|The following reproduces Benjamin Dykes's translation of Guido Bonatti's instruction on elections concerning the 4th House, as presented in his Book of Astronomy. It should be pointed out that Bonatti's introduction to elections (not featured here) includes some important principles on the correct procedure by which to create a successful election. This extract also does not include Benjamin's Dykes's helpful annotations and footnotes. Nonetheless astrologers should find the following extremely interesting and useful. This monumental work (which runs to almost 1600 pages) currently represents the most comprehensive treatment of elections prior to Ramesey's 17th century text - which obviously relied heavily upon this medieval source.
Chapter 1: On the buying of houses or inheritances, and the like
To certain sages it seemed that a chapter on building should be set out before this [one], because building a house or castle (and the like) is more noble and of more renown than buying land or other possessions-with whom I can agree well enough. However, to me it seems to be more fitting first to have land upon which we build than that we begin to build, even though there is no great import in it.
Whence if you wanted to elect the hour for someone wishing to buy some inheritance or a house or land or other estate, adapt the first and its Lord, even the Moon and the Lord of the sign in which she is; the fourth also and its Lord; adapt even the Part of Fortune and its Lord; and if you cannot adapt all of these, adapt the Moon and the fourth, and add to them the Part of Fortune if you can. And if not, at least do not let the adaptation of those two be lacking. You will even see if the place were fit or should be adapted so that it may be inhabited: let the Moon be in Cancer or in Taurus, or let her be in the 10th or at least in the 11th [domiciles?] and let her aspect the Lord of the first by a praiseworthy aspect. And beware lest she should aspect Mars from any aspect: and if you cannot free her from his aspect, make it so that he receives her by a trine or sextile aspect, and let him not be impeded then. And let the 4th house [domicile?], as was said, be Taurus or Leo or at least Aquarius; even let the Lords of the angles be oriental in the world and from the Sun (or from one of them); and let them be ascending northern.
And al-Rijal said, in the buying of any inheritance let there be benefics having dignity in the angles; and if they could not have dignity in all the angles, let them have them in the first or in the fourth, or at least in one of them; let even the luminaries be aspecting the ascending [sign] and the fourth (or one of them) by an aspect of love; nor let the Lords of the angles be retrograde; nor let there be a retrograde planet in [the angles].
And al-Kindi said, do not let a malefic be in the 9th or first or 11th, nor let the 4th house [domicile?] be a fiery one, nor let a fiery planet be in it, and especially if it were cadent from the benefics. And if the 4th house [domicile?] were a watery sign, beware lest Saturn aspect it. And you must beware lest the Lord of the 10th be a malefic. For the Ascendant and its Lord signify the land itself which someone buys, and its possession and the usefulness of it. The 10th or 11th and its Lord signify whatever is erected from it above the earth and from its surface, like trees and other things born of the earth which grow old in it. Indeed the 7th and its Lord signify its cultivators.
And al-Rijal said that it seemed to certain people that the 7th signifies herbs; indeed the 4th and its Lord are said to signify the goodness of the matter and whatever is had in it in terms of seeds. And he said whichever one of them were to be found good, judge good in the things which it signifies. If you were to find the benefics in the 1st, judge the goodness of the trees and of those things which are elevated from the surface of the earth. If however [they were] in the 7th, judge the goodness of the farmers. If however you were to find a benefic in the 4th, judge the goodness of the matter and the goodness of the seeds located in it. And if you were to find one of the malefics in one of those places, judge malice according to what is signified by that house [domicile?], and particularly in the 7th (which signifies the deceit and malice of the cultivators according to the nature of that malefic which signifies them): Saturn signifies their deceit and dishonesty, Mars signifies their inconstancy and thievery.
And al-Tabari said Jupiter and the planet from which the Moon is being separated belong to the buyer; he to whom the Moon is joined signifies the end of the matter and into what it will devolve. If however you intended to buy land or a vineyard, or something else similar without building, not considering at all to build on it but only that you might use it and have it and keep its fruit (and the returns from the laborers or renters, or even others), [then] adapt the aforesaid-namely the Ascendant and its Lord, and the Moon and her Lord; the Part of Fortune also and its Lord; even adapt Saturn (because he signifies these things on account of his severity, and because from severe work put into [the land], they will be acquired).
Therefore put [Saturn] in Libra; or if the purchase were made in the day, put him in Capricorn or Aquarius; and if it were made at night, put him in Aries or Leo or Sagittarius (Aries however, is less useful). And even in diurnal purchases you can put him in them. But he is not as strong in [diurnal purchases] as he is in nocturnal ones. Or let him be in one of his own bounds; and let him be made fortunate and strong; let even Jupiter be aspecting him by a trine or sextile aspect, or a square from an angle; and make Mars cadent from [the angles]; and let the Moon be in the beginning of the increase of her light (namely in her first quarter), increasing in number, aspecting Saturn (or the planet who aspects him) with an aspect of friendship. And if Jupiter were to aspect her, it will be good, because he signifies the population of the land, and that it will be planted around with many fruitful trees, and even other small ones; and that it can give good and useful returns.
And Sahl said if you could not have an aspect of Jupiter with Saturn, make it so that you have the aspect of Venus with him instead of the aspect of Jupiter; and you will make the watery signs fortunate, because when you make them fortunate with the benefics, they will be better than the airy signs. And he said, let the Moon be in her own exaltation, or in the Midheaven, and the Lord of the Ascendant aspecting her. And he said, let the Moon also and the Ascendant be cleansed of the malefics and from defects.
Chapter 2: On the reconciliation of a father with a son
Just as brothers sometimes debate amongst themselves, so it happens that a father might disagree with his son, and vice versa. And if they want to be reconciled together, and a son were to come to you so that you could elect for him the suitable hour for it, adapt the Ascendant and its Lord, the Moon too and the Lord of the sign in which she is; adapt even the fourth and its Lord (which signifies the father and the uncle, and a father-in-law, and all older blood-relatives-naturally the ancestors-even though, however, any of them could be signified through the proper house [domicile?]). And let the Lord of the fourth be joined to the Lord of the first by a trine or sextile aspect and with reception, if it can be done; and let it aspect the Ascendant by the same aspect, and let the Lord of the first be in the first or the 10th or the 11th; let the Moon be aspecting the Lord of the first and the Lord of the fourth (or at least one of them): for these signify a useful and good and durable reconciliation.
Chapter 3: In the building of cities or castles or houses and the like,
and on the populations of lands or of the plugging of fig-trees
Men tend to build according to diverse methods of building, and according to the diversity of the condition of the men, and even to plant trees and plug fig-trees, and to populate lands in diverse ways, according to the diverse customs of men.
For, even though all of these ways would seem to be directed to one end, still it is it necessary that it be elected for those wishing [to build] in diverse ways belonging to the diverse kinds of buildings. For in a certain manner it must be elected one way for one wishing to build a city or castle; and another for one wishing to build another building, like holy buildings and profane buildings (about which will be spoken in its own proper place and time); another for one wishing to plant trees or plug fig-trees; another for one wanting to sow seed.
Whence, if you wished to elect the hour for someone so he might build a city or castle, adapt the Ascendant and its Lord; the Moon also, and the Lord of the sign in which she is; and likewise the Part of Fortune and its Lord; and in the Ascendant of the building of the city or castle, put one of those fixed stars which are of the nature of Jupiter or the Sun or Venus or Mercury or Saturn (if Saturn were of good condition), or of the Moon, or at least of the nature of the Lord of the Ascendant of that hour. For these [fixed stars] signify the prolongation of the city or the castle and its perpetual durability on account of their most slow motion, and their most slow changeability. For a city and a castle ought to be things of perpetual durability; and it is necessary that this happen by the succession of their own individual parts, which are houses-which, even if they last a long time, still they are not continued perpetually except by succession.
And it seemed to al-Rijal that Saturn is to be adapted in the building of cities. Indeed Sahl seemed not to want us to give Saturn a role in the building; still however they do not contradict each other. Because al-Rijal understood [this] in terms of the building of cities. Indeed Sahl understood [this] in terms of the building of houses.
