Will this book by Alexander Volguine add something to Astrology? that is, some original and even indispensable element? I can reply without hesitation: Yes! Absolutely! Yes, without the slightest doubt!
It is deplorable that so many "texts of modern Astrology" shame lessly copy their predecessors, usually duplicating more error than truth. Volguine could never succumb to this fault: every single one of his books is truly individual, an original product of his own researches and conscientious thought.
I have described Volguine's work in my preface to the American edition of The Ruler of the Nativity (ASI PUBLISHERS INC., New York). I cannot recommend strongly enough that every English-speak ing astrologer acquire this book; it is a must, which will open new horizons. It teaches an intelligent technique for calculating the strength of each planet in a given chart.
With the collaboration of ASI PUBLISHERS INC., we have also already prepared English editions of other essential works of Volguine for immediate publication: Planetary In-Betweenities, The Astrological Parts, The Technique of Solar Returns. I want to emphasize that these three books have no equivalent in the English or French astrological literature; and I am sure that our English speaking readers will be enthusiastic in their response to them.
But let us discuss the present work:
In many ways Astrology in the west is not very consistent with itself. First it flatters itself that it is heir to the great Hermetic philosophers of ages past, and then it makes outrageous mockery of the great universal laws that every Initiate considers sacred and immutable Truths. Or where it recognizes these cosmic laws, it refuses to accept i he conclusions which must follow ipso facto. And if it accepts some of them, they end up in flagrant contradiction with each other, I offer some random but undeniable facts:
1. Since our literature in the west is overstuffed with material about Lilith, Lulu, the Dark Moon and others (which is usually imaginative speculation, moreover based on ephemerides which are not in agreement with each other), strangely enough, in retaliation we neglect a whole astrological system based on the Moon itself.
2. We recommend —at least in France —a very useful technique known as the Nodal Chart, which is done by transposing a given chart by subtracting the longitude of the Moon's North Node from the respective longitudes of all the cusps and planets in the chart —in other words, we permit ourselves to use a fictional point for erecting a new astrological chart. But we do not take the time to do the same for the very real Moon! Is it inconsistency or negligence? In any case, it is stupefying!
3. All our monthly prediction magazines are based on the Lunations, and discuss matters in terms of them; hence, the Sun/Moon combination. But very rarely does one discuss Lunar Astrology, and books that specialize in this branch of Astrology are even rarer. In one place we recognize the importance of the combination of the luminaries, and elsewhere we separate them and neglect one of the two members of this union.
4. For centuries the Trutine of Hermes has been promoted, both for the casting of the prenatal chart and for the rectification of the natal chart. Now this is all based essentially on the position of the Moon at different times of a woman's life. So we accept the determinative significance of the Moon before birth and during prenancy . . . but then from that moment on during the whole life of the individual, we very curiously neglect Lunar Astrologyl
5. We maintain the fundamental aphorism: "The Sun and the Moon, after God, rule the Earth" . . . and yet we practice a truncated application of this law — a solar Astrology, cut off from its complement, Lunar Astrology!
6. In the directions we call "secondary" or "progressed/' the passage of the Moon through the different Houses of the horoscope has very great significance since to a great extent it colors the principle orientation of the life from year to year. We have even developed a directional system called "Directions by Embolismic Lunation," but, very paradoxically, we do not use Lunar Astrology.
But above all, by neglecting Lunar Astrology we violate two great Esoteric Lawst which can be found in the Hermetic treatise, The Ky balion:
a. Principle of polarity: "Everything is Dual: everything has poles; everything has its pair of oppositrs; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled."
b. Principle of Gender: "Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes."
Whatever does not respect these two laws of Hermetic Science ceases to be in accord with divine wisdom. In other words, solar Astrology inevitably demands an indispensable complement, Lunar Astrology; without which it is cut in half, in violation of the sacred laws, and hence conducive to error. There can be no Greater without a Less, no Yang without a Yin, no day without night, no masculine without feminine, no sun without moon, no solar Astrology without Lunar Astrology.
By rejecting Lunar Astrology, astrologers in the west — and only in the west —increase the state of error under which they labor. I repeat: only in the west. Neither the Hindu, nor the Chinese, nor the Arabian astrologer would omit extensive practice of Lunar Astrology. Here Oriental systems demonstrate more logic and sense; they operate in harmony with cosmological laws; they respect the sacred tradition that has come to us from the Great Initiates.
No Hindu astrologer would be content to analyze a chart with a solar approach alone. Even a beginner would be incapable of such heresy. Everyone —always —examines the solar chart in obligatory close correlation with its counterpart, the lunar chart. This is the Hindu doctrine:
1. An examination of Hindu astrological literature of the last twenty or thirty centuries will suffice to convince anyone of the central significance the great Rishis accorded to the Moon. Sometimes it seems that the Moon occupies the predominant place.
