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Benjamin Dykes' translations of Guido Bonatus



Benjamin Dykes
Guido Bonatus, whose dates are unknown, was the most famous of all 13th century astrologers. Born in the early 1200's, he is known to have won a dispute in Bologna in 1233, and to have died sometime between 1296 and 1300.

His massive Latin treatise, Liber Astronomiae, Book of Astrology, was produced around the year 1277. It was studied by every astrologer of the medieval period. This is its first English translation, which is many decades overdue. (All thanks to Prof. Dykes.)

Bonatus is known above all as an horary astrologer. He was so very good that not only was he studied by William Lilly, but Lilly was himself accused merely translating Bonatus. (Which was not true, as you can now prove for yourself.) I am curious as to his house system. Bonatus is centuries before Regiomontanus, even more centuries before Placidus. Campanus of Novarra, 1233-1296, inventor of Campanus houses, is a generation younger. By the time Campanus has worked out his system, Bonatus has been practicing for some decades. There were Porphyry houses, from the third century, and there was Alcabitus, from the 10th century, which had been introduced to Europe in the 12th century, a century before Bonatus. (There was a group known as the Twelfth Century Translators, of southern Spain and northern Italy, who translated Arabic texts into Latin, sometimes by way of Spanish and/or Italian. John of Seville was the best known of them.) As Bonatus is known to have studied the 12th century translations closely (he cites many of the original authors in his work), it is reasonable to think he used Alcabitus houses. I mention this because, when William Lilly was revived in the late 20th century, Regiomontanus houses were revived with him. I think it fair to say that to properly understand Bonatus, we should revive the house system he most likely used: Alcabitus.

Bonatus appears, by name, in Dante's Divine Comedy, as an example of what can happen to people who practice prognostication. As to whatever did happen to Bonatus, late in life he is alleged to have joined the Franciscans, where he was known as Fra Bonatti.

Guido Bonatus is one of the greatest of all astrologers. Study his works!

Note on the translations: Bonatus is said to have written in good, clear, simple Latin, which is said to be a joy to read & simple to translate. I don't read Latin so cannot say. I can say that Prof. Dykes' translation is in good, clear, idiomatic English that is easy to read & comprehend.

Notes on the 6-volume publication: In footnotes at various points in the books, the translator refers to his Introduction, and to his Appendix, but, regrettably, neither of these appear in any of the seven volumes. They were presumably part of the original 2-volume hardcover edition, which, in the front of each of the six volumes, is declared to be "out-of-print." (Even though the 2-volume edition was published only 3 years ago, in 2007) Also lacking are glossaries, which, for books of this nature, are essential. Each volume has a very nice, very useful index. Each volume also has an identical six page Bibliography.

Professor Dykes is a busy man. He has translated numerous other Arabic and Persian books of astrology, all of them excellent. See them here.


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BONATTI ON BASIC ASTROLOGY, Treatises 1, 2 & 3 - Guido Bonatus, translated by Benjamin Dykes, $29.95

Contents:

Treatise 1: Defense of Astrology
In 14 very brief chapters.

Treatise 2: Signs & Houses
Part 1: Seven brief chapters, on signs, orbs, elements, order & denomination of the signs, their names.
Part 2: On the nature of the Essential Circle, i.e., the Zodiac: 28 brief chapters: Northern, southern, direct ascension, domiciles, detriments, exaltations, falls, moveable/fixed/common, aspects, bounds, faces, strength in dignity, voices, wings, four-footed, body rulership, moral qualities, bright/dark/smoky/empty, welled, azemena, increasing fortune, virtue. Part 3: On the nature of the Accidental Circle, i.e., houses: 15 chapters, mostly brief, on division, quarters, ascending/descending, angles, signification, numbering, strength, firmament, colors, planets rejoyce, lords of the houses, final significator, accidental powers.

Treatise 3: Planets:
Part 1: Eight brief chapters on what each of the planets, and the nodes, signifies; followed by five more chapters on conception of children, years of the planets, planetary days & hours, male & female hours, shapes & figures given to natives by the signs, diverse accidents which happen to men.
Part 2: On the particular judgements of the stars: Northern & southern planets, how planets affect each other, the al-'ittisal of the planets, oriental & occidental, dasturiya or haym, superior planets, conjunction in latitude, void of course, transfer of light, return of light, prohibition, return of virtue, restraining, contrariety, frustration, cutting off of light, strong/weak/benefic/malefic, besieging, love/hate of planets.

Bibliography
Index

Comment:

In the First Treatise, Bonatus starts with a cosmic view of things. The rationalization for astrology, how astrology answers its critics. Back then, critics accepted that astrology existed. They were worried that Astrology Was (is) Evil! and therefore should be suppressed.

In Treatise 2, on Signs & Houses, covers such things as the twelve signs, the quadriplicities, the elements, the modes, "bounds" (terms), dignities, exaltations, detriments, falls, etc. With houses, how the circle is divided, each of the twelve houses in detail, the houses & their lords, etc.

