Abu Ma’shar: Persian Prince of Astrology

Introduction to Astronomy, Containing the Eight Divided Books of Abu Ma'shar Abalachus - 1140 translation into Latin by Hermann of Carinthia

Initially a student of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammed, Abu Ma’shar went from prominent skeptic to one of Islam’s greatest Medieval astrologers and was responsible for preserving and synthesizing both Persian and Hellenistic techniques and philosophies.

Leo: The Lion

Sidney Hall’s (1831) astronomical chart illustration of the Leo Major and the Leo Minor.

Endowed with the heat of the summer Sun, the fixed fire sign of Leo shines through leadership and unique self-expression, although the regal Lion may succumb to vanity and dogma.

Cancer: The Crab

Sidney Hall’s (1831) astronomical chart illustration of the zodiac Cancer.

A hard shell, grasping claws and cautious approach protect the gentle, receptive interior of Cancer, the cardinal water sign. But it is the Moon-ruled sign’s symbolic relationship to the Sun and the nourishing role of emotional care that reveal its essential nature.

The Sun: The Diurnal Luminary

Apollo riding the chariot of the Sun across the heavens.

Sitting on its throne in the heavens, the Sun’s movement designates day and night, light and dark, winter and summer, truth and lies, carving the ecliptic, the basis of the zodiac and the art of astrology, across the sky.

Gemini: The Twins

Sidney Hall’s (1831) astronomical chart illustration of the zodiac Gemini.

Mentally agile and curious, the mutable, Mercury-ruled air sign of Gemini gathers information, synthesizes, and reports. But at its mythological roots, this sign’s capacity to be two things at once reveals the unifying power of companionship.

2022 June – Gemini season and Saturn retrograde

Sunrise on June 1, 2022. Saturn leads the morning procession followed by Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury. (Chart created via astro.com)

Saturn turns retrograde early this month and Mercury turns direct. Both Mercury and Venus transiting Gemini and in a sextile aspect to the greater benefic Jupiter make this a very social month.

In the Footsteps of Angels: Medieval Arabic Astrology

Illustration of different phases of the moon, from manuscript of the Kitab al-Tafhim by Al-Biruni (973-1048).

As the newly formed Muslim caliphate extended beyond the Arabian Peninsula, it encountered Persian, Hellenistic, and Indian forms of astrology, integrating them into a refined science that would reach its medieval peak in Baghdad, a city whose fortune and fate would be foretold by the stars.

Taurus: The Bull

Sidney Hall’s astronomical chart illustration of the Taurus.

The fixed earth sign of Taurus represents the forward momentum of spring, with its placid nature and capacity for creation. But while the Bull’s impulse is toward taking root and building, if its Venusian peace is disturbed it can become a destructive force not to be trifled with.

2022 May – Jupiter Aries ingress and a lunar eclipse

Sunrise in New York, May 5, 2022. Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus are clearly visible before sunrise. A Mercury retrograde features this month (Chart created at astro.com)

Jupiter ingresses into Aries in May, setting up a generosity with Mars in Pisces that leads to the ominous May 16 total lunar eclipse along with a retrograde Mercury.

The Moon: The Nocturnal Luminary

Diana (Artemis) riding the chariot of the moon across the heavens.

As the luminary that rules the night, the Moon represents change, travel, the emotional or irrational soul and feminine energy, but its significations depend on its condition in the sky and its proximity to the earthly sphere.