2. In all the Hindu texts, in all the periodicals» predictions based on the transits, or Gochara, are always and without exception determined from the sign occupied by the Moon, or the Lunar Ascendant (fanma Lagna), not from the Sun Sign, as in the west, nor even from the Rising Sign.
3. No astrologer will designate a new-born by his Sun Sign, or even by his Rising Sign, but by the constellation (nakshatra) occupied by the Moon. If you have the Sun in Pisces, Ascendant in Gemini, and the Moon in 25° 30* Libra (constellation Vishaka ruled by Jupiter), you would be called, in the west, a "Pisces," or better, "Pisces, Gemini rising.11 The Hindu astrologer will say that you were born in the Vi-
k shaka nakshatra. Of course, he will add that your Ascendant is in Gemini, but only Occasionally will he mention your Sun Sign.
4. Always and without exception, the Hindu astrologer will examine a given chart, even a horary or questionary chart, according to the two systems —solar and lunar—simultaneously. He will not need to draw up the lunar chart because he is accustomed to reading it at a glance by considering the House where the Moon is as the Lunar First House or Lunar Ascendant. He will mold his interpretation by passing from one to the other: the lunar chart will correct and in some way or other modify the interpretation of the traditional solar chart, even taking precedence over the latter whenever the coefficient of the Moon is higher. Jn any case —I repeat — never, but never, will the Hindu as trologer neglect to blend the two charts —solaT and lunar, one forming the counterpart of the other.
I want to pause for a moment to insist once more on this point: the western astrologer should acquire the same habit —which will quickly become automatic— of drawing up and placing side by side the traditional solar chart and its lunar transposition. By continuing unreasonably to reject Lunar Astrology, the western astrologer operates in violation of the great esoteric laws.
5. Another important note: all Hindu directional methods (DASA) are calculated from the position of the natal Moon, and this holds true for all the planets. In other words, the Moon ordains the structuring of the directions for the rest of the chart, including even the Sun. This in itself speaks volumes. Would we dare say that at least forty centuries of Hindu Astrology consist of nothing but fantasy and error?
6. The comparison of charts, e.g., for a marriage, is based primarily on the position of the Moon by Sign, constellation, navamsa, etc., respectively for those to be wed, judged according to a series of criteria based on the two Moons.
7. All the Hindu almanacs daily note the Tithis, the distance between the Moon and the Sun; to a great extent these Tithis determine the favorable and unfavorable days for various activities.
In an election situation (Muhurta), the Hindu astrologer will by no means be stopped by a square or opposition, even one that we would consider clearly malefic; not only because his doctrine of aspects is totally different from ours, but moreover because he gives primary ¿mention to the Tithis, to the position of the Moon by Sign. Hnufte. iiak.thatra. navamsa, etc.
Kor the two years t have been in India, I have been shocked by the number of marriages I have seen set by reputable astrologers for the very day of violent squares and oppositions, even involving malefics.
Recently I went to great lengths to modify the date of a marriage set for the same day as a Mars/Saturn square, for a person whose natal chart —of course — had a Mars/Saturn conjunction. I was made fun of and told: "What of that? The Moon is brilliantly placed and as-pected!" I should make it quite clear that I by no means share this point of view, although 1 am an enthusiastic admirer of Hindu Astrology.
I recall that several years ago, the marriage date for a great Oriental sovereign (still alive and married), which was carefully determined by the palace astrologers, astounded the Occidental astrological world because it involved a violent configuration between two planets, one of which was a trans-Saturnian. Must we imagine that the astrologers missed it? Of course not. But the Moon was exalted, in a very favorable constellation and navamsa, in a good House and with good aspects. Still I must reiterate: although a firm believer in Lunar Astrology, I cannot subscribe to a thesis that bypasses our squares and oppositions.
8. All the Hindu texts indicate that afflictions to the Moon are very severely judged. If the Sun Is the Atman, reflection of the Spiritual Sun, the Moon is Chitta, Mind and Soul. It is "karaka" (significa-tor) of the mother (and the wife in the western system), prosperity, the favor of the great, etc. On its strength or weakness, position, afflictions, etc,, depend fertility, longevity, and above all, the Balaristha or premature death of the new-born.
9. The notion of Sade Sathi and Asthama Sani, which I mentioned in a French article published in Volguine's Cahiers Astrolo-giques (#158, May-June, 1972, p. 135), covers the malefic results of a transit by Saturn through the Sign occupied by the Moon, and through the twelfth, second and eighth Sign from this one. These are very trying times in the native's life. As you can see, the calculation is based on the Moon and not on the Ascendant or Sun Sign.
