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The Astrology Podcast

Ep. 449 Transcript: Jean-Baptiste Morin’s Astrology

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 449, titled:

Jean-Baptiste Morin’s Astrology

With Chris Brennan and Penelope Sitter

Episode originally released on May 21, 2024


Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: theastrologypodcast@gmail.com

Transcribed by Teresa “Peri” Lardo

Transcription released May 25th, 2024

Copyright © 2024 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hey, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. In this episode, I’m gonna be talking with astrologer Penelope Sitter about the life and work of the 17th century astrologer Jean-Baptiste Morin de Villefranche, otherwise known as Morinus. So Penelope just translated book 21 of Morin’s major work that was written in Latin in the 17th century called the Astrologia Gallica, which means “French astrology,” and the title of this new translation is Morin’s Book 21: Of the Active Determination of the Celestial Bodies & the Passive Determination of the Sublunary. So hey Penelope – thanks for joining me today.

PENELOPE SITTER: Glad to be here, Chris.

CB: Yeah, I’m excited to have you. So this book, this translation of yours just came out two days ago. We’re recording this on May 15th, 2024, starting at 12:47 PM in Denver, Colorado, and this just came out on May 13th. So why don’t we talk a little bit about Morin’s biography and situate him historically first before we get into talking about his astrological text. So Morin was a French astrologer who lived in the 17th century, right?

PS: Yes.

CB: Okay. So —

PS: Born in 1583, died in 1656, and as you mentioned, a near contemporary of Lilly, born about 19 years before Lilly.

CB: Okay, so he’s like, roughly living at the same time period as William Lilly, just to give people a reference point. I just talked about Lilly in an episode two episodes ago with Nick Campion and Patrick Curry. So it’s interesting then to see another astrologer from a different country who’s, you know, in Europe and who’s participating in astrology roughly in the same time period but has a very different background than Lilly did. What were some of the things that Morin – what was his background in terms of his academic training?

PS: Well, clearly he studied mathematics, but he received a medical degree in 1615 from Avignon, a university there, and also wrote on astronomy and practiced it, and was very interested in cosmology and in an essentially Aristotelian natural philosophy.

CB: Okay. So he was trained as a physician, and he worked as a doctor basically for many eminent people in Europe and in France, including kings and queens. He was also a mathematician, he was an astronomer, and he’s known for some scientific contributions about how to find like, longitudes and latitudes at sea, right?

PS: Longitude specifically. This became a very big issue during the mercantile period and the period of colonialism in Europe. And latitude is easy to find at sea; longitude was a problem. Ships would wreck and get lost because of the difficulty of calculating longitude. And a number of governments offered a longitude prize to the person who would present a reliable method for determining longitude at sea. One of the big problems was the ships are pitching, so you can’t use the usual astronomical measurements on a pitching vessel, so that became a problem. And Morin proposed a method of determining longitude based on the Moon’s proximity to fixed stars. And —

CB: Okay, got it.

PS: Yeah.

CB: Okay. So that’s like, one of his scientific contributions. And he was eventually appointed as the head mathematics professor at a major university in France, right?

PS: Yes. The story goes that as a result of a prediction he made for the Queen Mother Marie de Medici that he said that no, Louis the 14th will not die – or Louis the 13th will not die from this illness; a prior astrologer had predicted his death. And the Queen Mother was very pleased to get that, and the story is – and Morin even says this at the beginning of Astrologia Gallica, there’s a fairly long vita that someone whose name escapes me at the moment wrote about Morin’s life, and it was with her intercession that Morin got that very good appointment as the Royal Professor of Mathematics.

CB: Okay. So yeah, and it was like, the Queen’s son or like, child was sick, and other astrologers had predicted that he was gonna die from this illness, but then she brought Morin in and he looked at the chart, and based on his methods, he decided that it would be an extreme illness but that he would recover from it, and he ended up being correct.

PS: Yes, and it was Louis the 14th, excuse me for getting that confused. Yes. He was correct, and the Queen Mother was very pleased that —

CB: Okay.

PS: — and wanted to reciprocate.

CB: And then that’s why he was appointed to that position. So that gives you some idea of the kind of like, high level of circles that he was moving in in terms of acting as both an astrologer and a physician, and this was back when astrology was still used as sometimes a diagnostic tool in order to study how sicknesses or illnesses would go as well as how to treat different illnesses.

And Morin is interesting – and maybe we’ll come back to this later, but – he reminded me as I was studying your translation and his work and his biography of another famous French doctor and astrologer from just the previous century from the 1500s, which was Nostradamus, who’s like, the more well-known in terms of his prophecies and predictions. But Morin basically is in a similar role in the following century in the 17th century, and Morin in effect becomes the last major French astrologer who is operating at that level before astrology goes into decline in the late 17th century and onwards.

PS: Yes, exactly. Like Nostradamus, Morin was very interested in observation and reason. Nostradamus was kind of beautiful in that he would learn from anyone. He went out among the people and learned from the women who did herbs and men who were nothing famous but very skilled and really championed that, and was critical of Galen and some of the prior writers who’d been held in high esteem. So he and Morin have that similar commitment to observation and reason, which is something Morin mentions repeatedly in Astrologia Gallica.

CB: Okay. And Morin’s full name is Jean-Baptiste Morin de Villefranche, but he’s also known as Morinus sometimes in some circles from the Latin version of his name, right?

PS: Yes, as we know, that was something that was done with like, Cardan, Cardanus and so on with other astrologers. They used the Latinized name.

CB: Even Nostradamus is the Latinized version —

PS: Yes.

CB: — of his French name, which is Michel de Nostredame.

PS: Yeah, and it’s actually even is longer and more complex than that, which I don’t quite remember, but yeah.

CB: Okay. So let’s talk about his work, the Astrologia Gallica, which is this massive tome on astrology that he wrote. It took him about 30 years to write it, but it’s broken up into 26 different books, and it was actually written in Latin rather than French, and the title means “French astrology,” right?

PS: Yes.

CB: Okay. So it’s Astrologia Gallica from Gallic astrology from the word “Gaul,” which was like, the Roman word for the French region.

PS: Yes, and there’s a longer title, as was customary in those days – Astrologia Gallica, and translated it was roughly – I don’t have it in front me, but – In 26 books With Its Own Reasons. And so yeah. He wanted to state that about the book.

CB: I actually have a photo of it; I took a photo of the title —

PS: Nice.

CB: — page so I can share that right here.

PS: Great.

CB: Can you see it?

PS: Yes. Well, I have my camera thing a bit in the way, but yeah, I can basically see it. Yeah. Established in 26 books With Its Own Reasons, basically.

CB: Got it. Okay. Cool. So this was a major book. So he was a doctor. He got into astrology and studied it for 10 years and then he decided to pursue that entirely – astrology entirely – and this book he wrote in the last 30 years of his life, but he actually wasn’t able to get it published before he died. So he actually died in the year 1656, and the book ended up being published in 1661 about five years later, and it was due to a previous patron of his who was like, a grateful former client who was a queen, right?

PS: The Queen of Poland, Queen… I believe it was Louisa. Marie Louisa, I think, of Poland who was grateful for his astrological work.

CB: Okay.

PS: She gave apparently the bulk of the cost of publishing it. He actually, in the last few years of his life when he couldn’t get the funds to publish Astrologia Gallica, he wrote something in French called – and pardon my French pronunciation – Remarques Astrologiques. And there’s a very nice edition of that by I believe his name is Jacques Halbronn, H A L B R O N N, that has notes and an introduction and has a full biography of all the work that Morin published, which included astrology but also as you’ve mentioned scientific and natural philosophy and cosmology and technical subjects including the calculation of longitude.

CB: Okay. Yeah, so the Astrologia Gallica itself is this huge book, and it’s actually like, a very physically imposing book where it’s written in Latin, which was like, the educated language of the day that most scientific and philosophical and other astrological works were written in, and it has these dense like, two columns per page of Latin text. So there’s actually like, a lot there in terms of the total size of this thing and in terms of understanding the scope of it, what all did he end up covering or does he address in this work?

PS: So it is mostly, as you say, it’s a folio edition with mostly double columned pages of more than 850 pages if you count the introductory material, which includes a poem dedicated to his work and a vita – a biography – and Morin’s apologetic preface, which haven’t been translated, neither the vita there or the apologetic preface has been translated. Yes, there it is; it’s quite a dense work.

In the first eight volumes, Morin focuses on theological questions, questions of free will and fate, and cosmological issues and philosophical issues as a foundation for the books specifically on astrology. Ptolemy did something similar but much more briefly when he included some prefatory remarks to set up astrology, put astrology in context.

CB: Right.

PS: But Morin does it with quite a bit of detail and persistence.

CB: Right, and sort of comprehensiveness. So there have been some – because it was written in latin and because it was written towards the… Because it was published in the middle of the 17th century as astrology was already in decline in Europe and it was starting to even be prohibited in some ways, the work never experienced as much popularity as it could have as a result of those things, nor has it received many translations into contemporary languages. But there have started to be over the past few decades some translations of this text into English by different scholars over the years, right?

PS: Into English, mostly James Holden. The late James Holden translated all but three of the specifically astrological volumes into English. Anthony Louis translated book 18 from Pepita Sanchis Llacer’s Spanish version. And Richard S. Baldwin paraphrased most of book 21 in 1974. There was also Astrosynthesis.

So there was a French revival starting late in the 19th century, and Henri Selva, a French astrologer, published an abridged French translation of book 21. Book 21, as you mentioned, is the foundational volume of the astrological part of Astrologia Gallica, which is the reason for the book. It’s the most important volume, and it’s where Morin sets out most clearly his theory of astrological signification and the method of determination that he considered to be proper horoscopic method. And I know we’re gonna go into that in some detail. Also, book 20 has not been published, but James Holden published, translated to English books 13 through 17, 19, and 22 through 26.

There have been other modern languages into which some of the volumes of Astrologia Gallica have been translated, including book 21; there were two recent, not so long ago translations into Gemerna. One of them sounds like – I don’t read German, but one of them sounds like it probably is pretty much a literal translation as I intended my translation of book 21 to be. Another sounds like it’s a little looser, may include some paraphrase or perhaps a lot. But —

CB: Sure.

PS: — there have been other translations of other volumes. There’s also the Schwickert and Weiss Cornerstones of Astrology. They, between 1925 and ‘27, they published a five-volume bowsteen – again, I don’t speak German, so – Bausteine der Astrologie, which is based on Morin’s work, and it means, interestingly, “building blocks of astrology.” And that says a lot in itself about the kind of approach Morin took. He was – you know, I often think of what it takes to build a building, and the method of building that is an analog to the kind of image making that we get in Morin. You put together this component, that component, the other component, according to method, and you end up with a building that stands and serves its purpose or a bridge or anything else that you build.

CB: Nice. All right. Well, that provides a nice segue into my next question, which is I want to talk a little bit about your background and why you translated this and specifically just your journey to get here in terms of this. So you were inspired especially by the work of the contemporary astrologer Robert Corre, who was a big expert on Morin and has really promoted those methods for the past few decades. And Robert Corre himself was a student of another astrologer named Zoltan Mason, who was an astrologer and owned a bookshop in New York for many decades. And Mason was heavily influenced by Morin and was a big proponent of his methods, right?

