It may seem revolutionary to say that the horary chart for the consultation is an essential part of the consultation process, but this chart has been part of tradition throughout the whole history of astrology. William Lilly was more apt to use the consultation chart than the birth horoscope, as were many other practitioners historically, if only because the date and time were sure, which was not the case with many births. In India, the Hora Shastra horoscope for the time of the consultation is used extensively by astrologers, when details of the birth are not known.

In some cases, the astrologer does not know the time of birth of the client, but with the consultation chart combined with the client’s horoscope calculated for noon, the consultation can still be accurate. There are cases when children have been adopted without a recorded birth date, and similarly, the consultation chart will be potent and provide the information the astrologer needs.

Omens and Portents
The chart for the moment of the client’s arrival reflects everything going on around the client. The corollary for this is also, that by studying what is actually going on around the client, or in any moment in time, light can be shed on the meaning of any given moment. This is why omens and portents can be accurate, and the observant astrologer can add a lot to the consultation by being aware of everything that is going on at the time. It is amazing what kind of events can happen synchronistic with the consultation – someone coming to clean the drain (Moon-Pluto), Interflora arriving with flowers (Venus-Mercury), the garden center coming with compost worms (Mars-Pluto), a leak in the ceiling (Moon-Neptune). When the universe prompts the astrologer with these kind of events, then you know that what you see in the horary chart is powerful.

Timing of the Consultation Chart
If you have a busy practice, then you may book several clients on a particular day, and you expect them to arrive on time. These artificially assigned times, rather than random moments, do not affect the potency of the consultation chart. The astrologer is just a mirror, and he or she is as attuned to the cosmos as anyone else. The client arrives at the right time, whether you assign the time or not, and if that time is early or late, then of course the consultation chart is adjusted accordingly. Many clients do not arrive exactly on time, and these small variations affect the Ascendant and can be very significant.

If you receive an email, then the traditional rule comes into effect: When you have read and understood the question, then you can cast a chart for it. You do not cast a chart for the recorded time the email was sent, or for the time the client notes down when she thought of the question. It is the interaction between client and astrologer that is important. If you do answer an email question, it is better to assign a period of time when you can answer the question, then read, understand and start answering the question in one process. What is important is to use the location for the client – not your own location; it is their question, not yours.

Clients can also ring or use a method like Skype to contact the astrologer. If you do not have the time there and then to answer the question, then don’t ask what the question is – assign a time when you can devote yourself to answering the question, and make a horoscope for the appointment when it happens, again using the location of the client. If, on the other hand, you do have the time there and then, you will find that the horoscope is extremely powerful and answers come easily.

Questions and Answers
When answering questions, the standard rules always apply. The querent is always the Ascendant ruler. The Moon by sign and house placement will show where all the emotional energy is invested, and can be seen as a co-significator for the client, though not as decisive a factor as the Ascendant ruler. An outcome will arise when the Ascendant ruler makes a Ptolemaic aspect to the ruler of the House being asked about, or, possibly, if the Moon makes the aspect. Traditional rules can be regarded as advice not strictures, as all horoscopes can be interpreted in one way or another. Certain planets can be like trump cards – Venus for love, Mars for victory, Jupiter for success – and they can bring outcomes in their own right if the significator makes a positive aspect to them.

The consultation chart will almost always reflect a major current theme shown by transits and progressions to the birth chart. This is what makes the consultation chart so potent – it shows the most pressing issues for the client, and exactly how and where they are manifested. More about this later. Any question that arises during the consultation can normally be traced to planetary placements in the horary chart and answered accordingly. There can be a lot of different and separate questions – career matters, relationships, children, friendships, money, consciousness – the different planetary patterns will show the course of events and provide specific answers. One chart answers many questions.

Derived Houses
Amazingly, it also becomes possible to answer questions about the lives of people the client knows, through the system of derived houses. A simple example of this is using the 7th house ruler to describe what is going on in the partner’s life. The 7th house ruler, its sign position and aspects, will give a really good description of the partner, and clients often express surprise at how accurate this description can be. I recall one consultation when the Descendant ruler Mercury was about to conjoin the Sun in Scorpio in the 8th house and simultaneously square Pluto, which did not look good for the client’s partner’s economic situation. He owned an airline, which went bankrupt a week later.

