The Way of the Stars (Issue 7)

Merry meet my friends!

Sorry for the delay (and the downtime yersterday), it seems the Mercury retrograde has attacked my server hehehehe. I want to thank Patrick and Jeff T. from for their diligence in tracking down the problems and solving them.

Anyway, here goes my weekly column at the Daily Spell. This week I cover the sign’s planetary rulerships, and the first of the water signs, Cancer.

The Way of the Stars

An Introduction to Astrology

By Pablo Dotro(*) – The Mage of the Many Shadows.

“To She Who Reads the Sky, my Lady Urania, do I dedicate these words.
May by your inspiration our souls learn to dance with the stars”


Merry Meet, my friends! As promised, this week I deal with planetary rulerships, and continue with the discussion of individual signs. I want to thank you all for the kind comments and very interesting feedback sent to me during the week.


Planets and signs.

In first issue of this column(1), I talked about the difference between the planets and the signs. The signs represent basic, essential motivations and objectives. The planets are, on the other hand, the “actors” that try to act out those essential motivations and objectives, in ways that are consistent with their inherent nature.

The basic idea is that the planets “act”, and the signs provide the motives and “script” for the action. But each planet has a character of its own, and as such, they are not as “happy” acting out some types of “scripts”. For example, Venus is sensual, aesthetic, artistic and harmonious… She will be hard pressed to act out a script written by the manipulative and dark Scorpio. By the same token, the secretive and powerful Pluto is not at ease trying to act based on the motivations of the optimistic and free flowing Sagittarius. Each planet seems to be “suited” to certain roles. Their characters and affinities, composed after nearly five millennia of astrological tradition, play a very important part in natal astrology. These relationships are called essential dignities.


The main essential dignity: Rulership.

When a planet and a sign complement each other so nicely that they seem to be expressions of a single, underlying concept or symbol… when a planet is so “at home” when is under a certain zodiac sign… that it acts in the best way possible according to his/her nature, we say that this planet is the ruler of the sign.

The ruler of each sign represents the inherent motives of the sign put into action in the most harmonic and effective way. The substantive that describes the sign’s motivation becomes a verb or personification of that motive in the form of the planet. For example, the ruler of Aries is Mars. Aries is connected to “aggressiveness”, so it is Mars who is “aggressive”. Gemini is the sign of learning, of siblings, speaking and writing. Then Mercury, Gemini’s ruler, is the one who learns (or teaches), the brother or sister, and the one who reads and writes. In both cases, the nature of Mars and Mercury are so well attuned to their ruled signs that they seem to be expressions of the signs in all respects.

In the table shown here(2) the next-to-last column indicates the ruler of each sign. As you can see, some planets rule more than one sign, and some signs are ruled by more than one planet. In a future issue of this column, I will tell you the story of how did this come to happen, and what the underlying pattern behind the system is. For now, it is enough to know where to find the table ;-)



When a planet is situated on a sign he/she rules, the planet/sign combination becomes exceptionally strong in the birth chart. Depending on the other aspects and patterns of the chart, there is a good chance that the native will be strongly “colored” by the symbolism of this planet and sign. It is always important (and interesting) to note this at first sight when reading a chart. In a few weeks, I’ll tell you a little more about how to interpret “planets in signs” based on rulerships and the other essential dignities.


Cancer, the crab.

If we follow the sequence of signs, we find that we are in Aries, we have in Taurus and we relate in Gemini. We are kind of “alone” in the Universe, still concerned with our own essential nature. But as we leave the first quarter behind, we start, for the first time, to seek out our identity. Cancer is a water sign, so it is emotional, permeable and fluid. It is also a cardinal sign, so it tries to start and differentiate itself from the previous experience.

These two ideas combine in a sign that symbolizes protection, nurturing and a sense of belonging. This belonging is related to the idea of home and family. It is defined by being part of a group. Cancer is the sign that characterizes the motherly instincts, the protection of the home and the identity of the clan. In Cancer we perceive for the first time that there are dangers out there, and so we take care of our loved ones.

Cancer will take care, feed, keep warm and protect those who are a part its group.

The crab is a surprisingly strong animal. It has a very though shell, and powerful pincers. It can defend itself so hard that it will prefer to lose a pincer than let go of a potential foe. Like a mother defending her children, it will not surrender.

However, under that resistance and strength is a very soft body, fragile and precious. This is the symbol of Cancer.

If you are a friend of Cancer, then it will protect you, nurture you and love you. If you are not… well, better not to go there.

Another trait of Cancer is that as it defines the identity of the self through a group (almost always in relation to its close family), Cancer is quite mindful of traditions (or course, with an emphasis on family traditions) and history.

The archetypal mother that Cancer seeks or represents may not be the literal mother: it may be the alma mater(which connects the native with college and institutional traditions), the motherland (which extends the concept to the scale of a country or nation), and/or in a more elevated stratum: Mother Earth, the entire planet.

It is interesting to note that the ruler planet of Cancer is the Moon… a symbol so important in Wicca and many other Earth-based religious expressions.

In our journey through the zodiac, Cancer teaches us how to emotionally protect ourselves, how to identify ourselves by belonging to clan and country, and, more important, how to transform a simple house into a home.


Coming up next week:

More on essential dignities, covering exaltation, trigonocracy. This way, we are slowly getting to the point we can begin to make use of the system ;). Continuing with the sign’s sequence, next week is Leo’s turn. Stay tuned. Remember you can read this one and all past columns in my blog(3).

(*) Pablo is an advanced astrology student at the Centro Astrológico de Buenos Aires (, a First Degree student at Witchschool, and has extensive experience in Wicca, ceremonial magick, computer science, the Internet, physics and chemistry.


(1) If you do not have the file at hand, the issue is archived at



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