in Traditional Horary Astrology
Originally Published in Horary Practitioner
Traditional horary astrology,
as exemplified by William Lilly'sChristian Astrology,
is an art with incredible predictive accuracy and scope. It seems to me,
however, that the ability to make such accurate predictions implies
a corresponding responsibility on the part of the traditional astrologer
not to abuse this knowledge.
I want to emphasize at the outset that the question of
astrological ethics is intensely personal. The purpose of this article is not
to condemn the work of other astrologers or propose all encompassing ethics for
astrology, but to be thought provoking. Astrologers must decide for themselves
what they feel is appropriate. My ethics are the result of my particular
experience and situation; I cannot and will not prescribe for others.
Ethical questions for astrologers
basically revolve around information revealed astrologically
and how that information is used. The four main ethical questions are:
Is this information I should even have?
What action can I take based on this information?
Is this information I should reveal to the querent, protagonist or a third party?
What action does my client or a third party intend with this information?
Answering these questions depends very much on the
It is simply not possible to enact strict rules; guidelines are all that is possible.
My basic tool, however, is the 'golden rule':
"Therefore all things whatever ye would that men should do to you,
do ye even so to them..." Matthew 7:12. Traditional horary astrology allows the
obtain a wealth of personal information on anyone, without acquiring a natal chart
or birth information. Therefore it is clearly possible to use personal
information about a protagonist or querent for the benefit of the astrologer.
Think of how useful astrology could be for blackmail or a wide variety of criminal activity. It is easy for me to say that it is unethical for astrologers to either exploit this sort of information themselves or assist clients by providing such information.
Even without this sort of malice revealing information obtained from a chart can
be ethically questionable. To me doing a chart unasked and announcing to the
protagonist "Hey, it looks like you've got AIDS" or "You've got all the
signs of a violent death" is unethical. I think this is an invasion of
privacy, a selfish exhibition of power on the part of the astrologer and
surely very distressing to the protagonist, who may have no desire to know
this information. I believe that there would be few situations where
revealing personal information to a protagonist unasked would be appropriate.
Given the wealth of detail discernible from a horary chart this precept can
also extend to going beyond the bounds of the question presented by the querent
if such information might be distressing or embarrassing.
I'm not sure that it is even appropriate to reveal positive information
unasked even though this is much less questionable.
What if I merely ask the question and erect a chart,
but never reveal the information to the protagonist? Since the real damage is done
when the information is revealed is it appropriate simply to obtain the information
yourself? For me this depends on my motivation and personal involvement. For example,
what if I ask out of pure curiosity, "does X have AIDS?" I know that I would not want
anyone obtaining this information about me and thus I think it would still be invading
the protagonist's privacy to ask the question even if the answer is never revealed to them.
On the other hand, if I was considering starting an intimate relationship with
someone I might be more justified in asking the question since I am not asking
out of mere curiosity and I have a considerable personal stake in the answer.
Probably the better and more honest course would be to propose that both of us
take HIV tests.
A similar question arises when a querent asks a personal
question about the protagonist without their knowledge. Does the protagonist want the
querent to have this information?
Does the protagonist even want the astrologer
to have this information? Does the querent have enough of a personal stake in
the answer to overcome the protagonist's interest in keeping the answer secret?
For example, "Is my son using drugs?" We might be more inclined to answer this
question when the son is twelve as opposed to twenty two. In this example
probably the better course is to confront the child directly. The easiest solution
for the astrologer is to ask the querent to get the protagonist's permission.
If the querent is unwilling or unable to secure permission, it may not be appropriate
to answer the question.
Unless the astrologer is actually taking action or
aiding a third party in taking advantage of a protagonist ethical questions
generally appear as questions about the privacy interest of the protagonist.
Astrologers must decide for themselves what they feel is the appropriate level
of privacy that they should maintain for querents and protagonists. For example,
I am less concerned with the privacy interests of politicians, celebrities and other
public figures who have effectively chosen to put themselves in the public eye.
Finally, it is clear to me that astrological ethics
are important because traditional horary depends utterly on the sincerity of the
querent and the astrologer. Even when a querent asks an intrusive question about
a protagonist the sincerity and motivation of the querent seems the best test of
how ethical it is for the astrologer to answer the question.
Stand fast, oh man to thy God, and assured
Principles...How many Pre-eminences, Privileges, Advantages hath God bestowed
upon thee? thou rangest above the heavens by Contemplation, conceivest
the motion and magnitude of the stars; thou talkest with Angels, yea with
God himself; thou hast all Creatures within thy Dominion, and keepest the
Devils in subjection: Do not then, for shame, deface thy Nature or make
thyself unworthy of such Gifts or deprive thy self of that great Power,
Glory and Blessedness God hath allotted thee, by casting from thee his fear,
for possession of a few imperfect pleasures.
William Lilly, To the Student in Astrology,
Christian Astrology (this passage follows the contents page in the 1st ed. of