|Francesco Pesselino - The Seven Virtues (male and female personifications|
But do they correspond to the so-called cardinal signs of the zodiac? These open each season; cardinal comes from the Latin for hinge. Aries: spring, Cancer: summer; Libra: autumn; Capricorn: winter.
Justice - Libra
Fortitude/courage - Aries
Prudence/wisdom - Capricorn
Does Cancer work for Temperance?
Christians later added the three "Theological Virtues" to the Cardinal ones to create the so-called Seven Virtues. These three were, of course, faith, hope and charity. The greatest of these, according to St Paul, being charity.
We now have Seven Virtues - which immediately makes one think of the seven traditional planets. Which virtue would go with which planet?
Charity (magnanimity) - Sun
|Burne Jones: Hope, Charity, Faith|
Faith - Jupiter
Justice - Venus
Fortitude - Mars
Wisdom - Saturn
Temperance (healthy mind) - Mercury
Or would Jupiter get faith and the Sun justice? Or Saturn justice and the Sun wisdom? And maybe the Moon and Mercury ought to swap places. Theologians spent centuries arguing over which virtues were most important and whether there were seven or nine or umpteen. Renaissance astrologers couldn't quite agree on how the planets and the virtues worked out either, but everyone must have had fun thinking about it.
|Battling the Seven Deadly Sins. |
Treatise on the Vices, Peraldus.
Chastity - Lust
Temperance - Gluttony
Patience - Wrath
Kindness - Envy (?)
Humility - Pride
Diligence - Sloth
Charity - Avarice
|Prudence vs Foolishness from |
Giotto's Allegories of Vice and Virtue.
This again has a slightly different set
Chastity - Lust - Venus
Temperance - Gluttony - Jupiter
Patience - Wrath - Mars
Kindness - Envy - Saturn
Humility - Pride - Moon
Diligence - Sloth - Moon
Charity - Avarice - Saturn
I can see that these might work for certain signs too.
Chastity - Lust - Virgo
Humility - Pride - Leo
Diligence - Sloth - Taurus
Patience - Wrath - Scorpio
Charity - Avarice - Sagittarius
Temperance - Gluttony - Cancer
Kindness - Envy - Libra
Which would still leave five signs without a deadly sin to call their own. Seems a bit unfair. But you
could also start to think of these in terms of polarities. For example, patience and wrath works for both Taurus and Scorpio. Diligence and Sloth might describe Virgo and Pisces.
Aristotle created a theory of virtues that seems potentially eminently astrological: there are 12, so that would give everyone a crack at the whip of vice.
Aristotle's Virtues and Vices
with the addition of signs of the zodiac
|SPHERE OF INFLUENCE|
Aries Fear and confidence
|Pisces Pleasure and pain||Licentiousness||Temperance||Insensibility|
|Cancer Getting and spending (minor)||Prodigality||Liberality||Illiberality|
|Taurus Getting and spending (major)||Vulgarity||Magnificence||Pettiness|
|Leo Honor and dishonor (major)||Vanity||Magnanimity||Pusillanimity|
|Capricorn Honor and dishonor (minor)||Ambition||Proper ambition||Unambitiousness|
|Scorpio Anger||Irascibility||Patience||Lack of spirit|
|Aquarius Social conduct||Obsequiousness or flattery||Friendliness||Cantankerousness|
|Libra Indignation||Envy||Righteous indignation||Malicious enjoyment|
|I hope you can make out this peculiar engraving of|
Pride and Folly by Theodor de Bry.
Click here for a clearer image.