Who’s in Charge of Your Chart?
This is a rather interesting question to pose. You might say, “Well, I am”. Perhaps this is so as you get to know yourself by living your life. I am, however, posing a rather technical question relating to the strength and influence of the planets that constitute the energies of your birth map. I decided to write this blog article after facilitating a study group on it at the request of another colleague, and in response to one of my wonderful readers, Paul, who keeps questioning and growing by leaps and bounds. 🙂
You might want to pull out your chart as you read along, because this is going to be like a treasure hunt unearthing one of your great hidden powers. Down through the ages astrologers have studied and learned to weight the strength of a planet through various methods. The method I am writing about is based on rulers of the horoscope. Today we might say President, or CEO of your chart. Yet astrologers continue to use these archaic terms, and perhaps the best book on the subject is simply entitled Rulers of the Horoscope by Alan Oken.
Each planet seems to have a stronger affinity for certain signs and today’s accepted modern alignment is this:
Aries is ruled by Mars
Taurus is ruled by Venus
Gemini is ruled by Mercury
Cancer is ruled by the Moon
Leo is ruled by the Sun
Virgo is ruled by Mercury
Libra is ruled by Venus
Scorpio is ruled by Pluto
Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter
Capricorn is ruled by Saturn
Aquarius is ruled by Uranus
Pisces is ruled by Neptune
Note that both Mercury and Venus ‘rule’ two signs. Also, to the ancients Scorpio was ruled by Mars, Aquarius was ruled by Saturn, and Pisces was ruled by Jupiter, so we might say that those three planets also have ‘dual rulership’. For the sake of simplicity, however, I will stick with the modern-day rulers as we proceed with our treasure hunt.
The next step is to understand another rather obscure word called ‘dispositor’. No, not suppository! This term comes from the word posit or position actually. The dispositor is said to dispose of the position of a planet in a certain sign. Let’s look at an example: a person has Moon in Cancer as well as Mercury in Cancer. The Moon disposes Mercury in this case because Mercury is in the sign that the Moon rules. Another example: Saturn in Capricorn will dispose the Moon in Capricorn. Another way of looking at this is simply that the Moon in Capricorn must ultimately give some type of allegiance to Saturn in its own sign, Capricorn. In this manner we get a sort of chain of command as we go around our birth chart determining which planet disposes of another.
The Final Dispositor in this chain of command has to be a planet in its own sign. This planet will have tremendous power in your birth map if you have one. It may or may not be connected with other rulerships however. This is why it can often be rather hidden from view. I’ll give you an example from my own files of a real life woman: She has a Leo Ascendant, which means that the Sun is said to be her ‘chart ruler’. (The chart ruler is always the ruler of the Ascendant, but not necessarily a Final Dispositor) She also has Pluto in Leo right on her Ascendant which shows a power to that planet as well because of its strong placement in her birth map. However, it is her Mercury in Virgo in her first house that actually disposes of every single planet in her chart making it the ‘Final Dispositor.’ This woman’s life is decidedly Mercurial with communication one of her fortes. She is also a high gifted weaver, so she also uses her hands in her work. She writes journal articles and books, she teaches, she travels all over the world as a teacher and known author in her field of expertise. As you can see Pluto in Leo might not show this particular quality, though it certainly shows other strengths. Her chart ruler, the Sun in Virgo, may give other clues into her character and life purpose, but not the communicating skills that Mercury lends.
I think of another good friend who has Venus in Libra as her Final Dispositor. This woman has a Capricorn Ascendant which means that Saturn is her chart ruler. Yes, she has had to work very hard in this life and has held positions of great responsibility, but her hidden CEO is definitely that Venus in Libra which is so incredibly relationship-oriented and artistic by nature even though its position is more background in one of her cadent houses, the 9th.
So will you have a Final Dispositor in your own chart? Only if you have a planet in its own sign, and then not necessarily so. You might have two planets in what is called mutual reception or even two planets in their own signs who vie for that command post.
Mutual Reception is when two planets are placed in each other’s signs. This is actually more common than you think. Some examples might be Venus in Pisces with Neptune in Libra, or Sun in Aquarius with Uranus in Leo. When this occurs you have to consider the two planets as a sort of pair. If these planets are in a nice easy aspect with each other, all the better! If they are in a challenging aspect with each other, they may create a conflict within you which needs to be eventually resolved. If they don’t relate at all by aspect they may need to be brought more fully into your consciousness by your intention to get them working as a team.
I will be showing examples of this later in this article by using famous people’s charts.
Multiple Mutual Reception is a term coined by Alan Oken in his book mentioned earlier. It occurs when three or more planets are linked by dispositing one after another in a sort of loop. You’ll see these loops sometimes involving up to six planets. Then things begin to get really complicated because there really aren’t one or even two energies in charge. This type of chain of command is not as clear and perhaps is intended to weave back and forth from one arena of life to another. I have several examples of this type of dispositorship to share with you later.
How to determine your own ‘chain of command’ is quite simple actually. Take a piece of paper out and create columns starting with your Sun. You’ll end up with 10 columns in all, one for each of the planets including Sun and Moon. This will make it very visually clear when you’re all done. When I do this I use arrows to designate the chain of command from one to another of the planets. We’ll look at two women with Sun in Leo as their Final Dispositor. Keep in mind that not all people with Sun in Leo have it as a final dispositor. We’ll look at another Leo woman who shifts away from this signature.
Let’s first look at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, a modern-day ‘Queen’:
Sun in Leo Moon in Aries Mercury in Leo Venus in Gemini
To to to to
Mars in Virgo Sun in Leo Mercury in Leo Mercury in Leo
To to to
Mercury in Leo Sun in Leo Sun in Leo
Sun in Leo
Mars in Virgo Jupiter in Gemini Saturn in Sagittarius
To to to
Mercury in Leo Mercury in Leo Jupiter in Gemini
To Sun in Leo Mercury in Leo
Sun in Leo to Sun in Leo
Uranus in Aries to Neptune in Virgo to Pluto in Cancer to
Mars in Virgo to Mercury in Leo to Moon in Aries to
Mercury in Leo to Sun in Leo Mars in Virgo to
Sun in Leo Mercury in Leo to
Sun in Leo (final dispositor!)
You can see in Jacqueline’s chart that her Sun in Leo is clearly her final dispositor. No other sun sign can have this. It underscores this type of Leo’s need to develop a strong sense of self and in her case to contribute universally to the greater whole through her role as a consort to the President of the United States, the highest held office in the land. In her later life she also contributed through her own creativity as a writer and editor. Notice the close tie between Mercury and the Sun, both in Leo. It is actually this Mercurial link that brings everything back to the Sun in her chart. Had Mercury been in Cancer or Virgo, this would not have been so.
Now let’s look at Sandra Bullock’s chart and her chain of command: (I apologize that I can’t make the columns! Mercury is still Retrograde and I’m not getting Word Press to cooperate!)
Sun in Leo
Moon in Aquarius-to Uranus in Virgo-to Mercury in Leo-to Sun in Leo
Mercury in Leo-to Sun in Leo
Venus in Gemini-to Mercury in Leo-to Sun in Leo
Mars in Gemini-t0 Mercury in Leo-to Sun in Leo
Jupiter in Taurus-to Venus in Gemini-to Mercury in Leo-to Sun in Leo
Saturn in Pisces-to Neptune in Scorpio-to Pluto in Virgo-to Mercury in Leo-to Sun in Leo
Uranus in Virgo-to Mercury in Leo-to Sun in Leo
Neptune in Scorpio-to Pluto in Virgo-to Mercury in Leo-to Sun in Leo
Pluto in Virgo-to Mercury in Virgo-to Sun in Leo (her Final Dispositor!)
Of a considerably younger generation, Sandra Bullock stills ends up with her Sun in Leo as her Final Dispositor primarily because she, too, has Mercury in Leo. Ms. Bullock has certainly been a ‘Queen of Hollywood’ and even won an Academy Award. She is definitely well loved and has given back countless times some of her great wealth to special organizations such as the Red Cross.
This method of chart analysis can also yield further wealth of information simply by studying where each chain of command goes from planet to planet and from house to house. Note that certain chains are longer than others. In Jacqueline’s chart, for example, we note that starting with Pluto we move to the Moon, then to Mars, and finally to the Mercury/Sun link. Pondering that chain leads us into perhaps the darker side of her life which was full of both sexual betrayal, death, and ensuing sorrows, yet ultimately led back to her indomitable will and queenly role as a Leo.
When studying your own chart through this method I’m sure you’ll glean all sorts of insights along the way as you follow the threads and unravel the mysteries of your own life.
I’d like to now look at a third example which is different from the two Leo women we’ve already looked at, though she is also a ‘Queen’ in her own right. Let’s look at Martha Stewart’s chart. To make it easier on myself, I’m now simply writing the chain of command horizontally rather than vertically:
Sun in Leo
Moon in Sagittarius-to Jupiter in Gemini-to Mercury in Cancer back to Moon in Sagittarius. This is a ‘loop’: Moon-Jupiter-Mercury.
