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Translations by Benjamin Dykes

Benjamin Dykes
In addition to his translation of Bonatus, Benjamin Dykes has translated a number of other books of interest. Here they are:

Indicates a book on our Top Ten list. If you would like to find more books like it, click on the star.

CHOICES AND INCEPTIONS: Traditional electional astrology - translations by Benjamin Dykes, $35.00

Book abbreviations
Table of figures


Part 1: The moon and lunar mansions:
Al-Kindi: The choices of days
Al-Rijal: The book of the skilled VII.101: On elections according to the moon's motion through the mansions

Part 2: Planetary hours:
Bethen: On the hours of the planets
Al-Rijal: The book of the skilled VII.100: On the significations of the hours

Part 3: Complete elections:
Sahl bin Bishr: On elections

The ascendant and whatever is in it concering elections
The second sign from the ascendant, etc.
The third sign, etc.
The fourth sign, etc.
The fifth sign, etc.
The sixth sign, etc.
The seventh sign, etc.
The eighth sign, etc.
The ninth sign, etc.
The tenth sign, etc.
The eleventh sign, etc.
The twelfth sign, etc.
On that which is not in any of the twelve signs of elections

Al-'Imrani: The book of choices:
1.1. Whether elections are useful.
1.2. On the general works of elections
1.3. Elections for those with natal charts
1.4 On post-facto elections
1.5 On the best hours

2.1. Electing for powerful people
2.1.1. Confirming powerful people
2.1.2. Removal of dignities
2.1.3. Building cities and forts
2.1.4. Building of houses
2.1.5. Destroying the enemy's buildings
2.1.6. Reroutting of rivers and springs
2.1.7. On the building of warships
2.1.8. On going to battle
2.1.9. On making peace
2.1.10. On returning
2.1.11. On hunting
2.1.12. On racing horses
2.1.13. On games

2.2.1. The ascendant and breastfeeding
2.2.2. Weaning
2.2.3. Cutting nails
2.2.4. Haircuts
2.2.5. Bathing
2.2.6. Healing
2.2.7. Before surgery
2.2.8. Bloodletting
2.2.9. Circumscision
2.2.10. Purgatives
2.2.11. Drugs
2.2.12. Sneezing and gargles and vomiting by various means
2.2.13. New clothes

2.3.1. Second house elections and recovering loans
2.3.2. Buying things
2.3.3. Selling seeds and other things
2.3.4. Lending money
2.3.5. On receiving money
2.3.6. On changing residence

2.4.1. Third house elections, reconciling brothers
2.4.2. Devotion to God
2.4.3. On sending legatees

2.5.1. The fourth house and real estate
2.5.2. On cultivation
2.5.3. Mills
2.5.4. Planting trees and sowing seeds
2.5.5. On leasing land for production
2.5.6. On leasing houses and produce

2.6.1. On the fifth house and conceiving sons
2.6.2. On gifts

2.7.1. On the 6th house and the buying of slaves
2.7.2. Freeing slaves and prisoners, domesticating horses
2.7.3. Buying animals
2.7.4. Buying animals to hunt

2.8.1. The seventh house
2.8.2. Associations
2.8.3. Purchase and sale
2.8.4. The betrothal of women

2.9. Eighth house and inheritances

2.10.1. Ninth house and morals
2.10.2. Singing and other happy things

2.11.1. Tenth house and how to swim
2.11.2. How to fight
2.11.3. How to do other things

2.12.1. The eleventh house and a good name
2.12.2. On seeking things, and promises
2.12.3. Love and friendship

2.13.1. The twelfth house and harrassing an enemy
2.13.2. Searching for a fugitive
2.13.3. Searching for a fugitive
2.13.4. On making people confess

Al Rijal: The book of the skilled VII: on elections:
Prologue to the book
Prologue of the author
7.1 Rules
7.2. Principles of deeds
7.3. Signs and what they signify
7.4. First house
7.5. Bathing
7.6. Haircutting
7.7. Bloodletting
7.8. Cutting nails

7.9. The second house
7.10. Managing assets, taking on debts
7.11. Buying and selling
7.12. Selling produce
7.13. On loaning money
7.14. On accepting loans
7.15. Moving house
7.16. Alchemy

7.17. The third house
7.18. The law

7.19. The fourth house
7.20. Foundations of estates and homes
7.21. Digging wells, channeling rivers
7.22. Buying land
7.23. Settling land
7.24. Mills
7.25. Sowing, planting trees
7.26. Leasing land
7.27. Leasing houses and produce
7.28. Ghostbusting

7.29. The fifth house
7.30. Conceiving sons
7.31. Breastfeeding
7.32. Weaning
7.33. Circumscising and baptism
7.34. Making and wearing new clothes
7.35. Giving gifts
7.36. Sending couriers
7.37. Writing papers
7.38. Food
7.39. Drinks
7.40. Smells
7.41. Carrier pigeons
7.42. Abortions

7.43. The sixth house
7.44. Healing
7.45. Healing with syringes
7.46. Healing the eyes
7.47. Laxatives
7.48. Binding medicines
7.49. Inhalations, vomits and gargles
7.50. Buying slaves
7.51. Freeing slaves, buying horses
7.52. Buying large and small animals

7.53. The seventh house
7.54. Marriage
7.55. Disputes
7.56. Buying weapons
7.57. War and peace
7.58. Demolishing the enemy's forts
7.59. Warships
7.60. Partnerships
7.61. Searching for fugitives
7.62. Making people confess
7.63. Hunting
7.64. Board games: Chess, dice, etc.
7.65. Sexual intercourse

7.66. The eighth house
7.67. Death
7.68. What the dead leave behind

7.69. The ninth house
7.70. Travel
7.71. Tourism
7.72. Elections for a swift return
7.73. Secret journeys
7.74. Journeys by water
7.75. Buying, boarding and sailing ships
7.76. Launching ships
7.77. Learning science
7.78. Singing and entertaining
7.79. Entering a city

7.80. The tenth house
7.81. Becoming a dignitary
7.82. Dignities for land, or for tax revenues, or for the law
7.83. Magistrates
7.84. Clerks and accountants
7.85. Choosing candidates for lordship
7.86. The king's retainers
7.87. Crowning a king
7.88. Persuading a king
7.89. Obtaining the king's protection
7.90. Learning a profession
] 7.91. Becoming a soldier
7.92. Learning to swim

7.93. The eleventh house
7.94. Acquiring a good name
7.95. Making promises, petitions
9.96. Love and friendship

7.97. The twelfth house
7.98. Horseracing
7.99. How to catch your enemy
7.100. Planetary hours
7.101. Elections and lunar mansions
7.102. When petitions will be answered

A. Rulerships
B. Types of signs
C. General instructions, from Al-Kindi
D. Three interpretations of combust hours
E. Suggested reading list (Cazimi Press books)



This book is essentially the work of Al-Kindi, Al-Rijal, Bethen, Sahl bin Bishr, and Al-'Imrani, all Persian or Arabic, from roughly 800 to 1100 AD. The book is in three general sections:

The first section are elections based solely on the Moon and its mansion, and are crude.

The second section concerns elections based on planetary hours.

The third section are termed "complete elections," where full instructions for setting an election are given. This is the major section of the book. Many of these are brief and to the point, but I regret the translations are still unwieldy, which includes the chapter headings given above, which I have freely "translated" for your benefit. An example: Chapter 7.18, which I gave as The Law. Professor Dykes' gives the title as, On beginning to demonstrate the sciences of the law. Here is the complete text:

In this it is appropriate to make the third house and its lord fit, Jupiter, and the luminaries (and if they were in the houses of Jupiter, it will be better). And if in addition you want to learn the subtleties and principles, adapt Mercury likewise, and make the significators which we stated be aspecting one to the other with a good aspect. Likewise, let it be that one aspects the house of the other from good aspects - and you should look at as many of these as you can. (pgs. 270-1)
Not well translated, but understandable (adapt Mercury likewise). No good my carping that literal translations are frowned upon by those who translate for a living. They insist on idiomatic translations, which render the translated text as pleasing to the eye as it was in its original, as opposed to literal translations, which are stilted and difficult, but quick and easy to prepare.

But you want to know more about Chapter 7.65, which I titled Sexual intercourse and which Dykes gives as On lying down with women. If you want a good time, put Aries, Capricorn, Leo or Libra on the ascendant. Have the Moon applying to Venus and/or Mars. Venus for a good time, Mars for lots of sperm. (Always impresses the girls.) Make sure the Moon is not applying to Saturn, as that won't make for a good time. Moon applying to the Sun is very good. Moon in Pisce is bad as you will get an STD or worse (infirmities Really, Benjamin!). Moon in Gemini, Libra and Aquarius is good, as those are the three human signs and since you're a human, you'll enjoy it all the more. Moon applying to Jupiter means I have a headache tonight, dear. If you want to avoid conception, put the Moon in Gemini, Leo or Virgo, with aspect to Venus but none to Jupiter. If the Moon is in Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces, conception is all but guaranteed. (This is why Maynard is essential for hot dates.) Venus in the first house, in Libra or Pisces, guarantees a good time. Saturn in the 7th gives the opposite. See what you can learn browsing my website!

I can't fuss too much about the translation as we are all grateful we now have these fabulous books. On my desk and needing to go back into stock is Karen Hamaker-Zondag's newly reprinted The Twelfth House, from 1991. It in fact does not delineate planets in the 12th, it does not delineate signs on the cusp of the 12th, it does not show the rulers of the 12th in the various other houses, it does not talk of institutions or prisons or hospitals or big animals or strategy and tactics or any other recognizably 12th house matters. Karen's book is from first to last a psychological rant, of no actual use whatever. Such was astrology only 21 years ago. The change - for the better - has come with staggering speed. The last 20 years have been, without doubt, the greatest in the entire history of astrology, and you and I have had the honor of living through it.

Cazimi Press, 433 pages.

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BOOK OF THE NINE JUDGES: Traditional Horary Astrology - translated and edited by Benjamin Dykes, $60.00


Translator's introduction
Introductory matters

1. First house:
Sahl's method for questions

2. Second house

3. Third house

4. Fourth house:
Real estate
Buried treasure

5. Fifth house:
Pregnancy and childbirth
New, rumors and legates

6. Sixth house
Slaves and captives

7. Seventh house
Marriage and relationships
Controversies and lawsuits
Trades and sales
Commodities and prices
Journeys to find someone
Hunting and fishing

8. Eighth house:

9. Ninth house:
Absent people
Alchemy and other knowledge

10. Tenth house:
Kingdoms and rulerships
Trades and professions

11. Eleventh house:
Things hoped for

12. Twelfth house:
Horse racing
Revenge and enemies

Z. Weather and disasters


A. Sahl's The Fifty Judgements
B. Excerpt from Bonatti's The Book of Astronomy, Tr. 6: On Questions
C. Selecting significators, from Masha'allah's OR ch. 2
D. Aphorisms on questions from Al-Rijai, I.5.1.
E. Table of questions by house
F. Table of 'Umar passages
G. Alternative ways of extracting names
H. Lots in Judges
I. The Essential Medieval Astrology cycle

Index of names


This volume opens with the translator talking about himself and his other books (pg. 1). On pg. 2, the background to this book:

The Book of the Nine Judges was compiled in the 12th century by a group of translators led by Hugo of Santalla. They put it together from various unrelated sources, among them Al Kindi, 'Umar al-Tabari, Sahl bin Bishr, Abu'Ali al-Khayyat, "Dorotheus," "Aristotle," Jirjis, Masha'allah and Abu Ma'shar. Their goal was to create a one-volume source on horary astrology.

And this is a wonderfully complete text on horary astrology. However, it has been criticized, by William Lilly, among others, for being obtuse. Dykes says Lilly himself used other sources (other translations) for these same works. Dykes faults Lilly for preferring John of Seville's work over that of Hugo's. Specifically, Dykes says these two versions are essentially the same:

"If the lord of the first house and the Moon are applying to the lord of the tenth, then the querent will get the honor he hopes for." (not literally John's work, but in his style)
"The lord of the east, and no less the Moon, rendering counsel to [the lord] of the house of kings, really obtains the hoped-for position." (Hugo)
Of these two examples, Dykes says,
But Lilly was wrong to think that one cannot learn astrology from these texts [Hugo's text, that is - Dave]. Hermann and Hugo may never have cast a chart, but as I believe the reader of Forty Chapters and Judges will see, only a little mental adjustment is needed to get valuable astrology from both texts. The trick is really to slow down. [Here follows John of Seville's example, followed by Hugo's.] Once we know that "rendering counsel" is Hugo's translation of the Arabic "pushing management" or simply "applying," we know exactly what the sentence means. (pg. 3)
Dykes is deadly serious about this, as we may see by opening his translation at random:
7.63 [Another example, from the following month] - 'Umar

The east was Sagittarius, and its lord [Jupiter] decreasing in computation, the five stars were staying in the opposite [of the Ascendant]. Of them, Mercury was cadent, while the rest occupied a pivot. However, the Sun [is] wholly arranged rightly, the Moon increasing, applying to a decreasing and corrupted Mars. Venus too was likewise adding, with no aspect being conveyed to the lord of the east, until she first gives up the sign which she is holding onto. That portends the same thing which we related above about the eastern lord, the Sun, and the Moon.

The signification of Mars pertains to diminution, until Venus herself gave up that place, once she has applied to the eastern lord (namely after ten days), then finally even the Moon will undergo his assembly. Therefore, the aforementioned places of the stars, and their positions, designates that things for sale are confined to a suitable status, nor be completely changed in anything, until 13 days of the month are reached. But after that, up until her departure, their adding is noted, but nevertheless it seems an increase of this kind proceeds from the staying of the stars in the pivots. (pg. 283-4)

This is followed by Figure 36, entitled, 'Umar's chart for 7.63, based on the Vienna diagram. This shows a chart with Sag rising, Jupiter in the 12th in Scorpio, Sun-Moon-Venus-Mars - and Mercury - all in Gemini in the 7th. Sun and Moon are conjunct at 19 Gemini, Mars is at 28, a difference of 9 degrees. Dykes reconstructs this chart as June 11, 785 AD, 7:15:02 pm (modern time), Baghdad. The chart is set for the lunation, Dykes has forced Mercury, Sun, Moon and Mars above the horizon, when they are actually below at his stated time. Note that the reconstruction has both Moon and Mars in cazimi, that is, within 17 minutes of arc of exactly conjunct the Sun, an extremely rare event. Note also that 'Umar has explicitly put Mercury in the 6th, not the 7th. If Jupiter decreasing in computation means it is retrograde (which it is), then I would presume decreasing and corruputed Mars to mean both retrograde (decreasing) and in Libra (corrupted). Mars retrograde is in keeping with Mars pertains to diminution, since, retrograde, that's exactly what I would expect Mars to do.

Which means we need a chart with Mars retrograde. Which will put Saturn, not Mars, in Gemini. Sun-Moon-Mercury-Venus-Saturn ("five stars") in Gemini, Mars in Libra, Jupiter in Scorpio. What date that would be I have not a clue. The Vienna diagram is spurious. Presumably an ancient scribe made a mistake and Dykes copied it.

To further confuse things, Dykes tags this chart as "JC", which presumably means Julian Calendar, but the chart he gives is in Gregorian, not Julian. ("JC" is not defined on pg. xviii. There is no index, the author says the table of contents will do. The complete TOC is 17 pages.) While there are a number of chart diagrams, there are less than ten actual charts in the entire book. It is to be regretted that one of the principal charts appears to be flawed. Remember that I took this passage at random, I was attracted to The east was Sagittarius, and its lord decreasing in computation as it sounded like such fine nonsense. The subsequent analysis was accidental.

Academics, such as Hugo, have traditionally gotten a bad name for writing gibberish, intelligible only to the initiate. For those of us, like me, who went far down the academic path, only to be excluded from the club (often when we questioned things like the passage above, by the way), the eventual rejection and humiliation left deep and lasting scars. I should give Dykes yellow stars for each and every one of his amazing books, but I, like Lilly, want a text that can be read. Dykes does not. Anyone want to bring this to his attention? It's a sixty dollar book, folks. It took a lot of Prof. Dykes' time. I'd love to give it a rave. I'd love to sell a few of them, get Ben some money for his work.

I do not mean to tar Prof. Dykes in this fashion. Translations by Hindsight/Golden Hinde, Arhat and some others, all have this fatal flaw, that they cannot actually be read. I am beginning to fear the modern revival will burn out, as it cannot be sustained with books like this. I myself may well swamp the Hellenists with a simple, easy to use, amazingly powerful system of house cusps, dispositors, and keywords. Stuff that's in virtually every decent astrology book of the last three centuries, just waiting for someone to pick them up, organize and use them. See my newsletters for examples. It would not surprise me if the quest for really ancient Hellenistic astrology accidentally uncovered the fact that the late medieval astrologers were really what we wanted all along.

Cazimi Press, 708 pages.

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TRADITIONAL ASTROLOGY FOR TODAY, An Introduction - Benjamin Dykes, $16.00


Introduction: Ye olde astrologie

Part 1: History, ideas, values
1. A history of traditional astrology in a few pages
2. A few schools of thought
3. Is the chart our mind?
4. Good and bad: Values in traditional astrology
5. Happiness and astrological counseling

Part 2: Techniques and concepts
6. Planets and other bodies
7. Signs
8. Using dignities
9. Houses
10. Aspects and aversions: Sight and blindness
11. Lots
12. Two rules for interpreting charts
13. Predictive techniques
14. A short case study
15. Frequently asked questions


A. Where to go from here
B. The essential Medieval astrology cycle
C. Answers to exercises



August 2011: This is Benjamin Dykes' first original book. It is a milestone for him.

I was hoping this would be a lot like Avelar & Rubeiro's On The Heavenly Spheres, in other words, big & thick & meaty, but it is instead a smaller book.

The opening section, on History, is generally good, though with visible quirks. Dykes twice says Valens was an Alexandrian Greek (pgs. 5 and 6), when a casual study of his Anthologies (the wretched and incomplete Schmidt version is listed in the Bibliography) proves him to be a Ukranian Greek who lived in the Crimea. Which, by the way, is why he and Ptolemy, contemporaries, did not know each other. And, no, quadrant astrology did not start in Medieval times (pg. 12). Study of Valens shows quadrants (Porphyry explicitly, Alcabitius implied) go as far back as Hypsicles, 190-120 BC. With sundials, midheavens were not hard to find, simple trisection of the arc ("Porphyry") was an easy thing, Valens is explicit. Dykes, like many others, tells us of Ficino (1433-1499), but is unaware of the much larger, more critical contribution by Fibonacci (1170-1250). I am frankly beginning to despair of the modern "traditional" movement, that it is not going overripe before it first gets ripe. Medieval astrology, not to mention the modern ephemeris, are frankly inconceivable without Fibonacci and his Arabic number system. Dykes has spent too much time with Campion and not enough with Bobrick.

Part 2, the meat of the book, is frustrating. In the initial chapters Dykes walks you up to the edge of the water and gets your feet wet, but does not teach how to swim. Chapter 8, On Dignities is typical. Ruling and exalted planets are shown in a wheel of signs. Another wheel shows planets in debility and fall. The simple relationship of signs to planets, which can easily be shown in a wheel (see pgs. 45 and 46 of Al Biruni) is not given. And it is screamingly frustrating to be told, again and again, of rulers and dignities and triplicities and terms but not to be told how they are actually to be used. This is like being told about the primary and secondary colors, but not how to put them on a canvas.

The chapter on houses, stripped of any mention of klima (or clima, terms that are not in the glossary), is fatuous. Equal houses were abandoned for reason. When they work, it is because of context, and that context is latitude. The rest of his remarks on houses, with this planet here and this one there, is simply a muddle. You cannot use what Dykes is giving you to read a chart. Here is an example:

On the other hand, the Moon is in the tenth house (an advantageous place for the native) but she is in a weaker dynamical division so although she is in a foundational house of the chart and shows something important in life (reputation, profession), she is not as stimulated and prominent as we might want her to be. This means that although she will pertain to tenth-house matters, she might not carry as great a weight as a competing planet such as Saturn (since the degree of the Midheaven still always bears a sense of reputation and profession). (pg. 62)
"Weaker dynamical division" is gibberish. The chart in question is for July 5, 2011, 6:20 pmm CDT, Minneapolis. As the book was published in 2011, this is not an actual natal chart, but merely an exercise. Here is another, from the same chapter:
If you look at Jupiter he is in the sixth whole sign house. This means that he pertains to illness, slavery, stress, pets and small animals, and so on. This house is not one of the advantageous ones according to the seven-place diagram, because it does not aspect the rising sign. But in terms of dynamisim or stimulation, he is in a middling region. According to the solution I'm suggesting, he is not necessarily advantageous to the native but he has middling strength in the chart as a whole and with respect to sixth house matters. (pg. 62)
We are left wondering if, for Dykes, Jupiter has any meaning at all in the chart. In frustration I simply gave up on the book, but after an hour I relented and continued futher.

Chapter 10, on whole sign aspects, is nice. If Dykes were better read, he would know the late (and very not traditional) astrologer Sophia Mason developed the same idea in 1977. He continues with orbs applying to planets, not aspects. Dykes gives the traditional Persian planetary orbs, which are so very large (Mars has a 9, or maybe 8 degree orb, on either side, with all Ptolemaic aspects) that, thinking of Valens, I am immediately suspicious if the Persians had accurate ephemerides and were erring on the generous side. This is another reason why number systems are so very important (Fibonacci strikes again), as some number systems will produce accurate ephemerides and some others will only produce bad guesses. In astrology, bad numbers mean guesswork and fudging. Dykes then spends a great deal of time developing the semi-sextile and the inconjunct, to which he gives different names.

Chapter 11, on Lots tells us how to calculate, but little on how to use them.

Chapter 12, on Two Rules is good. I wish instead of stranding these, that he had incorporated them in the chapter on Dignities, and again in the chapter on Houses, where they belong. The first rule is that a planet's domicile (house location) is more important than the ruler of the sign the planet is in. This is debatable. All such planets should be examined individually. The second, the lord of the house determines the condition of the house (or as Dykes puts it, what is indicated by a house, emanates from the lord of that house). This is one of the major keys to reading a chart, and if Dykes were serious about it, would collapse his crude whole sign house system, because quadrant angles can easily be demonstrated by this technique alone. Dykes shies away from this, his example is muddled.

Chapter 13, on Predictive Techniques is largely about profections. Profections advance the sign on the ascendant by one whole sign per year. The year is then under the influnce of the planet which rules that sign, by means of its own house and sign in your natal chart. So, at age 1 (your second year) everyone gets the ruler of their second house cusp as their ruler for the year, a cycle which repeats every 12 years. I am now in my 60th year, which, evenly divisible by 12, means that Gemini, my ascendant, is again my profection for the year. Gemini is ruled by Mercury, Mercury is in Aquarius in the 9th. As I am of supreme age (the late 50's are the pinacle of active life) and as Mercury is the overall chart ruler, I should well expect to find myself making distant trips, dealing with foreigners and matters of religious importance (9th house), by means of writing, speaking and travel (Mercury). I regret that though the year is half over, little of this has happened. My newsletter has taken off this year, but newsletters are, on the face of it, 3rd house, ruled by the Moon. Not 9th. Last year was Taurus, ruled by Venus in Capricorn in the 8th. My mother died. I got a small inheritance. I also published a dozen books, but they didn't seem to be part of the program, so they don't count, so far as profections go. I've been happy about those books this year, as, 9th is publishing, I get income from them. But that would happen in any case, and will continue to happen next year, and not only for those books, but the thirty others I have also published over the years. The year before, Aries, ruled by Mars in Scorpio in the 6th, I spent with a Chinese herbalist. The year before, Pisces, ruled by Jupiter in Aries. Completely unmemorable. You can spin your own profections this way. They are fairly blunt instruments. The 8th house year did not tell me my mother would die (mommies are 10th house), the 6th house year said nothing about my heart (Leo, not Scorpio), etc. Next year will be the Moon in Leo in the third. By my definition, I get to be a big shot. Just like I was back in 2001, and 1989, and 1977, and 1965, etc. Really!

Chapter 14, delineation of the case study, is frankly muddled. Dykes falls into traps that Donna Cunningham, in an out of print book, warns against. The case study has Libra rising, ruler Venus in Gemini in the 9th. Dykes hems and haws. It is first and foremost an education abroad, specializing in poetry, if that is at all possible. It might take the form of study of the Vedas (for example), as they are foreign, poetic, and concern religion. Dykes tells us the man was a singer with the urge to travel. Songs are poetical by definition, but Dykes does not tell us if he favored bawdy ditties, or religious chants.

