17. Of the Houses of the Several Planets.

The planets also have familiarity with the parts of the zodiac, through what are called their houses, triangles, exaltations, terms, and the like. The system of houses is of the folIowing nature. Since of the twelve signs the most northern, which are closer than the others to our zenith and therefore most productive of heat and of warmth are Cancer and Leo, they assigned these to the greatest and most powerful heavenly bodies, that is, to the luminaries, as houses, Leo, which is masculine, to the sun and Cancer, feminine, to the moon. In keeping with this they assumed the semicircle from Leo to Capricorn to be solar and that from Aquarius to Cancer to be lunar, so that in each of the semicircles One sign might be assigned to each of the five planets as its own, One bearing aspect to the sun and the other to the moon, consistently with the spheres of their motion and the peculiarities of their natures. For to Saturn, in whose nature cold prevails, as opposed to heat, and which occupies the orbit highest and farthest from the luminaries, were assigned the signs opposite Cancer and Leo, namely Capricorn and Aquarius, with the additional reason that these signs are cold and wintry, and further that their diametrical aspect is not consistent with beneficence. To Jupiter, which is moderate and below Saturn's sphere, were as signed the two signe next to the foregoing, windy and fecund, Sagittarius and Pisces, in triangular aspect to the luminaries, which is a harmonious and beneficent configuration. Next, to Mars, which is dry in nature and occupies a sphere under that of Jupiter, there were assigned again the two signs, contiguous to the former, Scorpio and Aries, having a similar nature, and, agreeably to Mars' destructive and inharmonious quality, in quartile aspect to the luminaries. To Venus, which is temperate and beneath Mars, were given the next two signs, which are extremely fertile, Libra and Taurus. These preserve the harmony of the sextile aspect; another reason is that this planet at most is never more than two signs removed from the sun in either direction. Finally, there were given to Mercury, which never is farther removed from the sun than One sign in either direction and is beneath the others and closer in a way to both of the luminaries, the remaining signs, Gemini and Virgo, which are next to the houses of the luminaries.

Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos

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