There is disagreement in the literature about whether a planet in the house of the quesited can signify the quesisted if it is not also the ruler of the sign on the cusp. John Frawley, for instance, on page 34 of his horary textbook states that a house has only one ruler, which is the planet that rules the sign on the cusp. On page 35 Frawley, however, does discuss alternatives to house rulers and gives the example of Mercury ruling both the Virgo Asc and the Gemini MC (as in the chart example below). Frawley then takes the ruler of the next sign in zodiacal order after the sign on the MC (in this example, the Moon which rules Cancer) to signify the job.
Abu Ma’Shar in his 9th century text used planets in houses to signify the matter of the house, even if they were not the ruler of the sign on the house cusp.
Some astrologers use the almuten (planet with the most dignity at the cusp) to signify the matters of the house. For example, in Lilly’s horary about purchasing the houses of Mr. B, he used the 7th-house Aries Sun (almuten of the Aries 7th cusp) instead of Mars (ruler of the cusp of the 7th) to signify the seller. Lilly felt that the Sun better described Mr. B than did Mars.
A basic principle of horary astrology is that the horary chart must first and foremost describe the situation. Here Lilly regarded the Sun as more descriptive of the seller than Mars. In addition, the Sun had more dignity at the cusp of the 7th than did Mars, so that the Sun via its greater dignity laid claim to the rulership of the 7th house. An implication of this idea is that a planet within a house cannot signify the matters of that house unless the planet has some dignity there. In other words, a planet must “own” at least part of the sign on the cusp to be able to claim any type of rulership of matters signified by the house. It is also likely that a planet’s ability to signify the matters of a house depends on how much dignity the planet has within the sign on the cusp of that house.
An example of this latter principle can be seen in the following horary in which the querent asks whether she will get the job she has applied for. (The chart data is withheld at the request of the querent.)
I often find these charts, with the Ascendant-ruler (querent) and the signifier of the quesited being the same planet, difficult to interpret.
Because the same planet rules the querent and the quesited, my first approach would be to let the Moon co-rule the querent and the common ruler of the querent and the quesited signify only the quesited to see if any aspect is forming. Here Moon and Mercury are in aversion, so there is no contact, suggesting a negative outcome. In addition, the Moon is in the 12th house and is peregrine, which is not a promising condition. Also, Mercury is without dignity in 5 degrees of Cancer and is disposed by the 12th house Moon, again suggesting loss.
Because Mercury rules both the Asc and the MC, John Frawley (p.35) would take Cancer/Moon (the sign after Gemini on the MC) to rule the job. There is not aspect between Mercury and the Moon, so she will not get the job if we use Frawley’s method of assigning rulers to the quesited.
The Sun occupies the 10th, the house of the quesited job. One could consider the Moon sextile the Sun in the 10th as a potential positive indicator, but the Sun is peregrine, that is, undependable and wandering aimlessly in the house of career. The Sun has no dignity in Gemini; it does not rule any part of Gemini and cannot act as a ruler of the quesited. In addition, the Sun rules the 12th house, which is a house of loss and sorrow. The Sun’s presence in the 10th of career means that it will brings its 12th house significations into the area of the querent’s career interests in this question.
I would next look at the almutens of the houses, but Mercury is almuten of both the 1st and 10th, so it does not distinguish between them.
At this point I might consider the Nakshatra of the common significator (Mercury in this case), which lies in Ardra, a group of stars symbolized by a teardrop of sorrow because of some type of loss, disappointment or destruction.
I would next look at the triplicity rulers of the Asc (querent) and the quesited (MC in this case). These are Venus and Saturn respectively. Venus (querent) is parting from a trine to Saturn, suggesting that the querent and the job are separating, not coming together.
If I still don’t have an answer at this point, I recast the chart in the sidereal zodiac, which would give a Leo Ascendant and Taurus on the MC. Venus is approaching the Sun, but they are not in orb of a conjunction, and the Sun will change signs (sidereally) before Venus can reach the Sun, so in the sidereal zodiac there is no coming together of the querent and the job.
At the time of the question the common ruler of the querent and the quesited job, Mercury, is applying to a conjunction with Mars his fall. In addition, the next aspect that Mercury will perfect in real time is the opposition to malefic Saturn, also suggesting a negative outcome, which was the case because the querent never heard back from the job she had applied for.
If we use classical orbs as described by Porphyry, we see that Mercury is already forming the conjunction with Mars and the opposition with Saturn at the time of the question. Pophyry’s Introduction to the Tetrabiblos, (CCAG, 5, part 4; p.228) states:
“The rays of the Sun come to 30 degrees: 15 in front and 15 behind. The Moon has 24 degrees: 12 in front and 12 behind. Saturn and Jupiter 18: 9 in front and 9 behind. Mars 16: 8 in front and 8 behind, Venus and Mercury 14: 7 in front and 7 behind.”
In other words:
- The diameter of the orb of the Sun is 30 degrees (the width of a zodiac sign) and the radius of its orb is 15 degrees.
- The diameter of the orb of the Moon is 24 degrees and the radius of its orb is 12 degrees (~ 360 degrees in a circle divided by the length of a synodic month).
- The diameter of the orbs of the Saturn and Jupiter is 18 degrees and the radius of their orb is 9 degrees.
- The diameter of the orb of Mars is 16 degrees and the radius of their orb is 8 degrees.
- The diameter of the orbs of the Venus and Mercury is 14 degrees and the radius of their orb is 7 degrees.
Interestingly Sahl deals with the issue of the same planet ruling the Ascendant and the house cusp of the quesited by studying the condition of the common signifier (see Dykes translation of Sahl, p. 73):
According to Sahl:
If the same planet rules both the querent and the quesited, check whether that planet is “received,” that is, whether the planet is joined [by aspect or conjunction] to its dispositor or to the exaltation lord of the cusp of the house it occupies. If so, and if the planet is free from affliction [vel situ erit liber a malis], then the matter will perfect; otherwise, not.
In this case Mercury rules both the querent and the quesited. The dispositor of Mercury is the Moon, and the exaltation lord is Jupiter. Mercury is not joined to the Moon; they are in aversion.
Mercury is joined to Jupiter within 14 deg 44 min of arc by an opposition aspect, and Jupiter receives Mercury in his exaltation (Cancer). Unfortunately, Mercury is afflicted by both malefics, that is, by its conjunction to Mars (within 9 deg 23 min) and by its opposition to Saturn (within 14 deg 15 min), and Sahl would judge that the matter will not perfect.
Addendum, 7 Sept 2019: A reader sent me this note, which I am appending below:
This issue comes up in the DeLuce Horary Astrology Book. Page 32 under the heading, ‘Ruler of Ascendant and Question Being the Same Planet‘ & I quote: “If the ruler of the question and the ruler of the Ascendant be the same planet, then the matter lies in the decision of the enquirer, and he will have the power to accomplish the thing desired, or to initiate it or to refrain from initiating it.”