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William Lilly’s “The Philosopher’s Stone” Horary

In this article, we delve into "The Philosopher's Stone" horary chart from the renowned astrologer William Lilly's seminal work, Christian Astrology.

William Lilly's "The Philosopher's Stone" horary

While Lilly's interpretations were masterful in many cases, in this particular instance a certain distinction between the third and ninth houses, is called for which was not present in Lilly's writing.

This chart, originally cast in 1644, depicts a querent’s journey beyond a revelatory experience associated with House 9, which illuminates profound truths about oneself and the world. However, the journey doesn’t end with revelation. The subsequent integration of this insight into daily life, depicted through House 3, is crucial for true spiritual realization.

This reinterpretation of Lilly’s chart aims to shed light on this vital aspect of astrological interpretation about spiritual experiences. 

You can see this chart in Christian astrology and you can see William Lilly’s interpretation there and compare to what I’m going to write and see what you think. A link to a video interpretation can be found below, where I add some extra comments not mentioned here.

The question is: Will I attain the Philosopher’s Stone?

That is the alchemical version of enlightenment or self-realization, depending on how we understand those terms. He basically asked William Lilly: Will I get enlightened? Will I self-realize? or Will I attain the Philosopher’s Stone?

A clarification of the context would be required at this point. The first step in horary interpretation.

Has this querent already experienced the revelation and now is moving towards final realization, or is this a querent that’s earlier on the path and has not had the revelation yet?

If he has had a house nine revelation, he’s a little later on the path and he’s moving towards house three, and then we can tell him if he’s going to reach house three or not and so on.

Ideally, we would talk to the querent and see what the querent has experienced in his life or her life, and then we would know how to read the chart. William Lilly didn’t describe this process of asking the querent, so I don’t know what happened there.

Let’s see what the chart itself tells us.

philosophers stone

The querent is signified by Mercury, the ruler of the Ascendant.

Mercury was retrograde is now in station, so it is separating from a square with Mars.

Mars in this chart in relation to this subject? This is a horary about spirituality, so Mars is the ruler of house nine.

So the first thing the chart is telling us is that this querent had the recognition or revelation or awakening. He already had an insight into the end of the spiritual path.

He ‘understood’ where he’s going, so to speak. So we know that he’s not seeking a revelation anymore. He may be seeking the joy that he experienced during that revelation, but he doesn’t need a revelation anymore.

The receptions here are revealing and descriptive. Mercury is in the detriment of Mars, so he doesn’t want house nine anymore.

He doesn’t need to go to church. He doesn’t need a teacher necessarily, or go to a school. He may do these things in order to go through a natural process, but that’s not what he is seeking. These things are means to an end.

We now know his question is not about house nine. His question, therefore, is about house three.

If you have any doubts about that, look at where Fortuna is. Fortuna gives us the deeper meaning of a question or the essence of what a person is asking. It’s telling us this querent is asking about house three. Let’s see what Venus, its ruler, is up to.

We can see that Venus is at 13 degrees of Cancer. Is there an aspect between Mercury and Venus? It’s that simple to answer the question.

Is Mercury going to meet Venus? No. So the basic answer to the question would be ‘no’.

However there’s a wealth of information in the chart that can be given to this querent to help him in his spiritual quest.

Mercury is in the sign of Venus. So, he wants Venus. He wants house three. He wants the peace of mind or peace of spirit; whatever we want to call house three.

Venus is conjunct the Sun by anticion. That means his house 3 is strongly influenced by the Sun, the ruler of his house 12.

The peace that he’s looking for, the joy of house three, is not on the cards for him for the foreseeable future. That’s important. There’s no aspect. The answer is no, and the chart is telling us why. 

It is because the state he is seeking is afflicted by his house 12. This is  well-known pattern in human psychology and spiritual seeking.

If we want peace, but our ego, our house 12, has a strong influence in our life, we will not attain ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, we will not experience peace. Those things that house 12 manifest need to be minimized, and some eliminated, first.

The chart is saying: The Philosopher’s Stone is not in your path because you have work to do with your house 12. So, go back to work. It’s not because you had a revelation that you can expect that you’re going to just feel or experience the joy you wish without any further work.You need to pay attention to house 12.

This is where house 12 becomes an important house in spiritual work.

We must become conscious of house 12. The light of House Nine or the light of the Sun needs to be thrown on House 12. We need to learn every little detail of our personality that creates suffering. And by bringing wisdom and love and acceptance to them, it is neutralized. They cease to become a problem and they cease to interfere in our life. And only then House Three becomes free from unnecessary suffering.

That is the main reason why the answer is no. But let’s look further into the chart. We have the North Node conjunct the ruler of house 3, Venus.

The chart is saying, just because it’s not on the cards right now, don’t stop. Pay attention to house 12. There are good things to expect from House Three.

And even if it’s not the final spiritual realization, there’s going to be improvement in House Three. And this is beautiful because the less unnecessary suffering in anybody’s life, the better.

Horary will tell us the exact things going on in our lives so that you can know where to put your attention. This chart, for example, it’s not telling him that he needs to go to church or pray. It’s telling him that he needs to put his attention on house 12. Prayer or knowledge cannot replace that.

Otherwise he’s going to continue suffering. Look at Mercury. It’s on the star Alcyone, the star of crying, of unhappiness. This is descriptive of where he is, probably. He feels unhappy and he needs peace. He needs to find spiritual peace.

And Alcyone is telling that there will be tears in his life, symbolically speaking, or maybe literally. So there’s some rough patches to experience still.

But this is somebody who is interested in spirituality. So the chart is giving him the feet-on-the-ground picture of what’s going on with him so that he can steer his spiritual path in the right direction. And the right direction is to become conscious of house 12.

Venus is in the sign of the moon. So, house 3 is dependent on the Moon, its dispositor. The moon is his emotions. 

The chart is showing that at this point in his life, his moon, his emotions are ruled by the Sun. What kind of obstacle is this person experiencing in his spiritual path towards ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’?

It’s an emotional obstacle. What kind of emotions create unnecessary suffering? There are different types of negative emotions that are egocentric. There are seven patterns. You can read about them here in the article The Seven Fears.

So, this person may be beset with pride, or vanity, or arrogance, which is the type of negative emotion that’s connected with fear of not being accepted, or fear of being judged. Or it could be self-deprecation, he feels diminished or inadequate. And so the chart is hinting that it’s an emotional issues that he needs to deal with, not a mental or physical issue.

Some people are very cerebral or close minded, and maybe that’s their problem. And the chart would show that for somebody else. Here, we’re talking about emotion. Another person would be gluttony or greed, which is connected with the body or possessions, and the chart would show that too.

For this person, it’s showing that it’s an emotional issue that he has. So it’s giving a picture of where he’s going or what he has to deal with. So instead of reading more books, you have to go to a therapist who is going to uncover your childhood trauma, which deals with an emotional issue, for example.

Saturn is near Mercury, so it’s really important in what’s going on.

It’s not possible to interpret accurately without knowing the context more. So, I will not comment.

Mercury and Saturn are conjunct Jupiter by Anticion. Therefore, Jupiter is also important. And it could be house seven.

The Moon is going to conjoin Jupiter. It could be a 17th century equivalent to a therapist or someone skilled in dealing with the mind and emotional issues. A healer of some kind, doctor, a witch, or a wizard. The name is irrelevant.

So, maybe the Moon is going to seek help from house seven. And you could tell the querent, go and look for help. If you do, you’ll find it. Here is a conjunction in the chart.

And the Moon and Jupiter are both in the sign of the Sun. So they’re going to be dealing with the Sun in some way, which is exactly what he needs.

Work on House 12 requires wisdom, acceptance and compassion, a whole lot of positive emotions are necessary to deal with house 12. Help from a partner is usually a must. It is pretty much impossible to succeed in it alone.

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