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Onomancy: A Forbidden Art of the Ars Notoria, Part III

Updated: Jan 24

“There are other books having to do with such calculation, such as the books of Pythagoras, who gives many letters and figures, and for each letter there are certain numbers; by means of these one determines who will win, which is surely a superstition.  Further, one of these books, also ascribed to Pythagoras, teaches which of two spouses will die sooner.  The same book has caused frequent and serious conflict between married couples, which is the source of great pity and lament.”

--- Johannes Hartlieb (c. 1410 – 1468), The Book of All Forbidden Arts,

Chapter 49: About the books of lots by Pythagoras

 

Onomancy (Greek ὄνομαμᾰντείᾱ; Latin onomamanteia), the divination of names and numbers, is a forerunner to modern-day numerology.  Onomancy has ancient origins but has been reworked into the modern style of numerology as it is practiced today.  The modern style of numerology is often credited to the American author Mrs. L. Dow Balliett (1847 – 1929), “the first mother of numerology”.  The word “numerology” is a 20th century neologism coined by Dr. Julia Lorinda Seton Kapp Sears, better known as Dr. Julia Seton (1862 – 1950), the founder of the New Civilization Church and advocate of the New Thought movement.  Dr. Julia Seton, and her daughter, Juno Belle Kapp (pen name “Dr. Juno Jordan”), co-author of Numerology: The Romance in Your Name (1984), further developed the modern day conception of numerology based on the older sources of number divination and Pythagorean thought.  Other terms often associated with numerology include the Greek-derived neologisms “arithmancy” and “arithmology”, dating to the 16th century.  The history of numerology is understudied but fascinating nevertheless. 

 

As demonstrated in the two previous onomancy blog posts, onomancy is interlinked with genethlialogy (i.e., natal astrology) in which I looked at the Table of the Victorious and the Vanquished, the common calculations of onomancy, and the prognostications about the fate of a sick person.  This article will focus on a miscellany of onomantic prognostications which are found in the Syriac Book of Medicines and the Alchandreana corpus (specifically, those prognostications not described in my book or the previous two blog posts).  As far as I know, this three-part blog series is one of the most exhaustive sources of ancient and medieval onomancy on the Internet.  

 

The Alchandreana corpus is a tenth-century collection of astrological and prognosticative Latin texts, which were based on Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin sources.  The Alchandreana corpus was made in Catalonia from a cross-cultural exchange of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars.  The name Alchandreana is thought be derived from either the name of Alexander the Great, the Greek military genius, or Al-Kindi, the Arabic polymath.  The following onomantic prognostications excerpted from the Alchandreana are translated from Latin into English by me.       


Aside from their calculations, onomantic prognostications are characterized by their usage of astrological practices, questions, belief in the cosmic power of names, and results tables. Onomantic prognostications often incorporate certain astrological elements found in natal astrology, such as the seven classical planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn), the twelve Zodiac signs, planetary hours, and the light (i.e., waxing) and dark (i.e., waning) of the Moon, and the holy day (presumably the Sabbath).  Onomantic prognostications often determine the outcome of a question on whether the numerical result is odd or even; in other cases, they use a result table.  Sometimes these computations look at whether one numerical result can “conquer” another numerical result, as if modeled after the computation of the Table of the Victorious and the Vanquished.  A few of these questions are playful, like wanting to know which clasped hand holds an object, like a performer of magical tricks and prestidigitation; other questions seem odd, like wanting to know which eye of a man is blind.  All of these reflect the culture and life of those who came before us.      

 

This article covers the following topics that were of interest to the original author(s) of these onomantic prognostications:

 

·         About the Return of a Runaway Slave

·         About the Return of an Absentee in Exile

·         Friendship

·         Marriage

·         Fertility, Pregnancy, and Childbirth

·         Stolen or Hidden Objects

·         Someone Calls upon the Querent for Good or Evil

·         About the Outcome of a Deadly Malady

·         Blindness

·         About the Truth of a Rumor

·         Know under Which Planet and Day a Man is Born

·         When the Onomancer Visits a Sick Person

·         About What Will Bring Forth Profit and Luck

·         Journeys

 

I have decided to continue my numbering of the onomantic prognostications from my previous blog post, so I begin here with #10.

