(This is a series of four articles teaching explaining how psychological and horary astrology merge to create greater accuracy in the consultation)
In astrological tradition, techniques have been passed down through the centuries by highly skilled astrologers with a lifetime of experience in the field. Much of modern-day horary astrology has its roots in these great teachers, from Ptolemy (b. 100 AD) to Al Biruni (b. 973 AD) to William LIlly (b. 1602) up to renowned modern-day horary practitioners. Calculations in this past period were not as accurate as they are today, and the position of the Moon and other planets was frequently out by several degrees. Planets beyond Saturn had not been discovered. Interpretations were often explained in long lists with fixed rules for students to learn by heart. The concept of psychology and self-realization was basically ignored, and horary astrology was focused on outcomes, not explanations.
Horary astrologers today are often labelled as “traditional” astrologers, because their practice is based on these old traditions. In contrast, many practicing astrologers today take a more humanistic and psychological approach. The result is often that horary practitioners are good at predicting outcomes, whilst psychological astrologers are good at explaining behavior, but there is little constructive merging of the two approaches. The purpose of this series of articles is to show that there is no need to have a different set of rules for horary and humanistic or psychological astrology, and that when both traditions are merged a richer and more accurate astrology is a result.
Principles of dynamic horary
Horary charts are generally cast for questions. A question can arise at any time, a chart is made for the time and place where the question arises, and it can then be interpreted according to planetary movement and rulership. In this sense, the horary chart is a snapshot in time, and to a certain extent it has a static status, like the birth horoscope.
Successful prediction based on the horary chart stems from following the movement of the “significators” (relevant planet) for the “quesitor” (the planet representing the person asking the question, and the “quesited” (the planet representing the subject being asked about). When the relevant planets are moving to form an aspect, then “perfection” is likely, meaning that there is a connection and therefore an outcome. If no aspect is formed, then nothing will happen, although the Moon could change the judgment if it makes an aspect itself.
In this sense, the traditional horary chart has an element of dynamism, and interpretations are made through following planetary movement. A more modern approach could be to see the whole horoscope as dynamic and in movement. You can follow the Ascendant, MC and Houses moving forward degree by degree, triggering events as aspects are made, and more importantly, as planets “fall” from one house back into an earlier house. This is an important distinction: planets in the 10th house for example fall back into the 9th, and then a little later into the 8th etc. This is the horoscope dynamic, and it affects the interpretation. For example, a planet on the 9th cusp will perhaps indicate foreign travel, but as it dynamically moves into the 8th, then there may ensue some form of crisis.
Psychological astrology, horary and prediction
Horary astrologers are comfortable with prediction, whilst psychological astrologers often are not, because they want to elucidate behavior, and hope that through changing behavior different outcomes will arise. Making a prediction would therefore be seen as limiting. However, if a consultation is seen from the client’s point of view, they are both interested in modifying behavior for optimal results, and in exploring future scenarios.
There is a middle way which reconciles the difference between to the two approaches, and that is by simply co-opting the client in the prediction process. The astrologer may have the map, but the client knows the territory intimately, so it is natural to work together. The fact is that the horary chart will show outcomes which the client gravitates towards anyway. It is natural for the client to act in tune with the planets, and basically all the client has to do is follow his or her true instincts. It is the job of the astrologer to get the client attuned to these instincts. For example, if the client has Neptune transiting the natal MC, they will want to modify their career to channel ideals and creativity. The horary chart may show Saturn in the 10th house square the Ascendant ruler, which could show an authoritarian boss demanding more boring work. By exploring these two needs, astrologer and client will be able to work out an appropriate course of action
One of the most important ingredients in astrological practice is understanding the significance of sign rulership, which is of course that Mars rules Aries, Venus rules Taurus etc. These rulerships probably arose because the summer months (Cancer and Leo) were assigned to the Sun and Moon, whilst the winter months (Capricorn and Aquarius) to the cold and distant planet Saturn. As Mercury never is more than one sign away from the Sun, Mercury was assigned to the two adjacent signs, Gemini and Virgo. As Venus is never more than two signs away from the Sun, it was assigned to the next two adjacent signs Taurus and Libra, and so on with Mars and Jupiter.
The diagram of planetary rulerships shows this symmetry. Modern astrologers, with the discovery of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, assigned them to Aquarius, Pisces and Scorpio respectively, and there is also a tendency to assign Ceres, newly promoted to dwarf planet, to Virgo or Taurus, displacing traditional rulers.
