Bonatti gives an interesting method of answering horary questions of the type, “Should I choose option A or B or C, etc.? Which option is best for me?”
Ben Dykes translates Bonatti’s chapter heading as follows: “Of two lands or houses or whatever things, or of two or more business deals or journeys (and the like): which will be better for the querent?”
Let me illustrate with a hypothetical example. Suppose someone asks whether they should stay in their current job or move to a new one. Which is the better option? Consider the following chart. The querent is a woman who is unhappy in her current stressful job, even though it pays well. She has an opportunity to change jobs but is not sure if she will be better off if she does so.
It is a Mercury day during a Jupiter hour. Jupiter also rules the Ascendant, which is a criterion for radicality.
The 12th part of the Ascendant lies at 3 Virgo 12 in the 6th house (menial labor), with Virgo ruling the 7th (contractual relationships). Virgo’s ruler Mercury lies in the 10th (career) and is about to change signs, which symbolizes her thoughts about a job change. The ruler of the 12th part, Mercury in Sagittarius, is in its detriment and has no essential dignity, so it is peregrine, which is consistent with the querent’s unhappiness in her current position.
Neptune applying to the Ascendant raises the question of whether she is being realistic in her thinking about changing jobs or whether she has all the facts she needs to make a sensible decision.
Bonatti (see Dykes translation, pp. 551-554) uses four factors to assess the situation:
- The triplicity rulers of the sign on the house cusp of the quesited and how those rules relate to the ruler of the Ascendant. The 1st triplicity ruler signifies the first option; the 2nd triplicity ruler, the second option; and the participating triplicity ruler, the third option if there is one.
- The rulers of houses 1 and 7. If the condition of L1 is better than that of L7, it is an argument for the first option. If L7 is in better condition than L1, it is an argument in favor of the second option.
- The condition of the Moon as indicated by its aspects with benefics and malefics.
- Whether the benefics and malefics aspect the Part of Fortune, a fixed point which signifies the querent’s material well-being.
On closer inspection it appears that Bonatti is discussing two distinct methods:
- Studying the triplicity rulers and how they relate to the ruler of the Ascendant by aspect and dignity. The example he gives is of a man who must chose which of three women to marry. The chart has a Libra Descendant; and the triplicity rulers of Libra in a day chart are, in order, Saturn, Mercury and Jupiter. Thus, the 1st woman mentioned is signified by Saturn, the 2nd woman by Mercury and the 3rd woman by Jupiter.
- Studying the condition of the rulers of the 1st and 7th houses, using the condition of the Moon and of the Part of Fortune to refine or confirm the judgment about L1 versus L7. Here the 1st house signifies the querent’s current situation and the 7th, the new situation which the querent may change to.
In this chapter on this subject Bonatti first recommends studying the triplicity rulers of the house in question. Because she asked about a job change, we look at the 10th house with Sagittarius on the cusp. The Egyptian day triplicity rulers of Sagittarius are Sun (D), Jupiter (N) and Saturn (participating). Thus, her current job is indicated by the Sun and the new job opportunity by Jupiter.
The Sun (current job) lies in the fortunate 11th house and has minor dignity by face. The sun is separating from the Ascendant-ruler Jupiter. The Moon (querent’s co-ruler) applies to the Sun by sextile. Venus, exalted ruler of the Asc, is just leaving cazimi with the Sun and is now combust, which is consistent with her feelings of being stressed out by her current job. However, Venus is a benefic and the Sun benefits by its conjunction with Venus.
Jupiter (the job opportunity) has no essential dignity (is peregrine), lies in the unfortunate 8th, and is afflicted by a conjunction with Mars.
Judging by essential and accidental dignity, the Sun is in better shape than Jupiter, which suggests that staying in her current job may be the better option.
Bonatti’s next suggestion is to consider the rulers of the 1st and the 7th houses. The idea is that the 1st house symbolizes your current situation and the 7th, the circumstances you would change to.
Here Jupiter rules the 1st and Mercury rules the 7th.
As mentioned above, Jupiter (L1) has no essential dignity (is peregrine), lies in the unfortunate 8th, and is afflicted by a conjunction with Mars.
Mercury (L7), however, is in even worse shape than Jupiter (L1). Not only is Mercury without essential dignity (peregrine) but it is also in detriment.
Thus, staying where she is (though not great) is a better option than moving to a new position.
In addition, Bonatti considers the condition of the Moon, which shows the flow of events in any question. The Moon’s most recent aspect was a sextile to a dignified Saturn in Capricorn in the 10th and its next aspect is a conjunction to peregrine Jupiter in Scorpio in the 8th. This sequence suggests that leaving a demanding job (a dignified Saturn in Capricorn) leads to a less demanding but also less dignified position (Jupiter in Scorpio) that could entail financial loss. Because the Moon is separating from a dignified Saturn in the angular 10th, the Moon is fortified by this dignified planet, which supports staying with the status quo (L1) which is in better condition than L7.
Finally, Bonatti studies the Part of Fortune, which is a fixed point that symbolizes the querent’s material well-being, and how the benefics and malefics are aspect it.
Here the Part of Fortune (PF) lies at 4 Capricorn 41. The “greater malefic” Saturn applies to PF. Venus, Jupiter and Mars are separating from PF. Saturn, however, belongs to the diurnal sect in a day chart and has the dignity of occupying its own domicile Capricorn, so that Saturn in this chart has benefic qualities despite being a generally malefic planet.
Because Saturn has great essential dignity, Saturn’s application to conjoin the Part of Fortune is an argument for saying where she is (L1, which is in better condition than L7) rather than changing to a new position. She may have to work hard, but her efforts will be recognized an rewarded. In addition, Saturn rules the 11th (income from career) and its application to PF suggests that staying in her current job will be financially beneficial.
I found Bonatti’s discussion of the role of the Moon and the Part of Fortune in this technique a bit confusing. Here is how I understood Bonatti, but I may be mistaken. Please feel free to leave a clarifying comment or correction.
- Bonatti gives the instruction that
- if L7 is in worse condition than L1,
- AND the Moon is joined to a malefic,
- AND a malefic is aspecting the Part of Fortune,
- then the matter the querent wants to undertake or change to is not right for him and he is better off staying put. (Bonatti seems to be saying that the bad condition of the Moon and of the Part of Fortune support the idea that L7 is a bad place to be.)
- Conversely, Bonatti says that
- if L1 is in better condition than L7,
- AND the Moon is separating from a benefic,
- AND a benefic is applying to the Part of Fortune,
- then the current situation is better for the querent. (Bonatti seems to be saying that the good condition of the Moon and of the Part of Fortune support the idea that L1 is a better place to be.)
In summing up, it seems that the querent is not making a realistic assessment of her situation (Neptune applying to conjoin Ascendant). The majority of testimonies suggest that, even though her current job is stressing her out, a change to the new position will not improve her situation and may have a negative impact on her finances.
I hope this discussion has not been too confusing. To summarize my understanding of Bonatti’s method:
- If the querent is faced with more than one option, the triplicity rulers of the house signifying the quesited and their relation to the ruler of the Ascendant will indicate which option is best for the querent.
- If faced with a major change in the querent’s situation (relocation to a new house or a new city, accepting a new job, changing professions, etc.), then the 1st house signifies the querent’s current situation and the 7th house signifies what the querent would change to. Whichever ruler (L1 or L7) is in better condition is the better choice. The condition of the Moon and the Part of Fortune will further modify the judgment about the choice between L1 and L7.