Posted by: Donna Cunningham | August 15, 2011

Horary Happenings—Why I’m a Believer, Not a Practitioner

©8-15-2011 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

Here are some stories I’d like to share about the magic of horary astrology. I swear to you that they are 100% true. 

 Circa 1969, East Village, NYC. I’d been soaking up every bit of astrology I could for about a year, taking several classes a week, when I started to get intrigued by horary astrology. You can get a definite yes or no answer from a chart set up for the time a question is asked—how cool is that?  

I asked a question: “What is my life purpose?” That’s not a proper horary question, but I didn’t know any better, so I did the calculations. (By hand, folks. This was back in the dark ages.)  The resulting chart was spectacular, though I didn’t have a clue how to interpret it. Every planet had a dozen aspects, and a string of sextiles held them together all around the edge. 

As I finished drawing in the aspects, a pattern began to emerge. Looking at the whole, I began to see that it was a 5-pointed star! It tilted slightly to the left, as did I in the late 1960s.  But a perfect star all the same—clearly it was my fate to become an astrologer!  

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

 Fast forward 6 months, still the East Village. Having received a clear mandate to become an astrologer, I decided I was ready to teach class.  For beginners, at least. (I was cocky then. Still cocky but worse for the wear now.) It was time.  A bright, lively crowd of lesbian feminists who called themselves The Radical Radishes heard about it and signed up. The class also had another lesbian member – an affluent corporate officer that people would call a lipstick lesbian. I’ d sat next to her on a cross country plane ride and oversold her on astrology. They all took to their studies enthusiastically and thrilled to astrology’s wonders as only beginners can thrill.

I thought it would be great fun to demonstrate horary astrology. Mind you, I still didn’t know more than the bare basics, like how to find the house that corresponded to the question. I had each of them think of yes or no question to be answered.  When they all had one in mind, I noted the time and quickly drew up a chart. (By hand, folks.) I then went around the circle, answering each of their questions in turn. There was enough variety that 8 or 9 houses were involved. For some, the answer was yes, for others it was no, and for others it was, “too early to tell.” 

Finally, I got to Lee, one of the most beloved members. She and the corporate type seemed to be developing more than a passing flirtation. They explained that she’d invited Lee along on a trip to Morocco.  Lee’s question was,” will I make the trip to Morocco?” The answer the horary chart gave was a clear no – at least three different ways.  Her face fell at the answer, but she shrugged it off philosophically. “Que sera, sera.” 

The next week in class, the Radical Radishes gleefully reported that Lee wouldn’t be there because she had in fact gone to Morocco.” Better check that chart again, Teach!” 

The next class meeting, the Radishes showed up, faces shadowed with grief, eyes red and puffy. They delivered a shattering piece of news.  “Lee is dead.”  “She got in a car accident in Morocco and was killed. They buried her over there.” 

We looked at the horary again, which still said no. I don’t remember anything about it now, but apparently the NO answer to the question, “will I MAKE the trip?” meant to COMPLETE the trip, as in make a round trip. Or maybe, the implicit question was,” SHOULD I make the trip,” and the answer was no. 

The class dissolved in the aftermath of this terrible event. I was so spooked out myself that I never touched horary again for 20 years, and I’d never presume to set myself up as a horary astrologer.    

                                                    *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


How many of you astrologers have done a session with an absolutely wrong chart and gotten the absolutely right answer? Most of us have done it at least once, and people like myself with Neptune in the 3rd squaring Mercury in the 12th have done it more times than we’d like to admit.

 This was especially true in the early days when we did charts by hand using logarithms and half a dozen tables. I didn’t even know what a logarithm was.  So recently, when I wrote this story, I looked for that horary chart with perfect star that answered my question about what my life purpose was. I’d kept it for 45 years to look at in those intervals when I wondered whether this demanding field was a mistake for my life path.  I wanted to reproduce it in this article so you all could see it.

Of course it was handwritten, so I went to put it into the software for a usable image of the star and the ring of sextiles.  I was shocked to discover that there is no such chart! The time noted on the chart does not produce anything resembling a star. I thought perhaps I’d done the Greenwich Mean Time wrong, but no matter how long I fiddled with it, there was no star! I have no idea what I did wrong back in the 60s to come up with that exceptional chart, but it never existed in real life. 

So, I must conclude that magic was at work–I am convinced that horary astrology IS magic of the first order. Imagine if I hadn’t made a “mistake,” if there was no star in the chart I looked at, and as a result, I’d never became an astrologer? So those are some of the reasons I never became a horary astrologer– another being the hundreds of rules you have to follow to give a good answer!

I do consult it when I’m in need of a definite yes or no answer for a major life decision. I call my friend Diana Stone, a seasoned practitioner with decades of experience and a classical background in this branch of astrology.   She has never steered me wrong on these huge questions, and I will do whatever she advises. If you’d like to consult her or to read her suite of Horary Astrology articles about this ancient branch of astrology, visit her website, 

Readers, have you ever asked horary question? How did it work out? Was the answer you were given accurate? I’d love to hear your stories. Leave them in the comment section.

More of Donna’s Life Story:

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  1. I got a great big chunk of the plot of my second astrologically-themed historical romance novel from a horary chart that one of the characters casts to figure out who stole an important object. The reading came straight out of Lilly’s Christian Astrology, and what it told me was so startling, I realized I’d gotten the plot wrong, rewrote it, and ended up with a much stronger book.

    I’ve also found the application of traditional predictive techniques as disturbing, as you did. I had originally planned to write a story that turned on a death prediction but when I started applying those classic techniques to my collections of charts, I saw things that were so upsetting, I made myself forget both the findings and the techniques. Some things I’d rather not know. So I stick to doing mostly psychological delineations.

    • Fascinating, Jenny! My mystery novel, Hotline to Heaven (see the free page to download it) has charts for several characters, and they work by transit. And the second book in that series, Angel in Peril is the same way–one character’s Astro*Carto*Grphy map even works. Mysterious things. Donna

      • I haven’t run Astro*Cartography maps for my characters (who all have real charts, too) but now I am going to have to try it.

        Of course, wen I’ve done Astro*Cartography for myself, the only place it looks like I’d really flourish is somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic. Or few hundred miles off the Pacific Northwest coast. Obviously I was supposed to incarnate as a whale, but got confused.

        You ought to put your novel on Kindle/Nook etc. If you have it in Word format, the conversion is quite easy. All kinds of books that didn’t find a market are doing very well there.

      • Kindling my ebooks is one of my goals for this year, and a wonderful young man, Kent Bye, has volunteered to see that it happens this fall. Donna

  2. My astrology teacher, having been diagnosed with cancer, had many medical expenses which she recorded on a piece of paper for tax purposes. Then one day that paper disappeared! So she did a horary chart to help her find it. What I remember of the interpretation was that it was in her study, below the waistline, and an Aries would help her find it.

    Well, she had looked high and low (mostly low!) and was getting desperate when I (an Aries) arrived for a visit. I asked a question about a family member, so she retrieved my folder from a desk drawer (below the waistline, of course), opened my folder and there was the paper she had lost!

    She was so happy and I was mightily impressed!

  3. Lovely post, thanks for sharing DC.

    I hope to some day study horary.

  4. Oh I love your stories!
    a few months ago with the help of astrodienst’s wonderful features, i was doing a chart reading for a friend of mine. We got to one particular aspect which suggested that she was super freaked out about any malady that she had. If she had a bump on her arm, it was cancer. If she felt cold, she was getting the plague, you get the idea. And there that was in her chart. And she said, wait, I wasn’t born in May, I was born in April!! the chart was wrong! So I redid it, and sure enough that aspect wasn’t there anymore. (But I didn’t bother to tell HER that… BLUSH)

    • LOL! That’s exactly the kind of magical mistake I’m talking about! Donna

  5. I “discovered” horary some years back, when I stumbled over a book by Anthony Louis: Horary Astrology Plain and Simple. I never got the hang of it myself, but I use a horary astrologer (Dorothy J. Kovach if anyone would like to know. She’s spooky good …) when I find myself in one of those life situations where a big choice has to be made.When my father died, I asked if there was any point in fighting with my sister for the inheritance. The answer was a clear no. As is turned out, there was no money worth fighting over, and it saved me a lot of time and energy by letting it go. I haven’t used horary to ask about whether or not to pursue writing, my natal chart is pretty clear about that. I loved the story about the star!

    • Anthony Louis’ earlier book, Horary Astrology, The History and Practice of Astro-Divination taught me most of what I know–and defined all the terms I needed to understand to read LIlly.

      But to get the most out of it, I had to read it a couple times and work through the charts to get the hang of it. I think he might have simplified the second book, but it was the richness, and the wealth of information he provided about traditional techniques that got me excited about them.

      Louis did a reading for me back in the very early 1990s when we used to post on the same online Astrology discussion board. It was not only accurate, but a prediction he made for 18 months later came true just as he predicted and it was a long shot. .

  6. My question is not related to horary really…but the star. What if you DO have a star in your chart? I have always wondered this but could find no information. I have a star made up of lines, the aspect lines are from inconjuncts and sesquisquares. It’s not a perfectly symmetrical star, it leans up and to the right, but the points of the star all connect. I thought it HAS to have some sorta mystical neato meaning. What do y’all think?

  7. Donna, I once lost my wallet. The significator, Venus, was in the Eighth House. I looked in the trash & wondered if it had been buried. Where did I find it? On top of the compost heap -soo Eighth House! Here’s a link to the blog if you care to read.

  8. Donna,
    I love reading about your past in the Village. I think there was magic at play for sure re: the Star!
    I’m blown away by the chart for the woman who died on her trip too. Freaky!

    I tried Horary astrology a few time but, I couldn’t deal with all the rules either. I’m not too good with directions (Merc in Sag). I think thats why I always go by my intuition – no directions necessary! LOL

  9. I used to have an astrologer who did horary charts for me. The best one she ever did (for me) was when one of my cats disappeared. the cat, she said, was the prisoner of a prisoner. (12th house stuff, maybe Uranus was there?)
    turns out the cat had climbed a tree that our neighbor’s dog was tied to!!!
    Went next door, asked neighbors to bring their dog in, and 20 minutes later, my cat climbed down from that tree and ran home!

  10. That’s a great story. Sometimes the problem is not getting the right answers, but asking the right questions.

    I want to hear more stories about the Village in the late 60s.

    • Definitely, getting a clear, appropriate question is the key. Diana Stone works on that with the client for quite a while, and only then notes the time the horary chart will be based on. Donna

      • That’s kind of how I work with Tarot. The client doesn’t tell me the question, I have to find it. Then when I find the real question (which often isn’t quite the question the client has in mind) then the answers in the cards become clear.

      • Yes, I remember that–I used to study Tarot, too. Donna

  11. I’m fascinated by horary and am trying to learn it, but may never feel ready to practice it. It’s so different!

    These stories remind me of the stories about the Delphic Oracle in ancient Greece. It was famous for stunningly accurate predictions that nobody could understand until they came to pass.

  12. I took Gilbert Navarro’s 32 lesson horary classes back in the mid-1990’s. One day while at work, one of my co-workers noticed that the diamond from my engagment ring was missing. I immediately checked in my small pocket ephemeris and saw that the moon was void of course. Gilbert always said that if a question was asked while the moon was void of course that either nothing would come of it, or that there was nothing to worry about. I felt that I had nothing to worry about. I left work right away and went home recalling that I had put some sheets in the washer before I left the house. Logically I felt that there’s where the diamond was. I took the finished sheets out of the washer and in the bottom of the tub, there was my diamond! I enjoy practicing horary astrology although I haven’t used it as much as I should have since I like electional better, but I always check the moon’s coming aspects whenever I have a question and I can get a good feel for the outcome.

  13. Healing energies and prayers to you re; your hands.
    Maybe I should hook up with a Horary astrologer as I always find things for people.

  14. Shall we say we are so grateful for your chart that you can’t reproduce? A star how wonderful!!! You are are the star in my book gal!! thanks for the notes and heal quickly! Marsha

  15. i came back late last night from a totally weird evening here in berlin.

    i met a friend who told me he was splitting up from a long time psychotic partner, then a couple of physically very disabled persons who were incredibly generous and happy with their life.

    and on my way home i met two persons who had been mugged, one was totally calm and the other cried for my help as if i were the last straw to cling to, i did my best and came home feeling very strange.

    couldnt sleep so i read your post and thought well lets do one.

    it showed sun and venus in exact conjunction with mercury in 2nd house opposing neptune in 8th. and then of course mars saturn pluto and uranus squaring each other. no wonder last night was beautiful in a scary way..

    if thats the meaning of my life from now on, then im ready to go happily really nuts, anything that helps:))

  16. Have other methods of finding things out questions.
    Your Star story was intriguing. Was your equating of it to Astrology intuitive knowing or was there a rational behind your thinking? Just curious.
    I know the 5 pointed Star is VERY important to the Ancient Wiccan and Druid Cultures of long ago and that Astrology was their crowning achievement!
    About the STAR formations that happen in charts….they represent states of conscious awareness and can represent initiation into higher states from where you are. The 5 pointed Star has to do with Quintiles all around the chart. Carl Jung has this in his chart with one position missing but this was filled in by the transits for him.
    There are also Stars made from overlapping YODS which are , in my experience painful but mine was also involving a fixed cross. The planets are important and my experience this formation was a deep drudging up of blocked expression which blew like a bomb. Wont talk more about that one except that its long term effect was healing
    .According to the Alice Baily astrology book it depends on the planets making the star and which kind, as to which initiation. Then there is the over lapping 6 pointed stars which would either be the Grand Earth and Water Trines or Grand Trine of Fire and Air. Again the planets involved are important.
    One period back in about 1985 for several months I had 5 pointed and 6 pointed stars occurring periodically with transits filling in my natal chart and had profound dreams and waking understandings.Even a visit to my mothers spirit who passed in 1976. I wanted to know how she was and which stage of passing through unfulfilled emotional body experiences she was in. Then one day I hooked up to the MIND behind all minds, the casual detached observer in oneself that is the doorway to the ONE mind behind all minds. My third eye area prickled, buzzed or hummed…hard to describe the sensation of it and I saw the color of my third eye. They said those who have been here since the beginning have gold third eye color while those who came in one evolution later have the deep midnight blue.
    Best of everything with your healing hands!

    • To me, it couldn’t have meant anything BUT astrology as a vocational choice. Donna

  17. I asked a horary astrologer an awkward question. My dad was slowly (very slowly) dying and the insurance had finally ran out. My mom was refusing to let him die, and I was afraid she’d bankrupt herself paying to keep him alive in a nursing home. I wanted to know if he’d die within the next 3 months when the insurance stopped so she wouldn’t be forced to make the decision. Unfortunately, the answer was no. Though having to pay $48k to keep him alive in his first month in the nursing home uh, changed her mind in the end.

    Ugly story, yeah, but I wasn’t the only one who ended up asking her that question for similar reasons.

  18. Hello Donna,
    A note of thanks for providing information about Diana Stone. I called her and had a horary astrology consultation with her. She takes the time needed to reach a very clear wording of the question–that discussion in itself was extremely useful. Then she got back to me promptly with a clear and insightful “no” response to my question. For anyone who has a fair grasp of basics of astrology, you will find the details concerning what she finds on the horary chart to be extremely interesting. For instance, I was quite struck by how much this chart resonated with my natal chart. Diana said this is more often than not, the case. She is lovely to talk to. You can tell very quickly that you are speaking with a very experienced, knowledgeable, wise and grounded person who takes a very professional, no-nonsense approach to her work and yet, at the same time, has a great sense of humour. (Actually as I write this, Donna, I realize you and she seem very much alike in these ways.)
    So, if anyone is considering a consultation regarding horary astrology, I enthusiastically back Donna’s recommendation of Diana Stone. As well, for any of you with a particular interest in shamanism, this woman is definitely the “real McCoy”.

  19. Donna,
    Your “MAGICAL MISTAKE” story sent chills down my spine as I had very similar experiences (I have Nep in 3rd, too. Love your article “Viewing the 3rd House through Neptune’s Lens”). Would you agree that the house where Neptune is located indicates the area where we most need and receive “Divine Intervention”?

    • LOL!! For some people perhaps. For me, in my younger, wilder days, I coulda used it in the 5th. Donna

  20. You are right Donna – Horary Astrology is downright chilling! While I had done most of my charts via computer software, sometimes I didn’t even get through the list of things when I would have overwhelming feelings and messages that popped into my head – and they were RIGHT ON! So I know exactly what you mean. For the locational work of finding a lost object, the way it worked was so creative it is nearly impossible to fathom it “in your head” and when the item was found, the clues which seemed like utter gibberish were a tightly-woven on-the-money story after the fact! I also know what you mean about the “wrong chart” bringing the “right answer” anyway. That happened to a friend of mine who realized after the fact that she brought up the wrong person’s natal chart in her software! Apparently they were both the same sun sign and age group, and the same first name – WOW! But the advice given was EXACTLY the right advice. I think there is a spiritual intervention component to astrology and it can be much more of an art than a science at times!

    • A spiritual intervention? I like that concept…sounds so much nicer than dingbat! Donna

  21. Always glad to help Donna! 🙂

  22. Hi Donna, fascinating thread!

    A friend asked me to do a horary. She was going for a promotion and a lot was riding on it. The chart looked amazing – she was the favored candidate, she would definitely get the job. I wrote and told her. Then I realised I had cast the chart all wrong. I re-did the chart and it was very negative. And re-did it again and again! Still bad. I felt terrible, so I called another astrologer friend for advice and she convinced me that the first chart was the one that was meant to be. Guess what? My friend got the job with flying colors!

    A few years ago, I was devastated when my kitten went missing, so called a friend who was studying horory at the time. She told me that the cat would come back in a time unit of 11 (e.g. 11 hours, 11 days, 11 weeks) and that he was in good shape. Lo and behold, after 11 days kitty came through the catflap right as rain as if nothing had happened!

  23. Thanks for reposting this spooky, fascinating discussion.

    I also find all the horary rules a drag – 3rd house Neptune!

    And I also find it truly creepy on occasion. Last time my local group did some horary practice, the energy in the room almost tangibly thickened and changed. Working together – there were just three of us on that night in – we came up with an accurate scenario for a particular mystery in the news.

    I can’t tell you the question (too horrible actually) but I can recommend teamwork for horary.

  24. Hey Donna!

    I know this posting is pretty old, but I decided to whip up the question that you asked “What is my life purpose” for myself and I was wondering what house would that be.

    Well, after doing a quick brush-up out of some horary cookbooks I have, I came to the conclusion that the ninth house (house of religion, spirituality, God, and foreign) would be the house.

    Your life purpose is quite spiritually inclined (goes beyond the superficialities/materialism of life) and it seems the ninth house would be a good fit for the question.

    I know horary is concentrated on yes and no questions, but I couldn’t pass up the chance on asking “What is my life purpose”.

    So, to put it all in a nutshell: Is the ninth house the correct house for such a question?

    • I hadn’t thought about that before, but I do believe you are right! Donna

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