Culpeper’s 100 Aphorisms on Horary Astrology

The British astrologer and herbalist Nicholas Culpeper published a book of aphorisms in 1654 which he revised in 1648. His Opus astrologicum contains hundreds of aphorisms regarding horary, electional and predictive astrology, which Culpeper culled from the astrological literature. For the convenience of contemporary horary astrologers I have reproduced below Culpeper’s 100 aphorisms pertaining to horary astrology.

According to, Culpeper’s birth data is documented as follows:

Sy Scholfield quotes H.C.G. Matthew & Brian Howard Harrison’s book, “Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: In Association with the British Academy” (Oxford UP, 2004), p. 602: “Culpeper, Nicholas … was born a little after noon on 18 October 1616, probably at Ockley, Surrey, where he was baptized in St Margaret’s Church on 24 October.”

Nicholas Culpeper natal chart from Sibly’s text (c. 1790).  
Data from 28 Oct 1616 gregorian at 12:12 (= 12:12 PM )
Ockley, England, 51n09, 0w22
LMT m0w22 (is local mean time)

Culpeper’s 100 Aphorisms on Horary Astrology


Under Aries are born men of thick hair, white or yellowish, curling, long visage, crooked nose, hazle eyes, little ears, short legs, little feet; the first 15 degrees give a more gross body then the later.


Under Taurus are born men of a short and thick stature, big, broad men, high forehead, wide nose, great mouth, fat short neck, dark ruddy colour, short arms, thick hands, thick black hair, big buttocks, short legs, slowe to anger; but if once angered, hardly ever pleased again.


Gemini gives a delicate, strait, well-composed, and well-set body, good colour, bright clear eyes, good sight, and piercing; long arms, long hands and feet, large brest, brown hair, good wit, fluent tongue, and apt discourse; yet a man of no great fidelity.


Cancer gives but a little short stature; yet the later fifteen degrees give a more full body then the former: you know one Sprat may be something bigger then another: the upper parts of the body are more thick then the lower; disorder in the teeth, little eyes, blackish hair, a lowe whining voice.


Leo arising, gives great head and eyes, quick sight, a large, lusty, strong body; full of metal, courageous, stout-hearted; thick, broad shoulders, yellowish or flaxen hair; a big great voice, resolute spirit, aspiring brain, of a generous, free-hearted, and courteous disposition.


Virgo arising at a Nativity, gives a spare body, yet well composed; a mean stature, lovely brown complexion, great eyes, thick black hair, subtil wit, no great fidelity, aiming at self-ends.


Scorpio gives but short stature, yet a big-limbed, full, and well-set body, strong and active, willful, malicious, false, and deceitful; sad-brown hair, dark sallow complexion, a short neck; quick in motion of body, but of reserved thoughts.


‘Twere pity to have missed Libra, the comeliest of person, and uprightest in condition of all the Zodiack.

Libra gives a delicate, comely, strait body; a round, fair, and well-favoured face, hair for the most part flaxen or light-brown, but sometimes black: a cheerful well-spoken creature; red lips, cherry-cheeks; a tall slender body; courteous, impartial, just and upright in all their dealings.


Under Sagittarius are born strait, well-proportioned-bodies, strong and well-set; of a loving cheerful countenance, high colour, oval visages, good horse-men, and great shooters; stout hearts, brown hair; and quickly bald.


Capricorn gives a very slender weakly man, dry and mean, the face lean and thin; blackish hair, and is exceeding [thick] [missing word/s] pale; man as big about the middle as about the brests; long neck, a disproportioned body; witty, cholerick, and [missing word].


Under Aquarius are born men of a middle stature, well shaped, clear skin, fair visage, yet more lovely than beautiful or curious, yet a handsome composed body, a whitish-bright hair, and sometimes yellow.


And lastly, Pisces gives a short, ill-composed body, yet a good face of clean complexion and colour; thick shoulders, brown hair, fat and plump in all parts; an idle body, else no way hurtful.


In general descriptions of the Planets, consider, The Sun presents one of a brown or yellowish colour, and forehead, great hazle eyes, sharp and piercing, quick-sighted; of no great stature, yet fleshie, and full-boned: he hath a long beard, and is quickly bald, a generous creature, high-minded, aiming at no base or mean things.


The Moon declares one with a pale and whitely face, mixed with but a little redness, if any: of mean stature, proud, of an auburn hair, flowe of speech, fat and flegmatick; short arms, fleshly hands of a mutable condition, often removing from place to place; a wearish peevish creature, seldom contented; neither delighting much in action nor idleness.


Saturn signifies a man with a black swarthy colour, big and large eye-brows, black and little eyes, thin beard, and sometimes none at all; thick shoulders, and sometimes crooked; heavie impish looks, tall stature: he goes with his head stooping forward: lean face, thick lips: he delights to be alone, and is always musing: he hits one leg against the other as he goes: he can hide his anger, and his tongue will tell no tales of his heart: willful, envious, malicious, fearful, proud, and slovenly; covetous, aiming wholly at his own ends.


Jupiter represents a man tall of stature, of a brown muddy complexion, an oval visage, high forehead, fair gray eyes, light brown hair, a handsome well-set strait body, large belly, great thighs, great well-proportioned legs, long feet, a sober, well-spoken, well-conditioned man, desiring to benefit all men; not covetous, nor caring for the goods of this world.


Mars describes one of an high colour, slender, yet strong, and well-set; a round sun-burnt face: his hair yellow or [flaxen]; hazle eyes, quick, sharp and piercing; furious looks; proud, presumptuous, valiant, full of words, boasting and lying.


Under Venus are born people of a whitely-brown colour and complexion; black and quick eyes, little eye-brows, red lips, cherry cheeks with little dimples in them; the [lower] lip somewhat bigger then the upper; a neat, well-composed, and well-ordered body; strait, but of mean stature, affable, courteous, merry, wholly delighting in curiosities.


Lastly, Mercury gives a creature of a tall stature, black hair, long lean face, high forehead, long strait nose, lean lank body; long fingers, and lean; long feet; and he goes swinging one arm; a wisty subtil man, full of talk, and of no great fidelity, unless Mercury be in a fixed signe.


By comparing the Planet with the signe he is in, the description of the body is found out. Also, by considering the strength of the Planet, his aspect to the Sun or Moon, his being with fixed Stars, either of, or opposing his own nature, with his being above of under the earth. For Planets, when they are above the earth, give far taller stature then they do when they are under the earth.


In an Horary Question, when the Lord of the hour is the same Planet, or of the same Nature or Triplicity, or in the same Triplicity with the Lord of the Ascendant, the figure is radical, and fit to be judged of; else not.


Pass no judgement upon a Figure, when either the first or later degrees of a Signe ascend: for if few degrees ascend, the Question is not (as then) ready for judgement: but if the later ascend, the time is slipped, and the Querent hath been tampering with some other Artist about it.

[* Culpeper adds in the margin: “I suppose that the true reason of this is fear of mistaking the significators.”]


Saturn or Mars peregrine in the tenth house, or the Dragons tail there, the Artist gets no credit by that Question.


In all Questions, have a special eye to the Moon for she brings the strengths of the other Planets to us: It is better the Lord of the Ascendant be unfortunate then she.


In all Questions wherein the Fortunes are significators, hope well, but if the Infortunes be significators, fear the worst and so order your judgement accordingly.


When the Moon is void of course in a Question, there is no great hopes of effecting anything to purpose; yet if she be in Taurus, Cancer, Sagittarius, or Pisces, the fear is the less.


The Planet which the Moon last separated from, shews what hath been done already in the business: If from a Fortune, good, if from an Infortune, ill. See what house the Planet is in, and give your judgement accordingly.


The application of the Moon shews the  present state of the thing demanded: a good Planet in a good house, by a good aspect, gives strong hopes of the thing desired.


The application of the Moon to a Planet in his fall, or detriment, signifies trouble and delay in the business.


If a Planet retrograde, or in his first station, be Significator, he denotes much discord and contradiction in the business.


A Planet slowe in motion, if he be Significator, prolong mightily the thing sought after; especially, if he be in a signe contrary to his nature, or in the house of his enemy.


When the Infortunes signifie evil, they bring it to pass with much violence: but if they signifie good, they either bring it not to pass at all, or if they do, it comes with much care, delay, and vexation.


When the Infortunes signifie any evil, see whether Jupiter or Venus cast friendly beams thither: if they do, they mitigate the evil; and so much the more, if it be with reception.


When the Fortunes portend any good, if Saturn or Mars cast forward beams thither, without reception, it mightily hinders the good promised.


Confide not too much upon what a Fortune promiseth, unless he be either in essential dignities, or received by another Fortune: for else, he is like a man that would fain do thee good, but wants power.


Saturn and Mars peregrine, are malicious beyond measure: they are not so bad when they are in essential dignities; for then they are like noble enemies that have got their enemy in their hands, and scorn to hurt him.


If Saturn or Mars be in their houses or exaltations, and in angles, and promise any good, they bring it to pass.


In a Question, when Fortunes and Infortunes are equally weak and ill-seated, defer the judgement till the heavens are setter seated.


When a Planet promising any good in a Question, is either in combustion with, or opposition to the Sun, he never bringeth the good to pass.


Saturn and Mars in conjunction, if they promise good, it never comes to pass: but if they promise evil, it comes with more malice then was expected.


The Lord of the Ascendant, and the Moon peregrine, shew the Querent is out of all hopes of obtaining his desire.


View whether the Significator of the thing desired be in a fixed signe: if he be, it will continue: if in a fickle [cardinal] signe, it will quickly end: if in a common [mutable] signe, it will change out of one thing into another.


If the Lord of the Ascendent, or the Moon, be with the head or tail of the Dragon, it brings damage to the Question propounded. Look in what house they are, and from the signification of that house you may know whence the damage will come.


The first house signifieth the life, complexion, disposition, will, maners, and understanding of the Querent; the beginning of all enterprises.


The second House signifies riches, gain, traffique, gold, silver, and lots and gain by traffique; all moveable goods without life.


The third house signifies brethren, sisters, kindred, small voyages, short journeys, interpretation of dreams, &c.


The fourth house signifies the father, houses, land, immoveable goods, orchards, tillage, hidden treasures, minerals, all things under the earth, prisons, obscure places, the grave, and good report after death, and the end of all things taken in hand.


The fifth house signifies children, all younger kindred, joy, pleasure, gifts, bravery, delight, the riches of the father, all profit of the fourth house, playing, gaming, drinking, &c.


The sixth house signifies servants, sickness, all cattel not fit for labour, as dogs, sheep, &c. fowls, wilde beasts, hunters, goalers, prisons, false accusations, &c.


The seventh house signifies marriage, wives, law-suits, contention, quarrels, known enemies, all the men we deal with, common persons, &c.


The eighth house signifies death, sadness, riches never thought of, dowry, estate of them we deal with, and of known enemies, all the benefit of the seventh house.


The ninth house signifies Religion, pilgrimage, long journeys, dreams, faith, sacrifice, ceremonies, Clergie-men, Navigations, &c.


The tenth house signifies honour, dignities, preferment, calling, offices, trade, Magistrates, Kings, Princes, Governours, advancement, renown, profession, and the mother; Captains and Conductors in War; help, succour.


The eleventh House signifies friends, acquaintance, hope, the things we desire, companions, counsel of friends, all the benefit gotten by the tenth house; good angels, &c.


The twelfth house signifies private and secret enemies, evil spirits, prisons, captivity, bondage, slavery, torment, treason, villainy, horses, and all beasts fit for labour.


In all Questions, look whether the Ascendent or his Lord be in the degree of any Eclipse at hand: for then though the matter be in never so fair a way, it will receive prejudice when it is least expected, and hardly ever be concluded.


Seldome comes good end of a Question, when the Moon is impedited. Judge accordingly, if neither Fortunes give her good aspect; namely, danger of death in War, ill success in journeys, ill end of Marriage, and the like, according as the Question is.


If the Lord of the Ascendent be opposite to it, or in Square to it; also, if the Moon be opposite to her own house or exaltation, the Querent is careless, and cares not which end goes forward.


If the Significator of the thing demanded be impedited, consider what Planet impedites him: and from the house he is in, and Lord of, you may finde the cause and persons hindering the business.


The neerer the Significator is to an angle, the more good you may expect: less, if he be in a succeeding house: little or nothing, if he be in a cadent, unless the matter of the Question be such as belongs to that cadent house he is in.


In any matter promised by any aspect, consider diligently whether there be not any frustration: if there be, there will be hinderance by persons signified by the Planet frustrating.


In every Question, consider the Part of Fortune: if it be will dignified, the Querent get by thing or men signified by the house it is in: if ill dignified, let him expect loss from such. The like may be said of Jupiter and Venus.


