Morin’s Use of “Secondary” Houses

Jean-Baptiste Morin de Villefranche was a brilliant 17th century French astrologer who sought to ground the celestial art in scientific principles consistent with his Roman Catholic faith and the version of Aristotle’s philosophy propounded by Saint Thomas Aquinas. He is most noted for his theory of determinations, which is the basis for his approach to delineation of a birth chart.

Morin regarded the Regiomontanus method of house division as the most rational and correct system of domification. He called such divisions “primary houses” and noted that they are segments of empty space surrounding the Earth. Because the primary houses consist of empty space, they “are neither the cause nor strictly speaking the significators of the accidental features attributed to them … but are instead the factors which modify or delimit the quality of the signs, planets or fixed stars so as to produce some kind of accidental quality or event in the life of the native, according to the essential attributes of those houses.” (italics mine, Baldwin translation, Book 21, p.38) In other words, the “primary houses” (empty spaces around the Earth, defined in a particular fashion) provide specific determinations regarding various facets of the native’s life.

The parts of the sky that fall within the borders (cusps) of the “primary houses” (twelve segments of empty space) are termed by Morin the “secondary houses.” In other words, the primary houses act as frames outlining parts of sky (signs or parts of signs, fixed stars and planets) which become the contents of the secondary houses. The parts of the sky contained within the 12 empty spaces (“primary houses”) are then determined toward an “accidental” quality or future event related to the essential meanings of the twelve houses. In this model, Morin regards the planets, stars and parts of signs within the boundaries of a primary house, and the rulers of such signs, as being determined toward the meanings of that house.

To quote Morin verbatim from his original text in Latin: “Sed neque domus secundariae, hoc est, Coeli partes, sive signa, domos primarias occupantia, proprie sunt significatrices accidentium primariis domibus attributorum, velut, nec Planetae in illia constituiti, vel dominantes signis ipsis. … Quamobrem universaliter loquendo corpora coelestia in primo spatio constituta, duntaxat proprie dicendi sunt significare circa vitam, mores, ingenium; in decimo spatio, circa actiones professionem, dignitates; atque sic de reliquis.
My translation: “But neither the secondary houses, that is, the parts of the heavens, or the signs, occupying the primary houses, are properly significative of the accidents attributed to the primary houses, as it were, nor the planets situated in them, or ruling the signs themselves. … Wherefore, speaking universally, the heavenly bodies constituted in the first space (primo spatio) are only properly said to signify regarding life, manners, and character; in the tenth space (decimo spatio), with regard to actions, professions, dignities; and so on with the rest” (italics mine, note how Morin refers to the primary houses as “spaces,” which is similar to the ancient twelve “places” or topoi in the Hellenistic Greek literature).

Morin uses these principles in his delineation of the chart of Jerome Cardan in Book 23. Here is Morin’s version of Cardan’s chart from Astrologia Gallica.

Birth chart of Cardan from Morin’s Astrologia Gallica.

Here is the same chart, using Morin’s data for Cardan, cast with Solar Fire.

Modern version of Cardan’s birth chart, cast using Morin’s information.

In Morin’s delineation of Cardan’s birth chart, he comments that Mars is a ruler of the 12th house. This is true because Aries is intercepted in the Regiomontanus12th. Jupiter is also determined toward 12th house matters because Jupiter rules the 12th cusp and is contained in the 12th.

Morin also notes that both Mars and Jupiter are rulers of the 7th house, signifying Cardan’s wife. Mars rules the cusp of the Regiomontanus 7th house, and Jupiter rules Sagittarius, the first 12 degrees of which lie in the 7th house.

At age 33 the Solar Return at the birthplace often repeats the natal Angles and house cusps. Morin tells us that at age 33, in the solar return of September 1534, Morin’s wife is indicated as having a difficult year. In fact, Cardan’s wife became pregnant with a daughter who contracted an infirmity in the womb.

Cardan’s Solar Return in 1534 at age 33.

Morin gives several explanations for Cardan’s wife’s difficulties:

  • In the birth chart, Venus rules the Ascendant and occupies the 6th (illness) where she conjoins the Sun, ruler of the 5th of children.
  • In the solar return, Venus occupies the 5th of children and trines both the Ascendant and the Moon — an indicator of pregnancy.
  • However, the Asc-ruler Venus in the return chart is disposed by Mercury, which lies in the 6th of illness and is mutually applying to Mars in exile (detriment), Mars occupying the 6th of illness and ruling the 7th of his spouse and also ruling Aries in the unfortunate 12th.
    In this case, Morin would call Mercury, which is the dispositor of the solar return’s Asc-ruler, the “secondary ruler of the Ascendant” in the solar return chart. According to Morin, the secondary ruler of the Ascendant “frequently represents the principal force in shaping the affairs of the Ascendant and is therefore a most significant point to consider in making judgments…” (Baldwin translation, Book 21, p.56) In this solar return chart, Venus rules the Ascendant and lies in Virgo in the 5th (children, pregnancy). Venus is disposed by Mercury (ruler of Virgo), and Mercury lies in the 6th (illness) and is afflicted by a conjunction with Mars and a square with Jupiter (ruler of the 8th).
  • Futhermore, the rulers of the 7th (his spouse) are Mars and Jupiter, which are in square in the solar return, Mars being in exile in the 6th (illness), and Jupiter being in Capricorn in the 10th disposed by Saturn in its detriment in Leo at the cusp of the 5th in the return chart.
  • In the solar return, the Moon conjoins the Ascendant and closely squares Saturn in the 5th. Morin regards the Moon in the return chart as being determined toward the wife because of its opposition to the 7th house. He reasoned that each house participates in the significations of the house opposite through the opposition. In Book 17 on the Astrological Houses, Morin writes: “any house signifies the same thing but weaker as that to which it is opposed, on account of that opposition, and because both of them are included in the same circles divided crosswise” (Holden translation, p.19). In other words, the boundaries of the houses were the planes of two great circles, passing through the center of the Earth and the north and south points of the horizon. All of the space between these two planes constituted a primary house but, in fact, encompassed two houses which opposed each other. For example, the same planes of the great “circles of position” that bound the 5th primary space also bound the 11th primary space.
Morin reasoned that the planes of the two great Regiomontanus “circles of position” which formed the boundaries of the houses would be the same for any two opposing houses. For example, in this figure if the space between planes P1 and P2 on the left of the figure were the borders of the 11th house, these same planes would delimit the 5th house on the right side of the figure. Thus, any part of the sky between planes P1 and P2 would be determined toward both 11th and 5th house matters, more strongly to the 11th on the left of the figure and more strongly to the 5th on the right side of the figure.
Image from

