Book review: Mundane Astrology
Mundane Astrology – An Introduction to Astrology of Nations and Groups, published for the first time in 1984, is a comprehensive book of 523 pages, written by Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion and Charles Harvey. Nicholas Campion is also the author of The Book of World Horoscopes and The Practical Astrologer, while Charles Harvey, a former president of the Astrological Association, is the co-author of Working with Astrology.
The authors start with an invitation to use mundane astrology, named Forward, where mundane astrology is presented as a valuable instrument, with which they successfully predicted major events like the death of Brezhnev from November 1982, the death of Yury Andropov from February 1984, the dissolution of the Soviet Union from 1989, the progress of Spain from the late 80’s, the Pakistan military coup from 6 August 1990 etc. It is quite impressive and succeeds in making the readers interested about the book and anxious to find out how the authors made so many accurate predictions.
Part 1 – The Background
Chapter 1 – The Development of Mundane Astrology from the Babylonians to the Arabs is a very well documented essay about the early history of astrology starting from Mesopotamia through Greece, Egypt, Persia, Italy, until the Arabic world. The specific context of each period and area in which astrology developed is described in detail using plenty of historical, social, political and philosophical arguments.
Chapter 2 – The History of Mundane Astrology in Europe presents the evolution of astrology, mainly in the medieval era, marked by different periods of ups and downs like the regression from the 5-8 centuries AD caused by the rise of Christianity, the flourishing period from the 16-19 centuries which started in the 8th century in France, in the reign of Charlemagne, or the restrictive period from the 16-19 centuries AD started with the Church Reformation initiated by Luther which created a more and more difficult climate for astrology. The overall conclusion is that astrology played an important role being used by the most important people in almost every period.
Collective unconscious and archetype in astrology
In Chapter 3 – Mundane Astrology and the Collective, Michael Baigent uses the Jungian terms collective unconscious and archetype (pattern of emotional and mental behaviour) to explain the psychology of masses and to give some advices about how a mundane chart can work. His conclusions, after this impressive chapter, are:
“1. The mass can act as an individual. 2. The mass is more fated than an individual. 3. Natal and mundane astrology bear the same relationship to each other as do the individual and the mass – they are at the opposite ends of the same spectrum. 4. A state is a expression of the mass, usually centered about a leadership. 5. The birth time of a state is that point when the new leadership takes power.”
In Chapter 4 – The National Horoscope: Mundane Astrology and Political Theory, Nicholas Campion presents different theories used to determine the appropriate time when a state is created and the natal chart can be erected.
Part 2 – The Material
In Chapter 5 – The Great Year the author shows how different cultures computed the Great Year which is the Year of the Universe. The first was the Assyrian Great Year of 12.960.000 years, then the Platonic Great Year of 36.000 years, the Arabic Great Year of 360.000 years, the Indian, European and Precessional year. Different cultures, different techniques. The only thing which is sure is that we won’t find the answer in this life. Let’s pass to the next chapter.
Chapter 6 – Cycles in Astrology
In the first part of the chapter The Concept of Cycles the author explains why cycles hold such an important place in philosophy and astrology. Starting with Plato and finishing with John Addey, the parent of harmonics in astrology, cycles were fundamental to understanding life and time, or, better expressed, the space-time relation. In astrology a conjunction is the beginning of a cycle, a trine is a phase of harmony in the cycle, an opposition represents the fruit which was promised at the beginning. In life a breath is a cycle, night and day are cycles, a year is a cycle, everything is formed by cycles.
I think this view helps us understand better the events in mundane astrology because we can place them in different phases of cycles. In this way we can see what is the past and what is the future of a certain type of event. Let’s see a quotation:
“Cycles are described as the means by which the enfolded, infinite and eternal potentiality of all ideas is unfolded in the dimension of Time. […] Indeed, if time were not in some way related to eternity, and both to the idea of cycles, the very act of attempting to make astrological forecasts would be illusory. […] Correctly read, the chart for the beginning of any cycle contains within it all that will subsequently unfold in time.”
In the second part of the chapter The Planetary Cycles and their Interpretation one can find the interpretations for the major astrological cycles Neptune – Pluto (492 years), Uranus – Neptune (172 years), Uranus – Pluto (127 years), Saturn – Uranus (45 years), Saturn – Neptune (36 years), Saturn – Pluto (33 years), Jupiter – Saturn (20 years), Jupiter – Uranus (14 years), Jupiter – Neptune (13 years), Jupiter – Pluto (12 years), for some little cycles like Sun – Jupiter, Sun – Saturn and, also, a detailed example of cycles in mundane astrology in an analyze of the assassination of J. F. Kennedy. In conclusion, I can say that is a very well written chapter with plenty of valuable information that will satisfy even the most critical reader.
In Chapter 7 – The Planets and Chapter 8 – The Houses and Signs the authors presents shortly (20 pages) the signification of planets, houses and signs in mundane astrology. It is something like:
“Pluto represents all things which are hidden and secretive in a society. Perhaps we could say that it rules the shadow of the collective. From the trivial level of sewerage workers, pot holers and archeologists, we can move to the more sinister level of secret police, organized crime, and all self-destructive impulses. It rules what Jung called psychotic outbreaks in the collective unconscious.”
Part 3 – The Techniques
In Chapter 9 – Ingresses, Lunations, Eclipses, Charles Harvey states very clear that ingresses and lunations give weak results in mundane astrology. He quotes Charles Carter and Andre Barbault, two of the most important mundane astrologers, which have the same opinion. On the other side, eclipses and the natal charts are instruments much more reliable for predictions and seem to give better results. I believe this is an interesting classification which should be remembered by astrologers.
Chapter 10 – Where on Earth: Astrocartography
In this chapter Charles Harvey presents some techniques used in mundane astrology to find the place where the events will happen. The first one, Astrocartography (ACG), shows the places where a planet is on angles (ASC, MC, DESC, IC) and is pretty easy to use with a computer software. Like with ingresses and lunations, the author warns us not to expect very good results, because it is not so simple as it seems. Sometimes the prediction pass, sometimes not. We should use more techniques to find a reliable prediction.
The second method (Chapter 11) proposed by the author is to find the earth areas which correspond to every zodiacal sign. The principle “as above, as below” implies that every zodiacal degree should have a precise geographically pair on earth, so a planet at 10 degrees in Libra, for example, will be felt in the corresponding place. The main systems of this kind, produced by astrologers in time, are: the Ptolomaic Allocations, de Boulainviller’s World Zodiac, Sepharial’s Geodetic Equivalents, the Hamburg School Friedrich/Grimm method, Johndro’s locality angles, the Great Pyramid Base Line of Williams, Hans Andersen, Ritter’s Cosmogeography, the Time System of Wise, Hitschler’s method.
The third method (Chapter 12) is to use the charts of towns, but there is one big problem: for the most of cities we don’t know the time of creation, the natal chart. The solution, a compromise used by astrologers, is to study many important events from the town’s history and to identify some important degrees in the zodiac which give results. The author gives examples of such sensitive degrees where probably are important points from the natal chart: Frankfurt – 4 Virgo/Pisces, 21 Leo/Aquarius, Bristol – 15 Taurus, 26 Leo and Vienna – 13-14 Cancer, 10-11 Libra. The conclusion of this chapter is that it’s difficult. It is difficult to find the place where a specific event will happen. But, this is normal. Only a innocent child would believe that it’s easy.
Chapter 13 – Other Techniques
“Charles Carter considered that the chart of national leaders, together with the chart of the nation itself, where the times of these are accurately known, constitute by far the most reliable basis for mundane forecasting. They certainly represent the whole “inner” aspect of forecasting and must therefore constitute one half of the process of preparing a forecast.”
