Often called lunar mansion,[a] a lunar station or lunar house is a segment of the ecliptic through which the Moon passes in its orbit around the Earth. The concept was used by several ancient cultures as part of their calendrical system.
Stations in different cultures
In general, though not always, the zodiac is divided into 27 or 28 segments relative to the vernal equinox point or the fixed stars – one for each day of the lunar month. (A sidereal month lasts about 27+1/3 days.) The Moon's position is charted with respect to those fixed segments. Since the Moon's position at any given stage will vary according to Earth's position in its own orbit, lunar stations are an effective system for keeping track of the passage of seasons.
Various cultures have used sets of lunar stations astrologically; for example, the Jyotisha astrological nakshatras of Hindu culture, the Arabic manzils (manazil al-qamar), the Twenty-Eight Mansions of Chinese astronomy, and the 36 decans of Egyptian astronomy. Western astrology does not use stations, but each zodiac sign covers two or three. The Chinese system groups houses into four groups related to the seasons.
The concept of lunar stations is thought to originate in Babylonian astronomy. Tester (1987) explains that they appear in Hellenistic astrology in the 2nd-century list of fixed stars in the Katarchai by Maximus[b] the Arabic lists by Alchandri and Haly Abenragel, and a similar Coptic list with Greek names.
Tester believes that though they were known in the Vedic period of India, all lists "seem to betray" transmission through Greek sources. Though pointing out that the Babylonians had well established lunar groupings by the 6th century BC, he also notes that the 28 station "scheme was derived via Egyptian magic by the linking of the lists of lucky and unlucky days of the lunar month with the hemerologies and with the zodiac."
Chinese 宿 xiù
The 28 Lunar Mansions, or more precisely lodgings (Chinese: 二十八宿; pinyin: èrshí bā xiù) are the Chinese and East Asian form of the lunar stations. They can be considered as the equivalent to the Western zodiac, although the 28 stations reflect the movement of the Moon through a sidereal month rather than the Sun in a tropical year. In their final form, they embodied the astral forms of the Four Symbols: two real and two legendary animals important in traditional Chinese culture, such as feng shui.
The nakshatras (or more precisely nákṣatra, lit. "stars") are the Indian form of lunar stations. They usually number 27 but sometimes 28 and their names are related to the most prominent constellations in each sector. According to the modern tradition they start from a point on the ecliptic precisely opposite the star Spica (Sanskrit: Chitrā) and develop eastwards but the oldest traditional method was to use the Vernal Equinox point as the starting point of Ashvini Nakshatra. In classical Hindu mythology, the creation of the nakshatras is attributed to Daksha. They were wives of Chandra, the moon god. The nakshatras of traditional bhartiya astronomy are based on a list of 28 asterisms found in the Atharvaveda (AVŚ 19.7) and also in the Shatapatha Brahmana. The first astronomical text that lists them is the Vedanga Jyotisha. The stations are important parts of Indian astrology.
In the traditional Arabic astrological system, the new moon was seen to move through 28 distinct manāzil (singular: manzil "house") during the normal solar year, each manzil lasting, therefore, for about 13 days. One or more manazil were then grouped into a nawaa (plural anwaa) which were tied to a given weather pattern. In other words, the yearly pattern was divided in the following manner: A year was divided into anwaa, each of which was made up of one more manazil, which were associated with a dominant star or constellation. These stars and constellations were sometimes, but not always, connected in some way to constellations in the Zodiac. Moreover, as the anwaa repeat on a regular, solar cycle, they can be correlated to fixed points on the Gregorian calendar.
The following table is a breakdown of the anwaa and their position on the Gregorian calendar.
