Electional astrology: Getting time on your side
Electional astrology is the application of astrological rules to help achieve the best results from a venture you are planning.
Astrology is most known for describing what already exists (a person, a country, the answer to a question) or for predicting the future according to astrological conditions already in place. But there is one branch of the subject that allows you to use astrology more proactively. Electional astrology is the deliberate application of astrological rules to help achieve the best possible results from a venture you are planning. Rather than interpreting a chart that is already there, in electional astrology we are trying to purposefully construct the best possible chart ahead of time. The premise underlying this is that anything that has a starting point has a ‘birth chart’, and the ‘birth’ moment will describe how it plays out in the future.
People often use electional astrology for particularly important life events, such as getting married or starting a business. Other common uses of electional astrology are things like applying for a job, listing a home for sale, or sending an application to attend a university. In this article, we will discuss some of the most important guidelines for using electional astrology. We won’t be able to cover all possible rules here, but this article will help you to get started with several of the foundational points.
Electional astrology moments
The first thing to identify in electional astrology is the specific electional moment. The electional chart is set for the most symbolically significant beginning of your specific venture. It can be particular to the topic, so in some cases the electional moment will be the point after which you can’t take it back. Some elections will require a single quick action to launch, while others may need a window of time to perform several actions. Some examples of electional moments are signing a contract, leaving one’s home to start a trip, making a website go live to the public, or pressing the send button on an important email.
There are a few preliminary ideas to understand when learning electional astrology. First, there are no perfect charts. Instead, we are choosing the best possible option available during a certain timeframe. Using electional astrology does not guarantee a successful outcome. It is more like boosting your odds of success.
Second, your expectations should match your available timeframe. Usually there will be a significant difference in quality between the best charts you can find during a two-year window of time versus a few-days period. There are also specific rules for use with electional astrology and it is important to think concretely about chart placements. We are not focusing on psychological interpretations of placements, nor are we trying to make the chart look like the venture.
There are some prerequisite concepts to understand at the outset. These are the building blocks we will use to find auspicious electional charts. In this article, we will be using the traditional planetary rulerships and the whole-sign house system. Adding to that, we will also use whole-sign aspects, which simply means that any planet in the same sign as another planet is considered conjunct, and a planet that is in a square, opposition, trine or sextile to another planet by sign is considered to have that sign-based aspect. The degrees still matter, because if planets are in close aspect by degree, this further intensifies the aspect.
Day-charts and night-charts
The next concept we will be using is the distinction of sect, which is whether a chart is a day-chart or night-chart. This is determined by whether the Sun is above or below the Ascendant/Descendant axis. If it is above, it is a day-chart. If below, it is a night-chart. This is important because sect alters the quality of the benefic and malefic planets. The benefic planets are Venus and Jupiter, which have the power to improve or affirm whatever outcome you are aiming for. In contrast, Saturn and Mars are the malefic planets. They have the power to harm or deny the topic of the election. In electional astrology, we will be trying to make the benefic planets prominent and minimise the prominence of the malefic planets.
Combining these distinctions, in a day-chart Jupiter will be the most positive benefic, while Venus is most positive in night-charts. During the day, Venus is moderately positive. The same is true for Jupiter in a night chart. For the malefic planets, Mars is the most challenging planet in day-charts, while at night Saturn becomes the most challenging planet. Conversely, in a day-chart Saturn is moderately constructive and less challenging. In a night-chart, the same is true for Mars.
This tells us which planets are best to emphasise in an electional chart and which ones to avoid putting in prominent places. We ideally want to place Jupiter prominently in a day-chart and avoid making Mars prominent. In a night-chart, we want to emphasise Venus, while making sure that Saturn is not prominently placed.
The 12 houses
Next, we look to the houses of the chart. Each of the twelve houses has distinctions of both prominence and quality. The angular houses are the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th Houses. Any planets placed there are considered prominent in the chart, especially so in the 1st and 10th Houses. The 5th, 9th, and 11th Houses are considered ‘good’ houses for a planet to be placed in. The 6th, 8th and 12th Houses are known as ‘bad’ houses; which for our purposes here means that planets placed in those houses are not as helpful. The 2nd House is considered the least bad of the bad houses.
For electional purposes, we want to place planets important for the election in angular or otherwise ‘good’ houses, or to at least avoid placing them in ‘bad’ houses. Ideally we want to place benefic planets in the angular houses to give the venture the most positive help — especially Jupiter during the day or Venus at night — and we want to minimise the prominence of the malefic planets — especially Saturn at night or Mars during the day — by keeping them out of the angular houses. It is often best to place the most challenging planet in a cadent house (3rd, 6th, 9th or 12th), which tucks it away in greater obscurity. It is usually fine to place them in the succedent houses as well (2nd, 5th, 8th or 11th).
Moving on to planetary aspects, a crucial principle of electional astrology is that applying aspects indicate things that will happen in the future, while separating aspects indicate things that have happened in the past and are diminishing in influence. This is important because, with electional astrology, we are attempting to arrange the most auspicious possible future for the venture, so it is essential to have positive-applying aspects, ideally to a benefic planet, if possible.
The primary placements in an electional chart are the 1st House, the Ascendant ruler, and the Moon. The 1st House and the Ascendant ruler represent you, the person initiating the action. Any applying aspects from the Ascendant ruler and/or the Moon represent what the venture is moving towards in the future. For the 1st House, we evaluate the nature and quality of any planets placed there. For the Ascendant ruler and the Moon, we will go through a list of considerations to evaluate how positive those placements are.
Starting with the Ascendant ruler, evaluate the condition of the planet in terms of each of these questions:
- Is the planet direct in motion, if applicable? (ie. not retrograde. All planets bar the Sun and Moon retrograde)
- Does the planet have dignity by sign? (Is it placed in a sign of its domicile or exaltation, or at least not in a sign of its detriment or fall)
- Is the planet in an angular or good house, or at least not in a bad house?
- Is the planet applying to a benefic in the chart? (Ideally Jupiter in a day-chart or Venus in a night chart)
- Is the planet free from sign-based hard aspects (square or opposition) to malefics? (Especially to Mars by day or Saturn at night)
Putting a few of these pieces together, look at each of the twelve rising signs during a given day. Notice which rising signs place benefic planets in the angular houses (1st, 4th, 7th and 10th) and which rising signs place malefic planets in the angular houses, especially in the 1st or 10th. If it is a day-chart, notice which rising signs place Jupiter in an angular house (especially the 1st or 10th). Usually the rising signs that place Mars in an angular house will be ruled out as options. Do the same for the night-chart rising signs, prioritising those that place Venus in an angular house (especially in the 1st or 10th), discarding those with Saturn in an angular house1.
Once you do this, go back through each possible rising sign again and evaluate the condition of the Ascendant ruler according to the considerations above. Often you will not find an Ascendant ruler that fulfills all of these qualities, which is fine; we are just looking for the best of the available options.
Next, we will consider the condition of the Moon. The lunar applying aspect is particularly important in electional astrology as it symbolically carries the venture to its future outcomes. Using the list of considerations for the Ascendant ruler above, evaluate the Moon in the chart for each of the rising signs, according to those same conditions — except for direct in motion, as the Moon cannot be retrograde.
Once you have evaluated these primary factors and selected the best final charts during your timeframe, another factor to consider is the lunar phase. A waxing lunar phase (New Moon to Full Moon) supports growth, as the Moon’s gradual waxing symbolises an increase in whatever you are starting. The waning half of the cycle (Full Moon through the balsamic phase) is more supportive of bringing things to a successful conclusion. Lunar phases are not usually dealbreakers but another consideration to keep in mind if you have multiple charts of similar quality to choose from.
Timing & electional astrology
The final consideration is the exact timing. Once you know what day and rising sign you will use, you need to choose where to place the exact angles of the Ascendant/Descendant and the Midheaven/IC. If you have placed benefics in angular houses, you may want to choose a time when those benefics are exactly on angles by degree to amplify their support. Conversely, it is particularly important to avoid placing Mars in a day-chart or Saturn in a night-chart in a hard aspect to any of the exact angles, especially within 3 degrees. Doing so will make their qualities more prominent, even if they are not otherwise angular. You could also choose to place the Ascendant ruler conjunct an exact angle, if possible, to make that placement even more prominent.
Up to this point, we have focused on the foundational elements that comprise a good general-purpose election. Adding to that, you also need to consider the specific purpose of the election, and to make sure that the chart is suitable for that topic. It is entirely possible to have a chart that is positive in general but less than ideal for the topic of the election.
First, determine which planet is the general significator of the topic of your election. For example, for a marriage you would focus on Venus as the general significator of love and relationships. Evaluate the condition of that planet according to the guidelines presented earlier. You will want the planet that signifies the topic of the election to be in excellent condition, or at least not in bad condition.
The next thing to check is the topical house that rules the purpose of the election. For example, you would check the 9th house for applying to a university, or the 4th house for buying a home. As with the planetary general significator, you want the condition of this topical house to be positive — both for any planets placed there and the planet ruling that house. An election can sometimes have more than one focal house involved. If this is the case, check each house for its condition.
Putting these principles into practice, we will now look at two examples of successful electional charts. You will see that even in charts for successful outcomes they will not necessarily fulfill all ideal electional conditions, but that fulfilling most of them is typically good enough.
Electional Astrology Chart #1: Successful application for university teaching job
This is a Pisces rising chart, with Jupiter ruling the Ascendant in its own sign of Sagittarius in a day-chart, placed prominently in the 10th house. This is a best-case scenario for the Ascendant ruler. As the slower-moving benefic in a day-chart, it doesn’t need to apply to another benefic.
The exact time was chosen to place Jupiter conjunct the MC degree. The Moon is in Leo in the 6th house, applying first to Venus in Scorpio in the 9th house by square then by trine to Jupiter in the 10th, making applications to both benefics. The Moon is in a ‘bad’ house, but its condition is improved by its applying aspect to a planet in an angular house.
The planetary general significator of higher education is Jupiter, which is extremely well placed. The 10th house represents career matters, which is also in excellent condition as it is ruled by that same Jupiter in Sagittarius in a day-chart, both placed in and ruling the 10th House. Universities, as the secondary house topic after career, are typically placed in the 9th house. While the 9th House in this chart is not ideal (ruled by Mars in a day-chart), it does still have the other benefic planet, Venus, placed there. And, its ruler Mars is making an applying aspect to Jupiter, both of which improve the condition of the house.
Electional Astrology Chart #2: Launch of a successful local astrology group
In this chart, Leo is rising. The ruler of the Ascendant is the Sun, prominently placed in the 10th house in Taurus, conjunct the Midheaven degree. The next applying aspect by the Ascendant ruler is a trine to Jupiter in a day-chart. The Moon is exalted in the sign of Taurus and prominently placed in the 10th House. The Moon’s next aspect is a conjunction with Venus. It is also making an applying trine to Jupiter, after aspects with Venus and the Sun. Mars in a day-chart is made less prominent by placing it in the cadent 12th House.
The topical house for groups of people is the 11th House. The ruler of the 11th House is Mercury, well-dignified in its own sign of Gemini and placed in the 11th. The closest to a planetary significator for groups would be the Moon, as it deals with collecting and gathering. The Moon is in excellent condition in this chart. An added bonus is that Mercury is the classical ruler of astrology, placed here in the 11th House of Groups. You will notice that the lunar phase is balsamic, which is not a dealbreaker but can make things slower in getting off the ground. This was reflected in the experience of this group, which took a bit of time initially to gather momentum before slowly and steadily growing and flourishing.
Your natal chart
As you weigh possible charts for your venture, you should also compare them to your own natal chart — and that of anyone else notably involved — since the best election will be both a good standalone chart and have good (or at least decent) synastry with your natal chart. It’s best to avoid using an otherwise good chart if it clashes with your natal chart, because the resulting experience can be like having a permanent negative transit.
Something to avoid is having the most challenging planet for you (Mars if you have a natal day-chart, Saturn for night-chart people) in the electional chart making a hard aspect to important placements in your own chart. For instance, avoid having that electional planet in a hard aspect to your natal Ascendant, Ascendant ruler, sun, or moon within a few degrees. It’s also good to avoid having your most challenging planet in the electional chart transiting the topical house in your natal chart corresponding to the electional purpose, as well as hard aspects from that transiting planet to the planetary general significator of the electional topic in your own chart.
It is often difficult to simultaneously have an excellent standalone electional chart and very positive synastry with the natal chart, so in practice, the focus is sometimes more on avoiding particularly bad natal synastry with the electional chart. There are different schools of thought on whether to prioritise the standalone electional chart or the interactions with the natal chart. It is important to pay attention to both, but I personally prioritise the standalone chart a bit more. In my experience, I have not seen that the electional chart needs to look like the birth chart or have the most ideal synastry between the charts for the election to go well — although it is a nice bonus if those are true.
After witnessing repeatedly that these techniques actually work, electional astrology is a fascinating practice that results in both practical assistance and metaphysical wonder. It may seem a bit complicated at first, but once you internalise the electional guidelines, you can quickly assess the best of what is possible to give your ventures some extra celestial help. While you can’t control everything in life using electional astrology, it does let you have a hand in making the stars align for greater opportunities for success.
- Twice a day, when the Sun is in the 1st or 7th house, that rising sign will create a day and night chart, depending on the specific time frame when the Sun is above or below the Ascendant/Descendant axis. For those rising signs, you will need to evaluate each of the two parts of the rising sign according to day-chart or night-chart considerations respectively.