witte references were made to the existence of the Transneptunians of Sieggrun by the Witte Publishing House (e.g. in „Leitfaden der Astrologie,“ 1933, by Ludwig Rudolph) but this happened only to a certain extend or in subordinate clauses only. It is also striking that Sieggrun published his Ephemeris and interpretations in another publishing company for the first time . Moreover explanations and hints on his Transneptunian planets were published in journals and magazines, but not by the Witte Publishing House. The reasons are unknown and speculations came up. Shortly after Friedrich Sieggrun presented his Transneptunian planets Apollon, Admetos and Vulcanus in the Society on September 5th, 1927, he retired himself as official representative of the Hamburg School Society but he remained an advocate, member and speaker of Witte-Astrology which he
Ludwig Rudolph had to thank Friedrich Sieggrun for both on the astrological as on the private and social area. For instance, the
The first step to the official inauguration of Sieggruen`s Transneptunians Apollon, Admetos, Vulcanus, Poseidon – and Pluto – could be made possible only by the expansion of the Rulesbook. Ludwig Rudolph and Hermann Lefeldt prepared commonly the expansion of the Rulesbook over a period of 14 days. Some parts were spread to other publications. Before the most important basics were found in one single book, now 4 different publications were required: The Rules for Planetary Pictures (1946/1959, Witte, Lefeldt, Rudolph), The Lexicon for for Planetary Pictures (1957, by Schnitzler/Lefeldt, known in English as “The Key to Uranian Astrology”), the
Hermann Lefeldt had to base oneself on the guidelines of Ludwig Rudolph and on his own Combinatory-abilities and records in order to expand the Rulesbook because only a few basic interpretations and usable publications of Sieggrun were published and available to Lefeldt. All the interpretations of the Transneptunians by Sieggrun – and of Pluto – Please notice that Lefeldt in some special points differs from guidelines of Sieggruen, in this way you may determine, if interpretations are originally based on Sieggrun or Lefeldt. Let it be a warning to plagiarists, cribbers and copyists, who seem to speak of their own philosophical ideas, instead of mentioning Lefeldt’s groundwork.
Now, in this presentation I like to explain the background of Friedrich Sieggrun and how it is possible to calculate his Transneptunians. But before, we have to deal with Alfred Witte and his far-reaching hypothesis.
2. The Transneptunian Planets – the first step of an Astrologer
that Urbain LeVerrier (1811–1877) had calculated a Planet named „Pluto“ which was uncovered until that time. Witte classified this unknown planet into his colour spectrum of the solar system:
Witte: [Now the following …] „the planets not yet detected like „Pluto“ – calculated by LeVerrier, indigo blue; then ? (Alpha) violet (purple) and then ? (Beta) lavender.“
A lot can be recognised in this small hint:
- Alfred Witte was interested in astronomy und knew contemporary and historical astronomical publications which he considered and used in his astrological systematic. Knowing his works more thoroughly, you will recognise that he always tried to substantiate his astrological methods by astronomical data.
- The name „Pluto“ was suggested for a new planet much earlier by Urbain LeVerrier who died 53 years before Pluto was found. This brings up a total different view on the history of finding a name for Pluto 1930.
- Witte knew publications assuming at least two more unknown planets: ? (Alpha) and ? (Beta)
Ten Three years later an extraordinary hypothesis of corresponding meaning:
If astronomers are able to calculate the orbit of an unknown planet like Neptune by mathematical methods (with the aid of observed orbit-perturbations), then astrologers should be able to determine – in an analogous manner – the position of an unknown planet in a horoscope chart by using astrological methods.
Witte once again pointed out that Urbain LeVerrier, who calculated the Neptune orbit, assumed one more planet beyond Neptune’s orbit – therefore a Trans-Neptunian – which should be in the sign of Cancer in the opinion of LeVerrier. Alfred Witte: „Now the location of the planet in the sign of Cancer was the beginning of the following astrological calculations. “
In addition Alfred Witte iterated the Pluto of LeVerrier: „now it is time for the astronomers to determine the deviation of Neptune’s calculated orbit by exact measurements and thus to ascertain the planet Pluto – as called by LeVerrier – by means of calculations of its [Neptun´s] perturbations.“
Alfred Witte was not the only seeker. At the same time many astronomers calculated various hypothetical orbits of the unknown planet. Some of them assumed even further unknown planets. But Witte was an astrologer and the first who tried to calculate and confirm by means of astrological methods the existence of the suspected planet.