In theory, you can “turn the chart” to get information about anyone connected with the client. Thus the 11th house ruler can describe a child’s partner, a husband’s affair or child from another marriage. The 10th house ruler can describe the partner’s family, or the boss for that matter. If the client is a member of the government, the 10th house ruler would be the leader of that government, and if the 10th house ruler was, say, the Sun in Libra about to square Pluto in Capricorn, then the delicate consensus the government leader was building up will crash. The consultation chart can get pretty spooky.

Event and Elected Horoscopes
There are events whose time you can choose, like a journey or a marriage, and there are events where you cannot choose the timing, like some meetings, job interviews and the like. Choosing the optimal time for an event, like the launch of a business or a marriage, is challenging, and quite an art. When choosing a date and time for a client, I tend to this this through dialogue on the phone or with a face-to-face meeting. You have to know what is possible, and what is not possible. For example, marriages can normally be narrowed down to Saturdays, and the general period is known months in advance. This helps the astrologer isolate the best Saturdays, preferably when the Moon is well placed, and when Venus is strong and well-aspected. Electing a time is always a compromise – there is nearly always some problematic planetary pattern. The trick is to minimize the problems, and to choose a time of day, when they are not dominant in the horoscope. For example, Mercury square Mars might be argumentative, so you would not want to place them in the first or seventh houses.

If you are electing a chart for business purposes, it would be good to have Jupiter and Saturn well placed, with the Ascendant ruler making harmonious aspects to them. For projects that need a long lease of life, the Moon should be waxing, not too close to the new moon, and definitely not in the last 45 degrees approaching the new moon.

The crucial ingredient in an elected chart is to have the Ascendant ruler strong, well placed in a relevant house for the matter at hand, and preferably in a harmonious relationship with a strong Descendant ruler – then everyone will be happy. In relationships, it is a good when all the planetary pairs: Venus-Mars, Mercury-Jupiter, and Sun/Moon-Saturn relate harmoniously to each other, especially in a marriage chart.

Event horoscopes, when other people have chosen the time, are slightly more tricky. Generally, as it is you who are entering the room at the appointed time, you are the Ascendant ruler. If it is important event, you need to ensure that you are not completely compromised. If there is a Taurus Ascendant for example, and you are Venus in Scorpio (in detriment) in the 7th house and Venus is applying by square to a Mars/Saturn conjunction, then you are in trouble. Under circumstances like this, cancel the appointment and ask for a new time.

To understand what is happening at a meeting – for example a job interview – you need to identify the players and act accordingly. If you are weakly placed, there is no point in trying to assert yourself, whilst if you are strong, you could. There may be several people interviewing you for a job. The person who directly called you in, who you related to earlier, will probably be the Descendant ruler. The actual boss will be the 10th house ruler. Other colleagues present and involved in the job selection may be planets in the 6th house, or the 6th house ruler. If the Ascendant ruler badly aspects or does not aspect the significators for the interviewers at all, you probably won’t get the job.  But one good aspect to a major significator might suggest that you can.

The event horoscope will tell the story, and also tell how the interview unfolds, as the Ascendant and MC move, perhaps conjoining a planet, perhaps ending in a new sign. The best strategy is to focus on your strong points, for example Venus sextile Mercury could be your ability to get on with people and express yourself well, defer to the interviewer represented by a hostile significator without getting provoked, and create a bond with the person whose significator aspects you favorably.

It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that the important thing with horary and event charts is to look at what the chart itself is saying, rather than adhering rigidly to preconceived notions. Planets represent people and things, and when you have been able to identify which planets are associated with the issues, it is not that difficult to see the outcome. Predicting outcomes is greatly helped by enlisting the help of the client, who knows much better than you what is possible and not possible. Working together you can weave together a probable future scenario, which the client can proactively work towards with anticipation and satisfaction.

Adrian Ross Duncan 15th October 2018