Masha’allah in his writings on horary astrology makes extensive use of dispositors of planets. The dispositor of a given planet is simply the ruler of the sign which that planet occupies in a chart. For example, if Mars is in Libra, its dispositor is Venus. Similarly, if the Moon occupies Leo, its dispositor is the Sun. Although dispositorship played an essential role in the development of horary astrology among the Arabic and Persian astrologers, I rarely see it mentioned in contemporary delineations of horary charts.
The theory behind dispositorship is anthropomorphic and straightforward. If I am a planet visiting your home, then I am dependent on you for the resources at my disposal to accomplish my aims. If you are strong and powerful and have kept your home in good order, I can more easily get my job done. If you are weak, disorganized and impotent, I may not be able to achieve what I desire. My ability to produce results consistent with my nature, and to manifest my own significations, will depend a great deal on your condition as my dispositor, since you are the owner and the person in charge of the zodiac sign from which I am working. If the owner of the home is not in whole sign aspect to his own domicile, matters become even worse because the owner is like an absentee landlord who can’t see and has no idea what’s happening in his own home.
William Lilly was aware of the importance of dispositors and used them in his delineations of horary charts. For example, the the chart of the tradesman who wanted to know if he would become rich (CA 177), which I discussed in the previous post, Lilly relied on dispositors to answer the horary question.
Lilly writes that the querent’s wealth should be shown by Mars, the ruler of the 2nd house, and by the DISPOSITOR of the Part of Fortune, which is also Mars. Because Mars is in the 1st house closely conjunct the Ascendant degree, Lilly reasons that wealth will come to the querent largely through his own efforts.
In addition, Jupiter, which is a general or universal signifier of wealth, is prominently conjoined to the Angle of the M.C. and occupies Cancer, the sign of its exaltation. Jupiter is also strongly connected to the Ascendant by a square aspect.
Lilly goes on to say that the Moon is separating from a sextile to 2nd ruler Mars (his wealth) and from a conjunction to Mercury, and applying to a conjunction to Venus, ruler of the Ascendant and signifier of the querent. In other words, the Moon is transferring the light from Mars and Mercury to Venus. For some reason Lilly does not mention that the Moon is also separating from its trine to Saturn and transferring Saturn’s light to Venus.
Furthermore, the Moon, which “hath a general signification in every question,” is “DISPOSITED by the Sun, and he is strong and powerful” in Leo in the 10th house (CA 181). In other words, the strength of the Moon, which is related to her dispositor (the Sun) being strong and powerful, enables to Moon to effectively transfer the light from Mars, the ruler of the 2nd and of Fortuna, to Venus which signifies the querent. The Moon is able to do a good and effective job because of its dispositorship by the Sun in this chart. Presumably if the dispositor of the Moon were in bad celestial condition, the Moon would have a hard time manifesting its significations or bringing about an effective transfer of light.
On CA 186 Lilly summarizes his delineation of the question whether “the querent should continue rich”:
“This I resolved by the cusp of the 2nd, which being a Sign fixed [Scorpio], and the Part of Fortune in it, and Jupiter in his exaltation and Angular, and Venus the DISPOSITOR of Mars [2nd ruler], and the Moon in Leo, a firm and stable Sign, I judged he would continue in a plentiful estate …”
Note here that even though Mars is a malefic, which happens to be the nocturnal malefic in a diurnal chart, and Mars in Libra is in the sign of its detriment, the fact that Venus DISPOSES Mars means that the performance of Mars will depend heavily on the status of Venus in this chart. Fortunately, Venus conjoins the cusp of the benefic 11th house and Venus herself is DIPOSED by the Sun, which is powerful in Leo in the angular 10th house, so that the performance of Venus is closely tied to the status of the Sun in this chart. The very favorably placed Sun also happens to be the FINAL DISPOSITOR of this chart and, as such, has a great deal of say in the final outcome.
A hypothetical example:
Consider the following chart for the hypothetical question about whether the querent would marry her current boyfriend:
Saturn rules the querent (Aquarius rising), and the Sun rules the potential spouse (Leo on 7th cusp). Sun and Saturn are separating from a square aspect, and there is no translation or collection of light reuniting them. Based on the primary significators, marriage appears highly unlikely.
We must next consider the Moon which “hath a general signification in every question” (CA 182). The Moon can co-signify the querent and applies to trine the Sun, ruler of the 7th. Moon trine Sun could indicate that the marriage will take place, but we must assure ourselves that the Moon has the ability to manifest its goals via this trine.
Things don’t look great for the Moon in this chart. First, she is in partile conjunction with Ketu, the South Node of the Moon, a point of loss and diminution where eclipses take place. Lilly writes in his Aphoriams (CA 301): “The Lord of the Ascendant or the Moon with the Head or Taile, of the Dragon, brings damage to the Question propouned; see in what house they are in, and receive signification from thence.” He goes on to caution: “Beware of men and things appertaining to that house wherein South Node is in; it seldome failes, but the Querent shall receive damage, scandall or slander from men and matter signified by the house he is in.” The Moon being so afflicted by Ketu in the 2nd house suggests that money problems may interfere with her hopes for marriage.
Next let’s look at the dispositor of the peregrine Moon who is without any essential dignity. For its own functioning a peregrine planet is especially dependent on the celestial state of its dispositor. The peregrine planet has a better chance of achieving its goals if its dispositor is strong and dignified in the chart. A weak and afflicted dispositor leaves the peregrine planet with few resources to work with, so it is unlikely to be able to get its job done.
Here the Moon is disposed by Mars, the out-of-sect malefic, in the cadent 9th house and in Scorpio, the sign of fall of the Moon. Mars is afflicted by the greater malefic Saturn. In addition, Mars in Scorpio is “in aversion” to Aries, where the Moon resides. Even though Mars lies in his own domicile in Scorpio, he is unable to connect with the Moon in Aries, which he cannot see, and the Moon is left to her own devices, lacking any essential dignity and afflicted by Ketu and also by Uranus if we use the modern planets. Even though the Sun receives the Moon from the Sun’s sign of exaltation, Aries, the trine is not likely to effect a marriage because the Moon is so weak and afflicted in this chart. Mars, the out-of-sect malefic which disposes the Moon, is not at all inclined to help the querent get what she desires.