Physical-Medical Treatise on the Influence of the Planets by Franz Mesmer
There are people who will frown upon me and from whom I will incur reproach when they read the title of this small thesis. They will see that a man like myself, though without importance, is undertaking, after so many efforts of the distinguished Mead,’ to insist on the influence of the stars, a doctrine rejected a long time ago by the action of the scientific leaders of the medical profession. Moreover, I am soliciting doctors anew in order that they study this doctrine and give it their support. In order to minimize at the outset the opposition arising in the minds of such scientists, I emphasize that I do not wish to defend the theory regarding the influence of the stars which was formerly defended by the astrologers, who boast powers to predict events to come and to know the destiny of men and at the same time swindle them of the contents of their purses thanks to a skill filled with deceit. My purpose is solely to demonstrate that the celestial bodies act on our earth. Furthermore, that all things which are here act upon these celestial bodies in turn; that these move, act, and that all parts are changing, and that our human bodies are equally submitted to the same dynamic action. If I can demonstrate and prove by the following treatise that the stars have an influence upon us, it will not only deserve the attention and interest of doctors, but will demand it. To those who concern themselves with the question of knowing from the start if I have succeeded to the goal I have proposed, I rely on the judgment of those who do not allow themselves to be carried away by preconceived ancient opinions in forming their own. I rely on those who do not yield too much to those of a certain authority.
I rely on those who place themselves in good faith and whose intelligence is led by love of glorious truth. For those who read the works of others with the intention of finding fault therein, who search, as one says, for a “reed in the swamp, are deserving of blame.
Were these reflections of ours looked into by someone with more free time than myself and a natural bent for it, he might take the matter in hand so as to advance and amplify upon these ideas. The most important rational and methodical manner of treatment lies wherein such a person could demonstrate concisely the origins of the influence of the stars on disease, because such would be most useful and desirable.
As far as I myself am concerned, I will work, by means of experiment and continuous observations, within the measure of my meager forces, to advance this discipline and know it more fully so that all of medical science can profit from it!
If my attempt does not, in the long run, produce all that it promises, at least honorable and well instructed men shall praise the good will which I have demonstrated. In case God would favor my efforts, I would then have in front of me, drawn from my work and labor, a truly immense and inestimable profit.
On the Influence of the Planets
Throughout the ages, mortals, conforming to the teaching of their ongoing observations, have held the influence of the planets in great esteem. The dominant role of the planets was revealed in agriculture, navigation, and medicine more so than in other disciplines. This prevailed up to the time when astrologers appeared who began to corrupt and deform this truth in a very unbecoming manner by their arrogant and innumerable lies.
Recent philosophers, commendably occupied with extirpating the prejudice of the ancients, ended up by eradicating the superstitions of the astrologers so completely to the last trace, that the latter have little more in the way of support than do demented old women who arise from rabble and are of foul character.
During this epoch the great Newton arose. He searched the true laws of nature with the aid of geometry, forced to our consciousness the structure of the world itself, and established the laws of attraction, by which the machinery of the universe is governed. Although traces of the understanding of attraction are met with among the most distinguished men of almost all ages, one can nevertheless grant Newton the greatest praise. He clarified to the highest degree the reciprocal attraction of all things. He destroyed, by innumerable experiments and observations, the last doubts of the scholars of the same rank as himself because he fortunately applied the same law of attraction to the exploration of celestial phenomena. Let us see to what extent this system can be accommodated to our views, and be made to conform to reason and experiment.
All bodies are mutually attractive or extend towards one another by means of a force, which goes from individual particles of matter to all other individual particles. The force by which one body has an effect on the others is accomplished by the union of the forces of the particles which compose the body. Consequently, this force increases in the same proportion as would take place with an increase in the quantity of matter, and it is constantly present in all particles and never varies quantitatively when the bodies do not vary in distance. But when the distance increases, the force decreases exactly to an extent, which is square to the increased distance. One calls this reciprocal action GRAVITY or ATTRACTION, and one considers it as a universal and infallible law of nature which is expressed in this triple proposition: (1) All matter is mutually attractive. (2) This attraction is proportional to the quantity of matter. (3) At varying distances, it changes in proportion to the square of the distance. It is necessary to prove by observation of nature’s phenomena that this gravity assumes a role in our planetary system.
The planets, once projected at varying distances proportional to the mass and the impetus of the initial projection [impetus primae projectionis], turn around a center of gravity common to all the bodies which compose the system; that center of gravity is little removed from the sun itself, because of the enormous magnitude of the sun which greatly surpasses that of the other celestial bodies. In their movements, they trace elliptical lines. The orbits of all the principal planets are thus disposed so that one of the two foci coincides with the center of the sun; because of this placement it results that the planet, in all its revolutions, sometimes approaches, sometimes moves away from the sun. The distance to the center of the figure of the ellipse varies and depends on the swiftness and direction of the initial projection; the eccentricity is greatest with the farthest planets, and least with those near the sun. A planet does not travel with equal swiftness in all parts of its orbit; it moves more rapidly as it is least removed from the sun. The times during which various arcs of an orbit are crossed are related by the same quotient as are the areas determined by the lines which stretch (from the points limiting each arc) towards the center of the sun; and the squares of the times of their periodic orbits present between them the same proportions as do the cubes of their maximum diameters. These laws of celestial movements were discovered for the first time by the very wise Kepler and were confirmed by the observations of later astronomers.
Mathematicians demonstrated that these phenomena of movement belong to all bodies, which move around another body, and that these are held in their orbit by the force, which has its seat in the focus [of the ellipse]. These truths are so clear for the mathematicians that they can be deduced reciprocally, one from the other. In each body which moves in a curve, it is necessary to consider two forces which continually act on the body: by one of them the body is brought backward following a tangent, and by the other it is pushed toward a central point; the curvilinear movement results from these forces acting simultaneously. Thus is the force determined by which the planets are brought towards the sun, but since there is always a similar and opposing reaction to the action, it is necessary that the sun be equally drawn by the planets, and this according to the rapport which exists between their masses and that of the sun; consequently, the sun is subjected to a quasiantagonist force and it is agitated by a small movement while the planets trace their orbits. Now this agitation of the sun has been confirmed by observation.
Since the secondary planets [satellites] turn around the sun with common movement and at the same time as do the primary planets, it is evident that the same force by which the latter are brought towards the sun also attracts the former towards the sun.
The irregularities in the trajectories of the satellites-very perceptible irregularities in the case of the moon-confirm this.
The mutual influence of the primary planets is especially established by the fact that they disturb one another considerably in their journey. Astronomers have observed that Saturn deviates somewhat from its path when this planet approaches Jupiter, which is the largest of the planets; therefore the mutual attraction between Jupiter and Saturn has been established by direct observation. The precise details of the perturbations caused by the above cited laws of attraction can, in fact, be deduced by means of a long and laborious calculation. By the action of Jupiter upon Saturn, its movement of approach towards the sun increases by 1/222. By the action of Saturn on Jupiter, its gravitation towards the sun diminishes by 1/2703. By the action of Jupiter, the gravitation of Mars towards the sun diminishes by 1/12,512 when this star [Jupiter] maximally approaches Mars. Besides, it follows from the mutual action of the planets that their elliptic trajectories are modified very slowly and that their axes orient themselves successively towards changing directions; these axes would be immobile if the planets were drawn solely towards the sun. Saturn, according to the observations of Flamstead, disturbs the movement of Jupiter’s satellites in drawing them a little towards itself; this fact proves that these secondary bodies gravitate towards Saturn and that Saturn gravitates towards them.
It is obvious, from what has been related so far, that the seventeen bodies, which compose the planetary system, are drawn to each other mutually. It is also known, following certain observations that the movements of the comets depend upon the law of gravitation. Hence, it is gravitation, which diverts them from a direct trajectory. However, the curvature of the path depends on the same gravitation. From this it follows that the body whose movement is determined by this gravitation traces an ellipse, a parabola, or a hyperbola, at the focus of which is found the sun.