 

About the Return of a Runaway Slave

Prognostication # 10

 

This onomantic prognostication explains the arithmetic procedure of digital roots, or pythmenes, which I covered in Part II.  The name of the holy day and the name of the master of the runaway slave are added together.  The holy day may be the Sabbath as indicated in other onomantic prognostications.  After adding these two names together and identifying the digital root, then add 13 to it, then divide it by seven.  The numeric result is then corresponded to the results table to determine the prognosticated outcome.  The prognostication reads:      

 

“Having mentioned this beforehand [to be] shorter and more efficient about the return of a runaway slave.  If what he desires to know about the return of a certain runaway slave, the name of the holy day [i.e., the Sabbath?] (feriae) who was asked about, [then] he takes [the name of the holy day] and [the name] of the lord of the runaway slave, and he must gather all of the letters and numbers. 

 

“And if the [total] number [of any name] excerned [i.e., divided out into] a centenary [i.e., a hundred as in the place value of the hundreds unit of 100-900] [then] he takes from a decade [i.e., ten as in the place value of the tens unit of 10-90] from any one [of those parts that constitute the total number of any name]; but if the number was over a centenary, [then] he takes a decade from any unity [i.e.., if the number was over a centenary, then the reckoning is two numbers of any one name; one that is a centenary and the other less than a centenary.  In any case, the numbers are taken through the iternative process of digital roots, resulting in a single number in the range of 0-9.]. 

 

“And, in one collection, he adds 13 above it, and he divides by seven, and where it falls short of 70, [then] he must compute thus: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

 

“And if one was left over [as a remainder, then the runaway slave] will not return, until he sees the Antipodes [i.e., an unknown and southern land where a fabled race lives.].

If two, the fleeing one will be captured.

If three, [the runaway slave] will return to his master without an impediment.

If four, having departed for a long [time], he will return after a long time.

If five, the runaway slave will die in [his] return.

If six, he will return, repenting quickly.

If seven, he wanted to return that very day, but he will never return.”

 

--- Alchandreana corpus, Proportiones, 20 (my translation)

 

About the Return of an Absentee in Exile (Variant Computation 1)

Prognostication # 11

 

The following onomantic prognostication about the return of an absentee in exile appears incomplete, as there is only one prognostication given which is “the aforesaid absentee will return in a manner without a doubt.”  In this way, the numerical result has no practical consequence or relevance.  Perhaps there was originally a results table that is now missing.  The prognostication reads:        

 

“About the return of an absentee in exile.  But if someone will ask you about the return of someone absent in a remote region, and you will want to know about him, [then] you must pay attention thus.  Indeed, first compute the name and homeland of the absent person; and if he is without a homeland, [then] take the name of the mother; and if he is without a mother, [then] the name of the wife; and if he is without a wife, your name, the interrogator.  And following the above computation, divide the number, having taken so much from the unity by any decade, and these unities which you must apprehend according to ten [i.e., calculate the digital roots just as previously described], add 13, and divide by seven, and the aforesaid absentee will return in a manner without a doubt.”