Morin’s innovative approach to houses differs from that of many other astrologers. To summarize, he regarded as the Regiomontanus system of quadrant houses to be the correct method of dividing the empty space around the Earth into meaningful segments, which he called “primary houses.” The boundaries of these primary houses demarcated areas of the heavens whose contents (stars, zodiac signs, portions of signs, planets) he referred to as “secondary houses” and were thus “accidentally” determined toward the meanings of a particular primary house. In this system, the rulers of parts of signs contained within a house also serve as rulers of that house.

Finally, in Book 18 of Astrologia Gallica, Morin gives examples in which the zodiac signs contained within a primary Regiomontanus house could also be “accidentally” determined toward a different house according to their ordinal numerical relationship with the sign ascending, in a manner similar to the ancient use of whole signs as houses. Morin would never have regarded the formal use of whole signs as houses as a valid system of domification because he viewed the zodiac signs as universal and independent of the Earth, whereas the primary houses were specific divisions of the space around the Earth based on the diurnal rotation of the Earth on its axis. (Actually, Morin held to the geocentric theory and believed that the heavens rotated around the Earth.) Morin did, however, sometimes use the zodiac signs as “accidental” houses; a compelling example is that of King Gustav Adolph of Sweden who has Sagittarius rising and Leo fully intercepted in the 8th Regiomontanus house. Morin writes that in this case the Sun acts as a ruler of both the 8th and the 9th houses — the 8th because Leo is intercepted in the primary 8th, and the 9th because Leo is the 9th sign from the Ascendant. In Book 17, Chapter 7, Morin explains his theory that the numerical ordering of the twelve houses is derived “mystically or analogically” from the diurnal rotation of the signs of the zodiac and the secondary motion of the planets. (“At mysticé, seu Analogicé ordo numericu fuit institutus ab ortu per Imum Coeli ad occasum …”).

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Murder by Astrology?

In June of 2022 Robert Hand did a presentation for Kepler College in which he suggested that astrologers in the employ of Ezzelino III da Romano the Terrible (25 April 1194 CE – 27 September 1259 CE, julian) may have conspired to create an electional chart which resulted in the death of their despised patron during the military campaign begun at the time indicated by the electional chart. Ezzelino was a shrewd and militarily capable leader who was known for his savagery and “was feared more than the devil.” Rolandino de Padova published a history of Ezzelino in 1262 CE, and Dante included him in the XII song of the Inferno.

According to the account of Rolandino de Padova (1262), Ezzelino III da Romano was born on April 25, 1194 at Noon LMT in Tombolo, Italy. Ezzelino’s mother was an astrologer who apparently recorded his time of birth.

As a political and military leader, Ezzelino III became known for his cruelty and ruthlessness in pursuing his ambition to conquer and control more territory. Even the Pope in Rome launched a crusade against him. Ezzelino died in 1259 AD during a political campaign begun at the exact time in late August of 1259, as suggested by his astrologers. Rob Hand believes that the astrologers may have deliberately elected a time that would result in the death of the tyrant. According to the site Histouring, his death came during this military campaign as follows:

“Ezzelino III was then defeated after a strenuous battle on 16 September 1259 in Cassano d’Adda by the Guelph league of Azzo VII d’Este and, following the serious injuries reported, was captured and taken to Soncino, in the present province of Cremona, where he died on 27 September, at 65 years of age, as he had lived: refusing sacraments and medicines. In fact, having torn the bandages, he died bleeding, without any mercy even for himself.” Here is Ezzelino III’s birth chart cast for Noon LMT, allegedly according to his mother’s records:

Chart of Ezzelino III da Romano, data allegedly recorded by his mother who was an astrologer.

Just by glancing at the chart, a competent astrologer of his epoch would have guessed that Ezzelino would likely die in his 60s when his debilitated Mars in Libra (the contrary-to-sect malefic) rose to the eastern horizon by primary motion of the heavens. At this latitude the ascensional times of Leo, Virgo and Libra correspond to about 40 equatorial degrees passing over the Midheaven. To rise to the eastern horizon, Mars would have to pass through about 11 degrees of Libra, 30 degrees of Virgo and 7 1/2 degrees of Leo — a total of 48 1/2 degrees through these signs in which each zodiacal degree corresponds to about 40/30 = 4/3 = 1.33 equatorial degrees of ascensional time on the MC. Multiplying 1.33 x 48.5 degrees of travel for Mars gives an approximate age of 64.7 years when Mars would reach the eastern horizon. He was about 65.4 years old when he passed to the other side.

Here are his primary directions calculated by Solar Fire for 1259 CE, the year of his demise:

Primary directions of Ezzelino III for 1259 CE, the year of his demise. Note how Mars has risen to the horizon at the time of the battle in which he was wounded and captured. He died of the wounds several days later. (Given the rather precise timing of these primary directions, one has to wonder whether Rolandino in his 1262 CE text “rectified” Ezzelino’s birth chart to make it closely fit the date of his demise.)

We can also consider Ezzelino’s “circumambulation through the bounds” around age 65. Here are his “distributions” as calculated by the program PlanetDance:

At age 65 Ezzelino was passing through a period in which the Mercury term or bound in Libra had risen by primary motion to the eastern horizon. The Mercury term of Libra contains Mars, which is afflicted by a square from Saturn and an opposition from Venus, an 8th house planet.

Given that Ezzelino’s primary directions and circumambulations in September of 1259 suggest the risk of death, an astrologer would study his Solar Return for the same period. In the birth chart, Jupiter in Taurus in the 10th rules his 8th house of death. In the return chart for the year 1259, Jupiter also rules the 8th house and closely opposes the return Sun in the return 12th of undoing and confinement. He died in prison during this period. Here is his return chart:

Solar Return for the year 1259. Jupiter rules the 8th in both the natal and the return charts. Here return Jupiter opposes the return 12th house Sun, and natal Jupiter conjoins the return Ascendant in Taurus. Venus rules the return Ascendant and is in a close square with return Saturn.

It is not at all clear that the astrologers actually conspired to kill Ezzelino III by electing an ominous time to launch a military campaign, as Rob Hand suggests. The passage cited to describe the chart elected to begin the military campaign that resulted in his death has multiple errors in the positions of planets. In August of 1259 CE, transiting Jupiter was in Scorpio and Saturn in Pisces but the chronicler Rolandino de Padova places Jupiter in Libra and Saturn in Aquarius at the time. Rolandino states that the electional chart had Sagittarius rising with the Sun in Virgo and the Moon in Scorpio — facts which narrow the range of possible charts considerably. Because Ezzelino had learned a little astrology from his mother, his conspiratorial astrologers would have had to disguise their intent to kill with plausible alternative explanations which a novice at astrology might find credible. Taking these factors into account, a possible electional chart might be the following:

Possible electional chart designed by astrologers to deceive Ezzelino III da Romano yet kill this despised and tyrannical patron.

Frankly, I doubt whether the astrologers of the period would have risked their own deaths by conspiring against Ezzelino III. It also seems unlikely that they would have been clever enough to design an electional chart that would both deceived Ezzelino yet guarantee his death. More commonly, they might have tried to poison him. The most likely explanation is that they were not especially gifted astrologers, and a wiser more experienced astrologer would never have attempted to kill an enemy with an electional chart.

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Morin on Delineating Primary Directions

Next week I’ll be giving a presentation on primary directions for the Astrological Society of Connecticut. In preparation, I’ve been reading through Morin’s Book 22 on Directions (Holden translation) and working with his various example charts. On page 17, Morin states his well-known maxim: “the bodily position of a planet in any house is stronger than its rulership in another, accoring to that common [rule], the presence of a planet is more effective than the rulership of an absent [planet].” Morin cites as an example his own chart which has Mars toward the end of the 3rd House and notes that he, like Louis Tronson who has a similar configuration, has experienced the deaths of his siblings.

On page 19 Morin presents a hypothetical example: suppose that Mars rules the 4th (of parents) and occupies the 6th (servants, small animals). Suppose also that the Moon occupies the 10th (actions of the native) and casts it square aspect into the 7th (disputes, lawsuits. At some point in this native’s adult life the 7th house square of the Moon will be carried by primary motion of the heavens to the natal position of Mars in the 6th. How should the astrologer delineate such a primary direction?

To be able to visualize Morin’s example I created a chart that met his hypothetical specifications. To the best of my knowledge this chart is purely fictitious and is created solely to illustrate Morin’s example of the Moon in the 10th, square of the Moon in the 7th, and the 4th-ruler Mars in 6th. All other planetary positions are irrelevant to Morin’s original text.

This is a hypothetical chart in which Mars rules the 4th, occupies the 6th and will at around age 30 be affected by the primary direction of the 7th house square of the 10th house Moon. The lunar square falls at 25 CANCER 11′ in the 7th House.

In this hypothetical chart Mars rules the Aries 4th cusp and occupies the 6ths of servants and small animals. The Moon in Libra in the 10th sends its square to 25 Cancer 11′ in the 7th. By the semi-arc method of Ptolemy and Placidus the square of the Moon will reach the natal position of Mars when this native is about 29 years old.

Primary directions, Placidus semi-arc, Naibod key. By the Regiomontanus method, which approximates Ptolemy’s method, this direction would perfect at age 28.8 with the Naibod key.

Morin advises his readers that “only the signification of the Moon’s square in the 7th should be combined with the signification of Mars: therefore, for the native lawsuits are predicted, or disputes with the parents or the servants, or both, or because of [small] animals, since of course the effect of the direction must be referred primarily to the native …” (pp. 19-20).

As I understand Morin’s reasoning, it goes as follows. The Moon in the 10th House is determined toward the actions of the native in the world (praxis). The Square from the Moon then signifies difficulties related to the native’s actions and because the lunar square occupies the 7th house, those difficulties are connected with disputes or lawsuits. Primary motion will carry the 7th house square of the Moon (disputes) to the natal position of Mars in the 6th, which is determined toward 6th house matters (servants, small animals) and also toward 4th house matters because Mars rules Aries on the 4th cusp (parents).

In my hypothetical example, the Moon happens to rule the 7th cusp, so maybe the native’s spouse also gets involved in the dispute with parents, servants and animals when she is 29 years old.

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Hartford’s Worst Disaster

This week marks the anniversary of the worst disaster to hit the City of Hartford, Connecticut, some 169 years ago. On Thursday, March 2, 1854, at about 2 PM in the Dutch Point neighborhood of Hartford a boiler exploded, tearing apart the Fales & Gray Railroad Car Works factory. According to news reports: “Nine workers, including the boiler engineer, died instantly in the explosion, with twelve more men dying from their injuries over the next few days. An estimated fifty additional workers suffered serious injuries.” Unfortunately, Hartford had no hospital and the injured who survived the blast had to be transported to New Haven where the Yale University medical school maintained a hospital for its students’ training.

According to Today in History the New York Times reported that Fales & Gray employed 300 people, a third of whom were working in the part of the factory impacted by the blast:

“’The explosion was most terrific—breaking the timbers of the building, powerful machinery… and prostrating the walls of the building for a hundred feet in length.’ Workmen were buried in the rubble when the roof and walls caved in. Sixteen workers were killed, and ‘a great many’ injured. The cause was a new 50-horse-power boiler that had been in operation for about a month. The power of the blast killed the boiler’s engineer, John McCuen, whose arm was found “at some distance from the body.’ Other victims were “horribly mutilated, and in some instances the bodies could scarcely be recognized.”

Connecticut Historical Society image of the devastation caused by the boiler explosion around 2 p.m. on 2 March 1854 at the railroad car factory in Hartford.

According to a pamphlet entitled An Account of the Terrible Explosion at Fales & Gray’s Car Manufactory, published after the tragedy for the benefit of the survivors:

“To paint the agony of the relatives, wives, children, mothers and fathers, whose relatives were sufferers, would be impossible. They rushed wildly to and fro, while the workmen were extricating the sufferers, calling upon their relatives in the most piteous tones; and when a body was brought out, the eagerness they manifested to know if it was that of a relative, must be imagined, for no words can describe. Suffice it to say, that in many instances, they failed to recognize their own relatives, so blackened, and distorted, and mutilated were the bodies, by the dirt, bruises, and fearful scalds. Some were so badly scalded, that on touching them the skin peeled off in the hand. Many of the dead were only recognized by the clothing they wore, and as their relatives sought them out, and found them in the arms of death, the scenes which ensued on recognition were painful in the extreme. The majority of the workmen lived in the immediate neighborhood, consequently the interest excited by the catastrophe, brought large troops of friends and acquaintances to the spot, many of whom, especially the ladies, exerted themselves to soothe the wild grief of the bereaved.”

Here is a chart cast for 2 PM, the approximate time of the explosion:

An interesting feature of the above chart is that Mars is squaring the Moon’s Nodes, and the Moon is squaring the Descending Node of both Saturn and Chiron, which lie at 26 Cap 24′ and 26 Cap 15′, respectively, quite near the Ascendant of this chart set for 2 PM.

Here is the same chart in 90-degree dial format with the Transneptunians included and the Pointer set to Mars/Zeus = to heat, to burn, danger of fire, machines, etc:

This chart is set for 2 pm, an approximate time, so the Asc and MC are not exact. Because all the news sources give a time close to 2 p.m., the planetary positions are close exact for the time of the event.

Notice how Mars/Zeus is closely connected to the Sun, Mercury, 0 Aries, Hades, Moon, Volcanus, Ademtos and Saturn. The Rule Book delineates Mars/Zeus = Sun as machinists, and injuries by torch, flame or firearms. When linked to Hades, as it is here, “cremation” is the specific delineation. The interpretation of Mars/Hades = Zeus includes death caused by machines, auto, firearms, murder; being burned to death.

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Train Tragedy in Greece

According to ABC News, shortly before midnight local time: “TEMPE, Greece — A passenger train carrying hundreds of people collided at high speed with an oncoming freight train in a fiery wreck in northern Greece, killing 32 and injuring at least 85.” Many of the passengers apparently were students returning to university after a break. The New York Times wrote (italics mine): “The cause of the crash, which happened just before midnight on Tuesday near the small town of Tempe, was not immediately clear.”

The exact time of the accident was not reported at the time of this writing. Major news sources indicated that the crash took place shortly before midnight. To cast a tentative chart I used 11:55 pm (5 minutes before midnight) and the coordinates of the town of Tempe, Greece as found on Google Maps. Here is the chart with Placidus houses.

This accident took place not long after a Venus-Jupiter conjunction in Aries, which was quite visible in the sky just after sunset. It seems odd that such a horrible tragedy occurred so close to the joining of the two most benefic planets of traditional astrology. Perhaps the proximity to Chiron and the dispositorship of Mars in the 8th diminished their benevolence. In addition, the Jupiter-Venus conjunction is closely connected to Mars and the Transneptunian Hades on the 90-degree dial.

Not surprisingly the chart is quite ominous. The greater malefic Saturn is angular, conjunct the IC and also conjunct an angular Mercury, the planet of travel and ruler of the 8th of death. The “modern” planet Uranus is angular at the Dsc, opposing the Ascendant. Uranus symbolizes sudden, unexpected and often explosive events, including major accidents. The lesser malefic Mars rules the Ascendant and closely conjoins the 8th Placidus Cusp, a signifier of human mortality. Mars symbolizes violence, fire and accidents.

The 90-degree dial for this event is also instructive.

In the 90-degree dial the Mars/Hades midpoint, symbolizing grave misfortune, equals the Aries Point and is closely linked to the MC, Vulcanus (extreme force), the Uranus/Poseidon midpoint (sudden light), and Admetos (cessation, separation, death). The Mercury/Saturn midpoint is a “travel” axis and lies close to the MC of this chart.

Addendum 05 March 2023: Based on initial news reports, I can a chart for “shortly before midnight” what all the news services were reporting. Since then a more precise time has emerged. It is now stated that the crash took place at 23:21 EET (= 21:21 UTC) at coordinates 39°50′54″N, 22°31′00″E. Hence, the chart discussed above is one for time reported in the initial news about the crash rather than the crash itself. It is interesting how the 23:55 chart describes the event. Here is the revised chart for the event, cast for 23:31 EET:

Initial reports said the crash occurred “just before midnight” but more recent news sources give a time of 23:21 EET, which is the time the above chart was cast. The Asc at 10 Scorpio 44′ is opposite the Solar Eclipse of 30 April 2022 wich took place at 10 Taurus 28′. The Total Lunar Eclipse of 8 Nov 2022 took place at 15 Taurus 59′ where Uranus lies in this chart. The Solar Eclipse of 20 April 2023 will occur at 29 Aries 50′ in close square to Pluto in this chart.

