Electional Astrology

J. Lee Lehman: The Martial Art of Horary Astrology (2002)

Text Copyright 2007 J. Lee Lehman

Here I present a brief excerpt from my book, The Martial Art of Horary Astrology.

Excerpt from: The Martial Art of Horary Astrology

Chapter 10: Affairs of the 10th House, pp 261-264

What is a government? This may seem like an odd question, but it’s not. This issue is the real key to understanding the 10th House. A generation ago, this question would not have been asked, because the answer would have seemed obvious: a government is the administration of a nation-state. The entire world is divided into nation-states, with the exception of Antarctica, so what’s the problem?

The problem is that, following the collapse of Communism, it has been apparent that the kind of tribal warfare that was easy to dismiss as transitory to the formation of the modern state has assumed massively greater significance. It is seemingly far more likely that the nation-state was a convenient myth of the so-called developed countries: a concept that described them well enough, but which represented a square peg in a round hole for other portions of the globe.1 In much of Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, national governments are completely ineffective at providing even the illusion of domestic tranquility, as “countries” implode into a patchwork of special interest groups that fight civil wars spanning generations.

Bringing this rather depressing political situation back to the realm of Astrology, what does this say for our conceptualization of both the 10th and 11th Houses? Traditionally, the 10th House was the King and Magistrates, the latter category being, by definition, the nobility. As Western Europe and its cultural offshoots like the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia developed into democracies, or some facsimile of democracies, the tendency among modern astrologers has been to assign the legislative branch (Congress, Parliament) to the 11th House, and the head of government (President, Prime Minister) to the 10th House. Government as a general entity is placed in the 10th.2 Foreign countries can be classified by proximity: thus, neighboring countries may be placed in the 3rd House, while distant countries are 9th. In this sense, a country is related to travel, which certainly in earlier times showed a direct relationship between duration of trip and geographical distance.

Consider one more factor. What does it mean astrologically when 51 of the world’s 100 largest economies are corporations, not countries?3 Clearly, we cannot just approach these facts without re-thinking how our definitions work.

Interestingly, Lilly forbore from giving a rulership to Parliament, except in horaries related to the outcome of battles of the English Civil War, in which the Parliament, as one of the two opposing sides, was assigned to the 1st House when the Querent was a partisan for the Parliament. His use of the 11th House is for those giving counsel to the government.4 What he does specify is that the nobility is given by the 10th House.5.

I would contend that astrologers have only really asked the question: who is the nobility in a given society? A question far more interesting and useful is what function makes a person (or institution) like the aristocracy.

In a “classless” society, the equivalent people to the aristocracy are the rich and powerful; possibly the glamorous and famous. The equivalent function to the aristocracy is the ability to do what you want, with different rules applying to you compared to other people. This gives a somewhat different slant, and has some results that may even be surprising.

If being able to pay for the best legal representation will change the outcome of a lawsuit, then the side that can afford it is the aristocracy. But it goes further. Ultimately, the issue is whether a typical citizen has any effective power when pitted against another individual, or an institution. Consider a family-run restaurant. You become a regular patron. You get to know the owner by name. Maybe you don’t formally get a discount, but your serving portions are a little larger, or they don’t charge you for the desert. In other words, your tacit agreement to patronize the restaurant regularly results in better service or product. And if you have a problem, you know that the owner will listen to it. Now consider McDonalds. You can go to the same McDonalds five days a week, and your hamburger and fries will be exactly the same size – because McDonalds, like most large chains, has strict portion control. And the prices are completely determined by the computer programs they are using.

If you have a problem, and you are buying from a multi-national corporation, how much leverage do you have as a consumer? Almost none. The only recourse that you really have is to sue, but that means that whatever they did to annoy you better be pretty clear and illegal! Can you do anything about prices? Not a chance! Individual buyers are not in a position to engage in commerce in the old style, which included the ability to negotiate the price, terms and conditions of a sale. Our greater population density has resulted in the appearance of institutions that sell to individuals on a commodity basis. Sometimes, the effect is somewhat softened by deliberate catering to repeat business, such as an airline’s frequent flyers. But how much real power does any consumer have in negotiating with United Airlines or the phone company? While there may be multiple rate plans, they are not really going to tailor one specifically for you.

And this is the essence of the 10th House. We have gone from the gulf created by birth status to the gulf created by shear mass of numbers. When one-on-one buying and selling goes out of the realm of possibility, then the transaction becomes 1st-10th. When you are a customer of Citicorp, and Citicorp has millions of customers, how much can you say about your clout? In essence, a 10th House figure is anyone or anything that can treat you arbitrarily – whether they in fact consciously choose to do so or not. The only fair fight – or fair chance - in horary is 1st-7th. When you are dealing with any other combination of houses, the stronger party doesn't necessarily win, because power differentials are built into the system.

It’s worth mentioning that, as we begin studying questions about the government, that the traditional view of government office has metamorphosed over time. By definition, the nobility in many countries was already in government simply as a result of holding particular titles: whether through a parliament, a king’s council, or other such body. Thus, there were questions about particular positions, such as the governor of a colony, or the generalship of an army, or the chancellorship. However, the circle of eligible candidates was likely to be much smaller than current job seekers experience!

Governmental Questions

There were essentially two functions that were taken as governmental questions: either a boon granted by the government; or retention, removal or return to government office. And it is always worth remembering that government was not a faceless monolith. It was the king, or duke, or earl, who granted the boon, after all.

The set-up for both kinds of questions was essentially the same. Is there a relationship between 1st and 10th House? If there is, the desired 10th house result will be effected. If not, it won’t. The Moon, of course, may either mitigate or deny the result. Also, if the Ruler of the 1st or the Moon is in the 10th, this alone can indicate a positive result, especially if the Ruler of the 10th beholds the 10th House cusp.6 Of course, translations, collections, and renderings also can produce the desired result, although they indicate the involvement of a third party.

Lilly also mentions the importance of aspects of Significators to angular planets.7 He mentions that danger of placements of, and aspects to planets, below the horizon, as this fact alone can mitigate against return to office once an office is lost. Further, being angular in the 4th House – or applying to 4th House planets - may not be a placement strong enough to achieve a positive result. An angular planet going retrograde or into combustion may wreck its ability to act in a positive fashion.

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