Manzil Associated Nawaa Significant Stars/Constellations Zodiac Constellations Begins on Sharaṭān Al Thurayyā Sheratan in Aries -- 17 May Pleione Al Thurayyā Pleione in the Pleiades -- 31 May Al-Buṭayn Al Thurayyā Albatain in the Pleiades -- 13 June Al-Tuwaibe' Al Tuwaibe' Aldebaran -- 26 June Al-Haq‘ah Al Jawzaa/Gemini Haq‘ah in Orion Gemini 9 July Al-Han‘ah Al Jawzaa/Gemini Alhena in Gemini Gemini 22 July Murzim Murzim Canis Major -- 4 August An Nathra Kulaibain An Nathra -- 17 August Alterf Suhail Alterf in Leo Leo 30 August Dschuba Suhail Dschuba Scorpio 12 September Azzubra Suhail 25 September Assarfa Suhail 8 October Auva Al Wasm Auva Virgo 21 October Simak Al Wasm Spica -- 3 November Syrma Al Wasm -- 16 November Az Zubana Al Wasm Acuben Cancer 29 November Akleel "The Crown" Murabaania Corona Borealis -- 12 December Qalb al Akraab Murabaania Antares Scorpio 25 December Shaula Murabaania Shaula Scorpio 3 January Al Naam Ash Shabt Ascella and Nunki Sagittarius 16 January Al Baldaah Ash Shabt Pi Saggitari Sagittarius 29 January Saad Al Thabib The Three Saads Beta Capricorni Capricornus 11 February Saad Balaa The Three Saads Saad Balaa -- 26 February Saad Al Saud The Three Saads Saadalsud Aquarius 11 March Saad Al Akhbia Hameemain Sadachbia -- 24 March Almuqaddam Hameemain Almuqaddam -- 6 April Al Muakhar Al Tharaeen Pollux Gemini and Aquarius (in the Arab system) 19 April Alrescha Al Tharaeen Alrescha Gemini and Aquarius (in the Arab system) 2 May
The dates above are approximate; notice that there are 2 days missing from a solar year in the table above.
Lunar station - [Manazilu ʾl-Qamar منازل القمر] according to Islamic astronomical system (Arab sources) Station Period
(approx. by Arab sources)
of Zodiac Sign
(lit. "doer"/ "doer of the deed")
(The Angel ruling the Manazil and ḥurūf)
[Manazilu ʾl-Qamar منازل القمر]
Arabic alphabet [ḥurūf حروف] - Abjadī Order Position
Transliteration Letter Name Letter Name in
1st 5 April 0° 0' Aries Burju ʾl-Ḥamal
ʾAsh-Sharaṭayn / ʾAn-Naṭḥ
ﭐلْشَّرَطَيْن \ ﭐلْنّطح
ā / ’ (also ʾ ) alif ألف 1 أ 1
2nd 18 April 12° 51' Aries Burju ʾl-Ḥamal
b bāʾ باء 2 ب 2
3rd 1 May 25° 43' Aries Burju ʾl-Ḥamal
j (also ǧ, g) jīm جيم 3 ج 3
4th 14 May 8° 34' Taurus Burju ʾth-Thūr
d dāl دال 4 د 4
5th 27 May 21° 26' Taurus Burju ʾth-Thūr
h hāʾ هاء 5 ه 5
6th 9 June 4° 17' Gemini Burju ʾl-Jawzāʾ
w / ū wāw واو 6 و 6
7th 22 June 17° 9'Gemini Burju ʾl-Jawzāʾ
z zayn / zāy زاي 7 ز 7
8th 5 July 0° 0' Cancer Burju ʾs-Sarṭan
ḥ ḥāʾ حاء 8 ح 8
9th 18 July 12° 51' Cancer Burju ʾs-Sarṭan
ʾAṭ-Ṭarf / ʾAṭ-Ṭarfah
