Rulership


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Rulership (Ruler)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In astrology, rulership is an association of the planets with the signs of the zodiac whereby each planet is said to “rule” a certain sign (or signs) and, secondarily, certain sets of objects and activities. Since the discovery of Uranus and the other newly detected planets, the question of which planets rule which signs has been a subject of hot debate among astrologers. However, prior to the advent of Uranus, a general consensus about these relationships had endured since the time of Ptolemy. The traditional system held that the Sun and the Moon (the two luminaries) ruled one sign apiece, Leo and Cancer, respectively. The known planets each ruled two signs: Mercury ruled Virgo and Gemini, Venus ruled Taurus and Libra, Mars ruled Aries and Scorpio, Jupiter ruled Sagittarius and Pisces, and Saturn ruled Capricorn and Aquarius. This is still the rulership system held by the great majority practicing Vedic astrology.

The relationship between the planets and the signs is one of kinship in their basic traits and associations. Thus, when the new planets were discovered, astrologers placed them in horoscopes and attempted to determine precisely what the nature of their influence was. From these observations, it was determined that Uranus ruled Aquarius, Neptune ruled Pisces, and Pluto ruled Scorpio, leaving Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars as the rulers of Capricorn, Sagittarius, and Aries. (There often appears in late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century transitional astrological works the term “coruler,” an appelation that allowed astrologers to keep the old schema while introducing new rulerships—e.g., Saturn and Uranus were at one time said to be the corulers of Aquarius.) Only Mercury and Venus are still viewed as ruling two signs each.

Because of the attractiveness of a balanced system in which 12 heavenly bodies rule 12 signs, twentieth-century astrologers have often speculated that two new planets would eventually be discovered that would come to be accepted as the rulers of Virgo and Libra. For example, the hypothetical planet Vulcan, which some astronomers said might be found between the Sun and Mercury, was thought to be the ruler of Virgo, while an as-yet-undiscovered planet lying beyond Pluto was thought to rule Libra. Some current astrologers speculate that the planetoid Chiron and/or some of the larger asteroids rule these these signs.

The ruler of the sign on the cusp (i.e., the beginning) of a particular house is said to rule that house, and the ruler of the sign on the ascendant is said to rule the chart. Astrologers who feel that the term “ruler” should be reserved for the planet/sign relationship sometimes prefer to use the traditional term “lord” for the planet-house relationship; hence, the relevance of the expression “lord of a house”; ruler of a sign. “Lord” and related terms are generally not employed by modern astrologers, who tend to use “ruler” to cover all such associations between planets, signs, houses, etc. Finally, the planets are said to rule the matters associated with their signs. Thus, for example, Pluto rules death, the sexual organs, the principle of regeneration, and all of the other matters associated with the sign Scorpio. Neptune rules mysticism, music, the feet, and all Piscean matters.

Sources:

DeVore, Nicholas. Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: Philosophical Library, 1947.
Hand, Robert. Horoscope Symbols. Rockport, MA: Para Research, 1981.
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