Pushing Power: Astrology 101

February 9, 2015 by  

pushing power astrology - Psyche entering Cupid's Garden

Psyche Entering Cupid’s Garden – John William Waterhouse, 1905

Pushing power is a term found in many traditional texts. It is also called the gift of power, gift of virtue, and pushing strength. The principle is simple: a planet in one of its own dignities (planet A)  applies to aspect another planet B. It’s not very complicated, right? Planet A is pushing its own power, which comes from being in its dignity, to planet B. The gift of planet A’s power enables planet B to act.

So what does “pushing power” mean in a horoscope? In The Beginning of Wisdom, the 12th century rabbi/astrologer Abraham Ibn Ezra says “If the Lord of the Ascendant gave power to the Lord of the house of the matter sought, what is sought will be gotten according to his wishes…” (Introductions to Traditional Astrology, edited/trans. by Ben Dykes, Chapter III.16 “Pushing Power.”) Ibn Ezra is talking about pushing power in a horary context. We want planet A (the ruler of the Ascendant) to be essentially dignified, or at least not lacking in dignity, so that it is in a position to help itself as it aspects the ruler of the quesited house.

Example of Pushing Power in a Horary

In this horary, the Moon in its domicile is pushing its power to Venus, promising the desired outcome. How would you answer if the question was “will this debt get repaid?”

Moon pushing power to Venus

Horary: Moon pushing power to Venus

What if planet A, not planet B, is the ruler of the matter sought after (also known as the quesited in horary)? For instance, the ruler of the second house of money, in one or more of its essential dignities, applies to the ruler of the Ascendant. Ibn Ezra goes on to say about this possibility that obtaining the sought after thing “will be without labor.” This makes sense, since the quesited matter goes to the querent instead of the querent having to make an effort to get it.

Finally, consider this scenario: When planet B is retrograde, it can push power to planet A, assuming planet B is in its own dignities. In that scenario, we have both A and B pushing power to each other, each helping the sought after matter come to the querent.

Reception by Malefic Planets in Astrology

January 31, 2015 by  

Reception by Planets Astrology

Jesus Summons Matthew to Leave the Tax Office by Jan van Hermessen, 1536.

Reception by malefic planets in astrology is an often misunderstood concept, a lost treasure of bygone ages.  Until new translations arrived in recent years, planetary reception was locked away in old, arcane texts. Reception is worth mastering, as it can transform your horary judgments, casting light like the proverbial Philosopher’s Stone.

One use of reception is helping planets avoid the evil of malefic planets. Astrology today uses the concept of mutual reception, such as when two planets are in each other’s domicile. The reception we are discussing is one-way, just half of mutual reception. Understand: every planet is always in dignity of one or more planets, but it is only being received if it also aspects those planets. Put another way, by being in another’s sign, exaltation, or two minor dignities, a planet is being received by those who rule those dignities, provided the receiving and received planets are in aspect.

Here is where reception gets useful: when a planet is being received by malefic planets, astrology says that the malefic’s evil is abated. This works in horary as well as natal astrology. If you were born with Sun in Capricorn conjunct Saturn (you party animal), have no fear. The Sun is being received by Saturn into Saturn’s domicile, so you will be spared the worst of Saturn’s depredations. This would also hold true if we saw this combination in a horary; let’s say that you are the Sun, about to conjoin the job of your dreams in the form of Saturn. Saturn signifying the job might mean that the job is Saturnian and oppressive, but because the Sun is visiting Saturn in Saturn’s own home, it will not harm you and may even help. Because Saturn is in Capricorn, his own domicile, he is inclined to be on his best behavior.

Charlie Hebdo Shooting: No Reception by Malefic Planets

What happens when a malefic does not receive the planet it aspects? Things can go seriously bad. At the time of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, the Moon in Leo applied to remake the opposition of Mars in Aquarius and Jupiter in Leo. Jupiter and the Moon were not being received by Mars, who was free to do his worst.

Incidentally, this is why the conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Cancer, where both planets are badly placed, is especially destructive. Neither planet receives the other and the result is evil multiplied.

Reception by malefic planets astrology

Charlie Hebdo shooting horoscope. January 7, 2015, 11:30 CET, Paris, France.

Sahl writes:

“…if a good planet were in the house of a bad one (or in its exaltation), [the bad one] receives [the good one] and restrains its own malice from it…” (Judgment 2, Sahl Bin Bishr. The Fifty Judgments, trans. Benjamin Dykes., Appendix A of The Book of the Nine Judges, Cazimi Press, 2011)

Aspects of Malefic Planets in Astrology

Sahl then goes on to say that a trine and sextile to a malefic planet works the same way as reception, in that a soft aspect abates the malefic’s trouble. However, Dr. Experience, as Culpepper liked to call her, disagrees. An easy aspect (and a conjunction) to a malefic might just indicate that its evil happens with ease; without reception, a soft aspect to a malefic planet does not necessarily help and can hurt.

A planet received by malefic planets is more protected. An example is Moon in Aries square Mars. Normally, Moon square Mars can contribute to an incendiary personality and health difficulties. Because the Moon is in Aries, she is received by Mars into his domicile and therefore she is protected from his worst manifestations. The native is still feisty, but an outburst of temper will not ruin his life.

In a few days, we will see Mercury retrograde form a harmonious sextile aspect to Saturn. Mercury is in Aquarius, so it will be received by Saturn, who is the domicile ruler of Aquarius. This helps ensure that their combination is favorable. Now, there are potential issues with Saturn being in Sagittarius, the detriment of Mercury, but that is a different subject for another day, covered nicely by the Starlight Knight blog for those interested in the dark corners of reception.

Horary Astrology of Illness: When Recover? Part 2

January 21, 2015 by  

Horary astrology of illness: excising the stone of folly by Pieter Huys.

Excising the Stone of Folly by Pieter Huys. Only the most cutting edge treatment for your cold here at Gryphon Astrology.

The horary astrology of illness is complex and requires a fairly subtle level of interpretation. Part 1 of this post summarized essential traditional horary techniques for determining the duration of an illness. Now I will share my own horary question on illness that prompted this line of research in the first place, and apply the techniques to see what information we can extract. I am somewhat embarrassed to share such a trivial horary (though it has been a gnarly cold), but hope it will be useful to readers who want to try their hand at applying the theory while lacking a convenient disease.

The horary chart is below:

Horary: When get better from cold?

When will I recover from this cold?

Judgment

Expect a change in 3.5 days, so Tuesday, January 20, though not necessarily an improvement [NG: True; the cold symptoms are waning as of 1/20, now just fatigue and chills. Delightful.]. A more favorable turn of events may occur on Thursday, January 22. The cold is likely an exacerbation of an existing chronic state of a choleric/sanguine nature, and may in fact be the return of old symptoms brought about by my naturopathic remedy.

Showing Our Horary Work

In my experience, using horary astrology for illness related questions poses a special challenge, because a really good analysis of any chart requires both horary skill and subject matter understanding. I am not a health practitioner (the public should count itself lucky), and therefore lack some of the traditional vocabulary of disease and treatment. That said, we should celebrate what we can do, and determining the course of the disease is well within our powers.

First, the sources tell us to analyze three key factors; the Ascendant and its ruler (these represent the querent), the Moon, and the sixth house and its ruler, which describe the disease.

The Ascendant is fixed, one indication of a long-lasting disease. Jupiter in Leo is in its triplicity and retrograde, and conjoins the ascending degree. Recall Lilly’s comment on pages 251-2 of Christian Astrology: the involvement of a retrograde benefic suggests a slow recovery with the possibility of a relapse. I suggest this is especially true when the benefic is in a fixed sign. My suspicion, based on previous episodes, is that this illness is a flare-up of a long-standing sanguine/choleric imbalance, as indicated by Jupiter. A retrograde benefic can also be the temporary return of old symptoms as part of a long healing process.

Venus on the seventh house cusp applies to oppose Jupiter in about 3.5 degrees, and he receives her into his triplicity and term. She rules the tenth house of remedies/treatment, suggesting a possible benefit from medicine, but with difficulty and slowness (opposition between two benefics from fixed signs). Venus brings old Jovial symptoms about through the remedy.

The Sun rules the Ascendant and is in the sixth house, at 26.5 degrees of Capricorn. A planet placed in its decan/face suggests that the situation is not great, but hardly desperate. It is written that a planet in its own face is like a man on his own threshold; not really honored in his house, but not homeless. The Sun in Capricorn is a fair picture of a cold; an ordinarily hot and dry planet finds itself in the incompatible, cold/dry sign ruled by the Sun’s enemy, Saturn. The Sun is in the last few degrees of its sign; it will shortly move into the hot and moist sign of Aquarius where the Sun is in its detriment. Lilly says that the imminent change of sign indicates that the disease will improve or alter in so many degrees as remain in the sign. Here, 3.5 degrees could be most likely days or weeks. I chose days, since a cold is typically measured in days or weeks, and the Sun is in a fast-moving cardinal sign (CA 267-8).

Let’s now apply our astrological microscope to the disease itself, indicated by the sixth house and its ruler. A cardinal sign on the sixth house cusp indicates a fast-moving disease (CA 248) that is cold and dry (earth sign). Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, which typically produces lingering illnesses, though this is somewhat modified by Saturn’s oriental position, very swift motion (over 5’ a day right now), and mutable sign. So, it’s a nasty cold, but not as lingering as it could be.

The Sun applies to sextile Saturn, and is received by Saturn into his domicile. The reception will continue as the Sun moves into Aquarius, since Aquarius is also ruled by Saturn. Reception is especially helpful when a significator aspects a malefic, because it makes the malefic abate its malice. The Sun, in aspecting Saturn, will escape Saturn’s malign influence because it is being received into Saturn’s domicile like an honored guest into a mafioso’s lair. There might be a crisis in the disease when the aspect is exact, on Thursday, January 22.

The Moon is in a mutable sign, suggesting a medium duration to the illness; it won’t be over very quickly, but neither will it stick around for eternity. The Moon’s last aspect was a square to Mars, suggesting I caught the illness while traveling. In traditional thought, Mars is one of the planets of travel. Mars rules the ninth house and is placed in the seventh house of “over there.” The Moon applies to sextile Mercury and Venus, followed by a trine to Jupiter. This indicates recourse to a remedy (sextile to Venus) and benefit from it (Moon’s received trine to Jupiter). On Saturday, I took some homeopathic Phosphorus, and have had a dramatic increase in energy ever since.

One more relevant point: William Lilly has a nice section in Christian Astrology on applying the principles of horary astrology to illness. Page 280 indicates the nature of the disease when shown by the Moon in Sagittarius conjunct, square, or opposite Mars:

“I daily find by experience, the sick party his Blood is overheated by some inordinate exercise, that he burns extremely, sometimes the malignancy of the pestilent Fever is such, he is twice or thrice let Blood [NG: Did not do that yet!]; they are besides many times offended with the Hand and Foot-gout [NG: Not yet], or Itches or breaking out [NG: Not that either], and sometimes with sore Throats [NG: Yes to that], and at other times sharp Rheums offend their Eyes.”

Lilly’s analysis sums it up; I had spent much time walking outside in cold and damp Portland (Mars in a cold/wet sign) last weekend and got a cold/sore throat. Not bad for a 400-year-old, William Lilly!

Update (Jan 29, 2015):

The Sun moving into Aquarius removed some of the most acute symptoms of the cold, but I still was tired and got intermittent chills/fevers. The sign change didn’t produce the biggest change. It wasn’t until the evening of January 22, as symbolized by the Sun sextile Saturn (Sun being received by Saturn, so creating a harmonious relationship with The Great Malefic) that I first felt normal. It’s been a big improvement ever since.

