A Few Words About Lunar Mansions

Today I’m going to share a thing I wrote for a class once about the lunar mansions. Nothing against those of you who favor modern astrology, but one of the really handy things about the classical version in these times is that it contains information about things like overthrowing an enemy in a high place, freeing captives, big-move stuff like that.

Not that I’m saying anything about what you should do with this information. Just putting it out there.

The Lunar Mansions

 

The lunar mansions are a venerable but now seldom studied aspect of Western magic.  Just as the sun travels through the twelve signs of the zodiac over the course of its cycle, the moon’s path through the sky was divided into twenty-eight equal parts, each of which had a different character.  Each mansion was ruled by a different star, which in turn made particular kinds of spells or undertakings more likely to succeed while the moon was in that location.  Each also had its own special talisman, which would attract one of its special powers to the wearer.  (Many stars have what we would consider a mix of positive and negative effects:  the talismans, as a rule, have only one of these effects.)

Surprisingly, though a few authors have started exploring the mansions again, almost none have bothered to update the names of the stars.  Most of the Arabic and Western medieval names we find in the descriptions of the mansions are no longer used, so finding the stars by their modern names was something of an undertaking. I have also started the cycle from 0 degrees Aries, as that makes the most sense to the modern worker.  (Although this agrees with the Arabian Mansions, some publications put a different mansion first, so keep this in mind if you try to compare with other resources.)

“Modern precession” refers to the fact that, over the centuries, the constellations move slowly, so that they are no longer in the places they held when the system was designed.  As with natal astrology, most astrologers continue to use the old boundaries for the Mansions.  (The theory in medieval times was that the physical constellations were only imperfect reflections of the divine order anyway, and that the ideal order represented by the old boundaries was the more important.  In fact, you will see that this must always have been the case, since in the old system the Mansions are divided into 28 perfectly equal parts, rather than following the more uneven divisions dictated by the actual sizes of the constellations.)  However, both are given for those who want to experiment.

Modern precessions and star names are taken from Christopher Warnock’s book The Mansions of the Moon.

  1. Sheratan

Old title:  Horns of Aries

Degrees ruled:  0 Aries to 12.51 Aries

Modern precession:  3 Taurus to 18 Taurus

Powers:  causing discord, storms, and hatred; safe travel

 

Image:  dark man in hair garment, casting a lance with his right hand

Power of image:  destroy an enemy

Material:  iron ring, black wax

Scents:  benzoin

 

  1. Botein

Old title:  Belly of Aries

Degrees:  12.51 Aries to 25.43 Aries

Modern precession:  18 Taurus to 29 Taurus

Powers:  finding treasure or water, easing anger, creativity, reconciliation, creativity and expression

 

Image:  a crowned king

Power of image:  reconciliation, protection from authority

Material:  white wax and mastic

Scents:  sandalwood and cypress

 

  1. Alcyone

Old title:  Showering

Degrees:  25.43 Aries to 8.34 Taurus (note: the star is actually one of the Pleiades, which are generally held to rule this mansion)

Modern precession:  29 Taurus to 10 Gemini

Powers:  protection at sea, aids alchemical spells, attracts love and possessions

 

Image:  well-dressed woman seated, right hand on her head

Power of image:  brings general good fortune

Material:  silver ring

Scents:  musk, camphor, sweet calamus

 

  1. Aldebaran

Old title:  Eye of Taurus

Degrees:  8.34 Taurus to 21.26 Taurus

Modern precession:  10 Gemini to 24 Gemini

Powers:  destroy a city or building, cause discord and separation of spouses, revenge, destruction of fountains and wells, drives away pests

 

Image:  soldier on a horse, holding snake in right hand

Power of image:  revenge, separation, ill will

Material:  red wax

Scents:  myrrh and benzoin

 

  1. Meissa (the head of Orion)

Old title:  none

Degrees:  21.26 Taurus to 4.17 Gemini

24 Gemini to 9 Cancer

Powers:  protects travelers and brings home quickly, strengthen buildings, cause goodwill, receive good things from those in authority, health, learning and scholars

 

Image:  man’s head

Power of image:  gain favor from authorities, good entertainment

Material:  silver

Scents:  sandalwood

 

  1. Alhena

Old title:  Little Star of Great Light

Degrees:  4.17 Gemini to 17.08 Gemini

Modern precession:  9 Cancer to 20 Cancer

Powers:  hunting, love, revenge, destruction of plants, slows healing, sieges

 

Image:  two people embracing

Power of image:  causes love

Material:  white wax

Scents:  sandalwood, cypress, and amber

 

