The Sun, Moon, and Ascendant of the astrology chart represent the primary energies that are the foundation of your cosmic design. The other astronomical and calculated points that make up your chart, govern or rule different aspects of human personality and circumstance. Based on the time and location of your birth, the Sun crossed the horizon in a specific sign associated with your Sun sign, which is the degree of your Ascendant. The sign of your Ascendant determines which point rules your entire chart.
King or Queen?
In traditional, Hellenistic astrology, before the invention of the telescope and the discovery of the outer planets and the asteroid belt, there were only seven points to consider: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The Zodiac wheel was divided into 12 signs and 12 segments (called places, now houses).
Each point ruled a specific place, and since there were 12 places/houses and only 7 points, some points were assigned dual rulership. The Sun ruled, and still rules, the 5th House and the Moon ruled, and still rules the 4th House. Mercury-ruled, and still rules, Gemini/3rd House and Virgo/6th House, while Venus-ruled, and still rules, Taurus/2nd House and Libra/7th House.
Mars-ruled Aries/1st House and Scorpio/8th House, but now, in current western astrology, Pluto rules Scorpio/8th. Jupiter ruled Sagittarius/9th House and Pisces/12th House, but now Neptune rules Pisces/12th House. Lastly, Saturn ruled Capricorn/10th and Aquarius/11th, but today Uranus rules the 11th House. Regardless, whether you use the 7-point system of Hellenistic astrology or the 10-point system of modern astrology, only two points can be queens, the Moon and Venus.
Four Ascendant possibilities will produce a Queen ruler: Gemini, Taurus, Virgo, and Libra. All other Ascendants will be Kings.
Determining the Ruler of Your Chart
To determine the ruler of your chart, you will have to know your birth time. It is the time of birth that indicates the position of the Sun on the day of your birth. In my case, I was born at 9:39 pm on April 12, 1968, in Lynchburg, Virginia in the United States. As a result, the Sun crossed the horizon that day at 28 degrees and 14 minutes of the sign Scorpio, so the ruler of my chart is Mars (Hellenistic) and/or Pluto (modern).
What Does the Ruler Mean and Do?
As a practicing astrologer, the chart ruler makes either a great place to start or the next point to discuss, after discussing the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant of a chart. Either way, significant energy will pass through and activate wherever the chart ruler lies in your chart. In a way, the chart ruler “lords” over the entire chart, providing a “guiding philosophy”, or in modern terms, a “mission statement” for the individual.
Since I have two rulers to consider, let us look at Mars first. In my chart, it lands in the 7th House at 11 degrees and 47 minutes. The 7th House is the place for relationships that help us in the wider world. It is also the house that rules contracts and agreements between two people, like employer/employee or a marriage (husband/wife, wife/wife, husband/husband). Mars is our drive in life; it prefers to act. When I work with people, I will prefer to “get things done”.
Since my Ascendant is Scorpio, my Descendant, and my 7th House, is ruled by Taurus. Thus, I have Mars in Taurus in my 7th House. Unfortunately, from a Hellenistic interpretation, Mars is considered a malefic point and is in its Detriment in Taurus. Taurus likes to take it slow, Mars does not; they end up begrudgingly stuck together. This sign placement for my ruler will incline to make me cautious, maybe overly so, depending on the help or hindrance my Mars gets from the rest of the chart.
If I go with the modern ruler, then my King is Pluto at 20 degrees and 44 minutes. It is retrograde and it “lords” over my chart from my 11th House in the sign of Virgo. Pluto is our energy of transformation, sexuality, and elimination … death and rebirth. The 11th House deals with our connection to the community, meaning that I will be an agent of change in my community. Virgo energy focuses on service, invention, and problem-solving. My way of bringing and managing death/rebirth and transformation will be done practically as a service to others.
How Does it Bear Out in Our Lives?
Because the chart ruler is … well … the chart ruler, it is usually fairly easy to see how it bears ours in our actual lives. Taking Mars first, I can honestly say that I am “slow” to form connections with people and naturally cautious when it comes to partnerships and alliances tied to work or contracts, including marriage. But Mars can lead me to rush in whenever I feel like the Taurus energy is “taking too much time”. I am patient, patient, patient, then I am not! Or another way it shows up when I leave a relationship or job, I do not look back … Mars has left the building and moved on!
I can also easily see the Pluto influence as a chart ruler because I have always been a change agent in my community, first unconsciously, then consciously, then very, very consciously. Unconsciously, I moved very frequently when I was young, basically every year of grade school (1 to 7), which meant I was the “new kid” in the community, which is its own kind of disruption in a neighborhood and public-school classroom.
Later in life I pursued an academic career and earned a PhD in English, teaching many years as a graduate student and post-graduate adjunct instructor. I never became a full-time faculty member, choosing instead to quit my academic career to be a stay-at-home father. After my daughter was old enough and circumstances changed, I started my full-time practice as a spiritual adviser (Pluto in Virgo in the 11th House, on steroids).
While the chart ruler(s) do not indicate the job I should have, specifically, or the place I should live in the world, they do let me know my proclivities and strengths. In fact, the chart ruler is meant to be a point of strength, even with one of mine in a difficult placement. Finding your chart ruler is a great place to further your understanding of your chart after you have plumbed the depths of your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant.