How to Read a Horary Chart: The Basics

Not open for further replies.


Well-known member
How to Read a Horary Chart: seven simple rules for beginners

Horary astrology is the most elegant of astrological studies. It can appear mind-bogglingly difficult to beginners. However, there are a few easy ‘rules’, which, once you understand them thoroughly, will enable you to read almost any chart in less than ten minutes. Most horary charts can be read almost instantly for an answer, but like an onion, there are layers to a chart which reveal themselves, the more you study them.

But here are some basics to get you started:

Rule Number One: Know who is who.

Figure out ‘who is who’ in a chart, before you try to read it! If you are asking a question about something involving you, you get the Ascendant as your ruler. If you are asking about someone else, you need to figure out ‘who’ they are in the chart:

Your lost keys? 2nd house

Your sister, brother, or noisy neighbour? 3rd house

Your child? 5th house

Your cat? 6th house

Your boyfriend? Girlfriend? Ex-spouse? Worst enemy? The hot guy you saw in the supermarket? 7th house.

Do not, I repeat, do NOT use the 5th house to represent a person in love questions! The 5th house can describe sexual activity, but it rarely describes the person with whom you are active! A significator in the 5th shows an interest in sexual matters or light ‘fun’, rather than a serious relationship.

Sometimes using the house rulers doesn’t give you a very good description of the person you are asking about. In this case, use traditional rulers instead, and see if they ‘fit’ better:

Sun: men in the prime of their lives (say, late 20s – mid 40s); husbands

Saturn: older men; father figures; older people in general

The Moon: women; wives; young people

Venus: girlfriends, usually; wives, sometimes; lovers

Rule Number Two (the most important rule): Keep it simple at first.

In horary it can be very tempting to examine the relationships between every single planet in the chart, to see what they’re ‘doing’ and what they ‘mean’ in the chart. Don’t!

All you really need in most charts is:

The 1st house ruling planet
The planet ruling the house of the quesited
The Moon

What are these three things ‘doing’ with one another? Applying? Separating? Are they ‘friendly’ to one another (Sun in Sagittarius and Jupiter in Leo, for example)? Do they ‘dislike’ one another?

The extras: Forget about asteroids, Arabic Parts, and outer planets (and quincunxes, sesquiquadrates, and semisextiles), until you get really good at understanding how the rest of a chart works using the traditional seven planets and the basic aspects: conjunction, sextile, trine, square, and opposition. These extra things make a chart ‘messy’ and don’t do much other than support what is already in the chart somewhere. Don’t base your reading around what outer planets are doing!

Know when to stop: If a planet needs to make an aspect to several other planets before reaching the planet you want it to reach, this is interference. Don’t read a chart as: ‘First the Moon conjuncts Mars and then it sextiles Jupiter and then it squares Saturn and then it trines my planet!’. The answer will usually stop at Mars.

Rule Number Three (Part One): Action equals answer.

Unlike natal astrology, the action of the planets in a horary chart is vital to understanding what the answer is. An aspect isn’t standing still in a horary chart; it is either applying (moving toward an aspect) or separating (moving away from an aspect). Very rarely will an aspect be ‘perfected’ in a chart.

Rule Number Three (Part Two): Horary is symbolic.

Are the planets separating from an aspect? This shows something that is ending or going away. Are the planets applying? This shows something (or someone) moving toward one another. Do the planets not aspect one another at all? No aspect = no relationship.

In relationship questions, the quesited’s significator in conjunction with another planet (often Venus) means, literally, that the quesited is with someone else. Venus in the 7th house often shows this, too (if you or the quesited is not Venus in the chart).

In lost object horaries, which house is the 2nd house ruler in? This will often show you right away where your lost object is. Is the 2nd house ruler placed in the 9th house? Try the upstairs study. Is it in the 10th? You might have left the object at work. In the 6th? Check under your washing machine or out in the tool shed!

Rule Number Four: The Moon is very important!

Many beginners overlook how important the Moon is in horary. The Moon is often thought of as a ‘co-significator’ for the person asking the question, but the Moon really should be thought of as the engine in the ‘car’ of the chart: the Moon drives the action of the chart (or not).

What is the Moon doing? What house is she in? Is she in a strong house (1st, 4th, 7th, 10th)? Is she in a weak house (6th, 8th, 12th)? Is she in a strong sign (Cancer or Taurus)? Is she weak (Capricorn or Scorpio)? Is she applying to one of the significators, or to an important angle? Is she separating from a significator? Is she Void of Course?

A comment on the Void of Course Moon:

There are a lot of arguments about what makes the Moon void, but here is a simple way to think about it: if the Moon has left an aspect to an inner planet, and does not make another aspect until it changes signs, it is probably void. If it will make an aspect to another planet immediately after changing signs, it is not void (but you will need to think about what ‘changing signs’ means to your question). If the Moon has just entered a sign, and does not make an aspect to another planet for several degrees (say 10 degrees at the least), it is void...for now. This implies a waiting period for the ‘engine’ to start. There are more accurate orbs for each planet, so this is just a rough estimate. The point is, for the Moon to be the most effective an aspect needs to happen soon.

Rule Number Five: You can’t ask twice just because you didn’t like the first answer.

Well, you can, but you shouldn’t. This is self-explanatory. Many people like to give a ‘you can ask again after three months’ answer to this, but this is an erroneous time-period. You can ask again when the situation changes and most situations don’t change in a matter of hours or days or even months. Asking, “Does he love me?” over and over (often in different forms of the question) will not give you a different answer, if he doesn’t love you!

Rule Number Six: Context is EVERYTHING.

People often mistakenly believe that ‘a square means “no” and a trine means “yes”’, but this isn’t always the case! You must understand the context of the question, and the reason they asked the question in the first place. A square can still mean a ‘yes’ if the planets are friendly to one another and are applying: this might mean ‘yes, but you’ll have to work hard for it’. Likewise, an applying trine in a question of divorce might mean that they won’t get divorced, but will reconcile instead. Be careful with this!

Don’t understand what the querent is asking? They probably don’t, either. Ask for clarification. If you don’t understand the question, you’ll get a wrong answer. Don’t make assumptions about what the querent is asking, either! Ask them whether they broke up already, or if they are actually looking for a job right now.

Rule Number Seven: Considerations are not strictures!

William Lilly’s ‘Considerations to better judge a horary chart’ are just that: considerations, or things to consider. Having one or more of the considerations present in a horary chart does not prevent you from reading the chart. What it does is send up a little red flag: be extra careful about reading the chart; go slowly and ask a lot of questions.

Late ascendant? The querent is either in despair and asks out of hopelessness, or, more likely, already knows what the answer is (and feels hopeless about it). This doesn’t stop you from reading the chart. However, it probably has an answer the querent doesn’t want to hear.

Early ascendant? To quote a former US President: “Not enough information. Wouldn’t be prudent.” The situation is developing; there is a LOT of room for things to change. Keep this in mind.

Moon in Via Combusta? This shows that the querent is stressed out and anxious, and may not be thinking clearly. The situation (or the querent, sometimes) is unstable.

Saturn in the 7th? The first thing to figure out is whether Saturn is one of the significators; if so, no problem. If the question is about a relationship (it often is) and Saturn isn’t a significator, take heed: Saturn rules blockages and obstacles, so the querent doesn’t have an easy ride ahead.

Horary has a vast and ancient body of knowledge behind it; it is a subtle art and takes years and years of reading and practice to really understand. But using these basic rules and some common sense will help you to read all but the most complicated of horary charts.
Last edited:


Senior Member, Educational board Editor
For discussions or questions, please go to this link.

For Further Reading: (Triplicities)
Last edited:


Senior Member, Educational board Editor
Timing in Horary
by Goca

Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson in her book says:

If planet is in
cardinal sign
Angular houses that is days
Succedant houses that is weeks
Cadent houses that is months

common sign
Angular houses that is weeks
Succedant houses that months
Cadent houses that is years

fixed sign
Angular houses that is months
Succedant houses that is years
Cadent houses that is time unknown

But Marion March in her book says this:

cardinal sign
Angular houses that is hours
Succeedant houses that is days
Cadent houses that is weeks

common sign
Angular houses that is days
Succeedant houses that weeks
Cadent houses that is months

fixed sign
Angular houses that is weeks
Succeedant houses that is months
Cadent houses that is time years


Senior Member, Educational board Editor

Many people who consult Astrologers with horary questions are not themselves Astrologers. Whilst an astrologer readily understands the implications of a certain planetary aspect or placement, the client (querent) may not, so it is not helpful to use Astrological jargon when discussing your findings with the querent/client. Instead, it is necessary for an Astrologer to learn to express, in terms a *layperson*can understand, what has happened and what the chart indicates will happen.

Below is a horary Chart regarding an adult male who went missing 27th October 2001.
The delineation written below is what I presented as my final analysis of the situation.
My findings have subsequently been validated, but that is not the point of my post.More significantly here I am focussing on the art of presenting the findings.

In order to reach my final conclusions, I cast and consulted a number of charts.
Firstly I was fortunate enough to be given an accurate birth time for the missing person. I was also given an accurate time for *missing person last seen*, which I used as an Event chart (of sorts).Thus I was able to progress the chart and look at transits to it on a day by day basis-minute by minute actually from the time of last seen. I was not asked this question until some 5 years after he disappeared.

I used Progressed charts and transits to them, as well as Transits to his Natal. I looked at midpoints and Arabic parts as well. It was an arduous and time consuming project, from which I learned a great deal.
I am posting the Horary chart because it might be an interesting exercise (for those interested ) to look at it in terms of examining why I reached the conclusions I did.
Here is the chart:

And here are my findings:

The Disappearance of an adult male

A summary.
An analysis of a Horary chart cast for 19July 2006 at 20:19 reveals the following information:

He is alive. At the present time he is quite probably confined in either a hospital or psychiatric institution. He has been and possibly is still employed in the maritime -workboats/ships play an essential role in his life.
It is likely he has tried to join the navy at some stage and may have done so only to be dismissed or medically retired. Money is in short supply for him.
His affiliation with a particular religion is indicated by the chart. It has played a significant role in his life, both boosting his optimism and generating an unhealthy degree of bigotry and self-importance.
I believe this man now lives in Darwin or Cairns- on the coast, near the fishing industry. He may have partially changed his name. Look at his middle name- he may be using that as a surname…-it is likely he has retained at least part of his original identity. There is something unusual about his attire and self presentation- he wants to be noticed and IS NOTICED- but because of his somewhat bizarre and unusual behaviour and appearance. He is known to be a loner and his usual place of residence (when not in confinement) is a small <cottage>, by the sea, probably owned by his employer ( who is a wealthy ostentatious person living in a big house on the hill ).

It is very likely that this man has had a history of psychiatric illness and a propensity for forming alliances with a criminal element.
He is not very intelligent and his choices reflect this. Prone to poor judgement, he engages (or has done so) in dubious money making ventures, usually losing financially and also losing the respect of his (many) employers. His life could be best described as itinerant, but at the present time his main concern is holding onto a sense of <home>-possibly a struggle to retain his current abode.

Enquiries made at psychiatric hospitals, the navy, or the fishing industry on the East coast of Australia would probably succeed in locating him, but it is clear from the chart cast for the day of his disappearance that when he left, he did not plan to return. It is indicated by the chart that news of him will come, connected to the daughter he left behind. Perhaps it will be she who seeks him successfully. (in about 5 years there will be some news in regard to him).In about 9 years there may be contact between he and his daughter.
It is evident from a study of his natal chart, and transits to it at the time of his self-imposed exile and from the Horary that he has mental health problems, suffering periods of fear, paranoia, delusions, mental confusion, forgetfulness and even delusions of grandeur attached to his unusual religious beliefs. He damages, by his behaviour, the very religious cause he champions! In short, he is often his own worst enemy, suffering from strange notions and uncommon desires. The chart indicates that this condition will worsen, an event occurring in about 2 years time, probably a form of detention.
The chart tells us that he separated himself from his family at a most critical time, and haunted by past events concerning his father, abandoned his child and all the women in his life.
When he left he did not intend to return- this was a real turning point time for him.


To some extent he planned his departure but it appears to have been prompted by the following:

It is possible that he somehow found himself in sudden dire need of a large amount of money. I believe that he committed a crime in order to procure this money. I believe he picked up that money from a place not far from where he was last living. He also had contact with an (unrelated) woman after he left- she may have helped him in some way. The chart suggests to me that he had used the internet to plan his <escape> and I call it that because he appears to have been in a state of fear, believing his life to be under threat., mental and emotional anguish and great agitation for a few days preceding- I would say he <feared for his life>- or of facing consequences for illegal actions.He also was involved in a series of quarrels that week. On the 23rd October, 2001, he received some strategically important information, possibly from or in relation to a woman. On the 24th October 01, he was busy <making arrangements> On the 24th October, he received news regarding work- either a termination or an opportunity. His level of agitation steadily increased throughout that week.
On the 30th October 01, he was in contact with an acquaintance dating from his youth. A woman probably provided accommodation for him the night of his departure. The angry words that he exchanged at the time of his departure did not cause him to leave, but influenced his decision to make that a final severance.

His chart indicates he has a desire for<redemption>. Despite his noble intentions, it seems he has been thwarted at every turn. His psychological instability and other health problems continue to dog him.

Here is a link to the discussion of this Article:
Last edited by a moderator:
Not open for further replies.