Madazine
Chapter 17: Star-Struck

News from a village in County Donegal, Ireland, seems likely to cause uproar in the astrological world. Mr Algon Quin claims to have revolutionised the ancient practice after his seventy years in the field. He dropped the usual second ‘n’ from his surname, in deference to his claimed Amerindian ancestry, saying that his soul hails from the Algonquin tribes and migrated during what he calls the ‘Diaspora of the Spirits’, which he asserts took place during the European Dark Ages. He maintains that his system will replace all earlier work of its kind.

Quin’s ideas have something in common with those of conventional astrologers, in that he accepts a zodiac comprising twelve signs and houses. However, he maintains that the signs correspond exactly with our calendar months, saying that this accords with ancient beliefs, which he has adapted to modern concepts. Quin is nothing if not eclectic, as his signs are named from a mixture of legend and recorded history. His six female signs are, with one (Arthurian) exception, culled from Greek mythology, while the six male ones draw upon real people.

Being aware that over two-thirds of the Earth’s surface consists of water, Quin attributes eight of his signs to aquatic creatures and four to those of terra firma, though two of the former are amphibious, as the great innovator contends that the oceans will shrink by ‘divine drainage’. The table of months, signs and creatures is as follows:

January Copernicus The newt
February Hecuba The duck
March Galileo The mule
April Cassandra The prawn
May Ptolemy The squid
June Ariadne The asp
July Plato The sole
August Diana The whelk
September Euclid The ape
October Guinevere The eel
November Socrates The pike
December Hera The stoat

Quin’s notions are perhaps controversial. He claims that longitude is meaningless and that birth-date is a matter to be interpreted by him, while latitude must be known precisely. Further, he says that his system works only in the northern hemisphere, but reckons this does not matter much, as most of us live above the equator, and those below it must devise their own formula.

Findings are given only to those who appear at Quin’s base, where the centre of operations is the zodiac wheel, similar to those used in roulette. The rim is divided into twelve equal-sized segments and is fixed, while the inner disc, likewise sectioned, is free to rotate. Armed with the client’s birth latitude and sign, Quin makes subtle adjustments to the balance of his equipment, then sets the wheel so that each sign in the inner part is aligned with the same one on the rim. Finally, he spins the rotatable disc by hand. He has a ratchet system which ensures that when the wheel is stationary, the segments in the two sections are always sign-to-sign and never out of alignment. The inner disc comes to rest, he says, opposite the point in the rim that relates to the client’s real sign, so a person apparently born under Copernicus may have a true soul-birth under, say, Ariadne.

The master is clearly an alumnus of the ‘take no prisoners’ school of astrology, his appraisals being short and extremely pungent. Anyone seeking veiled comments may well be shocked. “Good or bad, I shoot from the hip,” says the 91-year-old guru. “Too many people don’t appreciate that they come into this world of their own volition and must engage positively with whatever happens to them.”

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