Morin discusses the 1646 Aries Ingress in Paris

Recently I read a post on Facebook regarding Book 25 of Astrologia Gallica in which Morinus discusses the Aries Ingress in Paris in 1646. Unfortunately, given the ephemeris of his time, Morinus has the incorrect Angles and house cusps of the ingress chart for Paris, as compared with an ingress chart cast by modern computer. Here is Morin’s original diagram:

Aries Ingress at Paris, France, in 1646, as calculated by Morinus

Morinus cast his chart for mid-morning in Paris, but Solar Fire gives the Aries ingress as occurring about 1 PM. To recreate a close approximation to Morin’s chart, I relocated the Solar Fire chart for the 1646 Ingress to a geographic longitude about 50 degrees to the west of Paris. Here is the Solar Fire relocated chart:

Morin reviews this chart with an aim to demonstrating which planets play a prominent role in the ingress. He concludes that the year 1646 will be dominated by Mars (reinforced by the fixed star, the Eye of the Bull), but that Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn (in that order) will also play an important, those less significant than Mars in governing the year. Here is his original Latin text, followed by my translation of Morin’s Latin.

Morin’s discussion of the 1646 Aries Ingress from Book 25 of Astrologia Gallica.

Now to my translation of Morin’s text (my comments are in brackets [ ] ):

“Thus, in the above figure of the annual revolution of the World (Mundi), or the ingress of the Sun into the beginning of Aries, the Sun of fiery nature enters into a fiery sign & his own exultation and triplicity in the 11th house of the figure. Mars, verily, is the lord of the primary point [0 Aries] or the Sun, and is in his triplicity and is oriental to the Sun [rises before the Sun] and angular in the 10th [house].”

“Mercury, however, is lord of the next cardine [Angle], of course the Horoskopos [Ascendant] and [a ruler of] of the triplicity at the MC [Aquarius, of the airy triplicity] [and] also oriental [of the Sun] and angular in the 10th:”

“and they [Mars and Mercury] are both conjunct in Pisces, a water sign, and their lord [dispositor] Jupiter is in the next Angle and house, in mutual reception with Mercury [that is, Jupiter lies in Gemini in the 1st, ruled by Mercury, which occupies Pisces, ruled by Jupiter]”

“[and Jupiter] applies to the square of the Sun [at 0 Cancer] and to the trines of Mars and Mercury [at 3 and 7 of Cancer, in Morin’s figure — note here that Morin views transiting Jupiter as advancing toward the points in the zodiac where the square of the Sun and the trines of Mars and Mercury fall in this ingress chart]”

“Therefore, Mars, Mercury and Jupiter are powerful in this chart, but Mars claims primary [of power in the chart] for itself, and Mercury trumps Jupiter on account of its [Mercury’s] conjunction with Mars [which is the most powerful planet in the ingress chart]

“For sure, just as Mercury in Pisces is under the dominion of Jupiter [the ruler of Pisces] and depends on Jupiter to act, so too is Jupiter [in Gemini] subject to the lordship of Mercury. [Here Morin is referring to his principle that the behavior of planets is influenced by their dispositors. Thus, because Mercury and Jupiter are in mutual reception, the behavior of each is dependent on the other, but Mercury is in a stronger position because is it conjunct the very powerful Mars in this chart.]”

“Since it is true that Mars applies immediately and partilely [within the same degree] to the sextile of Saturn [which in Morin’s chart lies at 3 Pisces in the 10th], [which is] powerful at the MC and Asc, each of which is in its [Saturn’s] triplicity, thus Saturn also exerts some power in this chart.”

“Finally, the bright fixed star, the Eye of the Bull, of the nature of Mars, lies partilely at the Ascendant, on account of its latitude, and it alone among the fixed stars will exert influence there.”

