Home Page










Email Kim Farnell



What is Electional Astrology?

Put at its simplest, electional astrology is the art of choosing the best moment for any particular project or event. All projects begin with an idea and then are followed by a plan to manifestation. When electing a chart we are homing in on a point of no return, a time when so much is committed that you are unlikely to back away.

Electional astrology is the astrology of choice. In most fields of astrology we take careful note of the time and place of the event and after setting a chart examine it to see what it can tell us. In electional astrology we choose a chart to ensure the best possible outcome for an event. In a way it's back to front astrology. But the principles are the same. Many of the rules for electional astrology are derived from horary astrology.

In horary astrology we are seeking the answer to a question. In electional astrology we know the answer we want - the problem can lie in correctly defining the question. There is no space to be vague in either field.

Electional charts can be prepared for almost any event. Weddings, beginning a new job, starting a business, moving house, holding a party…the list is almost endless. For ethical reasons most astrologers won't attempt to elect a chart for illegal acts and because of the work involved, few will elect charts for trivial events - such as a party. This doesn't stop you from choosing the best time for a party by astrology if you wish, of course. A lot of the electional rules given in old textbooks refer to how to build a church or establish a new country or the best time to put a king on the throne. Most people are more concerned with having a good night out, buying new clothes and finding a partner. So I'll stick to more mundane examples.


Electional astrology has a long history. In times when the people's birth details would not be known the astrologer would only have recourse to electional or horary astrology.

The astrologer-magician John Dee, elected the chart for Queen Elizabeth I's coronation as well as aiding in the timing of the sailing of the Armada. Pope Julius II had the day of his coronation chosen by an astrologer. In a war between Pisa and Florence, the Florentines commissioned their official astrologer to fix an auspicious hour for the departure of reinforcements and nearly lost a battle owing to the astrologer insisting that the army take a circuitous route out of the city and so arriving much later than it should have.

In the East, electional astrology is more commonly used. A number of countries including Burma, India, Nepal and Pakistan had charts elected for the start of the nation.

Formulating the question

Before you can choose the chart you need some basic information about the issue at hand. For example, if you're electing a chart for someone starting a new job:- is this a new career direction, or simply a way of making some extra cash for the time being? If you are electing a chart for yourself it can be useful to note down what you expect and hope to gain from this particular event so you are clear in your mind before you begin

Once you are clear about what the issue involves then you need to consider the practicalities. When is it possible for the event to take place? And where? For example, it is highly unlikely that a couple will wish, or be able, to marry at 3 15 am. Most business events will take place during business hours on a weekday. If people need to travel to attend the event then an early start could cause difficulties.

You may be restricted to certain days of the week, certain times of day and maybe even particular dates. The location of your event could be restricted to one particular place or you may have a choice, for example, in the signing of a contract. Once you are clear about the parameters involved you can begin to work on the chart. It is likely that you will have a restricted amount of choices to work with.

First steps

As well as considering what you hope to gain, it is also worth considering what you wish to avoid. It is likely that you will have to incorporate a few "bad" points into the chart you choose. If you are aware of what would be the worst of these combinations, it is simpler to make the choice.

You need to have an awareness of traditional rulerships and dignities. But there will be times when the outer planets need to be considered. For example, Uranus is clearly involved if you are electing a time to buy a computer. I shall say more about the planets later.

A good day for one activity could be a terrible day for another. Moon in Capricorn would make a dull party but be great for something that needed hard work.

We begin by deciding exactly what we want to achieve with this particular chart. There may be a number of factors, which need attention so it's often a good idea to decide what the priorities are. If you're throwing a party do you want to make sure everyone has a wild time, that the right people meet each other, that it's as cheap as possible…..?

We can then move onto deciding what astrological factors best fit in. The first thing we need to take note of is which planets best reflect the venture we have in mind.

The Planets and elections

It is important to decide which planet rules the enterprise. The planets represent principles and by deciding which principle we wish to be emphasised, we can decide which of the planets is most closely connected. Some examples follow:-

Sun Power and rulership, heads of organisations, recognition of talents, awards. Exalted in 19 degrees of Aries and ruler of Leo. It functions well in fire signs.

Moon buying a home

Mercury Communication, mental undertakings, places of learning, media, Mercury is exalted in 15 degrees Virgo and rules Gemini and Virgo. It functions well in air signs. Travel in general. Commerce. Legal maters day to day basis.

