Horary – Pure Astrology Theatre

“ All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.

Then the whining schoolboy with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

This famous soliloquy from As You Like It has often been put forward as one of Shakespeare’s acknowledgement of astrology and the role of the planets in the lives of we earthlings.

The seven ages are obviously the planets, in the following order – Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Sun and finally Saturn.

In a way you could consider the period that William Shakespeare lived ( 1564 – 1616 ) as being a peak period in the history of astrology.

Queen Elizabeth famously instructed John Dee to elect the best time for her coronation in 1558 and the time that he came up with was so auspicious that she not only was able to bring the country together after years of religious wars but was also able to repel invasion from Spain and stay on the throne for a record 45 years.

Given that the three previous incumbents had managed 10 years in total, this was unheard of, particularly for a woman.

 But the most important thing was that the greatest astrologer who ever lived was born during this time.

Some people might say Nostradamus ( 1503 – 1566 ) but many of the things that have been ascribed to him over the years are so vague and unlikely that they can be discounted. 

Nostradamus was said to have predicted the death of Henry 11 of France – ‘the young lion will overcome the older one’, and he will ‘pierce his eyes through a golden cage’ ‘on the field of combat in a single battle’,.

This might seem a strong prediction but it was fairly common in those days for rulers to meet their end in battle. It’s true that Henry’s visor was pierced through the eyes by a lance but this happened as an accident in a jousting tournament.

“The blood of the just will commit a fault at London,

Burnt through lightning of twenty threes the six: “

This is put forward as a prediction of the Great Fire of London which did occur in 1666, but it wasn’t from lightning, it was a fire in a bakery.

These predictions however were perhaps close enough, but after that the modern day followers of Nostradamus quickly start to lose whatever thin grip they actually had on reality.

‘From the depths of the West of Europe, A young child will be born of poor people’. Who will ‘by his tongue… seduce a great troop ‘.  Nostradamus also mentions fighting “ close by the Hister ‘ 

From this his adherents have taken him to have foreseen the rise of Adolf Hitler 400 years later.  Except that Hister is the old name for the River Danube in Austria.

But these kind of details are ignored by the many astrologers who believe Nostradamus nailed everything. 

‘Within two cities there will be scourges the like of which was never seen.’ 

This is enough for the same people to believe that Nostradamus predicted Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

‘From on high, evil will fall on the great man’ ‘A dead innocent will be accused of the deed’ 

Which obviously means the assassination of JFK. 

And so on and so forth….

It intrigues me that the astrologers who make the biggest claims for Nostradamus are also people who are known for making very open ended predictions themselves and then claiming that something that occurred with the vaguest connection is proof of their skill.

But the astrologer I am referring to was not Nostradamus.

As it happens the Greatest Of All Time astrologer is William Lilly ( 1602 – 1681 ). 

Lilly also got the Fire of London but he got the actual date, in a prediction publicly made 17 years before the event. In fact the powers that be were so astonished by this that they even arrested him because they thought he must have started the fire himself to prove his prediction.

He was also consulted by both sides in the English Civil War, ( Charles 1 and Oliver Cromwell ) to elect the most auspicious time and place for their battles.

But more than that he published Christian Astrology in 1647. 

For those people who consume their astrology through social media  this book will come as a major shock.

This is not the Uranus in Taurus means we are all going to get rich / Mercury Retrograde means we’re all fucked kind of astrology.

Christian Astrology is a massive compendium packed full of hundreds of examples of very specific predictions with precise astrological notes explaining how they were made along with detailed results of said predictions.

And the type of astrology that it’s all based on is Horary.

As I have explained in many articles, horary was the main method used in the past. This is because the vast majority of clients would not have known their birth times so natal astrology was of very limited use.

I’ve also stated clearly that Horary and Natal astrology are very different subjects that have very different rules and techniques many of which are not transferable between the two disciplines.

In many of my articles I have warned against the dangers of incorporating horary concepts like Void Of Course Moon and an obsession with house rulerships into the interpretation of natal charts.

But it is even more dangerous to try and tackle a horary in the way that you might go about delineating a natal chart. 