For the sake of completeness, here is the chart of the Aries Ingress in Paris in 1646, calculated by modern software (Regulus Platinum) with Regiomontanus Houses, Morin’s favorite system:

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Morinus discusses two charts from Abu Ali al-Khayyat

In Book 21, Chapter VII of Astrologia Gallica, Morinus discusses two charts from the Judgement of Nativities by the 9th century astrology Abu Ali al-Khayyat to contrast his own methods with the use of triplicities found in the early Hellenistic literature. Here are the charts from a Latin edition of The Judgement of Nativities, from the year M.D.XLIX (aka 1546 CE), against which Morin tested his own ideas about triplicities and chart interpretation:

The first chart is nocturnal, and it is described on the previous page of the Latin text:

The the Sun and Venus are in Leo in the 3rd place. The Moon rules the 2nd and lies in its fall in Scorpio in the 6th, where the Moon conjoins Saturn, also in Scorpio. Jupiter is in Taurus and Mercury, in Virgo. The planet Mars in Aquarius in the 9th squares both the Moon and Saturn in the 6th. The extreme poverty of the native, according to Morin, is indicated by the 2nd ruler Moon being in fall, conjunct Saturn in the 6th and squared by Mars. Morinus feels that his own interpretation of the chart is more reliable than al-Khayyat’s use of triplicity rulers of Luna, Mars and Venus, being in cadent houses to come to the same conclusion.

Note that the Latin text states that Jupiter lies in Taurus, but the horoscope diagram places Jupiter in Aries, probably a “typo.” In fact, I was unable to reconstruct this chart for any time during the 900 years before al-Khayyat lived. The closest actual chart has Jupiter in Cancer, not Taurus, and the birth probably occurred on August 7 or 8, 424 CE very early in the morning. Below is a close approximation to the first chart described by al-Khayyat. Not knowing the birthplace, I have cast it for Alexandria, Egypt with Regiomontanus houses, because al-Khayyat apparently got it from the Hellenistic literature and Morin preferred the “rational” system of Regiomontanus.

This chart is a close approximation to the first one presented by al-Khayyat. I was unable to find an exact match in the 900 years before al-Khayyat, and the only difference is that Jupiter in this chart lies in Cancer and not in Taurus, as mentioned in the Latin text. My assumption is that the original text has a typo or a copyist error and that, in fact, Jupiter was in Cancer in the original text. Even though Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, and should benefit his financial status, Jupiter is cadent and is disposed by a highly afflicted Moon in its fall, conjunct Saturn and square a powerful angular Mars. The Asc-ruler Mercury is also afflicted by a conjunction with the South Lunar Node in the 4th, a position of the Tail of the Dragon which al-Khayyat delineates as a diminution of inheritance and working hard with little recompense. If he were born on August 7, the Moon would have been at 12 Scorpio, closely applying to conjoin Saturn.

The second chart is diurnal with the Sun in Aquarius in the 11th where it conjoins Mercury. Both al-Khayyat and Morinus would regard Saturn and Mercury as the Sun’s triplicity rulers in this chart. Morin does not agree with al-Khayyat’s reasoning that the good fortune, wealth, property and honorable position of this native are due to the Sun’s first triplicity ruler being Saturn and second triplicity ruler being Mercury. How could Saturn conjunct Mars in the 8th and being in square to Mercury, asks Morin, account the this native’s great fortune? Instead, Morin argues, 2nd-ruler Venus in the 10th and in trine to the cusp of the 2nd, is a better indicator of wealth and honors, as is Jupiter exalted in Cancer in the 4th in mutual reception with the Moon in Sagittarius in the 9th and in trine to the Aries Ascendant. (In the diagram from this old Latin text, there appears to be a typo in the 9th cusp of the second chart, which should be in Sagittarius, with the 10th cusp in Capricorn.)

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Morin miscalculates charts below the Equator

Recently, while reading Book 15 of Morin’s Astrologia Gallica, I noticed a couple of charts of men born in Brazil in which the Regiomontanus cusps of the houses are inaccurate. James Holden, the translator, notes that Morin must have calculated the intermediate cusps for a northern latitude rather than a southern latitude. Morin may have simply used the house cusps from the Regiomontanus Tables, which were calculated for locations North of the Equator, or perhaps he did not want to do the math involved in calculating accurate house cusps for a birth at a southern geographic latitude and opted to use the values for a northern latitude as approximations (but this seems unlikely since he was writing a treatise on the correct way to do astrology).

