Reflection on the Second Consideration of Bonatti.

Painting: Jan Matejko, 1872

Consideration 2: How to Ask the Question

With the second consideration, Bonatti turns his attention to the querent and the proper way to ask one’s question. Bonatti recommends intense  and heartfelt prayer to our higher power, whatever that may be, that we know the truth of the matter we are inquiring about.

He then recommends creating an area of focus around the question and concentrating on it for at least a day and a night before going to the astrologer, and in doing this, we increase the likelihood of the words of Master Jesus coming to pass, as stated in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.”

This in fact is the process used in hermetic magic. In traditional kabbalah, there is a process known as kavanah, which literally means “intention” or “sincere feeling, direction of the heart”. We create an area of focus on a specific thing and concentrate on it, and through doing so we bring the things concentrated on into manifestation.

To give a benign example, one could strongly visualize a coin of one euro, or a GB pound, or an American quarter.  We visualize the coin strongly each day over a period of time, making kavanah with it, and voilà! One day we are walking in the street, and we happen on the coin while walking. The act of finding the coin seems completely natural and can be explained away as chance. But practitioners of magic would know that the coin appeared as a result of the Path of Creation, where an intense thought form that is concentrated on over a period of time gradually takes form on the physical plane.

Equally, Bonatti advises us to make, in effect, kavanah with our horary question, first praying to know the truth of the matter and doing this with intense emotion and feeling, because we have a strong NEED to know.

And only after doing this, do we go to the astrologer and pose the question.

Bonatti adds that of course there will be times where there is a sudden need to have an answer to the question. In this case the need is so strong and the emotions and feelings of the querent so high that the question, once posed, will be answered.

Bonatti then warns that there are many foolish people who will not make the necessary preparations for posing their question and phrase their query in such a way that it does not get at the truth of what the querent really wants to know. And then the querent blames the astrologer when the given answer is ambiguous. 

In short, Bonatti’s advice for us is that for a clear and precise answer to our question, it is best that the question comes from a sincere and deeply felt need to know.

Reflection on the First Consideration of Bonatti

I did a contemplation on the First Consideration of Guido Bonatti’s 146 Considerations. Below are my notes of the contemplation.

Guido Bonatti was one of the most famous of medieval astrologers. An advisor to important politicians in 13th Century Italy, his astrological advice influenced key events in his tumultuous times. He was so well known and influential that Dante includes him in the Inferno!

The translation I used was that of Benjamin N. Dykes (Cazimi press 2010). If you don’t have a copy, you can find an online translation by Henry Coley (1675) of the 146 Considerations here.

Reflection on the First Consideration:

In this consideration Bonatti explains how it is we can ask a horary question at a seemingly random time, cast a chart for that time, and that we somehow get an answer from the apparently arbitrary configurations of the planets in relation to the constellation of stars.

Bonatti’s explanation has three components:

He says that the explanation must first come from the querent’s Soul. The querent is “moved by his intention to pose a question”. Essentially, this means that the querent must be emotionally involved with the question, the more pressing the need, the better the answer. Frivolous questions are likely to get a frivolous response, as are questions asked from idle curiosity.

Bonatti goes on to say that the second component is, of course, the planets and constellations themselves and their movement.

He finishes by saying that it is the “stars” themselves that prompt the querent to ask the question. That the question would not have come to the surface of consciousness unless the stars were positioned in such a way that this could happen.

Finally, Bonatti gives us the third component. He says that it isn’t enough to have the original thought or impulse concerning the question, nor will an astrological configuration favorable to answering the question be enough to result in a horary chart. The final ingredient concerns the will of the querent to act on the motivation one receives from within, in combination with the configuration of the various astrological objects in the sky and what they represent.

Yet, Bonatti does not halt his inquiry there. He delves deeper, probing the dialectic between human volition and cosmic configuration. It is not merely the inception of thought nor the fortuitous alignment of astral bodies that precipitates the birth of a horary chart. Rather, it is the fusion of inner impetus with celestial alignment—the harmonious resonance of human will with cosmic intent—that catalyzes the gestation of inquiry. Bonatti unveils the ineffable synthesis of human will and cosmic resonance—a cosmic alchemy wherein the querent’s inner impulse converges with the celestial symphony.

When the motivation of the querent and that of the stars perfectly align, the querent takes action and brings the question to the astrologer. The precise moment that the astrologer understands the question is the moment that the chart is cast.

This moment falls within the realm of fate, which was set in motion by the subtle thought or nudge emanating from the querent’s Soul until gradually taking on form until it is finally engraved upon the querent’s field of consciousness. The universe takes notice and events unfold on the outer in a seemly “natural” way that by the time the querent takes the question to the astrologer and the astrologer has understood the question, the stars have moved into perfect alignment, and the question is answered.  

R. Redmond Chatham – Paris, March 2024.