Notice To The Fourth Edition

It was in the spring of 1936 — 36 years ago now— that the first edition of this book appeared. Since then, Jupiter has completed three revolutions.

Now the reader may ask: what relation does Jupiter have to the subject of this book, the Moon and the Lunar Zodiac?

It was in the afternoon of January 20, 1936 that I delivered my manuscript to the printer (unfortunately I no longer remember the exact moment). On that day the Moon was applying to a conjunction with Jupiter in the XX Lunar Mansion, considered favorable to writings and to the placing of the first stone of an edifice.

No election chart had been calculated beforehand, and it was not until evening that I noticed, in casting the chart, that this favorable position of the two heavenly bodies was heavily afflicted by the square of Neptune, Otherwise I would have certainly chosen another day and hour, especially since the Moon was in its XXIII House, which belongs to the category of "doubtful" Houses, and does not seem to have a good influence.

Now the favorable nature of the Lunar Mansion and of the conjunction with a dignified Jupiter assured the success of this book, as demonstrated by the publication of the Argentine edition, with a preface by Boris Cristoff, completed last year (by Editorial Kier) in Buenos Aires. However, the Neptunian square and the doubtful character of the Lunar House are equally in evidence to this day. Immediately after the appearance of the first edition in June or July of 1936, the Luxembourg astrologer Ernest Hentges translated it into German; but the Nazi censor refused to authorize it, and the German edition did not see light until twenty years later in another translation! In 1939 I gave rny assent to a Polish edition, which never came out because of the war. A Dutch publisher put out a very fine bound edition in 1941, under the German occupation; but I learned of its existence only twenty years later. The English translation already completed in 1970 by

Michel Bustros has been slow in coming out, etc. I have been told that there is even a clandestine version of this book in Bulgarian. . . .

The widespread acceptance of this book is not due to any achievement on my part, for there is nothing "literary" in it, but due solely to the fact that it fills an important gap in modern Astrology, since the tradition is neglected more than ever in 1972,

Whenever possible in this book, I have left out the religious and magical elements which have been grafted onto the concepts of Lunar Astrology in every country over the centuries. But it must be significant that the word for "spirits" in Burmese, nak, comes from the same root as nakshatras in the Hindu Lunar Zodiac 1; that the genealogy of Jesus in the first chapter of the Gospel According to Matthew is no more than a special symbolic presentation of the lunar cycle2 ; like the twenty eight sages or patriarchs in Buddhism from Kasyapa and his successor Ananda down to Bodhi-dharma, who assumed the direct esoteric transmission from the Buddha down to the historic founder of Chinese Zen in the seventh century; along with numerous similar occurrences.

It is certain that the elimination of this element, prompted by the desire to emphasize the practical character of the Lunar Mansions and Houses, undeniably relegates certain interesting aspects of the question to obscurity: for example, the analogy between human destiny and a revolution of our satellite which we encounter in several religions and beliefs, most notably in the burial traditions of ancient Egypt. This analogy should be equally adaptable to precise horoscopic methods (e.g., progressions); J firmly believe that the basis of most of these beliefs —even those of non-literate peoples — derives from a civilization thoroughly impregnated with Astrology.

While on the subject of ancient Egypt, we should recall that the lunar cycle is represented there by a staircase of fourteen steps leading to a terrace on which is located "the left eye of heaven," comparable to Atoum, the Sun setting in the West. This suggests the probable correspondence of the new moon to the vernal eqiunox, and of the full moon lo the autumnal, which provides a direct link between the Zodiac and the Lunar Houses. The increasing phase commands attention; the waxing of the Moon is analogous to the "filling of the eye* and its complete reconstitution. This increase, progressing from the wound made by Selh (which seems frequently to symbolize the invisible pha*e) to the curing of the "eye of Horus" of the full moon, is linked with thr oldest myths if we accept the testimony of several pa&niigrii ill text* in I he pyramids.

* Ai it limit «mt (hit (i 4iiiJ*1iou Um*\ rtuny rum« ami lia<l in hi* < omplrfrly rrrionr in ) 471 K.I)

Each phase of increase, each Lunar House symbolized by a step of the staircase equally useful for the rise toward the "fullness of the eye" as it is for the descent, is deified, as it is in many other religions including that of Greece,

"At Philae, for example, a large mural shows the king offering myrrh to fifteen deities, who promise in exchange that each will do his part to contribute to filling the eye, by means of one of the vegetable or mineral products over which he rules. (This suggests that each Lunar House was associated with a plant or mineral, astrological correspondences long since lost, but which could probably be reconstructed from archeological data with astrological verification.) The result of all this is the illumination after obscurity, the full moon after nights without moon. Among the deities in this series, we find all the primor dial deities of Heliopolis, plus a few others. These same primordial deities are found again in somewhat different company in two curious interpretations, one at Edfou, the other at Dendera . . .

It must be noted that in this sanctuary, the representation appears on the south face of the pronaos, and at Dendera it is located along a staircase allowing passage to an upper terrace —which suggests, on one hand, that the staircase actually served to accomplish a ritual, for which the bas-reliefs of Edfou have recorded the theoretical image. On the other hand, it confirms our hypothesis of the correspondence between the waxing moon and the first half of the Zodiac, or rather with the feminine hemisphere; and a correspondence between the waning phase and the masculine hemisphere4. Since the feminine hemisphere is one of fecundity of nature, and the masculine hemisphere has a spiritual character, it is not only understandable it is profoundly logical to an astrologer that the fourteen ascending steps and fourteen descending ones of this lunar staircase in ancient Egypt are also analogous to the ages of the life of man, as well as to the sexual energy of a Bull. (The former justifies a priori all research into gressions associated with Lunar Astrology, especially since in several cosmologies — including the Babylonian— the creation of man took place at the moment of the new moon.) If the ascent of the staircase is a period of maximum fecundity and procreation, the descent is compared to the castration of the bull who becomes mere beef.

