Classical Astrology


astrologyThis book, published in 1996 by Whitford Press, presents a wide range of classical astrology techniques with the aim to “radically improve Astrology”. At least this is wrote on the cover…


The first 4 chapters (1.Introduction: Why Classical?, 2.Have you forgotten what the Sky looks at night? The Babylonian Captivity, 3. Elements, Qualities and Triplicities, 4. Historical Context: From the Fall of Rome to the End of Renaissance) are really boring. You can find here some history, definitions, generalities bit won’t take long and you will think something like “Are there any more pages until this chapter will end?”. I don’t say it is not good to know what is in that book but, it is not easy to read, a lot of pages are not relevant for the subject and the book is not coming with something new, useful, something that will bring an important improvement to your practical astrology.


Let us go back to the book. After the introductory chapters comes Chapter 5 – Essential Dignities and Chapter 6 – Accidental Dignities.  I believe these are the best chapters from the book (she wrote a whole book about dignities: Essential Dignities). One can find here tables with both Egyptian and Chaldean terms and the almuten for every degree. I think that’s useful. Also, some examples: the charts of Nicholas II, Mary Godwin Wollstonecraft Shelley and Prince Charles.


In chapter 6 the accidental dignities are very well grouped after the House placement (angular, succedent, cadent), motion (swift, slow, direct, retrograde), oriental and accidental (for superior planets is better to be oriental, for inferior planets occidental), closeness to the Sun (cazimi, combust, under the Sun`s beams), the Moon increasing or decreasing in light, aspects to malefic and benefic planets and conjunctions to fixed stars. I like this chapter.


Chapter 7: Everything you ever wanted to know about sect… is not “everything” about sect, not even close. But, you will find here some general theory that will help to use sect. For something closer to this “everything about sect” read “Night and Day: Planetary Sect in Astrology” by Robert Hand.


Chapter 8 is about the Part of Fortune and chapter 9 is called “When a quincunx is not inconjunct”. Not interesting…


Chapter 10. The Nodal Cycle: from Ptolemy to Rudhyar presents the relation between the Lunar Nodes and the Moon. This is a very nice chapter where you will find the interpretation for the conjunction, opposition, square of the Moon with the Nodes. For example:


“When the Moon is conjunct South Node, the hero is the dictator for the collective. […] Lenin, like Hitler (another South Node type) was supremely confident in his own vision.”


Basically, the idea is that the Moon at Node North begins a new cycle, creates a “new system”, then in the journey to the South Node it is systematizing and building it and, at the South Node, reach a stage of successful development and supremely confidence. After this, from the South to the North Node are the processes of elimination and restructuring.


Then it comes Chapter 11: What is Mutual Reception, anyway?, Chapter 12: The Ancient Medical Model, Chapter 13: How to Read a House, Chapter 14: Profections and Chaper 15: Changes. About profections, I must say that seems awkward. The idea is that every house gives predictions for a year of life (house 1 – age 0, house 2 – age 1, …., house 12 – age 11, house 1 – age 12 and so on) but I don’t think it really works. We don’t even know what is the best house system… I don’t see the philosophical explanation for this system and, you know, that almost everything must have an explanation! Though, I accept there are things we can not yet understand I think this is not the case.




Conclusion. It is a big book! Has 350 pages…and you will find here many techniques and many explanations. But after you read it I don’t think you’ll have more than 2 or 3 ideas to apply to your practical astrology. If you should buy it? I don’t know… Probably, if you are a person that reads a lot of astrology you should buy it, but, if you don’t have much time for astrology you should not waste your money. I think 6,5 is a proper evaluation for this book. 

Essential Dignities

essential dignitiesThis is the second book wrote by Lee Lehman and presents in a very detailed manner the astrological dignities. It was published in 1989 by Whitford Press.

In Chapter 1 – Two Unsung Revolutions in Astrology the author explains how the Copernican Revolution changed the way astrologers understand dignities. At page 18 one can find a table with traditional and modern essential dignities.

Chapter 2 – Using Traditional Rulerships

Here you’ll find many practical examples of charts analyzed using traditional dignities. There are presented five countries (Confederate States of America, Italy, Iran, Switzerland, USSR), five corporations (General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, Pepsi), five individuals (Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, Doyle Arthur, Niccolo Machiavelli, Mark Twain) and one horary chart.

