Harmonic Astrology in Practice takes off where David Hamblin’s previous book, The Spirit of Numbers: A New Exploration of Harmonic Astrology comes to a close. The practical advantage of harmonic astrology is that it offers a far richer and more complete insight into the interrelationship of planetary forces than is possible through using the traditional aspects – opposition, trine, square, etc. All of those are based on divisions of the circle by Two, Three, or multiples of Two and Three, but in harmonic astrology we can also study aspects that are based on Five, Seven, or any other number. Using copious case histories which include Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Malala Yousafzai, Leonard Cohen, Winston Churchill, Hermann Hesse, Amma, Rolf Harris, and many, many more, David Hamblin unlocks secrets of the charts which might otherwise remain hidden. A fascinating and impressive study.
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The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras famously said, “All things are number.” By this he meant that everything in the universe is composed of the interaction between numbers, and that the better we understand the qualities and properties of numbers, the better we will understand ourselves and our place in the universe. Astrology at its core is also about numbers, most readily seen in the various aspects between planets. This branch of our celestial art is referred to as Harmonic Astrology. David Hamblin gives us a useful and in-depth narrative on this subject in Harmonic Astrology in Practice, a well-organized reference on the harmonics up to and including the thirty-first harmonic. The division of the 360º circle by various numbers produces specific, recognizable qualities that can be expressed by the astrologer as an interpretive technique. The traditional aspects are made from the first, second, third, fourth, and sixth harmonics and are respectively equivalent to the conjunction, opposition, trine, semisquare, and sextile. In this sense, astrologers are using harmonics whether they are aware of it or not. Hamblin refers to the qualities associated with a specific number by adding the suffix “-ness” to the number. So the opposition is “twoness” and the trine is associated with “threeness.” But what about “fiveness” or “sevenness”? This is the subject of Hamblin’s Harmonic Astrology in Practice as he presents his findings on all the harmonics up to “thirty-oneness.” He presents many case studies to illustrate personalities colored by the various harmonics, and from this readers will readily grasp how the harmonics play out in real life. One of the basic principles of harmonic astrology is that each prime number introduces a new quality. From this basis, the fourth harmonic is closely related to the second harmonic, while the sixth harmonic is a combination of the second and third harmonics. Not until we get to the fifth harmonic is a new quality introduced. Some astrologers recognize the fifth harmonic as the quintile and bi-quintile aspects. It’s associated with creativity and more specifically with the desire to create order out of chaos. Hamblin shows how this aspect works in the charts of several celebrities, including Nikola Tesla and Kurt Cobain. Another fundamental principle of Harmonic Astrology is that the greater the harmonic, the smaller the allowable orb. The formula is to divide the orb allowed for the conjunction by the number of the harmonic. If you allow a 10º orb for a conjunction, then by the time you get to the seventh harmonic, the allowable orb is less than 1°30’. And, of course, the tighter the orb, the more observable are the qualities associated with that harmonic. And although the author doesn’t state it directly, readers might also notice that the higher the harmonic, the more specific are the correlated qualities. For example, thirteenness is about taking risks in the search for one’s identity, seventeenness is about campaigning for a better world, and thirty-oneness is about delving into the unconscious mind. Perhaps it’s not surprising that both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung have horoscopes with strong thirty-oneness aspects. After the analysis of the individual harmonics, Hamblin presents several case studies that clarify how the number qualities work in practice. American readers will most identify with Whitney Houston’s story. She has strong patterns of fiveness, sevenness, and fifteenness (threeness plus fiveness), but no twoness, which includes the squares and oppositions in traditional terms. The positive side of twoness is that it can spur us into taking action to resolve problems, and Whitney just didn’t have this. Additional chapters on harmonics in mundane astrology, in synastry, and in transits and progressions round out the subjects covered in this exceptionally original and fascinating book. Chris Lorenz, Dell Horoscope magazine Nov/Dec 19 British astrologer David Hamblin’s new book, Harmonic Astrology in Practice, is meant as a practical companion to his earlier book, The Spirit of Numbers, published by Wessex in 2011 (and originally reviewed in the Oct./Nov. 2012 issue of TMA). Harmonic astrology is based on the inherent spiritual or essential qualities of each of the prime numbers: One is called Oneness and has a meaning distinct from Twoness, Threeness, and so on. There are many ways to apply harmonic theory; this book is focused on the harmonics of interplanetary aspects, which add great clarity and otherwise unseen detail to horoscope interpretation. The author is a precise communicator; his book is a superb guide to harmonics, beginning with three methods of using astrological software to create the Table of Harmonic Aspects, which “contains all the interplanetary harmonic aspects for the first 32 harmonics.” This is an obviously overwhelming number, but Hamblin shows how to find the aspects that “we actually want to use.” If you are new to harmonics, that may sound daunting; however, the explanations are exceptionally clear, and the book is full of wonderfully detailed examples — including case histories of Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, Malala Yousafzai, Leonard Cohen, and others. There is an elegance with harmonics. As Hamblin writes, part of his initial enthusiasm for the study was his passion “to separate the reality of what is happening in the heavens from the stories that Man has told.” (His reference here is in seeing the twelve signs and twelve houses as a “man-made system,” while the angular distance between any two positions on the circle of the zodiac is a numerical fact, not based upon which zodiac or house system we use.) David Hamblin began his study of astrology in the 1960s, working with John Addey (1920–82). Although there are parallels in the Vedic tradition, Addey introduced the concept of harmonics to Western astrology. Charles Harvey (1940 – 2000) was also an early proponent and author on the subject. Both of these gentlemen passed away at a relatively young age, and the development and the practice of harmonics have not been carried forward with the fervor of other branches of astrology. (David Hamblin himself took 20 years away from astrology, during which time he practiced psychotherapy.) David Cochrane is a notable contemporary practitioner who has collaborated with Hamblin in applying and researching harmonics. This is a textbook and guide to last a lifetime. The content includes chapters on Guidelines for Harmonic Analysis and Harmonics in Mundane Charts, as well as in synastry, in transits and progressions, and in zodiacal and diurnal circles. The book benefits from the high-quality production by Wessex. There are Appendices with Chart Data, a Harmonic Aspect Conversion Table, References (which are very specific footnotes), and an Index. The author also offers suggestions for further research and for organizing dialogue among astrologers. Hamblin is in his eighties and invites readers to communicate with him directly about their experiences in using harmonic astrology, “especially if they need help and advice in putting into practice the methods described in the book.” That, my friends, is an amazing invitation! He ends the book: “Let us not forget that the quest on which we are engaged is of cosmic importance … We are investigating the music of the spheres. Let us rejoice that we have the opportunity to do this.” Mary Plumb The Mountain Astrologer Oct/Nov 2019