The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 116, titled:
With Chris Brennan and guest Lee Lehman
Episode originally released on July 13, 2017
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released April 17th, 2021
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CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This episode was recorded on Monday, July 10th, 2017, starting just after 5:12pm in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 116th episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and help support the production of future episodes by becoming a Patreon, please visit theastrologypodcast.com/subscribe. In this episode, I’m going to be talking with Dr. Lee Lehman about a branch of Western astrology known as horary astrology. Lee, welcome back to the show.
LEE LEHMAN: Well, thank you, Chris.
CB: All right. I’m excited to do this episode today because I was thinking about it recently. And even though we’ve talked about horary in passing, or we’ve talked about the philosophy at different points or sometimes occasionally about specific techniques, I’ve actually never done an entire episode on horary astrology and I thought who better to talk to about that subject than you, since it was actually through reading your first book on the topic about 12 years ago that your book titled The Martial Art of Horary Astrology– I first picked up that and Masha’allah’s book On Reception when I was first learning horary. So, you were my first teacher on the subject. And it’s actually a good occasion because you actually just published a new book on horary astrology recently, right?
LL: Yes, I did.
CB: Okay, awesome. I’m excited about this. So, the title of your new book is Learning Classical Horary Astrology: Notes and Workbook and this is a follow-up to The Martial Art of Horary Astrology, right?
LL: Yes, it is. And I think that’s one of the very important things about it. It’s not a second edition of The Martial Art of Horary Astrology. It assumes you have read it.
CB: Okay, brilliant. I already have had a chance to read through most of it and I love it, so I think this is going to be a good episode. So, in order to get to horary, let’s first talk a little bit about the history and let’s provide a historical backdrop because over the past month or so, I’ve been doing a series of different episodes on modern astrology and the revival of astrology in the 20th century, talking about figures like Alan Leo and Dane Rudhyar, and so on and so forth. But then, astrology exploded in popularity in the 1960s and ‘70s and ‘80s. But then eventually, there was a revival of interest in older forms of astrology in the 1980s, which you were involved in. And that involved especially or revolved around the practice of horary astrology. Maybe we can talk a little bit about how that got started as a historical backdrop for the practice of horary astrology in modern times.
LL: Yeah, I think it’s very important. And on this, we pretty much have to go back to the 1960s to see how this developed. Because at that time, the two major horary astrologers were Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson and Barbara Watters, and they were both fine astrologers I should add. The thing is, both of them had been grounded in a form of classical astrology. And it was specifically related to horary because the one book of classical astrology that stayed available apart from the academic translations of Ptolemy was, I guess, we could call it an abridgment of William Lilly’s horary work, they were simply called Lilly’s astrology. And that had been first produced in the 19th century, and stayed in print and stayed in print, and stayed in print. And it was really only sometime in the 1960s that the book went out of print. So, what happened was that the people like Ivy and Barbara, and some of the previous horary astrologers of the 20th century had copies of this book. So, they were actually using ideas from Lilly, but they were trying to do it within the more simplified rubric of modern astrology. So, this was the practice.
However, this was also the period where people were honestly very awful at citing their sources. And so, if you read Ivy’s book, you couldn’t see her tell you where she got ideas from. Now, if you knew some of the sources, you could trace but it added that degree of difficulty about understanding what her lineage was, or what Barbara’s lineage was. So, this was the background. And what happened was, in the early 1980s, several of the people in England started reexamining Lilly more directly, and Lilly in the unabridged form. For some time, the Lodge, the Astrological Lodge of London had a copy of it, it was an original of Lilly. And this basically circulated and passed through mostly through the presidents of the Lodge. But what that meant was they had access to this material. Now, one of those people, Jeffrey Cornelius, really started to study this material and look at it and examine it. Now, during the same time period, several other people began to examine an original Lilly, one of them was my teacher in horary, Olivia Barclay. And what happened with Olivia was she happened to go into a bookstore one day, and here was a copy of an original of Lilly, but it was missing the first section, but she bought it anyway. And honestly, she probably could afford it because it wasn’t a complete edition. And she had already started studying Ivy and Barbara. But when she saw this material, she realized how much more revolutionary it was as far as really teaching the art of horary and how much more complete it was.
And so, this first little group started to publicize this material that, hey, there’s this really interesting material that was around. And to them what this was, is this was a much more complete horary astrology than they’d seen before. And I think, Chris, there was a very important piece about why this classical revival really took hold in the horary community, and not so much in the natal community initially. Now, this was also the period where Bob Zoller was working through some of the translations of Bonatti. And that had resulted in that same time period with his publication on the Arabic parts. But I think the issue with horary was horary is a very rules-driven version of astrology. And so, I think it was very easy for people who are used to that in horary to segue into the more classical material where there is a lot that’s rule-driven. And so, it looks natural to the subject. And what that internal allowed was for people to study it in this laboratory called horary where they didn’t have to put it in their natal astrology. And I think this was a huge psychological boost to the people who are trying to do this.
CB: Okay, that makes sense. And for just in order to give some perspective in terms of what we’re represented, or what the revival of traditional astrology and traditional style horary represented, that was a huge departure from the zeitgeist of where astrology had been headed for a couple of decades in terms of the psychological approach, right?
LL: Oh, absolutely. Horary astrologists at that time were a completely separate breed. For perhaps 20 or 30 years, they had been considered to be well questionable because you think about the issue and it’s very simple. If you are saying that you can answer a question, a very specific question, using horary astrology, if you’re able to answer it, then what does this say about the person’s free will regarding that question? That was an extremely uncomfortable issue in an environment where most of the natal astrologers are saying everybody has absolute free will. So, yeah, a completely different point of view. And so, horary was seen as being with this one very small possibly embarrassing subset of astrology. And so, the people who got into it, who really got hooked by it tended to go off by themselves because that practice was not accepted at all by many of the natal astrologers. Charles Carter was a good example of this. Now, here’s Charles Carter, while he wrote The Principles of Psychological Astrology, he was also one of the finest mundane astrologers of the 20th century, but he hated horary.
CB: Because he saw it as divination or is too predictive or what was his [crosstalk]?
LL: I never saw an actual explanation of why he hated horary, but you find very little of it in the time period in which he was the editor of The Quarterly. Now on the other hand, in Alan Leo’s publication, they published horary.
CB: Okay. So, there’s a little bit, but I guess the main point then is that horary is a non-thing for most of the 20th century at least or at least by the time you get to the group of astrologers that come in in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and 1980s. Everything’s largely focused on natal astrology, sun sign astrology is in its heyday, psychological astrology is really the dominant trend and horary there’s one or two books by you mentioned Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson and Barbara Watters, it’s really not a popular subject. And then all of a sudden, with this recovery of William Lilly’s original text, suddenly this becomes a major focal point and it becomes a major reason why people are suddenly getting interested in studying older forms of astrology.
LL: Yes. Now, I can give you a very interesting point on this. Back in 1986, there was the first UAC, United Astrology Congress. And I remember listening to a recording from that a couple of years later, by two people who were giving a lecture on horary astrology, who were openly mocking the fact that the Regulus edition of Lilly’s Christian Astrology had just been published, why would anybody want something that old?
CB: That’s hilarious. Okay.
LL: So, this gives you an interesting starting point to think about this.
CB: Right. Okay. And let’s also back up a little bit and talk a little bit about your story because you’re there practicing astrology in the midst of all this in the 1980s. When did you actually start studying astrology? What year was that?
LL: I started in 1976.
CB: Okay, so you started towards the end of the ‘70s. And were you still in college at the time or what? How did you get into it?
LL: I was in grad school.
LL: And I got into it, actually, because I was involved with the New York Regional Lesbian Feminist Conference. And I was at Rutgers, which is in New Jersey, and the conference planning was going on in New York. And one night, I crashed in a dorm room, actually on the Upper West Side of New York. And it turned out that one of the people living there was into astrology. And so, she started pulling out the old Llewellyn’s descriptors and started doing that on my chart. I thought, “Huh, there’s something there. There’s maybe something there.” So, I got the books to be able to do the calculations. And in the meantime, she gave me the chart data everybody on this committee was on and sitting there with lists of who had what, where, and watching those people do their thing for committee meetings was a wonderful way to learn astrology. But this was modern astrology.
CB: Sure. So, it’s more psychologically based, more character based?
LL: Mhm, yeah, absolutely.
CB: Okay, so that’s the 1970s and you get your degree and have a PhD in botany, right?
LL: I got that in late 1978.
CB: Okay. And then, during the course of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, you continued to pursue astrology further, and you began heading towards that as a career goal?
LL: Yes, I did. At the time, I didn’t know how much it was going to be, but it just kept getting bigger.
CB: Did you make a conscious effort to move towards astrology and away from basically what you got your degree in, or was it more just something you fell into, or that happened naturally?
LL: Well, [Lee laughs] this is going to sound familiar. The issue in part was jobs. There were very few jobs in my field. And to operate in my field, I would have had to have changed a lot about what had been interesting to me about botany in the first place. As far as what I would have to do, I would have had to shift it to virology or something else and I didn’t really want to make the shift. So actually, temporarily, I got involved with computers. But then that, I got involved with computers and astrology very early on because astrology just kept always coming back. So, it was still no conscious decision probably for another five years. But as it continued to be important, it grew.
CB: Okay. And so, you’re getting more into astrology, you’re learning it and becoming more proficient in it and getting involved in the astrological community in the 1980s. Would you say you were a pretty standard modern astrologer? Who were your major influences at that point, let’s say by the mid-1980s?
LL: Oh, yeah, I was a pretty standard astrologer. Actually, I sat down and read Jung, I read Freud, I read… Basically, I figured if we’re doing psychological astrology, I better read up on psychology. So, I started there and then I started looking at astrology books. And honestly, Chris, I can’t tell you what my influences were because the problem from my standpoint at that time, was that I had a great deal of difficulty finding books on astrology that I found to be sufficiently meaty to be worth reading.
CB: Yeah, that would have been really difficult coming from a PhD program to the astrological community where typically like citing your sources, or doing thorough background research and things like that is not quite as common with some of the books at that point.
LL: Oh, yeah. And that actually you just hit on one of the major things that drove me crazy, is that there was no way that people were inventing this stuff from whole cloth. And if there were never any citations and the book would start out with some vague thing about, well, astrology has always been practiced [Lee laughs] and gives me a source. And it just wasn’t comfortable to me. Now, during those days, people as soon as you get into the astrological community learned who you should be acquiring. And New York City was a great place to get into astrology because there were astrology and New Age bookstores. And so, the first place that I really became acquainted with in that, from that standpoint, was ASI and that was Barbara Somerfield and Henry Weingarten. And so, I think the first time I went into the bookstore, I walked out with Ptolemy. And then, I accumulated the other books as they seemed to be the most common at the time. So, that when I was reading Liz Greene, I was reading [unintelligible], I was reading a lot of the sources, but at that stage…. And this was expected and so forth. You take a little bit of this, you take a little bit of that. There wasn’t a sense of…. Basically, the sense was that you could just put all these things together in a bag, and then pull something out and it would be meaningful and incoherent.
LL: And I had some intimations that maybe that wasn’t entirely true, but that was the position you were led to believe at that time.
CB: Sure. And there were also new developments in the idea of modern astrology seems like 20th century astrology, one of the things that was often appealing or that drew attention was new developments where there were new concepts being introduced or invented. And so, one of the concepts, and you actually wrote your first book about this was the asteroids were suddenly, the asteroids came into the use for the first time ever in the astrological tradition and you published a book on the topic in 19, was it ‘88?
LL: Yeah, I think so. The thing about the asteroid book was that it was semi commissioned. And what had happened was, I had run across Al Morrison, who was to put it mildly, a character chart of the New York City astrological scene, and much before the 1970s, as well, but I met him in the ‘70s. And when he found out about my science background and the fact that I had a computer, he said, “Look, I’ve got all these asteroid ephemerides but they’re in right ascension and declination. Could you convert them to ecliptic longitude and latitude?” And I said, “Well, yeah.” And so, I wrote a program and we sat down and worked those things out. And that was actually my introduction to the asteroids. So, I hadn’t gone into it thinking, “Wow, I’m going to do asteroids.” But the other thing was, by that stage, I was getting serious enough about my astrology to realize that I had to have some way to break into this community and I was rather young at the time. So, it occurred to me just from a marketing standpoint, that if I had an expertise that other people didn’t have, that as soon as the conference organizers figured out that this was some other subject, they could include, that I would be the obvious choice. And so, at that time, that was a pathway. And so, there was a whole series of conferences that NCGR was holding in New York in those days, it was the NCGR in New York chapter. And so, I started doing lectures on asteroids in the blank. It was whatever, the theme of the conference was asteroids and that asteroids and karma asteroids on human sexuality. Whatever the theme, I could do asteroids,
CB: Right. Yeah. Yeah, that’s one of the ways that I’ve seen them used in terms of topical asteroid applications because there’s so many ones that have asteroid families or asteroid groups of names and things like that. Okay. And so, you’re involved with the NCGR and stuff at that point. But then, so you’re doing that over in the US, but then there’s this development happening in the UK at the same time very gradually, where, as you mentioned earlier, first, Jeffrey Cornelius, who was one of the presidents of the Lodge finds a copy of Lilly and he starts studying it and teaching it with this horary development. And then Olivia Barclay finds this partial copy of Lilly and she actually gets it republished, right? And this becomes the famous Regulus addition of William Lilly?
LL: Yeah. Now, Clive Kavan, who was the actual publisher, I use several different copies of Lilly to be able to create it. But yes, it was quite an undertaking. The thing was, what happened with that was actually my partner Maggie Meister was interested in horary. I wasn’t especially at that point. I’d read Ivy, I’d read Barbara, but it hadn’t launched. So, Maggie, when she discovered that the Regulus edition had come out, by this stage, we were in San Francisco. And Maggie said, “We’ve got to get a copy of this.” So, we went down to Fields, which was the bookstore in San Francisco, he went to in those days, and she got a copy of it. And in the back of the Regulus edition was a little sticker that said, “If you want to study this material, contact Olivia Barclay with her address.” And so, Maggie did. And so, she contacted Olivia, she signed up for the course, and she gets her first lesson. And in that lesson, was a question, what rules the lime tree?
Now, if you’re sitting in the United States and you’re an American, and I say lime tree, you think green fruits. But in England, the term lime tree refers to the linden tree, which is a completely different group of trees. Tilia is the genus. It’s actually the basswood. And so, Maggie’s thinking, lime, green, sour, [Lee laughs] Mars. And so, she sends the answer Mars with the rest of her test, of course. And Olivia comes back and says pretty much almost verbatim, “You stupid idiot. Everyone knows that the lime tree must be Jupiter because its branch is like a fork and lightning.” Now, Maggie was not pleased with that answer. And she’s an Aries, which meant I knew it instantly. [Lee and Chris laugh] But I also knew because of my botany background, that she and Olivia were talking about two entirely different plants. So, my first answer to her was, “This got lost in translation.” But then, I said, “But really, on what basis is Olivia saying that any tree that has branches like fork and lightning, would be ruled by Jupiter?”
And so, at that point, I had to go out and get a copy of Culpeper. And using my botanical background, I had to go through every single plant in it and determine whether it had branches like fork and lightning, and then correlate whether that in fact, represented a Jupiter rulership. To which the answer was no. But what did seem to be the case was that the Jupiter rulership actually referred to medical usage. So, I had done this by sticking it into a database because I was a database programmer, shot out about 200 pages, sent this stack of papers to Olivia and said, “You’re wrong. A, you’re wrong because you picked the wrong plant and you didn’t know that an American would pick a different one. And B, you’re wrong because your premises are wrong.” That was how I got into horary, and that’s also how I got into classical astrology.
CB: Wow, that’s quite a story and that’s so interesting that it was your partner who got interested in it and went down that road first and then, you got involved or got roped into it that way. But then eventually, that became part of your passion at that point.
LL: Oh, yeah. Because at that point, I was totally hooked. And so basically, once I got into classical, I didn’t much look back.
CB: Okay. So, at that point, you read Lilly, I’m sure and read it very deeply while at the same time you also started taking Olivia’s correspondence course?
LL: I didn’t start taking it initially. But what happened was I was starting to because by this stage, I was on the NCGR board. I started going over to the UK for some of the research meetings. We then met Olivia. And then what we decided was this whole process of doing correspondence across the ocean with these big multi-week delays was something we didn’t like. So, we basically worked out with Olivia, and one weekend, we sat at her kitchen table and did the first four lessons of the course in one session. And it was only after that, that I was thoroughly involved with it.
CB: Okay. And do you know what year that was, approximately?
LL: I want to say that was around… Yeah, it’s got to be a while. I want to say that was around 1989.
CB: Okay, got it. So, late 1980s you’re getting really into horary, Olivia’s now teaching a certification course and this becomes known as the Qualifying Horary Practitioner’s course, right? Okay. And that becomes really crucial. It’s very much centered around Lilly. And maybe we should back up because we’ve talked a lot about Lilly and how significant the recovery of this text is and that it sparks this revival of traditional style horary astrology, which then itself leads to a broader traditional movement that we’ll get into in a sec, that maybe we should stop and back up and talk a little bit about who Lilly was and why his work was significant when it was written back in the 17th century because I’ve never done a show on Lilly yet. So, if you could introduce our novice audience, who was William Lily?
LL: Well, as you’ve already said by saying it, William Lilly was a 17th century astrologer and he had a focus on horary. And part of that focus on horary, he lived from 1602 to 1681, he published Christian Astrology in 1647. Now, part of the significance of this is that Lilly lived during the time period where a lot of books were being published in the vernacular instead of in Latin. And I think one of the big pieces about why Lilly’s work was significant was specifically because it was English. This was the period when Nicholas Culpepper published what we now simply call the Herbal, which was actually a translation of the Pharmacopoeia that was used, which heretofore was only in Latin, which meant that there were a lot of people in England who couldn’t understand it, couldn’t use it. So, it was this process of, as they said at the time, Englishing knowledge, which is very important as people who didn’t have time to go to university and then study Latin, could still use the material. So, I think this Englishing was a piece of why Lilly was significant. But the bigger piece is that for the time period, Christian Astrology was a huge book. And so, you have basically 500 pages of horary, and not only 500 pages of horary, but over 30 worked out horary examples where you have the chart, you have the description, you have him explaining what he did to set it up, and then what happened. And it’s having those examples, which are just stunning.
Lilly himself had developed a very good library, he had access to other libraries of horary material, and so he had digested most of the Arabic material. Now there is a certain extent to which he simplified it. But mainly, he preserved it and then he tried to work with it. And the thing was, Lilly was active at a very interesting time in English history when they were going through their civil war. And so, since Lilly’s place of business was essentially the local tavern, he was getting questions all the time. He was getting questions from people having issues with their love life, or trying to sell a house, or the usual worries that most of us get, but also the taverns where all the news comes in. And so, there’s the news from the front and so and so is reported to have defeated so and so in battle. And so that was the other type of horary who is doing a lot of is, is the rumor true, which is a way of trying to assess whether the information people were hearing was actually accurate.
So, all those factors came into his development of the book, and the book is extremely comprehensive. It would be completely possible to develop a horary astrology based on William Lilly alone and have it still working today. Now most of us didn’t do exactly that. But there are a lot of us for whom Lilly is the source of 70% or more of our horary method, and that’s very easy.
CB: Sure, and he’s so important, like you said, because he had access to so many of the earlier sources and he tried to synthesize them together into a system. And he became the first author who instead of writing a text in Latin, like most of the other texts up to that point, he wrote his text in English, and it became the first major astrological text written in the English language in general, at least, that’s what Nick was saying on the last episode where we were talking about briefly why Lilly was important because he published the first major English language textbook on astrology. And then as you were saying at the beginning of the show, this text or versions of it were later republished in abridged versions over the next few centuries so that it kept being transmitted for a couple of centuries, at least parts of it into the early to mid-20th century or so, right?
LL: Yes. And in fact, one of the things that’s interesting is that pretty much any serious astrologer from say, the mid-19th century through to the mid-20th century, had a copy of Lilly’s astrology. Now, as a purist, for years, I scorned that book because it wasn’t my Lilly, it wasn’t the full thing. But in reexamining it, what struck me was that you saw astrologers like Carter, even though he hated horary, referring to Lilly. You kept seeing these places where periodically, you’d suddenly see the full ancient table of essential dignities pop up in a period where you wouldn’t think they would even have that. And so, people were actually working it. It’s just it might have been better if they had the whole book. But I’d at this point, it would be better if they also had Bonatti, and they had a number of the other books as well.
CB: Sure, well, and that’s why Lilly was important because he becomes this gateway figure where most astrologers in subsequent centuries didn’t have Bonatti, or they didn’t have Masha’allah, or Sahl, or Abul Bashar, or these other guys, but Lilly did have translations of those texts in his possession and he was drawing on them. And so, in some ways through Lilly, the rest of the tradition gets summarized, but also pieces of it get passed on through his work.
LL: Yes, exactly.
CB: Okay. So that text, parts of it or at least the abridged version does survive into the 20th century and it does inform some forms of astrology in the 20th century. But for the most part, by the later part of the second half of the 20th century, we have a very new astrology that’s being developed that’s more along the lines of people like Dane Rudhyar and is more natal focused and more psychological focused. And then all of a sudden, you have the resurgence in the second half of the 1980s, in the mid to late 1980s, of this predictive form of astrology that says that you can answer specific questions by casting a chart for when the question is asked. And that’s basically the fundamental premise of horary, right?
LL: Yes, absolutely. I think the thing is, is that when I’ve thought about this and I’ve realized how far forward Lilly’s astrology was still being produced, it’s basically only the Pluto and Leo generation of astrologers who didn’t know about it.
CB: Right. So, the people that basically came in the 1960s and ‘70s, or that are the first generation were really they were totally absent or totally ignorant of that previous thread. And instead, it’s something almost completely new at that point?
LL: That’s right.
CB: Okay, got it. And what’s interesting though, is I was just thinking about this last month, when we recorded the radio episode, it’s like guys like Rudhyar or Marc Edmund Jones, they had access to that abridged form of Lilly, it’s just that they then modified the system significantly to create modern astrology and recreate astrology and knew and then maybe took some pieces from that, but it was never fully passed on intact and perhaps that’s the biggest thing about the revival in the 1980s is suddenly it was about going back to the original sources, and bypassing a few 100 years worth of the tradition and then finding that things were often much different back then the way astrology was different was practiced back then was different than how it is now.
LL: Yes, exactly.
CB: Okay. So, let’s get into then and talk a little bit about the actual practice of horary and then maybe we’ll pick up that historical threat again from the late ‘80s till the early ‘90s. So, what is horary astrology? I feel we’ve referred to it, but we haven’t really introduced the topic yet. How does horary work from a technical standpoint, or what is involved? It’s basically the practice of casting a chart for when a question is asked with the assumption being that the chart will both describe the nature of the question as well as the outcome or the answer essentially, right?
LL: Yes. That’s a very good definition.
CB: Okay. And so, in terms of that, when an astrologer, let’s say, a client comes to you, what is the process? You’ll cast a chart for the moment that that question is asked?
LL: Yeah. Now, of course, these days clients come to you via the internet and all these things [Lee laughs] shift. In Lilly’s day, somebody showed up in the tavern, now I get an email. What all of the traditional books say, is that the time of a horary question is when the astrologer understands the question. Okay. Now, that’s actually a little bit more complicated than it sounds at first because, okay, so somebody sends me a horary and they’re asking about their job. Just before we started recording, I had, in fact, gotten a horary question where an individual asked me whether he would still be employed at his present company in three months as well as in six months, meaning if he’s still employed in three, is he still employed at six? Okay. So, my understanding of that question is, first of all, I have to make sure I understand what he’s asking about. Now, I know what employment is. [Chris laughs] I know what three months is. I know what six months is. That’s a fairly easy one. But if there’s a level of complexity to the question that I think I don’t have enough information here really to think about scenarios, I may email the person back and say, “Okay.” Now, for example, they may say, they may be asking me a question about their health for the next year. So, I may want to know, well, is there actually anything wrong with you right now? So, until I get any of my preliminary questions answered, it’s not the time of the question yet because the astrologer hasn’t understood the question. So that’s really the biggest piece.
Traditionally, the horary question was always cast for the location of the querent. The querent is the term for the person asking the question. And then Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson, I think in a moment of wanting to have a more democratic system, decided that she should use the location of the querent and not the astrologer. Personally, I don’t get any logic out of that. Because if I’m looking at a question at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time and you had sent it to me last night, it’s 4:00 a.m. your time, you’re sleeping. Nothing’s happening in your location.
CB: Right. And I just wanted to clarify that because I think you’d said the querent at first, but you meant the astrologer. So, you said traditionally, the [crosstalk]
LL: It’s always the astrologers’ location. Sorry, if I said querent. So, you always do it for the astrologers’ location because you’re getting this idea, you’re coming to understand the question in your location.
CB: Right. So, it’s about the astrologer receiving the question and their location and understanding what is asked?
LL: Yes, exactly. And then that’s the moment of the question. Now, there’s a very strong admonition that a horary question cannot be asked twice. And this is absolutely something you can’t violate because the problem is, Jeffrey Cornelius talked about this in terms of his theory of horary as a form of divination that basically, the gods don’t take well to being asked the same question twice would be a good way to put it. And I would include in this the question that can’t have been asked before to anyone. So that would include somebody who’s doing tarot or somebody doing the Ching or whatever. But this whole idea of a divinatory question where you are asking the gods, which is to say the sky and the stars, for what’s the answer to this question, the second time it doesn’t count. And that’s the problem. If somebody asks a relationship question and it turns out they’ve already asked five horary astrologers the same relationship question, when I get the chart, I don’t necessarily know that they’ve already been, as we might say, shopping. So, I go to answer the question and then I get, “Oh, that’s great. The last four people said we wouldn’t get together.” And I was like, “No, no, no, this doesn’t even count.”
LL: And so, it has to be a unique question that has not been asked before.
CB: Right. And so, the early texts say that the question has to be an important question or a pressing question that has real significance to the person that drives them to want to find out the answer by asking an astrologer so that it’s not necessarily about inconsequential things, but it’s something important and it can only be asked once because of the importance of the symbolic moment in which the question is posed to the astrologer.
LL: Exactly, exactly.
CB: Okay. And so, you will then the astrologer will then cast a chart for the moment of the receipt of the question or when you understand the question, and then what do you look at? What are some of the technical things? If you’re trying to answer and determine the outcome of a horary question, what will you look at in the chart?
LL: Okay. Well, I’m going to say in all, but understand just about everything has exceptions. But on a simplistic level, the querent is always represented by the first house. So, the first thing that you want to look at is the condition of the querent. And in horary, the ruler of a house is taken as more primary than any planets in the house. So, for example, earlier today, I was asked a horary question with Scorpio rising. And so, in that chart, the querent is by definition Mars, I’m a classical astrologer, so I wouldn’t use Pluto. In any case, a lot of modern astrologers who do horary have switched over to the classical relationships anyway, but I would be looking at Mars. And so, then what I would be doing and looking at Mars is saying, “Okay, now what’s the condition of Mars itself?” Mars today is in Cancer, so Mars is in fall. So, I’m thinking, fall as an essential dignity can be quite literal. So, I’m thinking, “Huh, this person has fallen in position relative to speak a height.” And so now, part of the reason he’s asking me this question, which was a vocational question, is because he doesn’t have the status that he used to have. And so, I want to look at that piece and examine that as part of my delineation of the chart. And then it depends on what is the specific question because to look at the nature of the question, you look at the house that is used to represent that particular type of question. For example, if you’re looking for a raise, you’d look at the tenth house. If you’re looking for a relationship, you’d probably look to the seventh house. If you’re looking at your health, well then disease is in the sixth house. So that’s the next level, looking at the other house.
Now, a lot of horary questions, but not all, can be broken down structurally into a yes, no. If it is a yes, no question, then you’re basically looking for an action between the ruler of the first and the ruler of whatever is the proper house. And so, for example, if they’re coming together by a trine or a sextile, that would generally give you a yes to the question. If it’s a more complicated question, then you’re going to have to look at what the significance of the houses are doing and whether what the story that they are telling you is telling you what actually will work out in what part of story for the future of the querent because you start thinking in horary that all the planets are basically players and so they move through the chart, they move towards science whether they’re stronger or weaker, they move into aspects, they move out of aspects, other planets come in and aspect them. All of those pieces, you can distill out into telling a story of what that planet is doing, and what it’s going to experience.
CB: Okay, so what we’re doing is we’re casting the chart for the question and then the entire chart then and the placements within it will symbolically represent the scenario and the different players that are involved and it will symbolically describe the sequence of events both in leading up to the question and then what comes after the question is asked. And in that way, horary, you are focusing on very specific parts of the chart. You’re not necessarily attempting to delineate every piece of the chart in the same way you might a natal chart, but instead, this is much more restricted or limited to the focus of the question, or at least the matter at hand to some extent, right?
LL: Oh, yes. And this is absolutely true. The morning of 9/11, meaning when the World Trade Towers came down, I happened to be in the air at the time and my plane, like every other one, got grounded. When I got to the ground and about half an hour later, I got a phone call with a horary. Now, despite the horrendousness of that day, and it was astrologically not just in terms of people’s experience, that person got a yes to a relationship question. And it was precisely because of the fact that you isolate just the parameters, in this case, what’s happening to the first house ruler? What’s happening to the seventh house ruler? Are they coming together? And so, you can get an affirmative under the strangest conditions, otherwise astrologically and vice versa. Because you isolate out the factors that you really need to concentrate on because it’s not the totality of what’s happening, it’s this question happening.
CB: Right. And that makes sense. And so, in traditional natal astrology, they would often focus on the rising sign or the ascendant and the ruler of the ascendant as being an important planet in the person’s birth chart in terms of representing the person that was born at that time, but in horary, this is transferred to the first house and the ruler of the first house representing the person who asked the question or the querent. And whatever planet that is, it will symbolically represent the situation that the querent finds themselves in at that time, and you try to interpret the symbolic placement in a way that describes or gives you information about what’s going on with that person.
LL: That’s right. That’s right. That’s exactly how it works. The ascendant is obviously a very important thing in all charts. But it is a difference in terms of how it plays because if you think about the process, your average horary chart plays out in probably less than six months. Somebody can ask for a longer period of time. But typically, that would be about, right. You’ve got a lifetime to work out your nativity. And so, that means that on the level of interpretation, there is so much more that you have to say through an activity than you will ever see in a horary. But a horary is one question, how many thousands of questions do we have in a life?
CB: Right. And that takes some getting used to trying to realize that you need to limit it, you need to focus on certain parts of the chart, and that the answer itself is limited to the matter at hand. Whereas in natal astrology, you can do all sorts of crazy things like timing techniques, and transits, and secondary progressions for horary. You’re focusing on more minute distinctions about what the placements are and what the symbolic distinctions are between different potential positions. But one of the things that you focused on earlier, one of the primary methods that you go about answering a horary question is first identifying what part of the chart represents the person asking the question, and then what part of the chart represents the thing that the person asking the question is inquiring about, and that’s typically the ruler of the house under consideration, right?
LL: Yes, exactly. Now, there’s a second type of horary question. I never saw these two types formally distinguished in any of the classical material, but I got to one of those aha moments, why went well, this is just so totally obvious. Most horary questions involve time and the unfoldment of time to get an answer. If you say, will I marry so and so, the marriage is in the future. If you talk about, will I be able to buy this house, you’ve got the steps of being able to get the mortgage and whatever else and again, you’ve got a timestream going on. But then there’s a second horary that are called emplacements. And these are things like, where is my lost watch? And it can also be sometimes we get a question that literally is, where will I place, as in, for example, an academic placement, where you have to be in the top three to move on to this category. So, any of those cases where it’s really about a location rather than a scenario, different rules apply. And those tend to have some very specific rules about how you take the positions of the planets because you’re not looking at them as they’re moving. You’re looking at them where they are right now.
CB: Sure. Okay. But would you say that the majority of horary questions are of the first type where it’s like, will X happen in the future?
LL: Probably, 95%.
CB: Okay, so 95% of the questions are of that format. And so, as a result of that, you’re often then taking the primary technical approach, which is to see if there is an applying aspect between the planet that represents the person that asked the question, that chart, and the planet that represents the thing that was inquired about. Essentially, you’re looking for whether there’s an applying major “Ptolemaic aspect”, essentially, between those two planets as one of your primary tools for figuring out the outcome of the question.
LL: Right. With a general idea that trines and sextiles will give you a good result. Squares and oppositions may not prevent the result, but they have a definite negative context to them. The negative context of the square is difficulty arguments, quarrels, etc. The difficulty of the opposition is if you do it, you’ll regret it.
CB: Right. I always loved that delineation that you give that in The Martial Art of Horary Astrology and I’ve seen that come true a few times where it’s not just difficulty, but sometimes, it’s not necessarily a good coming together. It’s not necessarily one that works out for the best necessarily.
LL: Yeah. And it also seems to have the moth to the flame idea where the people are really attracted to doing what will not work out. [Lee laughs] The conjunction, of course, has always been one of those, first of all, there’s a whole question as to whether it’s an aspect at all. And so, it has mixed qualities. And that’s one, you have to think out in the moment as to whether bringing the two bodies actually physically together is a good idea or not.
CB: Sure. So, let’s give an example. You’d mentioned like a marriage question earlier. So, a typical one might be, let’s say, will me and such and such get married? And that’s a question that’s posed to you as the astrologer, the astrologer cast the chart. And then what are they looking at?
LL: Okay. Well, now first of all, I have to tell you that some of what they’re looking at depends on which culture and which historical time they’re in. Because one of the things that I would point out, because we can’t escape where we live in who we are. In Llewellyn time, if you could afford to get married, that was about the only impediment and marriage was considered to be a good thing. But once you got married, they were pretty serious about that ‘till death do us part’ bit. We are living in a society where you can pretty much do anything you want without getting married. And so, marriage has become, let’s say, optional, except in certain religious groups. And then, not only is marriage optional, it’s no longer till death do us part. So, one of the questions that I tend to be looking at in this marriage process is just how serious is this question, anyway? If Lilly got a question about marriage, he knew it was serious. But on the other hand, people accepted those as the rules whereas we moderns are a little more picky about this.
Now, assuming it gets through all those little radar bits, the way that you would approach a marriage, for example, is if you think about it, we’ve got a whole series of polarities in our signs that work out to actually a very few number of planetary combinations when you’re looking at significant issues. Let me illustrate. If you have Taurus rising, you have Scorpio on the seventh house cusp, so Taurus rising Venus, Scorpio rising Mars, if you have Libra rising, its Venus and then you would have Aries on the seventh Mars. Whenever it’s those four signs, you’ve got Venus Mars combinations, you have to, okay? If you get the Mercury Jupiter signs, so now you’ve got Gemini and Virgo, and Sagittarius and Pisces. You’ve got Mercury and Jupiter are another pair. And then finally, you have the sun, Saturn and the moon and Saturn. So there really aren’t too many planetary pairs you’re working with on these. So, well let’s say we have the Taurus rising chart. With a Taurus rising chart, Aquarius is ruled by Venus. So, you’re looking at the condition of Venus to represent your Aquarius. So, you’re looking at, okay, well, now, what sign is Venus in? Okay, that’s a good place to start, is the sign, and then you’re going to look at what are her aspect patterns. So, if I’m looking at that today while we’re recording, Venus is in Gemini. Okay. Venus in Gemini, Gemini is not one of Venus’s favorite signs. And we look at this through the areas of essential and accidental dignity. But anyway, so the Venus isn’t really strong and Mars right now is in Cancer. Now, Gemini and Cancer do not make a Ptolemaic aspect and so that these two planets cannot use the lingo that we use: perfect. Whenever you have an approaching Ptolemaic aspect that will occur within the sign in which they’re both in, that’s considered to be a perfection.
So, we have no perfection between Venus and Mars. But are we doomed? Well, the next most common answer to that question is the moon, which moves faster than anybody in the chart could come up and aspect Venus, and then aspect Mars. And we would call that a translation. Now, the first half of the statement was true today because the moon Is in Aquarius and so the moon did aspect Venus and go on. But the thing is, Aquarius and Cancer don’t make an aspect. So once again, you can’t have a translation. There are a few more arcane versions of how the planets can come together, but that gives you an idea. Now, suppose that the moon actually had been able to bring them together. Okay? If the moon had been able to bring them together, there’s a different story. And that’s why I say you’re reading the planets as the story. If Venus had come to Mars, then our querent because Venus was our querent, is coming to the other individual and if so, they get married. If the moon had come to Venus and then come to Mars, this is what I call the Yente effect. You have a third party who says, “Oh, I know just the right girl for you.” And brings the two people together. So, both of them can produce the result, but they have a different story while they do it.
CB: Right. Okay, so you’re casting the chart, you’re looking at the planet that rules, the first house is representing the person asked the question, you’re looking at, in this instance, you go to the seventh house because it’s a question about marriage, and then you see if those two planets are moving towards an exact aspect with each other, in which case it symbolically represents that those two people indeed will be moving towards marriage and will get married at some point in the future because the perfection or the completion of an aspect to perfect essentially means to complete something, and the completion of an aspect is thought to be the completion of a connection at some point in the future. So, in that case, if they were applying to each other and other circumstances agreeing, it would indicate a yes answer. But if those planets are not moving together into an exact aspect or a conjunction or one of the other major aspects, then the answer is no. And then if the answer is no with those two primary significators, then one of the things that you did there is you defaulted to the moon as a secondary significator of the core and to see if the moon would at least perfect one aspect with Mars, right?
LL: Well, I didn’t default to the moon as a secondary indicator of the querent because remember, the moon’s a different person. [crosstalk] What I default to is the moon is considered to be the co-ruler of all questions. And so, the moon can get involved but the moon would be a different person.
CB: Got it. Got it. Yeah. Sorry. That’s an important conceptual distinction because that actually would make a huge difference in how you delineated it, where you would say, in that example, you were talking about a third party getting involved potentially in order to allow or bring together the two people that otherwise might miss each other if the two primary significant errors we’re not connecting.
CB: Got it. Okay. So, and this is where some of those elaborate other aspect definitions or aspect configuration definitions from the Medieval and Renaissance traditions really come into play and really come in handy is that if you’re just doing this by the standard Ptolemaic aspects, it’s actually rare that you’re going to get two planets that are pretty closely with an orb applying to a conjunction or to one of the other major aspects with each other. But then, when you bring in some of those other types of configurations or way that planets can complete configurations, then you get a few other options. So, you have things like, transfer of light, or collection of light, and other things like that, right?
LL: Yeah. And of course, since your other first text in astrology was On Reception, there’s a whole big doctrine of reception which can be used to even drill down further in the interpretation of the aspects.
CB: Sure. Yeah. That was really important. I talked to Nina Griffin about that a few episodes ago, where we are talking about Bonatti’s table of reception and if the perfection occurs with reception or without and how that can actually help to enhance a yes answer, or to make it easier, or to ease the ability of the question to signify a positive outcome. So, how important is reception when you’re looking at whether two planets are moving together or not?
LL: Well, it’s really not how important is it because if it’s present it’s pretty important. The thing is, a lot of the time, it just isn’t present, just like you may not have aspects to begin with. But one of the things, I think it’s important, and this again is something that you have to train your eye to do is that one of the major differences between a classical interpretation of a chart and a modern interpretation is that in a classical interpretation, when you look at an aspect, it’s not to use the mathematical term transitive. And here’s what I mean by that. In the example I gave Taurus rising, Venus is the querent Mars is the intended, if Venus is approaching Mars, that’s not the same as Mars approaching Venus. Because this is say, if Venus is approaching Mars, that the querent is going for the [unintelligible 01:02:09] being the object of the querent’s affection. So in this case, by knowing whether Venus refers to the first or refers to the seventh, you know which party is moving, and moving means they’re the one who’s actually creating the scenario.
CB: Right. So, that’s one of the really important and really big distinctions about horary is every little minute distinction in terms of the arrangement of the planets and which planet is moving towards the other or which planet’s earlier later, and other things like that are all taken into account as having symbolic significance in describing both the scenario itself as well as its outcome.
CB: Okay. So, ideally, if we’re looking for an affirmative answer to that previous question, we’d be looking for an applying aspect, or something along those lines. But then what happens if, for example, there is an aspect, but they’re separating from one another?
LL: If they’re separated from one another, then they already went past the closest point in their relationship.
CB: So that in and of itself, would also potentially indicate a negative answer because it shows that they’re symbolically moving away rather than moving together?
LL: That’s right. That’s right. They had their chance, they blew it.
CB: Brilliant. Okay, so and that reasoning or that symbolic reasoning can be applied to just about any type of question, especially those that are about things about what will take place in the future by using this dynamic approach to astrology, where you’re looking at whether the planets are moving together or flowing apart, essentially, you can almost answer any type of question with that.
LL: Yes, exactly. And it all comes back– and I think it’s the simplest way to think of it– it all comes back to the story of the planets. And even for any of your listeners who don’t really do much classical astrology, the thing is, all of us learn to tell stories with the planets. And with horary, the story is a very literal story. Which doesn’t mean that you have nothing to say about it and you’re just throwing in keywords. But you can take the planets very literally, you can take them to a degree very stereotypically. If it’s a sextile, it’s pretty good. If it’s a trine, it’s better. If it’s a square, it’s a coral. And you can say all these things and that’s how the story is operated.
CB: Right. And one of the tools that you have in that was actually one of your first books once you made the transition to traditional astrology, is you wrote a book on an entire book on the essential dignities and those become one of your primary access points for telling the story of what condition or what situation does that person find themselves in the chart as represented by the condition of the planet, right?
LL: I believe it’s the only book that has ever been written just on essential dignities but because essential dignities had become so vestigial to much of modern astrology, I felt it was necessary at that point to really emphasize the topic and talk about how to use it. And yeah, in horary the two primary things we’re using are essential dignities or what are called accidental fortitudes. And the accidental fortitudes includes things like angularity of a planet, its proximity to the sun, whether it’s an aspect to the malefics of Venus and Mars, or the malefics of Mars and Saturn and whether the aspect is a sextile electron or a square opposition. So, yes, because all of these are factors and stories they all have consistent meanings that you really can apply disgustingly literally.
CB: Right. And that’s really important because I don’t think astrology that’s one of the big things that astrologers have to learn when learning horary astrology is how to interpret those placements in very literal ways because oftentimes, the way that they work out is very literal in accord with the symbolism of the placement, right?
LL: Yeah, I think the thing is horary can be a wonderful way to build confidence in your ability to make judgments. And it’s great because it operates in a much shorter time period than many other kinds of astrology and you can be wrong. Wrong isn’t just coming up with a rationalization for why you were wrong. It’s okay, you got it right, or you got it wrong. And that’s a really good way to have to go through in order to test your techniques.
CB: Right, and one of the metaphors you use in that process of sharpening your skills and getting better and better because one of the things that you say in your books is that horary, you can learn the basics but you can only really truly learn horary by doing it and by attempting to answer questions and learning from your successes and your mistakes. And that’s why you titled your first book on horary astrology The Martial Art of Horary Astrology because you have this metaphor that it’s like a martial art and the process of repetition in order to learn and gain mastery over something, right?
LL: Yeah, well, of course, it didn’t hurt that I was doing Taekwondo at the time. [Lee laughs] So, it was literally a martial art for me. But what I actually meant behind the metaphor was exactly the meaning of Mars. Mars cuts things off. That’s Mars’ job. Not the whole job, but that is part of the job. And one of the things with horary is you have to cut yourself off and just deliver the package that you were asked to deliver. And because part of that is giving an outcome, you have to force yourself to give an outcome. It was very funny, but 20 or 30 years ago, it was not uncommon to see horary astrologers, who has spent gobs and gobs and gobs of time talking about everything about the circumstances of the horary, but the outcome.
CB: Right. So, there was still resistance to issue a specific prediction about a specific outcome? [crosstalk] And is that still partially from is that still lingering stuff from the psychologization of astrology from the 1960s and ‘70s, or what was that resistance?
LL: Yeah, it’s hard to say exactly what the resistance was. I think it was perhaps part of that because I think when everybody who learned horary in the ‘70s, and ‘80s came to it from a psychological background because there was almost no other possible background at that time to have. And when your approach is a belief system that if you are, we’re now speaking of a psychological consultation, I’m not talking astrological, but I’m talking purely psychological, that if you’re in a psychological consultation with somebody, almost inevitably one of your jobs as the therapist at that point, is to help that person find their own path. And intrinsically to that point of view, you don’t want to get in the way. And so, it’s not about what I think about your circumstances, it’s what do you think about your circumstances. Now, in a completely psychological context, this makes perfect sense. But somebody is not coming to me as a horary astrology for a psychological consultation. They want to know whether they’re going to get married. So, I’m not even operating within a psychological field in which I have to be like, “Well, what will the person think if I tell them that they’re either going to get married or not?” My job is to say, “What is it showing?” But it was a hard hump for people who had trained themselves in that psychological process to get over.
CB: Right. As you transitioned more into horary and then eventually and into traditional astrology and became more known for that, do you feel like there was tensions or was there any pushback in terms of that from your contemporaries in terms of where astrology was at that point versus?
LL: Well, there was tremendous pushback from my contemporaries. Myself, as soon as I got into it, I loved it. [Lee laughs] So, there was no personal issue with it. But I think one of the things that was difficult primarily in the ‘80s, and ‘90s, because in the ‘70s, while this stuff was starting to come up, it hadn’t jelled enough for it to seem threatening. But I think one of the issues that really came up is that to limit astrology to only psychology was very much to cut off our roots to cut off much of what we could do. So, in that sense, it was a limitation of the astrology itself. But maybe the people who did this weren’t doing it from that point of view. They didn’t see it that way. But what they have simply gotten to is because they had adopted one particular worldview for the consultations they wanted to do. They were having difficulty understanding that there could be other worldviews.
CB: Right. Well, they defined what astrology is and what it isn’t in a way that was somewhat narrow, and then all of a sudden, you have this new group of people whose saying, “But look at this. You can actually do this with astrology. And Isn’t this amazing?” And I could see why there would be tension there because all of a sudden, you would be challenging what astrology is and what astrology isn’t, which is what their worldview would have been based on.
LL: Yeah. I remember one panel that I was on relating to this, where the person was running and who is very psychologically based was starting to say, “Well, but if you start trying to make definite statements about people, what does this do for their psychological development?” And my answer was something along the lines of, “Well, there are other aspects of life besides their psychological development.” And by the way, this is the team that’s going to win the Super Bowl today. [Lee laughs] All these areas of astrology until this very brief period, in the ‘70s, and the ‘80s, to a large extent coexisted. And the point was, yes, there were periods where there were theological reasons that certain forms of astrology were not considered to be kosher. But apart from these pressures from without among astrologers, people did it all. I think what happened was that you had a brief period of time and it was really only about 20 or 30 years, where psychological astrology seemed to be the only thing you could do.
CB: Right. And horary was almost looked down upon or was almost conceptualized as this separate thing because it was much more obviously similar to forms of divination, like the tarot or something like that. And this was often seen as attempting to use astrology as a form of divination, but that it was totally different than natal astrology, or electional, or mundane astrology or something like that, essentially, right?
LL: Every code of ethics that the various organizations promulgated in the ‘70s, and ‘80s, and even somewhat into the ‘90s would have made the practice of horary astrology unethical. And during that period of time, I spent a great deal of time arguing this point and saying, “Why do you get to determine what I can do?”
CB: Right with based on because those were often natal astrologers, essentially natal astrologers who did psychological astrology, reading the codes of ethics and anything like horary was just so completely outside of anything they practiced or understood that they weren’t writing it with that type of astrology in mind.
LL: I think initially, it didn’t even occur to them. Being a horary astrologer in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s was a very isolating experience.
CB: Sure. Yeah, I can imagine. So, that brings us back to your story then. So, by the late ‘80s, and early ‘90s, you’re fully into this, you’ve taken. And at what point did you graduate from? Did you get the qualification from Olivia Barclay’s course?
LL: It was either ‘89 or ’90. I forget exactly when.
CB: Okay. And you weren’t necessarily the only one, but there was this whole initial generation of astrologers that we were studying Lilly and taking some of these horary courses in the late 1980s and early 1990s, right?
LL: Yes, there were.
CB: So, you talk a little bit in your new book about lineage and lineage being important thing, especially since it’s something at least in contemporary times with some of these traditional astrologers and some of the horary astrologers it’s something that can actually be traced to some extent, right?
LL: Yeah. And I think lineage is important in all forms of astrology. Because lineage is the first step toward acknowledging your teachers and acknowledging your influences. And the thing is that ideas travel, and knowing somebody’s lineage helps you to understand what ideas they have. For example, in the 1980s when I was taking the QHP, and Deborah Houlding was taking the QHP, and Barbara Dunn was taking the QHP, and all the various people who did graduate in the QHP from Olivia, were taking it. We were all getting essentially a parallel form of astrology. Now, those who studied with one of Olivia’s tutors instead of Olivia directly, got a little bit of difference, but not much. So, you had a lot of people who are propelled into the astrological community having essentially the same background. But, and I mentioned this in the book, the Olivia lineage was not a pure classical lineage. Because Olivia before she found this partial Lilly had thoroughly studied Barbara Watters, and Ivy Jacobson and some of the earlier ones before them. And the structure of her course and the way she handled several of the different kinds of horary were really straight out of Ivy. And this was one of the things that drove me crazy, and not just me, I know other QHB graduates and students who had the same issues, where I’m reading this section of Lilly and I’m reading the section in Ivy, and Ivy’s wording is what Olivia is actually using. But you say, “Oh, no, no, no, I’m getting this out of Lilly.” So, as part of Olivia’s lineage, part of what I’ve had to do because I was interested in having a more Lilly type lineage is excise those pieces, and is that process of excision, which is also something you have to do if you’re trying to produce a more, let’s call it historically consonant type of reading.