Computations concerning the moon lie outside the scope of this work, but I believe it is necessary to expound briefly upon the phenomena of mutual gravitation, which occur between the earth and the moon, and the sun. By this means we shall comprehend more easily the overall efficacy of these gravitational forces in order to achieve a more precise comprehension of their influences. Moreover, since the irregularities to which the moon is subjected are entirely like those, which disturb other planets and have the same cause, it is licit to apply all things said of the moon also to the planets.
The moon moves around the earth in an ellipse, one of the foci of which is occupied by the center of the earth. The average (median) distance from the center of the earth to the moon is 60 1/2 earth radii. The time of its revolution around the earth is approximately 27 days, 7 hours, and 43 minutes, and in exactly the same period it turns one time around its own axis.
The eccentricity of the orbit undergoes several changes in successive revolutions; it increases when the moon is in conjunction or opposition with the sun (syzygy), and diminishes when it is in guadrature (90° away from the sun); the eccentricity is at its maximum when the straight line determined by the apsides is in syzygy. The perturbing force in syzygy is actually two times greater than that which is manifested in guadrature; the average eccentricity is 3 1/3 earth radii.
The plane of the orbit forms an angle of about 5° with the plane of the ecliptic. But this inclination is not constant; when the nodes come to find themselves in syzygy, the inclination is the smallest, and in guadrature it is the greatest. Moreover, in the course of movement of the moon around the earth, the line determined by the apsides and that determined by the nodes are not displaced in a similar manner, but the former is displaced in an anterograde direction, the latter in a retrograde direction; the first makes a revolution in almost nine years, and the second in approximately nineteen years. All the irregularities in the movement of the moon, which we have verified, are a little greater in conjunction than in opposition.
Consequently, when the movement of the moon is considered in its entirety, one can verify that the gravitation of the moon towards the earth diminishes at the approaching of the sun. When the moon is less attracted by the earth, it withdraws more from it [the earth] than it would withdraw if such a decrease of gravitation were not taking place; consequently, the distance of the moon and also the time of its revolution increase in this case, and this time is maximum, all other things being equal, when the distance between the moon and the earth is at its maximum, the earth turning in its perihelion, that is to say the closest to the sun.
After this examination of the phenomena of movement resulting from the attraction of the moon, we can perceive what changes in the surface of the earth spring from the same cause.
The earth and all the bodies at its surface gravitate towards the moon. By this force the earth is retained, in its orbit, around the center of gravity which it has in common with the moon. Consequently, the aqueous particles located on this surface, which strain to be displaced towards the center of the earth, or towards a point in the vicinity of this center, are also attracted towards the moon and lose a part of their weight. Hence, adhering less to the rest of the earth’s mass, the aqueous particles are, by this force of attraction, drawn away from the center of the earth and raised toward the moon to reestablish an equilibrium with the remaining masses. Thus the water acquires, thanks to the lunar action, the shape of an oval spheroid in revolution around a great axis, which, if it were prolonged, would pass through the moon. It is thus clear that the water is raised more in the meridian which intersects [the aforesaid axis] and in the opposite meridian than in the intermediate places. Because of the movement [of the earth] around its axis, all places cross the lunar meridian and the opposite meridian each lunar day, meaning that they twice cross the zones where the water is raised by the action of the moon, and twice those [places] where, by the same action, it [the water] is lowered, and thus the sea is everywhere raised and lowered two times each lunar day.
Because of these facts, demonstrated in regard to the relations between the earth and the moon, one can infer the existence of analogous facts concerning the relations between the earth and the sun; similarly the sea is raised and lowered two times each natural day. This agitation is much less strong, because of the immense distance, than that which depends on the moon, but it is subject to the same laws, and the sea is raised conjointly ten feet by the action of the moon and two feet by the sun.
The movements caused by the sun and the moon are not distinct but mingled, and it is because of this action that the lunar flux changes so much. This variation changes each day because of the inequality between the natural day and the lunar day. The lunar day exceeds the natural day by 51 minutes.