Treatise 3, the Planets. In Part 1, we start with Saturn & what it signifies & how it reacts when configured - in horaries - with the other planets. The same is then done for Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, the Moon & the nodes. Part 2 deals with specific conditions of the planets, such as northern or southern, occidental or oriental, inferior & superior, sect (though the word is not used), conjunction in latitude, void of course, transfer of nature, rendering of light, return & cutting off of light, prohibition, return of virtue (i.e., power), restraining, contrariety, frustration, cutting off of light, benefic, malefic, besieging, friendship, etc. The reader will see that with these distinctions, Bonatus is setting us up for his treatise on horary.

Cazimi Press, 260 pages.


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BONATTI ON MUNDANE ASTROLOGY, Treatises 4, 8.1 & 10 - Guido Bonatus, translated by Benjamin Dykes, $29.95

Contents:

Book abbreviations
Table of figures

Treatise 4: Conjunctions:
Eight brief chapters: Terms used, how planets move, conjunctions of Saturn & Mars, Saturn & Jupiter, Sun with other planets, the 6th conjunction, combust & incombust hours: the Albuim or Albuith, the degree of the ascendant.

Treatise 8.1: Mundane revolutions:
Preface, followed by 116 brief chapters:
Chapters 1-10: Lord of the year; lord of the ascendant; accidents for the year; how the earth is divided into various parts; Sun in diurnal, Moon in nocturnal revolutions.

Chapters 11-20: Planets on the ascendant; Saturn & Mars; degrees of exaltation; the fate of the king in any given year; conjunction of malefics; Sun & Moon conjunct other planets

Chapters 21-30: More about the king; demi-returns; quartile-returns; lord of the year well-disposed; planetary significators for the year; the king & his soldiers; malefics & retrogrades.

Chapters 31-40: Mars & Saturn badly disposed; lord of the ascendant & Moon badly disposed; what the revolution signifies; revolutions that bring war; victory; elections for war; the enemy leader; significator of war vs: the lord of the year; malefic planets in human form.

Chapters 41-50: Fear; the lord of the sign in which the lord of the year is found in (ie, its dispositor); revolutions at sunset; lord of the ascendant impeded; lord of the year conjunct the two malefics; the bodies of the king & peoples for the year; planets that signify kings & kingdoms for the year when angular; Moon or Mercury as lords of the year, the Part of Fortune & its lord; disposing the lord of the year to the significator of the king; north node conjunct Saturn, south node conjunct Mars.

Chapters 51-60: Mars or Saturn conjunct the south node; Mars & Saturn conjunct a planet in its degree of exaltation; The lord of the 4th house & pilgrimages; planets committing their disposition to themselves; on the conjunction of Saturn & Jupiter; Mars joined to Saturn; Sun joined to Saturn; Venus joined to Saturn; Mercury joined to Saturn.

Chapters 61-70: Moon conjunct Saturn; Saturn in angles; Saturn in Aries, Leo, Sagittarius, Taurus; the eclipsed Moon; Saturn in Virgo, Capricorn, Gemini, Libra.

Chapters 71-80: Saturn in Aquarius, Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces; Saturn in the houses, conjunction of Saturn & Mars; Jupiter in the revolution; Jupiter in Leo, Sagittarius, as lord of the year.

Chaptes 81-90: Mars as lord of the year; Mars in Leo, Sagittarius, Mars & the Church, Mars in Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn, Gemini, Libra, Aquarius.

Chapters 91-100: Mars in Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces; the Sun as lord of the year; Sun in the houses; Venus as lady of the year; Venus in the houses; Mercury as lord of the year; Mercury in houses.

Chapters 101-110: Moon as lady of the year; Moon in the houses; the nodes & comets in the revolution; on comets; nodes in the houses; malefic fixed stars in revolutions; malefic stars in houses; benefic fixed stars in the revolution; benefic stars in the houses.

Chapters 111-116: Manners; lord of the ascendant impeded; lord of the MC impeded; how to determine horrible or evil accidents from the revolution; what planets signify in an eclipse of Sun or Moon; Abu Ma'shar's signification of kings & rustics.

Treatise 10: Heavy rains:
A Preface, followed by 35 topics, without chapter numbers. Topics include:
Benefics & malefics; when there will be rain; prognostication of rain generally; which mansions of the Moon are wet; the air's mutation; rains & mutations of the air; showers, heavy rains, wind; Saturn prohibiting rain; Moon applying to Jupiter, to Mars, to the Sun, to Venus, to Mercury, applying to benefics & malefics; of fourness; prologed qualities; circles around the Moon & Sun, around other planets & stars; comets; meteorites; diurnal & nocturnal; rainbows; if there should be rain this year; application of Moon & Saturn; extraordinary things; accidents; places of rain; signs that signify less rain than other signs; conjunctions that produce rain; what months will be rainy, conjunctions of Moon with planets.

Bibliography
Index

Comment:

This book starts with the Great Conjunctions (or Great Mutations) of Saturn & Jupiter. Every 960 years, Saturn & Jupiter conjunct in Aries, which starts the grand cycle. The minor cycle, every 240 years, is when the conjunction shifts from one element into another. Late in the 20th century, the mutation began to shift, from Earth (1960, 2000) to Air (1980, 2020). Such is how the world goes.

Mundane astrology is based on the annual entry of the Sun into Aries, calculated for your national capital. So far as I can tell, Bonatus from time to time presents charts with planets & their degrees placed inside a wheel with the zodiac marked around it, along with the ascending degree, but never presents us with a fully worked out chart with house cusps.

The Lord of the Year is the ruler of the ascendant, provided the ruler not be combust or retrograde. If the ruler is so debilitated, you take the planet which is exalted in that sign. For example, if Pisces is the ascendant, but Jupiter is retrograde, the Lord of the Year would pass to Venus, exalted in Pisces. If this does not work, then the Sun is the Lord of the Year if a day chart, and the Moon the ruler if at night. We are to give particular emphasis to the planet, if any, which is between three degrees above the ascendant, or four degrees below. There are further rules if none of these planets qualify, though it might be said that if the primary or secondary candidates are not available, the year in question, by definition, will not be good as the ruler will be weak. The Lord of the Year is the ruler of the common folk.

The strength of the lord of the year depends on where in the chart he is found, and how he is configured. If in the ascendant or 10th house, he acts powerfully, for good or ill.

Once the Lord of the Year is known, a similar process is used to find the Significator of the King (or leader or ruler), which starts with the Midheaven & its ruler. When the 10th house is the domicile or the exaltation of the ruler of the ascendant, then the Lord of the Year & the Significator of the King are one & the same. Which makes for a powerful year. Otherwise, the overall tenor of the year will be how the Lord of the Year & the Significator of the King relate to each other. Which is stronger, which disposes of the other, which has better aspects and/or domicile, etc. To me, this looks like a straightforward 10th house horary question, except that nowhere does Bonatus mention the Moon.

From this point you consider the condition of the various planets & houses for specific details. Mars & the 11th for the army, the rich from Jupiter & the house he is in, the Church from Jupiter & the 9th house, Saturn for the elderly & decrepit, Venus for women, Mercury for merchants, the Moon for the low class, etc.

The rest of Treatise 8.1 expands on the above. It is followed by a treatise on the weather which makes good use of lunar mansions, also known as Nakshatras. Regrettably, in the details more work needs to be done. At various places in the footnotes, Dykes refers the reader to his Introduction, which is not part of this book, or, so far as I can tell, any of the six volumes. There is no glossary, so a geat many terms are undefined, such as miliaria and miliarium, which at one point seems to refer to a division of a degree of the zodiac (53 miliaria to a degree), and in another place to refer to linear measure which, as a Latin term, is presumably known to us as a mile. Another undefined term is clime. Wiki will give you its definition (the length of the longest day of the year, based on latitude), but it still would be nice if the translator would help us with maps & diagrams of Bonatus's purported zodical rulerships.

With the lunar mansions of Treatise 10 I almost want to throw up my hands. Bonatus gives weather based on mansions (amazingly useful), but the names he gives are simply gibberish. Prof. Dykes says the names are similar to what are given elsewhere. In Fixed Stars, Robson gives the names in Arabic, Hindu & Chinese. Regrettably, what Dykes/Bonatus gives us matches none of them. While it isn't hard to use first mansion, second mansion, third mansion, etc., consistent, proper names would be nice. There's also the question of 27 vs: 28 mansions, when each mansion is 13 degrees, 20 minutes. (Which is 27, not 28.)

The Indians have the solution to this, our translator would, too, if he were better read: In Light on Life, by DeFouw & Svoboda, we learn the confusion is due in part to the length of the sidereal month, at 27.3217 days, which can round to 27 or 28. (Where 1 day = 1 mansion. Which is what the system is based on.) The 28th nakshatra (lunar mansion), known to the Indians as Abhijit is usually placed between the 21st & 22nd. In the two volume set, Nakshatra, by K.T. Shubhakaran, we learn that Abhijit comprises 4 degrees 14.17 seconds, which are taken from the end of the 21st nakshatra. (Sort of like Leap Day.) Here, Prof. Dykes refers us to his Appendix, but, like his Introduction, it is not found in any of the six volumes. I might mention that in sorting out Al Biruni's Book of Instruction, I found evidence the mansions may have shifted by two full mansions since the days of Masha'Allah. Which would presumably be due to precession (tropical vs: sidereal mismatch: Mansions are supposed to be given in sidereal, not tropical), but it needs looking in to. Masha'Allah, one of Bonatus's primary sources, lived two centuries before Al Biruni. If I shift the Bonatus mansions by two, I can more or less get the names to match those given by Robson. Interestingly enough, shifting by two mansions, where each degree equals 72 years, gives an error of some 1,940 years. Which would imply the Arabs merely copied Greek sidereal positions, mistaking them for tropical.

A lot in this book. This just might be the book on mundane that we've all been looking for, but we will need to do a lot of work to fully comprehend the text.

Cazimi Press, 302 pages. Pagination in this book follows the pagination in the original 2 volume hardcover edition, which means it jumps around, with the addition of four unnumbered/uncounted pages in the very beginning.


