In his book on primary directions (Book 22 of Astrologia Gallica, pp.56-59 of the Holden translation), Morinus describes a serious illness which he contracted in 1652 while observing a solar eclipse. He fell ill with a fever and catarrh on April 8, 1652 and “was sick for almost a month with such a loss of strength and with an attack of deafness, that until now at the end of May (1652) neither the recovery of strength nor the lessening of the deafness is noticeably apparent to me after the 15th day [from the onset] …”
In his public writings dating back to 1649 Morinus had predicted that 1652 would be “a very unfortunate year, full of sickness and danger,” apparently on the basis of his upcoming solar returns, primary directions, and the transits and eclipses of 1652. Let’s begin by looking at Morin’s natal chart which he calculated using Regiomontanus houses at his birthplace, a location slightly to the south of Villefranche, France. This is the chart which Morin used for himself (he used only the visible planets, but I have included the outer planets for completeness):
Morin attributed sicknesses to the 12th house and considered that any planet in the 12th could signify his falling ill, as could Mercury which rules the opposite 6th house. Because the Sun and the Moon both occupy the 12th, he viewed solar and lunar eclipses as potential harbingers of illness, especially if they occurred near sensitive points in his natal chart.
Looking ahead to 1652, he noticed that a total solar eclipse would occur in Aries near his Ascendant and in the unfortunate 12th house of his natal chart — presaging a “year full of sickness and danger.” In addition, a total solar eclipse of April 1652 coincided roughly with the primary direction of the sinister square of Morin’s Moon to his natal Sun in the 12th house.
To make matters worse, his solar return for 1652 (cast for Paris where he was residing) had 12 Sagittarius on the Ascendant, exactly square his 12th house natal Saturn. In addition, both the Moon and Saturn occupied the 8th house of death in the solar return chart:
Since Morin used the quincunx, he would have also noticed that SR Saturn in Cancer in the 8th of the solar return (SR) lies in partile quincunx with SR Mercury in Aquarius in the 2nd. Mercury rules his natal 6th house of bodily ailments.
Troubling Primary Directions:
Morin also studied his primary directions for this period of his life. His practice was to use Regiomontanus primary directions because he believed incorrectly that Regiomontanus understood what Ptolemy meant. Morin also regarded primary directions to be more accurate if they took into account the latitude of the planets and not just their zodiacal longitude. Morin used the Naibod measure of time rather than Ptolemy’s measure that one degree of right ascension equals one year of life.
Using the Regiomontanus method with latitude, Morin concluded that in 1652 “at the time of the sickness, the direction of the radical Sun to the Moon’s sinister square with latitude was completed.” He also noted that the primary direction of the opposition of Saturn to Ascendant-ruler Mars from the 6th house would perfect in the coming year. Here is a list of Morin’s Regiomontaus primaries for 1652 with the Naibod measure of time:
As you can see, the square of the Moon comes to the Sun, according to Naibod’s measure, in November of 1652, a full seven months AFTER Morinus fell ill. The opposition of Saturn to natal Mars would occur in May of 1653, a full year after his illness.
If we use the measure of Ptolemy (one degree of RA = one year), we get the following sequence:
According to Ptolemy’s measure, the square of the Moon to the Sun perfects in November of 1651, about 5 months before the illness; and the opposition of Saturn to Mars occurs in May of 1652, while Morinus is still recovering from his bout of illness. If we accept the key of Ptolemy, one could argue that the square of the Moon coming to the Sun did not have the import which Morin gave it, but rather the opposition of Saturn coming to natal Mars was the primary signifier of his severe illness in April and May of 1652.
Having found this kind of discrepancy repeatedly between the measures of Naibod and Ptolemy, my practice has become to use the midpoint of the two “keys” to judge timing in primary directions. Here is a list calculated for the midpoint between Ptolemy and Naibod:
Basing timing on the midpoint between the keys of Ptolemy and Naibod, we get the square of the Moon to the Sun occurring at the end of May of 1652, as Morin is finally recovering from his illness and about 6 or 7 weeks after the onset of the illness; and the opposition of Saturn to natal Mars occurring toward the end of 1652.