Monday, 11 May 2009

Horary astrology - not so plain and not so simple

I'm paraphrasing the title from Anthony Louis's book on horary astrology, which doesn't seem to be as clear-cut as I originally thought. First of all, when you get into it you will come across the usual confusion and contrasting opinions existent in all astrological schools. In relationship questions is the 7th house only the marriage partner or every significant other? Should we use minor aspects or not? Outer planets? Midpoints? The list is endless. Almost all astrologers swear by their methods which leaves the poor apprentice very muddled trying to find a way out of all this mess.
I prefer to use horary when I want to ask a chart a very specific question. If I want to find out about the kind of relationships a person forms, the natal chart is better, but for a specific relationship and its' particular problems, horary seems to be more effective. However, you eventually come across a horary chart that seems to give a pretty definite answer, which is unfortunately completely wrong. Here is an example:

This is a true case where the astrologer was asked "Am I pregnant?" as the querent tried to conceive the previous night. What does John Frawley have to say about this? I quote from his book The Horary Textbook: "The clearest and strongest testimony is finding Lord 5 in the 1st house, close to the Ascendant. This gives a clear picture of the baby (Lord 5) inside the mother and is a definite Yes. With so clear a picture of the situation, we do not need an aspect linking the mother and the baby". In this case, we have exactly that. Lord 5 (Mars) in the 1st house. We need not, therefore, look any further. But let's be virgoan about this and pretend that we are not completely satisfied by Mars's placement almost 13 degrees away from the Ascendant, which is not what John Frawley would call close. The Moon (querent) is in the 10th house in Pisces and is just separating from a trine to Mars. We would interpret that as the event having already happened. So we have Mars in the 1st house, trining the Moon, with both significators in the most fertile of all signs. What more could we want? Yet, the querent was NOT pregnant and she had to undergo an operation to remove a cyst that prevented conception.
One way out would be to take modern rulers as significators, so in this case, Pluto. But once we go down that road we can never go back. We cannot use Mars and Pluto alternatively, so that we get the answer that we want every time. What's more, the outer planets so far don't have any exaltations and falls, no terms and bounds and no triplicities. We would first have to incorporate them completely, before we are able to use them in a horary chart.
But that wasn't the point I was trying to make. I'm not trying to show the weaknesses (or lack thereof) of horary astrology, but this example made me speculate on how we should use horary astrology. Let's say that the astrologer in question did not use horary astrology and the querent was just there for a consultation based on the natal chart. Having a child would still be her top priority and that's why she knocked on the astrologer's door. The astrologer would analyze her birth chart and all the significators of children and use all the usual predictive methods, except horary. What if her 5th house and all her significators were badly afflicted and in barren signs? Based on the ancient rule that no matter what a certain method promises, unless it is also promised in the birth chart, nothing will happen, the querent would get a totally different answer.
Of course one could argue that there is a strange sychronicity about these things and a genuine horary question would never go against the nativity. Still, it would be a good idea to check the natal chart first, wouldn't it? The same way we do with progressions and transits. If, for example, Venus is your 7th house ruler and is conjunct a badly afflicted Saturn in the progressed chart, you can't expect much from a Jupiter transit in your natal 7th house. Why not do the same with horary? In the above chart, the separating trine between the Moon and Mars would simply indicate that she has recently had sex and had the circumstances been better (which we would judge from the natal chart) it would have led to conception, but, alas, it's not in the cards for her at the moment.


  1. Hi Petros,

    Here's another take on the chart.

    We have some testimonies that could corroborate the presence of the cyst and overrule the various testimonies of fertility and conception.

    Mars is closely separating from an opposition from a nasty angular Jupiter, lord 6 of illness, in its fall and in the Moon's detriment. The Moon as the querent's body is ruled by Jupiter.

    Venus is the natural ruler of a woman's reproductive system. It is in Taurus which is good and right on the 11th cusp, of her wishes. But it is afflicted by a trine with a nasty Saturn which happens to be lord 8. And it is in Mars' detriment.

    Another interesting point is that the part of death: 8th cusp + Saturn - Moon is on the ascendant; its dispositor is the Moon. The Moon, signifying death is separating from a trine with Mars. So, we have perhaps not conception but the death of the fertilized ovum, or something to that effect.


  2. My own view is that we do need an aspect linking the mother and the baby. No aspect, no action. Keeping it "plain and simple," Mars represents the pregnancy (as ruler of the 5th) and the Moon represents the mother (as the ruler of the 1st). The Moon is separating from a trine to Mars, so that no pregnancy is indicated. There is no translation or collection of light to prefect the matter. Without an aspect to prefect the relationship between the 1st and 5th houses, there is nothing to indicate a successful pregnancy. If we look to the modern ruler Pluto (Scorpio on the 5th cusp), then the Moon applies mutually to square Pluto, a confirmation of no pregnancy. Finally, the Moon lies in the unfortunate 6th house of the 5th house pregnancy, yet another indication of a problem with the potential pregnancy.

  3. Tonylouis, thank you for your comment.

    Since we are trying to find out whether the Querent is already pregnant, wouldn't this separating trine suit us perfectly? She's not asking "Will I get pregnant?", in which case we would be looking for an applying aspect.

    I see that you've used Pluto as significator of the baby. Why do you consider the upcoming square as a confirmation of no pregnancy? Because it is a square?

  4. Hi Petros,

    This chart is a great example. Thanks for posting it. Medically, pregnancy does not occur until the fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining. An ovum may have been fertilized the night before but it is still in the fallopian tube, and the querent cannot be considered pregnant until the fertilized ovum implants viably. Many fertilized eggs never get to that stage and are simply eliminated from the woman's body. It is possible that the separating trine refers to the sexual intercourse and the fertilization of an ovum which could possibly implant and make her pregnant. The fact that the aspect is not applying to perfection means, at least as I see it, that this ovum will not result in a pregnancy.

    Regarding Pluto, I use the modern planets only secondarily and if they symbolically fit the chart. In this case Pluto rules the 5th of pregnancy and falls in the mother's 6th of illness. The square, I believe, points to a medical problem interfering with the pregnancy and probably also to the need for surgery to correct it.

    Take care,