The representation of the lunation cycle by a staircase of fourteen .steps equally useful for ascent and descent, may seem to be a purely Kgyptian invention (or at least simply a local re-ordering of the seven planetary terraces in the Ziggurats in Mesopotamia, which face four different directions: 7x4 =28, the number of the Lunar Divisions of the Zodiac and of the lunation); but the concepts are universal. In Babylon, furthermore, the day of the full moon was chosen for the ceremonies of ritual castration, as if to emphasize the idea that virility is only a function of the ascending half of the month. In the traditions of the Far East, among others, the new moon personifies the weakness and the unaware state of the infant (which was probably the original image for the characteristics of the first Lunar House); the first quarter—puberty; the full moon —the adult in full strength; the descending phase —decline and last days (XXVIII Lunar House), complete impotence and senility, corresponding to some extent to the power -lessness and sleep of the newly born.6

Each day had a special name in Egypt7, The second one was called "day of the crescent" and its equivocal and doubtful nature was emphasized by a text comparing the crescent to a knife, saying: "Is the moon not a knife? Thus she can punish the guilty/'8 Sadly, Egyptologists, as well as Assyriologists and specialists in other civilizations, are not generally interested in Astrology; I have not yet been able to find a book or article giving a complete list of these names, which would permit one to get a clear concept of the interpretation of some of these days. We know only that certain ones of the waning phase suggest a reverse reckoning.9

But if archeological documents of classical antiquity are precious, since they often preserve these lost elements of our own tradition, "living'' data deriving from distant lands —Afghanistan, Tibet, Indonesia, the Philippines, etc,, must in no way be neglected, for they can enrich our understanding.

An example:

Most European astrologers experienced real surprise in 1963 when they encountered Le Cle de VAstrologte Malgache or VAl-Iklil by J. Rakotonirainyio, demonstrating the survival of an autochthonous astrological tradition in Madagascar and announcing that a Malagasy Astrological Conference took place at Tananarive from the twenty-fourth to the thirty first of October; a preparatory meeting had been held for it a whole year before. The photo shows fifteen participants which seems to prove that it is not a case here of a few isolated astrologers an can be found in every country, but of a lively movement, one more disproof of the frequent assertion that black Africa is unaware of Aerology, Ethiopia possesses its own age-old tradition, preserved mainly in ihr monasteries; and astrologers are in evidence in Zanzibar and Par h* Sabim

This short work began by recalling that the oldest material in French on Malagasy Astrology is found in the writings of Etienne de Flacourt who lived in Fort-Dauphin from 1648 to 1654. He describes a system used by the Anatosy who were initiated in it by the Anakara-Antenoro astrologers of Vohipeno. We can see there that the signs and divisions of the Zodiac have Arabic names —which in no way indicates a slavish copy of Arabian Astrology. After all, the greater part of the names of our stars and scientific terms (alembic, alkali, alcohol, algebra, etc.) come from the same source.

We know that Al-ïklil or Iklil Al Jabbah (The Crown of the Head) is the Arabic name of the XVII Lunar Mansion. Etienne de Flacourt points out that in Anakara Astrology the sign of Libra (or A li-miza) has chree Houses: Alokofora, Azobana and Alikilili (Malagasy name for Al-Ikiil). Later A, Grandidier identified Alikilili as being composed of the stars $ (Graffîas), 8 (Isidis), and P of the constellation Scorpio11, which are found today in the sign of Sagittarius. Now if we are to believe this Clé de VAstrology Malgache, the Anakara astrologers, Islamized Jews who had previously emigrated to Madagascar, committed to writing in 1502 the practical use of Alikilili to determine the sighting of the Lunar Zodiac. In his communication to the Conference, Kasanga Fernand, speaking of the use of Alikilili in Malagasy astrology, states that "Alikilili is a group of stars that serve to judge and verify, as in a tribunal, the progress of the astrological calendar for the year in progress, hence the name Adimizana or Balance."12

To locate the Lunar Divisions, Malagasy astrologers use a method lhat doesn't seem to exist elsewhere. A javelin one meter sixty centimeters in length, and a distaff sixty centimeters long, objects still in evidence in Madagascar, are placed across each other and oriented, by means of an extended arm, on the three stars of the Alikilili. The ingenuity of these astrologers in observing the heavens directly —a custom unfortunately lost in the West —is without limit; it would seem that these primitive instruments can supply the necessary correction for locating the zodiacal signs with respect to the fixed stars.

Of course we cannot follow the Malagasy in their belief in a tradition reaching all the way back to the prophet Daniel —a belief easily explained by the Jewish origins of Anakara. It should be equally surprising that a book written in Sorabe by Alitawarath in 1502 has not drawn the attention of the specialists and remains unknown and unpublished in Europe. Let us hope that we will be given an integral translation of it someday, and that J. Rakotonirainy or another Mala-K.isy astrologer will publish the meanings of the Lunar and Solar Zodi ac as they are in use on his island.

These remarks on the subject of ancient Egypt and Malagasy techniques show what could yet be added to this book, borrowing from archeology, ethnography and local astrological techniques. I have never claimed to have written a "definitive" or "complete" work, but only to have assembled material justifying an astrological system unjustly abandoned. Although all sciences are making rapid progress, we can state with regret that the few rare books on this subject which have come out in France in the last thirty years are only imitations of this one.

A. Volguine

January 31, 1972.

Moon in XII Lunar Mansion and in XV Lunar House.

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