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IN every annual revolution made by the Sun, the first new Moon of the year is to be considered as the point of the commencement of his circuit; this is evident not only from its denomination, but from its virtue also. 1

The case stands thus: In the ecliptic, which, as circle, has in fact no actual or definite beginning, the two equinoctial and the two tropical points, marked by the equator and the tropical circles, are reasonably assumed as beginnings. And to obviate any doubt as to which of these four points should preferably be considered as the primary beginning (since in the regular simple motion of a circle no part of it has any apparent precedence), the appropriate quality naturally belonging to each of these four points has been taken into consideration by the writers on this subject. And the point of the vernal equinox has been consequently designated by them as the beginning of the year; because, from that time, the duration of the day begins to exceed that of the night, and because the season then produced partakes highly of moisture, which is always a predominant quality in all incipient generation and growth. After the vernal equinox comes the summer solstice; when the day attains its greatest length, and in Ægypt, at the same period, the rise of the Nile takes place and the Dog Star appears. Then follows the autumnal equinox, when all fruits are gathered in, and the sowing of seeds recommences anew; lastly, comes the winter solstice, when the day proceeds from its shortest duration towards its increase.

Although the foregoing arrangement has been adopted by men of

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science to denote the commencement of the several seasons of the year, it yet seems to be more consonant to nature, and more consistent with the facts, that the combined positions of the Sun, and the new, or full, Moon, which happen when the Sun is nearest to the points above-mentioned, should mark the four beginnings; and more especially if such combined positions should produce eclipses: thus, from the new or full Moon, taking place when the Sun is nearest to the first point of Aries, the spring should be dated; from that when the Sun is nearest to the first point of Cancer, the summer; from that when he is nearest to the first point of Libra, the autumn; and from that when he is nearest to the first point of Capricorn, the winter. The Sun not only produces the general qualities and constitutions of the seasons, by means of which very illiterate persons are enabled, in a certain degree, to form predictions, but he also regulates the proper significations of the signs with regard to the excitation of the winds, as well as other general occurrences, more or less subjected to occasional variation. All these general effects are usually brought about by the new or full Moon which takes place at the aforesaid points, and by the configurations then existing between the luminaries and the planets: but there are certain particular consequences which result from the new and full Moon in every sign, 1 and from the transits of the planets; "and which require monthly investigation." 2

It therefore becomes necessary to explain, in the first instance, the particular natures and attributes exercised by each sign in influencing the several constitutions of the weather, as it exists at various times of the year; these natures and attributes shall now be immediately detailed. It will be recollected, that the particular properties of the planets and the fixed stars, as affecting the wind and the atmosphere, as well as the manner in which the entire signs hold familiarity with the winds and the seasons, have been already set forth.


63:1 The Neomenia, or new Moon, was observed as a festival with much solemnity in earlier ages and by the most ancient nations. It was celebrated by the Israelites, as well as by Pagan; and it may perhaps be gathered from the 5th and 6th verses of the 10th Chapter of the 1st Book of Samuel, that it was kept once in a year with greater ceremony than at other times: this was done, probably, at the "New Moon of the Year," as Ptolemy calls it; or, in other words, at the new Moon nearest to the vernal equinox.

Next: Chapter XII. The Particular Natures of the Signs by Which the Different Constitutions of the Atmosphere are Produced