The 90-degree dial for 23:21 EET looks like this:

At 23:21 EET the Asc and MC are in earlier degrees than in the 23:55 EET chart. The other positions are essentially the same. In this chart, Uranus is Near the Asc/MC midpoint which is closely connected with the Mars/Hades midpoint and 0 Aries symbolizing a destructive event causing death.

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The Daimon and Uranian Astrology

Recently Martien Hermes posted a fascinating video on the Dispositors of the Lot of Daimon. The concept of Daimon was a fundamental building block of Hellenistic astrology and speaks to the symmetrical nature of the art.

Mythologically, the Daimon was the guiding spirit who assisted the soul of the native in its incarnation into the material world on Earth. As such, the Daimon was symbolically linked to the Sun as a signifier of spirit and the divine spark of life. The Lot of the Sun became the Lot of the Daimon. Whereas the Sun provided the form or spirit, the Moon provided the matter into which the form (soul) was infused to allow the native to reincarnate. The Lot of the Moon became the Lot of Fortune (material benefit). Since the Ascendant symbolized the point of entry of the newborn native into its current life cycle on Earth, the Ascendant served as the midpoint of the Lots of Daimon and Fortune, that is, the midpoint of the Lots of the Sun and the Moon. Unfortunately, as western astrology developed, the importance of the Lot of Daimon as the essential counterpart of the Lot of Fortune was to a large part lost by later authors.

Because the Sun was sect-ruler of daytime, and the Moon was sect-ruler of the night, the Lots of the Sun and Moon varied by day and by night.

By day, the arc measured from the Sun (as the sect ruler) to the Moon was projected from the Ascendant to locate the Lot of Fortune, a kind of symbolic equivalent for the “ascendant of the Moon.” During the daytime hours the hemisphere above the horizon is light and belongs to the Sun, Thus, measurements starting at the Ascendant, which divides day from night, begin from the sect-ruler Sun. Symmetrically across the Ascendant axis from the Lot of Material Fortune is the Lot of Daimon (Soul, Spirit), with the Ascendant as their midpoint.

By night, the arc measured from the Moon (as the sect ruler) to the Sun was projected from the Ascendant degree to locate the Lot of the Fortune. At night the hemisphere above the horizon is dark and belongs to the Moon, Thus, measurements starting at the Ascendant, which divides night from day, begin from the sect-ruler Moon. Symmetrically across the Ascendant axis from the Lot of Material Fortune is the Lot of Daimon (Soul, Spirit), with the Ascendant as their midpoint.

The Lot of Daimon is thus a calculated point in the chart based on the natal positions of the Sun, Moon and Ascendant. Symbolically, the Lot of Daimon is a marker in the chart for the guiding spirit that assists our soul during this lifetime. Martien Hermes explains that because the Lot of Daimon is not a planet, its functioning depends on its dispositors in the chart. He specifically mentions the rulers of the sign and the term (bound) in which the Lot of Daimon resides. In addition, the sign-ruler of the domicile lord of the Lot of Fortune plays an important role.

Specifically, Martien Hermes states that the domicile lord of the Lot of Daimon helps to determine how the Lot behaves. The sign-ruler of the domicile lord provides the resources which the Daimon can use. The term-ruler sets the standards and give focus to the activity of the Daimon. In addition, the configurations and aspects involving the Lot and its dispositors play the same role as they do with other factors in the birth chart.

Since I’ve been trying to learn a little about Uranian, aka symmetical, astrology, I thought it would be useful to look at the Lot of Daimon in a Uranian chart. Martien Hermes used the chart of Vincent van Gogh as his case example. AstroDataBank gives the birth data of Vincent Willem Van Gogh as: born on 30 March 1853 at 11:00 (= 11:00 AM ), Zundert, Netherlands, 51n28, 4e40, Timezone LMT m4e40 (local mean time). Data source BC/BR in hand Rodden Rating AA, Collector: Gauquelin.

According to these data, the Sun lies at 09°39′ Aries, Moon at 20°44 Sag, and Asc at 21°09′ Cancer. Calculating Daimon from this data, I get the Lot of Daimon at 10°04′ Scorpio. It is a day chart, so the Lot of Daimon = Asc + Sun – Moon. Here is the 90-degree dial with the Pointer on the Lot of Daimon.

Van Gogh natal chart with Pointer on Asc + Sun – Moon (Lot of Daimon) = Cupido

In this chart the Lot of Fortune falls exactly on the Transneptunian Point Cupido, which is the Uranian symbol for artists, artistic creativity and works of art. Frankly, I was blown away when I first saw this!

In addition, the Lot of Daimon is connected to the midpoint Mars/Jupiter, which Witte’s rule book delineates variously as joyous happenings, fortunate deeds, to create something, generativity, etc., and its link to Cupido as “many fruits, many births, successful work and trade.” The Lot of Daimon is also connected to the Mercury/Admetos midpoint which is delineated as a profound and serious mind capable of deep concentration, but also preoccupied with thoughts about death.

Witte’s rule book delineates Mercury/Admetos = Cupido (which is highlighted by the Lot of Daimon in van Gogh’s chart) as “to feel alone, to be isolated; gloomy thoughts in company or in the family; faux pas or social blunders in a community; concentration in a certain field of art.”

Experimenting further, I looked at the chart of Nicola Tesla to see how his Lot of Daimon played out from a Uranian perspective. Tesla has a night chart, and his Lot of Daimon lies at 28 Cancer 28. Here I placed the Pointer on the Lot of Daimon and also included the Lot of Fortune in the chart.

In Tesla’s birth chart, the Lot of Daimon lies at the midpoint of the Transneptunian point Appolon (science, higher learning, erudition, peaceful enterprise) with the Lot of Fortune.

