review: skyPlux Traditional Astrology Software

With this post I will begin a series of short introductions into traditional astrology software that we, as traditional astrologers, have on our disposal.

I will start with examination of promising software with name “skyPlux” designed by João Ventura.
Here is a link to the website where you can read more details about how you can purchase the software, that is, how to apply for beta-testing it or to use a web application of the same.

The software is still on its beta stage, and I will be doing a review of the latest version (0.4.1)

Here is the main window with a calculated natal chart in it:


Right click on the image to open it in another window and wider resolution (same for all next photos).

What I like about the software, and I told this to the designer, is the economy of space used. I like that all the charts next to the natal chart, whether they are solar return charts or temperament chart, open up not in a different window, but in the main window in different tab; something similar to the web browsers. In this way you have all here once you open the program, without the mess of popping out of different windows after which you are confused of which one was the solar return chart, and which one was the transit chart or main natal chart.


As you can see from this window, the software is divided into 3 main Activities: Basics/Protocols/Predictives.
By clicking on basics, as I have done on this photo, you can see 3 sub sections: Planetary Time/Natal Chart/Essential Dignities. By clicking the natal chart section, a window will pop out, where you can calculate your own birth chart.

Clicking on the planetary time section, you would get another tab which looks like this:


You can see that next to the tab of the chart, a new tab was open showing the day and hour ruler, and further information about the planets.

By clicking the Essential Dignities section you will get this window:


Here again, the chart is given alongside the information of the essential dignities of all planets, AC-MC angles, syzygy and Lot of Fortune. Actually, the most vital points in the chart needed, among other things, for calculation of Almutem Figuris and the Hilaj.

By clicking on the Protocols section, another 3 sub-sections will appear as follows:


The first subsection calculates for you the Almutem, the second sub-section the Temperament and the third sub-section calculates for you the Behavior, or planets which affects the behavior of the native, protocol which can be found in CVII of Christian Astrology and protocols promoted in the books by Luís Ribeiro and Helena Avelar.

I particularly like the Temperament calculation and I am using this algorithm always in my personal practice. I have found this formulation for calculating the temperament very reliable.


Here we can see how the temperament table is given alongside the natal chart, which is of great practical usage, since you are not supposed to ‘get back’ to the main screen (or the first tab) in order to see the chart, and then get back to the temperament section and compare. In this way you always have the natal chart when you want to calculate the temperament.


As you can see, here is given the calculation of a Solar Return, Profections and Primary Directions.

When you click on the Solar Return tab, it will calculate to you the Solar Return for the year you have typed on the “base date” section. In this case, let’s calculate for the year 2013:


We can now see a chart of the Solar Return is given, and again, alongside, you have the essential dignities of the planets and vital points given. This makes for you easier to see the term and decan of some planet in the Solar Return, instead of opening tables or some further screens for investigating that.

You have with this software the most fundamental things you would need for chart delineating.

If you want to use the software, consider applying for beta testing, see details on skyPlux website.

The word Ousia in Valens’ Anthologies

Each star is the ruler of its own essence (OUSIAS) for its sympathies and antipathies and mutual feelings in relation to the cosmos, and they have the authority for their commixtures with one another in accordance with application, separation, superiority, containment, spear-bearing, hurling of rays, and approaching of the masters.
(Vettius Valens – Anthology, book I, p.7, translated by Robert Schmidt, The Golden Hind Press, 1993).

Each star is the ruler of its own “element” (OUSIAS) in the universe with reference to <the stars’> sympathy or  antipathy or mutual influence. Their <aspects> are blended according the their “applications”or  “separations,”their “superior aspects”or “blockages,”their “attendance,”their “ray-shooting,”or the  “approach”of their masters. (Vettius Valens – Anthologies, Book I, p.2, translated by Mark T. Riley).

The word Ousia has very interesting history of translation and usage. There existed manly two translations of this word into Latin: essentia and substantia. In 4th century AD, Augustine was arguing that the word essentia as usually translated into English with participle “being-ness” should be used only for God because He only has the fullness of the being of which the word essentia refers or may refer. For all other individual beings, the word substantia need to be used. Boethius after Augustine accepted substantia as translation of ousia and from there everything went on the same path, every later author used this translation because the earlier author used it (Sachs).

