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.
This fulfills a long standing promise I’ve made to my readers, and I promise I’ll keep this updated from time to time in the future. The concept of dispositorship, i.e. the rulership of a planet by another planet, is of paramount importance if we want to know how any given planet will express. That’s because planet A disposing planet B will indicate the “backdrop” to planet B, which will be the sign of planet A.
When a planet rules the sign another planet is in, we say it “disposes,” or is the dispositor of, that planet. It rules the sign expression of the planet it disposes. That's why it's important to know which signs a given planet rules.
It’s easy to see how the sign any planet occupies is affected by the planet that rules that sign. For example, a planet in Libra will be affected by where Venus is, since Venus rules Libra. Venus in turn is shaded by the sign of the planetary ruler of the sign it’s in, and so on. We call this a “chain of dispositors.” There are usually only 3 or 4 at the most in any given chain, but I’ve included an example further down that involves 5 planets in a chain.
When two planets occupy signs that are ruled by each other, it’s called “mutual reception.” An example of this would be Venus in Gemini and Mercury in Taurus. Venus rules Taurus, Mercury rules Gemini. This is a very powerful self-reinforcing energy that feeds into itself and cross-references each planet’s experience and expression.
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. We’ll discuss chains of dispositors, mutual reception, and final dispositors later in the article.
If you are unfamiliar with the worldly and spiritual rulers of the various signs, please take a quick look at Astrology Class - The Rulership and Exile Positions of the Planets This will help you understand the two signs where a planet finds its “home,” and where it finds itself in “exile,” which are the signs opposite its home signs.
SO HOW DOES THIS WORK?
Let’s take Mars for an example. When Mars is in Libra, 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 Libra energies express themselves.
Mars will be in Libra through late July 2014. That means the signs Venus will transit will show what’s behind all Mars activities as long as Mars is in Libra. Venus has been in Capricorn during the time Mars has been in Libra. That brings a Capricorn backdrop or quality to Mars, and when Venus is in Aquarius during March-April 2014 the backdrop of Mars will be more Aquarius.
Venus in Pisces will bring a Pisces shading to Mars in Libra in April and early May 2014, and then Venus in Aries will bring a more fiery quality to Mars in Libra in May 2014. Mars in Libra will have a more Taurus quality in June while Venus is in that sign, and a Gemini quality in late June through mid-July 2014 when Venus transits Gemini.
So while Mars in Libra will express one way when retrograde and another way when direct, as long as it is in Libra then Venus will “rule” the sign Mars is in, and therefore how it expresses itself. As Capricorn through Gemini are all signs in the hemisphere of “self” (Cancer through Sag are “not-self”), then it would seem that while Mars will always express through the filter of Libra, the not-self, behind it all Mars will be restructured while Venus is in Capricorn, move into greater view while Venus is in Aquarius, and become deeper and more aware of universals while Venus is in Pisces, to offer three examples.
You can see how dispositorship shows us how a planet in a sign operates! In another example, if a planet is in Gemini (or Virgo), Mercury's sign would make a big difference. When the Sun is in Gemini each year, Mercury could be in Taurus, Gemini, or Cancer.
Mercury in Taurus is a much different Mercury energy than when Mercury is in Gemini! And if the Sun is in Gemini and Mercury is in Taurus, it’s easy to see how Mercury's dispositor, Venus, would have a much different influence on Mercury if it were in Pisces rather than Aries!
WHAT IS A FINAL DISPOSITOR, A CHAIN OF DISPOSITORS, AND MUTUAL RECEPTION?
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. Moon in Cancer, Sun in Leo, Mars in Aries, Jupiter in Pisces, and Neptune in Pisces are all examples of when these planets were their own final dispositor.
An example of how a final dispositor is found was when Saturn in Libra was disposited by Venus in Aries, which in turn was disposited by Mars in Aries. Another example of this would be Moon in Scorpio disposited by Mars in Taurus disposited by Venus in Taurus. Or Sun in Gemini disposited by Mercury in Taurus, with Venus in Aries disposited by Mars in Scorpio. 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 a number of other planets, In the example, any planet in Taurus, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn, and Aquarius is ruled by one of the planets in the chain. Any other planet would be ruled by another planet, whether itself a final dispositor or part of another chain.
Another example of a chain of dispositors is Jupiter in Cancer disposed by Moon in Aquarius disposed by Saturn in Scorpio disposed by Mars in Libra disposed by Venus in Pisces. (In an interesting “coincidence,” the very specific example I gave occurs exactly during the Great Fracturing in late April 2014!)
Then there are those special situations 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. 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, all birth charts have one or more chains of dispositors, mutual receptions, or final dispositors in a chart.
Other examples of mutual reception are when the Moon transits Sagittarius and Pisces while Jupiter is in Cancer, or when Mars is in Capricorn or Aquarius while Saturn is in Scorpio. Mercury in Cancer and Moon in Gemini or Virgo are in mutual reception, as are Venus in Aries when Mars is in Libra.
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 2014 is that for the first half of the year, Venus' influence will be very strong since Mars disposes of Saturn and Uranus and the inner planets as they transit Aries. Once Mars is in Scorpio from mid-July through late September 2014, it will be in its home sign, and become a final dispositor. After that, Mars in Sagittarius will be disposited by Jupiter in Leo, which means the sign the Sun is in will be important to seeing how both Mars and Jupiter operate.
In part 2, I’ll give you further analysis of what we can expect from the planetary positions in 2014 and examples of how the dispositors will operate. I’ll also include a few examples of how aspects between dispositors can work.
© Copyright 2007, 2014 Robert Wilkinson