Firmicus Maternus

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Here I go through the treatise in order, picking out any parts which relate to the particular circumstances of Charles's nativity. Charles was born at 9.14 p.m. on 14 November 1948. There are a number of general factors to take into consideration. As this is a nocturnal chart, Venus, Mars, Mercury and the Moon are made more favourable, and the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn less so. There is a Mars-Jupiter conjunction, the Moon and Mercury are in opposition, Saturn, the Moon and Jupiter are in trine, Venus and Mars are in sextile, as are Saturn and Mercury. Because of the

Babylonian Astrology

Figure 22 Horoscope of Prince Charles.

antiscia (shadows thrown opposite) cast between Mars in Sagittarius and Capricorn in the dejected Place of Disease, Venus in Libra and Pisces in the Place of Death, the Sun and Mercury in Scorpio and Aquarius in the Place of Marriage (in opposition to the Ascendant), there are bad influences on these planets. On the other hand, the antiscia of the Moon in Taurus and Leo in the Place of Life, of Jupiter in Sagittarius and Capricorn in the Place of Children, and of Saturn in Virgo and Aries in the Place of Journeys, ensure that the Moon's and Jupiter's favourable influence is increased and Saturn's malign influence tempered. The dodecatemories of the Sun and Venus are in the terms of Saturn, and thus under his malign influence, those of the Moon, Jupiter and Mars in the terms of Mercury, of Mercury in the terms of Venus, thus under her benign influence.

With this in mind, we are able to compute the length of life at a little less than a healthy eighty-four years, with Venus, the ruler of the Moon's sign, in her house and favourably aspected. Firmicus' methods here are very crude.3

In Book 3 the first detailed predictions are generated by the position of the planets relative to the Places. Here I keep as close to the original words as possible.4 The fact that Saturn is on the cusp of the second Place indicates serious illnesses and great reversals of fortune. Firmicus tells us that Charles is to become the murderer of his wife and children, and a frequent agitator of great public disturbances, and he wastes his paternal and maternal substance. He is slow in all his activities and suffers from constant bodily afflictions.5 However, before passing on this shocking information to the national press, you will need to know that there is better news for the prince as well. Jupiter in the fifth Place implies a great increase in prosperity, particularly as he is in his own house (Sagittarius). Jupiter is also in conjunction with Mars and in his terms, so the native will be outstanding in regal power, and all his pronouncements will be accepted as if from holy writ. He will have a strong body and healthy bones. But this is not the whole story. Since Jupiter is in aspect to the waning Moon, and it is a nocturnal chart, he will merely make men of decent character, raised to the honour of a moderate position.6

The other planets' relationships to the Places and signs add further predictions. Mars in the fifth Place by night, in the house of Saturn, indicates good fortune in possessions. Honours will be decreed by the people, and friendship offered by great men.7 Venus in a middling Place, but in her house and in favourable aspect to Mars, suggests fame, power and riches.8 Mercury in the fourth Place makes the native sharp of mind, in charge of public activities, erudite in many kinds of learning, but being with the Sun in this Place, also makes him low-class and skilled in secret and illegal arts, though sober and honest.9 The Moon in the ninth Place forces some to cultivate rites of the most important religions, while others carry on business for women.10

In Book 4 Firmicus continues consideration of the Moon. Here the luminary offers dismal predictions for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Being in an important Place, but waning and in aspect to Saturn, makes the parents low-class, slaves, or immersed in poverty or misfortune. Some will have mothers who are sickly or who meet a violent death in the early years. Or the native himself will be sickly, short-lived and will meet an evil death.11 Being on the wane, in aspect to Jupiter, the Moon decrees that the native will be adopted, or left to die and later returned to the parents. Such men seek income by their own efforts, and over a period of time achieve advancement, power and fame.12 The waning Moon moving away from Saturn in aspect to Jupiter makes caretakers to whom private affairs are entrusted, who travel for business; or they become sea-captains, shop-owners or tax-collectors, or one of those who exercise their professions around water. In this way they earn a modest living.13

As for the opposition of Mercury to the Moon, Firmicus observes: 'This indicates infinite vices and unheard-of evils. Therefore we should pray the man should not be thus.' Yet the aspect to Jupiter suggests an abundance of good things.