About three times a year, Mercury turns retrograde. For 20% of the time it is retrograde. It appears to slow down, stop, move backwards for about three weeks, stop again and then return to moving forward. When Mercury is retrograde this is a critical time for communications. Information may be misunderstood, fail to reach its destination or simply be confusing. Mercury retrograde is generally a good time for checking and reviewing rather than beginning something anew. Because of the potential confusion, astrologers will often attempt to avoid a retrograde Mercury in an electional chart. If the chart is related to a Mercury type event in any way, it is clearly even more important to avoid Mercury retrograde. This includes making an announcement, short journeys, cars, computers, electronic gadgets, and telephones amongst other things. When Mercury is in one of its own signs, Gemini or Virgo, or in an angular house, the effect is likely to be even more marked. It is probably best to avoid Mercury retrograde completely, if possible.

Venus Unity, beauty, harmony. Women, love, relationships, arts. Venus is exalted in 27 degrees of Pisces and rules Libra and Taurus. It functions well in Cancer and Pisces but is in its detriment in Scorpio. Money. Pleasure. Theatre, cinema, concerts.

Mars Assertiveness, force, initiative surgery. Mars is exalted in 28 degrees Capricorn and rules Aries and Scorpio. Speeds things up, impatience, lack of care and consideration. Good for a contest or sporting activity. Military.

Jupiter Co-operation, the establishment. Jupiter is exalted in 15 degrees of Cancer. It rules Sagittarius and Pisces. Exaggerates, worsens any bad weather conditions. Baptism. Legal matters, law, courts.

Saturn Order and restraint, structure, durability. Saturn is exalted in 21 degrees Libra. It rules Capricorn and Aquarius. Concentration and restriction can inhibit and cause frustration but may be useful in constructive endeavours. Long term investments.

Uranus Change, invention and the desire to be different. It has an affinity with Aquarius. Sudden change forcing things to move on. Associated with technology.

Neptune Perfection, illusion, delusion. It has an affinity with Pisces. Unreality and illusion, loss delay and deceit. It can be used positively in artistic or spiritual ventures but there may be problems in achieving end results. Fraud

Pluto Renewal, rebirth. Pluto destroys and brings to the fore power issues. It is useful when considering things like pest control. It has an affinity with Scorpio.

Saturn and Mars are regarded as having a malefic influence, except in circumstances when they are significators. Venus and Jupiter are usually classed as benefic. The outer planets are also generally regarded as malefic except when significators. Owing to the slow motion of these planets we are severely restricted in their use.

In electing a chart we need to decide what are the basic significators, the planets, signs and houses ruling the matter for which the election is required. The Moon is of paramount importance and I'll talk about the Moon in a moment. We also need to consider the ascendant, its ruler and the cusp of the house ruling the matter.

If a malefic is a significator it ceases to be a malefic for the matter at hand. Similarly, if Jupiter and Venus afflict the significators they may cease to be benefics. The "benefics" are fortified by being placed in their own signs, exaltations, angles or in succedent houses and then in good aspect or reception to the significators. Cadent house may show failure or delay. The ascendant should not contain any malefic planet and care needs to be taken to choose an ascendant that favours the business in some way. The ruler of the ascendant should never be retrograde.

The general nature of the signs needs to be considered. For a speedy conclusion to a matter cardinal signs are suitable, for slowness of permanence fixed signs are preferable and if time is less important, mutable signs may be considered. The chief significators should be placed in signs relating to the nature of the election and the ascendant should be placed in a sign denoting the speed and general effect desired. As the ascendant also signifies the person using the election it should be strengthened along with its ruler and dispositor. As the fourth house denotes the end of the matter, it is advisable to strengthen it also as far as possible. However, the Moon and planets and houses generally take precedence.

The Sun or Moon should not be in the ascendant. If the Moon has to be placed in the ascendant it is important that it be strengthened as far as possible.

The Moon

The Moon principally represents change and receptiveness. Women in general and mothers in particular come under the rulership of the Moon. She also rules the general public. The moon is exalted in 3 degrees of Taurus and rules the sign Cancer. She also functions well in Pisces but as Scorpio is the sign of her fall and Capricorn her detriment she is not well placed in those signs. As the closest of the planets to the Earth and the fastest moving of the astrological planets, the Moon is the most important planet to consider in electional astrology. Although it has specific rulerships, these are of secondary importance to the role of the Moon in general. The quality of a particular time may be described by the sign through which the Moon is passing. In one month the Moon will pass through all of the zodiac signs, each one for approximately two and a half days. The Sun's position can describe the general tenor of the month, but it is the Moon's sign that will describe the day.