Martin Heidegger was probably the first one who pointed out that the word substance is bad translation for the word ousia. He argued that the word ousia means Being and not substance. Joe Sachs finally made a translation of this word with thinghood;thinghood of things in the world is never reducible in our speech to any combination of qualities, quantities, relations, actions, and so on: that ousia or thinghood must be a separate category”(Sachs).[i] In other words, the thinghood of a thing is what makes that thing a thing, the cat-ness of a cat, dog-ness of a dog, the being-ness of the being.

This is the understanding of the ontology in Plato and especially Aristotle’s writings, but what kind of importance this inquiry into the ontological meaning of ousia has for our purpose of getting closer to Valens? My aim for understanding Valens is not only of an astrological background, I want to understand Valens’ world view, his cosmos, and his philosophy. I am aware that the time in which he lived is quite a syncretic one. This is the time when many gnostic schools, many hermetica and mystery schools emerged, and many binding of philosophies also. This is why getting closer to his mind is quite a difficult task.
He was highly read man, this is obvious by the many astrological and literature (in general) references he gives in Anthologies. This is why I am enthusiastic to read everything possible from that period and earlier, to try to get into the mind of those people who lived back then, who had the desire for knowledge, who had the curious mind to investigate and to what they had in disposal for this task.

Let’s get back to investigating the word ousia. Ousia is feminine present participle of εἶναι (to be) and is equivalent to the English word being or being-ness. Before Plato, the word “ontos’ was in usage to represent “really”, “actually”, “in fact”. Plato (?) coined the term ousia from the stem ont – plus the abstract noun ending – sia.[ii]

Heidegger in his Introduction to Metaphysics, approaches the problem of Being through the grammatics of the same. The word Being has as a precursor the infinitive form ‘to be’. This form of the verb is then transformed into substantive. “The character of our word Being, as a word, is determined, accordingly, by three grammatical forms: verb, infinitive, and substantive. Thus our first task is to understand the meaning of these grammatical forms”.[iii] The point Heidegger makes here, and why he goes into many details investigating the grammar of certain term is to investigate that which comes first: the noun (substantive) or the verb, a ‘pseudo-question’ as Heidegger points out, much discussed in the linguistics.

Of the ancient philosophers, Parmenides (early 5th century BCE) was one of the most interested in investigating the being. Einai is the infinitive verb translated into English as ‘to be’. The present participle of einai is to on, or in Parmenides’ dialect to eon. For Parmenides, the being (to on) is timeless, changeless and all talks about it is ‘opinion’ (doxa) and not the truth about the ‘being’.[iv]

Getting out from this little digression, let us now get back to Valens’ passage.
Schmidt has translated the word ousia (which at Valens, is given in its singular genitive form ousias) with the English word “essence”, and Riley with the English word “element”. Could we apply Sachs’ translation of ousia in this context as thinghood: “each star is the ruler of its own thinghood”?

Now Schmidt translated the whole sentence somewhat differently then Riley:
Schmidt: Each star is the ruler of its own essence for its sympathies and antipathies and mutual feelings in relation to the cosmos.
Riley: Each star is the ruler of its own “element” in the universe with reference to <the stars’> sympathy or antipathy or mutual influence.

The Greek word used here for cosmos/universe is κοσμος in accusative singular κοσμον.
The word Κυριος is used for Lord/Master:
Each star is the master [the one who has supremacy over] for its own thinghood in the cosmos”..
for its sympathies and antipathies and mutual feelings/influence, and they have the authority for their commixtures with one another [their aspects are blended] in accordance with application, separation, superiority [superior aspects], containment, spear-bearing, hurling of rays, and approaching of the [their] masters..”

