It seems like the main use practitioners of the Lilly school of horary astrology have for hour rulers in to test them against the Ascendant to determine the radicality of the chart. Nonetheless, there are many passages in Lilly’s text where he discusses the use of hour rulers as significators in answering a question.
Recently I’ve been reading Choices & Inceptions about electional astrology, translated by Ben Dykes who makes the point that many of the classic texts on horary astrologer are simply rewrites of the rules for elections. It appears that electional astrology and its methods preceded and inspired the development of the astrology of interrogations. This fact is important because traditionally the lord of the hour often plays an important role in the outcome of an election.
In the chapter on 12th house elections, he goes over horse races according to the Al-Rijal (Dykes, p. 375).
Al-Rijal’s method goes as follows:
- Find the lord of the hour when the horse leaves its home to go to the race track.
- If the lord of the hour when the horse sets out lies in the 1st house, the horse is likely to win or be among the very first horses to place in the race.
- If the lord of the hour lies in the 10th house, the horse will run in the middle of the pack.
- If the lord of the hour lies in the 7th house, the horse will run toward the end of the pack.
- If the lord of the hour lies in the 4th hour, the horse will come in last.
- If the lord of the hour is in the sign of its fall, the horse itself will fall during the race.
Bonatti appears to have patterned his somewhat more elaborate rules on this older Arabic text. The principle seems to be that the lord of the hour is the horse, the 1st house is first place, and the further away from the Ascendant in the order of direct motion of the heavens, the further away is the horse from the winning position. If the hour ruler lies in the sign of it fall, the horse may fall. He doesn’t mention other debilities of the hour ruler, but by extension of this principle one could argue that if the hour ruler is in bad shape, it is an argument that the outcome is unlikely to favor the querent.
This example raises the question of whether we should be paying more attention to the lord of the hour in horary charts. Should we be considering the lord of the hour an important significator in horary questions and not simply a factor in whether or not the chart is radical?