The Picatrix: Lunar Mansions in Western Astrology
By Ian Freer MA(Cantab)Hons
One of the oldest and most practical applications of astrology
is the election of a suitable moment for a event. It is therefore
regrettable that there is a dearth of printed material on the
subject at the present time. In order to rekindle interest in
this valuable subject I would like to present some new material
gleaned largely from my original researches into medieval Latin
source material, specifically the mysterious manuscript known
as Picatrix, which gives very detailed information on the use
of lunar mansions in elections.
Due to the complexity of the subject I should first spend some
time on setting the context. Picatrix was a medieval manuscript
drawing on earlier sources, all pre-1000 AD. Its major importance
was in the 15th century when it was studied by Cornelius Agrippa,
Pico della Mirandola and Marsilio Ficino; later it was circulated
among English astrologers including Simon Forman, William Lilly
and Elias Ashmole. Some 17 ms copies of Latin versions survive
today in various European libraries including the British Library.
From the 18th century its importance diminished until German astrologers
(Karl Brandler-Pracht and Elsbeth Ebertin) looked afresh at the
lunar mansions; also 20th century historians, particularly a group
including Dames Frances Yates attached to the Warburg Institute,
re-evaluated it and saw it as a crucial late Hermetic text of
the Renaissance, reviving interest in the classical planetary
gods, with obvious results in European arts and general culture
which we can still appreciate today.
What sort of astrology is in the Picatrix? Proactive astrology
looks to the future with a view to improving it. In the Hellenistic
period (from the death of Alexander to the suicide of Cleopatra)
this was called Katarchic astrology, and referred to elections.
All divination has proactive possibilities, foreseeing the likely
outcome perhaps in order to improve it or avoid it. The astrology
of the Picatrix is electional, choosing the optimum moment, firmly
proactive and empowering. The belief was that the Cosmos was full
of invisible, i.e. occult forces, not the protons, quarks and
neutrinos of modern, materialistic science, but planetary and
divine forces which could be channelled and attracted by the use
of sympathetic magic and astrological know-how. The doctrine of
correspondences, evident in the herbalism of Culpeper, was a key
factor and long lists of such correspondences were compiled by
the author of Picatrix. It was thought that man was in charge
of his Universe and would be a great scientist if he could learn
use these forces to shape his destiny; this is the belief behind
Pico's famous Oration on the Dignity of Man, which sums up the
optimistic Renaissance outlook. He was influenced greatly by the
Corpus Hermeticum, once a larger compilation than we now possess,
surviving in the Near East despite the coming of both Christianity,
which it had predicted in very mournful terms, and Islam. The
books we have came west shortly before the fall of Constantinople
to the Turks. It was only at the end of World War 2 that a large
body of linked Gnostic writings (including a text from the Hermetica)
were rediscovered at Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt.
The Coptic Church of Alexandria, which dominated the early centuries
of Christianity, was extremely unconfortable with the Hellenistic
style of religion which involved planetary deities, some of whom
are female, e.g. the Moon and Venus - the closest the Church comes
is in its veneration of the Virgin Mary. It turned them into Saints,
e.g. Hathor/Venus becomes St. Catherine with her shrine in Sinai,
named after the Mesopotamian Moon God, Sin, husband of Hathor.
The Moon is of course exalted in Taurus (part of which constellation
was known to the Egyptians as the Seven Hathors) and that sign
is ruled by Venus.
Just as we study solar cults like Mithraism and Zoroastrianism
when we plot the spread of the solar zodiac system, so we have
to be aware of these Moon cults when delving into the lunar mansions
system. The Moon God Sin had a major Temple at Harran, whose present
site is in south-east Turkey (but then culturally in Syria or
Mesopotamia), which was a centre of Hermeticism and Picatrix-type
beliefs well into the Islamic period, at least until the Crusades.
(This may explain a great deal about the Knights Templar). Thoth,
or Hermes Trismegistus as he was known later, was a major Moon
deity of the Egyptians. He was also the God of Wisdom and Writing.
He was worshipped particularly at Hermopolis, in Arabic called
El Ashmunein. His priest Petosiris was legendary as a great astrologer,
whose works are now known only in quotations from Roman sources.