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BONATTI'S 146 CONSIDERATIONS, Treatise 5 - Guido Bonatus, translated by Benjamin Dykes, $12.95

Contents:

Book abbreviations

Treatise 5: 146 Considerations

Bibliography
Index

Comment:

This is the same text as William Lilly directed Henry Coley to translate, and publish, as The Astrologer's Guide, of 1676. If you wish to compare the two translations, head to head, note that the Proem that follows Henry Coley's Address to the Reader, is actually the very beginning of Bonati's Treatise no. 5. As I find these sorts of things of interest, let's compare Dykes & Coley, head to head:

Dykes: THE 38TH CONSIDERATION is that you consider, if the benefics were significators, if they are cadent from the angles, or from the Ascendant (so that they do not aspect it), and are retrograde: because then they will be impeded, and will be practically like malefics unless they are received.
Coley: 38. The 38th Consideration is, To consider if the Fortunes are the Significators, whether they are Cadent from Angles or from the Ascendant, so as not to behold the same, and be Retrograde; for under these Impediments they will be almost as bad as the Infortunes themselves, unless they be in reception.

Which is to say, the two translations are very, very close. One should make a choice based on the sort of language one prefers. Coley is more traditional, which many of you are already familiar with. Dykes is more modern and speaks a bit more clearly to us. Both are quite good.

Otherwise, the two translations had different origins & served different purposes. Coley's translations were part of a larger book, which included a selection of aphorisms by Jerome Cardan, of Milan (1501-1576). Ben Dykes's translation is part of his comprehensive translation of Bonatus. (When do you suppose we will be gifted with a translation of Cardan?)

Cazimi Press, 98 pages.


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BONATTI ON HORARY, Treatise 6 - Guido Bonatus, translated by Benjamin Dykes, $29.95

Contents:

Book abbreviations
Table of figures

Treatise 6: Questions:

Part 1: Two brief chapters, on asking questions, and how one ought to reach a judgement.

Part 2: On the particular judgments of the stars:
Five initial chapters: The querent's person; the querent's shadow (ie, ascendant of the moment); trunk & branches of the tree; do not cast a chart for yourself; planets that impede matters.

On the second house: Six chapters: What one hopes to get; how he will get or lose it; why he won't get it; if he will get his goods back; if he will have the king's favor; when he will get it.

On the third house: One chapter, on brothers & their condition

On the fourth house: Six chapters: Buying a home; kinds of things bought; quality of the workers; things old or new; the site of the land; renting.

On the fifth house: Six chapters: Which woman will give children, which children are from which woman; if there will be children from any woman; if a woman is pregnant; or not; if there be twins; if male or female child.

On the sixth house: Eight chapters: If the sick will get well; if he will escape; critical days; if the absent person will fall ill; if a slave will be freed; if a slave should be sold; on buying slaves, or animals, or girls (it's in that order, folks); whether the master will obtain the goods of the slave or slave-girl.

On the seventh house: Thirty-five chapters:
Chapters 1-10: Marriage; impediments to marriage; how the two are together; if the woman is a virgin or has a lover; if the wife is unfaithful; if the child is yours; on marrying a non-virgin; if an expelled woman will return or not; who will win a lawsuit; on buying & selling.

Chapters 11-20: If the thief will be found; if stolen goods will be recovered; if lost objects will be found; if the thief is a member of the family; where the stolen goods are; if you have the right suspect; what kind of things were stolen; what the thief looks like; partnerships between two people; seeking out a person.

Chapters 21-30: On starting a war; which side has more allies; who will win; why there was a war; big or small armies; the instruments of war; what is signified by the 12 houses; will there be a battle or not; if the city or castle will be captured; open & hidden enemies; revenge!

Chapters 31-35: On hunting; on big or small catches; on hunting by water; if an exile will return; on the arrival of one who is absent.

On the eighth house: Three chapters: One who is absent - living or dead; if wife or husband will die first; how the querent will die.

On the ninth house: Fourteen chapters:
Chapters 1-10: If a journey will happen, if it will be useful; the purpose of the journey; if the traveller will be welcome; the sort of experience he will have; what direction to go in; which of two lands or houses or business deals or journeys would be best; if the land is better for him; what will happen to a man in jail, for how long, if he will be freed; if dreams are real; if one will get a clerical position of some sort.

Chapters 11-14: If a letter or rumor is true; "if at some time it is unknown to whom a letter is sent" - ?; what is in a letter, good or bad; if rumors are true or false, and how much true & how much false.

On the tenth house: Nine chapters: On acquiring a kingship or empire; if the king will be praised or condemned; what will become of the king; if he will remain in power or be removed; what he will do with his kingdom; if a deposed ruler will return; if the reign will last or not.

On the eleventh house: Two chapters: Hopes; friends.

On the twelfth house: Nine chapters: Which horse will win the race; which horse will win the race, Mark II; what the animal's owner is like; fears; when the horary question concerns many topics at once; if you should go to a banquet, what foods will be found there; condiments at the banquet; why the banquet is being held; which house signifies banquets.

