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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?”
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.
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