Of course, it is always nice to see how the theory applies in practice, but I was expecting from these examples to emphasize the different results which appears when analyzing the charts with traditional and modern dignities. Unfortunately, this is not happening, the charts are analyzed using only traditional dignities.

In Chapter 3 – The Origin of Rulerships: A Botanical Interlude you can find out which planer or sign rules every planet. You’ll see that onion is ruled by Mars, beans by Venus, holly by Saturn etc. Also, there is a table with the medicinal uses of Jupiter– ruled plants. I didn’t test these, but it may be helpful.

Chapter 4 – Modern “Rulerships”: Do They Work?

The author is trying to prove that modern rulerships aren’t working well and to find arguments. She points out that:

“when modern astrologers discuss the modern rulerships the criterion appears to be: Which body (planet, asteroid or comet) has qualities which most resembles the sign in question?”

So, modern rulerships are assigned counting if a planet qualities are similar with the sign qualities and not looking at the planet strength in a sign. See another quotation:

“We haven’t any evidence that the ancients thought that Pisces and Jupiter were synonymous. It was a question of the strength of Jupiter in Pisces, not the similarity of Jupiter and Pisces.”

Now, I think the idea is pretty clear. I must say that I totally agree with this point of view.

Then the charts of Marie Curie, Jeddu Krishnamurti, Adolf Hitler and Death of Dracula are analyzed. This time, Lee Lehman makes an analogy between the charts interpretations with modern and traditional rulerships. The results are pretty good and the lecture enjoyable.

Only one problem, from my point of view. It is analyzed the chart “Death of Dracula”, where Lee writes things like: “I have been fascinated by charts of people who are, so to speak, energy sucks”, “Scorpio Sun (life of the vampire)”, etc. Hei, I am from Romania and I tell you there is no vampire. Dracula is just a myth assigned to a Romanian prince, Vlad III of Wallachia. It is true that he was cruel and liked to kill people by impaling them on a sharp pole, but everything else is imagination.

Chapter 5 – The Meaning of Each of the Essential Dignities

 In this chapter you’ll find some general characteristics for the five essential dignities: ruler, exaltation, triplicity, term and face. At page 127 is a table with key words associated with these dignities. Starting from these key words Lee Lehman gives many descriptive explanations for dignities, but it just seems to much! There are the same things explained over and over again, it seemed pretty boring to me.

dignities table

In Chapter 6 – A Statistical Interlude the author is trying to determine the influence of terms (both Chaldean and Egyptian) making a few tests. She selected a number of charts from different categories (suicide, scientist, sport champions) and counted the terms for each planet.

In the final, we can see that the planet that rules the category (for example, Mars for sport champions) obtained more points that usually, on a normal pattern. Even the results apparently validates the importance of terms I won’t give to much credit to such a test. Why? Because I don’t see terms so important to determine a person belong to a category or another. For example, more points in the term of Saturn won’t drive you to suicide because can be many other (not even major) aspects that can change this influence.

Probably, I just don’t believe terms are so important an if Lee Lehman is making those test it is clear that she also has doubts.

Chapter 7 – Detriment, Falls and Peregrines means several pages where you can find short descriptions for every planet detriment and fall.

In Chapter 8 – Conclusions there are the final words.


Conclusion. If I would have to say quickly, at my first impression, some words about this book I think would be: “too much noise for nothing”. But, then, if you think for a moment you realize that you can’t say “for nothing” because dignities are a very important part in astrology and one could write a whole interesting book about this subject.

So, back to my reasoning, why this impression? Why “too much noise for nothing?”.  Maybe, because this book presents shortly the five dignities associated with some main characteristics, ideas repeated in different chapters, but the rest of the book is somewhat near the subject.

You can read about history, botany, statistics, all connected with dignities, but the book doesn’t seem to touch the essential points. It is a surface play. It doesn’t have those clear, rational statements that gives you a better understanding of the subject.

If  a medium astrologer reads this book I don’t think will have much to learn and to integrate in his astrological system. Maybe I am a little too harsh, but it is my purpose here to criticize and to present a clear point of view about the astrological books I read. My evaluation is 6.