Encyclopedia Entries on Medical Astrology

Hyleg

© 2002 J. Lee Lehman, Ph.D. Published in: Lewis, James R. 2003. The Astrology Book. Visible Ink: Detroit.

The Hyleg (Arabic), Apheta (Greek), Prorogator (Latin), or Giver of Life, was a planet or point that was calculated as part of the process to evaluate both the life expectancy, and periods when the Native was at mortal risk. When this point was directed (using what we would now call primary directions) to an Anareta (or killing point – there may be more than one), or vice versa, death occurs. Early versions such as that of the Roman astrologer Babillusi allowed any planet to be Hyleg; later versions restricted the Hyleg (except under relatively rare circumstances) to being one of the hylegical points: Sun, Moon, Ascendant, or Part of Fortune.


House placement is critical to the definition of the Hyleg. The earliest Greek houses were what we would now call whole sign: if the Ascendant was in Cancer, then the first house was Cancer, regardless of the degree of the Ascendant. This is similar to traditional Vedic usage as well. In this system, the words “sign” and “house” become literally interchangeable, as in, “The Sun is in his own house” being equivalent to saying “The Sun is in Leo.” Ptolemy, who represents the later Greek period, used equal houses from the Ascendant, where the 1st House was comprised of the region from 5º before the Ascendant, through 25º after. Each of the following houses was constructed the same way. Using this definition, Ptolemy then defined the prorogational or hylegical places, or houses: the 1st, 7th, 9th, 10th and 11th Houses.ii Before we proceed, we need to also mention that in Ptolemy’ s definition, the Part of Fortune was always taken using the daytime formula: unlike many classical sources, he did not reverse the calculation by day and by night.iii

In calculations of the Hyleg, the general procedure is to examine particular hylegical points in a given sequence. Determine if the first planet or point in question is in a hylegical house. If it is, and it meets all other specified criteria, then that body or point is declared the Hyleg, and the procedure ends. If it is not, then the next body or point in the sequence is examined, then the next, as necessary.

Ptolemy’ s method begins with no provision other than whether the body or point is in a prorogational or hylegical place. The sequence of placements examined depends on whether the chart is diurnal or nocturnal.

If diurnal: examine first the Sun, then the Moon, then the planet which has the most types of rulership (all five essential dignities) over the Sun, the prenatal New Moon, and the Ascendant. If none of these bodies or points is in a prorogational house, then the Ascendant is Prorogator or Hyleg.

If nocturnal: the Moon, then the Sun, then the planet which has the most types of rulership (all five essential dignities) over the Moon, the prenatal Full Moon, and the Part of Fortune. If none of these bodies is in a prorogational house, then the Ascendant is Prorogator or Hyleg if the prenatal syzygy (i.e., lunation) was a New Moon; otherwise if the prenatal syzygy was a Full Moon, use the Part of Fortune as Hyleg.

Ptolemy then uses the Prorogator and principally its aspects to benefic and malefic planets to calculate the length of life.iv

By contrast, here is the system of calculation according to Bonatti.v At Bonatti’ s time, we also need to specify what ‘placement in a house’ meant. Bonatti did not use 30º houses. In his system, if a body was on the cadent side of an angle, it was still angular if it was within 7º of the cusp. If was on the angular side of a succedent house, it was still succedent if it was within 5º of the cusp. And if a planet was on the succedent side of a cadent house, it was still cadent if it was within 3º of the cusp. In this table, the Hyleg is found once a statement is true. In other words, once you come to a true statement, stop looking: you’ ve found your Hyleg.

1

The Sun in 1st,10th,or 11th House in a masculine or feminine sign.

2

The Sun in 7th, 8th, or 9th House in a masculine sign only.

3

Moon is in an angular house or in a Succedent house; & in a feminine sign, & possessing any of the 4 dignities: exaltation, trip, term, or rulership.

4

Born on a waxing Moon: examine the dispositors of the Ascendant. If any of its dispositors also aspects the Ascendant, the Hyleg is the Ascendant, otherwise check Fortuna for an aspecting dispositor.

5

Born on a waning Moon examine the dispositors of Fortuna. If any of its dispositors also aspects Fortuna, then use Fortuna as Hyleg; if not, check the Ascendant for an aspecting dispositor.

6

If all else fails see what planet has dignity in the degree of the New or Full Moon before birth.

7

If none of these work then the chart is a 3rd differentia and child will die before age 12

While this might look like a very rigorous system, there is actually one point of ambiguity. In Bonatti’ s original definition, it was not stated that the Sun or Moon, in order to be Hyleg, also had to aspect one of its dispositors. The necessity for an aspect between any potential Hyleg and one of its dispositors was made in Omar of Tiberius’ commentary,vi but it was initially unclear whether this was simply a variation introduced by Omar, or whether it reflected Bonatti’ s actual usage. With the availability of more classical sources, we can now be reasonably sure that Bonatti simply gave a slightly abbreviated version of his actual working definition.vii

While this might seem like a relatively minor point, its significance is that one study of the efficacy of the various classical definitions of the Hyleg was done, using the data from the shootings in the classroom in Dunblane, Scotland, in which about half the students were killed, and half were not. Penny Shelton compared methods from Ptolemy, Dorotheus, Bonatti, Lilly, Gadbury and Coley, and found the Bonatti system to be the most satisfactory in predicting which of the children lived, and which died.viii However, Shelton did not incorporate the necessity for the Sun or the Moon to aspect a dispositor to be counted as Hyleg. So perhaps this particular restriction needs reexamination.

The later methods of Lilly, Gadbury and Coley that Shelton included represent various simplifications of the older system. Later, the simplifications became even more extreme: for one thing, all the earlier definitions were dependent on the five essential dignities, and this became impractical once these dignities were forgotten.

In the Arabic period, the calculation of the Hyleg and its derivatives became the principal system for evaluating the length of life. In the Hellenistic Period, this function was instead derived from the position of the Ascendant.ix

The calculation of the length of life proceeds as follows. First, we need to examine the Alc[h]ocoden, which is the Almuten of the Hyleg in the case of the Sun or Moon, or the planet which is the aspecting dispositor (see above in the definitions) for the Ascendant and Part of Fortune (also the Sun and the Moon, if you require this as part of your definition). The Alcocoden is also called the Giver of Years in English.

We then examine the condition of the Alchocoden with respect to the Table of Years given below. If it is essentially dignified (and I would include only the major dignities here; i.e., Rulership, Exaltation and Triplicity) and angular, then according to this first step, the Native’ s life span is enumerated from the “old years” column. As the transition occurs to lesser dignity to no dignity, and Succedent to Cadent, then the starting point shifts to one of the other columns.

The final stage, as given by Omar of Tiberius, is to examine whether the Alchocoden is aspected by either the Benefics or Malefics. In either case, an aspect results in either adding or subtracting the lesser number

Table _. Table of Years. After Gadbury, page 92.

Old Years

Mean Years

Least Years

Saturn

57

43

30

Jupiter

79

45

12

Mars

66

40

15

Sun

120

69

19

Venus

82

45

8

Mercury

76

48

20

Moon

108

66

25

To get a better feel for how well this works, I’ ve taken the data for a series of Czars, with the results as follows in Table _. While there are a couple of very close hits, overall, the system is not one that I would pick for staking my reputation! One of the reasons I picked this particular set is that, with the exception of Nicholas II, none were really subject to the modern understanding of hygiene and allopathic trauma care, which arguably could have thrown off the longevity compared to traditional expectations.

Table _. Longevity expectations for Czars of Russia.

Czar

Hyleg

Alchocoden

Alch. Years

+/- aspects

Expected Years

Actual Years

Peter I

Asc

Mars

40

+12

52

51

Paul I*

Sun

Saturn

57

-15+8+12

62

46

Alexander I

Fortuna

Jupiter

45

n/a

45

47

Alexander II*

Sun

Venus

82

-15-30+12

49

62

Alexander III

Asc

Mercury

48

-15 +8

43

49

Nicholas II*

Sun

Venus

45

+12

57

50

* Assassinated.

When freed from being a system of precise longevity calculation, the system does provide some very useful information. Clearly, a person who shows a short to medium longevity is more likely to have serious health consequences earlier in life than a person with greater longevity. This can translate into the necessity of paying more attention to bodily symptoms so that serious conditions are not the only necessary outcome.

Medical Astrology

© 2002 J. Lee Lehman, Ph.D.

There are two completely different components to medical astrology: that which belongs in nativities, and that which is done through interrogations. Both parts have their genesis in Hellenistic astrology.

Nativities:

The early medical applications in nativities involved the following:

  1. The general calculation of the length of life through the Apheta, a calculation that later become known as the Hyleg. See Hyleg.

  2. The sign position of the Sun could indicate the nature of infirmities, or even death if sufficiently afflicted.x

  3. Sickness could also be generally interpreted through the delineation of the 6th House.xi

  4. Bodily form and temperament could, to a certain extent, indicate particular tendencies toward particular health conditions, as well as ideas for living a more successfully healthy life. This interfaced to astrology, because astrological methods of computing temperaments were developed. See Temperaments.

  5. The calculation of planetary periods of the life, which could have health considerations as well as more general ones, such as riches, marriage, children, etc.xii

Sign Position of the Sun:

The signs were assigned to parts of the body, as follows:

Table __. Parts of the body assigned to the signs of the zodiac.xiii

Aries

Head, face

Taurus

Neck

Gemini

Shoulders, arms and hands

Cancer

The breasts and stomach

Leo

Heart and back

Virgo

Intestines

Libra

Kidneys, small of the back, genitals

Scorpio

Bladder, reproductive organs

Sag

Hips, thighs

Capr

Bones, skin, knees, teeth

Aquar

Shins, ankles

Pisces

Feet

Thus, the Sun in Sagittarius could mean possible weakness of the hips, or the region of the hips.

The planets were also assigned parts of the body, which generally overlapped with their traditional sign rulerships.

Table __. Parts of the body assigned to the traditional planets.xiv

Saturn

Bones, knees, spleen, teeth

Jupiter

Arteries, blood, lungs, ribs, sides, veins, reproductive seed

Mars

Gall bladder, kidneys, reproductive organs, veins

Sun

Left eye (women), right eye (men), heart, sinews

Venus

Kidneys, small of the back, reproductive organs and seed, throat

Mercury

Brain, hands, tongue

Moon

Left eye (men), right eye (women), brain, bladder, stomach, bowels, womb

These planetary rulerships would be utilized either to delineate the effects through house rulership, or if a planet were particularly compromised in the chart.

The 6th House:

In the Arabic and Latin Medieval periods, the 6th House emerged as a focal point for the delineation of illness. xv The Ruler of the 6th House and especially its debilities could show something about the frequency and severity of illness, especially when that ruler was afflicted by primary direction.

The Periods of Life:

The periods of life were not primarily or exclusively a medical technique. They were used to examine the predominant planetary influence of any given period, much like the Vedic system of Dhasas or Bhuktis.

Death:

As for death, the sign of the 8th House was understood to have something to do with the means or manner of death, although this was usually counted as the 8th from the Part of Fortune, not the Ascendant.xvi In the extant horoscopes from the Hellenistic period, references to death far outnumber references to accidents or disease: this is especially interesting since the average person presumably has multiple illnesses and only one death!

Interrogations:

The other primary system for using medical astrology involves interrogations, which are better known as horary, event and electional astrology.

The form of delineation is the same for the horary question, “What is the cause of my illness? What will be the course of the disease?” as for the delineation of any event known as a decumbiture. A decumbiture is a moment of health crisis, of which the following are typical:

  • An acute event, such as a heart attack, stroke, breaking a bone, or having a car accident
  • The time for checking into a hospital
  • The time that a diagnostic procedure is performed
  • The time that the patient is given a diagnosis
  • Waking up in the morning and finding that you are sick and cannot (should not?) get out of bed
  • Having that feeling that this time, the flu has really got you, even though you don’ t experience full-blown symptoms, but only something like a tickling in your throat

In all event (decumbiture) charts, the 1st House is given to the patient. In horary questions about health conditions, the 1st House is for the person asking the question. When a person asks his or her own question, this is no problem. But when a question is asked about another person (or an animal, for example), the chart may need to be turned. The exception is that if a person asks on behalf of someone else, i.e., when the person asking is acting as the “agent” for the patient, then the patient is considered the 1st House, and the technical Querent (person asking the question) is ignored. If this is not the case, then the chart is turned to give the patient to the house that most closely indicates the patient’ s relationship to the Querent: as to the 5th House if the Querent is the parent of the patient, etc.

