In generation and corruption earthly forms are subordinate to the celestials; wherefore they that frame images, do then make use of them, by observing when the planets do enter into those constellations or forms (Ptolemy’s Centiloquium)
A recent post in Yuzuru’s blog made me think a little again about Moon mansions, i.e. the 28 (or 27) divisions of the ecliptic the Moon crosses every month, which are strictly connected with the stars shining in the sky; generally in fact every mansion has a leading star, which the Moon visits every night in his sidereal revolution.
Scholars debate if their use comes from India, China or Babylon, but many think they come from India: AlBiruni already wrote in his age “Hindus use the lunar mansions exactly in the same way as the zodiacal signs.”
Their use was very various: they were connected to stars in the sky sailors could see while in the sea, so a very evident use was in navigation. And since stars were commonly used for weather forecast, moon mansions soon were used in the same way, acquiring a temperate, wet or dry nature.
As the stars of the 48 constellations, they were used for nativities and elections and horary charts. “If you wish to inform anyone of the truth, when he is looking for a thief, runaway servant, horse or ass, at the precise time that he asks the question, look at the hour the day, take the 8 planets (that is the ascending node together with the other seven) and divide them between the 28 mansions of the Moon. ”
But surely the most famous use is for talismans, i.e. the imagines, the images. This is the most obvious use in my opinion, because stars operate since Hellenistic Astrology through their image, it’s their image which gives them their power and influence.
And these images we should know a little 🙂
Let’s see for example the 13th mansion, Awwua, the first of Virgo, from De imaginibus caelestibus as translated by David Pingree “Al awwua is five stars as if an alif with the tail chopped off and it is among the image of Virgo. Its image is a man spread out opposite a woman. ” It really sounds like the man and the woman sitting together in the first facie of Virgo according Albumasar, doesn’it?