Category Archives: Elections

The citadel of Urania


Uraniborg from Astronomiæ instauratæ mechanica, 1598

Uraniae sacrata domus, specula inclyta caeli
Excelso fundata loco, firmataque vallis,
Arborisque herbisque tuis circumsita in hortis,
Quae ter septenos lustrasti cunta per annos
Sidera, dum caput augustum sustollis olympo.
Siccine spreta jaces? Sic nunc orbata quiescis?
Forsitan id superis visum, quibus enthea curae:
Ne magna exiguis stringantur munera claustris.
Sic volvunt; variantque vices terrestria quaeque;
Sit tibi laus soli, qui caelum, et sidera torques.

Dwelling consecrated to Urania, glorious observatory of heaven
Founded in a sublime place, fortified by walls,
And by gardens of trees and herbs surrounded,
which for three times seven years observed all the stars,
So raise the august head to Olympus.
So much despised do you laid? So deprived do you rest?
Perhaps the supernals, by whom everything is taken into care, judged
that so great gifts would not remain confined in so narrow boundaries.
So all earthly destinies  turn and change;
Be praise to you only, who move around the sky and the stars.
from Astronomiæ instauratæ mechanica, 1598

The foundation of Uraniborg


Tycho Brahe wrote in his Astronomiæ instauratæ mechanica:

Cum vero dies is, fundationi destinatus, instaret, accessit optimus ille Danææus, comitatus aliquos nobilibus viris, tum quoque, quibusdam doctis ex amicis communibus, qui huic actui interessent: et die octavo Augusti mane ex oriente Sole una cum Iuppiter iuxta Cor Leoni, Luna occiduum cardinem in Aquario occupante, in omnium nostrum praesentia lapidem eundem locavit, litando prius solemniter vinis diversis, e fausta quaque precando, suffragantibus iis, qui circum stabant amicis. Constitutus autem est hic lapis in angulo domus orientali versus Notapelioten, velut in apposita figuratione iuxta literam F. exprimitur.

When that very day, which was destined for the foundation,  was imminent, the excellent Dançay arrived, accompanied by some noblemen, and also by some learned, our common friends, to participate in the event; and on the eighth of August in the morning while Jupiter was rising together with the Sun, near the Heart of the Lion and the Moon holding the western angle in Aquarius, in the presence of us all this same stone posed, first solemnly libeling different wines and invoking every auspicious thing, with the favor of those friends who were surrounding. This plaque was placed in the eastern corner of the house towards Notapeliote (i.e. south-east), as shown in the specific figure to the letter F.

According to the Tycho’s statement the election chart of the foundation of Uraniborg should be like the following one:


Foundation of Uraniborg  – Regiomontanus

Tycho evidently chose this moment primarily for the presence of the Sun and Jupiter together with the star Regulus at the Ascendant.


As we see Jupiter is bodily conjuncted with the star Regulus exactly on the rising angle together with the Sun.  We know that the star Regulus, the Heart of Leo, is a truly regal star that is considered capable of conferring honors and fame and  Jupiter is the great benefic in his triplicity in Leo though is not in corde Solis, or cazimi,  but instead combust.

From Centiloquium Ptolomei Aphorism 22 says:

In the new construction of any city, make use of the adjuvant fixed stars; in building houses take the planets: those cities that in the time of their foundation have Mars culminating, their princes usually die by the sword.

The fixed stars are considered to add durability to cities and buildings as stated by Bonatti in De Astronomia Tractatus

Unde si volueris eligere alicui horam ut aedificet civitatem vel castrum, apta ascendens et dominum eius: Lunam quoque ac dominum signi in quo ipsa fuerit: et partem fortunae similiter et eius dominum: et pone in ascendentem aedificationis urbi vel castri aliquam ex illis stellis fixis, quae sunt de natura Iovis vel Solis vel Veneris aut Mercurii sive Saturni, si Saturnus fuerit boni esse vel Lunae vel saltem de natura domini ascendentis illius horae.

So if you want to elect an hour to build a city or a castle, make agree the ascendant and his lord, and also the Moon with the lord of the sign in which she was placed, and in a similar way the Lot of Fortune and her lord; and place in the ascendant of the building of the city or castle one of the fixed stars, which are of the nature of Jupiter or the Sun or Venus or Mercury or Saturn, if Saturn were in good condition, or of the Moon, or at least of the nature of the ascendant of that hour.

Also the presence on the ascendant in Leo, a solid sign, is a general indication of durability. Moreover the Sun is the lord of the Ascendant and he is very dignified by essential dignity, being in his domicile in Leo, and by accidental dignity, being rising at the horoscope.

The Moon, which Tycho says that was at the occident in Aquarius, was actually cadent from the western angle in the VI house. The Moon was applying  by opposition to Venus, the Lord of the MC, which is cadent in the twelve place. Moreover, since the Sun was rising, the Moon was in conjunction with Tyche, the Lot of Fortune.

Mercury is the Lord of the second house in Virgo and he is placed on the cusp of the second house in his domicile and exaltation but he is retrograde. So Mercury suggests that the wealth of Uraniborg should have been excellent and secured but non increasing because of his retrogradation.

Mars, the lord of the IV house, in exaltation in Capricorn should have guaranteed a solid foundation to the city and sacred sanctuary to his studies since Mars is also the Lord of the IX house.

Let’s note that the Moon and Tyche are exactly in conjunction with Jupiter of Tycho’s geniture at 9° of Aquarius. This is also an important element since, as stated by the sixth Pseudo-Ptolemaic Centiloquium Aphorism:

The election either of day or hour shall then advantage when it is constituted from the nativity; otherwise, though the election be well made, it will not profit.

Uraniborg- Placidus.png

Foundation of Uraniborg  – Placidus – Tyche in mundo

The decay of Uraniborg

But despite Tycho’s care in determining the most favorable moment for the foundation of Uraniborg and in celebrating its foundation with auspicious rites the citadel of Urania was defeated by negligence and oblivion in a very short time. After less than 50 years from its foundation Uraniborg was in ruins.

In Tycho Brahe: a picture of scientific life and work in the sixteenth century (1890) by John Louis Emil Dreyer we find:

Soon after Tycho’s death, in May 1602, Cort Barleben received Hveen in fief, and shortly afterwards he was granted permission to pull down the forge. His successor was a mistress of the king’s, Karen Andersdatter, who got the island in 1616, and was followed by her son, Hans Ulrik Gyldenlöve, who died in 1645, and seems to have been succeeded by some nobleman’s widow. The destruction of Uraniborg had in the meantime gradually proceeded, as there was nobody to look after it. A new dwelling-house was erected on the site of Tycho’s farm, called Kongsgaarden, which stood for about two hundred years, but has now disappeared, so that only some farm buildings remain. This Kongsgaard was built of the bricks and stones of Uraniborg, as a mason in 1623 was paid for 60,OOO bricks which he had “pulled down and renovated from the old castle Oranienborg.” In 1645 Jörgen Brahe, a nephew of Tycho’s, was granted permission to remove “any stones with inscriptions or other carved figures or characters ” which might be found at Hveen. Perhaps Tycho’s nephew was anxious to secure some slight relic of his uncle before it was too late, for a couple of years later, when Gassendi inquired about the island, he was informed that there was only a field where Uraniborg had been

What went wrong? Which element in the foundation chart could be an ominous sign? If we look at the chart we see instantly that the Moon cadent and applying to Venus in XII by opposition is not very good at all. Venus is the Lord of the MC and also an accidental significator of the King of Danmark under whose auspices Uraniborg saw the light. Venus very weak by accidental condition and the Moon also cadent which is going to oppose Venus show that Uraniborg would have lost the king’s favor: when Christian VI succeeded to the throne of Denmark, Tycho lost the king’s favor and funds for the observatory island and he moved to Bohemia to work under the patronage of Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor. Mercury, which is the Lord of the second house, the wealth of Uraniborg and the wealth of the King, since  Mercury is also the Lord of the XI house, is on the cups of the second house but retrograde going toward the Sun, showing the royal support and money would have been withdrawn.


A bridge across centuries


Karluv Most

No one would believe how beautiful Prague is at night in the moonlight. While people are sleeping, the stones are alive, even the statues on Charles Bridge come to life. Jan Neruda

Karlův most, the Charles Bridge is the oldest bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague. It’s one of the most  famous touristic attractions in the beautiful capital city of Czech Republic.

Its construction began on Charles Bridge at 5:31 on 9 July 1357 with the first stone being laid by Charles IV himself. This exact time was calculated by court astrologers based on astrological and numerological considerations. The numbers of this specific time indeed, placed in a row, formed a numerical bridge 135797531 and so that moment was considered auspicious for laying the foundation stone of a bridge.

The bridge actually survived several disasters: floods, wars, revolutions.

The foundation chart

During the fourteenth century in Bohemia time was calculated using the so called Italic Hours or Bohemian Hours, that is the number of hours elapsed since the most recent sunset (hour 0), with 24 equal hours per day. They were used in many European countries during the period 1200 to 1800. They are sometimes written “horae ab occasu solis” or “H.AB OCC.” on dials.

So the time 5.31 was not 5:31 am but it was 5 hours and 31 minutes after the sunset. Since the sunset was at 19:04 UT the foundation stone was laid at 0:35 UT.