CB: Right. And this is actually something I talked about with an Indian astrologer in the last episode that traditions of astrology that focus more on traditions or ancient traditions that textual analysis and finding sources and textual support for techniques is often given a lot of weight. It’s very important to have some grounding in the older traditions. And sometimes, when you’re doing that in modern times, there can be a conflict between, or students can find a conflict between, whatever synthesized system their teacher has versus sometimes when they go back and compare that to the texts. And when there’s differences, this student sometimes has to make a choice between whether to follow their teacher or whether to follow what they’re finding in the texts. And sometimes, some of the students of Olivia, you guys would find that she had almost more of a modern synthesis in some ways because she had taken an influence from the modern horary astrologers and sometimes, you guys departed from her by trying to go more with the tradition based on your understanding of Lilly, essentially.
LL: Yes. And then, of course, the next thing was that after that, in the 90s, you started getting the wave of translations coming. And so now, for example, if you compare Martial Art, my first book with the Horary Workbook, my second book, the major difference between the two of them is that in the time period that’s elapsed since the publication of the first one, all of these other horary sources have become available. And so, I like everybody else who was already there and in the classical period, what we could call neoclassical period, was having to digest those other sources. And it was a major decision. Do you stick? Because I came through with a time where you literally could be a pure Lilly, or astrologer. But then you asked yourself, “Do I want to be? Do I want to incorporate these other sources? And if I’m going to incorporate the other sources, on what basis do I incorporate them?” So now, essentially, anybody coming into horary now has way more choices upfront than I had. Because for me, it was just, “Okay, there’s Lilly and this is going to be 90 to 95% of my work. But the other choices, the other translations are worth grappling with. Some are better than others. And I’m not talking necessarily about the quality of the translation, but the sources. But you’re going to end up having to make choices about which sources you’re going to rely on and that’s added yet another layer to this whole process. But I think in the end, you get a richer result.
CB: Sure. So, you guys with the traditional revival, starting with Lilly in the late 1980s and early 90s, and using that as the primary source text for recovering traditional astrology, and then eventually, during the course of the 90s in the 2000s, and then more recently, the release of additional translations from the earlier medieval and Hellenistic traditions, you’ve been able to see some of Lilly’s actual sources and the texts that he was drawing on, and sometimes, you see that he had created his own working system and sometimes that often that was in agreement with, but sometimes it would be in disagreement with earlier texts, and then you have to make a choice about which tradition to follow, or sometimes, which seems to work out better in practice for you.
LL: Yeah. And Lily is actually very, [Lee laughs] very refreshing on this. Because oftentimes, he’ll be going along and he’ll say, “Okay, well, the ancients say this, or this ancient says this.” Because he cites these people. And he says, “But I’ve worked with it and I think this.” How refreshing!
CB: Right. So, you can see that with all these translations available, you can see he’s not just slavishly adopting the tradition, but he’s actually testing it out. And then both outlining the tradition, but then telling you what works best for him in practice.
LL: Yeah. And I think this is the thing, everybody as an astrologer has to do this. And it doesn’t matter whether you call yourself classical, modern, psychological, spiritual, whatever you call yourself, you have to work your sources. And if you’re not working your sources, yeah, you’re basically you’re basically parroting somebody else and it’s not an authentic voice.
CB: Sure, sure. Let’s see. So, we have that whole revival. And then from that point forward from the late 1980s, and early 1990s, you’re practicing horary astrology on a regular basis, you’re building up hundreds and hundreds of case studies and example charts. And then eventually, this culminates in the early 2000s, where in 2002, you published your primary book on horary astrology, which is titled The Martial Art of Horary Astrology after practicing the subject for about 14 years, right?
LL: Yeah. I’m a firm believer that, and astrology is a good example of this is not the only form of human knowledge, but I think that when you have a system that doesn’t exist in a vacuum, astrology is not just a theoretical construct. It’s a living being. It’s a living process. And it’s working with real life people in real life circumstances. If you’re trying to rush to publication on something like that without really having a chance to work through the material and see the results and see the ones that don’t work as well as the ones that work, then you’re not going to end up producing something that other people can really work with and learn from. And I didn’t rush writing the hooray book because I wanted to do it in a way that I felt was a contribution. When you have Lily as the basis standing behind you, the standard is higher.
CB: Right, with his tons of example charts that are spanning over a decade or a few decades and then [crosstalk] having them so detailed and worked out, but also seeing his hundreds of sources that he’s drawing on at the same time.
LL: Yeah. Lilly is an inspiration.
CB: Sure. Well, your book, I think, meets that high standard because you had this brilliant way of both outlining what the tradition was and you have just tons of cross references and explanations so that you make people like Lilly and Gadbury and other of those late traditional authors very accessible in a horror context in the martial art of horary astrology, especially in the introductory matters where you’re explaining what horary is in the theory of how it’s practiced as well as what the traditional texts say in terms of the theory of how it’s practiced. But then you really go into demonstrating through the example charts and explaining both the scenario of what the question was, and then what your rationale is for interpreting the chart, and then what the outcome was, you’re able to demonstrate how it actually works in practice and in modern times, even though you’re using techniques from hundreds of years ago.
LL: Yeah. And this is the thing, using techniques from hundreds of years ago in the modern time is actually no more difficult than attempting to use modern techniques that are 10 or 20 years old in the modern time. And that’s something we’re thinking about.
CB: What do you mean about that, or by that? Can you expand on that?
LL: Well, the thing is that we always have to take the knowledge that we have and allow it to compost, allow it to change, allow it to work through because if you try to keep practicing the same form of astrology now that you did 10 years ago, you’re a fossil. You really are. Because what we are doing in life, or what we should be doing in life is learning. In those 10 years, how many more charts have you seen? If you’re not a better astrologer as a result of those charts, then you’re missing something, you truly are. And you can’t be a better astrologer sitting in one place. Every student that I’ve had, has taught me something. Every client that I’ve had, has taught me something. And that shows over time.
CB: Right. And that’s something where that brings us essentially to the present time where you took another 15-year period in order to continue to develop and gain more experience and continuing casting and answering hundreds, if not thousands of horary questions. And now, 15 years since the publication of your first book on horary astrology, you’ve actually published a second book or a follow-up book, titled Learning Classical Horary Astrology: Notes and Workbook, right?
LL: Yeah. Now, I’m really excited about this because Lilly never got to do this. And this is, I think, the first time that one author has authored two books on horary that far apart in time. Now, granted some of this is the gift of our current life experience where we have longer lifespans than many people did in the past, not all. But what I have learned in the meantime, is not just the additional sources, although that’s part of it, but it’s also the process of actually working more and more charts. And what I’ve hopefully been able to put into the workbook is a lot more in the way of little practical things that you find in the process of doing charts that you may not get the first time that you see that chart. And a lot of this is, again, it doesn’t matter whether this is horary or any other style of astrology, the hardest thing for almost everybody about delineating charts is that you don’t have just all positive indicators, or just all negative indicators. It’s mixed. And being able to have the time to think through how to prioritize factors is just so important to coming up with a clear system that you can use, and also that you can transmit to other people.
CB: Right. So, charts are rarely just straightforward, but oftentimes things are mixed or muddy. And how do you deal with contrasting indications?
LL: Yeah, yeah. Because in the end, horary always calls you to judge. And so, you have to have… It’s like, what’s the factor that weights the scales? [crosstalk] And so, you’re always being called to do that.
CB: Right. And that becomes one of the biggest things that’s tricky for modern astrologers transitioning into electional horary astrology, is oftentimes unlearning or realizing that things that are like pop astrology type concepts, like the void, of course, moon or stuff like that are not always necessarily as big of a deal when you get into actual full-fledged horary and electional astrology because things are a lot more complicated and sometimes, things that you think are elevated and popular discussions of astrology are not necessarily as much of a deal breaker all the time when you’re actually working with horary charts on a daily basis.
LL: Yeah. And I would suggest that for modern astrologers who are interested in learning classical, that actually forcing yourself to do it through horary, or as you just mentioned through electional, as well, Chris, is a really good way to do it because you can completely isolate those techniques in your horary or electional and just work with it within this. It’s like the idea of being in a sandbox, which is a concept that’s been picked up in computer work as well. It’s an isolated circumstance in which you can try this stuff out and not feel like you have to take it everywhere. So, it gives you an experimental point. About a month ago, I was teaching a medical class. It’s the first practitioner’s level medical course for the school for traditional astrology, the STA, which I’ve just developed in the last year. And afterwards, we had a meeting with all the people who regularly teach in the STA program and I made a comment about how I had had a lot of experience with my students, where I had students who were doing one or another form of modern astrology, but got hooked on horary and decided to do it classically, and how much I thought that was a completely viable alternative. Turns out one of the tutors is exactly that. She’s been a modern astrologer her entire life, she and I are roughly the same age, but she knew Olivia, she took the course later I think through the STA, but she’s just stayed with that whole classical process in horary while she’s gone merrily along in her way doing modern astrology. And I don’t see any problem with that.
CB: Okay, so keeping it segregated to some extent?
LL: Yeah. And at least segregated for the process of learning. But I guarantee you, no matter how much you want to keep it segregated, at some point, you’re going to try those techniques in your natal chart.