I was hoping for a masterful exposition. I am disappointed, as the book is academic and spotty in many places. The author too often writes as if he were giving a lecture. The glossary is very good, though with omissions.

Cazimi Press, 130 pages.

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PERSIAN NATIVITIES, vol. 1: Masha'allah: THE BOOK OF ARISTOTLE & Abu'Ali [al-Khayyat]: ON THE JUDGEMENTS OF NATIVITIES, translated by Benjamin Dykes, $45.95


Book abbreviations
Table of figures
Introduction to volume 1

The Book of Aristotle, by Masha'allah:
Book 1:
1. Effects of stars, disagreements among astrologers
2. On the arising of climes
3. On the hilaj & the kadukhudhah
4. On the arising pivot
5. On an unknown hour
6. On the stars' first & second stay

Book 2:
1. On the orientality & occidentality of the stars & their greatest years
2. On the first & second stay, by means of the mean course of the Sun
3. On the nodes, that is, the opposition & the coming together
4. On the buht
5. On the dangers of the Head & Tail
6. On the hasr
7. On the malice of the houses
8. On the corruption of the stars
9. On the tamrin
10. On the application of the stars
11. On the diurnal & nocturnal stars
12. On the dusturiyyah of the stars
13. On the female & male places
14. On recognizing the twelfth parts of the stars
15. On the male & female stars, and the convertible ones
16. On the lunar application & the recession of the stars
17. On the regards

Book 3:
First House:
1. Review & preliminary approach to the native's life
2. On recognizing the birthdays of those who are going to prevail
3. The recognition of those to whom life is denied
4. On the hatred or affection of the parents towards the children
5. On recognizing the hilaj
6. What the recognition of the kadukhudhah is & by what procedure it could be found
7. On the quantity of life
8. On the years of the stars
9. On long life & those who live a long time
10. What the jarbakhtar is
Second house:
20. On profit & money
21. On the amount of prosperity & luckiness
22. On disappearance & slipping away
23. On recognizing a mediocre life
24. On the advancement of ignoble people & those of an inferior order
25. On those whom continual and immeasurable adversity presses down
26. On those who furnish necessities by their own labor or violently
Third house:
30. On brothers
31. Items for delineating siblings' matters
32. On the brothers: whether there are many or few
33. On the one being born, whether he has brothers, even which are older, which are in the middle, which are younger
34. On the death of the brothers
35. On the mutual agreement or hatred of the brothers
36. On the mutual benefit of brotherhood
37. Who will die first
Fourth house:
41. On the mother & father
42. Whether he is the son of his father
43. On his lineage, whether he is noble or the reverse
44. Whether they are of the same family
45. On the esteem or hatred of the parents & child
46. On long & short life, blindness & feebleness of old age
47. Concerning the parents, which one will die first
48. Whether the patrimony would cede to him
49. Again, which one will die first
Fifth house:
50. On children
51. Items for delineating children's matters
52. On his sterility
53. On children, are they many or few
54. On their number
55. On the time - namely at what age their generation would come to be - and on their sex
Sixth house:
60. On illness & physical problems
61. Items for delineating illness & physical problems
62. On sight & in what eye he would suffer
63. On a hidden or prominent weakness
64. On the spirit-possessed & insensate
65. On thieves, black magicians or soothsayers
66. On castrated men
67. On those who are midgets
68. On the time & hour of suffering
Seventh house
70. On the seventh house
71. Items for delineating marriage matters
72. On the one being born: whether he would take a wife
73. Whether he would even obtain anything of dignity because of the spouse herself
74. Even whether this corruption of the wedding contract would be
75. On the suitability of the marriage union
76. Whether he would misuse them
77. Whether he would marry a blood relative
78. On sexual impurity & the infamy of excess
79. On the number of wives
710. When he would be betrothed
711. On the concord & esteem of each
712. On death, whom it destroys first
713. Whether he would be polluted by the sodomitical vice
Eighth house:
80. On the eighth house
81. On the cause of death

Ninth house:
91. On travel & those things which pertain to the ninth house
92. On travel
Tenth house
101. The tenth house
102. On the profession
103. The lunar application after the syzygy
104. Dispositor of the significator; the Lot of Work
105. Orientality & occidentality of the stars
106. Mercury, Venus & Mars as signficators
107. Lot of Work / Offices
108. Many considerations
Eleventh house:
111. On those things which pertain to the eleventh house, and first concerning slaves
Twelfth house:
121. On those things which pertain to the 12th house, and on the status of partnership
122. With whom you ought to associate, and on the status of the partnership
123. On a diurnal & nocturnal nativity
124. Which one will do good to the other
125. The Lot of Necessity
126. The jarbakhtar & friendship
127. From which parent there is affection or hatred toward the native
128. Synastry in friendship
129. Elections in friendship
1291. Conclusion to Book 3

Book Four:
1. On the revolutions of the years of the nativity
2 - 7: On the salkhudhay of Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Sun and Moon
8. On the knowledge of the jarbakhtar
9 - 13: On the distribution of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury
14. Many items
15. On the sign of the intiha, namely the terminal place
16. Monthly, daily & hourly rulers
17 - 25: On the firdariyyat of the stars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, north node, south node

On the Judgments of Nativites, by Abu'Ali
1. On nourishment
2. On the hilaj & the knowledge of the space of life
3. On the kadukhudhah and what it would signify about life
4. How much the stars would add or to or subtract from the years of kadukhudhah
5. On the quality of the native's mind
6. On the testimonies which signify concerning the nativities of kings
7. On the native's prosperity & adversity
8. On the time of the native's fortune
9. On the knowledge of the reasons for the native's prosperity
10. On the native's being, and on the things signified by the 1st house
11. On the knowledge of the native's substance & of its causes, and on what is signified by the second house
12. On the brother's fortune
13. On the number of brothers
14. On the reputation & nobility of the brothers
15. On the friendship or hatred of the brothers amongst themselves
16. On the fortune of the parents, and on things signified by the 4th house
17. On the space of the father's life
18. On the space of the mother's life
19. On discovering the hilaj for the parents' life
20. On the status of children, and on what is signified by the 5th house
21. On the time of the children
22. On the native's slaves & subordinates, and on the significations of the 6th house
23. On the native's fortune in beasts & flock animals
24. On the native's infirmity & its causes
25. On the matters of marriage & its causes, and what is signified by the seventh house
26. On the things signified by the Lot of Betrothal
27. On the native's foreign travel & journeys, and on what is signified by the 9th house
28. On the usefulness & the loss of the journey
29. On the native's law, religion & visions
30. On the native's dignity & work, and what is signified by the 10th house
31. On the matter of the native's kingdom
32. On the native's prosperity & power
33. On the native's mastery
34. On the native's boldness & strength
35. On friendships
36. On enmities & what is signified by the 12th house
37. On the quality of death & its occasions
38. On the general manner or method for judging the twelve houses of heaven
39 - 45: On each of the various planets if they were in their own domicile & in those of the other planets, in diurnal & nocturnal nativities
46. On the lord of the hour
47. On what is signified by the planets in the individual places of the natal thema
48. On the head & tail of the dragon of the Moon in the twelve domiciles of heaven
49. On the effects & tendencies of the Lot of Fortune in the twelve places of the natal thema
50. On the remaining accidents of the Lot of Fortune

A. Directions & ascensional times
B. Longevity methods in Book of Aristotle
C. Friendship in Book of Aristotle
D. Fixed stars in Book of Aristotle
E. Lots in Book of Aristotle & Judgments of Nativities
F. Relation of Judgments of Nativities to Masha'Allah



This is two books by different authors. I would have wished they had been published separately.

The first book is the Book of Aristotle, by Masha'Allah (ca 740 - 815). For various reasons - which the translator explains in his Introduction - it has remained obscure, up to this translation. It relates strongly to Rhetorius & Dorotheus, in fact, this book sheds much light on both earlier books. In Book 3, what looks to be a list of horary questions & answers are actually all based on the natal. In many cases, Masha'Allah gives explicit delineations for triplicity rulers; in other cases, he gives delineations for the various Parts or Lots. Regrettably, the translator did not include a table of triplicity rulers. For that, you will have to get Dorotheus. Endless references to houses & their rulers are frustrated by not knowing the house system used. I would guess Alcabitus.

