The Astrology Center of America, 207 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014
Tel: 410-638-7761; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272
Home Author Index Title Index Subject Index Vedic Books Tarot E-Mail:

Welcome back, Mr. Sepharial! 

We were slow to pick up on Sepharial (Walter Gorn Old, though he almost never used his birth name), 1864 - 1929. As C.E.O. Carter says, he is brilliant at almost everything he touches. Sepharial's writing on numerology remains unsurpassed.

Sepharial was more than a mere astrologer. Reading his work it is obvious to me that he had the gift of omniscience, which is the customary result of past life training in Jnana yoga. Omniscience on a human level means that when one studies a subject closely, one is able to understand new things about it, not merely parrot old facts in new dress.

This ability often leads to a writing style which is sometimes and to some people frustrating to read. Sepharial will blandly state what he knows to be true. If you know how to read conceptually Sepharial is exciting. If you like your facts cold, Sepharial will leave you stranded.

Indicates a book on our Top Ten list. If you would like to find more books like it, click on the star.

THE MANUAL OF ASTROLOGY, The Standard Work - Sepharial, $23.95



Book 1: The language of the heavens:
1. The divisions of the zodiac - Elements - Constitution - Decanates - Lunar Mansions
2. Signatures of the zodiac - Zodiac & the human body
3. Planets - Planetary temperament, flavours, forms, colours, notes, metals, parts in the human body, occupations; Planets as significators, relations of signs & planets, planetary dignities, planetary dominions
4. The relation of decanates & planets
5. The houses
6. The planets & houses
7. The aspects
8. Calculation of the horoscope
9. Foreign horoscopes
10. Summary
Appendix to Book 1: Description of persons; Terms of the planets
Notes to Book 1: On the divisions of the zodiac; On Lilly's descriptions

Book 2: The reading of a horoscope:
1. The bodily form - Defects & accidents - Physical peculiarities - Accidents
2. The physical constitution
3. Physical infirmities - The polarity of the signs - Diseases of the planets & signs
4. Mental qualities & infirmities
5. Financial fortunes
6. The rank or profession
7. The profession or occupation
8. Marriage - The time of marriage - Happiness or sorrow - Description of the wife - Second marriages - Female horoscopes - Length of marriage
9. Children
10. Friends & benefactors
11. Enemies
12. Sympathy and antipathy
13. Travelling & voyages - Success or loss by travelling - Where to go - Residence
14. The kind of death
15. Illustrations - The bodily form - Accidents - Character - Wealth - Rank - Love & marriage - Travelling - Kind of death

Book 3: The measure of time:
1. The Pre-Natal Epoch of the law of sex - General law of the pre-natal epoch - Theorems - To find the day & hour of epoch - Examples of regular epochs - Irregular epochs - The law of sex - To set a figure without tables
2. Directions - Primary directions
3. Sepharial's method of directing - Primary directions - Secondary directions - Time-measure - Transits - Method of directing - Primary considerations
4. Effects of directions - Secondary directions
5. Other time measures - Lunations - Transits - Eclipses - Proportional arcs - Planetary periods - Planetary geocentric longitudes - Solar revolutions - Lunar mansions

Book 4: Hindu astrology
The ayanamsha - The asterisms - The planets' periods - The signs of the zodiac - The houses - Aspects - Illustration - The sub-periods - Example of planetary subdivisions - Judgment by planetary position - Periods - Sub-periods - Inter-periods - Rules to judge of planetary periods - Locality - The Kalamritam - Effects of periods & sub-periods

Lunations, 1857 - 1970
Proportional logarithms
Table of British Summer Times, 1916 - 1962
Table of eclipses, 1856 - 1964
Tables of houses for Liverpool, as taken from Raphael
Hindu planetary periods

Supplement to the Revised Edition:
The progressive horoscope
To calculate the progressed horoscope
The lunar equivalent
The diurnal horoscope
Note on the planetary periods


Overall, very similar to the recently reprinted Vivian Robson A Student's Text-Book. Both are packed with detail. Robson is slightly better organized, but both authors are superb.

This is a very different book from what we have now. There are extensive delineations for the signs of the zodiac, especially when found on the ascendant. There are delineations of planets in signs when they are in the first house or are the chart ruler, in both cases, describing the physical appearance. There are delineations of planets in the various houses, which will also serve for the planetary rulerships of the houses. There are only sketchy notes on aspects. So far as the "pure astrology" of planets in signs, in houses, in aspect, there is almost nothing at all.

The reason is found in the second book. We are not reading the chart as a psychological abstraction. We are, instead, looking for specific traits, attempting to answer specific questions. Will we have a profession? What kind of marriage? What kind of children? Will we vanquish our enemies, or submit to them? What kind of illness? We then find the house(s) of the horoscope which rule the question, and then delineate the signs & planets we find there. These are, by the way, the sort of questions that clients would ask, if they only knew we could give answers!

