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 Hermopolis.

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, but say.

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.

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.


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 astrology.

Lunar Mansions
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 means feminine.)

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.


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 Moon."

Modern Derivatives
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.


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 article.


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.


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


  • 1.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 Scott.
  • 6. Studies of the Warburg Institute Vol.39 Picatrix the Latin Version of the Ghayat Al-Hakim, 1986, edited in two parts by D Pingree.
  • 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 1974 p.61.
  • 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 year.
  • 13. See "Perfect Timing" and "The Book of World Horoscopes" respectively, published by Aquarian Press.
  • 14. Weiser, 1979.