  1. Castor and Pollux

Old title:  Arm of Gemini

Degrees:  17.08 Gemini to 0 Cancer

Modern precession:  20 Cancer to 7 Leo

Powers:  increase trade and money, love, friendship, peace between enemies, drive away flies, destroy those in high office

 

Image:  well-dressed man praying

Power of image:  gain all good things

Material:  silver

Scents:  any “good” scent

 

  1. Praesape

Old title:  Misty

Degrees:  0 Cancer to 12.51 Cancer

Modern precession:  7 Leo to 18 Leo

Powers:  love, friendship, travel, alliances, victory, strengthen bindings, family, drive away mice

 

Image:  eagle with man’s face

Power of image:  victory in war

Material:  tin

Scent:  brimstone

 

  1. Altarf

Old title:  Eye of the Lion

Degrees:  12.51 Cancer to 25.43 Cancer

Modern precession:  18 Leo to 28 Leo

Powers:  empathy/sympathy, defense, destruction of harvests, causing misfortune during travel, weaken alliances, create weakness and illness

 

Image:  castrated man covering his face with his hands

Power of image:  cause sickness

Material:  lead

Scent:  pine

 

  1. Regulus

Old title:  Neck of Leo

Degrees:  25.43 Cancer to 8.34 Leo

Modern precession:  28 Leo to 12 Virgo

Powers:  love, healing, ease childbirth, strength, healing, defeat enemies

 

Image:  lion head

Power of image:  eases childbirth, aids healing

Material:  gold

Scent:  amber

 

  1. Zosma

Old title:  Hair of the Lion’s Head

Degrees:  8.34 Leo to 21.26 Leo

Modern precession:  12 Virgo to 22 Virgo

Powers:  gain release of captives, gain reverence/respect/honors, travels, good luck

 

Image:  man riding lion, holding the lion’s ear with left hand and a bracelet in right

Power of image:  gain fear, reverence, and worship from others

Material:  gold

Scent:  saffron and any “good” scent

 

  1. Denebola

Old title:  Tail of the Lion

Degrees:  21.26 Leo to 4.17 Virgo

Modern precession:  22 Virgo to 27 Virgo

Powers:  increase harvest, encourage growth of plants, gain good service, destroy ships or hinder sea travel, separate lovers

 

Image:  dragon fighting a man

Power of image:  separates lovers

Material:  black lead

Scent:  lion hairs and asafoetida

 

  1. Zavijava

Old title:  Dog Stars (not “The” Dog Star.  Auva means “Barker”) or Wings of Virgo

Degrees:  4.17 Virgo to 17.18 Virgo

Modern precession:  27 Virgo to 24 Libra

Powers:  money, harvest, free captives, prosperity, cleverness with money, harmony between lovers

 

Image:  two seals, one of a man and one of a woman, to be bound together

Power of image:  improves marriage, breaks hexes against love or sex

Material:  red wax for male image, white wax for female image

Scents:  sandalwood, cypress, and amber

 

  1. Spica

Old title:  Flying Spike

Degrees:  17.18 Virgo to 0 Libra

Modern precession:  24 Libra to 4 Scorpio

Powers:  love (marriage), cures, good weather, divination, help to sailors, causing divorce or separation

 

Image:  dog biting its tail

Power of image:  cause divorce or separation

Material:  red copper

Scents:  hairs of black dog and black cat

 

  1. Syrma

Old title:  Covered

Degrees:  0 Libra to 12.51 Libra

Modern precession:  4 Scorpio to 15 Scorpio

Powers:  finding treasure, hinder travel, separation of spouses by luring the man away, destruction of houses and enemies, friendship and goodwill

 

Image:  man sitting with letter

Power of image:  gain friendship and goodwill

Material:  unknown

Scents:  frankincense and nutmeg

 

  1. Zuben Elgenubi

Old title:  Horns of Scorpio (actually the claws)

Degrees:  12.51 Libra to 25.43 Libra

Modern precession:  15 Scorpio to 3 Sagittarius

Powers:  free captives, cause discord between lovers, merchandise

 

Image:  man sitting with scales in hand

Power of image:  gain merchandise or business

Material:  silver

Scents:  “fragrant spices”

 

  1. Dscubba (“forehead”)

Old title:  Crown of Scorpio

Degrees:  25.43 Libra to 8.34 Scorpio

Modern precession:  3 Sagittarius to 10 Sagittarius

Powers:  strengthen buildings, make love last, safety at sea, safety from crime, justice

 

Image:  ape

Power of image:  protection from thieves

Material:  iron

Scent:  ape hair

 

