mother-with-childIn his 5th chapter (p. 238), Lilly explains how to look at charts regarding pregnancy and children. Modern astrologers often doubt that a horary might have long lasting validity. They assume, that a chart has a defined  duration. Nevertheless, traditional astrologers as William Lilly were used to answer generic charts (will I ever have children) as well as specific question (will I become pregnant this year). Ancient astrologers had their techniques to determine in a natal chart, how many children a person would have (see my post on that topic here), but in this article, I want to illustrate Lilly’s horary technique. The chapter is not very exhaustive and has only two example charts, which I will illustrate together in this post.

Before looking closely at the chart, we have to understand, that some signs are considered “fertile or prolifical”, others as “barren” and still others neither particularly barren or fertile. [1]

 Fruitful or Proliferal
Barrenneither fertile nor barren
Lilly, Christian Astrology, p. 89Cancer, Scorpio, PiscesGemini, Leo, VirgoAries, Taurus, Libra, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius
Dorotheus, Carmen Astrologicum, p. 209 (Pingree transl.)Cancer, Scorpio, PiscesGemini, Leo, Virgo, Capricorn, the beginning of Taurus (Pleiades), the middle of Libra (Chelae), Aries, Sagittariusthe second half of Taurus, the beginning and the end of Libra

The water signs are all feminine and wet. While it’s true that they are considered to be cold, the warm, humid signs (air signs) are male and thus not apt to conceive.

This settled, we can analyse the chart.

General outline:

First, we check the angles for a general outline of the upcoming events. Are there malefics ? The answer might be negative or include negative events. Are benefics on the angles? The outcome might be positive. In this case, we find Venus on the 10th house angle, strong in her own domicile.[2] Nevertheless, Venus is conjunct two malefic fixed stars, Algol (violence and danger) and Aldebaran (violence and sickness).[3] She is also out of sect, as she is a nocturnal planet and this is a daytime chart. These impediments draw attention to possible problems indicated in this chart.

The hour ruler of this chart is Jupiter. Since he is in Leo and the AC ruler Mercury is in Gemini, there is no planetary hour agreement.[4] I have often seen a lack of agreement in charts with a negative answer.

Lilly does not mention the prior two points, but directly examines the 5th house which describes pregnancies and children. In this chart, the house cusp is in Capricorn, a sign neither barren nor particularly fertile according to Lilly, barren according to  Dorotheus. Its ruler Saturn is retrograde and in Sagittarius, another barren sign according to Dorotheus, Lilly considers it just as “feral”.[5]

The ruler of the ascendant, Mercury, which describes the querent and her health, is in Gemini, which is also considered barren. Mercury is in the terms of Saturn, prior separated  from a conjunction with Mars (that’s what Lilly calls “afflicted by the presence of Mars”) [6] and now separating from an opposition to Saturn, ruler of the 5th of pregnancies but also of the 6th house of illness or physical impediments.

The South Node,  considered a malefic, too,  is in the 1st house, indicating problems or denials linked to the question.

The Moon, natural ruler of pregnancies and babies, describes  the unfolding events; she is in late Virgo (barren), in the terms of Mars and square Saturn, the lord of the 5th.[7]

Lilly does not consider the next applicative aspect of the Moon, which is already happening in a new sign (square Sun, ruler of the 12th). This is an interesting point, as Lilly usually did use applicative aspects in orb, but beyond sign bounds in other horaries. But in this case, the house ruled by the Sun, rather confirms (hidden) difficulties. Nevertheless, it might be considered, that the Moon-Sun square explains a difficult situation rather than resolving the problem itself: The Sun rules the 9th house (astrologers), by exaltation. Also, the 7th house ruler, Jupiter, is in the domicile of the Sun.[8] Therefore,  Lilly helps the woman to understand her problem.[9]

Based upon this symbolism, Lilly was sure, that the  woman had never conceived in her life and that she would never have children in the future. Since a horary about (in-)fertility touches a very sensitive point in a woman’s life, Lilly underlines the importance to consult the birth chart, whenever possible, and to check for similar patterns before giving a final judgement. He states, that when an horary is so clear about bareness, usually the same information is given in the natal chart. He adds, that in similar cases he had noticed, that the AC rulers of both horary and natal chart were often of the same triplicity.

There are several possibilities why the woman is infertile. Lilly mentions a few points:

  • Moon square Saturn and AC ruler Mercury opposing  Saturn, ruler of the 6th describe a sickly person.

The 1st house ruler describes generally “health”. When it is in opposition to the major malefic, than the health is poor and sickness prevails. As the Moon is the co-ruler of the quesited, the Saturn aspect describes the same pattern.

  • The querent was afflicted by the wind cholic in the belly and in the small guts.

The 6th house rules illnesses and especially the belly and the guts.[10] Aquarius on the 6th house cusp, ruled by Saturn rules “the wind”  or that what in Ayurveda is called “Vata”. Saturn also describes guts, rheumatism and illnesses which proceed from cold.

  • South Node in the 1st, which shows strong headache as well as Mercury in his own sign.[11]

We might add that 6th house is ruled by Saturn, and thus her problem is linked to a dysfunction such as closed or too small uterine tubes or some difficulty in the maturation of the ovum.  Also, Mercury has lately separated from Mars. This planet describes heat, inflammations, infections, acidosis. Both together describe the impossibility of the ovum to be fertilized. [12]

Now we can switch to the other example chart on pregnancies, shown on p. 241. In this case, the client was already pregnant and just wanted to know about the gender of her baby and when she would give birth.

First, Lilly simply counts, how many chart factors indicate a boy and how many there are for a girl.

Boy or girl?

AC ruler Mercury in Aries (male sign, m)AC in Virgo (female sign, f)
Saturn (m) is lord of of the 5th5th house cusp in Capricorn (f)
3L5 in Aries (m)Moon in Capricorn (f)
4Moon in a male house (4th) (and next applies to Mercury in a male sign)AC ruler close to Venus
5Saturn, L5 is in a male house
6Jupiter (m) is the Lord of the hour
Jupiter is in a male sign
8AC ruler Mercury applies to a square to Mars (m)

Lilly counted eight testimonies of a male conception and only four of a female.

As we can see, it’s not so much about the sign on the cusps or even the sign the Moon is in, but rather in which kind of signs the house rulers are in and the sign the Moon is applying to.

Lilly told his client that she would have a boy.

Now, the most important question is: when the baby will be born?

The 5th house cusp is in Capricorn, a cardinal sign which indicates speed. The AC ruler and the 5th house ruler are posited in Aries, another cardinal sign.

Which planet(s) do we need to chose for timing? Lilly takes two couples of planets in order to compare their information and determine the date of birth. Thus, we are looking for a significant application between two of these planets or some kind of repeating time pattern.

1) Moon and Saturn

Saturn rules the 5th house of children and is the heaviest planet, linked to the material world and the earth. The Moon naturally describes babies and is posited  in the 5th  (emplacement).

The perfection of their applying square  requires 14°47’.

2) Mercury and Saturn

The AC ruler Mercury describes the pregnant woman. Her baby is described by the 5th house ruler Saturn. The perfection of their conjunction requires 13°37’.

A pregnancy is usually calculated in months and weeks, only at the very end it’s calculated in days. Saturn indicates a longer time frame, but Lilly excludes months (as she was already half term) and thus takes “weeks” as time unit and predicts that the woman would give birth within 14 weeks, which would be around the 14th of July, 1645.

Lilly then tells us, that the child was born on July, 11th. 21

So Lilly is off by only 3 days. No modern obstetrician/Gynecologist would be able of such an exact prediction!

Lilly doesn’t give the exact birth time, so I calculated the chart for noon.

Lilly noticed that

Lilly noticed that

  • transiting Mars was exactly conjunct the AC
  • transit Mercury was exactly opposing the Moon
  • the Sun is in perfect square to his own position
  • The Moon was in Cancer in conjunction with Mercury

This timing example shows that the symbolism in the chart (in this case the 14° distance) gives a a rough orientation about when the event is going to happen. But we need to check important (real time) transits to the horary, to be more precise. This is an astrological sudoku, a planetary puzzle!

For further information on this topic, please read my post on Dorotheus’ fertile signs or his kid’s count (natal astrology).

[1] There are differences between traditional astrologers regarding the fruitful signs.  See my post on this topic at this regard.

While all traditional astrologers associate the water sings with fertility, Dorotheus includes also, at least partially, the human signs. So the human Aquarius generates many other humans. This makes sense. He includes only the first part of Libra, as the other is in the “Via Combusta”, traditionally located between 15° Libra and 15° Scorpio. It is also the place of the “Chelae” (the Scorpion’s claws) in the constellation of Libra.

Gemini is barren because since ancient times is has been associated with the entrance to the Egyptian Duat or the Mesopotoamian Underworld.

[2] See William Lilly, Cristian Astrology, (CH), p. 33. In traditional astrology, 5° before the next house cusp are considered to be already in the succedent house. In this case, Venus is at 20°41 and the 10th house starts at 24°54’, thus their distance is only 4°13° .

[3] Robson, V. E. (2005). The Fixed Stars And Constellations in Astrology. p. 121

[4] Hour ruler agreement is when: Hour ruler (HR) and AC ruler are identical,  HR and AC agree by humor, HR and AC are in the same triplicity, HR is triplicity ruler of the AC

[5] CA, p. 89

[6] I just want to mention, that in Hellenistic Astrology, aspects were considered as “sign-based”, and thus this aspect would still have been considered as a conjunction.

[7] The aspect is in the same degree, even if Saturn is tecnically separating by few seconds  due to his retrograde mode.

[8] In an horary in which the 1st is given to the querent, the 7th is the consulting astrologer sitting in front of his client.

[9] I wonder if Venus position just on the 10th house cusp doesn’t indicate the same: while the answer of this horoscope is so negative, it might still be a relief for the woman to understand that there is some physical problem, rather than a divine punishment (16th Century!) or else she might not feel anymore the pressure to become pregant.

[10] CH p. 119, p. 244

[11] A planet in its own sign describes the head. Also the 1st house generally refers to the head. See Lilly, p. 119

[12] At ths point we can also re-consider Venus, the ruler of the 10th house, in ths case the outcome of the question or its “success”, conjunct Algol, the head of the Medusa and traditionally associated with loosing one’s head. In this case is rather describes premature abortion or an ovum which does not attach on the uterine tissues.








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