Astrology Book Review: Astrologia Gallica, Book 17 (Jean-Baptiste Morin, trans. James Herschel Holden)

May 31, 2009 by  

Astrology Book Review: Astrologia Gallica 17

James Herschel Holden, the premier English translator of the works of Jean-Baptiste Morin, recently published this essential volume, Book 17 of the Astrologia Gallica. Book 17 discusses the qualities of the 12 houses, and, as is typical for Morin, he lays out and refutes the objections of those who say that the division of the sky into 12 parts is arbitrary. Never one to shrink from ambitious projects, Morin discusses the reasoning behind the meaning of each house, and makes some of his own emendations according to his own logic. Then, he moves on to discussing the various house systems, and makes arguments for his own preference for Regiomontanus, after which he explains his own eponymous system. Book 17 concludes with some theoretical discussion of the calculations used in determining house cusps, which is primarily of theoretical and historical importance, though less so for practicing astrologers today.

Briefly…

A slim but essential book for understanding Morin’s system of horoscope construction and interpretation. The theory behind house construction is interesting, primarily for those with interest in the history of astrology and astronomy. For astrologers who simply want to understand Morin’s assignations of the house meanings, there is plenty of food for thought and in-depth discussion as well. Perhaps the most unique feature of Morin’s house meanings is his linking of opposite houses. For example, the traditional meaning of the sixth house is that of illness; Morin also assigns this as one of the meanings of the opposite, the 12th house, precisely because the two are opposite and therefore share some essential meaning. Book 17 of Astrologia Gallica will be of interest to intermediate to advanced astrologers, but beginners can get a great deal out of it as well, provided they can keep up with the various historical references to other astrologers and some of the more obscure astrological/astronomical terminology. For those who want additional information by Morin about the houses, he wrote a short work called The Cabal of the 12 Houses, which was translated in 1659 by the English astrologer Sir George Wharton.

Contents and Structure

The book is divided into three major parts: Section 1, “The Cabal of the Astrological Houses and Its Natural Foundation That We Have Revealed,” Section 2, “The Erection of Celestial Figures for Astrology,” and Section 3 “In Which the Essence or the Formal Reason for the Astrological Houses Is Stated.”

Section 1 begins with restating basic arguments that Morin made in Book 14 of Astrologia Gallica, namely that the “birth, bigger, decline, and the death of things” are all distinct periods of life on earth, and therefore are shown by different parts of the heaven. Philosophically, Morin assumes agreement with the basic notion of “on earth as it is in heaven.” Chapter 2 begins with the most basic distinction in the heavens; above the horizon and below it, with the ascendant, or the rising place being the most powerful of all the points in the heavens. The Midheaven is the apex of the path of the body as it travels through the heavens, the setting represents decline, while the angle of the earth or the fourth house is directly below the Earth and represents the death or end of something. In Chapter 3, Morin provides a table listing the meanings of each of the houses. The two major differences between his meanings and those of the older astrologers is the assignment of illnesses to the 12th house and the assignment of both the parents to the fourth house, whereas before it was only associated with the father. It is interesting to note here Morin’s reference to Kepler, who correctly stated that it is the earth that turns, and not the heavens. Morin apparently went to his grave believing that the earth is stationary, in accordance with the Church dogma of that time.

Chapter 4 affirms that there are 12 divisions of the heavens, and they are divided by three because of the divine Trinity. Thus, it follows naturally in Chapter 5 is an explanation of the threefold division, the triplicity. Each of the four triplicities is associated with with one of the angles; for example, the first house in the first triplicity is that of the ascendant, followed by the ninth house of religion, and then the fifth house of children. Morin calls it the triplicity of life. He goes through each of the triplicities in turn, concluding that everything that happens to humans can be shown by one or more of the 12 houses. Chapter 6 presents Morin’s view that the opposite houses are related, as discussed above with the example of the sixth and 12th houses. Chapters 7 and 8 are theoretical reputations of anti-astrological writers, including Pico Mirandola, and an additional exploration of the relationship of the fall of man and the division of the heavens into 12 houses. Morin comes to the conclusion that even if we lived in a prelapsarian state, the heaven would still have been divided into the 12 houses we know today. Here, he runs into the theological problem of suffering, which is only said to have begun after Adam’s exile from Eden. This makes it difficult to place houses four, eight, and 12, which are associated with suffering, but he performs a little logical legerdemain.

