I’m close to believing that I now merit the title of “journeyman astrologer” in the practice of horary divination. I’ve been working with John Frawley’s methods for a few years now, slowly whittling down my more inclusive and holistic natal delineation style to zero in solely on the status of the “quesited” (the thing being asked about) and not ramble around the houses looking for interesting layers of meaning. My on-line success rate in finding lost items has been around 70%, which is nothing to sneer at, although Frawley tellingly observed that you can’t impress your clients by “almost” finding something for them.
I understood most of the principles of horary astrology before I started with it: the seven traditional planets and their in situ house rulerships, dispositors, essential and accidental dignities; the phenomena of the Moon; Arabic parts; and classical (non-Keplerian) aspects, both applying and separating, all have a say in the horary chart, along with numerous traditional techniques of lesser importance. I was first exposed to its methods through my acquaintance with horary expert Alphee Lavoie in Connecticut back in the mid-’70s, but that evaporated when we parted ways and I lost interest.
A chance encounter with an experienced horary practitioner on an internet forum in 2011 recaptured my attention. My wife had bought me an elegant facsimile edition of William Lilly’s Christian Astrology back in the ’90s (don’t ask me how I was prescient enough to ask for it), so I was well-equipped to start over (now if I could only read the damn archaic typeface, in which every “f” looks like an “s”). I also had Anne Ungar’s and Lillian Huber’s The Horary Reference Book Volume 1 at the time but it really wasn’t very useful for actual chart interpretation. Frawley’s The Horary Textbook opened the door for me to renew the pursuit, and I never looked back.
What convinced me that I’m now worthy of a little self-love in this area is finally getting a grip on the concept of antiscia. The antiscion of a planet is the point in space that is the same distance from the 0° Cancer/0° Capricorn solstice axis as the planet’s physical position is from that same axis, but on the opposite side of the line. That point is the “shadow placement” or “reflection” of the planet’s zodiacal location, and carries a sense of “hidden-ness” about it (but not of the Jungian sort). There is also the complementary idea of the contrantiscion, or point opposite the antiscion (not only hidden but also contrary), which Frawley quite sensibly says we should simply call an “opposition by antiscion.” If there is a planet conjunct either one of these sensitive points, it receives elevated importance in connection with the first planet, suggesting a concealed aspect of the matter. Frawley goes so far as stating that he has solved entire horary maps (except the occurrence of death and pregnancy) solely by using the antiscion and its opposite. Now it starts to get interesting.
My self-imposed “practical test” for advancement in the art was a chart that attempts to locate my wife’s amethyst necklace, which she has lost for the third time. The first time I wasn’t practicing horary and it was found by accident; the second time it was right where the chart said it would be; this third time, rather than being “the charm,” may actually be the “ultimate curse.” The necklace is represented by the 2nd House ruler, Jupiter in Libra in the 8th House (a “weak” house); Jupiter is in its own term but is otherwise not especially dignified. The querent (wife) is represented by the Lord of the 1st House, Saturn in Sagittarius in the 10th House; Jupiter is applying to a sextile with Saturn and the two are in mutual reception by dignity (Jupter is in Saturn’s sign of exaltation and Saturn is in Jupiter’s sign of rulership). Two planets in this situation “like and want to help each other,” according to Frawley, and the sextile is a “helping” aspect; applying, it could mean that the necklace is trying to “come back to her.” So far, so good.
Jupiter in Libra is disposited by 6th House Venus in Cancer, which is also conjunct the Cancer Moon, a generic significator for lost items; Venus has a general connection to jewelry as well. Between the Libra emphasis and the interaction of Jupiter with Venus, I’m thinking that the necklace could be mingled with other jewelry or perhaps mixed up with cosmetics or other beauty aids. Here is another case of mutual reception by dignity; Jupiter is in the sign of Venus’ rulership and Venus is in the sign of Jupiter’s exaltation, which could bode well for a “jewelry convergence.” But Jupiter is square to both of them, and the Moon will perfect that square before Jupiter perfects its sextile to Saturn, thereby providing an example of “prohibition;” the difficult Lunar aspect “hijacks” the benefit that may have come from the Jupiter-Saturn sextile. (“Squares bring things together with difficulty or with delay” – The Horary Textbook.) The Moon is powerful in its own sign of Cancer, as is the Sun in Leo, but the latter is separating from a trine to Saturn and therefore not shedding any light on the querent’s actions related to the necklace. The prospects for finding the necklace have dimmed a little, but the mutual reception may help if she can remember when she saw it last.
Now we come to the antiscia. The antiscion of Jupiter at 19 Libra 43 is 10 Pisces 17; it is in the querent’s house but there is no planet at that location. However, the “opposition by antiscion” is 10 Virgo 17, which receives a conjunction from Mercury at 10 Virgo 01; but Mercury is retrograde and moving away from perfection. The impression I’m getting is that reluctant Mercury (remember that “hidden and contrary” emphasis?) will prevent me from “logicking” my way into finding the necklace. It could also mean that the necklace isn’t visible by casual scrutiny and finding it will take some “digging.” Moon below the horizon also hampers visibility, and the Sun is setting as well.
A word about direction. Frawley doesn’t apply it indoors, but I’ve had some success using it to show “quadrants” of a house that should be checked first in any search. Here, Jupiter is in the southwest region of the sky, the direction where our bedroom is located and that is where my wife keeps all her jewelry. There is every reason to believe that it is there somewhere. Frawley just says “in the bathroom,” but that seems highly unlikely (although I did look among the cosmetics with no luck).
I had another go at looking for it last night and touched every piece of jewelry in the cabinet. No necklace yet. The “hidden” Mercury, the squares to Jupiter and the “prohibition” of the Moon may yet prevail to make it well and truly “lost.”
Postscript: The 18th of August, when I cast the chart, was our wedding anniversary and the necklace was a wedding gift. I was hoping for a little “synchronicity” there but it hasn’t shown up yet.