  1. Antares

Old title:  Heart of Scorpio

Degrees:  8.34 Scorpio to 21.26 Scorpio

Modern precession:  10 Sagittarius to 24 Sagittarius

Powers:  strengthen buildings, heal fevers and stomach problems, destroy friendships, sedition, conspiracy, revenge

 

Image:  snake with tail above its head

Power of image:  heals fever and stomach pain, drives away poisonous creatures if buried

Material:  copper

Scent:  ammonia

 

  1. Shaula

Old title:  Tail of Scorpio

Degrees:  21.26 Scorpio to 4.17 Sagittarius

Modern precession:  24 Sagittarius to 13 Capricorn

Powers:  place armies for advancement, capture fugitives, bring on a period, destroy ships, aid childbirth, drive people from their homes, siege

 

Image:  woman with hands covering face

Power of image:  aids childbirth, brings on period

Material:  copper

Scent:  benzoin

 

  1. Ascella

Old title:  Beam

Degrees:  4.17 Sagittarius to 17.08 Sagittarius

Modern precession:  13 Capricorn to 16 Capricorn

Powers:  animals, hunting, drawing someone to a certain place and time

 

Image:  centaur

Power of image:  hunting

Material:  tin

Scent:  “head of a wolf”

 

  1. Albaldah

Old title:  Defeat

Degrees:  17.08 Sagittarius to 0 Capricorn

Modern precession:  16 Capricorn to 4 Aquarius

Powers:  harvest, sexual prowess, separate spouses by luring the woman away, cause misfortune for enemies

 

Image:  Janus head (two faces in opposite directions)

Power of image:  destruction of a person

Material:  unknown.  It is placed in a brass box with brimstone, jet, and victim’s hair

Scent:  brimstone and jet

 

  1. Dahib

Old title:  Pastor

Degrees:  0 Capricorn to 12.51 Capricorn

Modern precession:  4 Aquarius to 12 Aquarius

Powers:  safety for the ill, aids escapes, causes discord

 

Image:  Hermes with winged sandals

Power of image:  catching fugitives

Material:  iron

Scent:  anything Mercurial

 

  1. Albali

Old title:  Swallowing

Degrees:  12.51 Capricorn to 25.43 Capricorn

Modern precession:  12 Aquarius to 23 Aquarius

Powers:  healing, destruction, divorce

 

Image:  cat with dog’s head

Power of image:  destruction and wasting

Material:  iron.  Bury in the place you want ruined.

Scent:  hair from a dog’s head

 

  1. Sadalsuud

Old title:  Star of Fortune

Degrees:  25.43 Capricorn to 8.34 Aquarius

Modern precession:  23 Aquarius to 4 Pisces

Powers:  increase herds (animal fertility), gain power over enemies, victory in war, hinder those in power

 

Image:  woman suckling child

Power of image:  increases livestock

Material:  horn of animal to be bred, or iron.   Attach to the “alpha” animal.

Scent:  unknown

 

  1. Sadachbia

Old title:  Butterfly

Degrees:  8.34 Aquarius to 21.26 Aquarius

Modern precession:  4 Pisces to 23 Pisces

Powers:  repair buildings, separate women from their men, aids harvest and plants, prevent sex

 

Image:  man planting

Power of image:  preserve trees and protect harvest

Material:  wood.  Hang in a tree.

Scent:  fig flowers

 

  1. Markab

Old title:  First Drawing

Degrees:  21.26 Aquarius to 4.17 Pisces

Modern precession:  23 Pisces to 9 Aries

Powers:  love and favor

 

Image:  woman combing her hair

Power of image:  gain love and favor

Material:  white wax and mastic

Scents:  any sweet scent

 

  1. Alpheratz

Old title:  Second Drawing

Degrees:  4.17 Pisces to 17.08 Pisces

Modern precession:  9 Aries to 0 Taurus

Powers:  increase trade, clairvoyance, psychic and spiritual pursuits, foul waters, delay construction

 

Image:  winged man holding empty pot

Power of image: destroy waters

Material:  red earth.  Burn with scents and bury near site.

Scents:  asafoetida and benzoin

 

  1. Mirach

Old title:  Belly of the Fish

Degrees:  17.08 Pisces to 0 Aries

Modern precession:  0 Taurus to 3 Taurus

Powers:  increase trade, improve and strengthen marriage, strengthen prisons, catch fish, loss of treasure

 

Image:  fish

Power of image:  to gather fishes together

Material:  copper.  Cast into water where fish are desired.

Scents:  fish skin

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