Cardano on Solar Returns

Girolamo Cardano, doctor, mathematician, philosopher, scientist,  is surely one of the most famous Italian astrologers.

He is well known in the traditional astrology world especially for Lilly’s translation  of chosen Aphorisms selected from Aphorismorum Astronomicorum segmenta septem but surely the greatest contribution Cardano gave to astrology was his Comment to  Tetrabiblos, written after 1552  when he  had the opportunity to read,  while was travelling to Scotland  – as St. Paul on the road to Damascus – the new version of Ptolemy’s book directly translated from Greek by Camerarius.

This work was the apex of the process of the return to Ptolemy’s astrology started  100 years before with  Pontano’s new translation of Centiloquium.

The return to Ptolemy was a return to genethliac astrology and the infinity of possibilities and results a birth chart can show, but it implied a deliverance from all the “Arab fantasies” like “facies, novenaries, dodecatemorias, horas planetarias “  as Cardano himself wrote in his Comment. In a word, Cardano was not just freeing texts from mistakes of  Arab translations,  but from hermetism, magic and divination. [1]

De Iudiciis Geniturarum was published  in 1547 together with Aphorismorum Astronomicorum segmenta septem, but more than the latter  anticipates the themes we will find in Cardano’s works after his conversion.

The following pages are about solar returns.  Cardano is not very easy to follow, but in these pages there are some main points about importance of Nodes or the meaning of retrogradation and combustion I found very useful and explicative, so I hope the text would be of some use.

PDF version

Margherita Fiorello


[1] The translator absolutely disagrees with Cardano.

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