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Medieval Astrology

including Medieval Medical Astrology

Projects Hindsight/ARHAT weren't the first to go back to the past for inspiration. There is a steady, albeit small, trickle of classic books available, as well as some excellent modern books.

Medieval medical astrology books (the ones by Saunders & Culpeper, shown below), differ not only from modern medical astrology books, but also from modern medical texts as well. In a single volume, a guide to diagnose disease astrologically, a guide to the various types of humans (choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic), typical symptoms of many diseases - and how to spot them, astrological guidelines for when & how to administer treatment (using planetary hours), as well as suggested herbal-based remedies. No modern medical book of any kind can claim that degree of comprehensiveness.

William Lilly has his own page, as does Morin.

For earlier books, see Ancient Astrology & ARHAT.
For late 19th/early 20th century, see: Sepharial

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

ON THE HEAVENLY SPHERES, A treatise on traditional astrology - Helena Avelar & Luis Ribeiro, translated by Maria Mateus, $39.95


Preface, by Sue Ward

1. Astrology
2. The universe according to astrology
3. The astrological chart
4. The planets
5. The zodiac & the signs
6. The essential dignities
7. The houses
8. The aspects
9. Chart dynamics
10. The condition of the planets
11. Lunar nodes
12. The fixed stars
13. The Parts
14. The power of the planets

1. The astrological symbols
2. The modern planets
3. Minor dignities, zodiacal degrees & additional tables
4. Additional considerations concerning houses
5. Minor aspects & aspect configurations
6. The planetary hours
7. Astrological chart calculations

Addendum: The basics of chart delineation

Final thoughts
Annotated bibliography
Chart data


A more detailed glimpse of the table of contents will give an idea of the enormous scope & richness in this book. Here are some (not all) of the illustrations, diagrams & tables from this book:
Some of the topics in the second chapter, on the universes of astrology, include: Celestial bodies in orbit around the sun; Celestial bodies as seen from the earth; the Primum Mobile; the Firmament or fixed stars; Primary qualities; Formation of the elements; Spheres of the elements; Temperaments

Some topics from the third chapter on the astrological chart: Modern chart; Egyptian chart; Greek horoscope; Medieval horoscope; Renaissance horoscope; How to read a square chart; Circular chart with aspects

From the fourth chapter, on planets: Ptolemaic model & Chaldean order; Benefic & malefic planets; Superior & inferior, Diurnal & noctural, etc.

From the fifth chapter, on the signs: Qualities of the four seasons; Degrees of the zodiac; Zodiacal notation; Movemenbt of planets in the signs; Maximum distance of Mercury & Venus relative to the Sun; Chaldean order & speed; Retrogradation of Venus & Mars; Latitude & range of the planets; Precession of the equinoxes

From the sixth chapter, on dignities: Planetary rulers; Diurnal & nocturnal rulers; Exaltation, exile, joys & detriment; Egyptian terms; Faces; Calculation of Moon-Mercury almuten

From the seventh chapter, on houses: Rise & set; Primary motion; Superior & inferior hemispheres; Primary & secondary motion; Malefic houses; Derived houses; Intercepted signs; Joy & sect

From the eighth chapter, on aspects: Angular relationships between planets; Aspects as geocentric angles; Orbs, radius & diameters; A unilateral aspect; Out of sign aspects; Moieties; Applying & separating; Mutual application; Diurnal & nocturnal relationships; Aspects & joys; Antiscia; Counter-antiscia; Commanding & obeying

From chapter nine, on chart dynamics: 30 degree ruler; Sequence of aspects; Translation of light; Collection of light; Prohibition of light, Frustration of light, Refranation of light; Will she date me?

From chapter ten, on condition of the planets: Increase & decrease of superior & inferior planets; Dusk & dawn; Under the sunbeams; Combustion; Cazimi; Lunation cycle; Planets oriental & occidental to the Moon; Al Biruni's lunar mansions; Planets in contrariety of Hayz; Almugea to Sun & Moon

From chapter eleven, on the lunar nodes: Nodes in the celestial sphere; Nodes on the ecliptic; Orb of influence; Eclipses; Symbols of the eclipses

From chapter twelve, on fixed stars: Constellations & fixed stars & their natures

From chapter thirteen, on Parts: Calculation, both diurnal & nocturnal; Part of Fortune & Spirit. A dozen other parts are mentioned by name.

From chapter fourteen, the power of the planets: Scoring essential dignities; scoring perigrine & mutual reception; scoring house positions; scoring relationship to the Sun; Velocity; Movement; Scoring the aspects; Scoring Hayz

There follows some sixty pages of appendices.

The authors express themselves quite well. Here are extensive excerpts from the Introduction:
It is, above all, a book of astrology. It presents astrology per se, i.e., the hard nucleus of the art. It explains the astrological system through its philosophical principles, without having to resort to concepts external to astrology. . . . This book has collected the fundamentals of astrology that have been handed down by authors such as Ali ben Ragel, Abraham Ibn Ezra, Claudius Ptolemy, and William Lilly, to name only a few.

When we refer to traditional astrology we are referring to the wealth of astrological knowledge practiced from the Hellenistic era to the end of the 17th century. This knowledge is a direct inheritance of the Babylonian, Greek, Arabic & Medieval European civilizations.

Astrology Today
. . . [A]nyone can freely opine on astrology, no matter how ignorant or silly that opinion, since few have sufficient knowledge to detect (and fewer yet, to counter-argue) the inconsistencies. Astrology has become a free zone for every type of opportunism & speculation. In truth, much of what today is called astrology - and accepted as such by most students - is nothing more than a collage of unconnected ideas, vaguely supported by astrological symbolism. The disinformation is so widespread that many practitioners think, in good faith, that they are working effectively, without the understanding that what they have been taught is confused, incomplete, and devoid of solid foundations. In fact, many of the current astrological systems extensively identify themselves with theraputic & psychological approaches (often in surprisingly amateurish & irresponsible ways) and relegate astrology to a secondary role.

