I recently acquired a copy of Anthony Louis’, “The Art of Forecasting using Solar Returns” *. The blurb on the book said, “…the reader…[is provided]… with a solid historical background on the technique and lays out clearly how Morin, one of the greatest astrologers of all time, used it in the 17th century. He then proceeds to test this methodology rigorously…” My curiosity was aroused, and so I bought the book.
Let me warn you. Anthony Louis is a modern astrologer, so one has to make some amends. On the whole the book has a systematic approach, which is to be commended. There are highlights, but I was disappointed with the judgement of the charts. The author makes extensive use of modern rulerships (Uranus co-ruler of Aquarius. etc.) and signification. For a rigorous application of Morin’s method I would have expected the use of the traditional rulerships first and then if at all necessary then the use of the outer planets, and if one really must then modern signification. For how can one test the method when one doesn’t apply the means used by Morin? Morin was a great proponent for astrological purity, and he wasn’t squeamish in denouncing anything that he thought absurd. The outer planets have a strange fascination. I don’t want to condemn their use, but it seems that they are overrated and that the fascination with them quite often sets up a barrier to “seeing” the more traditional testimonies, testimonies that sometimes are much more significant and have greater weight.
An example: The author looks at the primary directions and the solar return chart for the year that the initial draft of the book was made. A very good idea and methodically correct, as the determinations of the solar return are underlined further when there are also primary directions also involved. The following primary directions are listed:
- Jupiter directed sextile to radix Jupiter, L3 radix
- Saturn L10 directed trine to radix Jupiter
- Pluto directed sextile to radix Mercury, L9 radix
Then the solar return activations are given:
- Venus (s.r.) L1 conjunct Jupiter (s.r.) L9 (s.r.)
- Mars radix is in 9, Mars (s.r.) is in 1
- Mars radix L2 and L7 conjunct cusp 3 (s.r.)
- Mars (s.r.) in 8 radix
- Sun (s.r.) conjuncts Moon (s.r.) in 5
The first two primary directions listed can have some relevance, but I find that it is stretching it to consider, “Pluto, a general significator of in-depth research” ( p. 168 ) especially when Saturn L10 of the solar return conjuncts the Moon L10 of the radix! Of the listed solar return activations I think the first is the most relevant, the other four are secondary. What is overlooked is the conjunction of the antiscion of Mercury L3 (s.r.) with the Ascendant (s.r.) particularly since Mercury is L9 of the radix. Mercury (s.r.) is also close to conjunction with its radix position. Now that has to do with writing!!
Another example: On pp. 105-107 the charts of Rachel Corrie are discussed. Here the author brings the lunar return before the death of Rachel Corrie into the discussion. Again methodically a very good idea.
Here the determinations given by the author:
- Libra Asc (s.r.) on radix 8
- Venus L8 radix in 8 (s.r.) conjunct radix Emerson’s Part of Death
- Mars (s.r.) L8 square Uranus (s.r.) radix Ascendant is Aquarius
- Moon (s.r.) in 6 square Saturn L 4/5(s.r.) L1 radix and Pluto which is in radix 8 ,the author notes that a similar t-square between Moon, Saturn and Pluto is also in the lunar return
The given lunar return determinations are:
- Jupiter L1 (l.r.) is in 9 of (l.r.) square radix Emerson’s part of Death
- Jupiter L1 (l.r.) in opposition to Neptune (l.r.) Pisces is on the IC of lunar return
- Jupiter (l.r.) semisquare Moon L8 (l.r.)
- above mentioned T-square, Saturn (l.r.) conjuncts Mars (l.r.)
- Sun (l.r.) conjuncts Uranus (l.r.) in house 3 (l.r.)
For the solar return only two connections with the radix are given. The square of Mars to Uranus and the connections with the Emerson Part of Death are used as the main determinations. What the author ignores is that there is a very important radix return determination (Morin would immediately have seen this) and that is Saturn L1 radix almost exactly conjunct the 12th house cusp of the return chart. The antiscion of radix Saturn is conjunct Mercury L12 of the solar return chart and this within 5 degrees of the 8th house cusp of the return chart. Saturn in the lunar return chart conjuncts the South Node in the solar return chart. The conjunction of the antiscion of Mars to the Moon in the radix chart isn’t mentioned, but it is this that is activated by the square of Mars L12 (l.r.) to the Moon L8 (l.r.) That Saturn also is part of the T-square makes it even more critical. Again, in comparison, the outers are not that significant.
Facit: if you are a traditional astrologer the book gives a good and concise summary of Morin’s method and the many thematically well chosen example charts alone make the book of value. The only deficit is that you will have to examine each chart independently, as the author’s interpretations are interesting if you want to see what a modern astrologer does with a traditional method, but they often do not get to the core of the charts. Perhaps the time will come when the author will also engage traditional methods with traditional means, and the result should truly be a book well worth reading.
* Anthony Louis, “The Art of Forecasting using Solar Returns”
published 2008 by The Wessex Astrologer Ltd.