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Christopher Warnock, Esq.

Introduction to Renaissance Horary Astrology


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Originally Published in Pathways as "Will He Marry Me?"

The millennium has seen an amazing amount of exploration of spiritual, esoteric and "occult" (in the old sense of hidden) arts and sciences. Astrology has undergone explosive growth in the number of astrologers and the quality of astrological analysis that is now available. Strangely, the questions that many potential astrological clients want answered, e.g., will he marry me? when will our house sell? where is my missing cat? modern astrologers either can't or won't answer. Why is this?
Basically the problem is one of history and specialization. While astrology is several thousand years old what most astrologers practice today is not what was practiced until 1700 when astrology essentially died out. When astrology was reinvented at the end of the 19th century it was with a predominately psychological approach that had been greatly simplified from traditional practice with many of the ancient techniques lost.
Modern astrology is based on analogizing the heavens above with the psyche within and much interesting and useful work has been done with combining astrology, Jungian archetypal psychology and counseling. Traditionally, however, astrology was divided into:

  1. mundane, which predicted weather and events affecting countries, kings and cities;
  2. natal, which predicted events in a person's life based on their birthchart;
  3. electional, which is used to select auspicious (or inauspicious for evil purposes) times to take action; and
  4. horary, which can answer specific questions based on a chart of the time of the question.

Modern astrology is essentially a fifth type of astrology, dealing with psychology and what the ancients would have considered questions of the soul. Most ancient astrologers stayed away from this type of prediction because the Church considered the soul to be its domain. Similarly, modern psychological astrologers often have shied away from predictions because they, like most of their 20th century contemporaries are skeptical or nervous when confronting the existence of fate. In addition, modern psychological astrology, well suited for counseling and self discovery, simply lacks the tools necessary for accurate prediction of events.


I practice traditional horary astrology, specifically the techniques of William Lilly, the famous 17th century English astrologer. Horary means of or relating to the hour and horary astrology is based on asking a specific question, which is answered by using a horoscope calculated for the time that the question was asked.
How does this work? Plotinus, the famous 3rd century Neo-Platonic philosophers says in his Enneads,

Plotinus, the Enneads, trans. Stephen McKenna (Penguin, 1991) at 80.

What is amazing about horary astrology is that the unity of the universe is so complete that any question can be answered at any moment. The recent discovery of chaos theory and mathematical/artistic figures of fractals provides a useful analogy for horary astrology. The Mandelbrot Set is perhaps the most famous fractal figure and is produced by successive iterations of the formula a + (a x a) over an X-Y axis. The figure produced is infinite and extremely beautiful with constantly changing and never exactly repeated variations on recurrent themes. Each section of the fractal contains the formula, more philosophically, the essence, of the entire figure. The Universe itself appears to have this fractal quality, each part containing in itself the essence of the whole.
While new to science this formulation has considerable antecedents. The great Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi emphasized the primacy of wahdat al-wujud, the Unity of Being,

Ibn Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom, trans. R.W.J. Austin (Paulist, 1980) at 25.


Horary astrology can be used to answer how long a person will live, whether they will be rich or poor, where is my missing cat?, whether one should move to a new house or new area, what sort of illness one has, how will a relationship turn out , will I get the job? and whether one is bewitched (much more popular in the 17th century than now).
I usually have clients write down their question for me and then I note the time and place. I then have several computer programs which will calculate the chart and give me other pertinent information. While judgment is important horary astrology does not rely on psychic ability, in fact, we rely on careful and methodical rules of interpretation. My basic checklist for reading a horary chart has fourteen steps and numerous sub-steps.
Basically, I see the chart of the heavens for the time of the question as setting forth a drama. We look at the planets that rule the houses involved in the question as actors. Their strength and weakness, speed and direction, show the state of the person or thing they represent. Their separating aspects show what has happened, their applying aspects what will happen. The drama played out in the heavens shows the drama taking place here on Earth. As above, so below, as the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistos says.
By carefully studying and applying the actual techniques of traditional astrologers we can also obtain the accurate and specific predictions that they produced.



Please Contact me with any Questions & Comments

Specializing in Horary Astrology, Electional Astrology Astrological Magic and Astrological Talismans.

Copyright 2000, Christopher Warnock, All Rights Reserved.