Book 15 contains the chart of Philippus Bandeyra de Mello (Latin name), aka Felipe Bandeira de Mello, a noted Brazilian solider of the 17th century. Morin tells us that he obtained the birth information from the Commander of the Fleet of the King of Portugal, an official source. Morin then used the birth chart of de Mello to show how the signs of the zodiac retain their nature and influence, regardless of whether the chart is cast for a location above or below the equator.

Felipe de Mello, born in Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil, was the son of Antonio Bandeira de Melo and Jeronima de Mesquita de Azevedo. He had at least one sister (Maria) who was born before circa September 14, 1608. According to Morin’s source, Felipe was born on April 15, 1612 (Palm Sunday) one hour before sunrise. Here is the birth chart of de Mello, calculated by Solar Fire. Morin’s chart has intermediate house cusps which differ from this computer-generated chart because Morin apparently based his Regiomontanus cusps on the birth location as if it were north of the equator.

Birth chart of de Mello calculated by Solar Fire. The intermediate house cusps differ from those indicated by Morin, who appears to have calculated them for latitude 8N rather than 8S (below the Equator). Thus, Morin’s chart has intermediate house cusps that differ by up to 4 degrees from the ones in this chart.

Morin describes the native’s characteristics and some of his life history to show how the birth chart, using the tropical zodiac just as one does for charts above the equator, fits the personality and life events of de Mello. Felipe was always interested in arms and military matters. He frequently got into quarrels and, in 1635, at age 23, actually killed a man in a dispute on a riotous evening.

Although born in Brazil, he traveled to various parts of Europe. In his travels he experienced severe storms at sea and several shipwrecks, including one in 1638 (age 26) in which he was able to swim to safety. He was captured three times by the Dutch.

According to Morin, Felipe’s interest in a military career and his combative nature are indicated by Mars ruling Aries on the cusp of the 1st house, with the Sun exalted in Aries in the 1st house of one’s personality and temperament. In addition, Mars rules Scorpio which lies partly in the 7th and partly in the 8th houses — symbolizing quarrels, disputes, wars and the risk of death. Furthermore, Mars is exalted in Capricorn on the cusp of the 10th house of actions and career. Mars also applies to conjoin 10th-ruler Saturn.

The shipwrecks and danger of death at sea are shown by Mars ruling Aries on the cusps of the 1st and the 8th (danger of death) in the water sign Scorpio. Mars, the exalted ruler of Capricorn, and Saturn, the domicile ruler of the 10th house Capricorn, both occupy the water sign Pisces. The 10th-ruler Saturin lies in the 12th house of evils and misfortune. Felipe escaped death on his sea voyages because Jupiter rules the 9th of long journeys, disposes both Mars and Saturn, and trines the Sun in Aries in the 1st house. Felipe was captured several times, as indicated by the two Malefics, Mars and Saturn, conjunct the 12th house cusp of imprisonment and confinement.

Morin felt that Felipe would encounter perpetual difficulties throughout his life because the Sun and Moon were in opposition across the 1st (the native) and 7th houses (open enemies, conflicts). He also saw a risk of violent death because the 7th house Moon, ruling the cusp of the 4th house of the end of life, was besieged between the antiscions of Mars and Saturn in the 12th. The antiscion of Saturn lies in 16 Libra, and the antiscion of Mars in 28 Libra. Alternatively, one might say that the antiscion of the Moon, which lies at 9 Pisces 02′, is between Mars and Saturn and conjunct both cusp of the 12th house.

As Morin predicted, Felipe de Mello died in combat in the Captaincy of Pernambuco, Brazil, in October of 1655 at age 43.

(Note: this post is a revision of an earlier post from yesterday which contained some errors that are hopefully now corrected.)

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A Case Example from Ludwig Rudolph

Astrologer Ludwig Rudolph of the Hamburg School, in his 1957 Lexicon of Planetary Pictures, mentioned the chart of a young woman who suffered a lethal accident while a friend gave her a ride on his motor scooter. Unfortunately, the scooter ran off the road into a wall. Her friend, the driver, was seriously injured but the woman in question died instantly, having suffered a skull fracture. The birth data of the woman were given as: 24 February 1939, 4:15 AM CET, Rellingen, Deutschland. Here is the chart:

Birth chart of woman who died suddenly of a skull fracture in a motor scooter accident on November 3, 1957. She was 18.7 years old at the time of her demise.

