Introduction to Electional Astrology

By Margaret Penner Choinski

*This is an example of how to go about picking a fortuitous date for starting a business, and a rough guide to picking a good date for any other activity.

“’I want to start a business,’ is not enough. What do you want from this business? To make a fortune? To enjoy your work? To change the world? To employ all your cousins?”[1]

                                                                                  --- John Frawley

     Electional Astrology uses the diurnal movement of the planets to choose a fortunate time in which to begin an endeavour. While Horary Astrology starts with a time and reads the portents as they show at that moment, Electional Astrology begins with the event and then purposefully chooses the time that goes best with the nature of that event. [2] There are many considerations that must be taken into account when choosing the right time. So many, in fact, that even with a few months with which to find the best time, one will be hard-pressed to pick a chart that doesn’t have at least one major flaw.

     John Frawley laments, “If I do elect a chart, however, the result is likely always to be somehow unsatisfactory, leaving nagging doubts that the election was of no avail. I do not have a spare life that I can run as a control group.” [3] To achieve this satisfaction is “seldom possible,” [4] Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson says simply. The best way to pick a time is to roll up one’s sleeves and get to it, while trying to meet as many of the guidelines as possible.

     I have just obtained my private investigator’s licence, joined a national organization for P.I.’s, and now want to open up my own business---“Jupiter Investigations”. [5] This will involve one employee (me), a small office near the law district, technical equipment including computer, digital camera, listening devices, telephone, and printer. Now I am ready to pick the best time to officially open for business. What steps do I need to take in order to find the very best electional chart for my business?

     Most electional astrologers advocate starting with the natal chart. By choosing the natal MC and placing it on the electional Ascendant, we are already saying, “I am my vocation.” However, one can also take the ruler of the Ascendant and place it in a strong position. This strength can come from either angularity or dignity.

     Using Traditional rulership, Jupiter rules my Ascendant and so my best option is to place either Sagittarius on the Ascendant, or Jupiter on the MC or Ascendant. The next thing to do is place the ruler of the 10th in the 10th or the 1st, keeping the focus on the vocation and tied to me (Ascendant). I must make sure that the Sun and Moon are placed well, keeping in mind the phase of the Moon. Do I want to begin in a dark New Moon time, so as to keep my activities hidden? Or would my business be better served by opting for a waxing Moon, out of the Sun’s beams? While mulling that over, I think about what planet to choose as my main significator. This is the planet which best describes me in my job.

     My work will be largely about information, and getting my hands on as much of it as possible. I will be following paper trails as well as people, interviewing, eavesdropping, and making visual and audio records. Lee Lehman places several relevant descriptions under the rulership of Mercury. Among them are: searcher into mysteries,[6] secret knowledge,[7]seekers of mysteries,[8] criminal tricks,[9] searcher after curiosities,[10] thieves,[11]cunning animals,[12] and busybodies![13]

     This calls for an extremely good Mercury. The job will also call for an unobtrusive and inconspicuous manner, attention to detail, inquisitiveness, and deductive skills. Mercury in Virgo would be good, but I would settle for a Mercury in Gemini with Saturn conjunct, or perhaps a Mercury in Scorpio cazimi.[14] In any event, my MC should reflect a Mercury ruler, making it either Virgo or Gemini. If I put Virgo on the MC then Jupiter in Leo will go in the 9th house. This isn’t a bad place for it considering I will be dealing with the law. But before I go much further it would be helpful to go over the most often recommended rules for electing a chart.


From Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson:

Choose the house affected by the chart (the MC in this case). See that it is not afflicted, and that the Moon makes only good aspects. The benefics (Venus and Jupiter) should be placed in the house ruling the matter, or angular, in dignity or exaltation, or in mutual reception. See that the Ascendant is not badly afflicted (by square, conjunction, or opposition of either Mars or Saturn), nor that the 1st house contains Saturn. If this is all so, then the election is good.[15] From this I can choose Venus in Libra, Taurus, or Pisces. The next Venus in Pisces is too far from now. Jupiter is out of Cancer, and won’t be in Sagittarius or Pisces for a long time. Soon it will be moving into its traditional detriment, Virgo. As it is an important planet in the chart, perhaps I should make sure it is still in Leo for the election. It will definitely have to be angular though. Mars and Saturn will have to be watched to make sure they do not adversely aspect the Ascendant.

Goldstein-Jacobson recommends specifically for opening a new business:

-The election Ascendant ruler, Mercury, and the Moon should trine or sextile the rulers of the 10th and 2nd. 

-These should not be badly afflicted by malefics in angular houses.

- Mars and Saturn can be placed in succeedent or cadent houses, except not the 2nd or the 6th.

-Try to place the benefics and the Part of Fortune in angular houses, well aspected to the Moon, Mercury, and the ruler of the 10th and the 1st.

- Both Sun and Moon should be in good aspect and above the horizon.[16]

Saturn is in its joy in the 12th so perhaps it can go there; it would find it hard to strike out in that house. In ancient astrology Mars is in its joy in the 6th house, and contrary to the recommendation above Mars does well here, giving energy for daily tasks. But electional choice must involve the natal chart. My Saturn is right on my MC, and my Mars is on my Ascendant. Do these two really need to be handled with kid gloves?

John Frawley recommends making the luminaries as strong as possible since “they are conduits of energy into the chart: with both luminaries weak, there is unlikely to be enough oomph to make anything happen.”[17] In the timeframe I have, this means trying to get the Sun in Leo, keeping it out of Libra, and the Moon out of Capricorn and Scorpio. Meanwhile, the Moon would be strong in Taurus or Cancer, allowing for the best Moon phase. The 7th house ruler is also of importance in a business, and here, it represents my clients. The ruler of my clients should be strong, but not stronger than I am.[18] For career and money, the MC and 2nd house rulers must be strengthened; I definitely want the ruler of my 2nd house strong so that I can enjoy the financial benefits of my work. Is there anything else I need to consider?


Anthony Louis supplies some more do’s and don’ts:

- Don’t let the main significator of the job be combust (within 8.5 degrees) the Sun.

- Allow for a favourable aspect to be forming between the ruler of the 10th and the ruler of the 1st.

- Place the primary rulers (Mercury and Jupiter) in essential dignity (i.e. in rulership, exaltation, trip, term, or face).

- Avoid the main significators being retrograde.

- Avoid the horary strictures: Moon Void of Course, Moon in Via Combusta (15 degrees Libra to 15 degrees Scorpio), very early or late degrees Ascendant and late degrees Moon.

-Try to place a primary ruler conjunct the Part of Fortune. Failing that, try to get trines or sextiles to it.

- His final recommendation is to avoid conjunctions with malefic Fixed Stars.[19]

Armed with this guide, I can begin the process of finding an appropriate chart for the birth of my business.

June 4, 2003

Positive: Venus is right on my natal Sun. The Moon is in Cancer.

Negative: This is the last day that Saturn is in Gemini before ingressing into its detriment, Cancer. Mercury is still in Taurus, a sign that does not particularly describe me in my job.

June 21

Positive: Moon on natal Moon. Mercury conjunct Venus in Gemini, in the 10th. Sun angular in Gemini in 10th. Jupiter in Leo. Virgo rising.

Negative: Jupiter in the 12th. Moon waning, and as co-significator, it isn’t best placed in the 7th house of my open enemies and my clients. Jupiter ruling my open enemies and in the house of my secret enemies is not good. The Sun is getting very close to conjuncting Saturn. Mars, ruler of the 8th house of death is applying to trine Saturn, ruler of the 6th house of illness…think I’ll avoid this if I can!

July 1

Positive: Moon New, in Cancer. Venus on MC. Virgo rising. Mars in the 6th, separating from the trine to Saturn.

Negative: Mercury conjunct Saturn, in Cancer, both are combust. Jupiter in the 12th.

July 22

Positive: Mercury conjunct Jupiter. Mercury clear of the rays of the Sun. Moon in Taurus. Jupiter in the 11th.

Negative: Ascendant and MC in last degree of sign. Moon waning. Venus ruling the intercept in the 1st, combust, and conjunct Saturn. Moon on 8th cusp.

July 31

Positive: Sun in Leo. Moon on Royal Star Regulus, conjunct Jupiter. Mercury in Virgo (yahoo!) (ruling the 7th and 11th) Part of Fortune in 1st, ruled by Jupiter.  Jupiter rules Ascendant and all of the 1st.

Negative: Leo is on MC and this does not particularly reflect my vocation, although its ruler Sun in Leo is in the 9th house of law. Mars is retrograde in Pisces.

This is the best chart so far. My natal Mars is in Pisces and transiting Mars did get close to its degree, but now it is pulling away. Until it goes direct, I will be spinning my wheels in frustration.

August 22

Positive: Jupiter cazimi in the 10th in Leo. Venus in 10th.  Mercury in Virgo conjunct the Part of Fortune and trine the North Node. Venus conjunct Regulus. Jupiter ruling the Ascendant. Moon in Gemini.

Negative: Mars still retrograde. Moon waning, but haven’t yet decided whether this is totally undesirable. Saturn, ruler of my 2nd of money, is in the 8th of everyone else’s money. It would be better if this were the other way around, i.e. everyone else’s money was in my bank account---the 2nd.

But the kicker is Mercury is just about to go retrograde until September 20th.

September 28

Positive: Mars now direct. Virgo rising, Mercury in Virgo in the 1st with Jupiter conjunct the Ascendant. Moon out of the beams. Venus ruler of the 2nd of money is dignified in Libra. Venus rules the 9th of law. Mercury is trining the Part of Fortune. Sun in the 1st.

Negative: Jupiter is now in detriment in Virgo. Moon is in Via Combusta and Venus has just moved into it. Sun is in fall in Libra. Part of Fortune is in the 12th, being ruled by a fallen Sun.

Nevertheless this chart feels closer.

October 5,
3:56 a.m.

Positive: Mercury has passed its station degree! Mercury in Virgo in the 1st, ruling the 1st and the 10th. Jupiter rising on Ascendant. Jupiter trining the Part of Fortune. Venus in 2nd and ruling the 2nd---Venus in partile conjunction with benefic Fixed Star Spica (Good fortune, luck, riches, victory[20]), and ruling the Part of Fortune, Moon in a Fixed Sign and waxing in the 5th house---house of Good Fortune[21]---and applying to trine the Sun. Sun is in the 1st.

The ruler of the 12th (secret enemies) is in the 1st, right where I can see them.

Saturn, in the 11th house of assistance from friends is mutually receptive to the Moon, my co-significator. This is a mitigating factor. The fact that it is in the house of my friends can mean that I might receive help from any contacts I make in the police department, Saturn ruling anybody who enforces rules. Saturn also sextiles the Ascendant.

The sign Scorpio is on the 3rd house cusp. Scorpio signifies being “secretive, preoccupied with hidden things, devious, clever in solving puzzles.”[22] This will indicate my mental orientation when working, and so helps in this occupation. The Moon in the 5th house could help me to find lost children. As well, it indicates success in the all-too-common request to provide information on cheating spouses, the 5th being the house of love affairs.

The MC is in partile conjunction with the benefic Fixed Star Rigel (Success in technical fields, artistic ability, inventiveness, ambition, lucky[23]). Mercury is conjunct Fixed Star Labrum (Honours, riches, ambition, psychic[24]). The Moon conjuncts the Fixed Star Bos (Good for business, military analysis, keen intelligence, shameless, possible legal activities)[25]

I like this chart!

Of course there have to be the downsides…

Negative: The Sun is in its fall. The Fixed Star that Mercury conjuncts also has other connotations---chronic illness and dishonest income.[26] The Sun is applying to square Saturn. The Moon is close to the 6th house cusp.

     Overall, I am very happy with this chart as expressive of the energies of Jupiter Investigations. The ruler of the 7th is conjunct the Ascendant, and ruled by the ruler of the Ascendant and MC (and that ruler is dignified and exalted). The Virgo Ascendant shows an unassuming manner, projecting efficiency and competency. The Gemini MC reflects a number of occupations, from pickpockets, forgers, thieves, and conmen, to messengers, reporters, writers, mimics, traders, and salesmen.[27] The common theme is the ability to talk for money. Gemini also rules small gadgets, telephones, cars, books, rumours, documents of all kinds, and gossip. Just the kind of thing I need in my pursuit of information. The super fortunate Venus, out of the Via Combusta courtesy of the Fixed Star Spica, rules the 9th house of law. Here is another strong connection between my natal chart and this electional chart---my own natal Jupiter is exactly on Spica, too.

     From these fortunate connections I hope to gain a reputation as doing things by the books and so be seen as a legitimate adjunct to the legal system. That will help me to gain work. Jupiter as ruler of justice, natural honesty,[28] nobles, mayors, and lawyers[29] and sitting on the Ascendant should help to make me seem like one of the gang. It is a pity that Jupiter is in Virgo, though. I might be seen as somebody who goes into way too much detail. Capricorn on the 5th house cusp, rules all those who enforce discipline, policemen, police stations, and night courts.[30] The Moon in Aquarius in that house (and itself ruling the Saturn) suggests a friendly association with the people who reside in places of a Capricorn nature. The Aquarius Moon will lend detachment, perhaps when it is needed most in a difficult emotional situation. The worst I can say about this chart is that it shows indications that the business may take too much out of me in terms of being overworked. I will have to be careful and take time out to have some fun. Not too likely with Saturn ruling the 5th? Perhaps I can do some searches for antiques as a business sideline.