Today, despite the vast array of available information, it is almost impossible to obtain reliable information about real astrology. The excess of information has generated an ill-defined collection of approaches and practices, where actual astrology emerges as a mere & ever-rarefied add-on. In summary, there are more & more astrologers, and less and less astrology. Popular astrological practice has become increasingly simplistic from a technical perspective, and increasingly complicated at a conceptual level. The rules & astrological fundamentals have been reduced to generalized prescriptions, and the interpretations are immersed in an increasingly confused cloud of spiritualities, psychologies, and disparate metaphysical systems. . .

Learning Astrology
. . . First, we need to reiterate what should be obvious: astrology is studied. It has laws, rules, and postulates that define it as a consistent & functional body of knowledge. These rules need to be learned by the student, both theoretically & in their practical application. It is a vast, rich, and solid body of ideas that require dedication & time to be duly assimilated.

It is equally important to recognize astrology as a specific field of study. Its goal is the correlation between celestial movements & terrestrial events. In order to attain that goal, it has specific rules (as previously mentioned) at its disposal, as well as its own techniques & tools. It is from the correct application of these rules, laws, and concepts that we derive astrological interpretation. The student should know these rules & techniques well in order to distinguish what is & is not astrology.

Another concept is that astrology is autonomous. It does not have to rely on other areas of study to define itself nor to demonstrate its functionality. It is cohesive & self-sufficient. . .

With these things in mind, we now turn to the astrology.

The authors take no prisoners. This is a *** S U P E R B *** book. Get it.

The excellent translation is by Maria Mateus, a Kepler graduate.

AFA, 278 pages, oversize.

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

Contents: Preface to the second edition; Preface to the 2006 reprint, by James Herschel Holden

Book 1. Genethliacal Astrology:
1. Introduction; 2. Introduction, continued; 3. Genethliacal astrology; 4. The alphabet; 5. On the right ascension, declination, etc., of the heavenly bodies; 6. On dividing the heavens; 7. On casting a figure of the heavens; 8. Calculation of nativities; 9. The signs & constellations of the zodiac; 10. The Sun;

11. The Moon; 12. The planet Mercury; 13. The planet Venus; 14. The planet Mars; 15. The planet Jupiter; 16. The planet Saturn; 17. The planet Uranus; 18. The planet Neptune; 19. The fixed stars; 20. The import of the nativity;

21. Physical constitution & temperament; 22. The mind & disposition; 23. The fortune of wealth & rank; 24. On the vocation; 25. Marriage; 26. Children; 27. Friends & enemies; 28. Travelling; 29. The kind of death; 30. On primary directions;

31. Examples of rules for working mundane directions; 32. Zodiacal directions; 33. Examples of rules for computing zodiacal directions; 34. On equating arcs of direction; 35. On rectifying a nativity; 36. On solar revolutions; 37. On secondary directions; 38. On lunations, eclipses & progresses; 39. On transits; 40. On the effects of primary directions; 41. On the practical uses of astrology.

Appendix to book 1: To reduce mean to sidereal time; On the use of logarithms in astronomical calculations (with 12 formulas); To find the latitude & longitude of a star by the celestial globe; To find the arc of duration of a primary direction of the sun or moon.

Book 2. Mundane Astrology:
1. Introduction; 2. On the equinoxes & solstices; 3. On the new moon of the year; 4. Necessary considerations before judgement; 5. On the presignification of the planet Saturn when lord of the year; 6. On the presignification of Jupiter; 7. On the presignification of Mars; 8. On the presignification of the Sun; 9. On the presignification of Venus; 10. On the presignification of Mercury; 11. On the presignification of the Moon; 12. On the presignification of planets when in mutual configuration, one being elevated above the other, at a solar ingress or an eclipse; 13. On eclipses of the sun & moon; 14. On the presignification of the planets, according to their positions at eclipses of the sun & moon; 15. Examples of predictions made from recent eclipses of the sun & moon, solar ingresses & transits of the planets; 16. Mutual conjunctions of the major planets; 17. Comets.

Book 3. Astro-Meteorology:
1. Introduction; 2. The Sun; 3. The Moon; 4. The planet Jupiter; 5. The planet Saturn; 6. The planet Mars; 7. The planet Venus; 8. The planet Mercury; 9. The planet Uranus; 10. The planet Neptune; 11. The mutual conjunctions & oppositions of the planets; 12. Earthquakes & volcanic eruptions.

Book 4. Medical Astrology:
1. Epidemics & planetary influence; 2. Crisis in disease; 3. Diagnosis & prognosis of disease; 4. Therapeutics & astrology; 5. Medicines & planetary influence; 6. On the preservation of health.

Book 5. Elections:
1. Introduction; 2. Elections for affairs pertaining to the first six houses; 3. Elections relating to the last six houses; 4. The planetary dignities.

Appendix 2: Tables of houses for London & Northampton; Table of right ascension; Table of declination (north & south); Ascensional difference for the latitude of London; Ascensional difference for the latitude of Washington, D.C.

Comment: London-born Alfred John Pearce lived from 1840 to 1923. The first part of his Text-Book, on genethliacal astrology, was published in 1879. The remaining four books, as Part 2, were published ten years later, in 1889. They were revised & combined in a single volume in 1911, which the AFA reprinted in facsimile in 1970. It has long been a classic. I am pleased the AFA has reset and reprinted it, in a sturdy hardcover.

The tenor of the book: As a cookbook, it's a bit weak. Pearce delineates planets in signs, that's about it. The heart of the book, what makes it so wonderful (I was going to reprint this if the AFA had not) are the wealth of aphorisms & examples drawn from the author's own observations, coupled with his wide reading of astrological classics. Among them, Ptolemy, Manilius, the 17th century English classics (Partridge, Gadbury & Ramesey among them). The first book, on natal astrology, is excellent, as is the second, on mundane astrology. Books 3 & 4 (on astro-meteorology & astrology & medicine) are shorter and not as comprehensive, although much relating to medicine is given in the first book, and much relating to the weather is given in the second. The final book, on elections, is a condensed version of Ramesey's elections in Astrologie Restored, which someone must reprint eventually.

