Saturday, 27 March 2021

Christian Astrology 1659 is NOT an edition

 When digitized versions of texts of various sorts became available, I found William Lilly’s Christian Astrology online in a second edition of 1659. I had never heard of this edition; I was well-versed in Lilly’s Autobiography where he never mentioned a second edition being published. I looked at this edition of course and it looked identical and when I checked internally it was identical as far as I could see. Those who have a copy of Christian Astrology 1647 (Regulus edition) will know that there are some pages early in the book that have been mixed up: pages (as printed) 170 and 171 are, in fact, pages 174 and 175. This error is identical in the 1659 edition, where it would have been possible and desirable to correct this. There is also an errata sheet that came with the Regulus facsimile edition of 1985. On checking these errata, they remain uncorrected in the 1659 version. The only apparent difference is that the title page is slightly altered: where the 1647 edition has at the bottom of the page: ‘Printed by Tho. Brudenell for John Partridge and Humph. Blunden, in Blackfriers at the Gate going into  Carter-lane, and in Cornhil, 1647.’, the 1659 copy has: ‘Printed by JOHN MACOCK. 1659.’


It is well known that Lilly was dissatisfied with the 1647 edition; from page 830:


Behold now this Nativity judged, which if thou are courteous, thou hast reason to accept kindly of, being it leads thee to do the like upon any: It had appeared exquisite, but the angry Angell of God visited my house with the Plague, even at that time when I was perfecting the latter part of my Book, and also this Nativity:




My great affliction at present conclusion of this Work, bids thee accept my good will, and passe by my very many imperfections in the preceding Treatises, having advised with no man living in any thing comprehended in all the three Books.


Finitur Die [Mercury] September 8 1647. 5.30, P.M. that very day five weeks my house was first shut up.


Clearly, he would want to revise the book. In our research for ‘Monster of Ingratitude’ regarding John Gadbury’s hatred of William Lilly, Peter Stockinger and I had to read many of Lilly’s almanacs, and we found the following in his almanac for 1656 (Merlini Anglici Ephemeris), he writes this in the penultimate page:


we hear our Introduction unto Astrology [Lilly’s name for Christian Astrology] is reprinting; if it be so, its without our Knowledge, Consent or Owning; we intended, and intend a serious review and enlargement thereof, upon a second Impression, if ever be by our Consent. But the malicious covetousnesse of those who now have a propriety in it, or have acquired the Copy, or others shall reprint it, we not consenting, we then say, the Booke will come forth, very lame, deficient and contrary to our sober intention of amending its former errors; occasioned then by our being shut up of the Plague.


Corner-house over against Strand-bridge,

Octob. 25. 1655.


Finally, he and Henry Coley published a translation of extracts from Bonatti and Cardano as Anima Astrologiae: or a Guide for Astrologers in 1676, just five years before Lilly’s death. In his address, Lilly writes:


We had formerly some thoughts of revising our Introduction to Astrology, now out of print, and to have enriched it for another edition with the choicest aphorisms, both from the writings of the ancients and our own many years experience, but the laboriousness of that work, considering our age and many infirmities, with the discouragements we have already met with from some ungrateful persons, caused us to lay aside (at least for the present) those intentions.


Again, his dissatisfaction with the 1647 edition is made clear, however, it is also clear that at this date there had been no revised edition. Thus, Christian Astrology 1659 is a bootleg copy of that of 1647 and is, therefore, not an edition but an unauthorized reprint.


Thursday, 11 March 2021

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto: an Investigation into the Sources of their Symbolism - an extract.


© Copyright 2002 Sue Ward. All rights reserved.




The purpose of this paper is to ascertain the methods used to evaluate and classify Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, in astrological terms, and to discover whether those original findings have been modified or changed with experience and later study. It will be demonstrated that the symbolism currently in use remains materially the same as those first tentative steps, and that that symbolism was drawn largely from one ideology.


Tracing symbolic derivation is complex and convoluted: account needs to be taken of the various contributory threads accreted by cultural, philosophic and social considerations. In relation to the seven ‘traditional’ planets,[1] researchers have had to use limited and fragmentary sources because of their antiquity. With the trans-Saturnian planets[2] of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, however, investigations are facilitated by their recent discoveries and by the large volume of published material that is available.


With this abundance of material focused upon Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, and the high number of astrologers who implement these planets, it suggests that their symbolism is certain and established. The latter is true in that the majority of astrologers accept the symbolism of these planets as substantially definitive. There are also those who employ them in a limited way, and fewer still who do not use them at all. The latter two groups have become larger with the increasing popularity and application of astrological systems predating astrology’s fall from favour during and subsequent to the Age of Enlightenment (1650 – 1800).[3] By the time, of Pluto’s discovery in 1930, there were similar divergences of opinion, although there is little astrological literature from those who did not hold to the use of the new planets.


The Discoveries


William Herschel discovered the planet he named ‘Georgium Sidus’ in 1781, which also became known as ‘Herschel’ or ‘Herschel’s planet’.[4] Following suggestions by Bode and John Couch Adams, the name ‘Uranus’ was accepted only in 1850. In 1846, Urbain Leverrier announced Neptune’s discovery, but joint credit has since been given to Adams. Clyde Tombaugh at the Lowell Observatory discovered Pluto in 1930. For a time, astrologers styled this planet Lowell-Pluto to distinguish it from the hypothetical Pluto (Wemyss-Pluto).[5] Uranus is the only one of these that can be seen with the naked eye.[6]


Naming of the New Discoveries


Uranus and Neptune were named in accordance with the tradition of naming planets according to classical pantheons. Uranus, or Ouranos, the Greek god of the heavens and father of Cronos. Neptune was a lesser god of the Roman pantheon who absorbed the legend of Poseidon, son of Cronos. Pluto, however, was named following a number of suggestions, apparently including “Constance” from Percy Lowell’s wife, and “Vulcan”. The name came from an 11-year-old girl in Oxfordshire (England) and it has been said that Pluto was her favourite Disney character.


The fact that astronomers had named these planets, naturally without any reference to astrological symbolism, did not deter astrologers. Having brushed aside all objections in the cause of synchronicity, they proceeded to draw upon the myths associated with these gods for their symbolism. In the early days following Pluto’s discovery, some resisted its name:


Unfortunately astronomers have given it the unsuitable name of Pluto, a name which had already been given to a different hypothetical planet (ruling Cancer). To avoid confusion it is necessary in astrological circles to refer to the original Pluto as Wemyss-Pluto[7] and to the Lowell planets as Lowell-Pluto.”[8]



Some of the published material relating to these planets is examined and compared to the accounts of their symbolism presently accepted by astrologers. This is done to identify similarities, or otherwise, between the published findings of the earlier astrological authors and those of more recent years. In so doing, the impact made by early observations of the influences of the trans-Saturnians on current thought can be approximated, and any changes made by later observers noted.


While research of the private papers of published astrologers would prove fruitful in discovering the development of their opinions, it was their published works that had impact on the astrological community at large, particularly students. Those students carried forward and transmitted those ideas. It is not assumed that all astrologers agreed with these published accounts, but such accounts would impress upon their readers and thus affect later practice.


The sources used for this paper include works published soon after the discoveries of these planets, the most important  (and the least prolific) being those that followed the discovery of Uranus. As the first incidence of a new member of the solar system, it provides an insight into how that impacted on astrological authors. Since the existing astrological symbolism had been developed over millennia, 18th century astrologers were faced with finding a way of addressing a blank sheet. Methods of ascribing symbolism to Uranus will be compared to those used for Neptune and Pluto. 


The writings of authors of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are explored to find development of early opinions following a century of experience of Uranus. Those authors known to have been influential through to the middle years of the 20th century are highlighted because this period marked a renaissance for astrology. A growing number of students were attracted to it and books of instruction proliferated. As will be shown, the symbolism of Uranus and Neptune was becoming established and the possibility of more planets being discovered was anticipated. This material, then, will demonstrate the method that would be applied later to Pluto.


Modern sources include works recommended for students by some of the major schools of astrology. These were not chosen because the symbolism they promote is universally accepted, but because of the numbers of students who are, or have been, exposed to it through these schools. (Many of these works are addressed specifically to students who have little or no previous knowledge of astrology.) Such students will, necessarily and understandably, present fewer challenges to the accepted body of knowledge precisely because they have no information with which to compare what they are being taught. From this it is deduced that the symbolism promoted in those published works will have had, and will continue to have, a wide influence on astrological practice. 


Certain almanacs and magazines are also referred to because within their pages might be found less formal discussions and airings of views. Their more frequent publishing also provides an interesting monitor of the way opinions were developing, at least, in print.





The full paper can be purchased from



[1] Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon; also styled the Ptolemaic planets, referring to Claudius Ptolemy, c. 2ndcentury AD.

[2] So called because their orbits lie beyond that of Saturn.

[3] These are often referred to, in chronological order, as ‘Hellenistic’, ‘Medieval’ and ‘Traditional’. All form part of the western predictive tradition.

[4] He named it Georgium Sidus after his patron King George III. Some called it the Georgian planet, for example, Worsdale, CP, p.57.