And then Valens gives explanation of that thinghood for every separate planet:

The Moon is set down as ruler of foresight (pronoia, providence),  the Sun of light, Kronos of ignorance and necessity (ananke), Zeus of opinion and crowns of office and will (prothumia), the star of Ares of action and troubles, the star of Aphrodite of love and desire and beauty, and the star of Hermes of law and custom and fidelity. Which very stars, [if they are dispensers] of their own effects… [here lacuna exist in the original text]. (Schmidt)

We can see here that every planet has its own thinghood (ousia).
Every stars dispenses its own effects (apotelesmata) produced by their own thinghood (ousia). That is, their effects are produced by what they are, what is their thinghood IN the Cosmos, or the ‘Cosmic Soul’. So, Moon by its thinghood in the Cosmic Soul produces effects of pronoia, providence; Sun of light, Kronos of ignorance, etc.

The point is, or at least how I understood this passage, that every planet has its own being-ness, its own ‘to be’ (to on), its own thinghood in the Cosmic Soul, as in matter of fact all things have, and they produce their own individual effects (apotelesma/αποτελέσμα) which are, as Valens says, comixtured by the configurations with the other planets and which (effects) emerge in human life or the events that happen in this sub-lunar or human level of the Cosmos.

But question arises here, how can something be ruler or master of its own something-ness? The thing is the thing itself. I am a being, I am not a ruler of my being, I am just as I am – a being and I exist in the thinghood of my being-ness. Why to say I am a master of my thinghood? Does Valens wants to point out here that the planets are masters of the properties of their own thinghood, or the apotelesma/effects/outcomes of the thinghood? We should not make mistake that thinghood (ousia) and properties are one and the same. A being has properties, the dog can be black in color, the blackness is a property of that dog, but its thinghood is just being a dog. The dog is not a master of its own dog-ness. The dog simply IS.

I think that further investigation in this direction would be of high importance for understanding the cosmological and philosophical principles of our Art. This is why learning philosophy, sociology, history, are all necessary branches for dwelling deeper and deeper into the mind of our ancestors who practiced this Art and approached it practically but theoretically as well.

I will be investigating more of this in the future and will come back, hopefully, with more information of the subject. I am excited about learning these beautiful subjects, which are not only helping me to understand the whole subject of astrology, but also, helping me on a practical level for becoming better astrologer. Both instances are very important for me.

[i] Joe Sachs, Aristotle: Metaphysics, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosphy.

[ii] Anthony Preus, Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Philosophy, Lanham, Scarecow Press, 2007 pp. 67-68.

[iii] Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics  New translation by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt, New Haven, Yale University Press, 2000, pp. 55-60 (notes omitted).

[iv] Anthony Preus, Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Philosophy, Lanham, Scarecow Press, 2007 pp. 67-68.

Valens and Division of Places

There is a long lasting debate whether Hellenistic astrologers used Whole Sign house system in horoscopic delineations or they used divisions too. Most of the scholars nowadays agree that Hellenistic astrologers most likely used WS house system for topical delineations and they applied divisions, or dynamic house system for strength of a planet delineation or some other specific techniques like length of life delineation.

The Perso-Arabian astrologers who inherited the vast Hellenistic astrology tradition were also, most probably, not in consensus regarding this issue. Masha’allah most likely used WS for topics and Abu Ma’shar and Umar al-Ratabi used divisions. I use the words “most likely” since there is no consensus among today’s authorities, nor hard facts which would lead us to either direction to conclude regarding any particular author of the tradition (of the Late Antiquity) that he used WS or divisions. The examples they give are sparse and even though some very good pointers in them lead us to conclude that they used WS for topics, as we will see from this example from Valens, we no longer can be sure if this was really the case.

The argument which I will try to make with this example of Valens is also not 100% assertive for any kind of conclusions, but I really want to leave space and open mind for interpretation of the kind I am offering here. We all have our favorite house systems and even presumptions regarding this, which I don’t think would ever lead to any astrological convention and consensus regarding the problem. There will always be disagreements and quotations from different authors which would fill the gap of continuity in the system we follow. It is good to have this in mind before entering the explanation of Valens’ example.

In book V Valens continue the explanation of the Profections (transmissions) he began in Book IV. In book III he already gave his explanation of the divisions, something which we today call “Porphyry house division“. Many astrologers today agree that what Valens applied in that chapter is division of strength of planets and not of topics.