Regrettably, the book lacks both table of contents & index. Enterprising readers can fashion a table of contents from my list (above) merely by adding page numbers. An index would be priceless.

AFA, 504 pages, hardcover.

THE ELEMENTS OF ASTROLOGY - Luke Broughton, MD, $49.95


The table of contents to this book covers four pages of tiny type, two columns per page. As that is impractical, I have made this synopsis of the book's contents:

To the Student
Lessons and Books on Astrology

Table of Contents

Glossary of Astrological Terms

Elements of Astrology
Brief History of Astrology
Astrology in London, by Edgar Lee
Pharaoh’s Dream
Theories of Ancient Astronomers
Perihelion Epoch of Jupiter
Effect on the Earth of the Near Approach of Mars
Meteorology and Planetary Influence
The Planet Neptune in Gemini
Personal Description Determined by Planets
Assassination of President Lincoln
Assassination of President Garfield
Lizzie Borden Murder Case

Elements of Astrology
Signification of the Twelve Houses
Nature, Quality, Description of the Twelve Houses
General Appearance, by the Twelve Signs
Persons Described by the Eight Planets
Planets in Signs
Planets in Conjunction
Planets in Sextile and Trine
Planets in Square and Opposition
Practical Astrology
To Set a Map of the Heavens
How to Calculate the Part of Fortune
Rules for Reading Horoscopes
Synopsis of Medical Astrology
Rules for Marriage and Children
How to Judge Fortunate or Unfortunate
Mental Abilities
Profession and Trade
Lords of the Houses in Other Houses
Changes in Build and Complexion
Planetary Anatomical Rulerships
Division of the Twelve Signs, etc.
Table of Essential Dignities
Table of Orbs
Table of Friends and Enemies
Planetary Hours
Planetary Hours: Perpetual Tables
Horoscope of William McKinley
Horoscope of William Jennings Bryan
Horoscope of Queen Victoria
Horoscope of Lord Byron
Horoscope of Charles Dickens
Horoscope of Ulysses Simpson Grant
Horoscope of George Washington
Modern Medication
Objections to Astrology Answered
The Planet Neptune
Horoscopes of Presidents Cleveland and Harrison
Horoscope of Kaiser Wilhelm II
Horoscope of the Third French Republic

Appendix: Why I am an Astrologer
Introductory Remarks
The Humbug of Astrology, by Richard Proctor
Reply to Mr. Proctor
Discussion Pro and Con about Astrology
Unparalleled Outrages, by W.H. Chaney
The Tower of Babel

Read and Reflect
Broughton’s Monthly Planet Reader

About the Author


Luke Dennis Broughton was born in 1828, in Leeds, England. Around 1854 he emigrated to the U.S., where he joined two of his brothers in Philadelphia. The Broughtons were from a long line of English astrologers, having been taught as children by their fathers.

Broughton was a graduate of the Eclectic Medical College, of Pennsylvania, at the time a reputed and well-known school of homeopathy. As he documents in this book, with the aid of astrology he practiced as a homeopathic doctor, with much success.

Broughton’s fortunes in life, his struggles to promote astrology, mirrored the North–South struggle over slavery. He famously predicted that Abraham Lincoln would lose to Stephen A. Douglas in 1860. He later said he had thought Lincoln’s evil aspects would deny him the election. He then realized the aspects had to do with the nation breaking apart before the new President-Elect could take office.

Broughton fought proposed anti-astrology legislation in Pennsylvania, most notably by starting the Monthly Planet Reader and Astrological Journal in 1860, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Pennsylvania banned astrology in 1861. Broughton stuck it out for two more years, then in 1863 left for New York .

In 1864 Broughton forecast the re-election of President Lincoln, adding, I might here state, that shortly after the election is over, Mr. Lincoln will have a number of evil aspects afflicting his nativity. . . . they will then be in operation in Nov. and Dec. of this year. During these months, let him be especially on his guard against attempts to take his life, by such as fire arms and infernal machines.

In this book are charts for both Lincoln’s and Garfield’s assassinations, as well as for the murders for which Lizzie Borden was accused, and also the natal charts of Queen Victoria, Presidents George Washington, William McKinley, Grover Cleveland, William Henry Harrison and Ulysses Simpson Grant. Broughton read charts primarily by means of houses and at one point neatly disposes of equal houses, in favor of Placidus, which he knew of as Dalton's Tables (Daltons now out of print). There are extensive delineations of physical appearance, as well as notes on rectification by means of appearance.

The times in which Broughton lived were hard. No respectable person openly admitted he was an astrologer, though many practiced in secret. At the time many astrologers hid behind code names, a practice that continued into the 20th century and included Sepharial, among others. In New York, Broughton, who went under his real name, was libeled, his mail stolen, his lectures disrupted, his family assaulted. The police were called, but the charges were dismissed by a hostile judge. Yet he persevered.

This 500 page book reads a lot like one of my weekly articles: Direct, personable, immediate, with its flaws fully acknowledged and on display. This is the distillation of a working astrologer of a century ago, before there was astropsychology, Sabian Symbols, New Age, and all the rest.