Before proceeding with the delineation, one of the things we need to know is whether the disease is physical, mental, or spiritual. Table _ compares some of the astrological indicators of physical vs. mental or spiritual disease.

Table _. Typical configurations for physical and mental diseases, as described by Lilly and others.xvii

Physical

Mental/Spiritual

Ascendant and Moon afflicted; their rulers not afflicted.

The Ascendant and the Moon not afflicted; but their rulers afflicted.

Mars or Saturn afflicting the Moon, but not the Ascendant.

Mars or Saturn afflicting the Ascendant, but not the Moon.

Jupiter in the 1st or 6th

Ruler of the 9th or 12th in the 6th (witchcraft)

Ruler of the 1st in the 6th

Ruler of the 6th is Mercury (witchcraft)

Moon or Ruler of the Ascendant in the 12th.

Ruler of the Moon or Ascendant in the 12th.

The debate in classical medical astrology was about whether the Moon and the Ascendant, or their rulers, represented the body or the mind. However, the presence of a 12th House influence was an argument for witchcraft. Witchcraft in those days was believed to be a spiritual affliction. In modern parlance, we would translate the use of “witchcraft” as involuntary coercion, a psychological affliction.

Before we can examine this classification, we need to define the astrological houses that are used in beginning a medical horary analysis.xviii

  • The 1st House represents the health and vitality of the patient/Querent.
  • The 5th House shows the liver, and what virtue(s) are disrupted.
  • The 6th House shows the disease.
  • The 7th House shows the health care practitioner
  • The 8th House shows the possibility of the death of the patient
  • The 10th House shows either the method of cure, or the diagnostic method or technique, depending on the nature of the question.

The normal diagnosis assumes a condition of physical disease. While there are literally thousands of aphorisms that apply to medical astrologyxix, the basic rules are fairly simple. Among the most important rules are:

  • The Moon represents acute conditions (ones that are less than ninety days in duration); the Sun chronic ones. All the rules that are given as applying to the Moon are subsequently interpreted according to the placement of the Sun after 90 days.xx
  • It is better to have as little relationship as possible between the 1st and 8th Houses, and the Moon and the 8th House. When there are ties between these, it is an indication of death.xxi We define death as meaning that the person would have died in the 17th Century, prior to the advent of modern medical crisis procedures. Nowadays, we would call this a life-threatening illness, and it can still mean death.
  • A relationship between the 1st and 6th Houses means that the patient is the “cause” of his or her own disease.xxii This usually translates to a lifestyle choice or decision, like eating the wrong foods or ignoring a serious food allergy, taking a drug that provokes a reaction, or having to cope with too much stress.
  • A relationship between the 6th and 8th Houses means that there is a danger of the patient having the disease unto death, meaning that the patient is likely to still have the condition at death. This does not mean the patient dies as a result of this condition.xxiii

In both decumbiture and medical electional delineation, the basic procedure is to look for an improvement in the patient (1st), quite probably as a result of the treatment protocol (10th), without putting the patient in danger (8th), and without allowing the disease to become chronic (6th).

In electional, it is still common to be asked to elect a time for surgery, or other medical procedures. Let’s begin with some basic considerations.

  • Know your disease or condition. In order to elect a proper time, you need to understand the context of the condition in question. This includes:

    • What is the purpose of the procedure? Is it meant to diagnose, or to cure?

    • What part of the body is being affected? Right or left?

    • What are the odds of survival of the procedure? Obviously, you must apply much more care if there is only a 30 % chance or survival, compared to 99.97 %!

    • What days of the week/ times of the day does the health care provider operate?

    • How long is the procedure?

    • Is anesthesia given? General or local?

    • How long is the typical recuperation period?

  • Consider the condition of the Moon. The Moon is unequivocally the paramount concern in all medical charts. In surgery, the cardinal law is never to cut those portions of the body that are ruled by the sign of the Moon.
  • Consider the qualities of the angles. Do you want cardinal, fixed, or mutable, according to the nature of what you are electing.

Oftentimes, the best service the electional astrologer can perform is to scan a period of time, such as several weeks, looking for the best possible time within the range of times specified by the health care practitioner. This involves eliminating the worst times, leaving times that, while perhaps not ideal, are at least acceptable.

Temperaments

© 2002 J. Lee Lehman, Ph.D.

The theory of temperaments or complexions incorporated four basic qualities: Hot, Cold, Wet, and Dry. These four qualities varied by season, gender, age, and person. The ideal of Hippocrates was to lead a balanced life, because if the body is balanced, then disease is less likely to take hold. The method of creating balance was diet and regimen, which meant life style issues such as frequency and type of exercise, time of eating, and sleep patterns.xxiv

The entire ancient scheme was based on the four qualities: Hot, Cold, Wet and Dry. “Hot” and “Cold” were one pair – “Wet” and “Dry” the other. From a behavioral perspective, “Hot” is exactly what you would expect from the common parlance: someone who reacts vigorously to anything even remotely perceived as an attack. “Hot under the collar” is exactly on target. A “Cold” type is basically lethargic, or slow to react, often perceived as being unemotional, but “slow to react” would actually be closer. The expression “cool under pressure” is also a good fit.

“Dry” represents anything with a discrete shape or structure, while something “Wet” adapts its shape to the container. “Dry” thinking is characterized by making distinctions, while “Wet” thinking sees connections. A new example of Wet thinking is “hyper-linking:” the World Wide Web is definitely Wet! A Dry thinker is more easily swayed by intellectual argument than by passion. A Wet thinker fits emotion into the picture. Dryness is the position that this moment is unique, that reality can be “objectively” known.” Yet one other way to contrast the two is to say that the epitome of Dry thinking is clarity and the epitome of Wet thinking is ambiguity. And yes! The very process of attempting to explain the concept is Dry!

Each of the four qualities actually represents a cluster of concepts. For example, the qualities Hot and Cold do not represent extremes of a temperature continuum, as we would define them. They represent qualities of energy, where Hot represents high energy or physical heat, and Cold represents low energy or physical Cold. But these qualities are opposites in a critically different way from the way we normally envision them. Take temperature. From a purely chemical perspective, molecules in a hotter gas vibrate more rapidly on average than molecules in a colder gas. Mixing Hot and Cold gases will produce an intermediate result. In other words, in our thinking the “Cold” portion is completely canceled out by a portion of the “Hot” component. But this is not how it works – at least as far as the qualities, and not chemistry, is concerned! Opposites do not cancel each other out!