And al-Rijal said that the Ascendant should be an earthy sign, fixed, in buildings; and the Lord of the Ascendant likewise, and the Moon, [should be] in earthy, fixed signs. And he said that the Moon should be in increased light and number, going toward her exaltation; and that she should be joined to a benefic which should be in its own exaltation or in the exaltation of the Moon, and she should be received. And al-Rijal even said that it seems fitting to him that the Moon be in a watery sign, and that it is useful if she is otherwise ascending, and she should be more in the middle of her light.
And Sahl (with whom it seems to me to be fitting enough to agree) said, make Mars cadent from all of the significators of the building, and never should you give any role in the building to him. And he said that if you cannot make it so without giving him a role in it, put Venus strong in her own place; and [do not] give her strength over Mars, and join her to him from a trine or sextile aspect: because Mars will not impede the matter of Venus if reception or even some benefic aspect (namely a trine or sextile) intervenes, on account of the greatness of their friendship. And he said, make Saturn cadent from Venus according to your ability, on account of her enmity with him.
Chapter 4: On the building of houses
However, in the building of houses you will not consider the fixed stars, but only the planets, whence the Ascendant and its Lord are to be adapted; the Moon also and the Lord of the domicile in which she is, and the planet to which she is joined; the fourth [sign] also and its Lord; even the second [sign] and its Lord; likewise the tenth [sign] and its Lord (and more strongly so if it were a building that ought to be elevated far above the ground). And beware lest you put the significators of the building below the earth, because they will not permit the building to be elevated unless perhaps after a great time, just like it happened with the tower of the Viviani, which is at St. Guglielmo's in Forlì. Still however, if the Moon were below the earth (namely in the 5th or the 3rd), joined to a planet (not impeded) above the earth, it will not be horrible.
And al-Tabari said, let the Moon be in crooked signs (which signify increase). Indeed al-Kindi said, let the Part of Fortune be in an angle, and do not let the angles be removed; and let the Tail be in the 12th, and the Lord of the conjunction [prior to the election] be in one of its own dignities, fast in course (the which opinion al-Rijal praised). And he likewise recommended that Saturn aspect the significators from a trine aspect with reception, and he recommended this very much. But whereas on the other hand it seems somewhat impossible always to be able to adapt all the things which are necessary for us in buildings, and the elections of buildings occur for us every day, we must adapt what can be adapted, namely by rendering individual [elections] in each case. That is, if someone wanted to build a city of castle, adapt the Ascendant and the other things which were said above; and if you cannot adapt them all, adapt the Lord of the exaltation of the Ascendant, and use him more in this than the Lord of the domicile or of the other dignities. And if again you cannot do this, adapt the Ascendant with one of the aforesaid fixed stars. And beware lest one of the fixed stars which are of the nature of the malefics should fall in the ascending degree or near it by 2º. I tell you likewise concerning the 4th house (namely for which the stars are listed in the Treatise on revolutions, in an appropriate place). And when you have done this, you have already adapted the beginning of the building of the city or castle, if even if you could adapt nothing else.
Indeed in building houses, if you cannot adapt all the aforesaid, adapt the Ascendant and its Lord; likewise the Moon and the second and the fourth and their Lords (or at least the second); and make the Moon to be joined with Jupiter from any aspect except for the opposition; and if you can, put Jupiter in the second: in this way you have already adapted the greater part of the building of the house by thus sojourning in the house. And even the Lord of the exaltation of the sign in which the Moon is, should be adapted more strongly than the Lord of the domicile, if it can be done. For in every building and planting he is to be preferred to the Lord of the domicile; and of the aforesaid, adapt whatever you can adapt; but these which I have told you now are to be preferred-since indeed, the conjunction of Jupiter with the Moon signifies the comeliness and beauty and goodness of the house.
And beware in the building of houses lest you give Saturn or Mars some role in them, even though Saturn may be given a role in the building of cities; indeed in no building should Mars be given a role. And beware lest you put the Tail in the first or the 2nd or the 4th (and especially in the 2nd), because it diminishes substance. However, put the Head in them with confidence, because it increases it. And beware of the Moon in the conjunction of Saturn or Mars or with the Tail (or any of them) in the first, even the 2nd or in the 4th (except perhaps Mars, if you could not avoid him in the adaptation of Venus, however, just as was said). For Saturn in the first or in the 4th signifies deformity and its slowness, and that the house will hardly or never be raised up; and if it were raised up, it will hardly or never be inhabited (and especially by its builder). And if it were inhabited, its inhabitants will suffer many inconveniences (like fears, horrible dreams, and diverse tribulations); and it signifies that the building will be shattered and broken, and perhaps that it will fall down from the shattering. Indeed in the 2nd he signifies the diminution of substance. Mars however, when he is in one of those places, signifies the burning of the house or of the building, and its fall and destruction, and the loss of money through fires and thievery; and all the more so if he were ascending to his awj or to the further longitude, or were otherwise ascending.
And Sahl said, let the Moon be increased in light and number then, because it signifies the usefulness of the Lord of [her] domicile, and let the Lord of her domicile be aspecting [it]. And he said that the Lord of the Ascendant should be aspecting the Ascendant, and be cleansed of the malefics. And he said if the Lord of the Ascendant did not aspect the Ascendant, the master of the house will not stay long in it. (If however the building were of a low-class or ignoble or humble person, adapt all that you can of the aforesaid; moreover because many adapted significators will make up for the weakness of the root of that nativity).
Chapter 5: On the building of churches
If however it were the building belonging to a religion, you will consider in two ways concerning it. For if it were a humble building, nor very expensive, as are common churches, small hermitages (like those of the Order of Saint Augustine of Brother Zanniboni), and abbacies similar to hermitages and those of common people and chapels and monasteries, and the like (which are not of great fame): in such cases you will adapt the Ascendant and its Lord; likewise the Moon and her Lord; the 9th and its Lord.
If however it were famous or stately, as are great monasteries (as are Claraevalentia, as is the Church of St. Mark in Venice; the Archbishopric of the Pisans; St. Vitalis of Ravenna, and many other churches of the Minor Brothers of Bologna, the Campanile in Forlì, the Baptistry of Florence, and the like), going beyond the way of religion, you will not elect for them as you do for spiritual buildings, but as for temporal ones. Whence, for them you will adapt the Ascendant and its Lord, and the Lord of the exaltation of the Ascendant; chiefly the Moon and her Lord; and likewise the tenth instead of the ninth. And if it were the building of a house of study, adapt Mercury, and make him of good condition, fortunate and strong; and put him in a good place, so that he aspects the Ascendant by a trine or sextile aspect. If however it were a building of delights, as is one of drinking, games, and the like, adapt Venus, and make her fortunate and strong and of good condition, and let her aspect the Ascendant from an aspect of friendship. If however it were a building in which victuals ought to be served (like grains, wine, olive oil, honey, and other edibles and potables), adapt Jupiter, make him fortunate and strong, and so that he aspects the Ascendant with a praiseworthy aspect. If however it were a building in which some people ought to be put in prison, adapt Saturn, and make him strong in his own place, and so that he aspects the Ascendant by any aspect except for the opposition.
Chapter 6: On the destruction of constructed buildings
It seemed that this chapter was to be put among the chapters on the 7th house, but to al-Rijal it seemed that it ought to be set out in advance among the chapters on the 4th house. For he said that since destruction is the contrary of building, the chapter on it should be put next to the chapter on building (though there is little significance in this), saying if you wanted to destroy some building, make the Ascendant one of the fiery or airy signs; and let the Lord of the Ascendant and the Moon be in fiery or airy signs.