His tomb is decorated like an Egyptian mini-Temple. The Picatrix
has a curious passage about the city of Hermopolis which is cited
in the relevant chapter of Eugenio Garin's "Astrology in the Renaissance",
and it is surprising that the text should refer explicitly to
the Egyptian city and not to Harran, if one accepts the majority
view among scholars that the contribution of Egypt to astrology
was much smaller than that of Mesopotamia. (Perhaps this fact
is linked to the use of Egyptian decans in the text).
Picatrix became greatly influential in the Neoplatonist phase
at the end of the 15th century. It is sometimes called Hermetic
but it was written a long time after the original Hermetic writings,
midway between them and the Renaissance Hermetists. It is the
most thorough compilation of astral magic known from the Arab
world, drawn from 8th and 9th century sources known in the Near
East. The original Arabic text was known as the Ghayat Al Hakim,
the Aim of the Wise. It was the Latin version, probably made by
Aegidius de Thebaldis1, translator of Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos, which
was widely influential and which I have been researching and partly
translating. It came via an intermediate Spanish translation of
which only fragments survive. It was translated into Spanish possibly
by Yehuda ben Moshe in 1256 and Latin soon after. The Latin is
a very close translation of the Spanish but not highly accurate
- there are expansions, omissions and mistakes.
How did the translation come about? The prologue tells us that,
"the learned man Picatrix compiled the text from 200 books and
more of philosophy, which he has called after his own name." Alfonso
X (the Wise), King of Castile 1252-1284, ordered the translation.
He was of course also responsible for the compilation of the Alphonsine
tables, the standard European astronomical tables until the 16th
century. It is symptomatic of the Arab influence on the European
astrological revival that this Arabic text should enter Europe
through Spain, once occupied by the Moors, rather than through
the Byzantine Empire, geographically far closer to Harran and
The book was never printed in any language until the present
century. An Arabic text was published by Ritter in Berlin in 1933.
A German text was published by Ritter and Plessner in London in
1962. A definitive Latin text, which I have worked from, was published
by Professor Pingree through the Warburg in 1986. It has never
been fully translated into English.
Professor Pingree's articles promote an emphasis on literary
sources typical of most western scholars. However I believe he
may have overlooked important oral components in the development
of the material. Studies of Homer in the context of other oral
traditions have helped us enormously in understanding oral sources
and how accurate they can be. They can survive millenia and cross
cultures easily as wandering bards or minstrels travel the world.
Stock phrases and other memory aids, such as lengthy lists, occur
with frequency in material which was originally committed to memory
by trained bards. There are numerous lists and stock phrases in
the Picatrix, which suggest to me that it developed in a secret
Mystery school somewhere in the Near East. The text is a compilation
from many different sources in that region but it often states,
"The wise men of India say"... not the wise Men of India write,
The fact that it is a compilation in four books is itself suggestive
of a student taking notes from an oral lecture course or courses
by various teachers, before whom he stands full of awe. The Arabic
names in Picatrix are very garbled (see appended table) as if
written during dictation without understanding: much more accurate
ones with English translations are given by Vivian Robson in "The
Fixed Stars and Constellations", which is essential reading for
anyone who wishes to explore the topic of lunar mansions further.
The writings refer often with awe to Hermes Trismegistus, i.e.
Thoth. The predecessor of Thoth was Seshat, Mistress of the Library,
she who remembers. Her symbol was a seven pointed star, nowadays
(is there a deliberate connection?) the symbol of the Faculty
of Astrological Studies. Seshat was the wife of Thoth but no myths
about her have survived. The Pharaoh's wife took part in the King's
Jubilee (the Heb Sed) as Seshat, measuring out the field which
was Egypt in miniature. All the cults brought their cult statues
and stood on the part of the field corresponding with their Temple
of origin. In her heyday, which was in prehistory and the very
earliest dynasties, it seems likely that the wisdom teachings
were committed to memory as happened with the Bards and Druids
in the Celtic world. Later her function was absorbed entirely
into that of Thoth. The Picatrix does refer also to Hermopolis
with awe as I have indicated, so the cult of Thoth and Seshat
is strongly implicated. This is another clue to an oral tradition
behind it. The entire epics of Homer were composed orally and
committed to someone's memory. Both epics are longer than the
Picatrix, so it was possible for a trained person to learn it
off by heart.
TWELVE SOLAR vs TWENTY-EIGHT DIVISIONS
The Picatrix material produced many surprises for me. For example
in the Middle Ages it was thought that the unlucky Via Combusta
was shorter, extending from only 18 deg. Libra to 3 deg. Scorpio.
The main surprise was that elections in this system were based
not on solar astrology (i.e. with the Sun placed in an appropriate
zodiacal sign for the activity) but on lunar astrology in which
the Moon should be placed in an appropriate asterism of 12 deg.
51 min. 26 secs., a lunar mansion or 1/28 th division of the zodiac
circle, roughly a day and a night's journey for the Moon. Clearly
it is important to indicate the nature and location of each mansion
in the system, which I will deal with shortly. First, however,
some background to that.
There are three major systems of astrology in which lunar mansions
are used: Chinese, Hindu and Arab. The Hindu system uses only
27 mansions (having dropped one except for use in horary work)
and the Chinese is virtually another system altogether. The other
systems are set out in detail in Robson's book and also in Volguine's
"Lunar Astrology", long since out of print. Arab astrology is
the closest obvious source for the Picatrix, but the Arabs came
to prominence only in the late 7th century, which begs the question
of where it came from before. The short answer is that the basis
of this system was compiled in writing in Iran during the period
of the 3rd to 7th centuries AD, but may well derive from earlier,
more obscure oral or lost written sources. I am sure that at least
one Near Eastern religious cult was implicated and we cannot rule
out contact with Greco-Egyptian Hermetists as the key. Is there
a clue in the author's name?
The author calls himself Picatrix and some scholars have said
this is a corruption of Buqratis or indeed the Doctor Hippocrates
of Cos, to whom many later works were wrongly attributed. The
Italian ms. I have seen in the BM refers to a Giovanni de Picatrix,
which only serves to confuse matters further. E J Holmyard2, the
alchemy expert, suggests the writer was a mysterious Norbar the
Arab or an alchemist called Al Majriti (the man from Madrid),
but the dates make this latter identification impossible; the
Warburg settle for calling him "Pseudo-Majriti", which takes us
no further. At any rate the original author/compiler was an Arab
Hermetist or neo-Platonist living no later than the 13th century
and possibly up to several centuries earlier. He drew heavily
on the Arab astrologer Abu Ma'ashar. He wrote in a period when
the Arabs dominated astrology as so much else. It is notable that
the text itself makes many references to the Wise Men of India,
who used quite a different system of lunar mansions, but the Indian
priests are known to have used their form of lunar mansions in
timing their religious rites in the first millenium BC. The text
refers to planetary gods by their (often garbled) names in Latin,
Greek, Arabic and Indian. This is completely typical of the muddled
nature of the mss.
The lunar mansions are claimed to be suitable for specific purposes.
The reader is directed to make an image when the Moon is in the
relevant Mansion. Astrologers like John Dee separated the astrology
from the magic and used this astrological system brilliantly in
electing the Coronation Chart for Elizabeth I. Now this use of
images may be a clue as it was part of the Egyptian magical tradition.
Archaeologists have found so-called execration texts or curses
written in hieroglyphs on clay figures of people from neighbouring
countries considered likely enemies of Egypt. These figures were
sent to the boundary forts and when Egypt was attacked the appropriate
image was shattered in an act of sympathetic magic.
The Hebrews were greatly influenced by Egypt and a similar idea
lies behind the fictional tale of the Rabbi of Prague who created
the Golem, a clay figure brought to life by Qabalistic spells
and magic letters.
We cannot be sure that the image making in the Picatrix was
derived from Egypt as the execration texts are entirely different
in method from the often beneficial effects promised by Picatrix,
which does not use the breakage for effect, but I make the point
that the method was in the air.
This leads me on to a new theory about the name Picatrix. The
word could be connected with a Latin root meaning painted and
if so the feminine ending -ix would give the meaning of painted
lady. Who could she have been? Firstly, we know that Egyptian
women loved to decorate themselves with make-up and/or tattoos.
(Seshat has a dual meaning of make-up artist as well as goddess.)
