For April 2013
The current charts are talismans of the Sun in Aries, his exaltation. The exaltation is considered to be second in strength after dignity by sign, though the medieval Arabic astrologer Masha'allah says that, "...exaltations are of greater authority in matters of [kingship]; to wit, if something is done by a king, the lord of the exaltation is stronger in signification than the [sign] ruler." Masha'allah, On Reception (Arhat, 1998) at 3.
The origin of the exaltations are somewhat mysterious. Some traditional sources claim that the exaltations show the position of the planets at the origin of the world. William Ramesey in Astrologia Restaurata available in the Renaissance Astrology CD Library explains the exaltation of the Sun as follows:
Enter we shall here (as in the preceding Chapter) with the Luminaries, and first with the Sun, as being the chief light, and Fons vita, the Fountain of life; the Sun then is said to be in the point of his Exaltation when he is in the 19. degree of Aries, he being then in the highest Northern point of the Ecliptick, by which all things are made to spring and flourish, the heat of weather and the length of days being increased; therefore for the same reason contrary is he said to be in his Fall in Libra, it being the opposite sign in the heavens to Aries, in the which he declineth Southward, by the which the shortness of the days and cold is increased, to the hinderance of the fertility of the earth.
William Ramesey, Astrologia Restaurata at 69.
We have a variety of images from our traditional sources for the Sun in Aries. The first comes from Cornelius Agrippa,
"They made another Image of the Sun...at the hour of the Sun, it ascending in his exaltation; the figure of which was a woman crowned with the gesture of one dancing and laughing, standing in a Chariot drawn with four horses, having in her right hand a looking glass, or buckler, in the left a staffe, leaning on her breast, carrying a flame of fire on her head; They report that this Image rendreth a man fortunate and rich, and beloved of all..."
Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk. I, Chapter 41.
The next description of Sun images come from De Umbris Idearum of Giordano Bruno,
"First Image: A beautiful woman wearing a crown, in a chariot of gold drawn by four horses."
The final description is from Picatrix, an encyclopedic work of medieval Islamic astral magic,
"Si ex formis Solis ymaginem mulieris supra currum quatuor equis tractum sedentis feceris et in eius dextra speculum, in sinistra vero baculum tenetis, et supra eius caput septem candelabra...Sole in sua exaltacione existente, qui hanc ymaginem secum portaverit omnes videntes eum et obviantes timebunt eum."
"The figure of the Sun is the image of a woman sitting in a chariot drawn by four horses, holding in her right hand a mirror and in her left hand a scepter with a seven branched candelabra over her head made...when the Sun is in his exaltation. Whoever carries this image will seem good to everyone and not be afraid."
Picatrix Bk. II, Chapter X, page 70. (Translation by Christopher Warnock, Esq.)
The chart above shows the election for 1:10 pm CDT, April 5, 2013 in Iowa City, IA. The Sun is exalted (+4) and dignified by triplicity (+3) the Sun is culminating and it is the planetary hour of the Sun. Nice!
Many of our traditional sources not only list the signs in which the planets are exalted, but also indicate that they are exalted in particular degrees of the sign. Here is the traditional list of exaltation degrees:
The Sun 19th degrees Aries
The Moon 3rd degrees Taurus
Mercury 15th degrees Virgo
Venus 27th degrees Pisces
Mars 28th degrees Capricorn
Jupiter 15th degrees Cancer
Saturn 21th degrees Libra
Watch out for old style 19th degree versus modern 19 degrees. The 19th degree of Aries is from 18 degrees Aries 0 minutes to 18 degrees Aries 59 minutes. That's because the first degree of any sign is from 0 degrees 1 minute to 0 degrees 59 minutes.
We can see an interesting use of the degrees of exaltation in Planetary Rings from the Book of the Treasure of Alexander. Here is the complete Book of the Treasure of Alexander, a fascinating ancient work of astrology, astrological magic, alchemy and medieval Arabic Hermeticism. These Book of the Treasure of Alexander talismans focus almost entirely on the exaltation degree rather than considering factors like accidental dignity and planetary hour. For example, the Ring of the Sun states,
"Take two ounces of pure gold and when the Sun is in the 19th degree of Aries, which is the degree of his exaltation, irregardless of whether [the Sun] is in the Ascendant, and mold a ring with signet of one ounce. Inscribe on the signet the image of a seated and crowned man with a long spear in his hand.
Do not begin your work until the Sun enters [the appropriate] degree and ensure that the work is completed while the Sun is in this degree. If the ring is not completed then wait until the Sun enters this degree again. Once the ring is finished retain it until the Moon conjoins the Sun in Leo. Whoever carries this ring will be exalted and honored by kings and all who behold him will be in awe and no one will [wish] to harm him."
The Treasure of Alexander
The chart above shows an election for the Sun in his exaltation degree, the 19th degree of Aries, for 6:38 am CDT, April 8, 2013 for Iowa City, Iowa. This election has the added advantage of the Sun rising in Sun day.
You might also be interested in my Renaissance Astrology CD Library Series, with over 120 rare astrology and magic books as well as my Facsimile Editions of unique Astrology and Magic Books and my discussion group Spiritus Mundi.
If you wish to delve even deeper into this fascinating area I offer my Planetary Magic Mini-Course and Mansions of the Moon Mini-Course, which allow students to immediately start making talismans and elections and are a great introduction to my longer Electional Astrology Course, Horary Astrology Course and Astrological Magic Course.
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