Valens on Giving and Receiving

For the reason mentioned above, the Lot of Fortune and Daimon have great influence on undertakings and their outcomes.The former gives information about matters concerning the body and concerning the work of hands. Daimon and its ruler give information about spiritual and intellectual matters and about the activities of giving and receiving. It will be necessary to examine the places and the signs in which their houserulers are located and to correlate their natures, in order to learn the type of activity and fortune and the quality of activity <to be expected>. (Vettius Valens – Anthologies, translated by Riley Book II, 35. Bold letters are mine).

Today we hear from the new age-rs that one needs to give in order to receive, to let the universal flow of energy to flow through his being and to out-pour (some call it “out-flowing”) this to the people around him and (bla-bla-bla) etc.

You are supposed to imagine a ball of violet light and this is supposed to be this energy which you need to inhale into your body and to exhale out to the people around you.

These new age-rs think that they have outgrown the old wise people like Seneca & Co, “they were good, but not good enough to know the quantum wisdom of creating your life from the beginning to the end, everything is in your power, and hence you can give and receive according to the power of your mind and visualization. Nicola Tesla used this power of imagination, Albert Eisenstein, and now it is your turn to become great”. In short, “give me your money and I will tell you that you will become great”.

For Valens, even the giving and receiving was predicted in the natal chart. If you have a good, old malefic upon your Daimon (Spirit), in bad shape, you will have problems in this area of life and that’s it. You can visualize and imagine how everything is wonderful in your giving and receiving, but you will only get to sleep after that, I’m not sure if you will get something out of that.

What is Giving and Receiving? It is simple like the title, it is to be able to give and to be able to receive on balanced amount. These are polarities, so if one of the two predominates, problems aroused. You need to give and be able to receive, you need to receive and be able to give. You can’t have the one and underestimate the other. I mean, you can: but you’ll have problems.

Valens uses these words in 8 occasions throughout his Anthology. He says that Lot of Spirit is related to giving and receiving, Mercury, 2nd house and Venus.

Spirit and Mercury are related to the intellectual matters.Spirit is related to intellect, undertakings related to career and etc. Mercury similarly has to do with merchantry, business – works of that kind, and hence the giving and receiving related to Mercury too. 2nd house is also related to possessions and things needed for our livelihood, hence giving and receiving related to the 2nd. Venus is connected to giving and receiving, NOT because modern astrologers think that Venus represents money (Jupiter is natural significator of money) and values, BUT because Venus represents Gifts, and hence giving and receiving of gifts.

So, if some of these areas is impeded, the giving and receiving in that area will be particularly hardened.

As I said, Venus represents more a giving and receiving related to gifts, 2nd to possessions and money, Mercury to merchantry and business, and Daimon in all together. Daimon is the lot of the Sun – the Life Force and hence its special importance in our lives and our beings, especially in giving and receiving matters, because what is life if not balancing the amount of giving and receiving with other people?! Having impeded Daimon denotes that you’ll have problems in giving and receiving in greater part of your life activities: intellectual, career, substantial and etc. Valens calls it “the intellectual place”. In other words, it affects our Thinking, and how we think really matters, not because we can move mountains with our thoughts, but because this is how we gain perspective on things.

One of the most famous Stoics has interesting thoughts on the giving and receiving:

Among the many and diverse errors of those who live reckless and thoughtless lives, almost nothing that I can mention, excellent Liberalis, is more disgraceful than the fact that we do not know how either to give or to receive benefits.  For it follows that, if they are ill placed, they are ill acknowledged, and, when we complain of their not being returned, it is too late for they were lost at the time they were given.  Nor is it surprising that among all our many and great vices, none is so common as ingratitude.
(Lucius Annasus Seneca. Moral Essays. Translated by John W. Basore. The Loeb Classical Library. London: W. Heinemann,1928-1935. 3 vols.: Volume III.)

It is said that it is more blessed to give than to receive, but once I was on a very interesting course were we were thought that in all interactions with people, whether they are business or private associations, balance of giving and receiving must to exist. If someone gives you a precious gift, you were supposed to contribute not necessary with money or substance, but with helping the person in some other way.

These people thought that greatest part of the problems in ones life is in the inappropriate amount of exchange, and if one learns how to contribute or compensate, then he will have less problems in life.

Sure, there is truth in this. But in my own experience, even though one knows all these things, and tries to practice them, some inner flow of destiny is pushing the person toward people with whom he will have an unfair amount of exchange (in the promised time of lfe), or the person from the other side will think that the amount is unfair, and yet again the natal promise of the birth chart is manifested.

What I’m saying here is that I’m of opinion that you can learn something, you can control your reactions, but again, the fate will bring you interactions with people with whom you will end having problems in matters related to exchange. This is something bigger, stronger then our knowing, and no matter how hard you try to get out of it, you will still get it. This is my observation of life through astrology,and I think Valens would agree with me, and indeed he does, when he says that even our taking bath is predetermined.

OK, back to the giving and receiving in Anthology.

It is particularly interested to analyze the original Greek words which Valens uses in his book.

Τε τας δοσεις χαι τας ληψεις (te tas dosis kaitas lipsis).

Δόση (dose) in singular, in modern Greek means “Dose” or “Installment”. It is a word used in healing matters, as to how much of a medicine the patient needs to receive. This is a noun which comes from the verb δίνω (dino = Give). In ancient times probably meant “the act of giving” or “the object of giving”.

Ληψεις (Lipsis = Acquisitions) in modern days, is a word often used for “Downloads” as downloads on your PC from internet. In modern greek there exist the compound word “δοσοληψία” (=transaction [dosolipsia]) from “δόση” and “λήψη”, which is most close to our examination of “giving and receiving”.

So this “giving and receiving”, or “givings and receivings” in plural, in Valens’ time was related to making transactions, not only of money, but also as an act of intellectual sharing, exchange of acquisitions, possessions and even gifts. As a “dose”, denotes how many or how much you will exchange and how much you will download, or receive from the other side.

Working Examples


The givings and receivings of this person are related to Friends (Spirit in 11 sign) who are helping him in his career (MC is here). Most of his undertakings were related to foreign countries because the ruler of Spirit (Jupiter) is found in 9th sign, alongside Venus and Mercury. Jupiter is also ruler of 2nd.


The givings and receivings of this person are related to his mother with whom he is particularly close. But he gains also from his father’s estate. The ruler of 4th of parents and of Spirit is in 5th in its own sign.


The givings and receivings of this person were source of troubles with friends. Because Spirit is in 5th, and 5th is related to friends, and both malefics were found here. The inappropriate amount of giving and receiving (sometimes giving much more, sometimes receiving much more) were the source of quarrels with friends and co-workers, because both malefics also rule the 7th. Valens in describing Mars is telling us that he denotes “quarrels among friends.


The givings and receivings of this person are related to foreign country, where she also found a rich man. Spirit was found in 9th with the Sun in its own domicile.
This person also get precious gifts from her paternal aunt, represented with Venus on MC in its own sign. She helped her to find career path and to succeed in life.
Venus is ruler of 6th (sister of her father), but also Moon as exalted ruler of 6th is found in 1st in its own decan, showing the affinity of her aunt toward her. Both these planets are showing the help from her aunt.


The acts of giving and receiving are cornerstone on which the people’s interactions are based. The greatest part of life problems have the act of giving or the act of receiving, or fair/unfair exchange as a basis. There exist many schools who think that by practicing this art of giving and receiving, and getting good at it, one can escape having problems of that sort in life. My position is that this can help, but not in a great measure. There exist fate, an underlying principle working beneath the human interactions. You can become better at it, but you can’t change what is promised. The problem is that we think that everything is in our control, when indeed, only our inner life is in our control, and we can collect and develop wisdom, we can develop the rational side of the mind and learn to act in more knowledgeable way, but we can’t change this underlying flow of energy which is called fate, and which exist in all our undertakings, all our relations. This is the same fate which the new age-rs think that they invented it and which you can change and shape according to your wishes. This flow of energy is called Fate, and it can be found in every little detail of our life. In the battle between Her and your Mind, you loose even before the match begins. Try to change it and you will roll the ball of Sisyphus up on the hill. I will leave you with a quote of the master Vettius Valens:

Some are fated to have unwanted experiences and to be unable to act as they desire. Some seem to be under the power of others; even though they are free, they are punished by a bad conscience. Some travel abroad or sail, and are held somewhere on an island or in deserted places, or they do service in temples or sacred places. (Riley, book V, p.96)

And the funny thing is that those who succeed are celebrating as their mind did it all, when in fact it was fated to happen, and they even didn’t knew that. There fore they look at  those who don’t succeed with disgust, as they were unable when in fact, for them it was not fated to succeed.


Vettius Valens – Anthologies, translated by Mark T. Riley.
Lucius Annasus Seneca. Moral Essays. Translated by John W. Basore. The Loeb Classical Library. London: W. Heinemann,1928-1935. 3 vols.: Volume III.

The quote from Al-Biruni testifying about the connection between Valens and Abu Ma’shar

In my last article about the life and work of Abu Ma’shar I said that Al-Biruni in his book “On Transits” testifies about the connection between Valens and Abu Ma’shar but I didn’t had the quote in hand to point out the needed reference in the particular book by Al-Biruni.

Here’s the quote:

And when Abu Ma’shār transferred to the Great Introduction the elements (of astrology) from al-Bizīdhaj (The Anthology), he mentioned that the Persians called the first type which is equipollent (lit. corresponding in strength) potent, and the type which is corresponding in ascension he called corresponding in course, and he left the third type as it is. And when Abū Muḫammad al-Saifī has mentioned it and called the first type equipollent and he called it also corresponding in course. And he judged Abu Ma’shār (adversely) for calling the second type the ones corresponding in course, and he ascribed it to ignorance of the heavens. And in spite of his (Abu Ma’shār’s) telling the truth, he (Abū Muḫammad) still degrades Abu Ma’shār, and he does not give him his due esteem. For after all Abu Ma’shār does not deserve all this attribution of ignorance, even though he erred in his nomenclature here and followed partially the author of al-Bizīdhaj. (Valens)

5:10-19 p6. Al-Bīrūnī on Transits – A study of an Arabic Treatise entitled Tamhīd al-mustaqarr li-taḫqīq ma´nā al-mamar 
By Abū l-Rayḫān al-Bīrūnī
Translated by Mohammad Saffouri & Adnan Ifram
With commentary by Edward S. Kennedy, Institute for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science, At the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Islamic Mathematics and Astronomy Volume 33 ©1998

Many thanks to Steven Birchfield for pointing me out the quote.

Life and Work of Abu Ma’shar

The Persian astrologer Abu Ma’shar  (787-886 AD) had a profound effect on Western astrology and the modern-day student of the Western Predictive Tradition will be well rewarded by close study of his works and their influence.1

With these words Robert Zoller begins his treatise dedicated on the life and work of the wonderful astrologer by name Abu Ma’shar.

In my study of traditional astrology so far, there are few astrologers who were able to take my attention for a closer study and Abu Ma’shar is one of them. His astrology is very insightful, concrete and rational. Once you try to incorporate it in your astrological practice tools, it is hard to forget about it, jut because it is so natural and fluent.

This will be the first of the series I’m planning to write on Abu Ma’shar’s approach to astrology.
In this article I will try to give a broader scope of his life and works, his influences and influences on him, and in the later series I will give practical examples of his delineation style and approach.

His Life

The full name of Abu Ma’shar is Abu Ma’shar Ja’far ben Muhammad al-Balkhi, was born 10th of august in year 787 in town Balkh, an ancient city on the territory of today’s Afghanistan. Today it is a small city in the province of Bakhl, which is one of the 34 provinces in Afghanistan. But once it was a great city in the then famous Khorasan. Marco Polo says that Balkh was “noble and great city”. Khorasan was a name of territories during the caliphate in 750 AD. It was part of Persia, and bordered with Hind (Sind, which was culturally connected mostly to India [Hindustan]) on north-east. Hence the influence in Abu Ma’shar’s mundane (and natal) works from the Hindu’s Siddhantas in which the entire system of Hindu’s chronology was preserved. Abu Ma’shar used this chronology in his mundane calculations,  but I will speak more on this in the future series.


Abu Ma’shar entered into the world of Astrology in his late years (around 47). He was at first criticizer of the subject but his teacher – the great polymath Al Kindi –  told him that a wise man should not criticize any subject before studying it.
It was this decisive moment when Abu Ma’shar decided to study Astrology and become his life since.

One of his students wrote about his master depicts him as an “omniscient wise men”.

There is an interesting anecdote written in the medieval treatise “Albumasar in Sadan”:

“Abu Ma’shar said that when a native’s 2nd house is impeded at birth and its ruler also unfortunate, the native never prospers. When asked why he never mentioned this in his writings, he said: “The sage who writes down all he knows is like an empty vessel. Nobody needs him and his reputation declines. He should keep some secrets to himself and communicate them only to his closest friends.”2

Abu Ma’shar died on 9 March 886 in Wasit, Iraq.


Abu Mashar’s works

  1. The Greater Introduction to Astrology (as I’m aware, no full translation of this work is made in English)
  2. The Flores Astrologicae (translated in English by Benjamin Dykes)
  3. On the Great Conjunctions and on the revolutions of the world (translated in English by Keiji Yamamoto and Charles Burnett)
  4. On the Revolutions of Nativities (translated in English by Benjamin Dykes as the third of the  series of Persian Nativities).
  5. Thousands (translated in English by David Pingree)
  6. The Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology (there exist two translations, one made by Burnett,Yamamoto and Yano, and the newer made by Benjamin Dykes compiled together with Al-Qabisi)

Abu Ma’shar’s works served for a greater part of the Guido Bonatti’s monumental work Liber Astronomiae. He often quotes him using his Latinized name Albumasar.

In 1489 at Augsburg, Erhard Ratdolt published three of his works, the Greater Introduction to Astronomy in eight books, the Flowers and 8 books concerning great conjunctions and revolutions of the years.
John of Spain and Hermann of Dalmatia translated the Introduction and the French translation of Hagins the Jew made in 1273 (from which Peter of Abano translate portions for his compilation): “Le livre des revolutions desiecle”.

Another work cited by Peter of Abano and other medieval authors is “Albumasar in Sadan”, also called “Excerpts from the Secrets of Albumasar”. The famous orientalist and biographer Moritz Steinschneider is of opinion that the Latin translation of this work is a shortened or incomplete version of an Arabic original entitled al-Mudsakaret, or Memorabilia by Abu Sa’id Schadsan (corrupted into ‘Sadan’) who wrote down the answers of his teacher to his question. (Lynn Thorndike p.651).

There is also a work called Mysteries, in Greek “Musteria”, also preserved in Byzantine versions of Shadhan’s Mudhakarat and of Abu Ma’shar’s Kitab al-madkhai al-kabir.
Giuseppe Bezza has Italian translation of fragments of this work preserved in the Angelicus Graecus 29. The translation into English by Daria Dudziak can be found here:


(Albumazar: woodcut from his ‘Introductorium in Astronomiam’, Venice, 1506.)

Indian influence on Abu Ma’shar

The Art historian Aby Warbug gave a lecture dating in year 1922 on a congress in Rome on the study he had made on the eerie frescoes in the Palazzo Schifanoja of Ferrare.
In that lecture he claims that the key to ‘read’ these images is astrology!

Abu Ma’shar was mentioned in this work of Amy Warburg as a “principle authority of medieval astrology”, whose work “Introductorium majus” (The Great Introduction) served to the compilation of Peter of Abano by name “Astrolabium magnum”.
In the lecture Amy Warburg is tracing the chronology of migration of the Sphaera Barbarica, and states that it was Abu Ma’shar’s work which is deserving praises for surviving of the decanic images which later on served to the mentioned compilation of Peter of Abano.

Amy suggests that the Sphaera was traveling from Asia Minor by way of Egypt to India, and found its way to Persia through the work of Abu Ma’shar (Great introduction).
This text was then translated by a Spanish Jew by name Ibn Ezra (supposedly John of Spain?). Then, his translation was translated into French by a person named Hagins, a Jewish Scholar, and Amy suggests that this French translation served as a basis for the Latin translation made by Peter of Abano in 1293.

In investigating the source of the decanic images, Amy is of opinion that Abu Ma’shar had an ‘unacknowledged’ Hindu source. This is the sixth century Indian author by name Varahamihira “whose Brihat jataka was Abu Ma’shar’s unacknowledged source”:

“The first Drekkana of sign Aries is a man with a white cloth tied around his loins, black, facing a person as if able to protect him, of a fearful appearance and of red eyes and holding an ax in his hand. This Drekkana is of the shape of a man and is armed. Mars (Bhauma) is its llord”.

Abu Ma’shar (Boll, Sphaera 497) writes:

“ The Indians say that in this decan a black man arises with red eyes, a man of powerful stature, courage, and greatness of mind; he wears a voluminous white garment, tied around his midriff with a cord; he is wrathful, stands erect, guards, and observes”.
(German Essays on Art History, Amy Warburg: Italian Art and International Astrology in the Palazzo Schifanoia Ferrara, Continuum International Publishing Group, Jun 1, 1988 edited by Gert Schiff p.242)


(Decans of Aries from Astrolabium Magnum)

Lynn Thorndike in his “A history of magic and experimental science” says that although he was the most celebrated astrologer of 9th century Bagdad astrologers, he was also accused for plagiarism (p.649).
Some things never change?!

