A Question Concerning A Sick Person

AlBiruniEGMAshA’allAh bin AtharI was a famous astrologer in his day. He was a Jew of Persian descent working in the 8th and 9th centuries AD. He was born in the mid 700 AD in Basra, modern day Iraq, and died in the early 800s AD. As a young man he participated in a team of astrologers who cast the electional chart for the foundation of the city of Baghdad for Caliph al-MansUr. The following is an excerpt from his book, On Reception, Chapter 4. I am using the Dykes translation from the Arabic primary source.


I looked at this question by the command of God, the Ascendant was Leo. And the Sun was in the seventh sign, namely in the domicile of nuptials, void of course or joined to no one. And I looked at the Moon, whom I found void in course. Therefore, I looked to see which of them would be stronger in place. And they were both aspecting the Ascendant, but the Sun was in an angle stronger than the rest.

I also looked to see which of them had more degrees in teh sign in which it was, and which would go out more quickly from its own sign, and it was the Moon, and [s] I worked through her first. But if they had each been each conjoined [to some planet], or the Sun was conjoined to some planet, I would have begun from the Sun, who was in the angle – but he was void in course.

But I looked at the Moon, whom I found having more degrees than the Sun, and she was going to go more quickly out of the sign in which she was. Therefore, I began to judge first through the Moon, then through the Sun.

After this, I looked to see to which of the seven planets the Moon was being joined to first at the time of her going out from the sign in which she was, into the following sign. But the Moon was being joined to Mercury in the following sign, and she was committing her disposition to that same Mercury. And moreover, Mercury was being joined by Saturn, and committed his own disposition to [Saturn]; and [Mercury] is received by [Saturn] by place, because [Saturn] was the Lord of [Mercury’s] place. Therefore, Saturn signified his soundness, by the command of God, because Saturn receives Mercury in his own domicile.

After this, I looked to see to whom the Sun would first be joined when he went out to the following sign, and the Sun was being joined to Jupiter (who is the Lord of the domicile of death). But [Jupiter] was receiving [the Sun] from his own domicile. Therefore, the Sun also signfied his soundness and prosperity (by the command of God) on account of the reception by Jupiter (who received him).

And if Jupiter had not received him, this would have been a testimony of death, because Jupiter was the lord of death.

After this, I looked concerning the decrease of the infirmity of this person, and concerning its increase. I looked at the Lord of the domicile of infirmity, and it was Saturn, who is not being joined to any of the planets. Therefore I looked to see which of the seven planets was being joined to him, or which was being separated from him – and I found Venus. Therefore, Venus signified the decrease of the disease because she was separating from Saturn by 7°, and she was being joined to Mars who received her – and in turn is being received by her. Therefore, both signified the easing of the pain, and the arrival of health, by the command of God.