Horary Astrology is the art of using Astrology to answer a particular question. Essentially the astrologer notes the time, date, and place that he or she first heard the question (or if it is on behalf of oneself – when he or she first formulated the question). This becomes the moment the question is “born,” and the astrologer can then draw up a chart for it in the usual manner and interpret it to gain insight into the circumstances in which the question arose, what is likely to happen, and what the eventual outcome will be. Horary Astrology is slightly different from Natal Astrology, although the similarities are such that one who has already mastered the latter can easily learn to practice the former.
The leading text on the subject is Christian Astrology by William Lilly (1602 – 1681). Wikipedia claims that Lilly was the last major practitioner of Horary Astrology. I can asssure you that although it is not so well known as Natal Astrology there are still some of us who practice it today!
Being a Tarot reader as well, I find the Horary art intriguing, as it indicates a way that Astrology may be successfully combined with Tarot, to wit: by making a note of the time, date and place of when a question is asked for a tarot divination, one ought to be able to use Horary Astrology to double-check the results. Presumably if one’s astrological and tarot skills are as highly advanced as one another, one should find that the combined readings come up with the same results. In practice I find that the two types of reading complement one another, with each one providing extra details which are not apparent with the other.
So for example: the Tarot spread which I use most often is the fifteen-card spread, mainly because this was recommended for use with the first deck I ever bought, The Golden Dawn Tarot. The cards in the middle (2, 1, 3) represent the Here and Now. Those on the Right side (4, 8, 12; 7, 11, 15) represent what will happen if the Querent does not attempt to change his or her current course of action. Those on the Left ( 13, 9, 5; 14, 10, 6) however represent what will happen if he or she does attempt to change. Moreover the top-row represents the short-term future, whilst the bottom row represents the long-term future.
Here then is a table of comparison between Horary Astrology and Tarot, specifically the fifteen-card spread.
|What||Horary Astrology||15 Card Spread|
|The circumstances in which the question arises is determined by…||Luna, which represents the question itself. Its position in the chart gives information relating to the nature of the question. The distance of Luna from the last planet it conjuncted can be used to work out the date of a past event which has led to the current situation, or whether the cause is too remote in time. If Luna is “Void of Course” (i.e. it does not form a major aspect with any other planet before it leaves that particular sign), it indicates “Nothing will come of this question.”||The central three cards, 2 – 1 – 3. The first card usually indicates the prime or main meaning whilst cards two and three aid in its interpretation (NB: in GD spreads, there are no “reversed” cards. Instead a card is “well-dignified” or “ill-dignified.” Dignity is determined by whether nearby cards are of a harmonious or inharmonious nature.)|
|The development of the question in the short-term is determined by…||It depends – a horary figure admits some versatility. If the Querent is the astrologer him- or herself, the position of the Lord of the Ascendant will generally indicate what is likely to happen. The “Lord” of the Ascendant or indeed of any other given house is the Planet which rules it. In Horary Astrology Planets tend to represent actual people or things in the life of the Querent.If the Querent is someone else, then they will be represented by the Lord of the Descendant. If however the Querent is not asking on his/her own behalf but on that of someone else (e.g. a relative) or of something related to the Querent, then a house is selected to represent it and the Lord of that is examined. E.g. the tenth house relative to the Ascendant represents the Astrologer’s mother; the eleventh house relative to the Descendant (i.e. the fifth) represents the Friend of a querent where the querent is someone else, etc.||The cards along the top row. The three on the right represent what will happen if the Querent does nothing in particular to changer his/her fate; the cards on the left represent what will happen if they do try something. Each triad of cards is interpreted in a similar manner to that above, with the left and right cards determing whether the middle card is well- or ill-dignified.|
|The end of the matter is determined by…||The fourth house, and its ruler. Also, in a manner similar to that mentioned above, the position of Luna can also be used to determine when in the future a decisive event will occur.||The cards along the bottom row. Those on the right can be imagined as being what will arise as a consequence of those on the right top-row; similarly with those on the left, mutatis mutandis.|
|Miscellaneous extra information is given by…||Lilly’s work, cited above, gives examples of how a Horary figure may be used to extra effect in certain particular cases, e.g. finding lost items. A complete list of all the possible applications would be to long to put here.||The number of each different type of card may also add another layer of interpretation, for example: the number of Aces, the number of Court Cards, the number of Trumps, and the number of cards of a particular suit. Personally, I only look upon the number of a particular type of card as significant if it is noticeably greater than the average number one would expect from an evenly shuffled deck. I.e. out of fifteen cards, the average number of
|The relative merits of each type of divination are…||Horary astrology aspires to give a more mathematical or precisely vision of the outcome of the question. Being somewhat arbitary it provides a tough yard-stick which forces the diviner to consider factors which might not have been apparent in a more subjective system such as tarot.||Whilst not having a mechanism for being as definite as to dates etc as a Horary figure, I find the tarot cards provide more nuances of meaning than is suggested bylooking at the planets alone (this may just be a personal opinion.)|