The traditional rulers are effective in both horary and psychological astrology. Whilst it may be acceptable to consider the outer planets’ affinities with certain signs, they do not represent people or things, but rather force majeure, which the client has little influence over, and they move exceedingly slowly and show collective forces, whilst the planets up to Saturn will represent easily identifiable factors, like a partner, a family member, a boss, an organization etc. That does not mean that outer planets should be ignored – they should not – it just means they don’t represent people or things.
Planetary strength, dignity, detriment, exaltation and fall
It is impossible to make accurate judgments in horary astrology without a clear understanding of how comfortable a planet is in a sign. In humanistic astrology, there is a reluctance to label planets as weak or strong, whilst in horary it is the key to everything. It does seem that the whole idea of planetary strength is applicable to both areas of astrology. Personally, I have Jupiter in Capricorn, where it is in fall. My father was in the military, and moved every few years from one base to the other. After the age of 12, I was sent to a repressive English boarding school – it all seems very appropriate for Jupiter in fall.
Every planet is said to be dignified – or strong – in its own sign. It is at home. Sometimes in horary astrology this can be taken literally. For example, if Mars rules the client, and it is at 29 degrees Libra, the next thing that will happen is that this person with make a transition to a familiar environment (Scorpio), where he or she will be in control.
When a planet is in the opposite sign to the sign it rules, it is said to be in exile, or detriment. Again, this can sometimes be taken literally, and the person in question will be in an unfamiliar and rather unfriendly environment. When a person is represented by a planet in exile, he will be weak, compromised and needs to adopt a low profile.
Planets can also be classified according to exaltation and fall. There are some obscure rules for why planets have exaltation in certain signs – for example that some of them are exalted because they are in trine to the sign they rule (Sun in Aries trine Leo, Jupiter in Cancer trine Pisces, Saturn in Libra trine Aquarius). Experience shows that exaltation and fall are very powerful classifications and work well. Exaltation can be likened to being invited to stay as an honored guest – the ruler of the home will treat you even better than he treats himself. Planets are in fall in the opposite signs to where they are exalted. A planet is fall could not be in a worse place, and there is a sense of humiliation, imprisonment, lack of dignity and inappropriateness.
Once the relative strength of planets is understood, judgment becomes easy. If, for example, the Ascendant ruler is in its own sign and squares the Descendant ruler in exile or fall, then in any contest, the Ascendant ruler is sure to win. If the client is represented by a planet in exile, they must not engage in conflict and need to maintain a low profile until circumstances improve. If a property is represented by a dignified planet, then it will be in good condition and probably expensive too. If a property is represented by a planet in exile, it may not be in a good place, but it can be acquired cheaply. If the property is represented by a planet in fall, there are probably no circumstances where it is advisable to buy it.
The significance of the Ascendant, its ruler and the Moon
Each of the 12 houses naturally has a sign on the cusp, and the planet that rules that sign will be the ruler of the house in question. The ruler of the Ascendant will always rule the client. In some ways, the astrologer can consider himself or herself as a wandering Descendant, and every encounter places the person you meet as the Ascendant and its ruler. Of course, not everyone is asking a question, but if they did, the horoscope for that moment would describe their situation in detail.
In practice, there may also be planets positioned in the House you are studying, for example in the first house. These planets are not significators for the person, although they may describe characteristics of the person. For example, the Moon rising would surely indicate an emotional person for whom close attachments are important. Planets in the first house may also indicate people close to the person in question, but the person will still be represented by the Ascendant ruler, and outcomes will be indicated by aspects to and from this ruler, wherever it is placed in the horoscope.
The Moon itself is an extremely powerful factor in judging horary charts. William Lilly, who practiced in the 16th century, said that a good aspect from the Moon to the significator of the matter in question was sufficient for “perfection” i.e. successful realization of the matter. He also said that a harmonious aspect from the Moon to the Sun could do it. However, the moon is unreliable in this respect, and it is unwise to answer a question based on the Moon and its aspects alone. The Moon will often sum up the essence of what is on a person’s mind, and how they feel about it. Especially important is the phase of the Moon. If it is in the last sign leading up to a new moon, there is hardly any energy left in the matter, and the new moon will bring new circumstances. If it is just after the new moon, the moon is not yet visible, and neither are there signs that the matter is close to any resolution.
The Houses and their rulers
The tricky part of horary astrology is knowing what house (and sign ruler of that house) needs to be assigned to the matter at hand. In many cases, this is obvious. A partnership will always be represented by the ruler of the 7th house, and a judgment can be made by studying the relationship between the first and seventh house rulers.
