In the middle of the 1980’s, the English astrologer Derek Appleby – author of the book ”Horary Astrology” – came to Copenhagen to teach a course. I was part of an enthusiastic group of students who participated, and inspired by the course we began to cast a whole array of horary charts asking all sorts of questions. It was amazing to see how well each horoscope reflected the situation, and it seemed that just as long as consciousness is focused on a moment of time, then the horoscope of that moment has to reflect what is going on in yourself and in the world around you. The same force that moves the universe moves people, and astrology is the method through which you can understand and interpret this correlation.
When I began to use horary as a consultation chart for the arrival of the client, my consultations immediately became much more precise. Where previously I had struggled to answer a client’s questions through transits and progressions, and even the solar return – should they buy a particular house, would they be pregnant and when, would a relationship develop, etc. – I was suddenly able to answer with reasonable confidence, and the answers proved to be reasonably accurate. Humanistic astrology is fine for describing character and personal development, but for quite a few clients, psychological astrology is only useful up to a certain point. A businessman may want to know about work and finance, and only when you have given satisfying answers about these areas, will he be willing to open up a little about psychological issues. The consultation chart is the perfect tool for giving these answers.
Earlier in history, astrologers were completely focused on giving the right answer. They were often employed by royalty and aristocracy and the last thing they wanted to do was discuss the client’s psychological issues. John Dee was the court astrologer for Elizabeth I, but I am sure he did not talk to her about the beheading of her mother, Anne Boleyn, or her uncle’s unwanted sexual approaches when she was a teenager. There was nothing to be gained by offending the boss.
As a consequence of the sensitivity of the relationship between astrologer and client, many rules were written down to avoid problems, and these rules are often referred to today as strictures – a factor that prevents judgment. In reality, these rules were just informative; for example, if Saturn was in the 1st house, the astrologer was warned against judgment because the questioner was probably responsible for the situation. Or, if Saturn was in the 7th house, the astrologer may not have been in top form.
There are in fact no horoscopes that cannot be interpreted. Clients come with every possible horoscope variation, and old rules need to be interpreted in a new light.
Ascendant: Early and Late degrees
Traditionally, if a question was asked and the Ascendant was in the last three of first three degrees of a sign, then the question could, under most circumstances, not be answered. This is because there is so little time to run when the Ascendant if from 27-29 degrees; energy is low, and there is neither the desire or the time to finish something off. Similarly, when the Ascendant is from 0-3 degrees, the situation is so new that the clients have not had a chance to orientate themselves.
But it happens often that a client turns up or rings, when the Ascendant is in these degrees, and this gives important information about the client’s situation. It is like fording a river. Either the querent has just reach the ford, is beginning to cross the river, is in the middle, or is just coming out of it. Or this situation can be likened to the border between two very different countries, symbolized by the signs in question. If a client comes with the Ascendant at 29 degrees Gemini, she has just gone through the first border post and is entering no-man’s-land and is currently unaware of what the other country is really like. This could for example show a person, who was finishing off studies, and the next thing to happen might be to start a family (Cancer). The point is: there are specific interpretations for each sign cusp, which can be very helpful for the client to know about.
Planets and Ingresses
It is a similar situation when a significator is to be found on a cusp. If a planet is from 27-29 degrees, then it is about to end its mission (just as long as it does not subsequently go retrograde.) This represents a person who is a little tired out, but perhaps is still fighting for something that does not have a real future, and does not know what is coming next. If a planet is from 0-3 degrees, it shows a person who is full of energy and enthusiasm, a little naïve perhaps, who is inexperienced and tends to make beginner mistakes.
If a planet comes into a new sign, but moves retrograde back into the previous sign, then this planet has special status as a wanderer across borders. It represents a person who may be dual-nationality, or who has business in two different areas, or who is trying to decide between one relationship and another. It could be a person whose mission it is to collect information one place, then to return and deliver it another place, like a scout of some kind. For example, if Venus enters Scorpio and subsequently returns to Libra, it will show a person who has entered dangerous territory, where she is compromised financially or sexually, in a situation where a partner or adversary (Mars as ruler of Scorpio) calls the shots. Venus will then seek to return to the safe haven of Libra to gather strength, allies and resources.
Every sign border has a specific meaning, and any planet wandering back and forth over this border has invariably an amazing story to tell.
