There’s a term in today’s astrological dictionary that is a rather confusing one, especially when you consider how young it is. The term “chart ruler” is a rather new term that carries a lot of weight to it, but what exactly is the chart ruler and what purpose does it serve in the chart and how does it exemplify itself to the native? There are several different ideas as to what it does, and I’ll attempt to cover them all in this article. The most important question is how do we know what the chart ruler is.
As it turns out, there are several candidates as to what the chart ruler could be, some are as new as the term “chart ruler” and some date back to the classical Hellenistic period and perhaps a couple go farther back.
Ruler of Ascendant
I cannot find the origin of this idea, but I can say it has taken off. Doing a search for the term “chart ruler” brings back a swarm of articles all claiming that it’s the ruler of the ascendant. Why though? That’s the question. There’s really no reason why the ruler of the ascendant would be the ruler of the chart and have any sort of special treatment. It only serves to hype up this planet to an unnecessary level. The first house ruler governs our physical health and helps to shade our physical appearance, while this is important, there’s no reason to make it anymore significant than any other house lord by deeming it the ruler of the entire chart. Also, no exceptions are included in this rule, so it appears that the ruler of a chart could be heavily debilitated and that too is acceptable.
In horary astrology, the ruler of the Ascendant signifies the person asking the question. I suppose it is possible that someone misunderstood what this was saying and decided to make it rule the entire chart. However, this idea is based on weak logic, as this idea of the Ascendant ruler signifying someone entirely is only based in the branch of horary astrology, whereas the chart ruler is something that is only mentioned in reference to the branch of natal astrology. Switching rules across the branches of astrology never works out due to the original philosophies that made the rules.
The Hyleg is also called the Prorogator of Life, which is the planet or point that has the greatest influence on vitality. It was used to calculate the length of life and also used to mark periods of danger to the native’s life.
To calculate one’s Hyleg, you must first determine if your chart is diurnal or nocturnal. We’ll begin with the diurnal chart’s calculations. Take the Sun and make sure he is within one of the hylegical positions, these are (in order of preference) the First, Tenth, Eleventh, Seventh, or Ninth houses. If he is not in these, then take the Moon and see if she is in any of these houses. If not the Moon, then take the degree of the most recent New Moon prior to the birth and discover the almuten of this degree (the almuten is the planet who has the most essential dignity in a particular degree, so if the New Moon that preceded the birth was in 19° Aries, the almuten is the Sun), if the almuten of this degree is in one of the hylegical houses, then take that planet as Hyleg. If none of these work out, then just take the Ascendant as Hyleg.
For those of us born after sunset, take the Moon primarily and see if she falls within those hylegical houses. If she does not, then you’re supposed to take the Sun and see if he falls within the first house (as, by rule, the Sun can’t be in Tenth, Ninth, Seventh, or Eleventh houses in a nocturnal chart), if he doesn’t fall within this house, then see what planet is almuten of the degree of the Moon, the degree of the preceding Full Moon, or the place of the Part of Fortune. If any of these planets are in the hylegical houses, take it as Hyleg, if not, take the Ascendant.
I propose the Hyleg as the ruler of the chart as it is the most significant point in predicting the length of the native’s life. However, it is not the candidate who I personally endorse. As you saw, there are instances where the Hyleg may be the Ascendant, but it doesn’t account for the lord of the Ascendant such as the modern chart ruler.
The alchocoden is simply the almuten of the Hyleg. So, the planet who has the most essential dignities in the degree of the Hyleg is the alchocoden. The purpose of the alchocoden is called the “giver of years” and the planet that serves as alchocoden allows us to live as many years as that planet has. Each planet is assigned three numbers to serve as its greater, mean, or lesser years. The quality of the planet would judge which years were to be allowed if the native were free of dangers and suffered no unfortunate directions (progressions). The alchocoden could be seen as the lord of the chart, as it gives the number of natural years the native is supposed to live, but again, it is not the candidate I personally endorse.