Karluv Most foundation.png

Gemini is rising. Mercury, lord of the horoscope, is combust in Cancer in bounds of Mercury. We have to remember that combustion is not a real debility for Mercury which always travels very close to the Sun. The Moon, which is the lord of Mercury, is applying to Mercury. So Mercury receives the Moon. This reception is very beneficial because it involves Mercury which is the lord of the horoscope and the Moon, which in an election or a event chart is always very important.

Jupiter in Pisces trines Mercury in mundo. Mercury is in parallel of declination with Venus in Cancer. So both the benefic planets help Mercury.  Moreover Venus trines the MC. Let’s note that both Venus and Jupiter are in angular house: Venus in the first house and Jupiter in the tenth house.

Mars is combust in Leo with Cauda and cadent from the subterranean angle. Therefore Mars is very weak. 

The MC is in Aquarius. Its lord, Saturn, is in exile in Cancer in conjunction with the Sun. Saturn is not merely conjuncted to the Sun but it is in corde solis. That configuration gives strength to Saturn and it is a clear sign of the bridge endurance and longevity even in unfavorable conditions.

Saturnus in corde solis.png

Saturn in corde solis

Saturn and the Sun, being on the cusp of the III house, trine the horoscope.

Under a lucky star

The star Deneb Algedi, in the tail of capricorn, of nature of Saturn and Jupiter, is at the MC.

According to the book “On the fixed star” attributed to Hermes Trismegistus,  the talisman of the star Deneb Algedi , to which he gives the nature of Saturn and Mercury:

gives grace in causes, brings peace to houses in which it is, preserves its bearer always from harm and removes discords.

Moreover Cornelius Agrippa in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk II, ch XLVII ‘De imaginibus stellarum fixarum beheniarum’ :

Sub cauda capricorni faciebant imaginem cervi, vel hirci, vel homini iratis. Dat prosperitatem et auget divitias.

that is

Under the tail of Capricorn they made the image of an Hart, or Goat, or of an angryman; it bestoweth prosperity, and increaseth wealth.

Also Marsilio Ficino in his “De vita triplici” Bk III, ch VIII ‘De virtutibus et usu stellarum fixarum‘:

In aquarii, XVI, cauda capricorni saturnia, mercurialisque quam sequitur calcidonius, maiorana, nepita, artemisia, mandragora, prestare in causis gratiam opinantur divitias augere hominem ad domum incolumem reddere

that is

In the XVI degree of Aquarius, the tail of Capricorn, of Saturn and Mercury nature  to which corrisponds chalcedony, marjoram, catmint, mugwort, mandrake,  they think it furthers favor in lawsuits, increases wealth and makes men to return home safely.

So the tail of Capricorn has bestowed to the Charles Bridge to live across centuries and to be one of the most renowed and celebrated bridge.

The King of Palaces


Palazzo Strozzi

Palazzo Strozzi [1] is the finest examples of Renaissance domestic architecture and  overall appears, according to the will of its owner, Filippo Strozzi, as a small fortress in the heart of the city.

Filippo Strozzi the Elder was orphaned when he was seven years old because his father was banished into exile for the alliance with Palla Strozzi and the faction of the Albizi against Cosimo de’ Medici. He spent his adolescent years in Florence, but the financial difficulties caused by the retaliation of the Medici, had plunged his family, once one of the richest and eminent of Florence, in a situation so bitter that he can not even effort an adequate education. For this he was only thirteen when he left the city in search of money and a position that would allow him to re-legitimate its familiar name.

He went to Palermo where he was educated by a friend of his father and then he moved to Naples where he was appointed officer of the Medici Bank in Naples.

Thanks to his ability as a banker Filippo obtained the privilege by Ferdinand I of Naples to conduct private business in his kingdom, becoming so influential in the affairs of the Neapolitan court as to ask to Florence, after the death of Cosimo, by letters to Piero de ‘Medici, his return to the city. With the armistice in September 1466 Filippo was finally able to return legally to Florence, with full rights, which included the ability to hold public office.

Back in Florence Filippo Strozzi desired to build the most magnificent palace to assert his family’s continued prominence and the complete rehabilitation his own political status.

The first stone of the building was thrown at dawn on August 6, 1489 by the will of Filippo Strozzi. The palace was designed by Benedetto da Maiano and Giuliano da Sangallo. The construction was directed by Simone Pollaiuolo. Filippo Strozzi died before the palace was completed, and it was his sons to live there for the first time around 1505.

The foundation’s chart

The time for laying the foundation-stone was fixed by a horoscope by Messer Benedetto Biliotti, Maestro Niccolò, and Messer Antonio Benevieni, doctors; also Bishop Pagagnotti and Messer Marsilio Ficino, who all confirmed it as lucky.

says Alfred von Reumont in his book “Lorenzo de Medici, the Magnificent”.