To make this exploration clearer I will add a brief explanation of what is the topical vs dynamic approach. The scholars and astrologers today who apply WS as topical approach, say that planet in 4th Sign, but in 3rd house division, will bear the significations, the topics of 4th house (parents, home, inheritance, heredity, etc) but the strength of the planet is weaker since it falls into the 3rd house division [falling from an angle]. Namely, that planet would bear the topics of 4th house, but because of its falling from an angle, the loudness of her significations in life would not be so straightforward as if the planet would have been in 4th division as well.
The second type of astrologers say that no matter if a planet is in 4th sign, if that planet is in 3rd division, that’s it, it will bear the topics and significations of 3rd house (siblings, neighbors, journeys, etc).
The third type of astrologers would mix both approaches. They would say that this planet has significations and topics, both: that of the 4th house of parents, home, etc; and that of 3rd house, that is, that of journeys, siblings, etc.

These are the 3 main groups regarding the house system approach.

The first type of astrologers make the arguments that in the beginnings of horoscopic astrology, the house system that was used was WS, and that the adding of divisions as topic significations is an aberration of the true horoscopic astrology practiced in the beginnings of this Art.

The third type of astrologers do not agree with this, they say that the divisional approach is not an aberration of the original doctrine but evolution and quite a good one, of the WS system, which is workable, logical and there is no err in using it as such.

The second group are most often modern astrologers. I haven’t seen traditional astrologer using such approach, without taking into account the placement by sign. This is why I neglect further discussing that approach in this post.
[Edit: I must admit that I have seen some very good astrologers who are using more of a medieval-Renaissance astrology in their practice, using this second approach with pretty good results].

Now, the question arises ‘are we sure that Hellenistic Astrologers did not use divisions for topic delienation?’.

As I said, I do not aim to answer this question here, since it is above my current familiarization of the subject; but I want to point out some sections in Valens which would make us re-consider our attitudes toward the subject, I hope.

In chapter 2 of Book III “The Significant Degrees of the Angles“, Valens gives, as I said, what we today know as the Porphyry house system of divisions. Valens says that he takes this from the book of certain Orion. He wants us to calculate the distance from AC to IC and divide that distance into 3 equal parts. The stars in the first division, from AC toward IC, would be powerful and operative (chrematistikhos), the second division will be average in operation, and the third division will be non-operative and also the stars there would be weak, wicked, base, bad (φαῦλον). The same goes for the divisions from the other angles.

It is clear that Valens here speaks about dynamic interpretation of a planet in certain division, since he speaks of strength.

But then in the end of the chapter Valens says:

It is necessary to calculate likewise from MC, and to consider the first third of the distance between angles as operative, the second third, following MC, as of average influence (thus it was called Good Daimon by the ancients), and the last third, up to the Ascendant, as afflicting and inoperative. The Places in opposition to these will have the same force. Orion expounded all this in his book. [Riley p.91]

We see here that Valens applies the name “Good Spirit” to the division also. This is a weak argument in regard of using the divisions as topics, but leaves open room for speculations.

Having said this, lets now move on to the book V.

In chapter 9. “The Reason Why The Same Results Do Not Happen at 12 Year Interval” Valens gives, what is most likely, his own birth chart and says how some things were not explainable by the method of transmission of planets through the places without considering the axis of IC-MC and its falling into 11-5 or 3-9 places for example.

Our situation is as complex: we must attend to our studies and come to the art of forecasting as if we were traveling by many roads. For many thousands of events happen to men, events which cannot be grasped through the use of one method or star, but through the use of many. Knowing that twelve Places are indicative for each nativity and that very many configurations can be derived from these Places and from the nature of the stars, we must observe the position of the angles and the interchange of the Places. Often two Places fall together in one sign, or a presumed angle really just preceeds the <true> angle. This also occurs with the events indicated by the Ascendant.

Valens here says that when, for example, the MC angle does not fall at the Peak Place (10th sign by counting), but in let’s say 9th sign, then the transmission of the stars (profections) should follow that route.

