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William Ramesey

Book Review

Astrologia Restaurata (Astrology Restored)

PDF presentation of William Ramesey's 517 page treatise:

Astrologiae Restaurata; or, Astrology Restored: Being an Introduction to the General and Cheif part of the Language of the Stars in Four Books.

Retyped and annotated by Kim Farnell

Reviewed by Thomas Callanan

Available from the author:

Cost: 10 ($20 US or 15 Euro).
Payment by paypal or sterling cheque.

This work reveals as much about the author as it does about astrology, and it reveals plenty about astrology. William Ramesey was born William Ramsey, but decided that he was descended from Egyptian royalty and changed his name to reflect what he believed were the roots of his genealogy. Once we realize that Egyptian Royals were considered part of the deity, we begin to gain some insight into our author's opinion of himself. This should not discourage anyone. Ramesey is not the only astrologer, past or present, to possess an outsized ego. His rough contemporary Jean Baptiste Morin was no slouch in the ego department. The good news is that Ramesey does hold astrology in very high regard. His regard is so high that he considers horary and natal astrology to be beneath the dignity of the subject.

Astrologia Restaurata (Astrology Restored) was originally published in 1653. It is divided into four books. The first is Ramesey's "proof" of the validity of astrology in which he proves himself the king of the use of adjectives; the second is a basic explanation of the meanings of planets, houses, aspects, and dignities; the third, and most valuable, contains a through explanation of elections i.e., choosing the most propitious time to begin an activity; and the fourth teaches the use of mundane astrology.

The best known and probably most important part of the work is the third section where Ramesey introduces the student to the art of electional astrology. Ramesey introduces the reader to the proper use of elections. Electional astrology is one of those topics that all astrologers are aware of, but very few actually practice. Yet, of the most commonly practiced forms of astrology, elections are one that puts us in touch with the cosmos rather than simply reading what we can from the positions of the celestial bodies. In her book Essential Dignities, Lee Lehman laments, "When astrology went indoors, something was lost" (p.14). Astrology is not going back outside again, but there are a few areas where we can re-establish our connection with the cosmos even if we prefer to do this with a computer. One of those ways is with elections. Although no more or less astronomically correct than natal astrology, we do have to select the time for doing things in accordance with what the planets are going to do in the near future, out there in the sky as opposed to having them tell us about ourselves or others or answering questions for us. In short we have to adjust our actions to theirs to create the desired harmony. Ramesey gives us all the rules, regulations, and tables necessary to do this.

Ramesey emphasizes the annual Aries ingress for mundane astrology. Once we've determined the correct significators for King, clergy, students, members of religious orders, etc, we need only look at the strength of their significators, position, and aspects to determine how their year will be. If they are aspected by malefics with harsh aspects it will be a bad year, good aspects from benefics a good year. It might be a little more involved than that, but it's a start.

The real value of Kim Farnell's edition is in the notes. This work is filled with valuable annotations explaining everything from the definitions of obsolete mid 17th century words to the Bible. Page 24 is a good example of perfectly timed notes. This reader may not have more than a nodding acquaintance with Scripture, but Ms Farnell has helpfully supplied quotes and explanations to references Ramesey took for granted that his readers would understand. I knew the story of Joshua and that in that story God makes the Sun "stand still". I was not aware that in Isaiah, He made it go backwards. I am now.

While admittedly I am so old fashioned that I prefer to hold books in my hands, e-books offer their advantages, as well. First off, we can print them out as we read them. We can make a small investment in a punch and make our own copies with comb bindings that lie flat and aid study, or make a real small investment and put the work in a school binder. We can then mark up anything we wish (even highlight with the computer) and reprint the page if we mess it up. In any case, having these rare old gems available to us in any legible form that does not cost an arm and a leg is welcome, and interested as well as uninterested readers owe themselves a small treat now and again, and now is the time to purchase this work.

Thomas Callanan
April 2006