Astrologers with a more holistic approach advise, and wisely, to not single out one placement in the chart too much. You’ve got to take in the whole picture. But, if there’s one placement that deserves some singling out, it’s the chart ruler. How well you express your chart ruler can make or break you.
What is the chart ruler? Well, if you don’t know, the chart ruler is the planet ruling your Rising sign. And since the Rising sign determines your entire chart, this planet rules the chart. So, if you have an Aries Rising, then Mars is your chart ruler because Mars rules the sign of Aries. I trust most of you reading this already know your chart’s ruling planet but let’s just go through them all:
Aries Rising – Mars is the chart ruler
Taurus Rising – Venus is the chart ruler
Gemini Rising – Mercury is the chart ruler
Cancer Rising – Moon is the chart ruler
Leo Rising – Sun is the chart ruler
Virgo Rising – Mercury is the chart ruler
Libra Rising – Venus is the chart ruler
Sagittarius Rising – Jupiter is the chart ruler
Capricorn Rising – Saturn is the chart ruler
These three signs have both a traditional and a modern ruling planet. So, you can consider both:
Scorpio Rising – Mars is the traditional chart ruler; Pluto is the modern chart ruler
Aquarius Rising – Saturn is the traditional chart ruler; Uranus is the modern chart ruler
Pisces Rising – Jupiter is the traditional chart ruler; Neptune is the modern chart ruler
So, if you know your Rising sign, look at your chart ruler and then find its house placement and aspects in your birth chart. There, we’ve got the basics out of the way. Now, what does your chart ruler mean? This isn’t something that’s as delved into as it should be. In my view, the chart ruler defines the tone of your life. Nothing in astrology completely defines us, of course. But, a person’s life will generally be dominated by their chart ruler, as well as the house that planet is in and the aspects that it makes. If your life were a movie, basically, the chart ruler tells what kind of movie it’d be, for good or worse. But, it’s up to you to decide what kind of movie you want to be in.
Say you have Cancer Rising and your Moon is in the 7th House. Then, the movie of your life could be a moving and sentimental (Moon) romance (7th House), defined by the warm, fuzzy, comforting love you receive in your relationship. What if you’re a Sagittarius Rising with Jupiter in the 5th House? Well, that makes your life a wildly entertaining (5th House) kind of movie, full of constant adventures (Jupiter) around the corner.
People live out their chart rulers much more powerfully than they may realize. And that leads me to the other thing about your chart ruler. It could turn your potentially brilliant life story into a critically panned flop. In other words, it can make your life suck as much as it makes wonderful. With a 7th House Moon ruling the chart, that compulsive search for a comfortable relationship could make you live the existence of an unstable co-dependent. A 5th House Jupiter as the chart ruler can turn all of those colorful adventures you thrive on into an irresponsible journey toward ruins, through all of your reckless gambling and childish decisions. We don’t always do this on purpose, of course. Since the chart ruler also rules the Ascendant, which represents immediate behavior, this just becomes an automatic way of operating for us. But, that’s why we have to change the script here.
Aspects, of course, are going to make a difference, too. They will tell you the ways in which you can express your chart ruler, especially if it’s an outer planet. If your chart ruler is forming a square or opposition to any other planet, this is a trouble area in your life that’s going to need to be addressed. So, if Pluto is your chart ruler and it’s opposite your Venus, your life is characterized by an imbalance between Pluto’s urge for power and Venus’ yearning to harmoniously relate. That is, until you learn how to find a happy medium.
If the chart ruler is conjunct a planet, it’s sort of like a co-chart ruler. It becomes a pretty big deal in your life. If Saturn was your chart ruler but also conjunct Uranus and Neptune, being a nonconformist (Uranus) and being empathic (Neptune) dominate your life, as well, but not as much as Saturn. Planets conjunct the chart ruler are like the co-stars but the chart ruler gets top billing. Trines and sextiles represent natural talents that planet has. If the Sun rules the chart and is trine Mars and sextile the Moon, you can be a leader (Sun) in ways that are assertive (Mars) yet caring (Moon).
It’s all important to be aware of because, in the end, I think the chart’s ruling planet and its house and aspects have a lot to do with the life that we really want for ourselves. It’s just that we can be a little misguided in our search, ending up writing ourselves into an unsatisfying story. And you can use your chart ruler to throw out that old draft and start a much better one.
P.S. Whenever your chart’s ruling planet has its “return”, it’s an empowering time for you. A planetary return is when a planet comes back to the same exact sign and house placement in a person’s birth chart. Depending on the planet, it can happen once a year, once every few years, or a few times in a lifetime. If you’re a Cancer Rising, though, your ruler’s return is once a month!
Your chart ruler’s return is a time of rebirth, allowing you to make a shift in the way that you live and see the world. So, it’s the perfect time to change your script. That’s why I’m looking forward to my Saturn return, which is still a few years from now. Most people dread it and suffer through it. But, for Capricorn Rising people, it’s when things start really changing for the better for us.
If you have Scorpio, Aquarius, or Pisces Rising, though, you’re going to have to look forward to traditional chart ruler’s return instead. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto take several years (about a decade and a half for the latter two) to transit just one sign. So, there’s no possible way you can live to see your modern chart ruler’s return unless you live to be 150 years old!