Distortions due to the Astrological “12-letter Alphabet”

One of the banes of modern astrology is the adoption of the 12-letter alphabet which equates planets with signs and with houses. In such a system there is no difference in signification, for example, between Mars, Aries and the 1st House. This type of thinking ignores the long history and development of horoscopic astrology since its birth in ancient Hellenistic times. As a result, modern astrology sometimes twists astrological symbols to become gross distortions of what they originally signified.

The original universal horoscope in Western astrology was the Thema Mundi which had Cancer rising in the 1st place (topos), and Aries at the Midheaven. The 12-letter alphabet considers Aries rising as the first sign of the universal horoscope and locates Cancer in the 4th place and Capricorn in the 10th place (which is where Aries appeared in the Thema Mundi).

Recently I’ve seen several references to Taurus being a “hedonistic” sign. The reasoning appears to be that Taurus equals Venus, the planet of sensual delights, so that Taurus is thus a sign in constant pursuit of sensual pleasure. By the same faulty reasoning, Venus is thought to equal money because Taurus falls in 2nd place in the Aries-rising chart, even though Taurus occupies the 11th place in the original Thema Mundi of Western horoscopic astrology. Here is a typical “modern” astrological delineation of Taurus based on the 12-letter alphabet, which ignores tradition and substitutes a modern misunderstanding as the basis for delineation:

Taurus is an earth sign, and it’s ruled by love-and-money planet Venus. This gives those born under this sign an immense connection with sensuality and earthly pleasures. As such, they can be big lushes – sipping fancy cocktails, wearing gorgeous outfits, knowing the best chef in town. Their favorite drug is MDMA, because they’re constantly chasing ecstasy. Few people can luxuriate like Taurus! However, with such expensive tastes, it can be easy for them to rack up a high balance on their credit card or a debilitating hangover.” (Source: https://www.vice.com/en/article/vbxpv9/taurus-worst-traits-zodiac-sign)

If we contrast the above delineation of Taurus with that of a traditional astrologer, say William Lilly, we find that Taurus meant something quite different in the 17th century. Lilly writes (CA 538) that if the significator of manners in a natal chart falls in Taurus, then the native is “laborious, for the Oxe or Bull is represented by Taurus.” In Lilly’s time, “laborious” meant “devoted to labor, hard-working and industrious” (See https://www.etymology-online.com/laborious).

Again in England’s Prophetical Merline Lilly discusses a horary question from a woman who asked whether she should marry a much older man for his money?

A Gentle Woman desired to know is she should have an Aged Man; yes, or no.

Lilly studies the chart and determines that the man inquired after, signified by the 7th house and its ruler Jupiter, must be “worldly and cautious, for Jupiter being in Taurus, the emblem of labour, doth insinuate so much.” Here again, Lilly views the Earth-sign Taurus the Bull as hard-working, industrious, worldly and cautious, partly because the bull is an animal of labor and spends his days sweating and plowing fields under the hot sun. This is hardly the modern 12-letter image of Taurus as the hedonistic, pleasure-seeking lush who spends his or her day in pursuit of ever more sensual delights.

Woman asks if she should marry the old man for his money.

Lilly interprets the chart as follows. Mercury signifies the woman querent, and Jupiter signifies the old man whom she might marry. Mercury is separating from a sextile to Jupiter, so their significators are not applying to any type of union.

Mercury lies in Cancer, the exaltation sign of Jupiter, so the old man is hot to get married to this younger woman. Mercury (the woman) will next square Mars in Aries. The Moon separates from a square to Jupiter and next applies to sextile the Mars in Aries, so the woman has the hots for some younger man, perhaps a soldier. Unfortunately, the Moon lies in the 6th and Mars in the 8th, and there Mars does not receive the Moon or Mercury in any of his dignities, so this young virile soldier has no interest in her.

Lilly also advised the woman that the presence of malefic Saturn in the 8th, the house of the old man’s money, with Saturn peregrine and in Aries, the sign of its fall, meant that she would have problems getting at his money. It turned out that even though the old man owned property, there were legal claims against it and she would not fare well financially if she were to marry him. Nonetheless, Jupiter (the old man) in Taurus the Bull meant that he was very hard-working, industrious, cautious and worldly, like a bull pulling a plow all day, working hard in the fields. In addition, because the elderly man’s signifier is expansive Jupiter in Taurus the Bull, Lilly describes him as fleshy and full-bodied with an oval face and dark brown hair.

The old man’s significator was Jupiter in Taurus the Bull, so Lilly described him as hard-working, fleshy and full-bodied with an oval face and dark brown hair.
(Image from https://numpaint.com/products/brown-bull-paint-by-number/

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A Useful Predictive Feature of the Moon’s Nodes

The Nodes of the Moon are points in space where the orbit of the Moon around the Earth crosses the apparent path of the Sun (the ecliptic) in its annual journey around the Earth in the geocentric model of the solar system used by astrologers. Because the lunar nodes mark points in the sky near which solar and lunar eclipses occur, they have been given special significance in astrology. In the Jyotish of India the Moon’s nodes (Rahu and Ketu, the North and South Nodes respectively) are regarded as shadow planets with a malefic nature, and there is an elaborate mythology that correlates with this view of the lunar nodes.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_node

For centuries astrologers have used the “mean” or average position of the lunar nodes, which are calculated average positions of the nodes which travel “backward” or Retrograde around the zodiac circle at a rate of about one 360-degree cycle every 18.6 years. With increasingly precise telescopes computers and observations in modern times, scientists are now able to calculate the exact position of the lunar nodes at a given moment. These are called the “true” lunar nodes and, unlike the “mean” nodes which on average always move Rx in the zodiac, the true nodes periodically become stationary and briefly travel direct before resuming their Retrograde motion.

In 2019 I was invited to do a presentation about Solar Returns at a conference in Donostia, Spain. In preparing for the talk, I examined about 50 solar returns of famous individuals who had major life events occur during that solar return year. I was struck that the vast majority of the solar returns in my sample had the lunar nodes stationary or moving very slowly during years in which life-altering or dramatic changes occurred.

Upon further investigation, I learned that this phenomenon of the very slow or stationary movement of the Moon’s true nodes has been observed by other astrologers, especially those who practice Jyotish. For example, in a newsletter by David Hawthorne who writes about the “systems approach to Vedic astrology” I found the following forecast, which I have paraphrased and converted to the tropical zodiac for Western astrologers:

According to Hawthorne, in the year 2021, Rahu and Ketu [the Moon’s north and south nodes, respectively] are stationary within a 7-degree range from October 19th until January 2nd of 2022. (The Lunar Nodes will be traveling slowly back and forth through the 2nd degree of Gemini/Sagittarius, and their influence will be felt within an orb of about 3 degrees before and after that 2nd degree of Gemini/Sagittarius in the tropical zodiac.) Whenever Rahu and Ketu are slow-moving for a prolonged period of time, they can cause serious issues worldwide. This transit may also be challenging for persons, companies and countries whose natal charts have a rising sign or planet(s) in, or very close to, the same degrees as these slow-moving transiting lunar nodes.

Just how fast do the lunar nodes travel? Their cycle is 360 degrees around the zodiac about every 18.6 years. More precisely, Wikipedia tells us: “Because the orbital plane of the Moon precesses in space, the lunar nodes also precess around the ecliptic, completing one revolution (called a draconic or nodal period) in 18.612958 years (6,798.383 days).”

If we divide 360 degrees by 18.61 years, we find that the nodes travel on average 19.34 degrees per year, which is equivalent to 1.6 degrees per month, or to 0.053 degrees per day. Let’s look at the Swiss ephemeris from astro.com for December of 2021 to see how much the true lunar node is moving:

Ephemeris December 2021
Note the positions of the Moon’s True Node

At the beginning of December 2021, the true lunar node is at 01 Gemini 43 in the tropical zodiac. During the month this becomes stationary and changes direction several times, so that at the end of the month Rahu lies at 01 Gemini 13 and have moved only 30 minutes of arc in the course of one month. The average rate of motion of the lunar nodes is about 1.6 degrees (96 minutes of arc) per month. The nodes have moved only about one-third of their average distance and are considered to be in slow motion, which symbolically is a warning of problems or unexpected changes for those affected by the nodes in their birth charts. If we view the lunar nodes as a dragon that devours the Sun and the Moon, we would of course be concerned if that dragon paused and dawdled on a planet or important point in our nativity.

The implication for December of 2021 is that anyone with a natal position within a few degrees of the 2nd degree of Gemini (tropical zodiac) may experience this month as particularly difficult, challenging, and marked by changes that take you by surprise, sometimes in unpleasant ways, as the Head and Tail of the Dragon toy with planets and points in your birth chart.

