“The long unmeasured pulse of time moves everything. There is nothing hidden that it cannot bring to light, nothing once known that may not become unknown. Nothing is impossible.”
Back in the Renaissance, when Astrology was still an important part of life and was taught in all the universities, an astrologer could be found in every town and city of Europe, a learned person not so concerned with ‘Natal Astrology’ as we might understand today, but rather a practitioner of ‘Horary Astrology’ or ‘The Astrology of the Hour’, which was used to answer the multitude of questions that were brought to the astrologers table.
Every type of question imaginable was posed, from queries on marriage, health and inheritance to questions about property purchase, missing objects and business propositions.
Whether it was to find a widow’s missing cat, or to see whether the commander would win the battle, a Horary Chart could be cast, and the answer divined.
With the age of enlightenment in the 18 th Century and the birth of modern science, Astrology began to fall out of favour in Europe, and by the dawn of the 20 th Century, astrologers were few and far between, with those that did practice, doing so under a cloud of suspicion and ridicule; just like that, several thousand years of learning had become condemned as fanciful and archaic nonsense.
Whilst modern European astrology experienced something of a major rebirth in the 1980’s with the rise of ‘psychological astrology’ supported by the work of Jungians such as Liz Greene, Howard Sasportas and others,
……..in the background, something else was stirring, something older and perhaps altogether more potent.
Step forward William Lilly, arguably the most famous English Astrologer of all time, and author of “Christian Astrology” which, very topically, was written in the 17 th Century as he was isolating from the bubonic plague. Consisting of over eight hundred pages, this valuable reference is drawn from the work of antiquity’s greatest astrologers and distilled into a manual that is filled with valuable case histories, a testament that remains valid and workable to this day.
The modern horary technique in use now, has changed little from Lilly’s time, reliant on the same traditional methods which he collected and worked with on a daily basis, techniques that have been slowly popularised over the last thirty years by astrologers such as Olivia Barclay, John Frawley, Deb Houlding, Lee Lehman and others.
Unlike most popular astrology that is used today, Horary is first and foremost a true method of divination.
The exact moment that the client’s question is understood fully by the Astrologer, is taken as the source for the chart, and this Horary Chart is then read according to precise rules of art. From this chart, we can interpret the state of the person asking the question and also the conditions surrounding the question, with all kinds of details to be deduced from the prevailing conditions that exist within the chart.
Horary technique may be used to answer an enormous variety of questions, ranging from relationships to house purchases, from health matters to lost items and from missing persons to pregnancy, but one single factor underpins them all however, the question cannot be an idle question that has had no thought put into it, one that is asked on the whim of the moment.
The question that is to be asked must remain in the heart of the questioner, and it must be the case that it cannot be answered in any other way, i.e.: it must have become “A burning question”.
It is only then that the question may be asked, and the Astrologer, on receiving and understanding the question, may need to clarify matters with the client before proceeding. Once the Astrologer is fully prepared, and ready to work, it is then and only then, that it is possible to proceed and to cast the chart and to answer the question.
Since studying Horary Astrology and adding it to my repertoire, I feel strangely connected to William Lilly with his experiences of writing about Astrology during a time of plague, and it is touching to read the questions that were brought to him on a daily basis. The very same questions are asked today, reflecting that the basic experience of being human has not really changed that much, even after centuries have passed. It is the ordinary dilemmas about Love, Work, Money, Health and yes, even Death, that preoccupy us still. Questions about our lives and the lives of those that we love, are still brought, hesitantly, perhaps even secretly, to the table of the Astrologer, in the hope that the answers might be found, permitting ourselves to believe that we are not somehow “tempting fate” or “defying God” by trusting that the wisdom of the heavens may be interpreted here on earth, “As Above, So Below.”
Joanna Grant is an astrologer of some 30 years and was awarded the Diploma at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in 2012. Weaving her knowledge of the stars together with intuitive tarot techniques, she crafts highly personalised guidance for clients who are often navigating difficult life transitions. She has lately been very excited to breathe new life into her astrological practice through her study of Horary.
Joanna holds the STA’s Practitioners Level Certification in Horary and is currently completing the STA’s Advanced Level Horary Diploma. You can read more about her here.