In the last segment of this series I covered some of the more basic ideas that set up the foundation of electional astrology. In this section we’re going to get a bit more specific about how to set up a general electional chart without necessarily going into any of the more specialized types. This will give us a good overview of some of the mechanics of this particular branch as well as some of the philosophies or thought processes behind their utilization.
As mentioned before, we’re going to be covering traditional electional astrology, specifically the medieval tradition; this tradition focus on empowering particular significators and ensuring favorable aspects to bring things together to make the election effective. This contrasts with the more modern tradition which seeks to describe the situation through an astrological chart. However, there is also a third tradition which I’m not very knowledgeable about that stems from Dortheus of Sidon’s Carmen Astrologicum. The Seven Stars Astrology Blog is currently working on a series which details those particular techniques from Dorotheus which differ somewhat from the later medieval tradition. I’m excited to see what future installments will say since I don’t own a copy of Carmen Astrologicum myself yet. So, those interested in electional keep your eye out on that series on the Seven Stars Astrology Blog as well.
Planetary Days and Hours
A simple way to get any election off to a good start is to begin an activity during an appropriate day and hour. Studying during a Mercury hour, getting married during a Venus hour, these little things can help give a sense of appropriateness to any activity without necessarily doing a complete electional chart for it. There are several tools to check the planetary hour and they are included in most astrological programs.
You can use the planetary days and hours as a good starting point to base your election charts on or use them as extra testimonies for the success of a chart.
Chart construction with the Ascendant
When constructing proper election charts, it’s important to take into consideration both the type of event being elected and what the person it’s for wants out of it. With this information in mind, it’s possible to start with some of the more basic elements of choosing the election.
The first thing to consider is the Ascendant sign and its qualities. The different signs of the zodiac are grouped up into several different categories that reflect some type of quality shared between them. The most commonly known categories are the triplicities and quadruplicities, but there are several more which offer a more descriptive and qualitative structuring of the chart.
Starting with the most well-known, however, the quality or quadruplicity of the sign ascending says a lot about the type of event that is being elected. Cardinal (often called Moveable) signs are best chosen for things that require alteration or that don’t last long (agriculture, commerce, lawsuits, journeys). Fixed signs are chosen when you want the elected thing to last a long time (buildings, marriage). The Mutable or Common signs are inbetween the other two and are to be chosen if you have no preference or when you want things to last a reasonable amount of time.
These ideas are applied other ways as well. The watery triplicty (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) are considered fertile signs and should be elected to the ascendant in situations where you want there to be growth of some kind (financing, agriculture, etc). Leo, Gemini, and Virgo are considered barren signs and should be elected in situations where you don’t want growth, you usually see these signs elected in more mundane elections, such as extermination or cosmetics.
The signs are also further divided into signs of short and long ascension based on how quickly they ascend over the horizon. The signs of short ascension are Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, and Gemini. These signs show hindrances and tediousness and aren’t recommended to have rising. The other signs are the signs of long ascension and are said to bring success easier and more quickly, so these are typically the more wanted ascendants.
Chart Construction with the Moon
Aside from picking a proper ascendant sign, it’s also important to take the Moon into consideration. There are several ways in which the Moon can be afflicted, and it’s best to avoid all of them or at least the grand majority of them. Some of the more serious are:
1) Being Void of Course (when the Moon isn’t applying with in orb to the aspect of another planet, even worse if she doesn’t do so before she changes sign)
2) In her detriment or fall
4) In the Via Combusta (15° Libra to 15° Scorpio)
5) Afflicted by the malefics.
If all of these things can be avoided, the election is off to a good start. You always want to fortify the Moon in her own dignities if you can, or at the very least have her apply to a benefic to help bring about some success. Also, the quality of the Moon signifies how the event begins, whereas her ruler or dispositor shows how it ends. There are some different ways you can make use of this, though typically fortifying both would be the best way to go to ensure smooth sailing throughout. However, suppose it’s for a client who admits to having difficulty getting motivated; fortifying the Moon (showing how the event begins) to make things easier could help the client get the push he needs to get the event rolling.
Arguably the most important technique in electional astrology is fortification. This is when you take a planet and make it stronger by placing it in its dignities or in good houses of the horoscope. Jupiter in Cancer in the 10th is much more fortified than a Jupiter in Taurus in the Fifth due to being in its exaltation and in an angular house.
Aside from dignity and angularity, you can also fortify a planet in slightly more qualitative ways by having it be in aspect to or in the sign of a benefic planet and also being in a good house. Fortunately, the houses by strength are pretty similar to the houses by quality, where the angles are the most powerful and the most benefic. The only real difference is that houses 11, 5, 9, and 2 are more capable of doing good than houses 2, 6, 8, and 12.
Choosing significators is one of the most important parts in electional astrology. The planet ruling the sign on the Ascendant is going to be an important consideration in every electional chart as it represents the person starting the event, and there are very few times when this being weakened is seen as a positive (this depends entirely on the event itself). It’s also important to be mindful of the planet who rules the house that best describes the event being elected. We want this planet to be strong as well and it’s even better if this planet is a benefic planet.
When considering chart construction and choosing significators, it’s often best to try to select the planet who is the most dignified and see when that planet’s sign is rising or on the cusp of the house in question. This allows the astrologer to know that at least one well dignified planet is involved in the election.
As a caveat to the above, if choosing the sign of a well dignified planet creates some other problem (such as making the Moon cadent or something), it may be better to look at a less dignified planet to alleviate the weakness.
Always pay attention to the Moon. Her applications tell you how things will go throughout the event; the more applications to benefic or well-dignified planet the better.
It’s best to develop a hierarchy of techniques to know which ones to shoot for and which ones to sacrifice to fulfill others. You’re not going to get a perfect chart, so the judgment calls are something to get used to making. This is something that comes with experience and something personal I’ll share on a later installment.
There isn’t a need to elect times for everything. For many things, simply following the planetary days and hours, as well as the Moon’s aspects can help make any activity more rewarding, fulfilling, or successful. The more personally important an event, the more appropriate to do a full electional chart for.