Everyone will have their horror stories, and astrology as a whole is multifaceted and complicated area of study. That gives more breeding ground for the formerly mentioned horror stories. Horary astrology tends to have more of these problems pop up than any other branch of the art, perhaps because the turn around time for the outcome of the chart is short compared to the other branches (here’s looking at you natal, electional, and mundane) which could take months or years for the events to come to pass. I challenged myself to come up with the five worst things about this branch of astrology (it being my main interest). It wasn’t much of a challenge, but if you’re interested in horary and considering serious study of the art…you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
#5: Nobody Can Really Teach You
This can be said about all astrology, but particularly in horary where interpretive and symbolic elements work together with predefined rules. While that may sound neat and interesting, it’s impossible to teach why Mercury means one thing in one chart, but totally not that thing in another one. About those predefined rules, you’ll find out a bunch of them in the books you’ll read trying to learn horary; Saturn in the first destroys the matter, Void of Course Moon shows the matter only goes forward with difficulty, etc. These are rules that you’ll learn pretty easily because they’re consistent and can be applied universally with some interpretative spin to make them relevant to the question. After that part of the horary instruction book, the author will take you through several example charts and explain how they read the chart. Your mind is then blown because the author references several things you haven’t yet been properly introduced to (antiscia, Arabic Parts, Fixed Stars). It seems like after you’ve gotten the first layer down you suddenly discover there are 50 more you need to go through. That feeling never really changes.
The only real way to learn horary beyond an introductory level is through your own practice and experience. Knowing what ultimately happened and finding out how your reading was correct and incorrect is how you separate what does and doesn’t work.
#4: Feedback is Important, It’s Also Rare
Like I said, knowing the ultimate outcome of the question is the only way you know whether what you did was correct or not. You can read 100s of charts doing the best you can and feel like a champ afterwards when you don’t know what happened. This is because you’re able to fill in the blanks on what occurred, and of course you’re going to fill in those blanks with what you predicted would happen. That doesn’t help you learn anything new. It ultimately just reinforces bad habits and errors in techniques. If you’re a part of an astrology forum, you feel it obvious that you should simply practice by reading the horary charts others post in the forum, if they ever do (more on this later). Unfortunately, those other forum goers are very unlikely to fill you in on the outcome of their question. The same thing can be said with friends or family, who you’ll have to prompt to tell you anything. You can’t rely on your own horary charts for practice, because odds are if you’re doing it right you aren’t asking that many. It’s a very important step in learning, but it’s often overlooked by others. Be sure to remind people you give readings for to fill you in on what happens.
#3: Most People Don’t Know What It Is
Horary is definitely one of the lesser known branches with natal astrology being the big cheese on the recognition block. This makes it even more difficult to learn. Most of those helpful forum goers will post their birthdata along with their question, assuming that, like natal astrology, horary works off of that. It doesn’t, but they don’t know that. So, then after you’ve told them and asked for the data of their question…it’s too late. They don’t know when they first thought up the question, so now there’s not a good chart that you and everyone else on your forum (who are from different parts of the world reading it at different times) are going to agree on. Great, you just lost out on a practice chart. It’s okay though, you probably weren’t going to get feedback anyway.
The other downside is with horary being so little known, people don’t think astrology can be used to help them answer specific questions, and you’ve lost out on a bunch of potential charts and clients that way. Personally, most of my friends know I’m into astrology, and this brings up the usual “Well, I’m a Virgo, what does that mean?” questions. “Uh…that you were born in August or September” is generally not the answer they’re looking for. Very rarely do I get questions from friends or acquaintances who know what to expect or how to do their questions properly. Maybe I should distribute a pamphlet on it…
#2: You’ll Do Charts For Everything That Happens
I mentioned earlier that if you’re doing horary right, you won’t be asking that many questions yourself. This is because horary is only supposed to be used with pressing concerns of importance to the querent. It’s not a party trick that can be used for any trivial matter. You won’t realize that at first. You’ll be so excited that you’ll start doing charts for random things that you do or plan to do. “Will this be a good trip?” “Will I have a good day at work tomorrow?” “Will I pass this test?” “What would my guests like for me to make them for dinner?” Eventually the planets will protest and say “EVERYONE LIKES SPAGHETTI! LEAVE US ALONE!!” Loud and clear…
This does two things, one it runs you through a gauntlet of useless charts that you’ll practice with and get wrong, but won’t understand why. So, it’ll mess with your head some until you realize that some of the considerations before judgement are useful tools to judge the sincerity of the querent (i.e. you). So, ultimately some good can come from this stage in learning. Secondly, it can make you paranoid and want to take the fun out of life by obsessing about needing to know how every specific thread in your life will end. This is not a “don’t ask your own horaries” lecture. I asked one for myself just a couple of days ago, but the last one I did was about a month ago concerning something that I was very worried about. So, basically you just need to use your judgement when it comes to these things. The chart will usually show you one way or the other.
The second part comes into play when you start asking horaries about things, and then deciding not to go through with those plans because the chart said no. It’s probably one of those non-radical charts you haven’t gotten used to seeing yet. Astrology is supposed to be a tool to move you through the future, not a chain to hold you in fear.
#1: You’re Always Going To Get Charts Wrong
It’s the truth. No one is perfect, and no matter how long and hard you study, you’ll get some charts wrong sometimes. It’s best to make the most of it, even though that can be hard to do. No matter how good you get, no matter how well you answer charts and how good you feel about it, you’ll find that one chart you messed up on and it will haunt you. All the sudden your confidence will be shaken and you’ll wonder if you ever understood horary at all. What? You don’t do that? Maybe it’s just me then. It’s easy to accept that you’re not perfect and can’t be expected to get everything right all the time. It becomes harder to accept that when you have people pay you, specifically, to be right. They don’t want to pay you for being wrong. They could do that themselves and keep the money! Worse, that person whose chart you were wrong on is someone you know, and now you feel terrible and partly responsible for whatever happened. You should have known better, you’re the astrologer after all.
Be careful not to fall into this trap. Learning from your mistakes is the best way to learn anything. Don’t put yourself down, and try not to get too emotionally involved. That kills any horary reading as you start projecting what you want, fear, hope, or think will happen instead of reading the chart.
Do your best, keep studying, avoid self-defeating behavior, and try not to take it so seriously.