10 Tips for Electional Astrology
Someone recently asked me about what sort of things I usually try to pay attention to when using electional astrology in order to elect an auspicious date to begin a venture, and I thought that it would be a good idea to share some of those tips here for people who are interested in the subject.
Electional astrology is a branch of astrology that is used to select an auspicious time in the future to begin a specific venture or undertaking. That is to say, it is the proactive attempt to choose a specific planetary alignment or chart that will be the most conducive to whatever it is that you want to initiate in the future, for example such as the start of a journey, the beginning of a marriage, or the founding of a building.
The retroactive application of astrological principles in order to study something that has already started at some point in the past is usually referred to as inceptional astrology, although this too involves studying an astrological chart that is set for the ‘inception’ or beginning of that venture. Originally in Hellenistic astrology both of these approaches fell under the category of katarchic astrology, from the Greek word katarche (καταρχή), the astrology of beginnings.
There aren’t at lot of good contemporary manuals on electional astrology out there at the moment, so sometimes information about what to look for in a decent election can be hard to come by. Hopefully you will find these tips useful. First I want to make a few remarks though.
Two Approaches to Electional Astrology
The way I see it, there are basically two ways of going about doing electional astrology.
The first approach is to take the basic rules that astrologers use in order to gauge the strength or weakness of certain parts of the chart, and then to invert them so that you are using the rules to select a specific moment in the future in which a chart set for that moment in time would be considered especially strong or auspicious.
This approach to electional astrology relies more on traditional astrological notions about what it means for a planet to be strong or weak, dignified or debilitated, and auspicious or inauspicious. The underlying implication is that when a planet is well-placed, the areas of life associated with that planet or that part of the chart will run more smoothly. This is a notion that virtually all forms of ‘traditional’ astrology take for granted.
The second approach to electional astrology is to select a chart in the future that best reflects the nature of whatever venture or undertaking you are planning to begin at that time. This approach dispenses with the traditional notion of primarily ensuring that all of the planets are stronger or more dignified in the electional chart, and instead attempts to simply find a chart where the symbolism of the planetary placements are the most evocative or congruent with what you are trying to begin at that time.
Now, sometimes these two approaches can be mutually exclusive, since what is favorable in one approach is not necessarily as favorable in the other, although ideally a decent electional chart will incorporate elements from both approaches. In this list of tips we will primarily be dealing with the first approach, which focuses on selecting auspicious placements, although it is important to keep the second approach in mind as well.
With these preliminary remarks out of the way, let’s get to the top 10 tips for choosing an auspicious electional chart.
1. Establish the Most Symbolically Important Beginning of the Election
This is the first and sometimes most crucial step in determining any electional chart. Horoscopic astrology is founded on the principle that the future of any object, entity or venture can be determined by examining a chart cast for the moment of its birth. As a result of this underlying premise, it is crucial to figure out what the most symbolically significant moment is for the beginning of your election, and then to focus your attention on finding a suitable chart for that moment.
For example, although Barack Obama was elected to be the next president of the United States on November 4, 2008, technically he does not fully become the president until he is sworn into office during the inauguration ceremony at noon on January 20th, 2009 in Washington, DC. This is the symbolically significant moment in this particular election, and a chart cast for the moment of his inauguration will reflect the nature and future of his presidency.
Use this as an example when you are trying to figure out what the most symbolically significant moment is for any election that you are working on. While figuring out precisely what this moment is can sometimes be difficult in certain contexts, there is almost always a predominant moment of importance in the process of starting any new venture, and the chart for that moment will have important implications for its future.
2. Find Periods When the Planets Are Dignified
The next step is to examine an ephemeris and identify certain periods in the future when one or more planets are somehow dignified. What you should be looking for primarily is planets that are either in their own sign, exaltation, or are in a mutual reception with another planet by sign. These planets will be stronger, and usually better able to affect their own significations in a way that will be beneficial or constructive with respect to your election.
Start with the slower moving planets, and once you have found a period when at least one or two of them are dignified, then attempt to find a day close to that period when the Moon is also dignified. Since the Moon is the fastest of all of the ‘planets’, it usually is easier to start with the slower moving ones and then to fine tune the exact day based on her placement.
This step alone will help you to narrow down your time frame, as you will notice that it is not very often that there are one or more planets that are in their own sign, exaltation, or are in a mutual reception by domicile.
You should have at least one planet that is dignified in this way in the chart, as this will help to ensure the strength of at least one area of the election, although the best elections have several dignified planets.
At the very least, try to avoid periods in which several of the planets are depressed, for example by being in the sign of their fall or, to a lesser extent, detriment.
