Recently Chris Brennan on his Astrology Podcast interviewed one of my favorite horary astrologers, Sue Ward, about Lilly’s Considerations before Judgement. I thought it would be useful to post Lilly’s comments in one place so I went through Christian Astrology (1647) and compiled the following. I modernized the English to make it more readable but have not altered the meaning. Occasionally I have added an explanatory comment of my own. If you notice any error in my transcription from Lilly, please leave a comment so I can correct it.
CONSIDERATIONS before Judgment (CA 121-123)
All the Ancients that have wrote of Questions, do give warning to the Astrologer, that before he deliver judgement he well consider whether the Figure is radical and capable of judgement; the Question then shall be taken for radical, or fit to be judged, when as the Lord of the hour at the time of proposing the Question, and erecting the Figure, and the Lord of the Ascendant or first House, are of one Triplicity, or be one, or of the same nature.
As for example; let the Lord of the hour be Mars, let the Sign of Scorpio, Cancer or Pisces ascend, this Question is then radical, because Mars is Lord of the hour, and of the watery triplicity, or of those signs Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces.
Again, let the Lord of the hour be Mars, and Aries ascend, the Question shall be radical, because Mars is both Lord of the hour and the Sign ascending.
Let the Lord of the hour be Mars, and let the Sign Leo ascend, here, although the Sun is one of the Lords of the fiery Triplicity, and the sole Lord of the Sign Leo, yet shall the Question be judged; because the Sun, who is Lord of the Ascendant, and Mars who is Lord of the hour, are both of one nature, viz. Hot and Dry.
When either 00. degrees, or the first or second degrees of a Sign ascend (especially in Signs of short ascensions, viz. Capricorn to 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.
If 27, 28, 29 degrees ascend of any Sign, it’s no ways safe to give judgement, except the Querent be in years corresponding to the number of degrees ascending; or unless the Figure be set upon a certain time, viz. a man went away or fled at such a time precise; here you may judge, because it’s no propounded question.
It’s not safe to judge when the Moon is in the later degrees of a Sign, especially in Gemini, Scorpio or Capricorn; or as some say, when she is in Via Combusta, which is, when she is in the last 15 degrees of Libra, or the first 15 degrees of Scorpio.
All manner of matters go hardly on (except the principal significators be very strong) when the Moon is void of course; yet somewhat she performs if void of course, and be either in Taurus, Cancer, Sagittarius or Pisces. [“A Planet is void of course, when he is separated from a Planet, nor doth forthwith, during his being in that Sign, apply to any other” — CA 112]
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.
The Arabians, as Alkindus and others, do deliver these following rules, as very fit to be considered before a Question be judged.
Viz. if Saturn be in the Ascendant, especially Retrograde, the matter of that Question seldom or never comes to good.
Saturn in the seventh either corrupts the judgement of the Astrologer, or is a Sign the matter propounded will come from one misfortune to another.
If the Lord of the Ascendant be Combust, neither question propounded will take, or the Querent be regulated.
The Lord of the seventh unfortunate, or in his fall, or Terms of the Infortunes, the Artist shall scarce give a solid judgement.
When the testimonies of Fortunes and Infortunes are equal, defer judgement, it’s not possible to know which way the balance will turn: however, defer you your opinion till another question better inform you.
William Lilly’s 43 Aphorisms and Considerations for Better Judging any Horary Question (CA 298-302)
- See the Question be radical, or fit to be judged; which is, when the Lord of the Ascendant and hour be of one nature or Triplicity.
- Be not confident of the Judgment if either the first degrees or later of any Sign be Ascending; if few degrees ascend, the matter is not yet ripe for judgment; if the later degrees arise, the matter of the Question is elapsed, and it’s probable the Querent hath been tampering with others, or despairs of any success; however, the Heavens advise you not to meddle with it at that time.
- The position of Saturn or Mars in the 10th, and they peregrine or unfortunate, or the South Node in that house, the Artist hardly get credit by that Question.
- Judge not upon every slight motion, or without premeditation of the Querent, nor upon slight and trivial Questions, or when the Querent hath not wit to know what he would demand. [Note: Lilly warns against attempting to answer witless (foolish, brainless) questions via horary astrology. Many such questions appear in internet forums on horary.]
- Have special regard to the strength and debility of the Moon, and it’s far better the Lord of the Ascendant be unfortunate than she, for she brings unto us the strength and virtue of all the other Planets, and of one Planet to another.
- Behold the condition of Saturn in every Question, he is naturally ill by his excess of cold; Mars is of ill influence, because of his too much heat: in very truth, neither of them is cold or dry, but signifies so much in their virtue and operation, and therefore in all Questions they show tardity and detriment in the Question, unless the Moon and they receive each other in the Signification.
- See the condition of Jupiter and Venus be observed, who naturally are Fortunes and temperate, and never import any malice, unless by accident: where they are Significators without reception, they put forward the matter, but they best preform the matter in question when they apply by Trine or Sextile, and to purpose when in Essential Dignities.
- In every Question where Fortunes are Significators, hope well; but in Infortunes, then fear the worst, and accordingly order your business.
- Generally consider the state of the Moon, for if she be void of course there’s no great hopes of the Question propounded, that it shall be effected; yet if she be in Cancer, Taurus, Sagittarius or Pisces, your fear may be less, for then she is not much impedited by being void of course.
- See from what Planet the Moon is separated, that Planet shows what has already been done: if from a Fortune good; if from a malevolent, ill; according to the nature of the house, &c.
- The Application of the Moon shows the present condition of the thing demanded, viz. her applying by a good aspect, and in a good house, to a good Planet, intimates the strong hopes of the thing intended.
- The Application of the Moon to a Planet in his Fall, signifies anguish, trouble and delays in the thing demanded.
- A Retrograde Planet, or one in his first station, Significator in Question, denotes ill in the Question, discord and much contradiction.
- We ought warily to consider if evil Planets be Significators in any thing, for if they predict evil in the thing quesited, the vengeance is more heavy; if they foretell of any good, it’s less then what it expected, it’s imperfect, and nothing therein comes, without infinite solicitation and affliction, &c.
- A Planet that is slow in motion, prolongs the thing quesited after, so that it’s hardly performed; the nature of the Sign wherein the Planet is, doth herein much advantage the judgment.
- When Infortunes are Significators of any evil, do you well consider if the Fortunes, viz. Jupiter of Venus, cast not any aspect unto them, then the evil intended formerly is lessened; doe so when the Fortunes are Significators.
- If the Fortunes signifies any thing, and are cadent, or ill placed in Dignities, or behold not the Ascendant, or are Retrograde, then are they impedited, and shall perform little, if not received.
- Notwithstanding Reception, if he be an Infortune, he performs but little; but if the same happen when the Fortunes are Significators, the thing is perfected.
- A Planet Peregrine, viz. having no essential Dignities where he is, he is malicious beyond expression; if he be in essential Dignities, the less; for then he is like a noble soul that hath his enemy in his clutches, but scorns to hurt him.
- And yet generally, if Saturn or Mars be in House [domicile], Exaltation, Triplicity and Angles, and then have Signification in a Question, they perform the thing desired.
- Confide not too much in the assistance a Fortune lends, unless he be in essential Dignities; for then he performs matters wholly, else but by halves.
- When in a Question wherein both the Fortunes and Infortunes are either weak or equally ill places, promise no success upon that demand; defer the Judgment until the Heavens have a better Position.
- Beware in all Judgments, when the Significator of the question is either Combust, or in Opposition to the Sun, he will then signify nothing of the matter, no good, nor is he able to bring anything to perfection.
- One Infortune joined to another, if good be signified by their aspect, yet will it have no effect, or come to any thing: If they signifies evil, it’s probably that it may fall out with more malice than expected.
- The Lord of the Ascendant out of his essential Dignities, Cadent, &c., shows the Querent is out of all hopes in his business.
- A Planet within 12 degrees of the Sun, is said to be under his Beams, and then hath no fortitude, let it be in what Sign it will; when a Planet is within 16 minutes of the Sun, he is said to be in Cazimi, or heat of the Sun, and then it’s an addition of fortune, and he is wondrous strong.
- See to what Planet the Significator commits his disposition, and if Oriental or Occidental; if it be to Saturn, Jupiter or Mars, and they Oriental, the matter is sooner performed; later, if Occidental, doe the contrary in Venus and Mercury.
- Observe if the Planet that is Significator of the thing desired, be in a fixed Sign, moveable, or common: fixed Signs show stability, and that the thing shall continue, whether it be begun, or is to be begun: common [mutable, dual] Signs show the oft probability of perfecting the thing, and yet not its conclusion: moveable [cardinal] Signs show a sudden resolution or conclusion of the matter one way or other. From hence we being Foundations of Houses and Towns when Significators are fixed; short Journey when they are moveable: but in things wherein we define mediocrity, we elect common Signs.
- The Lord of the Ascendant or the Moon with the Head or Tail of the Dragon, brings damage to the Question propounded; see in what house they are in, and receive signification from thence.
- Look whether the degree of the Ascendant, or place of the Sign the Significator is in, be the then place of any Eclipse at hand; though the matter propounded be in a fair way to be concluded, yet shall it insensibly receive prejudice when least is expected, and hardly be concluded. [I’m not sure which eclipses Lilly regards as being “at hand”. Most likely he has in mind eclipses that occur near to the date of the question, but his exact understanding of “at hand” would require further research.]
- If you find the Moon impedited in any Question, be it what it will, there will be the like stay, demur or hindrance in the thing quesited; and indeed there’s seldom good end comes of the Question where the Moon is impedited; if it be in going to War, you may fear the life of the Querent; if in a Journey, ill success, if Marriage, an ill end of Wooing, &c.
- If the Lord of the question or the Moon be in a Sign opposite to his own house, as Mercury in Sagittarius or Pisces, &c., the Querent hath no good hopes of his demands, he despairs, nor doth he delight in it, nor doth he care whether it can be performed or not.
- 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.
- The nearer your Significator is to an Angle, the more good you may expect; less, if placed in a Succedent house; little if in a Cadent.
- In all Questions, know there’s not so great an affliction to the Moon, as when she is in Conjunction with the SUN; the ill aspects of the infortunes doth much afflict her, but none so powerful as her Combustion.
- In any Question, see if an Infortune aspect your Significator, and whether they be both Peregrine, Retrograde, Cadent, or in Signs contrary to their own nature, it may then be doubted they infer such a mischief in the question, as is inevitable, according to natural causes. [I think that here Lilly has in mind a special case in which both the Significator and the Infortune, which afflicts the Significator, share a similar debilitating state in the chart, that is, both are peregrine, Rx, cadent or in signs contrary to their nature, and thus both are suffering in the same way, so that the manner in which the Infortune afflicts the Signficator becomes modified.]
- Planets that are Significators in any thing, if they are in Conjunction, and in a Sign agreeing to their own nature, then the thing quesited after is brought to perfection with much ease and facility, else not.
- Have special regard to the Significators, and whether any frustration or prohibition be before the perfect aspect: the Planet frustrating describes the party or cause hindering the matter demanded.
- Ever consider the Part of Fortune, which if well dignified in any house, the Querent gets by men, or things denoted by that house; and so, if ill dignified, damage from thence.
- In questions of Marriage, an unfortunate Planet in the 7th threatens ill agreement in Marriage, unless the same Planet be a Significator at the Birth.
- If the Lord of the 8th be impedited or unfortunate in the 8th, the Querent shall receive prejudice by the death of some woman, or concerning some debts due unto him from men deceased.
- In what house you find Jupiter and Venus well dignified, you may expect benefit from such men and things as are Signified by that house; as if in the 3rd, from Kindred; in the 4th, from Father, or by Lands, &c. in the 5th by Play, &c. and so in other houses.
- Beware of men and things appertaining to that house wherein South Node is in; it seldom fails, but the Querent shall receive damage, scandal or slander from men and matter[s] signified by the house he is in.