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In Search Of:

The Hankar Crystal

October 2015

By Al. H. Morrison 

Here’s an astrological artifact of the recent and not-so-recent past, from our eighth-house basement and attic. It’s the best explanation available of the most notable contribution of the often-referenced but seldom-explained, mysterious Colonel Raoul Hankar, who noticed what was really happening in the skies over the Western Front during the Great War. Explained by one of the astrological greats that knew him, Al H. Morrison
at The Astrologers' Guild of America conference of March 19, 1972, in New York City. Interestingly, it looks at the horoscope as an evolving, resonant crystal, akin to our wafeform approach. Originally transcribed and published in the Spring-Summer 1972 issue of The Astrological Review when I was its editor – J.T. 

Half a Saturn cycle ago, we were founding a technical journal, IN SEARCH, with Charles Jayne as Chairman of the Editorial Board. We had a lively time there in his downtown studio, with much excitement and debate over astrological matters. One of the most interesting of the many astrologers teaching there was Col. Raoul Hankar. While on duty as ballistics officer in the French Army (1914-1918), he had noticed correlations between visible planets and events on the battlefield. Then after the war he had tested his system against a set of 5,000 accurate birth charts of public figures.
The greatest merit of his system is that it provides a reliable method of judging from the horoscope of an unseen client which characteristics are extrovert, readily visible to the beholder, and which are introvert, or subjective, quite real but not strongly or directly reflected in behavior. It is an extensive detailed astrology, based on a particular cultural value system.

 French Col. Raoul Hankar was an artillary officer in WWI, whose mathematics shaped his theories.

What I am trying to explain here is a very small fragment of that astrology, somewhat out of context, a way of judging the psycho-mental phenomena, the way the native balances logic, emotion and direct psychic knowledge, or as the shrink industry terms it, instinct, automatic behavior, or lately, genetically programmed. This measure is not particularly an I.Q. test, although when thoughtfully done it comes much closer to accuracy in predicting I.Q. than many other observational efforts.
Consider first the apparent motion of the Moon during the date of the birth. Anything less than 13 degrees 10 minutes is "slow"; anything greater is "fast." There is quite a range in the apparent motion of the Moon as we see it from the surface of the Earth. For this purpose, the greater the difference from the mean motion, the more importance one attaches to the distinction, "slow" or "fast." Where the Moon is slow in its apparent motion, the native's perceptual capabilities are focused, or directed toward observing whatever the native is motivated to seek, or has been conditioned to pay attention to, or whatever he fears. Other information is simply not perceived, not observed. This leaves the mind relatively lightly burdened, with a minimal input of perceived data to process. 

The "fast" Moon, on the other hand, scans rapidly with a wide-open search pattern. If there is anything going on, anything new or unfamiliar, anything differing from expectation, it is instantly perceived. In a complex environment, as most social environments are, there are so many details and processes to notice that the "fast" Moon native has his mind receiving an avalanche of input, fresh data.
Where Mercury is located ahead of the Sun, so that when next the Sun rises, Mercury will have risen before it as a Morning Star, and particularly when Mercury itself has a fairly rapid apparent motion for the birth date, the mind has a direct and rapid faculty for filing, digesting the information brought in by the senses. Learning is quick, with little need for repetition.

 Observing the night skies during bombardments, Col. Hankar evolved his concepts.

Where Mercury follows the Sun, being an Evening Star still visible after the Sun has set for the day, the digestion of the incoming information is slower, deliberate, and more complex. Data are not simply filed, so to speak, but cross-referenced, tested, to see if they relate to anything else in or out of the system or set being perceived. Where the apparent motion of Mercury is slower than average, this handling of incoming information is slower still, and more thorough.

Where Mercury is retrograde, a sort of double-take is normal. Everything is considered twice. There is a greater capacity to retain information in perspective, or context, and to edit or re-learn in a different scheme.

The consideration of the apparent motion of the Moon together with the placement of Mercury relative to the Sun is what Marc Edmond Jones calls 'Mental Chemistry.'

In Jones' formulation the combinations of "fast" moon with Mercury behind the Sun and "slow" Moon with Mercury ahead of the Sun are no problem. The mind is reasonably balanced,-sufficiently challenged to make pragmatic sense of its environment to promote normal mental functioning.

This has nothing to do with what is called intelligence, or I.Q. I have noticed that much of what passes for high I.Q. is merely a very rapid over-use of what would be mediocre or poor faculties if paced at usually experienced rates. It's as if I have a jeep and work like hell to make 40 trips a day, I can haul much more freight than somebody with a Cadillac who makes a leisurely half-trip a day.

Astrologer L. Edward Johndro, an engineer himself, knew Hankar and promulgated his observations.

One of Dr. Jones' good friends and colleagues, Mathilde Shapiro, used to be fond of twirling her Phi Beta Kappa key while explaining that she has a very slow mental chemistry: very slow rate of Moon daily motion, Mercury behind the Sun and retrograde. Here, of course, is the example of the superior mind deliberating so rapidly that a courtroom stenographer would have difficulty keeping up with her very coherent lecturing.

I am something of the opposite case: Moon making more than 13 degrees 10 minutes a day, Mercury ahead of the Sun going faster than average, in the sign next ahead of the Sun's sign, and with a planet in between Mercury and Sun. With all this working, I have no option but to jump to conclusions. With me, very little gets past my perceptions, but I must instantly decide once and for all whether it means anything to me, and if so, what it does mean, and what I can or should do about it, if anything. All this has to happen instantaneously. This forces the whole process into automatic levels below such operations as logic, into what amounts to unconscious correlation. There is no cross-reference function to mention.

