Interview with Astrologer Deborah Houlding (Part 2 of 3)
July 8, 2008 by Nina Gryphon
This is a continuation of Gryphon Astrology’s (dare we say it? exclusive) interview with Deb Houlding. If you have missed Part 1 of the interview, read it first. Part 3 will be posted tomorrow, along with Deb’s chart, which she kindly shared.
Deb will be presenting a workshop on horary astrology Forensic techniques this September in San Francisco.
NG: How did you get into astrology? Was it through Linda Goodman’s books, through whom it seems everyone got started?
DH: No, I never even picked up a Linda Goodman book! I actually started out as a skeptic. I always assumed the daily horoscope column in the newspaper was completely made up, and that is how I thought of astrology in general. To my mind, anyone who could believe astrology was a bit intellectually deficient. The way that I got involved in astrology is that I promised a ride to an astrology class to an older friend of mine without a car. I thought it was complete rubbish, but in order for me to be able to drive her to and from the class – it was a series of classes – I stayed for the class itself. I went through the course, still not believing in astrology, but by the end of the course, I found I was pretty good at it!
I had an intellectual curiosity and social interest in astrology long before I had any kind of personal belief in it. Because of that I kept wanting to know more about it, and I took up the Faculty of Astrological Studies Correspondence course. But it was a good two years after starting to learn about astrology that I finally realized that it worked, and that I had learned to trust it without wondering whether it was ‘logical’ or not.
NG: I wanted to ask you about an issue that is “hot” in astrological circles right now: is the radicality of horary charts important, that is, the idea that the horary cannot be judged if the horoscope doesn’t have certain characteristics? You have an article on the subject on your website, so I’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter.
DH: I think it’s important to distinguish between the chart itself being radical and the question being radical. People tend to focus on the technicalities of the horary chart; the agreement between the lord of the Ascendant and the lord of the hour, and so on. But when you read the traditional astrology texts, the old astrological authorities are talking about the question being radical, not the chart itself.
There is really something deeper in play, which Ben Dykes addressed in his translation of Bonatti: the meaning of the word radical is “rooted,” or the “rootedness” of the question in the querent’s soul. I have not yet seen a chart that did not work or produce an answer, but the more urgent the question is, and the person really needs to know the answer, the clearer the horary will be. Sometimes, when people ask me to look at a horary they attempted to judge, but it was not very clear, it’s often the case they did not need to know the answer very urgently, and the chart reflects that lack of motivation.
NG: Along the same lines, do you follow any special ritual when doing horary horoscopes, for you or for your clients? I’m thinking of Bonatti, who said that the prospective querent should first turn over the question in his mind for at least a night and a day, then pray earnestly for God’s help in finding the truth, and only then he should go see the astrologer. Do you believe in following that?
DH: This follows what I was saying earlier about sufficient motivation to know the answer. I’ll give you a example of my own which I often demonstrate to students. I had misplaced my handbag. I thought of casting a chart for it, but then I didn’t really need it right away, so I hadn’t really bothered to search very hard for it. I was thinking that a horary might save me the bother of a search, but as I opened up the astrology program, I realized that I wasn’t really committed to doing whatever needed to be done to find the bag, so I stopped myself from drawing up the chart.
A few days later, I really, desperately needed to find that bag, I turned the house upside down trying to find it, and just couldn’t. Then I cast a horary, because I had now developed a genuine need to find the bag and I was entirely focused on that one thing – the chart just could not be clearer. I looked at the chart, and went to the unlikely place where the bag should have been, according to the chart, and found it right there.
But to answer your question more directly, I don’t really pray, or anything like that, before judging a chart. I have found that the most effective thing is to make sure that the question I take really is radical, and that the person has a genuine need to know the answer, and is not just asking something unimportant out of curiosity, or something that doesn’t even concern them directly. I can sense it when the person is not really invested in knowing the answer, and then I will decline the consultation. I am selective about the questions I take, again because of client motivation and the chart’s radicality.
[Tomorrow: The final part 3 of Gryphon Astrology’s interview with Deb Houlding, including Deb’s horoscope.
Yesterday: Part 1 of Deb Houlding’s interview.]