Monthly Archives: November 2016

Nov 17

Zodiacal Fertility (cont.): The Perfect Fifth

By Lars Rosager | Moral Philosophy

Image credit:

This blog post continues on the topic of fertility and creative energy within the construct of the zodiac. See my blog post from 09/17/2016 for the first post on this subject. The comments to this earlier post are useful as well. Before, I touched upon the perfect unison and the perfect octave, the ratios 1:1 and 2:1, respectively. Here, I explore the perfect fifth, expressed in ratio form as 3:2.

First of all, it is useful to note that, in cultures across the globe, the perfect fifth is considered to possess a high degree of stability. In fact, its consonance is widely seen to be second only to the perfect octave. One way in which this manifests within an astrological context is the elemental agreement between two
signs 120 and/or 240 degrees apart.


​Image credit:

​The ratio 3:2 signifies, in music, a length of string or pipe divided into three equal parts; the length equivalent to two of these three parts vibrates. The traditional theory of astrological aspects (angles, angels?) calls the 120-degree aspect “trine.” Referring to the image of the zodiac above, one may find that this trine aspect connects Aries at nine o’clock (the ram) to Leo at one o’clock (the lion). One may be tempted to read the traits of the perfect fifth into only the trine, but it is essential to realize that the vibrating portion of the string or pipe would actually correspond to the larger angle, the 240 degrees from Leo clockwise to Aries. This information could be interpreted by an astrologer in a number of ways.
Elemental agreement is the most salient characteristic of the relationship between signs 120 and/or 240 degrees apart. Aries and Leo are both fire signs; as is Sagitarrius, which is found at six o’clock (the archer). Considering the fact that these are all the fire signs of the zodiac, and that there are always 120 degrees from one to the next, one begins to understand why astrology has considered the trine to be an inherently harmonious aspect. The trine signifies a smooth, comfortable relationship.With regard to how this might translate into a symbol of fertility, one might look into how each successive sign of a single element demonstrates maturation. Continuing with the example of the three fire signs, one could investigate the maturation of the self. The three iterations of the four earthly elements are, in part, representatives of firstly, the individual; secondly, the one-on-one relationship; and thirdly, the group interaction.

The trailblazer Aries commences the first of the three phases. The competitor Leo commences the second. Gregarious Sagittarius commences the third. Perhaps most directly related to fertility and birth is that which takes place from Sagittarius to Aries. This transition crosses the Pisces-Aries cusp, a point representative of the vernal equinox as well as of sunrise. It is transcendence and regeneration, transformation of the spirit.

As the elemental progression of group interaction (the signs from Sagittarius through Pisces) comes to a close, the Sagittarius-Aries trine marks a reconsideration of the self in light of collective experience. This is surely a marker of just how crucial it is to reach out to one’s community in service as well as in receptive modes. The give-and-take of social consciousness brings the fullest manifestations of one’s own potential.

It is necessary here to entertain the notion that the perfect fifth is related more closely to an angle spanning from Leo to Aries, skipping Sagittarius in a sense. But is anything really skipped here? How might one relate the 240-degree aspect to fertility? Briefly, I propose that the association of Leo with one-on-one relationships reaches across the regenerative Pisces-Aries cusp into Aries, the so-called baby of the zodiac. The imagery is quite literally fertile; the meeting of two individuals progresses into a nascent presentation of the self.

What role does Sagittarius have to play here? The duality of Leo leads ultimately to the freshness of Aries, but one must not forget that this process passes through Sagittarius. Thus, one might argue that Sagittarius here represents marriage. Weddings and life partnership have long been consecrated with spiritual or religious ceremonies, so this interpretation would not be far off mark. Sagittarius is typically associated with higher learning and spiritualized thought.

As the initiator of the elemental progression of group interaction, Sagittarius has other roles to play in the progression from Leo to Aries. It is linked to familial matters, perhaps relatives involved in making the pregnancy happy and healthy. The relationship between parent(s) and doctor further solidifies the interpretation presented here. The service-oriented human being is integral to so much of the spiritual consciousness of the world; as parents find ways to provide for their child(ren), the image of the active and community-minded, fully matured adult possesses, in this case, a Sagittarian likeness.

The manner in which I have illustrated zodiacal fertility in this post need not be restricted to procreation in a literal sense. The tripartite manifestations of each element all have much to offer. It would be a pleasure to discuss these topics with you further! Look out for my next blog post on this theme, which will focus on the perfect fourth, the ratio 4:3.

Nov 14

Experimenting with Raag Mayamalavagowla

By Lars Rosager | Music

PictureAs it is written in the August 1, 1896 Musical Times and Singing Class Circular, Raag Mayamalavagowla “is the most favored mode, the first taught” (520) in South Indian Classical Music. A.M. Chinnaswami Mudaliyar, M.A. notes that Indians in general are very fond of the melodic formulas contained in this raag (see Oriental Music in European Notation).

In this post, I propose the viability of studying some harmonic components of Indian classical music. Among many possibilities is the rhythmic emphasis of intervals against the drone. One needs to look at the affective character of each raag vis-à-vis the limitations to which the melody is subjected. Also, Pa-high Sa-low Sa, Ma-high Sa-low Sa, and Ni-high Sa-low Sa drones should be examined. Additionally, I have heard Buddhist chant in Sri Lankan that makes use of parallel perfect fifths. The matter of harmony in Indian music is certainly deserving of investigation. I invite any comments!

Below, find two brief compositions in Raag Mayamalavagowla. The following recording is unique in that the drone changes, in this case from Sa=E to Sa=A. Altering the drone would be a less traditional, yet, in my opinion, viable way to utilize harmony in what has long been called a purely melodic school. The addition of lyrics, which I plan to work out eventually, will add to the shift of affective state achieved by changing the drone.

File Size: 2653 kb
File Type: mp3

Download File

Lars Rosager plays Casa Montalvo Guitars and Thomastik-Infeld Strings.