Can we see the possibility of a fatal travel accident in “natal promise” of the birth chart?

The Ascendant in Pisces makes Jupiter the ruler of the Ascendant and thus the signifier of her body and her life. Jupiter in Pisces in the 2nd closely square Mars in Sagittarius in the 12th, an unfortunate house associated with misfortune and undoing. Mars is the contrary-to-sect malefic in this chart and is a symbol of force, speed, injuries and accidents. Mars also rules the cusp of the Placidus 3rd house of local travel, which contains Saturn in its fall in Aries so that the fallen Saturn in the 3rd is disposed by Mars in the 12th, which in turn squares the 1st-ruler Jupiter. Mars also rules the cusp of the Placidus 11th of friends, one of whom was driving the scooter involved in the accident. In addition, Uranus (sudden disruptive events) occupies the 4th of conditions at the end of life and closely squares the cusp of the Placidus 8th of death. Furthermore, the Sun (ruler of the 8th of death and occupant of the 3rd of local travel) lies at the midpoint of the Ascendant (body, life force) and Uranus (sudden disruptive events), which occupies the 4th of conditions at the end of life. The potential for a serious travel accident is clearly indicated in the birth chart.

Next let’s look at the Wynn Key Return for the date of the accident: November 3, 1957. The Wynn Key Return shows the transiting planets at the time of the event but calculates the angles of the chart based on a Wynn’s method of progressing the MC of the annual solar return in effect for the period.

Wynn Key Return for the date and place of the fatal motor scooter accident. The Moon in this chart conjoins the 8th cusp and rules Cancer, which is intercepted in the 11th house of friends. Her friend was driving the scooter that crashed, resulting in her death.

Superimposing the Wynn Key Return around the natal chart, we see the following:

Wynn Key Return superimposed around the birth chart.

Things that stand out in the Wynn Key Return are:

Transiting Venus, ruler of the natal 4th of the end of life, conjunct the natal Ascendant.

Transiting Saturn conjunct the natal 12th cusp and natal Mars in the 12th and closely square natal Asc-ruler Jupiter.

Transiting Sun conjunct transiting North Lunar Node, and both conjunct the natal North Lunar Node.

Transiting MC conjunct natal Uranus in the 4th house.

Transiting Mars in the natal 9th square the transiting Vertex in the natal 1st.

Transiting Uranus (sudden unexpected events) conjunct the natal Vertex and the natal Placidus 8th house cusp of death.

She was 18.7 years old at the time of the accident. At this age her profected Ascendant (one sign per year method) is Gemini, making Mercury the Lord of the year. Gemini rules her Placidus 6th and 7th houses. Mercury also rules Virgo, which is intercepted in the 8th of death, making Mercury a co-ruler of the 8th. Let’s look at her solar return superimposed on her natal chart.

1957 Solar Return at birthplace superimposed on birth chart.

In the solar return chart for 1957, Gemini occupies the cusp of the 12th house of misfortune and undoing. The Lord of the year, natal 8th ruler and return 12th ruler Mercury, lies at 15 Aquarius in close square to Mars in the return and Uranus in the 4th house of the birth chart.

There is much to learn by studying these classic charts from the literature of astrology. The data for this chart was obtained from a YouTube video posted by My Astro World, and I am grateful for their making this information available.

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Morin interprets the chart of Zaga Christ (Ṣägga Krәstos)

Recently I came across an online article published by Cambridge University Press (21 Jan 2022) entitled The narrative of Zaga Christ (Ṣägga Krәstos): (1635). The abstract of this paper reads as follows:

“In the 1630s, a young traveller by the name of Ṣägga Krәstos (1616–38) crisscrossed Italy and France, claiming to be the heir of the late Ethiopian Emperor Yaʿǝqob and pledging to return to Ethiopia at the helm of a Catholic mission. While in Rome, intent on convincing the papacy of his identity, he authored a lengthy autobiographical statement that included a precise dynastic claim, an account of his father’s rise and demise, and an itinerary of his own journey from Ethiopia to Rome. Later, as he continued his journey, Ṣägga Krәstos shared his statement with his European acquaintances; once in Paris, he published it, dedicating it to Anne of Austria, Queen of France. This article sketches the contours of Ṣägga Krәstos’s journey and identity and offers a comprehensive genealogy of the autobiographical statement’s many extant versions. It also discusses the transfiguration that both his reputation and statement underwent after his death. Ṣägga Krәstos’s is the earliest known autobiography voluntarily written and published in Europe by an African-born author. Following this article is a complete annotated translation – the first in the English language – of what is likely to be the earliest extant version of the statement, followed by excerpts from later versions. A complete transcription of the source is available with the online supplementary materials published with this article.”

Portrait of Zaga Christ by Giovanna Garzoni, 1635.

Recalling that Morinus had discussed the chart of this individual, I looked up Morin’s comments about the nativity in Book 15 of Astrologia Gallica.

Birth chart of Zaga Christ and Morin’s interpretation from Book 15 of Astrologia Gallica.

Here is a modern version of the natal chart which Morin used for Zaga Christ. The accuracy of the birth data is somewhat questionable. In any case, this is a modern version of the figure which Morin calculated based on the data given to him by his sources, one of whom was probably Zaga Christ himself.

Note that in this chart the Part of Fortune is calculated for a night chart. The Lot of Spirit lies at 16 Pisces 09′, which is the value Morin would have used for the Lot of Fortune in his practice.

Morin begins his interpretation by noting that in his system of planetary dignities (which included only domicile, exaltation and triplicity), except for Mercury all the planets in this chart are peregrine, that is, lacking any essential dignity. Mercury, in Morin’s system, has the dignity of being a triplicity ruler. Morin appears to be trying to account the Zaga Christ’s harsh treatment by his blood relatives in his homeland and his poverty, destitution and death at a young age in a foreign country.

Morin Triplicity Rulers

              Day             Night          Participating

  • Fire:              Sun             Mars            Jupiter
  • Air:               Saturn         Venus          Mercury
  • Water:          Jupiter         Moon           Mars
  • Earth:           Mercury      Saturn          Venus

Morin next comments that this chart exhibits a lack of benefic aspects. He notes the sextile between the Moon and Mercury, and the trine between the Moon and Saturn, but says that these aspectual configurations are corrupted (“depravatum” in Latin) aspects. In the case of the Moon-Saturn trine, the malefic Saturn lies in Aries (the sign of its fall), is Retrograde and occupies the unfortunate 12th house; hence, it is a “corrupted” and damaging trine. In the case of the Moon-Mercury sextile, Mercury rules and occupies the 6th and opposes the malefic Saturn which occupies the 12th, is Retrograde and lies in the sign of its fall. Thus, the sextile from the peregrine Moon becomes corrupted by the state of Mercury damaged by the opposition of Saturn in the 12th.

Nonetheless, sextiles and trines do indicate some positive features. In this case Morin tells us that Mercury in Libra sextile to the Moon indicates a talented and refined person. In addition, the Moon lying at the 5th cusp and being in trine to Saturn and the Asc suggests eloquence and good powers of reasoning, but also extravagance because the Moon (at the 5th cusp of having fun) disposes Venus, ruler of the 2nd of his money.

Morin continues by studying Saturn, which rules the MC and lies in the 12th house just above the Ascendant degree. Saturn, however, has southern latitude, so that by primary motion the body of Saturn reached the eastern horizon at about the same time that the Asc-degree arrived there. According to Morin, the primary direction of square of the 4th ruler (end of life) Moon to the natal Asc degree (which is in partile conjunction with the body of Saturn) was active at the time of Zaga Christ’s death in April of 1638.

The two Lights, the Sun and the Moon, which have to do with vitality and life force and also have analogy with the 10th house, are unfriendly to the 10th space (“inimici 10 spatio”, in Latin), and the Sun opposes the Part of Fortune, which lies at 16 Pisces. By unfriendliness, Morin means that neither the Sun nor the Moon would be happy visiting the 10th space because it contains parts of the unfriendly signs of the Lights: Capricorn (the detriment of the Moon) and Aquarius (the detriment of the Sun). In short, Saturn rules the signs which occupy the 10th space, and Saturn is inimical to both the Sun and the Moon. Thus, this native will be unfortunate in the actions he undertakes in the world and in his general fortune or material well-being (signified by the Lot of Fortune).