Thus, people have Hot and Cold qualities simultaneously. In fact, having “half and half” would be to manifest equal quantities of each, not to have a “zero-sum state” in which “Hot” cancels “Cold,” perhaps producing lukewarm.

Finally, this is where Astrology comes in. Hippocrates put forward a workable theory of qualities, but other than general distinctions of age, gender, and physical appearance, he had no way to classify a person as having a particular make-up. We do. By using the chart, we can actually calculate the temperament type. Further, this result can then be used in a host of ways, including to establish a diet and exercise plan that truly supports well being.

We finally get something we can sink our teeth into, because Astrology eventually became the preferred mode for distinguishing the general constitution from its components, or humors.

There are several possibilities for the computation of the temperament type. The general definition includes the following components. xxv

1. Sign of Ascendant

2. Planet ruling Ascendant

3. Planets aspecting Ascendant

4. Moon sign and phase

5. Planets aspecting Moon

6. Quarter of Year

7. Lord/Lady of Geniture

8. Lord/Lady of Moon

Each component is assigned qualities as follows:

1. Signs:

Fire Hot and Dry

Air Hot and Wet

Earth Cold and Dry

Water Cold and Wet

2. The Moon is classified by phase.

New to 1st Quarter Hot and Wet

1st Quarter to Full Hot and Dry

Full to last Quarter Cold and Dry

last Quarter to New Cold and Wet

3. Seasons are classified as follows.

Spring Hot and Wet

Summer Hot and Dry

Fall Cold and Dry

Winter Cold and Wet

4. Lord/Lady of the Geniture: this is a compound Almuten for the hylegical points and angles: the Sun, Moon, Part of Fortune, Ascendant and Midheaven.

This actually gives nine temperament types, not four. The reason is that often two of the qualities are often in balance, or so close as to have little dominance. These nine types are:

Hot and Wet sanguine

Hot and Dry choleric

Cold and Dry melancholic

Cold and Wet phlegmatic

Hot sanguine-choleric

Cold melancholic-phlegmatic

Wet sanguine-phlegmatic

Dry choleric-melancholic

all balanced

What may appear to be the simpler states, the single quality ones, are actually more complex. The reason is that the single quality types are in fact mixtures, because, as we have seen, qualities don’t cancel out. Having close to an even ratio of Hot and Cold, or Wet and Dry, means that it is easy to become out of balance: stress, the change in season, or even too much to drink.

Endnotes:

i Neugerbauer and Van Hoesen. 1959. Greek Horoscopes. The American Philosophical Society: Philadelphia, pages 76-77.

ii Ptolemy, Claudius. 2nd Century A.D. Tetrabiblos. Translated by F. E. Robbins. Harvard University Press: Cambridge. 1971, III(10): page 273.

iii Ptolemy, III(10): page 375.

iv Ptolemy, III(10): pages 281-307.

v Zoller, Robert. 1981. Tools and Techniques of the Medieval Astrologers. Privately printed: pages 18-33.

vi Omar of Tiberius, Three Books of Nativities. Translated by Robert Hand. Project Hindsight, 1997.

vii For an especially clear definition, see Ferrier, Oger. 1550. Des Jugements astronomiques sur les Nativitez. Jen de Tournes: Lyon, pages 32-35.

viii Shelton, Penny. 1998. Awareness of Fate. The Horary Practitioner January 1998: pages 53-63.

ix Neugerbauer and Van Hoesen, pages 136-138.

x Neugerbauer and Van Hoesen, pages 94, 97, 122.

xi This technique did not become typical until the Arabic period. In the Hellenistic era, the 6th and the 12th Houses were named after the Bad Spirit, so bad things could happen here, but this would not have been restricted specifically to illness.

xii See for example, Document 95 in Neugebuaer, Otto and Van Hoesen, pages 28-38. This horoscope dates to 95 CE.

xiii For a fuller version of this table, with full citations, see Lehman, J. Lee. 2002. The Martial Art of Horary Astrology. Whitford Press: West Chester, PA.

xiv For a fuller version of this table, with full citations, see Lehman, (2002).

xv Burnett, Chalres, Keiji Yamamota and Michio Yano. 1994. Abu Masar: The Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology. E. J. Brill: Leiden, page 105; and Levy, Rachel. 1939. The Beginning of Wisdom: An Astrological Treatise by Abraham ibn Ezra. Johns Hopkins: Baltimore, page 226

xvi Neugerbauer and Van Hoesen, pages 84, 99, 102, 103, 109, 122, 126.

xvii See especially Lilly, page 284.

xviii For a fuller exposition of this concept, see Lehman, J. Lee. 2002. The Martial Art of Horary Astrology. Whitford Press: West Chester, PA.

xix I have programmed many of these in Solar Writer/Medicus, available from Esoteric Technologies Pty.

xx Culpeper, Nicolas. 1655. Astrological Judgment of Diseases from the Decumbiture of the Sick. American Federation of Astrologers: Tempe, AZ, page 7.

xxi Lilly, pages 251, 257; Culpeper, page 68; Saunders, Richard. 1677. The Astrological Judgment and Practice of Physick, deduced from the Position of the Heavens at the Decumbiture of the Sick Person, &c. Thomas Sawbridge: London, page 62;

xxii See for example, Saunders, page 43.

xxiii Lilly, page 250.

xxiv For a fuller exposition of this concept, see Lehman, J. Lee. 1996. Classical Astrology for Modern Living. Whitford Press: West Chester, PA.

xxv The method of computation comes from Gadbury, John. 1658. Genethlialogia, or The Doctrine of Nativities Together with The Doctrine of Horarie Questions. Printed by J[ohn] C[oniers] for William Larner. In production: Regulus Publishing Co., Ltd.: London, pages 249-258; and more specifically in Lilly, William. 1647. Christian Astrology. Reprinted in 1985 by Regulus: London. Also available: Just Us & Associates, pages 531-534 and 742-749.