Firmicus mentions four methods of determining the ruler of the chart.14 The preferred one allots this role to Mars, who makes men:

fierce, unconquerable, active, quarrelsome, bold, involved in dangers, violent but liable to be deceived in various ways. They are gluttonous and digest food easily; brave, just, fiery. They have red hair and bloodshot eyes, commanding ways, always seeking positions of power. Their occupations have to do with iron and fire. They are monstrously bad-tempered, never get on with wives, children or friends, and are envious of others' possessions.

Afflictions such as cuts and bruises are frequent; they often fall from high places and break their arms and legs. (A warning against polo, perhaps?) They will meet a sudden and violent death. However, the bad influence of Mars will be somewhat blunted by the favourable aspect of Venus.15 Being in the house of Saturn and in the fifth Place, as the Moon wanes, with Jupiter in trine to one of the cardinal points, Mars makes powerful, awe-inspiring generals and tribunes ruling great regions and many states, entrusted with control of the whole world.

Mercury is the planet which determines occupations, being in opposition to one of the cardinal points. In a solid sign, he makes important judges or record-keepers. However, this is not a strong prediction because he is neither in his house nor in his terms.16

In typical style Firmicus introduces a new determinant with a dramatic expression of religious awe: 'I am now about to explain fearful secrets which the revered ancients left wrapped in obscurity so that they should not come to the ears of the profane.' He concludes:

That most true and immutable theory the ancients left wrapped in obscurity so that it should not come to the notice of everyone. The great Petosiris touched on it only lightly; not that he was not familiar with it (for he had arrived at all forbidden secrets), but he did not want to divulge it lest his work should lose its divine character.

Completely contradicting his earlier exposition of the decans, he tells us of the Egyptian version, which he claims is the really significant one. Though there are three decans to every sign, their power does not extend to all 30 degrees of each sign. In each sign decans possess certain degrees and not others. Those they possess are called 'full', those where they have no power, 'empty'. This amounts to the observation that with three planets in 'full degrees', Saturn in Chenene, Mercury in Sentacer and Venus in Sepisent—Charles will have good fortune above the ordinary. Also, because the Ascendant is in a full degree (Craumonis), he will be very strong in vitality, courage, animal spirits, type of body, and power of authority. The Midheaven, the Lot of Fortune, and the planet determining occupations are also in full degrees, which bodes well. However, the ruler of the chart lies in empty degrees, which diminishes his power.17 The treatise goes on to explain masculine and feminine degrees. These determine whether the chart is masculine or feminine. The means by which they do this, and the significance of the conclusion, is not explained.18

The fifth book begins with a consideration of signs in which the angles are located. The Ascendant in Leo indicates many toils and dangers, but great fame. The native will be free-born, have unlimited power, and never use it for evil. He will secure his possessions by his own efforts.19

But the Midheaven in Taurus indicates life in a public place or a temple. It also holds the clue to Charles's fortunes in marriage, indicating:

marriage with a widow, or a woman seduced by, or subject to another, or in a servile condition, or an old woman, or an object of public shame.

However, Charles will be greatly honoured by a powerful man, will be knowledgeable in all things and have a great increase in good fortune.20

If Firmicus had actually calculated the Midheaven, he would have found it at 13 degrees Aries. His prediction for those with the Midheaven in Aries is that they will be involved with powerful men; their daily living is afforded from foreign investments. They will always be seeking possessions and luxuries. But their resources will be constantly in a state of flux, so that as often as they lose, they will gain the whole back again.21

The Descendant in Aquarius prescribes a life of ups and downs, and in some cases popularity and approval. The IC (Imum Caelum) in Scorpio merely shows that the native will be in charge of certain projects.22 'Some readers', observes Firmicus, 'may think that these are just general remarks, but there is substance in them.'23

Next, he goes on to consider briefly the influence of the terms. The Ascendant's being in Jupiter's terms indicates virtue and wisdom.24 He leaves the subject to deal with the meanings of the planets in different signs. The presence of Saturn in Virgo means illnesses and problems in early life, and more serious evils when it transits to Capricorn or Taurus, or double signs. (Saturn stays in a sign about every two-and-a-half years. In four years and eight months he would have reached the double sign of Cancer, and in seven years and four months he would have reached Taurus.) Then it brings riots, losses, anxieties, griefs, sudden dangers and destruction. But when it is passing through other signs it indicates good deeds and occupations, fame and increase in income; at least the native will be freed from difficulties, toil and danger and get rest. That period of time will be considered joyful and glorious. When Charles is twenty-nine years and four months old, Saturn will come into Virgo again, bringing ill luck. He will have to make his own way in life rather than relying on his parents. Sometimes he will be in a low position and sometimes in a high one. He will be constantly moved around from one place and from one business to another. Whatever he gains at first will be lost; but when lost it will be regained; but he will lose it again and never be able to attain the income he seeks.25

