In Fagan and Firebrace's book (above) emphasis is placed on the predictive power of Sidereal astrology, which I do not dispute, and which western siderealism shares with Indian Vedic astrology, which is also sidereally based. Both systems are based on a fixed point in the sky, regrettably they do not agree as to exactly where this point is. Neither system makes any use of the twelve signs. Which is what one would expect, since there cannot be two parallel systems, tropical and sidereal, that differ, at the moment, by 24-ish degrees.
So I read Chapter 3, Sidereal Signs, with interest. There are two ways to write Sidereal sign delineations. One is to write tropical delineations (knowingly or unknowingly) but then put sidereal names on them. So, in other words, one writes Aries, but then labels the result Pisces. You look up your birthday, you read the result, you think, gee, I never knew I was [the sign before the one I thought I was]. And you are happy.
The second method is to write the usual tropical delineations and put the usual names on them. Which is what Bowser has done.
I would like to play along and back up my tropical Gemini rising and make it sweet and nice Taurus, and then shift my ruling planet from Mercury in the 9th, of arid intellectualism, to Venus, now in Sagittarius but still in the 8th, and tell you that my enthusiastic, cheerful!, prophetic life has been about psychic sensitivity, the many dead people I have known, and, oh, by the way, I have such a sweet face, won't you give me all your money? (I have experienced a number of people long, long dead, but you only get that out of me if you have reason to know. Which is to say that Venus is not the chart ruler. Nor do I look pretty, alas.)
Backing up my Sun and Moon, from Aquarius-Leo, to Capricorn-Cancer, will not change their positions in the 9th and 3rd houses, nor will it change the intellectual powerhouse that results, but it will free me from an endless, crippling political stalemate. The reason I am not a university professor, the reason I have written no books of note, is that Aquarius-Leo is political. The houses give the planets work. The signs tell us how they work. I am an intellect who annoys people. They annoy me. Fixity, nothing can be done about it. Shift the full moon to Capricorn-Cancer, and a workaholic results. The Sun in Capricorn works hard, the insecure Moon in Cancer drives him on, both signs cardinal: Books and monographs and dissertations and studies, etc. Capricorn-Cancer accomplishes much. (Isaac Newton had this, only reversed: Sun in 3, Moon in 9.) Aquarius-Leo, by contrast, is immobilized by exerior indifference and sees no reason to do much of anything, since no one wants it. And as long as no one wants it, it will not be done. I have lived this life, you will forgive my impatience. -- The author's conceptual weakness, which I suspect is the underlying flaw of the Fagan-Bradley school.
(So many astrologers settle for a fraction of astrology's power. It is the full moon, the constant struggle between the Sun and Moon, that eventually discovers and exploits everything. The shadows which the Sun cannot see, the Moon can. To a full moon, nothing whatever can be hidden, or denied, at least as far as the houses occupied are concerned. Astrological symbolism is just that stark.)
Astrologers traditionally believe that astrological energies fall out of the sky and land at our feet, the only difference between Tropical and Sidereal is if precession is a factor, or not. Sidereal says yes, tropical says no. I tried to make sense of this and was stymied until I deduced that astrological energies are in fact inherent in the earth, which is in harmonic sympathy with the other planets, the result being astrology as we know it. The result was a theory of dazzling simplicity and power. I mention this, not to brag, but to put my remarks on Mr. Bowser's book in context. The question of Sidereal vs: Tropical Zodiac, to me, is no longer a life-or-death thing. The Sidereal Zodiac is simply a set of technques that work within a limited context. Astrology is a broad church. There are many such useful techniques, enough for everyone.
Sidereal astrology is not based on stars, despite the claims. Sidereal astrology, including Vedic, is based on the Earth's axial wobble. The wobble is the result of the Sun pulling the Earth in one direction, the Moon pulling in another. Take out one or the other and the wobble will cease. Add a third body (a second moon, a double star) and the wobble will increase. Simple physics. Based on traditional Vedic astrology, as well as Fagan-Firebrace-Allen's modern work, Sidereal-based astrology is a powerful predictive tool. I have no problem with that. So far as Sidereal being the "real" system, or Vedic being sanctioned by the gods as superior to Tropical, you can believe that if you want.
