NATURAL causes are either primary and universal, or secondary and more particular. Primary causes are the heavens, planets, stars, &c., by their influence (as our astrologers hold) producing this and such like effects. I will not here stand to discuss obiter, whether stars be causes, or signs; or to apologise for judicial astrology. If either Sextus Empiricus, Picus Mirandula, Sextus ab Heminga, Pererius, Erastus, Chambers, &c., have so far prevailed with any man, that he will attribute no virtue at all to the heavens, or to sun, or moon, more than he doth to their signs at an innkeeper's post, or tradesman's shop, or generally condemn all such astrological aphorisms approved by experience: I refer him to Bellantius, Pirovanus, Marascallerus, Goclenius, Sir Christopher Heidon, &c. If thou shalt ask me what I think, I must answer, nam et doctis hisce erroribus versatus sum (for I am conversant with these learned errors), they do incline, but not compel; no necessity at all: agunt non cogunt: and so gently incline, that a wise man may resist them; sapiens dominabitur astris: they rule us, but God rules them. All this (methinks) Joh. de Indagine hath comprised in brief, Quæris a me quantum in nobis operantur astra? &c. "Wilt thou know how far the stars work upon us? I say they do but incline, and that so gently, that if we will be ruled by reason, they have no power over us; but if we follow our own nature, and be led by sense, they do as much in us as in brute beasts, and we are no better." So that, I hope, I may justly conclude with Cajetan, Cúlum est vehiculum divinæ virtutis, &c., that the heaven is God's instrument, by mediation of which he governs and disposeth these elementary bodies; or a great book, whose letters are the stars (as one calls it), wherein are written many strange things for such as can read, "or an excellent harp, made by an eminent workman, on which, he that can but play, will make most admirable music." But to the purpose.
Paracelsus is of opinion, "that a physician without the knowledge of stars can neither understand the cause or cure of any disease, either of this or gout, not so much as toothache; except he see the peculiar geniture and scheme of the party affected." And for this proper malady, he will have the principal and primary cause of it proceed from the heaven, ascribing more to stars than humours, "and that the constellation alone many times produceth melancholy, all other causes set apart." He gives instance in lunatic persons, that are deprived of their wits by the moon's motion; and in another place refers all to the ascendant, and will have the true and chief cause of it to be sought from the stars. Neither is it his opinion only, but of many Galenists and philosophers, though they do not so peremptorily maintain as much. "This variety of melancholy symptoms proceeds from the stars," saith Melancthon: the most generous melancholy, as that of Augustus, comes from the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Libra: the bad, as that of Catiline's, from the meeting of Saturn and the moon in Scorpio. Jovianus Pontanus, in his tenth book, and thirteenth chapter de rebus cúlestibus, discourseth to this purpose at large, Ex atrabile varii generantur morbi, &c., "many diseases proceed from black choler, as it shall be hot or cold; and though it be cold in its own nature, yet it is apt to be heated, as water may be made to boil, and burn as bad as fire; or made cold as ice: and thence proceed such variety of symptoms, some mad, some solitary, some laugh, some rage," &c. The cause of all which intemperance he will have chiefly and primarily proceed from the heavens, "from the position of Mars, Saturn, and Mercury." His aphorisms be these, "Mercury in any geniture, if he shall be found in Virgo, or Pisces his opposite sign, and that in the horoscope, irradiated by those quartile aspects of Saturn or Mars, the child shall be mad or melancholy." Again, "He that shall have Saturn and Mars, the one culminating, the other in the fourth house, when he shall be born, shall be melancholy, of which he shall be cured in time: if Mercury behold them." "If the moon be in conjunction or opposition at the birth time with the sun, Saturn or Mars, or in a quartile aspect with them (e malo cúli loco, Leovitius adds), many diseases are signified, especially the head and brain is like to be misaffected with pernicious humours, to be melancholy, lunatic, or mad," Cardan adds, quarta luna natos, eclipses, earthquakes. Garcteus and Leovitius will have the chief judgment to be taken from the lord of the geniture, or where there is an aspect between the moon and Mercury, and neither behold the horoscope, or Saturn and Mars shall be lord of the present conjunction or opposition in Sagittarius or Pisces, of the sun or moon, such persons are commonly