One of the most interesting and unique sections of the book is on planetary hours. Broughton only learned about them as an adult. He found they worked, and quickly adopted them in his daily life. He attributed much of his success as a physican to the use of planetary hours. In the book he writes,

Possibly the reason that I could notice the marked influence of Planetary Hours while treating sick patients, is on account of Saturn and Mars afflicting my horoscope in such a marked manner at birth. Mars being in the 6th , (the house of sickness,) and also being in square to Mercury in the midheaven, and in opposition to the Moon my ruling planet, and also Saturn afflicting my 12th house, (or the house of secret enemies,) in the sign Cancer and the Moon my ruling planet making a conjunction of Saturn. These planetary influences make the evil Planetary Hours of both Saturn and Mars doubly evil in my horoscope. Jupiter in the 5th house, and lord of both the 9th and 10th houses, and also lord of the 6th house, and the Moon rising in close trine to Jupiter; and also Venus in the 11th house, unafflicted and lady of the 11th, and the Sun in the midheaven at my birth, makes the hours of Jupiter, Venus, the Moon and the Sun, doubly fortunate for me; and their influence in any business, etc., which I may undertake in their planetary hours, and especially in commencement of treating the sick. (pg. 253)
Of the many hundreds of authors I have surveyed, Luke Broughton is the first and so far, the only person to have a real sense of the planetary hours. They are so real to him that he devotes 20 pages to a perpetual table of planetary hours, which will work in latitudes of 40-41 degrees north, simply convert your clock time to Local Mean Time. In Philadelphia-New York, St. Louis and Denver, standard clock time (not daylight) will work. (The criteria for clock time are towns that are more or less at 40-41 north latitude, and whose longitudes are evenly divisible by 15.) Planetary hours are so real to Broughton that he wonders if Local Mean Time, or Local Apparent Time, should be used with them. You can learn more about planetary hours in this book than in all the others combined. In my theory of Earth-based astrology, planetary hours, more than the degree on the ascendant, are the final, fine-tuning mechanism. Master them and you master the world. I am hopeful that Broughton's book will touch off a wave of interest in this very neglected area.

Luke Broughton established astrology in America, when no one else could. His book, The Elements of Astrology, was the first serious astrology book published in America. It is both a text-book of the astrology of his day, as well as a history of Broughton’s life and times. He died in 1898, shortly after this book was published.

George McCormack called Broughton The American pioneer of modern astrology in the United States.. James Holden and Robert Hughes called him The true Poioneer of Astrology in America and dedicated their book to his memory.

Click here for an excerpt, on the horoscope of George Washington and his shocking death.

Here is an early review:

Students of the so-called occult sciences will be glad to learn that a new and excellent work on astrology has just been published in this city and London, the author and publisher being L.D. Broughton, M.D. The book, which is entitled "Elements of Astrology," is a comprehensive and lucid text-book on this most ancient science. Several books on this subject have been published during the last few years both in this country and in Europe, but it would be difficult to find one which is more instructive or more interesting than the present work. As a rule modern astrological text-books are mere compilations of earlier works, and contain little or nothing that is original. Dr. Broughton's book, however, is not of this sort. True, it contains much that may be found in Lilly's "Christian Astrology," and other old books on the subject, but it also contains much that will be new even to the trained student. This will not surprise those who know that Dr. Broughton's father and grandfather were firm believers in astrology; and that he himself has been studying it all his life. It is doubtful if there is any man living now who has cast more horoscopes than he has, or is more skilled in this fascinating science. In the present work, Dr. Broughton not only lays down clear and simple rules for the guidance of students, but he also gives us some notable horoscopes of prominent persons, and some interesting reminiscences of his career as a teacher and champion of astrology. Altogether this is an admirable book, and one which deserves to be welcomed by all those who are interested in this curious, old, predictive science. - New York Herald, November 13, 1898

Astrology Classics, 528 pages.

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FIVE MEDIEVAL ASTROLOGERS - translated by James Herschel Holden, $21.95


Translator's preface

Albumasar (c.787 - 886): The Book of Flowers

Pseudo-Ptolemy (author unknown, date prior to 800 AD): The Centiloquy

Hermes Trismegistus (author unknown, date prior to 1262): The Centiloquy

Bethen (probably written by Ibn Ezra, 1148): The Centiloquy

Almansor (12th century, Toledo, Spain?) The Propositions


Comment: These are five sets of aphorisms, of Greek or Arabic origins, that were translated from (largely lost) originals by the celebrated Twelfth Century Translators, of Spain & Italy. Increasing trade between Christian Europe & the Islamic world, in particular, Spain, had given Christians a taste for the many splendors in Arabic libraries. The twelfth century produced many hundreds of translations to satisfy this need. The Wiki page notably omits Every.Single.Astrological.Work translated by these men. When in fact many, if not a majority of the books translated were astrological in nature. We are, today, many years from exhausting those treasures. It was these translations that set the stage for the Italian Renaissance some three centuries later.

Medieval scholars gave far greater importance to the nature of numbers than we do today. Hence there are many sets of 100 aphorisms, from whence the title, "Centiloquy". One of the earliest surviving, and one of the best, is the one attributed to Ptolemy, though he did not write it. The next most famous is the set by "Hermes", though, again, actual authorship is unknown. All three sets given here, along with Almansor's 150 Propositions, mix some natal astrology with a lot of horary & electional. Albumasar's Book of Flowers is, uniquely, a book of mundane aphorisms. I have long awaited such a book.

These translations were made from critical editions of source material. In particular, the translation of the "Ptolemy" Centiloquy is from the recent Greek text of Emilie Boer.

AFA, 153 pages.

THE INTRODUCTION TO THE SCIENCE OF THE JUDGEMENTS OF THE STARS - Sahl Ibn Bishr, translated by James Herschel Holden, $24.95


Translator's preface

Book 1: Introduction:
The essential signification of the circle; The accidental signification of the circle; The ascending house & whatever is in it is about questions, and the rest of the twelve signs; Angles, succedents & cadents; Difference in strength of the houses; Aspects; The 16 modes that signify perfection and destruction; The knowledge of the light or the orb of the seven planets; Separation; The conjunction of light; Prohibition; Reception; Minor reception; A planet not received; Void of course; Return; Giving virtue; Giving disposition and nature; The strength of the planets; The debility of the planets; The defects of the Moon; Explanation of besieging; Hays; Testimony; The joys of the planets

Book 2: The Fifty Precepts

Book 3: Questions or The Book of Judgements of the Arabs:
General rules; A chapter on the conjunction of the ASC

The second house on matters of substance

The third house on the matters of brothers

The fourth house on matters of heredity

The fifth house on matters relating to children and first about one child; Whether a child will be born to him or not; Whether a woman is pregnant or not, and whether she will bear a child or not; Whether a pregnancy is true or false; Whether or not a pregnant woman will bear twins; Whether she will bear a male or a female

The sixth house on the matter of infirmity; Something on the matter of slaves & freedmen; Buying a slave-girl; The relicts of a dead slave; Poseesion of the same

The seventh house on matters of marriage; Whether a woman who has fled from her husband will return; Whether a woman is a virgin or not; Whether or not a woman will bear a child; Whether a woman is pregnant from fornication; Whether a woman has a man she loves, or one who loves her; Which of the two will win a competition; What will be the action in buying & selling; Whether a fugitive or property or something else that is lost will be found or not; The place of the fugitive or the robber; Whether it is better to flee or to return; Whether or not the querent will get back what was stolen; A question about something lost - will it be found or not; A question about the robber - is he a foreigner?; The place of the stolen items; Whether the number of stolen items is one or more; The suspicion of the robber; On the same subject; What sort of thing was stolen; The thing stolen or pilfered, what it is and the type of thing; A question about the robber, whether it is a male or a female or an imbrio; A question about association & its outcome; A question about a general going to war; The cause of wars; The quality of the army

The eighth house in connection with the absent person

The ninth house on the matter of travel; The entrance of a traveler into a city; The journeys of princes & kings; What land would be better for the querent; Whether it would be good for the querent to set out on a journey; Release from captivity; The return of someone absent

The tenth house, about a kingdom; Question about anything, whether he will getit or not; Royal expenditures; A question about someone's condition put by a representative; Where is the ruler of the kingdom; A question about his taking his seat; The current condition of a kingdom; A person or king absent from a kingdom; Will he remain in his kingdom or not

The eleventh house, about hopes; The relationship between two persons; The realization of something hoped for

The twelfth house, on the matter of animals; The condition of the animal; A question about the age of the animal; Enemies

Letters; Another chapter on letters; Whether the letter is good or evil; What will be the response to the letter; Whether the letter is delivered or not; Whether the letter is signed or not; The man who is sending the letter; Whether a letter has reached the king or not; Rumors; A question about something that is feared; If a slain person will be avenged or not; Whether anything is true or false; Many things; More things; Hunting on the land; The quantity of hunting; A banquet to which you have been invited; The cause of the banquet; The signification of the planetary hours in questions

Book 4: Elections;
The ascendant and what is in it of elections in the knowledge of the natures of the signs, the first of which are the mobile signs; The fixed signs; The common signs; An election for the beginning of any work, and the ten impediments of the Moon

The second sign or the second house with its elections, and first about receiving & allocating money; An election for sharing money or some kind of work with someone; An election for investing money in order to profit from it; An election for buying or selling; An election for alchemical operations

The fourth sign or the fourth house and whatever kind of elections are in it, and first for building a house; An election for tearing down a house; An election for buying land or for leasing it, so that you may receive a return from it; An election for diverting a river or for digging a well; An election for planting trees; An election for sowing seed

The fifth sign or the fifth house with its elections, and first about begetting a male or female child; An election for removing a dead fetus from the womb; An election if you want to enroll a son in a course of instruction or send him to a place in which he may be taught some trade

The sixth sign or the sixth house with its elections, and first about expelling devils and ghosts from any place; An election for taking medicine or applying a plaster or any other kind of medication to any part of the body; When remedies for the belly should be administered; The head; The body; Cures for diseases; The eyes; An election for shaving the head with medicine; An election for buying slaves; An election for giving freedom

The seventh sign or the seventh house with its elections and first for marriage; An election for going to war; An election for buying or mutually accepting or returning instruments of war, or for destroying any place or instrument

The eighth sign or the eighth house with its elections

The ninth sign or the ninth house with its elections, and first for travels; An election for the entrance of a traveler into a region or city

The tenth sign or the tenth house with its elections, and first about going with the king to a region that he rules; An election for elevation to a kingdom; An election for putting the king on the seat of empire; An election for putting someone in charge of a restoration; An election for strengthing a rulership; An election for being inimical to a king; An election for mollifing a king who is angry with you

The eleventh sign or the eleventh house, and first for making friendship; An election for seeking something from someone

The twelfth sign or the twelfth house with its elections, and first for buying animals; An election for going out to hunt; An election for taking flight, or for whatever you wish to do secretly; An election for finding a fugitive; An election for writing a letter

Book 5: The Book of Times:
The principal knowledge of the times; Finding the significator of the time; The life of a man in the ascendant; The house of substance; The times of the third & fourth houses; The house of children; The house of illness; The seventh sign for the times or hours of war from the sayings of Theophilus; Remarks on the eighth house; The ninth sign on travels from the sayings of the ancients; The return of a traveler; A letter and rumors; The tenth sign in connection with a king from the sayings of Masha'allah

Appendix: A 9th house question: A question about a vision or dream

Index of persons

Comment: Like many acient books, the Table of Contents is a de facto index, listing the contents of the book, virtually page by page.

James Holden's Introduction says that Sahl Ibn Bishr, known in the west as Zahel or Zael, was a learned Jew who lived in the first half of the 9th century. He was at one time court astrologer to the Vizer of Baghdad. He is credited with writing 18 books in Arabic, five of which were later translated by a group known simply as the 12th century translators. The books were: Introduction to Astrology, The 50 Precepts, Judgments of Questions, Elections, and, The Book of Times. These are the five books which Mr. Holden has translated for us. For a source, Holden has conflated the first complete printed edition (Venice, 1493, I am unable to find it in Gardner), with a privately made microfilm copy of a 13th century Latin text from the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

Based on the Latin text, Holden declares Sahl to have been a master of horary & electional astrology. His work was copied, without attribution, by Bonatti and Ibn Ezra, and later turns up in William Lilly's Christian Astrology, as well as Anima Astrologaie. So now we have the original source, or, at the very least, a much earlier one. Here is one of Sahl's entries:

A question about the robber, whether it is a male or a female or an imbrio [youth?]

And if you were asked about the robber, whether he is a male or a female or an imbrio, then consider which ascends of the forms of men in the face of the ASC in which the question is made, and declare according to the substance of those forms. And you may know that in the first face of Aries, there ascends the form of a black man dressed in a white tunic; and there ascends in the second face, the form of a woman over whom there are red strips of cloth; and in the third form is that of a man of a pale color with red hair.