To determine a new planet in an astrological way it is helpful to know at least the approximate distance (and derived from that: velocity and the period of circulation). Much more important to the astrologer is the knowledge concerning the astrological properties of the searched planet, because these were decisive for the astrological confirmation.
Alfred Witte had answers to both these questions.
To determine the distance Witte used a graphical method whose true nature is not fully understandable to me. The literature provides various hints on graphical methods. Probably Witte orientated at a method you may find in the astronomical literature. Unfortunately I cannot provide the explanation to you and I quote Witte´s description: „Constructing a graphical curve of falling lines (Fallkurve) of the motions of the planets from the sun – in exact angular distance from each other – I gained an approximate value of distance for the assumed planet“. For many years I have imagined a kind of graphical linear ephemeris which could have been delineated as the so called curve of falling lines (Fallkurve). But I must confess that this assumption is not at all a sufficient description.
Representation of the conditions. (today's view)
In contradiction to the above described situation there are confirmed hints for the determination of the assumed properties. Witte used a scheme of distributing the known planets and factors within the zodiac from which the properties of the assumed planets could be extrapolated. Further properties could be added, e.g. colours. The pattern starts with Mercury exhibiting Cancer quality and reddish nature according to Witte and then continues through the zodiac in clockwise direction.
This meant for Witte seeking for the first Transneptunian – following the scheme –
Representation of the Scheme
On a 360° astrological dial – perhaps one of the oldest of its kind – a factor „a“ with Venus-Jupiter properties was noted on Libra. Venus-Jupiter represents our Cupido and its symbol. On Virgo a planet „b“ with Moon-Saturn properties is noted – representing the Hades and its symbol. And furthermore Mars-Uranus is noted on Leo „c“ – unambiguously representing our „Zeus“. The symbol of Zeus may be recognized by the targeted arrows of Mars-Uranus.
Parts of an old 360°-Dial
Libra, Virgo and Leo ---- Pisces
Additional, in Pisces the properties of planetoids are noted as Mercury-Neptune. Please remember that in two volumes of the Rulesbook, 2nd (1932) and 3rd Edition (1935, English Translation 1939), even meanings of houses for planetoids were given.
That is important – but often misinterpreted: The cited combinations are hints on the assumed astrological nature of the planets sought after – they are no hints on combination of the orbits of these factors!
Maybe now you will be disappointed but there are no more public hints by Alfred Witte how he was calculating the Transneptunian planets in detail. You can be sure that Witte´s starting point were the known and assumed planets of those times combined with his schematic structure of the solar system.
3.1 The Transneptunians by Sieggruen
When you look at the specific literature you will often gain the impression that Witte and Sieggrun jointly calculated the Transneptunians. But Sieggrun himself points out that he „in the process of finding Hades and Zeus participated in a very modest role only“. To what extend modest kind of participation was meant by Friedrich Sieggrun we actually do not know – it’s a pity. Beyond these limited hints of Sieggrun I do not know any other sources of that time which assumes a jointly collaborative work of these both astrologers. In contrary: In the Rules for Planetary Pictures (1932, 2nd Edition) Ludwig Rudolph wrote the most clear and explicit hint demonstrating us that at least the calculation of Sieggrun was an autonomous work:
„For the three Transneptunians Apollon, Admetos, Vulcanus calculated by Friedrich Sieggrun it is not possible to give any hints, because ephemeris and interpretations are prepared by the calculator himself who alone is responsible for these topics.“
Please think about this text and its meaning. At that time the three first Transneptunian Planets by Sieggrun were already known to the Hamburg Astrologers for 5 years.
We have to reflect upon this chapter of the Uranian Astrology in a more differentiated way:
- Alfred Witte, according to his own statement, was intentionally seeking for the Transneptunians.
- Friedrich Sieggrun discovered his Transneptunians Apollon, Admetos and Vulcanus unintentionally, as written by himself.