epileptic, dote, dæmoniacal, melancholy: but see more of these aphorisms in the above-named Pontanus. Garcæus, cap. 23. de Jud. genitur. Schoner lib. 1. cap. 8. which he hath gathered out of Ptolemy, Albubater, and some other Arabians, Junctine, Ranzovius, Lindhout, Origen, &c. But these men you will reject peradventure, as astrologers, and therefore partial judges; then hear the testimony of physicians, Galenists themselves. Carto confesseth the influence of stars to have a great hand to this peculiar disease, so doth Jason Pratensis, Lonicerius præfat. de Apoplexia, Ficinus, Fernelius, &c. P. Cnemander acknowledgeth the stars an universal cause, the particular from parents, and the use of the six non-natural things. Baptista Port. mag. l. 1, c. 10, 12, 15, will have them causes to every particular individium. Instances and examples, to evince the truth of these aphorisms, are common amongst those astrologian treatises. Cardan, in his thirty-seventh geniture, gives instance in Math. Bologuius. Camerar. hor. natalit. centur. 7. genit. 6. et 7. of Daniel Gare, and others; but see Garcæus, cap. 33. Luc. Gauricus. Tract. 6. de Azemenis, &c. The time of this melancholy is, when the significators of any geniture are directed according to art, as the horned moon, hylech, &c. to the hostile beams or terms of Saturn and Mars especially, or any fixed star of their nature, or if Saturn by his revolution, or transitus, shall offend any of those radical promissors in the geniture.
Other signs there are taken from physiognomy, metoposcopy, chiromancy, which because Joh. de Indagine, and Rotman, the landgrave of Hesse his mathematician, not long since in his Chiromancy; Baptista Porta, in his celestial Physiognomy, have proved to hold great amity with astrology to satisfy the curious, I am the more willing to insert.
The general notions physiognomers give, be these; "black colour argues natural melancholy; so doth leanness, hirsuteness, broad veins, much hair on the brows," saith Gratanarolus, cap. 7, and a little head, out of Aristotle, high sanguine, red colour, shows head melancholy; they that stutter and are bald, will be soonest melancholy (as Avicenna supposeth), by reason of the dryness of their brains; but he that will know more of the several signs of humour and wits out of physiognomy, let him consult with old Adamantus and Polemus, that comment, or rather paraphrase upon Aristotle's Physiognomy, Baptista Porta's four pleasant books, Michael Scot de secretis naturæ, John de Indagine, Montaltus, Antony Zara. anat. ingeniorum, sect. 1, memb. 13, lib. 4.
Chiromancy hath these aphorisms to foretel melancholy. Tasneir. lib. 5, cap. 2, who hath comprehended the sum of John de Indagine: Tricassus, Corvinus, and others in his book, thus hath it; "The Saturnine line going from the rascetta through the hand, to Saturn's mount, and there intersected by certain little lines, argues melancholy; so if the vital and natural make am acute angle, Aphorism 100. The saturnine, epatic, and natural lines, making a gross triangle in the hand, argue as much;" which Goclenius, cap. 5. Chiros. repeats verbatim out of him. In general they conclude all, that if Saturn's mount be full of many small lines and intersections, "such men are most part melancholy, miserable, and full of disquietness, care and trouble, continually vexed with anxious and bitter thoughts, always sorrowful, fearful, suspicious; they delight in husbandry, buildings, pools, marshes, springs, woods, walks, &c." Thaddæus Haggesius, in his Metoposcopia, hath certain aphorisms derived from Saturn's lines in the forehead, by which he collects a melancholy disposition; and Baptista Porta makes observations from those other parts of the body, as if a spot be over the spleen; "or in the nails; if it appear black, it signifieth much care, grief, contention, and melancholy;" the reason he refers to the humours, and gives instance in himself, that for seven years' space he had such black spots in his nails, and all that while was in perpetual law-suits, controversies for his inheritance, fear, loss of honour, banishment, grief, care, and when his miseries ended, the black spots vanished. Cardan, in his book de libris propriis, tells such a story of his own person, that a little before his son's death, he had a black spot, which appeared in one of his nails; and dilated itself as he came nearer to his end. But I am over tedious in these toys, which howsoever, in some men's too severe censures, they may be held absurd and ridiculous, I am the bolder to insert, as not borrowed from circumforanean rogues and gipsies, but out of the writings of worthy philosophers and physicians, yet living some of them, and religious professors in famous universities, who are able to patronize that which they have said, and vindicate themselves from all cavilers and ignorant persons.