Arabic Astrology and the Art of Divination


Clélia Romano, July 2013
By chance I came across an interesting title “Arabic Astrology”, by the French author Catherine Aubier, M. A. Éditions, 1987, Paris.Thinking that I would meet my old acquaintances authors Masha’allah, Abu Mashar, Abu Ali, etc. to my surprise the author was using a model that had little resemblance to astrology.It dealt with mental constructs equally remote, leading to the prediction and interpretation of psychological and factual issues, describing year by year of a native´s life, their similarity and harmony with other people, the expected evolution from birth to mature age, and much more. All this was done without using any astrological technique.

The title Arabic Astrology was based on the only astrological model used, namely the division into twelve types of persons accordingly to the months of the year when they were born, i.e. a sun sign division. This fact, however, provided only the first of the factors to use in a future equation.

The result of the prior analysis is able to identify twelve kinds of people,each one pertaining to a type of weapon used in medieval times, such as knife, sword, slingshot, bow, Arabic dagger, etc.

The zodiacal sign which corresponded to a weapon received a score; certain number of points that will be summed up on a calculation which in the future will describe who the person is.

For instance, Virgo gets one point, Libra 8 points, Sagittarius, 12, etc.

The planets are not interpreted or even considered, but the parents´ professions receive points ranging growing as the profession is nobler, until you get the number 12, in which case one of the parents was a worldwide remarkable figure.

The next step is to punctuate the native accordingly to the number of inhabitants in the city where he or she was born, as it is considered that a native has more opportunities in big cities than in small ones.

The last two points emphasize the influence of the medium and are “weapons” that act as a potentiating (or not) of the characteristics of the individual given by the sun sign, called the “predestination” weapon.

Adding the three obtained points provide a summary of each person, the so called “weapon of birth”.

Each weapon obtained in this way is described in similar manner as when we describe temperaments in an astrological context.

In order to know the favorable year for certain things for each of the types, it is taught to use the sum of the birth date to the current year. Depending on the numeral some specific accidents for the year are expected.

Now, all this seems extremely unlikely, done for the sake of numbers and guessing, but the fact is that on many important points, as in sinastry and predictions it works fine, as well as in the description of the personality.

In my case, for example, I was born in the sign of Aries who earns two points of predestination and my weapon is the dagger. My family history was among Mace and Ax, because my father was a sales representative. My weapon of luck was the Arc, the highest, because I was born in a city with more than 5000 inhabitants which imply higher chances of growth.

This weapon system demonstrated to be effective in my case, since the sum came to my individual weapon, the Ax, which described many of my psychological characteristics and also the expected difficult years appeared clearly.

The book is worth to read, not only to make predictions, but to realize that there are many possible constructions that can work in order to know ourselves and the future.

The mighty river of divination does not wet exclusively the astrologers´ feet, but of all those asking how things are related to each other.

No art is superior to another if both methods are based in observables phenomena.

The link between the hidden world and facts settles for sympathy among observable phenomena. This observation has been practiced since man is man, from the remotest antiquity, in analogy to the culture and environment of our ancestors, be it geomancy, the game using dog whelk, numerology, the omens, astrology, the I Ching, etc..

Returning to the case of studying the weapon-related people,the medieval society was a feudal society and the used weapons were characteristics of each status degree, the knives being considered a trivial one while the sword and bow, especially the latter was privileged to the nobles. The personal eminence was measured by such weapon prism.

The very being of a person, the personality and the opportunities to develop
was circumscribed within fixed limits represented by the capacity of evolution of each type of weapon. According to it periods of difficulty or ease were anticipated including in which areas in which things would happen.

Interestingly the fixed limit of evolution mixes the concept of fate and free will in a very plausible way.

In the same book Catherine Aubier comes to other methods of divination such as numerology and geomancy, i.e.the design of random points in search of a clear answer.

Looking for correlations and directions in a seemingly chaotic world is the brand of esoteric arts and a way to break the human isolation through brotherhood between man and nature.

Such brotherhood is synonymous of a sympathetic and harmonious relationship permeating all the living beings and phenomena.

Through this kind of approach people can be able to reach an understanding of the Biggest Reason behind the build of the world we inhabit, the law that subdued and mixed the elements at least to some extent and the platonic ideal of which this world is a mere copy.

In astrology we realize that everything occurs related to the position of the stars, but the relation is not of causality. Both worlds, the hidden and the visible, heavens and earth, depend mutually, since each one is part of a living system.300px-Rhumsiki_crab_sorceror

Let us remember that the question of power of the big to tame the small is as important as the power of the small to tame the big. We learn this easily from
the behavior of atoms and viruses.

It is curious that astrologers (and other types of students of the occult) sometimes fight by trifles when the panorama of divination is much larger . Many ways, though not all, can lead to the kingdom of God.

The divine engineering comes to light to those who have condition to see, be him or she an astrologer, a palmist, a Tarot reader, etc.

It shines through omens, trees bending to the left or to the right, because of the wind, birds taking north or south when freed, a name that appears on
an outdoor´s advertisement, etc.

It all makes sense to guess for those who pay attention and is able to live between the two worlds.

All this to say that we have in astrology a construction perfected for over two thousand years, but this construction has as much truth as others who also were built using as a basis the sympathy between the divine and the human, no matter which parameters are used: rods , points, coins, shells, viscera etc.