Glossary of Old Medical Terminology & their modern Equivalents

Material Copyright 1996 J. Lee Lehman

Medical Names
Old Term Modern Equivalent
Agnail Hangnail
Ague Malaria
Alerative Restores Normal Body Functions
Alexipharmic Poison Antidote
Alopecia Baldness
Anodyne Relieves Pain
Apoplexy Paralysis Fr. Cerebral Rupture
Apostems Abcess
Aposthumes Abcess
Ardent Fever A form of remittent malaria
Aromatic Fragrant Herb
Avoid Void or excrete
Axungia Lard
Biles Boils
Blain Blister Or Pustule
Bloody Flux Dysentary
Cachexia Severe Wasting
Cacoethe Ulcerous tumor
Cantharides Powdered Beetles (Spanish Fly)
Carbuncles Staphylococcal Inflammation
Carminative Medicine: Expells Flatulence
Casting Vomiting
Catamenia Menstrual Flow
Cataplasm Poulstice
Catarrhs Inflammation: Mucous Membranes
Cathars Purges
Cathartic Purgative
Cephalic Medicine: Clears Head
Ceruse Lead Carbonate
Cholagogue Medicine: Incr. Bile Flow
Choler Bile
Choler, Red Bile, Red
Choler, Yellow Bile, Yellow
Cholic Pain, Acute Abdomenal
Claustered Clotted
Clenge To clean
Clysters Enema Or Injection
Courses Menstrual Flow
Defluxion Inflammation: Mucous Membranes
Delay To dilute
Detersive Medicine: Cleansing
Diaphoretic Sweating Induction
Distemper Ailment
Distillation Discharge, Trickling
Diuretic Urine, Increased Flow
Draught Medicine: Qty Taken In 1 Dose
Dropsy Edema
Emerods Hemorrhoids
Emmenagogue Drug that induces menstruation
Entrails Intestines
Erysipelas Streptococcus
Excess Of The Flowers Menstrual Flow Excess
Excoriation Abrasion
Excrement Retention Constipation
Expectorant Promoting bronchial secretion and ejection
Falling-Evil Epilepsy
Falling-Sickness Epilepsy
Febrifuge Medicine: Reduces Fever
Fistula Abnormal Tube-Like Passage
Fluor Albus Vaginal White Discharge
Flux Excessive Flow
Fuliac-Passion Gut, Pains
Fundament Anus or buttocks
Gall Bile
Gargarism Gargle
Gravel Urine: Sand-Like Deposit
Gripping Of The Guts Cholic
Gristle Cartilege
Gulesought Jaundice
Guts, Croaking Flatulence
Hamms Buttocks
Haw Growth on or in the eye
Humor Bodily Fluid
Hypochondrium Upper Abdomen
Hyposarca Dropsy: Edema
Iliaca Passion Sciatica
Impostumations Swelling, Abscess
Impostume Absess which is purulent
Jaundice Hepatitis
Kernels Swelling, Hard. Can be specific reference to tonsils
Kibes Chilblains, especially ulcerated ones on the heels
King’s Evil Scrofula
Knop Knob-shaped protruberance, or a wart or pimple
Lask Diarrhea
Laxes Bowel, Looseness; diarrhea
Leucophlegmatia Dropsy: Pale, Tumid, Flabby
Leucorrhaea Vaginal Discharge
Lights Lungs
Lochia Vaginal Discharge After Labor
Matrix Womb
Matrix Passions Matrix Passions
Mediastinum Septum
Megrim Migraine
Melicrat Mixture of milk and honey
Mesenterion Mesenteries
Milt Spleen
Mithridate Medicine: Protects Ag. Poison
Morphew Leprous Or Scurvy Eruption
Morphy Schleroderma
Obstruction Of Meseriacks Obstruction, Abdomenal
Olibanum Frankincense
Oppilations Obstructions
Oxymel Mixture Of Honey & Vinegar
Palsy Paralysis
Passion Disorder
Pecten Anal Canal, Middle
Pectoral Medicine: Chest
Phthisis Tuberculosis, Advanced
Pin And Web Eye Disease With Film
Ploukes Lumps or swellings
Podagra Gout, Foot
Polypus Polyps
Posset Cold Remedy, Milk Base
Priapism Lewdness
Ptisick Tuberculosis
Ptisis Tuberculosis
Push Pimple Or Boil
Pyles In The Ars Hemorrhoids
Quartan Ague Malaria
Quinzies Tonsilitis
Quotidian Fevers Fevers, Recurring
Reds Menstrual Flow
Reins Kidneys, Loins
Rhagades Skin Fissures
Rheum Discharge, Watery Or Atarrhal
Scalls Skin disease with scaling or scabs, especially on the scalp
Schirrhi Tumors, Hard
Scouring Purging
Secudines After-Birth
Simple Medicinal Herb
Simpler Herb Doctor
St. Anthony’s Fire Erysipelas
Starting Of The Members Involuntary Movements
Stomachic Substance that acts as a stomach tonic, promoting digestion
Strangle To poison
Strangullion A qunisy or throat glandual inflammation
Strangury Urination, Painful
Styptic Hemorrhage Checking Agent
Sudoric Induced Sweating
Surdity Deafness
Synochus Putrida Continuous Fever
Tertian Fever Malaria
Tetters Herpes, Ringworm Or Eczema
Throat-Bole Bolus
Tonic Remedial agent that increases body tone
Troches Lozenges
Venery Sexual Intercourse
Vermifuge Substance that expels intestinal worms or parasites
Wen Cyst, Subcutaneous
Whelks Pimples
Whites Vaginal Discharge

Gadbury: Natal Rules for Health and Sickness

This is from the Genethlialogia, p 121.

1. If the Lord of the Sixth be fortunate, and the sign of the Sixth also; the Native will be subject but to few Infirmities and Diseases; and those that are, he will be quickly cured of.


2. When good planets are posited in the sixth House, in good Configuration of the Luminaries, or the Lord of the Ascendant; the same.

3. When the Moon is fortunate and strong, and in good Configuration with the Lord of the sixth House, or beholds the cusp of the Sixth with a sextile or trine; the Native will then be conveniently healthful.

4. If the Lord of the sixth House be in good Configuration with the Lord of the Ascendant; the Native will not be Sickly.

5. When happy and benevolent Stars, viz., of the nature of Jupiter and Venus, be posited in the sixth House, they prevent all violent and desperate Diseases, and add health to the Native.