And al-Tabari said, let the Ascendant be a sign of direct ascension, and let the Lord of the Ascendant be occidental, decreasing in number, going toward a sign in which it is cadent; nor however should it be retrograde, but let it be cadent from the angle. Also, let the Moon be decreasing in light and number, cadent from the angle, even joined to a planet cadent from the angle and going to its own fall; or let her be in Scorpio or Capricorn, and let her be below the earth or joined to a planet located below the earth; and let her be descending southern, or let her be joined to a retrograde planet; even let her be in the last quarter of the lunation, and let the Moon be cadent from the Sun (nor let her be received); and let the Lord of the 4th house [domicile?] be weak, and the planet to whom the Moon is joined, and even the other significators of the building. And above all else you will weaken Mars, even if you cannot weaken all the others; nor however should you forget to weaken him, because just as he is contrary to someone building, so in the contrary of destruction he strives to rebuild the building. For those things which I told you above do not permit the torn-down building to be remade, nor rebuilt. If however [the inceptor] did not care whether the building would be rebuilt or not, let the Moon be separated from a malefic, and joined to an oriental benefic, or let her be received, and the building will be torn down more easily.
Chapter 7: On the renting or leasing of houses or lands
or vineyards or their fruits, or of other things
which are leased and rented
If you wanted to elect the hour for someone so that he might rent some thing, or lease it out for a certain price, and a certain return, or for a certain portion of the fruits of what are to be gathered or received from the thing, adapt the Ascendant and its Lord; also the Moon and the Lord of the sign in which she is. For the Ascendant and its Lord signify him who rents the thing, indeed the seventh [sign] and its Lord signify him who leases it out. Indeed the tenth [sign] signifies that which is given for the rental. However the fourth [sign] signifies the end of the matter, and what the rental results in; and what follows from thence for each.
Therefore, see which of the aforesaid places are made fortunate, and which unfortunate. For if the Ascendant and its Lord were made fortunate, it signifies good for the renter, and the renter will be truthful, and lawful, and will observe for the lessor those things which he promised him. If however it were unfortunate and evil, it will be to the contrary. If indeed the 7th and its Lord were fortunate, it signifies that the lessor will observe those things which he promised to the renter, and he will be lawful and of good faith. If however it were evil and unfortunate, he will lie to his partner, and will not observe what was promised, and he will be fraudulent to him.
If indeed both significators were fortunate and good, each will observe the faith of the other, and they will both be lawful. If both were evil and unfortunate, each of them will strive to deceive the other, and will be fraudulent to him.
And al-Rijal said, he to whom the Moon is joined signifies him who leases out, and he from whom she separates, signifies him who rents; [al-Rijal ], however, as I believe, considered it if the leasing were motivated first from the lessor; [but] if the renter were motivated first, it will be to the contrary. The Lord of the sign in which the Moon is, signifies the end of the matter.
And al-Tabari said we should adapt Jupiter and Saturn, and put them aspecting each other from a praiseworthy aspect. And he said, for this purpose, that the promises of the one leasing out and of the renter would be observed and would be firm.
And al-Rijal said that in leasing [something] out, let the Ascendant be adapted, and its Lord, and let him be going toward the angle in an earthy sign (and likewise the Moon); or let him be in the angle of the earth. Indeed let the planet from which the Moon is being separated be free, and let it be in one of its own dignities (because it signifies the land). And he said that the Lord of the seventh should be made fortunate, harmonizing with the Lord of the Ascendant; and [do] this just as well as you can. Indeed let the planet whose conjunction the Moon seeks, harmonize with the planet from which she is being separated. And he said that the seventh [sign] and its Lord, and the planet to which the Moon is joined, signify the [one leasing the land from the owner]; and the Ascendant and its Lord, and the planet from which the Moon is being separated, signify the [owner who rents out the land], and it signifies the Lord of each. And wherefore the fourth [sign] and its Lord signify the land. And he said that in the inception of an election of the land you are to use the same election.
Chapter 8: On the extending of rivers or canals and the like
If someone wished to extend a river or canal, or other waters, and you wanted to elect for him the hour fit for this, adapt the Ascendant and its Lord; the Moon also, and the Lord of the sign in which she is; even adapt Saturn so that he is oriental; and let even the Lord of the Ascendant be oriental, free from impediments in an angle, in one of its own dignities; and let the Moon be below the earth, in the 3rd or the 5th, in an earthy sign. And if she were above the earth, let her be in the 10th or 11th.
And al-Rijal said that it is good for Saturn to be in the 11th, provided that the Moon is not joined to him by body. You will even adapt Jupiter. Nor let any malefic be in the 10th.
