Reflection on the Second Consideration of Bonatti.

Painting: Jan Matejko, 1872

Consideration 2: How to Ask the Question

With the second consideration, Bonatti turns his attention to the querent and the proper way to ask one’s question. Bonatti recommends intense  and heartfelt prayer to our higher power, whatever that may be, that we know the truth of the matter we are inquiring about.

He then recommends creating an area of focus around the question and concentrating on it for at least a day and a night before going to the astrologer, and in doing this, we increase the likelihood of the words of Master Jesus coming to pass, as stated in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.”

This in fact is the process used in hermetic magic. In traditional kabbalah, there is a process known as kavanah, which literally means “intention” or “sincere feeling, direction of the heart”. We create an area of focus on a specific thing and concentrate on it, and through doing so we bring the things concentrated on into manifestation.

To give a benign example, one could strongly visualize a coin of one euro, or a GB pound, or an American quarter.  We visualize the coin strongly each day over a period of time, making kavanah with it, and voilà! One day we are walking in the street, and we happen on the coin while walking. The act of finding the coin seems completely natural and can be explained away as chance. But practitioners of magic would know that the coin appeared as a result of the Path of Creation, where an intense thought form that is concentrated on over a period of time gradually takes form on the physical plane.

Equally, Bonatti advises us to make, in effect, kavanah with our horary question, first praying to know the truth of the matter and doing this with intense emotion and feeling, because we have a strong NEED to know.

And only after doing this, do we go to the astrologer and pose the question.

Bonatti adds that of course there will be times where there is a sudden need to have an answer to the question. In this case the need is so strong and the emotions and feelings of the querent so high that the question, once posed, will be answered.

Bonatti then warns that there are many foolish people who will not make the necessary preparations for posing their question and phrase their query in such a way that it does not get at the truth of what the querent really wants to know. And then the querent blames the astrologer when the given answer is ambiguous. 

In short, Bonatti’s advice for us is that for a clear and precise answer to our question, it is best that the question comes from a sincere and deeply felt need to know.

Reflection on the First Consideration of Bonatti

I did a contemplation on the First Consideration of Guido Bonatti’s 146 Considerations. Below are my notes of the contemplation.

Guido Bonatti was one of the most famous of medieval astrologers. An advisor to important politicians in 13th Century Italy, his astrological advice influenced key events in his tumultuous times. He was so well known and influential that Dante includes him in the Inferno!

The translation I used was that of Benjamin N. Dykes (Cazimi press 2010). If you don’t have a copy, you can find an online translation by Henry Coley (1675) of the 146 Considerations here.

Reflection on the First Consideration:

In this consideration Bonatti explains how it is we can ask a horary question at a seemingly random time, cast a chart for that time, and that we somehow get an answer from the apparently arbitrary configurations of the planets in relation to the constellation of stars.

Bonatti’s explanation has three components:

He says that the explanation must first come from the querent’s Soul. The querent is “moved by his intention to pose a question”. Essentially, this means that the querent must be emotionally involved with the question, the more pressing the need, the better the answer. Frivolous questions are likely to get a frivolous response, as are questions asked from idle curiosity.

Bonatti goes on to say that the second component is, of course, the planets and constellations themselves and their movement.

He finishes by saying that it is the “stars” themselves that prompt the querent to ask the question. That the question would not have come to the surface of consciousness unless the stars were positioned in such a way that this could happen.

Finally, Bonatti gives us the third component. He says that it isn’t enough to have the original thought or impulse concerning the question, nor will an astrological configuration favorable to answering the question be enough to result in a horary chart. The final ingredient concerns the will of the querent to act on the motivation one receives from within, in combination with the configuration of the various astrological objects in the sky and what they represent.

Yet, Bonatti does not halt his inquiry there. He delves deeper, probing the dialectic between human volition and cosmic configuration. It is not merely the inception of thought nor the fortuitous alignment of astral bodies that precipitates the birth of a horary chart. Rather, it is the fusion of inner impetus with celestial alignment—the harmonious resonance of human will with cosmic intent—that catalyzes the gestation of inquiry. Bonatti unveils the ineffable synthesis of human will and cosmic resonance—a cosmic alchemy wherein the querent’s inner impulse converges with the celestial symphony.

When the motivation of the querent and that of the stars perfectly align, the querent takes action and brings the question to the astrologer. The precise moment that the astrologer understands the question is the moment that the chart is cast.

This moment falls within the realm of fate, which was set in motion by the subtle thought or nudge emanating from the querent’s Soul until gradually taking on form until it is finally engraved upon the querent’s field of consciousness. The universe takes notice and events unfold on the outer in a seemly “natural” way that by the time the querent takes the question to the astrologer and the astrologer has understood the question, the stars have moved into perfect alignment, and the question is answered.  

R. Redmond Chatham – Paris, March 2024.

Upcoming workshop at Astrological Lodge of London

I’m giving a 3-part series of Zoom workshops on house division at the Astrological Lodge of London.