6. If the Lord of the Sixth, the sixth House, or Luna, be not infortunated of Saturn, or Mars, or the Tail [i.e., the South Node], nor yet Combust or Peregrine; the Native will be healthful, and free from all dangerous Distempers.

7. But if in a Nativity the contrary to these happen, the Native will be subject to Infirmities and Disease.”

Ramesey’s Rules on Purging

On pages 166-68, Ramesey says:

Ever in administering Purges observe the three things, viz.

1. The Time.

2. The Age.

3. And manner thereof.

As concerning the Time, thou art to take heed the weather be not extream hot or cold; for so saith Hippocrates, part 4. Aphorism 5. Avoyd the dog days and frosty weather; therefore rainy and opened weather is good; and in his 46 Aphorisms of his 6 part, he proveth that the Spring and Autumn are more convenient for this purpose than Summer or Winter; yet he commendeth Winter more than Summer; for in summer the humours boyl through extremity of heat, and so fainteth the Spirits and annoyeth Nature much: he teacheth also, that in Summer we are to purge by the upper parts or by vomit; in Winter by the lower, or by purge, if necessary require that Physick must be given at these times.

Secondly, as touching the Age, Physick by a prudent and wise physician ought not to be administered to infants nor decrepit old age, nor much to youth; for to the Child it is needless since it cannot duly work its effect, where there is neither strength nor matter to work on; and in age it worketh in a manner the same; but without doubt it must needs debilitate Nature in both; in youth a little at the Spring and Fall may be advantageous; but to take it often, it hindereth the natural heat and concoction, and so consequently the radical heat and moysture being hereby abated, the days of the party must needs be shortened.

Lastly, Of the manner of administering Purges and other Medicines, some thou hast had already; but of administering of Purges thou shalt have beneath; wherefore here I shall onely give you this note or caution, and so proceed.

That administer what you will when the Moon is in the first 15 degrees of Libra or Aquaries in the conjunction, square or the opposition of Saturn, Jupiter or Mars, or they in these configurations of one another, it hindreth the operation of the Physick.

Ptolemy in his 56 Centiloqium saith, ‘ from the New Moon to the Full, the humidity and moisture of Bodies doth increase; but from the full to the New Moon, it decreaseth.’1 When the Moon is in her first quarter, viz. From her Conjunction with the Sun till the first Quartile, the humours of man’s body increase or flow from the inward parts of the body to the outward, in the rest retire or move from the External parts to the Internal; wherefore in the first quarter it is requisite that you know it is most fitting to apply then External evacuations, and afterwards Internal; yet I have ever held it safest to defer Internal potions till after its Opposition with the Sun, or as we vulgarly say, the Full Moon.

Some of the Ancients have approved of Taurus, Virgo, Scorpio and Pisces to be placed on the Ascendant at the time of giving of Purges; others of Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces; and again, some of the latter degrees, or more plainly the last 15 degrees of Libra, and the first 15 degrees of Scorpio; also that the Moon should be in one of these places; so that the Learned in this most heavenly study have been of several opinions in this matter; there is none of them but had reasons for their rules, and any of them may be followed according as the case may stand with the Patient, and the humour be purged; wherefore as Ptolemy in his first aphorism of his Centiloquium saith, ‘ Life is short and Art long,’2 so most thou warily consider the state of thy Patient, and the reasons of the Ancients in their practice, which thou wilt soon know when thou art well versed in the nature of the Planets and Signs; wherefore I shall here desire thee to be thoroughly perfect in the second Treatise of this Volume before thou adventurest too far, and then thou needest not fear to go forwards.

In my practice I have still followed these rules; To place the Ascendant in one of the watry signs, viz. Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces fortunate, as also the Lord thereof, and the Moon in one of the aforesaid signs also, and its dispositor; but especially I have desired if possible to place the Moon in the first 15 degrees of Scorpio, or the last 15 degrees of Libra beholding a Planet under the earth, and free from the aspects of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars; for that Saturn by his coldness doth thickene and make gross the humours, and closing up the pores doth hinder the effect of the Physick; Jupiter his aspects I have (so near as I could) still also avoyded, for that he being hot and moyst, and so consequently a helper or assister of Nature, the Physick working contrary, must needs be either hurt full or if no great efficacy; Mars, for that through his heat and dryness of nature he often times sharpeneth the humours to the extraction of blood if the Physick be strong, or when but moderately strong, if the Patient be weak.

I have also ever shunned those times wherein the Moon doth any-wise behold a Planet above the earth, or a Planet that is retrograde, and those times I find her in Aries, Taurus, Capricorn or the last 15 degrees of Sagittary, for that they rather provoke the Patient to vomiting, although the nature of the Physick be a purge so ordained to work downwards; and this doth often for want of understanding rather increase the disease then diminish it, when Nature is thus weakned by this Combustion of the Physick and Nature, which is assisted by the influence of the superiors, the one working downwards, the other upwards, &c.

And this my method I collected from the sayings of Hermes and Ptolemy; wherefore for thy better satisfaction I will here give thee their words, and first I will begin with Hermes, for that he is the more ancient, and was Ptolemy’s predecessor.

Hermes then in his 74 aphorism of his Centiloquium saith,’ The Moon in ruminating Signs, joined to Retrograde Planets, it is not been good to Purge, the Physick will work upward to the Patients Injury.’3 The Moon in such signs as chew the Cud, (which you of heard already are Aries, Taurus, Capricorn, and the last part or 15 degrees of Sagittary) in Conjunction or Aspect with a retrograde Planet, it is not safe to administer purges, for they cause vomiting or some other mischief.

And Ptolemy in his 21st of his Centiloquium saith, ‘ when the Moon is in Virgo or Pisces, and the Lord of the Ascendant, in Aspect to a Planet under the Earth, it much helps the working of Purging Physick; but if she were in Aspect to a Planet above the earth, the Agent will be subject to Vomit.’4 When the Moon is in Scorpio or Pisces, also the Lord of the Ascendant in configuration or Conjunction with a Planet under the earth, it is good to give or use purges. But if either of them be in configuration with a Planet above the earth, the Physick which is given shall be vomited up again.

