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ISLAMIC Astrology And Astronomy

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Author Topic: ISLAMIC Astrology And Astronomy  (Read 8913 times)
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2007, 07:53:40 am »

                              T H E   Y E A T S E S   A N D   T H E   M A N S I O N S

As the schema of the twenty-eight phases of the Moon first began to emerge in the Automatic Script at the end of November 1917 the Yeatses must have been intrigued by the possibility that they bore some relation to the twenty-eight Mansions of the Moon from Arabic astrology. Only three days after the first appearance of the ‘28 days of [Moon]’, the Automatic Script features the term ‘The 28 mansions’ (YVP 1 119) in one of George’s answers on 25 November 1917 and in a subsequent question on that day Yeats was wrestling with the problem that one solar day ‘which equals one mansion of moon would represent one incarnation & time after’, in other words the period between lives (YVP 1 120). On the 30 November George’s reply to the first numbered question contains another name for these divisions of the Zodiac, ‘the stations 28 of moon’, and Yeats’s next question was whether these days ‘correspond to the lunar mansions’ to which the answer was apparently ‘Yes’ (YVP 1 126).

We know that the Yeatses did investigate the Mansions to a limited extent at least: George Yeats copied out both a passage from Chaucer’s ‘Franklin’s Tale’ and an edited version of W. W. Skeat’s notes to the Oxford edition. Chaucer’s Franklin tells of an astrologer friend who helps the love-lorn Aurelius:

 He [Aurelius] hym remembred that, upon a day,
At Orliens in studie a book he say
Of magyk natureel, which his felawe,
That was that tyme a bacheler of lawe,
Al were he ther to lerne another craft,
Hadde prively upon his desk ylaft;
Which book spak muchel of the operaciouns
Touchynge the eight and twenty mansiouns
That longen to the moon—and swich folye
As in oure dayes is nat worth a flye,—
For hooly chirches feith in oure bileve
Ne suffreth noon illusioun us to greve.

       He remembered that, one day,
    While studying in Orléans, he had seen a book
    About natural magic,* which his companion,
    Who was then a bachelor of law,
    Even though he was learning another skill,
    Had privately left on his desk.
    This book spoke much about the operations
    Concerning the twenty-eight mansions
    That belong to the moon—and such folly
    As nowadays is considered worthless—
    Since the holy church's faith does not
    Allow any illusion to harm our belief.

‘The Franklin’s Tale’, The Canterbury Tales,
Fragment V (Group F) 1123-1133  *magic which harnesses the forces of nature, and does not involve invocation of spirits or demons.
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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