An example: Gemini in the Ascendant, MC in Aquarius when calculated by degree. This X Place includes the Places relevant to action, to rank, and to children. It also includes the Places of Foreign Lands and of the God, since it is found (when calculated by sign) in the IX Place from the Ascendant, and the transmission operative from places 4 and 5 signs apart acts from it to the Ascendant, while the transmission operative from places 9 and 10 signs apart acts from the Ascendant to it. In the same way the sign in opposition to Aquarius (Leo, which is IC) includes the Places relevant to buildings, estates, and parents, and the Places of the Goddess, brothers, and strangers; the transmission from places 3 and 4 signs apart acts from the Ascendant to it, while the transmission from places 10 and 11 signs apart acts from it to the Ascendant. Let the same calculation be made for the other signs, particularly for those of long rising time, because in those signs, MC would be sextile <to the Ascendant>. In short, if we calculate the Places and the distances between stars by degree <not just by sign>, we will not go astray.


In this example Valens asks us to calculate the MC by degree. As we can see the MC falls in 9th sign and not in 10th which would be the Peak Point, or the 10th sign counting from ascendant. Now, Valens says to us that this MC in 9th sign would have BOTH significations: that of action, rank and children (10th) and that of foreign travels, God etc (9th). The transmissions (profections) from Asc to 9th sign and to the MC would bear BOTH significations, since in the first case we count by signs, and in the second case, we count by divisions! Try to count 9 by sign, starting from Asc being the first. You will come to 9th sign where MC falls. Now try to count 10 by counting not through signs, but through the divisions, you will again stop at 9th sign but 10th angle.
Now, I know that Valens applies this only for the angles and not for the other divisions, but, what if the commingling of the significations is also applicable for the other places? We see in the photo above that through Porphyry kind of divisions 5th division falls into the 4th sign, could we commingle both significations for that case? Valens advises us that we would not go astray if we calcualte the places by the degree! What if a planet is in 28°Virgo where 5th division falls? Can we apply it as having significations of BOTH topics of 4th and topics of 5th? Valens says to us that he was forced to apply the MC-9th (or MC – 11th) significations of commingling, since when doing transmissions he saw that some results are wrong, do not give the proper significations applied to them by the ordinary transmission. We will see in the next example he gives of his own horoscope, where he says that the person from the chart (most probably, himself) in that year when the transmissions reached the peak point, he went to foreign country, and this is most explainable if the transmissions are done not to the peak place but to the MC which falls into the 9th sign.

Since we are already here, let us move on to that example.


An example: Mars, Ascendant in Virgo, moon in Scorpio at IC, MC in Taurus. It is necessary to investigate the 34th year. 34 divided by 12 gives 2, with a remainder of 10. The transmission can go from the moon to Mars, since they are both at angles, and from the Ascendant and Mars to Taurus (i.e. to MC). During this period the client worked abroad, was a friend of great men, was in mortal danger because of a woman, and suffered cuts and bleeding. Other transmissions were operative at this time, but they did not reveal the <particular> crisis.

We do know that Moon is at Scorpio, but we do not know exactly at what degree.
So for the sake of the example let us put it anywhere. The point Valens makes here is that he says that BOTH Mars and Moon are at angle. Now, Mars is in 1st sign and 1st division.
But the Moon is in 3rd sign and IC falls here. Now if we make the transmissions with the reminder of 10 and count it by sign, we would not arrive at Mars’s sign, but in the sign preceding Virgo, that is Leo. But, if we count by divisions, we would come from an angle to an angle, that is, from IC to AC where Mars falls. In the same manner, if we count 10 signs from Virgo and Mars we would not come to 9th sign and MC, but to the Peak Place at Gemini. But Valens says that this is not explainable, instead, using the transmission counting by divisions, would come to the 9th sign where MC falls. The “mortal danger because of woman” is most probably delineation of the transmission between Moon and Mars. “Worked abroad” for Mars, Ascendant-9th-10th transmission”, etc.
We have many questions opened here. I know that many would argue that what Valens meant here is applicable only for the angles and not for the intermediate divisions. I just want to point out the “why not” factor.
I was told by students of Zoller’s Diploma Course of Medieval Astrology that he used profecting by houses instead of signs, and that he was highly criticized for this usage, as not being “According to the tradition”.
Could we recognize an embryo of this approach in Valens’ Anthology?
The arguments for this are, as I said, not so strong, and the interpretation of these passages can go either way, but if we do not re-question often time our attitudes we hold toward the tradition of our Art, we could get stuck into the place of obduracy, inveteracy.
I do not set anything into stone here, just throwing some thoughts for reconsideration. 😉

Astrology through the Centuries

This will be an ongoing and not a definitive post where I will continually update chronological and historical information about astrologers from the past, and also, about people who wrote against astrology or in defense of astrology. The aim of the post is acquiring better understanding of he times and climes in which this Art was developed.

