Skyscript home page


The Life & Work of Ibn Ezra

120 Aphorisms for Astrologers by Abraham, Ibn Ezra

The following extract is the 8th chapter of Abraham Ibn Ezra's 12th century text The Beginning of Wisdom, translated by Raphael Levy and Francisco Cantera, 1939. This has been retyped, annotated and prepared for web presentation by Deborah Houlding. The Levy-Cantera translation remains available from Ascella Publications. A new translation by Meira Epstein is available from ARHAT Publications.

1 Because the Moon is near the Earth and accelerated in its course, it increases the conjunction of planets by communicating its force to them without ever receiving any force from them; it transfers brilliancy from one to the other; it corresponds to the new-born in that its beams develop gradually until they are full, and afterwards it declines gradually until it is no longer visible and disappears from the world. That is why the ancients said that it influences every deliberation and the beginning of any task. If it is in its ascendancy and its circumstances are favourable, anything which one may start at that moment will meet with success, and contrariwise if it is in the unfavourable circumstances. They added that, for the asker, you should observe the ascending sign with its rulers, and for the request, the 7th sign with its rulers, and always put the Moon in contact with it.

2 If the Moon is moving by itself, [void of course] that indicates any futile thing, and it signifies that any thing which the asker requests cannot possibly occur.

3 The planet which enters into conjunction or into aspect with the Moon prognosticates every future thing and anything which the asker will expect; if the planet is favourable, it will be a boon; if the planet is unfavourable, it will bring harm.

4 The separation from the Moon denotes things which have passed; if it separated in conjunction or in aspect with a helpful planet, it was beneficial, and with a harmful planet, it was sinister [harmful].

5 If the asterism which receives its force from the Moon is in its ascendancy, then the thing will be done properly; just the opposite if it should be weak.

6 Likewise, in the case of any constellation which communicates force to another one, the event will take place according to the power of the recipient.

7 On the day when the Moon is with the baleful planets, nothing which one may ask will be completed properly if there is a planet in the ascending sign; if the Moon should be in one of the poles of the meridian, then it is worse, because it forecasts fear in mind and sickness in body; if it should be in the falling [cadent] houses, it indicates fear but not sickness.

8 The planets move in two faces, one helpful, the other harmful; wherever you find the planet to be favourable, predict good; for the opposite position, predict the opposite.

9 The favourable direct planets are useful whether they receive or not. If they receive, so much the better. The unfavourable planets are destructive by their very nature, but if a planet should be received by it, its malignant influence will be attenuated. The same holds true whether the visual angle formed with it is a sextile or a trine aspect

10 A planet should not be considered harmful until the rays of the harmful planet dominate it in proportion to the force of its body; if it is less than that, then it will forecast only slight harm; after it departs in aspect one degree from the new-born, and relatively more if it goes further away, it will provoke fear which will not have any practical consequence. That is [also] the procedure of the favourable planet. If the planet, which prognosticates all that which is to happen, does not form a visual angle with the ascending sign, the hope of the petitioner will not materialize.

11 If the beneficial planets are in aspect with the baleful planets, the influence of the latter will be less harmful.

12 The favourable always prognosticate a boon, and the unfavourable prognosticate harm. Nevertheless if the unfavourable one should be in its exaltation, the effect will be good, although it will involve pain and sorrow.

13 If the helpful planets should be in a position opposite to their character, in the house of their dishonour [detriment], in the house of their hatred [fall], or in the falling [cadent] houses, and if no aspect lies between them and the ascending sign, then it will exert absolutely no influence.

14 Likewise if the unfavourable are in that position, their harm will be slight.

15 If the favourable asterism is in its ascendancy and if it alone exerts an influence over the new-born, then its good influence will increase.

16 If Jupiter is in aspect with the favourable planet, it will make its nature favourable. Venus cannot modify the nature of Saturn except with the aid of Jupiter. Jupiter nullifies the harm of Saturn, but Venus nullifies the harm of Mars even more than does Jupiter.

17 If both the favourable and unfavourable planets are in a bad position, or if they scintillate, they prognosticate something vile; yet they cannot cause good or harm because of their weakness.

18 If a baleful planet should be east of the Sun, in a sign wherein it exerts an influence, and if no other unfavourable planet is in aspect with it, then it is better than the favourable one which scintillates or is retrograde.

19 If the baleful are in control of the thing requested, and if the ruler of the ascending sign joins in conjunction with them, and if the Moon is in square aspect or in opposition, then, should the request be granted, its end will be detrimental.

20 If the baleful is in an ascending sign and has within it any power, its influence will be less harmful; if it is retrograde, it will heap evil on evil.

21 If the baleful is in square aspect or in opposition, it will lose its favourable influence.

22 If the baleful should be in the position of its power and in one of the poles or one of the supports, its force is to be considered equivalent to the force of the favourable planets.