10. Among their twenty-one subdivisions of a Sign or of the Zodiac (Skodasavargas) there is one called Bhamsa which divides the Sign into 27 parts of 1 ° 06*49" each, and which permits a more specific judgment of the native's strength and energy. Here again we encounter the division into 27 (or 28) parts, echoing the Mansions and the 1 louses of the Lunar Zodiac.
11. Of the approximately three hundred major Yoga (planetary < mnhmations more or less equivalent to "super-aspects"), those in volving or based on the Moon are very numerous.
12. In the area of medical astrology, the Moon is a primary factor in vitality, good health (especially in a feminine chart), it indicates illnesses, it is implicated in cases of surgical intervention, it is considered very important in beginning a treatment, and even our ancient texts recommend not beginning either surgery or treatment during the Fifteen days of the waning Moon, How could so many concepts be lost in our day — and solely in western Astrology?
I have cited only a few of the facts that demonstrate the importance of Lunar Astrology. I can cite others, connected with esotericism7 iconography, mythology, or religion (the crescent of Islam, etc.). Here are a few:
13. There are multiple Sanskrit designations for the Moon: Sud-hansu, Sudhakara, Sudhanidi, Amrita-Soo, Chandra, etc. . . . All carry the sense that it is the life principle. The lunar principle is Soma> By suppressing Lunar Astrology, we cut Astrology off from one of its two life principles, we mutilate and distort it.
14. In the Yoga Shastras, one of the nadis that carry Prana is called Chandra Nadi; the chakra between the eyebrows is called Chandra-Mandala. It is not only ridiculous, it is insane to imagine Ida without Píngala or Píngala without Ida (the two channels to the right and left of Sushumna; it would create a fatal imbalance ... By analogy, do we not cause an equal imbalance in astrological interpretation by neglecting Chandra, the Moon, analogous to Ida?
15. In an old grimoire, the Bhunavanadipika, it is said that in every horoscope, the Moon is the Seed, the Ascendant the Flower, the navam&a, the Fruit (which ,comcidentally, indicates the importance of Navamsa in Astrology, unfortunately almost totally unknown to western astrologers). How could we neglect the Moon, which is the "seed"? The word "seed" seems very well chosen since we admit the Moon takes decisive precedence over the Sun in the determination of fecundation in a woman, and for the calculation of the prenatal chart, and that it rules all the calculations for chart rectification. Are we being consistent with ourselves?
But how can we explain the western astrologer's abandonment of Lunar Astrology? Quite simply through a crass and trivial motive: commercialism. It is the result of commercialism that marketers of horoscopk rags, who want to make the most money in the least amount of time, no longer have timet So they sacrifice, they prune, ihey disfigure Astrology. The Parts? Get rid of them! The terms and decans? Get rid of theml The Moon's Nodes? Get rid of thcml Primary directions? No way . . . too long, too difficult, no time, get rid of theml Dodecatemories? Ridiculous, get rid of theml The monomeres? (Truly a veritable jewel of Astrology.) Nonsense, they tell us, get rid of them, too! Do not laugh, dear reader. In the west, a few years ago we arrived at the point of getting rid of the Houses themselves — as if the millenia of Astrology that preceded us had been done by imbeciles! There is even talk of getting rid of the twelve Signs of the Zodiac . . . since someone recently claimed that there are "not twelve but thirteen." Why not! Why not get rid of the ten planets and use marbles! This is "modern Astrology" that claims to be scientific!
And since it is the so-called "scientific professionals" who lead the dance to a great extent and who have a great influence on the multitudes known as "amateurs," whom I prefer to call "non-commercial it follows that the latter have ended up in spite of themselves by imitating their elders over the years. If some amateurs still cast Lunar Returns, how many professionals can you find that use them?
Nevertheless, an assiduous and impartial experimentation with the Lunar Return has given sufficient proof of the value of this method; and it is fervently hoped that astrologers will restore it to its rightful place. Perseverance brings its own rewards. On my own I have made some amazing discoveries, especially with anticipated events that occurred on the day of the exact transit of a given planet over the Ascendant, or Midheaven, Sun, Venus, etc., of the Lunar Return.
I also recommend casting Demi-Lunar Returns, valid for a two week period, i.e., charts for the moment in a month when the Moon transits the point exactly opposite its natal longitude. They can be of substantial assitance especially for discerning or for specifying the condition of a future event.
