©2013 J. Lee Lehman, PhD
In my book, EssentialDignities, I addressed the question of how the three trans-Saturnian planets were assigned rulerships, which is really an indirect answer to the question, how are rulerships assigned? Specifically, I performed an experiment: I compared the Medieval al-Biruni's rulerships to those of the modern work by Rex Bills. I looked for all those cases where Bills gave a rulership to Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto, and the same concept could be found in al-Biruni. By seeing which traditional planet rulership was assigned to which outer planet, we are actually mapping attitudes about the nature of those outer planets. This was specifically set up to address the modern belief that the three outer planets are the higher octave of Mercury (Uranus), Venus (Neptune), and Mars (Pluto). The results are shown in Table 1.
Sun411 Moon051 Mercury121 Venus144 Mars405 Jupiter202 Saturn276
Table 1. Attributions in al-Biruni which are ruled by Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto in Bills.1
The results for Neptune and Pluto show a strong conversion of Saturn words, which suggests the obvious idea that these two outer planets are malefics that have taken over some of the Greater Malefic's traditional words. Uranus is more complex, but the dominance in the transfer of Sun and Mars words does suggest that Uranus is hot and dry in nature. In Neptune's case, the large number of Moon and Venus words might suggest wet, while the Moon and Saturn words would give cold. Pluto is more complicated: Venus and Mars are polar opposites in qualities as well as signs, suggesting that perhaps Pluto's qualities are more situational than intrinsic,
When I ask astrology audiences to classify the outer planets by quality, the results are consistent with what we have just seen. Uranus is easily classified as hot and dry (increasing the energy of a system, but tending to break things apart), while Neptune is easily classified cold and wet (decreasing the energy of a system, but intensifying the connections). Pluto is always troubling for people to classify, and there is seldom agreement.
This little demonstration suggests a use of the qualities of the planets as being an important component of their rulerships. I know that the higher octave theory is very appealing aesthetically: it's just that this study indicates that the higher octave theory truly is more theory than practice.
1Citation: Lehman, J. Lee. Essential Dignities. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Press, 1989, p. 107.
Sources for table:
al-Biruni, Muhammad ibn Ahmad, and Robert Ramsay Wright. The Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology. London,: Luzac & Co., 1934.
Bills, Rex E. The Rulership Book; a Directory of Astrological Correspondences. Richmond,: Macoy Pub. & Masonic Supply Co., 1971.