PS: Very much so. And I would say the most important modern proponent and interpreter of Morin and explicator of Morin, just to say, Robert Corre is spelled C O R R E. I think many of your listeners will know. And his website is ForumOnAstrology.com – forum on astrology. I would not have understood Morin, I’m pretty sure, if I hadn’t studied for some years with Robert and was happy to repeat his classes, because they’re dense and very valuable. You know, I really encourage anyone who wants to really understand Moran to study with Robert. And I believe he’s starting one or two new, you know, starting his eight-quarter program coming up right away. And I —

CB: So —

PS: — I’m ever grateful. As Robert is to his teacher Zoltan Mason, I’m ever grateful to Robert’s excellent teaching, both as an astrologer, as a person to understand myself and my life, to know myself and others and human life, and for, you know, the soul, which is charged with the responsibility to witness the form of our embodied selves as I see it. And that’s where our dignity really lies is in that witness more than in the form itself. The form is, as the title to your book, Chris, suggests – Hellenistic Astrology – you refer to fate in the subtitle, which is something – Fate and Fortune – which is something I’ve appreciated just from the get go about your book.

CB: Yeah. And that’s something Morin talks about a lot is fate, and I wanna get into that, so in terms of your background and your biography, when did you start studying astrology?

PS: I thought it was, I considered myself kind of a rationalist positivist. I used to think when I first started waking up to astrology and some other things like dowsing and the iChing, I thought that I should write something called “Confessions of an Ex-Rationalist Positivist.” You know, I had friends who would say, “Oh, let me read your chart to you,” I’d think, I’d say, “No, I’m too busy; I’m doing serious stuff. I’ve got people who depend on me to do my work.” And rejected it because I thought, well, that’s nice if they believe that. You know, they’re entitled to believe something that obviously isn’t true.

But then a persuasive astrologer convinced me that I should let her consult with me on my chart, and she talked about the natal chart, and because I did what some people are prone to do – I think not everyone, but with my chart, I was prone – to project myself onto others, and I thought, well, sure, sure, that’s how we are. And then she started talking just about modern planet transits over the preceding four or five years, and with each one, she was accurate. And she described the time at which I experienced something and correctly characterized what I experienced. And I was like, “Oh. So it is real.” And I started studying. Liz… What’s that famous book?

CB: Liz Greene?

PS: The blue cover – not Liz Greene. Can’t think of her name right now. It may come to me. But it was published before but has the zodiac, has a chart on the front with the zodiac. I may think of it. But that’s when I started studying, and I immediately understood what she was saying, but I wasn’t satisfied with it. I got —

CB: Right.

PS: — to the place where I couldn’t even consult with friends or acquaintances on charts. I stopped doing it professionally. I thought at first, “Oh, I could do this professionally,” but I realized I didn’t really get it. I was not at all satisfied and felt like a fraud. I have a legal background, and if you go before the court and say, “Well, you know, that’s how it looks to me, Your Honor,” it’s not gonna work, and you’re gonna be sued for malpractice. And I just felt like a fraud, and I started looking for something else.

And the efforts to look at the older texts and translate and explicate them was the first place I went, and then I went to Jyotish as taught by Hart de Fouw, and that also I thought, well, this is great. But when I found Morin, I felt the same way another professional astrologer who said he’d been practicing professionally for I think he said two decades said when he studied in Robert’s first quarter classes, the scales fell from his eyes. This is someone who knew all the what we’ll come to refer to soon I believe as universal significations. All the natural or essential meanings of the planets, like the Sun means kings, powerful persons, the heart, and so on. But – and knew the meanings of the aspects, and he may have used the essential dignities and also the effect of aspects on planets that receive aspects, but I felt exactly the same way. The scales fell from my eyes.

I was so happy to hear Robert explain Morin, and then immediately started studying Astrosynthesis, which is a book published in 1974, like Richard Baldwin’s translation of book 21, which is a paraphrase of Henri Selva’s 1897 abridged French version of book 21. And Astrosynthesis presents itself as partial and as a paraphrase; you can see by looking at a few pages that that’s what it is. Richard Baldwin’s version many people have believed, as I did, that Richard Baldwin’s version was an actual and complete translation, and that’s not true. And we can get into that. So I —

CB: Yeah, so —

PS: Yeah.

CB: So yeah, so this was a major revelation for you when you discovered Morin’s work through the work of Robert Corre and —

PS: Yes.

CB: — were tied into that sort of lineage of astrologers who were really focused on Morin’s method, starting with Zoltan Mason and then Robert Corre. And then you were sort of initiated into that lineage in the 2000s. So one of the things, then, and that leads us to the book you translated today, which is that even though book 21 of Morin was translated already in 1974 and published through the American Federation of Astrologers in the Baldwin translation, it wasn’t a very good translation, and so you eventually decided to learn Latin specifically for the purpose of translating Morin’s work, right?

PS: I did. I was writing a book on house combinations, which is a beautiful technique that follows directly from Morin’s theory of signification and the method of determination he explains. And I started – there are two chapters in the second section of book 21 in chapters four and five that focus on house combinations. And there were passages there that I would look at and look at again over a space of several years and just think, “Oh, I guess I don’t quite understand what Morin is saying.” And there was something in chapter 11 of section two that I can go into it if you’re interested, but it’s not that important. It just made me go, “Oh no, this is wrong. This can’t be what Morin said.” And I could no longer think I must misunderstand Morin. So I started looking at the Latin, and I just said, “No.” And I found that I was retranslating many passages from Baldwin that I intended to quote or otherwise rely on. And all my footnotes, I had like, 20, 30 fotonotes that said, “This is an altered translation of the version found on Baldwin’s page such-and-such.”

So I finally, I started to feel frustrated, and I thought, “No. Morin deserves better. Morin’s work deserves better, really.” And I said, “I’m going to translate it. I’m gonna immerse myself in Latin. I do know Spanish quite well, and I’ve always been interested in etymology.” When you have those two things – a romance language and an interest in etymology – you can find that Latin is not so very difficult. You have to learn declensions and conjugations and the different, yeah, well, the declension. The different endings of nouns and adjectives. But it actually is not as difficult as some people probably think it is. So with more than a year of really doing pretty much nothing but eating, sleeping, learning Latin and translating book 21, I came up with something I feel is, it does Morin justice. I know it’s not perfect, which few translations are, but I really feel that it’s a good translation that does justice.

I wanna say another word about the Richard S. Baldwin translation. You know, I appreciated it. I’m glad we had it for those 50 years, because I certainly relied on it and learned a lot from it, especially with Robert Corre’s teachings. But what I found was that it is mostly, as you mentioned, paraphrases. And the paraphrases are often quite weak, and it’s hard to understand Morin. I think part of the reason people think that Morin is difficult to understand is partly from book 21, the Baldwin version, being unclear. He misuses technical terms and says in weak and often kind of confusing paraphrases things that Morin says in succinct, clear, exact, and for me beautiful ways, because I love reason, and I love the clear statement of reasonable things, and I love well and tightly constructed arguments that gives me a lot of pleasure and understanding. I was a lawyer and a philosophy major as an undergraduate, and reason matters quite a lot in both of those and you have to appreciate reason and observation, especially in law but also in philosophy.

CB: Yeah. And so Morin outlines this very high level, complex method and set of arguments and methodology for interpreting birth charts, and maybe this is a good transition point where I wanted to mention that we actually have his birth chart, and then we could transition into talking about what is unique in his work and what it presents from a technical standpoint.

PS: Good. And I just wanna say something about the longitude prize. It’s kind of an interesting biographical note. Cardinal Richelieu, was the most powerful person in the French court of Louis the 13th, set up a commission. France offered a longitude prize for the person, like a number of countries as I mentioned, that would solve the problem of determining longitude at sea. And Morin made his proposal in 1634, I think, when he first made it and 1635 when Richelieu’s commission, composed of very well known and competent scientists and mathematicians I believe and probably astronomers, they rejected Morin’s method, and they weren’t wrong to do that, because as a practical matter, it required measurements at sea that the pitching of a ship made impossible. So Morin didn’t solve it.

Just as an interesting note, a humble clockmaker in rural England solved it with a clock, and Morin was very much against the idea of using a clock from a kind of I’ll say imperious, you know, like, “ugh, that’s not good enough for this kind of sublime calculation,” sort of like that. And the scientists in London, the London – it has a name, but it’s the scientific society that was established by then – did not want to give the prize to this humble clockmaker. He was not one of them. But he got it; I think his name was Hamilton.

CB: Okay. Nice. Yeah, so there was some validation also eventually of Morin’s method for that later on, it seems like. All right. So I’d like to redirect to Morin. One of the things I was surprised about in reading your translation is that Morin actually refers to and uses his own birth chart a number of times at different points in the work. And sometimes when he’s making technical arguments, he will sort of demonstrate those arguments by referring to the charts and the birth chart placements of different examples that he’s used and especially different famous nativities, but also occasionally he’ll also talk about his own birth chart placements and how that’s worked out in his own life, which I thought was really interesting. And at one point, what book is it that he gives his birth chart?

PS: Book 17, section two, chapter two. And I reproduced it in the translation, I reproduced all the charts he mentions, some of which are estimations because neither in book 21 nor in the other book does he give birth data for some of the people. But I’ve reproduced the chart with the Ascendant and the other house cusps; he uses Regiomontanus houses, called the rational system in the 17th century.

CB: So —

PS: But I match always the Ascendant, the most important point in the chart.

CB: Right. So here’s the, for those watching the video version, an image of the birth chart he gives for himself in Astrologia Gallica in – what chapter did you say it was again?

PS: Book 17, section two, chapter two.

CB: Got it. Okay. So there’s his chart. And then I’m also gonna show the recalculated chart in modern software. So first just as a precursor, here it is from a whole sign perspective, and then I’m gonna show it now in the Regiomontanus perspective, which was what he used. So this is his birth chart. So for those listening to the audio version, we’re looking at a chart that has Aries rising, and the ruler of the Ascendant is Mars, which is in Cancer towards the end of the 3rd quadrant house in Regiomontanus, but it’s conjunct and getting close to the cusp of the 4th house, to the degree of the IC. We see a large stellium of planets in Pisces that includes Venus, the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon from a traditional standpoint that are all in the 12th house. His Mercury was in Aquarius in the 11th whole sign house, but it’s in the 12th house by quadrant using Regiomontanus cusps.

PS: Actually, Chris, it’s in the 11th and the —

CB: Okay.

PS: — Ascendant should be 27°17’ rather than I think you might have had 20 for the Ascendant.

CB: Okay.

PS: That Mercury is in the Regiomontanus as well as whole sign 11th, making a beautiful partile sextile to the Ascendant, which is a very important placement in the chart. Very important aspect.

CB: Okay. I was just going off of the time that James Holden gave, which is 8:33 AM, but maybe I don’t have the location correct or something like that. What time do you use for the chart?

PS: Let me see if I can pull that up. As I say, what I did was reproduce the degree and minute that Morin used —

CB: That’s in the chart.

PS: — for the Ascendant —

CB: Got it. Okay.

PS: I have —

CB: I’ll do that.

PS: — February 23rd, 1583 in the new system at 8:47:34 local mean time, 8:37:34 local mean time. That gives you 27°17’ and that beautiful partile sextile from Mercury.

CB: Perfect. Okay. So let me recalculate and show both of those again then. So the birth data is February 23rd, 1583, 8:47 AM, Villefranche, France, 27 Aries rising, and then let’s show the Regio version. There it is. So 27 Aries rising. Okay. So all the Pisces stuff is either in the 12th house or is very close to the cusp of the 12th house and therefore interpreted there, but Mercury would be in the 11th house by quadrant as well as by sign, for that matter.

PS: Yes. Yes, that’s right.

CB: Got it. Okay. Cool. So that is his —

PS: Making that beautiful partile sextile. And if we add the modern planets, you know, Uranus with Mercury, as I think most astrologers realize, can make real brilliant flashes of insight. I once heard an astrologer Georgia Stathis many years ago, 25 years ago or more, refer to Uranus as the antennae to the gods. And I know what she means, that it’s like that flash of a kind of genius, just breakthrough, got it. And that Morin has that quality. But he —

CB: Yeah.

PS: — of course would just attribute that to the partile sextile of Mercury to the Ascendent.