[5] Discussed later.

[6] Even at maximum visibility, Uranus is at the extreme of visibility for the naked eye.

[7] Maurice Wemyss, astrologer and postulator of many trans-Neptunian planets.

[8] Leo, AS.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

The Misleading Moment: A Missing Girl

© Sue Ward 2002. All rights reserved.


The horary moment is that moment when the astrologer accepts a time for the drawing up of a chart. It is a crucial moment because at this point the astrologer is attempting to connect with the Divine in order to seek an answer to a question. 

The issue in this paper is to demonstrate what happens when the time given to the astrologer for the erecting of the chart is a deliberate lie. When the astrologer is faced with a horary question that is suspect, then the Considerations before Judgement will help to inform the astrologer. However, in charts erected for a known event, the Considerations are not applicable. The chart, though, should guide the astrologer. By allowing it to state its case the answers will be found – as long as the right questions are asked of it.

The event descriptions should agree with what is known; if they do not then the data may be incorrect. In the case below, it became clear that the time was false, not because the chart did not describe, but, paradoxically, because it did.


A Missing Girl 

It had been reported to the police that a nine year old girl was missing, the time of that call was logged as 4.30pm. The girl was described as white, about four feet tall, very slender with light brown hair.

On first inspection of the chart, the astrological conclusion was that child was dead. On the chart, shown below, you will see that the 1st house has Scorpio on its cusp, thus Scorpio and its ruler, Mars, represent the girl. The Moon in Pisces is her co-significator. The 1st house description of the child by Scorpio seems gloomy and does not agree with the given description. 

Mars in the 8th of death, and Moon in the 4th of the grave are both arguments that she is dead. Venus might also offer description of the girl as her natural significator, and on the 8th cusp it provides another indication of death. By its position there it could also be representing death itself, in which case the Moon’s application to Venus by square would show that the girl is 'going to' or 'applying to' death. Mars last separated from a sextile of Saturn, natural ruler of death, and its being void of course again describes death. The Moon separating from Mercury, the ruler of the 8th, repeats all the above. 

Saturn being the last contact that Mars, the girl, made could indicate that Saturn was the last person to see her alive, potentially the killer. Saturn rules the 3rd suggesting that she was killed locally and its being in the 5th suggested that the motive was pleasure. This last is supported by the Mars and Venus rulerships of the 1st and of the 7th of the killer/abductor, since these planets are usually in evidence where sex is an issue. Venus rules the 11th of trust and friends, too, and with the mixed receptions between them, and between Mars and Saturn, they suggest that she knew her killer. 

The Moon separates from Mercury, but Mercury also rules the 10th of the mother. It applies to square Venus, ruler of the 11th of friends and then to a sextile with Jupiter, ruler of the 4th, the father or home. So, we have a description of the child leaving the mother and going to a friend and then returning home. The Sun’s trine to the Ascendant usually shows life, and gives a conflicting argument, but the Sun can also illuminate. During this period, Mars was faster than Venus (on the 8th cusp), and is separating from Venus, providing another indication of death having already occurred.

At this point the separations were showing death in the past, when at the time of this chart she was supposed to have been alive. The whole point was that the child was going out to play at this time, but Scorpio is not a good description of a playful child.

Further information revealed that a neighbour was under suspicion; he was 20 years of age, had a criminal record and was a drummer in a band. He had apparently befriended the girl who had been warned to stay away from him. This young man could not be found and it was assumed that he was away working. She was a very friendly little girl and she refused to stop seeing him. The description is confirmed: Venus rules the 11th of friends and the 12th of secret enemies, a pretended friend, and Mars identifies with the 4th from the 3rd – the neighbour’s home. Venus also rules musicians. So, we have a false friend who fits the description of the drummer.

It later transpired that the mother had a boyfriend who lived with her, which recalled the earlier points about 'the father'. The chart needs to be reconsidered in the light of this new information. 

The time is taken for the moment (or approximate moment) when the child went out to play and she was a friendly child. Unfriendly Scorpio rises and Mars is void of course, the little girl is doing nothing, going nowhere. The Moon separates from Mercury ruler of the 8th, so we can assume that at this point the girl is dead. It is difficult to accept that Venus in Gemini could kill; it is too lightweight for that.

The girl is dead, but she is still near home because the Moon is in the 4th of home, Mars in Gemini (an excellent description of her home, which was on a military air base) and because of the 3rd house connections. Taking note of the fact that Saturn could be the last person to see her alive because it was Mars’ last contact, and having decided that she is dead, these are arguments of a possible murderer. 

