Bonatti’s electional astrology for war and conquering enemies

In honour of Mars’ ingress into Scorpio, here is an election from Guido Bonatti’s Liber Astronomiae, Treatise 7 on Elections for going to war and for conquering enemies.

Given the serious nature of the subject (and the fact that the astrologer might get beheaded by either side if he gets this wrong), war elections can be incredibly involved and intricate. We require the following conditions:

Electional conditions

1. Adapt the Ascendant and its Lord, the 2nd and its Lord
2. Weaken the 7th and its Lord and the 8th and its Lord
3. Put the Ascendant in the domicile of Mars, Jupiter or Saturn (Mars is strongest with Scorpio stronger than Aries)
4. If Scorpio is on the Ascendant, make Mars strong and fortunate. Put him in the Ascendant if he is Lord of the Ascendant. Put a benefic with him if possible.
5. Put the Lord of the 2nd in the 2nd, 1st or 11th for your soldiers or helpers.
6. Weaken the Lord of the 7th and 8th to weaken the enemy and his helpers. 7. Put the Lords of the 7th and 8th in the first or second houses, or make them retrograde or combust or cadent from the angles and away from a friendly aspect from the 7th or 8th
8. Ensure Lord 1 and Lord 2 are not impeded, and do not put them in the 7th or 8th houses, because it signifies they will be conquered.
9. Ensure Lord 1 is not joined to a planet who is cadent or in fall (unless the cadent planet receives him)
10. If you cannot put Lord 7 in the 1st or the 2nd houses, join him to Lord 1 so they move towards one another, and let the conjunction be such that Lord 7 does not receive Lord 1

Bonatti describes similar electional conditions for Ascendants in the domiciles of Jupiter and Saturn, but since Mars is in Scorpio, we will stick to having our ascendant in Scorpio for the purpose of this election.

It’s worth taking a moment to contemplate the election and understand what is going on. The inceptor of the war (hopefully the ruler we are working for) is represented by the Ascendant and its lord. As such, we want him under the auspices of one of the Superior planets (Mars, Jupiter or Saturn), and preferably Mars since he is the patron of war. The 2nd house and its Lord represents our resources, which, in the case of war, are our soldiers. We want both of these to be strong and unafflicted so that they can conquer without obstruction.

The bad guy is represented by the 7th and its lord, and his soldiers by the 8th and his lord. We want them essentially weak and hopefully impeded. We also want to place them under our power so we put them in the first or second house.

The Election

This election is set for 3:33am on Tuesday 12 December, which is the day of Mars. It is set for London.

The Ascendant is Scorpio and so we are represented by Mars. Mars is strong in his own domicile in Scorpio and is in the first house where he lends us our aid. He is further aided by Jupiter who is also in the first. The cusp of the second house is also in Scorpio – our soldiers are strong and raring to go.

Our enemy is represented by the cusp of the 7th, which is in early Taurus, and so our enemy is signified by Venus. Venus is weakly dignified by term (which will not help her much). Venus is greatly weakened by the fact that she is heading towards combustion. Venus is also the cusp of the 8th so the same thing holds for the enemy soldiers.

Venus is in our power in the second house, so this should be an easy win.

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