On page xxxi, the translator identifies "Abu'Ali" as Abu'Ali al-Khayyat (ca 770 - ca 835). This is a new translation of The Judgments of Nativities, which was previous translated by James Herschel Holden & published by the AFA in 1988. It is still in print. Rather than be puzzled why there is now a second translation, let us briefly compare the two, head to head. This is from Chapter 26, Things Signified by the Part of Marriage (Holden), or On the things signified by the Lot of Betrothal (Dykes):


Consider the Part of Marriage & its lord. If they are in angles or in succedents, free from [any aspect of] the evil [planets], adjoined to the fortunes, or in aspect with the fortunes, it signifies the marriage of the native with the best & most beautiful women. And if the Part and its lord are cadent & impedited by the evil [planets], but especially without any aspect of the fortunes to them, it signifies the marriage of the native with infamous whores. But if the lord of the Part of Fortune is direct in its course in an angle or a succedent, free from [any aspect of] the evil [planets], it signifies the marriage of the native with beautiful women & those of the best [quality]. - pg. 65, 2008 edition.

Consider the Lot of Betrothal & its lord: which if they were in angles or in succeedents, free from the bad ones, adjoined to fortunes or in the aspect of fortunes, it signifies the betrothal of the native with the best and most beautiful women. And if the Lot and its Lord were cadent & impeded by the bad ones (but especially without the regard of the fortunes to them), it signifies the betrothal of the native with notorious prostitutes. But if the Lord of the Lot of Betrothal were direct in course, in an angle or the succeedents, free from the bad ones, it signifies the native's betrothal with beautiful and the best women. - pg. 285

I know I only compared one small part, but I'm having a hard time seeing a reason for another translation. In the Roman numeral pages 37 & 38, Dykes gives his reasons for the new translation. A good part of them have to do with houses. Which, I regret to say, are as mangled here as they have been everywhere else. Both Holden & Dykes presume one flavor or another of equal houses to have been used, but why? (Dykes doesn't like Holden's flavor.) The problem with equal houses is that they do not work as you go further north, and Tehran, at 35 N, is north enough to give problems. The mathematics necessary to generate non-equal houses is dependent upon your system of numerical notation. Roman numerals will get you Porphyry houses, but Porphyry isn't so hot (apologies to Jeffrey Green). By the 8th or 9th century, I am presuming that Hindu numbers (known to us as Arabic numbers) were in use in Islamic lands & that more sophisticated house division systems were therefore possible. Holden says that Alcabitus houses date back to Rhetorius (6th or - Dykes - 7th century). It is possible they could have been conceived in "Arabic" numbers. Holden also says that Alcabitus houses were widely used by a number of Arabic astrologers contemporaneous to Alcabitus (d. 967), as well as being in widespread use in Europe after 1200, up to the introduction of Regiomontanus (15th century). I am frustrated that both Holden & Dykes are advocates of whole houses, one way or another. There is a lot you can do with astrology, the Hellenistic Revival is proving that. But there's a whole 'nother world that opens up when you know how to use, really use, houses. In this area, the revival, for me, is falling flat.

Note that Vedic astrology does not have this confusion. Note also that Vedic astrology, until very recent times, was never seen outside of India, far to the south of Persia. Latitude is important.

So, another wonderful book from Masha'Allah, and a new translation of Abu'Ali al-Khyatt. Enjoy!

Cazimi Press, 424 pages.

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PERSIAN NATIVITIES, vol. 2: Umar al-Tabari: THREE BOOKS ON NATIVITIES & Abu Bakr: ON NATIVITIES, translated by Benjamin Dykes, $45.95

Book abbreviations
Table of figures

Book 1: Birth & longevity:
1. Planetary months of gestation
2. Determining an unknown birth ascendant
3. Rearing & the determination of births
4. On the hilaj & kadukhudhah

Book 2: Annual methods:
1. Annual direction of the hilaj
2. The direction of the ascendant & its jarbakhtar
3. How mundane directions differ from the revolutions of nativities
4. 'Umar's method of profections
5. The general, greater & lesser conditions of the native & his parents
6. Examples of directions & profections for the native
7. Ptolemy's annual directions
8. Rejection of alternative methods

Book 3: Topics:
1 - 13: Social status & prosperity; Wealth; Siblings; Parents; Marriage; Children; Infirmities; Travel; Work & mastery; Friends; Enemies; Faith; Death

Book 1: Overview, pregnancy, longevity:
10. What is proper to know for him who wishes . . .
12. The native's body, mind & topics of life
13. Prediction, the hilaj, kadukhudhah & primary directions
2. On the projection of seed into the womb
3. On the native's stay in the mother's womb
4. On knowing the namudar, and the hour of the projection of seed into the womb
5. Detailed planetary dispositions of the months
6. Whether the birth is legitimate or from adultery
7. On the native's progression out of the mother's belly
8. On the types of the native & of what nature he will be, whether a man or brute animal
9. On the native's face
10. On the colors of the planets
11. On the one to whom the boy will be likened, the father or mother, paternal or maternal uncle
12. On the nourishing of boys
13. On the abandonment of the native
14. On the beauty of the native's nourishment
15. On the knowledge of the hilaj & the kadukhudhah
16. On the years of the planets which the sages used in the distribution of the nativity
17. On the knowledge of the distributors or distribution of the native's years

Book 2: Topics:
Chapters 0 - 10: On the native's morals & nature; anxiety; quickness to war & rage; humbleness; shamelessness; shame; morals; lies; truth; religion; pretended sanctity.
Chapters 11 - 20: On the native's idolatry; knowledge; memory; bad intellect; good & quick intellect; stupidity; born actors; faithfulness; born wicked & their unfaithfulness; born robbers
Chapters 21 - 33: On the natives liberality; greed; envy; conceit & magnanimity; cheerfulness of face; joyfulness; sorrow & weakness; eagerness when eating; sowing discord among men; bad thinking; beauty; dignified or serious calm; hastiness.
20. Prosperity & eminence
21. On natives who are kings & their fortune
22. On the dominions of the native & their fortune in them
23. On the native's middling fortune
24. On the native's misery & labor
25. On natives returned to servitude
26. On natives who will be incarcerated
27. On natives who will be beggars
28. On natives who will come down from riches to poverty
29. On natives who are raised up out of poverty to riches
210. On natives who are greater than their own parents
30. Wealth
31. Indications of great wealth
32. On the administrators of kings & their fortune
33. On natives who are wise & their fortune
34. On the native's fortune from commerce
35. On the native's fortune from slaves & servants
36. On the native's fortune from beasts
37. Of masters of soldiers & their fortune
38. On natives who are soldiers & their fortune
39. On the native's fortune on the occasion of money in the earth
310. On the native's fortune from inheritances of the dead
311. On the native's fortune from fields & gardens
40. Siblings
41. Multiple siblings
42. Scarcity of siblings
43. Native's fortune with siblings
44. On the sibling's enmity
45. On the misfortune & fall of the siblings
50. Parents
51. On the parents' exaltation
52. On the parents' fall or being pressed down
53. On the native's friendship & enmity with the parents
157. On the native's fortune with the parents
55. On the native's squandering the parents' money
56. On the fortune of the native's parents
57. On the labor & impediments of the native's parents
58. On the death of the native's parents
59. Primary directions for parents
510. The father, according to 'Umar al-Tabari
511. The mother, according to 'Umar al-Tabari
512. The method of pseudo-Ptolemy
513. The method of Dorotheus
514. Comment on 'Umar's method
60. Children
61. Multiple children
62. On natives lacking children, or having few
63. On sterile natives
64. On the number of children
65. On the hour or time in which the native will have children
66. On the native's happiness with children
67. On the native's happiness with children
68. On the fortune of the native's children
69. On the labor of the native's children
610. On the death of children