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A question about primary directions

Recently a fellow astrologer, who had rectified her chart using several life events and various predictive techniques, asked whether primary directions would clearly indicate the passing of her father, which occurred in November of 1995 when she was 34 years old. The loss of a parent is a major life event, which should show up in the directions of the natal chart. Such directions are more pronounced when a parent dies early in life because parental loss in childhood has a major impact on the individual. As we and our parents age, the demise of a parent becomes a more expectable event, and the primary directions around the time of the event may be less dramatic in an individual’s chart and may reflect more the person’s reaction to the death of a parent than the actual event. She has kindly given me permission to discuss her chart, but I will keep her identity anonymous.

The first and most important step in analyzing primary directions is to study the natal chart. Directions can only predict what the birth chart promises. Here is the person’s natal chart, and we need to pay special attention to the factors that signify the father and death in her birth chart.

Birth chart of a woman whose father died in November of 1995.
She asked whether primary directions would show this event in her chart.

In this natal chart Sagittarius rises, making Jupiter the ruler of her Ascendant. Jupiter also rules Pisces on the 4th house cusp, and so Jupiter is also a signifier of her father. (In the Hellenistic tradition, the 4th house refers to the parents, and especially to the father.) In a day chart the Sun is often taken as a natural ruler of fathers. In our analysis of her primary directions in 1995 we will be particularly interested in any aspects or conjunctions involving Jupiter, the 4th cusp (meridian axis), or the Sun.

Significators of death include the ruler of the 8th house, which is the Moon in this chart. In addition, Saturn is traditionally a natural ruler of death, and many modern astrologers include Pluto, lord of the underworld, as a signifier of death. To be complete, I should mention that Richard Houck in his classic text The Astrology of Death borrowed concepts from Jyotisha and included the rulers of the 2nd and 7th houses, Saturn and Mercury in this chart, as signifiers or marakas of death.

Because Jupiter rules her father, we must study Jupiter’s aspects in her birth chart. Jupiter in Capricorn in Rx and conjoins Saturn Rx, also in Capricorn, and also conjoins the Moon in 0 Aquarius. Jupiter is squared by a Mercury/Mars conjunction from Libra. Mars and Mercury lie at the end of the 10th Placidus house and conjoin the 11th Placidus cusp, which (using derived houses) is the 8th house cusp from the 4th house of the father. Thus, if Mars and Mercury become activated by primary direction, their square to the Saturn/Jupiter conjunction becomes active and could indicate the passing of the father.

For those who use the Lord of the Orb (ruler of the planetary hour of birth and its annual ‘profections’), this nativity occurred on a Mercury day during a Venus hour (the 7th hour of that day, just after the Sun culminated on the MC). Thus, Venus is the Lady of the Orb at birth. Abu Ma’shar distributed the lords of the hour in Chaldean order around the chart, beginning with the Lord of the Orb in the 1st house. This system would make Saturn a co-ruler of the father in the birth chart, as follows: Venus (1st house) – Mercury (2nd) – Moon (3rd) – Saturn (4th house – father).

According to Ben Dykes translation, Ma’shar continued the sequence of Lords of the Orb around the wheel throughout life. Thus, at age 34 the native would be in a 12-year period which began with Saturn the Lord of the Orb of the 1st house, placing the Sun in the 4th house as Lord of the Orb during this particular period of her life. These are fine points used by Abu Ma’shar in his delineations of solar returns, and few astrologers have paid attention to the lord of the orb in the history of the art. For our purposes here, we should keep in mind that, according to this Lord of the Orb technique, the condition and aspects of Saturn and the Sun can give further information about what happens to the father in the year 1995.

At age 34 this native enters an 11th whole sign profection. In other words, Libra becomes the profected Ascendant in this chart, and Venus becomes Lady of the Year. Because Libra is the 8th sign from Pisces on the 4th of the father, Libra and Venus become signifiers for the potential death of the father. When Libra becomes the profected Ascendant sign, the square aspect of Mercury/Mars in Libra to Saturn/Jupiter in Capricorn gets activated, indicating a difficult period for her father (Jupiter) at this time. By the Lord of the Orb technique, Saturn co-rules the father in the birth chart. As we shall see below, at age 34 Mercury is her “divisor” and the Sun, via its square to the directed Ascendant, is the “participant” as well as a signifier of the father (as lord of the orb of the 4th house) when she is 34 years old.

In studying primary directions, I like to advance the birth time of the natal chart by the amount of time that corresponds to the age of the native at the time of an event. This person was born in late September and her father died in early November. She was about 34.12 years old at the time. Using the Naibod key to advance the chart, we must move the birth time forward 3.932 minutes of clock time for each year of life: 34.12 years of age X 3.932 minute on the clock = 134.16 minutes.

Here is her birth chart advanced by 134.16 minutes on the clock from her birth time:

Birth chart directed to age 34.12 by adding 134.16 minutes of clock time to the time of birth. (This method of advancing the chart allows the planets to advance in secondary motion. Primary directions keep the birth positions fixed, but the movement is negligible, except for the Moon which might move a couple of degrees.)

Age 34 was a major year in her life because she underwent a change in her ascendant sign by primary direction. She was born with her natal Asc in Sagittarius and at age 34 by primary motion the sign Capricorn rose to the horizon and became her directed Ascendant. It is as if after 34 years of living as a person with Sagittarius rising she were reborn with Capricorn rising and Saturn ruling her natal Ascendant. In addition, Saturn as her “new” or directed Asc-ruler activates Jupiter (her father’s ruler) because of their conjunction in Capricorn.

Furthermore, as Capricorn rises to become her directed Ascendant at age 34, the first term of Capricorn is ruled by Mercury, which also becomes activated. Traditionally the ruler of the term that rises to the eastern horizon becomes a “time-lord” known as the “divisor” (or some say the “distributor”). Active Mercury stimulates Mars, which Mercury conjoins, and jointly the Mars/Mercury conjunction activates the natal square to Saturn/Jupiter, indicating a difficult period of the native’s father.

The visible planet that most recently aspected the directed Asc is called the “participant”, and in this chart it is the Sun whose square to 27 Sag also becomes a factor in interpretation. Since the Sun is a natural ruler of fathers, the Sun’s square to the directed Asc, which is active because the Sun is “participant”, also indicates that a difficult period for the father is at hand.

Now let’s calculate the primary directions (without latitude) around November of 1995, using the Naibod key. Here they are in the method of Placidus:

Directions around November 1995 calculated by the method of Placidus proportional semi-arc.
Note the involvement of Saturn and Mars in late September, and of Jupiter and Mars in early December. These directions activate the natal square between Mars/Mercury and Saturn/Jupiter, indicating a difficult period for the native’s father, signified by Jupiter.

Here the directions for the same period calculated with the “circle of position” method of Regiomontanus:

Regiomontanus primary directions around November of 1995.
Note the involvement of Mars and Jupiter in late October, activating the natal Mars/Jupiter square. In late November Neptune (a planet of dissolution) squares the meridian axis whose 4th house cusp signifies the father.

Morin tells us that primary directions alone do not manifest as events since they are symbolic indicators. There must be some kind of “real” astrological trigger to “reduce” the primary direction to action in the world. For example, a similar or activating transit, solar or lunar return, eclipse, etc., could act as a triggering astrological factor that allows the primary direction to manifest in real time. Morin noted that lunar returns often indicated the month in which a major event would take place. Here is this person’s lunar return of 30 October 1995, shortly before her father passed.

Natal chart with lunar return of 30 October 1995 superimposed in the outside wheel. Note that return Uranus conjoins natal Jupiter (her father) and both planets are closely square the lunar return nodes, with the north node on the cusp of the natal 11th house, which is the father’s turned 8th house. In addition, return Neptune conjoins natal Saturn, and return Pluto is about to enter the native’s rising sign, Sagittarius, in early November. Return Saturn is about to turn stationary in November and it will make its station in square aspect to return Jupiter (the father).

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Divisors and Participating Planets as a Team

Recently during a discussion with a group of astrologers someone asked how to interpret the interaction of the divisor and the participating planet in an annual forecast. The study of divisors and participants is an ancient predictive technique which Dorotheus extensively reviews in his 1st century text Carmen Astrologicum.

The basic idea is straightforward. After the moment of birth, the sky continues in its apparent 24-hour rotation around the Earth — the so-called primary motion of the heavens around the Earth in the geocentric model. This clockwise motion carries the signs of the zodiac that are below the horizon up to the eastern horizon where they cross the Ascendant and then continue to rise toward the Midheaven, where they will culminate in their daily journey around the Earth.

