In response to my previous post on the via combusta, James asked whether this idea from horary astrolgoy could be applied to natal charts. Here is the gist of my response with some elaborations and a sample chart:
The question I raised is one for which I don’t have an answer: “If the via combusta is useful in horary and electional astrology, why would it lose its meaning in a natal or an event chart?”
Some astrologers insist that certain techniques only apply to particular branches of astrology. I don’t know why that should be true, but is is a belief many astrologers share.
Horary developed to answer questions from a chart. Its techniques are designed to provide an answer. Natal astrology (the psychological kind practiced by many modern astrologers) is supposed to tell us about the personality of a person. My impression of historically older natal astrologer is that it was largely predictive: would you marry and when, how many children would you have, who are your enemies, will you achieve fame and fortune, etc. In a way this type of natal astrology is really a set of horary questions based on the time of the birth chart.
I have not tried to apply the via combusta to natal charts. It may be symbolically significant in terms of the area of the chart under consideration (this is pure speculation on my part since I have not studied this question in any detail). We could check this by looking at charts of individuals famous for “combustion” in some way. In horary, the via combusta is related to situations of fear, unpredicabilty or instability.
As I tried to think of historical figures famous for combustion, the chart that came to mind was that of Alfred Nobel (of the Nobel Prize), the inventor of dynamite. Certainly the symbolism of a combust way applies to his Alfred Nobel. He was born on Oct 21, 1833. At the time his Sun was in 28 Libra, Mars in 2 Scorpio and Mercury in 9 Scorpio — all in the via combusta as Lilly defined it. Nobel’s time of birth is unknown.
In his sunrise chart the Sun rules his Leo MC, so the Sun in the Via Combusta seems to relate to his profession (blowing things up with dynamite to create burnt paths). Mars rules his sunrise 2nd house of income, and he made a vast fortune selling the dynamite that he invented.
It would be instructive to look at a large number of charts where the MC-ruler was in the via combusta to see if a similar symbolism applied.