"The Great Introduction" By Abu Ma'shar

Bunraku

Well-known member
From JA's post:
Last summer Keiji Yamamoto and Charles Burnett released
their long-awaited translation of The Great Introduction to Astrology
by the 9th century astrologer Abu Ma'shar.
This was the first time this text has been translated into English in its entirety.
Abu Ma'shar frequently cites a lost Greek text
attributed to Hermes Trismegistus.
This appears to be the same text called the Panaretos
that the 4th century astrologer Paulus Alexandrinus drew on
for his treatment of seven planets Lots
although Abu Ma'shar shares much more from the text than Paulus did.

I think it's time we started having book discussions on some of the trad. astro literature, because they help us dissect things. They don't have the most direct or straightforward wording, and deciphering these texts from a culture thousands of years ago is even more complicated. :surprised:

For example in this thread of a question of a text: https://www.astrologyweekly.com/forum/showthread.php?t=131150
It was clarified pretty quickly. :joyful:

We can also compare and contrast between the translations and see how the author interpreted a text.

This thread is the Great Introduction by Keiji and Charles. And the one eventually to be released by Ben.
 

Bunraku

Well-known member
I will be talking about Yamamoto and Burnett's translation. I'll label it to make it clear.

Interesting tidbits in the introduction, or "first chapter."
*Abu Ma'shar wrote this book because he wishes to put out a body of work that can successfully argue/justify the science of astrology. The literature at the time was insufficient for him.
*He states that this book contains everything for a beginner to master astrology. He not find text comprehensive or adequate enough to do so. And is a gift for those interested in this science.
 
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JUPITERASC

Well-known member
From JA's post:


The Origins of the EXALTATIONS: A New Discovery :smile:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHRBCSfV300

astrologers Chris Brennan and Benjamin Dykes unveil a new discovery

about the origins of the exaltations
derived from a lost Hermetic text preserved by Abu Ma'shar.
Paula Belluomini made a number of diagrams to illustrate the concepts
so I would recommend watching the video.
Ben plans to publish his translation of the Great Introduction by Abu Ma'shar
sometime in the next few months, his website to receive a notification when that is released: https://bendykes.com

Last summer Keiji Yamamoto and Charles Burnett released
their long-awaited translation of The Great Introduction to Astrology
by the 9th century astrologer Abu Ma'shar.
This was the first time this text has been translated into English in its entirety.
Abu Ma'shar frequently cites a lost Greek text
attributed to Hermes Trismegistus.
This appears to be the same text called the Panaretos
that the 4th century astrologer Paulus Alexandrinus drew on
for his treatment of seven planets Lots
although Abu Ma'shar shares much more from the text than Paulus did.


The Hermes material preserved by Abu Ma'shar contains a set of rationales
for the domicile and exaltation schemes
that are unique :smile:
and it seems to preserve what may be the original conceptual rationales
for both of those schemes.
The exaltations chapter in particular
provides a much more detailed explanation for the exaltations than any I've ever seen
and it is also unique because
it provides an astronomical rationale for the exaltations degrees
not just the signs of exaltation and fall.

Arguments for the domiciles and exaltations presented by this text
are based firmly rooted in the tropical zodiac
and this raises some major questions about previous assumptions
that the exaltations had their origins in the sideral zodiac
and the earlier Mesopotamian tradition.
The discovery also raises questions
about the extent to which Hellenistic astrology
and western astrology in general
partially represents a sudden invention or technical construct
that was put together sometime around the 1st century BCE.

I think it's time we started having book discussions on some of the trad. astro literature, because they help us dissect things. They don't have the most direct or straightforward wording, and deciphering these texts from a culture thousands of years ago is even more complicated. :surprised:
Interesting tidbits in the introduction, or "first chapter."
*Abu Ma'shar wrote this book because he wishes to put out a body of work that can successfully argue/justify the science of astrology. The literature at the time was insufficient for him.
*He states that this book contains everything for a beginner to master astrology. He not find text comprehensive or adequate enough to do so. And is a gift for those interested in this science.
For example in this thread of a question of a text: https://www.astrologyweekly.com/forum/showthread.php?t=131150
It was clarified pretty quickly. :joyful:

We can also compare and contrast between the translations and see how the author interpreted a text.

