Annual Predictive Techniques of the Greek, Arabic & Indian Astrologers by Martin Gansten, The Wessex Astrologer, Swanage, 2020, ISBN 978-1910531419
“This is a book on practical astrology, a guide to concrete prediction written for astrologers by an astrologer”, states Dr. Gansten in the introduction to his latest book, published by The Wessex Astrologer (p1). This statement readily sets the scene, as Annual Predictive Techniques truly is a book for the student of astrology who wants to get to grips with the intricacies of traditional annual prediction methods.
At a first glance, the casual reader may be excused to think that this is a rather slim volume (just under 200 pages, excluding appendices and index), but closer inspection reveals that this book contains a treasure trove of information. This is due to Dr. Gansten’s plain but very precise style of writing. His near total lack of poetic deviation makes it possible for him, and the reader, to focus on the facts in the most concise way possible.
The first part of the book introduces the necessary technical basics, explains technical vocabulary, and answers some of the common questions regarding predictive techniques. At this point, some readers will probably be surprised to learn that, throughout the book, Dr. Gansten makes use of the sidereal zodiac (Krishnamurti ayanamsa) and the Alcabitius house system. The (anonymised) data for all example charts used throughout the book are provided in the appendix, making it possible to recreate the charts with one’s own choice of astrological software. The charts shown in the book were all produced with João Ventura’s Flatangle application, which I have used myself in the past and found to be both, beautiful and reliable.
Also of interest to me was to learn that Dr. Gansten advocates to cast the revolution chart (or solar return chart, as it is also known) for the place of birth. Informed by many years of practical work with the solar revolution charts of many clients worldwide, I can only wholeheartedly agree with the author’s approach.
The book’s second part is entirely devoted to the practice of annual prediction. The first chapter illustrates the use of primary directions. This is followed by a chapter on annual profections. Here Dr. Gansten also shows how to interpret what he calls ‘anniversary transits’. After having explained the use of these building blocks, he moves on to the next chapter, dealing with the judgment of the revolution figure (aka solar return chart). This is the final step, integrating the individual techniques shown with the solar return chart.
What I particularly appreciated was to discover a chapter on conflicting indications. Quite often, example charts are consciously chosen to showcase technique in its purest form, delivering perfect results. Any astrologer who has worked with clients’ charts in the real world will know that real life is rarely as simple and as straight forward as theory in its purest form. Therefore, I was delighted to find that Dr. Gansten dedicated six pages to this very practical problem. To me this proves that this is a book written by an experienced astrologer, for astrologers practicing in the real world.
The last chapter in the book deals with another very important issue, the actual pinpointing of an event during the year in question. Here the author provides many ways of dividing the year into smaller portions which make it easier to narrow down the window of possibility/opportunity, like real time transits, monthly profections, and many more.
To sum it up, I think that Annual Predictive Techniques is a very important book that has been published at exactly the right time. With the recent publication of Dr. Benjamin Dykes’ translation of Abu Ma’shar’s On the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities (read my review here: Persian Nativities IV) the astrological community has been given access to a monumental work on annual prediction by one of the greatest astrologers of all time. But with Abu Ma’shar’s supposed motto ‘include everything’ (Gansten, p54) in mind, it may be difficult for the non-specialist to easily pick out the basics of annual prediction from the pages of a 700 page tome. Therefore, I would highly recommend Annual Predictive Techniques to anybody who is interested in annual predictions. I would also advise any professional astrologer who is planning to delve deeper into annual predictions, to read Dr. Gansten’s book before cutting their teeth on Dr. Dykes’ translation of Abu Ma’shar.