 

--- Alchandreana corpus, Proportiones, 21 (my translation)

 

About the Return of an Absentee in Exile (Variant Computation 2)

Prognostication # 12

 

The following onomantic prognostication is another variant computation about the return of an absentee, and in fact, the computation might depend upon who the absentee is, whether it is a male friend, a woman, or a runaway slave who escaped with the master’s treasure box.  This computation may be understood to work in conjunction with the “fugitive computation (computatoris fugitivam)” if the absentee is a woman.  Indeed, the first line indicates the onomantic computation of Proportiones, 20 is necessary in order to perform this onomantic prognostication.  Here the following names are required: (1) the name of the first day, (2) the name of the lost treasure (thesauri), woman or runaway slave (captum), and (3) the name of the lord [of the day? i.e., the Moon for Monday, Mars for Tuesday, etc. or the lord of the runaway slave or the husband/patriarch of the woman?].  Having reached the digital root of each name, then divide.  If this onomantic computation is meant to work with the previous one, then perhaps it is assumed that the diviner would add 13, divide by seven, and then distribute remainder across the quaternary [i.e., four cardinal directions], beginning with the east and computing around the compass until reaching the final numeric result.     

 

“About the same.  Take another rule from above over the remembered matter.  Indeed, diligently compute the very name of the first day and the lost dear one [or, treasure] (thesauri), and also, of the lord [of the day? of a runaway slave?], yet, as I said now, having taken out of any decade, divide through quaternary [i.e., four directions]. 

 

“If one remains, you may know that the captured one returns from the east.

If two are left over, the captured one in chains is held with the treasure (thesauro), and he will not return without redemption by any manner from the African [i.e, southern] part.

If three are left over, he will not return at any time from the west.

If four, he will not return, unless after a long time, the fugitive computation is begun for a woman.” 

 

--- Alchandreana corpus, Proportiones, 22 (my translation)

 

Prognostication # 13

 

The next onomantic prognostication adds the name of your friend to your own, and then divide by seven.  The numerical result is corresponded to the same number in the results table, indicating the prognostication.

 

“That thou mayest know whether thy friend loveth or hateth thee. Reckon up the numerical values of the letters in the name of thy friend, and those of the letters in thine own name, and make them one (i.e., add up each group). Then divide each of them by seven. If the figure remaining be in the first table, thy friend loveth thee, and if it be in the second, he hateth thee.”

 

“First Table: 1, 3, 5, 7.

Second Table: 2, 4, 6.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

On Marriage

Prognostication # 14

 

There are four onomantic prognostications related to marriage.  The first one here does not say how a querent is to perform this number divination.  This appears to be a results table, presenting six Syriac letters which each has a numeric value.  Perhaps it is not a true onomantic prognostication at all but another kind of number divination.  Since there are six Syriac letters, I wonder if each letter was carved upon a six-sided die and then cast onto the ground to see its result.  The onomantic prognostication reads:

 

“Of the marrying of wives.

 

B [bet] (2), G [gamal] (3), D [dalat] (4), H [he] (5), W [waw] (6), Z [zayn] (7).

 

B (2) Haste to thy house, to the woman whom thou lovest.

G (3) It will be stupendous if thou marriest now.

D (4) There is no work for thee with women, on the contrary, thou art useless, and canst do nothing.

H (5) Abandon [the idea of] marriage, for thou shalt not attain it for two years.

W (6) Know that everything is from God, and will take place in its season.

Z (7) Thou shalt prosper with the women who are known [to thee], and shalt fulfil thy affair (or, act) at the end.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Prognostication # 15

 

A common question amongst husbands and wives is who will outlive the other.  The next onomantic prognostication comes from the Syriac Book of Medicines and is parallel to the one mentioned in my book and found in the Alchandreana corpus called Quicumque.  If it is the same calculation, then the divisor is nine.  This is probably the same one referenced by the German writer Johannes Hartlieb in the above epigraph.  The onomantic prognostication reads:

 

“Again, if thou wishest to know, in the case of a man and a woman, which of them will die first, count up the names of the two together, and reject the numbers one by one. If the number which remaineth with thee be even, the woman will live, and if it be odd, the man will live. Or divide the numbers three by three; if three remain in thy hand, the man will live, and if two or one remain, the woman will live.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Prognostication # 16

 

The following prognostication is about whether or not a man is able to betroth a certain woman.  This works by casting out by eights, which is an unusual divisor.  This prognostication may also hint at the idea that odd numbers are masculine and even numbers are feminine.  Traditionally, odd numbers were considered favorable because they cannot be easily divided, and in this sense, are indivisible, unconquerable, and always remaining.   

