IN all cases when the distances between planets or luminaries are but trifling, 1 the planet which precedes is said to apply to that which follows; and that which follows to be separating from that which precedes. 2 The same rule obtains both in respect to bodily conjunction and to any other of the aspects before described; except that, in the application and separation of the bodily conjunction, it is also essential to observe the actual latitudes of the bodies, in order to receive and consider only such a transit as may be made in the same parts of the zodiac. 3 But in the application and separation of aspects merely, the same attention is not requisite, since all the rays are uniformly converged into one focus, that is to say, into the angle of the earth, 4 and meet there alike from every quarter.
It appears, therefore, by the whole of what has been already delivered,
that the effective influence of the stars must be considered as arising not only from their own peculiar natures and properties, but also from the quality of the surrounding signs, and from configuration with the Sun and the angles; all which has been pointed out. The influence of each planet, however, is strengthened chiefly when it may be oriental, swift and direct in its proper course and motion--for it has then its greatest power: but, on the other hand, it loses strength when occidental and slow in motion or retrograde; as it then acts with smaller effect. 1 Its influence also receives accession or diminution, from its position with regard to the horizon; as, if it be situated in the mid-heaven, or succedent to the mid-heaven, it is especially strong; likewise, if it be on the actual horizon, or succedent to the horizon, it is also powerful--particularly if in the eastern quarter. Should it, however, be below the earth, and configurated with the ascendant, either from the lower heaven, or from any other part below the earth, its influence then becomes more languid; but if, when below the earth, it hold no such configuration, it is entirely deprived of efficacy. 2
38:1 This has been understood to mean, when the planets or luminaries are within each other's orbs; Saturn's orb being to degrees, Jupiter's 12, Mars's 7 degrees 30 minutes, the Sun's 17 degrees, Venus's 8, Mercury's 7 degrees 30 minutes, and the Moon's 12 degrees 30 minutes.
38:2 Astrologers generally agree, that the inferior planets always apply to the superior, but the superior never to the inferior, except when the inferior be retrograde. In the present instance it seems most probable that the author means the planet which is more occidental, by "the planet which precedes." He often uses "precedent" as equivalent to "occidental" in regard to the daily revolution of the heavens: and thus a planet in the first degree of Aries would precede, and be more occidental than one in the sixth degree of Aries, to which latter it would, by the regular planetary motion, be applying.
38:3 On this, Whalley says that "the less the difference of latitude of the planets in conjunction, the more powerful will be the influence: for if two planets in conjunction have each considerable latitude of different denomination, the influence of such conjunction will be much lessened."
38:4 Τουτ᾽ εςι επι το κεντρον της γης. The precise meaning of the word κεντρον is "centre," rather than "angle"; but Ptolemy uses it throughout this work, in speaking of the four angles of heaven, and I conceive he uses it here to signify an angle at, or on, the earth. The following definition of an aspect, by Kepler, strengthens my opinion: "An aspect is an angle formed on the earth, by the luminous rays of two planets; efficacious in stimulating sublunary nature."
39:1 Placidus (Cooper's translation) says that "the three superiors are supposed to be stronger, if they are found to be matutine, or eastern, from the Sun; the three inferiors, vespertine, or western; for then they have a greater degree of light, in which consists their virtual influence, and then they are called oriental; but occidental if otherwise. Every one knows how largely, yet to no purpose, authors have treated of the orientality of the planets."
Moxon's Mathematical Dictionary has the following words on the same subject: "Now the three superior planets are strongest, being oriental and matutine; but the three inferior when they are occidental and vespertine. The reason is, because the first in the first case, but the last in the second, do then descend to the lowest part of their orbit, are increased in light, and approaching nearer the earth; and so on the contrary, the inferiors matutine, the superiors vespertine are weakened."
39:2 In a note on the 6th Chapter of this Book, Whalley says that, "according to Ptolemy, such as are between the ascendant and mid-heaven obtain the first place of strength, and are said to be in their oriental orientality: but, between the western horizon and the lower heaven, in their occidental orientality, which is the second place of strength: between the lower heaven and the ascendant, in their oriental occidentality, the first degree of weakness; and between the mid-heaven and western horizon, in their occidental occidentality, the weakest place of all." This is all very pretty jargon, but certainly NOT "according to Ptolemy," who distinctly says, on the contrary, that if a planet "is on the actual horizon, or succedent to the horizon, it is also powerful, and particularly if in the eastern quarter." The last member of this sentence, as well as the conclusion of this 27th Chapter, shows that Ptolemy did not consider a situation between the mid-heaven and western horizon to be "the weakest place of all."