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Morin Misunderstands But Does Not Dissappoint

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Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:36 pm    Post subject: Morin Misunderstands But Does Not Dissappoint Reply with quote

I was using Morin to discuss besiegement by aspect in Hillary Clinton’s chart in a post elsewhere. I thought I’d pass along something I found that is more general in application (if anyone decides to use it at all) and non-political. My intent, in addition to general information and why we should be careful reading old authorities, is for those who might only have Book 21 of Astrologia Gallica and might assume when he uses words we are familiar with, he must mean that word the way we understand it. Usually that's correct, but not always.

In my reading of Book 16 of AG, I came across Morin’s explanation of a partile aspect. I learned something about this from the footnotes written by the translator, the ever resourceful and seriously missed late James Holden.

The word ‘partile’ means “by the degree.” So we’re taught that a partile aspect is one in which the degrees are the same. So Mars at 15 Scorpio 15 is in partile square to Jupiter at 15 Taurus 22. This definition doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If Mars is at 15 Scorpio 00’ 00’ and Jupiter is at 15 Taurus 59’ 59” they are said to be in partile aspect even though they are one second of arc shy of one full degree orb. Yet if Mars is 15 Scorpio 59’ 59” and Jupiter is 16 Taurus 00’ 00” the aspect is not partile even though they are only one second separated.

So when I came across Morin’s discussion of partile on page 78 of Book 16, I was a bit disoriented at first. That’s another way of saying I had no idea what he was talking about when he wrote: “And so, the partile conjunction of two planets is when their places in the Primum Mobile are not distant between themselves wider in the circle drawn through both of their centers than the combination of the apparent semi-diameters of those planets.”

Got it?

This is not the place nor do I have the inclination go into a full explanation of the above, complete with lengthy quotes. When he says “apparent semi-diameters” I believe he is referring to their apparent size in the sky expressed in degrees (fractions of degrees really). I’ll get to those in a minute. His numbers are off from what is generally accepted today – astronomy has come a long way since the mid-17th century. Morin argues that the ancients used partile aspects to indicate that the planets involved were “glued together.” This is an acknowledgement that the tighter the aspect the stronger it is, therefore the tightest aspect produces the strongest effects. Morin’s definition of “partile” will put the planets in a tighter aspect than the accepted term since there is no way they can be nearly a degree apart and be partile. The older and more accepted definition either attributes some significance to number that is tacit and has nothing to do with proximity, or perhaps there was a fear that planets in different degree numbers could change the bounds and adversely affect delineation, although I don’t see how.

Morin’s claim that his definition is the same as the ancients is most likely incorrect and our current understanding has a longer lineage. But like everything else he does his idea is more precise, makes more sense and if we are to read him correctly, we need to understand what he is saying.

He gives the apparent semi diameters of the planets on page 78-79 of book 16. I’ll list those first*:

Sun 17’, Moon 15’, Mercury 1’, Venus 1’ 30” Mars 45”, Jupiter, 1’ 15” and Saturn 50’.

So if we are discussing our Mars-Jupiter square it has to be within 2 minutes of arc to be partile (45” (seconds) + 1 ‘ (minute) 15” = 2 “ (minutes)

That’s tight, but it meets the ancient definition of “glued together.” Unfortunately, according to Holden, he misread that, too. Ancient authorities, again according to Holden said anything within 1 – 3 degrees, depending on the authority, met the definition of glued together. Again the wider orb makes sense as their measurements weren’t as accurate as today’s. So when Morin uses the words “partile aspect,” he is referring to a much tighter definition than is common and one that dispenses with the idea that number itself has significance.

*Modern values for semi-diameters: Sun 16 ‘, Moon 15’33”, and for the planets at their mean least distance from the earth: Mercury 5”, Venus, 30”, Mars 9”, Jupiter 23”, and Saturn 10”. These values are so tiny that if we look for aspects this close to call partile, we won’t find many. My guess is that the values given my Morin (taken from a book “Uranometriae libri tres …” by Philip van Lansberge, 1631) are when the planets are closest to the earth and therefore have more power, so his values are somewhat larger.
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