Horary Astrology of Illness

January 19, 2015 by  

The ill horary astrologer

The Poor Poet, by Carl Spitzweg (1839) [NG: The horary astrology in her lair]

Illness focuses the mind on the essentials; nutritious food, a hot drink, and a comfortable bed or couch become key, while everything else recedes into the background. Having suffered from a cold these last few days, I focused on the above life-saving factors while recuperating. Illness has been a great excuse to get caught up on my reading and sleep. Nonetheless, being sick is no picnic, and in between sneezes, I had only one question on my mind; when will I get better? For much of my life, I have suffered from colds, flus, and similar maladies that lasted for weeks or months despite trying all possible remedies, so I naturally worried this cold, too, might turn into one of these familiar germ marathons (shudder). I asked a horary question to determine how long I would be ill. Read the horary question about the illness, judgment, and follow-up information here.

My approach to horary has changed a little over the past few years. Now, whenever I encounter an unusual horary question, I research the suggested interpretive techniques in traditional sources before analyzing the horoscope, often taking notes. Here is what I found: While the traditional texts have some material on the duration of illness, it is often intertwined with other issues, such as determining whether the patient/querent will survive. The texts thus require close reading and annotation to tease out the relevant information, which I will share with you.

The sixth house chapters of horary texts are a sobering reminder of the fragility of life and health in most of human history. Texts like Ben Dykes’s translation of The Book of the Nine Judges, and William Lilly’s Christian Astrology (a book especially rich in indications of the duration of disease), while I sit in my 21st century study, I feel doubly fortunate: I don’t have to worry whether this particular illness will kill me, and I can easily cast a horary on this relatively trivial issue. Neither of these comforts were available to most querents of horary astrology throughout history.

Below are some of my paraphrased and reorganized gleanings of horary texts for determining how long an illness might last; may these prove useful to you (though I hope you have few occasions to use them!). Then, I will share my own horary on illness (see Part 2 of this post) and show how I put the principles into practice.

1. William Lilly, Christian Astrology (“CA”), p. 247-8: Diseases signified by Saturn are long and regulated by the Sun [NG: for timing purposes]; diseases signified by Jupiter, Mars, and the Sun are shorter and regulated by the Moon [NG: again, timed by the Moon], Venus shows illnesses neither long nor short, Mercury diseases are “divers and inconstant,” [NG: variable and intermittent], Moon diseases are “such as do again revert,” [NG: illnesses that are episodic and recurrent].

2. CA 248: A fixed sign on the sixth house cusp shows a long illness difficult to remove; cardinal signs show a short one; while mutable signs show a medium disease that changes and may recur. [NG: The Moon’s sign should be analyzed the same way as the sixth house cusp, in my experience.]

Last degrees of a sign on the sixth house cusp shows the disease nearly at an end, or about to alter in some way.

The domicile ruler of the sixth “of evil influence” [NG: perhaps a malefic or debilitated benefic] and placed in the sixth, shows an enduring, serious illness. Conversely, a fortunate planet in the sixth shows an illness that will not kill and will soon be cured.

Saturn ruling the sixth, and placed in a fixed sign, “he extremely prolongs the Disease.” This is also true if he is slow in motion or retrograde. If he is in a cardinal sign, in his own term/bound, or swift in motion, then he will not be so evil, nor will he prolong the disease.

A cardinal sign on the sixth house cusp and/or the Moon cardinal, and “no impediment otherwise appearing,” the disease will last a short while.

Common signs on the sixth house cusp (except Pisces, which acts as a cardinal sign) “do more long continue any infirmity.”

3. CA 249: If the Moon applies by difficult aspect to the ruler of the Ascendant, the disease increases, and is not yet at its worst at the time of the question. The same is true if the ruler of the sixth house applies to square or oppose the ruler of the Ascendant, or if the ruler of the sixth house is in the eighth or twelfth houses. “The party sick must be more afflicted ere his Disease leave him.”