We have found tattoos on Egyptian women in the form of Bes (the
lion-faced dwarf god, patron of childbirth) on the upper thigh
and rows of dots across the stomach. Some of their wise women
were amulet-makers; others were involved in midwifery and determined
the fate of the new born, warning which deities must be appeased
or would favour the child. The wise woman was called a Rekeet.
This is the likely origin of the good fairies, wicked fairies
or stepmothers etc. in our fairy tales (Cinderella is derived
from an Egyptian tale). The "good fairies" are sometimes known
as the Seven Hathors, also the name of the Pleiades in Taurus.
They warn of a seven-fold vision or "Bow" of a deity or its totem
animal, which would be a powerful omen in the child's life; this
is what Joseph dreamt when he saw the seven fat cattle and seven
lean. Let us suppose that the painted lady was a Seshat or Rekeet,
then she would have passed on her learning which was concerned
with fate and timing by oral means, perhaps for millenia, and
in Roman times this would have become a dim memory of a painted
lady, probably transmitted through the Thoth cult into the Hermetist
movement. Interestingly, this lends support to the theory that
early, oral forms of astrology were in the domain of women3.
PROMINENT ASPECTS OF THE PICATRIX
Let us now turn to some prominent aspects of the Picatrix; correspondences,
decanates and the lunar mansions.
The doctrine of correspondences is kept alive in coffee table
books on astrology, herbals and Qabalistic reference works. In
antiquity, certain stones, plants and animals were said to have
a special relationship with the seven planets and twelve zodiacal
signs. The earliest list known is on a cuneiform tablet from Seleucid
(i.e. Hellenistic) Uruk on which are recorded for each zodiacal
sign a temple or city, one or two trees (is this another Celtic-style
tree calendar?4), one or two plants and one or two stones. These
ideas originated in Mesopotamia. A list for the planets is preserved
in the Anthologies of Vettius Valens. There is much more in Picatrix,
such as planetary stones, psychological faculty, activities, language,
exterior and interior parts of the human body, law or religion,
colour, profession, taste, places, stones, metals, trees, herbs,
spices, animals, birds and insects for each planet. Also parts
of the body, colour, taste, places, metals and animals for each
zodiacal sign. Such lists are very useful to horary astrologers.
These lists first appear in India, in the Yavanajataka of Sphudivaja,
a 3rd century versified form of a 2nd century translation from
the Greek. The Sanskrit author mixes Greek and Indian lists. The
Sanskrit was translated into Syriac and Arabic. This Indian tradition
first appears in the West in astrological works composed in Syria
by Theophilus of Edessa in 8th century and in Iraq by Abu Ma'ashar
(Abumasar) of Balkh in the 9th.
This is definitely an Egyptian contribution to astrology. The
36 Egyptian gods of time ruled 10 degrees of the ecliptic, originally
extending their influence from Tropic to Tropic. They are cited
as powerful in the Christian era "Corpus Hermeticum"5. The decans
were the living Ba or immortal soul of the god.
One medieval manuscript of Picatrix in Poland has illustrations
of images for the decans and the planets6. The earliest known
illustration of the decans was in the Middle Kingdom, when Egyptian
coffin lids were inscribed with the decanal constellations in
36 columns divided by twelve lines. They included Orion and Sothis
(Sirius), possibly Procyon and Hydra too. Pictures of decanic
spirits appear in a Greek manuscript on astrology translated into
Sanskrit about 150 AD, which formed the basis of the Yavanajataka.
The images were then put into Indian style, which may explain
peculiarities in the Polish illustrations. In Egypt these images
were engraved on amulets, made of a specified stone, associated
with a plant, and worn as a prophylactic to ward off various diseases.
They were the subject of a treatise by the revered Egyptian authorities
Nechepso and Petosiris, who were the most oft quoted sources in
Roman astrological literature. (These were apparently the Pharaoh
Nekht-neb-ef and the priest of Thoth, Petosiris, whose monument
can be seen at Hermopolis). The decans come into the Picatrix
through the work of Abu Ma'ashar. The author has added to each
description the purposes for making the amulet. Electional astrology
is used in timing the manufacture.
The decans in later astrology were simply a one-third division
of zodiac signs, like Lilly's use of Faces in his system of planetary
dignities, from the Greek "Prosopa" or masks. They were seen in
India as Masters of Time, Chronokratores. The Liber Hermetis (5th
century AD) lists the illnesses associated with each decan - the
scheme is zodiacal, starting with Aries at the head of the body.
