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THE JOYS OF THE PLANETS

by Gary Brand - written April 10, 2001,
published in the Spring 2001 edition of AstroVox,
Newsletter of the Metro Washington, DC Chapter of NCGR*
The houses of a birth chart and their meanings, including
the signs and houses in which the planets rejoice The houses of a birth chart and their meanings, including the signs and houses in which the planets rejoice, in the square format used from the classical Greek period through the European Renaissance.  From Schoener, ( J.S., p. 32 (1539)).

The birth chart of German General Albrecht von
Wallenstein, cast by Johannes Kepler in 1608 in the square format. The birth chart of German General Albrecht von Wallenstein, cast by Johannes Kepler in 1608 in the square format used from the classical Greek period through the European Renaissance.  Kepler labeled the chart "Der Edel Herr," meaning "the noble sir" because it denoted someone of royal blood and because his client wanted to be anonymous.  However, Kepler guessed the identity and wrote Wallenstein in secret code on the original, extant draft of the chart.  Kepler was very attentive to details, demonstrated here by his calculation of longitude to the minute as well as the degree for each of the planets and the lunar nodes.  He also apparently calculated the parallax position for the Moon because it is very close to the modern parallax value (see modern chart below).  However, he placed Venus in the 9th house instead of her true position in the 8th (using 20 degrees of Scorpio that he calculated for the beginning of the 9th house).

The birth chart of German General Albrecht von
Wallenstein, in modern round format and calculated by computer. The birth chart of German General Albrecht von Wallenstein, in modern round format and calculated by computer program (Win*Star™, version 2.05).  Kepler was very close in his calculations of Mars, Venus, Saturn and the lunar nodes in his chart (above this chart) and it is not surprising that his calculation of Mercury's position has the largest variance from the actual position because this planet cannot often be observed (though the variance is less than ½ degree).  The date in the modern-day chart is 10 days later than Kepler's because of the calendar change from Julian to Gregorian since Kepler's time and because the astrology software Gary uses inexplicably does not automatically make this date adjustment.  Although Kepler used the "rational" house system (now called Regiomontanus), the beginning of each house in Kepler's chart differs (in some instances significantly) from the modern chart, possibly because he used imprecise geographic longitude and latitude data.  In the modern, more accurate version of the chart, Venus actually belongs in the 9th house where Kepler mistakingly placed it.  Kepler's notation after Sept. in his chart is assumed to mean 1½ minutes past 4 o'clock PM, the time used to calculate the above modern version.
Each of the five planets of antiquity (excluding the Sun and Moon) was said to "rejoice" in one of their two domiciles (one of the two signs they rule).  Today, many astrologers have replaced Mars with Pluto as ruler of Scorpio, Jupiter with Neptune as ruler of Pisces and Saturn with Uranus as ruler of Aquarius.  There are also advocates of other changes in planet/sign rulerships.  However, debate over sign rulerships is restricted to only the last two centuries.  Until the 1800s, the only debate the author has found concerned triplicity or term rulers, not sign rulers.  Does it really make sense to discard a system that is so beautifully designed and that has been so practically applied for over two thousand years?

Renaissance astrologer Schoener wrote that Saturn rejoices in Aquarius, Jupiter rejoices in Sagittarius, Mars rejoices in Scorpio, Venus rejoices in Taurus, and Mercury rejoices in Virgo (J.S., p. 32 (1539)).  Why these signs and not the other sign associated with each of these planets?  The answer is because the planets rejoice in the sign that agrees with their diurnal or nocturnal nature.  Diurnal planets belong above the horizon in a day chart and below the horizon in a night chart.  Nocturnal planets belong above the horizon in a night chart and below the horizon in a day chart.  The fire and air signs are masculine and diurnal and the earth and water signs are feminine and nocturnal.

Ptolemy designated Saturn a diurnal planet because "...the coldness of Saturn is allotted to the day, to counterbalance its heat..." (C.P., p. 15 (c. 150 A.D./ 1976)).  At the time that this system was developed and until the discovery of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, Saturn was the coldest planet known since it was the most remote from the Sun (despite the fact that it generates more heat than it receives from the Sun).  Because Saturn is diurnal, he rejoices in Aquarius, a diurnal sign and, when the Sun is in this sign, it is the coldest time of year in the northern hemisphere.  Jupiter is also diurnal so he rejoices in diurnal Sagittarius.  Ptolemy said Mars is chiefly dry so he was designated a nocturnal planet because the moisture of the night serves to offset his damaging dryness.  Indeed, Mars is a dry planet (in the sense of having little if any liquids - even the gas giant planets have a liquid nature where gases are compressed into liquid form), though Mars is not as dry as Mercury.  Mars rejoices in nocturnal Scorpio to offset his dryness.  Venus is a nocturnal planet so she rejoices in her nocturnal sign, Taurus (which is opposite Scorpio where Mars rejoices).  Mercury rejoices in Virgo, a feminine, nocturnal sign rather than Gemini, a masculine, diurnal sign.  The author speculates that Mercury rejoices in Virgo because that sign is in the solar semi-circle of signs and this planet is never far from the Sun (Virgo being adjacent to Leo, the Sun's sign).  An additional possible reason is that Mercury is exalted in Virgo.

Medieval astrologer Bonatti explained that each planet also rejoices in a house.  He said that Saturn rejoices in the 12th house "because it is the house of sorrow, sadness, labor and weeping; and Saturn rejoices in these things" (G.B.II, p. 100 (c. 1282/1994)).  He said that Mars rejoices in the 6th house "... because it is the house of deception, infirmities and servants" and Mars "signifies servants, deceivers, liars.…" (Id.).  Note that Mars and Saturn were the malefics and they rejoice in the two opposite houses that modern astrologers consider the most problematic.

Bonatti said, "Jupiter rejoices in the eleventh because he is a fortune and signifies fortune and wealth, and he is naturally the significator of money and profit and the eleventh house signifies that" (Id.).  Bonatti said that Venus rejoices in the 5th house because it is the "house of joy, delight and dance."  Note that the two benefic planets, Jupiter and Venus, rejoice in two opposite houses that modern astrologers consider beneficial.

Bonatti is brief on why the Sun rejoices in the 9th:  because it is the house of religion.  He says the Moon rejoices in the 3rd because it "signifies short and quick journeys, and things which are changed quickly and which repeat" (Id.).  Note that the Sun and Moon rejoice in opposite houses.  Julius Maternus in Matheseos Libri VIII (written in the 4th century A.D.) called the 9th house "Deus" (the Sun god) and the 3rd house "Dea" (Goddess).

Bonatti said, "Mercury rejoices in the first because the first house signifies the body of the native [the person represented by the birth chart] or querent [the person asking a horary question], and for this reason Mercury rejoices in it, because he signifies knowledge, and that is a matter which is more adapted to the person of the native than any other, for knowledge alone can ennoble man, which no other accident [planetary placement in the chart or condition] can do" (G.B.II, p. 100 (c. 1282/1994)).
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Reference Citations.

*Gary is a member of NCGR (the National Council of Geocosmic Research), a national astrological organization, and he was editor of this newsletter at the time this was published.
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida
850-656-5758


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