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Traditional Rulerships of the Planets
saturn Saturn
jupiter Jupiter
mars Mars
the sun Sun
venus Venus
mercury Mercury
the moon Moon

This work is intended to act as a supplement to Lilly's original text.
The section of the manuscript to which these notes refer is reproduced for study on the CA downloads page.

The external links below lead to suppliers of William Lilly's Christian Astrology,
retyped & annotated by Deborah Houlding


Midheaven Bookshop (UK)

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Canopus Books (Australia)

Buy a rare, leather-bound edition of Christian Astrology from Amazon

Of the planet SATURN, and his Signification

Adapted from William Lilly's 17th century text Christian Astrology, pp.65-68

Adapted and annotated by Deborah Houlding
References in the footnotes include explanatory remarks
and modern translations of Lilly's terms

Anciently called Chronos [1] , Phaenon [2] or Falcifer. [3]

Rulerships by signCapricorn (by night) / Aquarius (by day)
Signs of detrimentCancer & Leo
Exaltation (sign & degree)Libra - 21
Fall (sign & degree)Aries - 21
Triplicity rulershipAir triplicity by day
Associated terms
Ariesdegrees 27 - 30
Taurusdegrees 23 - 26
Geminidegrees 22 - 25
Cancerdegrees 28 - 30
Leodegrees 1 - 6
Virgodegrees 19 - 24
Libradegrees 1 - 6
Scorpiodegrees 28 - 30
Sagittariusdegrees 21 - 25
Capricorndegrees 26 - 30
Aquariusdegrees 1 - 6
Piscesdegrees 27 - 30
Rulership by face (or decanate)
Taurusdegrees 21 - 30
Leodegrees 1 - 10
Libradegrees 11 - 20
Sagittariusdegrees 21 - 30
Piscesdegrees 1 - 10

Masculine, diurnal, cold and dry, melancholic, earthly, malevolent, the Greater Infortune, Author of solitariness.

People Signified:
Husbandmen,[4] clowns, [5] beggars, day-labourers, old-men, fathers, grand-fathers, monks, Jesuits, Sectarists,[6] Curriers,[7] night-farmers, [8] miners under ground, tinners, potters, broom-men, plumbers, brick-makers, malsters, chimney-sweepers, sextons of churches, bearers of dead corpses, scavengers, hostlers,[9] colliers,[10] carters, gardeners, ditchers, chandlers,[11] dyers of black cloth, an herdsman, shepherd or cow-keeper.

Anatomy and Illnesses:
All impediments in the right ear, teeth, all quartan [12] agues[13] proceeding of cold, dry and melancholy distempers; leprocies, rheums, [14] consumptions, black jaundice, palsies,[15] tremblings, vain fears, fantasies, dropsy,[16] the hand and foot-gout, apoplexies,[17] dog-hunger, too much flux of the haemorrhoids, ruptures if in Scorpio or Leo, in any ill aspect with Venus. Rules the spleen.

Colours and savours:
Sour, bitter, sharp savours. Dark, sad, ashy colours, black.

Herbs, Plants and Trees:
Bearsfoot,[18] starwort, [19] wolf-bane,[20] hemlock, [21] fern,[22] white and black hellebore,[23] henbane,[24] ceterach or finger-fern,[25] clotbur or burdock,[26] parsnip, [27] dragon,[28] pulse,[29] vervain, [30] mandrake, [31] poppy,[32] moss, [33] nightshade, [34] bythwind,[35] angelica, [36] sage, [37] box, [38] tutsan, [39] orache or golden herb, [40] spinach, [41] shepherd's purse, [42] cumin, [43] horsetail, [44] fumitory.[45]
Trees and plants include Tamarisk, [46] savine, [47] senna, [48] capers, [49] rue or herbgrace, [50] polypody, [51] willow or sallow tree, [52] yew-tree, [53] cypress tree, hemp, [54] pine-tree.[55]

Deserts, woods, obscure valleys, caves, dens, holes, mountains, or where men have been buried, church-yards, ruinous buildings, coal-mines, sinks, dirty or stinking muddy places, wells and houses of offices.

Minerals & Stones:
Lead, the lead-stone, the dross of all metals, also the dust and rubbidge of every thing. Stones -Sapphire, lapis lazuli, all black, ugly country stones not polishable, and of a sad ashy or black colour.

Attributed orb:
9 degrees

Cassiel, alias Captiel. [56]

Day of the Week:
Saturday, and the first and eighth hour of that day [57]

Physical descriptions offered:
Generally the body is cold and dry, of a middle stature; the complexion pale, swartish [58] or muddy, his eyes small and dark, looking downward; a broad forehead, black or sad[59] hair, and it hard or rugged; great ears, hanging; lowering eye-brows, thick lips and nose, a rare or thin beard, a lumpish, unpleasant countenance, either holding his head forward or stooping; his shoulders broad and large, and many times crooked; his belly somewhat short and lank; his thighs spare, lean and not long; his knees and feet indecent, many times shovelling or hitting one against another.
You must observe, if Saturn is oriental of the Sun, the stature is more short, but decent and well composed; if occidental, the man is more black and lean, and fewer hairs; if Saturn lacks latitude, the body is leaner; if he have great latitude, the body is more fat or fleshy; if the latitude be meridional or south, more fleshy, but quick in motion. If the latitude be north, hairy and much flesh. Saturn in his first station, a little fat. In his second station, fat, ill favoured bodies, and weak; and this applies to all the other planets.