Bibliography
Index

Comment:

For 250 years, from roughly 1700 to the middle of the 20th century, there were almost no horary books, the art itself was nearly lost. Most of what there was, was formalistic. But in the last 50 years, tremendous work, by a number of tireless individuals, has re-established horary as a serious discipline. Bonatus gives us about five example charts, only three of them fully worked out, and two of them for battles.

So I regret that I am going to be brutal about it. This is a very good horary book, but Lilly, Louis, Appleby, Frawley and Ivy (in no particular order) are all better. This book is primarily of historical interest, though I must confess, the 12th & race horses & banquets is novel. Frawley covered racing in his Sports Astrology, but seems to have overlooked the fact that the 12th rules great animals, ie, horses. Wonder if that would interest him? And if your own food is 6th house - which I know it to be - then the food of others, such as at a banquet, would be 12th. Astrology is endlessly surprising this way.

Cazimi Press, 302 pages.


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BONATTI ON ELECTIONS, Treatise 7 - Guido Bonatus, translated by Benjamin Dykes, $24.95

Contents:

Book abbreviations

Treatise seven: Elections

Part 1: Twenty chapters:
Chapters 1-10: According to the sayings of the wise; things considered in this treatise; roots of elections; adaptation of particulars; agreement with the matter desired; elections do not exist before the matter is actually begun; how different planets are adapted to different people; what kind of ends may be had; how signs are adapted; how planets are adapted.

Chapters 11-20: How planets are adapted (reprise); on weakening of planets; things that pertain to elections; how natal charts relate to elections; how to use horary to determine the outcome of an election; when proposed projects will actually come to pass; how planets will time an event; fixed, common & mutable signs.

Part 2: Specific elections: Preamble
On the first house: Five chapters: Nursing boys; weaning boys; cutting finger- & toenails; cutting hair & shaving beards; circumcision.

On the second house: Nine chapters: Lending & taking; on keeping one's wealth; to keep a loan secret; on buying for resale; buying things generally; how to sell & make money; alchemy for fun & profit; other ways of lending money; entering a house in order to live in it.

On the third house: Three chapters: Short journeys; reconciliation of brothers & other blood relatives, neighbors & others; on cults.

On the fourth house: Thirteen chapters: Buying houses, or inheritances; reconciling father & son; building cities or castles or houses or plugging fir trees; building houses; building churches; demolishing buildings; renting houses or land or vineyards & their fruits; extending rivers & canals; planting trees & figs; sowing seeds; cultivation of inheritances; constructing ships or galleys; building mills.

On the fifth house: Seven chapters: Reconciling sons with fathers; sending legates or heralds; donning or cutting new clothes; on conceiving a son or daughter; abortion; sending a son to school; giving & taking gifts.

On the sixth house: Seventeen chapters:
Chapters 1-10: Electing times to healing the sick; taking medical treatment; general cures for the head; cures for the nostrils; healing the eyes; healing other parts of the body; bloodletting; purgatives via defecation; vomiting.

Chapters 11-17: Sneezing, gargling, vomiting, by potions; baths & anointing; buying slaves; freeing prisoners & liberating slaves; buying animals, including those to ride; buying birds; the doctor/patient relationship.

On the seventh house: Seventeen chapters:
Chapters 1-10: Marriage; partnership; going to war; discovery of combust hours; raising the flag; armaments; reconciliation of enemies; exorcisms, demolishing altars; buying things; buying seeds.

Chapters 11-17: Loaning money; hunting birds, beasts & fish; dice & games; how to know what has been spoken of in secret; searching for a thief; being stalked; stalking.

On the eighth house: Three chapters: The return of someone absent; inheritances; wills & codicils.

On the ninth house: Three chapters: Entering a city; beginning a journey; singing lessons

On the tenth house: Eleven chapters:
On the election of kings; on the promotion to a kingdom or dutchy; on the enthronement to a kingdom or dutchy; on visiting or traveling with a king or duke; making an enemy of a king or duke; reconciling with a king or duke; on reductions in rank; on instruction in morals; lessons in fighting or contests; swimming; lessons generally.

On the eleventh house: Three chapters: Hopes; seeking favor; getting something from someone.

On the twelfth house: Two chapters: Horseracing; buying large animals.

Bibliography
Index

Comment:

Quite frankly, of all of Bonatus, it was the sections on mundane & elections I most wanted to see. While there have been many fine books on horary, especially from 17th century England, in the last 700 years there have been only a handful of books on elections. I myself know of only three: Bonatus (13th century), Ramesey (1653), and Robson (1937). When I started this business in 1993, there were precisely zero electional books in print (and I'm sorry, but Bruce Scofield's was too narrow in scope & too fussy with dials to be considered), the earlier Weiser reprint of Robson having gone out of print. Since then, I myself have reprinted Robson. Ramesey is or was available from Ballantrae, in a very clean, but very hard to read photocopy of the 1653 original. And Bonatus could not be had, not until now.