Section 2 takes up the division of the houses into two halves, that above and below the horizon, and of the vertical division of the Meridian. Chapter 2 examines and rejects be equal house system which divides the ecliptic into 12 equal parts. Morin attacks that on the basis of the two most important points of the horoscope, the Ascendant and the Medium Coeli, not starting their appropriate houses. In Equal House system, the first house would begin at 0° of the given sign, and the Ascendant would be somewhere in the house, but not necessarily copresent with the beginning of the house. Morin also shows the horoscope of Cardan, “the Prince of Astrologers,” to demonstrate the efficacy of systems other than the equal house system. Perhaps somewhat inevitably, Morin shows his own nativity, which he uses throughout Astrologia Gallica, and complains of his Pisces stellium in the Vale of Miseries, also known as the 12th house. This is an interesting chapter, because in it, Morin gives great autobiographical detail, and reveals his character indirectly. He uses the difficulties of his life to show that in the Regiomontanus system, his miseries were shown by all the planets in the 12th house, whereas in the Equal House system, they would have been in the benefic 11th house. Of course, some might argue that his life was indeed very fortunate, prosperous, and highly accomplished. He then uses as an example another nativity that shows up throughout Astrologia Gallica, that of Gustavus Adolphus, the King of Sweden. He died in battle, and his chart is indeed very violent and indicative of a military death. Another horoscope is given, that of the Duke of Montmorency, and that of Albert Wallenstein, the Duke of Friedland. These were all military commanders during the war-filled 17th century, all of whom died violently in battle.

Chapter 3 lists a few other house systems of which Morin disapproves, including that of Porphyry and Alchabitius, the latter having been used extensively before and during Morin’s time. In Chapter 4, Morin examines the Campanus method of house division, and finds it wanting, partly because the system divides the ecliptic and the equator into unequal parts, and often does not intersect the ecliptic. Moran also shows his natal chart as it would have been drawn using the Campanus system, and points out that in that system Saturn would have ruled his ninth house of religion, rather than Jupiter, and Saturn would not have made Morin as deeply devout as he had been. He then displays the Nativity of François de Bonne, the Constable of France, who ascended through the ranks of the nobility, which is better indicated by the Regiomontanus system. Chapter 5 comes to the inevitable conclusion that the Regiomontanus is the better house system, and Morin’s own variation of it, which later becomes known as the Morin house system, is by far the best method to use.

Section 3 is the most theoretical and perhaps mathematical of the entire book, and begins with the assertion that the essence of an astrological house is the relation of its location to the native’s location on the earth. Chapter 2 states correctly that the houses are determined by a line that passes through the center of the earth, even though a human is born on the surface of the earth. The difference between these two locations should be corrected by parallax, but Morin does not apparently do so for any of his charts. Chapter 3 determines that the heaven should be divided into 12 houses, rather than some other number, and reaffirms the privacy of the ascendant degree. Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 discuss some of the ambiguities that are writes from dividing the sky into houses. Chapter 6 briefly discusses some traditional divisions of the houses, such as into four quadrants. Moran quickly dispenses with these, stating that it is illogical for the fourth quadrant, comprising houses one, two, and three, to be called that of the old age, because it contains the first house, which represents the beginning of life, not its end.

Observations

Book 17 of Astrologia Gallica is challenging, but essential for understanding some of the concepts that Moran later takes for granted in the following volumes. It is particularly useful to look at the concepts that he retains from the tradition, and those that he discards, such as the division of the heaven into four quadrants, as shown in the last chapter. The book is also worthwhile for examining the lives and natal horoscopes of people largely forgotten by history, and to watch over the master astrologers shoulder as he interprets them. Another highly recommended book from the Astrologia Gallica series.

