I’ve done a fair bit of mundane astrology on this site, but I realized I’ve never done a “mundane 101” type of post. Time to change that! This is part one of a mini series on mundane astrology. Here are the other parts:
Mundane astrology is a branch of astrology about large groups of people: nations, states, cities. It’s the oldest form of astrology, dating back over 4000 years to ancient Mesopotamia. As Chris Brennan notes in Hellenistic Astrology, it began as recordings of simple celestial omens along the lines of, “If x, then y.” One of the earliest examples is: “If there is an eclipse, the king will die.”
As time went on, astrologers collected more and more of these omens which formed the basis for our current understanding of mundane astrology. Natal astrology became a later branch of this early system, and you can see the meanings of the planets, houses and signs that we use in modern natal astrology derive from the original mundane interpretations.
Mundane astrology is also referred to by a few other names, including judicial astrology and universal astrology.
The hardest part of mundane astrology is figuring out the exact birth data to use for the chart. Because we’re not looking at an individual person, where there is usually a pretty clear moment of birth, it can be difficult to pick an exact date – let alone an exact time – to use for the inception chart of a nation, state, or city.
An exact date/time is needed to determine the placement of the angles and therefore the houses. Accordingly, a huge part of mundane astrology is doing historical research and trying to figure out the exact time to use.
As a side note, this same problem exists in financial astrology too. This is part of why I gave up doing financial astrology pretty quickly. Also, I lost some money on bad trades. When is a stock born? WHO KNOWS?? (Definitely not me.)
So, you have to be willing to do a lot of reading and research to figure out the correct birth data to use in mundane astrology. If you search the Astro-Databank you’ll find some commonly used charts for most of the countries in the world. This is a solid place to start if you don’t know much about the place you’re looking into, and/or you don’t feel like reading hours of Spanish history to figure out the best time to use for their chart.
However, when you get down to the state/province and city levels, it’s often really hard to find accurate data. There’s no charts in the Astro-Databank for Edmonton or Alberta, for example. (I should really submit these.)
It’s really common, and arguably a good thing, to have multiple mundane charts for any given place. However, it’s also really useful to have a single working chart that produces reliable results and matches up well to the history and key events of that place.
Mundane astrology is mainly used for forecasting world events. You can use all the same timing techniques as you do with natal astrology: transits, solar arcs, secondary progressions, eclipses. It’s most common to compare the current transits to the mundane chart to see what might happen at that time.
I really like using solar arcs to test the chart – there should be some obvious and prominent solar arcs at key moments in history for that location. If there aren’t, there might be a better chart to use.
When interpreting a chart in mundane astrology, considering the planets and the aspects they form is the most important thing to consider, followed by the houses that the planets occupy.
Signs are of less importance than the planets and houses, in terms of specific interpretive meaning. Rather, they provide the background context and quality of the topics and people represented by the houses and planets. The focus should be on the sign’s modality (cardinal, fixed or mutable), element (earth, air, fire, water) and polarity (feminine vs. masculine), as opposed to any specific sign-based meanings. Sign rulers also give significant insight into the workings of the particular house topics that fall within each sign.
Check out the other three posts in this series:
If you’d like to read some of my previous writing on mundane astrology, check out these posts.