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Astrology Articles
Article Title: Manilius' System of Dodecatemories (DWADS)
Date Published: 11/14/2002
- by Stephanie  Clement
This article was first published in Today's Astrologer, the bulletin of the American Federation of Astrologers.
Many astrologers are familiar with a Hindu system of division of the sign of the zodiac into two and one half degree segments called dwadashamsas. Manilius, a Latin astrologer born about the time of Jesus, was also aware of this type of division. He called the two and one half degree segments Dodecatemories, meaning the twelfth part of a sign.

Manilius begins by describing the dodecatemories in much the same way as the generally accepted Hindu method. The first segment of a sign is ruled by the sign itself, the second by the next sign, and so on. Thus, the first two and one half degrees of Taurus are ruled by Taurus, and 22 1/2 to 25 degrees of Scorpio are ruled by Leo. Practice will make this calculation come naturally. One guide is that the dodecatemory which begins a decanate is always ruled by a sign of the same element as the sign in which you are working.

Manilius diverges from the commonly accepted modern usage of dodecatemories, or dwads, at this point, adding an interesting twist. In considering the dodecatemory of a given planet, he stresses the relationship of that planet to the placement of the Sun in the chart. This is the procedure he suggests:

  • Step 1. Compute the number of degrees between the Sun and the second planet, counting forward from the Sun through the zodiac. Using Ulysses S. Grant's chart as an example, his Sun is at 6 Taurus 36 and his Moon is at 26 Cancer 15. The difference is 79 degrees 39 minutes.

  • Step 2. "Cast out" all units of even 30 degrees. In this case, the remainder, after removing 60 degrees is 19 degrees 39minutes.

  • Step 3. Divide the remainder into two and one half degree units. Assign the first of these units to the SIGN IN WHICH THE PLANET IS FOUND, the second unit to the next sign, and so forth. In our example of Grant, we find that 19 degrees 39 minutes places us in the Aquarius dodecatemory. Delineation of this placement would have to include some statement about the potential intellectual and social capabilities of the Cancer/Moon, as well as other Aquarian traits.

Using the widely accepted method of calculating dwads, we would assign rulership of the dwad of Grant's Moon to Taurus. The traditional placement would denote a far more stable emotional and intuitive approach to life than the Aquarius dodecatemory of Manilius

The placement of the Moon, Mars and Saturn in Aquarius dodecatemories of different signs can serve as a partial explanation of many of the highly unusual circumstances in Grant's life. Consider his given name. His parents named him Hiram Ulysses Grant, after two relatives. When he was nominated to West Point, it was assumed that his first name was Ulysses, as this is what he was commonly called. It was further assumed that his middle name was his mother's maiden name of Simpson. Grant finally gave up trying to convince the faculty at West Point of this fact.

Later in his career, Grant resigned from the army, only to be brought back into it and made General of the Armies during the Civil War. This is hardly the typical course for U.S. Army officer material.

Grant never sought to become president. He allowed that he would run for the office because he did not want to see what he called a "merely political race." This is a third clear example of how life was thrust upon Grant through circumstances beyond his control.

Ordinary methods of examining Grant's chart would not lead to the above conclusions. His twelfth house planets suggest a far more private life. The Taurus emphasis suggests an occupation which would keep him close to the land, and indeed he did try his hand at farming. The highly unusual career shows up clearly through the use of dodecatemories calculated by Manilius' method.

Manilius' system for calculating dodecatemories is somewhat tedious and open to error. However, one can achieve stunning interpretations of the psychological character of clients. U.S. Grant is an example of an otherwise private person who was thrust into public life; the dodecatemories in his chart show this possibility on the inner psychological level.


Benjamine, Elbert. First Eighteen Decanates Analyzed. Serial No. 103. Los Angeles, The Church of Light, 1922.

Benjamine, Elbert. Last Eighteen Decanates Analyzed. Serial No. 104. Los Angeles, The Church of Light, 1923.

Manilius, Marcus. Astronomica. -Trans. G. P. Gould. London, William Heinemann Ltd., Cambridge, Harvard Univ. Press, 1977

Copyright: Stephanie Clement

Other articles by Stephanie Clement:

Aries and the Masculine in Astrology   11/14/2002
Aspects and Mental Alchemy   11/14/2002
Conjunctions to the Midheaven   11/14/2002
Decanates   11/14/2002
Delineation of Conjunctions and Stellia   7/1/1997
Planet-Centered Astrology: Mars and His Moons, Phobos and Deimos   11/14/2002
Star of the Month: Christopher Reeve   6/1/1996
Sublimation and Air   6/1/1997
Venus: An Alchemical View   5/1/1997
Win or Lose?: Two George Foreman Fights Seen Astrologically   8/1/1997

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