Each workshop is one hour in length, the first is next Monday 25 September at 8:30pm, London time. The subsequent two parts of the workshop are on the following Mondays at the same time, 2 Oct & 9 Oct.

In these workshops, we’ll look at the astronomy behind house division calculation. While there is no math involved, we will look at the celestial circles used in calculating the house cusps and learn to identify them, and then discuss their symbolic implications with respect to chart interpretation.

These workshops do not take a position on a “best” house system. We simply look at the major ones used in ancient, medieval and modern times and consider how they are calculated, we’ll look at their respective differences, and how those differences might affect astrological symbolism.

There is a good deal of information to assimilate and discuss, so rather than try to do it in one go, we’ve split the workshop into three parts:

On 25 September, we’ll do Part 1, where we will look in detail at how the ecliptic based house systems are calculated (WSH, equal and Porphyry), and the symbolic implications of using the ecliptic as the primary celestial circle used in calculating a house system.

Part 2 (held on 2 Oct.) will cover space-based house systems such as Meridian, Regiomontanus and Campanus, and Part 3 (9 Oct.) will cover the time-based systems such as Alcabitius semi-arc, Placidus and Koch.

I’ll post details of how to register for the workshops shortly.

The fees per lecture are as follows:

Lodge Members £8, Concessions £6 – Non-Members £12, Concessions £8.

Astrologer Mary English interviews Rhys.

British astrologer Mary English interviews Rhys for her podcast.

Many astrologers have side gigs that they do in addition to astrology. Some of us are also psychologists, we have some homeopaths, stock analysts, also psychiatrists; I know of at least one astrologer who, when no one is looking, is a lawyer!

Astrologer Mary English outed me in my other line of work in this talk that we had recently on her podcast. Learn the shocking truth here…

In this interview, I speak about my background as an astrologer and stay away from overly technical topics. Mary and I speak about astrology in its broad strokes.

Here is the link to the podcast.

And here is a video version of the podcast:


Interview with Rhys by Ana Isabel at LifeAstrologer

Why are there so many astrological house systems and why should they create so much controversy?

In this conversation with Ana Isabel of LifeAstrologer, Rhys Chatham discusses how the various house systems evolved and the different ways in which they have been used.

Rhys Chatham Replay: House Division and Celestial Spheres

The replay link is below for this month’s AFAN Community Workshop with Rhys Chatham on ‘Astrological House Division and the Symbolism of the Celestial Circles.’ Rhys explained how the major house division systems are calculated in a way that does not require any math.

Rather than advocate the use of one house system over another, Rhys compared them and looked at the various celestial circles they are based on. He guided us through the symbolic implications of each of house system and how they might impact your chart interpretation.

In the workshop Rhys taught what distinguishes one house system from another, allowing you to make informed choices on which ones to use, for what, and when.

The house systems covered in the workshop included the ecliptic-based (whole sign, equal and Porphyry), space-based (Meridian, Regiomontanus, Campanus), and time-based houses (Alcabitius, Koch and Placidus).

New Article by Rhys in The Evolving Astrologer.

March Equinox Issue

I have a piece on Astrological House Division in the current issue of The Evolving Astrologer (formerly known as the Career Astrologer). This magazine is published by the Organization for Professional Astrology (OPA). It is directed at all those interested in Astrology, newcomers and professionals alike.

Click here to download a PDF version of the magazine. My article appears on page 48-55.

Rhys gives a Zoom talk at AFAN on Saturday, 1 April

For your ticket and Zoom codes, click here.

Saturday, 1 April at:

  • 10AM EDT (East coast-USA),
  • -3PM (Ireland, UK, Portugal),
  • 4PM (Amsterdam, Berlin, Oslo, Paris, Rome).

Rhys Chatham explains how the major house division systems are calculated in a way that does not require any math.

Rather than advocate the use of one house system over another, we will simply compare them and look at the various celestial circles they are based on, reflecting upon the symbolic implications of each of them and how they might impact on chart interpretation. We’ll discuss what distinguishes one house system from another, allowing you to make informed choices on which ones to use, for what, and when.

In this talk we will cover the ecliptic-based (whole sign, equal and Porphyry), space-based (Meridian, Regiomontanus, Campanus), and time-based houses (Alcabitius, Koch and Placidus).

It’s free! If you would like to attend, click on the site (below) to register and get your ticket and Zoom codes.

House division systems are based on different celestial circles. After a quick review of the astronomy, we’ll discuss those differences and look at how they might affect chart delineation on both symbolic and practical levels.

Wm Lilly on 3rd House questions (Is the Rumour True?)

