Lost object horary: Where are my car keys?

Early last week, I realized that my primary set of car keys was missing – the bulkier ring with all my discount shopping cards. I’d been relying on the other set, since they were at hand, and simply didn’t notice that the primary set wasn’t in the right place. I also couldn’t remember the last time I had used them.

It seemed most likely that the keys were somewhere in the house. But a very thorough search – in drawers, pockets, in and underneath furniture, the car itself, my office – turned up nothing. My partner had been doing a lot of our driving, so it was possible that I had left my “shopping” set behind at a store sometime in prior week or two. Ugh.

It occurred to me several times that I might ask a horary. But I have never been very successful with lost item questions, and in any event the time never felt quite right. Then, yesterday, after another fruitless, frustrating ransacking of both my home and my memory, I realized that the sincerity and emotion were both there. The moment suddenly felt ripe for horary.

Question: Where are my car keys?

August 18, 2012
10:17 AM EDT

ASC: 14 Libra 14         Day of: Saturn
Moon: 7 Virgo 48       Hour of: Moon
Moon from: conj. Sun (tri. Pluto, opp. Neptune)
Moon to: sext. Venus, sq. Jupiter

The chart does appear to show a radical question. The planetary hour ruler Moon and Venus/1-ruler agree in their humoral qualities (cold/moist)  and are in a sextile with reception. Check.

Saturn in the 1st house could be a problem (CA 122), indicating discouragement or fatigue, making it harder to persist in the search. Saturn is also in a very tight conjunction with an exiled Mars, which is surely a lot of maleficence in the 1st. That being said, these planets capture my frustration at the time of the question, as I had just come away from another frantic, unsuccessful search. Also, Saturn and Mars have signification in the question, ruling the 4th and 2nd houses respectively. As there are no other Considerations active, and the angles well attested, I can expect the chart to give a forthright answer.

My significator Venus is in her triplicity, cadent in the 9th house but elevated near the cusp of the 10th. This correctly describes me as connected professionally to a religious community, working out of my office at home. Venus’ most recent Ptolemaic aspect to a visible planet was a conjunction with the Moon at 5 Cancer, indicating loss through everyday use, which is hardly a useful insight. Apart from that, Venus has been void of course for a month, her previous aspect being a sextile of Mercury, natural ruler of travel and accidental ruler of the 9th house of religion. These are useful clues.

Mars, ruler of the 2nd house, has taken over rulership of the car keys: appropriate for an object that must be inserted to work. The Moon shares in signification as well as assisting with timing. But the Moon is also disposited by Mercury/9-ruler; and it may be worth taking note of her partile trine of Pluto in the 3rd house of short journeys, as well as her wider opposition of Neptune, suggestive of absentmindedness or confusion.

Will the keys be found? Much to my surprise, given how hard I had already looked, the chart fairly shouts yes. The Luminaries are both above the earth in a powerful house (11th). At the same time, the Moon applies to 1-ruler, benefic Venus and sextiles the 2nd house cusp, while the North Node benefits the 2nd house itself – all classic arguments for recovery.

Additionally, Mars/2-ruler is in the 1st house, partilely conjunct the Part of Fortune, and receiving an illuminating partile sextile from the Sun in his own domicile. This is not only strong evidence that I will find the keys but that they are at hand. I will have to apply myself thoughtfully to the search – Mars is conjunct Saturn – but I am virtually guaranteed success.

Which takes us to the more perplexing matter of where. For this, we study three significators: 1) the ruler of the 2nd house, 2) the Moon and 3) the 4th house, which tell us about the environment in which the lost item will be found.

  1. Mars/2-ruler is angular in the 1st house. This puts the keys nearby in a place where I spend a lot of time or keep my personal belongings. The strong Libra emphasis in the 1st house (Mars, Saturn, Part of Fortune) indicates upper rooms, the bedchamber, closet or wardrobe, and places associated with Venus things – clothing, personal accessories, jewelry. Mars’ conjunction with the Part of Fortune places the keys somewhere that valuables are kept.
  2. The Moon is in Virgo, a double-bodied earth sign. This testimony directs our attention to studies, closets and storage areas, or inside something like a pocket or container (Virgo), places near the ground or floor (earth), and within the house (common sign).
  3. The 4th house cusp is in Capricorn, which indicates dark places or dark corners near the floor. Saturn/4-ruler is conjunct Mars in Libra, which places the keys with things of Saturn nature: antiques, formal items, leather or black things.

One more factor caught my eye when I first drew up the chart: the presence of Jupiter – natural significator of religion and religious ceremonies – on the 9th house cusp (> religion). Other testimonies lead back to the 9th house as well: Venus/1-ruler in the 9th house, the Moon in aspect of Jupiter, and the Moon’s dispositor Mercury ruling the 9th, with aspect to the cusp. Jupiter collects the light of my co-significator Moon and Mercury, natural ruler of keys and might therefore hold a vital clue to their whereabouts.

Here are the collected indications:

  1. Circumstances: travel, short journeys, absent-mindedness, confusion, religious matters
  2. Location: a) in the house, where I spend much time or keep my personal belongings, upper rooms, bedroom, wardrobe, clothing, personal accessories, studies, closets, in a pocket or container; b) with antiques, formal items, leather or black things; c) on the floor, in a corner or in a dark place

I was at first discouraged by these. They suggested several places to me, but I had already turned most of them inside out: my clothes closets, every drawer in the house, the pockets of all the shirts and pants that I had worn over the past two weeks, and of course my automobile. Even so, I visited those places again, and once more found nothing. Perhaps they had fallen into a pair of leather shoes (Saturn) on the closet floor (Libra/Capricorn)? That would have accounted for quite a bit of the signification. Alas, the keys weren’t there either. It wouldn’t have solved the “religion” and “short journey” parts of the equation, anyway.

A couple of hours after my first attempt at resolving the horary, I decided to take a shower to clear my head (Venus in Cancer!). That’s when the picture began to come into focus. Two weeks earlier, I recalled, my partner and I had attended a confirmation service (9th house, Jupiter) at a church in a seaside resort two hours from home (= Mercury; Moon trine Pluto in the 3rd). I wore a suit for the service but packed a change of summer clothes so that we could hang out for a bit of shopping and dinner afterwards. But since then I had already checked those pockets for the keys, as well as in the day  pack we had used. They weren’t there.

Then I remembered! We hadn’t stayed on late after all. I’d been through a fairly significant surgical procedure a few days earlier and was still in quite a lot of pain, which was becoming more severe as the day wore on. It seemed best to get on the road right away. My partner took over the driving from me, while I took a prescription painkiller and rested. It was an unanticipated change of plans (Uranus at the 7th cusp). This meant that I hadn’t changed clothes after all. It also occurred to me that my partner had (bless him) driven round to the front of the church to pick me up after the service, so he must have been using his own set of keys. Therefore, mine weren’t used for the ride home. Elementary. Why hadn’t I thought about that before?

At this point, everything fell into place. I must have put the keys in the coat pocket (Moon in Virgo = pockets) of my black suit (Saturn exalted = black, formal wear) and later returned the suit to my upstairs (Libra) bedroom (Mars/2-ruler in the 1st house) closet (Mars/2-ruler in Libra), which is dark and close (Capricorn 4th). And because of the prescription sedative, I had been in a complete fog about the whole business (Moon opposite Neptune; Moon square Jupiter in detriment). No wonder I’d had a hard time retracing my steps.

And so it proved. Within three hours of my question, horary had led me to something that a week of unassisted searching didn’t lead me to. It was, as ever, thrilling to experience a valid horary unfold in real life. In the process, I think I learned a few things about how this sort of chart behaves.

Two working hypotheses about lost object horaries:

  1. We have to be diligent. An exhaustive search must come before asking the horary. A genuine concern for finding the object must be stirred up. Once we have asked, it is mission critical not to let go of the chart until either it has given an answer or else you have honestly concluded that the chart is not radical. Keep knocking at the door until the ministering angel answers!
  2. We can’t expect the horary simply to lead us, without detour, to the thing lost. The range of potentional meanings inherent in the chart symbolism is simply too broad for that. On the other hand, it isn’t so very broad that the symbolism could be construed to mean anything at all. The chart will show a finite and manageable number of possible scenarios. We test each of those scenarios against reality, exploring the detours, until finally we reach our destination. Gradually, the distance between what is symbolically possible (“as above”) and what is empirically feasible (“so below”) narrows until they coincide in the “aha!” moment.

PS – I also said a prayer to St. Anthony as I began the search, and I gratefully acknowledge his help and intercession:

“Most loving protector, great St. Anthony, I hasten to thank you. Full of appreciation and profound gratitude I acknowledge the favors you have secured for me in reply to my prayers. Because you answered my petitions, I rejoice in your power with God and your unfailing goodness to your brothers in Christ. May you ever be honored and blessed, most powerful wonder-worker of Padua! May your merits and favors remain an unending hymn of praise to the most Holy Trinity, and to our Blessed Mother. Amen.”

PPS – Here is horary resolution chart, set for the 1 PM time of discovery:

  1. We see that the Sun, with its partile aspect to Mars/2-ruler, has now come from the 11th house to an exact conjunction with the Midheaven. The lesson I take away is that what actually brought the keys to light was that I trusted the chart (11th house) to reveal the truth.
  2. Mars is now in the 12th house, but the Leo Sun’s ray brings him to light even there.
  3. The Moon (9 Virgo) has now perfected her sextile of the horary 2nd house cusp (9 Scorpio).
  4. The North Node has come from the 2nd house to the 1st house.


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