 

“For him that wisheth to betroth a woman to him.

 

Reckon up the numerical values of the letters in the name of the man, and those of the letters in the name of the woman, and divide each of them by eight. If the remainders be odd numbers [then] the woman will belong to him, and if they be even numbers, [then] she will not.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Prognostication # 17

 

Here is computation which finds the digital root, or pythmenes, and casts out by nines (i.e., the divisor is nine), which reads:

 

“Another computation for him that wisheth to betroth a woman to him.

If thou wishest to know whether they are suitable, and whether they will agree together or not, divide the numerical values of the letters of the alphabet which are in their names by nine, thus:

 

Take one from ten, and two from twenty, and three from thirty, and four from forty, and five from fifty, and six from sixty, and seven from seventy, and eight from eighty, and nothing from ninety, and one from one hundred, and two from two hundred, and three from three hundred, and four from four hundred.

 

Reckon up [the numbers] of the name of the man and those of the name of the woman, and keep each group by itself, and when thou hast added up each group, and arrived at the total of each, divide each total by nine, and the number that remaineth over after the division representeth their fate. And from alep (one) to tet (nine), [take] two numbers at a time, one of [the name of] the man, and one of that of the woman.”

 


--- Book of Medicines

 

Fertility, Pregnancy, and Childbirth

Prognostication # 18

 

“That they mayest know whether a woman is with child or not. Reckon up the numerical values of the letters of the names of the woman and man, and divide each by six; if odd numbers remain to thee, [then] the woman is with child, and if even numbers remain to thee, [then] she is not.

 

“In dividing the letters of the alphabet each by six, proceed in this manner: Take one from seven, two from eight, three from nine, four from ten, two from twenty, nothing from thirty, four from forty, two from fifty, nothing from sixty, four from seventy, two from eighty, nothing from ninety, four from one hundred, two from two hundred, nothing from three hundred, and four from four hundred.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Prognostication # 19

 

“That thou mayest know whether a woman hath conceived a boy or a girl. Find out what day of the moon it is, [reckon up the numerical values of the letters in the name thereof,] and reckon up the numerical values of the letters in the name of the woman, and add to it twenty-eight, and then divide each by two. If the remainder be one, the child is a boy, and if it be two, the child is a girl.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Prognostication # 20

 

“Concerning barren folk. Reckon up the numerical values of the letters in the names of the man and the woman, and divide each of them by two. If the remainder be one, both are barren, and they will have no children, and if the remainder be two, they will have children.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Prognostication # 21

 

“That thou mayest know whether a child who hath just been born will live or die. Reckon up the numerical values of the letters in the names of the father and mother, and of the day on which the child was born, add to them three hundred, and add them all up together, and divide them by seven. If odd numbers remain, the child will live for years, and if even numbers, he will die. If the child be a girl, and even numbers remain, she will live for years, and if odd numbers remain, she will die.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Stolen or Hidden Objects

Prognostication # 22

 

“If you will ask to find out about a theft, make before you come all who you suspect to be thieves.  He must say what thing was lost; name the theft.  Compute the letters about the thing stolen.  Compute the letters of the planet of that hour which you want to perform this [onomantic prognostication].  Gather all the letters together, [then] divide by nine.  Make all the robbers sit before you.  What remains from nine, compute through the robbers, begin to compute from the fortunate part (dextera parte) of the theft.  The number of letters which remain from nine are to be appointed over that, that very one is the thief.”

