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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Filled with the vitality of spring, Aries is the sign of new beginnings. While the Ram rushes forward to meet any challenge head-on, the flame of this cardinal fire sign peters out just as quickly as it is lit.
Jupiter makes his first appearance in the eastern sky in April and, with Venus also in Pisces, compassion and sensitivity are heightened this month. At the end of the month, we see the bound of Mercury/Taurus activated by the year’s first solar eclipse.
A lawyer turned astrologer turned devout Christian, Firmicus Maternus penned the eight-book Mathesis, one of the lengthiest extant works on Hellenistic astrology in Latin, giving sixteen centuries of readers insight into astrological practices during the Roman Empire.
Know to the Arabs as “Al-Rumi”, Vettius Valens gained near-mythical status in the East while his fame was largely eclipsed by Ptolemy in the West but his Anthologies remains the most important source contemporary readers have for the foundations and techniques of Hellenistic astrology.