Void of Course
If a planet – in particular the Moon – makes no further aspects before leaving the sign it is in, then it is said to be void of course, which means that no further developments can be expected in the matter. It is an effective rule, and things do not bode well for a client desiring a certain result, if the moon is void. Of course, this can be a good thing if you want to avoid a bad result, and this is a factor that can be used when planning meetings with authorities, where the preferred outcome is nothing at all.
But even William Lilly mentioned exceptions to this rule, especially if the Moon was in Taurus or Cancer, where it is strong. If the moon is at the end of a sign and soon makes an aspect, then the void of course rule can under certain circumstances be ignored. Let’s say the Moon was a 28 Scorpio and Jupiter was at 4 Sagittarius. If this person hoped to go to university, there is a good chance it will happen. The client would come out of a really bad environment (Scorpio) and into a very positive one (Sagittarius). Imminent aspects across a sign border can still show the desired result, but if the moon is at, say, 15 degrees and no further aspects are coming, then in all likelihood nothing will happen.
Outer Planets, Chiron, Midpoints and Minor Aspects
Every astrological factor can be taken into consideration, when a chart is interpreted. It all reflects the client and the client’s situation, and the greater depth you go, the more descriptive the horoscope will be. However, if you want to answer a question, then the trick is to ignore extraneous information. Even in a personal consultation, there is normally only enough time to focus on a few crucial astrological patterns. Therefore, in horary astrology, you need to focus on the significators, assess their strength and follow their movement and aspects.
The outer planets cannot be ignored, but aspects to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are more descriptive than decisive. If your significator is Mars, and you are looking for a house, and Mars moves to square Neptune, it is possible that you will be cheated, or that the house is built on a swamp, but you could still buy the house if other factors are favorable. If you are Venus and interested in a relationship, and Venus moves to square Pluto but trine Mars, then you will get together with your lover, but the relationship is likely to be very obsessive. If you are the Sun, and wanted to move abroad, and the Sun aspected Uranus, you would still want some corroborating factors, before predicting international travel.
Planetary Pairs and Synergy
If Aries is on the Ascendant, then Libra will be on the 7th house cusp. If Sagittarius is rising, then Gemini will be on the Descendant. Each planet has its natural partner – the ruler of the opposite sign. Mars-Venus, Mercury-Jupiter, Sun/Moon-Saturn are opposites that attract each other. In every partnership question, you are looking for an aspect between a planetary pair, preferably a sextile, trine, conjunction or opposition, and preferably not a square.
The planet which moves fastest is the person who takes the initiative, whilst the slower planet receives the invitation to be together. By studying the sign position and aspects for each significator, it is possible for the astrologer to give a precise description of potential partners.
Horoscope: 12 Sep 2018 9.00 am Copenhagen AS 12.32 LI
In this example, the client is represented by Venus, and in Scorpio this shows a person in a weak position both as regards money and love. But, Venus has recently been in square to Mars, there are indications that she must have met a man. This man was suddenly offered a job several hundred kilometers away, and the client asked whether she should follow him. Because Venus will soon move retrograde and will move into square with Mars once again, it is likely that there is a very strong chemistry between them. Because Venus must move into square with Uranus again, then the likelihood of long-distant travel is strong. Therefore, it will be difficult for her to resist the attraction, but the circumstances are very stressful, and when Venus moves back into Libra, she will return home again, because, you have to ask, how interested is Mars in Aquarius in square to Uranus in attachment?
To sum up, if a person asks about a relationship which has not yet formed, then the rulers of the Ascendant and Descendant should make a traditional (Ptolemaic) aspect to each other. But life is seldom that simple: many clients come with a much more complicated scenario. For example, they may already be in a relationship, which is ebbing out and have met someone else. Or they may be married, whilst their partner is having an affair. The horoscope itself will reflect these nuances and how it all develops, just as long as you manage to identify which planets represent each person involved.
It often happens that the client asks if he or she will have children, or about matters affecting the lives of their children. It is normally the 5th house ruler which represents children, and therefore, if the Ascendant ruler applies to the 5th house ruler, it is a reasonable assumption that a child is on the way, if the age of the client is appropriate. Some signs are more fruitful than others, like Taurus and Cancer, whilst others are perhaps less fruitful like Aquarius or Gemini. The moon in a fruitful sign is a good indication of children, as long as it is going to make a good aspect and not for example a square to Saturn, which always has the tendency to deny a good result.
If the significators make an aspect to Uranus, or if Uranus is in the 5th house, it is possible that the mother may need some technical help through IVF or similar. If Pluto is involved, there may be some anxiety about losing the baby, or thoughts of abortion. If Neptune is involved, it is possible that medication or drugs may be a hindrance.
