The Lord of the Geniture in “Christian Astrology”

According to William Lilly, the Lord (or Lady) of the Geniture (LOG) is the planet which most strongly and favorably expresses its nature through the actions, life conditions, constitution, temperament and manners of the native or querent (Christian Astrology 532). It is the planet that is in the best position to help, assist and improve the native’s life. It is also known in the medieval tradition as the almutem figuris, a term which Lilly himself uses interchangeably with “Lord of the Geniture.”

In CA 531-532, Lilly outlines four traditional methods for identifying the LOG: (a) that of Firmicus Maternus, which takes for the LOG the ruler of the sign following the Moon’s sign (Lilly rejects this); (b) the medieval method, which uses the planet having the most essential dignities in the five hylegical places (Ascendant, Midheaven, Sun, Moon and Part of Fortune), an approach that Lilly describes as “rational”; (c) the “Greek” method, which takes the planet with the most dignities in the place of the Moon (as swaying the body) and Mercury (as ruling the mind); (d) his own preferred method, which looks to that planet with the most essential and accidental dignities in the chart, that is to say, the most advantageous planet in the figure.

Lilly’s method differs from the others in that it is more interested in the planet’s quality, strength and power to act than merely on its place in the network of receptions. The medieval method, for example, will identify the planet having dominance at the most important places in the chart, yet it is possible that this planet might nevertheless be the most disadvantaged in the figure. Lilly, by contrast, wants us to take the planet that works best and creates the most advantage for the native.

We might say that Lilly’s method is both the most optimistic and pedagogical of the four: optimistic, because it gives the native the greatest possible share in what is best in the geniture; pedagogical, because it assumes that the native can learn, grow and reform. Lilly’s method is also the most nuanced, because it depends on the judgment of many factors rather than on a simple calculation. And since it depends on the judgment of strength and quality, his method allows more than one planet to participate, by “mixture”, in the role of the LOG (CA 532).

This approach produces some interesting results. In the English merchant’s nativity, for example, Venus clearly emerges as the Lady of the Geniture because of her splendid quality (“excelling in sixteen testimonies of fortitude”: in her sign, her terms, and cazimi!), notwithstanding her location in the 8th house. But when judging on the native’s death, Lilly now brings Jupiter into the picture as a participating LOG (“because both Venus and Jupiter are essentially strong and Lords of the Geniture”, CA 763). By strength calculation alone, Jupiter is weaker even than Mars, with only 9 points of fortitude compared to Mars’ 12 points. What’s more, Jupiter is in the 12th house, the weakest place in the chart, while Mars is in an angle. But Mars is peregrine, and his accidental dignities are nothing special; whereas Jupiter somewhat makes up in essential dignity what he lacks in accidental dignity. Thus, Lilly sees this Jupiter as being quite helpful, precisely because of where he is placed: “the presence of Jupiter in the twelfth, gives victory over all secret enemies, and defends the body from any restraint of liberty or imprisonment” (CA 763).

How else does the Lord (or Lady) of the Geniture lend assistance? Lilly shows us a great many other specific applications in his interpretation of the English merchant’s nativity. The LOG improves the temperament and manner, in this case sweetening an otherwise Saturnine personality (“graceful, lovely and majestic”, CA 746). It strongly indicates when and by what means the native will prosper (“in his youth” and “by means of Women or Wives”, CA 749-750). It shows what relationships will be the strongest and happiest (mother and wife, CA 752-755). It reveals the most important houses in the chart and hence the most profitable areas of life (in this instance, the 9th house and travel: CA 758). It participates in the symbolism of profession and “magistery” (CA 761). It indicates the best sort of friends for the native (“Venerians, not Mercurians”, CA 762). And finally, it shows what will mitigate or improve the quality and manner of death (CA 763). We see that, for Lilly, the LOG not only provides clues to private virtues that the native would do well to cultivate. By its nature, position and rulerships, it shows in very specific ways where one is most likely to get the most out of the natal promise. The relevance to the LOG to horary interpretation is identical, if much more limited in scope.

In two of our upcoming installments, we’ll take a look at how the Lord of the Geniture helps to identify specific, tangible sources of help in horary and natal charts.

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