Twitter is an environment where everyone’s opinion is equal to everyone else’s. This operates across the board – in every subject there is.

Hence some halfwit who barely got through middle school can spout absurd conspiracy theories about Covid and vaccination that are “ equally as valid “ as someone like Dr Anthony Fauci who has more than half a century of experience in immunology.

The same kind of thinking operates throughout Astrotwitter. Experience and expertise is given far less attention than soundbites and clickbait from people who are basing their observations on their own research into one placement in the chart of someone who once dumped them.

But the very nature of most of the writing on astrology is so open ended and vague that its eminently possible to get away with this kind of thinking because there’s always someone else who will see “ I sympathise, my ex had the Moon in Gemini and he was a cheat too “ 

So within minutes this single placement acquires a reputation because hundreds of people will “ like “ it.

But try as you might, you can’t get away with this when it comes to horary because it’s about specific events, not characteristics and “ energies “ that may or may not materialise in a certain way.

If someone asks, will I get this job, you can’t fluff around your answer talking in vague terms. It’s either yes or no. 

And as a horary astrologer there are no getouts. You are either right or wrong and that will be proved as soon as the letter arrives in the post.

I first came across horary 40 years ago. I had been studying and interpreting natal charts for 5 years at that point but decided to do a correspondence course in horary.

Naturally I set about doing this in much the same way that I would approach a natal chart. This is the way that I often witness people looking at their own horaries on Twitter.

I was fortunate in that the course that I did in horary was Olivia Barclay’s Qualified Horary Practitioner’s. 

Barclay was a stickler for doing horaries properly and returned my scripts decimated by red biro alterations. So I was forced to learn the hard way.

Doing a natal chart is like writing a novel. We hope that it is a factual, biographical one, but there are many cases where it can quickly become a work of fiction.

A horary is more like a stage play with lots of actors all playing different parts.

In a natal chart, all of the planets represent different parts of the client’s own nature.

In a horary only one of them does.

The other planets signify different people involved in the question.

So naturally it’s very important to identify which planet is which because if you don’t, you will get the answer wrong.

A few days ago I received a horary question.

My client had been estranged from his father for many years, but he had been in communication over the last couple of years with the news that the old man was seriously ill and would be likely to die soon.

It had been arranged that the son would receive an inheritance which was due to be paid at the beginning of this year but there had been a disagreement and the old man withdrew this offer and was quite determined not to pass on any of his money.

So with the father very near death my client was naturally very distraught. He loved his father and was deeply upset by the inevitability of his passing but he was also suffering financial hardship due to the last 18 months of Covid related lockdowns and was in need of the money that his father had pledged to him. He asked me whether there was any chance of receiving some of this money.

Here is the chart. It goes without saying that my client has given permission for this article to be published on condition of anonymity of course.

I would expect any experienced horary practitioner to know the answer straight away, but what about the newbies approaching this chart in perhaps the same way that they might a natal chart ?

Most would know that money is a 2nd house issue and inheritance an 8th house one.

The 2nd house is empty but Uranus is in the 8th.

The aspects to Uranus are difficult as it is the apex of a T Square including an opposition from the Moon, Mars and Venus with Saturn.

So what does this mean ? You can’t just wing it on what feels right.

It’s not enough to say yes this chart is about inheritance, because the client already knows that. 

What we have to work out is what do all of the planets involved in this configuration represent. 

And more particularly who do they signify ? Who are the actors in this poignantly sad play and which way are they heading ?

A horary practitioner has to do this properly.

The first thing to do with any horary is to check whether its an appropriate chart to judge. 

Lilly’s Considerations before judgment would suggest that a chart is unsafe if it has an Ascendant of less than 3 degrees or more than 27. 

The Moon having no more aspects to make in its sign ( void of course ) would also affect a judgement as would Saturn being placed in the 7th house due to the astrologer’s own credentials.

As none of these things apply we can make a start.

The next thing to check is how appropriate this chart is as a reflection of the question uppermost in the client’s mind.

Horary says that the client is signified by the Ascendant and in particular its ruling planet.

So the way to check would be to look at the sign placings of the these two with the client’s natal chart.

As it turns out my client has Libra rising a mere 3 degrees from the Ascendant of this horary. 