3.2 The discovery
Friedrich Sieggrun – 1929 – in a multi-part article „News oft the Hamburg School – I. Nova“ (Astrologische Rundschau, 1929) described in a very detailed manner the way of the discovery of his three Transneptunians, in 1927. Seeking for suitable research material Sieggrun decided to analyse the daily results of the stock exchange which seemed to have the following advantages:
- The events expected are repeating
- The events occur every day (with the exception of holidays)
- Time and place of the stock exchange are constant
- Prognoses may be checked in a short time
- There is only need for one single Natal Chart of the German Empire (Deutsches Reich),plus daily horoscopes, reducing the effort
- If the analyses by Sieggrun would give reliable results the research work would finance itself. In short: the results of his analyses would even be of financial interest
Friedrich Sieggrun was analysing for the period of two years all the days with equal tendencies and in 1927 he could therefore represent a series of formulas repeating under equal conditions.
Then he calculated in advance and analysed the equations of every day of the current month. The results were disillusioning because sometimes the used equations failed „inexplicably“. Moreover, Sieggrun experienced financial losses when he practically experimented using his findings.
After renewed checking of his data files Sieggrun recognized: „that also in former times with equal state of his equations and with equal or similar places the same effect occurred“, which was disastrous. His comprehensive material pointed to „several critical points“, which on the one hand inverted the equations to the contrary but on the other hand sometimes increased the effect of his equations.
Friedrich Sieggrun asked the obvious question if there could be three more unknown Transneptunians. Because, when his equations were not situated on critical points, then the function was properly as expected. But with approximation to these critical points unexplainable results occurred. The critical points were: 9° Taurus, 27° Taurus, 29° Leo, 11° Leo, 22° Cancer and 4° Virgo.
The most perishable point seemed to be 9° Taurus which showed its effect on the Black Friday of the German Stock Exchange (May, 13th 1927). Sieggrun did not mention any details. Looking at it we find his Transneptunians in the combination Admetos/Vulcanus 9°11 Taurus. (It is worthwhile looking at this chart, the axis will give some more hints.)
3.3 Calculation of Apollon, Admetos, Vulcanus
Sieggrun informed Alfred Witte about his studies who instantly constructed a curve of falling lines (Fallkurve) of these planets. The result showed that beyond the last Transneptunian (Kronos by Witte) there „could be three more planets rotating whereas a 4th planet was in doubt because of the stretching of the curve to a straight line.“ This statement by Witte encouraged Sieggrun to determine the positions of the three unknown planets, this took him six weeks.
As done by Witte before, Sieggrun extrapolated the properties of the planets out of the scheme published by Witte: „The distribution of the planets … to the signs given by Witte was a very big help for my work. The nature of the planets to be found was already given before“.
Furthermore this scheme made it possible for Sieggrun to limit velocity and period (of time) of the three new planets. The quickest of the new planets – following Kronos – therefore showed the properties of Gemini. Then there was a slowly earth-like Taurus-planet followed by the slowest planet with fiery Aries properties.
Sieggrun compiled a table of sun conjunctions of the new planets (a perpetual ephemeris) and handed the table over to Edward Arthur Stone who calculated a ‘real’ ephemeris for testing purposes. Sieggrun states that there was only need to remove small inconsistencies from the ephemeris. After daily checking and observation for 1 ½ years Sieggrun was assured that there was no need for further improvements of the original values.
3.4 Searching for Poseidon
Searching and locating of Poseidon (in 1934) – whose symbol is representing the „doubled Neptun“ – is a very special chapter. Poseidon is playing a very special role concerning its discovery as well as its effect assumed today.
Already in 1927 Friedrich Sieggrun asked the question whether there could be one more (4th) planet. „This planet corresponds to the sign Pisces and should show Neptun properties and therefore it was searched in daily horoscopes of the big flood catastrophes … But my efforts were in vain. The equations connected to Neptun provided sufficient explanations for these and other cases. Three versions of his ephemeris calculated for this fourth planet could not be verified“.
Friedrich Sieggruen´s hints show us that he earnestly was seeking for a forth planet. Later on he pointed out that even the name for this planet had been already defined. As the seeking was in vain Sieggrun assumed that the limit of the planetary system has been reached. But nevertheless he concedes: „But the time of observation is too short in order to take this assumption as certainty“.
