(I have transcribed and edited Cattan’s Geomancie so that his sentences are readable. Because these chapters are confusing, I have added my notes underneath)
Aspects in General
There are five aspects in geomancy: conjunction, sextile, trine, square and opposition. You should know that all the figures which behold the first of these aspects if they are good, they are better, if they are bad they are worse. This effect is weakened by the houses they are and if the figures are good or bad.
A conjunction is when a figure doubles and makes a company with another. We have looked at this in the chapter on conjunctions and companies. However, there is another form of conjunction which I have not mentioned. In fact, I will not write much about it and will deal with the matter as briefly as I can. There are some figures, such as Via (which signifies a conjunction of the sun and the moon) which signify the conjunction of two planets. Such conjunctions are bad because they take two contraries. In the case of Via, the sun is hot, and the moon is cold, and the conjunction of Via is evil when those two planets are together (unless the question is about journeys or changes because then it is good). At this time, I will not talk about this conjunction and will instead speak of Sextile.
This is mentioned elsewhere in Cattan but is not clearly explained. It appears to be when you have two contrary figures in a conjunction which add up to Via and effectively eclipse each other. Earlier in the book Cattan cites Acquisitio and Amissio as examples. Other opposites which create Via are Fortuna Major and Minor, Conjunctio and Carcer, Cauda and Tristitia, Rubeus and Puella, Albus and Puea, Populus and Via, Laetitia and Cauda. Note that these bad conjunctions only work if one of the figures passes to another. An example would be Conjunctio is the first house and passes to the eighth to conjunct Carcer. This eclipse could be seen as the seventh house person being serious about a relationship while the querant wanting to play the field. It is made worse by the fact that Carcer is a “bad figure in a bad house.” This means that the seventh house person is doubly controlling and limiting. It is unclear why Cattan is so careful about these reversed houses, and it is important to note that they are not reflected in his tablets for the Court.
The sextile aspect is when the first figure “beholds” the third and the third the first and consequently from these houses to three. It also happens when the first beholds the 11th Sextile is an aspect that signifies means and amity. When considering Sextile, you should find a good figure which agrees with the first and be the same element and same planet, or they both be the same, and you shall have good fortune and a positive outcome of the question. If you find that a bad figure beholds the first and is a contrary planet, element, or different in their meanings you should judge ill of the question made and conflict. I will give you this example from a case where a gentleman would buy a house.
A man asked me to make him a figure to know if the house he was considering buying was good, and if it was wise to buy. I made this figure (above) in which the first figure is Venus and water and the third which is Fortuna Minor which is a figure of the sun and is attributed to the fire element. These two elements are contraries and do not love each other. Looking at the eleventh house which was Peua (mars and Air) I judged his friends were advising him to buy the house. The reason for this was that the eleventh house is a figure of air and the first house was a figure of water which do not agree very well with each other. On this basis, I Judged that buying the house was a bad idea. However, the first was a figure of Venus and the 11th was a planet of mars which do love each other. I read this as there should be talk of buying the house and one of the man’s friends will be the cause.
In this way, you can judge a sextile aspect because it is not enough to make a judgement on the case while ignoring all the other rules. I will now look at the other rules, in this case, to give you an example and proceed to a judgement of all the figures formed.
The first figure (forming the first angle) is a positive figure as is the figure in the seventh house which is the third angle. Since most of the four angles are good figures and agree with each other the house should be bought even if it is not that good for the buyer. The seventh and the 11th house are good, as is the sixth which is the house of servants which agrees with the right witness. This could mean that a servant shall love the master who buys the house. The two witnesses are good, and the Judge agrees with an element of the first.
I judged that the man should buy the house. The path of fortune (which we will speak of later) is in the eighth house which is an average figure and so I would think that the servant will want the man to buy the house. The way of point goes to the first and that indicates the man will buy the house quickly.