And al-Kindi said, let the Moon be in the 1st, square from the Sun, made fortunate, in increased light and number; and let her be in an angle (namely of the first or the tenth or the fourth); and do not let the angles be removed; and let the Ascendant be a watery sign, made fortunate with a strong benefic.
Even the Part of Fortune is to be adapted, and the Lord of the conjunction or the prevention which was before the election, and the rest of the things which were said in the renting of land; which if you cannot adapt all of these, adapt those which you can-of which one is chiefly the adaptation of the Moon. You will even adapt the Lord of the Ascendant and the Part of Fortune.
Chapter 9: On the planting of trees and fig-trees
The methods of planting trees or orchards are many: for either they are planted or plugged. Again, of trees, some are planted with roots or stakes (as are figs, olives, apples, almonds, nuts, and the like). Others are planted without roots, and are called plugs (like poplar, willow, and the like). Others are called orchards (like vine branches, wild olivetree [oleaster], [and] the like). And of those to be planted, certain ones are sometimes plugged, and of those to be plugged certain ones are sometimes planted; and every one of these methods can be said to be "planting."
Whence if you wanted to elect the hour for someone in order to plant trees or orchards or plug fig-trees, begin from the Moon and put her in Taurus joined to Venus by whatever method, if you can. And if you could not put the Moon in Taurus, put her in Aquarius (though Aquarius is below Taurus [in effectiveness]). Which if you could not do this, put her in Leo (however Leo is below Aquarius [in effectiveness]). Which again if you could not do this, put her in Pisces or in Virgo (but they are below Leo [in effectiveness]), provided that she is aspected by some planet from a watery sign, if she were in Leo. But Taurus is to be preferred before all the others.
And let Saturn be in the first ([and] direct), or in the eleventh, or the fifth, or the second, in any one of his own dignities or strengths, or let him occupy one of the aforesaid signs there. And if you could not put him in the first, put Jupiter there aspecting Saturn (or wherever Jupiter is); make him aspecting Saturn by an aspect of friendship, and let him be in a place in which he would have some testimony. And if neither of them could be put in the first, put the Moon there, or put her in the tenth or in the eleventh, or at least in the fifth or third. And you should never make her impeded in plantings and seedings. And beware lest you give Mars a role in planting or seedings, except in buildings; and make the Moon (and the Lord of the sign in which she is) cadent from him, and likewise the Part of Fortune; and adapt the Lord of the exaltation of the Ascendant if you can do it, because it is not evil if it is preferred to the Lord of the domicile in this.
And al-Khayyat said, let the Lord of the domicile of the Moon be aspecting her from a watery sign; and if the Ascendant were not a fixed sign, let the Lord of the Ascendant and the Moon (or at least one of them) be oriental, ascending. For if the Lord of the Ascendant were oriental, and were ascending to its own awj, or the farther longitude [or distance], it signifies that a tree which is planted then will grow quickly. Indeed if it were ascending and it were not oriental, it signifies that the tree will grow quickly, but it will delay the bearing of its fruit. And this does not bring harm in trees that are not fruit-bearing. And if it were oriental, descending from its awj, or toward its nearer longitude, it will grow slowly, but it will hasten to bear fruit. And if it were occidental, descending, it will delay the growing and bearing of its fruit. And if you cannot make the Ascendant a fixed sign, make the Ascendant a common sign, and [put] the significators in common signs. But since it is difficult to adapt all things which can be considered in elections, as I have already told you many times, if you cannot adapt all things which you want, adapt the ones which you can. For in the planting of trees, if you cannot adapt something else, adapt at least the Moon and put her in Taurus, free, not impeded, or in the last part of Sagittarius joined to Jupiter by any sort of aspect (except for the opposition). Nor let Jupiter be impeded, and put him in the Ascendant, if you can, free, or in the 10th, or the 11th, or the 5th, or the 4th. And I tell you the same concerning the Part of Fortune, if it can be done.
Chapter 10: On the sowing of seeds which we intend to bear fruit
in the same year or in the following one
If you wanted to elect the hour of sowing seeds for someone, it is necessary in every sowing that the Ascendant be a movable or common sign, and the Lord of the Ascendant be in a movable sign (if it can be done). However, just as I told you in plantings, start from the Moon, and work through her: because her virtue in plantings is to be preferred to the virtues of all the other planets.
