Why J.B. Morin’s mother hated her illustrious son

In Book 17 of his encyclopedic volume Astrologia Gallica Morin tells us that he had a serious falling out with his mother just before her death, and he traces this occurrence in his birth chart.  Here is a copy of the square birth chart he used for himself:

Morin's Birth Chart from Astrologia Gallica

Here is a computer generated modern version:

J.B. Morin de Villefranche Birth Chart, modern approximation to square chart

Morin tells us that when he was 12 years old (in 1595), both his parents fell ill during the period when his directed Part of Fortune came to the square of Mercury, ruler of his 3rd house of siblings.  His mother fell ill after giving birth to his youngest sibling (3rd house) and his father came down with a serious fever.

His older brother (3rd house) asked him which of his two parent he would prefer to have die and Morin responded that it would be better for his father to survive.  His brother told his mother that Morin wanted her to die and his father to live, and she got quite angry with him.  In fact, she was so angry that she changed her will and considerably reduced his inheritance so that he received very little of her estate when she died a couple days later.  His father survived.  Morin was quite upset because, by his own account, he had always been a perfect and loving son to his mother.

Morin explains that the Moon rules his Cancer 4th house cusp (his parents) by domicile and also rules his Part of Fortune in Taurus (his inheritance) by exaltation.  The Moon, ruling his mother, lies in the unfortunate 12th house with malefic Saturn, indicating that there would be an occasion in which his mother (the Moon) would hate him and he would lose his fortune (Part of Fortune).  William Lilly tells us that Saturn loves the evil 12th house because Saturn revels in mischief.

Because Mercury rules his 3rd house of siblings, the square of Mercury represents troubles caused by a sibling.  In addition, both the malefic Moon’s South node and Mars occupy his natal 3rd house, suggesting problems and conflicts with siblings.  By the Regiomontanus system of primary direction, using the key of Ptolemy of one degree per year, the Part of Fortune conjoined the square of Mercury in the summer of 1595.

To recap, Morin is using the following symbolism to account for his mother’s hatred of him for wishing that she would die instead of her husband:

Moon ruling 4th cusp = his mother

Moon ruling the Part of Fortune by exaltation = his legacy from his mother.  (Venus rules the Part of Fortune by domicile.)

Saturn in the 12th = sorrow, loss, hardship, deprivation

Moon conjunct Saturn in 12th = his mother would hate him and disown him at some time in his life and he would be deprived of the legacy from his mother.

Mercury ruling the 3rd of siblings = his brother (Mercury also rules the 2nd of money and income).  Because Mercury lies within 5 degrees of the 12th house cusp, Mercury is considered a 12th house planet and indicates that his brother was his secret enemy.

Mercury square Part of Fortune = his brother’s actions in depriving him of his fortune (his legacy from his mother).

Although Morin was disdainful of many techniques such as firdaria (time lords) that were handed down by the Arabs, in this case his firdaria are right on target.  He entered the Moon subperiod of his Venus firdar on 8 June 1595 so that issues related to the Moon (mother, legacy) and Venus (ruler of his Part of Fortune and his 7th house of disputes) came to the fore.  Venus, of course, lies at the start of his unfortunate 12th house of sorrow and self-undoing.  This period lasted until 30 July 1596.  The primary directed Part of Fortune came to the square of Mercury in July of 1595, not long after he entered his Venus/Moon firdar.

The best source of information on the firdaria is an essay by Rob Hand.  There is some confusion in the literature based on a misunderstanding of a passage by Guido Bonatti.  Having read Bonatti’s original comments on firdaria, I think that Rob Hand got it right.  In his essay Hand presents Schoener’s generic delineations of the firdaria, which are rather silly and totally off base in Morin’s case because they are based on universal signifiers and ignore the specific determinations of the birth chart.  In this sense Morin is correct in rejecting the firdaria.  If the firdaria are used without reference to the birth chart, they provide meaningless gibberish as can be seen in the delineations of Schoener.