Palazzo Strozzi's foundation.png

The Sun is rising at the horoscope in his domicile in Leo, in the bounds of Mercury. Furthermore the Sun is in trine with Jupiter in Aries. The Moon is waxing in Sagittarius with the Lot of Fortune. She has a southern latitude but she is raising in latitude which is quite good in a building election. She is moving from the square of Mercury to the trine of  the Sun.

Mercury is in its domicile and exaltation in Virgo in the II place. Since the horoscope is in the bounds of Mercury and the Moon is transferring the light of Mercury to the Sun which is also in the bound of Mercury, Mercury is a distinguished actor. So the Sun benefits from Mercury, the planet of bankers and financial business, and is helped to shine even brighter to show the wealth and prestige of the Strozzi family.

Moreover the Moon is in the  Al Baldah moon mansion: the City or District, which is favorable for harvest, gain, buildings, and travelers. Also the horoscope is in a favorable lunar mansion for building: Al Jabhah,  the Forehead which strengthens buildings, promotes love, benevolence, and help against enemies.

But the most important element in the foundation chart is the star Regulus rising at the horoscope with the Sun.


The star Regulus rising with the Sun is a sign of great eminence. Jean Stade says that Regulus rising or culminating with the Sun, Jupiter, the Moon or alone promises an increase in dignity.

Regulus shining with the dawning Sun reveals the majestic and solid elegance of the Palace and makes long lasting the memory of the Strozzi family.

1 Palazzo Strozzi web site  Palazzo Strozzi

The fall of Constantinople

siege constantinople

    “The capture of Constantinople – I tell you the truth – threw me into a despair from which I lack the means to rise up when I think about the slavery of so many men, from what great fortune in what abyss of misery they have fallen, the ineffable beauty of the churches and the buildings, then I think that until now we had told ourselves that freedom and slavery consisted for the wise in something else from what is mentioned generally by common people, but now the meaning we gave to that distinction escapes me” from a letter of Cardinal Basilios Bessarion to Theodorus Gaza

The last siege of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, took place in 1453. The Ottoman Turks, led by Sultan Mehmed II, captured the city on May 29, after about two months.

Although Constantinople had the safest and most impenetrable city walls of Europe, the Ottomans possessed a new war instrument, the cannon, able to chip away the Theodosian medieval walls . Despite the advanced technology used by Ottomans, that, however, was not entirely effective in destroying the Byzantines bastions, the Ottomans outnumbered Constantinople’s defensers: the ratio between Byzantines and Ottomans was one against eleven.

By the fall of the capital and the death in battle of Emperor Constantine XI Palaeologus, the Eastern Roman Empire after 1058 years ceased to exist.

 The preceding Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse was visible from Constantinople on 11th of December 1452. The obscuration lasted for 25 minutes and had its maximum at 8:29. Its effects, according to Ptolemy, would have started in four months after the eclipse and would have lasted for almost 6 months. The intensification of the effects would have been expected in the first third of its duration, that is, in the first two months from the beginning of the events.

The siege started on 6th of April, right after almost 4 months following the eclipse. Constantinople was captured on 29th of May, after almost two month later as predicted by ptolemaic doctrine.

Solar Eclipse 1452

The luminaries and the horoscope, the angle closer to the syzygy, are in the last degrees of Sagittarius,  in the domicile of Jupiter and the terms of Mars. The Moon is separating from Mars in its domicile in Aries and after the syzygy is applying to Saturn in its exaltation in Libra. Therefore the luminaries are besieged by the malefics which are both angular. Since the syzygy occurred in the terms of Mars and the Moon is separating from Mars, Mars rules over the eclipse.

The eclipse occurred close to the opposition of the horoscope of Constantinople’s inauguration and so in opposition to Venus and Jupiter in the inauguration chart. Moreover the Moon of inauguration is placed on the VIII house cusp of the eclipse and the Sun of inauguration is in opposition to Venus in the eclipse chart.

The syzygy before the beginning of the siege

Syzygy before the siege

Let’s look at the syzygy preceding the siege which started on April 6th.

The Moon and the Sun are respectively at the upper and at the lower pivot.  The Moon is applying to Mars. Mars in this chart is exactly in the same degree of Mars in the inauguration chart (15° Gemini). Moreover the star Altair of nature of Jupiter and  Mars is rising with Laguna, the nebula of nature of Mars and Moon.

The Lunar Eclipse during the siege

During the siege a lunar eclipse occurred at sunset on May 22nd. The event was considered an inauspicious omen by the defenders of the city. The lunar eclipse lasted for 1 hour and 10 minutes, so its effects would had been expected in the following month. A week later the city was captured.