Chapter 7 are aspect delineations. These are reasonably okay. Aspects are neither tropical nor sidereal, except when signs are mentioned. Sun-Pluto with Sun in Aquarius: Birth was illegitimate. I was going to get huffy about this, but then remembered that to Bowser, my Sun is in Capricorn, so my daddy was my daddy. At 82 pages, this is the longest chapter in the book.
The chapters that follow give chart delineations. They start with Barack Obama. And immediately we see the results of a generally shaky grasp of astrology:
Many liberal presidents and candidates have had Neptune high in the sky in their horoscopes. That placement is compassionate and symbolic of a politican who tries to implement policy that benefits people at large rather than policy biased openly in favor of business. The criticism leveled at people with Neptune so placed is that they are not "tough enough." (pg. 135)
No, Mr. Bowser. Neptune in a politician's chart is not there to help humanity. This is not a case of "good cop - bad cop." By the time a man reaches top office, he's not "good". He's mean and even if his heart is in it, you don't dare cross him. Oken on the square of Sun to Neptune in Obama's chart: More often it represents a deceptive individual. . . hiding his true nature and motivations.
The discussion of Newton (pgs. 143-146) is similarly muddled. Bowser wants to hang his entire genius on the degree ascending, which he hopes is late late late Virgo, with Spica conjunct. Virgo rising . . . Spica rising as well . . . and the Node in Virgo would all combine to produce a hyper-intellectual of such prodigious power as to be commensurate with his achievements. (pg. 145) Because the author does not understand houses, because his grasp of Sun and Moon is weak, because he does not understand the full moon, he looks straight past the intensely powerful Sun in 3 opposite Moon in 9 polarity. I have the reverse, as did Goethe (Suns in 9, Moons in 3). Sun vs: Moon in eternal combat, spayed across the two most intellectual houses. I know this awesome power. I've lived it. I've seen it in others. Sun, Moon and chart ruler are your essential triad. If the essence of the natus cannot be found in these three, then you have a bogus chart or an ineffective technique. And you start with your own chart. If you cannot sense the power of your own Sun and Moon, by house, then you have an erroneous birth time.
Tesla, pgs. 149-152, is another muddle. His official date of birth is July 9-10, 1856, to Serbian parents. Many years ago I looked at the chart, found I could not read it, and nearly threw it away. I then had an inspired thought. I remembered that Ehrich Weiss, better known as Houdini, claimed two birth dates, wildly far apart. I had deduced that one was in Gregorian and the other Julian. What if Tesla was the same?
So I shifted Tesla's birth date into Gregorian: I changed it from July 10 to July 22nd. And instantly the chart fell into place: Moon-Neptune conjunct in the 9th. After discovering this, for many years I was confused. Was the Austro-Hungarian Empire running two parallel calendars? That seemed an incredible bureaucratic nightmare. Many years later I was riding in an Amtrak train and met a recent Russian immigrant. I put this to him precisely. His answer was a revelation, and one which I believe is still unknown to western astrologers: In the Soviet Union, he said, only Party members gave their birth dates in Gregorian. Everyone else gave their birth dates in Julian. It was a matter of Tzarist/Orthodox pride which to this day has presumably not died out. By extension this can be applied to those Balkan lands in which Russia or its Church hold sway. Such as with Mother Teresa, another Serbian.
But enough of this.
I was eager to see a book on Sidereal that went beyond Fagan's forecasting methods, but I am coming to understand that Sidereal astrology is based on muddles. It is brilliant for predictive work, by which I mean the precessed solar and lunar charts that Fagan (et al) invented. In most other respects Sidereal is not of great interest. It is not an independent astrology, so much as a limited set of techniques. Learn to use those forecasting techniques, they're worth it. Can you be both Tropical and Sidereal? Do you see any astro cops around? Who says you can't?!
AFA, 212 pages.