Bonatti - On Whether a Matter Will Come to Pass:

Introduction:
(translated by Rob Hand)
The following text is an excerpt from the newest Project Hindsight Latin track text, the beginning of Guido Bonatti's text on horary astrology. In these sections he lays out the primary criteria according to which a quesited matter ("sought for matter" in the text) will be brought about or perfected. After a preliminary discussion of the three major modes by which the matter may be perfected, Bonatti then launches into a particular interesting discussion of the indications which indicate perfection. Particularly interesting in this discussion is the role of reception, a subject only somewhat touched upon in the 17th literature. For those readers who are unfamiliar with reception, there is a brief discussion of it after the excerpt.

I find these passages particularly interesting because of the extremely orderly nature of the presentation and the clarity of the principles. The entire text and the discussion of the first six houses will be found in the Latin Track, Volume XIII, which is Part 4 of our edition of Bonatti.

Note: For the sake of shortening this excerpt many of the explanatory notes that are in the actual booklet have been deleted.


Text Excerpt Begins:

How One May Reach a Judgment. Chapter II

Because judging concerning futures things is very difficult (and that this is so in truth is made evident by the considerations conveyed to you above) [1] nor did Hippocrates say that judgment is useless, but yet [it is] difficult, because nothing in the world is more difficult than to predict the truth about things to come, [because of these things] it is necessary before [this discussion] comes to the matter of judging that I should say certain things about these matters which pertain to the business of judgments; without these I believe it will be impossible that you can know how to judge according to the way of truth, even though I have made some mention of these matters above. Because it is necessary first to know what are the causes of perfecting matters, and which of these will show you the truth, and which are those which prohibit these so that they are not perfected; and [it is necessary to know] from which causes the accomplishment of matters may come about, and from which their detriment may come about; and [it is necessary to know] the signification of each factor which brings about perfection and also [the signification] of each factor that is the cause of destruction or prohibition, and which factors will signify the time when these matters ought to be perfected or when they ought to be destroyed or prohibited; [it is necessary to know all of these] before you may presume to judge. And this is the office which the most high creator of all things has given to the planets, the signs, and also the fixed stars.

And Messahalla and many others have said that the bringing about and the destruction of things in this world has to be accomplished principally in three modes: In the first mode it is such that the lord of the Ascendant, the lord of the matter sought after, and also the Moon are being joined. In the second mode it is such that if the aforesaid significators are not being joined, there may be some planet which transfers light among them, to wit, if it separates from one and it is being joined to another. In the third mode it is such that some other planet which is more ponderous than the aforementioned significators makes a collection of light and they are both being joined to the ponderous planet and each of them commits its own disposition to it because the more ponderous planet is the one which perfects the matter.

And it is sometimes so that a matter is perfected to the entire purpose of the querent, sometimes it is perfected in part, and sometimes neither entirely nor in part. And I shall expound to you on all of these things to this purpose; so that you may understand and recognize how you may be able to judge concerning those matters that present themselves to you.

Concerning the Exposition of the First Mode

The exposition of the first mode by which matters are perfected is when the lord of the Ascendant and the Moon are joined with the lord of the matter sought after, for then the matter is perfected.

For example, a certain question was made whether someone would obtain a certain estate which he wished to buy; and the Ascendant was 13 deg. of Taurus, Venus was in 7 deg. of Gemini, the Sun in 12 deg. of Gemini, and the Moon in 9 deg. of Aries. The ruler of the Ascendant, namely Venus, which was going toward bodily conjunction with the Sun, and the Moon which was going toward the aspectual conjunction of the Sun signified that the matter ought to be perfected, that it would be perfected if the one who asked the question wished to pursue it so that it would be perfected, and especially because the Sun, which was the significator of the sought for matter received the Moon from Aries by the sextile aspect. And the matter would be perfected much more by the sextile, but [it would be] even by a square or opposition as long as there is reception between the significators although the perfection will be with difficulty and also worry or great effort, and likewise with opposition and uneasiness of mind.

Concerning the Exposition of the Second Mode

The exposition of the second mode is when one planet is separated from a second planet and is being joined to a third and commits the disposition which it accepts from the other to the planet to which it is being joined.