In syzygy the water is raised by the convergent actions of the two luminaries; it is, consequently, more elevated. In guadrature, the sea rises less since the water, when it is elevated by the action of the moon, is lowered in the same place by the sun, and vice versa. Therefore, while the moon goes from syzygy to guadrature, the daily elevations of water decrease, day by day; but they increase during the movement of the moon from quadrature to syzygy. In the new moon, other things being equal, the displacements are greater than in the full moon.
If we examine the luminaries as they leave the plane of the equator, we see that the movement [of water] diminishes; and that the minimum movement concurs with the greatest declination of the luminaries. This fact becomes evident if we envision the case where these would be at the poles; then the axis from the shape of the spheroid would coincide with the earth’s axis, and all parallel sections up to the equator would be perpendicular in comparison with the axis of the spheroid and, consequently, circular. When this occurs, the water in each latitudinal circle has the same elevation everywhere, provided that this water is not being subjected, to variations by the movement of the earth in these particular places. If the luminaries withdraw from the pole, we see easily that the agitation [of water] progressively increases, until it is at the maximum, the spheroid having turned around on its axis in a perpendicular, which finds itself then in the plane of the equator.
It is clear why in syzygy, near the equinoxes, one observes the greatest tides when the two luminaries approach the equator, where they are [during the equinox]. The actions of the moon and the sun are greater as their bodies are less distant from the earth. Hence, when the sun is at a relatively small distance, which occurs when the sun exists in the signs of the south, one often observes a maximum elevation of both equinoctal tides, namely before the Spring equinox and after the Fall equinox. This fact, however, does not hold true every year, because a variation can be caused by the position of the lunar orbit and by the interval between the syzygy and the equinox.
Since these facts are established, one can most easily apply this more general doctrine to the atmosphere. Having determined the proportion of air to water, which is about 1 to 1,000, we have learned that at the time of the high tide, the atmosphere becomes about ten or twelve times higher. All the phenomena converge to prove that the ebb and flow take place in the air in the same manner as in water. It is an established observation, that the atmosphere is maximally activated during the equinoxes of Spring and Autumn. We also know that the air, whereas it is calm at any other hour, is often more or less agitated by the force of the winds at noon and midnight. It is evident that the same effect occurs when the tide rises to its maximum; this happens when the moon is situated at the zenith or at the opposite place. Everybody notices that the new and full moons produce storms, and, at that time, winds suddenly appear. Such are the effects, which have no other cause than the gravitation of the moon and the sun on the earth; and, since this gravitation is not, as we have said, very different from the force which governs the relations between all the other heavenly bodies, one can suppose that the action of the stars on the earth is no less important.
In every era, it has been stated that the most momentous events of nature occur near the equinoxes; they are the most heightened in intensity when new or full moons, eclipses, and conjunctions of planets or comets coincide with the equinoxes. These phenomena have caused great revolutions and have stirred up emotions on earth. Pliny pointed out the occurrence of annual earthquakes in the Spring and Autumn, and recent scientists have confirmed the reality of this phenomenon with completely reliable observations. The famous volcano of Ternate erupts regularly in the months of April and September. Baglivi observed the greatest earthquakes of his time precisely at the moment of the most remarkable conjunctions of the planets. The fury of typhoons at the time of full and new moons terrifies sailors. A considerable number of observations show that the sudden appearances of comets announce terrible phenomena of nature: violent eruptions of volcanoes, disastrous earthquakes, floods, and plagues.
When we realize that all of these things occur in this manner, it becomes evident that there is almost no change which happens in the heavenly bodies without its influencing the fluids and solids of our earth in agreement. Then, who would deny that the animal machine would, in these circumstances, be agitated to a certain degree by the same causes? The animal is a part of the earth and is composed of fluids and solids, and when the proportion and the equilibrium of these fluids and solids are modified to a certain degree, very perceptible effects will occur from this. Physico-chemical variations of air, the element in which we live, disturb the harmony of the physical body. Who does not know that the air-hot, cold, dry, humid, in motion, stagnant, rendered foul by various particles affects all living beings? If the moon can make us be engulfed by an atmosphere raised ten times higher, if it can bring together, from diverse regions, vapors which are scattered over all the horizon and heap them on our necks, if it can then be the cause of winds, heat, cold, clouds, fog, storms, who, I ask, does not clearly see that this star dominates us?
