Planetary ruler of Astrology


Well-known member
waybread said:
Ray, thanks.

Incidentally with my own Mercury "exalted" in Aquarius, and with my Uranus conjunct MC trine my Aquarian sun, I figure I've got both astrology rulers covered.

That's funny.. I've got Uranus trine the MC, and a very strong Mercury in trine with Moon in the ninth (study/astrology).. I'd have to say I've got both rulers covered, too. :)


Well-known member
Olivia, thanks for the historic infill. [And I like the word "partile" as my Uranus/MC conjunction is partile, by Jove!]

Just a bit more historical infill of my own here, ultimately suggesting that there may be good reasons to retain Mercury as the ruler of astrology, but they seemingly have little to do with astrology's career as an academic subject.

Classical astrology took place prior to the development of universities, but some did develop in private academies of various sorts. The university as that term is understood today didn't really get a running start until the Middle Ages. Astronomy was part of the "quadrivium" of liberal arts subjects that students needed to study. Initially it apparently focused upon Ptolemy's Almagest, which is an astronomical work with hardly any astrological content.

Part of the problem of astrology in early medieval European universities was that most were linked to the church, which had been critical of astrology since the latter's inception. Also, a lot of the key classical sources weren't translated from the Arabic (where they had been preserved) until around the 11th-12th centuries.

When astrology per se does get adopted into medieval universities after that, it was typically as an adjunct to medicine (e. g. medical astrology), weather prediction, and alchemy. Well, a lot of this material by no means holds up to modern scrutiny today, because it was thoroughly imbued with sympathetic magic (the idea that like cures like.)

Jim Tester (A History of Western Astrology, 183) writes that although astrology became increasingly accepted in universities, any research was basically theoretical and inductive.

Unfortunately "vulgar empiricism" [Olivia's quote, above] is what has passed for scientific research for the last couple of centuries. During the Renaissance scholars in the sciences learned that the problem with arguing from first principles is that if one's assumptions are flawed, then the rest of the argument is flawed, also. As the nature of reasoning changed during the renaissance, astrology had difficulty shifting with it.

Astrology's university career ended with a whimper in the 18th century (with the last hold-out of which I am aware, ending astrology studies in 1817), for several additional reasons:
(1) As its sister-discipline of medicine began to do a better job of curing patients, astrology's truth-claims were too often wrong. Astrologers had gotten by saying, "Well, OK, we make mistakes, but so do doctors." But medicine was making strides that astrology couldn't match.
(2) Astrologers in the renaissance were concerned with predicting significant events like the manner and time of people's death, yet the problem of accurate house systems vexed them as much as it does modern astrologers--and it mattered a lot where one set the cusps of the 8th house. Wrong house cusps, wrong predictions--for very powerful people who were not amused.
(3) With the rumblings of the antecedants of modern science during the Renaissance, educated scholars as well as popular authors launched major criticizisms of astrology's assumptions and track record.
(4) The Ptolemaic system collapsed for astronomers with new evidence about the orbits of the earth and other planets around the sun, and the discovery of Uranus in 1781.
(5) Religious authorities began to take a hard line against astrology.

The debate among practitioners of various types of astrology: mundane vs. natal, traditional vs. modern, equal house vs. variable-width house systems, solar arcs vs. secondary progressions, &c., &c. often rests upon the truth-claim that their prefered branch is surprisingly accurate; while the practitioners of other branches haven't made their case.

While this position might be correct in some cases, unfortunately claims of accuracy on either side of a debate are generally based upon anecdotal evidence. They seem to depend more on the brilliance of a very small number of practitioners (like Lilly, possibly) not on the larger number of astrologers practicing at any given time. (Many are unknown today.)

So which glass is half empty? Whose glass is half full?

I think it's a toss-up. If people think using Mercury as astrology's ruler gives better results than Uranus, I have no problem with that.
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Senior Member, Educational board Editor
Hi-I'm wondering then, do we have any astrologers here who have no mercury aspects and only Uranus aspects to reflect their interest in astrology? I too have both mercury and uranus aspecting one another!.
Another problem: If we say that Uranus *rules* astrology, does this link astrology to house 11? How can we have *astrology* being a matter to do with h3/h9 axis but ruled by a planet primarily associated with the eleventh house?
A problem with modern practice is that once you start playing around with the rulerships, you have to also play around with the houses-which draws further away from thousands, not hundreds of years of astrological tradition.
Personally I doubt that I will ever engage in a more mercurial pursuit than a chart delineation!
Uranus has a slightly eccentric orbit-this is where all the assignations of rebellion and eccentricity come from, as associated traits of uranus. So then we take this highly unusual and irregular planet and connect it with a very meticulous process like chart analysis. I can't see the logic in it.
At the time Uranus was discovered, astrology was not generally regarded as a *fringe* (uranian) occupation-the royalty employed them, and the wealthy.The Church had a few problems with astrology,and this is why William Lilly called his book *Christian Astrology*.