3. Avoid Periods In Which Your Dignified Planets Are Afflicted in Some Way
As a corollary with the second rule, try to avoid periods in which certain planets are afflicted or otherwise debilitated. While it may be nice to have Venus exalted in Pisces or Mercury in his own domicile in Gemini, if those planets are exactly opposite to Mars and Saturn then any benefits that they may receive by being dignified may be seriously hampered by the affliction that they receive from the malefics.
Additionally, it is also best to avoid other periods in which the planets are debilitated, such as for example when a planet is retrograde or under the beams of the Sun (within 15 degrees of conjunction). Being retrograde can delay the manifestation of the significations of the planet, while being under the beams will make them more obscure or hidden. If you simply can’t avoid having certain planets that are retrograde or under the beams, then at least try to make it so that the retrograde planet is close to stationing direct, or the planet that is under the beams is close to making a heliacal rising.
4. Ensure that the Ruler of the Ascendant is Strongly Placed
Once you have gotten to the point of narrowing down a specific date it is important to start thinking about the precise time for the election, and in order to do this you really need to focus on picking an ascendant that that is ruled by a auspicious placed planet in the chart.
One of the single most important planets in any electional chart is the ruler of the ascendant. The ruler of the ascendant is the planet that will often times best characterize the nature of the election, as well as its overall success or failure.
In natal astrology the ascendant itself is often characterized as pertaining to the physical body and appearance of the native, and in horary astrology the ruler of the ascendant always signifies the querent in the chart. Similarly, in electional astrology the ruler of the ascendant is the planet that is most closely associated with the election itself, as well as its general constitution and purpose.
This is the planet that you should strive to find an excellent placement for in any electional chart. Set the ascendant in your electional chart so that its ruler is one of the planets that you selected earlier that is dignified and not afflicted. Whatever the strongest planet is in your electional chart, make sure that you make that planet the ruler of the ascendant.
5. Focus on Applying Aspects
An important conceptual rule in electional astrology that goes back to the earliest strata of the tradition is that applying aspects indicate the future, while separating aspects indicate the past. This was originally a large part of the reason why applying and separating aspects were noted and paid close attention to in horoscopic astrology, and it is the reason why this consideration is still noted by many modern chart calculation programs today.
Conceptually it makes sense because applying aspects indicate that two planets are literally moving towards each other, while separating aspects indicate that they are literally moving away from each other, or at least they are relative to completing an exact aspect with one another.
The practical implications of this consideration are that the separating aspects in any electional or inception chart will describe the circumstances that led up to the election, while the applying aspects will indicate subsequent developments relative to the election once it has begun.
Ideally you want the important planets in your electional chart, such as the ruler of the ascendant, to be applying to exact aspects with the benefics, Jupiter and Venus. This will indicate the expansion and stabilization of your election in the future.
At the very least, try to avoid having the important planets in your electional chart applying to the malefics, as this will often lead to strife and failure with respect to your election in the future. Of course, its possible that you may very well wish to set up an election to fail at some point, in which case you would want your planets applying to the malefics, although I am outlining this list under the assumption that you are looking for tips on how to select an auspicious electional chart that will bode well for the future of a specific endeavor.
If you must have some of your planets configured to the malefics in your electional chart, at least try to make it so that they are separating from exact aspects with them.
6. Carefully Consider the Applying Aspects of the Moon
This is a corollary of the previous consideration, although it bears emphasizing because of the important status of the Moon in electional astrology.
In electional astrology, as well as in horary for that matter, the Moon is only second in importance to the ruler of the ascendant in the chart. That is to say, the Moon is extremely important, so make sure that she is just as well-placed as the ruler of the ascendant, if not better.
Because the Moon is the fastest moving of all of the bodies, she will alternate between applying and separating aspects more frequently than any of the other planets. Her applying aspects as especially important because of her special status in electional astrology though, so make sure that she is either applying to benefics or to neutral planets such as Mercury.
Since the Moon moves so quickly she has a special orb of 13 degrees for applying and separating aspects, which is approximately her average daily motion. Try to make sure that she is applying to something positive within 13 degrees.
Many electional texts urge you to avoid beginning new ventures when the Moon is void of course. In the Medieval tradition this was defined as a situation where the Moon is not applying to any planets before she makes an ingress into a new sign. In the Hellenistic tradition the definition of void of course was a bit different, with the Moon simply not applying to any planets within 30 degrees regardless of sign boundaries.
The general notion seems to be that if the Moon isn’t applying to any planets that there is literally nothing happening in the future of that endeavor, and thus the subject of the election comes to naught. So, generally speaking, I would recommend that you have the Moon applying to another planet in your election.
