Robert Burton and the Chart’s rectification by Ptolemy’s Animodar

Searching “Anatomy of melancholy” in my hard disk I came across a paper discussing the astrological skills of his author, Robert Burton.
The paper (1) makes some interesting points about how much Burton was inside astrology, and highlights the fact the chart Burton casts in the preface of the book is a not the real birth chart but a rectified one.
The actual birth time was around 9 a.m (2) but it’s likely Burton in a book about Melancholy would prefer to have Saturn smashed on the MC rather than falling in the 9th house
The rectification is based on the method known as Animodar, and mentioned in Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos. (3)

We must, then, take the syzygy most recently preceding the birth, whether it be a new moon or a full moon; and, likewise having ascertained the degree accurately, of both the luminaries if it is a new moon, and if it is a full moon that of the one of them that is above the earth, we must see what stars rule it at the time of the birth. In general the mode of domination is considered as falling under these five forms: when it is trine, house, exaltation, term, and phase or aspect; that is, whenever the place in question is related in one or several or all of these ways to the star that is to be the ruler. If, then, we discover that one star is familiar with the degree in all or most of these respects, whatever degree this star by accurate reasoning occupies in the sign through which it is passing, we shall judge that the corresponding degree is rising at the time of the nativity in the sign which is found to be closest by the method of ascensions.

Let’s start from the modern chart, cast for February, 8th 1577 Higham on the Hill

Then we can cast a chart for the preceding syzygy which falls on February, 3rd

The Light above the horizon is the Moon, so we should look for the planets with more dignities.

Burton is not very sophisticated so he just considers Moon is in Leo, which is ruled by the Sun by domicile.

So he eventually look for the Sun’s degree for the February, 8th – his birthday and moves the Aries Ascendant in the very same degree as the Sun, 28°46′.

That’s all 🙂

For modern astrologers, who are unfamiliar with traditional astrology, that’s a real chart, but obviously it is not. Enjoy 🙂

(1) B. Bamborough and J. C. Eade,  Robert Burton’s Astrological Notebook, 1981


(3) Ptolemy, Quadripartite, Of the Degree of the Horoscopic Point, III, 2 Robbins translation

(4) Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. In Three Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, Opened and Cut Up, 1621


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