 

--- Alchandreana corpus, Liber Alchandrei, 32 (my translation)   

 

Prognostication # 23

 

“About wealth in the buried earth.  If you want to know about buried wealth in the earth, the ingeniuty to discover to this place, in order that you may discover in the subsequent [ways] I will reserate [i.e., reveal] the manner to you.  Indeed, suppute [i.e., compute] the first name of the hour that you want to begin this work, and the name of the buried wealth.  And then divide by nine, the four enumerated names of the wide world [i.e., Perioikoi (“those dwelling nearby in the northern hemisphere”), Oikoumenē “the inhabited and known world”), Antoikoi (“opposite to the known world, i.e., the southern hemisphere on the same longitude as the Oikoumenē”), and Antipodes (“those in the southern hemisphere on the same longitude as the Perioikoi)] with the abovesaid ones and the adjoining ones, and the number which remained, give four to the climates of the world, beginning from the east [i.e., the four climates of the world are (1) the frigid north (frigida septentrionalis), (2) our temperate (temperata nostra), (3) the temperate of those who dwell opposite (temperata antoecorum), and (4) the frigid south (frigida australis); excluded from these four climates is the area of the equator and ocean waters thought to be entirely burnt (perusta) and therefore uninhabitable.  Remember that the names of the climates must be translated into Greek for computing.].  And [in the distribution of] where the pebble of calculation (calculus) was missing, dig there.  But if he accepts the place to be spacious thus, so far you may not yet know the place of the wealth, again, take the name of the hour that you want to begin it, and the four names of the wide world, and the name of the wealth.  And having calculated, divide by the number of novenary (i.e., the nine elements comprised of the name of the buried wealth, the four climates, and the four cardinal directions?); in that part [of the world], truly, the number is missing, begin to count; and where it was missing, dig there.”      

 

--- Alchandreana corpus, Proportiones, 24 (my translation)

 






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Prognostication # 24

 

The next onomantic prognostication may have the context and practicality of prestidigitation (i.e., sleight of hand and magic tricks).  Add the name of the man who is clasping the hidden object plus his mother’s name, and then divide by six.  If the quotient or its remainder is even, then the hidden object is in the man’s right hand.  If it is an odd number, then it is in his left hand.  This prognostication is strange in that it is the only one that I know of that casts out by six, rather than the usual nine or seven.   

 

Recall from the previous post that it is common practice to calculate the man’s name and his mother’s name.  Such a practice is performed according to Hebrew letters (i.e., Hebrew gematria) in the Mathematica Alhandrei Summi Astrologi (Mathematics of Alhandreus, the Supreme Astrologer) found in the Alchandreana corpus, although here it may be that the Syriac alphabet is the preferred prognostic tool.

 

(N.B. Since this material was originally written in Greek and using the Greek alphabet for its onomantic computations, then the onomantic method has been adapted to the Syriac alphabet.  Remember that any Latin-script alphabet does not contain letters in which each letter has a numerical value; therefore, any adaptation of an onomantic method to a Latin-script alphabet would be problematic in its assignment of numerical values to letters.) 

 

“If thou wishes to know which hand hath something clasped in it, reckon the [letters of the] name of the man, and [those in] that of his mother, and make all thy reckoning one, and as it ascendeth, cast out every sixth number.  If pairs remain (i.e., if the number is an even one), the thing is clasped in his right hand, and if the number remaining is an odd one, it is in his left.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Prognostication # 25

 

The next onomantic prognostication determines who is to blame for a stolen object, and perhaps, who has it.  There are four names: (1) Kronos (Greek: Κρόνος), (2) the owner of the stolen object, (3) the one accused of theft, and (4) the stolen object.  The directions are to place the names in this order.  Kronos, the Greek god of agriculture, may have been chosen to rule over things which are hidden, in this case the stolen object, because Kronos himself was imprisoned in the dark earth, the underworld called Tartarus.  In Greek, Kronos is calculated as 20 + 100 + 70 + 50 + 70 + 6 which equals 316.  Following Greek isopsephy, 316 is calculated as 3 + 1 + 6 = 10, then 1 +0 = 1.  Thus, 1 is equal to the Greek letter alpha.  The other names are calculated in the same manner, resulting in a single number for each name.  Next, since the name Kronos equals 1, it is divided by 1.  The names of the other things are each divided by their own digital root, or pythmenes (discussed in Part II), which will provide a remainder for each.  Next, the Greek (or Syriac) letters of the alphabet are distributed in order across the three names (in the order as indicated, except for Kronos) until the first agreement is made.  Wherever the alphabet letter and its corresponding numerical value agrees with the digital root of the name, then the diviner consults the results table (i.e., the three available options) for the prognostication.  In this way, the owner of the object could possibly be accused of a fraudlent theft; of course, the accused could be found innocent or guilty.  And lastly, all parties involved could be innocent.      