Aspects made by the Moon will modify the description given by her sign placement. It is best to try and avoid applying hard aspects to the Moon as they can produce difficulties. Keeping the Moon away from hard aspects to the outer planets can help to avert problems.

The Moon's phases

A good aspect between the Sun and Moon can be an ideal foundation for success. But although a trine or sextile between the lights can help the chart, it is important to judge it in context. If this would mean that difficult aspects are made between the Moon and Saturn, for example, the advantage of this phase would be lost. Traditionally the first twelve hours following the New Moon are said to be bad for elections. The next 72 are good, the next 12 bad, the next 72 good and so on. Generally most astrologers treat a New Moon as a good time for the beginning of a venture and avoid the Full Moon unless the intention is to see something end, or come to fruition.

The cycle of the Sun and Moon is embedded in our culture. We use the cycle in counting time. The phases of the Moon were considered of great importance in times past and were published in almanacs. Even today many calendars show the phases of the Moon. Rough and ready electional astrology relies completely on this cycle. The New Moon is classed as a time of new beginnings. It is a time to establish the foundations. The first quarter is a time that requires action and adjustment. The full Moon brings matters to fruition. The next quarter is another time of crisis and adjustment. Therefore, anything begun on a quarter Moon is likely to require some alteration and can be unstable. The first half of the cycle represents growth, the second a maturing. The Full Moon can be a good time for reaching an agreement and making a compromise.

But in casting an electional chart we are seeking more than a simple rule of thumb guide. And here the Moon is of paramount importance. As the fastest moving of the planets it is the Moon that gives us most leeway, besides the angles, when choosing a chart. Whatever the matter under consideration it is therefore important to make sure that the Moon is as strong as possible. The following result in the position of the Moon being weakened, are best avoided as far as possible.

1. The Moon being combust or within 7 1/2 degrees of the Sun, it is advised in older texts that a minimum distance of twelve degrees should exist between the Sun and Moon. If you MUST have the Moon near the Sun, a separating conjunction is preferable to an applying one.

2. The Moon should not be placed in the degree of her fall, 3 degrees of Scorpio.

3. The Moon should not be in opposition to the Sun.

4. Conjunctions, squares or oppositions between the Moon and Saturn or Mars should be avoided. (There may be exceptions to this rule when Saturn or Mars have rulership over the matter in question.)

5. The Moon should not be within twelve degrees of either of the nodes.

6. It is better to avoid the Moon being in the latter degrees of the same sign as Mars or Saturn.

7. The Moon should not be placed in the via combusta or between 15 degrees of Libra and 15 degrees of Scorpio.

8. Any position which weakens the Moon should be avoided, e.g. the Moon in its sign of detriment, Capricorn.

9. Times when the motion of the Moon is slow should be avoided. A glance at an ephemeris will show the relative speeds of the Moon, as the mean speed of the Moon is 13 degrees per day, movement below that is classed as slow.

10. The Moon should not be void of course (where it perfects no aspect to another planet before leaving the sign it is in- therefore generally in late degrees of a sign).

In general terms we want the Moon to be as strong as possible. Aspects between the Moon and Venus or Jupiter will usually add strength. Although it is generally thought that the Moon should not be in the ascendant it is good to have it aspecting the ascendant. If you have no choice but to have a weakened Moon in the chart, it is best to keep her away from the angles. The effect can be somewhat mitigated by placing either Jupiter or Venus in an angular house, or as near to an angle as possible.

If possible, the Moon should be placed in the house ruling the matter or in any angular house besides the first. If speed is desired, it may be best to place Venus or Jupiter in the ascendant or midheaven. If the Moon is still weak, it is best that she be placed in an angular or succedent house without making an aspect to the ascendant, its ruler, the ruler of the house ruling the matter, its dispositor or any important significator. If haste is essential, she should be placed in a house with no aspect to the ascendant with a benefic rising or favourably aspecting the rising degree.

The Moon in the Signs

Aries For promotion, a one man show where a single individual is in complete charge, quick action and decisiveness. Not good for co-operation or group activities.

Taurus Good for material growth and longevity, gardening or farming. Business ventures where capital is at stake and income must be assured. Not for rapid action, decision making or group activities.

Gemini Salesmanship, rapid thought processes and an ability to meet a challenge on a mental level and communicate easily. Unfavourable for heavy concentration or repetitive action.