In Tesla’s chart I have included both the Lot of Fortune and the Lot of Spirit. You can readily see how they are symmetrical with respect to the Ascendant axis of the chart, the Ascendant being their half-sum or midpoint. Interestingly, Tesla’s Ascendant lies at the midpoint of his Lots of Daimon and Fortune, and Tesla’s Lot of Daimon lies at the midpoint of his Appolon and Lot of Fortune.

Here are some comments which Michael Erlewine posted about Appolon many years ago:

“APPOLON Keywords: The multiplier: Expansion and spreading; growth and increase. Science, commerce, trade, industry, peaceful efforts.” 

“Represented by the glyphs for Jupiter and Gemini, Apollon is that which indicates “a lot of” or “more than one” of anything. It has close connections with the worlds of commerce, science, and education, and can also symbolize success, expansion, and foreign countries.” 

“As the planet of foreign lands and other ‘distant places’ (especially in combination with the Ascendant or 0 degrees Aries), Apollon ought to be well positioned in the horoscope of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon. And indeed, it is. Armstrong’s natal Ascendant (18 degrees Gemini) falls exactly conjunct his 0 degrees Aries/Apollon midpoint (18 degrees Gemini). Apollon’s associations with science and success can also be seen in the triple conjunction (at 0 degrees Libra) that was being formed by transiting Jupiter, Uranus, and Apollon at the time of the astronauts’ historic lunar landing in 1969.” 

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William Lilly’s Squares acting like Sextiles!

In Christian Astrology (1647), William Lilly comments in his discussion of 3rd House horaries that

“… if the Moon apply to the Lord of the third [House], or to any Planet posited in the third, or be in the third, or cast her SEXTILE aspect to the Sign ascending, or her SQUARE in Signs of short ascensions, in any house whatsoever, or if she be swift in motion, all, or any of these are arguments that the party shall go on his short Journey, and with good success …” (CA 196, bold and italics is mine).

It makes sense that the Sextile aspect would be related to 3rd House meanings because the 3rd House is spaced about 60 degrees from the Ascendant. But how can a Square in signs of short ascension also carry 3rd House significations? What is Lilly talking about?

Ascension has to do with how fast a sign rises. There are 12 signs and 24 hours in a day, so each sign on average should take about 2 hours to rise. However, some signs rise rapidly in less than 2 hours, and other signs rise slowly in more than 2 hours.

We measure time on the Equator. Every 24 hours the Earth makes a complete rotation, so that about every 4 minutes an equatorial degree passes across the MC (meridian) of a chart. Equatorial degrees are measured in “Right Ascension.”

Here we are talking about two great circles around the Earth or the Celestial Sphere: the Ecliptic (path of the Sun) and the Equator. They are angled 23.5 degrees with respect to each other, so that when one in projected onto the other, distortions will occur, somewhat like a shadow projected onto a wall.

Is it a gentle kitty or a ferocious lion?

Thus, what looks like a Square when measured on the Ecliptic may act like a Sextile when it is projected onto the Equator.

Let’s look at an actual chart.

This chart is cast for Connecticut USA at about 5:23 AM on 23 Feb 2023. The Lunar North Node is Square to the Ascendant degree, and the signs from the Asc to the Node are all of short ascension in the northern hemisphere.

In the initial chart, the North Node of the Moon is square to the Ascendant. How soon will the rotation of the Earth carry the North Lunar Node to the eastern horizon? A Square is a quarter of a circle, and it takes the Earth 24 hours to make a complete circle, so a Square corresponds to about 6 hours of rotation.

Thus, because it’s a Square, on average it should take about 6 hours: 5:23 AM + 6 hours = 11:23 AM. But the signs of short ascension are rising, so the Node will get to the horizon in less than 6 hours. How much less? Here is the chart for when the Node in on the Asc.

We see that the North Node reaches the Asc degree at about 9:05 AM.

We started the clock at 5:23 AM and the Node got to the horizon at 9:05 AM (and not at 11:23 AM), a difference of 3 hours and 42 minutes as opposed to 6 hours. Now, a sextile is 60 degrees or one-sixth of a circle, so it should on average take about 4 hours to rise.

We can see in this example that what appears as a Square when measured on the Ecliptic in signs of short ascension took only 3 hours and 42 minutes to rise, which is much more characteristic of a sextile than a square, which on average would take 6 hours or 1/4 of a day to rise. This is what Lilly had in mind when he wrote that sometimes Squares, when the signs ascend rapidly, can act like sextiles.

Lilly applied the same reasoning to the other major aspects. For example, a sextile in signs of long ascension will take longer than 4 hours to rise and, in fact, may take about 6 hours to rise, which is the behavior of a square. And so on, for the other aspects.

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Morin’s Use of Zodiac Signs as Accidental Houses

There has been much misunderstanding of my translation of Morin’s Book 18 and, in particular his discussion of zodiacal signs being determined toward the significations of the astrological houses. Hence, I am writing this post in an attempt to further clarify my translation and explain what Morin wrote.

About two decades ago Robert Corre asked me to translate Morin’s Book 18 into English. There had been a Spanish translation by Pepita Sanchís Llacer but not English translation. Robert sent me a copy of Pepa’s Spanish version and put me in touch with James Holden, with whom I worked for over a year to translate Morin’s Latin text into English.

My method of working was to read Pepa’s Spanish translation (which was invaluable), then read the Latin and attempt to put it into coherent English. I sent each chapter to James Holden for comment and to compare to the Latin text, to be sure I had not mistranslated or misunderstood Morin’s original. Pepa’s Spanish translation was excellent and I felt confident after James had reviewed a chapter and it agreed with Pepa’s understanding of the Latin text, that I had accurately rendered Morin’s words.

From their comments on the internet, several intelligent and well-read astrologers whose work I respect seem not to grasp what Morin is saying in Chapter XV. Perhaps the fault lies in my English translation, so I will attempt to make Morin’s argument as plain as possible. I suggest that critics read the original Latin, or consult with a Latin scholar, if they disagree with my rendering of the text, which I carefully compared to Pepa’s Spanish version and had vetted by James Holden.