Lunar Eclipse 1453

In this eclipse the axis of the luminaries is very close to the position of Mars and Mercury in the horoscope of Constantinople’s inauguration. Let’s note that Mars is the out-of-sect malefic in the inauguration chart.

The final assault

On May 29th shortly after midnight the final assault began. The Sultan Mehmed II  was advised by the astrologers to attack at a propitious time.

Final Assualt.png


The attackers are signified by the ascendent in Pisces and its lord, Jupiter. The defenders by occident in Virgo and its lord, Mercury. The city is the IC in Gemini and its lord Mercury.

We see here Jupiter in the I house dignified by triplicity. Mercury instead is peregrine and the Moon is separating from Saturn and applying to Mercury translating the light from Saturn to Mercury. Note that Saturn is on the cusp of the VIII place and it is its lord. Moreover Jupiter receives Mercury in Cancer making a dexter square to it.

The inauguration of Constantinople


In the book “The occult sciences in Byzantium” in an essay by Maria Papathanassiou titled “Stephanos of Alexandria : a famous Byzantine scholar, alchemist and astrologer” is reported the date of Constantinople’s inauguration.

Papathanassiou writes:

The survival and continuity of astrology in the Byzantine Empire is evident in a long letter of the emperor Manuel Komnenos (1143-1180) addressed to a monk of the Pantokrator monastery, in which Manuel defends astrology. One of the emperor’s argument was that Constantine the Great (307-337) after consulting the best astrologer of his time, Valens, waited fourteen years for the most favorable date for the inauguration (dedicatio) of  Constantinople.

And in the note she adds:

Manuel cites the information which appears in the Byzantine chronicles from the 10th century, that on the fourth day of the dedicatio of Constantinople, Constantine the Great ordered Valens to cast the horoscope of the city and to predict its future. This was done in the year 5838 from the beginning of the world (330 A.D.) on Monday 11 May in the second hour [of the day] and 26 minutes.

The horoscope

The hour of the inauguration of Constantinople was calculated by diurnal unequal hours, that is, by hours obtained by dividing the length of day, from sunrise to sunset, into twelve equal parts. Drawing the inauguration chart is easy if we use the placiadian domification because a house is equal to two unequal or temporal hours. In the ancient time the astrolabe was used to that purpose now we can use our software to set the hourly distance of the Sun in such a way that the part of the diurnal arch already travelled by the Sun is corresponding to two hours and 26 minutes.

Constantinople's inauguration.png

The benefic planets, Venus and Jupiter, are rising at the horoscope in Cancer a feminine sign, tropic, watery, horoscope of the world, virtuous, changeable, public, popular, political, fruitful, amphibian. Jupiter is in its exaltation, in sect though occidental. Jupiter is also the ruler of the MC and so in aspect with it. Here Jupiter is the accidental significator of  the king and government therefore the ruler of the city is a very good position being Jupiter rising and dignified. Venus is in triplicity and occidental, of mean motion. The Sun is in Taurus a solid, propitious, immutable, industrious sign; in the domicile of Venus and terms of Jupiter. He is also in the acquisitive succedent XI place, house of good fortune. The XI place is traditionally associated with king’s associate, councillors and allies.

The ruler of the Sun, Venus, is dignified as we have already seen. The Moon is Leo, in the Sun’s domicile, in the terms of Venus. She is in the II place meaning the ability to acquire wealth and to be prosperous. Also there is a commutatio between the Sun and the Moon, being the Moon in the domicile of the Sun and the Sun in the exaltation of the Moon. The Sun and the Moon are also natural significators of the king and the people respectively, so their commutatio shows that there is a mutual agreement and harmony between them. Moreover the Sun and the Moon are almost in perfect antiscia and they are in parallel in mundo. In addition the Sun is with the star Aldebaran, of nature of Mars and the Moon is with Regulus, the royal star of nature of Mars and Jupiter.

The malefics are in cadent houses: Mars in XII place in Gemini, peregrine, in conjunction with Mercury; Saturn in the III place, in exile in Leo. The astrologer put them in idle places where they can not harm. The Sun is applying to Saturn with a superior square and since Saturn is the Lord of the VII place, that is, of opponents and enemies of the city, is a good auspice of a secure victory over enemies.  Mars, the out-of-sect malefic, is in sextile and parallel of declination with the Moon. Moreover the Moon is applying to Mercury which is in conjunction with Mars showing possible dangers from violence and infighting.

The Pars of Fortune is in trine with the Sun and is squared by Venus. Moreover Venus is on the cusp of the X place from Tyche and Jupiter is also there. Though the Lord of Tyche, Mercury, is not in aspect with it and even if Mercury is in its domicile, is with Mars, showing that the material wealth is not safe from robbery and disputes.