70. Illness
71. Illness according to planetary signification
72. Chronic illness
73. On blindness & illness of the eyes
74. On the loss of one eye
75. On cloudiness in the eyes
76. On one-eyed people or squinting eyes
77. On dark eyes
78. On weak vision
79. On illness of the ears
710. On the native's speech
711. On hunchbacked natives
712. On leprous natives
713. On natives having white morphew
714. On those born lunatics, fools, or one-eyed
715. On epileptic natives
716. On paralytic natives
717. On natives with heart problems
718. On natives with liver problems
719. On natives with spleen problens
720. On natives with lung problems
721. On natives with stomach problems
722. On natives having pain in the belly & intestines
723. On illness of the genitals
724. On stones & grains of sand
725. On natives having much sexual intercourse
726. On natives having little sexual intercourse
727. On natives who are eunuchs & hermaphrodites
728. On the illness of the anus
729. On natives of short stature
730. On natives of tall & even stature
731. On natives with weak bodies
732. On bald natives
733. On natives having a sparse beard
734. On natives having sweat & stinking breath
735. On the illness of the joints & the breaking of limbs
736. On illness of the hands & feet
737. In what part of the body the illness will be
738. On the greatness of the native's testicles
80. Slaves
90. Marriage
91. Good & bad sexuality
92. On natives who will not be loved by women
93. On natives lacking a wife
94. On marriage with charming & good women
95. On marriage to wicked women & prostitutes
96. On the native's marriage with little old women, foul ones, or sterile ones
97. On the native's marriage-union with slave girls
98. On the native's marrying against the law, or lying with prohibited women
99. On native's fornication
910. On the sodomy of male & female natives
911. On the innocence of natives, or the prohibition of sodomy
912. On the womanliness of natives
913. On the native's fortune regarding women
914. On the native's misfortune regarding women
915. On natives who fornicate secretly with women
916. On natives whose wives die first
917. On the number of the native's wives
918. On the time at which the native will take a wife
10. Death
101. Types of death
102. Death according to an ascendant template
103. On natives fearing death
104. On natives who will die of some illness
105. On natives who will die a bad death
106. On natives who will die a sudden death
107. On natives who will die in water
108. On natives who will die by fire
109. On natives who will die by falling from high places
1010. On natives who will die by a poison or toxin
1011. On natives who will be eaten or killed by beasts
1012. On natives who will die by the sword or be hung
1013. On natives who kill themselves
1014. On natives who will die on the occasion of women
1015. On natives whose death will be secret
1016. On natives who will die in their own land or homeland
1017. On natives who will die outside their homeland or in a foreign place
110. Travel
111. Successful travel
112. On natives who will die on their journeys or never come back from them
113. On natives who come back on their journeys
114. On natives who incur losses & misfortunes on the occasion of journeys
120. Dominion & mastery
121. Indications of lasting dominion
122. On the native's mastery
123. Fortune & misfortune in masteries
124. Masteries by type of sign
125. Venus, Mars & Mercury as significators
126. Other points to look at for mastery
127. The moon with other planets signifying masteries
128. Other points to consider
129 - 1220: On natives who are: weavers; sewers; common laborers or tawyers; carpenters; painters & sculptors; dyers; diggers; sailors; craftsmen; jokers; medical doctors & surgeons; fishermen or trappers or hunters
1221 - 1230: On natives who are: ropemakers; sell good-smelling commodities; shopkeepers; merchants of fruits; merchants of herbs or roots or seeds; farmers; merchants of rethau & of things smelling nice; merchants of cloths of linen or silk; merchants of wool; merchants of bread-grains & other seeds
1231 - 1240: On natives who are: merchants of leather or hides; merchants of slaves; merchants of quadrupeds; merchants of birds; merchants of fish; potters; turning & putting together bowls; preparers of pearls; moneychangers; butchers & bakers
1241 - 1244: On natives who are merchants of dates & apples & olives; merchants of bread & wine; merchants sugarcane, arrows, spears or lumber; heralds
1245. On diverse masteries of the native
1246. In order to find the lord of the mastery
130. Friends
131. On the friendship of kings or lofty men toward the native
132. On the frienship of bad & low class men & certain others toward the native
133. On the native's faithful & good friendship
134. On the natives who have discord with friends
135. On the natives who will receive evil from their friends
140. Enemies
141. Good & bad fortune with enemies
142. On natives who have their enemies in their own power

A. Miscellaneous 'Umar excerpts
B. Alternative text for Firdariyyat of the nodes
C. The Trutine of Hermes (Abu Bakr I.4.1)



The translator has rearranged 'Umar al-Tabari's book to make it a coherent whole. Which is the first thing you come across, a section scooped up from the back that now opens the translated text as a whole. 'Umar al-Tabari's book is a total of 78 pages. The third section, Topics, of 30 pages, are largely formulas. Here is an example, on marriage:
It is necessary for you to look concerning marriage after you have delayed looking concerning children. If therefore you wished to look with respect to the marriage-union of the native, look from the 7th & its lord, and look to see what of the planets is in the 7th , also the Moon & Venus, and at the Lot of Marriage-Union and its lord. And you will look, by command of God, at the muhtazz over these places, whether it were one or two. (pg. 59)
The Topics section of Abu Bakr is composed entirely of aphorisms. Here are a few:
On the native's bad thinking

If Mars & the Sun were in the same place at once, the native will have bad thinking. If Mercury were in the 6th or 12th house, and the 1st house is one of the domiciles of Mars, the native will always think about what is bad, and will speak wickedly about others. (pg. 162)

On the greatness of the native's texticles (Because you want to know! - Dave)

If the Moon were in the 12th from the ascendant in a moist sign, and is conjoining herself to Mars & Saturn in the opposite of her angle, the native will have large testicles. And if Venus were with Mars in the 8th, and especially if it were in Scorpio, and Venus were [unclear] the greatness of the testicles is signified. And if the Moon & Venus & Mars were in the same place, the native will have a great illness in his testicles, and especially if [Saturn?] aspected that place & Jupiter were cadent from their aspect. (pg. 259)

On merchants of fruit

If Saturn were in Capricorn, and Jupiter aspected him from out of Cancer, the native will be a merchant of many grains, or of other notable fruits. And if Jupiter aspected him from out of Pisces, the native will be a merchant of sweet fruits. And if he aspected him out of Taurus, the native will be a merchant of dyarac fruits. And if Mars aspected a Saturn appearing in Capricorn, from out of Cancer, the native will be a merchant of small fruits having hard rinds. (pg. 312)
In the Introduction, the translator promises us a series of translations of significant Persian & Arabic works, as they were translated into Latin in the 12th century. This would be rather like a new Hindsight, only with an Arabic/Persian flavor, rather than strictly Hellenistic, as with Robert Schmidt's group. Which would give us the astrological corpus from Hellenistic, to early Medieval. Late Medieval is the 17th century English crowd - a very rich field. The old London crowd will not attract the attention of scholars. They want more to do than merely reset old English texts. That will be up to people like me, and I am eager to do so, but do not have the time to reset Ramesey, Coley, Partridge, Sibley & the many others. But even so, astrology is richer today than it has been at any time in the last three hundred years, at least. We live in fortunate times.

Cazimi Press, 374 pages.

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Persian Nativities III: ON SOLAR REVOLUTIONS: On the revolutions of the years of nativities - Abu Ma'shar, trans. by Benjamin Dykes, $29.95


Book abbreviations
Table of figures

Introduction, by the translator

Book 1: Defense & definitions
Book 2: Profections
Book 3: Directions in revolutions
Book 4: On the Firdariyyat
Book 5: On ingresses
Book 6. Divisions of months, days, hours

A. Alternative text for the Firdariyyat of the nodes
B. Table of Egyptian bounds for the distributors
C. Aphorisms on revolutions, from Pseudo-Ptolemy, Hermes, and Al-Mansur
D. Study guide to Persian Nativities
E. The essential medieval astrology cycle



This is the second of Abu Ma'shar's books to be translated, in modern times at any rate. The previous book was The Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology, a small 58 page book translated by Robert Hand.

Abu Ma'shar, a Persian, lived from 787 to 886 AD and in his life was the leading astrologer in the Islamic world. His Wiki entry, while ignoring his astrological work, remembers him for transmitting Aristotle to what became the Twelfth Century Translators, among them, John of Seville.

This is his book on solar returns. In the Persian system, solar returns were part of a predictive system which included the natal chart, the profection (the natal chart turned 30 degrees per year, see Lilly's Christian Astrology Book 3 for a worked-out example), and the solar return itself. (This was part of an even larger analysis, much of which has yet to be translated from existing Arabic sources.) These three charts reinforce each other, bringing features in the underlying natal into prominence for the year in question. Consideration is given to the Lord of the Year, as well as to relative angularity. If it's angular in the natal & angular in the year's profection & angular in the year's solar return, then it WILL HAPPEN and EVERYONE WILL KNOW IT. On the other hand, the other extreme, cadent-cadent-cadent, may escape even the native's notice, etc. There is also use made of the navamsha (here termed "ninths"), which, to my surprise, are actually worked out as they are in Vedic astrology. And much more.

