Anima Astrologiae By William Lilly
Amongst those things that appertain to giving judgment in questions of Astrology, there are six to be considered: - 1st -Nations, and their particular kinds. 2nd Families, and the constitutions and ordinations of Families and Houses. 3rd - Rich and potent persons, Dispositions and affairs. 4th - Regard is to be had to the Individuals of human kind. 5th Elections or times proper for the beginning of any Work or Enterprise. 6th -Questions as well universal as particular, pertinent and fit to be demanded.
But first of all there are some things necessary to be premised: As the fit manner of propounding a question, and divers other points to be observed in diving judgment. Of which sort of considerations we shall reckon up no fewer than One Hundred Forty and Six, which though ‘tis impossible they should happen or be so observed altogether; yet they all deserve to be known, and without them an Astrologer shall never be able to give true and perfect judgement. But before we treat distinctly of them it will be convenient to say a little of the right way or manner how a question should be proposed; for to judge of things to come is no easy task, nor indeed can it always be exactly performed; but we may come near the truth, and differ from it only in some small time or circumstances; which difficulty should not at all discourage us from studying and endeavouring to obtain as great a knowledge therein, as Human minds are capable of; for since inferiors are governed by superiors (as all agree), and that the nature and disposition of such superiors may be known by their motions, which arc now exactly found out by the learned in Astronomy; we may thence undoubtedly arrive at an ability of judging of things to come: That is declare what will happen by or from such their motions, and by consequence foretell future accidents; for this art has its peculiar rules and Aphorisms and its end in judgement, which takes off their objection who say that Astrology is nothing worth; for it would not be an Art, unless it had its proper precepts; but that it is an Art, we have sufficiently proved elsewhere, and the same is generally acknowledged; and its end is to give judgements as aforesaid, which are accidents imprinted on inferiors by the motions of the superior bodies and their qualities and effects in or upon the same.
Thou art here presented with two choice pieces of Art in our mother tongue; the first, the Considerations of Guido Bonatus, a person no less happy in the practice than skillful in the theory of Astrology of which I will here give thee one instance as it is recorded by that eminent Historian Fulgusos, That Guido Earl of Mount-Serrant being besieged in that city, our Author Bonatus sent him word, that if such a day and hour he would make a sally on the enemies’ camp, he should give them an absolute defeat, and force them to raise their siege and quit the place, but should himself receive a dangerous (but not mortal) wound in the thigh. The Earl providing himself of all things necessary in case of a wound, and according to the prediction, though vastly inferior in numbers, obtained a most signal and entire victory, but following the pursuit was wounded in the place foretold, of which in short time he recovered.
The second, consists of the choicest Aphorisms of Cardanus, a man famous to the learned world, and of whom the judicious and severe Scalier (though an adversary) in the preface to the book he wrote against him, gives a most respective and applauding character. These Aphorisms (by which is meant short comprehensive and approved rules of Art) were in the original delivered promiscuously, but I for better method have taken the pains here to marshal them under their distinct and proper titles, and that I might not unnecessarily charge the reader, have omitted such as seemed trivial or superfluous; this much I thought fit to premise, and have only more to add, that by reason of my absence some faults have escaped the press, besides those which myself may be chargeable with in the translation; the Reader will show his judgment in distinguishing, and his good nature in pardoning them.
April 29, 1675