And there ascends in the first face of Taurus, a man looking around and a naked man; and there ascends in the second face, a naked man in whose hand is a key; and in the third face, a man in whose hand is a snake and an arrow. (pgs. 87-88)

This is a use of faces that I had not read before, and potentially a very useful one. To be strict, Holden is unsure if this section is actually by Sahl or was added by later hands.

In his Introduction, under the heading, Special Features of Sahl's Techniques, Holden discusses the sign-house method of chart construction, where the first house is the entire rising sign, the second house is the entire second sign, the tenth house is the entire tenth sign (ie, the MC degree is ignored). He attributes this to the Alexandrians in the second century BC, he says it was imported to India (in theory, India learned astrology from the Greeks), where it is still used today. Holden does not mention the Greek book which allegedly taught India astrology. It was the Yavana Jataka (or Yavanajataka, "Greek Astrology"), which was translated by the late David Pingree. If I can get permission, I want to reprint this book & in my introductory notes, give a proper analysis of the role & function of early books, with an emphasis on the sign/house problem.

But two quick notes: The sign/house conflation is native to equatorial climes & presumably originated there. At 31 degrees north - the latitude of Alexandria - sign/house conflation only works somewhat. Further north in Europe, it collapses altogether. Which is why Europeans have spent a thousand years grappling with house division. It is bizarre to see this crude system promoted anew by the likes of Arhat & Hindsight. (Holden seems to be holding his nose.) Why was this issue not tackled by the Greeks? Because they lacked numerical representation that would enable them to perform the necessary calculations. If all they had were "Roman numerals", consider the problem of dividing MCCCXLVIII by XXIII (848 / 23 = 36.87) using such a crude symbol set. It is for this reason that Western mathematics was stunted until the introduction of Indian numerals, by way of the Arabs. What we know as "Arabic numerals" were first introduced to Europe by Fibonacci in 1202, but did not become commonplace until the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, some one thousand years after they were first developed in India. See Wiki's discussion.

As for the Yavana Jataka being the "seed book" for Indian astrology, this rests on a dual misunderstanding. First, of the role of early books in societies where knowledge was largely imparted from teacher to student by oral, not written, means. Second, India was not then, and is not now, the sort of society where ideas are easily propagated from one locale to another, which makes foreign seeding a very foreign idea. Ideas spread quickly & widely in Europe for a very different reason. But these remarks are better saved for later, when they can be presented in proper garb.

But aside from that. Another huge piece of the puzzle has just been given to us. All thanks to Mr. Holden, and the American Federation of Astrologers.

AFA, 213 pages.

TEMPERAMENT: ASTROLOGY'S FORGOTTEN KEY - Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum, $35.00
Contents: Acknowledgements; Permissions; Preface; Introduction; 1. Theory & history of temperament; 2. Temperament theory applied: the Waldorf study; 3. Using temperament in modern astrological practice. Appendices; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.

Appendices: A. Determining temperament through the ages; B. Robert Burton & The Anatomy of Melancholy; C. Ramon Lull's descriptions of temperament; D. Nicholas Culpeper's descriptions of temperament; E. Poems on temperament; F. Culpeper's compound temperaments; G. Roy Wilkinson's temperament charts; H. Birthcharts of children used in the Waldorf study; I. Names, temperaments & temperament factors.

Figures: 1. Seasons correlated with qualities & elements; 2. Schoener's qualities, elements, seasons, planets, humors; 3. One example of how Aristotle's theory of the elements work; 4. Ramon Lull's system of elements & qualities; 5. Jungian functions; 6. Functions correlated with qualities; 7. Steiner's circle of temperaments; 8. Child's temperament diagram; 9. Anschutz's Greek humors diagram; 10. Qualities of the planets (a possible scheme); 11. Ptolemy's moon phases; 12. Lilly's moon phases; 13. Lilly's worked temperament example.

Tables: 1. Ptolemy's assignment of qualities (Tetrabiblos, book 1); 2. The nature of the signs according to Abu Mashar; 3. The nature of the planets according to Abu Mashar; 4. The Qualities of the signs according to Al Biruni; 5. The nature of the planets according to Al Biruni; 6. Qualities of the planets, by phase (Garcaeus); 7. Qualities of the moon, by phase (Garcaeus); 8. Qualities of the sun, by phase (Garcaeus); 9. Marc Edmund Jones's temperament system; 10. Steiner's correlation of body & temperament; 11. Child's mottoes, theme tunes & temperaments; 12. Temperament matches by individual factors (counting compound temperaments equally); 13. Temperament matches by ASC sign, moon sign, ASC ruler, ASC almuten, moon ruler, season; 14. Temperament matches by ASC sign, moon sign & season; 15. Qualities of the sun by season & sign; 16. Analysis of temperament in the natal chart.

How to recognize the temperaments (appendix G); Reactions of children to various situations according to temperament (appendix G); The golden rule for treating children according to temperament (appendix G).

Comment: Knowledge of the four temperament types, Choleric (hot & dry), Sanguine (hot & wet), Melancholic (cold & dry) and, Phlegmatic (cold & wet), and their combinations, are essential to the study of traditional astrology. The basic concepts date back to the Greeks, more than two thousand years ago. Over the centuries, many different formulas were devised for determining temperament from a birth chart, right down to the current era. Greenbaum takes the best of these and tests them against common-sense observations of children, arriving at a synthesis of techniques, with universal application. What's your temperament type? You might be surprised. According to the book, George Bush is choleric, Tony Blair is sanguine, Paul Simon is melancholy, George Harrison is phlegmatic. Temperament is also critical for astrology & medicine. This book fills a huge gap & will repay study many times over.

Wessex Astrologer, 217 pages.