Again as touching Jupiter, as I have said, for that I know some will not condescend with me, Ptolemy in his 19 Centiloquium saith, ‘when the Moon is in conjunction with Jupiter, and purging Physick then taken, it becomes invalid and ineffectual.’ The strength and efficacy of a purge is taken away when the Moon is in Conjunction or configuration of Jupiter.

Haly and Alkindi give directions that the Moon be in the last 15 degrees of Libra, or the first 15 degrees of Scorpio, and that its dispositor or the Lord of that house she is in, be strong or well dignified, Oriental and in an angle, and the Planet in configuration with him (if any there be) also be fortunate, Oriental and in an angle, and that the Lord of the Ascendant be also so posited; and the Moon and they free from the aspects of the Malevolents, especially the Moon, Lord of the Ascendant and the sign ascending, and Moon applying to Venus rather than Jupiter, for that she will further the Physick’s operation, and comfort the spirits of the Patient; but Jupiter will so fortifie Nature, that he will hinder the operation and effect of the potion; and let the Moon be received by the fortunes; and if its dispositor be weak, let him be received of the fortunes also by a Sextile or Trine.

And if you would purge any particular member, or if the potion be prepared for such an use, observe still what has been already said, and place the Fortunes in that sign signifying the member of the body, and fortifie the sign as much as you can, and the Lord of the fourth House.

But if your potion be prepared to cool, heat, moisten or dry, place the Moon and the Lord of the Ascendant in one of the signs signifying the temper you desire or aim at, viz. which is of the nature of the business you intend, and fortifie it; but signs chewing the Cud are to be avoyded, as you have heard, &c.

If your purgation to expell or remove Melancholy, let the Moon be strong and in a Sextile or Trine of Jupiter; but remember to stick fast to what you have already heard in this Election and the subsequent rules; only let these applications of the Moon be particularly and chiefly followed and observed, etc.

As if to purge choler, whenever apply by a benevolent aspect to Venus.

To purge flegm, let her apply to the Sun. Note that these must be by Electuaries.5 [an electuary is an oral medication where honey, syrup or jam is used to hide the taste of the powdered medication]

Know thou that if the medicine be by potion for any of the these, Scorpio is preferred before any of the signs, and to be placed on the Ascendant, or the Moon to be therein when she so applies.

If it is to be an Electuary, Cancer is to be chosen.

If Pil[l]s, Pisces.

Know further, if the Moon be in the Ascendant at the time you take the Physick, it causeth unusual swellings in the body.

Let not the Moon and Lord of the Ascendant be in the fourth House, nor in the eighth, For it causeth destruction, observed the same in Phlebotomy.

Still remember to fortifie your significators, and make them free from the configurations of the Malevolents.

Let not the Lord of the eighth, or interficient or killing Planet be in an angle, nor in configuration with any of the significators. These things if thou diligently observest, thou shalt be an artificial workman, and shalt far exceed the chiefest Physician of thy time that is ignorant herein.

If you would purge the spleen, let not Saturn be strong in the Heaven; and give your medicine in the hour of Jupiter, and let him be well dignified and placed or disposed.

If the liver, let it not be in the hour of Jupiter, or when he is strong, but fortifie Saturn, and let it be in his hour.

If the heart, let not the Sun be strong, neither apply your medicine in his hour; but if he be in the Ascendant, 10th or 7th House, you may safely administer Cordials; but purge not.

When Mercury is strong, purge not the lungs.

When Mars, purge not the gall.

When Venus, purge not the members, or vessels of generation.

When the Moon, purge not the brain.

In preparing your medicines you may take any hour except the hours of Saturn and Mars.

Note also that if any of the Infortunes were Lord of the Ascendant of the Patients Nativity, you may make use thereof; for though it may be hurtful to another, it will not be to him, as you have sufficiently heard at the beginning of this third Book.”

1 Ramesey gave this aphorism in Latin. I have inserted Partridge’s English translation.

2 Again, Ramesey paraphrase the Latin, which is actually a quote from Hippocrates.

3 Again, this is Partridge’s translation.

4 Partridge’s translation, but this also gives a variation. Partridge gives the combination as Virgo and Pisces, whereas Ramesey gives Scorpio and Pisces.

5 This is a medicine mixed with honey or sweet syrup to form a paste.

The Humors

©1997 J. Lee Lehman

There is an ancient theory of wellness and illness that speaks directly to lifestyle questions. This medical model can still be used today to understand temperament, not only from a psychological standpoint, but also from the perspective of body type, susceptibility to certain types of conditions, and even obesity. It is a type of understanding which can be equally at home in New Age circles, and in health practitioners’ offices.


The classical medical model was given by Hippocrates a century before astrology had been incorporated into Greek thought.  This model incorporated four basic qualities: Hot, Cold, Wet, and Dry. These four qualities varied by season, gender, age, and person. The ideal of Hippocrates was to lead a balanced life. If the body is balanced, then disease is less likely to take hold. The method of creating balance was diet and regimen.

I have written extensively on the philosophical underpinnings of this model in my book, Classical Astrology for Modern Living. This introduction reviews some of the more pertinent points as they apply to lifestyle issues.

The entire ancient scheme was based on the four qualities: Hot, Cold, Wet and Dry. “Hot” and “Cold” were one pair – “Wet” and “Dry” the other. From a behavioral perspective, “Hot” is exactly what you would expect from the common parlance: someone who reacts vigorously to anything even remotely perceived as an attack. “Hot under the collar” is exactly on target. A “Cold” type is basically lethargic, or slow to react, often perceived as being unemotional, but “slow to react” would actually be closer. The expression “cool under pressure” is also a good fit.

“Wet” and “Dry” don’t have quite the linguistic familiarity. “Dry” represents anything with a discrete shape or structure, while something “Wet” adapts its shape to the container. “Dry” thinking is characterized by making distinctions, while “Wet” thinking sees connections. A new example of Wet thinking is “hyper-linking:” the World Wide Web is definitely Wet! A Dry thinker  is more easily swayed by intellectual argument than by passion. A Wet thinker fits emotion into the picture. Dryness is the position that this moment is unique, that reality can be “objectively” known. “Wet” thinking takes the position that separate concepts are interconnected. Without Wet thinking, we could not be astrologers, because it is Wet thinking that sees the interconnections of microcosm and macrocosm. Without Dry thinking, there would be no technique, because we couldn’t distinguish signs, planets, or houses from each other. The danger for Dry thinking is that, confronted with something new, the Dry thinker has no solution: the pieces are incompatible, and there is no way to bring them together. Each moment is unique, and unconnected to what came before. To the Wet thinker, connections lie everywhere, right down to the involvement of the Knights Templar in the assassination of Martin Luther King and JFK, and let’s not forget that the Templars have connections back to Ancient Egypt and Atlantis! Submergence and drowning is the danger of extreme Wet thinking. There is nothing for the Wet thinker to grasp for support. Yet one other way to contrast the two is to say that the epitome of Dry thinking is clarity and the epitome of Wet thinking is ambiguity. And yes! The very process of attempting to explain the concept is Dry!