ﭐلْطَّرْف \ ﭐلْطَّرْفَة
ṭ ṭāʾ طاء 9 ط 9
10th 31 July 25° 43' Cancer Burju ʾs-Sarṭan
y , ī / ā , ỳ yāʾ / alif maqṣūrah ياء \ ألف مقصورة 10 ي \ ى 10
11th 14 Aug 8° 34' Leo Burju ʾl-ʾAsad
ʾAz-Zubrah / ʾAl-Kharātān
ﭐلْزُّبْرَة \ ﭐلْخرَاتَان
k kāf كاف 20 ك 11
12th 27 Aug 21° 26' Leo Burju ʾl-ʾAsad
l lām لام 30 ل 12
13th 9 September 4° 17' Virgo Burju ʾs-Sanabilah / Burju ʾs-Sunbulah
بُرْجُ ﭐلْسَّنَبِلَة \ بُرْجُ ﭐلْسُّنْبُلَة
m mīm ميم 40 م 13
14th 22 September 17° 9' Virgo Burju ʾs-Sanabilah / Burju ʾs-Sunbulah
بُرْجُ ﭐلْسَّنَبِلَة \ بُرْجُ ﭐلْسُّنْبُلَة
ʾAs-Simāk / ʾAs-Simāku ʾl-Aʿzil
ﭐلْسِّمَاك \ ﭐلْسِّمَاكُ ﭐلأَعْزِل
n nūn نون 50 ن 14
15th 5 October 0° 0' Libra Burju ʾl-Mīzān
s sīn سين 60 س 15
16th 18 October 12° 51' Libra Burju ʾl-Mīzān
‘ (also ʿ ) ayn عين 70 ع 16
17th 31 October 25° 43' Libra Burju ʾl-Mīzān
ʾAl-Iklīl / ʾAl-Iklīlu ʾl-Jab'hah
ﭐلْإِكْلِيل \ ﭐلْإِكْلِيلُ ﭐلْجَبْهَة
f fā فاء 80 ف 17
18th 13 November 8° 34' Scorpio Burju ʾl-ʿAqrab
ʾAhjamāʾīl* / ʾUhjamāʾīl*
ṣ ṣād صاد 90 ص 18
19th 26 November 21° 26' Scorpio Burju ʾl-ʿAqrab
ʿAṭrāʾīl* / ʿUṭrāʾīl*
q qāf قاف 100 ق 19
20th 9 December 4° 17' Sagittarius Burju ʾl-Qaws
ʾAmwākīl* / ʾUmwākīl*
r rāʾ راء 200 ر 20
21st 22 December 17° 9' Sagittarius Burju ʾl-Qaws
sh (also š) shīn شين 300 ش 21
22nd 4 January 0° 0' Capricorn Burju ʾl-Jiddỳ' / Burju ʾl-Jiddī
بُرْجُ ﭐلْجِدِّی \ بُرْجُ ﭐلْجِدِّي
Saʿdu ʾdh-Dhābiḥ / ʾAdh-Dhābiḥ
سَعْدُ ﭐلْذَّابِح \ ﭐلْذَّابِح
t tāʾ تاء 400 ت 22
23rd 17 January 12° 51'Capricorn Burju ʾl-Jiddỳ' / Burju ʾl-Jiddī
بُرْجُ ﭐلْجِدِّی \ بُرْجُ ﭐلْجِدِّي
Saʿdu ʾl-Bulʿa / ʾAl-Bulʿa
سَعْدُ ﭐلْبُلْعَ \ ﭐلْبُلْعَ
th (also ṯ) thāʾ ثاء 500 ث 23
24th 30 January 25° 43' Capricorn Burju ʾl-Jiddỳ' / Burju ʾl-Jiddī
بُرْجُ ﭐلْجِدِّی \ بُرْجُ ﭐلْجِدِّي
Saʿdu ʾs-Suʿud / ʾAs-Suʿud
سَعْدُ ﭐلْسُّعُود \ ﭐلْسُّعُود
kh (also ḫ, ḵ) khāʾ خاء 600 خ 24
25th 12 February 8° 34' Aquarius Burju ʾd-Dalū
ʾAhrāfīl* / ʾUhrāfīl*
Saʿdu ʾl-ʾAkhbiyyah / ʾAl-ʾAkhbiyyah
سَعْدُ ﭐلْأَخْبِيَّه \ ﭐلْأَخْبِيَّه
dh (also ḏ) dhāl ذال 700 ذ 25
26th 25 February 21° 26' Aquarius Burju ʾd-Dalū
ʿAṭkāʾīl* / ʿUṭkāʾīl*
Farghu ʾd-Dalū ʾl-Muqdim / ʾAl-Muqdim
فَرْغُ ﭐلْدَّلُو ﭐلْمُقْدِم \ ﭐلْمُقْدِم
ḍ ḍād ضاد 800 ض 26
27th 10 March 4° 17' Pisces Burju ʾl-Ḥūt
Farghu ʾd-Dalū ʾl-Muʾkhar / ʾAl-Muʾkhar
فَرْغُ ﭐلْدَّلُو ﭐلْمُؤْخَر \ ﭐلْمُؤْخَر
ẓ ẓāʾ ظاء 900 ظ 27
28th 23 March 17° 9' Pisces Burju ʾl-Ḥūt
ʾAr-Rashāʾ / Buṭnu ʾl-Ḥūt
ﭐلْرَّشَاء \ بَطْنُ ﭐلْحُوت
gh (also ġ, ḡ) ghayn غين 1000 غ 28
Also, the following letters has no alphabetical value in numerology of the Abjad system known as "Ilm ul-ʾAdad".