23 If the baleful is estranged in its position, then its influence will become more harmful.

24 If the baleful is in one of the poles, or if it harms the star of the square aspect or opposition then its evil influence will be complete; all the more so of it is more powerful than the star. If, however, it is in a trine or sextile aspect, the evil influence will be attenuated.

25 If the baleful should be in control of the thing requested, it indicates delay in the matter, and it means that it will not materialize but by grief and worry.

26 If the baleful should communicate its force to another ominous one, then it will heap evil upon evil; if a favourable one gives its force to another favourable one, then it will result in more luck: if a baleful gives its force to a favourable, then the fate will change from evil to good; the opposite will have an opposite effect.

27 If any beneficial or injurious constellation is in its house or in the house of its honour, it will always result in a boon.

28 Any planet at the beginning of a sign is considered weak until it is 5° away. Likewise, if the planet should be less than 5° away from one of the houses, it will be considered to be in the force of the house; if it is further away, then it falls beyond the force of the house.

29 Any asterism between the beginning of the house and 15° possesses great power.

30 If the planet is with one of the poles of the baleful and it departs from its aspect by 1°, it will cause fear but it will not have any practical result.

31 If the constellation is in the house of its dishonour, it prognosticates grief, anguish, and distress.

32 The planet which retrogrades denotes rebellion and the destruction of any project.

33 The planet, which is in its first station, is like a man who does not know what he will do, and its result is bad: if it is in its second station, it is like a man who expects something and whose hope will not be in vain.

34 If a star should be delayed in its course, it will delay the thing either fortunately or unfortunately; if Jupiter or Saturn should be in the variable [cardinal] signs, they will hasten the thing.

35 If the planet is at the end of the sign, its force will be lost for the first sign, and all its force will pass to the sign into which it is to enter. If the planet is in the 29th degree of the sign, its force stays in the sign where it is, because the planet exerts force in 3 degrees: in the degree in which it is, in the preceding degree, and in the subsequent degree.

36 If a star is about to enter into conjunction with a second star but, before the conjunction is consummated, the second star leaves for a different sign, and the first star pursues it and overtakes it, and if, before overtaking it, no other star unites with it, then the thing requested will be accomplished after the despair.

37 If a star is in aspect with another star, which then moves from its position before the lighter star reaches it, no harm will result, because the aspect does not interfere with the conjunction of celestial bodies.

38 If an asterism is in a sign which corresponds to its nature, its power will increase; if it is in a sign contrary to its nature, its power will weaken as, for example, Saturn in a house that is cold and dry.

39 If the planet, which is received, is favourable, then its force increases: if it is detrimental, then its harm is lessened.

40 If the planet is not in one of the places of its influence but is in the 6th or 12th house, it will not result in a boon.

41 If a planet is beneath the brilliancy and is one of the superior, it will exert no influence: the same is true of the inferior. If they retrograde, their influence is worse than any.

42 If the star, which serves for the prognostic, is retrograde, but later its motion follows the order of the signs, that indicates that the thing will be fulfilled partly. Likewise if it is beneath the rays of the Sun and then departs from there.

43 If a constellation, assuming that it is favourable, is in one of the censers, it will lose its good influence; if it is unfavourable, its influence will become worse.

44 If the favourable planet is in the 8th house, it indicates neither good nor bad; if one of the unfavourable is there, that prognosticates complete harm.

45 If the planet is about to reverse its motion, it forecasts unsuccessful consultation, difficulty, and destruction: if its motion becomes direct, it will better the luck in the matter, its strength, and its uprightness.

46 If the power of the planet should be 12 ° in an auspicious position, that will exert a better influence.

47 If the planet is in a fixed sign, it forecasts anything which will be constant and firm; if it is in a variable sign, the thing will vary; if it is in a sign with a double body, it augurs that one part of the thing will remain constant or that the thing will be modified twice.

48 If the receiving star is in an unfavourable position, it portends evil.

49 If the ruler of the ascending sign is in the house of its hatred, it cannot control completely the thing requested.

50 If the planet enters into conjunction with the favourable or unfavourable, the nature of the stronger of them is to be considered.

51 If the ruler of the ascending sign communicates force to the ruler of the consulted house, the thing will be desired very strongly; but if the ruler of the thing sought communicates force to the ruler of the ascending sign, then the thing will materialize without any difficulty.

52 If there is an obstructing planet between them, it prognosticates an individual who will put an obstacle between it and the thing sought.

53 If the master of the ascending sign separates from the master of the thing sought, his desire will disappear.

54 If no planet is in aspect with the Moon, that indicates indolence.

55 If many stars are in aspect with the Moon,, those which assist in fulfilling the object will be numerous.

56 If an asterism transfers from the ruler of the ascending sign to the ruler of the thing requested, then the thing will be accomplished through an intermediary.

57 If the ruler of the ascendant is in the house of its triplicity, and if the rulers of the signs of the triplicity are in aspect with it, those near to it will help it.

58 If the planet moves in the path, to which we referred for the return of brilliancy, the thing will take place after despair.