Who would not believe that the effects of aerial turbulence depend directly upon changes in air pressure? For a great massive column of air rises tip and is held by the moon’s attraction; it is held tip so that it is hindered from extending any of its effected mass into adjacent areas. Also, according to the observations of Ramazzini, the barometer does not respond to the elevation of the atmosphere. [But it appears possible] that it [the elevation of the atmosphere] has at times produced the aforementioned atmospheric phenomena: [winds, heat, etc..]. This influence of the moon is so evident that it would seem superfluous to illustrate it any further.
There is, in addition, another kind of influence which acts upon the animal body, an influence which does not seem to depend upon these usual properties of the atmosphere, but rather depends directly on that force which, being prevalent in the vast spaces of the skies, affects the most interior portions of each material body, retains the enormous spheres in their orbits and deviates and disturbs them from their straight-line movement. There is a force which is the cause of universal gravitation and which is, very probably, the foundation of all corporal properties; a force which actually strains, relaxes and agitates the cohesion, elasticity, irritability, magnetism, and electricity in the smallest fluid and solid particles of our machine, a force which can, in this report, be called ANIMAL GRAVITY. Who would not know that the most important changes of states are produced in our body by means of substances, which, because of their subtlety, we hesitate to call “matter”? Let us take, for example, luminous matter; everyone knows it is likely to produce changes in the animal body. In the animal machine, the part of the nervous system which is exposed to the emanating impressions of luminous matter is small, but it is sufficient to move the entire body and produce astonishing changes in the mind and the body. We know of that modification of the air, which solely affects the nerves belonging to the hearing organ, but is capable of disturbing the entire animal’s constitution; of savory and odoriferous matter we could say the same thing. If, in these circumstances, we affirm the certainty of the existence of a certain power which, being instilled into all parts of the body, affects simultaneously the entire nervous system, the sensoriLim, and even the nervous fluid, we wonder who could be surprised by the eventuality of a generalized disorder of the entire organism, provoked by all these alterations?
When we have taken all of these things into consideration, the paradox will seem less if we assert that a tide takes place also in the human body, thanks to the same forces which cause the expansion of the sea and also the atmosphere, and that our humors are agitated in diverse ways in their ducts [vessels], being perturbed, raised and carried more copiously towards the head. In plants, there is a very obvious ascension of the sap at the time of the full moon.
These things coincide with what we have been taught by various cases of sickness. The symptoms of epileptics tend to reappear at the new moon and especially at the full moon, resulting in their being called lunatics [lunaticus] here and there. Galien says, “the moon governs the cycles of epileptics.”” Some sailors at St. Thomas Hospital in London have marked the new and full moons by their epileptic attacks.’
A young girl, according to Bartholin,d had a face which suffered from acne which changed with various phases of the moon. A curious case published by Kerkring is worth mentioning; that of a French woman endowed with a very pretty fat-cheeked face during full moon, but whose eyes, nose, and mouth would turn to one side during the decreasing of the moon. She was then turned so ugly that she could not go out into the world until the full moon returned and she regained the beauty of her face.
As noted by Pitcairn,f hysterical and hypochondriac sickness have been shown many times to have cycles.
Doctors have more than once observed cyclic vertigo, paralysis, and tremor. Piso also reported some cases of this kind.
Even a common person knows that the madness-es of maniacs return in accordance with the revolution of the moon. The ancients affirmed that women’s menstrual cycles are started by the moon, and these purgations recur without doubt in all women in accordance with the same law if they are not interfered with by various causes which, in most cases, oppose the forces of this star, such as nourishment, lifestyle, the infinite differences of temperament, and indefinable forces and influences; it happens that in the regions closest to the equator, where the lunar action is the most powerful, as we have indicated above, the menstrual cycle flows more abundantly, but it diminishes gradually as one approaches the poles.
