The Book of Felicity

The Book of Felicity f. 14v, The Image of Cancer

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f. 14v, The Image of Cancer

When the favour of Venus is on the sign of Cancer in the first decade
 The wise Abu Mashar says: the natal born in this decade will have fair complexion, frowning eyebrows, and eyes with lashes thick and black. He will be of medium height and well-spoken. He will have a mole on his chest and there is a fear from chickenpox. Being very sly he will hide everything inside him and will assume different states. Gradually, however, he will reach a high rank and attain felicity. In his mid-life he fall into trouble but he will delivered afterwards. Wealth. Its house is Leo and the Sun. He will make ends meet but find trouble in attaining wealth. He shall obtain things from trade as well and will see benefit from travel by sea. Brothers and moving. Their house is Virgo and Mercury. He will have brothers but will suffer trouble because of them and will not see any benefit from them. Strangers will be more advantageous than his family. In his late life he will separate from them. Father and property. Their house is Libra and Venus. He will be a blessing to his father and mother. He will practice a trade different than that of his father’s. Joy and children. Their house is Scorpio and Mars. Most of the children will be female and he will see a lot of goodness and blessing from them. Moreover his children will be pious. He will have a son from a slave-girl who will grow up as an orphan. Disease. Its house is Sagittarius and Jupiter. Most of the diseases will be from wetness and phlegm. There is fear from kidney pain and he should watch out for salty food. Wives and partnerships. Their house is Capricorn and Saturn. He will get three wives and because of women he will pay a heavy price and he will suffer grief from women. He will have a son from a wife who used to be a slave-girl and he will see a lot of advantage from him. Fear and death. Their house is Aquarius and Saturn. He life will be long and the cause of his death will be chest pain and stomach colic. Styptic things will be good for his temperament. Travels. Their house is Pisces and Jupiter. He will go on a lot of travels. His good travel will be towards the direction of Mecca. Travel by sea will be better than travel by land. Authority and deeds. Their house is Pisces and Mercury. In his affairs he will be about to advance and will be able to effect whatever he wants. He will be allowed to be next to sultans and the dignitaries and will see advantages from them. Expectations and felicity. Their house is Taurus and Venus. Whatever he desires he will obtain and all his friends will need him though he will not need them. Enemies. Their house is Gemini and Mercury. He will have a particularly wicked enemy whose mischief will affect him. He should watch out not to enter the company of people he has angered.
His good day is Monday and his ill-omened one Wednesday. Should he enter the presence of a ruler, he should stand on the right.
 
When the favour of Mercury is on the sign of Cancer in the second decade
 The wise Abu Mashar says: the natal born in this decade will be intelligent and clever and keep being pious. He will have a light body and slim calves. He will have an inclination and seeking for knowledge and jurisprudence and mathematics and also the fine exact arts. He will be trustworthy, pious and devout. It will be his lot to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and it will be his lot to fight on raids. He will have a might temper and enthusiasm and everyone will envy him. He will always be in felicity and bounty. His late life will be better than his early life. Wealth. Its house is Leo and the Sun. He will have a lot of wealth. In his mid-life he will own lots of possessions. He will love agriculture. Brothers and moving. Their house is Virgo and Mercury. His behaviour will be moderate. He will not be greatly advantaged by his brothers and may even suffer loss because of them and be rejected. Father and property. Their house is Libra and Venus. He will bury his father before his mother and if he gets a large inheritance nothing will be left for himself: this person will give his wealth to those who do not love him. Joy and children. Their house is Scorpio and Mars. He will have a lot of girls and a boy from a slave girl and will loose one of his children. Disease. Its house is Sagittarius and Jupiter. He will be afflicted with chest pains and pain of the urinary tract and may die from them. On every occasion it will be the custom to drink sherbets. He will be delivered from several disasters. Wives and partnerships. Their house is Capricorn and Saturn. He will take four wives and will love their company. He will get a large inheritance from one of them but it will not stay with him. Partnership will be no good. Guarantee will be no good, and if it is he will suffer. Fear and death. Their house is Aquarius and Saturn. His cause of death will be chest pain when he is twenty-five years old. if he survives he will lead a long life. There is a fear of falling from a high place. Travels. Their house is Pisces and Jupiter. He will like travel. If travels in the direction of Mecca he will acquire a lot of wealth. Travel by sea will be better than by land. Authority and deeds. Their house is Aries and Mars. He will be keen to advance on sultans and will latch on to a man of illustrious esteem and will see a lot of benefit from him. Expectations and felicity. Their house is Taurus and Venus. He will obtain whatever he wishes. Abundant wealth will come to him from a woman of high esteem but there is a fear that a person who used to be a slave will torment him.
Enemies. Their house is Gemini and Mercury. Most of his enemies will be from his family and relatives and he should take extreme caution and not socialize with them.
His good day is Monday and his ill-omened day is Wednesday. If he enters the presence of a ruler he would stand in front of him.
 
