Lilly copied rules from the ancient texts on horary about how to determine the sex of an unborn child. On page 240 of Christian Astrology he gives an example. Here is a close modern approximation to his hoary chart for guessing whether the child will be a boy or a girl:
- Note that masculine planets are Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
- Feminine planets are Moon and Venus.
- Mercury takes on the nature of planets it connects with by aspect. Also if Mercury rises before the sun, it is more masculine; but if after the sun, it is more feminine.
- Odd numbered houses (1, 3, 5, etc.) are masculine.
- Even numbered houses (2, 4, 6, etc.) are feminine.
- Jupiter is a universal signifier of fertility, growth, expansion and abundance.
Lilly analyzes this chart as follows:
- Ascendant sign: Virgo, feminine.
- 5th house sign: Capricorn, feminine.
- Moon sign: Capricorn, feminine.
- Asc-ruler (the mother) conjoins what type of planet (the baby growing insider her)?: Mercury conjoins Venus, a feminine planet tipping Mercury toward a feminine nature.
- Sign of Asc-ruler: Mercury in Aries, masculine.
- 5th lord, nature of the planet: Saturn is masculine.
- Sign of 5th lord: Saturn in Aries, masculine.
- HOUSE of the Moon: (in Lilly’s chart the moon is just inside the 5th house by the 5-degree rule), masculine
- HOUSE of the 5th ruler: Saturn in 9th (by 5-degree rule), masculine.
- Jupiter (planet of fertility and expansion), gender of the Lord of Jupiter’s HOUSE: Mercury, masculine (see # 8 below).
- Jupiter, gender of the sign Jupiter occupies: Gemini, masculine.
- Asc-ruler’s next applying aspect: Mercury square Mars, a masculine planet in a masculine house (but a feminine sign), and Mercury rises before the Sun, giving it a more masculine nature. (The logic seems to be that the querent’s next contact with with a masculine planet, so she will probably have a masculine baby.
- 4 feminine
- 8 masculine
Because the predominance of indicators is masculine, Lilly expects a boy (which turned out to be the case.
Lilly also estimated the time of the birth to be about 14 weeks, based on his ephemeris. By modern calculations, the baby (Saturn, ruler of the 5th) lies at 24 Aries 24. The mother (Asc-ruler Mercury) lies at 11 Aries 31). The two planets are 12 deg. 53 min apart. If each degree is a week, then the birth should take place in about 13 weeks.
Judging from the Moon (mother’s co-ruler), Moon at 8 Cap 52 wills square Saturn in 15 deg. 32 min, which suggests about 15.5 weeks. The average given by the aspects of the moon and of Mercury to Saturn is a figure of 14 deg. 12 min, or about 14 weeks.
In fact, the baby was born 13.6 weeks after the question was asked. (Lilly says the baby was born July 11th OS, but he gives planetary placements for July 10th OS for the birth of the baby. Either he looked at the wrong day in the ephemeris, or he mistakenly wrote July 11th when he meant to write July 10th.) In any case, on the day the baby was born, Mars had just crossed the Ascendant of the horary chart, the transiting Sun had just squared the horary Sun, transiting Mercury (the horary querent) was in almost exact opposition to the horary Moon, and transiting Jupiter (expansion, good fortune) was about to sextile horary 5th house ruler Saturn (the baby) later in the day on July 11th OS.
This is Lilly’s original text from page 241 of Christian Astrology (1647):
Next is a similar chart from this year. The querent wanted to know if she would give birth to a boy or a girl.
Let’s follow Lilly’s example, step by step:
Lilly’s first set of Indicators:
- Ascendant: Taurus, feminine.
- 5th house sign: Libra, masculine.
- Moon Sign: Aries, masculine.
- Asc-ruler conjoins (within orb) what type of planet? Venus conjoins Mercury (neutral) and with the Sun, a masculine planet. Mercury is somewhat feminine because it rises after the Sun, but is is very masculine in this chart because of its close proximity to the Sun. Also, the conjunction with Mercury is just outside of the traditional orb of 7 degrees.
Lilly’s second set of Indicators:
- Sign of Asc-ruler: Venus in Pisces, feminine.
- 5th lord, nature of planet: Venus is feminine.
- Sign of 5th lord: Venus in Pisces, feminine.
- HOUSE of the Moon: Moon is in the 11th house, masculine.
- HOUSE of the 5th ruler: Venus in 10th house, feminine.
- Jupiter (planet of fertility), gender of the Lord of Jupiter’s HOUSE: Jupiter lies in the 7th house (5-degree rule) with a Scorpio cusp: Mars, masculine.
- Jupiter, gender of the sign Jupiter occupies: Jupiter in the sign Scorpio, a feminine sign.
- Asc-ruler’s next applying aspect: Venus square Mars, a masculine planet. The logic is that the querent’s next contact in this chart is with a very masculine planet (Mars) in a masculine house (7) and a masculine sign (Sagittarius).
- 6 masculine
- 6 feminine
If I understood the method correctly, Lilly would say there is a 50/50 chance this woman may have a baby of either sex. In fact, she had a boy. Perhaps a male child is shown by Venus (the querent) conjunct the Sun (masculine), Venus closely applying to Mars (masculine), and the Moon’s next aspect being a sextile to the Sun (masculine). Studying the dynamics of the chart may provide the answer when a simply M/F list results in a tie.
As I understand it, Lilly’s method consists of the following. Determine the number of masculine and feminine indicators from the following list. The predominant one is the sex of the baby.
- Sign ascending: M or F?
- Sign on the 5th house cusp: M or F?
- Moon sign: M or F?
- Planets conjunct Asc-ruler (if no conjunction, use the sex of the Asc-ruler)? M or F
- Sign where Asc-ruler resides: M or F?
- Sex of the planet ruling the 5th: M or F?
- Sign that 5th ruler occupies: M or F?
- Sex of House that Moon occupies (use 5-degree rule): M or F?
- Sex of House which 5th ruler occupies (use 5-degree rule): M or F?
- Sex of the planet that disposes Jupiter (fertility): M or F?
- Sex of the sign where Jupiter (fertility) resides: M or F?
- Sex of planet to which Asc-ruler next applies: M or F?