Manners when well dignified:
Profound in imagination, severe in his acts, in words reserved, in speaking and giving very spare, in labour patient, in arguing or disputing grave, in obtaining the goods of this life studious and solicitous, in all manner of actions austere.

Manners when badly placed:
Then he is envious, covetous, jealous and mistrustful, timorous, sordid, outwardly dissembling,[60] sluggish, suspicious, stubborn, a condemner of women, a close liar, malicious, murmuring, never contented, ever repining.

Notes & References:

  1] From the Greek, Kronos, 'time', from which a number of Saturn words such as chronic or chronology are derived.
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  2] Phainon: 'Shining one', one of a set of Greek names for the planets coined as alternatives to the practice of naming them after gods. These were never in general use.
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  3] Falcifer: 'Scythe-bearer', a Latin epithet of Saturn.
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  4] Farmers
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  5] As in 'fools'.
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  6] Member of a particular sect.
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  7] From the old English use of 'curry' to finish and dress leather after it has been tanned.
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  8] Emptier of cesspits.
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  9] In old English, a stableman, especially one at an inn.
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  10] Coal miners.
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  11] A person who makes or sells candles.
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  12] (Of a fever), occurring every 3 or 4 days.
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  13] Malarial type fever with successive stages of fevers and chills.
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  14] Rheums: watery discharge from the eyes or nose.
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  15] Paralysis.
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  16] Characterised by the accumulation of watery fluid in the tissues.
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  17] A stroke or sudden loss of consciousness caused by the restriction of a blood vessel in the brain.
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  18] The British bearsfoot, to which Lilly was referring is Helleborus niger, commonly known as the Christmas Rose, or Christ Herb because it may flower in midwinter. For details of its history and use in herbalism, link to external link
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  19] Unicorn root. For details, link to external link
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  20] Aconite, also known as monkshood. Extremely poisonous. For details, link to TempestWolf external link
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  21] For details, link to external link
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  22] For details, link to external link
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  23] These are already listed as bearsfoot - see note 18. Lilly probably mentions them again under a more formal title.
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  24] For details, link to external link
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  25] Asplenium ceterach, also known as 'common spleenwort'. Reputed to cure disorders of the spleen and cause barrenness. For details, link to external link
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  26] For details, link to TempestWolfexternal link
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  27] Culpeper places this under the rule of Venus - the plant was notable for the sweetness of its taste. Lilly's Saturn rulership may have been due to the plant being a common winter vegetable. Tournefort, in The Compleat Herbal (1730), wrote of parsnips: 'they are the sweetest, by reason the juice has been concocted during the winter, and are desired at that season especially, both for their agreeable Taste and their Wholesomeness. For they are not so good in any respect, till they have been first nipt with Cold.'
For details, link to external link
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  28] Probably gum tragacanth, also called 'gum dragon' which is cooling and binding in nature, like Saturn. For details of this plant, link to external link
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  29] I suspect this was a common name for a plant such as Green Hellibore, which was known for its effect upon lowering the pulse. The Hellebores are listed under Saturn, and the plant is highly toxic, as many Saturn herbs are.
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  30] For details of historical and medicinal uses, link to external link
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  31] Also known as 'Satan's Apple', mandrake was widely used as a cure for demonic possession. For details link to external link
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  32] Also listed under Moon, to which Culpeper concurs. This is probably the white poppy, which was more noted for its medicinal effects. For details link to external link
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  33] An obvious Saturn plant, growing in cool, dark places. For details link to external link
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  34] For details link to external link
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  35] Lilly's reference to 'bythwind' is recorded as the only reference to a herb of that name in English literature. He may have been referring to the Greater Bindweed, also known as 'Old Man's Night Cap'.For details link to external link
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  36] For details link to external link
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  37] For details link to external link
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  38] For details link to external link
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  39] Hypericum androsaemum: It is closely related to St. John's Wort. Modern herbals give it no medicinal value, but traditionally it was valued for healing wounds. Its leaves were picked in summer and kept as 'book leaves' for their long-lasting scent.
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  40] Arrach (garden). For details link to external link
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  41] For details link to external link
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  42] For details link to external link
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  43] For details link to external link
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  44] For details link to external link
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  45] For details link to external link
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  46] Tamarix anglica: introduced in the sixteenth century as a medicinal herb; recommended by Gerard against disease of the spleen. (Sir Kenelm Digby, 1669)
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  47] For details link to external link
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  48] For details link to external link
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  49] For details link to Henriette's Herbal Homepage external link
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  50] Also listed under Sun, to which Culpeper concurs. For details link to external link
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  51] For details link to external link
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  52] Willows are generally placed under the rulership of the Moon, but there are many varieties of the tree; the sallow is also known as 'goats willow' which would connect with its Saturn ruleship. For an interesting article on willows in Druidic lore, link to OBOD Tree Loreexternal link
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  53] For details link to OBOD Tree Lore external link
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  54] For details link to external link
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  55] For details link to external link
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  56] Or Kassiel. Any magical operation is under the rule of a particular planet (e.g., Venus for love, Mercury for knowledge), whose archangel or angel is invoked. Such names are also used on talismans. They all end in el, the Hebrew word for god or spirit. Kassiel 'throne of God' is the angel of Saturn; usually the archangel Tzaphkiel (meaning contemplation of God) is used. For details link to The Marshall Mint external link
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  57] This is the planetary day that starts at sunrise, not midnight.
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  58] Swartish: a derivation of swarthy dark-complexioned.
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  59] Lacklustre or thin.
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  60] Dissembling: outwardly concealing (one's real emotions, etc.) by pretence.
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Saturnian herbs


(Christmas Rose)


Deadly Nightshade

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