Periodic hemorrhages in men happen from the same cause [the lunar cycle]; Musgrove noted the case of a young man who had bleeding spurts for a year and a half, and this disorder always reappeared at the new moon; he also reported the case of a man whose left thumb always bled at the full moon.
A certain Irish innkeeper suffered from hemorrhages from the age of 43 until the age of 55, losing nearly four Roman pounds [libra] from his right thumb. The hemorrhages returned almost every month; this disorder had begun at the full moon following the equinox of Spring.
The unshaken experiments of Sanctorius must not be passed over silently: he discovered that the bodies of men, healthy and nourished in. accordance with a very moderate diet, increase in weight during the month, gaining one or two pounds; but towards the end of the month, they return to their customary weight in the same way as do women after a [menstrual] attack, however secreting urine [instead of blood] a little more copiously or erratically.’ Certain ulcers evolve in accordance with the law of the tide of moods: Baglivi mentions a certain man afflicted with a fistula of the colon which usually ejected an enormous quantity of excrement while the moon increased, but this quantity decreased regularly when the moon decreased; the famous Mead k adds to this the history of an adolescent who had contracted an ulcer from venereal disease which exuded ichor at all full moons; the flow disappeared at the end of a week, but at the next full moon it always began again spontaneously.
Tulp noticed that renal pains increase and decrease during lunar intervals.’ Van Helmont and Ployer observed that difficulties of respiration often have a monthly progressive rhythm. Galien attributed the periodic nature of acute sicknesses to the power of the moon, by virtue of which the sick person is often cured on the seventh or fourteenth or the twenty-first day.
The epidemic conditions, which have occurred over the years, should also enter into our discussion. Epidemics, according to the observations of the ingenious Sydenham, do not have the same cause as do other fevers;’ he observed years which resembled one another as to the temperateness of the air, but each one was infested by a multitude of very different sicknesses, and vice versa. There exist various conditions which owe their birth neither to heat nor cold, neither to dryness nor to humidity: they depend rather upon some secret and inexplicable alteration occurring in the entrails of the earth, emanating substances from which the atmosphere is contaminated and which predispose the human body to one sickness or .to another, there [in the body] to be started [the sickness]; this lasts as long as the condition mentioned above dominates, which, after a period of a few years, ends by disappearing and by making room for another.
These things are illustrated further by a work of the famous Ramazzini on petechial fever, which is truly a pestilential disease, which raged in the city and province of Modene. “It was worthy to observe,” he said, “that this fever raged after the full moon and even more so during the dark quarter, but at the new moon it decreased; my observation was consistent with those of other professors and contributed much to the diagnosis and treatment of this fever.” Elsewhere he said: “The events of the 21st of January, 1693, were remarkable; during a lunar eclipse most of the sick people died, moreover, there were some sick who died suddenly at the same time as there was the greatest disturbance of the moon.”
The following case of Bellonius is very characteristic. He said: “While certain doctors from Paris determined the health of a woman of rank, an eclipse of the sun began. They left the sick woman to see the sky, since they weren’t expecting anything bad. But someone called them back to her, for she had fainted just at the moment when the sun was eclipsed. And all were surprised that she only regained consciousness when the light had regained its luminosity.” It is no less worthy to recall that Bacon de Verulam fainted each time that the moon was eclipsed, and he did not regain consciousness until the luminosity of the star was reestablished.
We have discovered that the plague (a sickness the nature and development of which was diligently described by Diemerbroek when it [the plague] raged at Nimegue in 1636) is influenced by the lunar force; he [Diemerbroek] reported that the plague is always worsened at the time of the new and full moon and that nearly all the sick died.
There they are-the examples which we have been able to extract from the writing of past authors; examples which argue in favor of the power of the moon and the sun on men. These examples would have been truly innumerable had not doctors long since rejected, by virtue of too hasty reasoning, this truth which surpasses in importance (if we envision it with justice) many other accredited truths like certain ones found in physics and in medicine. Although we could not illustrate the action of the planets with clinical cases, at the least one may infer that the changes in our bodies are not any less significant. To those capable of understanding the highest degree of reasoning, one can say that the actions of the moon, earth, and the sun are analogous to those actions of other bodies through absolutely the same agencies, and change by means of the same activities.