This thread is the Great Introduction by Keiji and Charles. And the one eventually to be released by Ben.
JA ,

The book by Keiji Yamamoto and Charles Burnett seems to be more for academic references and universities. The price is ghastly, even for a book lover like me.

Interlibrary loaning services are closed or are extremely selective due to COVID. I’ll just wait for the Ben Dykes translations if he ever translates them.


Ben plans to publish his translation of
the Great Introduction by Abu Ma'shar
sometime in the next few months :smile:
his website to receive a notification when that is released: https://bendykes.com





.
 

Bunraku

Well-known member
In the "second chapter" of Yamamoto and Burnett

He talks that astronomy and astrology are interrelated. Astronomy looks to the motion of the planets and the sky, while astrology discerns what the effects of these motions are.

The second species is the science of astrology. This is the knowledge of the nature of every planet and every sphere and the property of their indications, and what arises and happens as a result of the powers of their different movements, and their natural imprint on this world which is under the sphere of the Moon, in respect to the difference of times and the alteration of
the ‘natures’—i.e. fire, air, water, and earth—and ⟨their imprint⟩ on the individual animals, plants, and minerals which arise from these ‘natures’.
The Great Introduction by Abu Ma'shar, Yamamoto and Burnett

Here he states his arguments of the effects of the luminaries on the lives of humans. Mostly on cycles, seasons, and weathers, and its various effects on many things.

_________
Opinions:

I think it's interesting that in this chapter he tries to, in great detail, relate it to the knowledge of a skillful worker, like a sailor, midwife, or farmers/breeders. It 's like a peak of what goes on in his times (or his view anyways). The boldest statement he makes is that astrology is the highest professions out there. The reasoning being is that astrology discerns the true nature of all things.

If there ever was a reason for something, you could look at astrology to get to the root of things, is what I'm getting from this.
 
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Bunraku

Well-known member
In the fourth chapter ("3rd") of Yamamoto and Burnett
He introduces the concept of natures and how things in this universe naturally fit them. He gives examples of species or parts of them to have the essence of these natures. Predatory animals, hot and dry. Domestic animals, "thick" and dry natures. etc.

He discusses the natures.
There are three properties of them: 1) They are contrary to each other (hot/dry opposite to wet/cold) 2) They change into each other 3) They increase or decrease (some earth is drier than others, or some water is colder than others, etc.) and these four natures recieve increase or decrease

On the properties of forms 1) They are not contrary to each other 2) They do not change into each other 3) They do not increase or decrease

Natures inhabit forms and their effects. Forms are natured. Nature freely expresses its own properties in forms, but not the other way around.

He then ties this in with the planets.

______
Opinions?
I wasn't expecting it to be this Aristotelian. He frequency cites Aristotle too.
 
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Bunraku

Well-known member
The next few chapters (of Yamamoto and Burnett) are quite long ones.

It details his arguments for astrology, and addresses cases of why one might reject it and refutes them.

The next is what to do with the knowledge of astrology.


____
I don't really have any strong opinions on it. We've all seen those articles saying astrology is false, or have had personal experience with people disapproving of it. Its interesting to see how he argues for it though. There's also a lot of parallels today's society, for example scammers, or people practicing it wrong, etc. Very little has changed it seems. LOL.

A part that I was curious about was on the bit on doctors, stating some doctors believe that medicine is a real science and astrology isn't. He recommends the dr. to read ancient astrological works to gain a larger view on medicine, because medicine originated from astrology, and that an astrologer should always be part of the healing process because he can discern more complete information from a person. He then mentions the Greek authors such as Hippocrates and Galen and their usage of the science of the stars in medicine.

That's true of today, that doctors don't use astrology, but now medicine has its own different framework independent of astrology. Astrology doesn't fit any 21st century scientific model, and is considered a pseudoscience. The elements and humors have been disproven. So the tables have turned. They'll probably turn back when astrology can be proved once more :happy:
 
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Bunraku

Well-known member
(Yamamoto and Burnett)
On how astrology is useful...
  • Being forearmed with knowledge can help prevent disaster or help lessen a negative outcome, or at least anticipate it.
  • Preventing a personal event from happening. For example in a solar return promises negativity, knowing this information can help you avert it.
  • Averting an event from having its full effects. . In illnesses, their cures can be prepared in advanced for example.
  • Knowing that something will happen, but will pass. Like being jailed, but knowing when it will end.
  • Knowing that you will not escape something at all. So this can help you get your affairs in order before *it* happens. Death is mentioned in this example.