For example, a question was posed to me. A certain person asked whether he would acquire the goods of one of his uncles who did not have children. The Ascendant of the question was 16 deg. of Scorpio; Mars was in 20 deg. in that sign; and Venus [was] in 12 deg. degrees of Taurus going toward the opposition of Mars; and Mercury was in 17 deg. of Pisces. Mercury was separating from the sextile aspect by which he was joined to Venus who received him by way of Pisces which is her exaltation; and she committed to him her disposition, and Mercury carried it to Mars and committed it to him by the trine aspect. This signified that the querent would obtain the goods of his uncle because Venus which was the significatrix of the querent's uncle's goods committed her diposition to Mercury and Mercury carried it to Mars which was the significator of the querent. For the sixth house is the significating house of the uncle, to wit, of the father's brother just as I have said above in the chapter on houses because the sixth house is the third house from the fourth house which is the house of the father, and the seventh house is the second house from sixth house which signifies the substance of the uncle. And the transferal of light signified that the matter would be accomplished by the acts of deputies who will involve themselves in the matter. And it was seen that it was bound to be done by the act of a familiar of one of the querent's partners; [2] and if the querent does not have a partner, it would be accomplished by the act of some familiar of the querent's enemy, or of the querent's wife if the querent did not live in his wife's house with the familiar; [3] and if that familiar should not be found, it would be accomplished by the act of some servant of the querent's brother; [4] but if the brother does not have a servant, it will be accomplished by the act of an elder brother of the querent; but if the querent does not have an older brother, it will be accomplished by the act of a certain one of the native's friends; but if the querent does not have a friend, it will be accomplished by the act of some soldier or familiar of the king; [5] but if such persons are not found, it will be accomplished by the act of someone concerning whom the querent's hidden enemies have complete trust. And if such a person is not to be found, the matter will be accomplished by the act of that one who is signified by the house in which the Moon is at the time.

Concerning the Exposition of the Third Mode

The exposition of the third mode is when one planet which is the significator of the sought for matter is not being joined to lord of the Ascendant of the question, but both are being joined to another planet which is more ponderous than they, and both commit to that third planet their virtue, and the more ponderous planet perfects the sought for matter.

As for example, a certain person asked whether he would obtain a particular parish church which he desired. The Ascendant was 14 degrees of Sagittarius; Jupiter was in that sign at 15 degrees, the Sun, which was the significator of the church, in 14 degrees of Gemini, and Saturn in Aries 18 degrees. Both were being joined to Saturn, and he collected the light of both; therefore the collection of the light of Jupiter and the Sun which Saturn was making signified that the matter would be perfected and that he would obtain the sought for church. [This was] because the Sun which was the lord of the ninth house (which has that signification) committed his disposition to Saturn because the Sun received Saturn from his own exaltation; and Saturn entrusted and committed the sought for matter (which was committed to him by the Sun) to Jupiter. [6] The matter would be perfected more easily if the querent asked about the sought for matter on behalf of someone else rather than if he asked about it for himself, because although Jupiter was joined to Saturn by a trine aspect, Saturn did not receive him with a perfect reception, because Saturn did not receive Jupiter except by triplicity. [7] It seemed [therefore] that the querent's brother might be the one by whose hands the matter would be perfected. But if the querent were to have a brother, it might be the brother of someone who pretends to love the querent although he does not love him; and if there were not such a person, it might be the son of some one of his friends; and if such a one were not to be found, it might be a servant of some important man; and if such a one were not found, it might be some enemy of the Church; and if that enemy of the Church were not found, it might be a friend of a son of the querent; and if the querent were not to have a son, or the son were not to have a friend, it might be some hidden enemy of the father of the querent; but if the querent were not to have a father, or the father were not to have such an enemy, it might happen because of some manner of simony. [8] This [third] mode of perfecting matters is a lasting one.

Concerning Another Mode of Perfecting Matters

There is another mode of perfecting matters which is said to be subordinate to the preceding one which is not lasting nor so complete, to wit: If two planets are joined to another more ponderous than themselves, and they commit disposition and virtue to that third planet (just as I have described concerning Jupiter and the Sun, how they committed virtue to Saturn) and that more ponderous planet which receives the disposition is impeded, namely, cadent, retrograde, combust, joined to malefics which impede it, or it is besieged by malefics, I say that it can perfect the matter and that it does sometimes perfect the matter, but after the matter has been settled and perfected, it is ruined and it does not remain in its state of perfection. Therefore you can judge in this manner for that person who asks you [the question]; "It seems that this matter may be perfected, but it will be ruined after it has been perfected."

Concerning Some Other Accidents of Matters Which Are Perfected

Another issue arises in matters which are perfected, namely, that some things are accomplished with difficulty, hardship, effort, and extreme complication; some things are accomplished with ease; some things are accomplished with suit and also uneasiness; some things are accomplished with suit but without great uneasiness; [and] some things are accomplished without suit and without any difficulty, to the contrary, they come without any planning [at all].