An unfortunate planet in the sixth moving from one sign into the next shows the disease will soon change. The number of degrees before the change of signs determines so many days, weeks, or months, depending on the sign.

Ruler of the sixth house retrograde, combust, in the eighth or twelfth houses, conjunct, square, or opposite Saturn or Mars, or ruler of the fourth or eighth house, it shows “much infirmity, a long continued and sudden alternation of the Disease from better to worse, if not Death itself”

4. CA 249-50: Saturn, Mars, or any unfortunate planet in the sixth house shows great danger, but if the planet is well placed or essentially dignified, it is not very harmful, and “the Disease is happened casually and suddenly, than upon any prepared matter in the Body beforehand.” Similarly, a benefic planet in the sixth that is not the cause of the illness, the disease will not become permanent or chronic.

The ruler of the sixth house in the Ascendant, and the ruler of the Ascendant in the sixth, the disease has been going on for a long time, and will continue to do so until one of the significators leaves its current sign [NG: This is a helpful hint as to the timing of diseases in general; a significator’s change of signs very frequently shows a change or improvement in the illness and so is relevant to my original question.]

Ruler of the sixth house square or opposite the ruler of the Ascendant in the azimene degrees, the disease is incurable.

Ruler of the sixth in the Ascendant shows the disease will continue but the pain eases.

Ruler of the sixth in a cadent house, the disease is neither serious nor will last a very long time.

Diseases not easily curable are shown by malignant planets in the sixth house, or the ruler of the sixth in the sixth, eighth, or twelfth house.

5. CA 250-1: Good signs of health and recovery for the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon: Neither is conjunct, square, or opposite Mars or Saturn, or any badly disposed planet; both are direct, free from combustion, swift in motion, not peregrine [NG: out of their domicile, exaltation, triplicity, terms, or faces], nor in their fall or detriment; neither are in the sixth, eighth, or twelfth houses, nor in aspect with their rulers.

The ruler of the Ascendant afflicted by sign placement, retrogradation, being peregrine, combust, or in fall/detriment, querent may be cured, but will soon relapse or even die. If Saturn rules the Ascendant, in his own dignities [not peregrine], slow, diminished in light [NG: perhaps relative to the Sun], retrograde, shows an illness that lasts a long time.

6. CA 251:Ruler of the Ascendant swift in motion, entering into another sign or house (as long as it is not the sixth or twelfth house), the disease will quickly end.

The ruler of the Ascendant not afflicted, swift in motion, in a good aspect to a fortunate planet, the querent will quickly be able to overcome the disease.

All the significators of the illness in fixed signs indicates a long time before the disease is cured, and it will be with difficulty.

7. CA 251-2: A malevolent planet applying to the ruler of the Ascendant, or the Moon slow in motion and in aspect with the ruler of the Ascendant, slows the cure and prolongs the disease.

A fast cure is promised if the Moon is swift, or is conjunct a planet that is oriental, direct, and swift. If the Moon is conjunct a retrograde or occidental planet, the cure is slow.
Both the Sun and Moon in cadent houses, disposed by unfortunate planets, shows a very serious illness, but if fortunate planets participate, the person will be cured, though the illness is chronic and grave.

Ruler of the sixth house combust, retrograde, in fall/detriment, in the eighth house, conjunct, square, or opposite Mars or Saturn, and the Moon also applies to conjoin, square, or opposite the ruler of the eighth house [NG: most likely, the more of these factors are present, the more certain one can be of the judgment], the illness “will never leave the sick party till death.”

The Moon or ruler of the Ascendant conjunct, square, or opposite a retrograde benevolent planet, the person will recover slowly, with some possibility of relapse.

8. CA 267-8 “How long ere the sick recover.” Count the degrees between the ruler of the Ascendant and the aspecting benevolent planet (if applicable). Cardinal signs indicate days, especially if the significators are angular and swift in motion. Mutable signs can be days, weeks, or months, depending on the rest of the horoscope and the nature of the disease. See if the Moon is swift or slow in motion, and her sign.

