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Introductions to Traditional Astrology: Abu Ma’shar & al-Qabisi


Introductions to Traditional Astrology (ITA) is a joint translation of two classic introductory works: Abu Ma’shar’s Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology, and al-Qabisi’s Introduction to Astrology. It also includes numerous passages from Abu Ma’shar’s Great Introduction (never before published in English) and other medieval astrologers on interpretating traditional concepts. (425 pages)

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Perfect for students. Although it is not a course, ITA is an invaluable reference and resource guide for students of all levels, whether working solo or taking a course, whether fully traditional or a curious student of modern astrology. It is suitable for Hellenistic, Medieval, Renaissance and 17th Century astrology alike.

Interpretive comments. Book III (on planetary configurations) contains extensive comments by Dr. Benjamin Dykes on the deeper meanings and concepts of some of the Arabic and Latin terminology, with interpretive suggestions for sect, whole-sign aspects, connections from positions of aversion, and much more.

Thorough. Organized according to the Abbreviation, ITA provides thorough information and interpretive advice on signs, houses, solar phases, sect, planetary configurations and natures, interpreting benefics and malefics, Lots (natal and mundane), and predictive techniques. All of these concepts are essential for every branch of traditional astrology.

Glossary and Appendices. ITA also contains an extensive glossary of traditional astrological terms (13 pages), with references to key sections in ITA or other authors for further study. A great effort has been made throughout ITA to avoid using Arabic and Pahlavi terms, in favor of more accurate and rich English words. There are also numerous Appendices on primary directions, Lots, planetary configurations, a study guide to the Persian Nativities series, and correspondences with Antiochus and Porphyry. (39 pages)

Book I: Signs & Houses

Abu Ma’shar and al-Qabisi describe the significations of the signs in geography, medicine and the body, personality, and other groupings such as the “agreeing” signs, joys, and dignities. Excerpts from other authors help illustrate the dignities and quadruplicites in delineation. The houses, quarters and angles are described, as well as the victor (mubtazz) of a topic. (60 pages)

Book II: Planets in Themselves, Solar Phases

The astronomical features of the planets are described with many diagrams: the various astronomical circles, Nodes, orbs, relations to the Sun (under the rays, being burned up, eastern/western), with additional information on the meaning of easternness/westernness, stations, and retrogradation. (20 pages)

Book III: Planetary Configurations

The interpretive core of the book, describing twenty-eight planetary relationships with numerous diagrams and interpretive comments by Benjamin Dykes and up-to-date terminology, covering sect and house strength, forms of perfection or connection, void in course vs. wildness, many different types of failed connections, friendly relations of the planets, and bodyguarding (dusturiyyah, doruphoria). (105 pages)

Book IV: Planetary Conditions

This book primarily lists four contrasting categories of planetary conditions: strength, impotence, good fortune, and bad fortune. It also describes enclosure or besieging (with reference to Book III), the misfortunes of the Moon, twelfth-parts, and some planetary movements indicating change. (17 pages)

Book V: Planetary Natures

A thorough listing of planetary significations (personality, activities, events, professions, body types, illness, religions and tastes), followed by descriptions of planetary sect, gender, malefic and benefic qualities, and the rulership over hours. (47 pages)

Book VI: Lots

A thorough list of natal Lots (with interpretation advice), including several mundane Lots and Lots for commodities. (49 pages)

Book VII: Degrees of the Signs

This Book briefly describes time lord techniques and divisions of zodiacal degrees: the planetary years, firdariyyat, Ages of Man, ninth-parts, degrees increasing fortune or indicating chronic illness (via fixed stars), and more. (21 pages)

Book VIII: Special Techniques

Based on al-Qabisi’s own Book IV, this book defines and illustrates many different technical terms pertaining to natal, mundane, and electional astrology: pregnancy and rectification, longevity, the victor of the chart, annual techniques such as profections, directions and distributions, the “turn,” and transits; also mundane conjunctions and profections and directions, weather, and elections. The natal material is discussed more thoroughly throughout Persian Nativities, and mundane and electional material will be addressed in upcoming translations. (27 pages)