Astrology can be used as framework for learning more about your own personality. In addition to your natal chart holding the power to help you learn more about yourself, you can use the cosmos to help determine compatibility with romantic partners, learn how to best relax, and even what to consider regarding professional goals. While, clearly, astrology can be turned to for multiple applications, if you really want to get hard and fast answers to your musings, one technique may be particularly of note. According to astrologer Nate Caradog, horary astrology can help you use astrological energy as a means for predicting the future.
Horary astrology is the chart-reading technique of answering a question based on what’s going on in someone’s astrological chart at the moment they ask an astrologer a question. The astrologer, in turn, understands and consents to answering it, says Caradog. “The word horary refers to hour, and we can think of the horary chart like a clock that points to all of the current dynamics of the situation and how they will unfold in time,” he says.
“The word horary refers to hour, and we can think of the horary chart like a clock that points to all of the current dynamics of the situation and how they will unfold in time.” —Nate Caradog, astrologer
Once the question is asked, the birth chart is created based on the date and time of the question. Then, the astrologer will assess the nature of the situation using the rules of classical astrology: One planet represents the person asking the question, and other planets will represent the other factors in question.
How does horary astrology work?
Essentially, horary astrology works by using the transits and representations of the people or objects you’re asking about in the birth chart. For instance, if you’re asking if you and someone else will reconcile following a disagreement, and you’re both represented by particular planets in the birth chart that’s drawn up, determining whether those planets are moving closer together or farther apart can indicate possible reconciliation or separation. If they’re moving closer, for example, the chart will help the astrologer determine when they’ll be the closest, and that could be the date of reconciliation. “The reason for this is that Horary is rules based," says Caradog. "You must follow the rules to get an accurate result, and you must follow whatever set of rules you’re using consistently in order for a chart to make sense.”
When was horary astrology developed—and can you practice it yourself?
Caradog says horary has been practiced in since at least the Middle Ages. “The most important writer on horary astrology in the English language was astrologer William Lilly, who lived in the 17th century and published the three-volume work Christian Astrology in 1647,” he says. “In addition to being an incredibly thorough manual on the techniques of horary astrology, Christian Astrology includes 52 worked horary chart examples for the kinds of questions Lilly received in his practice.”
Over time, contemporary astrologers have continued to study the basics of horary astrology, offering it as a service for clients who need answers to specific, pressing questions. “It’s certainly possible for someone to learn how to practice horary astrology themselves, but it would be a little bit like being a self-taught painter—you can develop a tremendous amount of skill but it must come through practice and observation of the greats of the art,” Caradog says.
What questions can horary astrology answer?
Caradog recommends asking questions that rely on specific outcomes, such as “Will I get this specific job?” or “Where are my keys?” instead of more advice-based questions, like “Should I take this job?” or “When will I fall in love?”
“In theory, horary can answer any question, if the inquiry is adequately focused, the questioner is asking sincerely, and the astrologer is comfortable and competent,” says Caradog. “But in practice, there are some questions that don’t work as well with horary.” Every astrologer has different techniques and preferences, but Caradog says that he only allows folks to ask questions about topics in their lives with which he's already familiar. “There are questions that I won’t take without sufficient background on a situation and a decent level of rapport with the querent—especially on a sensitive subject like a death or an illness," he says. But, he adds, in general, the fewer variables the question has, the easier it is to answer accurately.
Caradog suggests those new to horary astrology ask questions that are personal (it’s your own business), pressing (there’s a sense of urgency), and pertinent (having the answer to the question will help them make clear choices in response to it). “Never ask out of idle curiosity, and never ask the same question twice,” he says. “You won’t get a good reading.”
How accurate is horary astrology?
Accuracy of a horary astrology reading depends on the client as much as it does on the astrologer’s skill. “I can’t emphasize enough how important identifying exactly what you want to know is for getting good results,” he says. “When the question is vague, the chart is vague, and the accuracy decreases dramatically.” That said, a good astrologer should be able to help you focus your thoughts and arrive at the question that’s most important to you. And if you’re asking with the right intention, you can trust the answer you get is the right one.
“The charts I’ve gotten wrong have most often been charts for questions that were asked idly or flippantly, without real investment or desire to receive solid guidance,” Caradog says. But notice how Caradog specifies he’s the one who has gotten the charts wrong, not that the stars themselves were inaccurate. That wording was intentional, he says: “The astrology is always right—but the astrologer’s mileage will vary.”
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