What is horary astrology? We take an in-depth look at the planets

What is horary astrology? We take an in-depth look at the planets

In historical times, not everyone was aware of their birth time, which made creating a personal astrology chart difficult. Astrologers in these situations would create a “chart of the hour”, known as a horary astrology chart, to help clients solve problems and provide insight into their most important questions.

A horary astrology chart is like using astrology as an oracle. You ask a question and a chart is created for the moment the question is asked. Usually this time is defined as when the question reaches the person who can answer it; for instance, when your astrologer receives your question and understands what you are asking. The chart is then created for the astrologer’s location and the time they receive the question.

A horary chart is like using astrology as an oracle. You ask a question and a chart is created for the moment the question is asked.

Horary astrology was a popular technique through the Medieval period and has experienced a revival in the past 30 years, thanks to the work of astrologers like Olivia Barclay, John Frawley, Deb Houlding, Lee Lehman and more.

In horary astrology, the key principles of astrology are applied, but to a chart for your specific question rather than to your personal birth chart. Since your personal birth chart represents your whole life, it can provide insight around broad concepts and lifelong trends. Through the use of horary, astrology can provide more detailed insights that are directly relevant to the question or situation being asked about.

Burning astrology questions

Horary astrology asks that you come up with a question that represents whatever problem you are grappling with. There are many types of questions that can be answered through horary astrology. Questions about a missing object, like a pet, passport or your favourite purse. Questions about career and jobs and work and money. Questions about buying and selling property or other assets. Questions about relationships — romantic, family, children and more.

The only qualifying factor regarding the question you might ask is that it be genuine and significant. The question has to be about a situation that really means something to you.

Houses, people & topics of astrology

In horary astrology, the person asking the question is usually assigned to the Ascendant and the 1st House. The ruling planet of the sign in this position becomes a symbol of the person asking the question. This planet can then be assessed through a variety of factors, like its sign and house placement, as well as its aspects to other planets. This can show what kind of condition the planet — and the person it represents — is in.

Every person in your life, along with your possessions and the different areas of your life, are connected to one or another of the 12 houses.

In addition, if the question is about another person, an object or a particular topic, a planet can be found to represent this, too. Every person in your life, along with your possessions and the different areas of your life, are connected to one or another of the 12 houses. As you deepen your understanding of astrology, this knowledge about house rulerships will become second nature.

For instance, if you are asking about your child, you would look to the 5th House, which is associated with children. The planet ruling the 5th House would be the planet that describes your child in the situation you are asking about. Your career — a job you have or a job you want — can be shown by the 10th house and its ruling planet, while a significant other or a relationship in general would be shown by the 7th house and its ruling planet.

The houses & keywords in astrology

1st House self, health,  identity
2nd House money, income, possessions
3rd House siblings, documents, contracts
4th House home, property, family
5th House children, pregnancy, romance
6th House illness, work, duty
7th House relationships, marriage, legal matters
8th House taxes, inheritances, death
9th House international affairs, study, travel, religion
10th House career, fame, reputation, your boss
11th House friends, helpful people, group associations
12th House rest, letting go, release, worry, situations that are hidden

Continue on — or make a change?

One of the most common types of questions clients ask is, “Should I keep doing what I am doing, or should I make a change and go and do this specific other thing?” You might be wondering whether you should keep climbing the career ladder or take time off to study. You may receive an exciting job offer and want to know whether this new opportunity will really be better than the status quo. You might be dating someone decent but meet someone new and wonder whether this new person will be a better fit for you.

This style of horary astrology can be addressed through the 1st House/7th House axis. What is really being asked is, “Should I make a change or keep moving forward as I am?”

In this scenario, the 1st house, its ruling planet and any planets in the 1st house show the situation as it currently stands.

Even though you will know a bit about the way things are, it’s incredibly helpful to have the status quo qualified through a fresh perspective. This can help you understand whether there’s more potential than you realise in your current situation, or it can confirm that things are as challenging as you think and that a change would be helpful.

Considering the aspects of the Moon in your horary chart can help further clarify whether moving forward will bring a positive outcome or create a less fulfilling situation.

This information is then compared with whatever your alternative scenario or option is. The alternative — the possible new path — is shown by the 7th House, its ruling planet and any planets in the 7th House.

These different 1st House and 7th House factors are weighed against each other to determine which option is more vital or promising.

If the 1st House ruling planet is stronger, stay put or keep things as they are. If the 7th House ruling planet is stronger, make the change. Add to this the condition of any planets inside the 1st and 7th houses. The house holding the stronger planets will form part of the answer to the question.

In the best scenario, the ruling planet of the 1st House and the planets in the 1st House give the same message, as do those connected to the 7th. Sometimes you get a mixed message, which can show there are pros and cons to either option and that it may not really matter which path you choose.

The client asks, the chart answers

Let’s look at a horary astrology example.

In the horary astrology chart above, the client wonders whether they should stick with their current mentor or make a change.

The current mentor would be shown by the 1st House, which is ruled by Leo, along with the ruling planet of Leo, which is the Sun. The symbol for the Sun is a circle with a dot in the centre.