We can differentiate between the Egyptian decanates and Babylonian
ways of Anu, Enlil and Ea, which divided the night sky into parallel
bands, because the Egyptian system was sequential, not parallel.
The Babylonians with their advanced mathematics were using a co-ordinate
system based on their mythology, whereas the Egyptian system was
based on their ten day week. Both influenced the development of
There is no mention of lunar mansions known from European antiquity7.
However, these mansions or Nakshatrani have played an important
part in Indian divination since at least the mid-5th century BC.
The Arabs named them "Manazil al-Qamar". Even today the Arabs
use the Crescent Moon symbol for their religion and a Lunar calendar.
The Babylonian Moon God Sin was the supreme deity in the Near
East prior to the Christian and Islamic periods. (We should not
assume because of our cultural conditioning that lunar automatically
By the 6th century AD the Mansions had become the main determinant
factor in Indian electional astrology. The Moon's presence in
each Mansion boded good or ill for each kind of activity undertaken
at the time, modified by good or bad planetary aspects. We know
that Iranian scholars from the Sassanian period (3rd to 7th centuries
AD) were familiar with these Mansions and they put together a
manual of activities timed by the Moon based on Indian, Persian
and Greek sources. There was borrowing from Dorotheus of Sidon's
poem on astrology. Such timing by the stars featured in a rudimentary
way in Hesiod's poem, "Works and Days", and the Egyptians had
an established system of lucky and unlucky days. The Sassanian
text was used by the author of Picatrix. The objectives listed
for each Mansion are therefore taken directly from an Indian tradition.
PLANETARY ASPECTS IN PICATRIX
Chapter Four of Book One sets out what may be accomplished when
the Moon is in each Mansion and then gives advice to the practitioner.
My translation reads, "If you want to do your work in the day,
arrange for the Moon to be in the ascendant and rising from the
diurnal signs; if at night, it should be rising from a nocturnal
sign. Your aim will be accomplished more easily if the Moon is
in a sign of short ascension, less so in a sign of long ascension.
There should be good aspects from the benefic planets. A malefic
in the rising sign will harm the work. A conjunction or other
good aspect from a benefic to the rising sign will help. Similarly,
when the diurnal signs rise in the night and the nocturnal ones
in the day and benefics aspect it (the contrary for malefics)."
"The practitioner should know the virtues of the planets and
signs, which are fixed, mobile or common, which are benefic or
malefic." The text warns against using an eclipsed Moon or one
under the Sunbeams (less than 12 degrees orb either side in solar
conjunction), in other words a New Moon is not to be used. "Do
not use a Moon weakening in its course, travelling less than 12
degrees daily and avoid the Via Combusta. Do not use the ends
of signs which are ruled by malefic planets, i.e. Aries, Scorpio,
Capricorn and Aquarius. Do not use a Moon falling from the Midheaven,
into the 9th House. You should set Jupiter or Venus on the ascendant
or on the Midheaven because they will put right an unfortunate
Volguine quotes8 praise of the 28 Mansions from Cornelius Agrippa9.
He also notes that the Lunar Zodiac still exists then in Iran
and among the Parsees, for the second chapter of the Bundahish
in the Zend-Avesta gives the name of the 28 divisions. He goes
on to note that the so-called Critical Degrees of Karl Brandler-Pracht
are none other than the cusps of the Lunar Mansions. (It was claimed
that planets within 3 degrees of those points exert a stronger
influence than if they had no contact with those degrees. Born
in 1864, Brandler-Pracht was one of the first modern German supporters
of astrology.) Volguine notes that the Hindus group these Mansions
into masculine and feminine, but the practical use seems to have
been abandoned except for determination of the sex of an unborn
infant. In 1929 Elsbeth Ebertin published a list of the mansions,
offering some interpretations not existing in preceding publications10.
I have not tested these interpretations extensively and I must
offer these portions of translation to provide work for other
astrologers to do, which may require adaptation to modern conditions,
as Frau Ebertin must have realised. However, two example charts
from history, elected by practitioners with knowledge of the mansions,
do give results consistent with the alleged reliability of the
method. (This is not nearly enough to satisfy the statisticians
but I hope it will whet some appetites.)