So let's do a head-to-head comparison. To focus the mind, let's do circumcision:

Bonatus: Whence if you wanted to elect for someone that some boy be circumcised, make the Moon joined to Jupiter by a trine or sextile aspect, or by a square (but with reception); and let her be north of Venus; and beware lest Saturn aspect the Lord of the first or the Moon or Venus by square aspect or the opposition, or even the Ascendant itself - because it signifies the putrefaction of the incision. And let the Lord of the sign in which the Moon is, be northern, if it can be done, and the Moon going to an angle. And beware of Mars, lest he be in one of the angles; bhe let him be in a cadent. If you do not want to put him in a cadent, beware lest the Ascendant be Scorpio, nor let the Moon or the Lord of the Ascendant be in [Scorpio]. - pg. 705, under the first house.

Ramesey: See then that Venus be exalted above Mars and applying to the benelovent Aspect of Jupiter; also let the Ascendant, its Lord, and Venus, and the Moon be free from the Aspect of Saturn, for that he causeth putrefaction and corruption to the generating of a Gangreen, and perhaps the indangering of the life of the childe.

Let the Lord of the Ascendant also be ascending in latitude, and the Moon and its Dispositor in septentrional signs, and in succedent houses of heaven, and look that the Moon be not in Scorpio, nor Mars in the Ascendant or any other Angle. - pg. 154, under the 5th house. (Septentrional - of the north)

Robson: Let Venus be exalted above Mars and applying to a good aspect to Jupiter; and let the ascendant, its lord, Venus and the Moon be unaspected by Saturn. Let the lord of the ascendant be ascending in latitude, and place the Moon and its dispositor in northern signs and succedent houses. See that the Moon is not in Scorpio, and that Mars in not in any angle. - pg. 114, in the medical section.

While I have not made a study of Bonatus or Ramesey, it seems clear there is a great deal of useful information in these two.

In Part 1, Bonatus gives general instruction in how to set an election. Among other things, don't make elections for people who can't carry them out, or for things that cannot be done. You must elect for the actual beginning of things, not imaginary preambles or attempt an election after the fact. You must use planets appropriate to the person who desires the election. The Sun, for example, must be used if the elector is a king or leader. Mars for soldiers or those in physical trades, etc. There is also an interesting blending of elections with horary, where the precise degrees on the ascendant, and of the signifying planets, tell us how long it will take the election to complete itself.

This book, and the one on mundane, were of interest to the translator as well, as he has footnoted both of them much more than he did any of the other Treatises.

Cazimi Press, 201 pages.


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BONATTI ON LOTS, Treatise 8.2 - Guido Bonatus, translated by Benjamin Dykes, $12.95

Contents:

Book abbreviations
Table of figures

Treatise 8.2: On the projection of parts & their significators:

(paraphrased)
1. The first things to consider
2. Parts of the seven planets, and the Part of Fortune
3. Parts of the twelve houses
4. The Parts of the first house
5. The Parts of the second house
6. The Parts of the third house
7. The Parts of the fourth house
8. The Parts of the fifth house
9. The Parts of the sixth house
10. The Parts of the seventh house
11. The Parts of the eighth house
12. The Parts of the ninth house
13. The Parts of the tenth house
14. The Parts of the eleventh house
15. The Parts of the twelfth house
16. The Parts according to Abu Ma'shar
17. Certain other Parts
18. Examples of extracting parts

Bibliography
Index

Comment:

Parts in this book start with the Part of Fortune, the Part of the Sun (things to be), the Part of Saturn (heaviness), the Part of Jupiter (blessedness), the Part of Mars (boldness), the Part of Venus (love & concord), the Part of Mercury (poverty & middling intellect).

Parts according to house:
First house: Part of Life; Part of the security of the ascendant; Part of reason & sense; Part of Hilaj.
Second house: Part of substance; Part of moneylenders; Part of Blessedness.
Third house: Part of siblings; Part of numbers; Part of death of brothers & sisters.
Fourth house: Part of the father; Part of death of the father; Part of grandfathers; Part of relations or kindred; Part of inheritances (parts 1 & 2); Part of cultivation of the earth; Part of nobility of the native; Part of the end of matters.
Fifth house: Part of children; Part of begating children; Part of generating male children; Part of generating female children; Part to know if a begotten child is male or female.
Sixth house: Part of infirmities & accidents; Part of infirmities separable & inseparable; Part of slaves; Part of captives.
Seventh house: Part of men's marriage; Part of cleverness towards women; Part of men's sexual intercourse; Part of luxury & fornication; Part of women's marriage; Part of women's skill & cleverness with men; Part of enjoyment & delight; Part of women's licentiousness; Part of conjoining & sexual intercourse; Part of women's religion & honesty; Part of men's & women's marriage; Part of the hour of marriage; Part of the skill & ease of arranging a marriage; Part of fathers-in-law; Part of contenders.
Eighth house: Part of death; Part of the killing planet; Part of the year of death; Part of the heavy place; Part of oppression & destruction.
Ninth house: Part of pilgrimage; Part of pilgrimage by water; Part of religion; Part of prayer & counsel; Part of wisdom & patience; Part of histories & knowledge; Part of rumors.
Tenth house: Part of nobility; Part of a kingdom; Part of kings & dispositors; Part of victory & aid; Part of those suddenly made lofty; Part of nobles; Part of soldiers & ministers; Part of kings; Part of businessmen; Part of buying & selling; Part of work; Part of mothers; Part signifying the reason for the kingdom; Part of the death of the mother.
Eleventh house: Part of excellence & nobility; Part of how the native will be loved or hated; Part of honor among men; Part of luckiness; Part of coveting; Part of trust; Part of friends; Part of agreement of friends; Part of fertility & abundance in the home; Part of honesty; Part of praise; Part of necessity & love.
Twelfth house: Part of hidden enemies; Another part of hidden enemies; Part of labor & affliction.