And al-Rijal said, let the Moon be in movable signs; whence she is to be put in a movable or common sign, earthy (or of sowing). But if she were in Aries, it is necessary that a planet aspect her from a watery sign, lest a portion of the seed dry out. And al-Rijal praised Cancer and Capricorn; indeed he praised Virgo before all the other earthy signs or those of sowing, both in seeds which bear fruit in the same year, and in those which bear fruit in the following year (like those which are seeded when they are planted, like leeks, cabbages, and the like). And sometimes they bear fruit in the same year in which they are planted.
Indeed Sahl said that the Ascendant should be a common sign, and its Lord in a movable sign, aspecting the Lord of its own domicile; and let [the Lord of the Ascendant] be free from the malefics: because if the malefics were to aspect him, the seed will be found impeded. And let the Moon be increased in light and number: because if she were under the rays, or were decreasing in number, it signifies that the seed will be decreased, and [nothing] will emerge out of it except for a middling amount.
And of the fixed signs, Taurus is recommended, but it thins the seed according to the quantity that is sowed. Whence it is necessary that something more be cast forth of the seed than is usual; nor however should it exceed the proper limit. And even the last half of Sagittarius is of value in sowings, and even Pisces is recommended. If indeed it were the seed of trees (just as on occasion some are seeded in order that the trees which emerge from the seeds might be planted again and arranged), let the Moon be in Taurus. You however, if you cannot adapt all of the aforesaid, put the Moon in Virgo free from impediments, and you have adapted the hour of sowing.
Chapter 11: On beginning to cultivate inheritances
If you wanted to elect the hour for someone wanting to begin to cultivate an inheritance which he had obtained, or which another is searching out for him, adapt the Ascendant and its Lord, and the Moon, and the planet in whose domicile she is, so that all are received; and let the planet which receives any one of them be in an angle or a succeedent, free from impediments; and if not all of this can be done, let at least the Moon be received by a strong and fortunate planet, and [let her be] in a good place. And make it (if you ever can) so that a benefic, free from impediments, is in the second.
And al-Kindi said, let the Lord of the Part of Fortune and the Lord of the conjunction or the prevention be in any angle, or going toward it, and let the Lord of the sign in which the Moon is, be a benefic; which if all of these were absent, at least make it so that the Moon is in the Ascendant, or in a good place from it, received.
Chapter 12: On putting together ships or galleys
The methods of putting together ships are three, to which all others are subordinated. For either it is the putting together of a galley or of something equal for overcoming enemies; or it is the putting together of a great ship for transport; or it is a ship for other common navigations, like small merchant trips, and the like.
Whence if someone wanted to put together a galley or other ship of passage, either for overcoming enemies, or for sailing the sea by another method of speed, adapt the Ascendant and its Lord; even the Moon and the planet in whose domicile she is in; and put them in the Ascendant or in the 10th or in the 11th; and let the Ascendant be a fixed sign; and if it can happen, let the other angles likewise be fixed signs. And adapt the 4th and its Lord, because it naturally signifies ships. And make it, if you can, so that [the 4th] is a watery sign; or at least put its Lord in a watery sign, free from impediments, and joined to some benefic. And let the planet from which the Moon is being separated, be strong and fast. And if you cannot put the Lord of the Ascendant or the Moon in the 10th, put a benefic there, strong and made fortunate, having a strong testimony there, and let it be oriental and fast in course; however, [let] the Lord of the seventh be weak and slow in course.
If however it were a boat for transport, let the Moon be in her own average course with the other things above being adapted, as was said, so that she does not run more than her average course in one day; and if she were to travel less [than that] by three or four minutes, it will not be bad on account of the fear that it would be harmed by excess speed.
If indeed it were of the other aforesaid [kinds of] ships, you will adapt the aforesaid, but it does not matter whether the Moon is fast in course or not, provided she is not very slow so that she does not go less than her own [average] course by more than by 31' in one day. And strive to adapt the Lord of the conjunction or the prevention according to your ability, because this is good; and if the Moon were separated from another planet, make her to be joined to some benefic; and if the Lord of the Ascendant were not in an angle, make it so that he goes toward it.
And al-Rijal said that certain people affirmed it was good if the Moon were in Taurus or in Gemini. And he said we must beware of the aspect of Mars with the Moon or with the Lord of the Ascendant, or with the Lord of the fourth in the putting together of a ship. And al-Rijal said that it is useful if the Moon were above the earth. And he said these same things are to be adapted in the launching of ships into the water, and in their purchase; you, however, adapt all that you can adapt; but always let it be your concern to adapt the Moon. And when a mast is raised higher in the ship, then the tenth [sign] is to be adapted, and its Lord; likewise the Moon is to be put in it.
Chapter 13: On the building of mills
Mills are built in many ways: for one kind is built on ships, another is built on pole-bars, so that it is raised up and pressed down as the puller wishes (and that is said to be a hanging mill). Another is built [to be] immovable, so that it is neither pressed down nor elevated, but rather remains stable; and this is called a transverse mill. Another is built in a house to be inhabited, which is turned by some animal or with some fashioned instrument, and it is called a posternum. Another is built in high places, which is turned by the wind, and it is called a windmill. And according to their diverse modes of building, their elections are to be diversified. Whence if someone wanted to build one of the aforesaid mills, and came to you so you would elect for him the hour fit for it, and it were a mill on ships, let the Ascendant be the last half of Pisces or the last of Virgo. If however it were a mill that is called "hanging," suspended from a pole-bar or on ships, let the Ascendant be the first half of Aries or the last half of Libra; because the one and the other signify equality. If indeed it were a fixed mill that is neither raised up nor pressed down, which is called a transverse one, or it is a mill in a house which is turned by beasts or fashioned instruments, which is called a posternum, let the Ascendant be a fixed sign, either a watery one or an earthy one. If indeed it were a mill that is turned by the wind, like customarily happens in certain places, let the Ascendant be an airy sign, and the Moon in the aforesaid signs or in the Ascendant or in the tenth or the eleventh.
And al-Rijal said, beware lest the Moon be in Cancer or Capricorn; likewise to be avoided are Gemini and Sagittarius on account of the great inequality of the days and nights when the Sun is in them; and let the Moon, in any building of a mill, always be in her average course, or a little faster, if it can be so. If however you could not put the Moon in the aforesaid signs, nor could you make them the ascending [signs], but the Moon and the Ascendant were in other signs, al-Rijal said that if it were with the aspect of a malefic it will be good; nevertheless if it were with the aspect of a benefic it will be better.
The beginning of a ship-mill is when its renter begins to build the first ship. Indeed the beginnings of the other mills are when it begins to be built by the professionals which are of the substance of the mill. And if it were a mill that needs a watermill, make the watermill begin to be dug when the other aforesaid beginning comes to be.
Lest perhaps you might believe or fear some contrary or unnecessary or broken thing in the judgments or in the elections of astronomy, it may always be found (concerning any heading) according to how you would find it stated by the wise. Judge thus, nor will you care what is stated elsewhere, nor would you be able to go astray-but you will always judge and elect aright.
Benjamin Dykes received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has seven years' experience as a college instructor, concentrating on the ancient and medieval philosophy that informs much ancient and medieval astrology, and many years' experience in ritual practice in the Western Mystery Tradition, including the Golden Dawn, Wicca, and Thelema.
Since earning his Diploma of Medieval Astrology studying with Robert Zoller, Ben has been active in translating and publishing works that focus upon medieval astrological techniques. His own text, Using Medieval Astrology is available through his website at www.bendykes.com. He has also recently translated Abu Mashar's Flowers of Astrology, as well as the eagerly anticipated Book of Astronomy by Guido Bonatti, from which this article is extracted. Upcoming works include selected works in mundane, horary, and natal astrology by Masha'allah, Sahl ibn Bishr's Introduction, 50 Judgments, Questions, Elections, Prediction and Al-Kindi's The Forty Chapters.
© Benjamin Dykes, 2007.