Cardinal signs and angular houses show days; mutable signs and succedent houses show weeks or months, fixed signs and cadent houses indicate months or years.

When the ruler of the Ascendant moves into a new sign where it has essential dignities, the sick party recovers or feels a noticeable improvement [NG: not clear if we are meant to count the degrees until the sign change, or check the ephemeris for the actual day of the change of signs]

9. ‘Umar, 6.9. [This section and the next are from The Book of the Nine Judges, translated and edited by Benjamin Dykes, pub. 2011 by the Cazimi Press.] “On the nature of the disease.” The Ascendant and the Moon in cardinal signs indicate death or health [NG: depending on other indications] more quickly. The Ascendant fixed indicates death after a lengthy illness [NG: again, assuming the horoscope supports a conclusion of death]. The Ascendant and the Moon in mutable signs indicates health, if they are fortunate; if afflicted, they show “a hastened death.”

10. Dorotheus, 6.6 “On those growing ill.” Cardinal signs indicate an acute illness, mutable signs show an illness of medium duration, and fixed signs “afflict with a steady and long-lasting disease.”

Lessons in Horary Astrology: Lesson 2 – Planets: Your Tools

July 8, 2012 by  

When I was learning horary, I wish that someone had explained to me the basics of planetary motion and average speed.   The reason that this is important is that horary is 90% about planetary motion.  Think about that for a moment.  Our world down here is constantly changing; the way that this is symbolized in the sky is by the ever-changing state of the planets.  Knowing where the planets are going and where they have been is key to producing accurate judgments.

Pop quiz: Let’s say that I want to know whether I will get that job I interviewed for last week.  Eager to find out whether I get the job, I cast a horary. In our chart, I am represented by the Moon, while the job is represented by Mars.  We want to see a connection between the Moon and Mars to indicate that I get the job.  Our horary shows the Moon at 10 degrees Taurus trine Mars at 8 degrees Virgo.  All other things being equal, do I get the job?

No, I don’t.  Why not?  The Moon is separating from Mars, showing the job and I are leaving each other, rather than getting closer.  Now, if you know average planetary speeds, you know that the Moon’s speed is many times higher than that of Mars, and the Moon must therefore have overtaken Mars, rather than vice versa.  The Moon moves 12 degrees per day on average, while Mars moves about only about 1/2 of a degree per day.  The Moon has already left Mars behind.

To really be a hit at parties, commit this table to memory:

Average Daily Motions of the Planets, from fastest to slowest***

Moon: 13 deg 10 mins

Mercury: 0 deg 59 mins

Venus: 0 deg 59 mins

Sun: 0 deg 59 mins

Mars: 0 deg 31 mins

Jupiter: 0 deg 05 mins

Saturn: 0 deg 02 mins

***Important caveat: the planets are rarely moving at average speeds, so always check your ephemeris/software.  For example, today, July 7th, 2012, the planets’ speeds are as follows:

Moon: 13 deg 14 mins per day, Mercury: 0 deg 33 min; Venus: 0 deg 20 min, Sun: 0 deg 57 min, Mars 0 deg 32 min, Jupiter 0 deg 12 mins, Saturn 0 deg 01 min.

Now, given today’s actual planetary speeds, we have Mars at 2 Libra trine Venus at 9 Gemini.  Are the planets applying or separating?  Applying, because Venus is so slow right now, that Mars is (very slowly) approaching Venus.  Still, you should check your ephemeris to find out if Mars ever does catch up.  Venus is gaining speed, so it may be they never form the anticipated trine.

So, why does this matter?  Oh, only because it determines the answer to nearly all of our questions.  Let’s say that I interviewed for yet another job yesterday, and cast a horary this morning, July 7th, to see if I get this job.  If I am Mars, and the job is Venus, do I get the job?  Alas, not.  We see the promising Mars-Venus trine.  Looking in the ephemeris, however, we see that Venus rapidly gains speed in the coming days and pulls away from Mars.  Symbolically, this can show a job situation that was promising (seemingly applying Mars-Venus trine), that ends up not working out (Venus eventually pulls away before completing the anticipated aspect).

