After having discussed some of the philosophical problems in the way that many people try to use electional astrology in the previous post in this series, we’re going to briefly talk about some of the basics in this one.
Like everything in astrology, the electional branch has its modern and traditional variant. The difference between the two methods echoes the differences between modern and traditional approaches in general; modern electional seeks to describe, while traditional electional seeks to empower or define as good/bad. An example would be if we were to look at opening a business that happened to be a bookstore, someone who followed modern atrological techniques would make the chart for the opening of the business “look like” a bookstore’s birthchart. Perhaps they would use a prominent Mercury or the Moon moving towards Mercury, or a planet in Gemini. On the other hand, someone employing traditional techniques would make sure to select dignified and otherwise well-placed significators, perhaps reinforcing the Tenth house, etc. There are a few more differences, but this one is really the biggest and most basic divergence between the two.
In this series we’re going to be looking at electional astrology while using traditional techniques, this will keep this branch more in line with its sister science; horary. This will also keep it consistent with the timeframe and techniques of its development in the ancient world.
The most important part of electional astrology is to make sure you’re selecting for the right time to mark the beginning of an event. This can sometimes be a bit of a thought exercise as we don’t typically think of when we start events. They just sort of happen! Unless it’s a very particular event that has its own defined rules (there are several of them), the best rule of thumb is to think about when the person initiating the event can no longer back out of it or stop it. That moment would be the time to elect for.
Speaking of elections having particular rules, it’s also important to make sure that you’re following those rules. Always double check to make sure there aren’t special considerations for the subject you’re electing. Things like marriage and commerce have much different and specialzied rules than most other electiosn, so keep this in mind.
A very important thing to remember (and something you will have to remind clients of if you offer this service) is that you will have to settle for a chart. There is no such thing as a perfect election and all of the charts you elect will have problems with them. There is nothing you can do to alleviate all of the problems, you will just have to live with them in the chart. The point isn’t to find a perfect chart, but to find the best chart within the timeframe that can reasonably be used. It’s perfectly fine to only have an “okay” chart if it’s the best thing you can find. Realistically, this art is not as open as it would appear. A great many elections are going to have to be done for business hours Monday through Friday, and that in itself is very limiting.
Also, there is a certain letter by Coley which instructs us thusly: “‘We must not be superstitious, but modest in our Elections, only use them as natural helps”. This is basically the nice way of saying to not run hog wild with elections for frivolous matters or to help us with every little inconsequential thing. In this way, electional is very much like horary. It must be respected and used when it’s important, not just because we want to or feel like we can’t live without it. As far as electional astrology misues is concerned, though, this seems to have more to do with our own mental health rather than astrology not taking us seriously and getting bad charts (though something similar may be a possibility as well). There’s no point in living if we are only going to abide by the stars for every little thing.
Finally, there is a lot of talk about trying to elect charts that fit in with the natal chart in some way. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of talk about how to do that. Every now and again you’ll get a hint, but nothing very concrete and certainly nothing that even pretends to be complete. Ramsey tells us to not trust Venus and Jupiter to bring good things 100% of the time, if they’re malefic in the nativity, then it might not be a good idea to use them. Aside from that
no brainer helpful tip, a more complete set of information would be to make sure that particular house rulers of the nativity were strengthened in the electional, while planets that are more problematic in the nativity are not major players. The problem with this, though, is that it becomes even more limiting to the point of becoming a self-imposed challenge. If you want to make it even more difficult, think about how you’d work on a marriage electional when you now have to worry about dancing around two different natal charts.