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Tetrabiblos: THE QUADRIPARTITE MATHEMATICAL TREATISE by Claudius Ptolemy

12. Of Masculine and Feminine Signs.

Again, in the same way they assigned six of the signs to the masculine and diurnal nature and an equal number to the feminine and nocturnal. An alternating order was assigned to them because day is always yoked to night and close to it, and female to male. Now as Aries is taken as the starting-point for the reasons we have mentioned, and as the male likewise rules and holds first place, since also the active is always superior to the passive in power, the signs of Aries and Libra were thought to be masculine and diurnal, an additional reason being that the equinoctial circle which is drawn through them completes the primary and most powerful movement of the whole universe. The signs in succession after them correspond, as we said, in alternating order.

Some, however, employ an order of masculine and feminine signs whereby the masculine begins with the sign that is rising, called the horoscope. For just as some begin the solstitial signs with the moon’s sign because the moon changes direction more swiftly than the rest, so they begin the masculine signs with the horoscope because it is further to the east, some as before making use of the alternate order of signs, and others dividing by entire quadrants, and designating as matutinal and masculine signs those of the quadrant from the horoscope to mid-heaven and those of the opposite quadrant from the occident to the lower mid-heaven, and as evening and feminine the other two quadrants. They have also attached other descriptions to the signs, derived from their shapes; I rafer, for example, to “four-footed,” -. terrestrial,”” commanding,”” fecund,” and similar appellations. These, since their reason and their significance are directly derived, we think it superfluous to enumerate, since the quality resulting from such conformations can be explained in connection with those predictions wherein it is obviously useful.