59 If the prognosticator is in a position to communicate force, that means that the thing will be accomplished exactly as he wishes.

60 If the prognosticator is about to communicate influence, that augurs that the thing will reveal another.

61 If the testimony of the prognosticator is in the act of communicating the nature, that denotes great joy in the affair.

62 If the testimony of the prognostication is in the act of communicating two natures, that points to the joy of the petitioner and of the one consulted.

63 If the testimony of the prognosticator is in a direct manner, that indicates a good outcome in anything desired.

64 If the testimony of the prognosticator is in an oblique manner, it means that he will abandon the project.

65 If the testimony of the prognosticator is in the position of prohibition, it augurs that the affair will be destroyed after having been expected.

66 If the testimony of the prognosticator is in the manner of the return of light to evil, it shows that the asker will repent his request.

67 If the testimony of the prognosticator corresponds to interference, it portends that events will arise which will destroy the thing.

68 If the testimony of the prognosticator is in the phenomenon of the accident, something will happen to it which will put an end to the consultation.

69 If the testimony of the prognosticator coincides with ruin, the petitioner will seek other counsel.

70 If the testimony of the prognosticator is analogous to the culmination of brilliancy, it points to an individual who will destroy his own consultation.

71 If the testimony of the prognosticator refers to pleasantness, it marks a man to whom it has done some good.

72 If the testimony of the prognosticator falls in the phenomenon of recompense, it forecasts that it will do good to others also.

73 The testimony of the mutual reception of the prognosticators predicts things which are preparing something that has not yet come to mind.

74 If the testimony of the prognosticator corresponds to liberality, it augurs that the solicitor and the adviser will love one another.

75 If the testimony of the prognosticator is taken at the time of similarity, it marks every good which is in the process of formation.

76 If the testimony of the prognosticator occurs in the evil mediation, it refers to the prisoners and the unfortunate, but if it occurs in a good one, it refers to the maximum benefit.

77 If the testimony of the prognosticator coincides with the dignity, it is an omen of every high rank.

78 The seven planets in their respective positions in the ecliptic offer prognostics. If a star is in its house, it is an example of a man in his home.

79 The star in the house of its honour is like a man in the pinnacle of his rank.

80 The star at its limit [terms] is like a man in his seat.

81 The star in the house of its triplicity is like a man with his relatives.

82 The star in its face corresponds to a man with his ornaments and clothing.

83 The star in its aphelion is similar to a man astride his horse.

84 The star in its form is like a man in a situation suitable to himself.

85 The star, which is in the reverse of its form, is like a man in a situation unsuitable to himself.

86 The star in the house of its hatred is like a man dissatisfied with himself.

87 The star in a position over which it does not predominate corresponds to a man who is not in his country.

88 The star in the house of its perihelion is similar to a man who falls from his greatness.

89 The Star which moves beneath the rays of the Sun is like a man in prison.

90 The star which scintillates is analogous to a man who is on the verge of death.

91 The star, which is about to assume a retrograde motion, is like a man bewildered and trembling at the misfortunes which will befall him.

92 The star which retrogrades is like a twitching and rebellious person.

93 The star in its second station is like a man who expects good luck.

94 The star, which is delayed in its course, corresponds to a man exhausted and lacking strength to go on.

95 The star accelerated in its course is like a young man running.

96 The eastern star is kindred to a person happy to fulfill his desire.

97 The western star is like an indolent man.

98 The star in conjunction with the Sun is like a person who sits with the king on his throne.

99 The star in aspect is similar to an individual who seeks what he desires.

100 The departing star is like a man who is repentant about the thing.

101 The star at a pole of the meridian resembles a man who stays at his post.

102 The star at a support is like a man who is hopeful.

103 The star in a falling house is like a man who changes his position.

104 The stars in conjunction correspond to two companions.

105 The stars in a sextile aspect are like two individuals who seek each other's love.

106 The stars in a trine aspect resemble two persons of similar temperament.

107 The stars in a square aspect are similar to two people each one of whom seeks control for himself.

108 The stars in opposition are kindred to two men fighting each other fiercely.

109 The star in the ascending sign is like the new-born child that comes out of the womb of its mother or like a thing which occurs at the right time.

110 The star in the 2nd house is the same as the person who is in the house of his assistants.

111 The star in the 3rd house harmonizes with the man who visits his brothers.

112 The star in the 4th house corresponds to a man in the house of his forbears or in his land.

113 The star in the 5th house is in affinity with a person in his business and in his pleasure.

114 The star in the 6th house is equivalent to a weak man running away.

115 The star in the 7th house is the same as a man prepared for battle.

116 The star in the 8th house is related to a person beset with fear and terror.

117 The star in the 9th house refers to a man leaving his place to go into exile or a man who has lost his high rank.

118 The star in the 10th house stands for a person in his power, in his dignity, and in his profession.

119 The star in the 11th house is in conformity with a man at the home of his friends.

120 The star in the 12th house is akin to a person in prison.

© Deborah Houlding, 2004