Elections and the Art of Choosing Times | 1. Dorothean Foundations


The 4 Branches of Astrology

Electional astrology (elections for short) is one of the four major branches of astrology. It is distinct from the other three branches, though all use the same basic elements and principles. The other three branches are horary, natal, and mundane.


Elections concern the art of choosing the right time to start something important; a time that will facilitate a desired outcome. Traditionally, the rules of electional astrologer were also used for analysis of event charts. Event charts could be read like elections for events that had already occurred. Consultation charts were a type of event chart used to better understand consultation dynamics, including the motivations and concerns of the client. Altogether these uses were termed katarchic (inceptional) astrology.

The Other Three Branches

Horary astrology uses the chart for the time of an inquiry in order to address that inquiry. In other words, someone (a querent) asks the astrologer a question about an important matter in their life (the quesited). The astrologer then reads the chart to divine the answer crystal-ball-style. Horary astrology grew directly out of the use of consultation charts so it is the most strongly related to electional astrology.

Natal astrology takes the time of birth, the birth chart or nativity, to indicate the nature of life circumstances. This is probably the branch with which you are most familiar. It concerns examining the character and inclinations of the individual in light of the birth chart as well as understanding key recurring themes and circumstances. Timing techniques indicate the timing of important developments in the life. The bulk of astrological material from the Hellenistic period was on natal astrology.

Mundane astrology uses important cycles and astronomical events, such as equinoxes, solstices, and lunations, to indicate things about worldly affairs. It concerns astrological analysis related to the important movements of history, from politics to art and religion. Another traditional concern of mundane astrology is the changes in the weather and the prices of commodities.

The Ascendancy of the Individual

The earliest horoscopic astrological literature comes from the Hellenistic world of the first few centuries CE. This literature emphasized natal astrology.  This is in contrast to the greater preoccupation of its predecessor, Babylonian astrology, with mundane astrology.

Hellenistic astrology saw major developments in the astrology of the individual.  Large tomes of material on natal astrology were written at that time. All of the major figures of Hellenistic astrology devoted the bulk of their texts to natal matter. This includes early astrologers like Dorotheus and Manilius of the 1st century CE, Ptolemy and Valens of the 2nd century, Maternus of the 4th century, and Hephaistion of the 5th.

Waning Mundane / Intimations of Horary

Interestingly, mundane astrology seems to have waned in importance during this era. It would come to be revived and reworked by Perso-Arabic astrologers of the Middle Ages. Also, horary astrology did not yet exist as such. There is some limited evidence of using electional rules to address questions in the Hellensitic period, but it had not yet developed as its own separate branch of astrology. It was developed as such by the later Perso-Arabic and Indian astrologers.

Will and Choices

Perhaps the emphasis on the individual during the period also helped spark the ascendancy of electional astrology. Elections strongly pertain to the individual will and choices. Its prominence alongside natal astrology is certainly a testimony to shifting philosophical attitudes during the period about fate and individuality. While most practitioners did not feel that elections  could radically alter one’s fate, it did open the possibility to optimize it. By starting important endeavors at key times their odds for success were improved (not guaranteed).

Dorothean Foundations

The text of Dorotheus of Sidon is one of the oldest surviving Hellenistic astrological works and it addressed both natal and electional astrology. It was  composed in the 1st century CE and became known as the Carmen Astrologicum or “Song of Astrology” (written in verse) and also as the Pentateuch or “Five Books”. Its first four books pertain to natal astrology. However, it is its final book, focused on electional astrology, which concerns us here.

Sometimes Dorotheus uses the charts for when things happen or when the astrologer is consulted to predict an outcome. These uses will strike the reader as being very similar to horary astrology. As noted, event and consultation charts are strongly related to elections as aspects of inceptional astrology (‘katarche’ in Greek).

This fifth book of Dorotheus laid the foundation for the horoscopic approach to electional astrology. Its influence is felt from the Hellenistic era thru the Middle Ages and all the way to the present.  As the roots of horoscopic electional astrology are Dorothean, I feel that a study of electional astrology should begin with a study of Book V of Dorotheus.

Textual Issues

Examining the Dorothean foundations sounds good in principle but there is a confounding factor at play.  The version of Dorotheus that has survived is an early medieval (8th-9th century) Arabic prose translation of a Pahlavi translation (3rd-4th century) of the original Greek poem. Furthermore, the text has some notorious corruptions, including a few later additions. The works of Julius Firmicus Maternus and Hephaistio of Thebes were influenced by it. For some passages, they can provide some guidance for reconstruction.

