©2013 J. Lee Lehman, PhD
There is currently a controversy ranging among classical horary astrologers over the question of how to do job horaries. The controversy is essentially this: the ancient sources gave slavery to the 6th house, not jobs. The ancient sources gave “preferment” to the 10th house. Therefore, job questions are a matter of the 10th house. So: what is the controversy?
Well, I have to admit that I have been at the receiving end of this one, because that is not how I laid things out in Martial Art of Horary Astrology (MAHA). So let me reconsider these matters, but let me also say that I have always believed that it is more important for a horary practitioner to be internally consistent than to always follow my advice! Accordingly, I will leave your conclusions to you, only please be systematic with them.
Modern astrologers are split in their attributions. In the posthumous edition of her work in 1942, Geraldine Davis gave the 6th house to servants and tenants, and the 10th house to getting, continuing, or leaving a job. In her section on the 10th house, she refers to the 10th as relating to the career or business that the person is in.1 Robert DeLuce, originally writing in 1932, gives essentially the same attribution, with the 10th house being given for promotions. The one interesting wrinkle in his case was the use of the 9th for corporations.2 Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson gave an employment example in the 6th house, but it is for the engagement of a servant. She gave questions of trade or profession, as well as whether the Querent would get a particular job, to the 10th.3
It is with Barbara Watters that we see:
“The Sixth House rules the querent's employment, the general condition of his health, his tenants, employees, and servants. In an event chart it rules the same things for the person who initiates the action. Thus, in this case, there is an overlapping of values. For instance, in the event that someone offers the querent a job, it is a sixth house matter for both of them: a job for the querent, an employee for the person who offered it.”4
How, we may ask, did Watters reach this conclusion? First, I think we need to dispense with the polemical approach and state baldly: to a classical astrologer, modern astrology is not the enemy. I would call to your attention this quotation from Charles E.O. Carter. In an editorial in 1945, Carter said:
“Most astrologers probably possess Zadkiel's Grammar, published in 1910 by G. Bell & Sons together with Lilly's Introduction;...”5
This simple statement reminds us of something amazingly important. While modern students of Lilly reject that particular version as an unfortunate abridgment, Carter's reference to its ubiquity reminds us that through the 1940's, just about every serious student of astrology in Britain if not other English-speaking countries had a decent, if not wonderful, introduction to classical methods sitting right on their bookshelves. This means that all these modern horary astrologers I have quoted so far had access to the classical tradition – if they chose to read it and use it. So we cannot presume that Watters made this shift the the 6th out of historical ignorance. It was really only the astrologers who came of age in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s who could do so without being at least exposed to classical techniques. This requires deeper thought.
To extend what I argued in MAHA, the problem with our analysis of jobs is that what we forget is that our current understanding of them is completely a result of our living in a time after the industrial revolution. The references in the ancient texts to preferment describe exactly the world of what we now call the 1% - lived in a pre-industrial world in which energy was a scant commodity: something provided only by wind, water, animals, and yes, slaves, serfs and servants. In these energy-poor societies, the vast majority of people lived lives of brutally hard physical labor while only a tiny portion could ever even conceive of asking a horary question about choosing a profession! If your father was a serf or a slave, what was your future profession? Professions were for the younger sons of the very small middle and upper classes.
And that brings us back to the 10th house. That's the king, of course. And how did these systems of profession work, pray tell? Through the king, of course – or his equivalent! If I were a lord with three sons, then primogeniture reserves my rank and position for my eldest son, but what of the other two? As a lord, I can speak to my friend the Admiral, and get my second son his officer's commission in the navy, should that look like a good fit. I talk to the Cardinal and buy my third son a bishop's mitre. Now that's what used to be called a preferment – a boon granted by a nobleman or royalty to my son, based on bonds of friendship and loyalty – nepotism, in our current parlance. I work hard on my liege lord's behalf, and I am rewarded in lands or plum positions for my sons or relatives – that's how the 10th house works.
If you go back and read Plato's Republic you will see the utopian vision for the 1% in action – it is, as we would say, the rich white men who benefit from this form of government. The women are shared communally by the men – not that they were asked - and the society depends on slave labor. Very edifying.
