Cazimi is a Medieval astrological term that is used to refer to planets that are so close to a conjunction with the Sun that they are “in the heart” of the Sun.
Cazimi is a Latin transliteration of the Arabic term kaṣmīmī, which means “as if in the the heart”. The Arabic term appears to be a translation of the Greek term egkardios (ἐγκάρδιος), which literally means “in the heart”.
The Greek term and the concept appear for the first time in the work of Rhetorius of Egypt, who lived sometime around the 6th or 7th century CE. Later the concept appears in Arabic in the work of Sahl ibn Bishr in the early 9th century. Eventually it started showing up in Medieval Latin works in the 12th and 13th centuries, such as for example in the work of Guido Bonatti.
The astrological significance of the concept is that it was thought to be an ameliorating and strengthening factor for planets.
In Traditional Western Astrology planets that get close to a conjunction with the Sun, especially within 15 degrees, are thought to be weakened because their their light is obscured or overpowered by the light of the Sun. Cazimi appears to have been introduced as an exception to that general rule, so that when a planet is within a specific range of the Sun it is no longer harmed.
There appears to have been some disagreement amongst some early Medieval sources about how close a planet must get to the Sun before it is considered to be “in the heart” or cazimi:
- According to Rhetorius and Sahl a planet is considered to be “in the heart” as soon as it comes within one degree of a conjunction with the Sun.
- According to al-Qabisi and Bonatti a planet is considered to be “in the heart” as soon as it comes within 16 minutes of a conjunction with the Sun.
It seems that the earlier authors defined the concept according to the wider value of one degree, whereas most of the later Medieval and Renaissance astrologers used the tighter value of 16 minutes.