Lunar Mansions Light

If one looks closer at Arabic astrology one finds that the lunar mansions have a status that is far more important than the motion of the Moon itself. Most modern western astrologers who occupy themselves with the lunar mansions, and that includes those of a traditional bent, orient themselves on texts based on Dorotheus or on the Picatrix or a combination of both. This however blurs their real importance. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Islam spurns sorcery (Christianity and Judaism also) and this applies to any form of magic which misuses the Divine Names or which is intended to manipulate and address Angelic Intelligences for whatever form of personal gain. This is in fact a corruption of the science of the Divine Names.

There are twenty-eight letters in the Arabic alphabet, the same number as the lunar mansions. Now here comes the tricky part. It is assumed that because of this one-to-one status that each of the letters was then assigned to one of the lunar mansions. It is however the other way around. To understand this one has to place the letters in their symbolical context. The sounds of the letters are reflections of the Divine Word. They are aspects of the Breath of God and express one of the outstanding capacities of the human being (as God’s Image) that sets him apart from the rest of creation – the ability to articulate, to use language. The Qur’an for example uses the image of sounding vessels of clay to describe the human being.

The twenty-eight Arabic lunar mansions should also not be confused with the twenty-seven Indian Nakshatras which appear to serve the same function. Seyyed Hossein Nasr in his book on “Islamic Cosmological Doctrines” formulates this most concisely:

“…the 28 Mansions are the macrocosmic counterparts of the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet which form the language of the Divine Word…Thus the cosmos may also be considered, like the Revelation of God in his Sacred Book, as the manifestation of the Divine Word and a book in which the Divine Mysteries are revealed … The significance of the lunar mansions in Islamic astrology is fundamental… as it is related to the science of the Divine Names… The Moon itself, however, is not so important as in Hindu astrology… ” p. 162

2 thoughts on “Lunar Mansions Light

  1. An excellent post as usual. I agree wholeheartedly with your comment: ‘This is in fact a corruption of the science of the Divine Names.’ As you also point out, this conceals a wish to conciliate hidden powers for base personal gain. The appeal to the ego is enormous. I also like your observation that it is the mansions which are assigned to the letters rather than the letters to the mansions! This places the entire approach to the practice of astrology in a divine perspective … it makes us all supplicants at the throne of grace who must test the fate that God has in store for us. We can never presume to know the final outcome of anything; we see only shadows on the wall of the world’s cave.

  2. Just so. The moment you approach astrology from this perspective it becomes quite clear that astrology is not about “me” which is what generally makes it so attractive for the popular mind. At this level astrology is more superstition than anything else, but relatively harmless. Magical ritual is by comparison a serious matter and more is at jeopardy than those practitioners who look at it as a “technology” realize.

    > …we see only shadows on the wall of the world’s cave.

    … and we can only see what casts the shadows if we look away from ourselves as “me”.

    I think that trying to read the cosmos as a Divine book is the right approach. This book is after all guarded by the One who writes it daily and any insight into its deeper mysteries can only be granted by Him. As you say, we are supplicants at the throne of grace.

    Thank you so much for your comment!

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