Manilius on the 12 Signs

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Manilius on the 12 Signs

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:11 pm

Marcus Manilius was a Roman poet in early 1st Century C.E. His five volumes of astrological writings are some of the most important, particularly in reference to the zodiac. His Latin verse was translated into English couplets in 1697 by Thomas Creech. They provide one of the richest sources of classical information on how the zodiacal constellations were understood, and help make clear how the Tropicalization of astrology over two millennia has led to "drift" in the meanings of the signs. (I have also begun to add the more literal translation of G. P. Goold, even though Creech's poetic paraphrase has compelling hold on mass-mind reservoirs of sign themes.)

Manilius gave two primary sets of descriptions of the signs. One is for the sign when rising - the other, unspecified, should be regarded as the luminaries in general, though, surprisingly, it often seems that he is referring to Sun's placement instead of Moon (which would have been generally thought more important at the time). This doesn't mean, of course, that they should be taken verbatim as our recommended sign interpretations - but they are certainly a resource toward that end, and an honest representation of what astrologers one eminent astrologer thought about such matters in the days of Tiberius.

Aries viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p738
Taurus viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p739
Gemini viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p740
Cancer viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p741
Leo viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p742
Virgo viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p743
Libra viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p744
Scorpio viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p745
Sagittarius viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p746
Capricorn viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p747
Aquarius viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p748
Pisces viewtopic.php?f=13&t=121#p749
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Aries

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:12 pm

First Aries shines, and as he ofte doth lose
His Fleece, and then as frequently renews,
'Twixt sudden Ruin, and a fair Estate
He fixes the variety of Fate;
He gets,then loseth, then returns to Gain,
Then Loss steals in, and empties all his pain;
He rears new Lambs, he doth encrease the Fold,
And make the Rams to shine in native Gold;
Betters the Wool, and whilst the Subject grows
He forms Mens Minds to use what he bestows;
To pick, to card, to spin, and weave, to deal
In Cloath with gain; to Buy, Exchange, and sell:
All useful Arts, whose constant Works supply
Mens real Want, not only Luxury;
This Pallas owns, nor doth disdain to claim
Arachne's conquest as her greatest Fame.
These are the manners, these the various Arts
Which Aries Rays, and secret force imparts;
To anxious fears he troubled Minds betrays
And strong Desires to venture all for Praise.

The Ram, who is rich with an abundance of fleecy wool and, when shorn of this, with a fresh supply, will ever cherish hopes; he will rise from the sudden shipwreck of his affairs to abundant wealth only to meet with a fall, and his desires will led him to disaster; he will yield his produce for the common benefit, the fleece which by a thousand crafts gives birth to different forms of gain: now workers pile into heaps the undressed wool, now card it, now draw it into a tenuous thread, now weave the threads to form webs, and now they buy and sell for gains garments of every kind; no nation could dispense with these, even without indulgence in luxury. So important is this work that Pallas herself has claimed it for her own hands, of which she has judged it worthy, and deems her victory over Arachne a token of her greatness. These are the callings and allied crafts that the Ram will decree for those born under his sign: in an anxious breast he will fashion a diffident heart that ever yearns to commend itself by its own praise.


ASCENDING:
Thus when the Ram ascends, and proudly turns
His bending backward Neck before his Horns
To Mortal Eyes, the wretched Births are Curst
With Ravenous Tempers, and inflam'd with Lust;
All Modesty shall be to Gold betray'd,
Nor Parents Care secure the easie Maid:
These Tempers are his Own; as Fancy leads
He roves, and wantons o're the flowry Meads:
Forward to push, and as the Grass renews
His wasted Strength, he Courts the willing Ewes.
To Travel he inclines through Lands unknown,
He Ploughs new Seas, and makes the World his own;
This he prefigur'd when his Back convey'd
Young Phryxus sage, and lost the Falling Maid.
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Taurus

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:12 pm

Dull Honest Plowmen to manure the Field
Strong Taurus bears, by him the Grounds are till'd:
No gaudy things he breeds, no Prize for worth,
But Blesseth Earth, and brings her Labour forth:
He takes the Yoke, nor doth the Plough disdain,
And teacheth Farmers to manure the Plain:
He's their Example, when he bears the Sun
In his bright Horns, the noble toyl's begun:
The useful Plowshare he retrieves from Rust,
Nor liest at ease, and wants his strength in Dust
To him the Curij, and to him we owe
The brave Serrani, he i'the'Fields did Rods bestow,
And sent a Dictator from his Plow.
Reserv'd, aspiring Minds, Limbs slow to move
But strong in Bulk his powerful Rays improve,
And on his Curled Front fits wanton Love.

The Bull will dower the countryside with honest farmers and will come as a source of toil into their powerful lives; it will bestow, not gifts of glory, but the fruits of the earth. It bows its neck amid the stars and of itself demands a yoke for its shoulders. When it carries the sun's orb on its horns, it bids battle with the soil begin and rouse3s the fallow land to its former cultivation, itself leading the work, for it neither pauses in the furrows nor relaxes its breast in the dust. The sign of the Bull has produced a Serranus and a Curius, has handed over the rods of office amid the fields, and has left its plough to become a dictator. Its sons have the love of unsung excellence; their hearts anbd bodies derive strength from a massiveness that is slow to move, whilst in their faces dwells the boy-god Love.


ASCENDING:
The Bull's bright part that first appears, creates
Vile Pathicks scandals to the other Fates.
The Cause, if it be fit to search for one]
When Nature works, may easily be shewn;
His Back-Part first appears, in that he bears
The Cloudy Train of Female stars:
And thus the Posture, and the Sex combine
To show the Influence of the rising Sign:
He bends to Plow, and o're the Fruitful Plains
The Laboring Ox grows Fat upon his Pains.
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Gemini

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:13 pm

Soft Gemini to easier Arts incline
For softer Studies fit an Infant Sign.
They tune rough Words, or they incline to Sing,
To stop the Pipe, or strike the speaking String;
Through Reeds they blow the Natural Sound in Measure,
Gay their delight, and e'en their Pains are Pleasure;
Wars they avoid, Old Age they chace with Song,
And when Late Death o'retakes them they are Young.
Sometimes to Heaven they mount, and trace the Stars,
Then fix in Globes, or turn the Signs in Spheres;
Their Wit reigns o're their Nature, and refines
Its Powers; This is the influence of the Twins.

From the Twins come less laborious callings and a more agreeable way of life, provided by varied song and voices of harmonious tone, slender pipes, the melodies inborn in strings and the words fitted thereto: those so endowed find even work a pleasure. They would banish the arms of war, the trumpet's call, and the gloom of old age: theirs is a life of ease and unfading youth spent ion the arms of love. They also discover paths to the skies, complete a survey of the heavens with numbers and measurements, and outstrip the flight of the stars [by their ability to predict the stars' movement]: nature yields to their genius, which it serves in all things. So many are the accomplishments of which the Twins are fruitful.


ASCENDING:
But when their Feet the rising Twins do shew
And half appear Above, half lye Below,
The Births are happy, all their Parts refind,
And Arts enrich the Treasures of the Mind;
Ready their Wit, persuasive is their Tongue,
In Musick skill'd, and excellent in Song;
These are the Powers their rising Rays dispense,
They Wit bestow, and fix that Wit with Sense.
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Cancer

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:13 pm

But glowing Cancer (where the Summer Sun
With fiery Chariots bounds the Torrid Zone,
Drives fiercely up, then with a bending Rein
Sinks down, and runs the lower Rounds again.)
As close in's Shell he lies, affords his Aid
To greedy Merchants, and inclines to Trade;
His Births shall sail, through Seas and Dangers tost
To reap the Riches of a Foreign Coast.
What thrifty Nature hath but thinly sown
In Many Countries, they shall bring to One;
Intent on gain ne're heed the Poors Complaint
But thrive on Scarcity, and live on Want;
For Wealth undaunted gather every Wind,
Out-sail good Fame, and leave Repute behind,
And when their greedy Hands have seiz'd tjhe Store
Of this, search other Worlds, and seek for more.
Complaining at the slowness of the Years,
With swifter Suns, and set too vast a rate
On Time it self, to raise a quick Estate;
Their Bodies shall be Strong, inur'd to Pain,
Their Wits Contriving, and intent on gain.

Shining at the hinge of the year by the blazing turning-point which when recalled the Sun rounds in his course on high, the Crab occupies a joint of heaven and bends back the length of day. Of a grasping spirit and unwilling to give itself in service the Crab distributes many kinds of gain, and skill in making profits; he enables a man to carry his investment of foreign merchandise from city to city and, with an eye on steep rises in the price of corn, to risk his money upon sea-winds; to sell the world's produce to the world, to establish commercial ties between so many unknown lands, to search out under foreign skies fresh sources of gain, and from the high price of his goods to amass sudden wealth. With heaven's favor he also sells seasons of idleness at rates of interest to his liking, wishing the swift passage of time to add to the principal. His is a shrewd nature and he is ready to fight for his profits.


ASCENDING:
When rouling Cancer riseth veild in Clouds,
I'th' Skies as deeply hid as in the Floods,
The Moon resembling when depriv'd of Light;
The Births are Blind, and wish in vain for sight:
By Fates a Verse condem'd to Double Death,
Dead whilst Alive, and Buryed whilst they breath.
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Leo

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:13 pm

What Inclinations Leo's Rays dispense
Is quickly known, 'tis plain to Common Sense,
He gives his Own; for he the Woods infests
The mighty Terror of the meaner Beasts:
He lives on Rapine, ranges all the Day,
And sullenly at Night groans o're his Prey.
Hence he inclines Mens Minds to Hunt, and fills
Our Nobles spacious Halls with grinning spoyls;
There Skins and Horns do spread a dismal grace,
And stand as certain Heralds of their Race;
This Beast was mine, and that my Father's game,
They cry, these are the Annals of their Fame:
That generous Youth which France and Spain did fear
Now prove the Humble Terror of a Deer.
Nay some in Towns pursue this wild delight.
Their barbarous grow, and breed up Beasts to fight;
Then bring them out for fight in Theaters,
And feast their Luxury with Bruitish Wars;
Cruel in Sport: Their Posts are grac't with Spoyl,
And they get shameful Honour without Toyl:
He makes Men Warm, their Passions quickly rais'd,
Like Boys soon angry, and as soon appeas'd:
But Plain and Honest all their Thoughts sincere;
Pure as the Sun, and like the Water clear.

Who can doubt the nature of the monstrous Lion, and the pursuits he prescribes for those born beneath his sign? The lion ever devises fresh fights and fresh warfare on animals, and lives on spoil and pillaging of flocks. The sons of the Lion are filled with the urge to adorn their proud portals with pelts and to hang up on the walls the captured prey, to bring the peace of terror to the woods, and to live upon plunder. There are those whose like bent is not checked by the city-gates, but they swagger about in the heart of the capital with droves of beasts; they display mangled limbs at the shop-front, slaughter to meet the demands of luxury, and count it gain to kill. Their temper is equally prone to fitful wrath and ready withdrawal, and guileless are the sentiments of their honest hearts.


ASCENDING:
But when the Lion shews his ravenous Jaws
Prepared for Rapine, and unsheaths his Paws,
A Spendthrift's born, who minds himself alone,
He wrongs his Father, and he cheats his Son:
His Race in vain with expectation wait,
For in himself he buries his Estate;
So fast his Gluttony, his Lust so wild
That he devours himself, yet is not fill'd:
And whilst his Appetite proceeds to crave
He eats his Funeral, and he spends his Grave.
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Virgo

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:14 pm

But modest Virgo's Rays give polisht parts,
And fill Mens Breasts with Honesty and Arts;
No tricks for Gain, nor love of Wealth dispense,
But piercing Thoughts, and winning Eloquence;
With words persuasive, and with Rhetorick strong
They rule, and are e'en Monarchs by their Tongue.
Through Nature's Secrets too, they coldly press,
Tho' deeply hid, and meet a just success.
In Short-Hand skill'd, where little Marks comprise,
Whole words, a Sentence in a Letter lies;
And whilst Obedient hands their Aid afford,
Prevent the Tongue and Fix the falling Word.
But bashful Modesty, casts down their Eyes,
The best of Vices, yet 'tis still a Vice,
Because it stifles, checks or nips like Frost,
A blooming Vertue, and the Fruit is lost.
Besides, though strange such Influence should come
From Virgo's Rays, she gives a fruitful womb.

The temperaments of those whose span of life she pronounces at their birth Erigone [Virgo] will direct to study, and she will train their minds in the learned arts. She will give not so much abundance of wealth as the impulse to investigate the causes and effects of things. On them she will confer a tongue which charms, the mastery of words, and that mental vision which can discern all things, however concealed they be by the mysterious workings of nature. From the Virgin will also come the stenographer: his letter represents a word, and by means of his symbols he can keep ahead of utterance and record in novel notation the long speech of a rapid speaker. But with the good there comes a flaw: bashfulness handicaps the early years of such persons, for the Maid, by holding back their great natural gifts, puts a bridle on their lips and restrains them by the curb of authority. And (small wonder in a virgin) her offspring is not fruitful.


ASCENDING:
When Virgo rises (who whilst Right Prevail'd
Rul'd here below, retreating when it fail'd),
To awful Honors all the Births must rise
Profoundly skill'd in Sacred Mysteries;
Good, Pious, Just, Devout, unus'd to Rage
And great Examples to the looser Age.
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Libra

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:14 pm

Libra, whose Scales, when Autumn turns the Signs,
And ruddy Bacchus treads the juicy Vines;
In equal Balance, poize the Night and Day,
Teach how to measure, and instruct to weigh:
And Rival Palamed (who Numbers found,
And into Letters fram'd unpolisht sound;
To Him the Art of Words, and Speech we owe,
Till then Men only Spoak, but knew not how),
Besides, He'll know the Niceties of Law;
What guard the Good, and what the Guilty Awe,
What Vengeance wait on Crimes, with Skill declare,
His Private Chamber, still shall be the Bar.
What He determines, that for Right shall stand,
As Justice weigh'd her Balance in his Hand.
This Ruled at Servius's Birth, who first did give
Our Law a Being, rather than Revive;
The Tables seem'd Old, Reverend Senseless Lines,
Meer waxen Things, and sit to serve Designs,
As Fools mistook, or Crafty Knaves would draw;
Till He infus'd a Soul, and made them Law.

[This sounds much like Virgo - and there are similarities between the two passages. One wonders if the 8° displacement of the Roman zodiac didn't feed Manilius a few wrong examples. This kind of "slip" doesn't show in the other signs. As the literal translation below shows, though, the primary message of the passage is its attribution to law and justice. - JAE]

Balancing night with the length of day when after a year's space we enjoy the new vintage of the ripened grape, the Scales will bestow the employment of weights and measures and a son to emulate the talents of Palamedes, who first assigned numbers to things, and to these numbers names, fixed magnitudes, and individual symbols. He will also be acquainted with the tables of law, abstruse legal points, and words denoted by compendious signs [abbreviations]; he will know what is permissible and the penalties incurred by doing what is forbidden; in his own house he is a people's magistrate holding lifelong office. Under no other sign would Servius more fittingly have been born, who in interpreting the law framed legislation of his own. Indeed, whatever stands in dispute and needs a ruling the pointer of the Balance will determine.


ASCENDING:
But when Autumnal Scales do first appear
Happy the Birth, he shall be known from far,
The Glory of the Bench, and of the Bar;
He justest Laws shall make, and Life and Death
Depend upon the Issues of his Breath;
Him Towns shall fear, the Earth observe his Nod,
And after Earth the Heaven enjoys a God.
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Scorpio

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:15 pm

Bright Scorpio Arm'd, with poys'nous Tail prepares,
Mens Martial Minds, for violence and Wars;
His Venom heats, and boyls their Bloods to Rage,
And Rapine spreads o're the unlucky Age.
Yet 'tis not Prey they seek, as much as Blood,
For e'en in Peace they fiercely trace the Wood,
O're Forest range, and every Plain infest,
Now Fight with Man, and now Engage with Beast.
To please the Crowd, they unprovok'd engage,
And sell their Lives, to the dishonest Stage;
And when calm Peace doth Publick Rest bestow,
Yet still to Fight, each seeks himself a Foe.
They spend their leisure Hours in fierce Alarms,
And all their Recreation is in Arms.

By virtue of his tail armed with its powerful sting, wherewith, when conducting the Sun's chariot through his sign, he cleaves the soil and sows seed in the furrow, the Scorpion creates natures ardent for war and active service, and a spirit which rejoices in plenteous bloodshed and in carnage more than in plunder. Why, these men spend even peace under arms: they fill the glades and scour the woods; they wage fierce warfare now against man, now against beast, and now they sell their persons to provide the spectacle of death and to perish in the arena, when, warfare in abeyance, they each find themselves foes to attack. There are those, too, who enjoy mock-fights and jousts in arms (such is their love of fighting) and devote their leisure to the study of war and every pursuit which arises from the art of war.


ASCENDING:
Thus Act these Signs, but Scorpio's Tayl displays
A Double Influence from his Forked Rays;
For when that first appears, the Peaceful Chyild
Shall Cities Raise, and be inclin'd to build;
The world shall see him with his Plow surround
The place design'd, and mark the fatal Bound;
Or he shall Wast what others Pains did raise,
Where Populous Cities stood, there Beasts shall graze
Or Harvest grow; He leads to these Extreams,
And Power, agreeing waits upon his Beams.
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Sagittarius

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:15 pm

The double Centaur different Tempers breeds,
They break the Horse, and tame the fiery Steeds;
They love the sounding Whip, the Race, the Rein,
And whirl the Chariot o're the duty Plain;
Nor is their Humor to the Fields confin'd,
They range the Woods, and tame the Savage Kind;
Young Bears they break, and Tygers heats asswage,
And hear Young Lions roaring without Rage,
Discourse the Elephant, and Teach the Mass
A mimick Action, and a decent Grace;
To Act in Plays, or raise th'unwieldly load,
To Dance, and be the Darling of the Crowd.
For in the Frame, in double forms exprest,
The Man is uppermost, and rules the Beast;
His Bow full drawn implies, his Rays impart,
Strength to the Limbs, and Vigor to the Heart.
Quick active Motions, full of warmth and heat,
Still pressing on, unknowing to retreat.

But they whose lot it is to be born under the Centaur of double form delight in yoking a team, in bringing a fiery horse to obey the pliant reins, in following herds which graze all over the grasslands, and in imposing a master on every kind of quadruped and taming them; they soften tigers, rid the lion of his fierceness, speak to the elephant and through speech adapt its huge bulk to human skills in a variety of displays. Indeed, in the stars of this constellation the human form is blended with a beast's and placed above it; wherefore it has lordship over beasts. And because it carries a shaft poised on drawn bow, it imparts strength to limb and keenness to the intellect, swiftness of movement, and an indefatigable spirit.


ASCENDING:
Bold Sagittarius, when he first appears,
Heats the gay Birth, and makes him fam'd for Wars;
In Triumphs great, the Wonder of the Crowed,
By Captives carry'd, he almost a God
Shall climb the Capitol, bright Fame pursue,
Old Cities raze, or grace the Earth with New:
But ill success (his Forehead's wreath'd with Frowns)
Shall wast his Fame, and blast his gather'd Crowns.
Thus Conquering Hannibal, by this Sign betray'd
Before his flight perceiv'd his Wreaths to fade,
He paid for Trebia's and for Cannae's fame,
And recompenc'd our Losses by his shame.
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Capricorn

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:16 pm

But Sacred Vesta guards thy fatal Fire,
And thence 'tis guess'd, what Minds thy Rays inspire,
Contracted Goat; by thee that Art's infus'd,
Which Fire assists, and where a Flame is us'd;
By thee the Miners burn the Womb of Earth,
And see the place of Metals fatal Birth:
By thee they melt; by thee they work the Mould,
Refine, and Stamp it into a mighty Gold:
By thee, the Silver, Iron, Gold, and Brass,
The Forge dissolves, and forms the easie Mass:
By thee, the Ovens heat, and Baths acquire,
And Happy Chymists blow enriching Fire:
Thy Cold (for tho o're Winder Signs does reign,
Pull'st back the Sun, and send'st Us Day again)
Makes Brokers Rich, for whilst you spraed your Ice,
Their Wares go off, and they enhance the Price:
From thee our Youth unconstant Tempers prove,
And eagerly pursue unlawful Love,
'Cause Goat above; but these the Fish behind
Corrects in Age, and fixes the soft Mind.

In her shrine Vesta tends your fires, Capricorn: and from her you derive your skills and callings. For whatever needs fire to function and demands a renewal of flame for its work must be counted as of your domain. To pry for hidden metals, to smelt out riches deposited in the veins of the earth, to fold sure-handed the malleable mass - these skills will come from you as will aught which is fashioned in silver or gold. That hot furnaces melt iron and bronze, and ovens give to the wheat its final form, will come as gifts from you. You also give a fondness for clothes and wares which dispel the cold, since your lot falls for all time in winter's season, wherein you shorten the nights you have brought to their greatest length and give birth to a new year by enlarging the daylight hours. Hence comes a restless quality in their lives and a mind which is often changed and floats this way and that; the first half of the sign is the slave of Venus, and that with guilt involved, but a more virtuous old age is promised by the conjoined fish below.