The planetary hour

As we see from the picture below the Lord of the day was the Moon, being Monday and the Lord of the Hour was Jupiter. Since the Moon is also the Lord of the Ascendent of Constantinople and Jupiter is  also the exaltation lord of the ascendent it is a further corroboration of the auspicious moment chosen to elect the inauguration of the city.

Planetary Hour.png

A travel companion


Audi dea regina, lucifera, diva Luna

Tauricornis Mene, noctu currens, aerivaga,

nocturna, facitenens, puella, bene stellata, Luna,

quae crecis et decrecis, foeminaque et mas,

fulgens, equorum amatrix, temporis mater, fructifera,

electris, iracunda, splendoris causa nocturna,

omnispica, vigilarum amatrix, pulchris syderibus abundans,

quiete gaudens et delectatione beatifica,

lucida, laetitiae datrix, perfectrix noctis oblectamentum,

astritenens, latipeple, vagi cursus, sapietissima puella:

venias beata, benevola, pulchristella, lumine tuo

micans, conservans tuos supplices, proba puella

Orphic Hymn to the Moon (translated by Marsilio Ficino)

During the past months planning the journey for my incoming summer holidays I decided to prepare a talisman to help me to have a safe and pleasant trip. So I took the  Picatrix book and found the description of a suitable talisman:

Ymago Lunae. Si ex formis Lune feceris formam hominis caput avis habentis, et se supra baculum sustentantis, et in eius manu similitudinem arboris floride habentis, in hora Lune sub ascensione eius exaltacionis, ipsa in ea existente, qui hanc ymaginem secum detulerit numquam in itinere erit fessus undecumque vadat.

Moon Talisman. If for the image of the Moon you will make the shape of a man having the head of a bird, leaning on a stick and having in his hand a branch in blossom, in the hour of the Moon while her exaltation sign is ascending, herself being there, the one who will carry such image will not be in trouble during his journey wherever he will go

The talisman election

I found a suitable moment for drawing the talisman:

Moon Talisman

The Moon is in Taurus in her exaltation, rising at the horoscope. The planetary hour was of Venus instead of the Moon, though Venus is the Lord of the Moon and of the Horoscope and it is with Jupiter in Leo in the V place, a succedent house, house of joy of Venus. The malefic planet are not harming: Mars is cadent and Saturn close to the VII house cusp in aversion with the horoscope and the Moon.

The image of the Moon

From the Picatrix description of the Moon image it not difficult to recognize the egyptian god Thoth. The ibis headed Thoth is a god of the Moon. He is connected with wisdom, science and measuring of time and space.  So the image of the Moon in Picatrix can be interpreted as the god Thoth holding a stick and a bunch of lotus flowers. The lotus flower is a symbol of the power of healing and regeneration.


Drawing the talisman

Though I recognize the god Thoth in the Moon image of Picatrix I decided to depict the image in a hermetic style.


After the drawing of the talisman I consecrated it by chanting the Orphic Hymn to the Moon as translated in latin by the beloved master Marsilio Ficino.

The Defeat of Victory

Victory was a city-camp located between Parma and Fidenza and built in 1247 by Frederick II during the siege of Parma in order to spend there the winter months waiting for the capitulation of the city: in the intents of the Emperor, once razed Parma, its inhabitants were supposed to settle down in Victoria, whose evocative name foreshadowed the fate of future imperial capital.
Its construction began in the summer of 1247 and, according to sources, was planned and begun by astrologers under the zodiacal sign of Mars, god of war, as a pledge of victory.
But the city’s future was not as bright as advocated by Frederick II and the astrologers who drew up the election for the foundation of the city; instead it was a complete disaster.
In February 1248, however, the Guelph forces and Parma, led by the papal legate Gregory of Montelongo, conquered and destroyed the imperial camp.

The scientists, according to Rolandinus Patavinus, neglected to consider the influence of Cancer, which then would be assigned the responsibility for the destruction of the town: “civitas, sub tali ascendente incepta, cancrizare debebat.” The defeat of the new city will compromise the entire action policy of Frederick, because, in the words of Rolandino from Padua, “ab hac die in antea retrocessit eius victoria more cancri”

As the operational center of the emperor, Victoria had been chosen as the place of storage of monetary funds, the Treasury, including the crown, the imperial robes, weapons, provisions, and the imperial library. At the time of his fall was still under construction, a city in the making, well more like a camp than a city structure, but its loss had serious consequences in political and symbolic terms.

In aid of the besieged Parma troops from Verona and Piacenza had rushed, and Gregory Montelongo, papal legate in Lombardy from 1238, had come from Milan.

