The Roman god known as Janus Geminus has a number of attributes, but the most salient is that he has two faces, usually one young and one old, looking into the past and the future at the same time. I find this to be a most apt image to describe the essence of Mundane Astrology, referred to as the jewel in the crown of astrology because it is the most difficult form, requiring many years of practice to master. It is also extremely useful in its predictive capacity.
Prediction, however requires hindsight, or rather, a great deal of knowledge about what is being predicted. To begin with a couple of simple examples: let’s say we want to be able to predict when a volcano might erupt. You don’t have to be an expert vulcanologist, but you do need to know some basic facts about volcanos. With that as a given we need to know what the astrological indicators of volcanoes are. The only way to do this properly is to look at past volcanic eruptions.
I’ve personally had occasion to study major volcanic eruptions of the past, and find that there are recurring themes. You can see my article on Mt. Pelee where I provide some specifics if you wish.
Next, I have to take some geographic notes. It’s pointless to predict anything if it cannot happen. We have expansive zones, such as the Ring of Fire and some which seem more localized. For example Iceland is very prone to volcanic eruptions, while Greenland has none at all. This may sound like a simple matter and it is, but there is no virtue in predicting a volcanic eruption if the geography doesn’t allow for it. So we now have the global ‘where’ The next step would be to localize the event, let’s say Jakarta, Indonesia and environs It wouldn’t hurt to have some knowledge of the tides and other elements
This where the greatest astrological skills come into play. Knowing the conditions most likely to coincide with volcanic eruptions, paying particular attention to Eclipses and the visibility of the Eclipse. Which zodiacal degree is most potent in relation to the eclipse? The number and nature of the elements we examine will not be identical each time at all. Each moment has it’s own power.
Doing all this isn’t at all easy and for most cases we would require some hint or change in a volcano so that we can look at a very precise situation. Some years ago, a friend in Mexico was disturbed by the increased activity of a nearby volcano. According to the astrology I used,it wasn’t going to explode and it didn’t
Let’s look at another example: we would all consider the accurate prediction of plagues and epidemics to be very useful. This is of course more difficult than predicting eruptions. This is a highly specialized application of medical astrology writ large. There is no need to rehearse what we have already stated about methodology and volcanoes.
Some of you might be interested in my article on the Astrology of the Bubonic Plague for a practical example.. Certainly a knowledge of medical astrology is required and some knowledge of epidemiology wouldn’t be amiss either. Some resources such as a copy of Grey’s Anatomy, the two volume Oxford Companion to Medicine and of course Hippocrates’ writings on epidemics. Again, we look back at historical epidemics to prepare us for predicting future ones.
Volcanoes, earthquakes and particular epidemics are extremely destructive of human lives. We know that one plague killed one in every two people in Europe and the Spanish Flu killed more people than WWI. The great effort taken to learn the prediction of epidemics is indeed daunting, but within the purview of astrology.
In all cases we need to look at the past to see the future. But there is a lot more to it than that. Whether or not I’m looking at a coup in Kazakhstan or an earthquake in Chile, I also need to know what planets are related to which parts of the world. Ptolemy mentions several in the Tetrabiblos which can be download free of charge in the File section. Unfortunately that isn’t enough though. Obviously he cannot make mention of that which he is unaware of. This includes the Americas, Australia and good deal more. For these we rely on more modern accounts, but by ‘more modern’ we mean the Renaissance is some cases
Religions also have planetary association as do ethnic groups. A wonderful source of much material is found in the works of Mash’allah It is very useful to know that Islam is under the governance of Venus or that Wales is Jupiterian.
Finally, we can see that a Mundane Astrologer should be familiar with a wide range of things. These include history, relevant philosophy, geography and medicine. It is possible to specialize of course, but the various disciplines often overlap. A very simple example would be a war in Thailand: it’s very helpful to know something of the political structure, the history and it’s astrological significations.
Many modern Mundane astrologers treat all areas as if they were the same. Much of Mundane astrology sees the United States as the centre of the world. Check any popular astrological magazine and you will see how this is so much par for the course, that editors take it as it is. While it’s true that it feels like the centre of the world for its inhabitants, it fosters a perception that would implicitly deny, for example, that a Madagascan may feel the same way about her own country.
Crucially, the use of outer planets is counterproductive if only because of their very slow (apparent) movement. On top of that, the traditional attributes of the planets has been unceremoniously given to the outers.
This does two things. It distorts or weakens the use we can make of reading the traditional planets, which are to many modern astrologers nothing more than a secondary concern. The attributions which are supposed to belong to the new planets have all been stolen from the traditional ones. It ignores an ancient and highly effective system of astrology based on light (see my post “into the Outer Darkness’)
It’s very easy to say after the fact that the Arab Spring was caused by Uranus, but we then have to ask why the effect wasn’t global. Modern astrology cannot answer that because, as already noted, no distinctions are made from one culture or continent to another