The Moon disposits the Part of Death at 12°32’ Cancer, which can often provide information about the cause of death. The Moon is placed in the 4th of the mother’s boyfriend (the 7th from the 10th) ruled by Jupiter. Jupiter opposes the Part of Death and the Sun, and is disposited by Saturn, already connected with the girl’s death. Following the line of dispositors backwards we find that Mars, the girl, disposits Saturn; Mercury, the mother, disposits Mars; the Moon deposits Mercury and Jupiter disposits the Moon. Leading back to Saturn. This provides evidence, albeit hidden, of the boyfriend’s involvement in the girl’s disappearance and death.

The child's body was found near her home. It was wrapped in a carpet and had been dumped near a derelict house, the area was swampy and heavily overgrown, a description provided by Scorpio. She had been raped, beaten and strangled. At this point, information was provided clarifying the time that had been given and on which the chart was based. It was the time that the mother’s boyfriend said he had seen the girl in conversation with the musician neighbour. Forensic evidence confirmed that the girl was already dead at the time of the chart. 

The boyfriend was interested in implicating the musician and so would have been concerned that the young man was actually in the area at the appropriate time. Having left the area, the musician excited more interest from the police because it appeared that he was running away. The boyfriend would also have needed an alibi for himself and to ensure that no one else had seen the girl at around that time. So it is more than feasible that he chose the time carefully. This time is not random; the chart is of a deliberate lie.

The chart, certainly at first glance, did seem to bear out his story, but with such a carefully chosen moment we should not be surprised at that. Superficially, we can see the trail, but on closer examination the astrology is conflicting and discordant. It does not describe the event. 

We get a much better description if we look at the chart from the murderer’s point of view. He is shown by the 1st, Scorpio and Mars, and the girl, his girlfriend’s daughter, becomes the 5th from the 7th with Libra on the cusp, so Venus is now her significator. The astrology is clear: Venus is in the radical 8th house, is void of course, and was last in conjunction with Mars, the 1st ruler and ruler of the turned 8th house. This identification of the 1st with the turned 8th, identifies him with the girls’ death. But note how well Scorpio describes the place where her body was found; perhaps his plan was hatched as he disposed of her body, and how much better a descriptor Venus is as her significator. 

A lie can be as valid a horary moment as any truth, if it is indeed uttered with such purpose and import. Urgency and need are demonstrated; sincerity is too since he sincerely wanted the police to believe him. The chart will reveal the truth if you allow it to. It seems clear that what is required of a valid horary moment is clarity of purpose, a sincere desire to know the answer and an honest wish for assistance.

Clearly, the chart would have been easier to judge had the time been of the event it allegedly described, but it is difficult to hide such a serious crime no matter how much a person tries. The truth of this chart was that he could not change, or conceal the fact that the child was dead. This was the truth that the heavens revealed from a valid horary moment. 

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Western Predictive Astrology and the Southern Hemisphere

(Temperaments and Directions)


© Copyright 2002 Sue Ward. All rights reserved.


Western predictive astrology is founded upon the tropical Zodiac. This moving Zodiac is formed from the Sun’s apparent path around the Earth and it measures that journey. One of its original advantages was to make it possible to predict the seasons; thus the Sun’s ingress into the sign of Aries (the spring or vernal equinox), heralds the beginning of spring. The beginning of summer is marked by the Sun’s entry in Cancer (the summer solstice); autumn begins at the autumn equinox, and winter, as the Sun enters Capricorn (the winter solstice).

Astrology reflects nature, and so we understand that the seasons are a solar phenomenon. So, at the spring and autumn equinoxes, the Sun is exactly above the equator and the hours of daylight and darkness are equal. The equinoxes also mark the two points where the ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect. At the time of the spring equinox, the Sun is moving northwards in declination, and 0° Cancer is the point at which it reaches its northernmost position exactly above the Tropic of Cancer. Following that, the autumn equinox notes the Sun’s return to a position immediately above the equator and, thus, the beginning of its motion to the south. When it is above the Tropic of Capricorn, at 0° Capricorn, the Sun reaches its most southerly in declination.[1]

While both the northern and southern hemispheres experience these changes, the seasons they denote are not the same for both. When the northern hemisphere basks in its summer following the Sun’s ingress into Cancer, the southern hemisphere is feeling the chill of winter. Because astrology reflects nature this presents problems because some of the descriptions offered by the zodiacal signs are drawn from the seasons. Those ‘southern’ astrologers, who practice western predictive astrology generally use the ‘northern’ seasonal symbolism explained above. This paper will address the two descriptions that affect students of The Traditional Horary Course in their horary studies: those of temperaments and location by compass direction.[2]


The delineation of temperament has a limited use in horary, but since its principles are fundamental to astrology as a whole, it is taught to students in the Diploma Studies course.[3] The temperament is found through weighting the balance, or predominance, of the four bodily humours. These are blood, phlegm, choler (yellow bile), and melancholy (black bile) and their mixtures determine physical and mental conditions and disposition – the complexion or temperament. While a balance (harmony) is preferred, most often one or two will prevail and an individual could be described as choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, or melancholic, or as a combination of two of these.