David Pingree, in his article published in Viator Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Volume 1, by name “The Indean and Pseudo-Indian Passages in Greek and Latin Astronomical and Astrological texts” compares texts in Abu Ma’shar’s “On Solar Revolutions” in the section dedicated to the Novenaria with that of the Hindu “Navamsas” as explained in III.9 of this book. I here refer to the translation by Benjamin Dykes in his series of Persian Nativities, but Pingree discusses the Arabian original by name “Kitab ahkam tahawil sini al-mawalid”.
Abu Ma’shar in that particular chapter tells us that in determining the ruler of the year, the Indian astrologers used the lord of the first navamsa in the sign in which the revolution of the years of the nativity has reached.

Pingree says: “Abu Ma’shar frequently in his other works in Arabic refers to Indian theories of one sort or another, but little of this material was translated into either Greek or Latin”. (p.173)

Pingree argues that Abu Ma’shar was one of the most important transmitters of a knowledge of Indian astrology among the Arabs. His pupil Shadhan says that his teacher had some direct contact with India.

Abu Ma’shar was highly influential in the years to come after his death.
He influenced as we said, Bonatti’s monumental work Liber Astronomiae, but he also influenced Morin even though Morin was probably not aware of the fact that he is reading and quoting an Arabian astrologer.
In quoting him in his Astrologia Gallica nr.23 dedicated to the Solar Revolutions, Morin thinks that he quotes some person by name (or pseudo-name) “Hermes the Philosopher”. At this moment I’m not sure whether Morin knew who the author was but decided not to quote the name due to his despise of Arabs (political reasons), or he truly didn’t knew about the fact that he is quoting the famous Abu Ma’shar.
Morin’s delineation style of the Solar Revolutions depends a lot on this treatise of Abu Mashar.
We saw also how Abu Ma’shar’s works was important for the persevering the ancient decanic images, which he probably took from Indians through some corrupted version of the original Greek or Babylonian sources. He has tremendous importance for the preservation of the knowledge of mundane astrology practiced in Perso-Arabian times, and has great value for us today.
It is important to note though that Abu Ma’shar preserved the ancient tradition of Hellenistic Astrology migrated through the Sassanian sources. Abu Ma’shar got his basics in astrology from Valens:

And when Abu Ma’shār transferred to the Great Introduction the elements (of astrology) from al-Bizīdhaj (The Anthology), he mentioned that the Persians called the first type which is equipollent (lit. corresponding in strength) potent, and the type which is corresponding in ascension he called corresponding in course, and he left the third type as it is. And when Abū Muḫammad al-Saifī has mentioned it and called the first type equipollent and he called it also corresponding in course. And he judged Abu Ma’shār (adversely) for calling the second type the ones corresponding in course, and he ascribed it to ignorance of the heavens. And in spite of his (Abu Ma’shār’s) telling the truth, he (Abū Muḫammad) still degrades Abu Ma’shār, and he does not give him his due esteem. For after all Abu Ma’shār does not deserve all this attribution of ignorance, even though he erred in his nomenclature here and followed partially the author of al-Bizīdhaj. (Valens)

This is documented in Al Biruni’s On Transits; but this can be observed as correct by knowing the similar approach to certain techniques Abu Ma’shar had with that of Valens. For example, taking into consideration the planet present into the sign in which the annual profections (or Solar Return Ascendant) came as a Lord of the Year, instead of the Ruler of the Sign. There exist other similarities of which I will talk in the next series dedicated on Abu Ma’shar.
If we trace this thread of influences, we can draw an interesting line between Valens, Abu Ma’shar and Morinus, who even though didn’t incorporated the “non-natural” segments of the astrological tools (such as the lots for example, which are numerical fractions and not real astronomical phenomena) into his Astrology, it is obvious that the approach in delineating is very similar.
I hope I was able to spark your curiosity for this very important astrologer, and your impatience to read some of my further articles on this subjects 🙂

1.Robert Zoller – Abu Ma’shar: Prince of Astrologers, p.4.
2.Thanks to Steven E. Birchfield for pointing me out this and the quote from Al-Biruni [later in the text].