Each zodiac sign is divided into 5 unequal “terms” or “bounds” or “divisions”. As each term rises to the eastern horizon by primary motion, the planet ruling that term (division of a sign into 5 parts) becomes a time lord (chronocrator) which governs the period of the native’s life during which that planet’s term (division) is passing over the eastern horizon. The planet ruling the term crossing the Ascendant by primary motion at a given moment is called the “divisor” because it is the planet that rules the “division” (term) which is on the eastern horizon at the time. Because the measure of time is about 1 degree crossing the MC in Right Ascension (along the Equator) equivalent to one year of life, a particular planet can remain the divisor (time lord of the term of the primary directed Ascendant) for several years.

Egyptian terms used by Dorotheus.
The Saturn term of Scorpio extends from 24 to 30 degrees of that sign.

Source of image: https://www.astro.com/astrowiki/en/Terms#Al-Biruni.27s_Egyptian_Terms

In addition to the planet which rules the term (bound, division) of the primary directed Ascendant, other planets in the chart may be projecting their rays into that term. Planets beholding the term of the Ascendant by major aspect are considered partners of the divisor and are often called participants or participating planets. Abu Ma’shar (9th century CE) defined the participant as the planet that most recently connected with the Ascendant by major aspect or bodily conjunction.

Dorotheus discusses an example of a chart of a man born in October of 44 CE. He tells us the the chart has 6 of Scorpio rising and describes the positions of the planets. Based on Dortheus text, I have reconstructed a close approximation to the chart, using a sidereal zodiac for the 1st century CE. The birth data I used are 02 October 0044 CE, 8:31 AM LMT, Sidon, Lebanon, Djwhal Khul ayanamsa. Here is the chart.

A modern approximation of the natal chart discussed by Dorotheus to illustrate the interpretation of divisors and participants. I cast this with Porphyry houses but Dorotheus may have used Whole Sign houses in his delineation.

Let’s focus on Dorotheus’ delineation of this chart when by primary direction the term of Saturn at the end of the rising sign Scorpio begins to cross the Ascendant. This occurs when the native is 22 years old. Here is the birth chart directed to age 22 at Ptolemy’s rate of 1 degree of R.A. across the MC = one year of life:

Natal chart directed to age 22 at Ptolemy’s rate of 1 degree of R.A. = one year of life. I cast this with Porphyry houses but Dorotheus may have used Whole Sign houses in his delineation.

As the native turns 22 years old, the term of Saturn at the end of Scorpio crosses the Ascendant where it will remain for the next 7 years. (It will take 7 degrees of Right Ascension passing over the MC for the directed Ascendant to compete its passage through the term of Saturn, which is 6 degrees in length along the ecliptic; Scorpio is a sign of long ascension.) Here is Dorotheus’ delineation of what the native can expect during this 7-year period (quoted from Pingree’s translation, 1976, p.244; comments in brackets are mine):

Then the prorogation [primary directed Ascendant] comes to [term of] Saturn while Venus casts rays to [aspects] the 27th degree of Scorpio from quartile [square], so that Saturn and Venus govern this prorogation together.
Saturn indicates his slowness in work and disease and distance from his land and grief and obstruction and difficulty, and this is worse because Mars is elevated over Saturn.
If it were not that Jupiter aspects Saturn it would be worse.
Because of the place of Saturn his mother will die in this period, but he will acquire goods because Saturn indicates these, and he will marry a wife with a dowry, and [a child] will be born to him who will live a short while and die in the third year; his enjoyment of women and children will be from Venus, but his lament and the death of his child will be from Saturn

Natal chart with Whole Sign houses, which Dorotheus probably used in his delineation.

Let’s go through this comment by Dorotheus step-by-step:

Because the terms of Saturn at the end of Scorpio have risen by primary motion to the eastern horizon, Saturn is the “divisor” for the next 7 years.

Because Venus casts its square aspect from 27 Leo into 27 Scorpio, which is in the terms of Saturn, Venus becomes the participating planet and will act together with Saturn to govern this period. It is noteworthy that the term of Saturn begins at 24 Scorpio, yet Dorotheus regards Venus as the participant even though the primary directed Asc has not yet reached the degree of the square of Venus. Apparently, for Dortheus, the fact that Venus is casting an aspect into the term of Saturn at the moment when the directed Asc enters the term of Saturn is sufficient for Venus to begin to participate with Saturn in governing this period of the native’s life.
[Haly Aben Ragel makes a similar comment in Book 6 of his Libro Conplido (translated into Castillian in 1254): “Advierte que todo planeta que se presente en su partición y proyecta sus aspectos hacia el térmno en que está en el origen, significa en ese año los presagios propios del planeta.”]

As divisor (ruler of this term), Saturn, through its general significations, portends slowness in his work, possible illness, loneliness or isolation from being far from home, grief, delays and other difficulties during this 7-year period. These troublesome significations of Saturn are magnified by the fact that Mars casts a superior square to Saturn. On the other hand, Jupiter lends a somewhat protective influence by beholding Saturn via a whole-sign opposition aspect. Saturn without Jupiter’s benefic gaze would be even more malefic.

Because Saturn rules the 4th Whole Sign from the Ascendant in the natal chart (the 4th ‘place’ or topos, signifying the parents), his mother may die during this period.

Because Saturn occupies the natal 2nd Whole Sign house, he will acquire goods.

Because Venus rules the natal 7th Whole Sign (the wife) and Venus casts her aspect into 27 Scorpio, the directed Asc at 24 Scorpio will arrive at 27 Scorpio in about 3 years, at which time the native is likely to marry and have a child (signified by the benefic nature of Venus). The wife will bring with her a dowry (Jupiter in Gemini, the 2nd sign from Taurus, the wife). That she will have a child may be indicated by Jupiter, ruled of the 5th Whole Sign from the Asc, being in the wife’s 2nd house (radical 8th).

Unfortunately about 3 years after the directed Asc conjoins the ray of Venus at 27 Leo, it moves into the sign of Sagittarius, specifically into the first term of Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter (5th Whole Sign = children; Jupiter is also a general signifier of progeny), which the directed Asc encounters by the superior square ray from of (a killing planet) and the body of Saturn (a symbol of loss and death).

In summary, the directed Ascendant is the significator. As it passes through the term of Saturn (the divisor), the tone of the period and the types of experiences are symbolized by the general nature of Saturn and by its specific significations by house placement and rulership in the chart. As the significator makes contact with the participating planet (Venus in this case), events of the general nature of Venus tend to occur, as well as events specifically related to the house placement and rulership of Venus (ruler of the 7th natally).

Martin Gansten in his book Annual Predictive Techniques (2020, pp.27-29) notes that the medieval Arabic authors “give priority to the terms currently occupied by the significator” (the directed Asc in this example), attaching major importance to planets connected to the term (division) by bodily conjunction or major aspect. He agrees with Dorotheus that “the influence of a planet may begin before its [primary] direction perfects, provided that it (or its aspect point) in in the terms being activated.” After reviewing several examples from the literature, Gansten also notes that the combination of two planets as divisor and participant is interpreted in a similar manner, regardless of which is divisor and which is participant.

Benjamin Dykes in his translation of Abu Ma’shar On the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities (2019) comments that the divisor “sets the tone and parameters, it says what the period is fundamentally like; it has more to do with the native himself; it shows how things are fundamentally resolved, even if the partner [participating planet] alters it somewhat or grants some other kind of actions” (p.66). In Dykes’ view, the participant modifies the general significations of the divisor, helps to explain why things happen as they do during the period of this division, and indicates specific people and types of events which may occur related to the themes associated with the divisor.

Upon further reflection, one might argue that the divisor and participant form a type of dasha system in which the divisor acts much like a mahadasha lord and the participant, like the ruler of a bhukti.

Addendum (4 Nov 2021):

Георгий Мирской left the following valuable and informative comments about the history and use of the divisor and participant, so I have included them here as an addendum.

Thanks, very interesting. It seems that “the divisor and participant” approach is based on Dorotheus and later may be popularized by Abu Mashar.

There is also another approach which was described by anonymous Byzantian astrologer in 10th century (The Horoscope of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus). He calls “the participant” (aspecting planet) as “general time-ruler and “the divisor” (bound-ruler) as “joint domicile-master of the time-rulership”. I think it is based on Ptolemy IV.10 because the astrologer uses the directions of Asc, Sun, Moon, the Lot of Fortune and MC for topics described by Ptolemy in IV.10.

Also Rhetorius (Ch.15) or someone else uses the primary directions on charts where “the participants” (aspecting planet to “hyleg”) are used as a general time-rulers of the life until the death (“death direction”). It is in CCAG 8.1 p.230-237. Partly translated on English in Greek Horoscopes by Neugebauer and Van Hoesen (L488, L401 and L516). This text is full of technical details so only for deeply motivated astrologers )

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Wisdom Teeth and Solar Returns

This week a colleague showed me the chart of a 27-year-old man who needed oral surgery to remove his wisdom teeth which had recently become a problem. Glancing at his birth chart and solar return, and using some standard predictive techniques, we did not see any clear-cut indications of the timing of his dental problems or oral surgery in October of 2021. This puzzled me because the surgery of 12 October 2021 seemed like a major event which was disrupting his life at the moment and therefore ought to show up prominently in the chart.

