How Cardan exercised Astrology

I am reading Cardan’s “De exemplis centum geniturarum” (Examples of 100 Horoscopes) this morning, so I want to share with you his approach in examining a natal chart, which I think is more of an exercising of his astrological abilities presented in this book.

In the 4th geniture, he gives and explains the chart of his father Fazio Cardan. Fazio Cardano (1444 – August 28, 1524) was famous mathematician and professor, lover of the occult sciences and friend with Leonardo da Vinci. In his 50’s married a young widow in her 30’s whose all 3 children from the first marriage died, and Jerome Cardan was actually a child born after a failed abortion. Fazio was pretty old when Jerome was born.

This is the geniture as it is given in Libelli Quinque:


His chart calculated in modern astrology software (with longitudes of certain planets slightly off of the values giving by Cardan):


Here Cardan uses the so called Equal House system (Iuxta gradus aequales) and later in his life, in his commentaries on Ptolemy (published 1554), he used Regiomontanus house system.
As you can see in the box with information, inside the chart, it is given the degree of the MC because in the Equal House system, this doesn’t coincide with the 10th house cusp.

Cardan is pretty much basic-oriented in his explanations of these charts. He gives the longitudinal coincidences of certain planets (and angles) with fixed stars and then tries to find correlation with the significations of the stars and planets with certain accidents in person’s life.

He starts with giving the coincidence of the longitudinal positions of the planets with certain stars.I will give the Latin names of the stars as they are given in his book.

Saturn is with Borealis Cancris, nature Saturn/Mercury, 5th magnitude.

Jupiter is with Extra Formam Cancri, nature Saturn/Mercury, 4th magnitude.

Mars is with Extremitas Pedis Dextri Praecedentis, nature of Mercury and little bit of Venus, 4th magnitude.

Sun is with Asinus, 4th magnitude, nature of Mars/Sun.

Ascendant with Apolline, nature of Mercury, magnitude 2.

Co-ascends Orion Cingulus, nature of Saturn and Jupiter.

With MC is Ventre Piscis, 5th magnitude, nature Mercury and Mars.

He names all the stars just to have them as a point of reference in his future analysis, and then he goes on to explain the position of the planets

Calculating the length of life, Cardan notices Sun in its own sign in Ascendant with Jupiter. Venus and Saturn also on ascendant, increase the strength of life, yet there are malice effects also. His length of life was 79 years, concludes Cardan. So, he doesn’t follow the Hyleg & Alcocoden procedure or any other established practice of the predecessors, he just follows his astrological logic and examines the planets on ascendant, although very briefly, just makes a short notice.

Next Cardan makes notice about his father’s immense love for study. He sees the star Orionis Cingulus co-ascending, while Saturn adds patience and labor. The genius is given by the star Apolline (nature Mercury), but also by Orion Cingulus (nature Saturn and Jupiter).

Fazio’s interest in occult matters, Cardan delineates through Saturn on ascendant and Moon in 6th in trine with Mercury. Saturn is very esoteric planet, and being on ascendant is one indication of a person whose nature is to study the secrets and mysteries. Fazio was involved in the practice of Necromancy too, and here it is why Cardan adds the point that Moon (representing mind) is in 6th (bad fortune, diseases) in trine with Mercury (curiosity, interest, intellect). So, the interest in such a non-orthodox type of divination such as Necromancy, is seen by Cardan to has something to do with the bad placement of Moon, lady of ascendant, in 6th house, a house filled with bad significations, with Saturn on ascendant adding to that.

Fazio lost all his teeth in his 58 year, and then lived 21 year without teeth.
Saturn [representing the teeth] in ascendant in debilitated sign, under the Sun’s rays, is the cause for the lost of the teeth, according to Cardan. Probably the star of Saturn’s nature in the longitudinal position of Saturn, added to this, concludes Cardan.

Sun with unfortunate star Assinus, and Moon in 6th, corrupted his eyes.

That he was a man of integrity, is seen by the presence of Moon, Lady of Asc, in domicile of Jupiter and trine Mercury in domicile of Sun. Also, Jupiter with Sun in its own domicile in the 1st house. These are the factors according to Cardan, which added to his integrity and dignity.

What is interesting for me in studying Cardan and Gauricos (from the Renaissance masters) is that they even though read the old masters, they used their own logic and made the experience their greatest teacher. They drew charts and studied them day by day, making connections and concluding with deductions as to why something in someone’s life happened according to which symbols in the natal chart. Thus, examining hundreds and hundreds of horoscopes, they build their enormous corpus of knowledge and experience which later on gave them the ability to predict future events.

2 thoughts on “How Cardan exercised Astrology

  1. Ile, very interesting article, fascinating. If you do not mind I´d like to add a few comments;-) Cardan did not explained all, and I do not agree totally that the Moon in the 6th house ruling Saturn would explain necromancy at least directly. Cardan was hasty in his explanations:-)) Perhaps the important thing was the native´s personal corruption given by Venus conjunct Saturn in bad shape in the ASC. Both planets are ruled by the Moon in a declining place. This points to a base interest in body, in this case corpses. As for the Hyleg the Sun in Leo in an angle by dinamic houses do not need any alchocodem. I am curious to know how he delineated the other charts. Thanks again for sharing this one!

    • Hi Clelia,

      Yes, he was pretty hasty in some explanations of these 100 charts, and then in other was more thorough. One would expect that he would be more diligent in the analyze of his father’s chart lol

      He does not give explanation as to why he mentioned Moon in 6th in trine to Mercury in 2nd though, he only makes the notice. The seeking of the logic was mine, trying to understand his analysis.

      Yes, his delineation of the longevity was pretty rushy and without any logic used. He only mentions the planets positioned in the first house, saying that the Sun is in first in its own sign, and in the end mentions that his father lived 79 years. No calculations in the style of the Arabs and H&A doctrine, or some other system of calculating the longevity.

      So yes, we would have many questions prepared for him, if he was alive today🙂

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