I believe a Solar Return cannot be reliably interpreted if it is not completed by the twelve Lunar Returns or at least the more important ones among them. The Solar Return is like a "general x-ray," the Lunar Returns are "localized x-rays" —more specific, more probing, showing the condition of month after month, within the overall framework of the Solar Return.*
The preceding thoughts show clearly the extent of Volguine's achievement in having revived Lunar Astrology in the west, and with
• Aimix the same lino. hut let it he said only pau nthctically, I have often wondered if the Solar Knuni m.iy more sjK ciHtally concern only the first half of the year, and if it would profit by mi.itched hy a Demi-Solar Return, i .0.. one cast for the moment when the sun Lransits in ex-t <i[>|»>mikmi to lis nat.il longitude ['his second Demi-Return would seem to pertain more spe
• di< .illy to 1 he second half of the yeai . 01 .11 le.isl would interpencl rate with the first and clarify it.
such masterly erudition as he demonstrates in the present work. In all of the occidental and oriental literature, including Hindu literature, it is absolutely the only text on Lunar Astrology ever published that is so complete and impartial; the only one that describes not only the twenty-eight Lunar Mansions (more or less equivalent to the Hindu Nak-shatras), but also the twenty-eight Lunar Houses (which more or less correspond to the Hindu Tithis); the only one that gives the descriptions according to the Hindu asterisms, the Manazils of the Arabs, the Chinese Sin, and according to the Kabbala or Hebraic esoteric tradition. Not content with supplying us with all this knowledge, it is the only one, lastly, which has taken it as a point of honor to support it with a multitude of examples, almost all of them modern. To sum it all up: this book is a mine of information, undoubtedly the best we possess on the subject of Lunar Astrology, not confined to one system^ and ignoring others. How many times I have verified the accuracy of these significations given by Volguine, and the reliability of the descriptions— all of which implies an extremely conscientious research.
Special thanks to Volguine for having set aside a separate chapter for Hecate, and for having noted that Hecate (the close conjunction of the luminaries) has nothing to do with Lilith or Lulu. This observation is essential. Hecate, or the Dark Moon, is neither Lilith nor Lulu. But how many people confuse the Dark Moon and LilithI!
I have acquired the habit of always marking with a pencil dot the degree of the Zodiac where prenatal and postnatal Hecate occurred, i.e., the exact Sun/Moon conjunction immediately preceding and following the day of birth, and I also shade in the whole area eight de grees to the left and eight degrees to the right of this point. As regards this area I have occasionally made some curious observations, which must be pursued and analyzed. The degree and the whole zone of sixteen degrees (distributed equally to the left and right of the point) darkened by prenatal and postnatal Hecate are useful to note in transits, especially if the area is occupied by a planet. But let us not make a hurried generalization on the basis of one observation.
I would like to make a further suggestion: I feel that each and every one of the other nine planets must undergo some coloration through the influences of the Lunar Mansion it occupies, as they have been drat rihed by Volguine in this book. I am sure that there is some validity lo this ]w>int of view. It would not seem logical to me that a planet c mild remain impermeable to even the general potential coloration of a given Mamion
On the other h;ind. 1 believe that it is important to orient in order of priority the significations given by Volguine first, according to the significance to the rulership the Moon exercises in the chart, second, according to the significance of the House of the horoscope it occupies, and lastly, according to the significance of its aspects. For example, if the Moon rules or is in the Second House, and if among the attributes cited by Volguine there are some that involve the financial life, it seems reasonable to give some priority to these, and to assume that this area of influence will prevail during the life of the native. If the Moon is unfavorably aspected, this reinforces the risks or diminishes the luck on the financial level as indicated by the author. In the opposite case, these risks could be more or less decreased and the luck more or less intensified.
Does oriental Astrology— especially Hindu Astrology— give too pre-eminent a place to the Moon? I do not know ... I do not think sol But one thing is absolutely sure in contrast: western Astrology has practically consigned the Lunar system to the junkpile. Common sense demands a return to a golden mean, that respects the great esoteric laws, and results in a harmonious marriage of solar and lunar Astrology, This book will be a great and undoubtedly outstanding contribution to this.
I will go one step further: even oriental astrologers — Hindu, Chinese, Iranian, Arabian, or others —have gained much, now that they have available an English edition accessible to their understanding, that they can study and use in daily practice; since, as I noted before, it supplies interpretations produced by different systems, Obviously the Hindu astrologer, for example, knows the meanings of his nakshatras, but he may not be well versed in the parallel significations in the Chinese or Arabian, or Hebrew system; likewise for the Arabian, or Iranian, or Kabbalistic astrologer, etc. . . .
I am sure that every objective, impartial astrologer with devotion and reverence for Astrology, will congratulate Volguine on his work, which offers something undeniably original and essential.
I will conclude by assuring the reader that the condition of the natal Moon by Sign, House, constellation, navamsa, etc., as well as by aspectual connections with various other planets, is an indispensable primary consideration in Spiritual Astrology.
I wish the greatest success to this first edition in the English language, and I thank ASI PUBLISHERS INC. for their collaboration.
Madras, April 1974
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