IN order to facilitate prognostication in minor and more limited instances, it is important to make further observation of all remarkable appearances occasionally visible around or near the Sun, Moon, and stars. And, for the diurnal state of the atmosphere, the Sun's rising should be remarked; for the nocturnal state, his setting; but the probable duration of any such state must be considered by reference to the Sun's configuration with the Moon; for, in most cases, each aspect, made between them, indicates the continuance of a certain state until another aspect shall take place.
Hence, the Sun, when rising or setting, if he shine clear and open,
free from mists, gloom, and clouds, promises serene weather. But, if he have a wavering or fiery orb, or seem to emit or attract red rays, or if he be accompanied in any one part by the clouds called parhelia, or by other reddish clouds of extended figure, in the form of long rays, he then portends violent winds, chiefly liable to arise from those parts in which the said phenomena may have shown themselves. If he should be pale or lurid, and rise or set encumbered with clouds, or surrounded by halos, he indicates storms and winds coming from the quarter of his apparent situation: and, if he be also accompanied by parhelia, or by lurid or dark rays, similar effects are also threatened from the parts where those appearances may be situated. 1
The Moon's course is to be carefully observed, at the third day before or after her conjunction with the Sun, her opposition, and her intermediate quarters; for, if she then shine thin and clear, with no other phenomena about her, she indicates serenity; but, if she appear thin and red, and have her whole unilluminated part visible, and in a state of vibration, she portends winds from the quarter of her latitude and declinations: and if she appear dark, or pale and thick, she threatens storms and showers. All halos formed around the Moon should also be observed; for, if there appear one only, bright and clear, and decaying by degrees, it promises serene weather; but, if two or three appear, tempests are indicated: and, if they seem reddish and broken, they threaten tempests, with violent and boisterous winds; if dark and thick, they foreshow storms and snow; if black and broken, tempests with both winds and snow; and, whenever a greater number may appear, storms of greater fury are portended.
The planets, also, and the brighter fixed stars, occasionally have halos, which indicate certain effects appropriate to their tinctures, and to the nature of the stars around which they may be situated.
The apparent magnitudes of the fixed stars, and the colours of the luminous masses among them, are likewise to be remarked: for, when the stars appear brighter and larger than usual, they indicate an excitation of the wind from that quarter in which they may be situated. The nebulous mass of the Præsepe in Cancer, and others similar to it, also require observation; as, if in fine weather they appear gloomy and
indistinct, or thick, they thereby threaten a fall of rain; but, if clear and in continual vibration, they announce rough gales of wind 1.
Appearances occasionally visible in the sky, resembling the trains of comets, 2 usually indicate wind and drought; in a degree proportionate to their multitude and continuance.
Appearances, resembling shooting or falling stars, when presented in one part only, threaten a movement of wind from that part; 3 when in various and opposite parts, they portend the approach of all kinds of tempestuous weather, together with thunder and lightning. Clouds resembling fleeces of wool will also sometimes presage tempests; and the occasional appearance of the rainbow denotes, in stormy weather, the approach of serenity; in fine weather, storms. And, in a word, all remarkable phenomena, visible in the sky, universally portend that certain appropriate events will be produced, each harmonising with its proper cause, in the manner herein described.
After the forgoing brief investigation of the more limited as well as more extensive significations, regarding general events, it becomes proper to proceed to the doctrine of genethliacal prognostication, or judgments of individual nativities.
END OF BOOK II
69:1 Similar precepts may be found finely illustrated in Virgil's 1st Georgic, vide I, 433 et infra:
Virgil has said almost the same thing in these beautiful lines:
See also the whole passage, beginning at 1. 424:
70:1 At this place, the following sentence, not found in the Greek, is inserted in a Latin translation:
"If the northern of the two stars, situated one on each side of the Præsepe, and called the Asini, should not appear, the north wind will blow: but, if the southern one be invisible, the south wind."
70:2 These coruscations are, perhaps, similar to those now known by the name of the Aurora Borealis.
70:3 Virgil again:
[paragraph continues] A great part of the 1st Georgic consists of astrological rules for predicting the weather, closely resembling the precepts here given by Ptolemy. Virgil is said to have adopted his doctrine from Aratus.