Does the Via Combusta apply to Natal Charts?

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.

Alfred Nobel, sunrise chart with Sun, Mars & Mercury in the via combusta.

Alfred Nobel (birth time unknown), sunrise chart with Sun, Mars & Mercury in the via combusta.

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.

About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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8 Responses to Does the Via Combusta apply to Natal Charts?

  1. Belle de la nuit noir says:

    I’ve read your book four times and studied every chart you’ve sampled. You are so expansive in your quest to discover. Astrology is beautiful this way because it has such diversity and takes a true alchemist like yourself to synthesize it so elegantly and skillfully. Thank you again!

  2. Thanks for your comment.

  3. james says:


    do you think astrological techniques that i’ve never see used in horary can be applied to horary astrology? different house systems then regio or placidus? use of aspects outside the ptolemiac aspects – 45 or 135 that have been in use since keplers time? midpoint data? arabic lots or parts? is horary only a classical type of practice or can it be something more then that?

  4. James,
    The short answer is “yes.” Very old texts on horary used Alcabitius houses, and the oldest house system we know of is the Whole Sign system. Arabic parts also have a long history of use in horary. I don’t see why minor aspects would not give useful information in horary, though I would rely more on the major ones. If you want to be a purist, you would stick to the older methods and avoid the modern planets. On the other hand, astrology continues to develop and there is no reason newer techniques could not be useful in horary. It would be a fascinating study to do horary with the 90-degree dial and avoid house systems altogether.

    • SkPc says:

      Horary with the 90-degree dial has already been done by Uranian astrologer Penelope Bertucelli. I’ve read her book “Phoenix Workshop” where she answers horary questions using this method:

      The fourth book explores a new field of interest for the uranian astrologer . . . see the phenomenal accuracy of using the Horary chart procedures. These pages include 6 cases for study.

      The whole “my way is the only way to read horary” is nothing more than traditional propaganda to try to sell more books by the astrologers who proclaim that sort of thing (Frawley, etc.). It’s pure nonsense.

  5. james says:

    great answer tony.. i am with you in spirit! the void of course moon concept and those who follow it don’t seem receptive to the idea that minor aspects have any role, but then that might just be a reflection on their unwillingness to consider other astrological approaches, or a sense of diluting the pure waters of the past.. i don’t know that there ever was any pure type of astrology myself or one where all astrologers were in agreement on.

  6. Belle de la nuit noir says:

    Dear Tony,
    Is it possible for you to post an horary question that isn’t a natal chart or an event chart where the north node and saturn are conjunct with an interpretation? Something where this aspect relates to the querent or their question. Thank you for all of your previous responses.

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