Beware of men and things belonging to that house where the Dragons tail is: seldom times but the Querent receives loss, damage, slanders, or scandal, by men or things signified by that house.


Judge not rashly of the Conjunction of two Planets, before you have considered what signe they are in: for if it be a signe of their own nature, it increaseth their signification; if not, the contrary.


Also consider the nature of the signe, whether humane, violent, &c. fixed or moveable, &c. and order your judgement accordingly.


Of this, and all significators, whether they be with fixed Stars of or against their own natures: for the one mightily increaseth, the other retards their significations.


Figures of Horary Questions are either true or false, according to the intent of the Querent.


Beware of Questions when Mars is in the Ascendant, or when Scorpio ariseth: for it is a signe of falsity.


A Radical Figure resembles either the nativity, or the revolution of the nativity of the Querent.

[Note: Here Culpeper adds another way in which a horary chart can be considered radical, namely, when the horary chart resembles the nativity or the current solar return of the querent.]


In a Question truly Radical, there is a sympathy between the matter propounded, and the position of the heavens at the time of the proposition. This is the most absolute way to judge of the radicalness of a Figure.


Love and Hatred cause error in judgment: the one magnifies trifles, the other depresseth great matters. Ye see what impartial men Astrologers ought to be.


When benevolent Planets are Lords of the eighth or twelfth houses, and ill dignified, the Querent shall receive damage from reputed honest men.


A man had need have a special care of his judgement, when the seventh house of his Lord are impedited.


The seventh house and his Lord are Significators for the Artist; and therefore when they are afflicted, his judgement is subject to be clouded.


The matter of any Question is obscured, when the Planet signifying the thing is either under the earth, or under the sun-beams.


But if the Planet signifying the thing, be out of combustion, direct, and in the tenth house, the business lies as clear as the noon-day.


Do not judge rashly that the absent party is dead: it may be he is but drunk.


Do not rashly judge a man is wounded: it may be he was let blood.


Do not judge rashly that a man shall finde hid treasures: it may be he may but take something to pledge. The figures of these Questions are alike; and by these you may finde out many others of like nature.


In all Questions, see what dignity the Lord of the Ascendent had in the precedent Lunation; and order your judgement accordingly.


Also the Revolution of the Nativity, if it can be had, will profit much; viz. by considering the strength of the Lord of the Ascendent then.


If the Figures of the New and Full Moon precendent and subsequent to your Question be the same, and the Ascendent of your Question the same with them, defer your judgement till another time.


Significations for the Unkle are taken from the sixth house; for the Grand-father, from the seventh.


Note what Planet is Lord of the Figure, and according to this quality and place, you may judge of the thoughts of the Querent.


In all Questions, regard the next subsequent Lunation: for matters are subject to vary at every Lunation. By Lunation, I mean the Conjunction of the Luminaries.


The matter in question will soon be performed, when the Lord of the Lunation is Cardinal.


Determine nothing before thou know the intent of the Querent. For if he know not what to ask, how canst thou tell what to answer?


Judge not upon light motions of the Querent. A Question fit to be judged, ought to be premeditated by the Querent.


Mars spoils matters by too much hastiness: Saturn, by slowness.


A Planet within sixteen minutes of the Sun, is in Cazimi, and exceeding strong.


Observe whether the Ascendent, or his significator, be in the place of any Eclispse at hand: if it be, though the matter for the present be in never so fair a way, it will receive prejudice when least expected, and hardly ever be concluded.


Very seldom there coms any good of the Question, when the Moon is impedited.


When Significators are in houses of their own nature, they bring the matter to pass with much ease.


When the Lord of the eighth is infortunate in the eighth, the Querent hath debts he will never get in.


An Infortune in the seventh house, sheweth disagreement betwixt man and wife, except the Planet were significator at the birth.


An Infortune, infortunate beholding the significator, brings inevitable mischief to the Question, according to natural causes.


There is no so great affliction to the Moon, as her combustion.


The superior Planets Oriental, and the inferior Occidental, perform a business with most speed.


If the significator commit his strength to a Fortune that is angular, the matter is soon performed.


These Aphorisms, if rightly understood, discover the key of the mystery of resolving all manner of Questions.

This Treatise was revised, and [multifariously] amended,   1648.


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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