Traditional Astrology Handbook: How to Ask Horary Questions

March 12, 2014 by  

Excommunication of Robert the Pious by Jean-Paul Laurens

Excommunication of Robert the Pious by Jean-Paul Laurens
[this is what happens when you don’t consider your horary question for a sufficient length of time]

Since June 2013, I have been writing a book-length commentary on Guido Bonatti’s 146 Considerations.  This is not as dry as it sounds; my work is an astrological textbook with lots of examples, using the Considerations as a structure to convey astrological concepts in a systematic, organized manner that is also fun and relevant to modern readers. Now, on its face, Considerations is a long list of astrological guidelines, rules, and aphorisms written in the 13th century. It is well-known among astrologers even today, but mostly as a collection of handy pointers rather than something more substantial. This sells the Considerations far short of the complete astrological study guide that it really is. Here is a better description, from my introduction:

The Considerations are actually much more than Bonatti’s random brain droppings: they are a syllabus for a complete traditional astrological education, but, in the traditional manner, the teacher does not spoon-feed the student much. Until now, to get the full benefit of the wisdom in the Considerations, the student had to do significant additional research to locate the relevant reference sources. Often, Bonatti only names a concept and then moves on, leaving to us the work of locating his sources. My book collects and interprets key sources for the reader, so that it completely fills in Bonatti’s telegraphic outline. If Considerations is the course syllabus, my book is the textbook for an intermediate or advanced astrologer who wants to enrich her technique and improve her results.

I will be posting occasional excerpts from the book on the blog. Today’s excerpt is from the 2nd Consideration: How to Ask a [Horary] Question. Asking horary questions the right way is key to obtaining a clear answer.  If one’s mind is unfocused, the chart for the question will reflect that.  From my experience, this advice holds even when using  other divinatory means to ask questions, such as the Tarot cards, I Ching, geomancy, or dream incubation.  Bonatti provides a two-step approach to ensuring one asks horary questions (or any divinatory questions) in the proper way:

1. Pray to God [I would add that this means any personally meaningful spiritual entity/concept] to receive the truth
2. Hold the question in mind for at least a day and a night before going to the astrologer (or casting one’s own horoscope), “not touched by just any motion of the mind (as sometimes many impertinent people are wont to do, as is said elsewhere).” (p. 265, Bonatti, Treatise 5 of the Book of Astronomy, 146 Considerations, trans. Benjamin Dykes) It is also acceptable to ask questions immediately that arise out of suddden events, where waiting 24 hours is not practical.

My commentary on the 24-hour waiting period, from the “2nd Consideration” chapter:

The 24-hour minimum is a useful requirement, because it allows the querent to live with the question while awake as well as asleep, allowing both the conscious and unconscious to work on the matter. Very often, the querent will end up with a slightly different question at the end of the incubation period. The extended incubation fosters active problem-solving as it prods the querent out of the realm of vagueness into a deeper understanding of her own motives. The horary does not only reflect one’s situation, but also the querent as actor in her own life. The clarity of the querent’s mind and intention is directly related to the clarity of the resulting horoscope.

The recommendation for waiting 24 hours is helpful especially for astrologers and horary students, since the temptation to cast charts at whim is always there. Unless there is a genuine emergency (and those are thankfully rare), it is best to wait and turn the horary question in one’s mind for a while. Very often, one finds that there is no need for a chart; the answer is right in front of one’s face. The clarity of the horoscope goes up significantly when the querent poses a well-considered question.

Sometimes, it is challenging to wait the necessary 24 hours, and I am the first to admit that putting this kind of restriction in place was difficult at first, given that I like answers fast.  That said, it’s improved the quality of the readings I do for myself immeasurably, whether using horary astrology or other means of divination.

The English astrologer William Lilly, who, along with his student, Henry Coley, translated (and heavily edited) the Considerations into English, had this comment on Bonatti’s recommended horary question process:

Those that take this sober course [the process recommended by Bonatti], shall find the truth in what they enquire after; but whosoever do otherwise, deceive both themselves and the artist; for a foolish Querent may cause a wise Respondent to err, which brings a scandal upon Art amongst inconsiderable people, whereas the Astrologer is not blameable, but the ignorant silly Querent.

Free Astrology Advice: Horary Question – Will My Business Succeed?

January 29, 2007 by  

Woman Holding Balance

Horary Question:

I have been considering opening a business related to house-cleaning and repairs. It will be a partnership between 3 people and we will hire and train personnel to do the job. This idea has been on my mind for some time now, but only today, talking with one of the prospective partners, I had the idea of asking that question before I venture into something that would demand a lot of work, not to mention lots of time and money. If I open this business will it be successful? Will we make money out of it? Will it grow?

—I.

Nina Gryphon:

Dear I.,

Yours is certainly an interesting question, and I only wish that everyone had such foresight before jumping into new ventures. When I do the horary reading for your question, I will look at the overall success of the prospective company, as well as the kind of money that you can make from it. I cast a chart for the moment I understood your question, an ancient method known as horary astrology that you can learn about on my website. The horary chart for your question is below:

Business Success?