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Astrologia Gallica: Book Seventeen, The Astrological Houses
By: Jean-Baptiste Morin
Translated by: James Herschel Holden, M.A., Fellow of the American Federation of Astrologers
American Federation of Astrologers, 2008
21.95 USD
Available from Amazon.com, AstroAmerica.com, and Astrologers.com.

Horary Astrology Reading: Is the Talking Fish Story True?

May 25, 2009 by  

Horary Astrology: Is the Talking Fish Story True?

There was a talking fish in a New York market a few years ago, issuing warnings in Hebrew to repent because the end is near. Many people interpreted it as an ill omen for the then-impending Iraq war. I find omens fascinating, but most of them verge on the ridiculous (yes, I speak of the grilled cheese Virgin Mary). This seemed just odd enough to warrant an astrological inquiry. After reading about the talking carp, I immediately wondered whether the story was true; the Guardian article mentions that it could have been a practical joke, but I had my doubts. So, I cast a horary chart, asking “Is the talking fish story true?

12:44 pm, May 1, 2009, 37N25 122W08

Is the Horoscope Valid?

First, I checked the horoscope for radicality, the indication that the question was asked properly and not out of idle curiosity. Because this is not a story which involves me personally, I wanted to make sure that the chart was solid, and that the heavens were on board with this question, as it were.

The ruler of the hour is Mars, which is of the same nature as the rising sign, Leo. Both are hot and dry, and therefore the chart is radical. Moreover, Mars is in its own domicile in Aries, placed in the ninth house of religion and God. As is often the case with Mars, the lesser malefic, the story does not end well for either the butcher, who, in attempting to kill the fish, sliced into his own thumb and had to be hospitalized, nor for the carp, which was eventually chopped up into gefilte fish. If it was an omen presaging a war in distant lands, then Mars in the ninth house would take on another layer of significance.

Find the Fish

The carp is symbolized by the Moon, which rules all fish; Al-Biruni says that the Sun rules all large fish, and carp definitely counts as a large fish. Moreover, the Moon is in the terms of Mercury, so it is a large fish endowed with the gift of speech. Note that the Moon and the Sun are in mutual reception by major dignity; it is as though the fish had been suddenly enlightened, the heavens parted, and it spoke. The Sun, of course, represents divine inspiration.

But Did the Fish Really Speak?

William Lilly, in his Christian Astrology (p.192-194), has a few pointers on determining whether a rumor is true. Our horoscope, amazingly, hits all of the points mentioned by Lilly:

  • Lilly says that the Moon in the Ascendant means the rumor is true; here, we have the Moon in Leo on the Ascendant.
  • If Lord one is angular, the rumor is true; this chart has the Sun in the 10th house.
  • If the angles are fixed, the tale is true; all the angles in our chart have fixed signs.
  • The Moon angular makes the story true; we have already established that this is the case in our horoscope.
  • If the dispositor of the Moon is angular and in a fixed sign, the story is true. The Moon’s dispositor is the Sun, and it is in Taurus in the 10th house.
  • If the Moon is separating from a malefic and applying to a benefic that is angular, the tale is true. Here, the Moon separates from a trine to Mars and applies to a square with angular Sun.

One cannot help but draw the conclusion that the story is indeed true. If the heavens speak to us in signs we do not understand, we must try to unfold their meaning.

Astrology Book Review: America Is Born (Regulus Astrology LLC/Dr. H.)

May 16, 2009 by  

Nun in Thought. Astrology Book Review: America Is Born

The full title of this book is America Is Born: Introducing the Regulus USA National Horoscope. In it, the pseudonymous author, Dr. H., brings his horoscope rectification skills to bear on the U.S. national horoscope. He uses medieval astrological techniques and a great deal of historical data to arrive at a rectified version of the well-known Sibly horoscope for July 4, 1776.

