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Part One

Introducing HoraryIdentifying SignificatorsTraditional Sign RulershipsHouses in HoraryMiscellaneous TermsTurning the Chart
Learning Horary Astrology - free online tutorials written by Deborah Houlding

Identifying Significators

One of the noticeable differences between horary and natal work is that the planets are not so much regarded as symbols of internal drives and emotions, as literal representatives of the events and characters in the client's life. Venus, for example, may be saying less about the principle of desire than the actual object of desire. Its placement can offer important physical descriptions and behavioural characteristics of another person represented by that planet.

The ability to pick up a horary chart and gain direct, in-depth access to the details of a client's life is a skill acquired through confident and thorough knowledge of astrological symbolism. Familiarity with each element of the horary craft will allow the chart to paint its picture with greater fluidity and depth. With experience it is possible to offer a very detailed description of the background and present state of the situation, and to reliably assess from the future movements of the chart where the situation is leading.

The first step towards this, and the most important part of horary judgement, is to correctly assign the appropriate planets to the various characters and events in the question. Once identified, we term these planets significators because they signify the specific individuals or incidents that are relevant to the question. A horary judgement should always focus upon the condition and movement of the main significators which are identified as follows:

Significators in Horary

  • The person who asks the question is called the querent. The querent is always primarily signified by the planet that rules the ascendant. The condition of the 1st house, any planets in the 1st house and the Moon will also help to describe the querent and his or her circumstances.

  • The person or issue asked about is called the quesited. It is described by the house that naturally governs that matter and it is signified by the planet that rules the cusp of that house. Again, you will want to consider any other planets located in that house as offering further descriptive information, but you only have one main significator for the quesited, and that is the planetary ruler of the sign on the cusp.

  • The Moon is a general significator for the whole situation. It may be helping to represent the querent or describing surrounding circumstances, or it could be describing the movement of events or deeply related issues that may not be immediately apparent from the question. It always demands some attention.
As an example, consider the question "Is my husband going to leave me?". The querent is asking the question and so will be signified by the planet that rules the ascendant. If Libra rises, her significator will be Venus. You will need to examine the position and condition of Venus in gathering your desciption, but you should also consider the details that are being added by planets in the first house, or those that are in close contact with Venus.

In such a chart Aries will be descending and since the querent's question concerns her husband, who falls under the rulership of the 7th house, Mars is taken as the significator for the quesited. Again the position and condition of Mars will add the details, as will any additional planets in the 7th house.

It is in the movement of the two main significators that we find much of our answer, so whilst other planets may be involved in adding descriptive details, these two planets act as a focus to which attention must be given. In addition, we should look closely at the position of the Moon and integrate that into the judgement. The Moon acts as a major, general significator, so its relationship with the other planets and significators will greatly refine the assesment of their situation.

The special role of the Moon in horary, and the ways that it could help to describe the querent or her situation, will be explored in further detail later. For now simply remember that the Moon is an important general factor that should never be overlooked. You always need to question what the position of the Moon is telling you. If the other significators make sense, but the position of the Moon doesn't seem to fit what you know of the chart, you may need to question whether there are other underlying factors that hold the key to the client's problem.

 Continue to section 3: Traditional Sign Rulerships

© Deborah Houlding 2003

Horary Astrology