Most astrologers consider the planet which rules your first house to be your chart ruler, but that’s not the whole story. There are several different ways to determine which planets have the most significant impact on your life. In this post, we’ll look at a few of these and see how they relate to you.
Does your chart ruler rule your Ascendant?
In both ancient and modern astrology, in order to determine your chart ruler, most people look to see which planet rules your Ascendant. This planet–and its house placement–will give us an idea of your overall life direction, and where you tend to focus your activities and attention.
Because the Ascendant moves so much more quickly than any other point or planet in the heavens, your first house is your most personal house. It only makes sense that the planet which rules the sign of your Ascendant would also be quite personal. By looking at this planet, and where it falls in your chart, we can get a mile-high view of life direction and focus. If we find the ruler of your first house sitting in the tenth house of career, for example, much of your time and energy will probably be spent pursuing your profession.
That said, I don’t always find this way of finding your chart ruler to be the most interesting or practical. Instead, in my own natal astrology consultations, I use two other approaches which allow us to find your most prominent planet and your most helpful planet.
What is your most prominent planet?
According to the Renaissance astrologer William Lily, one way to find your chart ruler (which he called the “Lord of the Geniture”) is to determine which planet has the most essential dignity in certain places in your birth chart.
Specifically, we look at the places of the Ascendant, the Midheaven, the Sun, the Moon, and the Part of Fortune. We add up the essential dignities (and debilities) of each of the planets in each of these places. Whichever planet has the most essential dignity in total, that’s your Lord of the Geniture or chart ruler. In my own practice, I call this your “Most Prominent” planet.
Why is this? Well, think of this planet as the CEO of a company who not only controls the “Big Picture,” but they insist on being involved in all of the day-to-day affairs of the firm. Sure, the other employees (planets and points) will show up to work each day, but ultimately they have to answer to the boss.
How much essential dignity a planet has in any given place tells us how much influence the planet has in that place. For example, Mars rules the sign of Aries. That means it has tremendous influence not only over that sign, but over any points or planets within that sign. And those five points and planets we looked at above? They’re the five most important places in your birth chart. That makes the planet with the most essential dignities in these places the Big Boss.
What does your most prominent planet do?
Pretty much nothing gets done without your most prominent planet getting involved. This means every situation or event you experience in life is going to be touched by it in some way. Exactly how comes down to which planet we’re talking about, as well as its own placement in your chart.
Some planets are more constructive, others are less so. As a general rule, if this planet is essentially and accidentally dignified, you’ll tend to find the events and circumstances of your life proceeding relatively constructively and with few frustrations and setbacks. If it’s essentially and/or accidentally debilitated, though, then things might be…less constructive or smooth.
The bottom line? Your most prominent planet just is. It’s always there, like it or not. It might not be what most astrologers call your “chart ruler,” but it’ll certainly seem to rule more than its fair share.
Which is your most helpful planet?
In order to find your most helpful planet, we first want to see which of your planets have the most essential dignity where they sit in the chart. The more essential dignity a planet has, the more likely it is to “put its best foot forward.” That is to say, planets which are essentially dignified usually manifest their most constructive or beneficial significations.
However, we also need to look at how free each of the planets are to act. This means looking at accidental dignities and debilities, too. While a planet’s essential dignity reflects the quality of that planet’s expression, a planet’s accidental dignity reflects the quantity. Accidental dignity shows us how much the planet can express itself.
The planet which has the best combination of essential and accidental dignities is your most helpful planet.
What does “best” mean in this context? That’s where you usually need to just use your best judgement. If a planet has lots of essential dignity, but it’s sitting in one of the “weaker” houses, it might want to help out, but it may not always get the chance. A planet which very little essential dignity, but is sitting right on your Midheaven? It has a lot of power to act, but it might not always do so as constructively as you’d like.
Usually, I find there’s a pretty clear winner in most charts, but sometimes, you just have to look at the “numbers,” then apply your “intuition.”
What does your most helpful planet do?
In every chart, a planet has both “natural” significations as well as “accidental” significations. For example, the planet Venus has “relationships” and “love” as some of its natural significations. If, in your chart, Venus happens to rule your second house, it would also have “money” and “personal resources” as some of its accidental significations.
If you think back to challenging times in your life, or times when you were faced with frustrating or undesirable situations, you’ll probably find that whatever help and support you received then came from those areas of your life connected to your most helpful planet. That is, the natural and accidental significations of your most helpful planet are usually there to assist you in times of strife.
Are they always able to save the day completely? Sadly, no. But, this planet’s influence is likely to be apparent whenever you manage to triumph over some adversity or other.
Also, if you happen to be into astrological magic, well…you could do a lot worse than knocking on your most helpful planet’s door when you need some assistance.
Which chart ruler resonates with you the most?
Now that you know how to look for your most prominent and most helpful planets, go find them! Pull up a copy of your chart, do a little math, and see if what I wrote above resonates with you. You might be surprised to see how much more impact these planets have on your life than your expected chart ruler.
If you don’t have a copy of your birth chart, you can use a site like Astro.com to generate one. And if you’re unsure of how essential and accidental dignity works, I highly recommend you check out the book On The Heavenly Spheres by Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro.
Have a blessed day!
If you would like a Tarot or natal astrology reading, please visit my Consultations page. I would be happy to help.