As told Salimbene de Adam, February 18, 1248 Frederick was away from the field, engaged in a hunting with hawk, when a group of  people from Parma drew the bulk of the imperial army away from the city with a false sortie. Meanwhile, the rest of the troops of Parma – to which were added also women, children, young and old people – attacked Victoria, having reason with relative ease of the few defenders remained. The city-camp was reduced to rubble and the imperial treasury – pottery, gold and silver, precious stones, pearls, jewels and silk garments – was looted. The crown was found in the ruins by a plebian named “Curtuspassus,” sold to Parma for 200 imperial pounds and brought to the town cathedral. Taddeo from Sessa, an eminent jurist and a close associate of Frederick, was captured, mutilated hands and put in prison in Parma. The winners also took possession of the carroccio of Cremona, and Victoria was, in the words of Adam de Salimbene, “civitas que fuit et non est”.

Let’s now read the passages about the election of foundation of the city of Victoria from ‘CRONICA MARCHIE TRIVIXANE’ of Rolandino from Padua:

“Et in contrarium civitatis quodammodo ante portas aliara civitatem construxit, quam nomine Victoriam appellavit. Et quia scivit quod antiqui magnates respiciebant ascendens, cum volebant condere civitates, et faciebant ipsimet urvum cum aratro, quo circumdabant civitates, unde dicte sunt urbes, incepit et ipse designare liane suam novam civitatem signo Arietis ascendente; tum quia signum est Martis, qui dicitur deus belli, tum quia erat Libre ascendenti contrarium in occasum, quod est signum Veneris, qui pianeta Parme dicitur et esse fortuna eius. Quasi per hoc forsitan cogitaret, quod Parmensium fortuna, qui oppositi ei erant, tenderet in occasum. In astrologis namque et in hiis, que subtilitatem astrologicam imitantur, primum operanti et septimum adversario datur. Set puto quod non notavit quartum ab ascendente fuisse Cancrum. Quartum enim hedificia, domos et civitates designat; et sic civitas, sub tali ascendente incepta, cancrizare debebat.”

“And he built the city, which he named Victory, opposite to the other city in a way it was in front of its doors. And as he knew that ancient lords took count of the ascendent when they wanted to found a city and then they traced the furrow with the plow which surround the cities, so they are called ‘urbes’, he started to build his new city under the ascending sign of Aries; because it’s the sign of Mars, god of War, and Libra was setting at the descendent, sign ruled by Venus, which is the planet of Parma and its fortune. Because of that perhaps he thought that fortune of the Parmenses, which he was opposed to, was going to set. For the astrologer and him that resembled them for the astrological skill, the first house was given to the attackers, the seventh to the opponents. But I think that they didn’t notice that the fourth house from the ascendent was the Cancer. The fourth house in fact signifies the buildings, the houses, the cities; and so the city, under such ascendent, should had been destroyed as by a cancer.”

It’s unknown who was the astrologer who elected the time of foundation, but he could probably be Theodorus of Antioch, mathematician, astrologer, medic and philosopher at the Frederick’s court. It’s also notable that Guido Bonatus was also advisor of the Emperor and his allies.

So in order to figure out some possible scenarios of the such election it’s necessary to fulfill the following requirements:

  • The AS is in Aries
  • Mars is conjunct with AS
  • The IMC is in Cancer

Mars entered Aries the 20th of June. As we can see from the picture below, the AS is in Aries but Sun is already in Cancer in the IV house near the IMC. Because the chart is nocturnal Mars is in sect. Somebody could think it’s a bit weird to put the foundation of a city in the middle of the night, but if it should have been done during the day, the malefic, out of sect Mars would have been really dangerous for the new city. But we see here that Venus has some dignity because she is in her bound and also the Moon debilited in Capricorn is moving from Juppiter to Saturn exalted in Libra in the VII house but not close to the discendent. Venus is with cauda draconis. Venus is doing a square in mundo with Saturn. Vega is culminating.

Mars enters Aries

Mars began to retrograde the 31st of August. As we see the Chart is very unfortunate for the city of Victory and the Emperor because, not only Mars is retrograde but Saturn oppose it from its exaltation in Libra. Also Venus, significator of Parma (because Parma is under the sign of Taurus), is in its domicile in Libra and though it is cadent from the discendent, is conjunct with fixed star Spica of Mercury-Venus nature. Only rising Fomahault gives some hope to the Emperor’s projects.  Obviouly this chart is not suitable.