William Lilly offers a detailed system of collecting the humour arguments and that system will be used here.[4] The following diagram tabulates the relevant astrological points to be considered in each chart. Lilly was explaining this system for nativities and, thus, it needs to be modified slightly for horary work.







Rising Sign





Asc. Ruler's Sign





Natures of planet/s or Node in Asc. (if  R double score) 





Signs of planet/s in aspect to Asc.





Moon's Sign **





Moon's Phase **





Sign of  Moon's dispositor





Signs of planet/s in aspect with Moon





Sun's Season





Sign of the Lord of the Figure (treble score if same as asc. ruler)





Saturn oriental/occidental*





Jupiter oriental/occidental*





Mars oriental/occidental*





Venus oriental/occidental*





Mercury oriental/occidental*











In this way we can ascertain the native’s (or querent’s) ‘season’ or ‘temperature’. According to its definition, the temperament cannot be changed, although certain other configurations may well give the native the opportunity to control, balance, or harmonize those excesses. In fact, the very nature of the astrological scheme is to find the middle way, the path of moderation and this is characterized by the Greater Benefic, Jupiter, and delineates its role.

As the Sun’s role is central to astrology, we should expect it to be handled differently. From the above list we can see that the Sun’s season (that is, the Sun in any particular chart) is required. The zodiacal sign that it occupies is not dealt with according to its own nature (Fire signs are hot and dry, Water signs are cold and moist, Air signs are hot and most, and Earth signs are cold and dry), but by way of the season that that sign indicates. So, when the Sun is in Aries, Taurus or Gemini its nature is hot and moist corresponding to that of the springtime. In Cancer, Leo and Virgo, the Sun’s essential nature of hot and dry is reinforced by the summertime. Similarly, in autumn signs of Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius it has a cold and dry nature, and when in one of the remaining signs of Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces its nature is cold and moist reflecting the wintertime.[5] (For the same reason, it is the nature of the sign that is required for each of the points in that list, not the nature of the planet.)

From this point of view it is clear that the signs are merely pointing out the season currently in force, thus they should be reversed for the southern hemisphere. Therefore, where the Sun is placed in Cancer, Leo or Virgo, it is denoting summertime in the northern hemisphere, but wintertime in the southern hemisphere; the Sun is hot and dry or choleric in the former and cold and moist in the latter. To sum up, the Sun’s nature should be reversed for the southern hemisphere. 

Cardinal Directions

There has been some confusion over whether or not these, too, should be reversed (usually in reference to lost objects or people). It is quickly and simply resolved by again considering the Sun’s annual path. North corresponds to the Sun’s furthest declination north at the Tropic of Cancer and south to its furthest declination south at the Tropic of Capricorn; in this regard it does not directly correspond with the seasons. Therefore it is independent of the hemisphere in which the chart is erected. So, if the significator is found to be in Cancer, it is indicating a northerly direction, and likewise with the rest.


[1] This is explained in the Traditional Horary Course, Foundation Studies.

[2] Both are fully explained in the Diploma Studies.

[3] ‘A person’s distinct nature and character, esp. as determined by physical constitution and permanently affecting behaviour. Concise Oxford Dictionary.

[4] William Lilly, Christian Astrology, 1647 (Regulus facsimile edition, 1985), pp. 532-534.

[5] This, if course, leads to some interesting delineations in nativities in contrast to the usual practice of giving the Sun the nature of the sign it is placed in, e.g. Earth, Air, Fire or Water. Using this far older method, the Sun draws its nature from the season and thus produces very different delineations. As an example, the Sun in Aries would attract interpretations from the hot and dry nature of that sign, when we might want to consider it from the springtime nature of hot and moist more usually associated with the Air signs.

Friday, 8 January 2021

There is No New Thing Under the Sun

© 2004-2021 Sue Ward.


The technology of travel is so original, it is said, that it requires a new planet to symbolize it.  Most often Uranus is quoted in this regard and is particularly associated with space and air travel. Is travel then, in its essence, any different now when compared to that of previous ages? Does Bach’s music change its essence because it is stored on a CD, or a vinyl disk, or magnetic tape? The medium of its performance has changed, but the music itself essentially remains the same. So too with travel, simply movement from one place to another; the medium we choose to achieve that movement is not of the essence.

