Translation of Light is an astrological technique which is defined as when a planet separates from the aspect of one planet and immediately applies to the aspect of another. This happens all the time, particularly with the Moon since she is so quick and can potentially fulfill several aspects in one day. The idea is that, while two planets may not be joined by aspect (or are joined by a difficult aspect), another body can bring them together if it is somehow inbetween them. Something like carrying a message.
This becomes particularly important in horary where we are often looking for a connection between two particular planets. If those planets aren’t in aspect, translation of light gives them another way to come together and serves as another way for us to find perfection. Remember though, those significators must be the last and next aspect the translating planet makes, if there is a different planet in the way, the translation will not be successful.
It can often be tricky to tell what’s going to happen with any particular translation. The most common interpretation is that a third party brings the matter about or acts as a mediator between the querent and what they’re asking about. This may not be something that happens naturally and might be better thought of as a place to point the querent towards in order to achieve their goal. For instance, if they are asking about the outcome of selling a house and the Lord of the Eleventh translates the light between their significator and the significator of the seller, it might be good to see if the buyer and seller have any mutual friends that could be approached. Maybe they can get the querent a discount or make the seller more willing to work with the buyer.
One thing to be noted is that not all translations are equal. Some are more likely to show perfection than others and this is told be the reception between the players involved. Bonatti tells us the recipe for the most useful kinds of translations and Lilly largely echoes him, but seems to leave out the second part. For Bonatti, the best kinds of translations involve planets who receive one another in a particular chain-like manner. That is, the planet translating the light needs to be received by the planet it is separating from and needs to receive the planet to whom it is applying. The idea behind this is that planets promise something (namely cooperation) to other planets who are in their own signs (which we discussed in the section on reception). Here is an example of it done half-right:
In the above example, the Moon translates the light between Jupiter and Mars who would not be able to connect without her. Ideally, we would want to see Jupiter receive the Moon (and thus promise her his light) and the Moon receive Mars (who would promise him the light of Jupiter she is carrying); this is not happening. Instead, while the Moon is receiving and cooperating with Mars, Jupiter is not cooperating with the Moon so the first step is interrupted and makes the translation not as powerful or able to bring the question to a “yes” answer by itself. Other factors in the chart would need to be considered to back up the potential “yes” answer the translation shows.
Lilly’s definition of translation seems to suggest he only considers the first step (the translating planet being received by the planet it is separating from) to be essential in the process, so even by Lilly’s more abbreviated form our translation in the example would be in trouble. The only way to correct it would be if the Moon were in the dignities of Jupiter.
It’s important to keep an eye on this technique because many times translation will be the only argument for perfection, and it’s very easy to overstate the effects it will have and then be disappointed when it doesn’t happen as smoothly as predicted, if at all. Next week, we’ll talk about translation’s twin; collection of light.