Sibly on Length of Life in Horary Astrology


Recently I was browsing through Sibly’s 1817 book on astrology and studying some of his sample horary charts. Not long ago a colleague asked me about time limits for horary charts, whether they were of short duration or could span the lifetime of the querent. What struck me about one of Sibly’s charts was that he directly addressed a length of life question from a querent, based on the horary figure. Sibly also has some interesting comments to make about the judgment of timing in horary, so I thought it would be useful to post the chart here with some additional comments of my own.

On 16 April 1783 at 11 o’clock in the morning a man of some prominence in the British Navy asked Sibly whether it would be advisable to purchase life-annuities, the answer to which depended by how soon he was likely to die. Here is Sibly’s chart in which he used Placidus houses which were the standard system of domification in England in the 18th century.

Except for his calculation of the Part of Fortune, Sibly’s chart is remarkably close to one done by modern computer:

Sibly begins by determining whether the chart is radical and fit to be judged. The question was asked on a Wednesday (ruled by Mercury) during a Sun hour. The fact that the Sun rules both the Ascendant and the planetary hour is an indicator of a radical chart. Sibly also matches the chart to the physical appearance of the querent and decides that the close fit also indicates that the chart is radical.

He then begins to answer the question, noting that the Sun signifies the life-force and is posited in its exaltation sign Aries in the powerful 10th house. It is favorable that the Sun receives no aspects from the lords of the 6th, 8th, 4th or 2nd houses. There is some concern that the Moon, ruler of the 12th of undoing and confinement, applies to oppose the Ascendant-ruler Sun. After squaring the Sun, the Moon will enter Scorpio where it will square the Ascendant degree and then sextile Saturn in Capricorn in the 6th house. Sibly continues:

Sibly notes that the Moon lies in Libra, ruled by Venus, which in turn occupies Taurus and is about to semi-sextile the Asc-ruler Sun. As the Moon rules the 12th of secret enemies, he tells the querent that he will be injured by some female connection (both Moon and Venus can signify women) who is just pretending to be a friend. I don’t know how he calculated the P.F. in his chart, but Sibly argues that the Moon disposes Fortuna and so the querent will lose part of his fortune through this relationship with a deceptive woman.

Sibly then looks at future aspects of the Moon. He says, incorrectly, that the Moon will square the Ascendant degree from an airy sign (Libra) but in reality the Moon will lie in Scorpio when that square perfects. Perhaps he is thinking that the square will become in orb in the airy sign Libra. In any case he predicts health problems from Moon square Asc, such as “wind cholic” or problems with the bowels and kidneys. These problems won’t kill him because the Asc-ruler Sun is so strong.

In the above section Sibly talks about the querent’s recent past. He notes that the North Lunar Node in the 9th Placidus house shows success in a recent voyage. However, Saturn’s opposition to Sibly’s incorrectly calculated Part of Fortune and the Moon’s separation from the Moon’s South Node in the 3rd (a travel house) and from the opposition to Mercury (a signifier of winds) in Aries in the 9th of voyages indicates that a recent hurricane had threatened the ship.

Next Sibly is asked to time when the illnesses he foresaw would occur. He calculates that Moon in his horary chart will oppose Sun in 11 degrees 59 minutes of arc. Sibly then takes the latitude of the Moon (1 degree 39 minutes S) and adds it to the arc between the Moon and the Sun’s opposition, to arrive at 13 degrees 32 minutes of arc. Because the Moon lies in Libra and the Sun in Aries (both cardinal or movable signs) Sibly converts the arc which he calculated into weeks and days and predicts that the querent will fall ill around July 20, 1783 and that he will survive the illness. By modern computer the latitude of the Moon is 1 degree 29 minute S, slightly different than Sibly’s value:

Planetary Data for Sibly’s Horary Chart

Sibly concludes by telling the reader that he ran into the querent some time later and, of course, his predictions were right on target. On the basis of Sibly’s accuracy the querent decided to invest in life annuities, firm in the knowledge that he would not die until he reach 69 years of age. Unfortunately, Sibly does not explain how he arrived at age 69 for the demise of this querent.

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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