An Example of a Horary Astrology Question
Last week I went to Sedona, Arizona in order to speak at the Blast astrology conference. The conference itself was great. It was divided up so that each day was a focused on a different astrological tradition (i.e. Hellenistic, Indian, Medieval, Modern, etc.). I gave three lectures on the Hellenistic track on the first day of the conference, with each of the other presenters on the track giving separate presentations as well. After the first day of the conference was over I was able to relax for a bit and enjoy myself since I wasn’t scheduled to give my workshop on Hellenistic time-lord techniques until the last day.
At one point towards the middle of the week I went out to dinner with several other speakers, Demetra George, Deb Houlding, Dorian Greenbaum, Joseph Crane and Meira Epstein. Later that night I ended up at a party with a bunch of people from the Association for Young Astrologers, and at some point I realized that I had lost my laptop bag which contained my computer, my passport, my digital camera, and several other important possessions. The computer itself contained material that I needed for the workshop that I was due to present later in the week, as well as several other projects that I have been working on over the past few months such as my book. I spent the next few hours trying to retrace my steps in order to figure out where I had left the bag, but it was to no avail. I had lost something really important and I simply didn’t know if I was going to get it back.
By the middle of the next day I was starting to freak out because none of the possible places that I thought that I had left the bag at seemed to have it. Initially I was convinced that I had left it at the Chinese restaurant that I went to with some of the other speakers the previous night, but the staff at the restaurant said that they hadn’t seen it. At this point my sense of desperation had become quite acute, and eventually I realized that I simply needed to know whether or not I would eventually get my laptop bag back at all, one way or another, because the entire incident was starting to put a damper on the entire conference for me.
Right about that time I realized that this was a perfect scenario for a horary question. While my immediate focus was on the location of the laptop bag, my main concern was whether or not I would get it back at all at that point. So I asked a friend of mine who I was with at the time something to the effect of “will I ever get my laptop back”, and we cast a chart for the exchange of the question. In my opinion the focus of horary isn’t so much on casting charts for the abstract moment of the birth of a question, but rather, the focus is on casting a chart for the exchange of a question between the querent and the astrologer. Thus I always cast the chart for the time and location of the astrologer who receives the question, and I never pose questions to myself (Masha’allah actually has a specific injunction against this in his work known as On Reception).
We noted the time of the question and cast the horary chart on my friend’s laptop on the way to lunch that day. Here is the chart:
Horary question: “Will I ever get my laptop back?”
Before we even cast the chart I knew what I should expect to see if the answer to the question was going to be ‘yes’, or conversely if the answer to the question was ‘no’. Since it was a question about some of my possessions it was a 2nd house question, and the configuration of the ruler of the 1st and the ruler of the 2nd, or lack thereof, would be enough to provide me with a yes or no answer. Basically, if the ruler of the 1st was applying to the ruler of the second, or vice versa, then the answer would be ‘yes’, but if there was no application between the two significators then the answer would be ‘no’.
The technical approach to horary astrology is pretty straightforward like that, which is why it has become so popular over the past couple of decades. Horary is all about determining what the focus of the question is, assigning the significators accordingly and then seeing whether or not they are applying, separating, or completely unconfigured with respect to one another. While horary astrology isn’t very good at answering broader ranging questions like ‘what is my purpose in life’, which is more the purview of natal astrology, it is very good at answering specific questions that can easily be assigned to one of the twelve houses and answered with a straight forward yes or no response.
As soon as we cast the chart I realized that it was a text book example of an easy to delineate horary question with an affirmative answer. Right off the bat we notice that Sagittarius was rising at the moment of the question and the ruler of the 1st was in the 2nd house of possessions. Thus the horary chart itself was accurately reflecting that the focus of the question was on the querent’s possessions (i.e. my laptop).
The next step was to see if there was an applying aspect between the ruler of the 1st and the ruler of the 2nd. As it turned out I was in luck and there was! Jupiter had recently stationed direct and it was applying to a trine with Saturn in just over one degree. Thus the planet that was signifying me in the chart, Jupiter, was actually applying to the planet that signified my laptop in the chart, Saturn. So, the symbolism of the chart was actually showing that I was moving towards the laptop, and more specifically that I would indeed recover it. This was further reinforced by the fact that the Moon was at 10 Taurus applying to a trine with Jupiter and Saturn. Since the Moon usually acts as a secondary significator for the querent its application to the relevant significators in the chart reaffirmed the positive response to the question.
Basically the horary chart gave me an resoundingly positive response to the question of whether or not I would get my laptop back. At that point in time I had no other reason to think that I would ever see the laptop bag or any of the possessions contained in it ever again since I had checked every possible place that it could be, however I was now rather certain that I would get the laptop bag back and that it was only a matter of time. Armed with this information I was able to sit back and enjoy the rest of my day at the conference with an odd sense of serenity about the whole situation. It wasn’t so much a sense of elation about the knowledge that I would get the laptop back, but it was simply the fact that I knew the answer to the question and I could forget about it for the time being.
Later that night I stopped by the front desk at the hotel lobby and found my laptop bag. Apparently I had left it by the pool at some point earlier in the day, before I even went out to dinner with the other speakers from the conference. Someone had returned it to the front desk completely untouched.
In my opinion this is what horary astrology is useful for, and astrology in general for that matter. The ability to acknowledge, to know and to come to terms with the state of one’s life, in the present, the past and the future. In it of itself this is something that can be extremely valuable, despite how simple it might seem as a concept at face value. From an ancient standpoint this was in fact the entire purpose of astrology: to habituate the soul to accept events in the future as though they were in the present, and thus to approach all events in one’s life with a greater sense of moderation, contentment and purpose. This is a rather Stoic sentiment, but as I can attest to it does have its merits as a useful working philosophy for astrology in the 21st century.
More Information About Horary Astrology
If you would like to learn more about the techniques and practice of horary astrology then check out the online introduction to horary astrology course that I teach through my website. If you would simply like to pose a horary question to an astrologer then you can contact me in order to set up a horary consultation.