Along the way, he demonstrates his primary direction sequence as a means of predicting events from the horoscope, as well as Abu Ma’shar’s method of directing planets via primary motion through the bounds (aka the planetary terms). As was the case with Dr. H.’s previous book on rectification, much of the really juicy material resides in the book’s appendixes. For example, Appendix C contains the rectified horoscopes of several individuals who strongly influenced the U.S. national consciousness, and the links between their horoscopes and that of the USA.

Briefly…

Another excellent, substantive book from Regulus Astrology, America Is Born is primarily suited to intermediate and advanced astrologers. Dr. H. really works the medieval techniques, and assumes his readers will have some familiarity with such methods. This is a book for enthusiasts of mundane astrology; the art of predicting political and public events, but many methods are presented that could also be used for natal horoscopes, such as directing planets through the planetary bounds. America Is Born is best read in conjunction with, or after, A Rectification Manual, which goes through the building blocks of astrology in greater detail.

Structure & Contents

America Is Born has perhaps the most fascinating preface I have ever read – in an astrology book or elsewhere. In it, the author discusses the symbolism of afflicted Mercury in the USA natal chart, suggesting that astrologers, being Mercury-ruled, are in particular danger should they make public their predictions of US events. This is interesting, but begs the question whether other Mercury-ruled professions in the US are in similar danger with going public (writers, finance people, accountants, lawyers, etc.).

Chapter One discusses the role of national horoscopes in mundane astrology, showing that the widespread adoption of the national horoscope really arose with Charles Carter in the 1950s. Dr. H’s book makes a compelling case for the use of such horoscopes, but one should note that such usage is not traditional; the medieval astrologers used planetary conjunctions and ingresses to make mundane predictions.

Chapter Two jumps right in, using primary directions to test the broad-brush positions of the Sibly chart; the chart’s sect and the position of the Moon. Chapter Three is an interesting meta-analysis of the “astrological moment,” the time that is most propitious for an astrologer to actually perform a rectification.

Chapter Four details Abu Ma’shar’s system of distributors and participators. This is essentially the method of moving a planetary significator by primary motion through the planetary terms. This method is a time Lord system, so for example, the distributor for 27 Aquarius 51 (the position of the Moon in the Sibley chart) is Saturn/Aquarius. Saturn refers to the Egyptian term ruler for that position. The author’s point is that we do not simply look at the nature of the planet ruling the bound, but also the sign, and we interpret them as a whole. The participator is a planet which has most recently contacted the point under examination (27 Aquarius 51 in our example), and which must be analyzed as a time Lord of the same influence as the distributor.

Chapter Five introduces the calculation of primary directions, with the author taking us through some of the key steps of calculating primaries. This is a very useful chucker for those who want to learn how to calculate primary directions, as well as those who want to understand the astronomical justification behind this method. Chapter Six gets to delineation and comparison of important events and periods in the United States history compared with some of the distributors of the time. For example, the period between May 27, 1960 and September 28, 1966 was ruled by Venus/Leo. The author’s attributions to this influence include Camelot, cocktail culture, and the Rat Pack, all indicative of pleasure, partying, and celebrity.

Chapter Seven introduces all of the planet-ascendant primary directions of the Regulus USA horoscope. This is the participator portion of Abu Ma’shar’s method introduced in Chapter Five. Chapter Eight starts with the Moon and its directions to the Regulus USA horoscope. The subsequent chapters all discuss each of the planet’s primary directions; the Sun through Jupiter, in Chapter 15.

Appendix A provides a list of events used for the chart’s initial rectification, comprising about five small-type pages. Appendix B gives a list of all ascendant directions by primary motion, direct and converse, that had been presented in previous chapters. For example, approximately the first three years after 1776, the distributor was Mars/Sagittarius sextile the Moon. Given that, per Dr. H.’ s analysis, this Moon has as one of its significations the political philosophy of human equality, it is fitting that the Revolutionary war (Mars) should be connected to these ideals. Appendix C shows the influence of directing through the balance on individuals, specifically those who particularly exemplified an era in American history. For example, the rectified horoscope of John Marshall, with his Capricorn Saturn in the 12th house, is associated with the Saturn/Capricorn distribution in the United States horoscope.

