Inaccurate or uncertain birthtimes, misrecorded or unavailable or forgotten birth-dates (in countries where birth certificates are not issued or required; also in the case of very old people or in the case of celebrity horoscopes) and situations where a birth time is hard to decide upon (lost objects etc), need not make us throw up our hands in despair. In situations like these, we can use horary charts. These charts are generally drawn for the moment when a question is asked and the chart then is utilized for studying and analyzing the specific situation or event that forms the basis of the question. A plethora of options and several methods for casting and delineating horary charts exist in the various flavors of astrology that are available around the globe.
Parashari, one of the systems of astrology practiced in India, attributed to the Aryans and their descendents, is somewhat similar to classical western astrology in the symbology and building blocks used, with some differences as well, such as the use of the sidereal zodiac divided into 12 signs and 27 asterismal divisions or lunar mansions. The vedic system is heavily lunar in its orientation. It supports unique systems of lunar progression and transits, for timing of events, and techniques for measuring strengths of planets etc. The system relies heavily on planetary associations and combinations known as yogas. The rising degree represents the house-mid and the three popular house systems used are entire sign as house, equal house division and Sripati's system which is identical to the quadrant-trisecting method after Porphyrii. It recommends using a chart drawn for the moment when the querist (client) approaches and poses the question to the astrologer or when the question is received by the latter. The moment of formation of the question in the querist's mind is similar to conception, whereas, its physical manifestation in the form of a spoken or written question is akin to the "moment of birth"!
By that token, the time at which the astrologer reads a horary querry in an email or message on an online service would probably be a better epoch for drawing the horary chart, rather than the time of posting of the message/email. Some might argue that the time when the querry was posted was the moment when the person was thinking intently about the issues involved and perhaps a chart drawn for that moment might better reflect the outcome of the querry. If classical wisdom can be relied upon, the recommendations are clear. The moment of transfer of the information to the astrologer is the key epoch. One way to test this would be through what is known as "mooka prushna" or "unverbalized questions"! The client lets the astrologer know that there is a question and the astrologer figures out what it is about! A very interesting and 'stress- provoking' exercise! Two charts can then be drawn for each querry, one for the time of posting of the "unposed" question (querist's coordinates) and the other one for the time and place when the email was read and analysed by the astrologer. Repeating the exercise for say a dozen times or more would hopefully give an estimate of which epoch works better. Have a ball doing that folks!
Horary astrology was given a major boost some decades ago by an Indian astrologer named Krishnamurthy who devised a unique system based on the use of several interesting indicators such as planets ruling the weekday, the asterism that the moon is in at the time of asking of the question and the ascendant rising at that instant. The system was claimed as capable of providing highly accurate readings and Krishnamurthy acknowledged having received the 'method' in the form of a divine inspiration. He decided to use the placidian house divisions with these sidereal charts, a major divergence from classical vedic astrology; moreover, he placed the rising degree at the beginning of a house and not in the middle as practiced by other jyotishis. His 'system' also had an interesting twist. Since the zodiac can be divided into 249 divisions, each ruled by a sign-lord (one per 30 deg), star-lord (one per 13 deg 20 min) and a star-sublord (variable dimensions, 40 min to 2 deg 13 min 20 sec), he often asked clients to provide a number between 1 and 249 which he used as the ascendant in a chart drawn for the moment of the querry (planetary longitudes were calculated for the moment). A client providing a number that was outside this range was told that the venture would not be a success!
Through KP, as the method was called (Krishnamurthy's Paddhati or Procedure), Krishnamurthy revealed and revived a very important fundamental concept on the indian astrological scene, that of the role of asterisms in chart analysis and particularly by refining the use and improving the usefulness of the vimshottary dasha system of timing. He must be commended for that.
The system is essentially not very different from that used for delineating any other chart as per vedic parlance. The chart is drawn by using either the numerical representative for the ascendant, or for the epoch of the querry. The planets in both cases are calculated for the moment of making the querry. The significant planets are the planet ruling over the weekday, the lords of the signs, stars and subs of the rising degree (ascendant) and the moon. The ascendant is taken to represent the client while the seventh house represents the astrologer. When the astrologer also happens to be the querist, it is interesting that at times this is indicated in the chart itself in terms of 'connectivities' between the two houses! Next, the house/houses pertaining to the question are examined and these are checked to see if they tally with the significant planets. The success or failure of the undertaking then would be indicated by the mutual agreement or disagreement between the planets. Things such as friendship (or lack thereof) between the planets concerned, their association with each other by aspect, any beneficial combinations (yogas) between relevant planets and the strength of the planets are considered. An examination of the vimshottary dasha is then made and this is used, in addtion to transits of the significant planets and stars for estimating the timing. Situations where the indicators are fewer and clear, the outcome can be expected to be better predictable. If too many conflicting influences exist, there is usually reason to believe that the issue is riddled with problems. In his writings, Krishnamurthy gave numerous examples of things such as long-distance phone calls. This might amuse the western reader who is used to dialing a number and expecting to get through right away. In India of years ago, before direct dialing became available, one had to place a call and then wait and wait and wait, often at the post- office because most people did not have personal phones. It was a big deal and Krishnamurthy used it to test his system! Perhaps we can do the same with our snail-mail here!
Krishnamurthy gave a list of houses that are involved in determining and examining diffferent areas/issues in life. I am presenting a tiny sampling here:
Once an indicator is decided upon, its situation in the horary horoscope is examined and basing on the postions and the mutual relationship between the star and sublords, success or failure is assessed. Generally, if the sublord is in an angle or trine from the houses ruled by the starlord, success is indicated, whereas, if the sublord is in the 6th, 8th or 12th from the house under examination, then delays, obstacles and failure result. Sometimes, the nature of the involved signs and planets gives a clue about the speed with which the issue would progress to a culmination. Fixed signs, earthy influences, retrograde planets and planets such as jupiter and saturn generally indicate delays, sun, venus, mars, moon and mercury represent speedy progress. The nodes (rahu and ketu) add unpredictability and suddenness, and result in uneven progress in the matters at hand.
When the question is posed, it is recommended that there should not be any distraction and the querist should meditate on the question for a while, examining all known aspects of it before placing the question. Clarity and seriousness of intent is probably rewarded with similar answers. The reasoning behind this is remarkably similar to that applicable for other kinds of divinatory procedures. The seriousness of the querist must first be examined in order to determine if the chart would hold well and represent the process adequately or not. Common sense dictates that if the two houses (1 and 7) are strong and well connected, then the communication could prove to be fruitful. A similar postiive connection between the first house (querist) and the house representing the matter under querry are strongly connected then the querry was sincere and has a higher chance of being analyzed positively.This is important, because even if the querry is about an important matter, the querist may not believe sufficiently in astrology or the astrologer and this would be reflected in the chart and could lead to a 'noisy' imprecise reading. The likelihood of this is much lower in a professional situation where the client is required to pay the astrologer and hence the idly curious are screened out to a large extent! Anyway, the astrologer at least gets compensated for the time wasted in such a half-hearted consultation!