IV 1 

The first part of part four

Misconceptions about signs and planets

Astronomers erred in not providing necessary reasons for the things they knew by experience in this science of astronomy, like a physician who knows by experience that rhubarb purges choler but does not know the reason why this is so, especially as choler and rhubarb are both of the same B complexion. People with long experience are not always available, and astronomers have no general principles to guide their judgments in this empirical science, for if the astronomers of old had established and transmitted their science with adequate proof, the new astronomers would have something to resort to for finding out the reasons why their judgments fail to come true regarding the good and bad fortune they inquire about.

Notably, the astronomers of old erred by not treating of the proper qualities of A B C D and by not investigating the mutual overcoming of letters according to the doctrine we gave in the second part of part one. When A and B meet in a sign, B overcomes A and this allows us to find out which complexion rules the house following the examples we gave in part three, and this knowledge is very useful and necessary to this science. This is a crucial point on which they erred all the more as they did not make any difference between proper and appropriated qualities of elemental complexions, as for instance fire has heat as its proper quality and dryness as an appropriated quality.

The astronomers of old did not consider that heaven and the planets have their own primordial constituents which are natural and substantial goodness, greatness etc. as we proved in the second part of part one. By ignoring these first principles, they ignored their natural impact on the subjects and substances that they constitute, as for instance Taurus and Gemini, or Saturn and Jupiter which are accidentally opposed through A C while they naturally agree in essence inasmuch as they all belong to one goodness, one greatness etc. Hence, whoever does not know about essential concordance and accidental contrariety draws faulty conclusions when judging internal things through their outer appearance.

Astronomers considered that each sign has thirty degrees and each degree was divided into minutes and even smaller parts to the point of considering the very instant when planets enter into conjunction in houses and transit through them. They did this in order to learn the points and movements of fortune and of the things that they were inquiring about and that are caused by the natural influences that heavenly bodies exercise on things below through A B C D E F G. And the astronomers of old did all these things because they knew nothing about the soul of heaven, or the motive power whose existence we proved in the second part of part one. This is the motive power and form that causes and informs the motions of natural causes in things below, and those who ignore this supreme motive soul also ignore its effects; due to this ignorance the whole science of astronomy is greatly condemned and misunderstood, because anyone ignorant of the cause cannot truly know the effect.

Astronomers attributed B to Aries, C to Taurus and A to Gemini, without giving any reason why. And they said that the three above signs rule spring when A rules just as B rules in summer, C in autumn and D in winter. And thus they put B in March, C in April and A in May. And since A should be in the middle of spring because virtue in the middle is the source and origin of the virtue found in the extremes, they erred in putting C, the very opposite of A, in April where A should be. And just as they erred in their way of dividing spring, so they also erred in disposing the other seasons of the year and these original and most general errors were followed by other errors up to the most recent ones that bring condemnation and confusion to the practice of this science.

Any astronomer knows by experience that his readings fail more often than not to come true. But they suppose this science to be absolutely true and that its principles and theory are true, and therefore they are to be rebuked for not inquiring into what they are missing that causes their readings to be more often false than true. And just as astronomers are lacking in the said things, they also lack many other things that would be too long to describe here.

Next: misconceptions about God and the human soul
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