Lessons in Horary Astrology: Lesson 1 – Yes, It Is Pretty Simple

July 1, 2012 by  

Lesson 1: Introduction to Horary Astrology

Horary astrology is the technique of answering questions based on the time and date the question was asked, then interpreting the horoscope. It is the most immediately applicable astrological technique, and has the added advantage of not needing one’s birth time. For these reasons, horary has been a popular divinatory method for a few thousand years. If, like most people, you are used to interpreting birth horoscopes, this can be deeply disconcerting. Is this some kind of scam? How can you not need the birth data to cast a horoscope? The answer is that we are indeed interpreting a natal horoscope; that of our question. More on this later.

As a simple example, I will share a personal horary: my husband was taking his very last board exam in May, requiring many months of preparation and focused studying. On top of the comprehensive nature of the half-day-long exam, examinees have to answer the questions orally, adding more stress to the experience. The exam is equivalent to the bar exam for lawyers, in that students spend years dreading it, and have created a whole mythology of failures by previous test-takers. My husband is a skilled exam-taker, blessed with a phenomenal memory, but his anxiety worried me. At least it was a pass-fail exam!

I cast a chart, asking: “Will my husband pass his exam this year?”

“Will my husband pass his exam this year?”

Chicago, Illinois, April 9, 2012, 2:04 pm Central Daylight Time

He is represented by Saturn, ruler of Aquarius, which is on the 7th house of spouses. Saturn is the planet of seriousness, worry, and dark thoughts. Certainly a good description of his mood around this time! Saturn is also the planet of retention, so it is good for the memory, provided the planet is functioning well otherwise. Counting from Aquarius, we find that Saturn is placed in his 9th house of higher education and examinations. Dark thoughts about examinations – that fits rather well. Saturn is in Libra, the sign where Saturn is exalted, or extra strong. Further, it is in an air sign – these signs rule the mind and communication. Saturn’s strength is one indication that his subject matter knowledge is very good.

Now, the interesting thing is that Saturn is retrograde, which means that from our perspective here on earth, Saturn appears to be moving backwards in the sky. Since we are wondering whether my husband will be able to recall the vast amounts of material he memorized, Saturn retrograde is a good sign that says “yes, he will be able to remember the information.”

That is indeed what happened. My husband took his exam and passed. His sense was that the questions were not as hard as he expected, and he breezed through most of them.

You can see that horary can be rather simple. Not all questions are this easy, but most are, and can be successfully read by beginners using basic astrological building blocks as shown above.

Just as horary predicts the future, it can also show the present or the past. “Does my girlfriend Georgina still love me?” “Is Bob my child’s father?” (I get both questions with some regularity.)

Now, we could have answered this question from my husband’s birth horoscope, because it is a fairly momentous event in his life. The problem is that we cannot use the birth chart for everything. If I want to know where I left my wallet, good luck teasing it out from the natal horoscope! It’s just not that precise an instrument.

The Birth of a Question

How can horary work? After doing horary for a decade now, I came to the conclusion that we live in a universe where everything is significant. Thus, the birth chart of anything at all, whether a baby, a puppy, a country, or a question, will tell us something about the influences operating at the time of birth, and the future that is embedded in the moment of birth. To me, though, the most persuasive evidence on horary is the fact that it works. It’s hard to fudge yes or no questions such as the one above. Further, the descriptors of a situation, such as the appropriate symbolism of Saturn in describing my husband’s mental state while preparing for his exam, are very convincing when we have knowledge of the situation.

You can go through the old horary questions on this blog to see for yourself how horary works, and the fact that it can be used to answer just about any question. About the only question I do not know how to answer is “Which numbers will be drawn in the lottery tomorrow?” However, I can at least tell you whether you will win the lottery***, which is probably more useful.

***Probably not, alas.

Next week, we will go through some basics to help you get started looking at charts right away.