After some further study and research, I think that I now understand the astrology behind his dental difficulties, which I will attempt to explain in this post. To preserve this person’s confidentiality, I will not show the birth data. Here is his natal chart with Placidus Houses, Egyptian terms and true lunar nodes.

Birth chart of 27 year old man who had wisdom teeth removed on 12 Oct 2021.

Below is his birthplace solar return for the current year (2021). Note that Scorpio, the sign on the natal 8th house cusp, has become the rising sign of the Solar Return for this year. The signs Aries and Scorpio are in a quincunx relationship.

Solar Return for 2021. He needed had dental surgery to remove his wisdom teeth on 12 Oct 2021. Does the surgery or dental problem show up in this chart?

The young man was 27 years old at the time of the oral surgery. Age 27 corresponds to a 4th place (topos) profection year. In his birth chart the 4th sign from his Aries Ascendant is Cancer, which makes the Moon the Lady of the Year (from his birthday in 2021 until his birthday in 2022).

Thus, the Moon is a major chronocrator in 2021. Natally the Moon occupies the 6th house and conjoins the 6th cusp, suggesting themes of the year centered around illness, health concerns, service rendered or received, his daily grind, pets, co-workers, etc.

The Moon in this year’s solar return (SR) is prominent due to its angular placement in the 10th house of the return. The SR Moon has just opposed a stationary SR Mercury in the return chart. In the birth chart Mercury rules the 6th of illness and disposes the Moon, so again there is a strong emphasis on the potential for illness this year.

The fact the SR Mercury is stationary and angular in the 4th makes Mercury a prominent indicator for events of the year. Natally Mercury rules the 6th of illness, and in the return chart Mercury rules the 8th, which is associated with life and death situations and illnesses that can be potentially fatal. The 8th house is often prominent when individuals require surgery. William Lilly regarded houses 8, 6 and 12 as the most troublesome places in the chart.

In the solar return chart Mars rules the Ascendant (body, vitality) as well as the Aries 6th cusp (illness). SR Mars lies in the 6th house where it conjoins Uranus (sudden unexpected illness). In addition, Mars in the return chart is square to the Saturn-Jupiter-Sun conjunction on the angular 4th SR cusp. Saturn is a general signifier of teeth, and natal Jupiter tightly conjoins the natal 8th cusp (surgery).

A classical technique for evaluation annual revolution charts is to consider the role of the divisor and participant. The divisor is the planet which rules the term which has risen to the eastern horizon by primary direction. The participant is the planet which as most recently perfected a major aspect to the Ascendant degree by primary direction. Here is the list of divisors and participants for this gentleman:

At the time of the dental surgery the divisor was Mercury (ruler of the natal 6th of illness) and the participant was Mars, which is a general signifier of surgery and which had recently squared the directed Ascendant.

Morin de Villefranche taught that the Solar Return can only trigger events which are presaged in the natal promise of the birth chart or in its primary directions. Here are the primary directions of this man’s natal chart for the current year, calculated in Janus software (method of Placidus, Naibod key, without latitude):

Primary directions of Natal Chart from Oct 2020 through Jan 2022.

Note that his man entered the current solar return year just after the primary direction of Mercury to Mars in his natal chart. Mercury rules his natal 6th (illness) and Mars rules his natal Ascendant (body, health). In the 2021 return Mars rules the Asc and the 6th cusp and occupies the 6th, whereas Mercury rules the 8th (surgery).

The dental operation took place on 12 October 2021. The closest primary direction was the directed natal Ascendant opposing the natal Moon just inside the cusp of the 6th house of illness in the birth chart. This opposition is sandwiched between the primary directed square of Jupiter coming to the natal MC in early September of 2021 and primary directed Venus coming to the MC in early January of 2022. Natally Jupiter closely conjoins the 8th cusp (surgery) and tightly squares Venus.

I was puzzled by the prominence of Venus in these primary directions. In the birth chart Venus rules the 2nd and the 7th houses. After some reflection, I recalled that in Jyotisha the 2nd house rules the teeth and the 7th house (as the 6th from the 2nd) rules infirmities related to the teeth. Western astrology tends to assign all parts of the head to the 1st house, but Jyotisha divides the associations of the head between the 1st and 2nd houses, which to my mind makes a lot of sense. The following quote is from an article entitled “A treatise on medical astrology” at http://mediastrology.blogspot.com/2012/12/astrological-factors-for-teeth-disease.html (bold mine):

The main planet responsible for teeth disease is Saturn and the house involved in the natal chart is second house signifying the facial portion of the body. The sixth house from second house is the seventh house of the natal chart which, therefore, signifies diseases relating to teeth. Therefore, affliction of the second house or its lord and the corresponding sign in the Zodiac i.e. Taurus and its lord Venus and/or the affliction of the seventh house and/or its lord and/or the seventh sign Libra of the Zodiac together with Saturn result in different types of teeth disease. Deposition or aspect of Rahu in the related houses or signs causes irregular shaped teeth. Affliction by Saturn causes acute pain of teeth.” 

As regards timing, one technique is to calculate the secondary progressions and primary directions for the current Solar Return. Here is a list of these factors between September of 2021 and January of 2022.

Progression and Directions of the 2021 Solar Return chart. Note how on 21 Oct 2021, within a week of the surgery, the primary directed Mercury squares the Return Asc in the solar return chart. Mercury rules the natal 6th and the return 8th houses.

Yet another technique for timing is to consider the hard aspects of the angles by secondary progressions of the Solar Return chart at the Mean Quotidian Rate. (Solar Fire software describes ‘mean quotidian’ as follows: “The MC is progressed by the same method as the planets, thus moving about 361° per day, as opposed to the Sun’s movement of about 1° per day. This method is also known as ‘Daily Houses’.”). Here is the list for October of 2021:

The surgery took place on October 12, 2021. The secondary progressed MC (mean quotidian rate) on October 13 was square to SR Pluto, which occupies the 8th house of the birth chart. On the same day the progressed Asc squared SR Chiron, a symbol of a wounded part of the body. On October 14 the progressed MC square SR Venus, which rules the return 2nd and 7th houses, associated in Jyotisha with dental problems. Etc.

Finally, when studying solar and lunar returns, it is important to consider eclipses which interact closely with the chart of the revolution. This man’s solar return for 2021 has 27 Scorpio rising, which happens to be the same degree as the partial lunar eclipse of 21 November 21, not long after his dental surgery in mid-October. Here is the partial lunar eclipse chart for his birthplace:

Partial lunar eclipse of 21 Nov 2021 at his birthplace

It is striking that the partial lunar eclipse of November 2021 falls exactly across the horizon axis of his 2021 solar return. In addition, transiting Saturn (a natural ruler of teeth) on the day of the eclipse exactly conjoins the meridian axis of his solar return for this year.

Furthermore, if we superimpose this lunar eclipse chart (green) on his natal chart (blue), we find the eclipse Sun in the natal 8th house, and eclipse Mars on the cusp of the natal 8th conjunct natal Jupiter:

Inner chart and cusps are the man’s birth chart (in blue).
Outer wheel is the partial lunar eclipse of 21 Nov 2021.
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What does the sign Gemini have to do with wainscoting?

Recently I reviewed a horary chart about a missing piece of jewelry. The Moon in this chart happened to be in Gemini along with Jupiter, which ruled the 4th house cusp. The Moon is a general signifier of missing things and 4th house and its ruler, according to Lilly (CA 322) represent “the place where it is laid, put or done, or conveyed unto, and is at that instant of time” (when the horary question is posed to the astrologer).

The Constellation Gemini: twins eternally linked, like paneling or plaster to a wall.

Given that both the Moon (the missing object) and the ruler of the 4th (the location of the missing object) were in Gemini, I looked up what Lilly had to say about places signified by the mutable or dual, Air-sign Gemini (CA 94):

“Wainscot rooms, plastering and walls of houses, the halls, or where play is used, hills and mountains, barns, storehouses for corn, coffers, chests, high places.”

A wainscot panel against a wall.

I was struck by Lilly’s ordering of significations, which places wainscot rooms first. If the item were in the house, presumably Lilly would first search for the missing jewelry in a wainscotted room, or near the plastering or wall within the house, or within a hall or a place where people play within the house. He would also search in any coffers or chests. The emphasis on wainscot paneling and plaster suggests locations where things (like paneling or plaster) are attached to walls. In this case the item was eventually found. It had fallen behind a piece of furniture and landed on a bracket which held a radiator against a wall.

How did Lilly come to associate Gemini first and foremost with wainscoting?

