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Arguments for Recovery
Arguments against Recovery
Time of Recovery
Where it is
How it was Lost
Example Charts
About the Author

Where is it? By Deborah Houlding

Using astrology to locate missing objects is a specialty of horary and one of its most practical applications. But remember, if the chart is drawn for a passing whim, a matter of minor irritation or simply out of a curiosity to test its rules, it is unlikely to result in a clear and vibrant chart. Horary works best when responsive to sincere probing of a matter of significance accompanied by a real 'need to know'. So we would expect the querent to have already exhausted the normal means to finding lost items (a thorough search, a step-by-step recollection of actions, etc), and to feel a sense of disturbance or anxiety over the loss.

Whether recognised or not, the first part of any question designed to find a mislaid object is 'will I get it back?'. Indications for recovery would be shown by the strength and vivacity of the significator of the missing object or some sort of promising contact between the significator of the querent and the object lost. In the absence of such there is little promise of recovery, and if the chart is showing that the object is beyond recovery then obviously little purpose is served in trying to describe its location.

Assuming that there are encouraging signs of retrieval, the symbolism involved in the planetary positions and contacts will describe where the object is located. Putting equal emphasis on every contradictory factor will only confuse your judgement so look for themes or indications which are highlighted through repetition. Also, don't ignore your intuition; let it guide you - the discovery of lost objects is a divinatory are which requires familiarity with the rules and a certain degree of gut instinct.

Here are the main considerations to bear in mind:


  • The querent is symbolised by the ascendant, its ruler, and the Moon, but remember that the Moon is also a natural significator for anything lost.

  • All moveable possessions, from calculators to cars, are signified by the 2nd house and its ruler. Fortuna is also significant.

  • The sign on the cusp of the 4th house and its ruler help to describe the locality of the item and in particular the quality of ground it lies upon.

  • Consider the natural significator for the object in question:

    • The position of Mercury is often relevant for passports, coins, papers, tickets, etc;

    • Venus for ornaments, jewelry, clothes, handbags;

    • Mars for knives, weapons, engines, brass, red objects, or articles connected to heat and fire;

    • Jupiter for religious artifacts and items connected with wealth, (bank books) or law, knowledge and philosophy;

    • Saturn for objects made of leather, old things, dark or heavy things, items made of lead or earthy materials, agricultural implements, etc;

    • the Sun for valuable things, precious stones, grand articles and items made of gold;

    • the Moon for glassware and crockery, pearls, mirrors, pale or white things, items made of silver, antiques and common everyday objects, etc.

Arguments for Recovery

  • Application from the Moon to the ascendant or its ruler.

  • Application from the Moon or 2nd-ruler to the 2nd house or its ruler, or to a planet in the 2nd, or to Fortuna.

  • Application from the Moon to its own dispositor.

  • The Sun and Moon aspecting each other or the cusp of the 2nd house by trine.

  • The Sun and Moon aspecting each other by any aspect out of angles.

  • The Sun in the ascendant (unless in Libra or Aquarius, where it is debilitated).

  • The Moon, 2nd-ruler, asc-ruler or a fortune (Jupiter, Venus, Fortuna, North Node) placed in the ascendant, 2nd house or 4th house.

  • 2nd-ruler in the 10th or 11th shows the object is near the querent or is being kept by a friend.

  • The Moon aspecting a fortune shows the item is in the safe keeping of an honest person who will return it. (Especially if the fortune also aspects the ascendant or asc-ruler.)

  • The Moon or 2nd-ruler angular.

Arguments against Recovery

  • Both Sun and Moon 'under the earth'.

  • The Moon or 2nd-ruler cadent or far from the querent's significator.

  • The Moon or 2nd-ruler in the 7th or 8th house, aspected by the ruler of the 7th - this suggests the missing item has been stolen (the 7th house indicating that it has been taken by another, the 8th house indicating that person has already sold it or profited by it).

  • Fortuna or the Moon disposed by an infortune (Mars, Saturn, South Node, Uranus), or an infortune in the ascendant or 2nd house. Infortunes suggest loss or damage to the goods.
  • The same is indicated by affliction of the 2nd house cusp.

  • The Moon or 2nd ruler 'under Sun's beams', combust, in the 8th or applying to 8th-ruler.

  • The Moon or 2nd-ruler separating from its own dispositor.

  • The Moon or 2nd ruler aspecting an infortune - it has fallen into the possession of a dishonest person who will keep it. (Especially if the infortune also aspects the ascendant or asc-ruler.)

Timing the Recovery

Judge by the application of the two planets signifying recovery. The number of degrees between them determine the hours, days, weeks, months, etc., to pass. If they are quick in motion it hastens time. If one is angular the recovery is quick. If one is retrograde, so that they mutually apply, the recovery will be sudden and unexpected. Moveable (ie, cardinal) signs show the shortest time span, common (mutable) signs longer, fixed signs longest of all.

Where it is

Fire = East
Earth = South
Air = West
Water = North.
In particular, each sign indicates the following:

Aries East Cancer North Libra West Capricorn South
Taurus South by East Leo East by North Scorpio North by East Aquarius West by North
Gemini West by South Virgo South by West Sagittarius East by South Pisces North by West

The houses represent the following directions:

1 : East 4 : North 7 : West 10 : South
2 : E-N-E 5 : N-N-W 8 : W-S-W 11 : S-S-E
3 : N-N-E 6 : W-N-W 9 : S-S-W 12 : E-S-E

Lilly's advice on finding the direction of a lost object was to consider:
  • the sign on the ascendant and its ruler,
  • the sign on the 2nd cusp and its ruler,
  • the sign on the 4th cusp and its ruler,
  • the Moon,
  • Fortuna
... and to judge according to the greater testimonies.

He also considered the 'quarter' of the Moon to be very relevant, particularly when the Moon is angular. As in the directions of houses:
  • near the ascendant points east,
  • near the MC south,
  • the descendant west,
  • the IC north.
Angular houses - the significator for the missing item angular shows that it is near its owner, and suggests a quick recovery.

Succedent houses - show the missing item to be some way off but not too far. It could also indicate that it is to the right

Cadent houses - show it is a long way off and unlikely to be found. If other testimonies are promising a recovery, it may show it is to the left.

  • if the Moon or 2nd-ruler is within 30° of asc-ruler, the missing item is at home, or somewhere near the querent.

  • If the 2nd-ruler is in the ascendant, or in the same sign as the asc-ruler, or is situated in one of the signs it rules, it is where the querent spends most time.

  • The 10th shows the place of work, the 7th the property of a partner, the 4th the oldest part of the house or the property of the querent' s father, or places where elderly people spend their time.

  • Signs cusps can be symbolic of boundaries. For example, a significator changing signs may show the missing item is behind something, near a boundary or near the joining of two rooms.
Fire signs indicate places near heat or fire: near chimneys or radiators or where fires have been, near iron or the walls and partitions of a house - or east.

Earth signs indicate places on the ground, under or near the pavement or floor, near mud or clay - or south.

Water signs indicate places near water: bathrooms, kitchens, moist places in the room. In the garden, places near pits, cisterns, ponds, etc., - or north.

Air signs indicate places of high elevation or locations with an open view: the upper part of rooms or places near the top of the house, near windows or sources of light. Outside they indicate locations high from the ground, or higher than the ordinary ground; the highest hill or hanging on a tree - or west.

Moveable (cardinal) signs show high places, lofts, upper rooms, newly erected buildings or newly worked land, hilly countryside. Places where there is a lot of movement or change. The significator of the property in a moveable sign generally shows that it is not far from its owner.

Fixed signs indicate woods, parks, low places, near the earth, well hidden, or on level ground.

Common (mutable) signs indicate places near water, the eaves of houses, covered places, closets, antechambers and rooms within rooms. The significator of the property in a common sign can also indicate that it is inside the home.

Humane signs (Gemini, Virgo, Libra, Aquarius) indicate that the lost object will be found in a place frequented by people -such as the home, rather than outside in a secluded area.

The signs and planets indicate the following:

Aries Roof coverings, ceilings, plastering in houses. Unfrequented places, sandy or hilly ground. Aquarius Hilly, uneven places, quarries & Mines. High places, the attic, roof, and upper part of all rooms.
Taurus Low rooms and cellars, places near the earth, agricultural outhouses, sheds and stables. Pisces Bathroom, kitchen, near wells and pumps, all damp places, rivers, fishponds.
Gemini Chests, high places, panelled rooms, offices and near office or communication equipment. Areas where games are played. Saturn Dark & old places, or stinking, desolate places - woods, caves, dens, coal-mines, near boundaries.
Cancer Near ponds or water, utility rooms, wash houses, bathrooms, kitchens, cisterns. Jupiter Wardrobes, pleasant woods, churches, law courts, places which are neat & orderly.
Leo Woods, parks, magnificent buildings and palaces, near the chimney or a source of heat. Mars The kitchen (near stove), boiler rooms, furnaces, chimneys, slaughter houses, forges.
Virgo Studies, closets, storage areas, drawers, barns, dairy houses, places where corn or crops are processed & stored. Sun Reception rooms, the hall, cloisters, or near men's things. The dining room, theatres, palaces, magnificent places.
Libra Windmills, barns, where wood is cut. The upper rooms in houses, chambers, little houses and closets. Venus Play rooms, places of enjoyment, clothes, wardrobes, beds, draperies, near women's things, fountains.
Scorpio Near muddy or stagnant water, gutters, sinks, the kitchen & bathroom, ruins, compost heaps, dark or secret places. Mercury Shops, markets, schools, tennis courts, bowling allies, near pictures, writing instruments, books, papers.
Sagittarius High lands or grounds, upper rooms or near the fire or radiator, stables, hills. Moon Baths, toilets, cellars and places of water. Rivers, harbours, etc. Near mirrors or women's things.
Capricorn Low, dark places, near thresholds and boundaries. Cow sheds, wood stores, barren fields. North Node
South Node
High places, stairs and ladders.
Animal sheds, kennels, or wood stores.

