The Aphorisms of William Lilly from Annus Tenebrosus (1652)

Astrological Aphorismes.

1. He who is naturally well affected unto Astrology shall verily pronounce more certain Judgements.

2. Divers effects of the Starrs are drawn forth of the Starrs, according to the various dispositions of the matter: whereof the Astrologer ought very well to examine the severall natures and qualityes of the Subjects receiving.

3. Because alwayes matter determines the form, it comes to passe that we doe freely by our wicked operations conceive our Starrs to produce those Detriments unto us.

4. The formes wherewith the Heavenly bodies do operate, are called Images, unto which the formes inferiour are subject: these are many in the signes, Decanates, and Degrees, in some Starrs, they are seperate and in many joyn’d together.

5. The visible or sensible Images of the 8th Sphear are very many, and many are made dayly there by the Planets: all which ought to be considered of the Astrologer: they have all great efficacy upon inferior bodies.

6. A Figure is not active (as some Platonists say) but the form, wherein the substance operates.

7. When he who consults produceth the Sigillation of his Constellation moving him thereunto, how suffieiently then mayest thou then resolve that matter propounded.

8. The signes have their Heterogeniall parts of the Element and answering to the Heaven, which we call the Termes of the 5 Planets.

9. Because Images, and inferior mutations, are subject to inferiors, therefore we must prudently by similitude and Analogy search out the Actions and significations of the Heavenly bodies. 10. The parts of our body are Heterogeniall, and therefore according to their proper temperaments are subject to divers Planets.

11. The significations of things are threefold, naturall, accidentall and speciall, the speciall are first to be inquired, next the accidentall, after that, the Naturall.

12. Sol and Mars are fiery; the heat of Mars is destructive, that of the Sun answers the vivifying heavenly fire.

13. Mercury is hot, cold, dry and moist in the first degree, or some will have it; but he hath an indifferend and Convertible nature.

14. Venus is cold in the second degree, moyst in the third; the Moon is cold in the third degree, moyst in the fourth Jupiter is hot in the second degree, moyst in the first; the Sun is hot in the third degree dry in the second. Mars is dry in the third, hot in the fourth. Saturn is cold and dry in the fourth degree.

15. The superior Planets are most efficacious; the inferior are weake, and easily do suffer by the superiors, and receive either good or ill from them.

16. Superior planets because they much resist, they doe not easily receive a detriment, or good turn from the inferior Planets.

17. The misfortunes proceeding from Saturn and Mars are mitigated if their places are protected by Jupiter, being well disposed and in good aspect.

18. When a Planet who is a fortune, is in Conjunction with a infortune, he allays his malice, so that the infortune shall do no hurt.

19. The fixed Stars are the most efficacious of all in their operations; for what actions they manifest or occasion are very great.

20 The fixed Stars doe imitate the nature and action of the Erraticals or Planets; wherefore they transfer their actions unto them.

21. The Moon hath a certaine naturall mutability, therefore she easily communicates unto us the influence of other Stars.

22. The Moon doth then most especially transfer Actions unto the inferior World, and the influx of other Stars from whom she is seperated, when she is swift in motion.

23. Three manner of wayes the Planets are varied or changed, by reason of their first qualities of their houses and significations.

24. Saturn governs Contemplation and Memory: Mars Boldness and fortitude, if they want not strength, or are ill disposed.

25. Retrograde Planets degenerate from their proper nature, by that meanes Fortunes are made infortunes, and the evill Planets farre worse.

26. Planets do manifest greater and worser evils when they are Stationary, then when Retrograde.

27. The Reception of Planets when they behold one another, if it be strong, doth diminish the malice of an evill aspect, and increases the goodnesse of a good aspect.

28. A Planet in an Angle doth more effectually produce his effects, but remisse in cadent houses.

29. Be not too confident either of a sextill or trine aspect in violent signes, nor out of those Signes in which the Planets behold one another, yet essentially suffer.

30. Consider what things the Planets perform not by thier aspects, and observe if they doe them not by their Antiscions; for the Antiscions have power, and are to be enumerated amongst aspects.

31. Its rare if any Planet prove a fortune in the eight or twelfth, by reason of the malignancy of those houses. 32. The qualities of Saturn and Mars are not made better by their conjunction: being mixed so together they are confounded, and hurt very much.

33. Planets are notably made unfortunate by these Accidents, viz. Combustion, Retrogradation, Peregrination, Detriment and fall.

34. The swift and various motions of the Planets are to be considered, as also their slowness; because when they vary, the accidents of the aspects doe alter.

35. Saturn seldome applies to any Planet, by reason whereof he signifies great Princes and firme Monarchs.

36. A partill Aspect comes to a passe within the difference of three degrees, a platicke happens by a semediameter of the Orbs of the Planets.

37. The vertue of a Planet is in that House, whose beginning or Cuspe a Planet precedes by no greater space then five degrees.

31. Understand the simple qualityes of the Planets for from thence thou shalt know all their mixt significations.

39. Those houses which behold not the Ascendant, signifie occult or obscure places, and these houses are the 12 : 8. and 6.

40. The application of Planets shews what is to come, the seperation what is past.


With thanks to Margaret M. Meister for typing them into electronic form.