Appendix D details the author’s test of the efficacy of Egyptian versus Ptolemaic bounds, concluding that the Egyptian bounds are more accurate. Appendix E shows the author’s results from test of solar arc directions as compared to primary directions. He concludes that solar arc directions show more public events, where his primary directions show events more directly tied to the individual.

Observations

In some ways, America Is Born is a more specialized book than the author’s prior manual of rectification. This is because many of the techniques introduced in the previous book are taken for granted here, but for astrologers interested in the political prediction or interpretation, America Is Born is a gold mine of historical and astrological information. For starters, there are few horoscopes purporting to show the beginning of the United States of America that are as well supported as the one presented by the author in his book.  There are certainly few horoscopes supported by as much test data, and additional information (much of it at the author’s website, Regulus Astrology). For those who use national inception horoscopes, the author makes a very compelling case that his rectification should be used. Highly recommended.

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America Is Born: Introducing the Regulus USA National Horoscope

Dr. H. (pseudonymous) via Regulus Astrology LLC

Regulus Astrology LLC, 2008, 407 pages, paperback.

USD 39.95

Available from astroamerica.com, amazon.com and astrologers.com

Astrology Book Review: The Judgments of Nativities (Abu ‘Ali Al-Khayyat, trans. James Holden)

May 10, 2009 by  

Prophet Elijah. Astrology Book Review: The Judgments of Nativities

This essential work has been re-released by the AFA more than 20 years after the first edition appeared in print. The Judgments of Nativities is a classic of natal astrology, and a remarkably lucid and systematic exposition of traditional astrological principles. Many astrologers keep their copy of The Judgments of Nativities close to hand, and most copies from the 1988 edition are disintegrating at this stage from frequent use. Thus, the re-release is a most welcome step by the AFA, who obviously took great care in the presentation of their new edition. The new edition font is clear and easy to read, while the cover is a handsome glossy red abstract design. Inexpensive printing options have clearly advanced a great deal in the last 20 years!

Briefly…

The content in the 2nd edition is unchanged, as far as I could tell. The translator’s 1988 preface is still there, providing a good, beginner-friendly introduction to this 1000-year-old astrology text. In the introduction, Holden actually gives a summary of the history of astrology, placing Al-Khayyat’s book in proper historical context. The book is suitable for intermediate astrology students, since some previous knowledge of concepts like triplicity rulers, for instance, is assumed. An excellent text on natal astrology according to the Arabs.

Contents & Structure

The Judgments of Nativities starts with material on rearing of children and the length of life; the traditional astrologers, including Al-Khayyat, always started their analysis by determining whether the native will survive infancy, and if so, the length of his life. There is also material on the native’s quality of mind (what we might call personality today), and several example charts apparently taken from Greek sources. The examples illustrate the triplicity lord method, indicating the success of the native by looking at the condition of the sect ruler’s triplicity lords.

Al-Khayyat then goes house by house to determine the quality of the different areas of the life. There are many aphorisms sprinkled throughout this portion of the text with a distinct Hellenistic provenance, such as “if any one of the fortunes is in the 11th sign from the Part of Fortune, it signifies the acquisition of money and of assets from good things.” There is also some interesting material on determining the parents’ length of life.

Chapters 39-50 are cookbook style materials on the placement of the planets in the houses and signs, with some material on the placement of the Part of Fortune. The latter materials appear to be specific to profection of the Part of Fortune, rather than just natal placements.

There are some excellent appendixes in this text. Appendix I goes through the many example horoscopes provided in the text, figuring out their approximate dates (they are from the 1st and 5th/6th centuries AD. Appendix II is from Masha’allah’s Book of Nativities, giving additional techniques for calculating the native’s length of life, so the reader can compare Al-Khayyat and Masha’allah’s methods, which are very similar, but not identical.