According to https://www.etymonline.com/word/wainscot, the word ‘wainscot’ dates back to the mid-14th century and refers to “‘imported oak of superior quality‘ (well-grained and without knots), probably from Middle Dutch or Middle Flemish waghenscote ‘superior quality oak wood, board used for paneling’ (though neither of these is attested as early as the English word), related to Middle Low German wagenschot (late 14c.), from waghen + scote “partition, crossbar”. So called perhaps because the wood originally was used for wagon building and coachwork, but the sense evolution is not entirely clear. Meaning ‘panels lining the walls of rooms’ is recorded from 1540s. Wainscoting is from 1570s” (bold mine).

One connection to Gemini is that the wood used in ‘wainscot’ paneling is the same oak that was originally used to build wagons and coaches, both means of transportation which is ruled by Mercury, whose domicile is Gemini. In addition, the wainscot panel is often carved in a manner that strongly resembles the glyph for the sign Gemini:

Antique wainscot panels often resemble the glyph of Gemini, the sign of the Twins who are joined together for eternity.

In summary, wainscoting uses the same oak wood that was originally used to make coaches and wagons but is now repurposed to make wood paneling that is joined to a wall, much as the Gemini twins are joined together for eternity.

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Morin delineates a solar return of Cardan

Astrologer Pedro Hernández recently posted a translation from Latin into Spanish of Morin’s delineation of Cardan’s solar return for his 34th year of life (ages 33-34). Pedro has kindly given permission to repost his article here, and I have translated his Spanish text into English, or else paraphrased the Latin and Spanish, abbreviated some of the text, and added some commentary. In the following, the Spanish text is by Pedro Hernádez and the English text is mine. Morin’s Latin can at times be difficult to understand; if the reader notices errors in translation, please let me know and I will make corrections.

Revolución Solar Nro.34 de Gerolamo Cardano por Morin. Publicado por Pedro Hernàndez el octubre 3, 2021 a las 4:30pm

Gerolamo Cardano was an Italian polymath, whose interests and proficiencies ranged through those of mathematician, physician, biologist, physicist, chemist, astrologer, astronomer, philosopher, writer, and gambler. Wikipedia
Cardan’s Natal Chart according to Morin with Regiomontanus cusps, which were preferred by Morin
Cardan’s Natal Chart in square format
(Cardan used Alcabitius cusps)

Traduccion de cardano revolución solar (A Solar Revolution of Cardano)

Cardan juzga sus 2 de sus revoluciones solares correspondientes a sus edades de 33 y 34 años y toma en consideración todas los significados de todas sus casas comparándo la revolución con la carta de la natividad, sin tener en cuenta sus direcciones, ya que el consideraba que la comparación de la revolución con la natividad y sus direcciones no tendrían efectos al juzgar a la revolucion sola, esto es erróneo y se debería analizar la revolución combinada con la natividad que es por la determinación de los signos y planetas en la carta en estudio, considerando su ubicación corporal, regentes y aspectos. Y si se debe tomar en consideración las direcciones las cuales se derivan de la natividad.  En su revolución nro. 34 levantada de acuerdo al método racional utilizando el método de determinación de los planetas, tomando en cuenta la ubicación corporal de los planetas  y regentes fue mas concordante o convincente con los accidentes que el mismo cardan había dicho que le habían ocurrido en ese año 34 cuando juzgo la natividad y la revolución por su método.

Morin tells us that Cardan in his Book on the Judgment of Nativities (Chapter 7) delineates two of his own solar revolutions for his 34th and 35th years of life (ages 33 and 34). Morin criticizes Cardan for judging these two solar returns just as one would an independent natal chart, without taking into account his birth chart or its primary directions. According to Morin, Cardan’s approach is not reasonable because the revolution is dependent on the birth chart and its primary directions, and any force to produce an effect during the year of the revolution is rooted in the natal chart. In other words, it is erroneous to judge the revolution chart independent of the natal chart because a revolution is subordinate to and dependent upon the birth chart in its force, significations and effects. A revolution cannot signify an event contrary to the significations of the natal chart, and whatever it does signify can manifest only if it conforms to the birth chart and its primary directions. To illustrate this point, Morin plans to review in detail the judgement of Cardan’s solar revolution for his 34th year of life, using Morin’s method of determinations and Regiomontanus houses.

Tomaremos la revolución 34 de cardano a él  le dio ascendente a 7° Tauro, a Morin usando el método rationalis le dio 5 tauro en esa revolucion 34.

Morin notes that in the solar return for his 34th year (age 33) Cardan’s tables give an Ascendant in the 7th degree of Taurus, which differs from the 5 degrees of Taurus ascending according to Morin’s tables.

Cardan’s Solar Revolution at age 33 (1534), his 34th year of life.
Morin’s original text in Latin

The Solar Revolution of the 34th year of life of Gerolamo Cardano:

Traducción del latín al español realizada por el astrólogo Pedro Hernández:
Translation from Latin to Spanish by astrologer Pedro Hernández:

Dice entonces que para el año el tendría perfecto estado de salud, pero de alguna manera con temor, la razón es porque Júpiter en su radical estaba en el ascendente con su latitud, y ambos tanto la revolucion como el radical tienen el mismo ascendente (signo = tauro), el cual la Luna ocupa en la revolución (es decir, se ubica en el ascendente de la revolución) y la Luna se hace afortunada por recibir un trígono de Venus, y esta domina o rige a la luna y está libre de los maléficos. Tendría por consiguiente Cardano un año en que estaría sano o saludable. Aunque la Luna está en la casa 12 radical donde era significadora de enfermedades. Porque verdaderamente está bajo el dominio o regencia de Júpiter y se halla sobre la posición radical de este en el ascendente de la revolución, con un trígono de Venus, el temor de Cardano seria por la cuadratura de Saturno en RS a la Luna que está en el ascendente de RS, a la que también en el radical heria a la Luna con cuadratura.

Cardan tells us that in his 34th year (age 33) he had perfect health but with some fear. The reason for his excellent health was that natal Jupiter was by its mundane position in the Ascendant (1st house) owing to its southern latitude, and both the natal and the annual chart have the same Ascendant sign Taurus, which is occupied by the annual Moon, which Venus of the revolution disposes and trines and which is free from the malefics. [The 1st house and planets therein signify the body and the vital force of the individual. In discussing his own solar return for 1648 at age 66 which has almost the exact same degree rising as in his birth chart, Morin noted that the annual revolution of the Sun is especially effective the more closely it corresponds to the natal chart.]

In Morin’s version of Cardan’s birth chart, the natal Moon lies just inside the 12th cusp. In the modern chart calculated by computer, the natal Moon is a bit earlier in Pisces and lies at the end of the 11th house but is closely conjunct the 12th Regiomontanus cusp.

Morin attributed the fear experienced by Cardan to the fact that annual Saturn at 7 Leo was in square to the annual Moon at 7 Taurus at the Ascendant of the revolution chart. Saturn square the Moon in the revolution repeats the radical Saturn square Moon aspect.

Cardan: natal chart inside (blue) with 1534 solar revolution for age 33 (green) superimposed outside. Morin used Regiomontanus houses.

Segundo sufrió dispersión de riquezas por tratar de alcanza un cargo. Sin embargo, obtuvo extraordinario lucro por la astrología y la medicina. La razón de lo primero es que en el ascendente radical tenia a Júpiter y Marte en la segunda significador de distorsiona o despilfarro de riquezas. En la revolución en verdad Júpiter está en la casa 10 en caída y Marte en exilio en la 6ta en cuadratura a Júpiter y conjunción a Mercurio regente o señor de la segunda, por consiguiente, ya que Júpiter está en la primera radical. Y en revolución se traslada a la décima, predecirá que en el año ira a ocurrir ambición de honores y dignidades, pero porque está en caída y en cuadratura a Marte en exilio que está en la cúspide 2 radical y en conjunción a Mercurio regente de la 2 en la sexta de revolución, causará empresas sin éxitos, y despilfarro de dinero a causa de un cargo.

La razón de lo segundo (las ganancias de la astrología y medicina) es que Marte en el radical y revolución rige por exaltación el medio cielo y a Júpiter de la revolución. Mercurio domina o rige la casa 2 y está en conjunción aplicativa a Marte y en aspecto de cuadratura a Júpiter y en trígono a la casa 2da radical y la de la revolución, esto fue poderoso para ganancias en el arte.