     Looking ahead by progression, the Moon shows the trine to the Sun, then trine the MC, then trine Venus---all within the next 18 months. Then the Sun square Saturn aspect perfects, while the Moon goes Void of Course. This happens about 21 months ahead. This is where I might have to watch my back for a “secret enemy.” And it might just be someone who pretended to be a friend. The resultant stress could land me in the hospital with an illness. Two and a half years from now the Moon will oppose Jupiter from the Descendant. I might have a major crisis stemming from a particular case. Then at the 3-year mark the Moon will trine Saturn from Pisces. This is when I will finally feel the business is secure.

     It is no easy task to find a time when the planets are all cooperating with one’s plans for the future. As Frawley puts it: “…we can merely watch as the planets arrange themselves, as if we were looking through a kaleidoscope, our only power being to seize the moment when the picture is at its prettiest.”[31]

     When the early morning of October 5th comes, my mother (by prearrangement) will phone my business number about a lost cat.[32] At 3:46 a.m., precisely, I will pick up the receiver and answer, “Hello, Jupiter Investigations. How can I help you?”

Copyright: Margaret Penner Choinski

                   Earth Elphant Atrology


De Vore, Nicholas, Encyclopedia of Astrology, Astrologic Research Society, 1947

Frawley, John, The Real Astrology, Apprentice Books, 2000

Goldstein-Jacobson, Ivy, Simplified Horary Astrology, Pasadena Lithographers, 1960

Houlding, Deborah, The Houses: Temples of the Sky, Ascella, 1999

Lehman, Dr. Lee, The Book of Rulerships, Whitford Press, 1992

Louis, Anthony, taken from Ten Lessons on Horary and Electional Astrology, 1999

Louis, Anthony, Horary Astrology Plain and Simple, Llewellyn, 1998

Scofield, Bruce, Being on Time: Basic Electional Astrology, internet article,

Watters, Barbara, Horary Astrology and the Judgement of Events, Valhalla, 1973

Wiggers, Carol, Electional Astrology using Classical/Traditional Methods, 1996

Software used: SolarFire 5, Esoteric Technologies, Placidus Houses, Tropical Zodiac, True Node, supplied atlas


[1] Frawley, John, The Real Astrology, Apprentice Books, 2000, p.107

[2] De Vore, Nicholas, Encyclopedia of Astrology, Astrologic Research Society, 1947, p.100

[3] Frawley, p.106

[4] Goldstein-Jacobson, Ivy, Simplified Horary Astrology, Pasadena Lithographers, 1960, p.267

[5] motto: “By Jove, We Will Get Your Man!”

[6] Lehman, Dr. Lee, The Book of Rulerships, Whitford Press, 1992, p.261, citing Lilly

[7] ibid

[8] ibid, citing Ptolemy

[9] ibid, citing Gadbury p.256

[10] ibid, citing Partridge

[11] ibid, citing Lilly and Ramesey p.262

[12] ibid, citing Lilly p.256

[13] ibid, citing Al-Biruni, Gadbury, and Partridge

[14] Within 17’ of the Sun in its sign, called “In the heart of the Sun.” Said to strengthen the position of the planet there, and perhaps to conceal it from sight.

[15] Goldstein-Jacobson, p.267

[16] ibid, p.277

[17] Frawley, p.107

[18] ibid, p.108 Frawley is talking here about business partnerships, but the 7th as client base means I want them fairly well placed.

[19] Louis, Anthony, taken from Ten Lessons on Horary and Electional Astrology, 1999

[20] Louis, Anthony, Horary Astrology Plain and Simple, Llewellyn, 1998, p.243

[21] Houlding, Deborah, The Houses: Temples of the Sky, Ascella, 1999, p.71

[22] Watters, Barbara, Horary Astrology and the Judgement of Events, Valhalla, 1973, p.28

[23] Louis, p.242

[24] ibid, p.243

[25] ibid, p.245

[26] ibid, p.243

[27] Watters, p.22

[28] Lehman, citing Lilly, p.290

[29] ibid, citing Al-Biruni and Lilly

[30] Watters, p.31-32

[31] Frawley, p.108

[32] The cat will turn out to be happily asleep in the spare room.

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