The third book of The Apotlesmatics by Hephaistio is particularly helpful when it comes to the electional material. Hephaistion is the only Hellenistic astrologer who appears to have explored that material in depth.  Aside from Hephaistio, we are left with a medieval, semi-corrupted, translation as our best representative of Hellenistic electional astrology.  An excellent translation of Hephaistion’s third book was made by Eduardo Gramaglia in 2013. It includes Dorothean excerpts and fragments, a table of correspondences between the texts, explanatory intro, and many more helpful features.

Early Medieval Electional Astrology

There are additional Persian medieval works which further develop the Dorothean material. However, they often significantly vary from the Hellenistic approach. “Choices & Inceptions” is a collection of important medieval electional texts translated and compiled by Ben Dykes. It is the best source for the study of the Dorothean elections as developed and elaborated upon by the Persians. However, serious students of electional astrology should first understand the foundations of the art as laid out in Dorotheus and Hephaistio. Works by early Perso-Arabic astrologers, such as Masha’allah and Sahl bin Bishr reflect the Hellenistic approach more closely than later authors. For this reason, the work “On Elections” by Sahl bin Bishr (9th century CE) , available in Choices and Inceptions will also be referred to in this article.

There is much in Dorotheus to suggest that electional technique was broader in his day. His approach often differs from the later emphasis on the lord of the 1st, the application of the Moon, and the lord of the house signifying the topic. There is more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying goes. Similarly, there is more than one way to bolster an election. Many aspects of the Dorothean approach to elections were gradually lost in the later tradition. Therefore, a thorough understanding of Book V of Carmen is necessary for contextualizing electional astrology.

These Principles

Rest assured that the principles I will discuss in this article have been confirmed to be Dorothean ones, not additions. I have checked the passages against the new translation from the Arabic by Dykes as well as Hephaistion. At times I will also compare with Sahl.

Carmen’s Contents

Book V can be divided into two main sections.  First off, Chapters 1 thru 6, and Chapter 31, deal with the general principles of elections. These principles can  be applied to facilitate a diverse range of elections, from when to start a journey to when to carry out a secret theft.  By contrast, Chapters 7 thru 28, Chapter 30, Chapter 32, and Chapters 34 thru 44 pertain to special considerations. These sections deal with specific topics, from construction to sales, marriage to sickness. in Chapter 33 there appears to be some misplaced natal astrology.

Book V by Topic

Topically the book can be examined as follows (covering all the chapters). In what follows chapter numbers are given for the Dykes translation. Simply subtract 1 from the chapter number for the equivalent chapter in the Pingree translation.

  • Rising Sign: Its fundamental importance in elections – Chapters 2-5 of Dykes; 1-4 of Pingree).
  • The Moon: Its fundamental importance in elections – Chapters 5-6 and 29.
  • Natural Significators: The importance of each planet as a natural significator in elections – Chapters 4, 6, 31 .
  • Asking Favors: Making requests to different types of people – Chapter 15.
  • Real Estate: Important things to examine for construction, demolition, leasing, buying land, and loans – Chapters 7-9, 11, and 21.
  • Sales and Money: General buying and selling – Chapters 10 and 44. Money and possessions (with some natal material) – Chapter 33.
  • Servitude and Animals: Slaves, animals, imprisonment – Chapters 12-14 and 28.
  • Teaching, Letters, and Wills: When to write or teach some topic – Chapters 16, 27, and 42 (Ch. 27 is really inceptional, i.e. an event chart, rather than electional).
  • Partnership: Courtship, marriage, and the like – Chapters 17-20.
  • Journeys: When to leave and ship or vehicular matters – Chapters 22-26, 35.
  • Illness: Event chart indications and elections for medicine and dispelling spirits (exorcism) – Ch. 30, 32, 38-42.
  • Legal Contests: Mainly event chart indications – Ch. 34.
  • Thieves and Fugitives: Mainly event chart indications of theft, lost items, and runaways – Ch. 36-37.

In this article, we will be exploring the general principles. The sections pertaining to those principles are those on the Ascendant, the Moon, and the natural significations of the planets. Therefore, I recommend a reading of chapters 1-6, 29, an 31 for a good introduction to elections.