Second, Cardan suffered a squandering of assets in his pursuit of a public position [Passus est disipationem substantiae ratione quaerendi dignitatem; ‘dignitatem‘ in Latin can refer to rank, status, position of authority, or public office] during that year; however, he also profited greatly through astrology and medicine. The main reason for this was radical Jupiter on the Ascendant and radical Mars on the cusp of the natal 2nd house, signifying the dissipation of his wealth, while in the revolution annual Jupiter lies in its fall in Capricorn in the 10th and annual Mars lies in its exile (detriment) in Libra in the 6th, with annual Mars square to annual Jupiter and conjunct annual Mercury, ruler of the 2nd of assets. Jupiter natally in the 1st of the birth chart moves to the 10th house in the revolution, presaging ambition for a post, but annual Jupiter is in its fall and is square to Mars in exile in the revolution, indicating that he will not achieve his ambition but will squander his assets as a result.

Regarding Cardan’s sizable profits through astrology and medicine, Morin believed that annual Mars, as the exalted ruler of the Midheaven in both charts and dispositor of annual Jupiter in the revolution, being conjunct 2nd ruler Mercury in Libra, square to annual Jupiter and trine to the Gemini 2nd house, were indicators of gain from professional activities.

 Algunos de sus consanguíneos o familiares de Cardano influenciaron en que el alcanzara las dignidades la razón es porque la Luna rige la 3ra radical y la 3ra de revolución, y en revolución se colocó en el lugar de Júpiter radical y en su exaltación (Tauro) y en trígono a Venus y Júpiter que se exalta en la 3ra radica se ubica en la 10 de revolución, de allí que, por ese motivo señalado en su natividad, los consanguíneos o sus familiares obran o influyen en que alcance dignidades.

Third, one of Cardan’s relatives intervened on his behalf in his pursuit of a position of authority, which was indicated by the annual Moon, ruling the 3rd of kin in both charts, being conjunct natal Jupiter in Taurus, the sign of exaltation of the Moon, and trine to annual Venus. In addition, Jupiter is the exalted ruler of the 3rd and 4th houses and occupies the 10th of the revolution, signifying efforts by kin or family members in the pursuit of a public office for Cardan.

4to dificultades o problemas de bienes inmobiliario se presentaron, poco y algo se vendió a pesar de estar ausente y de los obstáculos, la razón o explicación es porque la Luna rige por dos veces la 4ta en las cartas de natividad y revolución. Herida en revolución por la cuadratura de Saturno exiliado en leo el cual en el radical se ubica en la segunda, pero en cambio la madre estuvo a salvo por causa de que la Luna rige la 4ta de revolución, se exalta en el ascendente (tauro) y este trígono a Venus que la domina o rige.

Fourth, there were problems with real estate or immovable goods, and there was too little for even a part of them to be sold. This occurred because the Moon rules the 4th house of immovable property in both charts, and the annual Moon is afflicted by a square from annual Saturn in exile in Leo, while natal Saturn occupies the 2nd house of finances. On the other hand, his mother — ruled by the 4th with Cancer on its cusp — was safe and sound because her signifier, the Moon, was exalted in Taurus in the revolution and in trine to annual Venus, which rules Taurus.

Quinto, la esposa concebiría una niña, quien tenía el útero débil y contraído o estrecho, el motivo es porque en el radical Venus domina o rige el ascendente y está conjunta al sol quien a su vez rige la quinta y se ubica en la 6ta. Verdaderamente en revolución ella misma (Venus) rige el ascendente y a la Luna y se ubica en la quinta 5 en trígono al ascendente de la revolución. Y libera a la Luna también de los maléficos, lo que le permitió a Cardano significativamente lograr su descendencia. Y Mercurio rige a Venus y se ubica en la sexta en conjunción aplicativa con Marte que este exiliado, anunciando aquella profecía o sentencia que tendría una hija débil o enferma.

Fifth, Cardan’s wife conceived a female child, who contracted an infirmity in the womb, as presaged natally by Venus ruling the Ascendant and conjoining the 5th ruler Sun in the 6th house of illness. However, in the revolution annual Venus, which rules the Ascendant and disposes the Moon, occupies the 5th of offspring and trines with Ascendant, and the Moon is free from the malefics, signifying that Cardan might have a child that year. According to Morin, the daughter’s illness is shown by annual Mercury, the dispositor of annual Venus, being in the 6th of illness and conjunct malefic Mars in exile in Libra.

En relación a sirvientes y animales sufrió impedimentos e intercambios, la razón o motivo es porque Mercurio rige la segunda y sexta radical, está en 6ta radical en signo cardinal (libra) y aspecta a Saturno que se ubica en la segunda casa, pero en revolución Mercurio de nuevo rige la segunda y la sexta, se ubica en la 6ta en un signo cardinal y hace un aspecto de conjunción aplicativa a Marte quien a su vez es regente de la casa 12 de revolución.

Sixth, Cardan suffered impediments and exchanges in regard to servants and animals this year because natal Mercury rules the 2nd and 6th radical houses and occupies the cardinal (movable) sign Libra and trines natal Saturn located in the radical 2nd house. In the revolution, however, Mercury also rules the 2nd and 6th houses but is located in the 6th house in the cardinal sign Libra where Mercury conjoins Mars, which is one of the rulers of the 12th house of the revolution. [Because Aries in contained within the 12th Regiomontanus house, Morin regarded Mars as a co-ruler of that house, together with Jupiter which rules the Pisces 12th cusp.]

El acontecimiento dañino o perjudicial que le ocurrirá a la esposa está explicado porque Marte y Júpiter rigen la 7ma en radical y revolución son maléficos en la revolución. Sin embargo, la Luna hace oposición a la séptima significadora de la esposa, dañada por la cuadratura de Saturno la cual esta maléfica y malamente la afecta (a la 7ma o esposa) además del temor de la aparición de enemigos abiertos sobre todo príncipes, se sintió deprimido por dificultades con hombres de justicia que no lo dañarían o perjudicarían. La razón o motivo es porque Marte domina o rige la cúspide 7ma y está en exilio en la sexta y en cuadratura a Júpiter que se encuentra ubicado en la décima donde es significador de o representa a príncipes y magistrados.

Seventh, the noxious event that befell his wife is explained by the fact that annual Mars and Jupiter, which are rulers of the 7th house in both charts [Mars rules the cusp of the 7th and Sagittarius is partially contained within the 7th], are afflicted, as is the annual Moon [a signifier of the wife because it lies opposite the 7th house — Morin believed that each house shared its significations with the house opposite], which suffers a square from annual Saturn.

In addition, open enemies were subdued by fear of the Prince and hindered from doing harm to righteous men [Praeterea hostes aperti timore Principis depressi sunt ac impediti viris justis ne nocerent]. This occurred because Mars rules the 7th cusp (open enemies) and lies in exile in the cadent 6th house, is squared by Jupiter located in the angular 10th, in which Jupiter by its house position signifies Princes and magistrates [who are holding open enemies signified by Mars in check].

Además, la Luna está en el ascendente y trígono a Venus y ellas pueden salvar o proteger al nativo o nacido. pero se observa que el medio cielo luego llega por dirección al trígono derecho a Saturno R que es su señor o regente cuya ascensión recta es de 31 grado 24 min y termina la corrección: nada produciría la dirección en cuanto a dignidades. La Luna ptolemaicamente significa la sustancia corporal, la vida, la moral, la esposa, la madre, sirvientas, hermanas, sobre a quién toda la Luna representa en la figura en la que se ha pronunciado.

Moreover, the annual Moon is in the Ascendant and in trine to annual Venus, and they are able to save or protect the native, but it should be noted that the MC by primary direction had arrived at the dexter trine of Saturn (the ruler of the MC), whose Right Ascension is 31 degrees 24 minutes, without which there would be have been no primary direction indicating a high position or post.

Cardan’s natal chart directed by primary direction to his birthday in 1534 (age 33). Note the dexter trine of natal Saturn to the directed Midheaven which is in effect at this time, according to Morin. Natal Saturn lies at 19 Gemini 19, so its dexter trine is at 19 Aquarius 19, close the the directed MC at 19 Aquarius 53.

[The dexter trine of Saturn at 19 Aquarius 19′ arrived at the MC by primary direction about 6 months prior to Cardan’s birthday in 1534. Saturn ruling the MC and being in trine to the MC by primary direction at age 33 is an indicator of professional honors and dignities. Saturn in exile in Leo in the revolution and in square to the annual and natal Ascendant suggests difficulties in obtaining the position sought after.]

Morin goes on to criticize Cardan for using the Moon as a general or universal signifier because the Moon, according to Ptolemy, signifies the bodily substance, life, morals, wife, mother, servants, sisters; and any delineation of the Moon would thus necessarily apply to all these significations.

Fin de la traducción del texto de latín de Morin.


Anexo: Pedro Hernández

Siguiendo la metodología de interpretación de revoluciones de acuerdo a Junctino de Florencia y Albumasar.

