Houses in Horary
Since planetary significators are discovered through an association with the houses, a detailed and
thorough understanding of house rulership is very important in horary, more so than in natal work or many other branches of astrology. The remainder of this tutorial focuses primarily upon sharpening the ability to assign matters to the appropriate house, in order to correctly locate significators in chart work.
To begin with, you will be directed to an extract from William Lillys 17th century text Christian Astrology. In this passage, where Lilly outlines the rulerships of the houses, he gives a good
summary of how house rulerships were applied in traditional, predictive work. It is not necessary to consider Lilly an exclusive source for house meanings - there are obviously modern rulerships that are not covered by his work - but it is essential to understand traditional house meanings and to be fully aware of the underlying concepts attached to them.
This course refers frequently to examples and comments from Lilly,
since his comprehensive text book, written in 1647, is generally deemed to be the
definitive reference for horary students. The course will include reproductions of all
required passages from the text, but anyone wanting to develop a serious study of horary is strongly recommended to purchase the full book - it is an excellent textbook for wider study; not just for horary, but for understanding the traditional approach to all astrological technique.
If you don't know much about William Lilly - who he was and what he did - it will be useful to read the article The Life and Work of William Lilly, written by David Plant. David has constructed an excellent resource dedicated to William Lilly and other 17th century astrologers on his English Merlin website.
As you read through Lilly's description of house rulerships, bear in mind that it is difficult to gain full advantage from just one quick reading of the text. I recommend that students read this section at least twice, and make a note of any rulerships that seem new or strange. It is also a good idea to create an index of any interesting significations, rulerships or techniques that you discover in Lilly's work (or any other traditional texts), as you may need to refer to them later in your own judgements.
The link below will take you to Lilly's explanation of house meanings. When you have studied it return to this page and continue through this lesson.
House cusps and orbs
In Christian Astrology (pages 33 and 151) Lilly refers to a 5° orb of influence that precedes the cusps of
the houses. Most authors allowed this orb because the cusp is the most powerful point of the houses
influence and any planet positioned close to a cusp strongly highlights the affairs of that house.
Hence, if the 2nd house cusp falls at 21° Cancer, a planet at 18° Cancer is considered to have its influence upon
the affairs of the 2nd house and not the first, even though it is technically positioned within the 1st
house division. You will often come across authors talking about such a planet being in the 2nd
house, which proves confusing to beginners. What they mean to say is that it is conjunct the 2nd
house cusp, falling within 5° of it, and therefore showing its influence upon the affairs of that house.
In the chart below, the part of fortune (often referred to as 'fortuna' and depicted by the symbol ) is within 5° of the 11th house cusp and therefore considered relevant to the 11th house and not the 10th. Saturn, which is 5°23' away from the 10th house cusp, is outside the 5° orb and therefore considered relevant to the 9th house.
The next section will explain in more detail some of the terms encountered in the extract from Lilly's text. Before moving on, take a test to make sure you have absorbed some of the important points that have been covered so far.
© Deborah Houlding 2003