But what if the person is married, and is involved in another relationship? There are many situations like this, which are not clear cut. The astrologer must look at areas of emphasis in the horoscope, and discern what the horoscope is trying to say. When a person is in a partnership but having a love affair, then it is worth looking at the ruler of the 5th house – romance. However, Venus itself is related to love, and may provide the answer. If the person is having an affair with someone in a foreign country, and Venus is in the 9th, then Venus will probably represent the lover. If a planet is intercepted in the 7th house (i.e. the sign it is in is sandwiched in between a sign on either side, so that no house cusp falls in it) this could also show a long-term secret relationship “contained” in the marriage.
What works effectively in horary astrology is to put names to planets to create a map of the client’s life and connections. Partners, lovers, children, colleagues and friends can be referred to specifically, and accurate conclusions can be drawn, even in indirect circumstances, such as outcomes in the husband’s work, or a child’s relationship.
The aspects and dynamic movement
Once a horary chart has been made, you can set about finding an answer to your question. If you are asking a question yourself, then you are signified by the Ascendant ruler. If someone else asks you to make a question for them, or for the arrival of or contact from a client, they will be the Ascendant ruler.
The first thing to do is to assess the strength of the Ascendant ruler, because if it is weak, then you will have to take that into account as regards the ability of the client to get what he or she wants. You will also need to look at the Moon, which is a dominant factor and shows both the emotional state of the client, and – through its aspects – the sequence of events leading up to the resolution of a matter. The moon is the major dynamic factor in the horoscope regarding the way events unfold.
It is said that the last aspect the moon makes before leaving a sign reflects how matters end up. If the Moon does not make any aspects before leaving a sign it is said to be void of course, and nothing will come of the matter. This is not a hard and fast truth however.
The main consideration is always: does the Ascendant ruler aspect the ruler of the House in question by a traditional aspect. The conjunction shows the beginning or end of a cycle. If the Ascendant ruler is about to conjoin the Descendant ruler and the question is whether the person will move together with a potential partner, yes, they will. If the question is whether an existing relationship is nearing its end, this may also be true, because conjunctions show beginnings and endings.
If the significators are moving to aspect each other by trine, there is a natural affinity, and everything works out well. If the aspect is a sextile, it will also work out fine, with a little effort. If the aspect is a square, then the matter can also come to fruition, but conventional astrological wisdom says that it can be more trouble than it is worth. Approaching oppositions between significators can also bring perfection, but travel may be involved, or differences in style may create problems.
Generally minor aspects such as half sextiles, quincunxes, semi- and sesquisquares etc. are ignored – they simply don’t show connections, although they may be descriptive of circumstances.
To sum up, prediction in horary is determined by the condition of the significators and whether they go on to make an aspect to each other. For something to happen, the significators must be about to form an aspect. The orb of the aspect simply shows how much time will elapse before something happens.
Take note: if the aspect has already taken place, in other words if it is a separating aspect, then it is too late, nothing will happen, unless another planet or the Moon will aspect first one significator and then go on to aspect the next. (This could indicate a third party getting involved to make things happen.)
Should I work together with this person? 3rd October 2004 17.04 London AS 23 AQ
In the example horoscope, the client asked whether it was advisable to work with a specific person on a development project. In questions of partnership, it is always an Ascendant-Descendant situation. The sixth house is only relevant for colleagues and the working environment, and the 10th house relates to bosses and authorities, not partnerships, but here the horoscope itself places the Ascendant ruler Saturn in the 6th house, indicating a cooperative work venture. However, the fact that Saturn is in detriment is already not a good sign. The question is then, do the 1st and 7th house rulers aspect each other?
Ultimately the Sun will move through Libra to make a square aspect to Saturn, although here the orb is too large for consideration. Furthermore, the Sun is in fall, which makes it even weaker than Saturn. The weakness of the significators is a powerful argument to discourage any cooperation, but as they do not aspect each other, it will not happen anyway, and it did not. Here we can see an exact Moon trine the Sun, but clearly this was not a factor that carried weight. There are a lot of other considerations in this horoscope – the imminent movement of Venus into Virgo, where it is in fall, and the fact that Mercury conjoins the Sun, where it is combust (more on that later). Furthermore, the Moon, once it leaves the trine to the Sun is void of course, if you discount Pluto, and if you don’t, the opposition to Pluto will abort the enterprise.
This chart was made for a client who came for a consultation, so some people would call it a consultation chart rather than a horary chart. The distinction is not important. In fact, William Lilly, who wrote the classic work “Christian Astrology” consistently used the consultation chart rather than the birth chart of the client, and this works fine today. The consultation chart is like a finely-tuned transit chart, which encapsulates the precise current situation for the client and, when used in tandem with the birth chart, provides an in-depth and accurate interpretation which allows for a psychological approach and precise prediction at one and the same time.
30th July 2018