Jean-Baptiste Morin de Villefranche is one of my favorite astrologers. Recently I was reading Book 24 on Progressions and Transits of his Astrologia Gallica in which he takes the famous Jerome Cardan to task for an inaccurate prediction.
Cardan’s birth data is given as 24 September 1501 Jul.Cal. (4 Oct 1501 greg.) at 18:29 (= 6:29 PM ).in Pavia, Italy. Based on his birth chart, Cardan had forecast for himself that he would enjoy good health in 1553. Nonetheless, notes Morin, on 20 November 1553 at 2:30 pm Cardan suffered an unexpected and painful illness.
Morin studied Cardan’s solar return for 1553 and felt that it clearly warned of a serious illness. Here is the solar return cast with Regiomontanus houses which were Morin’s preferred house system. At the time Morin was unaware of the existence of the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Morin notes that Mercury rules the 8th house of the solar return and occupies its 12th house of confinement, where it is disposed by Mars. With Cancer partially in the 8th house, Morin regards the Moon as a co-ruler of the 8th of the solar return and notes that the Moon occupies the 6th of illness. Mars rules the SR ASC (the body and its vitality) and afflicts Mercury by conjunction and the Moon by opposition. Morin concludes that “a violent illness and one with danger or fear of death is plainly signified.” Modern astrologers would note the significance of Neptune opposing Mars and the ASC and of Uranus on the cusp of the 12th house in this solar return.
Next let’s consider Cardan’s natal chart with his 1553 solar return superimposed:
The suggestion of a significant illness is even more evident in the superimposed charts. Solar return Saturn sits on top of Cardan’s natal Moon on the cusp of the 12th house of hospitalization and confinement. Solar Return Mercury, which rules the return 8th and occupies the return 12th, closely opposes the natal ASC, which represents Cardan’s body and physical vitality. Mercury also rules Cardan’s natal 6th house of illness. Four of the solar return planets occupy the natal 6th house of illness. Since Morin only knew of the 7 visible planets, this meant that 4 of the 7 solar return planets (57%) occupied the natal 6th house.
This is a striking example of the value of solar return in forecasting.