This reading judged that the house should be bought even if the rest of the figures disagreed with the sextile aspect even if it was a great part of the figure’s judgement
Aspects follow different rules from modern geomancy and astrology. In modern geomancy and astrology, Trines and sextiles are always positive expressions of energy, while squares and oppositions show difficulty. Cattan sees all aspects as being connections which could be good or bad depending on the figures and if they agree. With a sextile Cattan only sees aspects forming between the first and third house and the first and 11th. While the sentence does hint that the sextile aspect exists between others, he does not mention reading them or including them in his example. The modern method of reading aspects is to look at the houses between the first house and the targeted house only. To form such an aspect the first house would have to move somewhere else and connect to quested figure. Technically such an approach is possible using Cattan, but his examples don’t give it. Instead, aspects are seen as supporting the querant without looking at the quested. In fact, in the case study he provides, he ignores the sextiles because the rest of the chart is totally positive. It is important how he reads the court (seeing the judge agreeing with one of the figures by element). He ignores the sentence and goes directly onto making a judgement using the angles (which I will look at later). Cattan appears to be loading meaning onto the querant in favour of the question whatever the house of the question. In his example, he does not even look at the fourth house which is the house of property. We will see this with the other aspects. Cattan’s Sextile is only significant if it is good or bad. A meh connection (such as a sextile between Populus and Albus) can be safely ignored. Another thing that is important is that the 11th house is the House of the Good Daemon or Angel. This sextile brings in divine fate into the story for good or bad. Sure, Cattan referrers to friends in the case of the house, but many questions a geomancer gets are connected in some way to fate and destiny.
A Trine aspect happens with the first, fifth and ninth figures behold each other. This aspect is automatically good and perfect amity. The reason that the figures in these houses are said to behold each other is that the houses with the number five to five hold themselves by that aspect which, as I have said, is of good and perfect amity by reason of the house, place, and figure. For example, if Acquistio, Fortuna Minor or Laetitia, which are good figures are in the first, fifth and ninth houses, it shall be very good for the querant for they are all of the element of Air. You often find a figure of the first house, and it goes to the fifth and ninth houses and you can say that the Trine aspect is good and perfect and only good shall happen to the querant and a good answer to his question. If all the figures are the same element it will be all the better. If you find a figure entering and good in the first and ninth houses which pass from one house and then to another, although they are unlike the first, that shall also be a sign of good fortune to the querant. To practice these ideas, I shall give you an example.
Papal Legate Cardinal Agostino Trivulzio visited France to broker peace between Francis I “le Roi Chevalier” and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. A friend asked me to do a reading to see if there should be peace and I made the above figure.
The first figure is Conjunctio which goes into the third house and therefore says they should try to make peace but because the first house has a bad aspect to the fifth house which is a figure of Saturn retrograde, Tristitia it signifies that there should be no peace made at this time. The ninth house is a good figure in a good house for the Church. This is a sign that Cardinal Trivulzio would do what he could to conclude peace. However, since the seventh was a bad figure, I judged that the Emperor would decide that there would be no peace. When looking at the sextile the 11th house is bad. Because the trine aspect is a figure of Saturn and the witness and the judge are the same planet, I judged that they should make no peace, because the second has gone into the eighth which is the Emperor’s substance [the second house of a rotated chart]. I read that to mean that the Emperor would lose most of his substance. Because of the Trine aspect of the eighth to the 12th is a bad figure it signified that the Emperor shall not keep anything that he hoped to win and this came to pass after I had made this figure.
This reading uses both the sextile and the trine and clarifies that both apply to the querant and the quested. The Trine in this case is seen in the negative, which Cattan failed to mention as a possibility before. He also looks at a trine for Charles V from the seventh which implies aspects apply to both the querant and quested. But slightly differently. In modern geomancy, if a querant is Fortuna Minor which moves to the fifth house, it forms a trine with quested. But in Cattan a trine would only be formed for the quested if there were also positive figures in the 11th and third house (these being the quested fifth, and ninth). The quested in this case was the seventh house which was the house of France’s enemy Charles the V. This figure was Amissio which Cattan felt meant that the King did not want peace. Amissio would mean a “loss” to Charles if he accepted peace.
Quadrant (square) Aspects
The Quadrant aspect is the first to the fourth and the first to the tenth, or from four figures from other figures. If the square is the first or the tenth it is good for the querant. As we have spoken of the rules and aspects so we will speak of this. If in the place of this aspect there is a good figure, with the same quality, planet, the querent will see a good result to their question. If there is Acquistio in the first and the 12th (I think this is a typo and should be tenth) it shall be good. If Laetitia is in any of the quadrants it shall be average because Laetitia is retrograde even if it has the same qualities of Aquistio. If you find in the quadrants a good figure which is not of the same element and planet of the first with this aspect the result shall be only average even if the figure is good. If you find a figure of a planet that is a friend to the other and beholds it, you will judge it as if Aquistio was in the first and Puella in the fourth or the tenth as you will see in the following example.
An example of a square
Should the Emperor depart quickly from Nice and come to Provence?