He also discusses that astrology isn't just predicting negative things, but also positive things. It gives hope and something to look forward to for the client.

Generally its to avoid pitfalls and avoid making major decisions that can end poorly.

___
Opinions:

This is heavily involved with predictions. Astrology today isn't that interested in predictions and heavily leans towards personality readings and the person's thoughts and emotions. At least does show how to prevent outcomes from happening, which shows there's leeway in these events, and isn't totally fatalistic. The role of the astrologer is to improve a human's life in some way by providing them knowledge.
 
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Bunraku

Well-known member
He ends it off the chapter with this
I say also that the soul is the most excellent thing in a person and it rejoices at the knowledge of things which will come to be and exist, and in all the professions there is no knowledge and science of things that are past and coming to be like those in the art of the stars. Therefore the art of the stars is most excellent among all the professions, and foreknowledge of things that come to be from it is the most beneficial.
p 175. The Great Introduction to Astrology by Abū Maʿsar. Yamamoto and Burnett
 

Bunraku

Well-known member
The next sections will be on actual astrology, signs, planets, what they are, etc. So there's nothing really much to discuss.

I'm giggling because I'm thinking of the constellations as a cosmic highway.
 

Bunraku

Well-known member
He groups the signs in interesting ways. The motif of threes, beginning, middle, and end is constantly mentioned in his grouping of fours.

For example, Taurus, element of earth, is part of the season where plants grow in rich fertile settings. Virgo, earth, which is colder and drier than fertile Taurus, marks the middle of the season, creates for soil not as fertile and can only make certain plants grow. Capricorn, is part of the end of the seasons, is cold dry and harsh earth that is not conducive to life.

The first four is temperate and growing, the second four is intemperate, and the last is destructive and corruptive. The grouping of three based on elements creates triplicities.


He also mentions the scheme of the universe which came from greek philosophy (fire, air, water, earth) and their natural places.
 

Bunraku

Well-known member
Interesting that he reasons why the signs are assigned elements in that order.

He says that hot and cold are the opposite extremes of each other. Hot being life, and cold being decay. Dry and wet are in between.
Fire has an affinity to dryness, so earth was put next to it. Air to wetness, so it was put next to water. Dryness is stronger over wetness also, and was put close to fire. Air is the more dynamic form of wetness, so it was placed before water.

He ties this in to the beginning and end of life.


Very interesting.
 

Bunraku

Well-known member
Oh my gooooood these sections labeled astrology are not what I was looking for. These are extremely mundane and or philosophical.

Example, the Sun burning people causing them to turn black and only have a limited set of skills, same with the Sun being too far away in cold regions.

The bit about the Moon causing tides depending on the phase or position of the Moon on the sky, and the qualities of water. Stuff you learn in 3rd grade about phases of the Moon and tides, except with astrology.



*skips*
 

Bunraku

Well-known member
In the section of the Moon and its effects on the animals and plants depending on its increase or decrease of light. Applies a similar logic. When the Moon is culminating/increasing in light, growth occurs in trees, animals, or minerals (wut). Animals become stronger and grow more, and men increase in humidity and moisture (surfaces to the veins). Opposite happens when the moon is decreasing in light, the body increases in dryness.


He claims that sleeping under the moon can make you sluggish and restless and prone to certain maladies of the head. This is more apparent with an animal.
It also has effects on the production of milk.

Minerals/gems glow brighter and become more pure when formed during the month a waxing moon.


_____
Wat. The reasoning is there, but does not make sense at all :lol:
 

Bunraku

Well-known member
Ptolemy Time!
783a02c4de6908b65cc02ea7631681a3.jpg


Word for word with Ptolemy on the nature of the planets, and cites him as the source. He argues...

He differs from Ptolemy here. He states that the Moon does not receive moist vapors because it's too **** far to reach. He argues that no moisture reaches anything from earth because its too far.

He also disagrees in that Mars is not that way because of its proximity to the Sun, because they do not transmit these natures to one another. He states as an example that if the Sun were to transmit heat and the planets to receive them, then everything would be burnt up in a matter of years because everything would simply be warmed up continuously.

He has his reasoning with the other planets and their natures as to why he disagrees with ptolemy.

He also disagrees that the meaning of planets can be discerned through their color and details his argument.
 
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