 

“Again, if anything be stolen from thee. Write the [letters of the] name of him whom they accuse of the theft one after the other, and the name of Kronos at the top of them all, and also, the name of the thing which is lost [at the bottom of them], and the name of its owner in the middle [of them].  Then reject according to their number, however many they may be, and watch the number that remaineth so that thou mayest not succeed in rejecting them all. Begin with the first letter and assign one to each man.

 

“He to whom the lot cometh, and he agreeth with it, it is he who hath taken the object. 

And if the lot cometh to Kronos, and he agreeth with it, the man is not guilty;

but if the lot cometh to the thing stolen, [all] are free from blame.

 

“[This means of discovery of the thief] hath been well tried, and is sure, unless, perhaps, he who employeth it maketh a mistake in his calculations.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Prognostication # 26

 

“If thou wishest to know whether something good [is hidden] or not in a man’s place. Reckon up the numerical values of the letters in his name, and find out the total, add to them fifteen from thyself, and also, a number equal to that of the total of the letters, and divide them by two, and if one remaineth, [then] the thing is [hidden] there, and if two, [then] it is not [hidden].”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Prognostication # 27

 

“When something is stolen from thee. Find out who is the lord of the hour, and reckon up the numerical values of the letters of his name and of that of the man whom thou seekest, and divide them by three. If one remaineth to thee, good, and if two remain, good also, but if three remain, [then] the man whom thou seekest is not there.

 

In dividing the letters of the alphabet by twelve, proceed thus: [Take] eight from twenty, and six from thirty, and four from forty, and two from fifty, and nothing from sixty, and ten from seventy, and eight from eighty, and six from ninety, and four from one hundred, and eight from two hundred, and nothing from three hundred, and four from four hundred.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Someone Calls upon the Querent for Good or Evil

Prognostication # 28

 

The following onomantic method predicts whether a person who calls upon the querent has something for the querent that is either good or evil.  There are three key factors: (1) the length of the querent’s shadow, measured in paces (diploun bēma, διπλοῦν βῆμα, 1.54 m (5.1 ft)), (2) the querent’s name, and (3) the name of the querent’s mother.  The element of measuring one’s shadow is a curious one.  It is also found in a prognostication related to journeys listed below.

 

“Again, if thou wishest to know whether it is to good or to evil that they are calling thee. Stand in the sun, and measure [the length of] the shadow of thy person by paces made by thy legs, and mix (i. e., add) thy name and the name of thy mother to the number, and count them out two at a time. If thou hast a remainder of two, sit where thou art, and if the remainder be one, go.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

About the Outcome of a Deadly Malady

Prognostication # 29

 

“About the deadliness of a malady.  But yet if it is of concern of to you to know whose deadliness of a malady, suppute [i.e., compute] the name of the very skillful one [i.e, the doctor?], reject the novenary and that number [of the name of the very skillful one] until it excerned out of this by the calculation, and preserve what remained below [your calculation].  And add the name of the eastern sign with the Sun and the time and day of the vacillating and weakening of the [sick] man, and having calculated the very name to the sign, divide by nine, as above, and preserve the residual below the number, and compute with the residual [i.e., the numerical remainder] of the man to the number.  And if the residual number of the man conquered the inferior [number] of the star, [then] he will die.  If the inferior, (that is, the star) conquered the superior [number, then] he will live.”

 

--- Alchandreana corpus, Proportiones, 28 

 

Blindness

Prognostication # 30

 

“If thou wishest to know which eye of a man is blind.  Reckon up the numerical values of the letters of the names of the man and his mother, and make thy reckoning one, and divide it by three. If even numbers remain, [then] his right eye is blind, and if odd numbers remain his left eye is blind.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

About the Truth of a Rumor

Prognostication # 31

 

“Having heard the matter [of a rumor] from whoever by whatsoever means.  In this way [i.e, through onomantic prognostication], you will be able to explore if he or she tells the truth or not.  Compute the name of this very man about whose infirmity, death, or another [matter] by whatsoever means whose reason is to be told, and of the days from the first holy day [i.e., the Sabbath?] (feria) up to the day which this is to be told to you, if there are many names of those disputed (transactorum).  For example, if in the day of the Sun, a name of the Sun, so much; if in the day of the Moon, the name of the Sun and the Moon, and thus [the rest] in succession; you will add 37 to the sum, and may you be able to substitute 5 to the total sum however many times.  So if there is a remainder, it is true; and if so, you will discover what is spoken of [as a rumor] to be false without a doubt.”

 

--- Alchandreana corpus, Breviarium, 8 (my translation)

 

Know under Which Planet and Day a Man is Born

Prognostication # 32

 

“That thou mayest know under which of these Seven Planets a man is born, and on what day: Reckon up the numerical values of the [letters in] the name of the man by themselves. Then divide each of the values of the letters of the alphabet by seven, and thus shalt thou divide [them]. Seven is [zero].

 

“From eight take one, from nine take two, from ten take three, and from twenty take six, and from thirty take two, and from forty take five, and from fifty take one, and from sixty take four, seventy is [zero], and from eighty take three, and from ninety take six, and from one hundred take two, and from two hundred take four, and from three hundred take six, and from four hundred take one.

 

“Divide the total of the numerical values of the letters by seven.

 

“If one remaineth to thee, the day of his birth is the First Day of the Week, and his Planet is the Sun, and he will “live life”, and if he passeth the age of forty-two years, he will live eighty years, and, if God willeth, on the death of his soul he will die.

 

“If two remain to thee, the day of his birth is the Second Day of the Week, and his Planet is the Moon(?). If he attaineth to the age of thirty years, he will live to the age of seventy-five years, for by the Will of God everything [happeneth].

 

“If three remain to thee, the day of his birth is the Third Day of the Week, and his Planet is Ari[e]s. If he passeth sixty years he will live to the age of seventy-two years.  And by the Nod of God everything [happeneth].

 

“If four remain to thee, the day of his birth is the Fourth Day of the Week, and his Star is Hermes. If he passeth twenty-eight years he will live to the age of seventy-two years. And whatsoever God willeth He doeth.

 

“If five remain to thee, the day of his birth is the Fifth Day of the Week, and his Planet is Zeus. If he passeth forty years he will attain to the age of eighty-four years. And if God willeth to put him to death [before this], the man will die.

 

“If six remain to thee, the day of his birth is the Eve of the Sabbath, and his Planet is Aphrodite. If he passeth thirty-four years he will add to the years of his life; and if he passeth seventy years he will attain to his eightieth year. And everything is in the Power of God.

 

“If seven remain to thee, the day of his birth is the Sabbath, and his Planet is Kronos. If he passeth fifty years he will attain to the age of seventy-seven years. And whatsoever God willeth He doeth.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

When the Onomancer Visits a Sick Person

Prognostication # 33

 

The following onomantic prognostication selects the timing in which the querent goes to visit the sick person as a key factor for prediction.  Presumably, it is the name of the rising Zodiac sign that is selected for computation.  Add the name of the rising Zodiac sign to the name of the sick person, then divide by seven (i.e, the number of the classical planets).  If it is an even number, then the sick person will live.  If it is an odd number, then he will die.