Observations

As always, James Holden’s translation is clear and easy to read, bringing this old text closer to modern readers. Because of Al-Khayyat’s thorough and succinct approach, this text is highly recommended for astrologers who want to get started with traditional natal astrology. An extremely accessible and cohesive text.

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The Judgments of Nativities

Abu ‘Ali Al-Khayyat, translated by James H. Holden, M.A.

American Federation of Astrologers, 2008, 146 pages, paperback.

USD 23.95

Available from astrologers.com, astroamerica.com, and amazon.com

Book Review: Horary Astrology Re-Examined (Barbara Dunn)

May 3, 2009 by  

Book Review: Horary Astrology Re-Examined by Barbara Dunn

Reading Horary Astrology Re-Examined brought me back to the days when I was just beginning to learn horary, with Olivia Barclay’s book, Horary Astrology Rediscovered, at my side.  Dunn is a student of traditional astrologer Olivia Barclay, and Horary Astrology Re-Examined is similar to Barclay’s book, in that it is a compendium of traditional quotations on various topics from many authors.  Essentially, Dunn appears to have updated Barclay’s book with the new translations that had been obscure or unavailable when Barclay published her book in 1997.  Dunn has taken over Barclay’s horary course a few years ago, and it appears that in writing Horary Astrology Re-Examined, she has updated the course book as well.

Briefly…

This is perhaps the most thorough survey of traditional thought on horary astrology.  However, precisely because of its depth and breadth, I would not recommend this for a beginning horary astrologer.  The book is not written especially didactically, “soup to nuts,” but rather gives the reader absolutely everything, and more, right from the start.  Horary Astrology Re-Examined is more like a compendium of horary.  For the intermediate to advanced practitioner, Dunn’s book is a treasure trove of information, with seemingly everything traditional ever written about horary in one book.  It is best used as an encyclopedia when one wants to understand a specific topic in depth, with footnotes and references to primary sources galore.

Contents & Structure

Horary Astrology Re-Examined is organized into two major parts; Part I is methodology and doctrine, and Part II contains house-specific questions and judgments.

The Introduction sets out the author’s argument for traditional astrology, which is portrayed as losing ground to the new age facsimile of the art.  I am not convinced this is the case, as traditional astrology has come a long way just in the last decade, but Dunn’s basic hypothesis is sound, in that she views traditional astrology as a valuable, internally cohesive system that can be used for accurate methods of prediction.  The introduction is followed by a dozen or so pages of Terms of Art, which the student should understand as they learn horary.

Part I starts with a chapter about the planets; their nature, joys, friendships, associations (Morin, Lilly, and Abu Ma’shar), and rulership of the days and hours.  Chapter 2 describes the houses, the house systems, the nature of the quadrants and directions, and the nature of the angles/succedent/cadent houses.  There is a good-sized listing of the meaning of each house, drawn from the traditional authors (Lilly, Al Biruni, Morin, and Ptolemy).  This is not a substitute for a good book on the houses, such as Deb Houlding’s text, but is a very good start.  Included is a good discussion of the triplicity rulers of the houses, a natal technique.

Chapter 3 discusses the signs of the zodiac, their divisions, and associations with parts of the body, the seasons, colors, directions, fertility, places (for lost objects), and geographical locations.  Chapter 4 covers planetary sect, hayyiz, and the way these concepts are used in natal horoscopes, including the notions of oriental and occidental planets.  Chapter 5 explains planetary movement and aspects, antiscia, beholding, and orbs.  Oddly, not much time is spent on the nature of the major aspects, the heart and soul of horary, specifically the ways in which they can bring about perfection (square brings perfection with difficulty, for example, while the trine does so with ease).  The material on planetary movements is quite valuable, and unique, in the sense that no one has brought together this material as comprehensively as the author.  Concepts discussed include committing disposition – though we are never told what disposition is, exactly – pushing nature, pushing power, pushing two natures, pushing counsel, and the uses of a separating aspect.  There is also some discussion of void of course and feral Moon.

