Sunday, January 2, 2011

Traditional Astrology: Planetary Rulerships

I've been studying Hellenistic and Medieval astrology for about a year, and I've found some of the discarded concepts to still be useful today. One of those concepts is the set of traditional planetary rulers. This is a little different from modern rulers in that the traditional rulers not only gave their nature to the sign they ruled, but were also responsible for the activities of the house(s) where that sign was present in the chart.

Let's say, for example, that we are looking at a chart with a Scorpio Ascendant. Using the Whole Sign house system, that would place Leo in the Tenth House. In this case the Sun, or the native's basic identity, would be responsible for career and reputation. My special advice (it actually applies to everyone) for the native would be that he needs to decide who he is, and have all of his actions reflect that chosen identity.

The other difference, and this partially follows from the first, is that I don't assign rulerships to the outer planets: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. My belief and experience is that these planets have far-reaching effects as opposed to being restricted to one or two areas of life. They change whatever needs to be changed.

There's also a basic logic to the way the Zodiac signs were assigned to planets. Each of the Planets, except the Sun and Moon, were assigned two signs, one active (Fire or Air) and one passive (Water or Earth). There's a good reason for the exception: since the Sun represents identity, ego, and self-consciousness, there is no passive side; similarly, since the Moon represents the subconscious and emotions, among other things, there is no active side.

The Sun and Moon, the two luminaries, or brightest objects in the sky, are assigned Leo and Cancer, which correspond to two of the summer months, when there is a maximum amount of daylight. The other planets are assigned one sign on each side, in order of their distance from the Sun. Mercury is assigned Gemini and Virgo; Venus is assigned Taurus and Libra; Mars is assigned Aries and Scorpio; Jupiter gets Pisces and Sagittarius; finally Saturn is assigned Aquarius and Capricorn, the signs corresponding to two of the winter months where there is the minimum amount of daylight.

The exaltation signs have a similar logic, but to understand it requires the concept of day and night planets. The ancients say that the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn are day planets; the Moon, Venus, and Mars are night planets; Mercury can be either depending on whether it rises before or after the Sun. The day planets have exaltation signs that are in a trine relationship to one of the home signs: Jupiter, for example, is exalted in Cancer, which is in a trine relationship to Pisces. The night planets have exaltation signs that are in a sextile relationship to one of their home signs: Mars, for example, is exalted in Capricorn, which is in a sextile relationship to Scorpio. Mercury is neither a day or night planet, so it is exalted in one of its home signs, namely Virgo.

Whether you use the traditional rulerships is of course up to you, but it may add some depth to your readings to at least consider the concepts above in addition to the modern rulerships.

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