Cancer Good for domestic tasks, but too moody for most business propositions and too personal for group causes; family oriented.

Leo Brings attention, one person operation, drama and extravagance are displayed, can lack originality.

Virgo Good for machine oriented businesses, including computers. Too much attention to detail for most things.

Libra Good for marriage or joining or balancing any two diverse influences in harmony, liaison work, litigation, arbitration, not for rapid action or materialistic pursuits.

Scorpio Only good for destructive ventures e.g. pest control.

Sagittarius Only good if willing to wait for results.

Capricorn Conservative and staid, methodical and practical, good for organisation but bad socially.

Aquarius Best for social events, parties, people oriented plans and group activities, not including fund raising. Lacks practicality.

Pisces Confuses but good for arts. Lack of materialism and realism.

Aspects between the Moon and other planets


Conjunction - begin only secret matters.

Sextile - begin work for the influential, good for seeking favours, good for short journeys, new friends and clerical work. Square - bad for changes, travel anything new, dealing with the influential, good for dealing with the nobility

Trine - good for managing the affairs of others, beginnings, new meetings, dealing with important people.

Opposition - good for dealing with the titled but not with the rich, good for beginning a change.


Conjunction - good for writing, correspondence, accounts, commercial transactions, sending messages, despatch, signing contracts and agreements

Sextile - good for study

Square - good for travel, buying and selling but not agreements or writing

Trine - good for sending children to school for the first time, study, mental work requiring ingenuity, dealing with lawyers

Opposition - bad for contracts, good for dealing with fellow workers, travel and study


Conjunction - good for pleasure, love, clothes

Sextile - good for financial affairs, buying jewellery

Square - good for sports, marriage, hiring servants

Trine - good for love affairs and wearing new clothes if the Moon is not in Leo

Opposition - bad for money as causes extravagance and can also lead to trouble in love


Conjunction - bad for journeys and dealing with soldiers or doctors

Sextile - good for buying houses, weapons, tools, contests and fights

Square - bad in general especially for marriage, friendship and dealing with the influential

Trine - good for hunting, war, dealing with martial people

Opposition - bad for journeys, friendships and dealing with women. A bad time to begin anything of importance


Conjunction - good for dealing with lawyers, doctors, churchmen and professionals

Sextile - good for making decisions, marriage, investing and speculating

Square - good for studying but bad for speculation and dealing with the legal profession

Trine - good for new ventures, dealing with professionals

Opposition - unlucky for journeys


Conjunction - bad, especially when dealing with the elderly, those ruled by Saturn, journeys, businesses and new venture Sextile - good for building, mining, dealing with the elderly, magistrates and officials, bad for affairs involving women

Square - bad in general but especially for taking medicine and travel

Trine - good for repairing, old places, building and agriculture

Opposition - bad for starting a new enterprise, engaging employees, financial investment, seeking favours


Positive aspects are good for dealing with government bodies, joining groups studying mystical matters, starting electrical work and aviation. Negative aspects are bad for journeys, removals, making friends, marriage and electrical danger


Positive aspects are good for social work, travel by water, art, music, visiting institutions and anaesthetics. Negative aspects are bad for travel, speculation, affairs, marriage, contracts, operations, beginning artistic work.


Positive aspects are good for pest control.

The signs and elections

The cardinal signs, Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn signify things that alter and last a short time. For matters such as planting, buying and selling, placing the ascendant in these signs can be useful. If considering the length of a journey it can be shortened by placing the ascendant in one of these signs. Promises and agreements made when one of these signs is rising are more likely to be met speedily. The fixed signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius ensure that things will last a long time. Therefore those signs are well placed on the ascendant when considering charts for marriage, building or any venture you wish to last. The mutable signs Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces rising show that matters will not necessarily endure a long time.

By house

Specific houses need to be considered for specific elections. Many of the older rules may be adapted to other situations. It is impossible to offer detailed rules for every circumstance, so in addition to following the general rules it is suggested that you read the examples for the house that is associated with the matter in hand and adapt the rules accordingly.

First house matters The first house rules the appearance. Any matter to do with your appearance comes under the remit of this house.

Second House matters The second house is associated with matters related to finance. Elections to do with personal finances, money lent, making profits are governed by this house. Your bank account, salary and all items that you own are governed by this house.

Third house matters The third house is associated with short journeys, writing letters and passing on messages. Anything concerned with short journeys, such as cars, falls under the remit of the third house. It governs all forms of communications including telephone calls and email.