CB: Right. Yeah, that’s actually a really good piece of advice for people that might be hesitant to learn horary or hesitant to learn a more traditional style of horary is they might fear, “Well, does that mean I have to give up outer planet rulership, or does that mean I have to use a different form of house division than I’m used to?” But you can actually just one of the best ways or best pieces of advice, like you just said is just try following that as a separate system and keeping it segregated at first and keep doing natal astrology, however, you do astrology now, but just try doing horary in this approach and see how it works and become more comfortable with it. And then at that point, you can decide whether you’re going to keep that separated to just horary practice if you see it working, or if you’re going to take pieces of that and integrate it into the rest of your approach to astrology overall.
LL: Yeah. And I think one of the things that’s really noticeable when I think of that remark, in 1986, that first [unintelligible] in San Diego, about what do we need this big book for? Well, the answer to that is very clear. At this point, I think there are very few people who are choosing to learn modern horary astrology. Why would you? Because when you have this mass of ancient material, when you’ve got over 1,000 years of recorded horary practice, why would you restrict yourself to 30 years?
CB: Right, because there’s a huge 1000s of year long tradition that you could be drawing on instead?
LL: Yeah, exactly. And I think it gives you a richer horary, it gives you a richer vocabulary, it gives you more ways to delineate the chart. And I think this is why virtually, everybody coming into horary now comes in classically, whether they start as a classical astrologer or not.
CB: Right. I can’t even think of that many. It’s somewhat similar, or maybe to a lesser extent with electional astrology, but I can’t really even think of that many modern schools have horary astrology. Most horary practitioners do use some form of traditional horary at this point, I would think, right?
LL: Yeah. Basically, what’s left is you’ve got the older people who learned modern astrology when that was the only way, you’ve got a few people who have picked up some of the older horary books that teach it in the modern way and they simply learned it from the book. And then you also have some schools that try to present a little horary, but that’s not that special. It’s not a specialty to them and so, they might be doing modern there. But apart from that, the schools now are basically classical.
CB: Right. And that’s one of the things that you shifted on over the past year or so that you talk a little bit about in the new book, which is that you started to think more about lineage and you’ve become more interested in how lineages are formed and how they’re transmitted so that you see it more important now to be part of a broader school rather than just a single isolated teacher in order to be able to pass along more of a coherent doctrine or something like that, right?
LL: Yeah. This, unfortunately, was one of the other bits of the analogy with martial arts, which was sadly true that what has happened so much in the martial arts is that people go through, they learn their part, they start out as part of a tradition, and then they get pissed off at their instructor. [Lee laughs] [crosstalk] So, you get pissed off. So, you form your own school. And then you start doing something deliberately different so that you can say, “But we do this,” which is your way of rationalizing this new school. And you see this fragmentation going on and on and on and on. And I realized, this is also what a lot of astrologers do, that you study with so and so, now you want to hang out your own shingle, now you’re starting to think of your teacher as being your competitor and this just produces odd results. And so, yeah, the thing that I got to was say I think it’s a good role model to both live and demonstrate to people that everything doesn’t have to be about splitting into smaller and smaller and smaller pieces. But I have to say about the structure of the school for traditional astrology is that Deborah Houlding had done a good job in getting tutors and getting other people to teach the material. And so, I thought, “Well, I never got tutors and so it’s better than I’m there with them.”
So, when we talked it through and when we decided that this would be a good thing to do, I sat through a class that was being taught and in the process of sitting through the five days, I would say that between the course I had written and the course she had written, there was easily in terms of subject about a 70% overlap. But in terms of actual agreement on concepts, there was about a 95% overlap. But you should expect this, we had the same teacher. And even though we’ve both had completely separate professional lives for that period of time, we both had essentially the same approach, which was very much, “What does the sources say? What does the sources say? Show me the evidence.” So, it’s actually fascinating to see the level of overlap that was there. So, it’s when I saw that, that I knew that I’d absolutely made the right choice.
CB: Right. And you mentioned earlier that sometimes people go out and hang up their own shingles and introduce a variation of their teachers’ doctrine to set themselves apart or something like that. But one of the things that’s always been interesting to me is that in that first generation of the traditional revival, especially the horary astrologers, you guys were going back and reading Lilly. And sometimes, there were legitimate debates of interpretation about how to read certain parts of Lilly’s text where people were coming up or going in different directions in terms of actual technical doctrines based on differing readings of the source text to some extent, right?
LL: Yeah. But a lot of that could have or should have been eliminated 10 years later when so many of the new translations came out. Because Lilly, like any single work, was also dependent on his sources and none of us can pick exactly the right words all the time. And so, when you get to one of these points where you don’t understand it, if you can find one of the earlier techniques that addresses that, that should basically answer your question. But when we didn’t have access to those things, then you got into these issues of interpretation.
CB: Right. And so, there’s some debates about the definition of void. Of course, there’s a debate or at least, you have sometimes there’s people like Frawley who John Frawley, who was one of the first-generation people who uses the concept of reception, I think, a little bit differently than some of the other first generation traditional astrologers.
LL: I think he uses it differently than all the rest of the first generation.
CB: Okay. I don’t want to get into it too much.
LL: Well, what I’m simply saying by that is, I think what happened, the other thing that happens, Chris, and I’m sure you’re seeing it within your bailiwick as well, one of the worst things that can happen is when people take a point of view without having had the opportunity to fully research it. Because then when you fully research it, it’s like, “Well, got that one wrong.” You probably have noticed that I have a page or so in the new book about saying, “Well, here’s some of the things I’ve gotten wrong.”
CB: Yeah. [crosstalk] I really respected that you actually listed a few points where your views or your practice have changed in the decade or almost decade and a half, basically, since you wrote your first book on horary.
LL: Yeah. I don’t think we should hold people to a standard where they have to get it right the very first time because that’s not our human experience. You get things right as much as you can, but I think the point at which what you say becomes absolute is the point where you die. And up until that point, it should be negotiable. And if we don’t take that point of view, then we can’t really say that we’re serious about continuing to learn.
CB: Right, especially if every new horary chart that you do teaches you something new about horary about astrology in general, even if it’s very, very small.
LL: Yeah. And I think this reception one is one of the interesting pieces on that because what’s interesting about reception is that it’s one of the pieces that really enforces what I said earlier, which is that you get to a point of realizing that one planet applying to the other is not the same as the other applying to it and that you’ve got different scenarios. And reception brings in a really, very technically based, specific, specific story. And one of the big pieces about that is actually in, it can be a medical horary, or it can be in medical election or whatever, but it’s a medical piece, which is that when you’re doing medical astrology, or horary, or electrical, the first house is the vitality of the patient. The eighth house, or querent, or the eighth house is their death. Now, within reception, there is the concept that one of the planets can ask the other planet for a favor. Okay? Now, if life is asking death for a favor, what’s the outcome if death grants it? That you continue to live. If death asks life for a favor and life grants it, the outcome is that you die. Now, that you can really sort out in looking at charts as to which one is going on and what’s your interpretation of reception? There’s some cases like that, that’s extreme, but I’ve seen that. And when you see those extreme cases work, you’re a believer.
CB: Sure. That’s actually funny because I think that’s tied into a separate debate that I had many, many episodes ago with Ryan Butler, where we were debating this recent contemporary debate about whether reception with malefics was bad. And part of the issue, I think, was that they were citing eighth house horary delineations, primarily, and I wasn’t sure if the fact that it was the eighth house was actually getting conflated with the fact that it was malefics involved in the reception and whether that marred the argument that was being made about malefics being involved with reception being a problematic thing.
LL: And I think your question about muddied is a very valid question because the problem you get into the eighth house as the eighth house ruler is generally considered to be an accidental malefic.
CB: Right. Yeah. So, we don’t have to get into that. But that’s one of the interesting ways in which there are… I’m just fascinated from historical perspective by how sometimes in the traditional community, you have both the practical thing that’s going on, which is that people are reviving these techniques or they’ve been revived, and there’s a new empirically based, the development of people actually doing horary charts and gaining experience and knowledge and things from that. And that’s one form in which horary has been revived. But then, there’s also textual analysis and like, what does the tradition say? And how do you either reconcile or do you reconcile different conflicting doctrines in the tradition? And that’s a whole other piece of it that comes with reviving older forms of astrology.
LL: Yeah. And I think one of the other things is we always have to recognize there can be duds in the classical period as sources as well as in the modern period. [Lee laughs]
CB: Right. Yeah. I think that’s the way you learn quickly.
LL: One of the things that all of us end up doing is coming up with the shortlist. Okay, my shortlist Lilly, is at the top of the list, generally. But I also know in areas for example, neuroception is one of them, Lilly’s not the strongest source that I can go to. But where do I go next? And your typical practitioner is going to have somewhere between one and six of those go to sources that you use when you get to a point, and it’s not clear in your primary source, or there’s something about it that isn’t in your primary source and you need it to go further. And not everybody is going to have the same list. And if you don’t have the same list, you’re not going to come to the same outcome. There’s several of the classical works that I don’t use at all although I have them because I just don’t find that they have the juice.
CB: Sure. And it seems Lilly had a similar process where he seems to favor certain sources or seems to either disregard or not place as much emphasis on others, even if he had them at his disposal.
LL: Yeah. You can’t give up your critical thinking.
CB: Right. Okay. So– and this is part of a process– you are really then one of that. I keep saying first generation because as far as I’m concerned, because it happened so quickly in the 1980s, that you were one of the first generation of traditional astrologers involved in the traditional revival. But I’ve noticed sometimes, you’ve said second, because you’ve referred to Olivia as being first. Do you have a preference there?
LL: Well, I think if you’re looking at who were the people who did it first, there’s an overlap in age certainly. Because Olivia was more than a generation ahead of me chronologically. But somebody like Jeffrey Cornelius who overlapped in the time periods here is only a little bit older than me. So yeah, you can call me first, you can call me second. I certainly wasn’t the first. I wasn’t the first one, but I was pretty close to the Vanguard, and I certainly knew the Vanguard people.
CB: Sure. And [crosstalk]
LL: How big of a generation does it have to be? That’s the question.
