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Galileo's Chart for Sagredo

The translation of the notes that Galileo scribbled out for his own use about Sagredo (his best friend), is as follows:

Giovanni Sagredo

Venus being alone is an auspicious signifier of character, free from the aspects of malefics and, being illuminated by the benign rays of Jupiter and Mercury in Sextile, determines the most honest, praiseworthy and best of characters, and makes him kind, happy, merry, beneficient, pacific, sociable pleasure-loving, a lover of God, and impatient of troubles.

From the combination of testimonies a warm and moist temperament results, indeed a sanguine one with lack of balance because of Venus's being the ill-balanced lady of the geniture, and the horoscope [ascendent-ruler], and the tenant of the horoscope [placed in the first house] and what is more from Saturn being in opposition to the ascendent.

Pro Vita (Length of life) Venus is constituted as hyleg apheta or the prorogatrix of life; and, by the same token, the alcocoden since she is in her own house. The ascendent falls in the Terms of Venus in her own house, surrounded by the fixed Pleiades and applying to Jupiter by a partile (=exact) sextile. She is free from rays malefic to herself.

More notes on the technicalities of the chart are given below.

Galileo's worksheet for the horoscope of Sagredo

Notes on this chart

By Deborah Houlding

The table in the top left of the form shows the noon positions and daily motion of the planets from which Galileo has calculated their longitude for the time of the chart. Beneath this it is noted that Venus is the hyleg / apheta (the planet known as the "giver of life") and is its own almuten-ruler (alchocoden). The Hyleg and alchocoden were used in the determnation of length of life.

The table on the top right shows the almuten for each house and each planet. Beneath this Galileo notes that Venus is the Domina Geniture, (Lady of the Geniture).

Down the left of the chart Galileo lists the longitude and latitude for each planet. The last line indicates that the preceding opposition (last full Moon prior to the chart) occurred with the Sun at 16 Gem. and the Moon at 16 Sag. In fact it occured at 26 Gem-Sag; this may have been a slip of his pen. The previous lunation was often considered as part of the method for establishing the hyleg, with the previous New Moon of most significance for diurnal charts and the previous full Moon of most significance for nocturnal charts (as this one is).

On the chart we can see that Galileo has computed the Part of Fortune at 9° Aries, revealing that he did not reverse the formula for calculation in nocturnal charts but, like Ptolemy, took its position by day and night by measuring from the Sun to the Moon and projecting that distance from the ascendant.

The table beneath the chart shows Galileo's calculation of planetary dignities and the method by which he computed their fortitudes or debilities numerically. His use of triplicities is interesting : he appears to have followed classical convention of considering three triplicity rulers (Mars, Moon, Venus) for the water triplicity (see: The Classical Use of Triplicities), but the medieval convention of recognising only two for the remaining triplicities. Like many modern astrologers who use traditional techniques, he perhaps felt that the 3-rulership scheme was more appropriate for the water triplicity in allowing a relationship to rulers which have a cool and moist nature. It is also to be noted that in calculating planetary strengths he awarded points to a planet located within its own triplicity regardless of whether it was the presiding ruler by day or night. The points he awarded and subtracted in establishing their fortitudes are listed below. They don't differ greatly from point-scoring system out in the 17th century astrologer William Lilly's Table to Examine the Strength & Debility of Each Planet, and Like Lilly, Galileo recognised the north node as exalted in Gemini.

Sun Trine Jupiter + 4
In 3rd house + 1
Slow in motion [tarda] - 5 Total: 0
Moon Sextile Mercury + 1
Trine Saturn + 1
In 2nd house + 3
Decreasing in light [lumidimi] - 5
Slow in motion [tarda] - 2
Conjunct Mars - 5 Total: 7 debilities
Saturn Own exaltation + 4
Own triplicity + 3
Free of sun [Liber] + 5
Trine Moon + 1
Occidental of Sun - 2
Retrograde - 5
In 6th house - 4 Total: 2 fortitudes
Jupiter Own sign [Dom.] + 5
Free of Sun + 5
Oriental of Sun + 2
Direct + 4
Sextile Venus + 3
Trine Sun + 3
Trine Mercury + 3
Square Mars - 3
In 12th house - 5 Total: 17 fortitudes
Mars Own face [Dec.] + 1
Free of Sun + 5
Oriental of Sun + 2
Direct & fast [Dir: V.] + 6
In 2nd house + 3 Total: 17 fortitudes
Venus Own Sign + 5
Own triplicity + 3
In Joy [Gaudio] ? + 1
Free of Sun + 5
Direct and fast + 6
Sextile Jupiter + 3
In ascendant + 5
Oriental of Sun - 2
Conjunct Algol [Caput Medusa] - 5 Total: 21 fortitudes
Mercury The basis of the first two set of points awarded for essential dignity are unclear. 4 points are awarded for an exaltation connection and 1 point is awarded (it appears) because Mercury has the Sun for its almuten.
Exaltation [?] + 4
Almuten is Sun [?] + 1
Free of Sun + 5
Ocidental of Sun + 2
Direct & fast + 6
Sextile Moon + 1
Sextile Venus + 3
Trine Jupiter + 4
Square Saturn - 5 Total: 21 fortitudes.

The assignation of points for aspectual relationships may be influenced by the concept of planets that are 'friendly' or 'hostile' to each other. This may explain why, for example, the Moon receives 1 point of fortitude for its trine with Saturn whilst Mars does not, and why Saturn gets no benefit from its trine with the Sun.

Galileo appears to have recognised aspects that are wide in orb, accepting aspectual relationships as denoted by the signs, yet he also acknowledges out of sign aspects where they fall close to the 'limits of moiety'. Hence Jupiter, at 22° Pisces, is denoted as in trine to the Sun at 7° Cancer (17° apart), and also Mercury, at 2° Leo, (10° apart and crossing sign boundaries).

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D. Houlding, 2004