And there are more parts:
Part of the Hilaj; Part of lean bodies; Part of warfare & boldness; Part of boldness & strength & rulership; Part of cleverness & skill & sharpness & learning; Part of investigation; Part of delay of matters; Part of delay (2); Part of repayment; Part of truth & good works.

And there are extraordinary parts, of commodities:
Part of grain; Part of barley; Part of beans; Part of onions; Part of peas; Part of lentils; Part of rice; Part of sesame seeds; Part of sugar; Part of dates; Part of honey; Part of wine; Part of olives; Part of nuts; Part of silk & woven things; Part of melons, cucumbers & gords; Part of poisoned things; Part of wetness & dryness; Part of salted things; Part of sweet foods; Part of bitter foods; Part of acrid foods; Part of sharp foods; Part of sweet medicines; Part of acrid medicines; Part of salted medicines; Part of the disposition of the year.


If you're curious, you can make up parts for anything you can think of. There are, in fact, many hundreds of parts. Many years ago I had a friend named David who made up the Part of BS. David simply invented what he thought the part should be, and to his surprise, found it worked very well.

I think most of you think too highly of Parts, and seek them in books like this one, or in Al Biruni. What you should do instead is grasp astrology clearly enough to understand its fundamentals, and then invent the parts you need for your own work. Your own parts are the ones that will work best. Quite possibly you will end up with many of the classical parts, but the process of creating them will make them your own.

That said, Bonatus gives very clear instructions on how to use parts, which are rarely found elsewhere. So far as the parts themselves, Bonatus puts the formulas in text. Extracting them is tedious. The presentation in Al Biruni is better, but Al Biruni is largely silent on how they are to be used.

Cazimi Press, 83 pages.


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BONATTI ON NATIVITIES, Treatise 9 - Guido Bonatus, translated by Benjamin Dykes, $29.95

Contents:

Publisher's note

Treatise 9: Nativities:
Preface
1. An excuse
2. Two things

Part 1:
3. Examination
4. Unknown ascending degree
5. Divisions of nativities
6. Length of gestation

Part 2:
1. Four species of nativities
2. Opinions on the hilaj
3. Givers of years
4. Rays of planets & the hilaj
5. Malefics & benefics
6. Life according to the lords of the bounds

Part 3: Form and shape; Accidents; Qualities of Soul, etc.
1. Form and shape of the native
2. Things which are outside the body, nor of the soul
3. Saturn and the body
4. The quadrants & the body
5. Other factors which determine the body
6. Jupiter & the body
7. Mars & the body
8. Sun & the body
9. Venus & the body
10. Mercury & the body
11. The Moon & the body

On the First House:
1. Qualities of the native's soul
2. The native's soul & the nature of the stars
3. Jupiter, if sole significator
4. Mars, if sole significator
5. Venus, if sole significator
6. Mercury, if sole significator
7. The Sun & the soul of the native
8. The Moon & the soul of the native

On the Second House:
1. Prosperity, substance, its acquisition
2. Where & by what means the native gets rich
3. When the native gets rich
4. "Why the ancients avoided certain ones of the said significators" - This is gibberish - Dave
5. Whence & for what reason the native would get rich
6. The means whereby the native will get rich
7. The age or part of life in which the native gets rich
8. What significators will increase or decrease the native's money
9. "On what is signified by the places of the circle" - he means HOUSES - Dave
10. The same subject according to Abu 'Ali
11. Ruler of the ascendant in the various houses
12. Acquisition of substance, according to Abu 'Ali
13. On the same subject

On the Third House:
1. Siblings of each sex, their number
2. Male & female siblings
3. Length of life of siblings
4. On the matter of siblings
5. Male & female, according to Ptolemy
6. On their prosperity

On the Fourth House:
1. On the parents
2. On the time of the parents
3. On the death of the father
4. On the condition of the father & mother
5. On the father, by direction
6. On the death of the father (reprise)
7. On the death of the mother
8. How long the father will live
9. On the length or shortness of the father's life

On the Fifth House
1. Children
2. The age the native will have children
3. How many children
4. The time of children, according to Abu 'Ali

On the Sixth House
1. On male & female slaves, servants, domestics, small animals, diseases, etc.
2. Animals in flocks
3. Diseases
4. At what age the native gets sick
5. In what limb he gets ill
6. Illness, according to Ptolemy
7. On the illness of the soul, by which is now termed the mind & emotions

On the Seventh House:
1. On marriage & enemies
2. How the native makes love
3. The native's wife
4. When he gets married, where his wife comes from, how many wives, and how long the marriage will last
5. What Venus, Mars & Saturn have to say about it
6. The results of marriage & partnership
7. The results of enemies

