Astrology is practised not only in Malay society but also in ancient civilisations such as the Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, and European. In the context of Malay society astrology was used to prophesy, predict or locate a missing object, pick an ominous time to undertake an activity or embark on a journey, understand a person's character, see a couple's compatibility or choose a marriage partner. It was also used to tell the fortune of a king or a leader of a country or the country itself. In general, the prophecy was made based on one's zodiac sign, name, facial or body characteristics. According to two catalogues, namely the one published by Edwin Wieringa (1998) and the other by Teuku Iskandar (1999), the Library of Leiden University has in its possession 1,443 Malay and Minangkabau manuscripts. Of this number, only 22 manuscripts are directly or indirectly related to Malay astrology.
After reading or looking through all the manuscripts, I will classify them into three groups. Firstly is the composite group made up of certain sections or chapters from a single manuscript related to astrology which is then grouped as an entity based on the type of astrology, for instance on interpretations of dreams, interpretations of cloth damaged by mice and luck associated with particular animals that enter the house. Secondly, manuscripts that are about 50% on astrology. Thirdly, manuscripts that are about 100% on astrology, if any. The time constraint of 30 days does not allow me to transliterate all the astrology manuscripts or related pages as listed above in Leiden. So, I will buy microfilm or photocopy all documents which I think are related, and I will finish my work in Malaysia.