Electional astrology (Katarchic in Greek tradition, which means inception, beginning) is one of the oldest branches of Astrology based on the premise that everything has a beginning, thus an astrological chart.
From founding a country to wedding, surgery, starting a business, job interview, marriage – anything under the Sun. It’s like a permanent transit to your natal chart in case of electing for yourself.
For history addicts
Throughout history, Astrologers had fun with this technique because it actually means that you can proactively choose the moment to initiate something important and this way imprint the auspiciousness of the moment on the whole venture. The earliest surviving work comes from Dorotheus of Sidon, an influential astrologer who lived in the Mediterranean region during the time of the Roman Empire (circa 75 CE). Later Hellenistic and Medieval works draw largely upon this source. Horary astrology has probably developed from this branch.
Electional astrology, like other branches of Astrology, has known a renaissance in the XX century, with some differences in method, however.
- 7 planets rulerships are used as well as the whole sign house system.
- The Ascendant-ruler IS the thing inquired about. This is why we are interested in a Lord of Ascendant as free from affliction as possible (house, sign, aspect).
- Moon is the most important ‘planet’ in Electional astrology. It is the mood, the venture and its development. Often, when starting to search for an auspicious date, an astrologer looks for periods when the Moon is dignified and makes positive aspects during that time.
- Put an emphasis on the sect benefic (Jupiter for day charts, Venus for night charts), preferably in harmonious aspects with other planets, especially the Moon.
- Avoid malefics on the angles, especially Mars in day charts, and Saturn in night charts.
- Overall, look for as many positive aspects as possible for that day.
The same for the Ascendant and the Moon. The main difference is the house system used – the Hellenistic tradition uses whole-sign house – 1 sign = 1 house, whereas modern astrology favours the space or time-based house division. I personally use Placidus with a keen eye on the signs, and try to make them match as often as possible. However, I do consistently consider the planet to be in the 12 house when it’s above the Ascendant >5˚, even if it’s in the same rising sign.
The second difference is the chart itself. When the tradition favours the overall positivity of the chart, the modern approach is to make the chart reflect the question. For example, if you’re asking about the potential partner, then the chart must reflect the interaction between the Ascendant-ruler, the Moon and the 7th house ruler. Another way to make the chart look similar to your question would be to place the Ascendant ruler in the house inquired about. I personally use a hybrid approach: the positivity of the chart is a must, and if possible I emphasise applying aspects between the ASC-ruler and the ruler of the other « thing », house, or at least I pay attention to them being in a good shape.
The modern approach puts also a lot of emphasis on the last aspect of the Moon in a given sign (including the outer planets), as indicator of the overall success of the matter.
You can also incorporate the mode of the rising sign in your election, i.e. the cardinal sign if you want something to develop fast, fixed if you want something to last for an extended period of time (perfect for marriages) and mutable if you’d like this something to be flexible, subject to adjustment, a venture in services or information-based.
You may want to synchronise the hour of the moment in question with the Asc-ruler or just choose a benefic to rule the hour.
Additionally, incorporating the fixed stars may be a good idea. For example, avoiding the main significators or angles to be conjunct the known “malefic” stars, like Algol, Antares, Graffias, Zaurak, Unukalhai, etc. You can find information on the 20 brightest stars here.
Overall, it’s better to choose a good opportunity time window – a period when a chart meets electional criteria – like 30 mins or so.
Electional chart must be in alignment with the natal potential – that means that if you don’t have a “gambling” chart, then you may do as many elections as you want, you won’t win 🙂 You may have potential difficulties in starting your business indicated in your nativity; the election may smoothen out the process and help you start the event on the right foot but it won’t take out your part of consistent effort and action.
Electional stand-alone chart is extremely important, but the natal check is recommended to be the final decision point. For example, you have a great Moon transit on that day from a mundane perspective, but if the Moon applies to oppose your natal Saturn, then it may not be the best day for you! Electional chart is a permanent transit to your natal chart, remember?
Electional astrology is like a nice boost to your activity, not a means to override your fate or natal promise.
The astrologer attempts to control a small part of the very complex planetary picture here. There are natal charts, synastry, other inception charts, transits to these charts, and all are relevant at the same moment. There exists an analogy with bowling in the astrological community – electional astrology can help slightly adjust the trajectory of the ball to get a better result, but it’s up to you to take action and do your best to succeed.
Planetary cycles of Saturn and Jupiter to natal chart are especially important in managing the expectations of clients.
Now to the juicy part. For several months I was desperate to get the astrological educational material like lectures and recordings from an association, which was lost due a major IT crash. I was running in circles with the organization as they seemed inflexible and their hierarchy didn’t respond for weeks after the e-mail of the assistant. I almost lost hope and then I decided to use Astrology to write an important e-mail to them again and hopefully “unblock” the situation. As there was an auspicious Venus/Jupiter conjunct coming, I decided to take advantage of it.
In the chart, we have the following:
- Libra on the Ascendant – appropriate for a correspondence (air sign) and willingness to resolve a pending issue (diplomacy). Venus, benefic in sect, is not afflicted by malefics (separating trine with Mars, aversion with Saturn), in her own terms and in applying conjunction with lesser benefic here, Jupiter.
- Moon is in the fortunate 11 house in both house systems, in active Leo, and in applying trine to Mars, and then Venus and Jupiter. Moon rules the 10, overall success of the matter as well. Moon’s last aspect will be the trine to Jupiter or Uranus for modern approach, both of which look satisfactory.
- Saturn and Mars are dignified in their domiciles, and potentially less inclined to cause problems. Saturn is below the horizon, appropriate for an out-of-sect malefic and Mars is above the horizon, in the 7.
- Now to the fact that the chart must reflect the question. In this case, it’s a bingo, as the Lord of the Ascendant is in the 3rd house in both systems with another benefic. It is the correspondence/communication/study house. Moon connects with Mars in the 7, indicating a harmonious and active contact with another person/institution.
- I also wanted to put cardinal signs on the angles for the matter to resolve quickly (which indeed what happened!).
- As for the natal chart, the Moon was in trine with my North Node and Mercury was conjunct natal Venus on the 7th cusp.
- Additional extras: it’s a Moon’s day and Jupiter’s hour – the participating triplicity ruler of the Ascendant and a lesser benefic here.
- Venus/Jupiter are conjunct an active fixed star in Hercules constellation – Rasalgethi, which is of Mercury/Mars nature, giving extra boldness in communication.
OUTCOME: After sending the email, I had a very friendly and positive reply from the association and their head’s approval. As a result, I got all the files back (even additional corrected presentations) within 7 days! My satisfaction was limitless as this dead-end was nicely and quickly resolved as if my magic 😉
What do you think?
What are your best and worst elections? Or if you don’t practice astrology, what would your expectations be from an astrologer hired to elect an important date for you? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. Watch for future case study of an election with an unhappy end! (and what NOT to do when electing something important!)
If you would like to choose a favourable date / moment to initiate something, don’t hesitate to book a consultation with me.
Further reading & references
- Dorotheus of Sidon, Carmen Astrologicum, trans. Benjamin Dykes
- Choices and Inceptions: Traditional Electional Astrology, by Benjamin Dykes
- Bonatti on Elections, trans. By Benjamin Dykes
- The latest translation by Benjamin Dykes – The Astrology of Sahl B. Bishr, Volume I