Another interesting point is that Morin used Regiomontanus houses which he thought were the most accurate for natal chart delineation.  If you look at his chart, you will notice that the 9th cusp is almost exactly trine the Ascendant.  Morin took this to be proof of the accuracy of the Regiomontanus method because such a trine from the philosophical 9th house to the 1st house is clear evidence of his brilliant philosophical mind.  No other house system reveals the true extent of Morin’s genius, thus the Regiomontanus system is the best. Could Morin’s very close Sun/Jupiter conjunction have something to do with his big ego?

The original text in Latin can be found at this link.

About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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8 Responses to Why J.B. Morin’s mother hated her illustrious son

  1. Tom Callanan says:

    Hi Tony,
    I found this blog post while looking for information on this particular incident in Morin’s life. You sent me right to book 17 and I thank you for saving me hours of looking through books and papers. But someone on Skyscript, looking at Morin’s chart asked a question that I am paraphrasing: If we accept the Moon, ruler of the 4th in Morin’s chart as his mother, which planet is his father? Morin treats the 4th as “parents” as do many traditional astrologers, but given the nature of Morin’s chart, finding the father is no easy matter. The best I could do was to pick the Sun based on 1) analogy with the idea of the father, 2) the Sun, using Morin’s orbs is conjunct the Moon, and trine the 4th cusp.

    I eliminated Saturn because he doesn’t seem to think Saturn has much of an analogy with the father, but it is in closer aspect to both the 4th cusp and the Moon.

    What do you think? Thanks.

    • Tom,
      I would be guessing but I suspect Morin would pick Saturn for the father. The 4th is parents and the ruler of the 4th is the maternal Moon, so the Moon is most analogous to the mother and rules a house of parents. Morin believed that all houses share accidentally in the symbolism of the house opposite. In this case, Capricorn on the 10th could also be a parent (traditionally the mother). But he has already concluded that the 4th is the mother in his chart, which leave only Saturn to be the father. The sun rules the 5th and occupies the 12th, neither of which has any analogy to fathers, so he would not have chosen the sun. Morin ridicules Ptolemy for saying that the sun is a general significator of fathers.


  2. Excellent article Tony , bravo.

  3. People never seem to change 😦 My sister in law did the same thing, in order to look good to her mother, just days before the woman died. My husband, her only younger sibling rec’d nothing. I don’t think the woman deliberately left him out of the will however, but the sister deliberately defamed his character and that of his wife’s (me) to the dying woman, just in case. Meanwhile, she took all the money from the woman’s estate and pilfered it for the past 10 years all along. Well over $100,000.00. In case you are wondering, 🙂 Her stellium in Leo is rising, the Sun, Mars & the ASC all within the range of fixed star “Dubhe”. Some call it the worse in the entire zodiac. I wonder why?

  4. His own 3rd house of siblings, ruled by Saturn. She was the oldest by 18months. Only one other, a 1/2 brother who didn’t live with them. This one did receive some money from her however, courtesy of the daughter who already had the cash in her own account. My husband’s 9th house is where Saturn would be found, ruler of his 3rd curiously or ironically in Leo conj. Pluto near Dubhe. Hmm. Also his Mars & Moon are there. Whatever, it’s just money. But I thought when I read this about Morin’s mother, it reminded me so much of that same nastiness deliberate on the part of the sibling, I just had to tell you here.

  5. Thanks Tony 🙂 And in all fairness, I checked my husband’s POF mentioneed by you in the Morin chart. For husband, it’s the pits of course, in the 10th and opposed exactly to Fomalhaut, at 3Virgo. From there, squares the NN which sits atop Algol in the 7th, and the SN conjoins his Jupiter in the 1st. It’s been a “bumpy ride”, but we are happy anyway. Who needs money and good luck? Ha Ha Ha……Perhaps this is the last time out. Deb.

  6. Jerome Cardan: http://classicalastrologer.me/cardan/
    3. Those that have Saturn in Opposition to Jupiter, will never enjoy peace, and those that have the Dragon’s Tail with Jupiter, will seldom be rich.

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