The possible new mentor would be shown by the 7th House, which is ruled by Aquarius, and its ruling planet, which is Saturn. The symbol for Saturn is a cross with a hook on the bottom.

In this horary astrology chart, there are no planets in the 1st or 7th houses, so it’s a simple matter of assessing the strength of the Sun and Saturn. Whichever is stronger will point you to the answer.

The Sun is in Aries in the 9th House. This gives two positives for the Sun as it is exalted (strengthened) in Aries and in its joy in the 9th House. This shows the current mentor being a person of high quality.

Saturn is in Sagittarius in the 5th House. Saturn has no special strength or weakness in either Sagittarius or the 5th House. In fact, Saturn is in a condition known as peregrine, which means aimless wanderer.

If this client were to make a change to her mentor she would trade a high-quality individual, as shown by the strong Sun, with someone who seems to lack focus or direction, as shown by the wandering energy of peregrine Saturn.

In this chart, the Sun (1st House ruler) is much stronger than Saturn (7th House ruler), so this client would be best served by keeping things as they are rather than make a change.

Horary astrology tips & tricks

Horary astrology is a simple process but there are a few things to learn that will help you make the most of this technique. You’ll need to know the strong signs for each of the planets, along with which planets like to be in which houses. You’ll also need to know which planets rule which signs so you can pick the appropriate planets to focus on. While a detailed exploration of all the factors you’d consider in horary is more than can be covered, following are a few tables with the most essential information to get you started.

A planet is always more functional or has more potential if it’s in one of its ruling or strong, known as exalted, signs.

This planet rules This/these sign(s)
Moon Cancer
Sun Leo
Mercury Gemini, Virgo
Venus Taurus, Libra
Mars Aries, Scorpio
Jupiter Sagittarius, Pisces
Saturn Capricorn, Aquarius


This planet is strong when in These signs
Moon Taurus, Cancer
Sun Aries, Leo
Mercury Gemini, Virgo
Venus Taurus, Libra, Pisces
Mars Aries, Scorpio, Capricorn
Jupiter Cancer, Sagittarius, Pisces
Saturn Libra, Capricorn, Aquarius


This planet is challenged when in These signs
Moon Scorpio, Capricorn
Sun Libra, Aquarius
Mercury Sagittarius, Pisces
Venus Aries, Virgo, Scorpio
Mars Cancer, Libra, Scorpio
Jupiter Gemini, Virgo, Capricorn
Saturn Aries, Cancer, Le

Planets & houses

The houses provide many layers of information. Each house is associated with specific topics so, if a planet is ruling or placed in a house, it will influence the topics of that house.

In addition, different houses are considered more active or functional than other houses. If your planet, or the planet representing the thing asked about, is placed in an active house it’s easily able to express its desires or help create the progress you want. Some houses are considered limiting and planets placed in those houses are restricted or blocked from action.

Any planet in an angular house — houses 1, 4, 7, 10 — is considered strongly active and functional. Planets in houses 6 and 12 are considered the most restricted and limited. Planets in houses 2 and 8 also have some restrictions, but a better chance of overcoming them. Planets in houses 5, 11, 3, 9 are somewhat active: with a little effort they can bring about their goals.

In addition, each planet has a special house where it’s said to be in its joy. This makes a planet especially comfortable. Its energy is a good fit with the nature of the house of its joy.

Joys of the planets

This planet is more comfortable When in this house
Moon 3rd house
Sun 9th house
Mercury 1st house
Venus 5th house
Mars 6th house
Jupiter 11th house
Saturn 12th house

The Moon & movement

As the fastest-moving planet, the Moon always shows movement. Considering the aspects of the Moon in your horary astrology chart can help further clarify whether moving forward will bring a positive outcome or create a less fulfilling situation. If the Moon is moving towards a strong planet — a planet in one of its strong signs — this will bode well for a positive outcome. If the Moon is moving towards a weaker or challenged planet, this can show a challenge or unforeseen problem.

To go back to our example, let’s add in the Moon and the aspects she makes. The symbol of the Moon is the crescent Moon shape. Venus looks like the symbol for female.

In this horary, the Moon is making just one aspect, an applying or growing aspect with Venus. Venus is placed in one of her challenge signs, Aries. Since this aspect is applying, or still coming together, it shows the way forward rather than the status quo. This shows that making the change may lead to unforeseen problems or may not live up to the client’s hopes and expectations.

Considering the Moon confirms what we have already determined by considering the Sun and Saturn: that the client is better off keepings things as they are.

Fresh perspectives with horary astrology

When working with horary astrology, you will adjust the way you approach and think about the chart. You don’t have to consider or interpret every planet in the horary chart — you are only concerned with the one or two planets that represent the people or objects connected to the question. You can block out the rest.

The use of horary astrology can help you, or your astrologer, to better understand a problem you’re facing and provide insights into your best strategy moving forward.

Kelly Surtees

Kelly Surtees

With more than 14 years in private practice, Kelly Surtees is experienced, warm and insightful. She loves exploring astrology’s history as well as escaping into the ocean. Kelly’s passion for astrology is infectious, and her specialty areas include career and life direction, health and fertility, love, health and happiness. Kelly is an expat Aussie who lives in Canada most of the year.

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