ASTROLOGICAL JUDGEMENT & PRACTICE OF PHYSICK, Deducted from the position of the heavens at the decumbiture of the sick person - Richard Saunders, $29.95

Comment: Richard Saunders (1613 - 1692) was an astrologer/physician in 17th century England. This book, first published in 1677, was the result of thirty years practice. It is also one of the earliest astro-medical treatises in the English language. Using the terminology of his day, Saunders speaks of humors and winds, of conditions hot, cold or dry, of the cholerick and melancholy, etc. This is a comprehensive and demanding text on medical astrology. Included are rules for decumbiture charts, illnesses produced by the traditional planets in the various signs of the zodiac, when to administer medicines based on planetary hours, and much more.

Click for a PDF excerpt.

Coment continued, table of contents.

Astrology Classics, 397 pages.


Liber 1: Judgment of diseases much enlarged, Abraham Avenezra of critical days;

Liber 2: Astrological judgment upon diseases, or a methodical way to find out the cause, nature, symptoms & change of a disease, etc.

Chapter 1: Definition of the word crisis; Chapter 2: Way to find out critical days, also decumbiture by ancient & modern writers; Chapter 3: Sympathy & antipathy of signs & planets; Chapter 4: Critical & judicial days by a figure of 8 houses; Chapter 5: Former rules illustrated by an example; Chapter 6: How to set a figure of 16 houses & judgment on it, how to set a figure of 12 houses for the crisis; Chapter 8: To find the exact time of crisis by a table of logistical logarithms; Chapter 9: Certain precepts premised before the Prognosticks; Chapter 10: General Prognostications of the disease;

Chapter 11: The diseases the planets signify, diseases the signs of the zodiac signify, parts of the body the planets rule, parts of the body ruled by signs; Chapter 11 (sic): How to read a decumbiture chart; Chapter 12: How to know if the disease be in the mind or body; Chapter 13: How to know which part of the body may be afflicted; Chapter 14: How to know if the disease will be long or short, or whether it will end in life or death, signs of long or short sickness, signs of life at decumbiture, signs of death; Chapter 15: For the cure of any disease take these few rules; Hermes Trismegistus upon the first decumbiture; Results of Moon in each sign afflicted by Mars & Saturn; Chapter 16: Observations of Cardan, Augerius Pererius, Boderius, John Antonia Maginus, John Baptista Triandula.

There follows the Four Books of the Presages of Hippocrates, finally, Culpeper's own Urinalia, an extensive study of problems in the urine, bladder & kidneys.

Comment: Another excellent medieval astrological medical text. Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) is best-known today for his English Physician, a comprehensive guide to the medicinal uses of native plants & herbs, the first such book published in English. Culpeper, a Puritan, was the son of a clergyman. In 1634 he spent a year at Cambridge, where he learned Greek & Latin, which enabled him to study old medical texts. He was apprenticed to an apothecary & started his formal practice in Spitalfields, London, around 1640. Culpeper supported the Parliamentary side in the English Civil War, suffering a severe chest wound in 1643. After recovering he returned to his medical practice in London, where he established a reputation as an outstanding healer. War wounds combined with overwork led to his death from exhaustion in 1654, aged 37. According to his widow, he left behind some 70 unfinished manuscripts.

In his short life, Culpeper was a very busy, very successful astrologer/doctor. This book is his own opinionated guide to astrological medical diagnosis: What astrological factors to look for, what they mean, from someone who KNEW. Appendix: His Urinalia, a short but complete guide to the urine. The text, while newly reset, retains the spelling & punctuation of the original. Two of the great classics. Click here for a PDF extract.

Astrology Classics, 182 pages.

John Gadbury



There is no table of contents in this book. I have constructed one. - Dave

A note to the 21st century reader

The Epistle Dedicatory
To the noble students in art, and all other impartial readers
An advertisement

The Nativitie of Charls Stuart late King of England, Scotland Ireland etc. Astrologically handled

  • A general judgement on this nativity, of the Horoscope or first House
  • Judgements belonging to the Second House
  • Judgements pertaining to the Third House
  • Judgements belonging to the Fourth House
  • Judgements on the Fifth House
  • Judgements on the Sixth House
  • Judgements pertaining to the Seventh House
  • Judgements on the Eighth House
  • Judgements pertinent to the Ninth House
  • Judgements belonging to the Tenth House
  • Judgements on the Eleventh House
  • Judgements proper to the Twelfth House

An Astrological Account of the last eleven Yeers of this Native's Life. Being a brief Compendium of the most eminent Actions that hapned in Great Britaine within the compass of that time.
Solar return for November 19, 1639
Solar return for November 19, 1640
Solar return for November 19, 1641
King set up his standard, August 22, 1642
Solar return for November 19, 1642
Solar return for November 19, 1643
Solar return for November 19, 1644
Solar return for November 19, 1645
Solar return for November 19, 1646
Solar return for November 19, 1647
The Positure of Heaven at the time when the Treatie began in the Isle of Wight, Sept 18, 1648
Solar return for November 19, 1648
King Charls Beheaded, January 30, 1648

An Appendix to the fore-going Geniture

  • Sect. 1. The Geniture of Queen Mary
  • Sect. II. The Nativity of Prince Charls
  • Sect. 3. The Duke of York's Nativity
  • Sect. 5. The Nativity of the Lady Mary
  • Sect. 6. The Lady Elizabeth's Nativity
  • Sect. 7. The Lady Henrietta


A Post-Script to the Reader


As explained in The Note to the 21st Century Reader, this is a fairly exact transcript of Gadbury's 1659 treatise. It is a delineation of the chart of King Charles, born November 19, 1600. He is, so far, the only English king to have been beheaded, on January 30, 1648, which is the date that Gadbury gives.

John Gadbury, 1627-1704, was a generation younger than William Lilly and for a time the two men got on well, though eventually fell out. Three years after publishing his notes on King Charles, Gadbury published his Collectio Geniturarum, a collection of 208 nativities of various kinds. This was one of the first chart collections in history. Gadbury was noted for his skills in delineating natal charts. Clive Kavan once told me he hoped to publish a facsimile of this book, to compliment his facsimile of Christian Astrology (Regulus Publishing, out of print), but to date this has not happened.