All these forms of divination, if based on elaborate observations, transmitted from generation to generation, are perfected by experience and become prodigious mental constructs. Probably build a model is part of human reason, because we are not able to get directly to the core and essence of things, but just to observe that things work “as if…”

It is possible that even a model based on ants’ behavior could generate guesses if the facts were studied accordingly to relations between the anthill and the human world.

In my opinion as astrologer nothing is more impressive than the vault of heaven, especially as it might have been presented visually in antiquity, away from the light and air pollution of cosmopolitan cities.

Paralleling, astrology is in the level of the Arch, one of the noblest arts of divination.

But this does not make it the only one.

6 thoughts on “Arabic Astrology and the Art of Divination

  1. Oh, what an interesting article. I have been working through Dr. Lehman’s, Medical Astrology, and she talked about Chinese astrology, and how actually, there were two different astrological economies. What we know of as Chinese astrology was the economy for commoners, while the other one was reserved for temples and royalty.

    It is also interesting that personal horoscopes are a rather late development in astrology. I am wondering if this is because older societies did not have the same notion of individuality that we do today. By the same token, ordinary people did not have to make the many, many decisions that we do. Much of their lives were determined by their station and their family.

    I know that seems like a tangent, but what you described seems to fit well for divination for regular people, and what they might actually need to help them with decision making.

  2. Hello Myriam:
    I liked your comment “It is also interesting that personal horoscopes are a rather late development in astrology. I am wondering if this is because older societies did not have the same notion of individuality that we do today. By the same token, ordinary people did not have to make the many, many decisions that we do. Much of their lives were determined by their station and their family.”
    This can be the motive why only royalty used to have their charts analysed by astrologer in Middle Ages. Common people, the rustics did not had any powers to decide anything and were seen as property of the feud´s lord. So, what you said makes much sense. Thank you! :-).

    1. I think that this may be where some of our modern prejudices may cloud things a bit. I think, even up to the Enlightenment, there is the idea that those in authority were placed in authority by the Divine. In this model, obedience to one’s superior is seen as obedience to the Divine. A person would be instructed in many decisions of her life by an authority, who was acting in the place of the Divine to her, or by tradition, which was a reflection of the Primordial Tradition, which is also seen to have been passed down from the Divine.

      In Japan, the Emperor was seen as receiving given authority through the Sun (the supernal Sun, not the physical one we see in the sky). It was only by force, after World War II, that the Emperor recanted that. In this system, common people are not necessarily the “property” of those above them. Those above them are not supposed to be acting as individuals either. To the extent that the lord was acting as an individual, his authority was false.

      I was just watching the movie, Fiddler on the Roof. I was thinking of using the movie as an illustration of a different concept I want to introduce in a future article, but in watching it, I realized that there are too many things that can be taken the wrong way. I do think that it is helpful in my point in this comment. It is terribly sad story, but it is a really good illustration of the destruction of a traditional community. In that community, there were traditions for everything…how to work, how to sleep, how to eat. A marriage was decided by a couple’s parents through the community matchmaker. One could think that the tradition began to break with the father’s giving in to the first daughter regarding her marriage to the tailor rather than the butcher; however, I think that the tradition broke down before that.

      I think that the tradition really started to break down when the father was questioning God and doubting God with respect to his role in life, and when he started to be motivated by material wealth. He agreed to the marriage of his first daughter to the butcher based on his desire as an individual (and as the head of a family he had to financially support) to obtain wealth. At this point, he was no longer acting in his Function as parent, from which the archetype of the Divine Parent could flow, but as an individual that had a very human desire for a more comfortable life for himself and his family.

      Now, with this, I am not saying that it is wrong to want wealth, or to desire to support one’s family in comfort, but in channeling the authority of the archetype of the Divine Parent, that individual desire (however understandable) blocked the father from manifesting the archetype. When he gave in to his daughter, it was based on another human desire to see his daughter happy. Again, it is a very understandable desire, but that is still not how the archetype functions. Had he been manifesting the archetype of the Divine Parent, that decision would have been made in prayer and with consultation with the Rabbi, so that he, himself, was not making the decision, but was allowing the Divine Parent to work through him.

      It is a very subtle, but profound, difference. The actual decision made may have been the same. His daughter’s marriage to the tailor seemed to be a good one, and a “match made in Heaven,” but the process by which he made the decision broke from the true tradition from the start. The tradition had already broken down in many other levels as well, but this comment is already getting very, very long.

      Of course, tradition in this sense has been broken for a long, long time, certainly in the West, and probably in the East as well, to a lesser extent. In the West, it seems to have been broken as far back as we have written history. On the other hand, the remnants of that tradition were still manifest through the Enlightenment, and even to a lesser extent, through the early 1960’s.

      It is what it is, and we and our clients are living in the world we are living in. Few (if any) of us really have a true authority we can turn to in the sense that I am describing, so we really do need a lot more guidance and help if we are trying to make decisions in our lives.

      1. Oh dear, I just realized looking at this comment again, I went off on a bit of a soapbox. I am sorry about that. I hope I did not sound too argumentative; that really was not my intent. I really did like your article a lot, and it has given me a lot to think about.

      2. Don´t worry, Myriam, your comment are always welcome! Feel free to talk with me in the way you want. I have not replied because it deserved a long answer, kind of a new article;-)

      3. Oh, how exciting. I look forward to another article. Please don’t worry about not responding quickly. You have just seen the interaction between my Scorpio Ascendant, ruled by Mars in Aries and my Sun and Venus in Pisces :). My Piscean parts read what I wrote and thought, oh gosh, that sounded a bit, well, not Piscean…heee

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