Mercury in Cancer to Moon in Sagittarius to Jupiter in Gemini back to Mercury in Cancer.
Venus in Virgo to Mercury in Cancer to Moon in Sagittarius to Jupiter in Gemini back to Mercury.
Mars in Aries
Jupiter in Gemini to Mercury in Cancer to Moon in Sagittarius back to Jupiter.
Saturn in Taurus to Venus in Virgo to Mercury in Cancer to Moon in Sagittarius to Jupiter in Gemini back to Mercury
Uranus in Taurus to Venus in Virgo to Mercury in Cancer to Moon in Sagittarius to Jupiter in Gemini back to Mercury.
Neptune in Virgo to Mercury in Cancer to Moon in Sagittarius to Jupiter in Gemini back to Mercury
Pluto in Leo to Sun in Leo
Now isn’t this interesting? We have quite a bit of complexity to her ‘chain of command’. She isn’t one simple ‘Queen’ known for a ‘role’. That Mercury in Cancer brought forth her interest and skill in cooking, gardening, and all of the home arts which she then took into the publishing world via Moon in Sagittarius and her first books. She branched into a multiplicity of media outlets through her Jupiter in Gemini including magazines, television, inter-net, etc. and eventually made it to the top as the CEO of her domesticity empire as can be seen by her stellium of planets in her 9th house with Sun in Leo.
There are a couple other curiosities to her line up. Mars in Aries sits by itself. It disposits not a thing though it does trine her Sun in Leo and sextiles her Jupiter in Gemini giving her gusto and even personal acclaim in her enterprises. The other curiosity is Pluto in Leo disposited by the Sun in Leo. The only planet the Sun disposes of. Well, she did go through her plutonian death and rebirth didn’t she? Note that Pluto ‘rules’ her Scorpio Ascendant. Perhaps her own greed got the better of her for a bit, but she paid her dues and rose out of the ashes to continue on as ‘Queen’ did she not? She certainly wasn’t beheaded! My point in all of this is that neither Pluto nor Mars (both co-rulers of Scorpio) are actually the hidden powers in her chart. We better look to Mercury, Moon, and Jupiter to understand more fully her major contribution to the publishing-broadcasting world of today’s media. It explains a lot about why she just didn’t stay home and entertain with her fabulous cooking and gardening skills.
Still on the subject of ‘Final Dispositors’ let’s look at one more anomaly in the likes of Mark Zuckerberg the now famous tycoon responsible for the rise and proliferation of social media via Facebook. Keeping with our system we’ll start with his Sun:
Sun in Taurus to Venus in Taurus. Now Venus in Taurus if she was the final dispositor of his chart would indicate his great magnetism, attractiveness, and love of the good life. Ah! Like Facebook? “Let’s see how you look! Show me what you LIKE. Do you LIKE what I LIKE?” Venus enjoys and likes people, places, and things.
But wait! Let’s keep going….
Moon in Scorpio to Pluto in Scorpio. Oooops!
Mercury in Aries to Mars in Scorpio to Pluto in Scorpio. Oooops again.
Venus in Taurus
Mars in Scorpio to Pluto in Scorpio
Jupiter in Capricorn to Saturn in Scorpio to Pluto in Scorpio
Saturn in Capricorn to Pluto in Scorpio
Uranus in Sagittarius to Jupiter in Capricorn to Saturn in Scorpio to Pluto in Scorpio
Neptune in Capricorn to Saturn in Scorpio to Pluto in Scorpio
Pluto in Scorpio.
There it is. His great and—at first—hidden power. This man took a fairly simple idea and transformed it, then grew it into a major social movement, and made his fortune on it. If you look at his chart and notice that he has a Virgo Ascendant with Mercury in Aries ruling his chart from the 8th, you realize that that strength alone wouldn’t explain his world changing power unless you noticed that Pluto is the final dispositor of everything else in his chart but the Sun and Venus.
Mutual Reception as the final partnership dispositors
I really need to research this one further because the charts of famous people I looked up for this article have more than one or a combination of a mutual reception and a planet in it’s own sign which is not the final end commander. However, I’ll use myself for now until I do find a more famous illustration. I have Mercury in Aquarius in Mutual Reception with Uranus in Gemini. To illustrate further, these two happen in be in a square aspect by degree. They do, in fact, dispose of every other planet in my birth chart. It’s been an interesting journey trying to coordinate what they both represent. I think I’m finally doing it thanks to the great inter-net web and this blog!
Let’s now look at more high profile people to illustrate the interesting phenomenon of mutual reception.
