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Midpoints: Identify & Integrate Midpoints into Horoscope Synthesis by Don McBroom, Llewellyn Publications, 2143 Wooddale Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125, 2007. Paper—212 pp.—$19.95 (ISBN 978-0-7387-0983-3). Available from: www.llewellyn.com
Don McBroom’s book on midpoints is one of the best astrology books I have read in a long time. As part of Llewellyn’s Special Topics in Astrology series, Midpoints is an exceptionally clear and thorough textbook on an astrological technique that is often overlooked because it is assumed to be too complex or arcane. The mountains of data that computer programs calculate for midpoint analysis can certainly seem bizarre or overwhelming to the beginner. Yet, McBroom’s book admirably demonstrates that, if you have a good grasp of the meanings of the planets, you can easily learn to integrate the planetary relationships shown by midpoint pictures into your astrological repertoire.
Heretofore, astrologers have relied on Reinhold Ebertin's The Combination of Stellar Influences (copyright 1940) as the standard work for delineating midpoints. A more recent work, Michael Harding and Charles Harvey’s Working with Astrology: The Psychology of Midpoints, Harmonics and Astro*Carto*Graphy (copyright 1990), is an invaluable text as well. (Another earlier work, Michael Munkasey’s Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, is currently available only on CD-ROM.) I do not mean to diminish the importance of these earlier books, but Don McBroom’s contribution to the subject is noteworthy; he excels as a writer and is able to both teach the basics and demonstrate the intricacies of the subject quite cogently.
McBroom acknowledges that astrological symbolism can manifest in extremely diverse ways in different human beings. Although one of his goals as a teacher is to encourage astrologers to develop their own interpretations of midpoint pictures, he does show readers an effective method of delineation. The author uses keywords for each of the planets and other points (e.g., the Ascendant, Midheaven, and Aries Point) and introduces a subtle new emphasis in terminology. For instance, consider a simple midpoint picture such as Venus = Sun/Mars (Venus is on the Sun/Mars midpoint); McBroom suggests that we interpret the equal sign (=) as meaning ”can be accomplished through.” So, in this case, the intent of Venus can be accomplished through the Sun and Mars. This approach considers midpoint pictures as a process, rather than a fixed set of circumstances.
Don McBroom’s book is both comprehensive and precise. Besides explaining the 90° Midpoint Sort and the 90° Midpoint Tree clearly — he gives the advantages and disadvantages of each and uses both in this work — he also demonstrates the use of keywords in analysis; the significant midpoints (the Sun/Moon and Ascendant/Midheaven midpoints, etc.); each planet as the focal point of a midpoint; the closest midpoint picture; the Aries Point; midpoints in charts without a birth time; unaspected planets; and more. A far shorter chapter, "Advanced Midpoint Techniques," introduces Transits, Progressions, and Solar Arcs to Midpoints and analyzes aspect patterns and their midpoint structures. McBroom examines the yod, the t–square, and the grand trine, as well as less common patterns such as Two Quindeciles Connected by a Semi-sextile and Two Sesquiquadrates Connected by a Square.
Here is an example from the book: As I am writing this review, horrific fires are burning out of control across southern California. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has been lauded on public radio for his efficient and visible leadership from the earliest days of the calamity (in contrast to another leader’s dismal lack of initiative in response to Hurricane Katrina). Schwarzenegger has Mercury at the Sun/Moon midpoint. After McBroom's succinct comment about the general meaning of this pattern (“… thoughts, ideas, and communication will be involved as the central unifying focus for the individual, and in his interactions with others”), he specifically describes three people with this midpoint picture: Jim Jones, Hugh Hefner, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of Schwarzenegger’s midpoint picture he writes: “… we must acknowledge that his communication skills are greatly enhanced by the strength of his ego and reputation (Sun in Leo) and his emotional need to administrate and see progress (Moon in Capricorn).” Schwarzenegger also has the Ascendant at the Sun/Moon midpoint. About this particular combination McBroom says: “His identity definition (Asc) can be accomplished through his Sun in Leo (the hero role) coupled with his Moon in Capricorn (emotional, ambitious determination). The two combined influences create a high level of personal confidence (Sun in Leo) and the discipline and determination (Moon in Capricorn) necessary to make him a formidable force.” Readers already familiar with midpoints may notice something else: McBroom integrates the respective signs of the Sun and Moon when interpreting the Sun/Moon midpoint; here, he is incorporating Noel Tyl’s idea of the Sun-Moon Blend.
The book provides Appendices that include keywords for the planets as focal points or in midpoint pictures; phrases for each combination of planets (and the North Node, Ascendant, and Midheaven); and several Midpoint Worksheets (for general application and for working with an unknown birth time). There is also an Index where you can quickly look up such notables as Andrea Bocelli (Jupiter = Asc/MC), Truman Capote (Venus = Jupiter/Saturn), and Deepak Chopra (Sun = Mercury/Neptune). These features make this book quite easy to use as a reference.
If you’re new to midpoints, here is one more example to entice you to look into their possibilities: Woody Allen has the Sun as the focal point of the Neptune/Ascendant midpoint. McBroom offers a wonderful quote from Allen that reflects this picture: “My only regret in life is that I wasn’t born someone else.”
Midpoints gives a multitude of examples, and the author acknowledges AstroDatabank for making it possible for him to accomplish his extensive, invaluable research into midpoint pictures in natal horoscopes. Don McBroom’s book elegantly “identifies, integrates, and synthesizes” midpoints in a horoscope. It is a superb addition to the astrologer’s library, no matter what level of experience you have with the subject matter.
— reviewed by Mary Plumb
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