A prince in love came to Sadan, Abu Ma’shar’s student, with a horary question. The horoscope had Mars in Capricorn on the Ascendant and Venus in Scorpio. Saturn and Jupiter were in Sagittarius; Jupiter near the ascending degree and Saturn near the end of Sagittarius. Abu Ma’shar was busy and told Sadan to judge the chart. Sadan judged the prince would be successful in his pursuit of the woman.

Abu Ma’shar, as the master astrologer, checked Sadan’s judgment and said it was all wrong, and wrote another. Jupiter was in the Ascendant, which always opposed fornication and adultery (presumably this woman was married), while Mars rising did not promise possession of the woman, but rather separation and enmity. Though Venus and Mars were close, there was no reception between them [NG: Venus in Scorpio is actually received by Mars, but it’s possible that the aspect was out of orb, even if the planets were “close”, in which case there could not be reception, which requires an in-orb aspect].

Instead, Abu Ma’shar found that the figure signified a long journey for the prince and a delay to his affair for 15 or 66 months. Abu Ma’shar told Sadan never to take Mars as a sign of delight but rather Venus, especially if she was in Taurus, and to consider the relation of the Moon to Venus.

Abu Ma’shar’s Mini-Lesson

This story comes from Lynn Thorndike’s translation and summary of the manuscript Albumasar in Sadan, and like other charts described in the book, this horoscope cannot have existed during Abu Ma’shar’s lifetime, based on the positions of the planets. Yet the lesson is correct: never take a prominent Mars and Jupiter in the Ascendant as a sign of a successful illicit affair – Mars brings about separation, while Jupiter defends honor. Rather, look to Venus, and success is more certain if she is in Taurus, her domicile.

More stories and lessons from Abu Ma’shar.

Horary described by Albumasar in Sadan. Venus in Scorpio, Jupiter in Sagittarius, Saturn in Sagittarius, Mars in Capricorn. Will my affair succeed? Asked the prince.