While the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was at Nice preparing to make war against the French King Francis I, I was asked to make a figure for the Count of Taverra (who wanted to know which day the Emperor would depart from Nice). I made the above figure and noted that Acquisitio is in the first house and is the same planet that rules the tenth house [in Jupiter]. In that house is Laetitia I judged that the Emperor would not leave Nice for five days (in fact he was there for eight). This is because the figure in the seventh is Saturn retrograde and has the eighth house as his companion. I judged that the long stay in that place would be to his hindrance and shall cause his loss and destruction. This was because the first (again another typo this should be the seventh) house was a figure of Saturn which is slow, invisible, and inauspicious. I would say that the reason for his delay was for nothing more than his camp wanted food because the fifth signifies the direction where a person would go. This turned out to be true because there was no other cause but to stay and wait for Andreas Dore to bring food for his soldiers and because the ninth which is a trine aspect and the 11th house is sextile were both bad figures. I also judged that he stayed there to await the money to arrive from his friends, which he has borrowed, and it was much needed. This could be seen because the witnesses and Judge are all fixed figures. I judged that there would be five or six days and because the first was the figure of the Emperor went into the 14 (another typo it was the 12th), which is the house of sadness I judged that the end of his trip (for which he could not obtain his purpose) he would be sad and angry with himself. This happened as he was forced to return with dishonour, loss, and discomfort of his men.
Like the other aspects, this version of the square is slightly different from astrology. Cattan says that if the figures in the first, tenth, seven and fourth are positive and agree then all will be good for the querant and the question. He focuses particularly on the first and the tenth being good for the querant. To be good or bad in this case though requires a higher level of agreement than appears to be used for the other aspects and the square would have a lesser likelihood of making an impact.
Unfortunately for us, Cattan’s example is poor. He notes that the Emperor is Acquistio and squares the good figure Laetitia in the tenth. As a sign of the high compatibility standards required to make a positive square, this goodness has no impact on the reading. What worries Cattan more is that Saturn is in the seventh house (it should because as we will see later it is a terrible opposition). While this does not form a square to the first house it is looked at as part of the four angles (it squares the 10th and fourth effectively damaging any good that may come from them). This figure is dire (Tristitia) and in companionship with Puer is also not a great figure. Cattan does not look at the fourth house square because while it is a good figure, it does not match the first or the seventh and the seventh house effectively kills it anyway. Charles’ other problems can be seen with the terrible sextile and trines. What is less clear is Cattan’s use of the word “fixed” figures to describe the court. While Acquistio is fixed, via and Amissio are mobile. This might be another problem in translation which this chapter suffers badly from. He says that the judge does not agree with either of the witnesses and so the court is deadlocked. His tables (which I think need redoing) show positive for travelling but bad for everything else. I will be charitable and say the court is average and gives little indication either good or bad.
Opposition takes place when the first beholds the seventh. It is a bad aspect due to the distance of the house from the first. The first is in the east, while the seventh is in the west. It also happens when the fourth (midnight) beholds the tenth (high noon). If you find a good figure in the first house and another in the seventh and they share an element, quality, nature and planet then you should see a good demand for the querant for there is no opposition. Instead, there will be a singular alliance and friendship. For example, Fortuna Major in the first house is found in the seventh, or Puella in the fourth or tenth. If you have a good figure in the first and a bad figure in the seventh this indicates a great deal of discord and enmity and you should judge against the querent. This is what you would see if Fortuna Major was in the First House and Cauda Draconis was in the second, or Puella in the fourth and Tristitia in the tenth.
An example and a figure of opposition to tell if Count of Noveclaire was dead.
I was at Fountenblaeu when I was asked by a friend to make a figure to know if the Count of Noveclaire was dead. You can see the figure above. The first house is mercury and the seventh is venus and both agree on one element which is water. I judged that when the man which bought the news came from the camp, the Count was not dead and because the fourth and tenth were contrary and great enemies to each other that he would soon die from his illness. Because the figures of the trine aspect (first and ninth) and those of the sextile are good, I judged that he would live for a time after he was injured. However, I had other figures who pointed to his death and they agreed with the tenth house which was Carcer which always means death when in this position, as was Aquisitio in the Eighth and Conjunctio as the Judge. I judged that he would die, which I later found to be true for he suffered a stomach wound, and as you, my Lord Thay, knows and witnessed the judgement. This was similar to the case when you commanded me to make a figure at Lyons of Mark Anthony Cuzanne finding by my figure that he was injured on the neck and head and later died, as I predicted.