If you ever wondered, from what I've been told, you'd be right. Arabic astrologers are today some of the finest in the world. I have been told that few Moslem leaders publish their actual birth data for fear that astrologers in competing countries will find their weaknesses & exploit them. (They publish phony data instead, Yassir Arafat & Muammar Kaddafi among them.) On pages 3 & 4 of the Introduction, Prof. Dykes lists the contents of this particular book which have, to this day, never been translated out of Arabic. What we have is only the fragment that was translated (into Latin) back in the 12th century. Why is this? It might have something to do with Europe's (and now, America's) intense hostility to the Islamic world. Hatreds are bad for learning.

The translator, Ben Dykes, includes a useful introduction where he lays out the materials & gives a useful guide to the book as a whole. This continues in Appendix D, the Study Guide, where he cross references topics in the individual books which make up his three-volume Persian Nativities set.

Cazimi Press, 227 pages.

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The main theme of the book is centered on working with client’s charts. The introduction clearly lays out the topic and methods for annual forecasting for an individual. This is followed by the translation of Abu Ma’shar’s “On the Revolutions.” The combination of Dyke’s meaty and explicit introduction and the work by Abu Ma’shar is excellent. The methods involve combining various annual and long-term time lords. The section on the Distributor and Partner is unique and invaluable. Highly recommended! E. Hazel

INTRODUCTIONS TO TRADITIONAL ASTROLOGY of Abu Ma'shar & Al-Qabisi - arranged & translated by Benjamin Dykes, $35.00



Book 1: Signs & houses

Book 2 Planets in themselves & solar phases

Book 3: Planetary configurations

Book 4: Planetary conditions

Book 5: Planetary natures

Book 6: Lots

Book 7: Degrees of the signs

Book 8: Special techniques


Appendicies A - G


The purpose of this book is to compare & contrast similar works, in great detail. The two primary books are Abu Ma'shar's Abbreviation of the Introduction, and al-Qabisi's Introduction to the Science of Astrology, which are given complete. Excerpts from numerous other books are included where necessary.

Here is an example, on the rays & combustion, from page 96:

[Judgments 39] If planets were under the rays, they will be weak in all matters: that is, if there were less than 12 degrees between them and theSun (unless a planet is in the degree of the Sun, because then it will be strong).

[ VIII.89] But one under the rays of the Sun is just like one being in prison.

[ VIII.90] Burned up: like one condemned to death.

[ VIII.98] A planet in the heart of the Sun: like one sitting with the king in the same seat.

[BOA III2.7] And a planet is said to have "escaped" by similarity with a sick person whom fever has let go, nor however has he yet gotten better so that he could be said to be freed; nor is he fully freed. However, he is out of danger while he gets better, after which he is said to be freed. And so it is with a planet when it enters combustion: it is like one who begins to grow ill . . . And [after it is separated from the Sun by a few degrees] . . . until it goes out from under the rays, it is like a sick person whose sickness ceases & is visibly diminishing; and [when] it is wholly freed from combustion, [it is] like a sick person completely freed from sickness, but [who] has not yet resurrected his previous powers, however is safe from the illness.

It seems to me these early works are increasingly a specialized area of study.

Cazimi Press, 425 pages.

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WORKS OF SAHL & MASHA'ALLAH - Translated by Benjamin Dykes, $45.00



Fifty questions
On questions
On elections
On times

On the knowledge of the motion of the orb
On the roots of revolutions
Chapter on the rains in the year
On rains
On the revolutions of the years of the world
On the significationsof the planets in a nativity
On nativities
On the interpretation of cognition
On hidden things
On reception
What the planets signify in the twelve domiciles of the circle



The first book, Sahl's Introduction [to the Science of the Judgments of the Stars] has also been translated by James Herschel Holden. There you will find an extended table of contents, which applies to the contents of this book as well. Both books are copyright 2008. Looking briefly at both translations, I had a slight preference for Dykes.

The Masha'allah section, On Reception, has previously been translated by Robert Hand, copyright 1998. Looking briefly at both translations, I liked Dykes better.

Sahl's book is on horary and elections.

Masha'allah's book starts off with astronomy. Is the Sun smaller than the earth, the same size as the earth, or bigger than the earth? (Ans: Bigger) Where the Moon's light comes from, the number of orbs the Moon has, etc. The book goes on to cover mundane astrology (the king & his kingdom) as well as astrometeorology, i.e., the effects of the planets on weather, as well as nativities and horaries.

With copious footnotes, an 82 page introduction, a bibliography and a very nice index.

Cazimi Press, 613 pages.

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THE FORTY CHAPTERS OF AL-KINDI - translated & edited by Benjamin Dykes, $29.95


1. On the fortunes of this world & the great importance attached to them
1.1 Signs & triplicities
1.2 Quarters & houses
1.3 Planetary signficators & configurations

2. On the failure of matters & their fulfillment:
2.1 Planetary signficators & configurations
2.2 Other considerations, significators & analogies
2.3 Lords of houses in other houses
2.4 The planet in charge
2.5 Bringing about or corrupting matters
2.6 Methods of timing

3. On the classification of releasers:
3.1 Victor for a topic
3.2 Weighted victor for the querent, taken from all releasing places
3.3 The releaser & kadukhudhah
3.4 The use of Lots & natural signficators

4. On beginning affairs

5. On relations between people:
5.1 Significators & overview
5.2 The agent of the action
5.3 The judge or mediator
5.4 The other party
5.5 The origin of a war
5.6 The end of the matter

6. On theft:
6.1 General significataors, significator of the thief
6.2 The physical appearance of the thief
6.3 The Moon showing marks & blemishes
6.4 Other planets as significators of the thief
6.5 Other information on the thief & his location
6.6 The kind of stolen goods, from the bound lord of the Moon
6.7 The quality of the object, from the bound lord of the Moon & lord of the hour
6.8 Whether the object can be found
6.9 When the goods would be returned
6.10 On finding the goods
6.11 How much ought to be recovered
6.12 Number & gender of the thieves

7. On fugitives & lost things:
7.1 Five questions about missing objects
7.2 Three questions about fugitives
7.3 Examples
7.4 The home of the thief
7.5 More on the significator of the thief

8. On travel:
8.1 Whether the querent will travel
8.2 Timing of travel
8.3 What will happen on the journey
8.4 Other considerations
8.5 On returning from travel

9. On attaining positions of honor:
9.1 Whether & how honor is obtained 9.2 The timing of prosperity
9.3 The affairs of kings
9.4 On his predecessor & successor
9.5 His rule, from event charts or elections

10. On the siege of cities:
10.1 Overview of sieges
10.2 Legations of peace
10.3 Attacking the city, and when
10.4 The response of the citizens
10.5 The collapse of the city
10.6 Allies
10.7 The justness of the enemy cause

11. On war:
11.1 Significators & overview
11.2 Allies & support
11.3 Capture & death for the querent's side
11.4 Capture & death for the enemy's side
11.5 Victory
11.6 Election: Initiating the war
11.7 Election: The bust
11.8 Making peace

12. On one whom one suspects of treason:
12.1 Significators & overview
12.2 The relation of the rebel to the king

13. On seeking wealth:
13.1 Significators & overview
13.2 Jupiter
13.3 Other indicators of success
13.4 The time of wealth
13.5 Yet more indicators of success
13.6 Seeking wealth from a particular person or place

14. On acquiring real estate & landed property:
14.1 Election: Acquiring real estate for agriculture
14.2 Election: Building on land

15. On laying the foundations of cities & houses:

16. On digging canals, cultivating the land & constructing wells & dams
16.1 Digging canals
16.2 Digging wells
16.3 Constructing dams
16.4 Cultivating lands

17. On constructing ships

18. Questions about ships: What good or bad will happen to them:
18.1 Significators & overview
18.2 The safety & harm of the ship
18.3 Speed
18.4 Death
18.5 Supplies & food