When the favour of the Moon is on the sign of Cancer in the third decade
 The wise Abu Mashar says: the ascendant of the natal born in this decade is the ascendant of the Prophet Joshua –peace be upon him. He will have a pleasant and brilliant complexion. His chest and his forehead will be flat and his lips thick. He will have lots of hair and will be phlegmatic. He will have a mark on his neck or on his face from a fire burn. He will be a man of tricks and plotting. He will obtain whatever he wants and will go on the pilgrimage to Mecca and will visit His Excellency the Prophet –peace be upon Him. He will be a sufferer and will just be unable to hold on to what comes to his hand. He will lead a long life and will suffer plenty of hardship from life’s circumstances though his end will be good. Wealth. Its house is Leo and the Sun. He will have only a little wealth in his early life, but the longer he lives the more it will increase. If he makes a loss he will struggle to recover it. Brothers and moving. Their house is Virgo and Mercury. He will not see much of an advantage from his brothers but his sisters will be good to him. Father and property. Their house is Libra and Venus. He will get a lot of advantage from his parents, however he will separate from them and will grow up with the milk of someone other than his mother. If he does get a large inheritance from them, it will not stay. The house he was born will be ruined and he will move into another house. Joy and children. Their house is Scorpio and Mars. Most of his children will be girls. He will have a son from a slave-girl and he will see a lot of advantage from him. Disease. Its house is Sagittarius and Jupiter. There is fear from phlegm and wetness. He should watch out for cold-wet food and throwing up every week will be entirely advantageous. Wives and partnerships. Their house is Capricorn and Saturn. He will take three wives and will see no good from the first and not much good from the others either. They will spend his wealth and not be grateful. Fear and death. Their house is Aquarius and Saturn. There is a great fear on the year of Aquarius and Saturn. The cause of his death will be chest pain and stomach colic. He should avoid cold things. Travels. Their house is Pisces and Jupiter. He will be keen on travel. If he travels in the direction of Mecca he will see a lot of good. Authority and deeds. Their house is Aries and Mars. He will be extremely keen to lead the way and he will be courageous next to the sultan. He will have a lot of things come his way but he will be better in the service of art. Expectations and felicity. Their house is Taurus and Venus. Whatever he wishes for he will obtain and he will reach felicity on account of a person of illustrious esteem. Enemies. Their house is Gemini and Mercury. He will have lots of enemies but will not take them into account. The Exalted God will make him victorious over them.
His good day is Monday and his ill-omened day is Wednesday. But God knows best.

Cancer is a rather naturalistic crab seen from above holding the gold crescent of the Moon, its planetary lord, aloft in its claws; the circle within the crescent includes a round, female face with a tiny mouth and lips, a dimple on her chin, arched eyebrows, small almond-shaped eyes, large nose and hair stretched tight. The division into three decades below Cancer includes Venus playing a slender flute or nayy, Mercury with the familiar scroll and a large ceramic inkpot on the ground and the Moon holding a large crescent.

Stefano Carboni
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Curatorial Assistant in Islamic Art
 (Fragment of the Book of Felicity commentary volume)
 


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