|Arabic alphabet [ḥurūf حروف] - Abjadī Order|
|Transliteration||Letter Name||Letter Name in
|’ (also ʾ / ʔ)||hamzah||همزة||0||ء|
|ah or at / ah / aẗ||tāʼ marbūṭah||تاء مربوطة||0||ة|
Notes of the table above in accordance to strict traditional Arab Islamic astronomy and theology:
(1) the Arabic alphabet resonates the alphabetical value in numerology of the Abjad system known as "Ilm ul-ʾAdad".
(2) the ʿAmal (Islamic view of angels, equivalent to rank of the "Watcher" or "Guardian Angel") is the Angel that rules the corresponding Arabic alphabet (rhythm of the alphabet in numerology of the Abjad system), manazilu-l-qamar (lunar houses) and constellations (i.e. zodiac signs). Generally speaking, the four Archangels in Islam ace Jibrāʼīl, Mīkāʼīl, ʼIsrāfīl and Malaku-l-Maut (ʿAzrāʼīl).
(3) the alphabetical orders follows the sequence of the original abjadī order (أَبْجَدِي), used for lettering, derives from the order of the Phoenician alphabet, and is therefore similar to the order of other Phoenician-derived alphabets, such as the Hebrew alphabet. In this order, letters are also used as numbers, Abjad numerals, and possess the same alphanumeric code/cipher as Hebrew gematria and Greek isopsephy.
(4) those angel name with an "asterisk" needs source citation upon Arabic transliteration but the given is the closest pronunciation based upon uttering the consonants.
A few of the numerical values are different in the alternative Abjad order. For four Persian letters these values are used:
Transliteration Letter Name Letter Name in Persian Letter Value Letter
p pe [Voiceless bilabial stop p] په 2 پ č / ch če / che [Voiceless palato-alveolar affricate t͡ʃ] چه 3 چ ž / zh že / zhe [Voiced palato-alveolar sibilant ʒ] ژه 7 ژ g gāf [Voiced velar stop ɡ] گاف 20 گ
- The use of the English word “mansion”, though customary, is an overly literal translation of the Latin mansio, which means simply a stopover, a way station, even roadside lodging, but without any grandiose connotation.
- This Maximus is the poet and astrologer; not to be confounded with Maximus of Tyre.
Weinstock, S. (1949). "Lunar mansions and early calendars". Journal of Hellenic Studies. LXIX: cf;
also CCAG IX.1 138 ff.[full citation needed]
- Yampolsky, Philip (1950). "The origin of the twenty-eight lunar mansions". Osiris. IX: 62–83. doi:10.1086/368524. S2CID 144119166.
- Svenberg, I.E. (1963). "Lunaria et zodiologia latina". Studia Graeca et Latina Gothoburgensia. Goteburg.
- Tester, Jim (1987). A History of Western Astrology. Boydell and Brewer. p. 82.
- O'Neil, William Matthew (1976). Time and the Calendars. Manchester University Press. p. 53. ISBN 0-7190-0642-2.
- Hassan, Izzat (2006). Al Azmana wa al Anwaa. Morocco: Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Printing Press. ISBN 9954-0-5074-4.
- "The Lunar Mansions". constellationsofwords.com. The fixed stars and constellations in astrology.
- "W.B. Yeats and "A Vision": The Arab mansions of the moon". yeatsvision.com.