Book review: Predictive Astrology- The Eagle and the Lark
Bernadette Brady is an Australian astrologer who lives in Bristol, UK. She wrote Star and Planet Combinations (2008), Astrology – a Place of Chaos (2006), Predictive Astrology (1999), Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars (1998) and received the Charles Harvey Award (2006).
Predictive Astrology – The Eagle and the Lark (1999), probably her most appreciated book, is a revised and updated version of the textbook The Eagle and the Lark (1992). She was distinguished with the Spica Astrology Award for the best astrological book in 1999.
Instead of preface we have the story of the Eagle and the Lark. Through this fable, Bernadette warns us that only with intuition (the lark) we can’t reach a high level in astrology, we also need the eagle (science, logic, techniques) which this book represents. Another idea emphasized by the author, essential in predictive astrology, is the relation between fate and free will. For example, if you want to predict an event for a person and believe in free will, then you realize that you might be wrong! Because she can choose how to act, therefore is not perfectly predictable. So, this is a very sensitive point in astrology.
Chapter 1. The Alphabet
Here are presented specific keywords and characteristics (adjusted for predictive work) for the planets, planetary pairs, angles, planetary cycles, aspects, houses and transits. Is not much, but I think there are some useful guidelines for understanding the main idea. Especially, I like the explanations for aspects (conjunction, opposition, square, semi-square, sesquiquadrate, trine, sextile, semi-sextile, quincunx).
Chapter 2. Working with Transits
In the first part of the chapter, the author presents an original method which should be useful for interpreting the meaning of transits. The planets and their natal houses symbolize the cause, the current transited house symbolize the main arena of action and the houses ruled by the planets symbolize the consequences. I think this scheme is valuable and brings to attention another important rule for transits: when a transit occurs, always look at the relation of the planets in the natal chart (aspect, sign and houses). For example, if you have a trine in natal chart a square in transit won’t be powerful, but if you have an opposition or square he will be strongly felt, making you remember what he symbolize. Because, even the natal aspect has a constant effect in the day to day life, the peaks of his manifestation are when he is reinforced by transits or progressions.
Back to the book, we can see how this grid imagined by Bernadette Brady is applying in specific situations when signs are intercepted or when appear multiple transits. After that, you can read a case study on Joan of Arc chart. I found this example quite interesting!
The chapter ends with a part named Feedback of Failure, where the author identifies four possible reasons for failure in predictive astrology: incorrect birth time, wrong house system, incorrect rulerships, wrong techniques. For the first case, if the birth time has an error of maximum 60 minutes the author advise us to use transit of slower moving planets over the Cross of Matter (ASC-DC and MC-IC axis) to rectify the chart and presents a practical example using the chart of Thomas Edison. For the second cause, wrong house system, the author propose some strange ideas, from my perspective. She writes:
“some people are Placidus people, while some people are Koch people, and so on.”
advising us to use a different house system for every person if this is necessary. I think this is wrong! We must find a house system that works in general and not to change the house system for every person, trying to find which system is good for you, which one for me and so on.
The other causes for predictive astrology failure don’t get to much attention from the author.
Chapter 3. Secondary Progressions
This chapter starts with:
“The next tool that we have to add to the equipment of the predictive astrologer is that of secondary progressions”
and the idea that secondary progressions are the most popular. I can tell the same thing because I found secondary progressions to give good results almost every time. Also, seems more “natural” to move the planets after day-for-a year formula (secondary progressions) than to move them with 1 degree each year (primary directions) or, more exactly, the apparent daily motion of the Sun. Why to move all planets with the apparent daily motion of the Sun? Isn’t normal to equate a year with a day and to move the planets with the distance covered by themselves in that day? For me, it seems right to choose secondary progressions. In the same time, I must admit that I had good results with primary directions too. Bernadette Brady don’t tell anything about primary directions, in this book. It is clear that she, also, prefer secondary progressions.
She separates progressions in two types: chart related and non-chart related. She believes that non-chart related progressions (aspects with other progressed planets or progressed planets changing sign, direction) generates action from deep inside, determined by faith and intuition, while chart related progressions (aspects with natal chart) gives events when you let the world change yourself. It is a pretty weird hypothesis… I don’t find the reason behind it. Then, there are some practical examples on the char
t of Joan of Arc. Also, the author writes about the orb used for progressions, suggesting that should be about 1 degree.
In the final part of the chapter are presented the interpretations of the progressed planets in signs, houses and aspects with the natal planets. I like this in this chapter the part with progressed lunar phases: New Moon (0-45 degrees), Crescent (45-90 degrees), 1st Quarter (90-135 degrees), Gibbous (135-180 degrees), Full Moon (180-135 degrees), Disseminating (135-90 degrees), 3rd Quarter (90-45 degrees), Balsamic (45-0 degrees). These pages are very useful because presents aspects that always have a great influence in any chart.
In Chapter 4. Time Maps is presented a technique which should help you use and combine the predictive methods. It is something very easy, you should just draw on a page the months and the astrological periods of transits, progressions, eclipses etc. for a better visualization of the aspects involved. See the practical examples on the following charts: Marie Curie (also presented in Essential Dignities) , Napoleon Bonaparte, Elizabeth- Daughter of Henry VIII, King Edward VIII of Great Britain and Elizabeth Barett Browning. Those case studies are thoroughly analyzed (cover 35 pages) and present a detailed situation, showing the way in which the author conceives and judges time maps. Clear, useful information and, in the same time, an example, even a standard, of how to use more predictive techniques together to analyze a time period.
Chapter 5. Eclipses and the Saros Cycles
The author starts by presenting eclipses like an unpredictable territory, because , most of the time an eclipse occurs, one can’t say if it will have good or bad results and when the effect will be seen. The conclusion is that we should have a good lark (intuition)! Still, we can improve our results by doing a few things: analyze the house of the eclipse, understand the geometry of the eclipses, lunar nodes and the Saros cycles.
The Saros cycle is rarely used in astrology, but I think it is very interesting and can add valuable indications. The idea is that each eclipse belong to a series of eclipses which last for approximately 1300 years, generating one eclipse at 18 years. Each series has a pattern, generating a specific type of events. So, if we understand what is the theme, the pattern of the cycle we will have an inestimable source of information.
The author propose us 2 ways to discover the main characteristics of a Saros series: analyzing the mother chart (the chart of the first eclipse of the series) or choosing a kind of events and checking if it has a specific Saros series associated. In Appendix you can find all the Saros series and the chart of their first eclipses. Those charts are briefly analyzed, the author trying to give us some guidelines. It is an interesting subject that isn’t presented in many books. I hope that more astrologers will research and write about the Saros series in the future, because I think it worth.
In Chapter 6. Older Systems are presented other astrological predictive techniques like: ingresses, planetary returns, planetary arcs, midpoints. I think the Solar Return should had a more important position in this book, I wouldn’t see it to “older systems”.
MY EVALUATION: 8,9
Conclusion. It is a good book with useful techniques, clearly presented. Whoever will read “Predictive Astrology – The Eagle and the Lark” will understand easily the concepts and will be able to apply them. Also, in my opinion, all the astrological techniques from this book are working. I mean it is not a book where you’ll find all kind of astrological systems, more or less efficient, but one who presents few astrological methods which give good results. I think this is a good approach.
Another impressive aspect is that the book contains all the basic material needed for predictions: the main characteristics for planets, aspects, houses, signs, Saros series, all adjusted for predictive astrology. My evaluation is 8,9.