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.