Jean-Baptiste Morin & Astrologia Gallica: Astrology Books

Jean-Baptiste Morin, author of Astrologia Gallica

In 2008 and 2009, I have reviewed many of the recently translated volumes of Jean-Baptiste Morin’s Astrologia Gallica (“French Astrology,” in Latin).  For easy reference, all the volumes available in English of Astrologia Gallica are aggregated together on this page with an excerpt from my review of the book, if applicable, and a link to the full review of each volume.

Morin (also known as Morinus in Latin) was a 17th century French astrologer, mathematician, and doctor.  He was a Royal Professor of Mathematics in Paris, and perfected a system for calculating longitude, a challenging problem for mathematicians, geographers, and sailors of his time.  Morin was the royal astrologer to the French House of Bourbon.  Morin was present at the birth of Louis XIV, the future Sun King, to precisely observe the time of the Dauphin’s birth for the purpose of casting his horoscope.

Morin wrote Astrologia Gallica over about 30 years, and it was published only after his death.  Astrologia Gallica comprises 26 volumes, and almost one million words, to give you an idea of its scope.  Because it was written on the eve of Europe’s interest in astrology, Morin’s masterwork was translated into modern languages only piecemeal, and often with heavy editorializing by the translator.  We are exceedingly fortunate today to have James Herschel Holden and other 20th century English-speaking translators and astrologers, who undertook to translate the key books of Astrologia Gallica into English.  Special thanks are also due to the American Federation of Astrologers, the publisher of these translations in a quality, inexpensive format accessible to the astrological public.

Astrologia Gallica, Books 13, 14, 15, 19 [one volume].  Jean-Baptiste Morin.  Trans. James Herschel Holden, published by the American Federation of Astrologers.

Astrologia Gallica, Book 16: The Rays and Aspects of the Planets.  Jean-Baptiste Morin.  Trans. James Herschel Holden, published by the American Federation of Astrologers.

Book Sixteen of Astrologia Gallica, a relatively slim volume relative to others in the series, discusses “The Rays and Aspects of the Planets.” The book is mostly theoretical, unlike some of Morin’s more hands-on volumes, and all but the most hardened Morinistes will value the book as an exposition of the theory behind astrological aspects. The reason for this is that Morin takes some unorthodox positions, most of which are not implemented today.

Astrologia Gallica, Book 17: The Astrological Houses. Jean-Baptiste Morin.   Trans. James Herschel Holden, published by the American Federation of Astrologers.

 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.

Astrologia Gallica, Book 18: The Strengths of the Planets.  Jean-Baptiste Morin.  Trans. from Spanish by Anthony Louis LaBruzza, published by the American Federation of Astrologers.

The present volume, Book 18, is extremely useful. Morin discusses in great detail the strengths and weaknesses of the seven visible planets, and the ways these qualities manifest in practice.

For example, Morin explains how a planet can rule two different signs, one of which may not be in apparent agreement with the planet’s elemental nature. His example is Jupiter, which rules Sagittarius and Pisces. Jupiter, in Morin’s view, has an outward fiery nature, which puts it in agreement with the fire sign Sagittarius; however, he also says that Jupiter has a watery hidden side, which is compatible with the water sign Pisces. As a result, whenever Jupiter resides in any fire sign, his fiery domicile, Sagittarius, is strengthened. The same is true for Pisces when Jupiter passes through a water sign.

Astrologia Gallica, Book 21: The Morinus System of Horoscope Interpretation, or The Active Determination of the Celestial Bodies and the Passive Determinations of the Sublunary World.  Jean-Baptiste Morin.  Trans. Richard S. Baldwin, published by the American Federation of Astrologers.

[Gryphon Astrology review coming soon.]

Astrologia Gallica, Book 22: Directions.  Jean-Baptiste Morin.  Trans. James Herschel Holden, published by the American Federation of Astrologers.

[Gryphon Astrology review coming soon.]

Astrologia Gallica, Book 23: Revolutions.  Jean-Baptiste Morin.  Trans. James Herschel Holden, published by the American Federation of Astrologers.

[Gryphon Astrology review coming soon.]

Astrologia Gallica, Book 24: Progressions and Transits.  Jean-Baptiste Morin.  Trans. James Herschel Holden, published by the American Federation of Astrologers.

Astrologia Gallica, Book 25: The Universal Constitutions of the Caelum.  Jean-Baptiste Morin.  Trans. James Herschel Holden, published by the American Federation of Astrologers.

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.

Resources on Astrologia Gallica and Jean-Baptiste Morin

  1. If you read Latin, the astrological society of Olomouc, Czech Republic, has a complete, readable scan of the entire Astrologia Gallica made from an archival copy in the Science Library in Olomouc.
  2. To learn more about Jean-Baptiste Morin, his life and his work, visit this excellent article by Thomas Callanan.
  3. The publisher of Astrologia Gallica in English, the American Federation of Astrologers.
  4. AstroAmerica, an online astrology book seller has a dedicated page of Morin’s works, with a complete listing of the tables of contents of each of Morin’s books.