THE URANIAN INSTITUTE
Rulerships: the very name itself implies that astrological signs must be "ruled" by an external force. After seeing over a period of years how people seem to dance around this issue and never come up with convincing conclusions, perhaps it's time for a complete reassessment of the very concept of "rulership", which seems to fit symbolically so well with the concept of astrology kings and queens.
The term "rulership" for describing the correlations between planets and situations, characteristics, and things, is not so questionable, although the term "affinity", "correspondence", or "correlation" might be more appropriate and less evocative of an image of subjugation, control, and subsequently fatalism.
First we learn that before the discovery of Uranus, Jupiter was also supposed to "rule" both Sagittarius and Pisces, which is plausible in some ways. Saturn was believed to the "ruler" of both Capricorn and Aquarius, and that seems far less convincing. Mars was assumed to have special affinity with both Aries and Scorpio, and there is some convincing evidence for both cases.
The pre-Uranus-discovery format did at least present a nice symmetry with the Sun and Moon in the middle, but when Pluto was discovered, the planetary order was disrupted, and one was supposed to skip from Neptune in Pisces to Pluto in Scorpio. Those who argued for Pluto as ruler of Aries did have some valid points, in terms of newness, rebirth, and resourcefulness -- and the symbolism of the Ascendant as rebirth into a new cycle made sense.
Alfred Witte, early on in his writings, presented his newly-discovered transneptunians with sign rulers. Cupido was assumed to reflect the nature of Libra; Hades was supposed to be somewhat like Virgo; Zeus similar to Leo; and Kronos like Cancer -- and the transneptunian schema at this point followed a systematic order around the zodiac, albeit in reverse.
However, Witte did not stop at those conclusions. He was quite eclectic and future-oriented, and his opinions evolved rapidly as he experimented continuously with a number of techniques and concepts. While Witte was normally one to follow up on new ideas, he at one point began to see the need to cut out non-essentials, and recommended that students of Hamburg School astrology eliminate sign rulerships, and planetary dignities and detriments, and subsequently pay more attention to the interrelationships of the planets. (Witte p 255). However, those Hamburg School practitioners, and American astrologers, who adhered more to traditional practices have overlooked Witte's advice about eliminating the rulership concept, continued to work with them despite the recommendations of this thorough and critical pragmatic analyst of techniques.
One issue of note is that traditional astrologers working with house systems have often explained the conditions of unoccupied houses via analysis of the planet supposedly 'ruling' the sign on the cusp of the house. With such a variety of rulership systems, their very use is rather questionable, and certainly warrants further research. With the increasing number of planet-like bodies known to us, the concept of "empty house" has become almost obsolete.
Following is a presentation of the sign rulerships that Friedrich Sieggrün presented in the 1920s (Witte, p 342). This was before Sieggrün's outer four Transneptunians were added into the schema.
Notice that certain early Hamburg School astrologers recognized the existence of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but there is little known literature from that time indicating that they were used in charts.
On the trek to discover what and who really ruled what and whom, I next found the rulership schema that Hamburg School traditionalist, Hermann Lefeldt, presented in his 1962 book entitled "Methodology of Astrological Houses" (Lefeldt, p 24):
Note that Lefeldt's schema did not include the Moon, and it associated Pluto with Virgo. Many of the ideas presented by Lefeldt reflected his highly fatalistic approach to astrology, and his desire to bind Hamburg School techniques to traditional practices.
Next, we have Roger Jacobson's schema (Jacobson, p 80), which was adjusted to fall more in line with general astrological conceptions.
From the examples given above, one might seriously begin to question the very idea of using sign rulerships at all, and posit that they are an antiquated paradigm that no longer reflects our current understanding of the cosmos.
Finally, we look at a table summarizing the aforementioned schemata, to see how they compare.
If the many hundreds of asteroids are added into this paradigm, particularly if they are assumed to "rule" various signs instead of just one, the rulership schema could become exceedingly complex.
The rulership concept has been handed down as an astrological tradition for centuries, and must have had some sort of validity to it, on some level. There do indeed seem to be affinities between certain planets and certain signs that few astrologers will disagree on, but the practice of substituting a planet for a sign, or a sign for a planet, assuming that they are almost synonymous or interchangeable, as is done in such traditional techniques as mentioned above, seems highly questionable, considering how many more planetary bodies we are aware of today.
Some astrologers have even posited that the sign rulership concept was a compensatory tool utilized in the absence of knowledge of planets beyond Saturn, and that today's knowledge of our solar system yields a fuller and more accurate picture of astrological influences unclouded by the retention of antiquated assumptions and techniques based on medieval and classical understanding of reality as it once existed many centuries ago -- that astrology should have evolved just as have other sciences since those same times.
Brummund, R. 1994. Uranischen Techniken Hamburger Astrologen. Hamburg: Ruth Brummund Eigenverlag.
Jacobson, R. 1975. The Language of Uranian Astrology. Franksville WI USA: Uranian Publications.
Lefeldt, H. 1962. Methodik der Astrologischen Haüser. Hamburg: Ludwig Rudolph (Witte-Verlag).
Morrison, A. 1989. Unpublished documents. Personal correspondence in discussion of the issue of planet-sign rulerships.
Witte, A. 1975. Der Mensch: eine Empfangsstation kosmischer Suggestionen. Hamburg: Ludwig Rudolph (Witte-Verlag).
THE URANIAN BEACON TM: INTELLIGENT ASTROLOGY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY