by Robert Wilkinson
Today we take a new look at a crucial factors in how practical Astrology works. Dispositorship is a primary factor in how any planet in any sign manifests, as it provides the background material to why the "inner lights" (planets) work as they do. Though each of the planets has their areas of influence, how that influence works is entirely dependent on what planet rules the sign they're in.
The sign any planet occupies is affected by the planet that rules that sign. This in turn is shaded by what sign that ruling planet is in. When a planet rules the sign another planet is in, we say it “disposes,” or is the dispositor of, that planet. That's why it's important to know which signs a given planet rules.
For example, when Mars is in Taurus, it is heavily affected by Venus, which rules Taurus. That makes the sign Venus occupies important in showing us the backdrop to how Mars in Taurus energies express themselves. Pay attention to Venus the next few weeks, since she'll be behind all Mars activities as long as Mars is in Taurus.
When Mars is in Gemini, as it will be between the Summer Solstice through early August, it will be heavily influenced by Mercury, which rules Gemini. Therefore the sign Mercury occupies is important in showing us how Mars will express itself during that time.
So when Mars is in Cancer in August and September 2011, it will be heavily affected by what sign the Moon is in, and when Mars is in Leo from late September to mid-November 2011, it will be heavily affected by the signs the Sun transits since the Sun rules Leo.
You can see how the concept of dispositorship would be of importance in showing us how a planet in a sign operates, since if a planet is in Gemini (or Virgo), Mercury's sign would make a big difference. A Mercury in Pisces is a much different Mercury energy than when it's in Aries, and a Venus in Cancer is much different than Venus in Leo!
On a purely practical level, during the upcoming weeks when Mars is in Taurus, Venus will begin in late Aries, move into Taurus, and then into Gemini. Observe how Mars alters its qualities and expression in these three periods. The first will be May 11-16 (Venus in Aries), May 16-June 9 (Venus in Taurus), and June 9-21 (Venus in Gemini). On June 20-21 Mars enters Gemini, making Mercury its dispositor for several weeks after that.
Returning to the main topic, Jupiter influences any planets or houses involving Sagittarius and Pisces. Using the same principles as those outlined above, planets in these signs will take on the shading of whatever sign Jupiter is in.
So while Jupiter rules the Sagittarius and Pisces areas of our charts, it is influenced by the ruler of the sign it occupies. When Jupiter was in Capricorn from 12/2007-1/2009, it was influenced by Saturn (ruling Capricorn) which occupied Virgo. When Jupiter was in Aquarius from 1/2009-1/2010, it was still influenced by Saturn, since Saturn also rules Aquarius.
While Jupiter in Capricorn had Saturn only in Virgo, Jupiter in Aquarius had dispositor Saturn in Libra from January through early April 2010, then Saturn in late Virgo from April through July 2010, and then Saturn back in Libra through the rest of the time that Jupiter was in the Saturn-ruled sign of Aquarius.
When a planet is in its home sign (the sign it rules), it is its own final dispositor. Therefore it is the the final dispositor of any "chain of dispositors" occupying a sign it rules. Jupiter in Pisces was its own final dispositor.
Another example of this would be Saturn in Libra disposited by Venus in Aries disposited by Mars in Aries, or Mars in Gemini disposited by Mercury in Taurus disposited by Venus in Aries disposited by Mars in Aries. For this "final dispositor" circumstance to occur, a planet must occupy one of the two signs it rules.
Sometimes there is no final dispositor, in which case a chain of dispositors is set up with a group influencing each other through the qualities of what sign they’re in. An example of this would be Saturn in Libra disposited by Venus in Cancer disposited by the Moon in Capricorn disposited by Saturn in Libra..... with no other planet in one of its home signs. This "chain of dispositors" rules all the other planets, since every planet is ruled by another planet that would eventually eventually find a dispositor in this chain.
Then you have the special situation when two planets dispose each other, such as Moon in Aquarius and Uranus in Cancer, or Jupiter in Gemini and Mercury in Sagittarius. This is called “mutual reception,” and is a very strong influence. It is as though the two planets feed each other, and grow stronger, for good or ill, in their ability to dominate those affairs in the chart.
You can find any and/or all of these at work in a chart, such as when one planet is the final dispositor for 2 or 3 others, two are in mutual reception, and 3 or 4 more form a chain of dispositors between them. Finding all of these in a chart is uncommon, but finding at least 2 of these is not so rare.
In my own chart I have Jupiter in Pisces as its own final dispositor, Moon in Aquarius and Uranus in Cancer in mutual reception, and two other final dispositors of all the rest of my natal planets.
Mars is the final dispositor of my Mercury in Aries, Sun in Aries, Mars in Aries, Saturn in Virgo disposited by Mercury in Aries, and Pluto in Leo disposited by the Sun in Aries. I also have Venus in Taurus as final dispositor of my Neptune in Libra and Venus in Taurus. While this quantity of final dispositors (Venus, Mars, and Jupiter all in their home signs!) is rare, it is common to find at least one of these three dispositor circumstances in a birth chart.
So you can see that during the year when planets are in Leo, they'll have more of the qualities of the sign the Sun is in, just like when planets are in Virgo they will be more the quality of the sign(s) Mercury occupies. When planets are in Libra they will take on the quality of whatever sign Venus is in, and when they are in Scorpio they will take on the quality of whatever sign Mars is in.
The upshot for the rest of 2011 is that Venus' influence will dominate the astrological landscape between May 15 and June 9 when it's in its home sign of Taurus. It will be the final dispositor for all the other planets (except standalone Neptune in Pisces) from May 15 through June 2, after which Mercury in Gemini equally dominates the scene as final dispositor for itself and the Sun. Mercury then takes final dispositorship for all the planets between June 9-16 when Venus also slips into Gemini while Mercury's still in its home sign.
Once Mercury and then the Sun move into Cancer the last half of June the Moon becomes their dispositor. Since the Moon moves through the signs so quickly it speeds up the rapidly changing backdrop to events. It only becomes final dispositor of itself and other planets in Cancer when it moves through its home sign of Cancer, which doesn't happen for very long, and it will make a mutual reception with Mercury when it's in Gemini at the end of June.
For as long as Pluto is in Capricorn it will be disposited by Saturn which will be disposited by Venus. So Venus and whatever sign it's in will influence Saturn and Pluto for months to come. When Neptune retrogrades back into Aquarius it will join this chain of dispositors.
Uranus in Aries will be disposited by Mars for years to come, so take note of what sign Mars is in to understand how Uranus is influenced. So when Mars is in Gemini, Uranus will also have Mercury as its dispositor, and when Mars is in Cancer, Uranus will also have the Moon as its dispositor. When Mars is in Leo, Uranus will also have the Sun as its dispositor, and when Mars is in Virgo, Uranus will also have Mercury as its dispositor.
Jupiter's dispositor changes each year at the time it changes signs. This year early January had Jupiter as its own final dispositor. From January through early June, Jupiter in Aries has Mars as its dispositor. From June 2011-2012, Jupiter in Taurus has Venus as its dispositor.
Within the last two spans, the transits of Mars and Venus indicate the backdrop to how Jupiter works. This will make Mars and then Venus very important in all Jupiter-influenced new adventures, learning challenges, and studies of higher consciousness and other spiritual areas
Though some of this is technical, hopefully it will help you understand why two different people with Saturn in Virgo, Venus in Gemini, or Mars in Capricorn (or any other planetary position) can be so radically different in their responses to similar areas or events. What we've covered here can also help to elucidate why some supposed "compatibilities" are not so compatible, and some supposedly incompatible planets in signs actually get along quite well. The answer to the mystery could very well be found in the dispositors!
© Copyright 2007, 2011 Robert Wilkinson