Our modes of travel may have changed, but the potential delays and risks have not. One that immediately springs to mind is that of the weather: we face delays and dangers in this regard in exactly the same way as did our forebears. We have exchanged highway robbers for “muggers” and “road rage”, locking our cars from the inside as we travel. There are pirates in our age, too, although we tend to call them hijackers and terrorists. Added to this is our increased desire to travel causing traffic congestion in all modes of transport (a recent study has shown that traffic in London now moves at a slower pace than it did at the turn of the last century). Quite apart from the delays caused by congestion, the danger of collision is ever greater, and nothing needs to be said of the inconveniences and dangers of mechanical failure. So, the dangers of travel are  little different now, and perhaps in some respects are even increased.

The essential difference in modern travel is the energy used to propel the vehicle. However, this does not change the essential nature of travel, the astrological rulers of which being the Moon and Mercury (not Jupiter). A full explanation of this is not possible here, but suffice it to say that an examination of their movements will reveal this signification.

To demonstrate this idea astrologically, the principles of the Western predictive tradition will be applied to a chart of the seventeenth century and to three charts of the twentieth century, all pertaining to travel. As will become clear, these principles deal with the essence of travel and so can be applied to it in any of its forms. The contemporary charts are well known relating as they do to events of some notoriety. 

The astrological principles are extracted from Christian Astrology by William Lilly (pp. 422 to 432 and pp. 157 to 161), and are those to which the comments in the following chart judgements refer. The former chapter deals with voyages in general through the 9th house, whilst the latter deals with the safety and destruction of ships through the angular houses, particularly the 1st. The same rules will be applied to each of the charts, but in the first a detailed analysis is provided which will help to explain the method.

The Antelope’s departure from Plymouth to Tangier

4 February 1665 JC (4 February 1666 JC)[1]
35’ before sunrise
Plymouth (50° 23’ N, 4° 10’ W) 
50° 24’ N


Mars, Lord of the ninth house is retrograde on the cusp of the 8th, thence casting a malicious quadrate to the Lord of the Ascendant, which foreshadows great difficulties, obstructions and danger in the way, 

The 9th house is of special importance to these judgements because voyages belong to it. Thus, the astrologer begins his analysis by noting that Mars, ruler of the 9th is retrograde and conjunct the 8th cusp, of death and danger. Mars is separating (it is retrograde) from the square of Saturn which rules the Ascendant.

Lilly’s general comments are that if good planets either rule the 9th, are placed therein, or aspect its cusp without contact with the infortunes, then the outlook is good. With regard to the initial arguments, the reverse is true of this journey: Mars, a malefic, rules the 9th house and is in detriment, retrograde and conjunct the cusp of the 8th. The ruler of the Ascendant, along with the Moon, signifies the ship’s complement and cargo. So, the square from malefic Mars to Saturn is ominous.

and as the Lady of the 8th, or domus mortis [house of death] is on the very degree Ascending, so was the ship like to be lost, in the beginning of the voyage, and had perished no doubt, if the benevolent rays of Venus to Mars, and the fortunate presence of [Venus Sun] & [Jupiter] in the Ascendant had not interposed.

Venus rules the 8th house and is positioned exactly on the rising degree, so he judges that the ship could have been lost at the beginning of the journey. He says that because the angles in these judgements are allotted to various parts of the journey: the Ascendant for the beginning, or setting forth; the MC for the middle part of the journey; the Descendant for the destination, and the IC for the return home. He reports that the following day a storm caused the breaking of the mainmast in the Bay of Biscay. There was great concern that, if they did not drown, they might be caught by their enemies.

Although Venus is an accidental infortune here because it rules an unfortunate house, it maintains its role as the lesser benefic, hence the argument that Venus is mollifying Mars’s destructive power by trine. For the same reason of amelioration, he notes the fortunate presence of Venus in the Ascendant. 

Where Lilly deals with the “Safety or Destruction” of a ship on page 157 in 1st house matters, he says that the significators are the rising sign and the Moon for the ship and its cargo, and the ruler of that sign for the ship’s complement. 

Lilly sets forth the arguments for a chart erected for the time of the ship’s departure (p. 158) and he clearly states that the angles should be investigated. If the fortunes are found there then the ship is safe, as are its crew and cargo. However, in this chart, although the Ascendant is protected by the presence of Venus, Sun, and Jupiter, Venus remains an infortune because of its rulership of the 8th house, and Mars is in the 8th house. So, although the ship might not be destroyed, danger is promised and we see that in the astrologer’s further comments.