Regarding the native’s non-parental blood relatives, Morin notes that Mercury, which rules the 3rd house of siblings and kin, opposes a highly unfortunate Saturn and squares the meridian (MC/IC axis). Mercury is also in a wide opposition to the Asc and a wide square to Mars, which rules the Ascendant. Thus, his blood relatives will not be kindly disposed toward him personally or toward his 10th house pursuits. In addition, Mercury in this chart is determined toward enemies because Mercury occupies the 6th and receives an opposition from malefic Saturn in the 12th (secret enemies).

Regarding his financial status, Jupiter is the dispositor of his 12th house Part of Fortune in Pisces. The placement of Jupiter in the 7th subjects this native’s wealth to his open enemies in the 7th, which is further indicated by Jupiter in the 7th of open enemies being in close square to peregrine Venus, ruler of the 2nd house of finances.

As far as personality traits go, Morin states that this native is likely to be melancholy because of Saturn so close to the Asc, and easily angered because the Fire sign Aries, ruled by Mars, governs the Ascendant.

Regarding the native’s long journeys and wandering away from this homeland, Morin notes that the Asc-ruler Mars occupies the 3rd (a travel house) and closely trines Jupiter, ruler of the 9th of long journeys and foreign lands. Furthermore, Jupiter occupies the angular 7th house and the cardinal sign Libra, whose ruler Venus disposes Jupiter. Venus, in turn, occupies the angular 4th house and the cardinal sign Cancer. Such places in angular houses and cardinal signs are indications of long and varied travels and intense experiences of life’s ups and downs.

After the death of Zaga Christ, commentators often focused on the impressive size of his phallus and his reputation in Paris as a great lover among women of the French nobility. The article cited at the beginning of this blog states: “in November 1637, Ṣägga Krәstos became a sensation when he attempted to flee Paris with Magdalene Alamant, wife of François Saulnier, a Parisian notable. Apprehended and jailed, he defiantly refused to acknowledge the authority of his French prosecutors until Cardinal Richelieu had him released and hosted him at his estate in Rueil, where Ṣägga Krәstos died four months later on 22 April 1638.”

I have been unable to find an account of the cause of death, but it would not have been uncommon during that epoch for a jealous husband of the nobility to have his wife’s lover secretly poisoned — a form of death consistent with Scorpio on the cusp of the 8th house and Mercury, the dispositor of Mars, opposite an afflicted Saturn in the 12th.

Morinus picks up on this sexual theme when he writes that Zaga Christ was imprisoned in Paris because of his love affair with a woman of senatorial rank. Morin accounts for this event by citing the Leo cusp of the natal 5th house of love affairs in trine with Saturn and the Ascendant degree. Leo is a “royal” sign and the Sun in the 5th implies romantic affairs with illustrious lovers. Mercury is dispositor of the 5th-ruler Virgo Sun which opposes the 12th cusp of confinement, and Mercury occupies the 6th opposite Saturn in the 12th of imprisonment. Morin doesn’t make explicit that the native’s phallus is signified by the 8th ruler Mars, which also rules the Ascendant and is closely trine to Jupiter (large size) in the 7th of coitus.

Morin does tell us, however, that the malefic planet Mars rules both the Asc (the body and its vitality) and the 8th (the death of the native) and occupies the 3rd (a travel house) and thereby portends a wretched death away from his homeland, but not a violent death because Mars does not afflict the Ascendant, Saturn does not afflict Mars, the malefics do not afflict the Lights (Sun and Moon) which are also not in violent signs.

Morin concludes that this birth chart describes well the life of Zaga Christ and therefore it is not likely that he was an imposter, as many believed him to be. Modern historians, however, appear to believe that Zaga Christ was, in fact, a clever impostor who was not an heir to the Abyssinian throne, which he claimed to be. It may be that Morin has an accurate chart for the young man whom he met in Paris, so that the chart accurately describes Zaga Christ’s life adventures, but it does not prove that the young man was who he said he was.

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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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