In Chapter XV Morin addresses the issue of what is the most powerful point in any house and what are the proper boundaries of the astrological houses. Morin had already made clear that he regarded the Regiomontanus system of houses to be the most rational and the correct way to “formally” divide space into astrological houses. He would never have viewed the use of Whole Sign Houses as a valid house system in any formal manner, but he did discuss situations in which planets behaved as if they were “accidentally” in houses other than the one they “formally” occupied in the chart.

In his view, Morin believed that the cusp of the house was the most powerful point in the house. He then argued against the practice of regarding a planet within 5 degrees of the cusp of the next house as being in, or belonging to, the next house, even though it obviously has an influence on the meanings of the next house. Morin states that such an influence is only accidental and due to the fact that a planet at the end of the house conjoins the cusp of the next house and thus “accidentally” may seem as if it were in the next house. But “formally” a planet is in the house where it actually is, and is not in the house whose cusp it happens accidentally to conjoin, or it seems to accidentally be in.

To illustrate what he means, he gives the example of his own birth chart. His natal Mars lies in his 3rd Regiomontanus house but is close enough to the 4th house cusp to influence the significations of the 4th. This is the first of three examples which Morin gives of a planet acting as if it were “accidentally” in the next house. Perhaps I should have footnoted this section of the translation to make clear that Morin was merely giving an example and that he assumed his readers would know what he meant by “accidental” — a widely used term in philosophy and in the astrological literature of the period.

Having finished with the example from his own birth chart, Morin next gives a different example of how a planet can act as if it were in the next house. He begins his discussion of additional examples of “accidental” houses with the phrase “in a similar way” to indicate that he is giving additional examples to illustrate what he wrote about his own chart.

On the top of page 113 of my translation, Morin writes “IN A SIMILAR WAY” [similar to Mars being ‘accidentally’ in the 4th house of his own birth chart] Saturn in the chart of the king of Sweden lies FORAMLLY in the 8th house and ACCIDENTALLY in the 9th (this is verbatim from Morin and it reads the same in Latin or in English). King Gustavus Adolphus is Morin’s second example of how a planet can appear to be accidentally in the next house, but in this case it is not because the planet conjoins the next cusp. Rather, in this second example, it is because the planet accidentally occupies the zodiac sign that corresponds numerically to the next house as measured from the Ascendant.

Morin explains that this second way of being accidentally in the next house by sign can also be seen in the chart of the Duke of Montmorency (his third example of a planet being accidentally in another house).

He further explains about accidental houses that the Sun in the king’s chart can be considered to be formally a Lord of the 8th because the sign Leo lies in the 8th Regiomontanus house, but ACCIDENTALLY the Sun is Lord of the 9th house because Leo is the 9th sign from the Sagittarius Ascendant. Morin is not advocating a whole sign house system with this example; he is merely showing how the placement of a zodiac sign in a particular chart can be delineated by analogy with house significations.

All of this is clearly and unequivocally stated in the Latin text. Please check the Latin. Morin is, without question and beyond the shadow of a doubt, attributing the significations of houses to the zodiac signs by analogical reasoning, based on their relative distance from the rising sign. He is not using a system of whole sign houses, but he is using analogical thinking to assign house meaning to the signs according to their ‘accidental’ positions in the chart. Perhaps I could have done a better job rendering it in English, and I hope this clarification will aid readers to see the forest and not get lost in the trees of Morin’s text.

In summary, Morin is NOT using a whole sign house system, which would have been anathema to him. What he is doing in this chapter is showing how other astrologers (like Cardan) might erroneously believe that the so-called “5-degree rule” is valid (namely, that a planet within 5 degrees of the next house cusp belongs to the next house) because sometimes planets can act as if they were in the next house in actual charts. He gives examples of two situations in which this accidental circumstance can take place: (1) in his own chart, Mars in the 3rd near the cusp of the 4th acts in concert with 4th house significations and (2) in the charts of Adolphus and Montmorency, planets in the 9th sign act accidentally as 9th house planets. He is giving evidence to prove his point. He has no doubt that his own natal Mars lies formally in the 3rd Regiomontanus House but he has observed in this life that his Mars can sometimes act accidentally as if it were a 4th House planet due to its proximity to the 4th cusp. In addition, he has no doubt that King Adolphus’ Saturn in Leo formally lies in the Regiomontanus 8th House but he notes that in reality the king’s 8th house Saturn implies accidentally that he will die abroad (a 9th house signification).

Addendum (23 Feb 2023):

Unfortunately I have misplaced my copy of Pepa’s translation of Book 18. I’m grateful to Margherita Fiorello for providing this quote, with her own yellow highlights, from Pepa’s book regarding formal and accidental house placements. Note in the very first sentence that Morin states that the King’s Sun is ruler of both the 8th and the 9th houses and that the Sun lies formally in the 1st House and accidentally in the 2nd. Pepa’s translation is essentially a verbatim quote from Morin’s original Latin, expressed in Spanish.

An additional note: when Morin discusses “accidental” versus “formal” properties, he is using a widely accepted and widely understood distinction familiar to his 17th century readers. He does not need to define these terms because all his educated reader will know what he means. Formal refers to the essential nature of something. Here is an explanation from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

“The distinction between essential versus accidental properties has been characterized in various ways, but it is currently most commonly understood in modal terms: an essential property of an object is a property that it must have, while an accidental property of an object is one that it happens to have but that it could lack. Let’s call this the basic modal characterization, where a modal characterization of a notion is one that explains the notion in terms of necessity/possibility. In the characterization just given of the distinction between essential and accidental properties, the use of the word “must” reflects the fact that necessity is invoked, while the use of the word “could” reflects that possibility is invoked. The notions of necessity and possibility are interdefinable: to say that something is necessary is to say that its negation is not possible; to say that something is possible is to say that its negation is not necessary; to say that an object must have a certain property is to say that it could not lack it; and to say that an object could have a certain property is to say that it is not the case that it must lack it.”

