How to understand sect and hayz in astrology

Sect and hayz in astrology are deeply intertwined concepts. In this post, I’ll explain what they are, how they’re connected, and how to apply them to a chart.

The best way to understand sect and hayz is to go over each of them in turn, because hayz is essentially an evolution of sect. So, let’s get started.

What is sect?

In astrology, charts and planets have a sect, which can be either nocturnal or diurnal. A chart’s sect is diurnal if the Sun is located above the horizon, meaning it’s a day chart. If the Sun is located below the horizon, it’s nocturnal and thus a night chart.

In order to understand sect and hayz, you first need to understand sect.

A planet’s sect, however, is an intrinsic part of that planet and doesn’t change–with one exception.

The Saturn, Jupiter, and the Sun are all diurnal planets. Mars, Venus, and the Moon are all nocturnal planets. The planet Mercury is a special case. Its sect depends on its position relative to the Sun. If Mercury rises before the Sun, it’s diurnal. If it rises after the Sun, it’s nocturnal.

The sect of Mercury illustrated.

A planet is considered to be “in sect” or “of the sect” when it is located in a chart which matches its own sect. So, a diurnal planet in a day chart would be considered in sect. A planet is “out of sect” or “contrary to sect” when it’s in a chart which doesn’t match. A diurnal planet in a night chart would be out of sect.

Is that all there is to sect?

There’s one more wrinkle about sect we need to address before we move on to hayz. Up until now, we’ve only considered charts as being either day charts or night charts. If the Sun is above the horizon, we’ve treated the whole chart as a diurnal or day chart. This isn’t the whole story.

In a day chart, only the top half of the chart (the half above the horizon) is diurnal. That should make sense because the Sun is in the top half of the chart in a day char. It’s what makes it a day chart to begin with. The bottom half of the chart (the half below the horizon) is nocturnal.

What does this mean? It means that a diurnal planet can be perfectly at ease, and in sect, in a “night chart” so long as it’s located below the horizon. If a nocturnal planet is above the horizon in that same chart, it’s also in sect.

Mercury and sect illustrated.

Now, some astrologers disagree on this point. In particular, people who study and practice ancient astrology think of this as only a mitigating factor. That is to say, being in the nocturnal half of a day chart doesn’t make a nocturnal planet fully in sect, it just eases it somewhat.

In later forms of traditional astrology, such as that practiced during the Renaissance, this “mitigating factor” became much more important. Indeed, by this time, many astrologers weren’t considering sect very much at all. Instead, they used the concept of hayz.

What is hayz?

In order for a planet to be considered in hayz, it must first be in sect according to rules of the later tradition. That’s why we needed to talk about sect, first. Sect and hayz are deeply related because hayz includes the concept of sect.

What else is needed for a planet to be in hayz? The gender of the planet must match the sign of the zodiac in which it’s placed in the chart.

Now, I know, the whole “masculine” versus “feminine” thing in astrology is frequently debated. I’m not going to wade into that debate and try to convince anyone of anything. The simple fact is, these are the words we have, and these are the words you’re going to find in traditional texts. That’s the only reason I’m using them here.

The signs of Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, and Aquarius are considered masculine. The signs of Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, and Pisces are considered feminine.

The planets Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the Sun are considered masculine. The planet Venus and the Moon are considered feminine. Once again, the planet Mercury is a special case. For the purposes of hayz, Mercury is considered masculine if it’s diurnal, and feminine if it’s nocturnal.

If a planet is both in sect, and it’s located in a sign which matches its gender, the planet is in hayz. If a planet is missing either of these qualities (it’s out of sect or not in a sign of its gender), it’s considered contrary to hayz. That’s all there is to it.

How do you apply sect and hayz to a chart?

According to ancient astrology, when a planet is in sect, it’s more likely to manifest its more positive or constructive significations. If a planet is out of sect, it tends to manifest in a more negative way. It works rather like (and in cooperation with) the idea of essential dignity. A well-dignified planet will still tend to manifest in more positive ways even if it’s out of sect, it just won’t be as positive.

Once astrologers shifted to using the concept of hayz, it was interpreted largely the same way. A dignified planet will be even more likely to act in positive ways, while a debilitated planet will tend to act in less negative ways. Hayz won’t make a debilitated planet awesome, but it won’t be as bad.

Conversely, if a dignified planet is contrary to hayz, it won’t be quite so positive. It won’t act as though it’s actually debilitated, it just won’t be as constructive as it could be.

This is the approach I use in my own astrological practice and consultations. Partly, this is because I tend to stick to Renaissance astrology in general. Mostly, though, it’s because my experience seems to indicate that hayz yields more accurate results.

Not everyone agrees about sect and hayz!

As I mentioned above, different astrologers have different takes on sect and hayz. What I’ve written above is the way that I’ve come to think of these concepts. There are some very good astrologers out there with entirely different views and I respect them greatly.

In fact, the astrologer Chris Brennan has written an excellent book titled Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune. In pages 190 through 197, he writes a detailed (and well-cited) description of sect, as it was actually used in the Hellenistic period. He then describes how it relates to hayz in the later tradition. If you happen to have that book on your shelf, it’s worth reading over his explanation and seeing how it compares with what I’ve written here. If you don’t have a copy of his book, you should get one. I can’t possibly recommend it more highly.

I’ll also add that if you happen to have a different approach or take on sect and hayz, please drop it in the comments down below! I’d love to hear from you.

Have a blessed day!

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