This is the idea accepted by the author who presents some examples for the charts of national leaders and their countries: Hitler and Germany, Kennedy and U.S.A., Margaret Thatcher and U.K. Then, are presented other techniques, not so often used, like: declination cycles, degree areas, degree symbols, fixed stars, the galactic centre, the supper galactic center, the solar apex, heliocentric astrology, asteroids, new year charts, horoscopes of centuries etc. It is an area of astrology where many explanations, more or less reliable, can be found and, how the author realistically notes:
“The ex post facto explanation of world events probably employs more different techniques than any other area of astrology. Retrospective analyzes of earthquakes, sudden national upheavels, and the latest eye-catching headline call out methods which are rarely heard of when forecasts are being made.”
Chapter 14 – The Astrology of War and Peace: a Study of the Second World War
In Part 1 – Collective Pressure, Michael Baigent presents the transits of the outer planets Uranus and Pluto as significators of the events which occurred in Poland and Germany, mostly between 1920-1932. The charts of Poland, erected for 14 November 1918, 9:30 GMT (unfortunately not presented in The Book of World Horoscopes) and Germany (30 January 1933, 11:00 MET) responded very well to transits, as one can see in the period March – May 1926 when General Pilsudsky entered Warsaw and took power and Uranus was conjunct the natal Moon of Poland or when Germany invaded Poland (June 1939 – August 1940) and Uranus was in opposition with the natal Sun of Poland and conjunct with the natal Ascendant of Germany. These are some very good examples presented by Michael Baigent, as one can find in all his chapters from this book.
In Part 2 – The Cyclical Background, Charles Harvey analyzes the connections between the charts of Hitler, the Third Reich and the German Empire to show how the aspirations of the German Empire found a way to manifest through Hitler. Then follows a complex analyze of the World War II where the author uses midpoints, planetary cycles, the Aries ingresses of 1939 – 1945 and the multiple conjunctions between Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus.
In Part 3 – Astrological Timing, Nicholas Campion presents the relation between different charts of the World War II, this time emphasizing the position of angles. One can find here the charts for Hitler’s order to invade Poland (31 August 1939, 12:30 MET, Berlin), the first shot in WW II (1 September 1939, 04:17 MET, Danzig) and the final surrender of all German forces (8 May 1945, 24:00, MET, Berlin).
Chapter 15 – The Astrology of Nations
In this chapter the authors make short analyzes for the national charts of The European Community (1 January 1958, 00:00 MET, Brussels), The United Kingdom (1 January 1801, 00:00 LT, Westminster), Ireland (24 April 1916, Dublin), Germany (2/3 October 1990, Midnight, Berlin), France (6 October 1958, 18:20 MET, Paris), Italy (10 June 1946, 18:00 LT, Rome), Spain (22 November 1975, 12:45 MET, Madrid), Hungary (23 October 1989, Noon MET, Budapest), Poland (24 August 1989, 13:05 LT, Warsaw), Russia (8 November 1917, 2:12 am LT), China (1 October 1949, 15:15 LT, Peking), Japan (3 January 1868, Noon LT, Tokyo), Middle East (25 April 1920, 11:12 MET, San Remo), United States (4 July 1776, 17:10 LMT, Philadelphia), Australia (1 January 1901, 00:00 EST, Melbourne), New Zealand, South Africa.
MY EVALUATION: 9,5
Conclusion. “Mundane Astrology” by Michael Baigent, Nicholas Campion and Charles Harvey is generally accepted as the best and most comprehensive book of mundane astrology that we have nowadays. The authors present many techniques, but in a realistic manner, trying to focus the reader on those concepts which give results. This is a very good approach! The theoretical part is very well balanced by many examples, especially from the World War II, which are so clear presented that surely will make the reader say “this thing really works!”. I can’t say anything else than to invite everyone who studies mundane astrology to read this masterpiece which will prove to be the best study material on the subject. In the final, a big “Thank you!” for the authors – 9,5.