Lilly on 3rd house questions:

Christian Astrology (CA) pp. 188-192


Lilly says that while there are many demands which may be made concerning questions to the 3rd House, the principle ones concern:

  • The querent’s brethren, brothers/sisters/close relatives that aren’t parents. Is the relationship between the querent and them harmonious or not?
  • What of a brother or sister who is absent?  Are they alive or dead? Are they prosperous or not? Are they happy? When is the querent likely to have news of them? Are they likely to come back home, and if so, when?
  • Another question covered is whether the querent will have brothers and sisters.  And if so, will he get along with them?

How to judge these questions:

  1. If the question concerns brethren, look at L1 for the querent and L3 for the quesited. Look at the condition of both of the lords and see what condition they are in. See if there is an aspect between them and if there is, is it good or bad? In this way, one can answer the above questions.
  2. Also look at the concerned houses, e.g. if a malefic or the south node is places in the 1st House, it shows there are problems with the querent.  If they are in the third house, then the kindred is the problem.
  3. To learn more about the condition of the kindred, turn the houses so that the third house represents the kindred and becomes the Ascendant or 1st house.  So the radical 5th House becomes the turned or derived 2nd house, etc.


On another topic, on CA page 192-194 we cover the topic of whether a rumor be true or false. 

While rumors are attributed to the third house and its Lord or Lady, Lilly has us consider the angles, the Moon and Mercury among other things; the rules are a bit complicated and often involves bringing other houses into the picture.

Reports, News, Intelligence or Fears?  Are they true or false? Do they signify good or evil? (CA pg 192)

  • Lilly found that during a time of war that the rumor was true IF the Moon in either H1, H3, H10, or H11 separates by a benevolent aspect from any planet, and then applying by sextile, trine or conjunction to the Lord of the Ascendant.
  • However, if the Moon applied to L7 by any good aspect, enemies would have the victory.
  • If the Moon was void of course, the rumor would come to nothing or be a lie or false.
  • If both Moon and Mercury were square or in opposition to each other, and neither of them cast a sextile or trine to L1, the news was false.

Also, from CA page 193:

If at any time you hear some news and want to know if it is prejudicial to you…
It will not be detrimental to you if:

  • Jupiter or Venus is in the Ascendant
  • Or if the Moon or Mercury be in their essential dignities and in trine or sextile to L11

It will be detrimental to you (or to whom the news concerns)  if:

  • L6, L8, or L12 is in the first house or in bad aspect to L1.
  • Or if Mars or Saturn is retrograde in H1, or in hard aspect with L1, or casting a square or opposition to the Ascendant degree.
  • If Saturn signifies the mischief: country friends have been plundered, cattle stolen
  • If Mars, someone has been cut off (“straggling parties”)
  • Mercury: letters have miscarried.
  • Jupiter or Venus (involved gentlefolk)
  • Lilly says to use common sense.

If counsel or advice given is good or evil? CA pg 194

If the rumors be true or false according to the ancients:

The rumors are true if:

  • Consider L1 and the Moon, if they are in an angle,
  • or if the dispositor of the Moon is in an angle and in a fixed sign,
  • or if any of these be in a succedent house and fixed sign,
  • or in good aspect with a fortunate planet i.e. sextile or trine with Jupiter, Venus or the Sun

Judge to the contrary if:

  • L1 is afflicted by Infortunes
  • Or in a cadent house
    even if strong in sign (essentially strong.)

Pg 194 – Rumors are for the most part true when:

  • Angles in figure are in fixed signs, separating from Infortunes and applying to any fortunate planet, placed in any angle. Moon and mercury in fixed signs separating from Infortunes and in an angle.

If the Angles of H4 & H10 be fixed and the Moon received in them (i.e. the Moon is in one of those houses?)

Rumors of evil will be false or turn into good things if:

  • If one hears evil or bad news yet one of the fortunes is in H1 or the Moon be unfortunate, it is a strong argument that the rumor is false, and they will turn to good rather than evil.
  • If Mercury is retrograde or in any other way afflicted, or of that planet to whom the Moon applies (that it be retrograde?), or to whom Mercury applies, esp. if either of those two are lords of the Ascendant.

If L1 is under the beams of the Sun the matter shall be kept secret and few will ever know the truth of it.

Of counsel given, whether it be for good or evil.

Counsel is given with an honest heart if:

  • Fortunate planet at MC or in H10 i.e. Sun, Jupiter, Venus or North node, otherwise Moon applying to L1

Counsel is given with malintent if:

  • Saturn, Mars or south node in in H10.
  • Also, if the Ascendant is moveable (cardinal), the person giving the counsel is deceitful or treacherous.

Short Journeys:

  • By this Lilly means journey that only takes a day or so.
  • Is it a good idea to take the journey?

Other third house topics:

  • Neighbors and our local neighborhood.
  • Travel made on a regular basis.
  • Letters, rumors, reports, messages, communications generally.
  • Contracts, deeds,.
  • Speeches and debates.
  • An afflicted 3rd House in relationship questions suggests communication problems or mental incompatibility. In business questions it indicates contractual problems.  Mars in H3 and indicate arguments, Saturn an inability to communicate.