 Next as the Lords of the Seventh and the sign intercepted therein, are both in the Ascendant, so did we meet enemies, with whom we fought; 

The Sun and Mercury rule the 7th house, Leo is on that cusp and Virgo is intercepted there, and as these planets are in the 1st house it brings enemies of the ship to it.[2] Not only did they meet enemies (the French), but they fought them. 

Lilly states that infortunes in angles imply some hindrance to the ship, specifically: “if Mars doe afflict the Lords of the Angles, and Dispositor of the Moon, the Mariners will be in great feare of their Enemies, or of Pyrates or Sea-robbers, shall even tremble for feare of them:” (p.159) Mars is in square to Saturn, ruler of the Ascendant and is in trine with Mercury, ruler of the 4th and dispositor of the Moon placed in Gemini.

and, by reason our significator was potent, more elevated and a superior Planet, likewise dispositor of their significators, we soon vanquished them and put them to flight. 

The significator referred to is Saturn, ruler of the Ascendant, in its own sign of Capricorn. It is elevated above Mercury and the Sun, [3] which are rulers of the 7th house, is stronger and disposits both. He is also noting that Saturn, whose orbit is superior to the Sun’s, thus has another advantage.

The reason why we took none of them was because the second house is afflicted and Lord thereof very unfortunate; which also is the reason the ship got little in this voyage but rather suffered damage and loss….

It was common practice to relieve a captured ship of its cargo or goods, and although the English fleet won this battle, they were unable to take any prizes because of bad weather. Mars rules the 2nd house and is in Libra, its detriment, is retrograde and in square of Saturn. This impedited and weak Mars is in opposition to the 2nd house cusp. Lilly concurs that if the ruler of the 2nd is unfortunate it presents an argument of loss by the journey.

Five days after setting sail, another member of the English fleet collided with the Antelope causing damage to part of the stern (above water), and the loss of money and goods.

Then for the length of the voyage in point of time, seeing the significators are half fixed and half movable, it should be neither longer nor shorter than ordinary, but indifferent, as it fell out.

He does not specify which significators he is examining, but says that since they show contradictory arguments of the journey’s duration, it means that the return will be neither fast nor slow. Lilly, on the other hand, explains that if the ruler of the Ascendant, the dispositor of the Moon, or their dispositors are slow in motion, then the ship will be slow, and the reverse if those planets are fast. Using the calculations of the astrological software, the ruler of the Ascendant, Saturn, is fast, the Moon’s dispositor, Mercury, is slow, [4] and Mercury’s dispositor is Saturn which, as already noted, is fast. These, too, are mixed significations.

Lastly, considering the Medium C┼ôli and Lord thereof [Jupiter] who is essentially dignified and angular, and the cusp of the 10thirradiated by the sextiles of [Mercury Mars] and [Venus] portended Honor and Fame to the Chief Officers or Commander as a Reward of their Courage and Conduct.

Jupiter rules the 10th, is in its own sign of Pisces, and placed in the 1st house, while Mercury, Mars, and Venus are in sextile to the MC. From this he deduces a gain in reputation for the higher ranks, or the commander of the Antelope, as a reward. Lilly does not deal with these matters in the previously mentioned sections of Christian Astrology, instead he concentrates purely on merchant shipping. However, he handles military matters in the chapter on the 7th house, and specifically on page 380: Of Commanders in Armies, their abilities, fidelity, and whether by them Victory may be had yea or not, &c.. Here Lilly says that a fortune in sextile or trine with the 10th argues that the commander is competent and that his officers are experts in their field. 


Twentieth century travel events


The following selection of event charts provides examples of air and space travel. All three journeys ended in disaster, one through terrorism, the other two through mechanical failure. These charts are treated briefly, only highlighting the main points. An examination of charts for successful journeys would also be profitable, but space precludes that here.

Air Japan Flight 8119, following mechanical failure, crashed into a mountain killing 520 of its complement of 524. This accident has been designated as the world’s worst air disaster. The following chart is calculated for its departure.

The Ascendant and the Moon represent the aircraft and its cargo, while Saturn, the ruler of the Ascendant, symbolizes the passengers and crew. Having malefic Saturn as the aeroplane’s significator is immediately unfortunate. It is a heavy, slow planet placed in a fixed sign which is unpromising for what should have been a fast journey by air. Saturn is also the natural significator of death and falls. 