Along the way the author gives helpful hints. Open enemies, for example, are shown by the 7th house. Our ability to beat them is shown by the 10th. So if the ruler of the 7th is stronger than the ruler of the 10th, we lose, the enemy wins. What does "stronger" include? If the ruler of the 10th is elevated above the ruler of the 7th, the 10th wins. (Literally: If the ruler of the 7th is in the 3rd & the ruler of the 10th is in the 11th, the ruler of the 10th wins.) A direct planet wins over a retrograde. A planet in its dignity wins over a planet not in dignity. A planet with a helpful trine to a benefic (Jupiter or Venus) wins over a planet with an opposition to pretty much anything. If the two rulers are in aspect, then the aspect becomes part of the judgment, but if not, the rules still apply. It is one house butting up against another. Just as in real life, things influence other things.

In the process we learn how to read a chart & get real meaning from it. We get ideas from one section and then apply them to other sections. As with Robson's book, there are hundreds and hundreds of useful aphorisms, except that Sepharial doesn't label them as such.

I wanted to add an index but in looking at the book, I was stumped. An index amounted to re-writing the book. Get this, get Robson, study them both, underline key passages, scribble in the margins. You will learn more in these two books than almost all others put together.

See a pdf sample here

Astrology Classics, 240 pages.

Read the book? Want to tell the world? How many stars (1-5) would you give this book?

PRIMARY DIRECTIONS: A Definitive Study - Sepharial, $17.95
1. Astronomical Definitions
2. Example Horoscope
3. Directions in Mundo
4. Directions in the Zodiac
5. Zodiacal and Mundane Parallels
6. Order of Directing
7. Effects of Directions
8. Planetary Indicators and the Measure of Time
9. Illustration
10. Ptolemy and Placidus
11. Directions Under Poles
12. The Part of Fortune
13. Lunar Parallax and Semi-Diameter
14. Lunar Equations
15. Cusp Distances
16. Suggested Method of True Directing
17. Conclusion

Appendix—Tables of Sines, Tangents, etc.
Tables of Right Ascension and Ascensional Difference
Tables of Proportional Logarithms

Comment: The definitive text on Primary Directions, written by a 20th century master.

Sepharial (1864-1929) was one of the leading astrologers in the early 20th century English astrological revival. Primaries were his favorite means of forecasting. Primaries, unlike simple transits or secondary directions, are not immediately obvious to the average student. So in this book, the author starts with the basic definitions. He then explains how to calculate directions in mundo, directions in the zodiac, as well as parallel directions. He suggests methods of organization and describes what effects primary directions may produce. In the process he gives an overview of the three main schools of forecasting: The Fatalists, the Casuists, and the Idealists, and gives the pros and cons of each.

Sepharial then discusses the two major individuals behind primaries. These are Claudius Ptolemy, who invented the semi-arc (primary) method in the second century AD, and the 17th century Italian monk, Placidus de Titis, who devised the complex house system that enabled primaries to be calculated easily and rapidly.

Sepharial next tackles directions under Poles, which were a favorite of R.C. Smith, the first of several men known as "Raphael". Then, the resolution of problems unique to Primaries: The proper method to calculate the Part of Fortune (Oblique Ascension/ Descension, rather than simple zodiacal longitudes), various unique challenges with primary directions and the moon, and the true way to calculate directions to house cusps, along with some novel shortcuts.

Expanded and revised, this book, originally entitled Directional Astrology, was the successor to the author's earlier Prognostic Astrology. It is also superior to the better known Primary Directions Made Easy.

Using this system, Sepharial made many notable forecasts, most famously that of the end of World War I and the abdication of the Kaiser. Interest in this fascinating system has increased since the mid-1990's. This is the finest book ever published on the subject, one that will repay study.

Click here for an excerpt (pdf).

Astrology Classics, 168 pages.

Law of Values:
1. General principles
2. Planetary values
3. Effects of transits
4. Effects of aspects
5. Sensitive points
6. How to invest
7. How to average
8. Considerations

Silver Key:
Publisher's note
Preface to the second edition
The future method
Science of numbers
Some considerations
Names & numbers
Finding winners
Winning colours
The lunar key
How to set the figure
Elongation of motion
The test
The aspects
Gravity & evolution
A calculator
Something to come
A warning
On speculation
Tables of sidereal times
Tables of ascendants

The Arcana, or Stock & Share Key:
Publisher's note
Axiom one
Axiom two
Axiom three
Axiom four
The decanates
Nature of aspects
Sign rulers
Specific house indication
The chart of the heavens for London
Comment: Sepharial (1864-1929) had a life-long dislike of luck. He challenged himself to find what he called scientific rules that would eliminate chance. And, according to his own accounts, he succeed.

In Law of Values, he suggests buying stocks immediately after they have been clobbered by Saturn, with the price as low as it will get, and then selling the stock immediately after being hit by Jupiter, when the price is likely to be as high as it will ever go. And living off dividends between the two.

