Henry Coley and Emerson’s Point of Death

In the previous post I looked at a chart of William Lilly and showed how Emerson’s “Death Point” was a useful tool in analyzing a decumbiture chart. Upon reading that post, a colleague from Argentina called my attention to a 1667 hypothetical chart of Henry Coley (a student of William Lilly) in which he attempted to determine whether an absent person was dead or alive. I thought it would be interesting to calculate Emerson’s 20th century “death point” for Henry Coley’s 17th century chart, which he invented purely for teaching purposes. (Coley’s chart does not correspond to reality.)

Here is the teaching chart as Coley published it:

Henry Coley death chart

It is a Venus day during a Mercury hour. The Ascendant is at 3 Aq 11, and the Asc-ruler Saturn lies at 26 Cap 09 in the unfortunate 12th house.  The Moon lies at 28 Pis 33 in the 1st house. The Sun (a general signifier of vitality and ruler of the 7th house of the sunset of life) lie at 5 Sco 05 in the 8th house of death.

Venus at 28 Libra 45 rules the 8th house of death. Saturn (L1) receives Venus (L8) in his exaltation, which suggests that the absent person (L1) wishes to please his guest, the Lady of Death (Venus), by dying. In other words Saturn (L1) is dying to make Venus (L8) happy because she is a guest in his sign of exaltation. On the other hand, Venus is exalted in Pisces where the Moon (a co-ruler of the absent person) is a guest, so the goddess of love may be kind and spare the life of this absent party; what kind of gracious hostess kills off her guests?

Now for Emerson’s Point of Death: Saturn + Mars – MC.  Here are my calculations:


Thus, Emerson’s Death Point lies at 5 Scorpio 35 and conjoins the Sun in the 8th house, snuffing out the vital forces of the absent party.  I’d say this hypothetical absent person is most likely dead.

Unfortunately, this is an invented chart and there is no absent person in reality, so I can’t check my delineation against the facts in the case.

Let’s see how Henry Coley analyzed the chart:

Henry Coley death explain

Henry is more generous. He hopes the absent person (who I think is dead) is at present in good health, but Coley admits that the absent party has recently been in danger of death or acutely ill.

Because this is an invented chart, we will never know which delineation is correct. Nonetheless, it is remarkable that Emerson’s Death Point landed right on top of the Sun in the deadly 8th house of this hypothetical chart.

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.
This entry was posted in Astrology, horary and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Henry Coley and Emerson’s Point of Death

  1. Carl Matthews says:

    In your excellent book on Solar Returns you have the Emerson Death formula as: MC+SA-MA.
    Which is different from what you are using here i.e., SA+MA-MC.
    Just wondering.

    • There may be a typo involved (MC written for MA and vices versa).
      In her horary book on p. 173 Barbara Watters writes that the “death point” which she learned from Charles Emerson “is arrived at by adding the longitudes of Mars and Saturn and subtracting the longitude of the MC.”
      So the original text gives the Death Point as: Mars + Saturn – MC.
      Sorry about the confusion.

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