Venus, the chart ruler is at 18 degrees Leo in the 11th house it is only 2 degrees away from his natal Moon.

The odds of this occurring by chance are over 5,000 / 1 so for the purpose of this question we can be confident that my client is represented by Venus.

It’s very interesting that Venus is also the ruler of the 8th house, reinforcing the appropriateness of the question.

The ruler of the 2nd house is Mars, so this planet signifies his money.

The fact that Venus is applying to a close, uninterrupted conjunction with Mars already points to the idea that my client is going to receive some money from this situation. 

But how does this come about and maybe even when should it do so ?

For this we need to look at the other planets involved.

My client’s father is Saturn as ruler of the 4th house.

Saturn is in Aquarius in the 5th house. 

Why the 5th ? 

Well we actually have to turn the chart because the 5th house is the father’s 2nd house ( his Ascendant would start from the 4th house cusp ).

Saturn is retrograde, which in itself shows that he has changed his mind over a financial issue.

Perhaps the fact that Aquarius is a Fixed sign indicates that he is now set in his opinion and is not going to change it back again.

Venus is opposite Saturn indicating the difficult situation between them, but this aspect can tell us more than that.

Venus being the faster mover is separating from this opposition, meaning that father and son are moving further away from each other at least in terms of the inheritance question. 

This is reinforced by the fact that Saturn is retrograde so they are both moving away from each other.

A natal chart is a fixed point in time which is carried for a life.

A horary chart is about what will happen next, and even what has already happened. The whole essence of horary is about movement.

So with Venus at 17.58 Leo and Saturn at 11.42 Aquarius we have a timescale.

There are many ways to look at timing in a horary chart. Over the years my experience is that the one which works best is using 1 degree to equal a measure of time.

In most cases I would go with one degree equalling one month. This applies unless common sense makes it clear that it wouldn’t.

So if a client was asking when she would find her phone and the planets signifying her and her possession were applying but six degrees apart, I would not say yes but it will take six months. Six hours is more likely in this case.

In the above horary Venus has separated from an opposition to Saturn by 6 degrees and 16 minutes. 

My client confirmed that his father had changed his mind and stopped the inheritance in January of this year, just over 6 months before the horary was cast.

So this confirms the timing scale of one degree per month in respect of this question.

The horary planet that has most to say in the future of a question is the Moon. This is because it is the fastest moving body by some considerable distance and it’s applying aspects will generally describe events pretty accurately. 

So the fact that the Moon is applying to a conjunction with Venus ( my client ) and Mars ( his money ) suggests that he will receive something.

It’s clear that there is no future connection between Venus and Saturn so it won’t be about the father changing his mind.

So what or who is the Moon and how does this happen ?

The Moon rules the 10th and the 11th houses, but its unlikely that my client’s employer or any of his friends would have any part to play in this situation.

But this is where turning the chart offers us a clear insight and allows us to really get to grips with this chart.

The 10th house is the 7th from the 4th house and therefore signifies my client’s father’s wife, his stepmother.

So the step mother would intervene and bring a financial settlement to my client.

Given that the Moon is at 12.55 Leo, it’s likely that she would approach him in 5 months time and he would receive the money when the Moon reaches the conjunction with Mars ( his 2nd ruler ) in 6 months time.

The Moon’s path to Venus and Mars is not uninterrupted though so there is something else that has to happen first.

To rephrase Shakespeare – A Horary’s a stage, and all the planets merely players. 

This play is cast from the perspective of the client and is seen from the Ascendant.

If we want to look at it from the viewpoint of another member of the cast we have to turn the chart to place their house on the Ascendant. 

As mentioned earlier, this chart from the father’s perspective should be turned to place the 4th house cusp as the Ascendant.

This puts Capricorn rising and his own significator, Saturn, retrograde in his 2nd house, indicating that he had changed his mind about what to do about his own money.

From the father’s point of view, his son would be ruled by Venus ( the same planet as the chart says anyway ) because the 5th ( children ) from the 4th ( father ) is the 8th which has Taurus on the cusp.

And Venus from the perspective of the 4th house is placed in Leo ( the sign of children ) in the 8th house ( the sign of death and inheritance ).