7. The Moon Indicates the First Part of the Matter, its Ruler the Second
This is an older rule for electional astrology that was prevalent in the early Hellenistic tradition, and although I haven’t seen it as often in the Medieval tradition, it is quite useful. The gist of the idea is that the placement and condition of the Moon will indicate the circumstances surrounding the first part of the endeavor that your election is based on, but the condition of the planet that rules the sign that the Moon is placed in will indicate the circumstances surrounding the second part or outcome of the election. Or, in more simple terms, the placement of the Moon indicates the beginning of your endeavor, and the placement of the lord of the Moon indicates the outcome.
In practical terms this means that even if the Moon is really well placed, if its lord is very poorly placed then the matter will go well in the beginning but then there will be problems later on. Conversely, if the Moon is really poorly placed but its domicile ruler is really well-placed, then there will be major problems in the beginning, but later on things will be more smooth and successful.
Of course, if the Moon and its lord are both in terrible condition then the endeavor will suffer problems throughout, but if they are both auspiciously placed then the subject of the election will go well from beginning to end.
The take home lesson here is to pay attention to the lord of the Moon, as well as the Moon itself. This is one of the reasons why it is good to have the Moon in her own sign, because then she is her own lord, and if she is well-placed then you don’t have to worry about anything else.
This is actually good advice when you are studying the condition of any planet, because even though this rule primarily relates to the Moon in electional astrology, the same rule applies to studying the condition of any planet in a chart.
8. Planets In or Ruling the House Associated With the Election Should Be Strong
Although this is not possible in every election, it is important to try to determine if there is a specific house in the chart which has a close association with the subject of the election. For example, if the person is electing a chart for the start of a journey to a foreign country then this would be a 9th house matter. If it is a marriage election then it is a 7th house matter. And so on.
If you are able to identify a specific house that is associated with the election then try to make sure that the planet that rules that house is well-placed, as well as any planets in that house.
So, for example, if we are electing a chart for a a foreign journey then we wouldn’t want the ruler of the 9th to be in the sign of his depression, placed in the 12th house, retrograde, under the beams of the Sun, afflicted by the malefics, etc. Nor would we want to have an applying Mars-Saturn conjunction taking place in the 9th house in the electional chart.
Instead, it would be better to have the ruler of the house under consideration be angular, direct in motion, in his own sign or exaltation, free from the beams of the Sun, and applying to the benefics. Placing some benefic planets in the house under consideration wouldn’t hurt either.
9. Pay Close Attention to Sect
The concept of sect is important in electional astrology because it is useful for quickly identifying which planets are going to be more problematic in a chart, and conversely which planets are going to be more helpful. Sect helps to demonstrate that the malefics are not always fully malevolent, nor are the benefics always fully benevolent. It largely depends on the sect status of a planet in a given chart.
Generally speaking, Saturn is not as malefic in a day chart, and Mars is not as malefic in a night chart. However, when Saturn is in a night chart, or Mars is in a day chart, these are the planets that you have to watch where you place in your electional chart, as they will be the source of some of the greatest difficulties and problems in the election.
Also, Jupiter is the more of a benefic in a day chart, and Venus is the more of a benefic in a night chart. However, when they are contrary to this, they have their benefic significations restrained or downplayed somewhat. Always identify which of these two planets is acting as the more beneficent one, and then place that planet in a part of the chart that will help to support the election.
For a more detailed explanation of this concept please see my previous post on the astrology of sect.
10. Put the Ruler of the Ascendant in the House Under Consideration
Under certain circumstances it is advisable to place the ruler of the ascendant in the house that is in accord with the topic of your election. This goes along with the second approach to electional astrology which I mentioned earlier in the article, since this would help to ensure that the electional chart actually reflects the subject of the election.
So, for example, if I was setting up an election for a trip then I would place the ruler of the 1st in the 9th house. If I was building a home I would place it in the 4th house. If I was starting a new organization or social network of some sort then I would place it in the 11th.
Sometimes this approach is more about making the chart look like what you would like to achieve as a result of your new venture. So, for example, you might place the ruler of the 1st in the 2nd if your goal was to make some money. It all depends on the context of the election.
Concluding Remarks and Further Reading
Well, that’s it. If you keep these 10 tips in mind then you should have more than enough information in order to select an auspicious electional chart, or at least to avoid some of the major pitfalls. This isn’t a fully comprehensive list, but it is definitely enough to get you started.
If you would like to learn more about electional astrology then you might be interested in signing up for my online course on electional astrology.
For further reading on the subject I would recommend that you check out the 5th book of Dorotheus of Sidon’s work, which is the oldest extant text on electional astrology. Virtually all later Hellenistic and Medieval authors drew on Dorotheus’ work on elections in one way or another, so it comes highly recommended by about 2,000 years of astrologers.
Or, if you would rather have someone else select an auspicious election for your new venture, check out the electional astrology consultations page on my website and we can set up an appointment.
If you have any of your own tips for electional astrology then I would love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments section below.