THE same places, as those pointed out in the two chapters last preceding, are again to be considered, in inquiring into the probability of a monstrous or defective birth. For it will be found that, at a birth of this description, the luminaries are either cadent from the ascendant, or else not in any manner configurated with it; while, at the same time, the angles 1 are occupied by the malefics.
It therefore becomes necessary, when such a position of the heavens may occur at the time of birth, to observe forthwith the preceding new or full Moon 2 and its ruler; as well as the rulers of the luminaries at the said time of birth. For, if all the places, in which the rulers of the luminaries, and in which the Moon herself and Mercury may be situated, at the birth, or, if most of those places should be totally inconjunct and unconnected with the places of the said preceding new or full Moon and its ruler, the birth will then be monstrous. And if it should be further found, in addition to this absence of connection, that the luminaries may be also posited in quadrupedal or bestial signs, and the two malefics in angles, the birth will in that case not be human. And should the luminaries, when so circumstanced, be not at all supported by any benefic planet, but only by malefics, the creature born will be wholly indocile, wild, and of evil nature: if, however, they should receive support from Jupiter or Venus, the offspring will then be like that of dogs or cats, or other creatures held in religious veneration and used in worship 3: but, if Mercury support the luminaries, it will resemble that of fowls, oxen, or swine, or, of other animals adapted to the service of mankind.
When the luminaries may be in signs of human shape, while other circumstances in the scheme of the nativity may exist as before described, the creature born will then be human, or will partake of human nature, although it will still be defective in some peculiar quality. And, in order to ascertain the nature of that defect, the shape and form of the signs found on the angles occupied by the malefics, as well as of those wherein the luminaries are situated, must be taken into consideration: and, if in this instance also, no benefic planet should lend support to any one of the prescribed places, the offspring produced will be utterly void of reason, and indeed indefinable. 4 If, however, it should happen, that Jupiter or Venus give support, the defect will be
veiled by a specious outward appearance, similar to that of hermaphrodites, and of those persons called Harpocratiaci, 1 or others of like imperfections. And should Mercury also give support, in addition to that of Jupiter or Venus, the offspring will then become an interpreter of oracles and divinations; but, if Mercury support alone, it will be deaf and dumb, 2 although clever and ingenious in its intellect.
85:1 Whalley says here, "chiefly the ascendant and mid-heaven."
85:2 Whichever might have been nearer in time.
85:3 It is perhaps superfluous to mention that the two kinds of animals here named (as well as many others) were venerated by the Ægyptians.
85:4 The Greek says "enigmatical."
86:1 One Latin translation has rendered this word "stammerers"; and, as Harpocrates was the god of silence, Ptolemy has probably used the epithet to signify defect of speech.
86:2 "Dumb." The Greek is οδοντων εσερημενον, "deprived of teeth," and Allatius has so translated it: but other translations render these words by dumb, which, considering the nature of Mercury, seems their preferable signification.