- Drew Levanti, astrologer who specializes in elections and event charts
This ancient practice of using the stars to choose lucky dates and times is called electional astrology. Perhaps the most common way it’s infiltrating today’s pop astrology zeitgeist is through its use for the selection of a wedding date. Upon mentioning this article to some friends, I was delighted to learn that two people I know personally hired an astrologer to “elect” their wedding dates. That is, they consulted with an expert to assess the vibe of the astrological transits and alignments occurring around when they were hoping to get married and chose a date when the planetary milieu was best aligned.
What other kinds of events can you imbue with a particular astrological vibe? Better yet, how can astrology enthusiasts utilize the principles of electional astrology in their everyday lives? Keep reading to learn more about this practical technique.
How electional astrology works
Electional astrology is found within many astrological traditions, most prominently the ancient, Hellenistic school of astrology. As astrologer Chris Brennan writes in Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune, ancient Greeks called it katarchē, meaning “beginning,” “inception,” or “commencement.”
The idea is that by choosing to start something at the same time as an auspicious astrological alignment, you imbue its “birth” with that energy, which may promote a better outcome.
The idea is that by choosing to start something at the same time as an auspicious astrological alignment, you imbue its “birth” with that energy, which may promote a better outcome. At its core, it rests on the same principle underlying natal astrology: Just as the placements in your birth chart describe who you are and how your life may unfold, the placements in an event's "birth" chart can forecast how that thing will play out. But the added element of intention makes the technique of electional astrology all the more magical. (Fittingly, it plays a prominent role in astrological magic.)
When to use electional astrology
Electional astrologers pore over every detail of a future event’s prospective birth chart, also called an election. Typically, the goal is to locate the election with the most positive qualities and fewest challenges within a client’s particular parameters for the event at hand.
To be sure, logistical constraints can limit your choice of an election. For instance, my friends who elected their nuptials likely couldn’t walk down the aisle at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday even if it were ideal astrologically. The wider your timeframe, the more options you’ll have… and the deeper you’ll have to dig to find the most auspicious election.
Needless to say, elections take a lot of legwork, which is why most people reserve this tool for important projects and big life events. Astrologer Drew Levanti, who teaches a course on electional astrology, says clients usually inquire about astrological elections related to the four angular houses of the birth chart, which are associated with major realms of life: the first house (physical body), fourth house (home and living space), seventh house (committed one-on-one relationships), and 10th house (career and professional success). Meaning, medical procedures, lease-signings, engagements, and business launches are all par for the course in electional astrology.
It can feel especially relevant to elect the date of a surgery or LLC formation with the help of astrology, for instance, because these things tend to have a lasting impact, says Levanti, “so people really care to get the energy right.” The same rationale might not apply to, say, texting your mom or finding time to get drinks with a friend. But in theory, you can elect a lucky date and time to do virtually anything using electional astrology. It just depends on how much time and energy you’re willing to invest.
The most important placements in an electional chart
Electional astrology is a specialized technique with a unique set of considerations. Although the sun, moon, and rising signs in the chart of a particular event are all still relevant (as they would be in interpreting your own natal chart), elections have their own “big three,” so to speak. These key placements are the ascendant (aka rising sign), the ascendant ruler, and the moon.
The meaning of the ascendant and ascendant ruler in an election
In elections, the ascendant, or rising sign, represents the person initiating the action (that’s you). It also characterizes their approach. So, if you choose a chart for an upcoming event with a Taurus ascendant, for example, “the energy that you are using to initiate the endeavor is going to be grounded, practical, and sensual,” says Levanti, in keeping with Taurus vibes.
Generally speaking, you want the ascendant to form an aspect (conjunction, sextile, square, trine, or opposition) to the benefic planets (Venus and Jupiter) and not to the malefics (Mars and Saturn), the latter of which embody more difficult energies. Supportive aspects like trines and sextiles are preferred, but ultimately, any aspect is better than none. (No aspect means the ascendant can’t “see” the benefic planets at all and thus cannot receive any support from them.) The reverse is true for the malefics: Typically, the goal is to make an election in which Mars and Saturn are located in houses where they don’t aspect the ascendant.
You’ll also want to pay close attention to the ascendant ruler (aka the traditional planetary ruler of the rising sign, and the election’s overall chart ruler). This planet describes the resources available to the ascendant—in practical terms, the support you’ll have to do the thing you’re electing. But it can only help you out when it’s in a positive or strong condition, given its house location, sign placement, and any aspects it may form with other planets.
“We usually try to keep the ascendant ruler out of the second, sixth, eighth, and 12th houses, which are also known as the dark houses,” says Levanti, because they don’t aspect the ascendant. By contrast, making an election where this planet is in any of the other houses, which do aspect the ascendant, suggests you’ll have more support in your endeavor. That Taurus ascendant we mentioned earlier? It’ll be much more effective in an election with Venus (its planetary ruler) in Taurus in the first house versus one with Venus in Aries in the 12th house.
