Sect, as a concept, is something that has largely been overlooked or misunderstood. Ironically, it is generally one of the first things looked at to get a general overview of what is going to be helpful or more disadvantageous to the native. Please note that sect considerations are only used for natal techniques and don’t generally translate over into other branches (though they can be used as testimony for strength in horary or electional).
The philosophy behind sect is essentially that planets in sect are more helpful than those out of sect. This means that sect as a method can alter a planet’s benevolent or malevolent nature and it changes based on what time of the day you were born.
The diurnal sect is led by the Sun and includes Jupiter and Saturn, while the nocturnal sect is led by the Moon and includes Venus and Mars. Mercury can be in either sect depending on his location from the Sun. If Mercury rises before the Sun, it belongs to the diurnal sect in that chart, but if it rises after the Sun, it belongs to the nocturnal sect. Mercury belonging to either sect is not a significant consideration in itself, if there’s a chart where Mercury is a member of the nocturnal sect it does not give the nocturnal sect more “weight” due to outnumbering the diurnal sect. Sect doesn’t work in this way, the number of planets in either sect is not important in and of itself.
The sects were chosen based on the temperaments of the planets and share a common philosophy with the triplicities. The basic idea behind the sect assignments is to make planets nicer by making them more temperate or to increase the beneficial status of a planet by accentuating the more helpful part of its temperament.
The Sun takes lordship over the diurnal sect since he’s the chief light of the day, but the natural warmth of the day accentuates his natural warmth and makes him more giving. The same can be said of Jupiter who is a warm and moist planet, being in the natural warmth of the day makes Jupiter warmer and more giving. Saturn is the oddball in this as he is placed in the diurnal sect to make him less malevolent. Saturn destroys due to his excessive coldness from being the furthest planet from the Sun, so if we put him in the natural warmth of the daylight, we decrease the excessiveness of his cold and make him more temperate.
The nighttime sect follows a similar strategy, the Moon takes ladyship because she’s the chief light and the moisture of the night makes her natural moisture more giving. Venus is naturally moist as well, and the night makes her more beneficial. Mars is excessively hot and if we place him within the naturally cold and moist setting of the night, we’re evening out his heat and making him chill out.
Sect and Triplicities seem like the oddballs in the dignities scheme because their basic philosophy seems to run at odds with the philosophy of the other dignities. Typically, the idea is that planets are nicer when they are in stations that are more naturally like them. The familiarity or assistance of the area makes them more helpful to people. It’s the basic idea of why Saturn Trine Jupiter is good (Jupiter’s benevolence decreases Saturn’s malevolence) or why a dignified Mars in Aries tends to be more beneficial than Mars in Libra. However, sect turns that on its head by forcing Saturn and Mars into stations they are uncomfortable with in the hopes that it will counter their naturally excessive qualities.
Based on what sect a particular chart belongs to, you will be able to pick out what planets need more attention than others or what areas in life a native needs to be less reckless in. Always pay attention to the out of sect malefic (Saturn if you’re born at night and Mars if you’re born during the day). The out of sect malefic will not have its temperament altered and will always be a consistent problem. The same can be said with the out of sect benefic who tends to try to get you into trouble by doing things that aren’t in your best interest, but feel good to the native.
There are some other forms of sect related dignity that are used to help planets who may not be in sect. These are called rejoicing conditions and there are two of them. The first is that planets prefer to be in their appropriate hemisphere, and the second is that planets prefer to be in signs that match their sect.
For the first, in a diurnal chart, the Sun is above the horizon (in the 7th-12th houses) and the other diurnal planets want to be there too as they can then bask in his light. The opposite is true at night, where the diurnal planets want to be under the earth to avoid the cold of night. The opposite is true with the nocturnal planets who want to be in the hemisphere opposite the Sun. Basically, in a diurnal chart, Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn want to be in 7th-12th houses, while Moon Venus, and Mars want to be in 1st-6th houses. The opposite is true in nocturnal charts, where the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn want to be in 1st-6th and the nocturnal planets want to be in 7th-12th.
The second rejoicing condition is that diurnal planets want to be in diurnal signs and nocturnal planets want to be in nocturnal signs. Diurnal signs are masculine signs and nocturnal signs are feminine. It’s unclear how much the two rejoicing conditions mitigate planets that are out of sect, but it is known that the most significant consideration in sect was the diurnal/nocturnal consideration.
So, how’s your out of sect malefic messing up your life?