Electional astrology is utilized in choosing the most appropriate time to begin something. The intent is to achieve a successful outcome, and the rules applied are very specifically set toward that end. Many of the rules have their foundation in horary astrology, the counterpart to this work. Horary astrology is the art of answering a question by analysis of a chart drawn for the precise moment of the question. Within the horary chart lies the answer to the question, and all circumstances surrounding the matter. Unlike horary, which answers after the fact, electional astrology approaches the matter beforehand and "elects" an appropriate time to achieve a desired outcome. Though the rules are the same, they are applied differently.
The elected time is the exact moment chosen to begin something. It is calculated to give you an advantage in the matter. The time selected has a twofold purpose. Primary is to strengthen the person initiating the action. This person is always shown by the first house and the Moon. Secondary is to strengthen the house of the electional matter. The house is determined by the main theme of the election. In considering the correct time, one must keep in mind the moment of finality. This is when there is no longer control in the matter, and it is out of your hands. The statement "I now pronounce you man and wife" at the conclusion of a marriage ceremony, is an example of finality. The election time should correspond with the pronouncement and not with the beginning of the ceremony. Up until that moment, either party can back out. If signing important documents to be returned by mail, finality occurs when the papers are dropped into the mailbox. Until they have left your possession, there is still control in the matter. It is not always easy to determine the moment of finality so a good rule of thumb is to recognize when something is no longer within your control. Often it is when you have taken the first step to set the matter in motion, but not always.
Both the natural ruler and the natal ruler of the election matter are considered in setting up an election chart. However, the natural ruler is the primary consideration. The natural ruler is the planet corresponding with the subject of the election. For example, every election pertaining to marriage, or relationship matters should feature a strong and well-placed Venus. This is the primary consideration, although the ruler of the seventh house is also considered. Ideally, an election for marriage would feature a strong Venus, a healthy Moon, and favorable aspects to the ruler of the natal seventh house. Likewise, the signing of important papers requires a sound Mercury. Business matters benefit when Saturn, Jupiter and the Sun are well aligned. It is always beneficial to strengthen the natural rulers of an electional matter.
The next consideration is the house ruling the electional matter. This is the house corresponding with the main theme of the election. It is necessary to strengthen the house of the matter, and link it favorably with the first house. The seventh house is the house of marriage, and the tenth, the house of business. In a marriage election, we want positive aspects between the rulers of the first and seventh houses. In a business election, positive aspects between the rulers of the first and tenth houses are needed.
We can begin by looking for days with positive aspects between the Moon, and the planet ruling the electional matter. Only applying aspects are considered in electional astrology as once an aspect is separating the opportunity is over. The Moon is allowed all applying aspects until she leaves the sign she is in. In other words, the Moon is not confined to an orb of influence. Each applying aspect will describe something about the unfolding of the electional matter. The final aspect of the Moon shows the outcome of the election, and is a major consideration. A positive last aspect is very important if the elected matter is to end well.
The Ascendant ruler should be strong, in good aspect with the Moon, and with the planet ruling the electional matter. The first house and its ruling planet always represent the person who initiates the action, and should be free from affliction. It is necessary to have a positive applying aspect between the planet ruling the first house person, and the planet ruling the house of the elected matter. If there is no contact, no action will ensue. The Moon is always a co-ruler of the first house person and can be used to connect the two.
Try to keep the difficult planets away from the Ascendant and out of the first quadrant. Difficult planets in the first quadrant can interfere with the momentum of the elected matter. Saturn may cause delay or require tremendous effort to overcome. Uranus usually presents an unexpected problem or a disruptive influence. Neptune may indicate a lack of information, misinformation or bad judgment. With Pluto something needs to be eliminated before the matter can proceed.
Also try to avoid a retrograde significator. This is the planet representing any significant person or matter in the election chart. A retrograde condition is weak and may not function well.
The quality of the signs on the angles should favor the election chart. Cardinal signs support quick action and taking the initiative. Fixed signs support endurance. They are particularly desirable for long-term commitments, such as marriage, or for projects where longevity is vital. Mutable signs encourage change, and are helpful when flexibility is needed.
The Part of Fortune is considered favorable, especially if placed in the house ruling the matter of the election. It is also helpful when conjunct the ascendant. It acts like a benefic planet and can play a significant role. It is however, not well placed in the eighth or twelfth house, unless your election pertains to one of those houses. In either house it is considered the part of misfortune.
The mutual reception of two planets enables the respective planets to change signs, and therefore change positions. This occurs when two planets are in each other’s signs. The two planets in mutual reception cooperate with one another, and this lends flexibility and versatility to the matter at hand. It is similar to a conjunction in that the two planets work together as one.
The critical degrees 0° and 29° should be avoided. An angle or planet in critical degree operates at a disadvantage. The person or matter represented is either premature or too late, respectively. The malefic degrees should also be avoided. They are 24º Taurus, 29º Taurus and 19º Scorpio. The person or matter represented by a planet in one of these degrees is unstable.
Joann Hampar is a horary-electional astrologer practicing in New York City. She earned her certifications after completing the Gilbert Navarro-Ivy M. Goldstein-Jacobson course. This article is taken, in part, from her recent book, Electional Astrology: The Art of Timing (Llewellyn, 2005). Joann also teaches a correspondence course on this subject. You can reach her through her Web site: Astrological Insights: http://www.astroinsights.com