In his book on mundane astrology, the 8th-century Persian Jewish astrologer Masha’allah offers a chart for the beginning of the Christian Era. His method is to study Aries Ingresses and the cycle of the Great Saturn/Jupiter conjunctions as they pass through the four triplicites (Fire, Air, Earth and Water signs). In the previous post I looked at the chart proposed for the Great Deluge made famous in the story of Noah’s Ark. These charts are based on the translation by Kennedy and Pingree (Harvard University Press, 1971) of Masha’allah’s text).
Masha’allah in Horoscope 5 of his book proposes that the Christian Era began in March of 13 BCE (his choice for the year of the birth of Christ), with the Saturn/Jupiter conjunctions occurring in Earth signs. He offers the Aries ingress chart of 13 BCE as the beginning of this period and deduces from the chart that Christ will be born in December of that year. Here are the values Masha’allah used (assuming that he cast the chart for Baghdad):
- Ascendant: 18 Libra
- Sun: 0 Aries 01
- Moon: 22 Gemini 44
- Mercury: 4 Aries 49
- Venus: 14 Taurus
- Mars: 21 Gemini 22
- Jupiter: 2 Virgo 30 Rx
- Saturn: 16 Capricorn 28
The following is a modern reproduction of this chart for the Aries Ingress of the year of the birth of Christ with Porphyry houses, which I believe is what Masha’allah meant when he spoke of “houses by division”. I adjusted the ayanasma to match Masha’allah’s values as closely as possible. Only Mercury is way off, with the original chart having a position of 4 Aries 49 for Mercury and the one calculated by modern computer at 3 Pisces 53. Perhaps the substitution of Aries for Pisces was a typo on Masha’allah’s part because the degrees of Mercury in the signs are almost identical.
Below is a key portion of Masha’allah’s interpretation of this Aries Ingress (quoted from Kennedy & Pingree, pages 45-46); italics and parenthetical […] remarks are mine:
“… he found the lord of the year to be Saturn, because of its strength and its numerous aspects, and because all the planets, … except Mars and the moon, were conferring their counsel upon it [Saturn], it being in its own house [Capricorn], and the ascendant [Libra] its exaltation and triplicity, and the lord of the ascendant [Venus] confers its counsel upon it [Saturn] from its second house [that is, from Taurus, which is the other house of Venus, ruler of the Libra ascendant].”
“That indicates that he [Christ] will be born in 10 months of this year [that is, 10 months from the Aries Ingress, which is December of 13 BCE], and because the transfer [of years at the Aries Ingress] is nocturnal [Sun below the horizon, Moon as sect ruler] and the moon [sect lord] is with Mars in the 9th [of religious figures], it indicates violence [Mars] he will meet, and fear about him of being killed in a high place [? perhaps fear of death because Moon lies in the 8th of death and also rules the 8th by exaltation?] because the two [Moon and Mars] are conjunct in the highest of signs [actually Cancer is both the 10th sign and contains the MC, so that Cancer rather than Gemini is the highest of signs in this chart, unless he means that the Moon/Mars conjunction lies in the highest of all the signs which contain a planet in this chart or perhaps that the Moon rules Cancer, the highest place in the chart].”
The “highest of signs” remark is a bit puzzling. Masha’allah may be thinking in terms of the Whole Sign houses in which the planets in Gemini are visually clearly the highest in the chart. It appears that Masha’allah is combining the topical meanings of both the Porphyry and Whole Sign houses to deduce that Christ will be killed in a high place, perhaps as follows:
- Moon (sect ruler) will conjoin Mars in the 9th of religious figures.
- Moon lies in the 9th Whole Sign but the 8th (of death) Porphyry houses.
- Moon and Mars are in the highest place in the chart, most visually obvious in the Whole Sign chart.
- Sect light Moon is the exalted ruler of the 8th of death and signifies being held on high or placed on a pedestal, in this case a cross. (Eighth-ruler Venus would signify and ordinary death, whereas the Moon as exalted ruler quite literally symbolizes dying while being held up high.)
- Jupiter, a natural signifier of religous leaders, lies in the fortunate 11th Porphyry house of the Good Daemon, bringing hope to humankind, but also lies in the extremely unfortunate 12th Whole Sign house of sacrifice, mourning and secret enemies.
- The Sun, which rejoices in the 9th house of God, lies in the angular 7th Whole Sign house but in the unfortunate cadent 6th house in the Porphyry system.
- Saturn, extremely significant as lord of the year, squares the Sun (a god symbol), and the Sun rejoices in the 9th where the sect light Moon conjoins Mars — a combination of symbols suggesting death in a high place.