If a person asks about a child he or she already has, and there is only one child, then that child will be indicated by the 5th house ruler. If there are more children, then the astrologer has several options. If there are personal planets in the 5th house, it is possible that each planet represents a child, with the youngest indicated by the earliest planet by degree. There is also a tradition that the first child is the 5th house ruler, the second is the 7th house ruler and the third the 9th house ruler etc., and this often works well. Planets intercepted in the 5th house may show children from another relationship.
The astrologer needs to have a practical attitude: the best way to find out which planet represent which child is to study the horoscope to see how each planet fits the character of the child. It is quite likely that Venus will represent a daughter and Mars a son. If a mother asks about a son, and Mars is in Aquarius square Uranus, and the son is a bit of a troublemaker, then you will know that Mars represents him.
Work and Career
The angular houses are really powerful, and their rulers represent the client (1st house), the mother, home and family (4th house), the partner or opposite number (7th house) and the boss, father or career (10th house). Sometimes it is the other way around for mother and father dependent on which is the dominating parent. The ruler of the 10th house represents the top boss in an organization. Planets in the 10th house show other authority figures and associates, but they can also show the kind of work the client has. Colleagues and employees are represented by the 6th house ruler and planets in the 6th house.
If a client is looking for a top job, then you want to see the Ascendant ruler making an applying aspect to the MC-ruler. But if the person is just looking for employment, then it is fine with an aspect to the 6th house ruler from the Ascendant ruler or Moon.
Horoscope: 10th January 2018. 15.00 Brussels AS 26.45 GE
The example horoscope is typical for a job question. Here the Moon is in fall in Scorpio and the 6th house, which shows a client who is emotionally exhausted in her existing job. She is a talented Chinese woman with excellent language abilities working in Brussels, and Mercury in exile in Sagittarius shows both her intelligence and her sense of being on foreign territory. Mars and Jupiter in Scorpio in the 6th house shows dominating males in the working environment, and perhaps also some sexual undertones. Taking into account that Venus conjoins the Sun and Pluto in the 8th house, she is clearly anxious and insecure at the time of the consultation.
Her question was whether she should say yes to a job offer. The answer is clear. The Ascendant is nearing the end of the sign, indicating there is little time to run in her current situation – a transition is on the way. Furthermore, the Ascendant ruler Mercury is at 29 Sagittarius also on the way into a new sign. Thirdly, after entering Capricorn, Mercury meets Saturn which is the 10th house ruler. Therefore she should rapidly leave her current job and aim for a higher position in a respected company – Saturn is dignified in its own sign Capricorn. She got the new job within a couple of months.
Money and Security
When judging economic matters, there are often many different factors which need to be taken into consideration. Most clients want more money, but generally the same economic trends which have been prevalent earlier in their lives will continue, with small variations, in the future. The birth chart will give information about these trends. But occasionally clients have specific, pressing questions on money and resources. If a person actually works investing money, then the planets which rule the 2nd and 8th house are crucial. If someone want support from institutions in society, for example insurance, trade unions (often also 11th house), pensions and inheritance, then it is an 8th house matter. If a person likes to gamble, then the 5th house is important. A Mars/Pluto conjunction in the 5th house for example, could show a compulsive gambler.
Horoscope: 13th November 2008. 14.00 Copenhagen AS 3 Pisces
This example shows a client who runs a successful restaurant, who liked to invest in the stock market on the side. This fascination with economic risk is shown by the Moon in Taurus opposing Mars in Scorpio. As both planets are strongly placed, the indication is that he knows what he is doing, and can earn a lot of money at it. There are warning signs: The Moon is on the fixed star Algol, which could suggest that greed could blind him, and the full moon is square Neptune, which could undermine profits. But as the exalted Moon has been in trine to Ascendant ruler Jupiter, and to Saturn, and goes on to aspect the Sun and Mars, it seems that the economy is robust. As far as I know, he earned well for some time. The restaurant itself is shown by the Saturn-Jupiter trine.
When you practice horary astrology, you need to let yourself be guided by the chart, rather than by inflexible rules, but you can never ignore the significators and their relative strength. As you listen to the client describe different circumstances in his or her life, you need to identify the relevant planetary patterns in the horary chart. You have the map, but the client knows the territory, and it pays to work together on finding answers. The more details the client supplies, the more detailed your answer can be. When you have identified the planets that reflect the situation, you can follow their movement and come with your prediction.
Adrian Ross Duncan 18th September 2018