The 17th century astrologer William Lilly did not discuss questions about examinations in his classic text on horary astrology (1647), so modern horary astrologers are somewhat left to their own devices in answering such questions. One can find references in the modern literature to the use of the 3rd house for written examinations (for example, C.C. Zain locates “thoughts, studies and writing” in the horary chart’s 3rd house) but more commonly contemporary horary practitioners tend to look to the 9th and 10th houses for answers to such questions.
Lee Lehman in The Martial Art of Horary Astrology (2002, p250) notes that the modern emphasis on education was not part of the cultural context of 17th century astrologers. Lehman goes on to say the the 9th house of wisdom and abstract knowledge and the opposite 3rd house of more practical knowledge have significance in matters of education. She adds that Lilly’s horary about attaining the Philosopher’s Stone implicates the 10th house as a signifier of the result of years of study and learning.
Christopher Warnock on his website gives an example of the horary question, “Will I pass my finals and graduate from college?” asked in Tel Aviv on 20 June 2003 at 12:21 PM. Virgo rises and Taurus occupies the 9th cusp. Warnock states that Venus, as ruler of the 9th house, signifies higher education, the university and the pending final exams (which are part of university education). Because Asc-ruler Mercury applies to soon conjoin 9th ruler Venus, he delineates that the querent will pass the exam and graduate. Mercury in this chart also rules the Gemini 10th house and thus has the added significance of honors and success.
Nina Gryphon in her website give the example of a horary about whether her husband would pass an exam. She uses the Aquarius 7th house as her husband and argues that because 7th ruler Saturn occupies the Libra radical 3rd (her husband’s 9th) and occupies Libra, its sign of exaltation, that her husband would do well on the exam. She interprets the Retrograde status of Saturn as meaning that her husband will remember the material during the exam. She does not consider whether the Moon or the rulers of her husband’s 9th or 10th (radical 3rd and 4th) houses will aspect his ruler Saturn. Her main argument seems to be that because Saturn rules her husband (Aquarius 7th cusp) and is the exalted ruler of his 9th (the radical 3rd) of higher education, he is bound to do well on the exam.
John Frawley in his Horary Textbook (2014) also identifies the 9th and 10th houses as important in questions about education. In Frawley’s view (p258) the 10th house shows the profit from the knowledge gained through 9th house studies and learning. Frawley then equates the exam results with the profit from study and argues that success on an academic exam is a 10th house matter. Nonetheless, states Frawley, the ruler of the 9th house must be in good enough condition for the querent to pass an exam because the 9th indicates the querent’s level of knowedge of the subject matter.
To summarize commonly used house significations in this type of question are:
1st house: the querent.
3rd house: written documents, primary or ‘hands-on’ education and its attendant examinations.
9th house: universities, higher education, abstract knowledge, studies and learning, exams as part of the advanced education learning process.
10th: honors, success of a venture, judges and their judgments, profit from 9th house knowledge (hence success in an exam), the result of years of study and learning.
In searching the internet I found the following interesting examination question posted in 1995 by astrologer Andrew J. Bevan, QHP, DMS Astrology. Mr. Bevan attempts to answer the query, “Will I pass my physiotherapy exam?”, asked at 15.30 GMT, 8 June 1995 in Oslo, 59N55, 10E43. Here is the chart with Regiomontanus houses and Egyptian terms/bounds. (Bevan writes that the chart was cast on a Venus day during a Mercury hour, which would make the date June 9th rather than June 8th. Because the chart he posted is from June 8th and the text reads June 8th, I will work with the June 8th chart rather than the June 9th chart which matches Bevin’s comments about the day and hour lord. It is possible that he posted the wrong chart and we should be studying the June 9th chart instead. The main difference between the two charts is that on Friday June 9th the Moon would have been at 29 Libra, the other planets have moved only slightly.)
The question is asked on a Jupiter day during a Mars hour. Mars also rules the Ascendant and thus signifies the querent as well as 6th house health-related matters. The very early Ascendant is a consideration before judgment.
Higher learning is shown by the Regiomontanus 9th house, which has Gemini on the cusp and Cancer intercepted within. Thus, Mercury signifies her studies and the Moon may act as a co-ruler.
The success of her studies, as reflected in her exam grade, will be shown by the 10th house which has Leo on the cusp. Mars (the querent) in Virgo lies in the 10th Regiomontanus house (honors, success) and in the 11th Whole Sign (hopes and wishes) from the Ascendant. Bevan also notes that the 10th house signifies judges (CA p55) and their judgment in court cases, and in many ways an exam is like presenting your evidence to a judge to see whether you are found sufficiently knowledgeable or not to pass the course.
The Moon, a co-ruler of the querent and ruler of Cancer intercepted in the 9th, is applying to trine the Sun, ruler of the 10th of success on exams and a general ruler of honors and recognition — an indication that she will pass the exam. In addition, Mars (querent) and Mercury (9th ruler) are mutually applying to a square with Mars in a domicile of Mercury. According to Bevan, the querent “was examined on the subjects of hip and hand and passed the examination with perfection.”
Here’s another example I found online. The querent asks whether his brother will pass an important exam, which apparently has to do with his career. In this case the 10th house is especially significant because the 10th can signify both career advancement and success on an exam. The question was asked in Karachi, Pakistan, on 17 May 2009 at 12:15 pm. Here is the chart with Regiomontanus houses and Egyptian terms.
The brother is indicated by the Libra 3rd cusp, ruled by Venus which is in the sign of her detriment in the 8th house and afflicted by Mars, the out-of-sect malefic, so the brother is not in great shape in this question.
To judge the brother’s performance on the exam we must look at the brother’s 9th and 10th houses, which are the radical 11th and 12th, ruled by Mercury and the Moon respectively.
The Moon, ruler of the brother’s 10th, has dignity only by face and is about to square the Sun in the radical 10th from Aquarius, the sign of the sun’s detriment. This is an argument that the brother will fail the exam.
Mercury rules the brother’s 9th of higher education, is peregrine (without essential dignity) and is combust the Sun and applying to the Sun, thus increasing in combustion. This is another argument that the brother will not pass the exam because his knowledge is not sufficient.
The outcome was that the brother did not pass the exam, which was a requirement for the job he was seeking, and therefore gave up on pursuing that job.
In the next post I plan to consider a recent horary about passing an examination from the point of view of Evangeline Adams “new horary” method.