The twenty eight lunar mansions vis-a-vis magical practices
Languages of publication
The article is devoted to the issue of the the twenty eight lunar mansions (Moon stations) and the magical practices based on their talismans as described in the Libro de la luna, the third part of Libro di astromagia, an astrological-magical treatise attributed to King Alfonso X the Wise. Lunar mansions are groups of stars which delineate the path of the Moon along the ecliptic during successive 27 or 28 nights. The astronomical system based on the mansions was well-known in ancient China, India and Persia. The astronomical-magical dimensions of the system are connected with the Greek tradition, while the practices based upon it, which used lunar talismans, may have arisen in the town of Harran, in northern Mesopotamia. The practices described in the article were based on the belief, stemming from the ancient model of the Cosmos, that the Moon was an intermediary between the heavenly and earthly world, and a transmitter of planetary influences. The power of the 28 lunar mansions and their talismans derived from the soul of the world, which transferred it to the fixed stars. It was from those that the power was derived by planets in their apogee, and later, when the planets moved to their perigee, they transferred it to the entities of the sub-lunar world, i.e stones, plants, animals and people. The magical practices described in the article combined elements of various kinds of magic and since they cannot be classified as belonging to any of the varieties, the term 'Harran magic' proposed by Garcia Aviles has been adopted in the article to refer to them. The magic based on the 28 lunar mansions was reflected in the Squire's Tale of the Canterbury Tales, a 14th-century poetic work by Geoffrey Chaucer.
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier