When astrologer Alan Leo fell seriously ill in August of 1917, his wife Bessie asked her husband’s colleague H.S. Green (author of a well-known book on mundane astrology) whether her husband would succumb to the illness. On page 82 of the book The Life and Work of Alan Leo by Bessie Leo we learn that the horary chart was cast for 3:10 PM Summer Time in Bournesmouth, UK, on 29 August 1917. Here is the chart calculated by modern computer with Placidus cusps which were in vogue at the time:
According to what she writes in her book, Bessie Leo was worried that her husband might die and asked, “Will Mr. Leo’s illness be serious?” She continues that Mr. Green’s analysis was the following:
“The reply was given that while the illness was serious, the worst need not be feared, and that it should pass off in a few days. Stomach and liver affected.” Bessie Leo then states:
“In light of the subsequent events there is here a failure to predict death, but it is curious that the judgment agreed exactly with the doctor’s diagnosis, of which Mr. Green knew nothing. The Ascendant Sagittarius stands for Mrs. Leo, and the 7th house for the person enquired about. Jupiter is in the 7th in good aspect to Venus culminating, to Saturn, and to Neptune, both in the 8th house. Mercury, Mr. Leo’s significator, receives none but good aspects.”
“The afflictions are the Sun in Virgo in square to Jupiter in the 7th (Mr. Leo’s Ascendant), and the Moon, ruler of the 8th, in opposition to Mars in the 8th; the Moon always being co-significator in the horary question.”
Astrologer H.S. Green clearly misread the chart because Alan Leo died the next day, on 30 August 1917 at 10 AM BST at Bude, Cornwall, UK. Let’s see if we can figure out where Mr. Green went astray.
The horary was cast on a Mercury day during a Mercury hour. Mercury rules the Gemini 7th cusp, which signifies her husband. The Ascendant at 9 Sagittarius 56 has its 12th part (dwad) in Pisces, which contains no planets, but the ruler of Pisces is Jupiter on the 7th cusp of the spouse. She is clearly asking a question about her husband.
Mercury represents Alan Leo (the husband of the querent) in this chart. The turned 8th of death from the 7th is the radical Capricorn 2nd house, ruled by Saturn, which is also a natural signifier of death.
Cancer on the cusp of the radical 8th makes the Moon a signfier of death in this chart. The Moon at 24 Cap 18 will perfect no aspects before leaving its sign, but as soon as the Moon enters the next sign Aquarius, it will perfect its trine to Mercury, the husband’s signficator. Mercury receives the Moon in its term/bound at the beginning of Aquarius and as a good host, Mercury will act to please the Moon which is the radical lord of death. This is a clear indication that the husband will die. The trine aspect probably reflects that the death would occur quickly without undue suffering, which was the case. Bessie Leo writes, “Mr. Leo actually died of effusion of blood on the brain, the bursting of a blood vessel in the head … the rupture of the blood vessel was brought about by the strain caused by vomiting; and if the latter had been stopped the death would not have occurred just when it did but would have been postponed, being in a sense unnecessary.“
In addition to the 8th ruler Moon’s next aspect being to the 7th ruler Mercury, there is a translation of light from husband’s ruler of death Saturn to the querent’s ruler Jupiter on the cusp of the 7th. Venus, which rules the radical 6th of illness (turned 12th of undoing of the husband) is separating from Saturn (ruler of the husband’s 8th of death) in the radical 8th of death and rapidly applying to Jupiter. Venus also rules the radical 10th which is the husband’s 4th house of end of life matters. This translation of light connects the husband’s end of life (radical 4th), hospital confinement (radical 6th), and death (radical 2nd) with his wife’s death-related experience (Saturn in radical 8th).
The fact that Mars rules the radical 12th, which is the husband’s 6th of illness, and lies in the radical 8th of death, where Mars conjoins the 8th cusp, supports the above interpretations.
Evangeline Adams “New Horary” method
I was curious to see how Evangeline Adams would have interpreted this horary question. In her method, Adams calculates the angles and cusps of the horary chart and then inserts the natal planets of the querent. The next chart is Bessie Leo’s natal chart from AstroDataBank turned so that the horary Ascendant is rising instead of her natal Ascendant. The house cusps are those of the H.S. Green horary chart but the planets are those of the birth chart of Bessie Leo, the querent.
The 7th ruler Mercury signifies the husband who is ill. Saturn, ruler of the radical 2nd which is the turned 8th, signifies the death of the husband. There is no applying aspect connecting Mercury to Saturn.
On the other hand, there are several ominous indications in the chart. Saturn, ruler of the husband’s house of death, occupies and conjoin the cusp of the radical 8th of death, showing that an experience of death is coming to the querent. The Sun, a general signifier of the husband in a woman’s chart, applies to square Saturn in the 8th. The Moon, debilitated in the 1st in Capricorn, rules the radical 8th of death and is rising toward the Ascendant. Adams commonly read the planets in the 1st that were rising toward the horizon to symbolize events that were soon to enter the life of the querent. Here, as the Moon advances in the zodiac, it will square the Sun (a natural signifier of the husband) and then oppose Saturn (ruler of the husband’s house of death).
Given the above, my guess is that Evangeline Adams would have interpreted this horary to mean that Alan Leo would die of his illness.
A Bizarre Twist on Evangeline Adams “New Horary” method
Now for an even more bizarre twist and something Evangeline Adams never tried, as far as I can tell from her books. What if we put the quesited’s natal planets into the horary chart instead of the querent’s? Because Bessie Leo was asking about her husband, it occurred to me to try Adams’ method using Alan Leo’s natal planets in Bessie Leo’s horary chart as cast by H.S. Green. Here is the result.
I was blown away when I first looked at this unorthodox version of an Adams horary for Bessie Leo’s question with the quesisted’s natal planets in the horary figure. In other words, she asked about her husband so I put the husband’s natal planets in the horary chart. It is striking how the 8th house just jumps out at you.
Here the most angular planet is Uranus on the 7th cusp, indicating a sudden disruptive event coming into the life of the querent’s spouse.
Mercury rules the husband and occupies the radical 8th of death where it conjoins Saturn, ruler of the 2nd which is the husband’s turned 8th of death. Mercury is combust the Sun and thus strongly debilitated. The Sun rules Leo which is intercepted in the Placidus 8th and thus has an 8th house significance. Mercury and the Sun are mutually applying to conjoin, uniting the symbol of the husband with a signifier of death. The Moon, ruler of the radical 8th of death, is separating from a trine to the sun (ruler of Leo in the 8th) and applying to trine Mercury (the husband), thus translating the light from Sun to Mercury. Mars occupies the 2nd of the husband’s death and is mutually applying to oppose Venus, ruler of the radical 6th of illness and turned 12th of the husband’s hospitalization.
All in all, this is not a favorable chart and it indicates that the husband will die of his illness.
Interestingly, there is a prominence of Jupiter and the 9th house in these charts. Some modern astrologers have noted that Jupiter and the 9th are often active in charts related to the death of the person, especially if death is a welcome ending from some type of suffering which cannot be alleviated in this life. In Hellenistic astrology the 9th is the House of God (“metaphorically, the ninth represents the speeding through a tunnel toward a brilliant light after death“) as well as long journeys, and Jupiter has to do with religion and spirituality. Perhaps the prominence of the 9th and Jupiter at the time of death has to do with making a final long journey back to one’s Maker. As I write this, I am reminded of a sidereal Solar Return which Aswin Balaji recently discussed regarding the death of Robin Williams in which the 9th house and Jupiter played a significant role.