The general rule about aspects is that
- A conjunction is good when the first by two figures or up to three agreeing with theelement or planet or sharing a planet. If it is good it is a good sign and positive conjunction. For example, if Puella, which is a good figure is in the first, second, third or in the second, third, fourth and fifth and so on. I have told you before in the Chapter of Company and of the Conjunction by three figures which some call a triplicity.
- Sextile is from the first to the third or the first to the 11th, or from these to three as before. These increase the power of these figures for better or worse.
- The quadrate is four to four , the trine from five to five and the opposition from seven to seven. If you have good figures in any of these aspects you shall judge well and goodness. If there is a bad planet you will judge ill.
Opposition is problematic even in modern readings particularly when the quested is a seventh house question. The question “does he love me?” will automatically be an opposition to the first house. Modern Geomancy says to ignore it when it is a seventh house question, however, Cattan is suggesting reading it. The reason is that no relationship is perfect, and all have a degree of conflict. What is important is how much and if it is hugely difficult to overcome. With the example, Cattan is looking at a reading where a person was injured. Since the opposition was positive, the trine and sextile were good, the man was not dead yet. This was an eighth house question that had Aquistio (bad things increasing) and the judge being Conjuctio (he is at a crossroads). With Carcer in the tenth which Cattan uniquely says is a sign of eventual death, the Count was out for the Count. If this had been a relationship question, then Puella would have indicated that the partner was in love and more emotional than the older, more intellectual person in the first house. While it is unlikely that there would be difficulties, there might be issues about an age gap.
While Cattan does not say this if the querant or quested moves to another house it is possible that they will open up another set of aspects. This becomes important in relationship readings when a querant moves to the fourth, fifth or sixth house to form an aspect to the seventh. Cattan does not say this though, and I have the impression that if you were not too careful, you could end up making a lot of aspects (particularly if the quested moves too(
What this means is that after we have done our chart we go through a checklist of aspects to see if there are answers.
- Look to see if the querent is the same as the quested (Occupation) If these are positive figures which agree then the answer is good. If they are the same but bad the question will be positive but the result bad.
- Look if the querant and the quested have company figures which increase their power for good or bad. If the figures in a company are opposites that add up to Via they are doubly bad.
- If the figure in the company moves to the company of the quested you have conjunction. In the case of relationship reading, this would be second moving to the eighth. This will be good if the figures are good but bad if they are not.
- Check at the third and 11th house for a trine with the first. They should match and be happy with the first house to increase the positive nature of the reading.
- Check with the first and the tenth to see if there is a square. These have to be very positive or very negative to have any noticeable effect.
- Check the first and seventh for the effects of an opposition (if any)
- Check the first, fifth, and tenth for the effects of a trine.
- If the querent moves tests for aspects to the new position.
So lets take an example from Star and Stone and give it the new treatment
What does D feel about me?
The court is dominated by admissio which is good for losing one’s heart or a sacrifice but generally pretty grim. The sentence is carcer which could be bad but also indicate that D is serious about the querant or that the result of the question will be delayed.
The first house is Fortuna major, which is earth, sun and stable. The quested is the seventh house which is Puer and is Air, Mars, and Mobile. D is in a companionship with admissio (which is also the Judge) adds up to Caput Draconis. There is some form of beginning. D is busy and active and may not be thinking much about the querant at all, at the same time it is possible that there is some feeling there which might appear later. Now though might be some antagonism and disconnection.
The querent is in a strong position being a good figure in a good house. While it does not make a company or occupation, it does have admissio next to it (which moves to the querent’s eighth house). The Sun loves Venus and earth and water are not antagonistic together they form Carcer which is the more positive Saturn influence. From this, we would say that the querant is serious about the quested and will persist and she will respond to his persistence in time.
The sextile has caput in the 11th house which is a good figure sharing the earth element with the querant. The third house is Carcer which is normally a bad figure but shares an element with Fortuna Major even if their planets are hostile. This would suggest a cooling-off period, or a delay is an advantage. The trine is caput and Carcer (a theme is developing here).
The Square for the querant is a perfect match in the tenth house which is good. The fourth is Amissio which is also good for the reasons we stated above. The opposition is bad for the same reasons that we looked at above.
Based on this we conclude that the quested is too busy to be feeling too much for the querant. She does have feelings for him but will not be pushed to express anything or be seen as vulnerable and might even be aggressive at present. He is best to bide his time.