Pedro Hernández goes on to add his own comments about the methods of Junctino and Abu Ma’shar regarding this solar return. These include the use of the Lord of the Year (ruler of the profected Ascendant), and the divisor and the participant (the term ruler of the primary directed Ascendant, and the planet that most recently perfected an aspect to the directed Ascendant.) Major themes of the solar revolution year will be reflected in the roles played by these planets (Lord of the year, divisor, participant) in the natal and return charts.

At age 33 (1534) the divisor is Mars and the participant is also Mars.
At age 34 (1535) the divisor is Mars and the participant is Saturn because Saturn rises to the horizon by primary direction on January 7, 1535.

El señor del año para la revolución 34 (edad 33) de Cardano fue Saturno: quien domina las casas 9, 10 y 11 de la natividad y de la revolución. Saturno radical está en la casa 2 de la navidad, y Saturno anual está en la casa 4 de la revolución.

At age 33, the Lord of the Year is the planet that rules the 10th sign from the Ascendant. In Cardan’s chart, Aquarius is 10th from the Taurus Ascendant, so that Saturn becomes the Lord of the Year. Thus, major themes of the year will be related to the houses ruled or occupied by Saturn and the aspects formed by Saturn in the natal or return chart. These include houses 9, 10 and 11 and also houses 2 and 4. In addition, Saturn closely conjoins the cusp of the 5th house of children.

Divisor el 7 de enero de 1535, Marte era el divisor, y Saturno el participante.

Cardan’s divisor and participant at age 33 was Mars. The following year, at age 34, Mars was still the divisor, but the participant became Saturn which had conjoined the Ascendant by primary direction on January 7, 1535. Thus, in addition to the role of Saturn as Lord of the Year, the major themes of the year will also be related to the houses ruled or occupied by Mars and the aspects formed by Mars in the natal or return chart. For example, Mars rules Cardan’s wife (7th cusp) and is afflicted by annual Jupiter, which rules the 12th (6th of illness of the wife) in the revolution chart.

El maléfico menor conjunto a la 2 de la natividad y señor de la 7ma de la natividad y de revolución indicaba despilfarro o perdidas de dinero (2) y la activación de enemigos abiertos (7) poderosos ya que Marte hiere a júpiter en la décima, casa que indica a los personajes poderosos o del gobierno como fue el caso del citado príncipe que lo adverso ese año.

The lesser malefic Mars conjunct the 2nd cusp in the nativity and lord of the 7th in both charts indicated waste or loss of money (2nd house) and the activation of open enemies (7th house).

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The Birth Chart of Nostradamus

Recently I heard Deborah Houlding discuss a horary by Nostradamus, and I wondered about his birth chart. Unfortunately, we do not have a reliable birth chart for the great physician and seer. According to Patrice Guinard, “the archives of Saint-Rémy are silent, and the two main biographers of Nostre Dame, Edgar Leroy (1941) and Eugène Lhez (1968), apparently found nothing about Michel. Likewise, we do not know of any family “Bible”, “Book of Reason” or register of his father Jaume, a trader who became a notary in 1501.”

Nonetheless, there do exist two references to possible birth dates for Nostradamus. The source most often cited is Jean-Aimé de Chavigny (1524?-1604), an astrologer and alchemist who was also a disciple and perhaps secretary of the great seer. According to Chavigny, Nostradamus was born around noon on Thursday 14 December 1503 (julian?) in St. Rémy de Provence, France (43n47, 004e50), but Patrice Guinard of the CURA Foundation has called this data into question. Here is the excerpt from Chavigny’s 1594 text Iani Gallici facies prior (published in January 1594, a full 28 years after the death of Nostradamus; note that France adopted the Gregorian calendar when Pope Gregory XIII introduced it in October of 1582 and used the Julian calendar prior to that date) in which he gives the birth data:

This is Chavigny’s comment (1594) in which he states the Nostradamus was born on Thursday 14 December 1503 (julian?) around 12 Noon (environ les 12 heures de midi).

On page 4 of his book (1594), Chavigny tells us that Nostradramus died on the second of July 1566 (julian?) a little before sunrise. (Astro.com says the death occurred at 3 AM, about one and a half hours before the 4:32 AM sunrise, but I cannot find a source for the 3 AM time of death.) In addition, I do not know for sure whether Chavigny is quoting dates in the Julian calendar for Nostradamus’ birth and death (which occurred before the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582), or whether he has converted the original Julian dates to Gregorian in his text, which was published in 1594, twelve years after the Gregorian calendar was introduced. However, AstroDataBank (which uses the wrong coordinates for Nostradamus’ place of birth) claims that his birth data is in the Julian calendar: “14 December 1503 Jul.Cal. (24 Dec 1503 greg.) at 12:00.” If so, then Chavigny appears to be referring to dates in the life of Nostradamus in the Julian calendar.

Chavigny dates the death of Nostradamus to the 2nd of July 1566 (julian?) a little before sunrise.

As Patrice Guinard points out, Chavigny’s account of the seer’s birth does not accord with an epitaph of Nostradamus in the church of the Friars Minor in Salon, attested to by several 17th and 18th century travelers and historians and by his own son César in 1614, which states that Nostradamus lived for 62 years, 6 months and 10 days.

If we assume that 6 months refers to half a year, which is 182.62 days, then the 6 months and 10 days is equivalent to 192.62 days. Counting back 192.62 days from 2 July 1566 (julian) gives us a 62nd birthday of 21 December 1565 (julian). If the epitaph is correct, then Nostradamus was born on Thursday 21 December 1503 (julian), a week later than the date reported in Chavigny’s text. (I am assuming here that the hours just before sunrise are counted as part of July 2nd rather than July 1st, but I don’t know at what time of day the civil date changed in 16th century France. If it were July 1st, then the birthday in 1565 would have occurred on 20 December, which would also have been the date of his solar return in that year.

Regaridng the epitaph, Guinard quotes historian Honoré Bouche who wrote that it was “engraved on a marble table about eight feet long, tied against the wall in the Church of the Friars Minor in Salon” (1664, vol 2, p.650). Here is an image of the text of the engraving, stating that Nostradamus lived for 62 years, 6 months and 10 days, and that he died at Salon in 1566:

Epitaph stating that Nostradamus lived for 62 years, 6 months, 10 days (Annos LXII, Menses VI. Dies X.)

Apparently during the revolutionary period in France, the epitaph was desecrated. According to Guinard, it was reconstructed in 1813 based on the writings of Chavigny rather than historical records describing the original, which resulted in a change of the original “10 days” on the engraving to “17 days” to match the birth date in Chavigny’s text. The wikipedia entry on Nostradamus cites references which maintain that Chavigny was known to have posthumously edited passages of the seer to better fit events, which casts doubt on the reliability of Chavigny’s own writings.

Furthermore, Guinard tells us that in 1614 César, the son of Nostradamus, “indique les 10 jours de l’inscription initiale (p.804), et note que son père “Michel de Nostredame nasquit à la ville de Sainct Remy presques sur les abbois de l’an” (César ‘refers to the 10 days on the original engraving and notes that his father, Michel de Nostredame, was born in the town of St. Remy almost on the cusp of the year’ — my translation). The fact that César places his father’s birthday at almost (presques) the ‘abbois‘ (cusp, bark, outer covering, end, boundary, final limit, death throes) of the year is consistent with a date in very late December rather than December 14 (julian) which is mid-December. If Nostradamus had been born a week later, his birth date would have been 21 December (julian) or 31 December (gregorian), which is the final day (‘abbois‘) of the Gregorian year. On the other hand, 14 December (julian) would change to 24 December (greg.), which is only a week from the end of the year.

Thus, we have at least two possible dates for the birth of Nostradamus: 14 December and 21 December of 1503 (julian), perhaps close to 12 Noon as reported by Chavigny (1594), who was known to modify facts to suit his aims. Guinard, who has apparently done much scholarly research, concludes that the 21 December (julian) date is more likely to be accurate, on the basis of a well-documented epitaph which states that Nostradamus had a life span of 62 years, 6 months and 10 days, and apparently attested to by his wife and his son.

Here are the two potential birth charts for Nostradamus, cast for his birthplace at midday (Sun on the MC), using his Julian date of birth. The December 14 chart is based on the writings of Chavigny and the December 21 chart is based on historical records describing the epitaph at the time of his death.

Two possible birth charts for Nostradamus with a midday Sun birth time.

The charts are quite similar. The main differences are the Moon (which moved from Scorpio on Dec 14 to Aquarius on Dec 21), and Mercury (which moved Rx from Capricorn on Dec 14 to Sagittarius on Dec 21). The cusps are almost identical. Aries rising is consistent with his life as a prominent physician and healer whose enlightened and pioneering medical procedures saved many people during the plague. Jupiter is angular, rules the 9th, squares the ASC and opposes the Sun in both charts, consistent with his strong interest in divination and mysticism. Sun ruling the 6th and conjunct the MC may reflect his lifelong interest in medicine and healing. The Mars/Saturn conjunction in Cancer in the 4th is consistent with the death of his wife and children from the plague. The Dec 21 chart has a very prominent Neptune in the 10th, which could be an indicator of his fame for his prophetic abilities.