– Robert Zoller – Abu Ma’shar: Prince of Astrologers (A New Library Publication, electronic edition 2002)
– German Essays on Art History, Amy Warburg: Italian Art and International Astrology in the Palazzo Schifanoia FerraraContinuum International Publishing Group, Jun 1, 1988 edited by Gert Schiff.
– Lynn Thorndike – “A history of magic and experimental science”. (Volume II, Columbia University Press,1923).
– David Pingree – “The Indean and Pseudo-Indian Passages in Greek and Latin Astronomical and Astrological texts”, published in Viator Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Volume 1.
– Abu Mashar – “On Solar Revolutions”, translated by Benjamin N. Dykes PhD, Persian Nativities III (The Cazimi Press 2010)
– Al-Bīrūnī on Transits – A study of an Arabic Treatise entitled Tamhīd al-mustaqarr li-taḫqīq ma´nā al-mamar (5:10-19 p6.), By Abū l-Rayḫān al-Bīrūnī Translated by Mohammad Saffouri & Adnan Ifram With commentary by Edward S. Kennedy, Institute for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science, At the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Islamic Mathematics and Astronomy Volume 33 ©1998

© Beyond The Heaven, Oct. 2012


Which system of Operative Places did Valens used?

Valens used the system of King Nechepso.

That’s it?
I will explain why I think this to be so. I laughed very hard noticing how Valens plays games and make jokes with us (the readers) in the beginning of his Book III. People around me thought I’m watching some comedy movie and I was reading Valens instead!

Yes, the ancients were a jokers, like the one in Batmen. They were so cryptic in their writings which is sometimes very funny and very frustrating in the same time, knowing that some other laugh is waiting you around the corner after many nights spent in frustrating effort to understand some particular text.

Antiochus rapports to us that according to the King (Nechepso), the four angles and their post-ascensions are places conducive to business (chrematizo).
Riley translates this (chrematistikos) as “Operative” Place in his translation of Valens’ Anthology.

But it seems out that Antiochus follows certain Timaeus (which seems to be Dorotheus’ usage of Operative Places too) and use the four angles, 5th, 11th and 9th as operative.
Rhetorius follows Timaeus too, but Serapio follows the King.

It is logical. Valens speaks about certain Timaeus (if he is the same) with not so beautiful words:

Timaeus, Asclation, and many others have said the same. These men were carried away by the beauty of words and by reports of marvels, and
they did not produce works which fulfilled their promise, nor were these works completeand lucid, but rather they left their readers in the lurch many times and at all times were warped, begrudging, withdrawn, and deceptive. They never travelled oneroad, but they piled scheme on scheme and wrote
books which could be prosecuted because they are proofs of fraud, not of truth.
(Vettius Valens – Anthologies, Book IX, p.151, Riley trans.)

But he credited Nechepso with great honors calling him “divine” (same page 151).

Now we append the topic of propitious and impropitious times, about which the King and Petosiris spoke in riddles. (p.130)

But aren’t you the same, Mr. Valens – one of my favorite astrologers, speaking in riddles to us???
Was it so hard to tell us straight and clear which are those “operative places” of which King Nechepso speaks, just in the same way as Antiochus and Serapio wrote in their treatises?!

OK, let me explain you why I think that Valens uses the Nechepso’s system of places conducive to business (I’m not speaking in riddles, I just use ‘places conducive to business’ and ‘operative places’ as synonyms).

In book III, Valens will introduce a technique for calculating length of life, very similar to what we today call “primary directions in zodiaco”. But in the first chapter of book III he explains the aphetas and aphetic places, i.e. where the apheta (Sun or Moon) would be operative and where is not operative so we would be advised to use the other light, or horoskopos and midheaven if both are non-operative.

He advises us to use the light of the sect, but then he gives us a list of comparations of the lights in certain positions, and which light should we use as a “predominator”, or “apheta” (releaser).

The list in short goes on like this:

Sun in 1st / Moon in 12th = Sun wins
Sun in 11th / Moon in 10th = Sun wins
Sun in 7th / Moon in 8th = Sun wins
Sun in 8th / Moon in 7th = Sun wins (aha!)
Moon in 1st / Sun in 9th = Moon wins
Moon in 2nd / Sun in 9th = Moon wins (aha!)
Moon in 10th / Sun in 9th = Moon wins
Moon in 11th / Sun in 9th = Moon wins
Sun in 4th / Moon in 9th = Sun wins
Sun in 5th / Moon in 9th = Sun wins
Moon in 5th / Sun in 9th = Moon wins
Moon in 9th / Sun in 9th = Horoskopos predominate.
But Valens, just say it: 9th is non-operative according to the system you use!

