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Astrology and the Causes of War
by Jamie Macphail

Astrology and the Causes of War by Jamie Macphail, The Wessex Astrologer Ltd, P.O. Box 2751, Bournemouth, BH5 2AZ England, 2006. Paper—414 pp.—$55 (£30) (ISBN 1-902405-19-6). Available from the publisher: www.wessexastrologer.com or from any of the major bookstores.

When several (non-astrologer) friends and family members noticed this book in my office — and it does have attention-grabbing red ink on the cover — they all more or less raised their eyebrows. What use could such a topic possibly have? Is there no end to what these astrologers will speculate upon? For outsiders, this may seem like an outlandish application of our craft, but for astrologers, Jamie Macphail’s book is a masterpiece worthy of endless interest and study.

In Astrology and the Causes of War, Macphail combines political/historical events and astrological analysis. Although his thoroughly researched — and keenly elucidated — assessment of political and historical events is fascinating in its own right, his demonstration of astrological technique is stunning and precise. The themes cascade onward into a provocative book that is obviously not a lighthearted read. (In fact, Astrology and the Causes of War sat on my shelf for nearly a year; it apparently took transiting Mars entering Aries to motivate me to read it.)

Jamie Macphail was a student and friend of Charles Harvey, who (along with Michael Baigent and Nick Campion) wrote Mundane Astrology, the seminal work on the astrology of nations originally published in 1984. Macphail refers to that work and takes a similar clear-minded approach to the subject matter. This new book, however, uses mundane techniques (ingresses, eclipses, midpoints, etc.) in greater detail and adds several new layers of astrological method to mundane analysis — specifically, solar and lunar return charts and composite charts. (Macphail also uses Chiron in his work.) A good example of his approach can be found in the chapter on the Yom Kippur War of 1973: After a comprehensive look at the surrounding eclipses (including midpoint patterns), the author discusses the natal charts and transits of Israel, Egypt, and Syria; the solar and lunar returns of these three countries; their respective secondary progressed charts; their composite charts (e.g., Syria–Israel and Israel–Egypt) with transits and eclipses; and President Anwar Sadat’s natal chart and transits and his solar and lunar returns. Macphail ends this and every chapter with a Summary and Conclusion, as well as extensive references.

Here is a further indication of the creativity in this book: Though this is not one of his primary techniques, Macphail relocates solar return charts. For example, the U.S. solar return for July 4, 1964, relocated to Saigon, memorably and poignantly illustrates that “Vietnam was just about the last place America should have wanted to be.”

Other chapters cover the Falklands War, the Iran–Iraq War, the Gulf War 1991, the Iraq War 2003, etc. The sad litany of topics also includes "The Genocide in Rwanda: 1994" and even a short Epilogue on Israel and Hizbollah in July 2006. A few horoscopes are clearly displayed in the text; however, the author refers readers to a Web site that shows the more than 400 horoscopes (!) analyzed in the book.

One basic tenet of mundane astrology is that an individual may respond creatively or positively to planetary transits, but the “ponderous nature of the collective” makes it more difficult for a nation to respond creatively to a difficult situation. It will “most likely react in an inflexible and predictable manner.” Although this is a rather grim premise, it does allow astrological principles to be demonstrated quite starkly. Complex political and strategic causes notwithstanding, the breakout of war is a straightforward and measurable event. Macphail shows again and again in his brilliant book that the causes of war can be pinpointed using astrological methods. The question of whether such knowledge can be applied as a deterrent to future wars remains on the table. A humanitarian to the core, Macphail ends his remarkable book with a query: “Does the United Nations have anything to lose from exploring such a radical new approach to preventing war?

— reviewed by Mary Plumb

 
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