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Planetary Strength - A Commentary on Morinus

Planetary Strength – A Commentary on Morinus

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This is an  intermediate level textbook on natal horoscope interpretation.  Taking as its point of departure Astrologia Gallica by Jean Baptiste Morin de Villefranche (1583 – 1656), Planetary Strength explains the differences between the strengths conferred upon planets by virtue of their aspects, sign and house placements.  A detailed system of keywords is augmented by insightful “cookbook” interpretations for each and every planetary combination. The depth and quality of the analysis – as well as the hundreds of practical examples and tips – make Planetary Strength an essential reference work which both neophyte and experienced practitioners will consult every time they read a horoscope.

Bob Makransky

Bob Makransky

Bob Makransky is a systems analyst, computer programmer, and professional astrologer. For the past 40 years he has lived on a farm in highland Guatema...

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Jean Baptiste Morin of Villefranche has been hailed as the greatest of all the French astrologers. He was a medical doctor, mathematician and astrologer. In those days, a knowledge of the stars was a prerequisite for medical school. He was the astrologer for the Bishop of Boulogne from 1613 to 1621 - yes, the church used astrologers! His system of Houses is still in use today, though not as popular as Placidus or Koch. His classic work was ASTROLOGIA GALLICA - a 26 volume tome that was published posthumously and neglected for many centuries. Only recently have some of the volumes (not all) been translated to English. There aren’t too many people alive who are qualified to write a commentary on these writings, but Bob Makransky is one of them. This book is “red meat” for the serious student. It has real nutrition. It's juicy. At times he is provocative and this is good. He forces the reader to think more deeply about basic things. As the title suggests, It is a most beautiful discussion of planetary strengths and weaknesses. It is not enough for us to know the planetary placements. This is the merest of beginnings when it comes to chart analysis, we need to know the strength of weakness of the planet. Two natives with the Sun in Aries can manifest very different qualities - because in one chart the Sun is strong, while in the other it could be weak - and so on and so forth for all the other planets in the Horoscope. His discussion of the different strengths - Celestial, Terrestrial and Aspectual - and their relative merits, is by itself worth the price of the book. I have never seen a discussion of the various combinations that happen when a planet is strong Celestially and weak Terrestrially and vice versa. But Makransky gets into these things. Each chapter contains delineations for the different scenarios - the strength of weakness of each of the planets. This gives the student much food for thought. But there is so much more here. He discusses the meanings of the Sole Dispositor, the unaspected planet, the meaning of retrogrades and stations, the synodic phases of the planets, the greatest brilliancy, and the meaning of the fixed stars when a planet is conjunct. You come away from this with an appreciation of the nuances in a Horoscope. The chart is infinite. There are so many nuances - nuances upon nuances - that in the end it is like a piece of music - something you experience on a non-verbal level. From this infinity the Astrologer must “extract” the data that will be most useful to the client at that time. This is the real art of Astrology. We must make the Infinite finite and the Law of Functional Relevance must be our guide. Can we quibble with the author here and there? For sure. Some of his remarks - especially about the retrogrades and unaspected planets - are sure to ignite controversy in the astrological world. Any work by a seminal writer such as he is, will inevitably generate controversy and debate. But this is a good. Everyone will have to think more deeply on the subject. New knowledge and insight will arise. All the different positions will be seen more clearly. The book is beautifully written. With Makransky, whether you agree or disagree is not the issue - you will always get a good read. It is clear. He has done his homework. He makes the genius of Morinus accessable to english speakers. He shows us how to “think astrologically”. If you are a beginner I would pass on this book. But if you are a serious student and want to go deeper, this is a must read. Joe Polansky Diamond Fire magazine

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