Which House Rules Cars?

In her book on horary astrology (p. 217), Olivia Barclay presents a chart for the question, “I have fallen in love with an 1937 Bentley.  Will I be able to buy it?”  (15 Feb 1987, 4:42 PM GMT, 51N13, 1E25).  The question was asked on a Sun day during a Saturn hour.  Here is the chart with Regiomontanus houses.


In her analysis of this chart, Barclay uses the 3rd house to signify the car, a practice which is at variance with that of many other horary astrologers who use the 2nd house to represent goods you want to purchase.  Barclay adds that Venus lies in the 5th house where she rejoices, and the 5th house describes honey-colored objects.  The Bentley happened to be honey-colored.  Barclay then generalizes from one chart to all of astrology — a logical fallacy of over-generalization.

According to Lilly, the 2nd house gives judgment regarding the estate or fortune of the querent, wealth or poverty, removable goods, money lent, profit or gain, loss or damage.

When Barclay found out that her assignment of cars to the 3rd house was being challenged by other astrologers, she wrote an article to justify her position, a copy of which can be found at https://www.qhdc.org/barclay/car.htm.  My own view is that color assignments in horary are not reliable, and different horary authors have contradicted one another in the assignment of colors to houses and signs, so that arguing from color  to prove a point is questionable logic at best.  Nonetheless, Barclay in her article gives the following justification:

“... in Christian Astrology (page 52), Lilly tells us about the 2nd house. This, he assures us, shows the wealth or poverty of the querent, all movable goods, money lent, profit or gain, loss or damage. Here, the trouble may be with the word movable, which I take to mean portable. Those things one cannot carry like houses, tenements, lands, towns, cities and castles belong to the 4th house. (There are, of course, many other things, like colours or parts of the body ruled by the 2nd and 4th houses, but mostly they rule tangible objects.)

Some of the other houses also include tangible things. The 5th house, for example, includes taverns. ‘Why?’ you may ask. The reason is that Venus has her joy in the 5th, and gives her qualities of pleasure and entertainment to that house.

The 3rd rules another tangible article, letters. Why? Because the Moon has her joy in the 3rd and extends her qualities of movement and fluctuation to that house. According to Lilly, if the Moon is actually in the 3rd house, it causes much ‘travel, trotting and trudging’. In short, the 3rd house rules short journeys and communications. I would therefore include cars in the 3rd house because you cannot carry them about. They belong in Lilly’s category of ‘trotting and trudging and travelling about’.”

Thus, Barclay appears to be arguing that because you can’t pick up and carry your car, it is not a “removable good,” can’t belong to the 2nd house and therefore must belong to the 3rd house which is related to travel.  In my opinion this is flimsy logic.  In addition, Barclay’s position is not consistent with astrological tradition.  I can find no reference to vehicles or means of conveyance being assigned to the 3rd house in the classical literature.   There may be such a reference and if anyone knows of one, please let me know.

Instead, in traditional astrology the 2nd house is related to one’s livelihood and one’s income from possessions, and the 4th to the parents and one’s home and possessions.  In fact, Maternus specifically assigns movable possessions (mobilia in Latin) to the 4th house in which he includes one’s parents, patrimony, inheritance from the parents, foundations, substance or assets, movable goods, and latent sources of wealth.  Presumably a child in Rome would inherit the parents’ chariot, which Maternus assigns to the 4th house.

Here is a quote from the W. Kroll et F. Skutsch Latin edition of Maternus (see line 8 of the Latin text for his inclusion of mobilia as an attribute of the 4th house):


Interestingly in Vedic astrology vehicles and conveyances are also assigned to the 4th house, a fact consistent with the 4th century approach of Maternus. Also of note is that the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn assigned the Chariot tarot trump to the sign Cancer, and Lilly lists as consignificators of the 4th astrological house the sign Cancer and the Sun, because Cancer is the 4th sign from the vernal equinox and the Sun is the 4th planet in Chaldean order.  In mythology, the Sun is often depicted as riding on his daily journey through the sky on a golden chariot.  In addition, Cancer is a natural signifier of mothers and the Sun, of fathers.  The 4th house traditionally refers to one’s parents.

Chariot thoth

The CHARIOT tarot trump is associated with the sign CANCER and the 4th HOUSE of the horoscope.

The following quote from the Harvard Law Review, Vol. 29, page 504, makes clear that mobilia can refer to vehicles of conveyance, in this case ‘horses‘:


Let’s now reconsider Barclay’s horary from the perspective of vehicles belonging to the 4th house, as in Vedic astrology.

It is a Sun day during a Saturn hour.  Saturn on the cusp of the 5th house suggests that the querent is concerned with something he loves or something that will give him pleasure.