To the modern reader, this new Wessex edition is a curio. It will repay study, but it will require quite a bit of it. Source material was the (out of print) Ascella facsimile of 2003, which was itself taken, if I am not mistaken, from microfiche. A lot of early books are available on microfiche, but many of them are, in many places, barely legible.

I regret the opportunity to bring this book fully to the modern reader was lost. As it says in the Note,

Only in certain parts of the text where a passage is not immediately clear have we changed any words into modern English.
Regrettably, these passages are not marked in any way. Immediately prior in the Note are these notes:
Gadbury spells the word 'year' for instance as both 'year' and 'yeer' in different parts of this book. In this and several other instances we have simply followed him, preserving the quaint spellings like 'ecliptique', 'signifie', 'Dragon's Tayl' etc. where the phoenetic meaning is obvious.

This is immediately a glaring problem. Native English speakers know phoenetics, more or less. Non-native speakers, for the most part do not. Nor will they find the slightest help in dictionaries, as such terms were dropped centuries ago. The problem is compounded as many of the idioms in which Gadbury places these are no longer in use. Examples can be found throughout the text:

Good Reader, I shall onely desire thy acceptance of this small piece as the earnest onely of my intended Book of Genitures; in which I shall (God permitting me life and liberty) present to thy view. (from the Postscript, pg. 100)

What, pray tell, is the earnest onely of my intended . . . - ? "One-ly" ? Let me see . . . That's an adverbial formation of the number one, is it not?

Charts are all in the square format, which, myself, I cannot read. But that's no matter, as data is given for all of them, one may easily set them up.

Except that, except for Queen Mary's chart (pg. 79), all the charts are in Old Style. You must add ten days to get the proper chart. The modern publisher makes no mention of this.

Was Charles I in fact beheaded on January 30, 1648, as given in this text? Well, in fact, no he wasn't. The English calendar reform of 1750, in addition to getting England onto the Gregorian calendar, changed the first of the year from March 25, to January 1. In the modern style (which is what your astro program is set for), Charles I lost his head on January 30, 1649. The modern publisher makes no mention of this.

In its Note Wessex does say,

All else, apart from his notes in the margins (which have not been included), is as he wrote it.
Which were presumably omitted as it would have made for untidy layouts. Gadbury thought they were important. Again, in the Note:
Gadbury does not assume that all his readers are closeted scholars; he wishes to reach all those who can read and write. . . . Above all we have attempted to preserve the fluidity, experimental form and particularly the spirit of the colorful prose of the seventeenth century.

Regrettably, Gadbury's efforts, in this edition, have been lost to the fogs of time. Are these fair objections? Get out your Gulliver's Travels of 1735. Are you reading Dean Swift's immortal prose, the exact words he wrote? No, you are not. You are reading a skillfully modernized text, as this is an essential, and a demanding, chore.

In the front of the book there is a 2011 copyright notice, and the customary words, All rights reserved. Having done the hard work of transcribing an old and difficult text, Wessex failed to fully bring it into modern usage. I doubt if it were challenged the Wessex copyright would stand. If I thought there were sales of more than 50 copies a year, it would be tempting to get an Ascella copy, check it against the Wessex for integrity, and then reissue the book under my own mark, complete with modernized grammar and spelling, modern charts in the back, marginal notations (including John's), a table of contents, a glossary, an index. Overall, such a book could be copyrighted, and that copyright could be defended, if need be. This is forever the curse of transcribing old texts, that the one who does the work does not inadvertently hand a prize to his quondam Taylor, so to speak.

As it stands, it's an okay book. It could have been better. I was hoping.

Wessex Astrologer, 101 pages.

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

ARABIAN PARTS DECODED - Lind Weber, $21.95
Preface; Creation of a mystery; Doldrums & discovery; Fortunes & Lots, parts & points; The Arabian midpoints; Uranian conversion; Why the ascendant is the key to the system; The predictive system; The framework: the predictive system of the parts; Of astrology & spirituality;

Fortuna & spirit; Cutting to the chase; On midpoints; The proliferations; Do we change at night?; The trines of Jupiter & the squares of Saturn; Arabian Parts: The part of Death; The parts of Jupiter; What does a part mean?; Examples we're all asking about;

Arabian parts & midpoints; Of Apheta & Anareta; Orbs & the Arabian parts; Progressing & enhancing the parts; Do the parts always work?; The misfortunes of Fortuna; Introduction to practical forecasting; A historical sketch that makes sense; The mystery was natural understanding; Lecturing at AFA 1996;

A visit with Manilius; At the balance chart bazaar; Fortuna in the natal chart; Examples: Natal conjunctions of Fortuna & Spirit; Fortuna in the event chart; Closing comments; The astrology of missing persons; Fortuna & the Scorpio Independence chart; Bagdad the survivor; Glossary; Chart sources; Bibliography.

Comment: I've been asked for years for a good book on the Arabic Parts & this is it. Not so much "decoded" as DECIPHERED. Lind compares parts to midpoints, which in fact they are. Arabic Parts are midpoints that incorporate house cusps. More surprisingly, the Parts relate to transit timing: Transits activate a part, based on the house, sign & rulership in question (pg. 43). Lind also reveals how this nifty system was deliberately distorted in the middle ages to keep it secret. Includes Reciprocals, Proliferation, day/night charts, lots more.

AFA, 212 pages, paper.

ARABIC PARTS IN ASTROLOGY, A Lost Key to Prediction - Robert Zoller, $18.95
Contents: How the Parts were lost; The metaphysical basis of the Parts; How to use the Parts; Bonatti's treatise on the Parts (Zoller's translation); The extraction of the Parts for purposes not listed; Natal figures; Comparing natal figures; Commodities variations; Spiritual counseling. Appendices: On the lots of Manilius; On Firmicus' Duodecatemoria; On profection; On Bonatti's use of the Parts of the father; Parts used by al-Biruni in horary questions. 245 pages including metaphysical bibliography, index of parts, general index. Inner Traditions, 245 pages.

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