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Did William Lilly use Signs as Houses?

The recent Whole Sign brouhaha online has got me thinking a lot about houses and noticing references to whole signs and house as I read various texts. I have previously documented how the use of whole signs as astrological houses has dominated popular astrology for at least the past century. I have also cited passages from the 17th century text of Morinus in which he indisputably associates house significations from the numerical order of the zodiac signs with respect to the rising sign.

Anyone who has read William Lilly knows that he associates the first sign of the tropical year, Aries, with the 1st House as a con-significator, the 2nd sign Taurus with the 2nd House, the 3rd sign Gemini with the 3rd House, and so on around the wheel. He also associates the 1st planet in Chaldean order, Saturn, with the 1st House. In this system, which Lilly probably learned from reading the medieval Arabic and Persian astrologers, the numerical order of a sign or planet is used to associate it with the significations of the astrological house of the same number. I believe that Lilly mainly used this “sign = house” equivalence when delineating physical descriptions and medical ailments.

Note how the Sextile Aspect bears a 3rd House relationship to the 0 Point of the Diagram.
Figure from wikipedia:

What many readers of Lilly may not realize is that he also associated specific astrological aspects with astrological house significations.

For example, in discussing short journeys, Lilly writes: “… if the Moon apply to the Lord of the third [House], or to any Planet posited in the third, or be in the third, or cast her SEXTILE aspect to the Sign ascending, or her SQUARE in Signs of short ascensions, in any house whatsoever, or if she be swift in motion, all, or any of these are arguments that the party shall go on his short Journey, and with good success …” (CA 196).

The 3rd House signifies short journeys and the Moon is a co-significator in all questions. It so happens that the Moon “rejoices” in the 3rd house, “for if she be posited therein, especially in a movable [cardinal] sign, it’s an argument of much travel, trotting and trudging, or of being seldom quiet” {CA 52). Lilly also tells us that the 3rd is a “masculine” house whose con-significators are Gemini [the 3rd sign from Aries] and the planet Mars [the 3rd sign in Chaldean order].

Of all the aspects which the Moon may form, why does Lilly single out the SEXTILE to the Ascendant and the SQUARE in signs of short ascension, which he believes can behave like a sextile. The reason is that the sextile to the Ascendant is of the nature of a 3rd House relationship and has 3rd House significations, especially for the Moon because of her special relationship to the 3rd House and to travel.

Much like Morinus, Lilly is arguing by analogy that signs can convey significations of astrological houses, as can planets according to their place in the sequence of the Chaldean order, and also specific Ptolomaic aspects according to the analogy between the arc of the aspect and the angular spacing of the houses. Apparently, Lilly thought a lot more flexibly and analogically about signs, aspects and houses than many modern astrologers are accustomed to.

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The House Wars, Part II — Witte’s Perspective

Not wanting to get caught up in the current vitriol in the astrology community, I’m a bit reluctant to post this since it could be perceived as taking sides or attacking a colleague. In truth I have great respect for both Deb Houlding and Chris Brennan, and I have learned a lot from each of them. Nonetheless, I’d like to comment astrologically, not as a partisan of either camp, about the war that is being raged online.

Although unrest had been brewing for a long time, it seems to me that the war broke out when Deb posted her video which was openly and provocatively critical of the Chris’s teachings about Whole Sign Houses. A study of the chart for that moment ought to be instructive. The data is 4 February 2023 at 8:31 PM (according to Deb’s site) and I believe the location was Mansfield, UK.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with the astrology of Alfred Witte, of which I’ve been skeptical for years because of the use of hypothetic planets which have never been shown to exist. In addition, there are so many combinations of planets that form planetary pictures that each degree of the zodiac has reference to a large number of the planets and points used in Witte’s system, so you will always hit on something that is relevant — kind of like using 1000 asteroids in a 360-degree wheel.

On the other hand, Witte’s specific planetary pictures are often on target in an uncanny way. Partly to test Witte’s ideas, I cast the chart for the debut of Deb’s video to the entire online community with Witte’s Transneptunians included. My hypothesis was that, if Witte is correct, then this chart should show the outbreak of open conflict related to an ideological viewpoint. In “Uranian” terms, the factors Uranus, Zeus, Poseidon, the Earth Point, etc., should be prominent. I also looked up Witte’s planetary picture for ardent belief or religious zeal and found it to be Venus + Poseidon – Mars, which makes sense given the nature of these three “planets” — love, ideology, and assertive energy (Venus, Poseidon, Mars). Here is the chart cast as a 360 degree dial.

360-dial for the moment that Deb posted the video of her criticism of whole sign houses for public viewing on the internet. The Pointer is set as Witte’s planetary picture related to religious zeal.

Witte’s Picture for ardent beliefs in this chart is intimately connected by hard aspect to the Sun, Poseidon, Uranus, Zeus, 0 degrees of the cardinal signs. To me, this was impressive for many reasons.

The planetary picture for ardent belief is tightly connected to the Sun at the moment the video was posted.

Zeus connected to Uranus is associated with the outbreak of war, and when connected with the Sun can represent a military leader who takes a strong stance.

Zeus plus Poseidon connected to the cardinal axis is interpreted as meaning that the world in general “must witness something [bear witness to something], must prove something, must show its conviction.”

Uranus connected to Poseidon is associated with both enlightenment and propaganda, as well as with the general public becoming highly excited by an idea. In combination with Zeus, Uranus/Poseidon signifies the expenditure of great energy toward one point.

This chart from the perspective of Alfred Witte does seem to describe the moment quite accurately. That said, it would be interesting to know what an experienced Uranian astrologer would make of this chart, since I’m a novice at this branch of astrology.

Addendum (17 Feb 2023): Based on the comments received, I have added the 90-degree dial with the Pointer positioned to show the midpoints closely affecting the Midheaven of this chart.

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