In The Silver Key, a book on horse-racing, Sepharial examines, and discards, conventional numerology, colours and symbols, in favor of a method based on the Moon, weights and tides. His results are impressive.

The Arcana, or Stock and Share Key, was one of a number of secret financial manuscripts which Sepharial sold by subscription only. In it, you will discover the secret to using the Meridian in day trading. Sepharial also gives instructions for using dispositors and decans. This is first time the Arcana has appeared in print.

Astrologers looking to improve their techniques, as well as investors looking to improve their portfolios, will find these books of interest. It's my suspicion the famous American investor, W.D. Gann, was in reality Sepharial's best student. Entirely reset, these three books were on his suggested reading list.

Click for an excerpt from Law of Values.

Astrology Classics, 139 pages.

DEGREES OF THE ZODIAC SYMBOLIZED, two contrasting sets of degree symbols - Charubel & Sepharial, $14.95
Contents: Charubel's section runs from pgs 1 - 46, Sepharial's section runs from pg 47 to 136.

Comment: It has long been believed that each degree of the zodiac has an image associated with it. Presuming this is true (and on absolute terms, it is), the best way of determining the exact images would be by clairvoyant means. By "clairvoyant", I mean the seer must summon himself to go out & actively look for symbols. Marc Edmund Jones's random chance method will work, but not as well. What is not acceptable, in my opinion, are channeled symbols, where a psychic contacts an invisible partner who tells him anything he likes. For more symbol books, go to the Sabian Symbols page. That different authors have different opinions of the symbols may be more apparent than real. I doubt degree images are any more straight-forward than anything else in astrology, so differing opinions can be valid, as Carelli observed.

Charubel (1826-1908), was the pseudonym of John Thomas, a Welsh clairvoyant, occultist & healer. As a young man he studied for the ministry, but when forced to choose between religious life & his psychic abilities, he chose the later. He founded (and later dissolved) an occult order. He published numerous books & was editor of several periodicals. His symbols were the result of his own investigations & were first published in Alan Leo's Astrologer's Magazine in 1893.

Sepharial claimed his symbol set was a translation of La Volasfera, by Antonio Borelli (or Bonelli), but attempts to find the original have failed. (It would not surprise me if Sepharial found the original on the astral plane. He was comfortable on the astrals & there is a lot of unique stuff out there.) Until they were supplanted by Jones' Sabian Symbols, these two were the most popular of the many degree-symbol sets. Click here for a PDF of the intro & the beginning of Charubel's section.

Astrology Classics, 136 pages.

Here is a nifty little idea that Sepharial found & describes briefly in this book (Chris McRae does more with it). It's a way of assigning an astrological wheel of houses to any location on earth: Put 0 Aries at 0 degrees west longitude (eg, at London). This represents the midheaven. As you go west, the midheaven proceeds through the zodiac, from Aries in the British Isles to Pisces in western Europe. The ascendant & other houses are calculated in the usual fashion, by the latitude (north or south of the equator) of the location in question. Add the planetary positions for the day in question (Aires ingress, inauguration, disaster, whatever) & read the resulting chart. 61 pages. AFA, small paper.

THE ASTRAL TRAMP, A Biography of Sepharial - Kim Farnell, $19.95
Acknowledgments; Forword by Nicholas Campion; Introduction
1. Knock, knock, who's there?; 2. The young Walter Old; 3. The unremembered self; 4. Alan Leo & the Astrologer's Magazine; 5. Discovering Theosophy; 6. Second sight: Walter's psychic life; 7. Indian days; 8. The Judge affair; 9. Love & marriage; 10. Sepharial meets the press;

11. Taking a gamble; 12. The Arcana; 13. Friends & enemies; 14. World War I versus Theosophy; 15. Walter's other war; 16. Joining up & joining in; 17. The Israelites; 18. A working astrologer; 19. Looking into the Pyramids; 20. Waiting for God; 21. A cataclysmic year;

Postscript: The Gornold family; Illustrations; Notes & references; Sources;
Appendices: The influence of fixed stars; Address delivered by W. Gornold esq.; Advices sent to the Prime Minister; Willie Starchfield; The launching of the Albion at Blackwall; Struck by lightning; Index.

Comment: Sepharial lived at a unique moment in history, that brief period of time where Science and Religion, logic & mysticism, fused into one unified whole. Sepharial was one of a number of its exponents. The era ended in July of 1929, Sepharial himself passing away in December of that year. Farnell has written a useful & revealing biography.

Ascella, 199 pages.

The Astrology Center of America

207 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014
Tel: 410-638-7761; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272

Home Author Index Title Index Subject Index Vedic Books Tarot E-Mail:

Established 1993, The Astrology Center of America is owned & operated by David Roell.
This entire site ( is copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 by William R. Roell.
All rights reserved.