Simmonite’s ‘The Prognostic Astronomer, or Horary Astrology’
– September 13th, 2007

I have to hand the 1852 (unnumbered) and 1896 (stated sixth) editions of W. J. Simmonite’s work on Horary Astrology, which during Simmonite’s lifetime was called ‘The Prognostic Astronomer, or Horary Astrology’.

It is interesting that the 1852 edition, published by G. Routledge & Co., Farringdon St., London, is not recorded in either OCLC or COPAC. However, the 1851 (presumed first), published by Simpkin & Marshall, is found in six copies, two of which, at Adler Planetarium and Northwestern University, are in the US, and the other four, at Manchester University, the National Library of Scotland, Oxford University, and the British Library, are in the UK.

Neither OCLC nor Copac records any other editions than the 1851 edition before John Story’s relatively commonplace 1896 edition, which is however declared by Story to be the ‘sixth edition’. The fact that I have in my hands an unrecorded edition from 1852 lends a certain credence to the possibility that there may have been as many as five separately dated printings within Simmonite’s lifetime, although no bibliographic records of any except the first from 1851 seem to have survived.

Anyhow, I wanted to briefly pass on the findings of my comparison between the text of Simmonite’s 1852 edition and Story’s 1896 edition. To all intents and purposes, they appear to be identical with the exception of additions made by Story towards the end, Story’s added preface, and a complete resetting of the typeface and pagination throughout the book.

In the 1852 edition, Simmonite’s rules for judgement end with Consideration 215 ‘Of Sickness Generally’ Part 7 ‘Of Giving Medicine’ after the paragraph:

“Medicine given when the lord of the first is retrograde and the Moon in conjunction or aspect in Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, the party will vomit it up again”

This is on p. 176 of the 1852 edition. Then page 177 is the start of ‘A PERPETUAL TABLE OF HOUSES’.

In the 1896 edition, after the paragraph quoted above, John Story has added (p. 197), quite incongruously, under the same Consideration 215, two further unnumbered parts, ‘Shall I be restored to my situation’ and ‘Never restored’, neither of which has anything remotely to do with ‘Of sickness generally’, since it relates to the return of individuals to ‘any office or employment’.

Simmonite would surely have turned in his grave if he had apprehended that these sections on employment were being added so clumsily under his Consideration 215 on sickness!

Not content with having sneaked in this addition, Story then proceeds to add several new sections to the book that were clearly not the work of Simmonite at all unless they perchance appeared in the unconfirmed third, fourth or fifth editions during Simmonite’s lifetime, which seems very unlikely to me especially in view of Story’s claims in his preface that the sixth edition has been much expanded, more than any other, from previous editions.

Thus, all from P. 197 to P. 208 can be considered non-authentic as a representation of Simmonite’s thinking until and unless proven otherwise. This includes the section headed ‘Points in Genethliacs’ and, most notably, the entire section on elections.


I just re-read the entire ‘Assignation of rulerships to the outer planets’ thread [at Skyscript] dating back to late 2003 – early 2004. Rather than add to it after a time lapse of over three years, I thought perhaps it would be better to add a pertinent comment that relates purely to the reputation of Simmonite’s work on horary astrology in the overall timeline.

Deb and Kim were apparently then working with a copy of Simmonite’s posthumously reprinted ‘Horary Astrology: the Key to Scientific Prediction’, ie the renamed John Story edition that was published in 1896.

Since I have discovered that nothing printed about Uranus and Neptune in the 1896 edition has been altered from the 1852 printing, Simmonite at the very least deserves recognition as having preceded the last Raphael in having assigned a firm set of rulerships to Uranus.

In the 1852 printing of ‘The Prognostic Astronomer, or Horary Astrology’, Consideration 222, ‘A Table of the Essential Fortitudes and Debilities of the Planets’, unambivalently gives Aquarius as the ‘house’ of Uranus, and also incidentally gives Scorpio as the exaltation of Uranus, Leo as its sign of detriment and Taurus as its fall. Neptune also features in this table, as being exalted in Leo and in its fall in Aquarius, but without domicile or detriment. Further columns under ‘Essential Fortitudes’ labelled ‘Triplicity’ and ‘Powerful or joys in’ appear to assign Uranus as the triplicity ruler of Capricorn and as joying or powerful in Aquarius.

In the 1896 printing, this table is identical with the exception that the glyphs for Neptune and the Sun have changed to the more familiar ones used today, and in the minor columns labelled ‘Triplicity’ and ‘Powerful or Joys in’ Neptune has been introduced in the row for Pisces, whereas in the 1852 printing the Pisces row in both these columns was unfilled and Neptune was not assigned any sign in either column.

But no other changes have been made.

In summary, it would appear that by 1851, the year of the first printing of ‘The Prognostic Astronomer’ which can be safely presumed identical to the 1852 printing, the earlier hesitancy expressed by Robert Cross Smith in 1828 with regard to the attribution of a domicile to Uranus had evaporated, at least in Simmonite’s mind.

Also worth noting is that Simmonite gives judgements using Uranus throughout the 1852 printing of his book on horary, and seems to feel just as confident with it as he is with Saturn and the other planets, but when it comes to the recently-discovered Neptune he is content to say from time to time ‘Neptune will be the same as Venus’, and that is as far as he goes outside the table of dignities discussed above.

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