Lord of Geniture
The lord of geniture (also known as the lord of nativity), is simply the most dignified planet in the most elevated place in a chart. To find one’s lord of geniture, one must simply add up the different essential and accidental dignities and take into account house placement. A strong Venus in the Sixth might be beaten out for the title of lord of geniture by a weaker Mercury in the First. Elevation and other forms of accidental dignity should be accounted for. However, there is another way to decide the lord of geniture that was authored by Julius Firmicus Maturnus. Maturnus suggests that the lord of geniture is the ruling planet of the Sign that follows the native’s lunar placement. So, according to this idea, if Luna is in Libra, then Mars is the lord of geniture because Mars rules the next Sign Scorpio. It seems Maturnus is alone in this thinking, though.
I endorse the lord of geniture as the ruler of a chart. Firstly because the name means “lord of birth” and other names that have been used for it throughout history are “lord of nativity” and “lord of the figure”. The classical authors gave their opinion on this just by the name itself. Secondly, it makes the most sense to suggest that the ruler of the chart is the most powerful planet in the chart, not only does it give it a domineering sense as “ruler” (no other planet can compare), but it also gives the planet strength to act in the chart and be a dominate planet for the native to exemplify. Lilly writes “…the whole actions of the native will more or less partake of the nature of the planet and so his conditions, complexion, temperament, and manners shall be much regulated to the properties assigned that planet.” So, the lord of geniture not only plays an important part as being the most active and powerful planet in our chart, but it also flavors everything that we are.
Lord of Manners
The lord of manners judges just what it says it does. The manners of the native, how the native acts and the way the native thinks as well as how they experience and respond to stimuli. As opposed to the lord of geniture, Sol and Luna cannot be lords of manners, and so it is left to the other five planets to take up this job.
To discover the lord of manners, the first place to look is the first house. Any planet in this house is the primary significator of manners. If there is more than one planet, then they are all counted as having a mixed influence, with the one having the most dignities considered to overshadow the manners signified by the other planets. Also, Luna’s progression to those planets will show times of increased dominance by that planet. If no planet is in the first house, then look to planets that are conjoined with Luna and Mercury and judge them as the lord of manners. If no planet joins to Luna or Mercury, take the lord of the ascendant as lord of manners.
It is also important to look to the dispositor of the lord of manners and see if he is a benevolent planet or a malevolent one. If the dispositor is benevolent or in aspect to a benefic, then the manners are said to be “laudable and complete” according to his nature, however, if the dispositor is malevolent or afflicted by a malefic, the manners are then corrupted and weak as to the nature of the lord of manners. A weak benefic as dispositor brings good and wholesome manners in show but are said to be “muddled, obscure, or very simple inwardly” whereas a strong malefic as dispositor shows good and pretty manners, but they are said to be mixed with a bit of poison.
The lord of manner is a good candidate for the ruler of the chart as it does seem to signify the personality of the native and accounts for several things in a person’s psychological make-up. However, I don’t feel it’s as good as the lord of geniture, as the lord of geniture shades everything in the native, including manners.
Traditional natal astrology has an overabundance of difficult terms and complicated calculations that get to the head and heart of a native and their situation in life. The ideas of these astrologers are slowly coming back to light thanks to translations and re-publications of their works and it’s necessary to take a look back and figure out what was going on in their minds to understand the heart and mechanics of astrology itself. It’s easy for modern authors to come up with contrived theories about things and pass them down as fact, but now that we have the opportunity to go back and see for ourselves if these things are right or wrong, we should. It is plausible that the notion of the modern chart ruler was based on one of the significators above, but I don’t feel this is possible as the early modern astrologers had no access to classical material.
For full information about the above significators, refer to William Lilly’s Christian Astrology volume 3, though I’m sure you can find information about them by examining the works of Lilly’s predecessors and contemporaries as well.