Elizabeth I did not ascend to the throne immediately on Mary's
death. She waited until 15 January 1559 and it is thought that
John Dee elected for noon on that day, the traditional time for
a coronation ceremony. His notebooks suggest that he attached
great importance to the Mansions11. Many of the good features
of this chart are outlined elsewhere by Olivia Barclay12 but there
are others given in Picatrix, e.g. the Moon is not afflicted by
malefics. It has contacts to the benefics. It is not in the Via
Combusta. It is in Albotain, which is reckoned good for finding
lost treasure, having plenty of corn and strengthening prisons.
The elected chart for Burma's constitution is given by Gregory
Szanto and Nick Campion13. At present Burma is the poorest country
in Asia, ruled by a military dictatorship. It has put up many
barriers against the outside world. The Moon is in Abuzene, which
is given only to certain harmful purposes. Its position is just
5 minutes from the start of the Picatrician Via Combusta, and
within the area so described by Lilly. It is noteworthy that Mars
is on the MC, followed by Saturn and Pluto, and that Neptune contacts
six planets. As this is a night time chart the Sun is obviously
below the horizon; conventional wisdom among electional astrologers
working in the western system is that noon is the best possible
time, placing the Sun on the MC.
LUNAR MANSIONS IN THE PICATRIX (1256 AD TRANSLATION)
The planetary rulers are those for the days of the week. The
whole list repeats every four weeks, as each mansion covers the
average daily motion of the Moon.
No. Name position (to nearest minute) Planetary Ruler
1 Alnath 0 Aries Sun
2 Albotain 12.51 Aries Moon
3 Azoraya 25.43 Aries Mars
4 Aldebaran 8.34 Taurus Mercury
5 Almices 21.26 Taurus Jupiter
6 Athaya 4.17 Gemini Venus
7 Aldirah 17.9 Gemini Saturn
8 Annathra 0 Cancer Sun
9 Atarf 12.51 Cancer Moon
10 Algebha 25.43 Cancer Mars
11 Azobra 8.34 Leo Mercury
12 Acarfa 21.26 Leo Venus
14 Azimech 17.9 Virgo Saturn
15 Argafra 0 Libra Sun
16 Azubene 12.51 Libra Moon
17 Alichil 25.43 Libra Mars
18 Alcalb 8.34 Scorpio Mercury
19 Exaula 21.26 Scorpio Jupiter
20 Nahaym 4.17 Sagittarius Venus
21 Elbelda 17.9 Sagittarius Saturn
22 Caadaldeba 0 Capricorn Sun
23 Caadebolach 12.51 Capricor Moon
24 Caadacohot 25.43 Capricorn Mars
25 Caadalhacbia 8.34 Aquarius Mercury
26 Almiquedam 21.26 Aquarius Jupiter
27 Algarf Almuehar 4.17 Pisces Venus
28 Arrexhe 17.9 Pisces Saturn
Further details of the system are included in Vivian E Robson's
"The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology"14. The list given
in chapter 3 of that book must be renumbered from the beginning
of the zodiac in order to correlate it with the Mansions in this
LUNAR MANSIONS IN THE PICATRIX (1256 AD TRANSLATION)
No.Picatrix Name Arabic Name Meaning
1 Alnath Al Sharatain The Two Signs
2 Albotain Al Butain The Belly
3 Azoraya Al Thurayya The Many Little Ones
4 Aldebaran Al Dabaran The Follower
5 Almices Al Hak'ah A White Spot
6 Athaya Al Hanah A Brand or Mark
7 Aldirah Al Dhira The Forearm
8 Annathra Al Nathrah The Gap or Crib
9 Atarf Al Tarf The Glance of the Lion's Eye
10 Algebha Al Jabhah The Forehead
11 Azobra Al Zubrah The Mane of the Lion
12 Acarfa Al Sarfah The Changer of the Weather
13 Alahue Al Awwa The Barker
14 Azimech Al Simak The Unarmed
15 Argafra Al Ghafr The Covering
16 Azubene Al Jubana The Claws
17 Alichil Iklil Al Jabhah The Crown of the Forehead
18 Alcalb Al Kalb The Heart
19 Exaula Al Shaula The Sting
20 Nahaym Al Na'am The Ostriches
21 Elbelda Al Baldah The City or District
22 Caadaldeba Al Sad Al Dhabih The Lucky One of The Slaughterers
23 Caadebolach Al Sad Al Bulah The Good Fortune of The Swallower
24 Caadacohot Al Sad Al The Luckiest of the Su'udLucky
25 Caadalhacbia Al Sad Al Ahbiya The Lucky Star of Hidden Things
26 Almiquedam Al Farch Al Mukdim The Forespout of the Waterbucket
27 Algarf Almuehar Al Fargh Al Thani The Lower Spout of the Waterbucket
28 Arrexhe Al Batn al Hut The Belly of the Fish
Each mansion is 12 degrees 51 minutes and 26 seconds. There are
four groups of seven mansions, starting at 0 degrees of each Cardinal
sign. They equate roughly with the Hindu nakshatras and Chinese
manazils. The positions start at the Vernal Equinox (the Aries point)
using the tropical (Western) zodiac, not sidereal, but were originally
derived from the sidereal positions. The Arabic names are sometimes
derived from zodiacal constellations found in the mansions, e.g.
the Lion's Glance, Forehead and Mane are found in Leo, the Claws
in Libra relate to Scorpio, the Sting is found at the end of Scorpio
and the Belly of the Fish at the end of Pisces.
TABLE OF INTENTIONS
Purpose Mansion Numbers in Picatrix Book 1, Ch 4
To go safely on a Journey 1,8
To take medicine 1
To make a servant flee 1
To dig streams, wells 2,15
To find lost treasure 2,15
To have plenty of corn 2
To strengthen prisons 2,3,8,10,20,26,28
To save and protect sailors at sea 3,7,14,17
To accomplish works of alchemy 3
All works done with fire 3
To put love between spouses 3,5,17,24,28
To make master shrink back from servant 4
To set boys to learn skills 5
To safeguard travellers 5,19,20,21,26,28
To improve buildings 5,10,11,17,18,21,25,26
To bring friendship 6,7,8,10,14,17,23,26
To increase trade and profit 7,11,13,21,24,27,28
To increase crops 7,12,13,19,21,28
To expel flies 7
To gain favour of Kings, authorities 7,13
To expel mice and bugs 8
To protect from another man's claims 9
To promote love between man and woman 10,14,17
To release captives 11,13,18
To travel safely in hot places 11,13
To increase the wealth of allies 11
To help allies, authorities,
captives and servants 12
To heal the sick by drugs, medicines 14,22,23,27
To destroy lust 14
To improve the luck of kings 14
To scatter your enemies 15
To help the deceived 17
To tame wild and vicious beasts 20
For people you want to come to you 20
For allying good men with each other 20,22,23,27
For soldiers to report victory 24
Copyright: Ian Freer, 1994
References1.See Between Ghaya and Picatrix - The Spanish Version, D Pingree,
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 44 (1981), 27-56.
2. See Alchemy, published by Pelican Books.
3. See e.g. River, "The Knot of Time".
4. See R. Graves, "The White Goddess" and C and L Murray, "The
Celtic Tree Oracle".
5. See the recent concise edition by Gilbert, co-author with
Bauval of "The Orion Mystery", or the four volume edition by W
6. Studies of the Warburg Institute Vol.39 Picatrix the Latin
Version of the Ghayat Al-Hakim, 1986, edited in two parts by D
7. See passim D Pingree, Some Sources of the Ghayat Al-Hakim,
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 43 (1980) 1-15.
8. Lunar Astrology, English translation, published by ASI in
9. La Philosophie Occulte, p.354.
10. Volguine at p.124 gives some fascinating practical examples,
e.g. German astrologers suffered disastrous persecution on June
9, 1941, when the Moon was in Mansion XX. However, other factors
must have played a part as this event was unique.
11. Information supplied by Annabella Kitson.
12. See "Horary Astrology Rediscovered". Note that Elizabeth
inherited the throne in 1558 but was not crowned until the following
13. See "Perfect Timing" and "The Book of World Horoscopes"
respectively, published by Aquarian Press.
14. Weiser, 1979.