I think a body of knowledge is an organic thing and we should not dismiss new knowledge (planets) etc per se, but I can see the logic of traditional methods, whilst with many modern practices such as giving outer planets rulerships of houses etc and calling sun signs rulers of houses etc, I can't see the basis for it, if indeed there is one.
I have a friend who is NOT into astrology who has the same mercury/ uranus aspect that I have and involving the same houses-but not the same signs.So I suspect theres a lot of factors to consider.As always.:)

you know it

If anyone is looking for information to do a study, then my chart is here for reference.

I have Uranus at 7.01 Scorpio trine the Part of Astrology at 6.13 Cancer, with an orb of (0.48). Uranus is trine the sun at 7.44 Pisces. The orb from the Sun to the Part of Astrology (1.31) is a little wide to count, from what I have read. The Part of Astrology is located in my 9th house. If you use the 3rd/9th house, then Mercury (13.27 Aquarius) is sextile the 3rd house cusp (10.20 Sagittarius), and sextile Neptune (13.53 Sagittarius) which is conjunct the 3rd house cusp (3.33 orb). Mercury is also square Uranus, and conjunct/parallel Venus (9.15 Aquarius), the Ascendant ruler. Mercury is trine the 9th house cusp (10.20 Gemini), while ruling the 9th house also.

Plus, both Mercury and Uranus are used in finding the Part of Astrology.
Ascendant + Uranus - Mercury = Part of Astrology

Even though most astrologers don't use the Arabic Parts, it is something worth investigating. Hopefully this info will be useful or helpful to someone.
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Well-known member
Lillygjc, regarding correspondences between planets, signs, and houses:

I do modern astrology, and I don't find a link to the 11th (or any) house relevant to the astrology rulership question. One of my pet peeves with **some** modern astrologers is that they conflate signs and houses, as if it made no difference whether somebody had Venus in the 4th house or Venus in Cancer. So I would not associate astrology with the 11th house at all, even though I am OK with Uranus (the sky god) as astrology's ruler. [Or Mercury.]

One handy desk reference that I use a lot is an AFA publication, Rex E. Bills, The Rulership Book, which is based on a decent bibliography. Some entries in this compendium have house rulers, some don't. Interestingly, he gives astrology to Uranus and Aquarius, never mentions either Mercury or the 11th house, but then lists as secondary rulers Neptune, Pisces, and the 7th house! Well, Neptune and Pisces I get if one thinks of astrology as metaphysical rather than empirical and mathematical; but the 7th? Maybe this refers to one-on-one counselling, I don't know. But the point being that rulerships can have a sign and/or planetary ruler that have no accompanying house, or else that don't have the "natural" house relationship. Some do in his book, and some don't.

Lilly, I wouldn't recommend "playing around with rulerships" so much as someone (with more time and expertise than I have) doing some research. I don't do horary astrology (where I think the majority of astrologers wouldn't use modern planets anyway.) Other than that, we might consider where else the rulership problem actually matters. One area would be the use of so-called "accidental house cusp rulers" or "lords" of the signs on house cusps. This practice generally leaves out the problem of "natural house cusp rulers" where the affinity between Uranus and the 11th would lie. (Some modern astrologers would look at a house's "natural ruler.") Possibly the situation of Uranus vs. Mercury in a chart could suggest who's likely to be a good astrologer and who isn't.

Consequently, in terms of Mercury as the ruler of astrology, I also wouldn't see a necessary affilitation between the 3rd or the 6th house for astrological matters.

Olivia, it is interesting that the Catholic church had such a complex relationship with astrology. On the one hand they condemned it, but then clerics were responsible for translating many of the great classical astrology works into Greek and Latin from the Arabic, when the original versions were lost. The Church fostered astrology in medieval universities for some centuries, then came down very hard on it during the late Renaissance, when it was seen as a challenge to papal authority.

The fundamental problem with astrology to the Christian mind, I think, based upon biblical antecedants, is predictive astrology's danger of turning people away from faith in God. [Or one might argue, from faith in church leaders.]

From a secular perspective I think the more fundamental problem with traditional astrology and why it got dropped from university curricula, is that its determinism just didn't seem to fit new paradigms of thinking, criteria for evidence, and revolutionary discoveries in astronomy.

Intriguingly, "traditional astrology" was the only kind that was practiced, even in the US, through the early 20th century. When popular astrology makes a comeback, it is not through a scientific, academic approach, but through occult metaphysical circles like the Golden Dawn and the theosophists. They get picked up by people like Dane Rudhyar and "modern astrology" sort of takes off from there.

Andrew, you look like a natural! How does one calculate the Part of Astrology, and what does it mean?

Anyone here heard of the "astrologer's degree" at 11 degrees Virgo, or use the asteroid Urania (muse of astronomy/astrology)?

you know it

Waybread, to be honest, I am not sure why the Arabic parts work. It is something I am wanting to study, to see how it works mathematically and geometrically. Here is a website I found from another thread on this community. It explains a little bit about why Arabic Parts work. Here is another website from the same thread/forum. It helps calculate the Arabic Parts for you, and gives the equation if you want to calculate it on your own.