19. On acquiring slaves

20. On marriage:
20.1 Whether he will marry
20.2 Whether she is a virgin
20.3 On her looks
20.4 Her background & status
20.5 Whether they will like each other
20.6 Election: Choosing a time to affirm the marriage

21. On pregnancy & childbearing:
21.1 Whether pregnant & the number of children
21.2 The time left in the pregnancy
21.3 Sex of children
21.4 Twins or more
21.5 How the pregnancy will be

22. Seeking friendships & partnerships:
22.1 Friendships & partnerships
22.2 Partnerships for wealth & success
22.3 General advice about significators in all elections

23. On prisoners:
23.1 His condition
23.2 The hour of his liberation
23.3 Whether he would die in prison
23.4 Whether he would be tortured in prison
23.5 How long he would be held
23.6 What would happen after his release

24. On an absent person:
24.1 On his status
24.2 On his return
24.3 Whether he is living or dead

25. On buying & selling animals & slaves

26. On hunting & fishing

27. On banquets

28. On the truth & falsity of news:
28.1 True & false versus good & bad rumors
28.2 The cause of the rumors
28.3 The outcome of the rumors
28.4 How public the rumors are

29. On messengers & mail:
29.1 The status of a messenger sent somewhere
29.2 Whether he would find whom he is seeking
29.3 On the messenger's return

30. On requesting something from someone

31. On sick people & their condition:
31.1 Significators & overview
31.2 In what limb he will suffer
31.3 The value of the doctor

32. On bloodletting & cupping

33. On surgery

34. On purgative medicines

35. On finding treasures & hidden things:
35.1 Finding a hidden thing
35.2 Election: When to dig it up

36. On horse racing:
36.1 Significators & overview
36.2 Identifying the winner by color & markings
36.3 Other characteristics of the horses

37. On prices & commodities

38. On changes in weather:
38.1 The year, quarters & months
38.2 Individual planets' indications
38.3 The posts of the Moon, the opening of the doors
38.4 Other indicators

39. On years of plague & good health

40. On the revolutions of the years of the world

Addition 1: On the effects of the Moon
Addition 2: Rectification

Appendix A: The Essential Medieval Astrology Cycle



This is a nice book on horary. For my money, I'd get Lilly, becauase while al-Kindi & William Lilly are equally great masters, Lilly writes better. For that matter, if medieval English puts you off, there's always Anthony Louis, an excellent modern author.

Dykes' books badly need glossaries, which (quick check of the shelves) only Introductions to Traditional Astrology: Abu Ma'shar & al-Qabisi has. It's a good 13 pages. It ought to be in every one of his books. If that means prices go up a dollar or two, I think we'd all be happy to pay that. I would. Introductions is currently priced at $35. Throw in a few bucks more for shipping & a $2 increase for each of the other books looks quite reasonable.

There are topics in this book that are not found in many others. Peace, for example:

Chapter 10-2. Legations of peace
In addition, the Moon receding from the lord of the seventh, and an application of her with the lord of the Ascendant, [and] the receding and application being friendly, brings about peace with the consent of the citizens, once messengers have been sent over from the enemies. (pg. 163)
Which means that, in an horary chart that asks the question, peace is at hand when the Moon is separating from the enemy (ruler of 7) and applying to the querent (ascendant), by trine or sextile, provided the citizens (4th house, I think) agree & the messengers (5th house/ambassadors) have been sent. You'd have to want peace awful bad for all of that to be true in one chart, but, generally speaking, once you've tasted war, you really will want peace. Al-Kindi continues with what happens if various parts of the formula are not quite true.

From time to time Dykes presents his own comments in the text. This is in addition to lavish footnotes & are somewhat unexpected. They are not clearly formatted and one might confuse Dykes' remarks with al-Kindi's own text, such as in Chapter 18 on ships, where we are suddenly confronted with a variety of authors. One could draw a box around comments, or use a sans-serif typeface (long passages in italic faces are hard to read.) I find a translator's comments to be well-worth seeking out.

Cazimi Press, 302 pages.

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THE SEARCH OF THE HEART: Consultation charts, interpreting thoughts & calculating victors in traditional astrology - Herman of Carinthia, translated by Benjamin Dykes, $24.95



1. The Consultation & Understanding Thoughts
1. By what means the path of judgment comes to be
2. On the nature of the signs, houses & planets
3. Finding the significator of thought
4. "Integrity" and "evenness"
5. How many impediments of the Moon there are
6. What the significator means
7. An example from Hermes
8. On the person of the querent
9. Other opinions on identifying the thought
10. Multiple questions
11. Outcomes to the questions, and life questions

2. Descriptions, Treasure, Configurations, Timing
1. On the nature of the signs
2. Finding treasure
3. House significations & forming judgments
4. Planetary configurations & answering questions
5. Timing techniques (from Sahl's On Times)

3. Victors & Significators & of Charts & Topics
1. The significator of the chart & of a topic
2. The victor, releaser, and kadukhudhah
3. On discerning the path

A. Al-Rijal's The Book of the Skilled
B. Sahl bin Bishr's On Questions
C. Material attributed to Masha'Allah
D. 'Umar al-Tabari on Victors & Significators
E. Al-Kindi's Forty Chapters
F. Ibn Ezra on The Victor of the Chart
G. Leopold of Austria's Compilatio
H. Hellenistic Antecedents

I. The Letter of Argafalau to Alexander
J. Ibn Ezra's Particular Treatises
K. Directions using ascensional times
L. Tables of bounds, decans & triplicities
M. The essential medieval astrology cycle



Thought-interpretation has to do with horary charts. A person comes to the astrologer with a question, but is this the real question, or does the person have ulterior motives?

Suppose the question is, Is my wife having an affair?

The man might be genuinely distressed his marriage is failing, or he may be looking for an excuse to dump the wife, leave the marriage & take up with his girlfriend. (No-fault divorce, anyone?) We know from Lilly that while the chart may be clear, the question asked may be contrary to the chart. In Lilly, see Book 2, pg. 385, on a marriage, for a chart that had to be warped in order to give a reading satisfactory to the client. Which, as Lilly reports, produced a marriage that ultimately failed.

In other words, we are treating an horary chart the way we would treat a decumbiture. In decumbiture, it's not enough to confirm the ailment. Any number of problems may manifest as pain in the lower back. You want to discover the underlying factors and treat them. You must investigate. In this book we take an horary chart and try to determine the question that led to its casting.

The example above is my own. It is sometimes easier if I get a grasp of where Dykes is going & then invent, rather than slog through the book for exact details, as Dykes tends to be wordy & detail heavy. He says this kind of analysis was common in Arabic astrology, but faded in later medieval European astrology.

One of the terms is "victor". Dykes defines "victor" as ... a planet which has superiority over or among a group of significators, all of which do or potentially do signify that same thing. (pg. 12). Dykes then goes on to define victor among places, and, victor over places. Under over places Dykes enumerates signs, houses, faces, terms, domicile, bound, etc. We already have a term for this: Final Dispositor. Dykes has simply added more factors to the existing mix. In practice, while many books list the many possible factors, in judging charts few authors actually make use of them. You can, in fact, do a lot with a chart with simple rulerships.

Cazimi Press, 228 pages.

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October 18, 2011:
Hermann of Carinthia’s book stands at the cross-roads between ancient Hellenic, Arabic, and Medieval European techniques and foreshadows the much-later work of Morin and Lilly. Hermann offers singular methods for divining what a client really wants to know before he arrives at his appointment. These charts work, and Hermann cites a substantial array of Arabic authors to back up his methods.

The section on determining the chart victor, releaser and kadukhadah is also a cross-over method. It’s not as simplistic as the early Hellenic method of using house rulers and triplicity planets, but not quite as complicated as later point-system methods for determining an almuten. The criteria of the chart victor distills the planet with the most influence over primary chart features: the Ascendant, its ruler, the Sun and Moon, and the Part of Fortune. The releaser is the planet with the strongest placement in the chart as a whole, and the kadukhadah assists the releaser.

Dykes supplies copious annotations for helping modern readers wade through antique terminology and technical information. The appendices offer a wide selection of material from other early writers on these subjects that allow the reader to compare and contrast methods. With its unique topic and readable translation, I give this book five stars and recommend it to astrologers looking for ancient techniques that are easily co-opted into modern usage.

Elizabeth Hazel

The Astrology Center of America

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