The 12th part of the Leo ascendant lies in early Taurus in the 9th Regiomontanus house, suggesting that the querent has 9th house matters on his mind.  The ruler of the 12th part is Venus, which occupies the 5th house (what give us pleasure) and which conjoins Neptune (the querent is dreaming about or idealizing this pleasurable object related to 9th house travel).

The Sun rules the 1st house (querent) and is applying in partile sextile to Mars (4th house ruler) in Aries in the 9th.  He really wants this fast powerful phallic car (Pluto on the Scorpio 4th cusp, 4th ruler Mars in Aries) and is rapidly approaching it, but the question is, will he be able to buy it?  His question is about his money and financial resources, a 2nd house matter.

The querent’s money is shown by the Virgo 2nd house, ruled by Mercury.  Unfortunately, Mercury lies in its detriment (Pisces) in the unfortunate 8th and is peregrine (totally without essential dignity).  Mercury has some support because it conjoins the Part of Fortune and will eventually conjoin Jupiter, but as the least dignified planet in the chart, Mercury may indicate that he will not be able to raise the money to buy the car.

The seller of the car is shown by the 7th house, ruled by Saturn.  The Sun (querent) is separating from a sextile to Saturn, so the two parties in the negotiation are moving apart rather than coming together.

The Moon, which could represent the querent, applies to square Saturn (the seller), but the Moon does not occupy any of the dignities of Saturn, so there is no reception.  In addition, the Moon in Virgo is peregrine and must act through its dispositor, which is also peregrine and the least dignified planet in the chart.

In this chart the MC (directly opposite the 4th house cusp of vehicles) is in exact parallel of declination with the fixed star Denebola in the Tail of the Lion, a somewhat unfortunate fixed star (would you pull the tail of a lion?).  Robson writes: “Denebola is of the nature of Saturn and Venus. It gives swift judgment, despair, regrets, public disgrace, misfortune from the elements of nature, and happiness turned to anger, and makes its natives noble, daring, self-controlled, generous and busy with other people’s affairs.”

In the context of this chart, Denebola parallel the 10th cusp, opposite the 4th cusp of cars, suggests that the querent will end up with despair and regret, such that his pursuit of the Bentley will be comparable to chasing the tail of a lion.





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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4 Responses to Which House Rules Cars?

  1. Hbenditsky says:

    You have way too much time on your hands!

  2. I am grateful to Eve Dembowski for her comments about this chart on FaceBook, which I have quoted below:

    “My understanding is that horary is a strange and mysterious thing. If Olivia set this chart and used the house (3rd) she did, then it will work for her judgement.
    We can argue, debate, agree or disagree which house to use for cars; and on some level all can be ‘correct’. Ultimately it comes down to what makes sense to the particular astrologer.
    In this chart you would still need to see some coming together of Sun and Saturn (buyer and seller) without which there may be no sale.
    I like that Mars seems to describe a car…but I could even argue the use of the turned 2nd house as simply a ‘moveable’ object to be traded that currently belongs to the other…Jupiter in Pisces in the 8th house.
    Moon in the 2nd shows his concern for his money (will he have enough).
    Mercury in the same house and sign (Lord 11 & 2) hopes and wishes and the querent’s finances…he loves the car, but his finances are in bad shape. We see that Moon’s last aspect is an opposition to Mercury (his money) which he carries to his next aspect a square to Saturn (the seller) after which he oppose Jupiter…(on the midpoint of Sun/Mars)
    (Interesting that Sun is at 26 degrees, Jupiter is at 26 degrees as is Mars…)
    For me the ‘logic’ of the 3rd house as car is that the function of the car is 3rd house (short journeys), but that the car itself is 2nd. The use of the 4th is one I had not considered and is an interesting one.
    I did a chart once where I asked if our car would be able to make (without breaking down) a trip we were planning. I used the 1st house (as the ship you are ) to assess whether the vehicle was in good enough shape to make the rather long trip. (I judged no!).”

  3. Lyuben Meshikov says:

    Interesting publication, as always. But let see what Sahl says in his writings ” Second house -if you were asked about assets hoped for, or whether one who asked you would get assets or not, then look at the lord of the Ascendant and Moon and the sign of assets and its lord.” So as far I as I get it the car is an asset hoped for, so in Sahl view, second house should be used.

    • Thanks for your comment. My own practice is to use the 2nd house in questions like this, as did Sahl and Lilly. It is interesting that Firmicus Maternus, who predates Sahl, placed “mobilia” (which would include vehicles and means of transportation) in the 4th house and that the Vedic tradition is to place vehicles in the 4th house as well.

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