Elizabeth Taylor’s chart shows two mutual receptions: Neptune in Virgo in mutual reception with Mercury in Pisces. This chord is expressed eight times when following her chain of command. Notice in her chart how Mercury in Pisces combust her Sun in Pisces is opposite her Neptune in Virgo. Think about her remarkable career as a movie star whose influence colored a generation of Neptune in Virgo women. I can remember seeing carbon copies of Liz in every town and city growing up. How many women tried to duplicate her look? She became a sort of icon, did she not? That is certainly mirrored in the Neptune/Mercury factor of an image taking flight into all corners of the globe. Other aspects of this, of course, were her later compassionate causes in championing the fight against AIDS (Mars is also opposite her Neptune) and speaking out for gay rights.
She has one other mutual aspect which isn’t as strong yet potent in its own right; that is Moon in Scorpio in mutual reception with Pluto in Cancer. This repeats just twice as we follow her chain of command; once with the Moon and once with Pluto. All of her endless struggles with life and death are encapsulated in this reception. That she survived each harrowing journey into the underworld is supported by the fact that they were in trine with each other. She rose herself up from her own ashes multiple times, just as her emotional and intimate life constantly transformed from one relationship to another, or in the case of Richard Burton at least twice! Unraveling the mystery of Diamond Liz (this is undoubtedly a Pluto theme—Pluto rules all wealth that comes from under the ground) becomes a whole lot easier once you track her chains and study these two mutual receptions.
Let’s look at another rather famous woman actress whose life is complex and even intriguing, Mia Farrow.
Mia’s chain of command ends with two mutual receptions equal in strength which means they both appear five times as we follow her threads: Uranus in Gemini in mutual reception with Mercury in Aquarius and Moon in Capricorn in mutual reception with Saturn in Cancer.
Her Sun is in Aquarius taking us immediately to the first mutual reception between Uranus and Mercury. Mia is a very bright woman who has traveled in most unusual company since childhood. One of her great childhood friends and mentors was Salvador Dali, a truly Uranian character! When traveling to India with the Beatles she experienced the ‘other side’ of the Maharaja when he tried to seduce her. She has always had unusual associations with men and her early autobiography, What Falls Away chronicles that journey up to her strange alliance with Woody Allen. I read that book and found it fascinating years ago. She has a Grand Trine in Air with Mercury near the top of her chart. She has covered a broad spectrum of roles and experiences in life both as an actress and a woman looking for answers. This would explain her interest in out-of-the-ordinary men whose intellects or lifestyles were unusual and perhaps fascinating to her initially.
Let’s next examine her mutual reception between her Moon in Capricorn and Saturn in Cancer. This one explains her mothering instincts to take care of a very large and eclectic brood (Moon in the 9th from other countries as well). She has a penchant for taking charge and organizing obviously. Since her Moon is opposite Saturn this has not always been an easy journey starting with her own childhood. You will also note that this reception is part of a greater Cardinal Grand Cross. How many shoes can this woman possibly wear and feel comfortable doing so? Looking at her Moon in Capricorn we suspect it is definitely not about comfort at all. It is about her need to either take charge, or her need to be both mother and father all rolled into one. This inner sense of responsibility moves her unconsciously through life and compels her to reach out to those who might suffer unduly without her intervention. (Moon square Neptune and Chiron) Yet containing security and safety for all must surely have its limits as we have seen in her life thus far with two of her large brood dead, one or more seriously estranged from her, and now one crying foul play when only a wee child. Can Mother Hubbard possibly watch and keep safe every child? It would seem not.
Multiple Receptions and endless loops–‘the Committee’?
I’m not sure what exactly to call this category because it runs the gamut of possibilities as we begin to examine various lives. Let’s just look at two or three Pisceans, since we’ve now entered Pisces, to give you a sampling before striking out on your own to examine your own chart and the charts of others.
Steve Jobs is another fascinating study of a titan of a man who helped to revolutionize something we now take for granted via easy-to-use computer and inter-net devices. He has a very large loop involving five planets: Sun in Pisces to Neptune in Libra to Venus in Capricorn to Saturn in Scorpio to Pluto in Leo and back to the Sun. I can’t possibly analyze this long sequence in such a short article, but we can see the elegant designer in the Sun and Neptune link moving to the organizer and hard taskmaster in Venus and Saturn, and finally to the creative titan he became in the Pluto/Sun link. This five-way sequence shows up exactly five times obviously.