CB: Yeah, well, certainly like, a mechanical or a scientific or technical capacity and the ability to excel in that area, yeah, I think makes a lot of sense. So let’s see. One of the things that’s sometimes talked about like, personality-wise, is he could be a little rough around the edges and he can be very vehement in terms of in his technical approach. Part of what he’s doing in the Astrologia Gallica is he’s analyzing parts of the tradition, and some parts of it he’s keeping and he’s refining and he’s systematizing. But he was also, like many astrologers during that time period as well as other time periods, he viewed himself as somewhat of a reformer. So part of what he was doing sometimes was critically analyzing different parts of the tradition and sometimes outright rejecting certain parts of the tradition or certain techniques that other astrologers used or advocated, and he could be somewhat forceful in doing that, I think, right?

PS: Yes. Absolutely. He wrote something called Astrology – well, I call it Astrology Restored. It’s Letters to Northern and Southern Astrologers for the Restoration of Astrology. In his view, the real astrology came down from Adam and Noah, meaning very ancient and divine origin. It’s like in Jyotish they attribute the origins to semi-mythical or semi-divine personages. And he believed that there was an original astrology that was divinely given that had become corrupted by the time it came to the Greeks, but he particularly says the Arabs because you probably realize, Chris, from what you’ve looked at that Morin attributes to the Arabs things that were actually Hellenistic, and rejects a number of them. But —

CB: Right.

PS: — he —

CB: Because there was a discrepancy between the like, more barebones systems they could see from Ptolemy who was usually the earliest Greek astrologer that the renaissance astrologers like Morin had access to versus they could see a lot of differences in the approaches that the astrologers of the Islamic and Arabic speaking era during the medieval era were using where that approach was more based on early astrologers like Dorotheus and Valens, who —

PS: Exactly.

CB: — did not, who had a much broader system than what you see in Ptolemy. And so some of the renaissance astrologers when they looked at that, they assumed that the astrology had been changed during the medieval period, but it was actually partially a mistaken perception.

PS: Exactly. And in my translation, I have quite a few notes in the translation, and for that very point, I cite your Hellenistic astrology because I think it’s important to realize that Morin didn’t know the history. But, you know, I’ve heard astrologers say – and I like the saying – “the old ways are the good ways,” and Morin really sought what he considered to be the oldest ways. He might be right. You know, there are people – is it Graham? Hamilton? – who looks at back before the history that most academic archaeologists are willing to acknowledge and says, “Look at these high and sophisticated civilizations.” Other people do that as well. And perhaps Morin is right. Perhaps there was an original astrology given that the Hellenistic astrologers did a beautiful job getting parts of it, but from Morin’s point of view missed some crucial things, which is basically about determination, which we’ll talk about.

CB: Yeah. I mean, I don’t know about that in terms of his historiography and some of the different things that went into that, and that’s, you know, an area that we can get into if you want to. I’m not sure, you know, Holden for example characterizes Morin as being kind of boastful and quarrelsome, and I thought that was kind of interesting because it’s like, Moran’s chart – he has Aries rising and Mars ruling the Ascendant in Cancer in the 4th house in a day chart. And you know, sometimes can come off that way in some of the writings and some of the rejection. But it’s interesting seeing the way that he does rationalize sometimes his approach and his attempts to reform things. So in terms of his technical approach for example, he retained triplicity rulers from the earlier tradition, but he thought the assignments were wrong so he changed them or he came up with a new set of triplicity rulers, right?

PS: He did. And it’s interesting what he came up with – a planet that rules in an element in a triplicity is a triplicity ruler of that element plus the opposite element. And he has a theory that he sets out in section one of book 13. In section one of the specifically astrological books is the section in which Morin looks at theoretical matters. And in the second section, he may include some theoretical matters, but they’re more practical generally and are more about doctrine and technique. But the first section is – I love the theory. He did too, with Mercury in Aquarius, which I also have. But mine isn’t sextile the Ascendant or conjunct Uranus. But he… I lost my train.

CB: Sure. Triplicity rulers and just what’s his —

PS: Oh, the first section! Oh yes, triplicity rulers. So he says that there is a manifest triplicity ruler. So for Mars, that would be the fiery signs. And Mars is also a latent triplicity ruler as all the five traditional planets are – not the Sun and the Moon. And in book 13 section one, he sets out his reasoning for that. I think he also discusses it in book 18, if I recall correctly. But it’s interesting to me after studying Jyotish that in one system of planetary friends, the triplicity rulers Morin gives track this one system of friends, neutrals, and enemies in Jyotish, which is interesting. And there are a number of ways that Morin comes up with doctrines that continue to be used in Jyotish and have been used over the century.

CB: Sure. So and in other areas, he did some revision of some basic concepts, like for example with the houses, he argued that the 4th house rules both of the parents rather than trying to distinguish between one being assigned to the 4th and one to the 10th house. He also associates the 12th house with sickness rather than the 6th house, although he does say that when a planet’s in a house, it influences the opposite house through the opposition, so as a result of that, there’s often crossover between opposing houses.

PS: Yes, that’s right. He doesn’t attribute that to the ruler of the opposite house – just to planets in the house. So the 6th ruler for Morin would not be illness. I tend to depart from him on not giving illness to the 6th. I give more serious illness to the 12th. It is 12th from the Ascendant, one of the meanings of which is health, so it’s the undermining or the enemy of health is illness. But I tend to follow astrologers who place less serious illness in the 6th and of course in the 8th, because death and those things that threaten death are found in the 8th and serious illness threatens death.

CB: Sure.

PS: But he also – so he says that Ptolemy and those who follow Ptolemy got that wrong about the 6th, and he disagrees with putting children in the 11th and puts them solely in the 5th, unless a planet in the 11th – if there’s a planet in the 11th, by opposite house location it will have the meaning of the 5th. We’ll go into the four elements, the four facets of the planets’ influence on the houses and the house’s determination of the planets because that was a big revelation for me when I started studying Morin with Robert Corre.

CB: Sure. And here really quickly is his diagram where he gives the significations of the houses at one point in Astrologia Gallica, just using a traditional square chart.

PS: Yes.

CB: So that’s cool.

PS: That’s book 17, isn’t it? You probably pulled that from book 17 on the houses.

CB: I think so, yeah.

PS: Yes.

CB: So in terms of other techniques, he really emphasizes primary directions and solar returns.

PS: Very much.

CB: But he also uses lunar returns and then to a lesser extent transits at the end of that hierarchy.

PS: Yes. It’s a progression. Book 22 is on directions, and book 23 on revolutions, solar and lunar, and he directs the revolution charts and he uses the quarter revolution charts. And then transits specify the date. So the natal chart is potential, and the timing techniques starting with directions start to actualize the potential of the natal and then the revolution – so you have a hit on directions and Morin doesn’t say, “Oh, it’s that date.” He says, “It’s that period” that that direction is operative. And then specifies the year through solar revolutions, the month through lunar revolutions, and the day and time of day through transits. And also as I mentioned, he does direct the revolution charts and use the quarter charts for the revolution.

CB: Nice. Okay. Well, I think I wanna take a little break since we’ve been talking for an hour, and then come back and get into the technical details of Morin’s system and what he deals with in book 21.

PS: Great. My dogs will thank you; they get to go outside.

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PS: One thing that does come to mind is after Richelieu’s commission denied Morin the longitude prize, he began to hate Richelieu. And as you say, you know, he hated him. It wasn’t just like, “Oh, I disagree with him.” He hated Richelieu. And he was denied the prize and the prestige of the prize of discovering something that was a question throughout Europe. And after Richelieu’s death, Morin took up the issue of the denial of the longitude prize, and Mazarin, Richelieu’s successor, granted Morin a prize. He granted him I think it was 2,000 I guess it would be francs annually, which was less than they – and maybe a lump sum as a prize, but that was a great help to Morin, who came apparently from a middle class family. Seems that they had setbacks, and Morin certainly did because he tells the story of his mother’s partial disinheritance of him related to a story about his older brother. When both his parents were sick, the older brother asked Morin, “Who would you rather survive and who would you rather die?” And Morin said, “Well, you know, if I had to choose, I’d rather my father live.” And apparently the older brother told the mother that, and she reacted, so.

CB: Oh wow. Okay.

PS: Yeah.

CB: Yeah. I know in another part of the book, he alludes to having great issues with his mother, and that’s interesting in light of just that Mars placement in the 4th house ruling the Ascendant.

PS: Yes, it is. Although he does say other things about that that are more positive than I would say. Oh, this was the other thing I wanted to mention. In the way I learned with Robert Corre, who I believe learned this from Zoltan Mason, the ancestors are in the 4th, and both parents are in the 4th where Morin puts them. Morin distinguishes in his own chart, he talks about his mother being his hidden enemy early in book 21 in section one, and his father not, and he gives an analysis of that which I can say if you’re interested. But as I learned, the same gender parent is in the 4th, and the opposite gender parent is in the 10th, unless it comes under an exception to that rule, which has to do primarily with the universal significations of the Moon and the Sun.

So if the Moon – let’s say it’s a man’s chart, and the Moon influences the 4th in powerful ways, you’re gonna ask, “Oh, is the mother in 4th and the father in the 10th?” And I had one chart with a client that didn’t fall under any of the rules, but it was clear that this woman’s mother was in the 10th. And as it turned out, the father didn’t have much success. He was – in the world, he was more of a home father, home husband, and the mother was a powerful person in the world. But I do think, and it’s an interesting thing to look at, the opposite gender parent in the 10th, the same gender in the 4th, I have found to be most of the time right on.

CB: Is that something you got from a specific tradition, or where did you first…

PS: From Robert Corre, who got that from Zoltan Mason, and I can’t —

CB: Okay.

PS: — trace it back farther. Zoltan Mason was very perspicacious. Zoltan Mason was an alchemist and a great chess player. I don’t know that he was a grand master, but he was certainly a master. I played chess, but nothing at that level. And that takes a great power of looking ahead and considering possibilities, so it does give a sense of the kind of intelligence Mason had. But —

CB: Yeah, a lot of the older —

PS: — there are a number of things —

CB: A lot of the older astrologers I’ve talked to like Robert Hand, they all talk about the bookstore that Zoltan Mason had in New York City and how amazing it was in the 1970s.

PS: Yes, it was. He taught classes, Morin, on a weekday evening, I think, and then he talked about the esoteric traditions on Saturday. I’m gonna see if I can hound Robert Corre into teaching the alchemy of the planets, which does cut the planets loose from the houses in a certain way. Not totally, but in a certain way which sounds very interesting and I’d love to hear Robert talk about that. But also, Robert Zoller practiced, studied with Zoltan Mason —

CB: Right.

PS: — and —

CB: That makes sense, because Zoller was from New York, so that would make sense.

PS: Yes. And Robert writes about that a bit. Robert Zoller writes about that. And Ben Dykes was influenced by his teacher, Robert Zoller, and does refer to Morin in his books in an interesting way.

CB: Yeah. One of the things – so we’re back from break, so we’re just in it right now, but one of the things you and I talked about before in preparing for this was I thought it was interesting how here with Morin, we can see the re-establishing of a lineage and that we have like, that it goes back from you and then it goes back to your teacher Robert Corre and then it goes back to his teacher Zoltan Mason, and then Zoltan Mason and whoever he was drawing on, but one of them being Morin and the works of Morin.

But in the process over the past century, we’ve had the re-establishing of lineages and of traditions and especially oral traditions between teachers and students that passes through generations, and I think that’s really interesting and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this episode with you, because the Morin lineage is a specific one that has come about in recent times and that the proponents of it or proponents of his approach and his technical methods, but that that was something that we had lost when astrology fell out of favor in the 17th century for a couple of centuries is we lost some of those lineages where they were broken, basically.

PS: As you mentioned, astrology became thrown out of the academy. Was the French man’s name Colbert? I think it might have been —

CB: Yeah.