On the Eighth House:
1. On the native's death and how it comes about

On the Ninth House:
1. Religion, pilgrimages, voyages
2. Faith & depth of knowledge
3. Pilgrimages & long voyages
4. Good planets for travel, or not

On the Tenth House:
1. Profession, work, duties, force, prosperity, kingdom & his mother
2. Force, prosperity, duties & kingdom
3. On the mother

On the Eleventh House:
1. Friends, good fortune, hope
2. Kinds of friends

On the Twelfth House:
1. Hidden & jealous enemies
2. The planets in each other's signs
3. The firdariah
4. Transit of planets
5. Opening gates, according to Al-Qabisi
6. 12 hours of the Sun, as applied to the Sun & Moon
7. On the profection of years
8. Order of profection
9. Profection of the years of the world
10. On directions & directing
11. On the nature of degrees in a sign
12. (missing) 13. On the lord of the circle
14. On the lords of the 12 left over hours 15. On the directions of a significator

Bibliography
Index

Comment:

For the most part, in the listing of contents (above), I have liberally paraphrased for brevity and clarity.

Notes as of April, 2011. I had thought Bonatus complete after the six volumes (above), I was surprised to find I had overlooked this one, the seventh. I had presumed the first volume, on Basic Astrology (above, top), to have covered natal astrology, but I was wrong. In placing natal astrology last (Lilly placed it last in his three books), we get an idea of the relative worth of natal astrology in the overall scheme of astrology. In part this has something to do with the fact that there were few printed ephemerides, which meant the positions of the planets when you were born (30 years ago) were somewhat vague, provided you actually knew the date of your birth. To say nothing of your ascendant.

Besides, anything you wanted to know could be reduced to an horary, which is always based on where the planets are RIGHT NOW, which has always been known to a fair degree of precision. These two factors - lack of data, and horary - stunted the growth of natal astrology for centuries. It seems to me this field did not really open up until Alan Leo developed personality readings, a century ago. So far as finessing a natal reading (such as I myself do), that might have only been developed within living memory, surprising as that would be.

Consequently, this book, like all the old natal astrology books, will appear under-developed in comparison to modern books. It is focused on practical matters: What you look like (1st house), when you will get rich (2nd), how many brothers & sisters you have (3rd), how long your father will live (4th), your children (5th), your slaves (6th - illness is properly an horary question), your spouse (7th), your death (8th), voyages (9th), profession (10th), your friends (11th), your enemies (12th). I had not previously realized that jealousy is a 12th house problem.

I did not care for the actual writing. Too much of it is like this:

Whence you could judge regarding the native's prosperity and substance, according to how you were to find them. And [you could] pronounce on his adversity according to their succession and order (which I showed you), according to how you find them made unfortunate; because just as the aforesaid significators of substance (if they were made fortunate and strong), bring [substance], so if they were made unfortunate and weak and badly disposed, they take it away; and they will convey trouble and misery and labor and sorrow and poverty. Therefore be industrious and wise, so that you may know how to consider all of these. (pg. 1210)
This is an entire paragraph, which should be clear unto itself, and which, after a fashion, we can kind of comprehend. It might be that Bonatus is to blame, or it might be the translator, or it might be both of them. I want to make a paraphrase, to say if the second house is good, you'll have money, but if not, you won't. These old books are in many ways just like modern books. They presume you know little, they explain everything. Including what you, modern student, should aready know from previous studies. Along the way there are unique gems, which is what you're looking for.
Then look at the Part of Siblings and its Lord, and see if they were to agree with the Lord of the domicile of the native's substance because it will increase his virtue. Indeed if it were the contrary, the virtue of the Lord of the domicile of siblings will be reduced, but it will prevail over the Lord of the Part of Siblings, even if their virtues seemed to be of one quality, according to what the Lords of the triplicities do. (pg. 1238)
Al Biruni gives the Part of Brothers - which I presume is the Part of Siblings - as Saturn to Jupiter, cast from the ascendant (same day & night). What Bonatis is saying, rather clumsily, is that if the planet which rules the sign in which the Part of Siblings can be found is in harmony with the ruler of the second house (?) then the power of the ruler of siblings is increased, which I presume means you get benefits from your brothers. Note carefully the distinction between the lord of the Part of Siblings, and the Lord of the 3rd house (domicile of siblings). If the lord of the Part of Siblings is not in harmony with the ruler of the second house, then the ruler of the third house is stronger than the lord of the Part of Siblings. Does this make sense? Well, sort-of kind-of, if you consider that the 2nd house is the 12th from the third house & therefore "stands behind" it. The triplicity stuff was gibberish to me until I read Vettius Valens (go to the Author Index & see if I've finished & it's there), which, as of the moment (April 2011) is not yet in print. I'm working on it!

I keep thinking the translator should spare us this struggle, that he could put a paraphrase in the margins (marginal notes), point out tricky things like the Part, the second house, and the third house. Ancient astrology is not hard, nor is it all that different from later medieval stuff. It's just that it's not clearly stated.

Cazimi Press, 330 pages.


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