In traditional horary astrology a client (the querent) asks the astrologer a question, and the astrologer then casts a chart for the moment and location where she or he understands what the querent is asking. The astrologer then identifies pertinent significators (planets) in the horary chart to symbolize the querent and the matter asked about (the quesited). To indicate that the matter will come to pass, the horary chart must show the significators applying to perfect a Ptolemaic aspect or to otherwise come together, as by transfer or collection of light.
Sometimes other planets in the horary chart interfere with the process of coming together of the relevant significators. There are several forms of such interference with names like refranation, evasion, abscission, prohibition, etc. In this post, I’d like to explore some of Lilly’s ideas about “prohibition” in horary.
According to William Lilly (CA, p.110), first
“Prohibition is when two Planets that signify the effecting or bringing to conclusion any thing demanded, are applying to an Aspect; and before they can come to a true Aspect, another Planet interposes either his body or aspect, so that thereby the matter propounded is hindered and retarded; this is called Prohibition. For example, Mars is in 7. degr. of Aries, and Saturn is in the 12. Mars signifies the effecting my business when he comes to the body of Saturn, who promises the conclusion, the Sun is at the same time in 6. degr. of Aries. Now in regard that the Sun is swifter in motion then Mars, he will overtake Mars, and come to Conjunction with Saturn before Mars, whereby whatever Mars or Saturn did formerly signify, is now prohibited by the Sun his first impediting Mars and then Saturn, before they can come to a true Conjunction. This manner of prohibition is called a Conjunctional or Bodily prohibition; and you must know that the combustion of any Planet is the greatest misfortune that can be.”
I. Here is a diagram of Lilly’s first type of prohibition by body or conjunction:
— Sun (6 Aries) –> Mars (7 Aries) ———–> Saturn (12 Aries) ——-
Note that Mars and Saturn are both combust the sun and thus quite debilitated. The Sun travels faster than Mars and therefore reaches Saturn before Mars does, so that the union of the two significators (Mars and Saturn) suffers “bodily prohibition” by the Sun and thus the “matter propounded is hindered or retarded.” It is also noteworthy that Lilly differs from Abu Mash’ar who regards prohibition as two significators applying to an aspect but having a third planet between them which will arrive as the second significator before the first one does.
II. Lilly continues:
“The second manner of Prohibition is by Aspect, either Sextile, Square, Trine, Opposition, viz. when two Planets are going to Conjunction [to a major aspect]; as Mars in 7 degree. of Aries, Saturn in 15 of Aries; let us admit the Sun in 5. degr. of Gemini; he then being more swift then Mars in his diurnal motion, doth quickly over-take and pass by the Sextile dexter of Mars ( and comes before Mars can come to Conjunction) to a Sextile dexter of Saturn: This is called Prohibition by Aspect, in the same nature judge if the Aspect be Square, Trine, Opposition.”
Here is a diagram of Lilly’s second type of prohibition by aspect:
—————————– Mars (7 Aries) ————–> Saturn (15 Aries) ——-
——————- Sun (5 Gemini) casts sextile to Aries
The Sun is traveling faster than Mars, so its sextile first connects with Mars and then with Saturn, before Mars is able to reach Saturn, and thus prohibits the conjunction of Mars and Saturn from being fully effective (“the matter propounded is hindered or retarded”).
Here is an example of prohibition from the horary literature. In 1928 a 37 year old physician asked astrologer Robert DeLuce whether his proposed marriage to a woman in her 20s would take place. There were apparently problems and disagreements within the couple, and the woman’s parents were opposed to the marriage. Here is the chart with Placidus houses, which DeLuce used in his horary practice.
It is a Saturn day during a Mercury hour. A retrograde Saturn rises in the 1st, which is usually a negative indicator in horary charts. The Moon’s South Node conjunct the Ascendant also suggests some type of decrease or loss.
The querent is signified by Jupiter (Sagittarius rising) in Aries in the 5th, so he may have passionate romance on his mind. The querent’s co-ruler Moon lies in the 7th, conjunct the 7th cusp, so his feelings are focused on the impending marriage and his bride-to-be.
The quesited young woman is shown by a quite dignified and strong 7th-ruler Mercury in Gemini in the angular 7th.
Will Mercury (the young woman) come together with Jupiter (the querent) in holy matrimony?
Mercury and Jupiter will form a perfect sextile in 10 degrees. Traditionally Jupiter is given an orb of about 10 or 12 degrees but Mercury is allowed about 7 degrees, so they are slightly out of orb but Mercury is quite strong and dignified and a marriage is possible. On the negative side, Mercury occupies Gemini, the detriment of Jupiter, indicating problems with the potential union. In other words, the querent may view the bride-to-be as working to his detriment.
A more serious problem is that the very next aspect which Mercury completes is an opposition to Rx Saturn in the 1st house. Oppositions bring separations, and Saturn symbolizes obstacles and delays. Furthermore, Rx Saturn could mean a turning back or change of heart.
Thus before Mercury (the young woman) can reach Jupiter (the older doctor) to perfect the marriage-granting sextile, Mercury’s opposition to Saturn “prohibits” the sextile of being effective and no marriage will take place.
If we take the Moon to be the querent, then the Moon’s application to conjoin Mercury (the quesited) in the 7th could indicate that the marriage will take place. But again, as we advance the chart in real time, before the Moon can reach Mercury to consummate the marriage, Luna will first oppose the Rx Saturn in the 1st and the doctor will pull out.
Here is the chart for the moment that the Moon opposes Rx Saturn in real time. Note that the Moon has not yet perfected its conjunction with Mercury, so that the opposition to Saturn prohibits the marriage from taking place at the last minute. Interestingly, in this chart Saturn rules the Aquarius 7th of marriage, and the Moon rules the 12th of isolation and withdrawal. Here the Moon in Gemini lies in the triplicity of Saturn, so there is an opposition with reception of the Moon by Saturn.
OUTCOME: DeLuce tells us on p.141 of his horary book that in the end “there was a disagreement and the match was permanently broken off.”