Reading our horoscope for the coming week or month is something we all like to do from time to time. Sometimes the predictions are uncannily accurate, at other times totally irrelevant. Weekly horoscope columns with a few short lines for each Sun sign belittle the real value of astrology as a way of understanding human actions. As you read your ‘stars’ I’m sure you find yourself asking ‘how can those few sentences possibly be relevant to every person in the world born under the sign of Aries or Libra or whatever’?
These sort of predictions are a world away from a full natal astrology reading done by a professional astrologer. These readings yield an amazing amount of information about your nature, your potential, your relationships and events in your life. Your personal birth chart shows the position of all planets at the time of your birth, not just the Sun. This results in a complex set of relationships which only a professional astrologer can interpret accurately.
But there is another type of astrology – horary or predictive astrology which is completely different to natal astrology in that your date of birth is irrelevant. Predictive astrology is used to answer questions in the same way as other divination tools like Tarot or Petit Lenormand cards. Peter Burns is a horary astrologer and we had a lot of fun recording a master class where people submitted questions in advance and I used Tarot and Peter used astrology to answer the questions. The answers we gave were surprisingly similar and I swear there was no collusion!
Here I talk with him about predictive astrology and the distance education Diploma course he offers.
LM: How accurate are the ‘predictions’ we see in weekly horoscope columns?
PB: The so-called predictions in horoscope columns are based only on the position of the Sun and assume a birth time at sunrise. The positions of the other cosmic bodies are referenced to this sunrise birth time. The resulting interpretation has a 1 in 12 chance of being valid. Unfortunately the popularity of these columns is not a good gauge of their accuracy!
LM: So, how does predictive astrology work?
PB: Predictive or ‘horary’ astrology is an ancient method which relies on a precise time and uses the coordinates for the astrologer’s location. The prefix ‘hor’ is derived from the word ‘hour’. Before accurate time pieces were commonly available, astrologers simply estimated the hour of the day to set up a horoscope. The word ‘horoscope’ has the same prefix as does ‘horology’, the word used to denote the study of time keeping devices.
Horary astrology is based on the assumption that everything in the universe is inter-connected, and that when a sincere heart-felt question is asked the resulting horoscope will contain the answer. No time or place of birth is needed. The set of rules for interpreting charts drawn up in this way have changed little over the centuries.
This method has proved to be unusually accurate. Almost any question can be asked and the horoscope always provides an answer.
LM: How do you decide when to draw up the horoscope?
PB: The chart is drawn up when the astrologer understands the question. That’s the point at which the question is clear. As we all know, a question can go round and round in our minds for days, weeks, months before we decide to take action to find the answer to a problem. The time I receive an email from a client with a question is also not relevant. It may be a day or so before I open it and even then, the question might not be clear and I need to contact the client to clarify the question. It’s a fascinating process – it’s as if the universe waits for the correct moment so that the planets are aligned to provide an accurate answer.
LM: What sort of questions do people mainly ask when they come for a reading?
PB: Firstly, let me say that the horoscope incorporates every field of human experience. There’s really no question that can’t be asked. Horary is well known for locating lost objects. However horary astrology is exceptionally well suited to relationship questions because the planets reveal the motivations of people asked about.
Jobs and money are two other common topics for questions. I’ve had a lot of success with answering questions about buying and selling real estate, for example. Other questions involve concern for the welfare of others, usually family and friends; questions about courses, travel and pets.
LM: What happens if the same question is asked a couple of months later? The alignment of the planets will be different, so presumably the answer could be different? And if so, how do you explain this to a client?
PB: This question goes to the heart of astrology, the meaning of life and the age old debate of fate versus free will. My own conclusion to these weighty matters is that essentially our fate is to exercise our free will. Although our lives are set within certain parameters, such as gender, ethnicity, physical stature, and social environment to name a few, within these limits we are able to exercise free will.
What happens between the asking of a question and then a second asking of the same question months later is that the circumstances have changed due to the exercise of free will by the people involved. The answer to the first was a prediction of consequences for a proposed action within a given set of circumstances.
