Hand, Robert – Astrology & the Picatrix

The Picatrix was a philosophical and practical manual of magic composed in the early Middle Ages by an unknown Middle Eastern writer who either was from Harran or strongly influenced by the Harranians. The basis of the Picatrix’s magic is astrological, specifically electional astrology. The range of the material covered is from sublime spiritual philosophy to the basest kinds of practical magic. Its interest to us is that, despite some of purposes to which the astrological magic is put, the philosophy of the Picatrix makes it clear that astrology is not deterministic and that, with the proper training individuals, can harness the “virtues” of the stars and become active co-creators in their own destiny, an idea which the more “scientific” kinds of astrology from the era tended to deny.