The position of Saturn offers further insight into Charles's marital arrangements:

There will be trouble with women in early life. Wives allotted to them in early life will not stay with them; the legal wives they take later will not agree with them and they will not have a happy life with them. They will not have virgins for wives, but women seduced by others, or who have already had children. If they do marry virgins, they quickly separate from them. They do not remain with one woman, but finally marry in the lower classes, and these wives they cherish with faithful affection.26

Saturn adds more on other areas of life: Charles will be learned and wise, engaged in many activities and seeking many things. But whenever he attains anything he seeks he wastes the substance of his possessions. He will sustain many losses on behalf of others, but will be deceitful in these situations. He will be involved in popular pursuits, known to all, and familiar to all. Because Saturn is in the first Place, he will lose children and waste their inheritance. Some are allotted relatives for wives.27

Jupiter in Sagittarius will make the natives famous and powerful, rich and learned. They will have possessions abroad, be of good character and trained in every courtesy. However, they lose everything when Saturn crosses the first Place, a time when there will be disturbances, griefs, revolutions, and unfortunate outcomes to projects. This is the case for Charles's first year, and then every twelve years for a year. Thus, from 14 November of 1960, of 1972, of 1984, of 1996 and so on, an annus horribilis would follow. But when Jupiter reaches his own house (Sagittarius or Pisces) with a favourable aspect, prosperity and good fortune will come little by little. On the first occasion, after five years and twelve days, a sextile with Mercury and a trine with Saturn may set Charles on the right track, though they can hardly be said to be the most favourable aspects. Thanks to the position of Jupiter, in the first part of his life Charles can be expected to be irresponsible and to quarrel with his wife. But once he reaches middle age, his luck changes.28

Firmicus has a severe warning regarding people like Charles who have Mercury in a decan of Mars, and Mars in a term of Mercury:

Never make a companion of those who have Mercury in the terms or decans of Mars, or trust them to confide in. They will deny and will persist in their outrageousness with wicked defence of their perjury. They will be prepared for every crime of infamy, especially if with Mercury thus located, Mars is found in the terms of Mercury...In that case the natives will suffer from prison or exile or, fearing court sentence, will wander as fugitives far from their household gods.29

As a culminating pessimistic forecast for the prince from the fifth book, Firmicus notes that the waning Moon in the terms of Mercury makes people 'malicious, wicked, consumptive, mentally disturbed or insane. 'They willingly associate themselves with every kind of wickedness, defend evil men and evil deeds, and their depravity increases from day to day; they are even hostile to men of their own kind.'30

Book 6 reveals one set of bright stars. Quite a different set are revealed in Book 8. But ancient astrologers could congratulate themselves on having the option of revealing that the Ascendant in the 5th degree of Leo is in the bright star Regulus, the star of kings.31 This indicates the highest royal or imperial power. They would doubtless have ignored the prediction in Book 8 that the man with his Ascendant in this degree would become the master or oiler of athletes!32

The treatise moves on to consider the planetary aspects. With Saturn in trine to Jupiter, and Mercury in sextile, Charles should be involved in obscure religious rites or will carry on the business of kings. Often he will lead a famous diplomatic mission. But these men are worn out by excessive misfortune concerning their children; they lose sons and are forced to raise the children of others.33 The indications from Mercury's opposition to the Moon reinforce an earlier prediction relating to progressions from planetary positions in the terms. British republicans can take comfort then: this aspect stirs up attacks of the multitude and popular revolution. The timid natives are always persecuted in public meetings by the malevolent voices of the people.34

Taking the sextile aspects as having half the impact of similar trines, according to Firmicus' instructions,35 enables us to observe that the native will be quite intelligent and talented, with some interest in learning, quite serious in character in early life. He will tend to argue for his point of view. He could be in charge of public accounts or the privy purse, and make a reasonable amount of money from this. So much for Saturn and Mercury.36 As for Mars and Venus, since the locations are favourable, they indicate some daily profit as a result of constant effort, and a fairly prosperous marriage. Charles will have a moderately good reputation, be quite proud of his high position and have several marriages.37

The conjunction of Jupiter and Mars repeats the ascription of great power.38 Charles will govern a great state, or at least an important region. He will achieve his desires, reach the highest office and control the greatest armies. But the injury the Sun inflicts on Mercury implies that Charles will never shine in anything he does, and will only carry out duties subordinate to powerful men. Though clever in council, he will always hide what he is thinking. He will be anxious, worried over all life's duties, and filled with superstitious awe in all religious rites, suspicious of others, and hesitating even in small decisions.

