Alan Leo: Horary Astrologer?
Text Copyright 2007 J. Lee Lehman
Alan Leo a horary astrologer? Alan Leo is known today as one of the reformers who was directly responsible for inventing modern astrology. For one of the best renditions of his influence in this matter, I recommend Patrick Curry’s book, A Confusion of Prophets. Victorian and Edwardian Astrology (1992). Since modern astrology distanced itself from horary astrology, with attitudes ranging from considering it an arcane specialty all the way to branding it a dubious heresy, one would hardly expect that Alan Leo had practiced it. But he did. He also wrote about it, and regularly published horaries in The Astrologer’s Magazine, the publication that was later published under the name Modern Astrology. In his series of Astrological Manuals, Number 7 was entitled Horary Astrology. The following excerpt is from the Supplement to the 1st Edition, dated 1907.
Horary Astrology and Divination
“Many who may be disposed to grant the influence of planetary action in relation to the newly-born will nevertheless be scarcely prepared for the statement that it is just as possible to cast a horoscope for the birth of an idea as for the birth of a child, and to predict therefrom its nature, its progress, and its ultimate success or failure. Yet so it is: and while the degree of precision with which this can be done will of necessity vary with the skill of the individual exponent (as in all other arts or sciences) the mere fact that it can be done at all must make us ponder and reflect upon what many of us admit philosophically without at all realising practically – namely, that there is no such thing as chance. Divination by means of horary astrology is, then, a mere matter of fact, and is indeed largely practised, and with surprising success, by many who are too ignorant or too superficial to probe the mysteries of Natal Astrology.
“Thus, an expert in this method of divination needs to but cast a figure for the time when he is asked a question on any important matter, to be able to form a trustworthy judgment as to the subject signified, its nature, the parties interested therein, and the final upshot of the whole affair.
“Nevertheless, incessant recourse to Horary Astrology is not to be recommended; and this on two grounds. First and foremost, undue reliance upon horary astrology is to be strongly deprecated on (in the highest sense of the word) moral grounds, in that it weakens the true judgment and if practiced to excess gradually deprives those who lean on it of all independence and self-reliance. Secondly, and from a more practical standpoint, because unless pursued with Natal Astrology, it is apt to lead to erroneous judgments. Thus’ a ‘horary figure’ fortunate and good in itself will yet promise less of success to one who is himself ‘under bad aspects’ at the time; while on the other hand an unfavourable chart will not eventuate in such disaster as might be supposed, if the querent is possessed himself of a very fortunate nativity. For the horoscopic chart is merely an indication of principles in force, and indicates relative good or evil. Hence, as will easily be seen, from the study of the horoscope at birth – which is a perfect key to the main events in life – a far more reliable judgment can be formed as to the capacities and limitations of the ‘native’ than from any ‘horary figure’ cast for the time of a question or the occurrence of an idea, notwithstanding that the latter may at times afford a very useful clue in reference to any dubious point.
“Still in spite of the above considerations there are sometimes occasions when this mode of divination is extremely serviceable, especially when the horoscope of birth or ‘nativity’ is not available; e.g., in ascertaining the whereabouts of a missing child or relative, the possibility of recovering stolen goods, etc., etc.
“Apart from this, the study of Horary Astrology if pursued not for its own sake so much as for the mental training which it affords, is of the very greatest value to the student, maturing his judgment and assisting to develop within him that mysterious faculty known as the intuition.”