As we can see, Valens would use the Sun as apheta in 8th.
No big deal. He would also use the 2nd. No big deal.
Nechepso and Serapio used it. Maybe Antiochus too, since he clearly says that he knows about it.

So, no need to be cryptic uncle Valens, no need 🙂

Vettius Valens – Anthologies, translated by Mark T. Riley.
Vettius Valens – Anthology, book III, translated by Robert Schmidt (The Golden Hind Press, 1994).

The image is from the site

Delineating Faith

“But faith working through love” (Paul, Gal 5:6)

What is faith?

Heb 11:1 (KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Delineating native’s religion is a tricky thing in this age when so many belief systems are mixed in a so called “new age” bag. The old “western” distinction of the monotheism in three broader categories: Christianity, Islam and Judaism is not the only choice which the  ‘westerner’ has today. Hinduism, Buddhism, Baha’i faith (and etc.), are also very spread in our western modern culture. The “secret societies” are not so secret as they where in the old days, and a Theosophy, and Hermetic book from some brotherhood, you can buy in every serious esoteric bookstore.
We live in a time where everything becomes public, through the power of the media (TV, Internet and etc.), and hence people’s curiosity has more tools for acquiring their desires for knowing or experiencing what is present in this or that “knowledge-store”. The need to experience something new and exotic was transferred into the need to experience new religion. People are prone to enter some other religion because it looks very new and promising, not filtered through the faults of the history of the old ones already known with its good and bad aspects marked throughout its history.

Faith and Religion are often used as synonyms, especially they were used as such in the old times. Today you can find people who say that they do have ‘faith’ in God and that they are “religious”, but they do not go to the public ceremonies nor do the protocols established by their particular religious organization. They much less know about the doctrines which that religion holds.

In the medieval ages science and religion were almost synonyms too. But today we can see clash of the titans between Science and Religion.

Astrologers took the 9th house to represent the religion of the native, the God as the highest authority. In Hellenistic times kings were also placed in the 9th, as they were often worshiped as gods and people built temples and statues in their name. The Arabian astrologers, as monotheistic as they were, placed the King to the 10th and leaved the 9th as the only authority above which there is no other, and the King next to the God (10th) as someone to whom God gave the power to rule over the people.

 “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.

Jesus answered to Pontius Pilate on his question Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

9th was more of a house of the organized monotheistic ‘established’ religion while the 3rd was regarded more as ‘pagan’ in the Medieval Arabic Era.

So delineating native’s religion must starts with all these things having in mind, if we want to be successful in it in these modern times of a “secular religions”.
Bonatti would probably delineate the most of the new age secularists as “haters of religion”, while in the same time they call themselves “spiritual” and even more “religious”.

Pars Fidei/Part of Faith (Pars Religionis)
Asc + Mercury – Moon (R)

The third part of the ninth house is called the part of religion or
pars  religionis.  It is taken by day from the Moon to Mercury and by
night in the opposite direction and is projected from the ascendant.
And if this part and its lord fall in the ascendant or with the lord of
the ascendant or with the Almutem over it, the native will be religious; also if the significators of the part or the lord of the ascendant aspect the
part. If, however, the part is impeded, none of the aforesaid occur, but
rather the contrary. (Bonatti – On the Arabic Parts, Ch 12, On the Parts of 9th house, Zoller trans.)

Why is this part ‘built’ from Mercury and Moon?
Well, Mercury is natural significator for Faith. They are both used for calculating native’s soul or quality of mind, Moon representing the irrational side of the nature, while Mercury the rational, calculating side.
The old astrologers probably thought that Faith requires both these faculties because from one side you are supposed to “believe” in something, and from the other side you are supposed to follow “the word” rationally and to “choose” rationally to devote yourself to God.

The Nativity

From the philosophical rambling we are now forced to move to business.
The nativity whose chart I want to delineate is the Italian canonized priest John Bosco (or Saint John Bosco).

You can find his chart here:,_Saint_John

And because English is my second language, and I’m already making too much effort to push the right letter keys on my PC keyboard, please be good enough and read the introduction of his life there (on astro databank) or on Wikipedia 🙂
I will copy a little bit of it here:

From an early age he was drawn to work among boys and young men, hearing the voice of the Master urging him on to this work. Ordained a priest on 6/05/1841 he settled in a suburb of Turin, Italy and soon had hundreds of youths attending his chapel and evening classes. He opened a boarding-school for apprentices and established workshops to teach tailoring, shoe-making and other trades to adapt the young men for the first industrial revolution in Italy.

Known for his missionary work, he led expeditions to Asia, Africa and Latin America. While he was in Brazil, he predicted the exact place for the future capital.

So, we can see here a man who devote his life to God and to service of God inside of an organized monotheistic religion (Catholic Christian in this case).

Delineating the Chart

So what do we have here?
We see that the ruler of 1st – Saturn, is in 2nd in its own Chariot (I use Antiochus’ word for a planet in its own sign, exaltation or term) making exact opposition to the Pars Fidei.
This is immediately alarming. I’m always looking at the charts, even post-factum, as I’m looking a chart of a person I don’t know who he or she is, as I know nothing about them (at least I try).
Noticing also that Saturn rules 9th by exaltation, and that there are both benefics, one of them also ruling the 9th division, but in the 10th sign of the praxis, having testimony from Saturn from the second by trigon relationship, is aiding more and more to our probable prognostication that this man has something to do with the religions and this is related to his ‘praxis’, or what he does for a living.

We go further. I would not ignore the twelfth parts of Jupiter and Venus falling on the ascendant right from the 9th, and Mercury conjuncting the Pars Fidei, ruling the 9th sign, with twelfth part falling in the 9th division upon Jupiter and Venus.
I use twelfth parts as a strawberry on the cake, I do not rush immediately to delineate them in the first place. But they add to the whole picture very well.

Pars Fidei as we said, is with its ruler (the Sun) in Leo, Mercury applying toward the part.
Sun is in the term of Mercury and Mercury in Leo’s sign.
Sun is the first triplicity ruler of itself and Jupiter the second, Saturn the third.
All three triplicity rulers, alongside the term ruler are having to do with the Religion and Faith in this nativity.

The relationship between the Lord of the Ascendant and the Lord of the Lot or with the Lot itself is important.
It means that there is a connection between the native’s esse (being) and what the Lot signifies.
In this case the aspect is opposition, but I would regard it more as a testimony of an existing relationship, both, Lord of the Ascendant and of the Lot being in their own chariots and in their own sect.

Venus is ruler of the IC, in 9th division in her own chariot, shows that the beneficence from the religion and faith (9th) will be left over after his death (being canonized as a Saint and his name scribed in the saints ‘festival’ calendar of the Catholic Church). IC shows circumstances after the native’s death.
Having benefic ruler, and also elevated with the other benefic, in its own chariot, speaks about the benefits which he brings to his grave (IC).

Part of Spirit is in 24 Leo with the ruler Sun applying toward it.
We can see that his actions are related to the Faith, by being co-present with the Pars Fidei.
Being with the Sun it shows that this nativity was fated to shine spreading the good news throughout the people. Sun often brings things to the public, as Jesus said:

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. (Luke 8:16)

This nativity was light indeed.

Abu Ali Al-Khayyat says about the benefics in 9th:

Jupiter: joy and fortune on long journeys, good faith, true dreams, and their interpretation”
Venus: pleasure and fortune with respect to foreign journeys, religion, fear of God, true dreams, and their interpretation”.
(Abu Ali: On the Judgments of Nativities, p.323, Dykes trans.)


Having benefics in 9th is great. Shows that you have faith in God and this often brings moral and ethical person with good will spread toward other people. We saw that this nativity was destined to become great through religion and his pious life.
Having malefics in 9th or ruling the 9th often brings hater of the organized religions, or some sort of atheist, secularist or even scientist. I have often seen Mars in 9th in many martial artists, who also has spiritual orientation, but it is not in an organized religious manner.


Guido Bonatti – On Arabic Parts, translated by Robert Zoller (New Library Limited, 2000)
Abu Ali Al-Khayyat – On The Judghment of Nativities, Persian Nativities I, translated by Benjamin N. Dykes PhD (The Cazimi Press 2009)

The quote from the Bible of the conversation between Jesus and Pilat, and the 9-10th house relationship is inspired by the writings of Steven Birchfield on Angelicus Merlin yahoo group.