Fourth house matters The fourth house governs matters related to land, houses, the ending of any matter, gardens and gardening. Buying a home.

Fifth House matters The fifth house is related to any matters associated with pleasure - throwing a party, beginning a love affair, and gambling. Matters of entertainment, theatre, pubs are ruled by this house. Speculation in general comes under the remit of the fifth house including the stock markets.

Sixth house matters The sixth house relates to people who work for you, and elections concerned with giving people employment. All matters of service and work come under this house. It governs trade and merchandise. Additionally the sixth house governs all matters to do with health and illness.

Seventh house matters The seventh house governs all types of partnerships including marriage.

Eighth house matters The eighth house governs inheritances, and money that belongs to others. It also governs the payment of taxes. It also governs matters related to death, such as undertaking and the resources of your partner.

Ninth house matters The ninth house governs long journeys, matters of religion and higher learning. It is also associated with publishing and insurance. Baptism, as Jupiter's house.

Tenth house matters The tenth house governs your profession, gaining honour or awards and all matters of status.

Eleventh house matters The eleventh house governs attaining a wish or desire and friendship. Achieving a wish or desire, gaining a good reputation and good friendship.

Twelfth house matters The twelfth house governs imprisonment. It is associated with large institutions such as hospitals.

Planetary hours

If the planet that is the significator is also the ruler of the planetary hour the chart is strengthened. The astrological day begins at the moment of local sunrise and the night at local sunset. The time between sunrise and sunset is divided into 12 equal parts, each of which is called one planetary hour. Similarly, the time between sunset and the following sunrise is divided into twelve equal parts that give the planetary hours of the night. To do this you will need a table of sunrise and sunset for the place where the chart is set. The rulership of the hours depends on the day of the week, which are ruled by the planets as follows:-

Sunday is ruled by the Sun.

Monday is ruled by the Moon.

Tuesday is ruled by Mars.

Wednesday is ruled by Mercury.

Thursday is ruled by Jupiter.

Friday is ruled by Venus.

Saturday is ruled by Saturn.

The first planetary hour of each day (after sunrise) is ruled by the planet ruling the day itself. The succeeding hours are ruled by the planets in the following order: - Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, and Moon. Therefore on a Sunday the first hour after sunrise is ruled by the Sun, 2nd by Venus, 3rd by Mercury, 4th by the Moon, 5th by Saturn, 6th by Jupiter, 7th by Mars and the 8th by the Sun whereupon the cycle is repeated.

The general qualities of the hours are as follows:-

Saturn For undertakings that involve patience, endurance and perseverance as well as dealing with Saturn-ruled people, including the elderly. Good for matters to do with the land and archaeology. Unfavourable for borrowing money, taking medicine and beginning a journey. Saturn is the natural ruler of labourers, miners, plumbers and fathers. It rules deserts, pine woods, valleys, churchyards, wells, graves, dark or dirty places. In houses it is the ruler of doors and thresholds.

Jupiter Good for dealing with Jupiterian people, borrowing and lending money and seeking employment. Not good for surgery. Jupiter rules judges, councillors, ecclesiastics, clergy, lawyers and foreigners. It rules courts, altars and important public buildings.

Mars Good for dealing with doctors or dentists or other Mars ruled people. Bad for journeys. Mars rules soldiers, gunners, butchers, surgeons, metalworkers, barbers and carpenters.

Sun Good for approaching the influential or titled. Bad for courtship and marriage. Particularly bad for entering a house for the first time. The Sun rules magistrates and the father.

Venus Good for courtship and marriage and dealing with women or matters related to women. Favourable for all social activities. Good for beginning a journey and planting. But bad for surgery. Venus rules jewellery, painters, drapers, musicians, songs upholsterers and decorators. It is associated with everything used for female adornment as well as purses and cash.

Mercury Good for buying and selling, writing letters, signing documents and other Mercurial activities. Bad for marriage, good for borrowing or lending money and taking medicine. It rules all matters of communication and short journeys. It is also the ruler of tradespeople, office workers, secretaries, writers, printers, accountants, tailors and dressmakers.

Moon Good for courtship or marriage, making friends, hiring servants, advertising and opening shops. Not good for buying animals, lending money, taking medicine or making clothes. The Moon rules women and those whose work is connected with the sea or water. It also symbolises the general public. Animals that live in water are ruled by the Moon.

Return to articles





© Kim Farnell 2006.