While relationship horaries are one of the simplest types of horary to teach and learn, in practice, relationship horary clients are often not very happy. I would like to explore some of the reasons this is true.
Why use horary at all compared to natal methods? In fact, what each method can accomplish is quite different. The typical natal chart comparison model, whether by synastry, composite, or relationship chart, shows how two people will interact - if they interact. The "if" is very important. A friend years ago wrote a very funny synastry description of herself and Henry Kissinger: the point being, she had never met Henry Kissinger, but if she did, it could be a bombshell! Chart comparison applies regardless of the type of relationship, whether business, romantic, casual, serious, or even cross-species. Because it describes how the two will interact, it cannot also describe whether they will interact in any capacity. This is a very important distinction.For someone evaluating a potential relationship, knowing something about the complexity and contours of that relationship can be very useful.
But it's horary that answers the question of whether A will have a relationship with B of the nature specified by the question. Thus, it is possible to ask about friendship, romance, or partnership.
And now we enter the special issues that arise in horary. The adage is true: if you look at the ephemeris, most of the time, the answer to a question would be "no." Think about this. For any horary which requires action in order to come about, you need either a translation of light, and approaching aspect between significators, or a reception. This has to be between the specific planets that rule the appropriate houses for the chart. How often is this true? Yes, if someone really is "supposed" to get a "yes" answer, they will ask at an appropriate time, but you get the idea: horary tilts toward the default "no."
Relationships represent strong emotional issues for us. A "no" feels like rejection. But now, let's examine this more closely. I have always noted that there is a class of querents who are actually relieved to hear "no." Given how hard it is for many people to say "no" to a process, sometimes having an outside objective party using the word can be tremendously empowering.
And speaking of objective, that's another word that's important, especially in horary, but in natal too. The role of the astrologer is to be the objective outsider - someone with a different point of view.
However, for every querent who is relieved by "no," there is another querent who expects a "yes." Tarot and other readers will recognize this subpopulation as well. But let's be honest: if any querent approaches any method of divination with too much conviction about what the outcome has to be, then there is a disappointment and difficulty about to occur - and the reader is the one likely to be blamed.
As a reader, you can only call what you see. And while those convinced of the outcome are not the majority, it is a real class - often, the very same one that "shops" for the reader who finally tells them "yes," and then castigates all the others who said "no," in blissful ignorance that it is only the first reader in the series who actually could give a "real" answer.
However, there is another set of reactions which seemingly only occur when the answer is "no." It is these questions that I would like to discuss. The questions at this point are often along the lines of asking what the success rate of horary is. The problem is: that answer is more complicated than it would appear at first blush.
As I taught in Martial Art of Horary Astrology, we can understand the horary question as having an implied beginning phrase, "If things continue as they are now,..." In other words, what happens in a divinatory moment is that the Querent and the Question lock into showing the path of least resistance for the querent in that moment - what will happen if all players operate according to their own tendencies. But this raises the question: how often is it true, that people follow this path of least resistance? The answer appears to be: the vast majority of the time. Horary astrology appears to be able to be about 90% accurate on most types of questions.
We can, however, say more about this. A horary can always be read in strictly predictive, which is to say deterministic mode, if the nature of the question involves movement. But often, it can be read in a second way: to pinpoint why the answer is no, and then to see whether there is an alternative strategy to reverse the expected result. In Lilly's horary, "A Lady, if marry the gentleman desired?" which begins on page 385, uses the chart to devise a strategy to achieve her goal, because, frankly, she had blown it. He takes that same tack in two other horaries in Christian Astrology as well.
The total horaries where Lilly takes this approach is only about 10% of his examples. Why not all of them? The answer appears to be: because that's about the right ratio of those cases where there's a reasonable chance of changing the outcome. In the most recent example where this came up for one of my clients, her potential husband was ruled by Saturn in Sagittarius in the 6th, while she was ruled by Venus in Libra in the 4th. The two would come to a sextile, but only after Venus conjoined Jupiter, and only after 18 degrees.
So could you change the result? In Libra, the Moon is peregrine. It's coming to another planet, which means another potential partner anyway. But Saturn is cadent. She, as the Moon could move or adjust, but he couldn't. The peregrine nature of her shows that she really doesn't have the strength to create the result on her own - and anyway, with a new Mr. Right coming into the picture, why should she? Mr, Less Right had mixed Triplicity, but the cadency took away such strength as he had.
That other trite phrase, it takes two to tango, also reminds us of the difficulty of changing the fate of a relationship: the other party has to agree as well. Unless you want to use magic to coerce the other party, there better be some agreement and enthusiasm. Horary is the measure of that duality of purpose - or its lack.