The second question, although seemingly the same, differs from the first in that the context in which it is asked is different. It is this context which is all important.
So much for theory. What tends to happen in practice is that the answer to the second question is usually very similar to the answer given to the first question, which suggests that we do not exercise free will as much as we imagine.
LM: How could you use horary astrology to predict the outcome of elections?
PB: Behind this sort of question is the idea that if different people ask the same question about a political election at different times/locations we could expect different results. It’s a bit like asking ‘if we arranged for 100 people over the course of a month to ask the same question would we get different answers?’ However, the reality is that we generally get the same answer in these circumstances.
The querent’s intent is of utmost importance in horary astrology. If the question is no more than a test of the astrologer or the predictive technique, then the resulting horoscope will reflect this intention and other aspects of the querent’s state of mind. The answer provided by the cosmos to any horary astrology question always reflects the intention and sincerity of the querent.
LM: What’s the average amount of time it takes someone to learn the basic principles of horary astrology?
PB: The course I offer is a correspondence course which is self-paced. Students are welcome to take as long as they wish provided the course is finished within two years. Life events can interrupt our studies and I don’t want to put pressure on people. Some speedsters with a lot of time on their hands complete the entire course in four months. The average is approximately 14 months.
LM: How is the course delivered?
PB: I email each lesson one at a time. Each lesson also includes assignment questions. When these have been completed and the material is understood I email the next lesson. This process continues until all lessons have been completed.
LM: Does learning horary astrology help with learning natal astrology?
PB: Learning horary astrology is the best way to learn natal astrology. The same principles are applied. If you begin with horary astrology you have the opportunity to learn astrology ‘from the ground up’ so to speak. Horary lays the foundations and provides an understanding of first principles.
LM: What if someone already has an astrology qualification?
PB: At least half of my students have already completed other astrological studies. When they finish the course, they often say that the study opened their eyes to a deeper understanding of astrology. They view a horoscope through ‘new eyes’. They appreciate how each planet in the natal chart represents someone in their lives, and they have techniques for identifying the underlying motivations of these people towards each other.
LM: What benefits does horary astrology offer to Tarot readers and mediums?
An important benefit of horary astrology is that practitioners can go straight to the heart of the matter under question. Unlike natal astrology very few symbols are needed and a well-trained practitioner can provide answers very quickly.
Many mediums and psychics say there are times when they are blocked by clients or simply ‘have a bad hair day’. In this situation horary offers a logical structure to fall back on. By following the recommended steps issues are quickly clarified. And while this process is taking place the intuitive process has time to realign and kick back in. The addition of horary to the psychic’s toolkit enables both sides of the brain to work together.
LM: What can people expect if they enrol in your Horary Astrology Practitioner’s Diploma?
PB: Students can expect a comprehensive education in the fundamentals of astrology. Those who graduate have the ability to answer almost any sincere question. I support my students every step of the way. Students are welcome to phone and chat or meet in person. No question is too small or silly. I am totally dedicated to the task of teaching astrology and palmistry. It is now more than 30 years since I started and I’ve never lost my enthusiasm for the subject.
About Peter Burns
Peter has been practising astrology and palmistry since 1984. He is trained in both modern and traditional astrology, including: a Diploma of Astrology (FAA), and has been awarded a Horary Craftsman Certificate by John Frawley.
Peter was Vice-President of the Federation of Australian Astrologers 2006-2009 and was the president of the Victorian Astrologers Association 2006-2008. Peter has been national editor of the quarterly Journal of the FAA since 2000.
Peter has been teaching and lecturing since the late 1980s. He has lectured at the Western Australian and Victorian Astrological Associations, and at the 2004 and 2010 International FAA Astrology Conferences, where he spoke on the Fixed Stars and Financial Astrology. For more information visit his Ambrosia Academy of Astrology & Palmistry website.
Over to you!
Have you had a horary astrology reading? If so, how accurate was it? Do you have questions about the differences between natal and predictive astrology? Peter is happy to answer them in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you!