A time of birth close to midday (Sun on the MC) seems reasonable because in both charts, by primary direction, such a birth time would bring the primary directed Sun opposite the Asc, and primary directed 8th-ruler Mars opposite the 8th Placidus cusp, around the year 1566 when he died.

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Horary on the fly

Recently I was visiting my in-laws because of an illness in the family. On Saturday, 25 Sep 2021, my sister-in-law was about to prepare some food from a recipe but she couldn’t find her reading glasses. She recalled having used the glasses earlier that day to do some work at her computer. The glasses seemed to have disappeared and she wondered if she had inadvertently dropped them in the garbage bin. Knowing that I had often done horary charts for my wife to find missing objects, she asked if I could help to locate her missing reading glasses. The question was asked on a Saturn day during a Sun hour. Fortunately, I had an astrology app on my smart phone. Here is the chart.

Where are my reading glasses?

Aquarius rises, so the querent is signified by Saturn Rx in Aquarius in the 12th house. Saturn has dignity by domicile and triplicity. Jupiter rules Pisces, which is entirely contained in the Regiomontanus 1st house. Neptune in the 1st house suggests that the eyeglasses had been misplaced due to inattention or distraction. Her husband has been quite ill recently and she has been generally distracted and preoccupied due to his illness.

Aries on the 2nd cusp makes Mars the signifier of the missing eyeglasses. Mars in Libra in the 7th is in detriment and peregrine, and also combust the Sun. An angular Mars (the missing object) suggests that it is nearby the querent or in a place she often frequents. Mars combust the Sun suggests that the eyeglasses are hidden or hard to see. Mars and Saturn mutually applying to a trine aspect indicate that she will soon find the reading glasses. Asc-ruler Saturn (the querent) receives Mars who casts his trine from Libra, the sign where Saturn is exalted. I took this to mean that she would quickly find her missing reading glasses.

Mars in the 7th made me wonder if the glasses were somehow among her husband’s things or otherwise related to her spouse. Mars in Libra (in mutual reception with Venus in Scorpio) suggested a location related to Libran things.

The 4th house has to do with the location of the missing object. With mutable Gemini on the cusp, it could be contained within something else (a box, bag, case, container, etc.). Mercury rules Gemini and is found in Libra (ruled by Venus ) in the 8th house, conjunct the Part of Fortune (a symbol of material goods). Since the 8th, like the 2nd, is related to where someone keeps their money & possessions, I wondered if the missing glasses could be in her pocketbook. She had last used her glasses at the computer some hours earlier. She then went to the supermarket to get some food items, and she was now seeking to read a recipe to prepare dinner for the evening. The fact that Venus ruled the 3rd (short trips) and disposed the Sun, Mars, Mercury and the Part of Fortune, as well as the 8th house, prompted an image in my mind of the eyeglasses in a case (Gemini 4th cusp) in her pocketbook (where she stores money and personal items) which she took with her to go shopping (Moon, a general signifier of missing things in Taurus in the 3rd of local travel).

I suggested that she look in her pocketbook, and there she found her missing reading glasses in a case where she usually keeps her distance eyeglasses.

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The Death of Henri II of France

Recently I was corresponding with Spanish astrologer Pedro Hernández about the chart of King Henri II of France because Pedro was preparing a blog post about the legendary death of the king in a jousting match, which was supposedly predicted by his wife’s astrologer as well as by Nostradamus. I had briefly discussed the king’s chart in a previous post because the original chart used by Gaurico of Italy differs substantially from the later rectified chart discussed by Gadbury and others. It appears that the rectified chart was based on the single incident of the king’s death, a method which violates the basic principles of rectification which should take into account many substantial events in the native’s life and not simply his death.

According to Catherine de’ Medici’s sources, King Henri II was born on 31 March 1519 in St Germain en Laye, France, at 5:02:34 AM LMT. Her astrologer Luca Guarico used the coordinates 48n18, 002e05 for the birthplace. (Modern sources give the coordinates of St Germain en Laye as 48n54, 002e06, which is only slightly different from those used by Gaurio.) Gaurico used Regiomontanus houses which were in vogue at the time. Here is a modern reconstruction of King Henri II’s birth chart based on the data used by Gaurico:

Modern calculation of Henri II of France’s birth chart based on the birth data given to Luca Gaurico by Catherine de’ Medici and the available tables of coordinates of cities and Regiomontanus houses.

Here are Gauricio’s original charts for the king and his wife Catherine:

Birth charts of Henri II of France and his wife Catherine de’ Medici from Gaurico’s text.

I won’t post the rectified chart which is based on the king’s dramatic death due to an accident in a jousting competition. There is a good discussion of the rectified chart by Deborah Houlding on her site.

Wikipedia gives the following account of the king’s jousting injury on 30 June 1559 and subsequent death on 10 July 1559:

On 30 June 1559, a tournament was held near Place des Vosges to celebrate the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis with his longtime enemies, the Habsburgs of Austria, and to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Elisabeth of Valois to King Philip II of Spain.

During a jousting match, King Henry, wearing the colors of his mistress Diane de Poitiers, was wounded in the eye by a fragment of the splintered lance of Gabriel Montgomery, captain of the King’s Scottish Guard.

Despite the efforts of royal surgeon Ambroise Paré, the king’s eye and brain damage, untreated, led to his death by sepsis on 10 July 1559

Gaurico obviously did not use the ‘modern’ planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Eyeballing the chart, would Gaurico have seen the natal promise of a violent death? Probably so.

Mars (violent penetrating injuries) rules the 1st (the body and life force) and the 8th (death) Regiomontanus houses. Mars, as ruler of the 8th is posited in the 4th (conditions at the end of life). In addition, there is a prominent T-square formation with an angular 8th-ruler Mars opposite 12th-ruler Saturn, and both malefics square the stellium in the 1st, which includes both Luminaries (signifiers of the eyes — he was pierced in the eye by splinters from the lance) and Venus. Mars in Cancer is in the sign of his fall. Since this is a nocturnal birth, Saturn is the ‘out-of-sect’ malefic and it forms a dominant square to the stellium in the 1st house. The Sun, which is the recipient of Saturn’s dominant square, rules the Regiomontanus 6th house of bodily afflictions.

Would the ancient method of annual profections have indicated a period when this ominous T-square formation might manifiest in the life of the king? In a recent discussion in the Traditional Astrologers forum on Facebook, the question was raised about the whole sign method of profection versus the continuous profections as used in the Renaissance by astrologers such as William Lilly.

The king died at age 40, so his annual profected Ascendant sign would have been Leo. (He has Aries rising, and Leo is the 5th sign starting the count from Aries.) In the year of Henri’s death, the Sun was therefore Lord of the Year, and as such the Sun activated the natal T-square formation through its square to both malefics which were in opposition at birth. The Sun’s square to Mars, ruler of the 8th of death and occupant of the 4th of the end of life, is a clear warning of the danger of death at age 40, probably involving some type of violence action (Mars). With Leo as the profected Ascendant of the year at age 40, the Regiomontanus 6th house (bodily affliction) and the 5th whole-sign topos (sporting events) are both activated; thus is it not unreasonable to consider a sports-related injury during this period.

If we use the continuous annual profection method, as promulgated by William Lilly in Book 3 of Christian Astrology, the profected chart for the date of his injury (30 June 1559) superimposed onto his natal chart would look like this:

Using continuous annual profections, the profected Asc on the date of his jousting injury conjoins the Regiomontanus 6th cusp of bodily affliction. His profected natal first house planets have migrated to the 6th of the birth chart. Profected Mars, natal ruler of the 8th of death, is approaching, the natal 8th house cusp. (If we had used Placidus houses, profected Mars would be conjunct the 8th house cusp at the time of the jousting tournament.)

By continuous annual profection, at the time of the king’s jousting injury the profected Ascendant was activating his natal 6th house cusp. If we were to swap the charts, placing the natal chart around the profected chart of 30 June 1559, the natal Ascendant would fall in the 8th house of death of the profected chart and conjunct the 8th cusp within 3 degrees of orb. In addition, natal Uranus (which Gaurico did not use) would conjoin the profected MC at 10 Taurus 10′ within 1 degree of orb.

Here is the same chart cast with Placidus houses. In this case profected Mars, ruler of the natal Ascendant and of the natal 8th of death, conjoins the natal 8th cusp by continuous profection on the date of his life-threatening injury.

Natal chart with Placidus houses inside; continuous annual profection chart for the date of his jousting accident is superimposed. Note how profected Mars, ruler of the Ascendant and of the 8th of death, conjoins the 8th Placidus cusp.

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