ASCENDING:
But when the narrow Goat erects his Tayl
He drives to Sea, and much inclines to Sail,
Ignoble Trade when Ploughs the dangerous Main,
And precious Life is meanly stak'd for Gain.
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Aquarius

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:16 pm

Aquarius pouring out his Urn, imparts
An useful Knowledge in resembling Arts,
To find out Springs, and with new Streams supply
The Barren Countries, and refresh the dry;
To raise in Pipes, or to extend in Beams,
And in high Rooms imprison Foreign Streams;
Affront the Sea, for State, not use, restrain
The Waves with Motes, and curb the raging Main:
Or Engine raise, whence Waters mount above,
And mix the lower, with the higher Jove,
A thousand other Arts, which Waters sway,
As Channels lead, or else as Pipes convey,
Depend upon the Influence of his Ray.
And to his Births the World oblig'd shall owe
Spheres, Cycles, Orbs, and turn New Skies below,
Soft, easy Tempers, loving Coin for use,
Not sordid, but inclin'd to be profuse;
Not pincht, nor yet too swelling in Estate;
Thus flows the Urn, and fixes this for Fate.

The youthful Waterman, who from upturned pot pours forth his stream, likewise bestows skills which have affinity with himself: how to divine springs under the ground and conduct them above, to transform the flow of water so as to spray the very stars, to mock the sea with man-made shores at the bidding of luxury, to construct different types of artificial lakes and rivers [reservoirs and aqueducts], and to support aloft for domestic use streams that come from afar. Beneath this sign there dwell a thousand crafts regulated by water. Why, water will even set in motion the face of heaven and the starry habitations, and will cause the skies to move in a novel rotation [referring to a model planetarium operated by water]. Never will the sons of Aquarius grow tired of the works which come in the wake of water and follow springs. They who issue from this sign are a gentle sort and a lovable breed, and no meanness of heart is theirs; they are prone to suffer losses; and of riches they have neither need nor surfeit. Even thus doth the urn's stream flow.


ASCENDING:
The Good, the Pious, and the Just are born
When first Aquarius pours out his Urn.
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Pisces

Post by Jim Eshelman » Mon May 08, 2017 5:17 pm

Last Double Pisces, from their shining scale
Spread watry influences, and incline to Sail;
To trust their Lives to Seas, to plow the Deep,
To make fit Rigging, or to build a Ship.
In short, what e're can for a Fleet be fram'd,
A thousand Arts, too numerous to be nam'd.
Beside to steer, observe the Stars, and guide
As they direct, and never lose the Tide;
To know the Coasts, the Winds, the Ports, and Shores
To turn the Helm, or ply the bending oars;
To sweep smooth Seas with Nets, to drag the Sand
And draw the leaping Captives to the Land,
Lay cheating Wires, or with unfaithful bait
The Hook conceal, and get by the deceit:
To fight at Sea, to stain the Waves with blood,
Whilst War lies floating on th' unstable flood:
Fruitful their Births, of Pleasure fond, engage
In Love, are quick, but changing with their Age.

The folk engendered by the two Fishes, the last of the signs, will possess a love of the sea; they will entrust their lives to the deep, will provide ships or gear for ships and everything that the sea requires for activity connected with it. The consequent skills are numberless: so many are the components of even a small ship that there are scarcely enough names for things. There is also the art of navigation, which has reached out to the stars and binds the sea to heaven. T he pilot must have sound knowledge of the earth, its rivers and heavens, its climate and winds; how on the one hand to ply the mobile helm this way and that, and brake the ship and spread apart the waves, and how on the other to drive the ship by rowing and to feather the lingering blades. The Fishes further impart to their son the desire to sweep tranquil waters with dragnets and to display on shores which are their own the captive peoples of the deep, either by hiding the hook within the bait or the guile within the weel [a deep, still pool or a kind of trap for fish]. Naval warfare too is of their gift, battles afloat, and blood-stained waves at sea. The children of this sign are endowed with fertile offspring, a friendly disposition, swiftness of movement, and lives in which everything is ever apt to change.


ASCENDING:
But could I rule, could I the Fates design,
The rising Fishes ne're should govern mine;
The give a Hateful, Pratling, Railing Tongue,
Still full of Venom, always in the wrong;
That Blows up Jealousies, and heightens Fears,
By muttering Poys'nous Whispers in Mens Ears.
Faithless the Births, and full of Wild desire;
Their faith is Treachery, and their Love is Fire.
For when the skies grew weak, when Giants strove,
And snaky Typhon shook the Throne of Jove,
Fair Venus fled, an in a Fish's shape
(This Syria knows) secur'd her mean escape;
Then did she through the Scaly Kind inspire
New Heats, and with the Ocean mixt her Fire.
No Single Births, for which this Sign begins,
Twins shall be born, or those that shall have Twins.
Jim Eshelman
www.jeshelman.com

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