PS: — Colbert who later in the 17th century established… Again, I don’t know the name of this, the scientific society in France. And there were laws, and he spearheaded laws against astrology. So.

CB: Yeah, that’s —

PS: Morin was pretty much a contemporary also of Galileo, who had his own problems with the Inquisition. Not just about the earth moving and the Sun at the center, but also earlier in his life the Inquisition took up a case in which Galileo was accused of predicting with certainty the future. It was okay to say, “well, it might be like this,” but he was, the Inquisition was trying to investigate whether he predicted with certainty. So.

CB: Got it.

PS: Just a little note.

CB: Yeah. So all right, so let’s talk about some technical things when it comes to Morin and what people will find in book 21 and why it’s important, because I’ve heard many astrologers say that book 21 is actually the most important book out of all of the entire Astrologia Gallica, and I’d like to understand better why that is. And one of the starting points that it seems like is central to his work is he rejects the idea of general significators, and instead he really wants to focus on particular significators in a chart that are centralized or are located based on what house a planet’s placed in, what houses it rules, and other factors like that that are highly specific to each chart instead of taking general significators where you always say that like, Venus rules relationships or Mars rules war or what have you, which is sort of more of a Ptolemaic approach. And he seems to spend a lot of time in your translation of book 21 explaining his rationale for rejecting general significators, right?

PS: He does. He starts – this is absolutely foundational to Morin’s work. And you’re right; book 21 is the most important book. I have the view, and I think if I understood Robert Corre correctly, he said if you have one astrology book that really tells you what you need to know, that’s enough. You could learn it all from that. I think book 21 is that book. And you know, not that I’m against studying other things by any means and learning other doctrines and techniques, but it is, you come up with a very powerful, concise and beautiful method for analysis of the chart, delineation of particular houses, particular planets, and signs and fixed stars. But it shows you using the method Morin lays out, you can synthesize the chart.

And I wanna say more about that, but just as an introductory thing, Robert has talked over quite a few classes over the years I studied with him. He would say Zoltan Mason said anyone can analyze a chart. The question is can you synthesize? And I didn’t really know what he meant. You know, you may know this experience, which I think many people know. You hear the same words, and they fall a little bit lk, plunk. But then you hear them later or you continue to think about them, and you go, “That’s what he meant by synthesis.” And I do wanna talk about it more later, because I think it’s very important and a great gift of the method Morin lays out.

CB: Right. Yeah. Let’s expand on this point more, because I think it’s one of the most interesting things conceptually, and it’s so central to Morin’s work where —

PS: Yes.

CB: — he says basically just, he repeatedly makes this argument that there’s no planet that can just generally all the time signify something that you can look at in isolation. Like, Venus signifying relationships for example, or even he says the Sun representing the father or the Moon representing the mother. But instead, you have to focus on what houses the planets are placed in, and what houses the planets rule in a given chart, because that’s where the actual particular significations come through as they’re assigned to the native. So he says instead of focusing on the Sun or the Moon for the parents, that you should focus on the 4th house and the ruler of the 4th house for parents, or for relationships instead of focusing on Venus, you should focus on the 7th house and the ruler of the 7th house. And that’s something that he argues very strongly.

PS: Vey much so. He starts out right in the preface of book 21 rejecting general significators, or what he says Cardanus calls “significators by substance,” I think that’s the preposition – “by substance,” or universal significators in favor of particular significators, which many astrologers know as accidental significators. Universal significators are based on two things – the nature of the planet, the essential nature, and its analogies. Very important concept to Morin, analogy, which I hope we have time to get to. And also on what he calls celestial state, which is I don’t think other astrologers use that term. But it’s very simply the placement of the planet – let’s take a planet, but – a celestial body, but let’s take a planet – in the sky, and that would be the sign it’s in, where the ruler of that sign is placed by sign, aspects, especially form the ruler of the sign where the planet is, which is the planet’s dispositor – very important concept in Morin, and other astrologers, as you know I’m sure, in Hellenistic astrology talk about the sign a planet is in and the ruler of that sign. And celestial state will also be the aspects the planet receives, especially from its dispositor, and its own position and motion in the sky. So is it retrograde or direct? Is it under the beams? Is it east of the Sun or west of the Moon? And so on.

CB: Right, so —

PS: So it’s actually a very clear concept that even the term itself, celestial state, or some people have translated that as “zodiacal state.” I think it’s a little broader than zodiacal; it’s the placement and motion of the planet in the sky in relationship to other planets, signs, fixed stars, and in its own motion and position. Is that —

CB: Right.

PS: — clear? Is that —

CB: Yeah.

PS: — clear what that means?

CB: Well, it brings up a broader point, which is one of the things I’ve noticed is that Morin uses a lot of highly specialized terminology and categories which he uses to label different parts of his system and his approach. And sometimes I know for myself that the use of so much of this new terminology that’s sort of unique to him can be a little bit of a barrier to entry and to reading his text. It can be a little bit challenging, because you really need to understand what those terms refer to that he’s using because he uses them over and over again so many times in his approach, and then they become sort of common terms amongst people who are students of Morin as well. So this is a good one. And you said, so celestial state refers to zodiacal condition but also some other related conditions.

PS: The position of the dispositor of the planet. So Morin has a fallen Mars ruling his Ascendant. Well, you really take notice of that. As you mentioned, Morin does sect differently. We probably won’t go into it, because it’s kind of a detail. But he does sect differently in certain ways than we’re used to.

But the ruler of the sign is – I mean, this planet is in Cancer, where he is fallen, and then you immediately, for any planet not in its own domicile, you immediately go to the dispositor because the planet begins in action, and the dispositor takes it over. I remember Robert teaching this principle – you can do it in any chart; it’s very interesting. But I think Robert used a jazz musician. I think it might have been Coleman Hawkins, talking about the – oh, and I think he also used the very famous opera singer whose name I’m not thinking of but everybody know – Pavarotti, I think – about the Ascendant ruler being in dishonor by sign. But the planet begins the action, and the dispositor takes it over, so it starts out bad, but it gets better. Or if the ruler’s in good condition and the dispositor is in poor celestial state, then things can start out better and get worse, which is a very interesting doctrine. And —

CB: Yeah.

PS: — effective. Do you see it that way? Have you seen that in the work you do? With the —

CB: Yeah, I mean —

PS: — dispositor and the planet?

CB: That’s one of the things that’s striking to me is that in some ways, in many ways, Morin’s system is very reminiscent to me of many principles that are used in Hellenistic astrology that were used almost 2,000 years earlier in authors like Dorotheus and Valens so that there’s something very familiar with it where it seems like he was tied into a core of the tradition so that some of his ideas don’t seem super avant-garde or like, new to me, but it’s interesting because I understand that part of the ways in which some of his approach was new or different was because there was this tension in terms of in the tradition at the time between like, the Ptolemic inheritance where Ptolemy had more of a stripped-down system that was more focused on general significators and was less focused on houses and house rulers, and that the renaissance astrologers were often, some of them were wanting to follow and emulate Ptolemy as the odlest approach that they thought they had access to, whereas there was others that were still tied in very much with, for example, especially in the context of horary astrology where the houses and house rulers are very important, that approach which was a genuine part of the tradition for centuries. So some of these things in Morin are not new, but the way that he articulates them is kind of interesting, and that way that he tries to create a hierarchy of how to approach things.

PS: Yes. I agree. And what was I gonna say? Oh, Morin himself said – so, in the preface, he goes right into the problem with general significators, which are universal significators. They’re universal by nature and by celestial state – in other words, the placement in the sky. All the factors of a planet’s placement in the sky, because it falls over the whole earth. If Mars is in Cancer when Morin is born, it’s in Cancer everywhere, and the differences we get are the house into which it falls and other things like the person who receives it. The person or thing or animal that receives the influence, which is a very important consideration for determination. And also what the Ascendant and the Midheaven are, especially, and the Sun and the Moon. I do wanna go into —

CB: Right.

PS: — a statement, a succinct statement of Morin’s theory of astrological signification and the method —

CB: Sure.

PS: — of determination and explain those, because I think once you know those, these terms like celestial state and he also uses the term “terrestrial state” for the planet’s placement among the houses, including location, rulership, aspect or antiscion, and opposite house location as you’ve mentioned. And also he calls that “local determinations.”

CB: Okay. Yeah, let’s do that. So that was a really good point, though, in terms of making that distinction for people. Just everybody born on a specific day everywhere in the world will have Venus in a certain sign, and that’s what he calls a universal significator. But because that applies to everyone universally that day, he thinks it’s too broad, and the way to make it more specific is through what he calls particular significators, and those are things like the rulers of the houses or planets placed into houses, which is much more tied in with the specific location you are on earth and the specific moment in time which makes it a little bit more rare and not as applicable to everybody that was born the same day.

PS: Absolutely. The most individuating point in the chart is the Ascendant; it moves most rapidly. And it’s also aspect and antiscion, which Morin doesn’t use as much because it’s not as immediately evident. But for people who don’t know, antiscion is the – two planets are in antiscion, one is the antiscion of the other if they’re equidistant from one of the solstice points. Because in those days, planets in antiscion, which means something shadow – oh, the opposite shadow – they have the same number of hours of daylight. They have the same relationship to the solstice, daylight and night. So and then opposite house location – those are the four elements of terrestrial state, the planet’s placement among the houses. I’m gonna repeat it – location in the house, rulership in the house, which includes the dispositor of a ruler, aspect or antiscion to the house cusp, to a planet in the house or to a house ruler, and location in the opposite house. Those determine the planet’s local determinations or terrestrial state. That to me – and I know you use those elements – that to me was such a revelation. I could, from that, begin to understand charts because I was already using celestial state, but I was too focused, as many astrologers I think have been, on just the celestial state. The sign and the aspects that the planet receives.

CB: Right. So the four – so this is terrestrial state, and it’s one, location by sign, two, rulership —

PS: By house. Location in a house, because it’s —

CB: Okay, yeah.

PS: — terrestrial, so in a sign is part of celestial.

CB: Celestial, okay.

PS: But terrestrial – on the earth.

CB: Got it. Okay. So point one is location by house, point two is rulership by house, especially what house the planet rules. So like, to use an example where like, his Mars is located in the 4th for point one. For point two, his Mars is ruling in Regio the 1st house and the sort of and the 8th house. Or sorry, it’s in the 7th house by Regio. And then the third point is aspect, so what planets it’s configured to. And then the fourth point is the opposite house location. Could you expand on that fourth point and what that’s about?

PS: It is just being in that opposite house. It’s not actually an aspect; it doesn’t need to aspect anything in the opposite house. Just sitting in the opposite house. He says that every house has its essential meanings, which are the ones that we mostly know, and it has its accidental meanings – the essential meanings of the opposite house. So the 2nd house, its essential meanings are wealth; that’s its primary essential meaning. It has other essential meanings, but that’s the primary one. And the opposite house, the 8th, its primary meaning is death. But a planet in the 8th also accidentally signifies about the native’s wealth as a planet in the 2nd signifies about the native’s death.

CB: So this is true if a planet is placed in a house that it participates or it picks up some of the significations of the opposite house regardless of if there’s a planet in the opposite house?

PS: Yes. He calls it the “accidental significations.” That’s one way he uses the term accidental significations. And, you know, it does make sense, doesn’t it? Because the house axis is so important. We live in this dual world, and everything has its opposite. Like, one-seven is kind of the beginning of what it means to be a human being; there’s me here, and I relate to others, especially the partner or the spouse. Does that make sense? The importance —

CB: Right, that —

PS: — of that opposite. Opposition is a fascinating aspect.

CB: Yeah, that you can’t really, that the two are intertwined. That two houses represent a polarity, and then when you activate one, it necessarily implies the other so that, for example, as you were saying, for the 1st house to signify self, it has to then automatically contrast with the 7th house, which is other.

PS: Yes. It has – a planet in the 1st has a meaning as its accidental signification the meaning of the 7th. So isn’t that kind of beautiful when you think about the kind of spiritual awareness or soul-level awareness that the others we encounter say something about us? The others we encounter and engage with say something about us, and that doctrine brings that out. And it applies to all the houses, but you know, one-seven and four-ten are the two most important oppositions, because they are of the angular houses. Robert likes to say sometimes how many houses are in a chart? Four. The angular houses and the intermediate houses support and connect – that’s not the word I want, but support and connect the angular houses. They – what’s the word? It’ll probably come to me. Or he’ll say there are 144, because from every house, there are 12 derived houses.

CB: Got it. That makes sense.

PS: Which is another beautiful technique, derivations. And even Bonatti – at the end of his definitions of what the houses mean, he includes a lot of derived meanings in his statement about what the houses mean, which is interesting.

CB: Yeah. Some of this talk about the opposition and the opposing house cooperating, it’s actually making me think of a statement that Valens makes back in the 2nd century in book Four of the Anthology at one point when he introduces the significations of the 12 houses within the context of profections. In book Four, chapter 12, he has this little brief chapter where he introduces the name of each house, and then its basic significations. Like, 1st house is the Ascendant, signifies the life. It’s the steering ore, the body, and the breath. And then at the very end after he goes through all 12 houses, he has this little statement that I’ve always thought about where he says, “Each place in the way specified, and the nature of the place in opposition also acts cooperatively.” So I think that’s, you know, very similar or the same idea that Morin is talking about here that’s like, echoing in this earlier text.

PS: It could be cooperatively, but there is what I consider one of the very beautiful doctrines, which is that the east is your territory. The west is the other territories. East and west is spatial. Fourth and tenth under the horizon and above the horizon – the 4th is the past, the 10th is the future and your destiny. And is a fundamental thing we human beings are faced with in a world of duality. There’s self and others, and it’s an opposition. The aspect of war and the aspect with the analogy to Saturn, which I believe that’s part of Hellenistic astrology, I believe, also from the Thema Mundi that the opposition has an analogy with Saturn. So that’s the most difficult and the most essential aspect. Self, other. Past, future. Family, home, and where we’re headed in our destiny.

But there’s this beautiful doctrine that’s based on Morin’s Cabala of the Houses that we may or may not have time to get to; I’d love to, but. You enter the territory of the other not by going right across to the 7th, which is kind of an act of war. If one, seven, here I come – you got no choice. It’s Saturn; here I come. Or you go into the territory of the other on the trine to the 5th or the 9th, and that’s – the 5th, the trine as Morin explains it very beautifully in his cosmology in book 14 about the cosmology of the signs, the cosmogony, the creation of the signs as a 12-part division of the Primum Caelum, which we can go into. The trine is the aspect of identification and friendship and divine love. So you enter the other’s territory on the trine to the 9th or the trine to the 5th, which is also the house of giving love to others, and we know the house of the 9th is god and understanding. And then you communicate, because how do you get from the 5th to the 7th? You communicate. Or from the 9th to the 7th. To me, that’s a very beautiful teaching. Does that make sense?

CB: When you say you communicate, you communicate because it’s a sextile which you’re associating with —

PS: Because it’s a sextile.

CB: — the third. From the 5th to the 7th is a sextile which you’re associating with the 3rd house of communication.

PS: Yes. And also it’s in the Thema Mundi, it is the aspect of Venus, so you’re coming in on the two benefics. And if you leave out the communication, it’s not gonna work. Or if you try to just go straight across into the other’s territory without entering with identification with the other and the giving of love to others that is one of the meanings Robert Corre teaches for the 5th. And it’s our children, so certainly we give love to our children like to no one else. And he calls it the aspect of divine love, identification. Does that make sense?

CB: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Especially just, you know, with the opposition with the 7th house when part of the basis of that is like, when one planet is rising in the eastern horizon at the Ascendant, another planet is falling or is setting in the 7th house in the western horizon. So with the opposition, there’s always this sort of like, zero-sum game of like, in order for one person to rise, the other person has to fall, so there’s this inherent tension there in the 1st house/7th house relationship. And so by bringing in these other houses and aspects, you’re finding an easier way to reconcile two opposing parties.

PS: I agree, and it is the aspect of war and the house of war. And this trine and sextile to me is such a beautiful teaching. And I really think it’s a very wise teaching that we all can benefit from.

CB: So you mentioned The Cabala of the Houses. Could you talk about that a little bit?

PS: Yes. Because the houses are so important. I do wanna state the – let me state first the theory of astrological signification and the basic statement of the method of determination. May I do that first? And then I think that’ll help situate The Cabala of the Houses.

CB: Sure.

PS: So the theory of astrological signification, and I started to say Morin starts right off in the preface to section one – not to section one, the preface to book 21 – with the distinction between universal significators and particular significators. In chapter three of book 21, section one, he goes into that in more detail. He goes into what you could call the abuse of the universal significators, and just as you said, so he does focus on Ptolemy. And Ptolemy says that in a day chart, the Sun signifies the father and in a night chart, Saturn, and also says that in a day chart, the Moon signifies the mother and in a night chart, Venus. And also he talks about Jupiter as the universal significator of wealth and Mercury as the universal significator you could say intelligence. I decided to translate that as inborn talent, because ingenio means “in” – inborn – and “genio” is from like, the same word as “generation.” Rather than call it intelligence because I think Mercury is many skills, with people can do things with great skill, so that’s how I translated it. But you could question that decision.

But unless Jupiter, he says very explicitly in a later chapter of book 21, unless Jupiter is connected to a house of wealth, he does not signify wealth. The same as the Sun. And he has in book 22 on directions, yeah, he says it makes no sense to treat the Sun in poorly situated by sign, I think he says that, but I know he says receiving bad aspects from malefics, receiving bad aspects, it makes no sense to treat that in directions, to direct that Sun for the person’s power and honor. Instead, that Sun is a significator of prison, illness, and hidden enemies. That I think brings home that point. And he specifically criticizes the direction of universal significators as leading us badly astray. I still see people doing that, and I think if people tried directing particular significators based on location in a house, rulership in a house including disposing a house ruler, aspects or antiscion, or opposite house location, they would find that their directions might become much clearer.

So in chapter three, I translated the title as something like, “A Particularly Long-Standing and,” “A Particular Inveterate and…” I’ve forgotten what I translated as, but a particularly long-standing and problematic – that’s not the word I used – doctrine, and he really goes after, in section one, chapter three, the problem with universal significators used as though they signify something particular in a chart. And his arguments I think are brilliant. But that Mercury in his chart in a partile sextile from Aquarius, where in Morin’s system that Mercury is in honor of triplicity, to the Ascendant makes him very mercurial and very reasonable and able to construct excellent arguments. And I won’t go into them; I don’t think we have time, but they’re really worth studying.

CB: Right. So one of his just underlying points is that astrology is a really complex system with a bunch of interlocking concepts, and that you really can’t interpret any one placement in a person’s chart or in any chart in the sky in mundane astrology or anything else in isolation. It always has to be interpreted within the full context of all of the unique ways that it’s situated in a given chart by sign placement, by house placement, by aspect, by rulership, by every possible consideration. So for him, he’s really looking at the complexity of everything and he’s embracing that as an integral part of understanding how astrology operates.

PS: I’d say it a little differently. For one thing, I would say you need to know the nature of a planet, and the nature is the essential nature based largely on its analogies to earthly things. So the Sun signifies the father, powerful persons, the king in our system where there’s a king, powerful and illustrious persons, the heart, gold, and so on. And that’s a way I think traditional astrologers have often talked about the natural significations of planets, as having analogies to earthly things. Because in the sky, there are no earthly things. There are analogies to earthly things. As a universal significtator, a planet has an analogy to a whole class or category of earthly things without distinction among them.

So there’s a very nice quote from Cardanus where he kind of ridicules Ptolemy and he says for a Moon that’s placed in a chart meaning the same thing, what will you say – it’s in chapter three of section one – what will you say about a man who’s made servants run away who has a poor moral character whose mother has long life and so on? I’m just kind of making up what he says. But it’s a quote from Cardanus that’s pretty famous. And Morin says, yeah. How would you know? You know – I’m gonna state the theory of astrological signification. A planet, a celestial body, but I’m gonna simplify – a planet signifies those things and only those things that it is determined to signify in a horoscopic figure. It signifies only those things that it is determined to signify in a horoscopic figure. And the method of determination follows from that theory of signification, which is placement among the houses by location, rulership, aspect, and opposition house location. Placement among the houses provide that determination that the theory of signification requires. Is that clear or should I restate it in a different way?

CB: No, I think I understand what you’re saying.

PS: You think it’s clear for the audience, that that’s enough?

CB: Could you restate it —

PS: I could give an example.

CB: — one last time? Yeah, sure.

PS: Yeah. I could also give an example. So the theory of astrological signification is a planet – any celestial body, but to simplify, a planet – signifies only those things that its placement in a horoscopic figure, in a chart, determines that it will signify. And the method of determination follows from the theory, which is a planet’s placement among the houses of a chart determine its particular significations. So for instance, the Sun in the 12th, fallen or exiled, with a square from Mars or an opposition from Saturn. That’s a very badly placed… It’s a quite badly, you could say, placed Sun. It’s gonna bring problems. And it signifies hidden enemies that are characterized by the way that the Sun is situated by sign and by aspect. And you can also look at the other houses that Sun rules, and that gets you into house combinations, which I hope we can talk about.

CB: Yeah, I’d like to transition to houses. But I think that’s – I think to rephrase that, I think that makes sense now, that he’s saying that the planetary placement, that its specific placement in the chart will narrow down the range of significations —

PS: Yes.

CB: — to a much smaller range of potential significations associated with the planet based on its particular placement in a chart. So like, you were talking about the Sun in the 12th house. Maybe one of the significations of the Sun could be, like, eminent people or prominent people or something like that. So if it’s in the 12th house, then the 12th house may constrain the significations of the Sun so that it indicates the native will have enemies who are prominent people, let’s say —

PS: Yes.

CB: — as narrowing down the range of manifestations.

PS: Exactly.

CB: Okay.

PS: Powerful hidden enemies. People – and Morin has a very nice definition of what a hidden enemy is. It’s those who appear as friends but who act against the native. That’s not a quote, but that’s the idea. You think they’re your friend, but they’re not. And Morin had a lot of that experience with his five of the seven traditional planets – everything but Mars and Mercury – in the 12th in Pisces. So he becomes invisible as who he actually is to a large extent, but we see his brilliant reasoning in that partile sextile to the Mercury, to the Ascendant from Mercury in honor of triplicity.

I just love his reasoning, which got lost to a significant extent in the Baldwin version. And one of the things I really wanted to bring out was the beautiful reasoning of Morin as he talks through things. Astrologers have often said, well, he’s not nice; he says mean things. And yeah. He states things very strongly and directly with that Aries rising, and that Mars – according to Morin – is in the 3rd and conjunct the 4th cusp by the semi-diameter of its orb of virtue. Morin doesn’t follow the five degree rule. He has a nice chapter on that in book 18, chapter 15. Very nice analysis of what Ptolemy really did with that five degree rule, which he limited to defining the places for the hyleg, the prerogative places, and did not say that those five degrees belonged to the next house. According to Morin, they don’t. There’s a bright line of the formal houses at the cusp of the Regiomontanus houses.

CB: So for his placement, so for example, he has Mars at what is this? Like, 10 – no, like eight degrees of Cancer, and it’s five degrees away from the IC, which looks like it’s at about, what, 10, 11, 12, 13 degrees of Cancer. So that is five degrees away —

PS: Yes.

CB: — so it’s – but you said that he is treating that like it’s connected with both the 3rd house and the 4th house?