The Moon is more helpful being in an Air sign and disposited by Mercury, both planets naturally associated with travel. However, the Moon is below the horizon which provides a strong argument that this ship of the sky will sink. Its dispositor, Mercury, rules the unfortunate 8th house of death and is unhelpful.  Placed in the 7th house, extremely weak and retrograde, it afflicts the body of the aeroplane by its opposition to the Ascendant. 

It is possible to accept Jupiter, placed in the 1st, as significant of the aircraft, too. Its retrograde motion turns the plane around, and they were attempting to return having reported problems. It is notable that Mercury is afflicting Jupiter by opposition.  Saturn and the North Node are afflicting by their presence the 9th house of voyages  which Lilly describes as showing that the “way is evill” (p.422).

More importantly, for a safe and speedy journey the angles should remain free of infortunes. Unfortunately, Mercury (an accidental infortune) and Mars (a natural infortune) both afflict the 7th house of the destination. Chillingly, Leo, the sign on the 7th and that in which both Mercury and Mars are placed,  is associated with steep, rocky places and the Moon’s sign of Gemini with mountains.


Pan Am Flight 103 crashed over the small town of Lockerbie in Scotland after a bomb it was carrying exploded. All 259 people on board were killed along with eleven Lockerbie residents, killed by falling debris. The chart is set for its departure from London.


Another fixed sign rises, this time Leo, symbolizing the aeroplane and its cargo along with the Moon. The Sun signifies the plane’s complement. Flight 103 is then disposited by Saturn which rules Capricorn, and also rules the 7th of the destination and the 8th of death. Thus the 7th and 8th houses identify with each other, presenting an interpretation of the destination and death being one and the same. The Sun is below the horizon, offering an argument for its falling from the sky, and mutually applies by conjunction to Saturn, natural and accidental ruler of death and loss.

The Moon is again in Gemini, a sign it finds uncomfortable, but the Air sign is helpful in air travel. Unfortunately, it immediately applies to Mars occupying the 10th house. Mars is the natural ruler of bombs and explosions, being in its own sign of Aries we can be sure that the end was swift. Lilly says of Mars dignified and in an angle that the craft will break up or be involved in a collision and that very great danger and damage will befall it. Mars in Aries locates the explosion or major damage to the front of the aeroplane, and in fact the nose of the plane separated from the rest. As Mars is in the 10th, it signifies damage by fire or thunder and lightning.


The mission of the space shuttle Challenger 51-L lasted just 73 seconds when it disintegrated because of mechanical failure. Its entire crew of seven were killed. The following chart is erected for the time of its lift-off.

The fixed and earthly sign of Taurus rises describing a craft not fit for space travel. Its ruler, Venus, is in the fixed Air sign of Aquarius and it is combust in the 10th. The Moon is below the horizon, repeating the earlier signification of “sinking”. It is also void of course by the traditional rule, and describes a journey of no great duration. Malefics rule the 10th and 7th houses, Saturn being in the 8th house (by the 5° rule).

Jupiter and Mars are working together in this matter. Jupiter is the ruler of the 8th house of death, but is disposited by Saturn placed in the 8th; they are in mutual reception by sign.

It is notable that the Sun, by nature the most powerful of all the planets, is burning up Venus. Also that the fault was found to be in the solid (fixed) rocket booster (Sun sextile Mars), with cold weather (Saturn) a contributory factor. The Sun forms a square aspect to the rising degree, as well as burning its ruler. The Moon, the shuttle, is damaged by its separating square of Saturn.


There is a great deal more in each of these charts to be considered, but it is clear that the essence of travel has not altered, so neither should the astrology. 

Astrology expresses the unchanging essence of things.





Sue Ward is the Principal of the Traditional Horary Course, a working astrologer and researcher. The chart of the voyage to Algiers is extracted from a forthcoming paper. The matter of the trans-Saturnian planets is taken up in her paper “Uranus, Neptune and Pluto: an investigation into their symbolism”. Details of all of the above and of astrological techniques not explained here are included in her courses. 

[1] Allowance needs to be made for the year’s change at the end of March during this period. So, although the software will calculate the eleven day difference between the Gregorian Calendar (GC) and the Julian Calendar (JC), it does not account for the three month delay in year number change.

[2] We should note here that the “5° rule” is invoked by stating that Mercury is in the 1st house. Each cusp is said to cast its dominion 5° before it, so that any planet found within that area is considered to be in the next house.

[3] Although he may be referring to the theory of “epicycles”.

[4] Janus software shows Mercury as retrograde in this chart, but it goes direct within 22 hours, so it is possible that he has counted Mercury as direct, rather than omitting the glyph on the chart form; his calculations are generally very accurate.