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Lilly's Table for Calculating Antiscions of the Planets

William Lilly
William Lilly

The Antiscion (pl. Antiscia; Antiscions) of any given planet is a point equal in distance on the opposite side of the solsticial axis to the planet's position, effectively the "shadow" of a planet. Once held to be a powerful fortitude equivalent to sextile or trine, this is rarely considered by modern astrologers, perhaps because it is a geometrical abstraction, rather than a real rock. However, the current interest in ancient and mediæval astrology has inclined some of us to take another look at what had been previously dismissed as obsolete techniques. One sometimes finds that there seems to be no pertinent modern astrological explanation for certain events, so perhaps we should take a more serious look at what the ancients had to say.

The midpoint of a planet's position and its antiscion is always the point of the solstice (1° Cancer – 1° Capricorn). For example, when the Sun is in the tenth degree of Taurus, this is as far distant from the first degree of Cancer as it would be if placed in the twentieth degree of Leo, its antiscion. The antiscion thus energises any planet in that degree, or which casts an aspect to that degree, so planets which are otherwise not in normal aspect can have an important relationship via the antiscion.

In order to calculate the sign in which the antiscion of a given planet lies, consult this table. For example, if we are seeking the antiscion of Mars in Gemini, it will be found in Cancer. In the case of Saturn in Virgo, its antiscion would be in Aries. And so on with any planet.


Table of the Antiscion Relationship of Signs

GEMINI Gemini Cancer CANCER

LEO Leo Taurus TAURUS

VIRGO Virgo Aries ARIES

LIBRA Libra Pisces PISCES

SCORPIO Scorpio Aquarius AQUARIUS

SAGITTARIUS Sagittarius Capricorn CAPRICORN

The degree and minute of an antiscion can then be calculated using the following table. I have reproduced Lilly's explanation of the table, with spelling and grammar modernised for clarity.

If you would like to know the exact degrees and minutes, you must work as follows.

If Saturn is located at 20 degrees and 35 minutes of Leo, where in the Zodiac will I find Saturn's Antiscion?
Looking across from Leo in the first table I find Taurus, which means Saturn's Antiscion is in Taurus. Subtracting Saturn's degree and minute from 30 degrees, the remainder gives both the degree and minute of the Antiscion.

Now Saturn being 20 degrees and 35 minutes of Leo, I subtract that from the 30 degrees of the whole sign to get the position of the Antiscion.
  Deg. Min.
From  30° 00'
Subtract  20° 35'
Leaving   09° 25'

I subtracted 35 minutes from one whole degree (i.e. 60 minutes) which I borrowed, leaving 25 minutes. In the next column I paid back the borrowed 1 degree, and subtracted that from 10, leaving 9 degrees. Lastly, the 1 that I borrowed plus 2 make 3, taken from 3, leaves 0, so then I find the Antiscion of Saturn to be in 9 degrees & 25 minutes of Taurus, which as you see is over against Leo. The following Table allows an even quicker calculation.

Antiscion in Degrees   Antiscion of the Planets in Minutes
1   29     1   59   16   44
2   28     2   58   17   43
3   27     3   57   18   42
4   26     4   56   19   41
5   25     5   55   20   40
6   24     6   54   21   39
7   23     7   53   22   38
8   22     8   52   23   37
9   21     9   51   24   36
10   20     10   50   25   35
11   19     11   49   26   34
12   18     12   48   27   33
13   17     13   47   28   32
14   16     14   46   29   31
15   15     15   45   30   30

It is easy to use if you enter the whole degrees of the planet in the first two columns. Should Mars be placed in the 14th degree of a Sign, look for 14 in the first column; the next column over against it is 16, so in that degree lies his Antiscion. [Bear in mind that Lilly uses the system of degrees beginning at 1, rather than 0, so 00° 17' is described as being in the 1st degree; 13° 17' is described as being in the 14th degree, etc. This can cause confusion, but is straightforward enough when you get the hang of it.]

If you have minutes, enter them in the last four columns. If you enter 17 minutes in the first column, over against it you find 43. Or first look to the Sign where the Antiscion falls, then subtract the number of degrees and minutes the planet is in from 30. What remains is the degree and minute of the Antiscion.

Contra-Antiscions

Just as there are Antiscions, which we think are equal to a sextile or trine, so are there Contra-Antiscions, which we find to be of the nature of a square or opposition. To find the Contra-Antiscion, find the sign and degree of the Antiscion, and then in the sign and degree opposite that place is the Contra-Antiscion. If, as in the former examples, the Antiscion of Saturn is in 9 degrees and 25 minutes of Taurus, his Contra-Antiscion must then be in 9 degrees and 25 minutes of Scorpio.

Table of the Antiscion & Contra-Antiscion Relationship of Signs

ARIES Aries Libra LIBRA

TAURUS Taurus Scorpio SCORPIO

GEMINI Gemini Sagittarius SAGITTARIUS

CANCER Cancer Capricorn CAPRICORN

LEO Leo Aquarius AQUARIUS

VIRGO Virgo Pisces PISCES

It will be interesting to see if traditional techniques such as antiscion and contra-antiscion, along with even more abstruse Hellenistic methods, achieve greater popularity as the work of antiquarians such as Robert Schmidt and Robert Hand come further into the public eye—or at least the eye of modern astrologers. Using these techniques requires a restructuring of the typical modern worldview away from the concrete, psychological and materialistic modes of thought and a return to the symbolic, geometrical and numerological approach of more wholistically minded times. So far, I have found antiscion and contra-antiscion contacts to be very revealing in synastry relationship analysis, but more research is needed before we can call that a major principle. Perhaps it will remain very much a minority interest, but time will tell.

Here endeth the lesson.


See also our traditionalTable for Calculating Planetary Values
For values of Pars Fortunæ, seeTable to Calculate Value of Part of Fortune
For further info, please see also ourPtolemy's Table of Essential Dignities & Debilities
For a very clear explanation, see Deborah Houlding's The Classical Basis of Antiscia & Contra-antiscia

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This page was last modified on Saturday, 5 November 2016