PS: This is a beautiful thing about how Morin does that. He doesn’t say “In the last five degrees, it’s in the next house.” He says, “It combines the 3rd and the 4th house.” So you can see both the power of that Mars being angular because he’s conjunct the IC, and you see that it is related to the way that he speaks and thinks, and you were mentioning that. Kind of cantankerous. And it squares by sign the Ascendant, and trines these Pisces placements. So it’s really, I think, it very much adds to the understanding of Mars to see a house combination between three and four.

CB: So is another way of stating that that he doesn’t treat it as like, a binary black-or-white sign boundary thing, the five degree issue, but instead, he is treating house cusps as important sensitive points, and then when planets aspect a house cusp very strongly, especially by that conjunction, that it does draw in the significations of that house cusp?

PS: Yeah. He makes – the Regiomontanus cusps are bright lines. The house begins – it’s called a circle of position in the Regiomontanus system – begins at the first, the beginning boundary and ends at the end boundary, and you can’t say that Mars late in the 3rd is actually in the 4th, although we talk that way because it’s easy. But what it is is that Mars is within the semi-diameter of his orb – which Morin gives at six-and-a-half degrees – of the 4th cusp, so Morin combines the two houses. He does this in Gustavus – the king of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus – chart nativity in book 18, chapter 15. It’s a little… People have raised some questions about this, but it’s very interesting because – and you might be interested in knowing this and might wanna take a look at this – he talks about the planet in a preceding house conjunct the cusp of the following house by the semi-diameter of its orb.

CB: So by —

PS: He talks about —

CB: Generally, just for like, a novice, just by the orb of influence that he’s assigning to the planet.

PS: Yes.

CB: Okay.

PS: And the orb, you know, the confusing thing that can be when you’re first learning it is if Mars has a semi-diameter of six-and-a-half degrees, it’s six-and-a-half degrees on either side. So that’s why it’s called the semi-diameter, because totally, Mars has an orb of 13 degrees, but it only goes to six-and-a-half in either direction. And the same —

CB: Right.

PS: — is true of all the planets.

CB: Because orb actually means “circle,” and so you’re imagining like, a circle around the planet that represents in some ways like the influence of the planet. But the total diameter of the circle is like, a certain number of degrees – in this case, 12 total for the diameter of the circle – but then the effective range on either side is six degrees.

PS: It’s actually, he uses 13 and six-and-a-half for Mars. That’s just what he assigns. Different people assign different amounts. But yes. And actually, it’s a sphere, because we have to take into account latitude. So. But he does something very interesting. He talks about the Mars in his chart as within the semi-diameter of his orb to the 4th cusp, so he combines the 3rd and the 4th house meanings. And he talks about the Sun and Mars in the 6th and 7th – I won’t go into detail, but it’s quite interesting. It’s not only late – I’ll just say this – it’s not only late in the house that a planet influences or is determined to the following house and influences it by conjunction to the cusp. If there’s a planet there, that the planet in the preceding house doubly influences the following house and is determined to it, following in the order of the primary direction. But he also says a planet early in a house that is conjunct a planet in the preceding house has an influence on the preceding house. So he combines the house of a planet’s location with the preceding house.

CB: Okay.

PS: An interesting doctrine. And I think, I find, yes, I like to use that. But the other thing he does —

CB: Do we have an example of that in his chart, in his chart here with his 12th house cusp, just to like, illustrate what you mean?

PS: Yes.

CB: So here, so like, his 12th house cusp looks like it’s at about three degrees of Pisces. And so he has Venus at like, zero degrees of Pisces and he has his Sun at four degrees of Pisces. So does this provide us with like, a demonstration of what you were just talking about?

PS: Absolutely. Shall I go over that?

CB: Yeah. Explain how that works out here.

PS: So Venus is – he gives Venus a very wide orb. So but without going into that, Venus is conjunct the 12th cusp. She’s located in the 3rd, conjunct the 12th cusp, so she has 11th and 12th house meanings. But this Sun – and her influence on the 12th is quite strong because she’s also conjunct the Sun and Jupiter, and if you accept the very wide orb Morin gives Venus, also Saturn.

CB: Of how many degrees?

PS: I think it’s 13. He gives her more than the Moon, I think, as I recall. I haven’t looked at that in a while, because I —

CB: Okay.

PS: I’m a little hesitant to give Venus such a wide orb, but you know, I haven’t studied it deeply enough, and Morin probably did. But he would also say that the Sun and Jupiter, because they are conjunct Venus, and the Sun is even conjunct Mercury in the 11th house, those planets have – the Sun has an 11th house influence. So the Sun itself combines the 11th and the 12th. I don’t think Morin talks about that, because he does talk about – he’s got Pisces and Pisces suffers and is aware of suffering. And it means not only does he have powerful hidden enemies, he has powerful friends. And he did have powerful friends, but because the 11th ruler – and this gets into house combination – the 11th ruler is Saturn. And that Saturn goes to the 12th, and he talks about this – friends become enemies. And he found that to be true. People who had been his friend began to be his enemies, to just be exasperated with him and done with him. And they —

CB: Right.

PS: — had to do in part with his personality, but also – and the arrogance he talks about. It’s a nice passage where he says, he’s talking about the – you quoted part of that from Baldwin’s translation which – not translation. Version. Because it’s a paraphrase and I don’t think a very good one. But in this passage, Morin says, “I have a propensity to arrogance because in the 1st house is the exaltation of the Sun and of the Moon.” So I thought that was a very interesting comment, because he’s talking about the fact that planets rule – he seldom uses that word, but I’m gonna use it – he does use it at least once in book 21 – planets rule by domicile and by exaltation as well as by triplicity. So that shows an arrogance with both lights, which are about being visible and powerful and the biggies in the sky having their exaltation there. And he makes the very interesting comment that shows his arrogance.

Now, he was a member – I think I mentioned this to you – of something called the Oratorio, which was a group of renunciate Roman Catholics, and Father Charles de Condren was one of the leading figures and he does talk about that chart in book 21. And it really was looking critically at ourselves for the purpose of what I consider to be the principle or at least the primary spiritual act, which is to know ourselves and to dis-identify with the form in order to identify with the witness, and ultimately with the one self, in my view. But for most of us, it’s about whether we can dis-identify with the form enough to look critically at ourselves and do what the Greeks at the temple of Zeus said – “know yourself.” And he is actually practicing that. He’s been criticized for talking about his arrogance there, but to me, that’s admirable, because he’s willing to see that in himself. And I have noticed that it’s not easy for us humans to be willing to see ourselves, and Morin even talks about that in a very interesting way in section one, chapter seven, I’m pretty sure, where he talks about planets or celestial bodies as signs and causes, which is a very interesting discussion.

CB: Yeah. For sure. All right. Well, I’d like to take another little break, and then I’d like to come back and talk about the rulers of the houses, which is a big topic in book 21.

PS: Great. Sounds good, and we can talk about house combinations when we do that, which is such a beautiful technique.

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PS: I wanted to say – I just sent you Gustavus Adolphus’s chart. This is the chart of a king of Sweden, a very famous king of Sweden. You may have heard of him; he did a lot to give power to Sweden and bring it into – made a lot of reforms. And I’m sending it to you because I started to mention this, and you might find this interesting. He talks about, I mentioned, the Mars in his chart and the Mars and the Sun in other charts in which they are conjunct the cusp of the following or preceding house. And he also talks about the Sun in Gustavus’s chart as it is in the 1st and is within the orb of conjunction of the 2nd. Gustavus has Sagittarius rising with Capricorn on the Regiomontanus 2nd within the orb of conjunction of that cusp.

But then he goes on, Chris, and you might find this interesting, and other astrologers have said, “Oh no, that’s not what he’s doing.” But I think it may be what he’s doing. If you look at Gustavus’s chart, Saturn is 10 degrees and 25 minutes in Leo in the 8th, which is a sign that is enclosed in the Regiomontanus 8th, which means all of Leo is between the cusps and on neither cusp – neither the 8th or the 9th. And Morin says that that Saturn is determined to by 8th and the 9th, and he gives the 9th cusp four or five degrees, five degrees of Virgo as I recall. But it’s 10 degrees and 25 minutes – yeah, five degrees – from that and fully enclosed in Leo. And then he goes on to say – and the only way you can justify that is not with the semi-diameter of Saturn’s orb, not with Saturn conjunct the 9th cusp, but by counting signs from the Ascendant. And then he goes on to say, and I might have like, been able to dismiss that, but then he says, “And the Sun,” the Sun in the Sagittarius in the 1st, “rules the 8th and the 9th.” And then he delineates the Sun as determined to both the 8th and 9th, as he does also with Saturn – delineates Saturn as in the 8th and in the 9th. In other words, the only way to get there is by counting signs from the Ascendant. And —

CB: Right.

PS: — people have rejected that in part because he doesn’t seem to do that elsewhere. But Robert Corre teaches, following Zoltan Mason, something called, well, it’s house distortion. But he talks about – yeah, house distortion he calls it – when the sky is perfect, but the houses aren’t. We’re on earth. And that’s a big thing to understand with Morin is the sky is one thing – and with many traditional astrologers and their cosmology – the earth is something else. And the sky is perfect, but when things come to earth, there are distortions. There are problems. And if the 9th sign is on the Midheaven, Robert teaches – following Zoltan Mason – that the chart brings the 9th to the 10th is the way it’s said. Or if the 5th sign is on the 4th, or the 11th sign is on the 10th, you bring the sign counted from the Ascendant to the house, to the Regiomontanus cusp, and that’s a very interesting thing to do. It creates a house combination. Then the delineation is if you bring the 9th to the 10th, then you combine 9th house meanings with 10th house meanings and determinations that the planet in either house is determined both. That is like, a whole sign Midheaven in the 9th or 11th. It’s similar to that. Different —

CB: Yeah.

PS: — in that Morin uses both house systems, what we could call the whole sign house system, which he doesn’t. But this is a striking statement, and I will acknowledge that I haven’t seen him say that in other places. But I have listened to Robert and found it to be quite effective. For instance, if you bring the 9th to the 10th, I can almost always say to a person, “You don’t want a boss. You want freedom in your career.” Ninth – freedom – tenth – your career. You want freedom from having a both – 10th. So that is something like the whole sign delineation, isn’t it?

CB: Yeah. This came up last year during some of the house division debates, and Anthony Louis published one or two articles on his blog where he pointed out this —

PS: Oh, did he?

CB: — passage in Morin’s text where he seemed to be blending whole sign houses and quadrant houses in this really unique way, and if true, would be one of the earlier examples of that. I mean, we see traces of that going back to Vettius Valens where he’s blending those two reference systems, and that’s where most contemporary whole sign house users get the approach that we’ve been putting in practice the past 20 years of blending where, for example, the degree of the Midheaven falls in terms of whole sign houses and doubling up house significations. But it was definitely really stunning to see Morin doing that in this chart example with Gustavus Adolphus where it was just unarguable that he was taking into account both the quadrant house placement as well as the whole sign house placement effectively.

PS: Yes, and it’s very interesting. And in Robert Corre’s teachings following Zoltan Mason, when you say, “Brings the 9th to the 10th,” because it’s the 9th sign but given 9th house determinations that are combined – it’s a form of house combination – with the 10th, you’re doing something very interesting. I will mention that in Jyotish, in the lineage in which I studied, which was with Hart de Fouw, we started out using the Rashi chart, which is Rashi is the sidereal constellations, which interestingly translates to “heap.” It’s a heap of stars. Then we learn in the way Hart taught the Sripati, it was called Sripati – that’s the name of a person who explained this method – Paddhati – basically steps or houses. In other words, it’s a kind of quadrant house system that is similar to Porphyry, but the cusps are treated differently. And where you, yeah, the – I won’t go into detail. But they used, the way I learned it, the Rashi chart is used for some purposes, and the Bhava chart for other. And if you go to one of the major astrology software programs, which is Shri Jyoti Star, you’ll see that you can cast the Rashi chart or the Bhava chart. And they used both in the lineage that I studied in.

CB: Yeah.

PS: Which I think is interesting, and I think has real potential in the West. I don’t know if you see it that way, but I think it does.

CB: Yeah, for sure. I think reconciling the whole sign house approach with the quadrant house approach is definitely what the next step is and is the way forward in terms of resolving some long-standing issues surrounding this, and I think we can see traces of that happening at different points earlier in the tradition in authors like Valens or here in Morin’s work in Astrologia Gallica. So now it’s just, you know, up to us to take the final step now and create a unified synthesis that finds a place for each approach.

So we’re in the home stretch and the last bit of this podcast episode, so if there’s some points we wanted to touch base on before we wrap up, we should do that. And I know we really wanted to talk about the houses. Morin talks about the rulers of the houses in book 21, and we were gonna mention some point about a separate work of his called The Cabala of the Houses. So is it cabala or cabal? I’ve seen it two different ways.

PS: Well, he writes it in Latin as cabala – C A B A L A. I say “cabala.” But you could say cabal. But I think cabala is a better word, because cabal doesn’t, you know, with its modern meanings, it means like, a group kind of up to no good. So I say “the cabala of the houses,” C A B A L A.

CB: What is the intended meaning? Is it meant to convey the notion of groupings of houses?

PS: No, it’s not —

CB: Because it’s —

PS: I don’t think so. I think it’s more referring to… It was the first astrological work Morin published in 1623. And he talks about how it came to him. He was traveling back from I think a battle in the 30 Years War, and it just came to him because he has Uranus conjunct Mercury in a partile sextile to the Ascendant. And he said, “Ah, I get it!” And I think he called it Cabala of the Houses because it works with what you could call sacred geometry. I think it’s like, kind of an open secret that he felt like he was revealing.

CB: Okay. But it doesn’t refer – it’s not the same word as kabbalah from like, the Jewish mystical tradition, right?

PS: Not really. But it is in a very loose sense, because I think he would say it was a mystical kind of revelation. That when he got this, he got something that is divinely inspired in some way. Not exactly mystical, but divinely given. I think he was very moved by understanding, and he uses what you could call sacred geometry in this. You see this also in book 14, which is about the signs and includes in the first section a description of the 12 part division of the Primum Caelum into the signs.

The Primum Caelum is the outermost sphere, starless sphere, in the geocentric cosmos. And it is completely undifferentiated in itself, and completely homogenous. And it is pure potential of everything that is and can be in the manifest world. And he explains the 12 part division of the Primum Caelum, and in a way very similar to the 12 part division of the houses using great circles. But he uses different great circles, purely celestial great circles, to divide the Primum Caelum to get the signs. And great circles that are both celestial and mundane and earthly to get the division of the houses. But it’s an analogous division, which is interesting in itself given the controversies about the relationship between the signs and the houses. I see clear analogies between signs and houses. And just the way that each is divided begins at those analogies. But in this system of the cabala of the houses, you start – you’re adapting the sky. You’re bringing the sky to earth, and the houses are the earth and earthly things, and the sky is of course the celestial bodies we use. And he does this by starting with defining the four quadrants, starting with life and then – I’m gonna get the words he uses here; I wrote these down so I would get them right. Life and action and…

CB: Worldly good?

PS: Yeah, worldly good, he says.

CB: Okay. I have it in front of —

PS: Yeah, you have it, from the Ascendant and the primary direction being in life, action, and worldly good. In the 7th, virility and marriage or love, and in the 4th, suffering. And it’s a beautiful thing, really, because he connects those with the four elements and the primary direction, and the four traditional human aims being in life, resources and security on the Midheaven which is associated with earth, pleasure and association on the 7th which is associated with air, and release which is release from the suffering of incarnation and the demands of incarnation in the 4th. The 4th being —

CB: That’s what’s meant by suffering in the 4th is release from suffering?

PS: Well, the suffering is the suffering, but the aim when you’re faced with suffering is to be released from suffering. And you know, in India, they call these the purusharthas, the person’s resources. It’s really the human aims traditionally. It’s an important traditional concept. And if you’re suffering, you’re looking for release. And so in India, there is a desire for release from the cycles of incarnation; that is our ultimate liberation is to be released from the demands and suffering of incarnation. The 4th is, I think you can think of it as the place in which we come into embodiment. That’s where gestation begins and we’re born in the first. But it’s also the four ages – birth, vigor, decline, and death, or childhood, youth, virility, and old age in the primary direction, and the four principal events – life, action, marriage, and suffering. And the four human states – the solitary person in the 1st, the acting person in the 10th, the associated person in the 7th, and the suffering person in the 4th.

So these are associated with the elements, and there’s I think a very beautiful way Morin describes this in book 17 on houses and in The Cabala of the Houses, but then each of the four elements brings to itself – each of the four angles brings to itself two other houses with which it identifies, because the trine is the aspect of identification. It brings – so the first house brings to itself the 5th and the 9th, because they have the same elemental nature. Morin describes why the Ascendant has a fiery nature; he goes into this. And the 10th brings to itself 2nd and the 6th. And the 7th brings to itself the 3rd and the 11th, and the same with the houses of suffering, the unfortunate houses 12 and eight are brought to the 4th. And I know that this is highly controversial about… It uses essentially the Aries rising model chart, which I actually find to be a brilliant chart to use, and I’m always having in my mind. And Robert teaches that as Zoltan Mason did, and I know the difference between that and the Thema Mundi, but if we had more time, I’d tell you my theory about why they’re different.

But what it means in practice is that when you see the 10th associated with the 2nd and the 6th, you go, “Oh, good – money, work, and career or destiny. They’re all connected.” Or when you see the first connected with five and nine, and you like that, using the Regiomontanus houses – if you don’t have house distortion, you have fire. If you have a fire sign rising, you have fire on five and nine. Whatever the element is on the Ascendant is on the 5th and 9th if you don’t have house distortion in the Regiomontanus system. This is a beautiful thing, because the teaching is the complete human personality is one, five, nine. You don’t know the person just from the first and the Ascendant. And I wish we had more time to talk about it and look at it in charts, but I know we’ve —

CB: Yeah.

PS: — talked.

CB: Well, it’s interesting though that he brings that up and that he’s connecting and showing the connection between the houses that are in trine with each other. A student of mine named Antonio Vargas was pointing out that this is coming up even in some early Hellenistic authors where there’s —

PS: Oh!

CB: — clearly a connection. They’re not saying it explicitly, but just with the assignment of some of the significations of the houses, there’s obviously some connection between them. Like, for example, finance is in the 2nd and career or work with the 10th or —

PS: Yes.

CB: — how in Hellenistic tradition, the 4th house and the 8th house are both associated with death, and the 12th house is associated with loss or suffering to some extent. So then —

PS: Yes.

CB: — clearly there’s connections between the different houses that are in trine, so it’s interesting that this is something that Morin is emphasizing.

PS: Yeah, and in the 7th – yeah, very much so in The Cabala of the Houses; he considered this very important, because the houses are so important. And you know, take from the 7th, you trine to the 11th and the 3rd – human relationships. And again, it brings up the idea of the element of air. I know that’s very controversial with people, but I think it’s actually very interesting and helpful in delineation. But it’s human relationships in seven, three, 11.

CB: Yeah, for sure. So moving on, one of the things that Morin focuses on a lot in book 21 is the rulers of the houses and how that creates different linkages in the birth chart between different areas of a person’s life, right?

PS: Very much. House combinations, chapters four and five in section two. This is what I was working on. I was working on a book on house combinations, because it is an absolutely essential technique to use the method of determination that Morin describes, which I consider proper horoscopic method as did Morin. He didn’t use that term, but I do because that’s essentially what he’s saying. And I couldn’t do it, because the translation was not something I could work with – the version from Baldwin was not something I could work with, so I needed to stop for more than a year and do this translation. And I’m gonna go back to doing a book on house combinations, because it’s a beautiful technique and reveals so much and follows as an essential technique from horoscopic method as Morin describes it. And I’m also working on actually I wanna do maybe before that a kind of workbook on book 21 to help people enter book 21 and really see what Morin means by some of his quite dense and condensed statements to show how it can be used in a practical way.

But house combinations – you always look, if the ruler of a house is not in the house, you always look, and I bet you do this, you always look to the house where the ruler sits. And with the Ascendant, you immediately go – as soon as I look at a chart, I go, rising sign – ruler in what house? And if that planet is not in domicile, I look immediately for its dispositor, which Morin calls the secondary ruler of the Ascendant or of any other house or planet, and that connects those houses. If in Morin’s chart, the Ascendant is Aries and Mars goes to late in the 3rd but conjunct the 4th cusp, Morin is going out into the world to the 3rd and 4th houses. And the exaltation ruler of the Ascendant is the Sun, because the Sun rules Aries by exaltation, in the 12th in Pisces. And because that Sun is not in his domicile and Mars is not in his, you also go to their dispositor, which is the Moon and Jupiter by exaltation, and you look at both those. And of the Sun, Jupiter and Venus by exaltation, and if you use the modern planets, Neptune – as rulers, if you use them as rulers. It is a very powerful technique. It comes down to cause and effect. Moving away from the Ascendant because that’s a special case, so in Morin’s chart, the 2nd ruler – should we put that up for a moment?

CB: Sure.

PS: Or Gustavus’s. Either one. Morin talks about Gustavus’s chart a lot, especially his death. So the 2nd ruler, Regiomontanus, is Mercury. So money, wealth, is the cause of friends. There’s a connection between wealth and friends, and because Gemini is also on the 3rd, you see a connection, you see a house combination of the 2nd and the 3rd. He did make money from teaching and writing. And you also see that the ruler of both those houses is Mercury in the 11th. His writing certainly was a cause of friends.

Cause and effect is very important in Morin’s method, and if we had more time, we could talk about that more. You see it in more than one way. But you certainly see it in house combinations. In fact, the German – what appears to be a paraphrase of book 21 is named something about house rulers. And I’m sure that that author emphasizes quite a bit house combinations. It brings the chart together in a powerful way. You can see what one area of life moves to another area, what it causes in another area, and then also how that ends up, because the planet – there’s a planet, a dispositor, and a final dispositor. The planet begins an action, the dispositor continues it, and the final dispositor completes it. It’s a beautiful vision of cause and effect in a chart.

And Morin does reject in a sense the final dispositor, but he also in a way does not, because he applies the rule of secondary rulers also to planets. So I don’t wanna go into explaining that, because I know you wanna wrap up. But it is about cause and effect, which is at the heart of human life. The Indian doctrine of karma says that, and we know that when we act, we experience consequences of our actions. And that is about cause and effect. I’d love to say more about it, but I know that time is running out.

CB: Yeah, and it seems like in terms of Morin’s own personal philosophy that he was drawing a lot on Aristotle, and that he seems like —

PS: Yes.

CB: — one of the last great astrologers who’s really trying to create an Aristotelian astrology. And I’m sure some of his notions of cause and effect and tied in – and the rulers of the houses – are being drawn from that philosophical paradigm as well.

PS: The rulers of the houses, certainly cause and effect —

CB: Right.

PS: — I’m not sure exactly what you mean about the rulers of the houses drawn from that.

CB: I mean, to the extent that you’re saying that the cause is set up by the house and that the effect or the outcome at least is indicated by the ruler. It seems like it might be tying those paradigms together in some ways.

