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Confusing Language in Morin Book 21. Help? (#4)

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RohanMenon  RohanMenon is offline
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Confusing Language in Morin Book 21. Help? (#4)


Book 21: Chapter XI - The Aspects of Planets - Their Analysis and Comparison

Opening paragraph

"First. The aspects to the house cusps are to be considered, for by the
prime motion from east to west the planets move to the cusps, and of
these the dexter aspects, or those preceding the cusp (earlier in the
zodiac) are generally said to be more effective than the sinister aspects, or
those of the same kind following the cusp (later in the zodiac). "

so far so good. The mystifying bit is next


But this is
not at all times true and a distinction must be recognized, for if a planet
applies by dexter square to a cusp—such as the MC — but by sinister
square it is passing from another — such as the Ascendant (which could
only occur in a comparison of two horoscopes)—the dexter will have the
greater effect; but if by dexter square it is passing from the MC but is
applying through the prime motion to the Ascendant by sinister square,
the sinister will have the greater effect, and so on for the other aspects.
But note that the Ascendant here refers to the cusp itself, or the point in
the circle of houses where the first house begins, but not the degree of the
caelum which occupies that point or cusp. For when a planet in direct
motion applies to that cusp through the prime motion, it is separating at
the same time from the degree of the caelum it occupies through its own,
or secondary motion. It is because of this fact that application has greater
effect than separation—all other things being equal.
Second. The aspects between the planets are to"

yow! What does this mean?

I *think* it means that applying/separating (via secondary motion) is more powerful than dexter/sinister (which is an artifact of primary motion).

Something like that?
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Minderwiz  Minderwiz is offline
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I'm trying to get his logic firmly in place before doing a full reply. It's the last sentence in the queried paragraph that is holding me up, that is a confident explanation of why he thinks his account shows applying aspects are stronger.

It might just be because, as they lie in the future, and ss he's talking about primary motion, they do lie on the immediate future. But he's not fully clear.

A preliminary point I can deal with is sinister (left) and dexter (right) aspects. In Hellenistic Astrology, which is the earliest Horoscopic Astrology it was clearly the case that an aspect cast in the direction of signs was stronger than one cast against the direction of signs. Imagine Venus in the tenth in Taurus casting an aspect to Jupiter in Virgo in the second. This aspect goes forward in the direction of signs and, as you look at the chart, that aspect is CST to the left of Venus.

Jupiter also casts a trine to Venus, but as Venus lies to the right of Jupiter, it's not as strong an sspect. So Venus is the stronger planet, ignoring essential dignity (and even stronger if you include it).

This view held right up to the time of Sahl and Masha'allah, both of whom would have said the same. Yet less than 200 years later All Biruni, in virtually a word for word. repetition of Dahl's example reaches the opposite conclusion but without explanation of the change round.

From then on Astrologers followed Al Biruni, as does Morin in these quotes. Personally, I think that at some point betweennSahl and Al Biruni, there was a miscopying (remember manuscripts were just that, hand written, and had to be copied by hand for duplication).

Deb Holding on the other hand, reckons there's a qualitative difference between Lilly and Morin's versions and the Hellenistic one. The only way I can see that being possible is through primary motion. Yet as planets only quantitative motion is forward through the zodiac, the idea of them always looking backwards through primary motion is faintly ridiculous. To me the Hellenistic account makes sense. Lilly and Morin's accounts don't. But I dress that's my personal view and Deb is way, way beyond me in reputation and skill. So I might be missing something and this quote from Morin might continue the germ of an answer.
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RohanMenon  RohanMenon is offline
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Very interesting Minderwiz


I have to agree that the Hellenistic doctrine makes sense to me too, though, as you know I'm just starting my explorations into medieval/ancient astrology.
I think I'll go with that for now, thank you.


The paragraph after that is also confusing (might be the same problem in another form) I quote

Morin Book 21 Chapter 11 - The aspects of planets their analysis and comparison

"Second. The aspects between the planets are to be considered, for by
their own, or secondary motion from west to east the planets come into
aspect with each other. Of these the sinister aspects will generally be
stronger than the dexter; again a distinction is required, for if Venus
applies by sinister trine to Mars, in either direct or retrograde motion,
that aspect is stronger than a dexter trine of Mars to Venus— thai is,
Venus has a greater influence on both the essential and accidental
significations of Mars than Mars can have on those significations of
Venus. But if, on the other hand, Venus applies to Mars by dexter trine,
the dexter will be stronger than the sinister trine would be, since in the
latter case, Mars would be separating from Venus; and so on for the other
aspects."

note that this paragraph somewhat reverses the arguments of the previous one (which focused on planet-house cusp aspects - this one focuses on planet planet aspects) and focuses on secondary motion.

and again the only thing I can make out here is that maybe Morin is saying that when considering primary and secondary motion at once (so dexter trine *and* applying/separating etc being considered at the same time) the latter dominates the former.

Other than these paragraphs, the rest of the chapter reads well, and I particularly like the basic idea of determining the dominating planet within an aspect by (in a layered fashion) considering the intrinsic relative power of the planets (Sun stronger than everything else), then celestial state (Sun in Fall square exalted Mars, so Mars is more powerful) then terrestrial state (Mars in/ruling the Eighth vs Sun in/ruling the 5th etc).

I think this is the central idea of Morin- the planets have an intrinsic nature, then a celestial state, then a terrestrial state, and you have to consider them all, and also the nature of the aspect and so on.. Obvious in retrospect, but was quite the revelation to me.