In the same vein, aspects to or from the benefic planets (Venus or Jupiter) can enhance the ascendant ruler’s strength. For instance, the aforementioned election with Venus in Taurus in the first house would get an extra boost of luck if Venus was also sextile Jupiter.
The meaning of the moon in an election
You’ll also want to bolster the moon’s condition by sign, house, and aspect in a chart you’re choosing for an important event. In elections, this celestial body describes the staying power of whatever you’re initiating.
“The moon is a source of growth,” explains Levanti. “When we create something that we want to last a long time, it's going to see many seasons,” just like the phases of the moon. If you choose an election with the moon in a dark house or a zodiac sign where it’s debilitated (meaning, it’s considered to be in its detriment or fall and less able to operate to its fullest potential), your endeavor could be more susceptible to interruptions or breaks. Placing the moon in an angular house (the first, fourth, seventh, or 10th house) where it’s aspecting one of the benefic planets (Venus or Jupiter) is a far safer bet.
The moon’s ruling planet matters, too—so, if your election features the moon in Sagittarius, you’ll want to take a peek at how Jupiter (planetary ruler of Sagittarius) is faring in the chart with the criteria listed above. In this example, an angular Jupiter in Pisces in the fourth house is much more supportive than a debilitated Jupiter in Capricorn in the second house. As Chris Brennan and Leisa Schaim noted in an episode of The Astrology Podcast, there’s an old rule that the moon represents the beginning of the action and its ruler represents its long-term outcome. In other words, Luna can really sway how your elected event unfolds.
Additional considerations for an election
Based on the topic of your election, you’ll also want to factor in any particularly relevant planets or houses. In a wedding election, for instance, Venus, the planet of love and relationships, should be as well-positioned as possible. In particular, placing Venus in the fifth house of romance, seventh house of marriage, or in a sign where it has essential dignity (Taurus, Libra, or Pisces) could be especially beneficial.
“You want to avoid choosing any date when the planet that your endeavor is the most reliant upon is retrograde.” —Drew Levanti, astrologer
“You also want to avoid choosing any date when the planet that your endeavor is the most reliant upon is retrograde,” adds Levanti. So, electing a date to start a writing project while Mercury (ruler of communication) is retrograde wouldn’t be ideal, for example. And you’d probably want to steer clear of electing your departure date for a vacation abroad when Jupiter (ruler of travel) is retrograde.
It’s also worth carefully considering the angular houses (first, fourth, seventh, and 10th) of any election. “Planets in those houses will speak their truth,” Levanti explains, “and it’s up to us to work with that.” That’s why it’s generally recommended to keep the malefic planets Mars and Saturn out of these houses (and tucked away in dark houses, if possible). On the flip side, an election with an angular Venus or Jupiter bodes well for your endeavor.
How to practice using electional astrology
The above are just some of the many considerations that can go into electing lucky dates and times. And remember, electional astrology is always beholden to the upcoming transits, too, which could be less-than-ideal depending on the topic of your election and your desired timeframe. (Meaning, you won’t always be able to find a date or time with the perfect chart for any future event.)
This summer’s Venus retrograde in Leo, for instance, would have made it very challenging to find a suitable wedding election, especially for a novice. “This is why people consult astrologers for elections,” says Levanti. “There are just so many layers.” In a situation where a key planet for your election is retrograde for the entire span of time during which you’re trying to have the event, for example, a pro could help you manage your expectations (or perhaps spot ways to mitigate the challenging transit that the average person might miss).
But astrology enthusiasts shouldn’t let the technique’s complexity deter them from trying it out. In fact, since electional astrology involves our actions, it’s best learned through practice.
As you experiment with elections, “find one part of the chart [you’re electing] that is really good that you can hang your hat on,” Levanti advises. Don’t get too hung up on finding the ideal chart in its entirety; in practice, those are few and far between, anyway. Something as simple as waiting an hour to send an important email so you can catch lucky Jupiter on the ascendant can go a long way. Personally, I’ve sharpened my electional skills by pitching editors when the moon and its ruler (aka the planetary ruler of the sign it's currently in) are well-positioned.
Levanti also suggests studying the chart of any present moment and using it as a tool to reflect as you make everyday decisions. In doing so, you’ll start to attune to the unique energies of different astrological alignments, which will enhance your ability to choose dates and times proactively. “We don't always need to think about things in order to align ourselves with the stars, as they're always working on us and through us,” he adds. “If we decide to just do something and then see what the stars have said about it, that can be really instructive as well.”
So, by all means, play around—but if you want to elect a lucky date for a major or highly consequential life event, take a cue from my friends, and consult with a pro.
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