The father’s wife ( as we have already said would be signified by the ruler of the 7th from the 4th ) is the Moon.

The Moon is placed in the 11th in the chart which is the father’s 8th, so she ( like Venus, the son ) is concerned with the father’s death.

The Moon is opposite Saturn, in fact it has just past this opposition which suggests that she has become reconciled to her husband’s death.

The Moon’s next aspect is a square to Uranus. 

Of course, William Lilly would not have known about Uranus. As horary is a traditional system, perhaps it’s appropriate to not give Uranus a house rulership.

My feeling about this is to let the chart decide. In this case I don’t think it matters.

What Uranus does represent however is a sudden event that changes things.

Uranus is in the 8th house of the chart and it’s aspects to all the other players ( the Moon, Venus and Saturn ) are difficult squares. It is therefore inevitable that this event would hit all of these people very hard.

Given the situation with his rapidly failing health, it is likely that Uranus represents the father’s death.

As the Moon has just over one degree to go, it is likely that this very sad event would happen in a little over a month’s time. 

Naturally in terms of the question, this event changes things. 

This fact is reflected in the chart. 

The Moon ( the wife’s significator ) is in the father’s 8th house but in her own 2nd house. 

The father’s estate would pass to his wife, his money becomes hers.

Uranus is in her 11th house, which is the 5th ( children ) from her 7th ( husband ). So when the Moon reaches the square to Uranus, this changes the nature of her relationship to her stepson ( at least in regards to this question ).

She is now in control of her husband’s estate.  

The Moon then applies to Venus so I indicated to my client that I thought this meant that she would come to an arrangement with him and provide him with money from his father’s estate.

Given the distance between the Moon and Venus and Mars, I expected this to happen in about 5 – 6 months time.

My client thought that this was indeed a possibility because she was a kind, noble and generous women who would wish to do the right thing ( the Moon is in Leo ).

All of this can be seen in the horary. In fact there are other things there too, including the probable reason for the old man’s change of mind about the inheritance in the first place, but there is no need to include that here.

William Lilly would have seen all of the above, probably well before he had even finished drawing the symbols into his chart wheel. 

It’s very likely that he would not have had access to the client’s natal chart but had a complex system of planetary rulership of physical characteristics which would have enabled him to see the Venus in Leo symbol as being the right one for the person consulting him.

A horary chart is like an x ray. In the hands of the uninitiated, it is meaningless. 

In the hands of a first year medical student, it may provide some vague clues but will probably bring up more questions than answers.

In the hands of a brain surgeon, it will provide an instant diagnosis and within probably a few moments of having seen it, she will already have formulated a plan of procedure and booked the theatre for the necessary operation.

Astrology on twitter is basically just anecdotal gossip. It just replaces chatting over the garden fence with the old lady next door. The only difference is that opens it up to every old lady at every garden fence in the world, all offering their twopence worth.

This might be pleasantly diverting and entertaining when discussing your natal chart, but if you had a specific problem in your life to be answered by astrology, posting your horary on twitter would be the equivalent of taking your brain x ray to your neighbour.

She might say, oh yes Mrs Jones’ aunt had symptoms like that and she dropped dead 2 weeks later or she completely recovered. 

Only a fool would go on that diagnosis without looking for a more qualified opinion.

My experience is that most clients seeking a consultation want to understand their natal charts, but there are usually specific questions about something in their lives that is troubling them.

It may well be that a lot can be understood from their nativity, particularly once transits, progressions and any synastry with other relevant parties are taken into account.

But a good horary will give a clear and specific answer that those other methods probably won’t be able to.

A horary is like an Agatha Christie stage play.

If you want to know whodunnit, its best not to ask the local policeman, they are always bumbling around arresting the wrong people, convinced that its Colonel Mustard with the lead piping in the conservatory.

The problem with that is that it leaves the real villain, someone who you’d least expect, the beautiful Miss Scarlet loose in the library with her revolver. 

Asking someone on twitter to check out your horary is like putting your faith in the local plod. 

Much better to get Hercule Poirot to come and investigate. 

Posted on July 15th 2021

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