Bonatti: Will I occupy the besieged castle?

In his Treatise 6: On Questions Bonatti discusses a horary chart whose outcome is not obvious on first glance (Dykes translation, p. 515).  Apparently Count Guido Novello was besieging the castle of his enemy, the Luccans, and he asked Bonatti whether he would be able to capture it. The data for the chart is 11 October 1261 (Julian) at 9:36 AM LMT in Lucca, Italy. Here is the chart with Alcabitius houses.


It is a Mars day during a Mercury hour. Mars rules war and is in detriment in Libra. Mars is also conjunct the South Node. Mercury rules the 7th of open enemies and occupies the unfortunate 12th house. Thus, the general astrological ambiance at the time of the question is rather negative, so the Count is probably worried about failure. The chart has an early Ascendant, so the situation is in its early stages and it may be premature to try to get indications a definitive outcome.

The Count (querent) is shown by the 1st house, ruled by Jupiter. The castle is shown by the 4th house, also ruled by Jupiter. It is not uncommon for the same planet to rule both the querent and quesited in a horary chart, so it will be interesting to see how Bonatti handles Jupiter as the same signifier.

Bonatti says that at first glance the chart looks pretty good. Jupiter rules both the Count and the castle, indicating a kind of “harmony” between the two. Mercury, the enemy, is weak in the cadent 12th house. The Moon, exalted in Taurus, is about to trine Jupiter, the greater benefic. It looks very good. What could go wrong?

Bonatti then tells the count that his army is a bunch of goof-offs who are so lazy and sluggish that they couldn’t wrest a toy castle from a bunch a toddlers. He says this because Jupiter in Capricorn is in his fall (Jupiter is exalted in Cancer), and Jupiter (the Count) is applying to the 4th cusp (the castle) but is not applying to the 1st cusp (in fact Jupiter is in aversion to the Ascendant), which indicates that the 4th house castle is not coming to the 1st house Count.  Furthermore, the Moon (which looks favorable) is cadent in the 6th house and in aversion to the Ascendant. Although Bonatti does not mention it, the Moon is also the ruler of the 8th house of loss and death. Bonatti also does not mention the Part of Fortune in the 7th, which could certainly benefit the Count’s enemies.

Bonatti’s judgment was correct. Even though the Count’s army outnumbered the Luccans and could have captured the castle, they were so incompetent and undisciplined that they accomplished nothing. Apparently Bonatti was traveling with the Count and his army, so he could observe firsthand what a bunch of slugs they were. Did he really need a horary chart to be able to advise the count about what he was up against?

When the same planet rules both the querent and the quesited:

Although Bonatti does not mention it in this example, elsewhere he discusses an approach to the same planet signifying both the querent and the quesited.  As I understand it (p. 366, Dykes translation), Bonatti says that if the same planet is the significator of both the querent and quesited, then the astrologer should consider the dispositors of that planet (especially by domicile and exaltation) and whether the dispositors receive the planet that simultaneously signifies both querent and quesited.

Recall that “reception” means that a planet makes an aspect with its ruler by domicile or exaltatation (or by two of its three minor rulers, that is, by triplicity, term or face). In other words, if the significator of both the querent and quesited applies to aspect its dispositor by domicile or exaltation, then there is reception and the matter should turn out well for the querent. But if the receiving planet is impeded by being combust, Rx, or in its fall, then matters will end badly.

In the horary for Count Novello, Jupiter rules both the querent (the Count) and the quesited (the castle). Jupiter in Capricorn is disposed by domicile-ruler Saturn and by exaltation-ruler Mars. Saturn is in bad shape because it is Rx, peregrine and in its fall in Aries. In addition, Jupiter is separating from an aspect with Saturn rather than applying. Thus, Saturn will be no help in besieging the castle.

What about exaltation ruler Mars? The good news is that Mars is approaching a square with Jupiter from a superior position, so it may be able to help. Unfortunately, Mars in Libra is in its detriment. Mars is also peregrine and closely conjunct the malefic South Node, so Mars is more likely to do more harm than good for Jupiter.

Is all hope lost? Jupiter also lies in the triplicity and terms of Venus, so maybe she can help him. Venus looks nice and strong in Libra which she rules. Unfortunately, Venus is separating from an aspect with Jupiter rather than applying to him, so her beneficence is departing Jupiter. In addition, Venus is combust and applying to the body of the Sun, which Bonatti says is the worst possible debility a planet can undergo, combustion being “harmful beyond all other impediments” (Dykes, p.353). In addition, the Sun is not a happy camper in Libra, the sign of his fall.

Thus, Jupiter will receive minimal help from its dispositors by domicile, exaltation, triplicity or term. Also, Jupiter occupies the Capricorn 2nd house which is the resources of the Count, so his lazy good-for-nothing army will be of little avail. Saturn, which rules the 2nd, is in bad shape in this chart.

When the quesited involves two or more options:

Yet another technique which Bonatti discusses elsewhere in his text is how to analyze a chart with two or more options. His method is the assign the various options to the triplicity rulers of the quesited (Dykes, p. 552). If we conceptualize this chart as, “Will I capture the castle, or will the Luccans remain in control of it?”, then the first triplicity ruler of Jupiter would be for the Count and the second triplicity ruler of Jupiter would be for the Luccans.

Here Jupiter in Capricorn in a day chart has Venus as its first (day) triplicity ruler and the Moon as it second (night) triplicity ruler. We have already seen that Venus, being combust  and applying to the Sun, is suffering from the worst debility possible in a horary chart, so things don’t look good for the Count. The Moon, on the other hand, is exalted in Taurus and is applying to trine benefic Jupiter; the Moon’s only significant impediment is being cadent in the 6th house. Thus, the Moon is in much better shape than Venus, indicating that the Luccans will triumph in the end.


All original material in this blog is copyright Anthony Louis, 2017.




About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
This entry was posted in Astrology, horary and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Bonatti: Will I occupy the besieged castle?

  1. ayves says:

    Thank you! Particularly the use of tripricity is so benefical!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s