Astrology Book Review: Astrologia Gallica, Book 25 – Universal Constitutions of the Caelum (Jean-Baptiste Morin, trans. James Holden)
April 25, 2009 by Nina Gryphon
Book 25 of Morin’s Astrologia Gallica, a text on mundane astrology, is available for the first time in English, thanks to James Holden’s recent translation. Mundane astrology, which focuses on predicting events of political and national/international magnitude, is a complex area of the art, one that few people have completely mastered. The Universal Constitutions of the Caelum is a very coherent and practical treatise on the subject, and English-speaking astrologers everywhere should rejoice that it is finally available to them. An abbreviated version of Book 25 was translated into French by astrologer Jean Hieroz in 1946, and until now, Hieroz’s was the only non-Latin version available. In contrast to modern astrologers of the time, who were blindsided by WWII, Hieroz used Morin’s methods to correctly predict the war, and his 1939 article for an astrological journal is included in Holden’s translation as an Appendix.
The Universal Constitutions of the Caelum is not necessarily an introductory text, in that it assumes the reader’s familiarity with numerous astrological terms and concepts. However, the “how-to” methods of mundane analysis presented by Morin are straightforward and easy to apply. This book is best read with a pen in hand, because Morin gives step-by-step instructions on interpreting a mundane horoscope. As is typical for him, Morin gives many examples of his method; in conjunction with Jean Hieroz’s article on WWII, the reader can see for himself the application of Morin’s principles. Similar to other Morin books, The Universal Constitutions of the Caelum deserves careful study.
Contents & Structure
Book 25 is separated into two parts; the first is the more theoretical one, while the second focuses on practical application of mundane methods. However, there is a significant amount of overlap, which means that one should read the entire book, not just skip ahead to the “good parts”!
Part I begins with chapters setting forth the basic concepts of mundane astrology, starting with a discussion of its validity. Morin’s key concepts include the doctrine of subordination of horoscopes; the notion that mundane horoscopes do not act alone, but like nesting dolls, they are a manifestation of a larger cycle. Therefore, the reader is directed to examine the lunations preceding an Aries Ingress, for example, and look for repeating themes among the horoscopes.
In Part I, Chapters 7 and 8, Morin discusses the specific characteristics of eclipses and planetary conjunction horoscopes. In Chapter 9 and subsequent chapters in Part I, he gives guidance on interpretation of mundane horoscopes.
The first step is to select ruler(s) of the horoscope, which are those planets that are especially powerful, and whose reemergence in subordinate horoscopes provide timing of the potentials promised earlier. Here, Morin gives an interesting technique of ruler selection; focusing on the angle subsequent to the Primary Point of a horoscope. For instance, an Aries Ingress with the Sun in the 12th house would have the Ascendant as the angle, and its rulers, occupants, and aspects would all be essential to determining the ruler – and thus the main theme — of the Ingress.
Chapters 11 and 12 provide details on the places where a mundane horoscope’s promise would most likely manifest, and the specific times in which the events will occur. In his prediction of WWII, Jean Hieroz utilized the latter methods with consummate skill, and comparing Morin’s instructions with Hieroz’s application is most instructive. Chapters 14 and 15 focus on the kinds of events one might expect with certain rulers (e.g.: Saturn and Mars ruling the mundane horoscope are bad, but fixed stars make them even worse).
Part II begins with a discussion of the elemental composition of mundane charts, and the planets’ behavior in signs of various elements. This is especially important for weather prediction, a subset of mundane astrology. Morin then goes on to emphasize the importance of the Aries Ingress as a description of a year’s events, with special attention to the rulers of the Ingress. Chapter 4 is an excellent summary of the qualities of the planets when they are rulers of the year, with discussion of the fact that the luminaries can also be rulers of the horoscope, something the ancient astrologers did not address.
Chapters 5 -7 focus on the planetary qualities primarily for weather prediction, providing handy lists of planets in aspect and in various signs. For example, Venus in Aries, as in the 2009 Aries Ingress, “under the sun beams produces humidity; when oriental, thunder and rains; when occidental, winds; when static, humidity.”
Chapter 8 gives an interesting list of aphorisms for determining events from the rulers’ motion; Morin considers all planets to bring rain when they are retrograde, for instance, though this tendency is emphasized when the planet is in a moist sign, a humid Lunar mansion, and in aspect with Venus or Mercury. Chapters 10 and 11 are chock-full of aphorisms for further weather indications contained in the Aries Ingress and lunation horoscopes. Chapter 13 provides guidance on comparing subordinate charts; such as that of an Ingress and a subsequent lunation. Chapter 14 explores the intersection of place and horoscopes. Chapter 15 gives guidelines for interpreting the appearance of comets. First, one is to determine the planetary nature of a planet (mainly by its color), and then look at its position in the zodiac, interpreting the comet similarly to a planet in that sign. Chapter 16 provides details on daily weather predictions, and some additional factors that go into such a specific prediction.
The Appendixes are particularly useful, giving a method for determining planetary strength, the WWII prediction of Jean Hieroz, WWI horoscopes, tables for the year 1625, and a list of the elemental qualities of the lunar mansions (and the mansions’ location).
A highly recommended text on mundane astrology. The number of concrete guidelines and tips in this book justifies careful reading and re-reading. James Holden’s translation, as always, is careful and thoughtful, with plenty of footnotes. His preface is informative and places the book in appropriate context for the reader new to Morin. A worthwhile addition to any astrologer’s library.
Astrologia Gallica Book Twenty-Five: The Universal Constitutions of the Caelum
By Jean-Baptiste Morin (trans. from the Latin by James Herschel Holden, M.A., Fellow of the American Federation of Astrologers)
American Federation of Astrologers, 2008, 241 pages, paperback.