Some time later Sieggrun continued the long-lasting search for Poseidon. In retrospect 1948 he wrote: „For Poseidon there was need to process floodings, storm tides (storm surges) and earthquake floodings in order to determine its position which lasted for seven years and could be finished with success in 1934 only“.
Sieggrun did not publish his new finding but checked Poseidon for three more years. In March, 1937 he wrote a letter to Prof. Wilhelm Drude that the effect of Poseidon as a flood planet – relevant for catastrophes of water – can be certainly derived from mundane horoscopes. But Sieggrun also said: „Its effect in individual horoscopes at this time is not yet researched sufficiently. … All these ideas hint that it is potentially responsible for the intellectual-intuitive life of the native.“
The following annotation of Sieggrun is noteworthy: „I like to notify that neither Mr. Witte nor Mr. Rudolph were knowing the ephemeris of this planet. “ At this time the Rulesbook by Witte have already become a book governmentally banned by the state’s authorities.
In cooperation with Sieggrun, Wilhelm Drude prepared the announcement of publication of Poseidon. April 1937 already Sieggrun thanked for mailing of the unreleased draft of the manuscript and added: „Crucial for finding of Poseidon became the evaluation of the horoscope chart of the Titanic sinking.“ – In August 1937, the article by Prof. Drude was published in ‘Mensch im All’: „The newly discovered Transneptunian Poseidon“.
One month later Ludwig Rudolph received the ephemeris of the Transneptunians for the year 1938 by Friedrich Sieggrun – containing a friendly private letter with an example of the effect of Poseidon. Rudolph even had to beg for this mailing.
You will recognise that at this time the relationship of Friedrich Sieggrun to Alfred Witte and Ludwig Rudolph was troubled.
My mother Heimtraut Rudolph (1924-2011) pointed out that she remembers some privat meetings with Alfred Witte and his family at that times but she does not remember if there were private contacts with Friedrich Sieggrun.
3.5 More Transneptunians?
According to the Hamburg astrologer, Wilhelm Pfluegge, this question has to be answered by “Yes”. Wilhelm Pfluegge was a member of a Hamburg Astrological Society called „Astro Dynamics“, which was founded by Friedrich Sieggrun together with other astrologers, on March 22th 1947, 4:19 p.m. MET. We only know very little about this small society. But Wilhelm Pfluegge had noted in his bequest:
„The ninth Transneptun planet was determined first – jointly with Mr. Sieggruen, Mrs. Liesbeth Rappe by calculating – and with Mr. Pfluegge concerning the properties – with the Atomic-bomb and then by tracking of the satellites–; that means in connection to the already known planets and points of the cosmos. …“
He noticed that the detection of the function of the 9th Transneptunian has not yet finished and that he has chosen the name Janus: The Janus-head should mean „man and wife“ because it implies the world view, mathematics, (cosmic equation) astronomy, in addition the generations corresponding to the development.“
If this planet was calculated in accordance with the scheme of planets by Witte then it has to correspond with Aquarius. Until now I could not find any more written hints for Janus. The sun distance roughly should be nearby 90 Astronomical Units, I guess.
4. Calculating a Transneptunian planet
The calculation of an ephemeris – at least in the case of Sieggrun – is much simpler than most of you will assume. For such calculations one needs only modest astronomical knowledge. But much more difficult is the task of the astrologer to determine the places of the wanted planet which then will lead to a functional ephemeris. The astrological work is in the focus of Sieggrun thinking. However I want to suspect that astronomical and astrological fundamentals were of the same importance to Alfred Witte. The ephemeris of Witte – according to James Neely – are much better worked out than those of Sieggruen, and in my opinion they show a more sophisticated state of astronomical knowledge.
I gave up my original idea to calculate with you a fictive Transneptunian as an example because Friedrich Sieggrun already had assumed a further Transneptunian. Furthermore I was conscious, that the knowledge about the Transneptunians must be extended, particularly within the international framework. I don’t like to establish a fictive exemplary calculation of a Transneptunian, which - in the most unfavourable condition - would really be used.
Some important basics of calculation of Transneptunians and the historic development I have already mentioned above. Therefore a brief overview about the calculation of Sieggrun`s ephemeris will be sufficient. In a brief paper “Self-made Ephemeris“, August 2008, which I handed out to some friends as basis for further discussion, I have described the following steps:
- One assumes an approximate property, distance or velocity of a planet. The use of Witte`s scheme will be helpful: The distance resp. order of planets starting from the sun will determine a definite property.
