Recently I’ve been reading through Ben Dykes translation of Guido Bonatti’s Treatise 6: On Questions. As I read these ancient texts, I like to put up the charts for the case examples on my computer. In the previous post I wrote about two examples Bonatti used (transfer and collection of light) for which the chart he describes could not have existed in his working lifetime. The planets simply did not align as they do in his examples at any time during which Bonatti was practicing astrology in the 13th century CE.
Nonetheless, Bonatti says that the question underlying the chart for the transfer of light was posed to him by one of his clients. Ben Dykes estimates that Bonatti was born in 1207 CE, so the client who asked about his uncle’s goods (the transfer of light example) would have consulted Bonatti when the astrologer was but 5-years-old. If Bonatti had simply invented the chart to illustrate a point, he should have said so. Instead, he says that it is a real chart for an actual question. On the other hand, maybe Guido was an extremely precocious child and he was indeed doing horary consultations at age 5. After all, Mozart was already a gifted musician at the same age.
I next turned my attention to Bonatti’s chart for “perfection by joining” (Dykes, p. 356). According to the text, this chart has an Ascendant at 13 Taurus, Venus at 7 Gemini, Sun at 12 Gemini, and Moon at 9 Aries. The question is about whether the querent will obtain some landed property (a 4th house matter), and Bonatti says that the Sun rules the quesited, implying that Leo is on the cusp of the 4th and Aquarius is on the Midheaven.
Bonatti wrote his book around 1277 CE, so I worked backward in time, looking for a chart that fit these conditions. The earliest date prior to 1277 in which a similar chart occurs is June 1, 1255 at 3:04 AM LMT in Florence, Italy. (I used Florence because Bonatti worked in this part of Italy.) Prior to that, there is a similar chart on May 31, 1247 at 3:09 AM LMT in Florence. I did not search for charts prior to 1240 CE. When the Sun is in Gemini and mid-Taurus rises, it is a few hours before sunrise in Italy. It seems a little odd to me that Bonatti was taking questions at 3 AM, but maybe he and his clients were night-owls.
The next odd thing about these charts is that if the Sun is in Gemini and 13 Taurus is rising in Italy, then Cancer is on the 4th cusp and Capricorn is on the Midheaven. In fact, it is not until about 23 Taurus rises that the MC switches to Aquarius and the IC to Leo. This discrepancy may simply be due to a copyist error, mistaking 23 Taurus for 13 Taurus. Or maybe Bonatti was so bleary eyed, calculating charts by candlelight at 3 in the morning, that he mistook 23 for 13.
Here are the two charts I came up with (between the years 1240 and 1277 CE) that roughly fit Bonatti’s description of his “Perfection by Joining” example:
In both charts Taurus rises, so Venus signifies the querent. The quesited property is signified by the Sun, which ruls the 4th cusp of real estate. Venus applies to conjoin the Sun in Gemini, suggesting that the querent will get the property. In addition, the Moon in Aries (in an earlier degree than Venus or the Sun) applies to sextile both these planets in Gemini. The Sun in Gemini receives the Moon in Aries (the Sun’s exaltation), so there is a strong reception as the Moon sextile Sun perfects and brings the matter to fruition.
I am still left with the lingering doubt about whether Bonatti was simply inventing hypothetical examples to illustrate the theory or whether these were actual charts prompted by real clients who asked horary questions. I much prefer real world examples to see how or even whether the theory works in practice.
All original material on this blog is copyright Anthony Louis, 2017.