Concerning Those Matters Which Come Easily

Those matters which come about easily and without suit, and also without any significant difficulty are [those that happen] when the lord of the Ascendant or the lord of the querent, and the significator of the sought for matter are being joined by trine, or sextile aspect, and with reception.

Concerning Those Matters Which Are Accomplished in a Short Time

But those matters which are accomplished in a short time, and without suit, even though the hope may not be held for them that they may be accomplished, are [those that happen] when the lord of the Ascendant is being joined with the lord of the matter sought for by a trine aspect without reception, or by a sextile aspect with reception.

Concerning those Matters Which Are Accomplished with Suit

Those matters which are accomplished with suit and by means of the querent's striving are [those that happen] when the lord of the Ascendant is being joined with the significator of the sought for matter by the square aspect with reception or the sextile aspect without reception.

Concerning Those Matters Which Are Accomplished with Suit, Striving, and Effort

Those matters which are accomplished with suit, and also striving, and obstacles, great effort, and uneasiness are [those that happen] when the significator of the querent is being joined with the significator of the sought for matter by the opposition [9] or square aspect without reception.

Concerning Those Matters Which Are Accomplished with Effort, Which Yet Are Hardly Ever Perfected

Those matters which are accomplished with the greatest effort, obstacles, suit, striving, difficulty, anxiety, and likewise unhappiness, and, as it were, after the desperation of friends and relatives, but which nevertheless are perfected hardly ever or not at all (or if they are perfected, their accomplishment takes a long time, and also with expense) are those in which the lord of the Ascendant or the Moon and the lord of the sought for matter are being joined by opposition without reception.

When the Matter Which Someone Wishes May Be without Reception

There is also another mode such that a matter which someone intends to have may be perfected; and it is easier than all of the aforesaid modes, to wit, the significator of the matter is joined to the significator of the one who desires the matter by a sextile with reception or by a trine without reception, or the significator of the matter is in the Ascendant, or in the house which signifies that person for whom the matter is desired. You should understand the same about the bodily conjunction as about the aspects, for then the matter is accomplished most easily.

When the Matter Which One Asks about Is a Magistracy or Dignity

If indeed the matter which one asks about is a magistracy or lay dignity which someone hopes for, and the questioner hopes for this from a king or from his own lord, and the significator of the aforesaid is in the Ascendant, or it is joined with the lord of the Ascendant or with the Moon by the trine or sextile aspect or bodily conjunction and with reception, it signifies that the sought for dignity will be perfected without suit by the querent or by another on his behalf.

When a Matter Is Hoped for from a Great Man, How it Will Be Accomplished

But if someone hopes for some matter from someone who is below the king or from some one of the querent's own friends, or from a common person of any country, or similar sorts of persons, the matter will be accomplished and it will come by means of a fortuitous occurrence.

When a Conjunction or Aspect Does not Intervene

If however there is no joining aspect between them but there is a transferral of light, the matter will be accomplished by the hands of emissaries who will involve themselves concerning the matter so that it is perfected. But in order to know who these emissaries may be, you should inquire from the house whose lord is the significator of any of these emissaries, or from the houses in which you may find them just as I have sufficiently described to you [already], for it would be a tedious matter to explain this in detail for every house. Then look at the Moon, because if it is separated from the significator of the one who desires the matter, or from the one who asks concerning the matter, and she is joined to the significator of the sought for matter, it signifies that those persons who run about between them will come in the name of the one who desires the matter and according to his knowledge and will. If however the Moon is separated from the planet which signifies the matter and is joined to the significator of the one who desires the matter, it signifies that the emissaries will begin on behalf of the matter or [will come] from those who are able to perfect the matter. And if that matter is perfected by emissaries, those emissaries will be from among those persons who are signified by the houses of which [the significators of the emissaries] are the rulers. Look then at which persons are signified by those houses and judge according to them whether [the emissary] may be a familiar, a brother, a neighber, a father or son, a servant, or partner or the partner's familiar, or a religious person or a king or governor, or a friend or hidden enemy.

When Reception is Not Effective

Also one must know that although I have said that matters will be perfected by trine and sextile aspects, nevertheless it is necessary to understand rationally; because if the place from which the lord of the Ascendant or the Moon is aspected by the lord of the matter sought for, (to wit, the planet by which the matter is signified or the place from which the lord or the significator of the matter is aspected by the lord of the Ascendant or by the Moon is aspected) is a major debility of the aspecting planet, the matter is not perfected even if the aspect is a sextile or trine as in the following example:

The Ascendant was Leo and there was a question about marriage, whether it would be perfected or not, and the Sun or the Moon (which signifies wives) was joined by Saturn from Aries which is the fall of Saturn. Even though the aspect as it is in itself is with reception, nevertheless Saturn does not perfect the matter; to the contrary it impedes it so that the matter is not perfected; not only does it impede, it even brings the matter forth to destroy it if it can. And if it were joined to the significator [of the querent] from Cancer or from Leo, it would do the same because either of these is a fall for Saturn. It is similar if the significator of any matter, or the Moon is joined by the Sun from Libra which is his descension, or Aquarius which is his fall, because then the Sun cannot receive any of these and so it destroys the matter and does not permit it to be perfected. Also [it is the same] if a significator is joined by Venus from Scorpio, from Aries, or from Virgo, or by Jupiter from Capricorn, from Gemini, or from Virgo. And you should understand the major debility of any planet [in the same way]; nor does any aspect prevail unless a reception should intervene which breaks malice. You should also understand it [to be] the same if a significator or the Moon is joined by a planet which is in the major debility of that significator or the Moon, such as if Mercury were the significator and were joined by a planet which is in Sagittarius or Pisces, or the Moon were joined by a planet which is in Scorpio or Capricorn. Whether a planet is joined by a planet which is in its descension, or that planet which is in the descension of another is joined by that planet whose descension it is, it always brings the matter forth to detruction and annuls it.

When the Significator of a Matter is a Malefic

And [there is] also another thing which sends fear into matters, such as if a planet which is the significator of a matter should be a malefic, and it is manifest that the matter ought to be perfected by a [square] aspect or by opposition, because the querent is afraid lest some trouble may happen to him from this matter; for this reason he may wish rather that the matter not be perfected than that it be perfected [under these circumstances]. But if the aspect is a trine or a sextile with reception, the querent will be safe; but if it is without reception, it will not be as bad as the querent feared, although it is not so properly safe as the querent might wish.

(End of Text Excerpt)


Reception -- The full discussion of reception according to Bonatti is in the Third Tractatus. (See Part II, the section entitled "On the Donation of Virtue, or Reception.") Reception exists when any planet applies to an aspect of one of its lords according to domicile, exaltation, triplicity, bound or face, or one those lords applies to it. There is also reception when a planet applies to any second planet that has strong essential dignity in its own (i.e., the second planet's) position, or that second planet applies to the first. A reception is strong when it is by domicile or exaltation. It is weak if it is by triplicity, bound or face only. It is again strong if it is by two of these lesser dignities at the same time with the same planet as Mars would have if the degree were in a water sign and a bound of Mars. It is very strong or perfect if both planets receive each other by a major dignity and there is application. This is so whether the reception is by the same dignity (mutual) or different but strong dignities (mixed).

Notes:

  • 1. A reference to the Fifth Tractate and the 146 considerations.
  • 2. Mercury rules the second house from the seventh house. Familiars or household retainers and servants are second house.
  • 3. Because then the familiar would be signified by the second house.
  • 4. The eighth house, ruled by Mercury, is the sixth (servants) from the third.
  • 5. The second house from the tenth. Note that soldiers are reckoned as being household retainers of the king.
  • 6. The main problem with the setup in this chart is that the Sun signifying the preferment is applying to an opposition of Jupiter the significator of the querent. This would normally be an indication that the matter would not be perfected. However, the collection of light by Saturn, sextiling the Sun and trining the Jupiter, means that some factor enables the perfection. Bonatti proceeds in his usual manner to leave nothing to the imagination and lists a large number of ways in which this might work out. However, there is a another possible problem with this example. Later on in this section (see page 14) Bonatti describes how a planet in major debility can neither receive nor be received such as Saturn here in its fall in Aries. This example seems to contradict that statement. However, there are a couple of factors that may mitigate the contradiction. First of all this is a collection of light between two other factors neither of which is in bad condition. Saturn only has to effect the connection, not establish the cosmic state of the primary significators. Second, one of the other significators is Jupiter signifying the querent, having a natural affinity with religious matters, being in its own sign, and in an angle conjunct the Ascendant. Thus one of the significators is powerful indeed. It would appear as with so many other phenomena that, while a statement may in general be true, there are always factors that can mitigate it or even reverse the signification.
  • 7. A perfect reception happens when the receiver is a planet which rules the received by domicile or exaltation, and aspects it. Saturn is the participating triplicity ruler in fire (using the Dorothean system which Bonatti used), but reception by triplicity is too weak to operate effectively unless there is also a reception by bound or face involving the same planets in the same way.
  • 8. Simony is the practice of buying ecclesiastical preferments. This would seem to be the most obvious interpretation of the chart because Saturn rules the second house of substance enabling the querent simply to buy the benefice.
  • 9. The logical stream here would seem to indicate that the explicitly without reception.

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