- One observes two positions of the planet in conjunction to the sun.
Advantage 1: conjunction with sun there are no backward motions (regressions)
Advantage 2: the positions found are both geocentric and heliocentric
Let us assume that the analyses of a horoscope chart are pointing to the following positions in the zodiac:
Year 1855: 25°09 Aquarius ( = 325°09)
Year 1927: 07°15 Aries ( = 367°15)
- Now we calculate the yearly progress – from one conjunction to the next conjunction:
(367°15-325°09)/(1927-1855) = 0°35´05 for one year
- We develop a perpetual ephemeris based on the 1855 observation and the annual progress:
Left: Admetos perpetual Ephemeris reconstructed. Right: Original Ephemeris.
I have simulated the calculation of an ephemeris of the solar-conjunctions of Admetos. On the right side you will find the published values by Sieggruen. Thus you will see that the added result was rounded down to the next minute.
Because of this rounding in the original of Sieggrun ephemeris there is the exceptional rhythm of increase of (eleven times) +0°35 and then (one time) + 0°36.
Verification: ((11 x 0°35) + 0°36) / 12 = 0°35´05“ annual increase
- In order to calculate the zodiac-positions from this ephemeris, which are between the conjunctions, we need to calculate a table of corrections. Solar-conjunctions and correction-tables are the basis for using a perpetual ephemeris. The use was published already in various papers, e.g. in Witte’s perpetual ephemeris, Rulesbook.
- Now we have to verify / examine the positions of planets by mundane events. We have to improve, correct or evaluate these things before we may use these planets in natal charts.
In historical reviews sometimes you may read that Alfred Witte found his Transneptunians occasionally (by chance). It must be pointed out that Alfred Witte described and published this phase in a contrary manner in 1923. The seeking of Witte was target-oriented! Witte himself described it as astrological calculation – contemporary witnesses confirmed this repeatedly in many cases.
None of his followers was speaking about chance or hazard. In contrary – it would have been an affront and offence against his achievements in the views of his supporters. If nowadays any supporting student of Witte astrology denies that Witte found his Transneptunians by astrological-mathematical manners, any such student will repeat the offences of Witte´s critics of those times. Wilhelm Beckmann – the only astrologer who participated in regular private lessons with Witte – wrote a clear opinion against the critics of Witte:
… The Transneptunians are not at all pipe dreams and fantasies!
… Those who know Witte will know that he is a rational calculator.
… Witte is a mathematician and Ludwig Rudolph describes him correctly as a pure Uranian man.
But could you ever assume that such a man – whose profession is mathematics – would invent and fantasies 4 planets?
Witte is too conscientious. He will not publish without checking and verifying findings exactly and profoundly and without being able to demonstrate by mathematical argumentation and evidence the existence of planets to every expert astrologer. …
Witte´s astrological search for planets created enemies in the world of astronomers. Witte did not expect this. He looked for recognition – not enmity by the astronomers. In those times it was not predictable that his hypothesis would induce enmities, repressions, spying and control. There were astronomers and maybe even astrologers paying attention to the GeStaPo (secret states police) focussed against Alfred Witte.
Alfred Witte and his astrology were repressed much earlier than all others: at first by the astrologers, then in 1926 by astronomers and in 1936 by arbitrariness of the state. 1941 when all astrologers were prosecuted and interned in the internment camps, there were consequences for Witte. He could no longer withstand the oppression and finally his convictions caused an end to his life.
No Witte follower has to take into account all factors of a chart. Nobody is compelled or forced to use the Transneptunians of Alfred Witte, Friedrich Sieggrun or all of them. Alfred Witte himself used his Transneptunians experimentally and with much care because he hoped for check and verification by other astrologers and astronomers. This is the real nature of a true researcher!
But Alfred Witte would have died for nothing if we would deny the fact of his astrological calculations. The work of Friedrich Sieggrun – established on the preparatory work of Witte and also based on astrological calculation – would be discredited, too. --
Copyright (c) 2009-2014 by Michael Feist, Hamburg, Germany