About beibenie stars and their virtues

A couple of weeks ago  Dr. Ben Dykes- one of my favourite translators, one of the very few to have a proper curriculum studiorum, when the  greater part has a self education, ie no title and competence – posted in Deborah Houlding site a preview of his last work Persian nativities–  which includes al-Khayyat’s Judgement on nativities, and Liber Aristotilis,  a work written by Mashallah and then translated in Latin by Hugo of Santalla around 1100, which is more interesting for me.

Continue reading About beibenie stars and their virtues

Stars, trade, magistery, profession and inclinations

We know that traditional astrology is not an uniform group of tools, rules and techniques, so sometimes it’s difficult to find a common thread in it, we should just collect single inputs trying to put them together.

Surely this is the case of profession and trade determination.

Not all the planets can be chosen as significators of trade, but the ones called “of the swift motion”:

Continue reading Stars, trade, magistery, profession and inclinations


Stars rising with portions of ecliptic, the so-called paranatellonta, have a central place in traditional astrology.

Ancient texts give a lot of room to this subject, Manilius dedicated to paranatellonta the whole fifth  book of his Astronomica, Firmicus lists them in two of the eight books of Mathesis, and the list of 30 stars given by the Anonymous  379 was a standard list in astrological literature of MiddleAges and Renaissance, even if with the necessary update in stars’ position.

Paranatellonta were so important because ancients believed that the fate of the native derived from the Ascendant. Proclus in his comment to Plato writes for example:

Degrees  rising  with  the  horoscope  contain  all  the  virtue  of  generation,  so  for example they produce some births proper to the priesthood and others that are without any honour.

The most famous and in the same time enigmatic astrologer who wrote about paranatellonta was Teucer of Babylon: his text is  arrived to us in fragments or in  the abridged version quoted by Rhetorius, but it was the source for  one of the most influential work of the astrological art,  Liber VI of Albumasar Introductorium Maius.

The images described by Albumasar were then mentioned in IbnEzra’s Beginning of Wisdom and used as source by Pietro d’Abano for his Astrolabium Planum, published at the end of 1400 by Johannes Angelus.

My experience with Albumasar starts from the end: i.e. from the lecture given in Rome together with Anton Grigoryev about the frescoes of Villa Farnesina I arrived to the Renaissance representation of paranatellonta,  a year later I had the luck to  have betwen my hands an original copy of Angelus’ Astrolabium Planum and from that book  I arrived to Albumasar text. It was a very difficult and hard  road….

My English translation of Albumasar pages  about paranatellonta- I believe it’s the only one since the German translation made by Dyroff in 1903-  comes from the Latin version of John of Seville.

The booklet has 64 pages  (Albumasar text from page 5 to 42, notes, pictures and bibliography). This is a sample.

The cost is 20 euro (25 dollars) payable through PAYPAL. I will send a link for download as soon the money is credited. Please don’t forget to write your @ address.

Inquiries  and orders through bookshop page.

Teucer and the year of the ox

In the traditional astrology blog of Dorothy Kovach there is an interesting and as usually well written  article about the  year of the Ox and some notes about Chinese calendar.

Still practioners of traditional astrology would remember  some lines from the famous book of Franz Boll, Wilhelm Gundel,  Carl Bezold, Sternglaube Und Sterndeutung Die Geschichte Und Das Wesen Der Astrologie,, 3° ed. (Leipzig ;Berlin: B.G. Teubner, 1926).

Boll was the “inventor” of Teucer of Babylon, published Teucer’s text quoted by Rhetorius in CCAG VII, and noticed that Albumasar text about paranatellonta came directly from Teucer’s text.

Gundel was the author of the very famous essay about  decans Dekane und Dekansternbilder, and the publisher of the hellenistic  astrological  florilegium known as  Liber Hermetis, which contains another famous chapter about paranatellonta (the XXV), beyond another version of the list of 30 beibenia stars (the III).

Bezold was an orientalist with some interest in Chinese culture.

I had my copy of the translation of Sternglaube from someone I believed a dear friend, and now just makes me very confused and unhappy – anyway even astrologers could be wrong in their judgements 😦

In the book Boll explains how the Chinese calendar with 12 animals – the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar – it‘s not a peculiar tract of Chinese culture, but it’s in our Western astrological tradition,  in the so-called  dodekaoros.

Continue reading Teucer and the year of the ox

Hermes on Moon Mansions

The following text is an English translation from a Spanish book written at the court of Alphonse the Wise around  the second half of 13th century, and known as Vaticanus Reginensis 1283.

Alfonso D’Agostino, in his edition of the book, identifies two main sources for the manuscript, Ghayat al-hakim and the Great Introduction of Albumasar.

The Spanish manuscript shares some chapters with Latin Picatrix, translated at the court of Alphonse too.

PDF  version

Alfonso X, Astromagia : ms. Reg. lat. 1283 (cura Alfonso D’Agostino)

Barataria, 6 (Napoli: Liguori, 1992).

Alejandro García Avilés, “Two Astromagical Manuscripts of Alfonso X,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 59 (1996), 14-23

David Pingree, “Some of the Sources of the Ghāyat al-hakīm ,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 43 (1980), 1-15

David Pingree, “Between the Ghāya and Picatrix. I: The Spanish Version ”  Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 44 (1981), 27-56