Which part of his life will be the best?

(Lilly’s chart example Nr. 1, part 3

This is the third part of my new post series on Lilly’s horary examples. In the other two examples I analyzed the first two questions (out of 6) of Lilly’s first example chart on p. 135, which are all related to the first house. (You can find the  first question here and the second here).

Lilly treats all of the questions together, but in this series I will look into each case separately in order to gain a broader understanding in what Lilly exactly did. I will also add more info where necessary.

Let’s get started. This is his horary:

The querent was a young soldier who asked several questions regarding his life. In this question, Lilly wants to find out, which part in the life of the querent would be the best or most happiest/successful one.

Contrary to the earlier questions, Lilly does not consider the AC and its ruler first, but rather looks at the chart as a whole, as it was a painting. He notices, that Jupiter and Venus are both located in the upper half of the horoscope, associated with the first half of life.

One of Lilly’s time techniques consists in attributing 5 years to every house[1] (5×12), which reflects the maximum life expectancy of aproximately 60 years in the 17th Century.[2]

[table id=8 /]

He measures time starting from the AC clockwise to the MC, then the 9th, 8th and so on. Following this logic, the first three houses do represent the life of the native up to age 15: the 12th house describes the age from 0-5, the 11th house the age from 5-10 and the 10th the age from 10-15.

Since both benefics are situated in the 10th house, Lilly states that the best years of the client were in his “early youth”. Since there is no malefic either in the 9th house, we can suppose that his life was without worries until the age of 20.

Mars is located in the 8th house, which, following Lilly’s technique, does represent the age of 20-25. His presence in this house is an indication for Lilly, that his client would have problems at this time 5-year period.

Lilly further states, that negative events will take place at the age of 24, 25, 26. He does not show how he calculates these numbers exactly and why he mentions the 26th year, which should be associated with the 7th house (25-30), following the logic of the houses. So what is Lilly’s reasoning behind this very short statement?

The trick is not to consider the houses, but instead the signs. For an easier calculation I have drawn Lilly’s horary in Whole Sign houses[3] in order to see the difference more clearly. If we divide the 30° of the signs instaed of the houses by 5 (the number of the years associated to each of them), we get 6° for each year.  

Cancer, Gemini, Taurus and Aries are free from malefics. But we also need to consider the time from the AC (23°) in Leo, up to the 1st WSH cusp at 0° Leo as well as the distance from the 9th cusp down to Mars (always clockwise, thus against the order of signs!).

It follows, that the 10th house cusp coincides with the 19th year of the querent, as we can see in the image above. (Numbers outside the circle refer to the age of the client).

Since also the 9th is free of malefics, we can add other 5 years (19+5). This is exactly the age which Lilly considers as the beginning of trouble for the client. It also coincides with the (counterclockwise) beginning of the 8th house.

Mars is located ca. 2° after the sign/housecusp (clockwise!).

Lilly also attributes to Mars an orb of 7°.[4] Mars distance from the house cusp (2°) plus his orb (7°) makes 9°, which corresponds to 18 months, roughly 2 years.

This means, that the querent’s problems do start at age 24, but will persist until he will be 26 years old. It seems as Lilly has done exactly this calculation, unfortunately without explaining it in detail.

Here is a table which illustrates the underlying rational:

[table id=10 /]

In his further analysis, Lilly considers, that after the Mars event at age 24-26 no benefics are placed in any of the following houses, one reason more to consider the early youth of the querent as the best part of his life. This does not mean, that from age 24 everything will go bad for his client, but rather that the absolute „higlights“ are over.

Lilly now has a look at the Moon, who will next aspect Jupiter. Since applicative aspects always describe future events and Jupiter is the major benefic, the English astrologer takes this aspect as an indication that his client will not face immediate negative events.

On the contrary, Lilly considers the distance between the Moon and Jupiter of 3° as an indication, that his client will meet after 3 years[5] a person, who will personify this planet: a well meaning (Jupiter) person of authority (10th house), who will support him in his (military) career (10th house).

Unfortunately, Lilly does not give further information regarding that person. He only says in his text, that the soldier worked later in his live in an “honorable position” for his Majesty.

In my next post I will analyse some of he other time techniques Lilly used fort he remaing questions referred to this chart.

[1] William Lilly, Christian Astrology, S. 68

[2] According to Wikipedia, the 17th-century English life expectancy was only about 35 years, largely because infant and child mortality remained high, so 60 years was already a very old age.

[3] This sentence is not meant to show that Lilly did use WSH, I only use it here for easier visualization. You can do the same technique in Regiomontanus.

[4] William Lilly, Christian Astrology, S. 68

[5] This question relates to long-term issues. Lilly’s only time unit used in this example are years, which means that this 3° distance also expresses the same time unit.


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  1. thx for sharing.

    why is natal date in the above chart 24. march? if I google original date from christian astrology (1659 edition, p135; 1632-03-14), I get March 14, 1632.

    best regards,

    s love nia

    1. Lilly used the Julian calendar, I used the Gregorian Calendar. The UK switched relatively late to the GC. I think I mentioned this somewhere in the article? The difference between the two calendars are 10 days.

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