First, we see that the benefic North node is on your first house itself. I see this as a positive indication, one that is not too specific, but that gives the chart a more positive spin overall. We will want to look primarily at the 10th and 11th houses, representing your business and money from it, respectively. The 10th house is ruled by Jupiter, which is in its own sign of Sagittarius in the ninth house. Your business will do quite well and grow over time, as Jupiter is so strong.

We also need to look at the 11th house, which shows the money from your prospective business. The house is ruled by Saturn in Leo in detriment in the sixth house. Saturn could probably not be any worse, which would indicate that you may have trouble making money, perhaps despite having lots of customers. It is unfortunately all too possible to run a business such that you have a lot of work without getting paid very much for your efforts. That may be the case here. However, I would also look at Mars in its exaltation in Capricorn just on the cusp of the 11th. Mars is very strong, and gives us a sense that something will be propping the profits up. Mars rules the second house of your partners, so your partners’ money. It may be that even though the business is not terribly lucrative, your partners would be willing to prop it up for a while with their own investment or something similar.

I noticed that the Moon is now void of course, meaning it will not make any aspects in its current sign of Gemini. This can mean that nothing will happen, and you may choose not to go forward with your project. We see that the Moon’s last aspect has been a trine to Mercury, the planet ruling your seventh house of partners. Mercury is in the sign of Saturn, so we can see that your partners are primarily concerned about the possible profits from the business. It may be that your partners have decided not to go forward because they do not see the potential profits.

Given the above guidance, I think your business has a great deal of potential, but I would highly recommend that you have the money angle nailed down to the last possible detail. So many people start businesses without considering whether the money they make will be enough to keep them and the business rolling. Any planned growth will also take an additional influx of cash. If there are three of you, you can do more work, but of course you will need to make more money to pay everyone fairly.

—Readers who wish to get a horary reading (free or paid) may contact Nina Gryphon via her astrology readings webpage.

Free Astrology Advice: Horary Question – When Will I Conceive?

January 18, 2007 by  

 Mother and Child in Garden

Horary Question:


When will I get pregnant?  My husband and I are both 28 years old.  My husband works away 2 weeks and then he is home 2 weeks.  I am 60 lbs overweight and am trying to get the weight off by eating right and exercising.  I am slow at this and am working up to cardio exercising.  We are asking for a child because we have been married for 4 1/2 years and have been trying since February 2006.  I was on birth control and now I am not ovulating, according to the doctors.  We have been actively trying for 11 months and we are having fun, but it is getting frustrating.  I have not been having a regular period, either, a direct result of not ovulating.

—L.

Nina Gryphon:

Dear L.,

I certainly can sympathize with your situation; I never realized just how many women so badly want children until I started writing this column.  I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t get an e-mail from a woman who wants a child but is having trouble conceiving.  The good news for you, of course, is that you are young, as is your husband, so your odds are substantially higher than they would be otherwise.

In any question about pregnancy, we must first determine whether a person will conceive, and only then can we get to the timing.  I cast a horary chart for the time and understood your question.  The drawing of the horary is below:

 Will I Conceive?  Horary Astrology

We notice that the rulers of your and your husband’s houses (the first and the seventh, ruled by Mars and Venus) are both in neutrally fertile signs, Capricorn and Aquarius, which for people your age is okay.  We also have to look at the fifth house of children for each of you, and we see that the ruler of your fifth house is the Sun in Capricorn, another neutral sign.  Your husband’s fifth house is ruled by Saturn which is in Leo, a barren sign.  I am concerned about this, because that nasty Saturn falls right in your fifth house of fertility.  Moreover, Saturn also aspects your ascendant, further indicating that his lack of fertility may be harming you. There could be a possibility that your husband is not as fertile as you may think.  Fortunately, you can have him tested.

I also do not love the fact that the Moon is in its detriment in Capricorn, though Capricorn is neutral in terms of fertility.  The Moon squares the ascendant, again showing that your fertility difficulties are harming you.  Finally, we see Mercury in your husband’s fifth house, peregrine, afflicting your fifth house cusp.  Mercury rules your second house of food, as well as your sixth house of illness, showing that one or both of these could be afflicting your fertility.  Of course Mercury rules houses in your husband’s chart as well, specifically the 12th house of self undoing; to the extent your husband has negative personal habits, such as smoking, this may exacerbate the problem.

So the first order of business would be to get your and your husband’s health checked out, and also eliminate any counterproductive habits or behavior.  It is great that you are working on weight loss, since I am sure that alone will help you quite a bit in increasing your fertility.

One ray of light here is that the Moon will conjoin the Sun in 5°, in the 10th house.  Since the fifth house rules the baby and the Moon rules you, this shows one possibility of the two of you conceiving.  The 5° most likely show five weeks or five months, so you may want to wait to see if you conceive at that time.  Given the other difficulties in the chart, the conception is not exactly a slam dunk, but you also may not want to run to the doctor until you have tried a little bit longer. 

—Readers who are interested in a horary reading may contact Nina Gryphon via the astrology readings request page.