This enables me to cope with the flood of incoming perception easily, and in some ways I am hypersensitive, picking up more than most other people apparently do. But it also makes for poor recall; unless the datum has some impact, some emotional marking, I seem to file it peripherally and it is quickly lost. I constantly leap to conclusions, being fairly accurate, and in constant difficulty with people who don't do the same, who can't imagine how I got to the decisions I've made, and the like. And to try to show them, what happens is that I have to use my logical faculties to invent specifically for them some chain of cause-effect or some extrapolation from agreed-upon facts that will justify what I knew at once without conscious thought. It is not funny, nor is it any sort of superiority, merely another mode of mental activity, the way a particular mind can work.

Cazimi Mercury
Now when Mercury is cazimi, actually directly in line with us and the Sun so that a telescope would pick it up as a speck moving over the visible disc of the Sun, that is one condition: the energy of the Sun is focused through the planet and its energy field, whatever it may be, or astrologically, the drive of the ego, or the I AM force of the native is transmuted to flow through his psycho/mental processes as through a channel. For such an individual the animal nature is sublimated into intellectual or abstract manifestations. It can mean genius, or somebody who actually finds beauty in exact mathematical patterns, equations, etc. The other one, with Mercury on the far side of the Sun and hidden behind it, works in reverse.

The animal, or physical energy of the native simply overrides whatever intellectual talents he has, so that he does what he does and thinks about it later, if ever. Again, there is no direct measure of I.Q. as such. Some of these Sun occulting Mercury people do have excellent mentality, high I.Q.

You may find cazimi defined as merely the inferior and superior conjunctions of Mercury with Sun, not necessarily occulting or being occulted. In these less accurate alignments between us, Mercury and the Sun, the same general characteristics are seen in the native, but not to such intensity.

What Col. Hankar did was to consider the relative positions of the Moon, Mercury, Uranus and the Ascendant. Now here, the birth chart must be very accurately calculated. One takes very narrow orbs, and the Ascendant moves rapidly, perhaps more rapidly than the Midheaven.

The Hankar Crystal is formed by the relationship of the Moon, Mercury, Uranus, and Ascendant.

For this purpose, any fraction of the circle, rational or irrational, is an aspect. Likewise, as a modification, I have added any multiple of 15 degrees of an aspect, or mathematical derivative of some fraction of the circle.

In order to see this set of relationships of 3 bodies and a point, I draw off a diagram separately from the chart wheel, thus: (illustration) so that a trapezoidal figure is formed. I have named this diagram: Hankar Crystal. On each of the lines is written whatever angular distance there is indicated by the line. Only very rarely is the diagram symmetrical. I do not know that it would mean anything specific - it might. I have not seen enough of them to know. One of my students has a whole notebook full of thousands of these diagrams, for study, to search for some correlation between shape of the Hankar Crystal and some visible characteristic of the natives. 
For interpretation, one takes up the traditional Key Words for these bodies and this point, Ascendant. Where, for example, the fast Moon is related to the Ascendant by an exact aspect, and here, a so-called minor aspect is just as important and strong as a so-called major aspect, then the immediate response of the individual tends to flow as visible reaction. You can read his feelings in his face, his actions, his voice.

Mercury vs. the Moon

Where the Mercury is more exactly aspected with the Ascendent and the Moon is not in any definite aspect, or with too wide an orb, then you get another native whose mind is the part that shows, rather than his spontaneous impulses or emotional reactions. Any aspect of Uranus sharpens and intensifies the action. Where the Uranus-Mercury aspect is more exact and the Uranus-Moon relation is only vague, you get a quite sharp mind with a delay or unwillingness to put into immediate response what the mind's scanning has formulated, the man who thinks of millions of things to do, but who may perhaps do none of them.

Where the Mercury is not tightly bound into the Hankar Crystal, and the other things are, you may have an individual who dispenses with routine or logical cerebration, who functions on emotional or physical feel-your-way sort of trial and error, or one who goes on direct psychic sensitivity, according to what is most tightly connected in the Hankar Crystal. Where the Ascendant is not closely related to any of these bodies, you have the individual who doesn't readily express overtly what is going on within his mind/psyche. You are not to be unhappy if you find you have few or no exact aspects in your own Hankar Crystal. To have all the lines marked thus is reserved for genius, and not many of us qualify. The relative equilibrium is more important.

Another thing which I have done with the Hankar Crystal, which Col. Hankar did not, so far as I know, is to progress this diagram. Naturally, everything in it progresses at its own varying rates, speeding and slowing, so that the Hankar Crystal evolves from its original form through an eventually cyclic series of transformations. Thus, there would be periods of the life of higher intellectual creativity, other periods of stronger emphasis on physical expression, many phases overlapping and generating something analogous to interference patterns or beat notes.

Character Core

The Hankar Crystal can be thought of as a very sophisticated, complex Arabian Part, if you like. You can take the Hankar Crystal as the core of the character structure, interpret it as such, then add unto it one by one the other planets and the Sun, somewhat like decorating a Christmas Tree. For example, taking Venus into account shows you something of the motivation, how fluently it is aroused, what channels it finds its readiest expression, how to judge what the native wants.
Another way of looking at the Hankar Crystal is to see it as functioning in the whole organism somewhat like the quartz and other crystals the physicists use in regulating, standardizing, and controlling flow or radiation of energy. Whatever energy is put into a crystal comes out in a specific output related to the nature of the crystal and its structural pattern. Any stress is reflected in what the crystal is tuned to project, as a particular frequency of radio waves, or a specific electrical voltage. Col. Hankar, of course, would not have accepted either of these considerations. Remember that what I have done here is to take a very small part out of a rather complete system of astrology, so that it necessarily is out of context.

Al H. Morrison, an influential and sometimes controversial twentieth-century astrological pioneer, was president of the Astrologer's Guild of  America when this piece was first presented.  More on his many contributions here...

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