Each of the four qualities actually represents a cluster of concepts, and their opposites. For example, the qualities Hot and Cold do not represent extremes of a temperature continuum, as we would define them. They represent qualities of energy, where Hot represents high energy or physical heat, and Cold represents low energy or physical Cold. But these qualities are opposites in a critically different way from the way we normally envision them. Take temperature. From a purely chemical perspective, molecules in a hotter gas vibrate more rapidly on average than molecules in a colder gas. Mixing Hot and Cold gases will produce an intermediate result. In other words, in our thinking the “Cold” portion is completely canceled out by a portion of the “Hot” component. But this is not how it works – at least as far as the qualities, and not chemistry, is concerned! People are, in fact, more than capable of expressing opposite qualities without one canceling the other. In psychological testing there is often an index of consistency, which is actually a measure of to what extent an individual will give the same answer to the same question. If such an index is deemed necessary, it becomes clear exactly how capable we are of expressing “incompatible” ideas and emotions! Opposites do not cancel each other out!

Thus, people have Hot and Cold qualities simultaneously. In fact, having “half and half” would be to manifest equal quantities of each, not to have a “zero-sum state” in which “Hot” cancels “Cold,” perhaps producing lukewarm. It may be useful to envision Hot and Cold as being like two different colored marbles, red and blue. Having more blue marbles doesn’t take away the red ones: it just means that, if you were to draw one marble out of a box at random, you would more likely draw a blue one, but you could draw a red one.

The balanced state should not be lukewarm. Rather, it is the ability to be high energy (Hot), or completely at rest (Cold) as the moment and the circumstances require. Being merely Hot is to approach all circumstances as a Type A personality: everything is a challenge to be conquered. To approach things from a Cold perspective is to be motionless: to wait for the problem to go away or resolve itself without having to do anything: living life as a couch potato.

Finally, this is where Astrology comes in. Hippocrates put forward a workable theory of qualities, but other than general distinctions of age, gender, and physical appearance, he had no way to classify a person as having a particular make-up.  We do. By using the chart, we can actually calculate the temperament type. Further, this result can then be used in a host of ways, including to establish a diet and exercise plan that truly supports well being.

We finally get something we can sink our teeth into, because Astrology eventually became the preferred mode for distinguishing the constitution from its components, or humors.

There are several possibilities for the computation of the temperament type. The general definition includes the following components. The method of computation comes from Gadbury, pages 249-258; and more specifically in Lilly, pages 531-534 and 742-749.

1. Sign of Ascendant
2. Planet ruling Ascendant
3. Planets aspecting Ascendant
4. Moon sign and phase
5. Planets aspecting Moon
6. Quarter of Year
7. Lord/Lady of Geniture
8. Lord/Lady of  Moon
Each component is assigned qualities as follows:

1. Signs:

Fire    Hot and Dry
Air    Hot and Wet
Earth    Cold and Dry
Water    Cold and Wet

2. The Moon is classified by phase.

New to 1st Quarter    Hot and Wet
1st Quarter to Full    Hot and Dry
Full to last Quarter    Cold and Dry
last Quarter to New    Cold and Wet

3. Seasons are classified as follows.

Spring        Hot and Wet
Summer    Hot and Dry
Fall        Cold and Dry
Winter        Cold and Wet

4. Lord/Lady of the Geniture: this is a compound Almuten for the hylegical points and angles: the Sun, Moon, Part of Fortune, Ascendant and Midheaven.

This actually gives nine temperament types, not four. The reason is that often two of the qualities are often in balance, or so close as to have little dominance. These nine types are:

Hot and Wet   	 	sanguine
Hot and Dry    		choleric
Cold and Dry    	melancholic
Cold and Wet    	phlegmatic
Hot        		     sanguine-choleric
Cold        		    melancholic-phlegmatic
Wet        		    sanguine-phlegmatic
Dry        		    choleric-melancholic
all        		      balanced

What may appear to be the simpler states, the single quality ones, are actually more complex. The reason is that the single quality types are in fact mixtures, because, as we have seen, qualities don’t cancel out. Having close to an even ratio of Hot and Cold, or Wet and Dry, means that it is easy to become out of balance: stress, the change in season, or even too much to drink. Astrologically, the transit of an Outer Planet brings an effect of the nature both of the transiting planet, and of the transiting sign. People with these combinations may also experience them as being simultaneously present: such as having different parts of the body that are Cold, while other parts are Hot.

Hippocratic medicine is basically allopathic: this means that if you have become out of balance because your body is experiencing too much heat (that Mars transit to your Sun?), then you need to take a Cold herb, Cold food, Cold exercise, or literally experience Cold temperatures in order to cool yourself down. These means of adjusting the qualities experienced by the body fell under the rubric “regimen,” which included such components as the following:

(1) The season of the year: “In winter eat as much as possible and drink as little as possible, and food should be bread, with all meats roasted. During this season take as few vegetables as possible, for so will the body be most Dry and Hot.” By the way, the reason for this recommendation is because Winter is classified as Cold and Wet. Thus, to compensate for the seasonal qualities, food is used to heat up and Dry out the seasonal effect.

(2) The age of the person: “Young people also do well to adopt a softer and moister regimen, for this age is Dry, and young bodies are firm. Older people should have a drier diet for the greater part of the time…”

(3) The gender: “Women should use a regimen of a rather Dry character, for food that is Dry is more adapted to the softness of their flesh…”

(4) The constitution: “Those with physiques that are fleshy, soft and red, find it beneficial to adopt a rather Dry regimen for the greater part of the year. For the nature of these physiques is moist.”