Horary astrology

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Horary astrology sets out to address a specific question, the answer to which is arrived at by setting up an astrological chart for the moment when the question is asked. The chart is then interpreted in respect of the question, which is broken down into its significant elements.

Origins and Methodology

Horary astrology has been practised for many centuries. One of the earliest reputable astrologers to use the system was Guido Bonatti, who, in the 13th century, wrote many aphorisms on the subject and published them in his Liber Astronomicus. But arguably the most accomplished horary astrologer, and certainly still the best-known, was William Lilly (1602-81), much of whose very considerable fame and

The position of the Moon is a key factor in the process of interpreting horary astrological charts.

William Lilly was the most famous practitioner of horary astrology.

William Lilly was the most famous practitioner of horary astrology.

income was the result of his apparent success in answering the questions of his clients. His case books are full of charts - over 4,000 of them created between June 1654 and September 1656 - drawn for the moment when his "querants" (as the questioners were known) anxiously enquired "if my husband would be hanged for stealing 30 bullocks", "if good for my son to go to war, and if returne safely", "if good to take a shoppe", and so on.

When Dennis Prickman enquired as to whether his wife would live, Lilly wrote inside the chart, "She died within a fortnight". Whether he foretold that, we do not know. Other querants enquired after lost dogs and jewellery, disputes with neighbours, and the best time to propose marriage.

This horary chart was plotted for a client callec Dennis Prickman; on it Lilly noted that Prickman's wife "died within

This horary chart was plotted for a client callec Dennis Prickman; on it Lilly noted that Prickman's wife "died within

HORARY ASTROLOGY 295

timing and placing

The time at which the question was asked was regarded as the birth time of the question. The matter asked about (the "quesited") was referred to the house of the horoscope to which it related (the First House concerned with health and wellbeing, the Second with possessions and partners, and so on - see p248). The planet ruling the Ascendant represented the querant.

The rules to be followed when working on horary charts are very complicated. In brief, a great deal of importance is placed on the position of the Moon in the horoscope. Its most recent and potential movements in relation to the other planets were only interpreted as long as it remained in the same sign that it was in when the question was asked. If it made no major aspects to other planets it was said to be "void of course", and the chart could tell one nothing.

From his autobiography, we know that Lilly believed the horoscope he set up for the moment of asking a question acted as a sort of focus for his mind; the relationships between the planets in the chart did not actually tell him what was likely to happen, but concentrated his intuition. Horary astrology was, for him, a method of divination that relied very strongly on a symbolic approach; no question was asked in a vacuum, for it was related to the querant, to the astrologer, and to the world about them. Once one accepts that - and certainly the methodology strikes a chord with Jungian and Eastern philosophy - horary astrology begins to sound far more practical than one might suppose.

answers

It is also worth pointing out that the "answers" to questions involving future action or events are by no means (and this is true of most other areas of predictive astrology) fatalistic. Astrology offers a choice: if things

LiLLY, JUNG, & EASTERN PHiLOSOPHY

Lilly's attitude was fascinatingly similar to that of the psychologist C. G. Jung (see alsoPP44-5) in his essay about the way in which the Chinese I Ching, or Book of Changes, is used to survey the future. He pointed out that, though we know, intellectually, that time is an abstract measure, it never actually feels that way. Time seems to have a character of its own, which colours everything that happens to us. When, for example, someone on the radio or TV says a word just as we are reading that same word in a book, it seems as though something significant has happened.

Most people simply dismiss such a happening as meaningless coincidence; but Eastern thinkers take another view -and Jung, too, believed that everything bears the imprint of the moment at which it happens: that since all life has a pattern, anything that happens is related to everything else that happens at the time when the happening occurs.

This Chinese astrological illustration depicts characters that represent four stars: Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter.

This Chinese astrological illustration depicts characters that represent four stars: Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter.

seem likely to turn out well, we can relax and let matters take their course. If there seem likely to be difficulties ahead, we can prepare for them. Forewarned is forearmed: we can make the best out of any circumstance.

In some ways, horary astrology is much simpler than natal astrology. Looking at the position and influence of Saturn in a birth chart, for example, one thinks of the way in which it might limit a person, might make them tenacious, persevering, and practical -or, on the other hand, selfish and narrow-minded. Whereas in horary astrology, Saturn might symbolize a physical boundary - a wall, a prison, or the fence at the end of the garden.

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