At this point Firmicus explains how to compute the Lots, which are marked on the chart by small circles. The distance between different planets is added to or subtracted from the Ascendant. The aspects, positions, relationships to the signs and so on are then considered. Calculating the Lot of Parents yields the information that, while the Duke of Edinburgh may be allowed personal charm and grace, the Queen will be low-class, hardworking, ill-kempt and mournful, always sluggish and hesitating, a slave or at least given to servile habits and appearance.

After long consideration of the Lots of Brothers, Wives and Children I can only reveal that his children will be by one wife only and that many will die. Charles could be expected to have one sister, thanks to the Moon, but Mars and Saturn might kill her off. We can anticipate that he will have some problems in the head, from the ages of fifteen and thirty, but that they will be moderated by Venus. In general, the predictions are vague and cancel each other out. I will leave out consideration of the Lots of sexual desires, necessity, honours, military affairs, travel, reputation, physical courage, possessions, accusations, enemies, friends, glory and slaves.39

From the Time-Lords we can tell something of Charles's immediate future. A new cycle of Time-Lords began on Charles's fortyfourth birthday, 14 November 1992. Until 14 June 1994, the Sun rules, bringing ill luck, especially as it is in aspect to Saturn and Mars in a nocturnal chart. The bad news is that the Sun is followed by Saturn for the next thirty months. During this time he threatens pestilence and death. From 14 December 1996 for a year Jupiter takes over and brings better luck for a year, bestowing 'peaceful good fortune together with the happiest kind of life so that all traces of evil are washed away'. Losses are made good, health is restored, and difficulties end. Then Mars disturbs this serenity until 14 March 1999, bringing the greatest dangers and constant calamities; he 'indicates loss of income and extreme poverty; stirs up frequent law suits and quarrels; and also brings about pains in the eyes and serious dangers'. Then, until Charles's birthday in that year, Venus 'brings prosperity in all affairs; but she excites the character of wives with a certain malevolent dissension, so that a concealing mind in the wife both betrays and then covers itself. Because of this lawsuits are stirred up, and small riots.' Until 14 July 2001 Mercury 'indicates frequent business activities and continual profit, but the profit comes only after labour and danger'. The final part of the Sun's rule as TimeLord is allotted to the Moon, until 14 August 2003. 'At this time the whole life of the native is disturbed in a variety of ways; whatever he has collected up to this time he loses again; his life will be changeable so that he will be relieved of money by sudden riches, but will lose them again and poverty will follow.'40

The last two books, concerned with specific sorts of charts such as those of infants who are left to die, twins and slaves, and with the fixed stars north and south of the zodiac, or paranatellonta, offer fewer specific predictions. We do learn a little more about the family. According to two different methods, either his father will die first or his mother. (The Sun is worse located than the Moon, implying that the father will die first, but if you count the number of signs from the Moon to the Sun, you end up in a feminine sign, suggesting that the mother will survive.)41 He will have five moderately prosperous siblings.42 His wife will be well-born but known for adultery.43 In fact, following a method for which Firmicus will not vouch, he will have four or eight wives, beginning at the age of ten, or twenty-two, or thirty-four. (This is worked out by counting the signs from Venus to the Place or the Lot of Marriage for the number and using the total of all the degrees of all the planets as an arc of distance from the Lot of Marriage, and checking when Jupiter reaches the sign.) Before then, if marriage took place it would be dissolved.44

Firmicus often points out that the whole body of the data must be considered. For instance, at the end of the sixth book, after discussion of the Time-Lords, he says: 'I do not wish individual sentences to be quoted out of context. For often if a benefic planet receives the allotted time but has a malefic planet with him, or in square aspect, or in opposition, the favourable quality of his predictions is lessened.'45 Thus, after the amassing of the relevant predictions, work remains to be done.

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