Mars retrogrades

Because the 31st of August Mars began to be retrograde, the suitable range of time when we can suppose the election was taken is between the 21st of June and the 31st of August, and we can add this farther condition to the ones previously listed:

  •  21st of June < Foundation < 31st of August


As stated by the most famous italian medieval astrologer, Guido Bonatus, in his Consideratio 141 and reported also by Lilly in his ‘Anima Astrologiae’ the fixed stars bestow a influx more durable and powerfull that is perfectly fitting for foundations of cities. Let’s read the passage from ‘Anima Astrologiae’:

“And upon this is that Aphorism grounded, that Advises to make use of fixes Stars in the foundation of Cities, but of Planets in the erection of Houses; because Cities are generally of the longest continuance amongst corruptible things, and far more durable than particular Houses: for these in respect of their individuals do not endure always, whereas Cities remain by a successive building and rebuilding of Houses; and therefore though Castles are very lasting, yet are they not equal in this respect to Cities; so that although we may use the superior planets in elections for building Castles, it is better to take Fixed Stars; yet still because Cities are of longer continuance than Castles,they are more appropriated to the fixed Stars, whose Subjects they are. For the impression which a solid thing makes in a more solid thing, continues much longer than that which it makes on a less solid thing; and far less in a thing not solid, than a thing somewhat solid; and yet less in a very slippery transient thing, than in a thing less lubricous or changeable. Hence the impressions which the fixed Stars make on Cities are more correlative to them in length of time, and accordingly those of Castles more durable than those of Houses, for the same reason proportionally.”

So we should try to find a proper rising star at the horoscope of Victory’s election. A finally condition should be added:

  • Rising star conjunct to AS

The only suitable star rising with Aries around that period is Fomalhaut if we used the horary distance which is the case with a time based house system as Placidian system. Probably a medieval astrologer as Bonatus used Alchabitius system. In that case, taking in consideration only the ellictic coordinate and not the horary distance, no relevant stars are rising in Aries. Fomalhaut, of mercurial-venereal nature, ascending at the eastern horizon gives eternal fame, Cardanus said. In the following charts Fomalhaut is at the ascendent.


It’s clearly impossible to be able to detect the exact moment which was elected by the astrologer for the foundation of Victoria but we can still make some consideration.

First we should notice that Venus the patron planet of the enemy city was in Virgo, debilited by fall, from the 31st of July to the 15th of August. That would have been a suitable range of time in order to make Parma weaker. But we see also that in the same period Saturn exalted in Libra, angular in the descendent, out of sect is opposing Mars. This configuration is not beneficial at all, taking also in account that Saturn is the lord of MC.

Venus enters Virgo

Venus exits Virgo

Saturn opposed Mars from the 9th of July to the end of suitable range of time. The only period in which there no opposition between Mars and Saturn is the first period after the entrance of  Mars in Aries, from the 20th of June to the 8th of July. But even in that period Saturn, the lord of MC, is in Libra in the VII house.

Difficult Moon placement. It’s quite hard to find a suitable position for the Moon in the election. Since Moon is also lord of the IMC and significator of the city it should be posited in a sign and a position where it is dignified. If we place the Moon in Cancer close to the IMC it is besieged by malefic, Mars and Saturn or at least by Mars with a right square. If we locate the Moon in Taurus in the first house we found it moving from Sun applying to Venus, bringing to Venus its dignity for domicile and so empowering it as we can se in the chart below.

moon applying to Venus

Following the consideration of the historian, Rolandino from Padua, we should ascribe the ruin of Victoria to the influence of Cancer and therefore of the Moon. Even if it’s not possible to know the Moon position for the moment of foundation definitely i think there should some truth about it, because, as Rolandino says, not without irony, the royal crown was found by a certain  “Curtuspassus”, a plebeian guy from Parma, nicknamed ‘Short step’ because of his shortness,  and, as Rethorius says, the moon make short people, with big legs and knees and the Cancer bow-legged ones or moving sideway in their walk. Maybe the Moon leaving behind the Sun and applying to Venus signify the plebeian ‘Short Step’ taking the royal crown and bringing it to the city of Parma (since Moon is significator of the common people and Sun of kings).

Rising Mars. A last word about the idea of putting Mars on the ascendent. I personally think it’s quite dangerous to have Mars in such position even if matters of war are concerned. Anyway it’s clear that the astrologer and Frederick II were more interested in defeating Parma than in the destiny of the new city. The model they used for the election it’s the same Bonatus used for the elections of the beginning of a battle or for a castle besiegement and that he presented in Liber Sextus. Generally in an election for a battle the horoscope is the attacker and the occident the attacked, and in a castle besiegement the ascendent is the attacker and the IMC is the castle. Here it seems that the astrologer choose to mix together those two models: the AS is significator of the attacker, the DS of the enemy, the IMC of the new city Victoria. Something didn’t work out at all and the castle to be defeat became Victoria itself.