I am (pleasantly) surprised by how deep pre-20th century astrology is and am quite enjoying the learning process.

thanks again for your clarifications. They are very helpful. I suspect I'll end up going with the pre Beruni ideas.
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Minderwiz  Minderwiz is offline
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Well what Morin is doing in that paragraph is quoting the Hellenistic approach but confining it to Secondary motion (that is the planets' progress through the zodiac). Now that seems to suggest his favouring of the dexter over the sinister (right over left) applies only to primary motion. As the direction of primary movement is the opposite of the direction of secondary or zodiacal movement, I can see some sense in having the opposite power of the left and right aspects.

Hellenistic Astrology did not have primary directions as such but it did have a forerunner in the 'Directions' used to calculate the length of life, so it might be later arab developments which led to the redefinition for primary motion. I must admit I don't know the answer to that and I'll have to do a bit of digging.
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RohanMenon  RohanMenon is offline
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So if I understand correctly


(in paragraph 2) Morin is saying something like this.

Assume Mars at Aries 15 Venus in at Capricorn 15 so there is a Mars/Venus square, both in direct motion (so neither is retrograde, stationary etc)

here (as in the Hellenistic approach) Venus is more powerful and 'dominates' the square aspect, because she is moving through the signs towards Mars via secondary motion

if this is correct, then, as you say, the converse seems to be correct only when planets aspect house cusps,which is the content of paragraph 1.

Suppose Mars were at Aries 15 and on the ascendant, and Capricorn 15 was the 10th house cusp and Venus were at Cancer 15 on the descendant. So Mars is moving towards the 10th house cusp via primary motion, and Venus is moving away (by primary motion). In this case Mars -MC square is more powerful than Venus MC square (though by **secondary** motion Venus is moving towards the MC and Mars is moving away from it)

Have I understood (your reading of) this correctly?

Thanks in advance
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Minderwiz  Minderwiz is offline
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Not quite. In both paragraphs 1 & 2 Morin is dealing with aspects to house cusps and therefore primary motion.

A planet, as seen from the Northern Hemisphere, moves in two directions. Firstly it rises in the East, moves to culminate when due South and then moves to its setting point in the West. That is primary motion. It will continue with the planet moving to the anti-culmination point when due North and finally moves to its rising point again.

At the same time it is moving through the Zodiac. The Moon moving about 13 degrees on average, Mercury, Venus and the Sun moving on average about 1 degree (though the first two can be significantly faster at times) and Mars, Jupiter and Saturn moving by less than a degree (significantly less for the last two).

In paragraphs 1 and 2 Morin is talking about house cusps and explicitly their relative nature. So if we use Mercury as an example. If Mercury is at 5 degrees Cancer, there will come a point when Mercury rises in the East and 5 degrees Cancer is on the Ascendant. Suppose at this time 27 Pisces is on the MC. Mercury is not making an aspect to the MC of the chart.

However as Mercury continues to rise, 5 degrees Cancer moves into the twelfth house and the MC will move into even later degrees of Pisces and eventually into Aries. So Mercury will begin to apply to a dexter square to the MC. That square will be completed when 5 Aries reaches the MC. In effect the MC is moving towards Mercury, or, using the language of Primary Directions, Mercury is directed towards the square of the MC. Diurnal motions is faster than any planets movement through the Zodiac, just over 360 degrees passing in 24 hours.

The key wording in para 2 is:

... But note that the Ascendant here refers to the cusp itself, or the point in the circle of houses where the first house begins, but not the degree of the caelum which occupies that point or cusp

That means we are not talking about aspects to specific degrees as such but only the house cusps, whatever degree occupies them at any moment.

Let us suppose that as Mercury moves towards the MC, it also is involved with a sinister square to the third house cusp. Morin's uses the phrase,
...passing from another - such as the Ascendant.

He then qualifies this by saying that his example could only occur in a comparison of two horoscopes. Now it seems to me that passing from another (square) can only mean that it is separating from another square. So let me revise Morin's example.

When Mercury reaches the Ascendant at 5 Cancer, it squares the third house cusp at say 5 Libra. Morin is referring to quadrant houses here and such a square is quite possible with unequal houses.

As Mercury separates from its square to the third house cusp, it begins to apply to the square to the MC, which is completed when 5 Aries is on the MC. By now a later degree of Libra will be on the third house cusp.

Morin is saying that the square to the MC is stronger than the square to the third cusp (which I think is obvious when you think about it but not obvious from his phraseology), because the former is applying whereas the latter is separating.

Now in the second part of para 2, Morin brings up an exception to this rule, of the dexter square being stronger. That is where a planet (still using Mercury) has passed the square to the MC (the MC now being in later degrees of Aries and after a time, 5 Libra will begin to near the Ascendant. At that time Mercury (still at 5 Cancer) will begin to apply to a square to the Ascendant by primary motion. Morin says that this sinister, but applying aspect, is stronger than the previously dexter but separating one.

Note that having passed the MC, the aspect is no longer a dexter one.

Now the only purpose I can see from this paragraph is that application to house cusps is the reverse of the situation with planets (as you quote in Morin's following paragraph. That seems to be because primary motion is from East to West (left to right, or if you prefer clockwise), whereas secondary motion is from right to left or anticlockwise around the chart)
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RohanMenon  RohanMenon is offline
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Very helpful MW


I visualized the motion of Mercury as you described it and get it now.
Morin is talking of planets forming aspects to cusps via primary motion here, and I see it clearly now.

I'd never have figured this out on my own, and was getting quite confused, so a heartfelt Thank You!

PS: I am sure folks have suggested it before, but you really should write a book. I'm (as of this writing) working through your Horary DIY thread on this forum and learning *a lot*. You have a skill of making things clear to beginners.
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