Doctrine of Horary Questions Astrologically Handled – John Gadbury


This is brief, succinct, section or Gadbury’s directions and aphorisms for horary astrology. John Gadbury had a unique style and was Lilly’s greatest rival. This text edited by P. James Clark. Archaic spelling has been retained in all cases, but obvious typos have been corrected. Tables were added to assist in understanding the procedures discussed. PJC

When a Figure is Radical, and fit to be judged.

The Astrologer before he adventureth to judge a Question, ought first to consider, whether it be proper and fit to be judged: For many times, Persons propounds impertinent Questions, with an intention to disgrace Art; in doing which, they do nothing but create shame to themselves. Then, the Artist shall sometimes meet with Persons that know not how to propound their desires aright, it’s an Argument when such Queries are made, that (although they may be asked with a good intent, yet) they are not ripe for a resolve; and the Astrologer in such Cases ought to defer judgement until another time.

Now, for the discovery of the knavery of the one, and the unfitness or unpreparedness of the other, you may observe these following Rules and Aphorisms—viz.

1. When the Sign Ascending, and Planet in the Ascendant, &c. shall describe the person of the Querent exactly, you may conclude that figure Radical, and the Question propounded fit to be judged.

2. When either the very beginning of a Sign ascends, or the very later end thereof, it is not safe to give judgement; for the Querent hath been tampering with others about the business propounded, or else the Question is forged, and therefore not fit to be answered.

3. When the Moon voyd of Course, or in Via Combusta, the Combust way; All Matters or businesses propounded, go unluckily on: therefore the Astrologer ought to understand the Matter propounded perfectly, or else he will give but poor content to the Querent therein.

4. If the Moon go to a square or opposition of the Lord of the 7th; or the Lord of the Ascendant afflict him so; the Artist may conclude his Querent a knave, for he then cometh to abuse him.

5. If the 7th House be hindered, or his Lord be Retrograde, Combust, or otherways afflicted, let not the Astrologer judge any thing: for by how much the more he shall adventure to judge at such a time, by so much the more shall be disgrace himself, and disparage the Art he professeth. And that’s the meaning of Ptolomie’s words Quantis in erroribus versatur Astrologin cum locus septimus ac ejus Dominus afflicti erunt. Centilog. Aphor. 14.

6. When Saturn is Ascendant of a Question, and infortunate, the Matter propounded is either false and without ground, or else tis past all hope: And if at the same, the Lord of the Ascendant be Combust or Retrograde, the Querent is either a knave or a fool.

7. When the testimonies in your Figure are equal, the Matter propounded ought not to be judged; for the Artist knows not which way the balance may yield, wherefore he ought to defer judgment, until a more convenient time.

8. Some Astrologers hold the Question to be Radical, when the Lord of the Ascendant, and Lord of the hour, are of one nature and Triplicity; which is easily known: suppose

A Table showing the length of planetary hours.



To find the length of the Planetary hour and the planet governing it, you must first gain the hour and minute of the Sunrising: Then secondly, observe what hours and minutes are elapsed between your time proposed, and the sun-rising, and multiply those hours by 60, and to the product add your minutes, (if you have any) and the total divided by the length of your Planetary hour, the Quotient gives your desire. Example: On January the lst,1659, the Sun riseth at eight of the clock; I would know what Planet reigneth at ten a clock and 20 min. past that morning; my time is 20 hour 20 min distant from the Sun-rising, and the length of the Planetary hour by day against eight in this Table, is 40 min. which multiplyed and divided, leaves in the Quotient three unto which I add the 20 min. and that tells me there is 20 min. of the fourth planetary hour gone at the time proposed. Now to know what Planet govemeth that hour, observe the day of the week. (and that is Saturday) enter therewith in the head of this next Table, and finde the hour of the day underneath; against which, in the first column toward the left hand, you have your desire. Example, I find Saturday in the 9th column, and guide my eye downward until I finde 4; and against it in the 1st column to the left hand, I finde SOL; which informs me that the Sun rules the hour enquired after. Note, if you would know the planet ruling the hour of the night, then against your Number found in the Column to the right hand, as the Title directs you, you have your desire.


Whatsoever is propounded, carryeth in the face of it, both a Negative, and an affirmative; That is to say, it may either he brought to a wished conclusion, or not: For all things under the Sun are contingent. And it is as honourable, for an Artist to give a judgement in the negative, (if he see reason so to do) as in the Affirmative; although not so pleasant to the proponent.

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