Chapter 6 deals with essential dignities, discussing domicile, exaltation, triplicity, term, and face, according to each of the ancient sources.  The author then gives information on the debilities of detriment, fall, and peregrination.  In the interest of comprehensiveness, it would have been most useful to include Ibn Ezra’s description of the dignities, both here and in the following chapter. 

Chapter 7 continues this theme with a discussion of accidental dignities and debilities, with a heavy emphasis on William Lilly’s point scoring tables, which apparently continue to exert fascination over astrologers despite their limited utility in practice.  There is also a table detailing the nature of the planets when occidental and oriental.  The table dates from the 1930s edition of Al Biruni’s treatise on astrology, and, in my humble opinion, should have been reset for easier reading.  A section on accidental dignity and debility follows, discussing each of the factors that strengthens or weakens a planet, depending on its position in the horoscope and relative to other planets.   Chapter 7 closes with a wealth horary by Lilly, demonstrating Lilly’s checklist of essential and accidental conditions of each planet. 

Chapters 8 and 9 address reception and almutens, respectively.  Both are very well presented, in that they summarize and quote the traditional authors on these multi-faceted topics.  Almutens are not as important in horary as in other branches of astrology, but they are important to know and understand.  A thirty-page chapter on signification follows, dedicated to the method for selecting the correct significator(s) in a horary chart.  There is a good discussion of natural significators, which tend to be under-utilized in today’s practice of horary.  Another good portion of the chapter is the section on planets and their role in appearance, another forgotten but highly effective horary technique.

A chapter on Considerations before Judgment is a good summary of the various pre-judgment cautions given in traditional texts.  Chapter 12, on The Question, is a particularly welcome and unique addition to this book.  Most books gloss over the importance of asking the question properly, but the author does not skip this rather unglamorous part of the proceedings.  An added bonus is a rather amusing deconstruction of a psychological horary analysis.  Chapter 13 gives a big picture view of how to judge a chart, including a section on timing.

Chapters 14 and 15 are titled “The Possibility of the Matter Propounded,” and “The Impossibility of the Matter Propounded,” respectively, and since they match the subtitle of the book, we can assume they form the center of the author’s work.  The chapters essentially summarize the ways that outcomes can perfect or fail to perfect; the assiduous student could create a checklist for each chapter and refer to it when judging a chart.  The more experienced astrologer may not find these chapters as useful, but they are essential to learning to read horoscopes.

Part II focuses on the specific horary types for some of the more popular houses; the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 10th houses are detailed.  It is unclear why, with her obvious penchant for thoroughness and completeness, the author did not address the less riveting but still essential 1st, 3rd, 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th houses, especially given that the traditional authors usually described them all.  The houses that are not addressed are the ones that have subtle meanings, and that give students the greatest trouble, so one would think that a comprehensive approach would be worthwhile.  The houses that are covered are done very well, with a detailed description of some of the criteria of the ancients, and supplemented with the author’s own examples. 

The book wraps up with an excellent bibliography and index.

Observations

An excellent book to round out one’s horary collection.  This is not the book to start with, due to its sheer comprehensiveness, and one would be better off starting with something a bit pithier.  Olivia Barclay’s book is useful, and, of course, John Frawley’s Horary Textbook is a great introductory text.  The attraction of Horary Astrology Re-Examined is that it encourages the reader to peruse the primary sources for himself, rather than rely on restatements by modern authors.  The frequent footnotes and rich bibliography make it easy to discover the sources for oneself.  Highly recommended.

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Horary Astrology Re-Examined: The Possibility or Impossibility of the Matter Propounded

By Barbara Dunn

The Wessex Astrologer, 2009, 536 pages, paperback.

28.00 GBP (44.00 USD), amazon.com, astroamerica.com, wessexastrologer.com