A student asked me recently whether the condition of the Moon in horary was more or less important than the condition of the other significators. I thought this was a particularly valuable question deserving of a deeper answer than just “more” or “less.”

Tucked away in the middle of William Lilly’s epic work on horary astrology, Christian Astrology, is a mini-chapter entitled “Aphorisms and Considerations for better judging any Horary Question.” (298-302)

I recommend that the student of horary read these forty-three aphorisms as they are pithy and useful even to experienced horary practitioners. However, I wanted to highlight a few specifically on the Moon’s role that will lead the student to think more deeply about the Moon in the horary chart.

Aphorism 5: Have special regard to the strength and debility of the Moon and it’s far better the Lord of the ascendant be unfortunate than she, for she brings to us the strength and virtue of all the other Planets, of one Planet to another.
[NG: Well, that answers that question! We are done here. More seriously, many traditional texts on astrology and astrological magic refer to the Moon’s changes and aspects as reflecting our constantly morphing reality. The importance of the Moon in horary cannot be overstated due in large part to her visibility from the earth and her malleable, reflective nature.]

Aphorism 9: Generally consider the state of the Moon, for if she be void of course, there’s no great hopes of the Question propounded, that it shall be effected; yet if she be in Cancer, Taurus, Sagittarius, or Pisces, your fear may be the less, for then she is not much impeded by being void of course.
[NG: Note that Lilly does not say you cannot judge the chart with the Moon void of course, just that it’s an argument the matter will not succeed, unless the Moon is in one of her more favorable signs.]

Aphorism 10: See from what Planet the Moon is separated, that Planet shows what has already been done: if from a Fortune good; if from a malevolent, ill; according to the nature of the house, &c.

Aphorism 11: The application of the Moon shows the present condition of the thing demanded, viz. her applying by a good aspect, and in a good house, to a good Planet, intimates the strong hopes of the thing intended.
[NG: Note that the other planet should be good (dignified and/or benefic) and in a good house, and the aspect should be good – conjunction, sextile, or trine. Few questions will live up to this ideal, but it is worthwhile having the mental checklist in place.]

Aphorism 12: The application of the Moon to a Planet in his Fall, signifies anguish, trouble and delays in the thing demanded.

Aphorism 31: If you find the Moon impeded in any Question, be it what it will, there will be the like stay, demur or hinderance in the thing quesited: and indeed there’s seldom good end comes of a Question where the Moon is impeded; if it be in going to War, you may fear the life of the Querent; if in a Journey, ill success; if Marriage, an ill end of Wooing, &c.
[NG: The Moon bears quite a heavy burden here, does it not? Certainly this aphorism would give her 50% or more of the weight of a horary judgment.]

Aphorism 32: If the Lord of the question or the Moon be in a Sign opposite to his own house, as Mercury in Sagittarius or Pisces, &c., the Querent has no good hopes of his demands, he despairs, nor does he delight in it, nor does he care whether it be performed or not.
[NG: Watch out for those charts with the Moon in Capricorn!]

Aphorism 35: In all Questions, now there’s not so great an affliction to the Moon, as when she is in conjunction with the Sun; the ill aspects of the Infortunes does much afflict her, but none so powerful as her Combustion.
[NG: The journey of this aphorism through time is interesting. Many of my more modern-oriented colleagues do not consider combustion an affliction if they consider it at all, though in contrast, traditional authors consistently state that combustion is the worst thing that can happen to any planet, especially the Moon.]

Okay, enough dry theory! I should mention here that one of my hobbies is looking through old books on horary and reviewing the examples to see if I can get the answer right. (In the words of Edmund Blackadder, “the long winter evenings must just fly by.” In my defense, when one is of the cold/dry temperament, this is one’s idea of a wild evening.) Here is a horary from Doris Chase Doane’s Modern Horary Astrology, published by the AFA. I cannot really see the author’s theory, but her examples are quite interesting and varied.

The Moon in Horary example
Will my financial situation suffer if I buy a new car? 1/22/1949, 3:35 pm PST, 49N20 123W10

The question is “Will my financial situation suffer if I buy a new car?” There are multiple testimonies indicating that buying a new car is not recommended right now, but direct your attention just to the Moon in the horary. Its poor condition lights up several of Lilly’s aphorisms like a pinball machine. She is in her fall, and though she is not void in the traditional sense (she is already in orb of a sextile to the Sun in Aquarius), she has little light. Precious little of Aphorism 11 is present – she applies to the Sun with a good aspect, the friendly sextile, but the Sun is not in a good house, being on the cusp of the eighth, and he is in detriment. The Sun rules the Querent’s second house of money, so the Sun’s weak state shows he has little cash now and would have to borrow to buy the car. Note also the Moon’s last aspect (Aphorism 10) was a square to Mercury in the eighth house of loans, and the news wasn’t good – either he couldn’t get credit, or, more likely, the terms would have been ruinous.

As a parenthetical, I wonder if the Querent bought the car anyway. The applying sextile to the Sun suggests a possible purchase, and the Moon will imminently sextile the fourth house cusp which rules the item itself, as well as the end of the matter. The Moon-Mercury square indicates that there was a poor decision made recently, the Querent being stubborn (both Moon and Mercury in fixed signs), but wanting some reassurance from the astrologer which was not forthcoming.