Recently I watched an enjoyable interview by Mychal A. Bryan with Ema Kurent on Integrative Approaches to Horary Astrology. Ema is the author of a recent textbook of Horary Astrology and during the interview she recounts her life in astrology, including a horary chart that appeared not to work out as expected. Her horary example stuck in my brain like a popular tune that you can’t get out of your head, so it occurred to me to put my thoughts about it in writing.
The horary chart had to do with a relationship. The querent had met a man whom she liked and asked whether they would get back together and, if so, when. Here is the chart with Regiomontanus Houses, which I calculated in Solar Fire from the data in the video interview.
It is a Venus day during a Venus hour, and Venus rules the rising sign in a horary about relationships, so the chart appears radical.
Ema reasoned that Venus rules the Ascendant and therefore signifies the querent. Mars rules the 7th and thus signifies the quesited man whom the querent is interested in. Venus and Mars are not currently in orb of any aspect, but they had been trine and are now separating. Fortunately, the Moon in Capricorn, the exaltation sign of Mars, is separating from Mars and applying to Venus, so that the translation of light by the Moon could bring them together again. The Moon will perfect a sextile to Venus in about 7 degrees, so the querent should have some kind of contact with the quesited in 7 units of time. Because the Moon is angular and in a cardinal sign, the time-unit is likely to be fairly short: hours, days or at most weeks. Like Ema, I had looked at this chart during the video and had come to the same conclusion.
Unfortunately, seven weeks passed and the querent did not hear from the quesited, so the horary chart appears to have been mistaken or our interpretation of it had been wrong. Finally, on April 14 (slightly more than two months after the question of February 12), the querent learned that the man had died on March 28 and he was buried on April 1st, which was 7 weeks after the question.
What went wrong? This is the question that has been bothering me for the past couple of days, so I went over the chart more carefully and observed the following:
First, I usually begin by looking for Lilly’s considerations before judgment, which I had failed to do while following along in the video. In this chart there is a very early Ascendant, which serves to caution the astrologer that the matter may be in its very early stages so that the chart may not be able to give a satisfactory answer to the question. In other words, it may be premature to ask the question because the situation has not yet developed fully enough to be able to know the outcome, or some important relevant information may not yet be available to the querent. Some astrologers refer to this consideration as meaning that it’s “too early to tell” or “too soon to be able to judge” from the chart.
Specifically Lilly writes: “When either 0 degrees, or the first or second degrees of a Sign ascend (especially in Signs of short ascensions, viz. Capricorn through Gemini), you may not adventure judgement, unless the Querent be very young, and his corporature, complexion and moles or scars of his body agree with the quality of the Sign ascending.” (CA 123)
On page 288 of CA, Lilly also writes: “Be not confident of the Judgment if either the 1st degrees or later of any Signe be ascending; if the later degrees arise, the matter of the Question is elapsed, and it’s probable the Querent hath been tampering with others, or despaires of any successe; however, the Heavens advise you not to meddle with it at that time” (bold mine). Lilly words imply that if the very early degrees rise, the matter to too early to judge, whereas if the late degrees rise, “the matter of the Questiion is elapsed.”
Yet another consideration before judgment is present, namely that the 7th ruler, which signifies the astrologer judging the question, aspects the malefic Saturn by opposition. The classic Arabic texts on horary give Mars an orb of 8 degrees and Saturn, an orb of 12 degrees. Mars at 6 Scorpio 19 is within orb of opposition to Saturn at 28 Aries 34 because the two planets are 7 degrees 45 minutes away from perfection of the opposition aspect. This consideration usually means that the astrologer may have difficulty accurately interpreting the chart.
In addition, Lilly states in his aphorims (CA 288) that “One Infortune joyned to another, if good be signified by their aspect, yet will it have no effect, or come to any thing: If they signifie evill, it’s probably that it may fall out with more malice then expected.” Here Mars and Saturn are in opposition in the horary chart, implying that matters “may fall out with more malice then expected.” In this chart, Mars (the quesited) is being impeded by an opposition of Saturn on the cusp of the 8th house, and Lilly states in Aphorism 33: “Consider diligently the Planet impediting the Signifier of the thing demanded, and what house he is either Lord of, or is posited in; from the nature or person of that house require the cause obstructing” so that obstruction to the quesited comes from the 8th house of death.