The list will not take the chronological order immediately. I will ‘throw’ into this post names and events from time to time, not in a chronological manner, but in accordance with my own continual acquiring of information through reading different books, papers, articles et cetera.

Umar al-Tabari (full name: Umar bin al-Farrukhan al Tabari) was a Persian astrologer and architect who wrote in Arabic and lived in 8th century (fl. Baghdad, Iraq, 762–815). Around 800 he translated Dorotheus’ five books from Middle Persian into Arabic. He was one of the most celebrated astrologers in his own time, and was chosen to establish the election chart for the foundation of the city of Baghdad (31 July 762), alongside Masha’allah, Newbakht, al-Fazārī, and several other astrologers.

His works:
– A tafsīr or paraphrase of Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos (812) was a paraphrased translation from the Pahlavi version.
– A tafsīr of the astrological work of Dorotheus of Sidon, again from a Pahlavi version from 5th century.
Mukhtasar masā’il al-Qaysarānī (“Abridgment of the Caesarean Interrogations”) in 138 chapters.
Kitāb fi’l-mawālīd (“Book About Nativities”). This is most probably the most famous work of his, which was translated into Latin by Iohannes Hispalensis with name De nativitatibus secundum Omar in three books.
Kitāb al-‘ilal.

His name is also translated as “Omar Tiberiades”.

Abu Bakr (full name: Abu Bakr al-Hassan ibn al-Khasib [lat. Albubather]) was an Arab astrologer and physician who lived in 9th century. He wrote astrological work in 4 parts, of which the 3rd part “On Nativities” was most popular throughout medieval period [lat. ‘De Nativitatibus]. First and second part of his work is dedicated to introduction into astronomy and astrology, and in part to mundane revolutions; the 4th part is dedicated to solar revolutions. His astrology approach is clearly based on that of Umar al-Tabari’s, and Abu Bak’r even states in his book that his own father was “an observer” of the astrological practice of Umar.

omarOmar Khayyám (full name: Ghiyāth ad-Dīn Abu’l-Fatḥ ʿUmar ibn Ibrāhīm al-Khayyām Nīshāpūrī (18 May 1048 – 4 December 1131;) was Persian polymath:poet, astronomer, mathematician, physycian, court astrologer et cetera. He wrote on many different subjects, such as geography, music, theology and other. He was commissioned by Malik Shah, sultan of the Seljuk Turks, to work on reforming the calendar. His later years were spent in teaching mathematics and astrology.

I was unable to devote myself to the learning of this al-jabr and the
continued concentration upon it, because of the obstacles in the
vagaries of Time which hindered me; for we have been deprived of
all people of knowledge save for a group, small in number, with
many troubles, whose concern in life is to snatch the opportunity,
when Time is asleep, to devote themselves meanwhile to the investigation
and perfection of a science; for the majority of people who

imitate philosophers confuse the true with the false, and they do
nothing but deceive and pretend knowledge, and they do not use
what they know of the sciences except for base and material pur
poses; and if they see a certain person seeking for the right and

preferring the truth, doing his best to refute the false and untrue
and leaving aside hypocrisy and deceit, they make a fool of him
and mock him.[1]

Tommaso di Benvenuto da Pizzano was a 14th century physician, court astrologer, and Councillor of the Republic of Venice. Father of the famous Christine de Pizan – a poet, writer who was famous for raising her voice against misogyny and other medieval stereotypes. Tommasso was highly learned man, and after the birth of his daughter he went to the court of Charles V of France and appointed himself as astrologer, alchemist and physician. He graduated at University of Bologna and lectured on astrology often throughout his life. In 1357 he moved to Venice where Christine was born in 1364. In 1368 he and his family moved to Paris. He was highly respected as astrologer, so he had several offers from most famous courts in that time; the major were from the Hungarian king and from the French king Charles the V. He decided to take the second job offer and settled at the court of Charles V of France (1338 – 1380). Here he was called in French style Thomas de Pisan and gathered a nick name “the Wise”.[2]

