View Full Version : Approaches to rulerships...

12-27-2008, 08:33 PM
I was looking at the sticky thread on houses:


and when looking at the diagram of house rulerships two interrelated question came to me:

How much should astrology be about patterns?
What is the difference between significators and other exaltations?

I do not claim to know the answers and would like to know what you think, but I have written some of my thoughts below.

Expanding the questions:

Should it matter that the old patterned system of zodiac rulerships has been replaced by a more random and assymetrical system- ie with Uranus, Neptune and Pluto ruining the pattern set out in the sticky houses thread? Or that the planetary joys are slightly wacky? There are so many threads which base their suggestions and argue their case on the grounds that it would make astrology more harmonious. But does astrology need to be harmonious? Should the system of planets be perfectly integrated with the system of houses or of zodiac signs or is it preferable to them all to have their idiosyncratic ways and exaltations? I am not saying that X=Y=Z, that Aries, Mars and 1st house are all equal, but I am asking whether there should be some method to this madness, or whether experience is all that matters.

Principled approaches

Often astrologers spend alot of time messing around with systems, making them symmetrical, or harmonious, or have meaning. A good example of this is this thread:


Here the arguments for rulerships etc are based purely on what would be orderly and what in principle might apply- that the higher octave theory be aligned some form of symmetry. This is very abstract and rests on a premise that astrology has some form of inner harmony. But should that really be a reason to decide what Eris should 'rule' or what meaning we should give?

Another example is this thread:


Here the main dignity or debility of Uranus is being questioned, mainly due to the principles of diurnal or nocturnal rulerships. This thread is a good example of the principled route leading to a different conclusion to the non principled one.

Pragmatic approaches

Should we stick to our guns on principle, or should we adopt a more organic, experienced approach which may lack some underlying principles. For example- an astrologer who believes from experience that some combinations just 'work' and some just do not. Fixed stars might be a good example. They are random, unpatterned, and simply occur at no regular intervals in the charts. The same goes for asteroids. Many astrologers are skeptical of these objects precisely because they are either too numerous or because there is no systematic way of integrating them into astrology. This thread is only about the latter argument.

The houses thread mentioned at the beginning of this post itself calls for a re-balance between the principled approach and the pragmatic one. In that thread a description is given of planetary joys. There is no pattern to the joys, one must simply remember them. The planets simply work well in that house, there is an inherent link between the description of the planet, and the description of the house. There is a principle, but this is not an abstract principle like the first approach, which is based on the order from the sun, symmetry, diurnal or nocturnal, or decanate rulership, or triplicity rulership etc. It is simply based on applying descriptions.

Another example on this school of thought is a thread I started myself:


Even though I started this thread, I do not claim to be a believer of the pragmatic approach, I am undecided. But my thread was questioning the received wisdom on Neptune being a great and spiritual planet, often held in an overly positive light because of its Piscean and Jupiter connections (Nepotism is typical of Neptune :) ) and because love, film, romance and glamour are all highly glamourised and valued in today's society. (How circular is that!) In practice, I thought Neptune tended towards its negative interpretations in most charts.

This is a good example of the the question at hand. In principle, we like to think that all planets are energies, and all energies can be used for good or for bad. This sounds rational and balanced, and makes astrologers happy. I am also one of these astrologers. We look back on the days of malefics and benefics and wonder what they were thinking, but often they were thinking in terms of experience, or of simple description. Mars tends towards violence, as humans with alot of energy often tend towards violence, or increase the chances of it. So the reality is different from the theory because the theory isn't being applied. And so forth.

I think the difference between these approaches can be compared to that of Sagittarius and Capricorn. The former is idealistic and optimistic, it works on the level of fire, an abstract level that can both prescribe and describe, as this is the magic of fire. The latter is pragmatic, and must take what Sagittarius has given it and apply it, to a world where the principle is often swallowed up by the exceptions, where a short term benefit might override a long term rule, or an unprincipled solution may be more desirable than what Sagittarius deduced. Sagittarius get's the better rep, as for a long time Capricorn was overly dominant. But with Pluto's move into Crapricorn, maybe it is time we re-aligned ourselves with experience, and seek to apply astrological patterns with more scrutiny.

The Sundance Kid :)


This post has taken me 35 minutes to write, and I have further points to make (especially to do with the second question) but will do that later, as I want to see if people find this post interesting or informative or thought provoking.

I apologise if I have used your thread to illustrate a point. Please do not take it personally, I have no desire to criticise, only to explain my viewpoint. And my viewpoint is simply that there is a divergence of approaches here, I am not even sure which approach I think is better or more suitable.

Please post if you have any thoughts :)

12-28-2008, 12:27 AM

This is a good example of a mixed approach. It is not clear if triplicity rulerships are being discussed on some logical anatomy of the Zodiac, or on whether planets fit the rulerships Ptolemy assigned to them. But the real question is what's the point? What role do triplicity rulerships have? Why does it matter what the triplicity rulership is... it might make a planet more important but a gazillion other things also do this, including actual rulerships.

I can only see two reasons why it might matter... signification and exaltation, which leads me on to my second question.

The reason I'm making this point however is because I think astrologers have never resolved these issues and they seem to be the underlying cause of most of the debates I read.

Edit: http://www.astrologyweekly.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9511

Good example of dispute