One must not think that the influence of the stars on us only has to do with diseases. The harmony established between the astral plane and the human plane ought to be admired as much as the ineffable effect of UNIVERSAL GRAVITATION by which our bodies are harmonized, not in a uniform and monotonous manner, but as with a musical instrument furnished with several strings, the exact tone resonates which is in unison with a given tone. Likewise, human bodies react to stellar configurations with which they are joined by a given harmony. This reaction is also determined with consideration given to the sex, age, temperament, and various other characteristics, etc.
Thus, with the facts constituted as they are, how few will be those doctors who will not know with unshakeable firmness, from the facts themselves, that the influence of the planets must not be held to be a light matter in medicine. Moreover, he who neglects this information acts ignorantly and thoughtlessly how many things are there in medicine which are much less important and which doctors examine and weigh with the greatest assiduity? But if some vague suspicion were to touch the minds of doctors that there be some things in nature which could disturb and change the uniform economy of the human body and furnish either a cause or a remedy to many a sickness, that would suffice to make them turn their eves and their minds towards our doctrine in order that they not omit anything which would further their understanding of the cause. This supposition is neither far-fetched nor badly founded, but it is almost demonstrated, in my opinion, that human bodies are indeed violently shaken by celestial bodies and their varied movements. Since human bodies are subjugated to their diverse influences, it would be more useful and judicious if doctors would occupy themselves more diligently with research on the influence of the stars. Consequently, I think that the man who could prove to be an eager recruit by his sagacity, erudition and patience, could apply his mind seriously with a view to elucidate this domain more fully; he would bring much light to the medical discipline and would win the greatest favor of doctors.
Anterograde-having a direction similar to that of the general
planetary-course; directed from west to east.
Ap.sides-pl. of apsis-in an orbit, the point at which the distance of the body from the center of attraction is either greatest (higher apsis) or least (lower apsis).
Conjunction-the meeting or passing of two or more celestial bodies in the same degree of the zodiac.
Eccentricity-deviation from the center or the line of a circle.
Ecliptic-that great circle of the celestial sphere which is the apparent path of the sun, or of the earth as seen from the sun; the plane of the earth’s orbit extended to meet the celestial sphere, and inclined to the celestial equator at an angle of about 23°27′.
Equinox-either of the two points where the celestial equator intersects the ecliptic; the time when the sun’s center crosses the equator and day and night are everywhere the same length.
Fistula-a pathologic sinus or abnormal passage leading from an abscess, cavity or an hollow organ to the surface, or from one abscess, cavity or organ to another.
Humor-a liquid, fluid of any kind. For example: rain, dew, the ocean, milk, wine, tears, saliva, urine.
Ichor-a thin watery substance discharged from an ulcer or unhealthy wound.
Libra-a unit of weight or liquid measure.
Lunaticus-a crazy person; lunatic. Also, an epileptic, or one who is “moon-struck.”
Node-either of two points where the orbit of a planet intersects the ecliptic, or where the orbit of a satellite intersects the plane of the orbit of its primary.
Opposition-the situation of a celestial body with respect to another, when differing from it in longitude by 180°.
Petechial fever-(1) purpura hemorrhagica: land scurvy; a disease characterized by black-and-blue spots, hemorrhages of the mucous membranes, and prostration of a thyphoidal nature; it lasts from a few weeks to several months, and may terminate fatally. (2) Cerebrospinal fever: spotted fever; epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis: an acute infectious disease caused by Meningococcus, marked by inflammation of the meninges of the brain and spinal cord.
Quadrature-either of two points on an orbit in a middle position between the syzygies; the two points in an orbit when a celestial body is 90° distant from a second celestial body.
Renal-relating to the kidney or kidneys.
Retrograde-having a direction contrary to that of the general planetary course; directed from east to west motion is a “backward” direction).
Roman pound-see Libra.
Syzygy-the point of an orbit, as of the moon, at which the planet is in conjunction or opposition.