The predominant use of the Lunar Mansions before 1700 was to create talismans based on astrological principles and to cast spells. Extant source material like the Picatrix or Agrippa’s Three Books on Occult Philosophy leave no doubt about the highly esoteric use of the Mansions, used by only a few well versed practitioners, daring enough to delve into these forbidden arts. (See as well my article on the 28 Mansions of the Moon)
In the second half of the 16th century the first astrological textbooks in the German vernacular began to appear. These textbooks contained large chunks of astrological lore, adapted from the medieval texts which had been transmitted from Arab sources via Latin translations. They also contained much information, taylored for the use of the everyday practitioner. This excerpt from the Planeten Buch (Book of Planets), first published at Straubing in 1596, shows how the use of the 28 Mansions of the Moon had been adapted for everyday life in the 16th century.
From the Planeten Buch, Straubing 1596:
Look in the common, annual almanac for the day / you want to know the Mansion the Moon is in / and on its right side you will find the sign and degree of the Moon for that same day. This sign and degree / you may look up in the following table of the Mansions in the signs and degrees of the beginning and the end of this Mansion / an if you find the sign and degree of the Moon therein / he will be in that Mansion / according to the degree on the left hand / and the nature of the Mansion to the right side of the degree. An example: I state / that the Moon be in 6 degrees / and 35 minutes of Cancer / this sign / degree and minute / I find at the beginning of the table of the Mansions / and on the left hand side / seven / stating / that the Moon is in the seventh Mansion / its nature is written on the right hand side / which is moist. But if the degree of the Moon in a particular sign would not be in the table / so find out where this degree is included / between the beginning and the end of the Mansion / because the Moon will be in this line of the Mansions. An example / in the year 1597, on the 20th day of January / the Moon is in 8 degrees Cancer: 8 degrees Cancer is included between the 6 degree / and 35 minutes of the beginning / and 9 degrees / 26 minutes of the end of the seventh Mansion. Therefore I say / that on this 20th day the Moon is in the seventh Mansion / whose nature is moist. To know about these Mansions / is of use for many things / and particularly for medicating / as will be shown.
Table of the 28 Mansions of the Moon
|1||19. 26. Aries||2. 17. Taurus||Moderate. Good to travel/take medicines/new clothes/not keeping
|2||2. 17. Taurus||15. 9. Taurus||Dry. Good to sow seeds/don’t travel across water/buy tame animals.|
|3||15. 9. Taurus||28. 0. Taurus||Moist. Buy/don’t make friends/buy large animals/to tame them.|
|4||28. 0. Taurus||10. 52. Gemini||Moist. Sow seeds/wear new clothes/beware of weddings.|
|5||10. 52. Gemini||23. 43. Gemini||Dry. Good to marry/and weddings/good to take medicines/send children to
school/good to travel.
|6||23. 43. Gemini||6. 35.Cancer||Moderate. Don’t sow seeds/don’t plant/don’t start anything good.|
|7||6. 35. Cancer||19.26.Cancer||Moist. Good to sow/plough/new clothes/don’t travel.|
|8||19. 26. Cancer||2. 17.Leo||Moderate. Good to take medication/clothes/travel across water/not
|9||2. 17.Leo||15. 9.Leo||Dry. Don’t go out to sea/don’t travel/no clothes/deal in corn.|
|10||15. 9.Leo||28. 0.Leo||Moist. Good to get married/don’t travel/no clothes/don’t deal with large
sums of money.
|11||28. 0.Leo||10. 52Virgo||Moderate. Sow/plant/don’t set your prisoners free.|
|12||10. 52.Virgo||23.43.Virgo||Moist. Good to build/sow/plant/marry.|
|13||23. 43.Virgo||6. 35.Libra||Moderate. Sow/plough/travel/marry.|
|14||6. 35.Libra||19. 26. Libra||Moderate. Marry widows/medication/plant.|
|15||19. 26.Libra||2. 17.Scorpio||Moist. Dig watery grounds/don’t travel.|
|16||2. 17.Scorpio||15. 9.Scorpio||Moist. Don’t travel/don’t take medicines/don’t buy/no clothes.|
|17||15. 9.Scorpio||28. 0.Scorpio||Moist. Buy animals/lead them to the pasture.|
|18||28. 0.Scorpio||10. 52. Sagittarius||Dry. Sow on the field/buy/take on duties.|
|19||10. 52. Sagittarius||23. 43. Sagittarius||Moist. Fight/occupy your enemy’s property/travel/watch out for ships.|
|20||23. 43. Sagittarius||6. 35. Capricorn||Moist. Buy animals/this Mansion is not good for anything else.|
|21||6. 35. Capricorn||19. 26. Capricorn||Moderate. Start building/buy fields/sow seeds.|
|22||19. 26. Capricorn||2. 17. Aquarius||Moist. Don’t marry/new clothes/medication/travel.|
|23||2. 17. Aquarius||15. 9. Aquarius||Moderate. Medication/clothes/travel/don’t buy large things or make
|24||15. 9. Aquarius||28. 0. Aquarius||Moderate. Purge/medication/for warriors to fight.|
|25||28. 0. Aquarius||10. 52.Pisces||Dry. Good for wars and fights/good for travelling towards the south.|
|26||10. 52.Pisces||23. 43.Pisces||Dry. Don’t start anything new/because this Mansion is completely
|27||23. 43.Pisces||6. 35.Aries||Moist. Good for sowing/buy/get married/don’t invest money.|
|28||6. 35.Aries||19. 26.Aries||Moderate. Buy/sow/medicate/get married/ get an annuity or life-annuity/don’t
take out a loan.