PS: Yes. I think so. Like, for instance, Morin gives the example of his chart compared with Cardinal Richelieu’s. Richelieu has the 12th ruler on the 10th cusp, late in the 9th. And Morin has the 10th ruler in the 12th, and Morin has an interesting comment on the similarity that a combination of 10 and 12, but also the difference, the great difference between whether a fortunate house like the 10th is a cause of unfortunate things as in the 12th or vice versa. He does the same thing with the 11th and the 12th. Do friends become enemies – is the 11th ruler in the 12th? Or do enemies become friends – the 12th ruler is in the 11th?

CB: Okay.

PS: And so it’s a powerful technique.

CB: Yeah. That’s a really important distinction. So all of this, ultimately, leads to chart synthesis.

PS: It does.

CB: And bringing everything together to create a whole picture of the life and all of its intricacies rather than just interpreting things independently.

PS: It does. Chart synthesis is – Robert, as I said, it took me a while to really know what he was talking about. But when you see Morin’s method, the method Morin describes in action, you see the power of chart synthesis. He says the Ascendant is the first of all and the basis of all else. When you pick up a chart, if you don’t look at the rising sign, where the ruler of that sign or rulers of that sign are located, the condition they’re in – if they’re not in domicile, their dispositor – and then any houses located in the first, you’re already lost. And if you don’t go next to the Midheaven in this method and do the same thing, you’re doubly lost.

Because Morin even says – I wish I could remember the chapter, I might think of it – oh, chapter 12 of section two of book 21, he says from the Ascendant and the Midheaven alone, and he describes what it is you need to look at in the Ascendant and the Midheaven. From those two points alone, you can determine whether the life will be fundamentally fortunate or unfortunate. That’s a powerful synthesis. So is the regular systematic entry of the chart through the Ascendant and the 1st house and then through the Midheaven and the 10th. And then you go to the Moon and the Sun as the most important placements and you do a similar analysis of the sign. I’ll do it for the Ascendant. The sign on the Ascendant, the planet in a sign in a house, a dispositor if it’s not in domicile, and because of the way Morin staytes the rule, you can go to a final dispositor, but that’s a little iffy; I’d have to explain that more. But then you go to planets in the first and aspects to the Ascendant and to the Ascendant ruler. If you start with that and do the same analysis of the 10th, you are seeing such fundamental matters in the chart, and it’s a wonderful foundation for chart synthesis.

CB: Right. Yeah. And then the final thing with houses is he does do derived houses or house derivations, right?

PS: Beautiful technique. And Zoltan Mason said, and I completely agree, he said that you can answer 90% of your client’s questions by using house derivations. So Bonatti does this, too; he doesn’t make that statement, but he does lay out a number of derived meanings of each house. So if you want to – Morin also calls this an extracted chart in one of the later books of Astrologia Gallica. In house derivations, if you want to see the spouse, you derive houses from the 7th. So the 7th is the first of the spouse, at least of the first spouse, and the second is their resources. The 3rd is their 3rd house matters – their siblings and their thoughts and their learning and their communication. And you go through the whole chart that way, and Morin makes a point – the 8th is the death only of the native, not of any other person. So the death of the spouse is the native’s 2nd, because that’s the spouse’s 8th. And you can do it with the parents, with the friends, with the children. Why is the 12th house the house of the greatest sorrow? Because it’s 8th from the 5th. It is the house of the death of children. And there’s nothing more sorrowful for a human being than the death of the child. And so you start to see that, and you start to see human life written in the meanings of these house combinations and these derived houses.

CB: Right. That’s amazing. And —

PS: Isn’t it great? I love it.

CB: Interlocking ways. I was actually surprised in book one, also, to see that he deals with synastry briefly as well in terms of the interlocking of your birth chart with the birth chart of other people and specifically addressing what the dynamic is in terms of when two people have planets conjunct, who acts on who in terms of the placements.

PS: It’s very interesting. It’s actually beyond synastry, and he starts out by saying that. He quotes one of the, I forget the number, but one of the statements in the Centiloquy, and he says that doesn’t go far enough because he first talks about the houses, how the houses of one chart come out in the houses of another chart. So it’s not – he does get to synastry, but he starts with chart combinations. And so we can’t even call it chart comparisons so much as chart combination. And then he does get to synastry. I think it’s section two, chapter – I believe it’s chapter 13. There are 16 chapters in the second section. But it’s very powerful to see it as first a combination of houses. Very powerful. It’s a similar thing with – we haven’t talked about forecasting techniques, solar directions and revolutions and transits.

CB: Yeah, I’d like to talk about that as the final section here. So he did do timing techniques, and those were his three that he recommended are primary directions, solar and lunar revolutions, and then transits.

PS: Yes. And he also – I can’t remember if I mentioned on this recording that he also uses the quarterly revolutions. He uses the square of the Sun or the Moon to get more focused in time. And he also directs the solar and lunar revolutions to get more specific about time. The natal is potential, and it is actualized through these timing techniques, primary directions, revolutions, transits.

The primary directions are like the rock shelf that underlies the whole thing – the big movements of our lives. And the revolutions – Morin does not, he would not give a specific birth time just from a direction, because that sets a period of time in which the solar and lunar revolutions can further specify the time. And then even more specific are the transits, so you can get to the day and even the hour through the transits.

But repetition is the key, because you’re seeing the potential of the natal placement repeating and therefore being brought out through a revolution and finally through a transit. The transit is like the weather that allows it to happen that day. But the directions are the broadest and define a fairly large period of time, and so you have to say, “Could this direction manifest – the potential of this direction realize this potential in the natal under this revolution?” Solar, and then lunar, and then finally transits, which is the final trigger that gets it to happen. If you see transits without a proper primary directions or solar and lunar revolutions, it’s not gonna really happen. It will be, as Morin said, it will seem like it’s gonna happen, but it won’t. He said that about his own marriage, that it seemed like it was gonna happen, but it wasn’t enough, because it was – I think he said it was just based on transits that looked that way.

CB: Okay.

PS: Or else he may have said, because it didn’t realize a potential in the natal. One or the other.

CB: Got it. And so that brings us to the final point, which is he has some discussion about fate as well and fate being connected with divine will.

PS: Yes. And you’re attuned to fate because you talk about that in Hellenistic Astrology. He has a very interesting discussion in section one, chapter seven; there are two or three paragraphs where he speaks about fate in a very interesting way. And he talks about the need to know ourselves and to know our fate, essentially, to know ourselves and to know what the stars promise for us, and that we don’t know that well enough to work well with our – most of us don’t know that well enough to work well with our fated lives.

But if we know ourselves, if we identify with the witness of ourselves and our charts, we can see what’s coming up and do the necessary things to – he says to resist them. Yes, to resist them, and this is part of his view from the Oratorio, this French spiritual group, to resist them or to nudge them in one direction or another. “No, I’m not gonna let that happen.” I find as I’m getting older the things I would’ve done in the past just by impulse because they’re the things that come easiest to me, I now go, “Oh no. I know myself, and I know others in my chart. I’m not gonna do that. I’m gonna do something else.” And we can make those decisions if we know ourselves and if we know what is fated for us absent our consciously taking actions that direct our fate in a different way.

CB: Nice. That’s beautiful.

PS: I think so. I really love that passage.

CB: Yeah.

PS: In chapter seven.

CB: All right. Well, I think we’re at the end of this today, since we’re almost at three hours.

PS: Yeah, it’s been a while.

CB: So the book, people can get the book now. It’s out officially. You can order it on Amazon or pretty much everywhere. Just search for the title of the book, Morin’s Book 21, and you’ll find it. I’ll put a link to it probably in the description below this episode on the description page for the podcast as well as below the YouTube video. What projects are you working on for the future, or what do you have coming up?

PS: You know, translation wasn’t the thing I really wanted to do. I only did that because I became appalled, and with my Mars and Saturn, I couldn’t tolerate it that Morin, who did such brilliant work, had such a poor paraphrase of his most important book. And so I said, “I gotta do it.” And I set aside a project on house combinations which I intend to take up.

But having done this translation of book 21, the thing I think I want to do next is a kind of workbook on book 21 that explains the basic doctrines and gives some questions and answers that will help people understand it. Because before house combinations, it’s important to understand prior things about Morin’s approach. So I think that’s the order to do it in.

And someday, if the Lord leaves me on this planet, I may translate his Cabala of the Houses even though we have George Wharton’s translation and in several chapters in section one of book 17, James Holden – his translation of those things is very much like The Cabala of the Houses, the main body of The Cabala. But there’s also a very interesting introductory section of The Cabala of the Houses that’s quite personal about Morin’s relationship to astrology that I find interesting. And then also, I’m calling it shorthand Astrology Restored – Letters to the Northern and Southern Astrologers on the Restoration of Astrology. I would like to do that. I wish someone would translate the introductory parts of Astrologia Gallica, but that’s not a project I plan to undertake.

CB: Cool. Well, I look forward to hearing about those future projects and, you know, which translations you choose to pursue and publish in the future. I’m sure people will be interested to hear more about them at some point, so we’ll have to do this again.

PS: Okay. It’d be great, Chris. Thanks so much!

CB: Yeah. Thank you, and congratulations on the release of the book. And yeah, thanks for joining me today.

PS: The Wessex Astrologer did a beautiful job, and they really were great to work with and did a beautiful job on the book.

CB: Yeah. Wessex is great. And it looks good. Here’s – I got a copy of the book here.

PS: It’s pretty.

CB: Yeah. It’s pretty; it’s well laid out. And yeah, it’s, you know, an important book because he outlines so much of his basics of his system, but then eventually in book 21, he brings everything together. So I think people will be happy to read this new translation and happy to have something that’s much closer to what he actually wrote compared to what came before. But it’s nice seeing the evolution and the recovery of his approach, you know, all these centuries later now in the early 21st century.

PS: I think it’s much clearer. I think the Baldwin version gets confusing in ways that are unnecessary and leaves some things out, even adds a few things, and does weak statements where Morin makes strong, clear statements, which I really appreciate. And the book has quite a long index and quite a few footnotes for people who have trouble, who aren’t familiar with some of the terms you mentioned that Morin uses unusual terms. I’m helping people with some terms and concepts.

CB: Awesome. Good. Yeah, it’s definitely helpful. There’s over 300 footnotes, I think, and yeah, I think people will enjoy the book. So people should go out and order it, and yeah, let us know what you think, and let us know if you have any questions in the comments. But otherwise, thanks for joining me today.

PS: Thank you, Chris.

CB: All right. Thanks for —

PS: I enjoyed speaking with you.

CB: Yeah, I’m glad we got to do this. This was great.

All right. Thanks everyone for watching or listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast, and I’ll see you again next time.


Special thanks to all the patrons that helped to support the production of this episode of the podcast through our page on Patreon.com. In particular, a shoutout to the patrons on our Producers tier, including patrons Kristi Moe, Ariana Amour, Mandi Rae, Angelic Nambo, Issa Sabah, Jake Otero, Jeanne Marie Kaplan, Melissa DeLano, Sonny Bazbaz, and Kwatsi Alibaruho.

If you’re looking for a reliable astrologer to get an astrological consultation with, then we have a new list of astrologers on the podcast website that we recommend for readings. Most of the astrologers specialize in birth chart readings, although some also offer synastry, rectification, electional astrology, horary questions and more. Find out more information at TheAstrologyPodcast.com/Consultations.

If you’d like to learn more about my approach to astrology, then I’d recommend checking out my book titled Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune, where I go over the history, philosophy, and techniques of ancient astrology, taking people from beginner up through intermediate and advanced techniques for reading birth charts.

If you’re really looking to expand your studies of astrology, then I would recommend my Hellenistic Astrology course, which is an online course on ancient astrology, where I take people through basic concepts up through intermediate and advanced techniques for reading birth charts. There’s over a hundred hours of video lectures, as well as guided readings of ancient texts, and by the time you finish the course you will have a strong foundation in how to read birth charts, as well as make predictions. You can find out more information at Courses.TheAstrologySchool.com.

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