So, being a part of the astrological community – and working professionally as a traditional astrologer – when I talk about rulerships or houses, there is no doubt that someone will quickly reply with “But you’re wrong. uranus rules aquarius!” or referring to things as “Scorpio/the 8th house is about… ___”
this is a super touchy subject, and people tend to get a bit upset when told that as a solar pisces they are actually jupiter ruled and not neptune ruled, etc.
Things get taken personally, feelings get hurt, resentments get built, and its just not productive at all, and both the traditional rulership person and modern rulership person walk away feeling worse than they did before. So I thought I would make a post talking about WHY traditional astrologers use the rulerships and house associations they use.
So first of all, the reason why traditional astrologers still do not use outer planets (Uranus Neptune Pluto) as rulers is NOT because they don’t “believe in” or use these planets.
First of all, in traditional astrology, we classify the relationship between a sign and a planet using what is known as essential dignities & debilities. In traditional astrology, there are not just rulerships, but several different types of relationships that a planet and a sign can have. For the sake of simplicity here, we will focus on rulerships, but here is a table explaining the traditional dignities and debilities. [http://www.skyscript.co.uk/dig2.html](http://www.skyscript.co.uk/dig2.html)
So, I will say that when the outer planets are used, Uranus does find its dignity in Aquarius, Neptune in Pisces, and Pluto in Scorpio, (they also have signs in which they are exalted, in fall, in detriment too) so there is a relationship between Scorpio, Pisces, Aquarius and the outer planets! But, the outer planets do not RULE these signs, or any signs at all, and there is a reason. The reason is that if we take Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, and use them as the rulers of signs, it messes up the complex system of dignities and debilities.
Here is one reason: with the exception of the luminaries (the Sun = Leo and Moon = Cancer) each of the other 5 planets rule 2 zodiac signs – we have:
Mercury – Gemini & Virgo,
Venus – Taurus & Libra,
Mars – Aries & Scorpio,
Jupiter – Sagittarius & Pisces,
Saturn – Capricorn & Aquarius.
thus, if we add in the outer planets of uranus, neptune, and pluto as rulers, knowing they are not luminaries who can get away with ruling 1 sign – we would have to assign the 3 outer planets 2 signs each. No one has been able to figure out a way to do this that actually makes sense.
Now onto the houses: in traditional astrology –
the 12 houses being ruled as 1H = aries, 2h= taurus is a baseless modern disambiguation. there are 0 source texts that define the houses this way.
certain planets have what is called a “joy” in certain houses -and that is the closest we come to houses being consistently associated with signs or planets. Here is a great paper by astrologer Chris Brennan that talks about the joys, and the themes of all the houses. [http://www.hellenisticastrology.com/the-planetary-joys.pdf](http://www.hellenisticastrology.com/the-planetary-joys.pdf)
The joys are as follows:
Mercury’s joy is in the 1st house, the Moon’s joy is in the 3rd house, Venus’ joy is in the 5th house, Mars’ joy is in the 6th house, the Sun’s joy is in the 9th house, Jupiter’s joy is in the 11th, and Saturn’s joy is in the 12th house.
the other houses that do not have a joy just do not have a planetary joy – no planet necessarily “rejoices” in houses 2, 4, 7, 8, and 10.
No one knows exactly where the “1st house = aries, 2nd house = taurus, 3rd house = gemini” idea really took root. My theory is that it seemed easy, there were 12 houses and 12 signs so – why not line them up? Its a totally modern creation heavily utilized within pop astrology as a way to simply break down the houses. But technically, it is inaccurate, with no basis in any astrological source texts.
And if you want to say that the source texts of astrology make no sense, and are old and dusty and nonsensical and our modern intuition has rendered these ideas archaic and inane? Maybe read a few traditional astrology texts first. Sometimes the wording or spelling can be a little….huh? at first, but I have found so so much more value in these texts than on tumblr blogs or instagram. (not that i don’t have some favorite IG & tumblr astrologers!)
It is simple to do the houses this way, and shit, it was my introductory idea about the houses too. But as I read charts, I began to find that it didn’t make too much sense. Why do we need two different things that both mean the same thing as Aries? As well as this, this idea about the houses and about the outer planets as rulers have caused people to begin to mishmash the house meanings, sign meaning, and planet meanings together, losing the distinct value and original ideas about each separate concept. A great book to read on this is called “The Houses: Temples of the Sky” by Deborah Houlding. (I had a free pdf version but can’t find it.
Now, Houses do still have rulers, but it changes depending on the orientation of the houses in each natal chart. Whatever your first house is, the ruler of that sign is the ruler of your 1st house, and then the ruler of your 2nd house sign is that ruler of that house, and so on. (ex/ Cancer ascendant = 1st house ruler = moon, 2nd house is leo, ruler = sun, 3rd house is virgo, ruler = mercury, and so on. PS. I prefer the oldest house system, whole signs, over the popular Placidus, but that’s a story for another time, or for the comments or something. )
Another distinction to make is that the outer planets move soooo slowly that the sign they are in makes 0 personal or individual distinctions about the querent themselves. (Uranus takes 7 years to move through one sign, sometimes longer. Neptune takes about 14 years, Pluto takes anywhere between 14 and 30 years. So, if anything, when talking about something like “Uranus in Capricorn” we should look at it as the “Uranus in Capricorn generation.” Similarly, aspects between two outer planets, like Neptune conjunct Uranus, Neptune sextile Pluto, etc., do not have personal significance.
Things that WILL make an outer planet notable within an individual personality are:
1) an outer planet closely conjunct the chart angles (AC or DC, IC or MC). Just being in the angular houses (1, 4, 7, or 10) does not have nearly as much significance as when they are actually closely conjunct one of these 4 axis points.
2) An outer planet involved in a MAJOR aspect (conjunct, square, trine, opposite, sextile) to an inner planet (It also has to be within orb. Neptune being 8-10 degrees away from the Sun/Moon etc. is not a conjunction, or being 7-10 degrees away from an exact square/trine to the Sun/Moon etc. is not a relevant square/trine, whatever, either.)
I just wanted to put some distinct information out here on why traditional astrologers say the things they do about rulerships and houses. If this is strongly worded, I apologize, I just want to clear things up a bit.
If anyone else has anything to add: put it below! And please, let’s keep it civil. All astrologers, amateur, professional, modern, traditional, uranian, etc., are extremely bright and valuable!
TLDR; the outer planets don’t rule inner planets because all inner planets (other than the luminaries, aka sun/moon) rule 2 different signs, so if we add the outer planets in, it muddles everything.
The houses being lined up with the signs i.e. aries = 1H, taurus = 2H – is a modern creation of convenience. The rulers of houses change depending on your chart (if your ascendant/1H is taurus, the ruler of 1H = venus, 2h=mercury, and so on.)
Edit : I am not suggesting we get rid of the outer planets, I love the outer planets personally. I’m just explaining this logic.