A few years ago I discovered to my astonishment that my great-great-grandfather who was a New York physician was also a respected astrologer (who didn’t charge for his work). I stumbled across this surprising fact when googling him which brought up an article written in 1882 entitled “Astrology Verified,” by William Q. Judge. My great-great grandfather who was lauded in the article apparently practiced a branch of astrology known as Horary astrology which is based on setting up a chart to answer a specific question–a very specific kind of astrology which I didn’t know much about.

In the article Mr. Judge made this provocative statement: ” In my experience with Horary astrology I have found that some persons have not naturally the proper cast of mind for giving a correct reply to a (Horary) question, which, by another reader of the figure would be justly answered, and, again, that one who will always be correct in Horary questions may be quite unable to do well with a nativity.” (An astrological chart of an individual.)

Intrigued, I began to delve into Horary astrology myself and found immediately that Mr. Judge’s thoughts on this made quite a lot of sense. Horary astrology is fascinating and it’s based on entirely different techniques than natal astrology. I fell in love with it because when used correctly it can be amazingly clear and straightforward. Horary questions work best when they are direct and simple. Will I get the job? The answer is going to be yes or no. There’s no juggling around to come up with an easy to accept response. It is as pragmatic as detective work. It’s also lots of fun.

There are Horary astrologers who are brilliant at this art the most renowned being John Frawley who has written several books on the subject. As to whether Horary astrologers are as adept at natal interpretation, I’ve yet to find out. But there’s no question that these two branches of astrology diverge widely. Sadly,though, the recent popularity of Horary astrology has led to even more divisiveness among astrologers who are notoriously opinionated about their own specialties to begin with. Traditional and Horary astrologers  have  a tendency to sneer at other astrologers and to arrogantly proclaim that their approach puts “modern” natal astrologer to shame because it is so direct and provable–not nuanced in the way that natal astrology can be.

Still, this kind competitiveness and arrogance gets played out in many fields, the human ego being what it is. Personally, I think that what the brilliance of Horary astrology shows us is  that astrology is an endlessly fascinating field that lends itself to many applications. It also constantly challenges its adherents to keep learning and keep their minds wide open if they hope to be any good at it.