How it was Lost

How the goods have become lost is judged from the last aspect of the asc-ruler. For example, Lilly says if it separates from Saturn, it may be due to forgetfulness; from Jupiter an excess of care or a reorganisation of household affairs; from Mars through fear, anger, fury, or fire; from the Sun by means of a gentleman or person of authority; from Venus through drinking, gambling, play, or a young woman; from Mercury through a connection with writing or messages; from the Moon through frequent, everyday use, or by means of a messenger, widow or mature woman.

Example Charts

[If you are studyng horary, try making notes on these example charts to see what you could have judged, before reading the astrologer's analysis.]

Will I find my money or is it lost?

Judged by Sharon Knight

Where is the money?

The previous Saturday I had several hundred pounds in my purse, ready to bank first thing Monday morning. As I was going shopping, my mother advised me to leave the money at home. I remembered taking it out of my purse but had no recollection of what I did with it next.

Whilst shopping, I noticed at one stage that my handbag was open but did not think anymore about it. On the Monday morning I went to the bank to pay the money in, and realised that it was not in my purse or my bag. My parents turned their house upside down, looking in books, under the bed, in every cupboard, but to no avail. I tried to think what I had done with it but could only recall putting it back in the top of my bag. I feared it was stolen or had dropped from my bag.

On the Thursday morning I decided to draw up a horary to see whether or not my money had been stolen and what hopes I had of recovering it.

 Read Judgement

Where is my sapphire ring?

Judged by Deborah Houlding

Where is my ring?

The querent, a French woman, was visiting one of my clients on a working holiday in London, and had contacted me at her suggestion. From the start she was keen to tell me of an incident that preceded the loss of a valuable sapphire ring. Just before flying over to England the querent had visited her daughter in Paris, and she related how she and her daughter had been having breakfast together on a pavement café, when she had noticed a strange man staring at her Sapphire ring and giving it what she called 'the evil eye'. As this continued she became so conscious of a bad feeling that she had turned the ring around on her finger, (so that the stone was on the inside of her hand), and had commented to her daughter about how uncomfortable she felt, and that she had a foreboding sense that something bad was going to happen to the ring.

She remembered that later she had removed this and another valuable ruby ring in the bathroom of her daughter's flat as she washed shortly before her journey to the airport, but after that she had no recollection of what she had done with either ring. Her first concern was when she unpacked in London, for she found the ruby ring lying carelessly at the bottom of her suitcase, but with no sign of the sapphire ring. After checking her suitcase thoroughly and searching carefully through her room, she became very concerned.

Before contacting me the querent had already telephoned her daughter in Paris, who had searched her flat, and had assured the querent that the ring was certainly not there. At this point I was asked if I could shed any light on the matter.

 Read Judgement

Where is the hook?

Judged by Max J. Pokus

Where is the hook?

Several assorted fruit trees had ripened simultaneously and in the rush I had mislaid a bucket hook. Unable to find it, I drew up this horary chart for help.

 Read Judgement

Where did I lose my glasses?

Judged by Deborah Houlding

Where did I lose my glasses?

When this question was asked, in 1989, astrology was a part time interest; my main occupation was retailing ladies fashionwear. The querent was a new member of staff at one of the wholesalers where I purchased my stock. He had been told of my interest in astrology and came over to ask if I might be able to help him locate his glasses, which were quite expensive and had been mislaid several days before.

 Read Judgement

Where is my diamond earring?

Judged by Sharon Knight

Where is my diamond earring?

I had lost one of my diamond earrings and drew up a horary to find out where it was.

 Read Judgement

Deborah HouldingDeborah Houlding is the web mistress of the Skyscript site. The past editor of The Traditional Astrologer magazine, and author of The Houses: Temples of the Sky, her articles feature regularly in astrological journals. She has a particular interest in researching the origin and development of astrological technique and as a consulting astrologer specialises in horary. She is the principal of the STA school of traditional horary astrology, which offers courses by correspondence and intensive residential seminars.

© Deborah Houlding. This article is adapted from one which first appeared in print in The Traditional Astrologer Magazine, Issue 4, Spring 1994. Copyright for judgements belong to the astrologers indicated.

Horary Astrology