“William Lilly’s Horary Question-Destiny or Choice?”



Horary astrology is an ancient branch of the art, in which an astrologer attempts to answer a question by constructing a horoscope for the exact time at which the question was received and understood by the astrologer.  The answers to the horary question might be a simple yes or no, but it is generally more complex with insights into the motives of the querent (questioner), the motives of others involved in the issue, and the options available.  William Lilly is regarded as one of the principle authorities in horary astrology in his time and ours.  England’s most illustrious astrologer led a very colorful life in a politically unstable period of time (1602 to 1681).


In the June/July 2009 issue of “The Mountain Astrologer” magazine, is a fantastic and informative article on a horary chart by Deborah Houlding who currently runs the Skyscript Astrology Web site, entitled “Lilly’s Purchase of Master B’s Houses”.  She not only gives you some history of William Lilly and the time period, but leads you through the conclusions of her analysis of the planets and their aspects, etcetera.  Her analysis of Mr. Lily’s delineation of his own chart was one that had many obstacles, and that he overlooked the difficulties because of his desire to obtain the property since it brought many happy memories


The background of the story is about a gentleman, who was not able to finish his higher education due to the financial difficulties of his father and had to become a manservant.  He had many happy years with his employer and married the wife after his death.  And to make a long story short, his wife died also and left him with some money, which he could use to purchase the house he lived in with a couple of rentals, which would give him the means to live without working.  Unfortunately like the chart showed, the seller had the upper hand and was demanding a lot more money then the property was worth.  Although he would be able to borrow the money in time as the chart forecasted, the transaction did not leave him much money to live on.  I am sure that Deborah Harding would agree with me that most astrologers would predict caution and awareness, and the possibility of forgetting about the deal.


This chart proves to me the need to look at a natal chart when confronted with a difficult horary which could go either way.  The important thing about Mr. Lilly, does he have the talent and wisdom to bring a difficult situation to a happy ending?  We find the answer in his natal chart with many planets in the second house of money.


Although William Lilly chose to buy the houses, I believe that destiny played a part in redirecting him to a new career that would bring him fame and fortune.  At the time of the sale, he had only been studying astrology for two years, and about two years after the sale he realized he could make a living from it.  Later in 1647 he published “Christian Astrology” which brought him fame and fortune.


My thoughts are the following: 1.) Mr. Lilly may have had joyful memories of the place, but as a land owner, he would be well respected.  Therefore he would have achieved a status worthy of a gentleman of the period.  2.) Realizing he had no income he made an effort to learn what he enjoyed doing.  Difficulties are the mother of innovations in ones’ life.  We learn from hardship and pain and grow from that point in our lives..  Had he decided not to buy the property, history may have been written differently, as he may have been able to live on the inheritance and astrology may not have become that important in his life.  So in truth William Lilly not only chose his destiny, but allow destiny to choose and guide him.  I am wondering what you think about this matter, and if everything went smoothly in our lives, would we be were we are today?


To me this chart illustrates the need for astrologers to relate solar, lunar return and horary charts to the natal horoscope, and to realize that although we have free will, we are still fulfilling our destiny. 



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