Predictive Techniques of the Greek, Arabic & Indian Astrologers by Martin Gansten – Book Review

ANNUAL PREDICTIVE TECHNIQUES OF THE GREEK, ARABIC & INDIAN ASTROLOGERS By Marin Gansten. The Wessex Astrologer, PO Box 9307, Swanage BH19 9BF, England. Trade Paper. 194 Pages. Appendixes and Glossary. £17.50. $24.50,

This book is definitely not for the casual reader. It is steeped in scholarship. The author is a first rate scholar of the ancient astrological texts. One reading is definitely not enough. Multiple readings will be necessary to penetrate what he is saying here. The publishers say that it is suitable for the intermediate student, but I’m not so sure. I think it is for advanced students.

Basically he shows how forecasting was done by the ancients. And, since even the ancient authorities were often in disagreement (not too much different from today) he espouses his own methods based on their writings.

He uses Primary Directions in forecasting. One degree of movement of the Ascendant equals one year of life. Thus in the 1st 6 hours after birth the entire destiny of the life is revealed. I wanted to follow his discussion using Primary Directions, but my software doesn’t even give this option. Happily he shows to get around this in the appendix.

Though the 1st 6 hours after birth don’t product much change with the planetary positions (probably this is why it is out of favor in modern times) – only the Moon will move a few degrees – by directing the Ascendant through the different terms of its sign, the flavor of the age can be seen. And, since each term has a different Lord (with different aspects and positions) one can get a good idea of what is going on internally in the native’s life.

But here we encounter another problem. First off there is no consensus on the terms of each sign. They are of unequal lengths as well. Secondly I didn’t grasp the philosophical underpinnings of these terms. For example in our system of decanates, there is much logic to it. Every sign has 3 decanates each of the same triplicity. But here the terms seem to make no sense. Why is the 1st term of Aries Jupiter? The 2nd Venus? The 3rd Mercury? On what basis are these assigned? I’m sure the ancients had some rationale for this, but I didn’t grasp it.

But in forecasting he doesn’t stop there. Every period of life has a chronocrator – a time lord. This is a kin to the Bhuktis of Indian Astrology. This adds flavor to the reading. As these time lords are in effect for many years. If someone has Jupiter as a chronocrator, the transits and aspects of Jupiter take on more prominence.

There is more too. Every years there is a different profection. One moves the Ascendant, by 30 degrees (in other words a whole sign) and the Lord of the sign is the profection for the year. The sign and house it is in and the aspects it receives takes on more significance.

Then there is the Solar Return chart. He casts it for the place of birth. Again I have a problem with this. Does this logic apply to Natal charts too? If someone’s home is Shanghai, for example, but Mom was traveling at the time of birth and the child is born in London. Do we cast the Natal chart for Shanghai or London. I would cast it for London, the place where the birth actually occurred. The same, it seems to me, holds true for a Solar Return. Some of the ancients agree with this, but not all, and not the author.

So, the study of the Solar Return (he calls it the revolution) is another factor in forecasting the events of the year.

In part two of the book he takes all this data and shows how it is used in actual charts. I tried to follow by casting the charts myself, but I got wildly different charts – even accounting for precession. So either I’m doing something wrong, or there are some mistakes in the data given. I did however cast the chart for Lisa Marie Presley. I looked at it from our modern perspective – using the tropical zodiac and secondary progressions. And sure enough it was not a surprise that she was destined for wealth. Inheritance is also there. She has Jupiter, Pluto (the planet of inheritance) and the Arabian Part of Fortune in the money house. At age 25 Jupiter was making beautiful aspects to the financial planet. In the progressed Horoscope her Sun, the financial planet, was in the 8th house of inheritance. By profection Mercury is the financial planet and he too is in the 8th house of inheritance.

In Chapter 9 he further refines the forecasting by isolating monthly profections and transits to planets and houses.

This book is not only good for anyone who wants to learn more about forecasting, but also for those who want to learn more about medieval astrology, His knowledge is encyclopediac. This is not a book that you just “read” – you must study it, immerse yourself in it, if you want to derive the full benefit

In spite of my minor quibbling (every astrologer evolves his or her own way of reading and forecasting) this is a serious work and well worth researching.