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ISLAMIC Astrology And Astronomy

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Author Topic: ISLAMIC Astrology And Astronomy  (Read 8897 times)
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2007, 07:12:11 am »

                                  T H E   M A N S I O N S   O F   T H E   M O O N

The term ‘Mansion of the Moon’ or ‘Station of the Moon’ is the usual translation into English, via the Latin (mansio, dwelling, and statio, position or abode), of the Arabic term manzil al-qamar (plural manâzil; station, resting-place of the Moon, more after the manner of a camel train than an actual dwelling, certainly not a grand one). The Arabs are thought to have taken a local pre-Islamic weather-predicting system of anwa’, based on the star groups which rose just ahead of the Sun at a given time of the year, and to have combined it with the Mansion system of the nakshatras from Indian astrology. On the origins of the Arab system, see Giuseppe Bezza, "Du Calendrier naturel à l'Astrologie. Quelques observations sur la prévision du temps dans la littérature arabe du Moyen Age", Actes du V Séminaire Maroco-Italien (Cosenza: Unesco, 1999).

In A Vision A, Yeats notes that the number of his Phases ‘is that of the Arabic Mansions of the Moon but they are used merely as a method of classification and for simplicity of classification their symbols are composed in an entirely arbitrary way’ (AV A 12). Despite this dismissal, and despite the fact that Yeats is dealing with phases rather than the path of the Moon, there are lingering elements that seem to go beyond just classification. In another piece of ‘classification not symbolism’ (AV B 196), Yeats fits his Phases of the Moon to the months of the year and therefore to the solar Zodiac, on the basis that all cycles are linked in some way to each other (see Making Twenty-Eight Twelve). Although the phases of the Moon, which follow the synodic cycle of 29.53 days and cover more than 360°, are separate from and independent of the Moon’s sidereal position (for more, see the Lunar Cycle), the two are inevitably linked in the mind of the observer, so that there is a strong impulse to bring the cycle of the phases together with the Mansions of the Moon, particularly on the part of artists and those who do not need to be too accurate or practical in their reckoning. Indeed, within artistic and symbolic representations, as opposed to astronomical and astrological, the various cycles are almost always superimposed on each other.
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