In this chart, this second consideration may not apply because the 7th cusp represents the quesited, in which case Lilly appeared to ignore this consideration: “You must also be wary, when in any question propounded you find the Cusp of the 7th house
afflicted, or the Lord of that house Retrograde, or impedited, and the matter at that time not concerning the seventh house, but belonging to any other house, it’s an argument the judgement of the Astrologer will give small content, or any thing please the Querent; for the seventh house generally hath signification of the Artist.” (CA 123, italics mine).
In hindsight, because Mars signifies the man inquired about (7th cusp), the fact that the last aspect which Mars perfected was an opposition to Saturn in Aries, the home of Mars, in the 8th of death appears to be highly significant.
In addition, in Lilly’s comment above, he also calls attention to afflictions to the cusp of the 7th house, and in this chart the 7th cusp is conjoined by the malefic fixed star Scheat, which Robson associates with “extreme misfortune, murder, suicide, and drowning.” What I had missed on my first pass through the chart was that the significator of the quesited, Mars, ruled the 8th and was separating from Saturn in Aries in the 8th and that the cusp of the 7th (the man inquired about) was conjunct the malefic fixed star Scheat, a star associated with extreme misfortune and death.
Looking deeper into the chart, we need to consider the dignities of the signifiers Mars and Venus, and of the Moon.
The Moon is separating from a sextile to Mars which had perfected when the Moon was in 6 degrees of Capricorn, in the exaltation and triplicity of Mars, but the Moon lies in the detriment (exile) of the Moon and the Fall of Jupiter, which rules the house where Venus is located.
Mars in 6 degrees of Scorpio lies in triplicity of Venus and the Moon, so that there is a connection by dignity among the three significators, but Mars lies in the detriment of Venus and the Fall (Depression) of the Moon, implying that the connection among them is associated with some type of hardship or disappointment.
Venus in 18 of Pisces lies in the triplicity of Mars and the Moon, and in the Fall of Mercury. Venus is also in a cadent house which diminishes her power.
Moon separates from Mars and carries the light of Mars to Venus, but Mars lies in the detriment (exile) of Venus and in the Fall (Depression) of the Moon, and Mars occupies the via combusta, where the Moon is quite unhappy, so the quality of the light being translated may not bring happiness to the querent. In other words, the light that the Moon carries from Mars to Venus (the querent) is tainted by its being light of Mars in the via combusta, of the Fall of the Moon and of the detriment of Venus. Thus, when Venus receives this light via its transfer from the dejected Moon, the goddess of love is not likely to be too happy because it carries with it significations of the via combusta and the Fall (dejection) of Venus.
Further factors that I had not noticed initially include the following:
1. Venus lies in the 6th, which is the 12th of the 7th of relationships. The 12th house of any house can signify its dissolution or ending.
2. 7th ruler Mars lies in the 2nd radical house, which is the derived 8th of death from the radical 7th.
3. The antiscion of Mars almost exactly conjoins the Sun and closely conjoins the lunar South Node (Ketu), which is stationary in this chart, an ominous indication regarding the significations of Mars. This Mars-antiscion/Sun/Ketu conjunction occurs in the 5th house of love and romance. Saturn, which rules this 5th house, conjoins the 8th of death. Lilly also writes in Aphorism 43: “Beware of men and things appertaining to that house wherein South Node is in; it seldome failes, but the Querent shall receive damage, scandall or slander from men and matter signified by the house he is in.” Here the South Node lies in the 5th house of romance where it conjoins the antiscion of Mars, the man inquired about.
4. Saturn is almuten of the 1st (the querent) and closely conjoins the 8th cusp of death, indicating that the querent may experience a situation related to death and dying.
Judging horaries is often not a simple task, and a detailed analysis and a weighing of all the factors is necessary to come to a proper interpretation of the chart.