Meanwhile, in the emerging towns of the Middle Ages, we observe the beginnings of the professional crafts and the guilds. How did this work? To a degree, this system of apprenticeship allowed some social mobility and flexibility. A candle maker's son might not end up a candle maker, but perhaps a blacksmith or a baker: Lilly gives a table of trades for the 10th house associated with this class of people, but the bulk of his discussion is of officers, which are people of the higher classes being given boons in the usual way.6
But here's the thing: if the child succeeds and climbs the guild ladder to journeyman and then to master, what he achieves is to set up his own house: he becomes that 10th house person by going into business by and for himself. But if he does not succeed, but first stays an apprentice for a long time, and then only grudgingly makes it to journeyman, where now is his “profession?”
In Lilly's day, the industrial revolution was just beginning. Coal was being used for heating, but its use in driving steam engines was a matter for the following century. Along with land reform and enclosure, industrialization would drive a large proportion of the population permanently from rural to urban venues, changing entirely the meaning of “job” and “employment.”
Read about the condition of the workers in early factories and tell me this is different from the slaves and serfs of the Middle Ages? Workers, often children, confined in buildings for long hours at pay levels that were, as we would say, below the poverty line? Were these children or their parents asking horary astrologers about their “professions?” I think not!
Even if conditions for factory workers, and later office workers, have improved in the developed countries, we still see these stark conditions every year in industrial accidents in the developing world, whether a garment factory collapse in Bangladesh, or the Chinese poultry plant fire. On this point, anyway, the Marxists were right: it is radically different to own your means of production than to work for someone else.
This may be the clearest distinction between the 6th house and the 10th house: ownership. As I indicated in MAHA, there are other ways to relate to a job, the independent contractor (7th house) being the most common.7 But I think we do people a tremendous disservice, especially in an economically fragile period, to job-inflate their horaries by implying that their circumstances allow more choice than they do. I might add that the use of the 10th for a job question for the typical employee in our modern sense also removes the ability to see the boss as an integral part of the question – there is no house to represent this person, who would be in a clear 10th house relationship. The absence of consideration of the boss in the earlier works is actually a demonstration of how different the circumstances of the 10th house preferment idea was. In Lilly's day, a nobleman might grant a retainer a tract of land – which would then generate revenue by being farmed or leased. The retainer now becomes the 10th house person relative to this gift property or title: a petty nobleman himself. This extension of the feudal society set up personal links of service and reward for the people at the upper end of the hierarchy. Serfs were not included in this largesse.
The closest modern example of a 10th house preferment is in receiving a grant. Here, a granting body – whether an individual, a government, or a foundation – gifts the individual with money, which is then used to create something, whether skill, widget, idea, or artwork. The grant is not expected to be paid back – it is a true gift.
By contrast, a person can work an employee of a company for thirty or forty years and retire as, what? A former employee, not an owner. This doesn't preclude a comfortable life for the employee, a decent standard of living. But it is not ownership. Ownership is the 10th house.
1Davis, Geraldine, and John Bradford. A Modern Scientific Textbook on Horary Astrology, with Authentic Charts and Predictions. Los Angeles: First Temple of Astrology, 1970, pp 181-182; 242-246.
2DeLuce, Robert. Horary Astrology : The Answering of Specific Questions. New York: ASI Publishers, 1978, pp. 92; 107-113; 156-160.
3Goldstein-Jacobson, Ivy M. Simplified Horary Astrology. Alhambra, CA: Frank Severy Publishing, 1960, pp. 185, 252-253..
4Watters, Barbara H. Horary Astrology and the Judgment of Events. [Washington]: Valhalla, 1973, p. 64. Also see pp. 125-132 for examples.
5 Astrological Quarterly, Vol 19(1):1.
6Lilly, William. Christian Astrology Modestly Treated of in Three Books : The First Containing the Use of an Ephemeris, the Erecting of a Scheam of Heaven, Nature of the Twelve Signs of the Zodiack, of the Planets, with a Most Easie Introduction to the Whole Art of Astrology : The Second, by a Most Methodicall Way, Instructeth the Student How to Judge or Resolve All Manner of Questions Contingent Unto Man, Viz., of Health, Sicknesse, Riches, Marriage ... : The Third Containes an Exact Method Whereby to Judge Upon Nativities. London: Printed by, 1647, pp. 444-451.
7Lehman, J. Lee. Martial Art of Horary Astrology. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Press., 2002, p. 177.