Christine had very changeable fortune. On the one hand life provided her with a wonderful father who allowed and nurtured her gift for writing and poetry, on the other hand, she became a widow very early in life. Somewhere around the same time she lost her father too (in 1387) and she was left alone with her children and taking care of her mather. Here is where she become melancholically introverted and dedicated her self into writing. What follows is an excerpt from her famous poem “Mutation of Fortune”:

Mutation of Fortune
I wish to tell my history,
‘Twill seem to some pure mystery.
But even though they won’t believe,
I’ll tell the truth and won’t decieve.
It all happened to me, really;
I was twenty-five, or nearly,
It was no dream when it occured,
No need to evoke the absurd
When one has seen what I have seen,
These wonders that have really been,
That we do not see every day
Because of Fortune’s clever way,
Of disguising her mutations,
Those deceptive situations
Which I hope to unveil here…
…Before my discourse grows in size,
Let me summarize, this moment,
Just who I am, what all this meant.
How I, a woman, became a man by a flick of Fortune’s hand
How she changed my body’s form
To the perfect masculine norm.
I’m a man, no truth I’m hiding,
You can tell by how I’m hiding
And If I was female before-
It’s the truth and nothing more-
It seems I’ll have to re-create
Just how I did transmutate
From a woman to a male:
I think the title of my tale
Is, if I’m not being importune,
“The Mutation of Fortune.[3]

Charles V king of France (21 January 1338 – 16 September 1380) called “the Wise” (in French: ‘le Sage”). He was known for hi promotion of culture and literature, and his vast library is a subject of admiration even today. For us as astrologers, most interesting are the astrological books contained in his library, some of which I will expose here.

Ptolemy's Quadr

Ptolemy: Quadripartitum, with gloss by Ali Ibn Ridwan, French translation by Guillaume Oresme

Paris Bibliothèque nationale de France MSS Français 1348

You can download free digital copy from here.

French version.

Leovits Cyprian (1524 – 1574) lat. Cyprianus Leovitus, was a Czech (Bohemian) astrologer and mathematician, also a court astrologer of Otto Heinrich and Maximilian II. He is author of several astrological treatises, some of which were particularly popular in his own time. Here is a list of his treatises:
Tabulae directionum et profectionum … – Aug. Vindelic., 1552. (Tables of Directions and Profections)
Eclipsium omnium ab anno 1564 usque ad annum 1606 accurata descriptio et pictura etc. – Aug. Vindelic., 1554, 1556. (“All of the eclipse from 1564 until the year 1606, precisely described and painted”)
Ephemeridum novum atque insigne opus ab anno 1556 ad annum 1606. – 1557.  (New Ephemerides for years 1556 to 1606)
De conjunctionibus magnis … – Lauingae ad Danubium, 1564. (On great conjunctions)
Strauch-Leovitius. Astrologische Aphorismen.  Grimm, 1924. (Astrological Aphorisms)

200px-Michael_ServetusMichael Servetus (29 September 1509 or 1511 – 27 October 1553) was a remarkable Spanish polymath. He wrote on many different subjects, such as: theology, medicine, geography, mathematics, astronomy et cetera.
In 1538 he wrote Apologetic discourse of Michel de Villeneuve in favour of Astrology and against a certain physician. (Michaelis Villanovani in quedam medicum apologetica disceptatio pro Astrologia). In this discourse Servetus criticizes Jean Tagault, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Paris for attacking astrology and astrologers, while arguing that very great names such as Plato, Galen, Aristotle and Hipocrates, were of the opinion that the stars are related to certain aspects of the health of the patient, and how a good physician can use Astrology to predict the effects and consequences of some illness. He was also arguing about the influence of Sun and Moon on the sea, on women and winds. He was of the opinion that it is not wise to criticize astrology and based his reasoning on the above mentioned names and effects, arguing that they were wise enough not to dispute astrology.

