This mother’s day I am excited to announce that my new book, Stellar Advice for Moms: Ancient Astrology for Modern Times, is available for purchase on Amazon! Keep reading for a sneak preview and to learn more about Marcus Manilius, from whose work, the Astronomicon, my book is translated.
Preview and about the series
First, the preview, which I’m sure is of more interest than background on Marcus Manilius:
The book, which is the first in a series, contains one page for each astrological sign, illustrated in the same style as the preview shown advice.
The book also includes a brief biography of Marcus Manilius (shorter than what I will get into below) and an introduction which includes some very basic concepts from Manilian astrology – additional concepts will be added and explored in future volumes of the series. Volume two is already in the works.
About Marcus Manilius
Marcus Manilius was a poet who wrote during the early Roman empire — is uncertain whether that was exclusively under the reign of Augustus or Tiberius, though it’s also possible he wrote during both of their reigns.
His work, the Astronomicon, is one of (if not THE) first written work to discuss the concepts of astrology that are used today. However, his work does not receive a lot of modern attention, even in academic circles. There are a few reasons for this.
- Internal contradictions
- Missing text
- Genre of the work
- Possible censorship at the time of writing
First, there are numerous places in the poem where Manilius contradicts himself when outlining important concepts, and sometimes he uses different math for the same concept in different parts of the work.
Second, the confusion caused by these contradictions is amplified by the fact that the different manuscripts of the work don’t agree. There is also a large part of the work that is missing in its entirety.
Third, the genre of the work is didactic poetry, and despite the name, didactic poetry doesn’t always have actual teaching as its goal — one only need look as far as Vergil’s didactic poetry on the subject of farming to see that sometimes, didactic poetry is more about using the idea of teaching for aesthetic purposes.
Lastly, Manilius was writing at a time in Roman history when any form of divination was heavily suppressed. Due to the empire being only just established, Augustus had a strong anti-divination policy to prevent any attempts at usurping the throne that were based on supernatural omens that supposedly supported the potential usurper’s right to rule. It’s possible that this political climate influenced the way Manilius wrote his poem.
We’ll probably never know whether the confusion in the text is due to the aesthetics of the genre, the political climate during which Manilius wrote. The same is true regarding whether the inconsistencies in the work are simple errors from scribes over the years, or whether the seeming inconsistencies are resolved in the large part of the text that is missing.
However, what remains of the work is still informative, and Manilius’s writing style is very clever and entertaining. My hope with this series is to encourage a new way of looking at the Astronomicon, where the poem’s aesthetics can be enjoyed by modern readers — and at the same time exploring the idea that the astrology presented in the work is its own system, unique to Manilius, but still applicable to modern times, even though it may not line up perfectly with what we now consider “real” astrology.
I hope you will give the book (and Manilius himself) a chance, and maybe find something that will help you in your daily life.
The book is US$12 on Amazon, click the image below to check it out!