CB: Yeah, that’s tough to answer. Well, I guess from my perspective, you are one of the first people in the late 20th century who started writing books on traditional astrology. And through, your book, you’ve influenced hundreds of other astrologers that are now practicing horary astrology, and either, are very closely following the approach that you outlined, or at least, had been influenced in very key ways and to the extent that you were so close to that original foundational period of the revival of horary. You’re practically first generation as far as I’m concerned. And with you, there are some pretty eminent contemporaries. Deborah Houlding, of course, is one of them and she’s done brilliant work on horary. And that series she wrote for The Mountain Astrologer magazine a few years ago on the introduction of horary, it was a great introduction for anybody who’s looking for something like that to complement your book, The Martial Art of Horary Astrology. There’s also other people in that first generation like Barbara Dunn, who, I believe continued Olivia Barclay’s school, the qualifying query practitioner’s course. There’s John Frawley, of course, who became very popular in the early part of the last decade, especially with the publication of some books on horary. Sue Ward, of course, and Carol Wiggers, is another notable or early horary practitioner, right? Are there any others? I think one other is… I’m forgetting. There’s a few other early first-generation ones. I know Anthony Lewis published a book on hoary astrology in the early ‘90s, right?
LL: Yes. I don’t think he ever took the QHP. One of the things that’s odd and in its own way tragic, is that Olivia actually rather systematically kept all of her students apart. And the result is, even though there were many of us taking these things simultaneously, we didn’t know.
CB: Right. So, you guys weren’t necessarily getting together and working as a team, but instead, many of you went off in your separate directions?
LL: Yeah. And there was no team. There was absolutely no team. So, I think that was part of Olivia’s thought about it. No. Maybe it was somewhat enhanced by the fact that it was a correspondence course and it really was a correspondence course. This is pre-email. But yeah, everybody was just doing their thing in isolation. And she wasn’t saying, “Oh, you might want to get together with so and so and so and so with an ex-conference.” You just didn’t know.
CB: Right. Okay. So, and now that’s been remedied to some extent because you’ve come together with Deborah Houlding and Wade Caves and other practitioners and you’re creating a team in order to create a school in a lineage that’s not restricted to, but very much focused on horary especially?
LL: Yes. However, now what is happening is, the STA was School of Traditional Astrology, not traditional horary. So, now we’re starting to branch out. And so, my medical course, within the STA is the first class that is not on the topic of horary, primarily. There was actually the horary has a two-part step. There’s the main course and then there’s a second-level course. And so, the medical will follow that pathway, too. And, so it’s going to be a bigger bush. But what I’m thrilled about is that pretty much the tutors for the horary are interested in going on with medical, and all of them took the medical course last month. And so, we’ll see how that will be developing over the next few years.
CB: Brilliant. And part of this is focused on five-day intensives, basically where you really go in depth into the subject with one or two at least tutors, right?
LL: Yeah, it’s typically one tutor. I’ve taught a couple of them with Wade, which was basically just to get used to the STA format, but the general approach is one tutor. And yes, five days. I did this first medical as a six day, but I’m going to cut it back to five from here on out because I think I had too much material. But yes. Five days as a format, five to six days is really enough. If you have somebody who’s at, let’s call them an intermediate level of astrology, and in the case of the horary class, it doesn’t even assume any knowledge of classical. But when you can get people in for five days, you can teach enough so that they can get out of there and basically, have a pretty good idea of how to start working the technique. For example, the people who take the horary class can get out of there and be able to work horary. They’re not going to feel stunningly competent all the time, but they can do it. And that’s the point is you can get enough to do it. Now, when I was teaching my course independently, I taught a six-day format that wasn’t unlike this, although I tended to do separate weekends of two and two and two. But the same experience, people got out of there and they could basically do horary. But as I’ve said in my newer workbook, now the job is you’ve got to start accumulating those example charts and learning from the example charts and really working examples and then you can start taking yourself to the next level.
CB: Right. It’s one thing to learn the theory, but at some point, you have to actually push yourself to do it in practice and that becomes the final step once you accumulate enough experience to attain mastery of the subject.
LL: Yes, exactly.
CB: All right, brilliant. Well, where should people start if they want to learn more about horary? I started with your book and I think it’s still a great book and I’d personally recommend starting with your book The Martial Art of Horary Astrology and I found it very approachable and very… I forgot in rereading your second not rereading and reading your new book on horary, I forgot how good you are at outlining the basics and introducing a person to a subject in a very thorough and detailed but clear way while not just outlining the tradition and some of the consistencies and inconsistencies, but then showing your experience, I forgot how good of a writer you are in terms of that. So, I’d recommend The Martial Art of Horary Astrology. Is there anything else that people should do in terms of getting started?
LL: I think it depends on how the person who’s trying to learn it learns. I think The Martial Art is still a very good starting point for people. If you learn better in a classroom setting with other people around you and listening, then of course I’m going to recommend the STA horary courses, any of the instructors. Because basically, if I’m giving it, if Wade is giving it, if Angie Cornish is giving it, if Jupiter Lai giving us that Jupiter will give it in Chinese, we’re presenting the same information. And so, I would recommend any of them. If you really want to learn it in depth, do that sooner rather than later would be my suggestion. As far as books are concerned, it’s going to… My philosophy and the reason I wrote Martial Art in the first place is, it’s not out of any lack of respect for Lilly. It’s not out of any sense that Lilly needs to be updated to modern times. It’s simply that it’s easier to hear these concepts in a more contemporary tone of voice.
And so, in essence, while I wanted Martial Art to be completely standalone, at the same time, if you do Martial Art, and you like it, then you’re going to the next step is to get a Lilly. All the other sources are wonderful if you want to start exploring the other sources, my workbook, among other things, gives you the readings in those sources and systematizes, how you can then enter the other sources. But you can also read the book as a standalone and just get my synopses of what those materials are, but do charts. And the biggest thing about learning is, you can only read so many books, but then you have to do the charts.
CB: Right. Yeah. And there’s definitely something to be said, in traditional astrology about having that first, you need initiatory experience where somebody introduces you to the tradition, or at least it’s much easier to do that and to have somebody like you or somebody from your school introduce you to the terminology and the approach and the techniques and things like that and then to go on to attempt to approach the original sources like Lilly, or Mashallah, or Sahl, whoever Bonatti than to attempt to go straight to the text. You’re going to have a much more difficult time if you attempt to do that versus at least getting some initiation with a teacher first.
LL: Yeah, because I think the thing is what you need is you need the big picture and then you need to start drilling down. So, any of these more introductory approaches are going to give you the big picture. And then Sahl is actually one of my favorite sources on horary.
CB: Yeah, me too.
LL: And so, you can look at all these other sources, but Lilly is so comprehensive that it’s then you want to look at how other people did it, but try to work with some of the older sources. You’re not going to get your teeth into it enough if that’s the first thing you do.
CB: Right. And that’s actually the brilliant thing about your new book that was just published this year in early 2017 and why it is not just good as a companion volume to The Martial Art of Horary Astrology, but why it’s almost good to read it together with or to get it together with The Martial Art of Horary Astrology because you’ve updated for pretty much every section of the book, you’ve given an updated bibliography of references of what traditional sources talk about this topic that have been published in the past 15 years since The Martial Art of Horary Astrology was published. So, for different topics, you’ll say read this page in The Martial Art of Horary Astrology, or read this page on Sahl, or this page is in Lilly or these pages deal with this topic in Bonatti, and so on and so forth. So, it’s actually a hugely useful resource, not just in showing and demonstrating your practice, but also having a reading list where people can go through and figure out where the traditional sources deal with this topic.
LL: Oh, yeah. I had done that, originally. That bit with all the source material was something that I had started actually as a teaching guide. And I wrapped the workbook around the teaching guide because I think it’s so important that once you have now, I don’t even know anymore how many times I’ve read Lilly, I’ve lost count. But you get familiar with your source. And I have to say one of the most personally, gratifying things I’ve seen over the years is people coming up to me at a conference with a dog-eared copy of Martial Art with a question. [Lee laughs] But you read your first source, and you read it over and you read it over and you read it over. But then you need to expand out and start to see the rest of the universe. And yeah, I have put that together because I wanted people to be able to do that expansion and be able to have a way to incorporate what else is out there and that doesn’t mean you’re actually going to use all the stuff you find. But in every one of them, there are nuggets. And that is just so wonderful.
CB: Yeah. And you do a great job of summarizing and cross referencing all the Renaissance sources especially Lilly in his contemporaries in The Martial Art of Horary Astrology. And then in the new book, you do a great job of summarizing and citing many of the older sources from the medieval tradition like the early Arabic astrologers or astrologers writing in Arabic in the eighth century like Sahl and Mashallah and then later medieval sources writing in Latin like Bonatti, or Hugo or what have you. So yeah, people should definitely check that out. Where can people find out more information about your work?
LL: They can find it all on my website, which is leelehman.com l e e l e h m a n .com.
CB: All right. And I’ll put a link to your website in the description for this episode and a link to both of your works on horary, especially the new book, which I’d recommend people getting a copy of and check out. Is there anything that we meant to touch on that we forgot to in terms of horary, or do you have any parting or final thoughts?
LL: Jeez, I don’t think we forgot much of anything that we had planned to cover, Chris. But the one thing that I will just keep saying and keep saying, work charts. [Lee laughs] And it doesn’t matter the style of astrology you do or horary you do, that’s the place where the rubber meets the road.
CB: Right. So, do it now, do it soon in your practice. Don’t put it off. And do it often?
LL: Yeah. All right. I think that’s really good advice.
CB: Well, awesome. I think we covered everything after our two-hour interview. So, thanks a lot for joining me today and agreeing to do this because I really wanted to cover the revival of horary in modern times, I wanted to talk a little bit about Lilly and traditional style horary, and I also was excited to talk to you about your biography and I think we were able to cover that. So, thanks a lot for everything that you’ve done and for your contribution and helping to revive their tradition in the late 20th and early 21st century.
LL: Well, thank you, Chris. I’ve enjoyed this thoroughly.
CB: All right. And people should check your website @leelehman.com and I guess that’s it. So, thanks, everyone for listening and we’ll see you next time.
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