Alfred Witte  -  History
 Date sent:       Sat, 4 Jul 1998 

Dear Midpointers, 

Recently we have read on this list several inaccurate historical facts  
about Witte, plus several corrections.  The following was passed on to 
me and comes from my favourite astrology book, 'Working With 
Astrology' by Harding and Harvey.  Your local bookstore should be able 
to order this book, or go to our web site for details.  It is the sort 
of book that captivates the reader almost like a mystery novel, imho. 

Happy reading, 


Alfred Witte was the first person really to get to grips with the idea  
of midpoints, and of planetary symmetries in general. He spent his 
life investigating the interpretation of such symmetries and patterns 
of relationships using a movable dial, which will be described more 
fully later. This dial allowed Witte and his colleagues to identify 
quickly in any chart the way whole series of symmetrical midpoints and 
sensitive points (alias parts) were interrelating and resonating 
around the chart, binding the ideas and energies of the planets 
involved together in unique patterns. 

He was able to show that transits and directions to such points  
trigger off these much larger interconnected patterns of meaning in 
the life, thereby enabling the astrologer to be far more precise in 
his interpretation of the energies available at any particular period 
in a client's life. Witte was a surveyor by profession and was 
employed by the city of Hamburg, where, among other things, he set out 
the municipal airport. In 1913 he was invited as an amateur astrologer 
to give a talk to the Hamburg Kepler Circle by its chairman Friedrich 
Sieggruen (20 December 1877-4 May 1951). This meeting with Sieggruen 
was the beginning of a life-long friendship which seems to have given 
Witte the impetus he needed to develop his astrol ogical ideas. And of 
all the many ideas and insights to come from Witte's extraordinarily  
fertile mind, his elaboration of the idea of planetary symmetries and  
of midpoint combinations must un doubtedly mark him out as one of the  
most important figures in the history of modern astrology.  

Working through the First World War with Sieggruen and his other 
colleagues, such as Hermann Lefeldt (29 June 1899-1 June 1977) and 
Ludwig Rudolph (9 January 1893-14 July 1982), in what became known as 
the Hamburg School, Witte was able, through the examination of 
thousands of charts and precisely timed events, for example the moment 
of artillery barrages and explosions on the Western Front, to produce 
perhaps the first major advance in interpretational techniques since 

Taking'problem' charts which did not obviously reveal the known  
qualities of the moment, Witte found on close examination that  
appropriate chart factors, which were not necessarily in any 
conventional aspect, were forming symmetrical 'pictures' and midpoint 
combinations within tight orbs. Thus he noticed that artists often 
tended to have the Mercury/Venus midpoint involved with the MC; that 
where the Sun was involved in the midpoint there was a possible gift 
for the plastic arts, such as sculpture, and where the Moon was 
involved painting talent was to the fore. By contrast he noted that 
Uranus with Mercury and Venus tended to give mathematical talent, as 
did, for example, the MC and/or the Moon when involved in a 
symmetrical midpoint picture with Mercury and Uranus. Likewise Witte 
and his colleagues noted that the charts of accidents showed the 
symmetrical arrangements of the Ascendant with Mars and Uranus, such 
as the Ascendant or Mars being on the Ascendant/Uranus midpoint or 
Uranus being on the Mars / Ascendant midpoint. As we shall see later, 
he subsquently came to realize that such midpoint combinations could 
also be activated when planets were in hard aspect, 45°, 90°, 135°, or 
180° to the midpoint. 

During his life Witte generalized his findings into an entirely 
new system of astrology which emphasized the paramount importance of 
such 'planetary pictures' in understanding the chart of any moment. He 
first began writing up these ideas and observations in astrological 
periodicals in 1919. Then in 1928, after a further decade of study and 
research, he published, together with Lefeldt, a summary of his 
findings in their major systematized dictionary, Regelwerk fuer 
Planelenbilder (Rules for Planetary Pictures), a work which, in 
revised editions, continues to be the cornerstone of the 
Hamburg'school today. 

However, despite Witte's desire to simplify and rationalize 
astrological interpretation, and to bring astrology into the twentieth 
century, his ideas appeared too radical and, in a pre-computer age, 
too technical, for the mainstream of traditionalists. Outside of 
Germany his ideas made some slow headway in the USA. But in general 
his work was ignored by most students until well after the Second 
World War. His concepts only really began to penetrate the 
astrological establishment in the 1950s and 1960s... 

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