 

“Another kind of forecast for a sick man. When thou goest in [to visit] the sick man, observe which of the Signs of the Zodiac goeth in with thee, and reckon up the numerical values of the letters of the name of the sick man, and those of the letters of the name of the Sign, and divide them by seven. If an even number remaineth to thee, the sick man will live, and if an odd number, he will most certainly die.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

About What Will Bring Forth Profit and Luck

Prognostication # 34

 

“That thou mayest know from what thing a man will be able to obtain profit and luck. Thou shalt divide the numerical values of the letters of the alphabet by eight in the following way:

 

“Take from nine, one; from ten, two; from twenty, four; from thirty, six; from forty, (nothing); from fifty, two; from sixty, four; from seventy, six; from eighty, (zero); from ninety, two; from one hundred, four; from two hundred, nothing; from three hundred, four; from four hundred, nothing.

 

“Then reckon up the [letters of the] name of the man, and those of name of his mother, and divide each of them by seven.

 

“If one remaineth to thee, his fate is from the Government.

If two remain to thee, it is from men; and there will be mercy [in it].

If three remain to thee, it is from the Books and Orders of the Church.

If four remain to thee, it is from the roads.

If five remain to thee, it is from the tillage of the earth.

If six remain to thee, it is from buying and selling.

And if seven remain to thee, it is from his handicraft.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Journeys

Prognostication # 35

 

“Again, concerning a man who goeth forth from his house, and travelleth from place to place (or, from country to country).  Reckon up the numerical values of the letters in the names of the man and his mother, and divide them by twelve.

 

“If one remaineth to thee, [then] he is dead, or is a very long way off.

If two, he is in prison.

If three, he is near, and is returning from his travels.

If four, loss, and evil, and calamity are meeting him on his road.

if five, he will find great profit;

if six, he will remain a little while longer on his journey;

If seven, evil will overtake him.

if eight, he hath fallen ill, and is in trouble;

if nine, he is in the desert, and is engaged in war against enemies;

if ten, he is finding joy, and merriment, and profit;

if eleven, he will remain away a little while longer and will then return;

If twelve, he will remain away for a very long time on his journey, and finally success and rejoicing will come to him.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

Prognostication # 36

 

“Again, if thou wishest to know whether he who is afar off on a journey is in evil case or is happy, and whether he is alive or dead.

 

“Stand up on a piece of level ground, and measure the length of thy shadow in lengths of thy feet, add twelve to them, and divide the total by nine.

 

If one remaineth over to thee, he is in his place;

and if two, he is dead;

and if three, he is dead;

and if four, he is sick;

And if five, he is detained by some one, and will not come.

and if six, he is in captivity (or, prison);

and if seven, he is travelling on his way;

And if eight, he is afar off.

And if nine, he will come shortly.”

 

--- Book of Medicines

 

 

Bibliography

 

Budge, E. A. Wallis, trans. and ed. Syrian Anatomy, Pathology and Therapeutics, or “The

Book of Medicines,” vol. 2. New York: Oxford University Press, 1913.

 

Juste, David. Les Alchandreana primitifs: Etude sur les plus anciens traits astrologiques

latins d’origine arabe (Xe siècle). Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History. Boston: Brill,

2007.


Kieckhefer, Richard. trans. Hazards of the Dark Arts: Advice for Medieval Princes on Witchcraft and Magic. Magic in History Sourcebooks series. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017.

 

 

The image of medieval pilgrims on a journey for this blog entry was found at:


This digital edition by Matthias Castle, Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.

Please do not copy this text to your website, or for any purpose other than private use.


Ars Notoria: The Notory Art of Solomon translated by Matthias Castle, published by Inner Traditions International and Bear & Company, © 2023. All rights reserved. http://www.Innertraditions.com Reprinted with permission of publisher.

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