Then we see his Mars in Aries as a force of its own dynamically interacting with a Cardinal T-square or a mixed Grand Cross if you include his Chiron in Aquarius. But this Mars in Aries also disposes his Moon in Aries and ultimately both Jupiter in Cancer, Uranus in Cancer, as well as Mercury in Aquarius. So Mars in Aries is the final dispositor five times within his matrix. He was, after all, a true pioneer. He was original and assertive. He was a visionary with his Mars opposite Neptune, and he was deceived and betrayed as well by others in the industry. This Mars in the 8th also shows his life/death struggles and ultimate untimely death. Would that he had lived longer!
Another man with the loop-de-loop ‘committee’ is Mitt Romney. Of course he has now faded into relative obscurity, but for a time he was highly prominent and perhaps he will emerge once again into the public limelight as transiting Neptune goes over his Mercury/Sun in Pisces.
If we systematically start with his Sun and move on through to Pluto we find that every sequence leads to four planets in an endless loop: Neptune in Libra to Venus in Aquarius to Uranus in Gemini to Mercury in Pisces and back to Neptune. Let’s look more closely at these planets in his chart. Venus in Aquarius sits at the very top of his chart expressing his good looks and charm publicly. Venus in Aquarius is also quite egalitarian in style for he appeared to be a fairly progressive Governor before switching gears as the Republican candidate for President. Venus does trine Neptune showing ease and harmony but also the ability to be a shape-shifter as Neptune is wont to do when it is convenient. Venus and Mercury are like two fingers on a hand being less than thirty degrees apart and Mercury in Pisces can also be quite chameleon like, however there is that square from Mercury to Uranus in Gemini and the switching of gears may have certainly tripped him up during the last campaign. The only fixed planet in this mix is Venus and looking at her ease to Neptune and her opposition to Saturn/Pluto it would appear that his loyalties and affinities could change given the expedience that politicians are wont to do when playing the game of trying to win, or even make more money at the game. Finally, Uranus is also trine his Neptune so three out of the four are in inner harmony for this man. The weakness of a Grand Trine however is that it can get stuck in a groove for too long or go unconscious. Nonetheless, Mitt is a man who has worn many hats and lived many lives within the one. This shows up in more than one way in his Gemini rising chart with Pisces/Aquarius and Neptune/Uranus themes underscoring the duality of his nature.
My final Pisces male example is musician Kurt Cobain. His three-planet loop appears eight times. If we start with his Sun in Pisces we hit it immediately: Neptune in Scorpio to Pluto in Virgo to Mercury in Pisces. This is the loop of a modern-day minstrel and piped piper who ultimately succumbed to a Neptunian/Plutonian realm. We might say that his ego (Sun) was not strong enough to handle Dionysius (Neptune) or Hades (Pluto). Nonetheless his mystique and music live on which is also a Neptune/Pluto theme through the messenger of a generation that he became via Mercury in Pisces.
One other strong chord gives added cadence and pathos to his astrological nature: The Moon in Cancer in its own sign. This motif is repeated through Jupiter in Cancer disposed by the Moon. Kurt had a great Grand Trine in Water with Jupiter strongly placed as part of it in his 11th house of groups. The Moon in Cancer symbolizes just how deeply he felt everything as reiterated in a chart almost drowning in pure raw emotions. Every planet was in a water sign with the exception of his generational Pluto/Uranus in Virgo rising under the banner of a Virgo Ascendant. There is much to examine here that time does not allow for. He was undoubtedly a spokesman and martyr all-in-one for the anguish and ecstasy of a generation caught in a time of great turbulence and change (1967).
Do I dare leave on that note? Well, we have just entered Pisces and it is within the nature of this sign not to skirt suffering.
On a brighter note, have fun with your treasure hunt! Take the time to discover something special about yourself with this exercise. Mine the gold in yourself. Also pay attention to the hidden CEOs, and rulers of people’s charts you are interested in. This is but a taste. Keep in mind that Mr. Oken wrote nearly 300 pages on the subject.
In summary: A Final Dispositor shows a decided commander/CEO in your chart; Mutual Reception shows more of a Partnership/LLP; and the loops of three or more chains show a hidden Committee at work. So, who exactly IS in charge of your chart? 🙂
February 19, 2014 48 Comments
Categories: Astrology | Tags: Elizabeth Taylor, Famous Leos, Famous Pisces, Final Dispositor, Jackie O, Jacqueline K. Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy, Kurt Cobain, Mark Zuckerberg, Martha Stewart, Mia Farrow, Mitt Romney, Multiple Loops, Mutual Reception, Rulers of the chart, Rulerships, Sandra Bullock, Steve Jobs