He was a Protestant reformator and was well known for his Nontrinitarian Christology. He was versed in many languages and read the Bible in its original languages. He believed that the doctrine of the Trinity is not based on the Bible. He believed that this doctrine was influented by the Greek philosophers and argued that every Christina need to devote his time to study the Gospels in their simplicity, without the premises from outer influences upon the Christianity, such as was, according to him, the doctrine of the Trinity. He was condemned as a heretic by Chatolic Church but by the Protestants too. He was arrested in Genova and burned at a stake.

Here is a an excerpt from a very interesting interview with Servetus, in which he was asked about the rumors that he is foolish t apply faith in the validity of astrology.

INTERVIEWER:  While later practicing medicine you were charged with being a quack,
mainly because you believed in astrology. Was the charge true?

SERVETUS: I believed that a doctor should be versed in weather forecasting, and in
geography, and other sciences as well. I pointed out that Plato, Aristotle,
Pythagoras, Galen, Hypocrites and others recognized the validity of astrological
medicine. Why have signs been established by the Creator if they may not signify
something? I said that those are blind who  never lift their eyes to the heavens to
behold the most beautiful mechanism of Creation, and that doctors who decline to
avail themselves of all aids are ignoramuses.[4]

John Chamber (1546 – 1604) was a canon of Windsor born in Swillington, Yorkshire. Graduated on Oxford, he was quite familiar with the Greek literature. His particular interests were medicine, astronomy and astrology, with not so good opinions about the later. He wrote the back then famous ‘Treatise against Judicial Astrology‘ (Lond. 1601), to which Sir Christopher Heydon replied with his ‘Defence of Judicial Astrology‘ (Camb. 1603). To this, Chamber replied again in his ‘A Confutation of Astrological demonology in the Devil’s School‘, which was never printed. In addition to this, Chamber received help from George Carleton, bishop of Chichester, writing the treatise ‘The Madnesse of Astrologers‘, printed in 1624.

Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton (1540 – 1614) wrote ‘A Defensative against the Poyson of supposed Prophecies (1583)’, was a very controversial figure among the English aristocrats, though very learned and eloquent. Francis Bacon regarded him as: “the learnedest councillor in the kingdom to present to the king his Advancement of Learning.”


Howard’s main argument against the credibility of astrology was probably the oldest and more frequent one: if every individual possess its own destiny according to the astral influences, how can be that the twins born in the very near amount of time, has different destiny, that is, different kind of death, diseases and time of death.

Philip Stubbes (c. 1555 – c. 1610), English writer who wrote the famous ‘The Anatomie of Abuses‘, work dedicated on the fashions and customs of the time, in which he didn’t escape mentioning astrology. He argued that stars incline the soul, that is, they effect the soul through their operations, but that they do not cause (that is, they are not efficient cause) neither bad nor evil. In other words, man is responsible for his actions, and one should not to blame it on the stars. Man through free will, can choose his actions.

1. The great Umar Khayyam, a global reception of Rubaiyat. A.A. Seyet-Gohrab (ed.)1
2. Middle Ages Biographies by Judson Knight, edited by Judy Galens. An imprint of the Gale Group, 2001.2
3. Pizan, Christine de. “From the book of the Mutation of fortune” in The Writings of Christine de Pizan trans. Nadia Margolis ed. Charity Cannon Willard (New York: Persea Books, 1994), 110 & 112.3
4. Servetus, Our 16th century contemporary, A brief introduction to the life and teachings of Michael Servetus, a pioneer of religious freedom. (© Copyright of the International Association for Religious Freedom 2011), p.58.4

Carrol Camden – Astrology in Shakespeare’s day.

Persian Nativities II, introduction into the nativities of Umar al-Tabari and Abu Bakr by Benjamin N. Dykes. The Cazimi press, Minneapolis, Minnesota 2010.

D. Pingree, “The Fragments of the Works of al-Fazārī,” in Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 29 (1970), 103–123, esp. 104.

“ʿUmar Ibn Al-Farrukhān Al-Ṭabarī.” Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 2008. (February 6, 2013).