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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The works of Hellenistic polymath Ptolemy of Alexandria outlined the Western view of the cosmos that would survive until the Copernican revolution and defined the rational-causal view of astrology still largely ascribed to today.
Sensitive and spiritually magnanimous, watery Pisces is represented by two fish bound by a cord, representing the duality implicit in this mutable sign.