The Rising Sign

Surprisingly, Dorotheus begins his book on elections with four chapters on choosing a rising sign that will facilitate success. By contrast, traditional electional astrology usually puts the emphasis on the lord of the Ascendant and the application of the Moon, not the type of sign rising.

The first chapter (or two in Dykes) introduces the book and stresses the importance of the rising sign for every action. Whether the sign is straight or crooked in rising is paramount, as it is indicative of whether “its end will be good or bad” (Dorotheus, Book V, Ch. 1, Pingree trans., 2005, p. 262).  The next three chapters further explore the importance of rising sign type.

Crooked and Straight Signs (Ch. 2)

The signs that rise straight on their rising (those from Cancer through Sagittarius), if they chance to be unharmed, bring about their dealings without impediment. The crooked ones (those from Capricorn through Gemini) without the testimony of benefic stars, indicate what is hard to come about and takes a long time.  (Hephaistion, III.1, Gramaglia trans., 2013, p. 34)

Text Note

While this matter of crooked or straight rising signs is important enough to be stressed first, this is a case where the Dorothean manuscript conflicts with the reconstruction. The Arabic manuscript states to favor crooked signs but Hephaistion’s treatment of Dorotheus states to favor straight signs. In my original version of this article I echoed the Pingree translation (from a later Latin manuscript) that favored crooked signs. Ben Dykes new translation is from the Arabic where it also favors crooked signs but he has corrected the translation to read “straight” for “crooked” following Hephaistion.

Hephaistion (5th century CE) was an astrologer whose language was Greek and had access to a Greek copy of Dorotheus. By contrast, the Arabic translation was made from a Pahlavi translation, and is a work 3 or 4 centuries after Hephaistion. Therefore, Hephaistion is considered the more reliable source for thee original passage. I’ve actually quoted from Hephaistion’s paraphrase of Dorotheus above due to its greater clarity. Dorothean fragments and excerpts also support the Hephaistion interpretation.

Sahl and Straight Signs

Sahl bin Bishr (9th century CE) was also influenced by Dorotheus. He favored straight signs lending further support to the view that there was an error in the Arabic manuscript which favored crooked signs. At multiple points in On Elections, Sahl advised that straight signs are associated with better and more stable results.

And always set up the Ascendant and the Moon, in all beginnings, in signs of straight ascension, because they signify ease and progress; and you should not put them in signs of crooked ascension, because they signify complication or hardship or slowness. (Sahl bin Bishr, On Election, #26, Dykes trans., 2012, p. 102)

Symbolic Rationale

One of the reasons for confusion is that the symbolism could be said to support either type of sign as desirable. Crooked signs (signs of short ascension) rise fast, so one could see how that could be symbolic of quick success. However, they rise off-kilter which could be symbolic of lack of stability and being corruptible. Reading with Hephaistion it is the stability or rectitude (as with “fixed” signs discussed below) which is key here, so we should favor straight signs (signs of long ascension).

Identifying Crooked and Straight Signs

Which signs are crooked or straight depends on whether you are in the northern or southern hemisphere. The straight signs are Cancer thru Sagittarius in the northern hemisphere. These signs rise more perpendicular to the horizon so they symbolize rectitude and rise over a longer period. Crooked signs (Capricorn thru Gemini in the northern hemisphere) rise on more of an angle so they symbolize irregularity and rise over a shorter period. These are reversed in the southern hemisphere.

For clarity, the northern hemisphere straight signs are Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. The northern hemisphere crooked signs are Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, and Gemini.

Sign Quadruplicity (Ch. 3-4)

Tropical (i.e. cardinal or moveable) signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) indicate only brief activity. Therefore, action may break off before completion and need to be repeated.  Twin (i.e. mutable or common) signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) indicate complexity. Therefore, an additional condition may arise that needs to be addressed before the action completes. Since both of these signs encourage additional demands, one should elect when a fixed sign is rising (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius).

Combining Quadruplicity and Ascensions

Fixed signs and straight ascensions are often grouped together for signifying long lasting and fortunate things, particularly in later authors like Sahl. Similarly, cardinal signs and crooked signs are often grouped together as encouraging quick changes but also being prone to upset. As signs vary in terms of their actual ascensional time, it seems that some later medieval authors (like Sahl) viewed longer ascension signs as straighter and more able to balance out something like cardinality (i.e. add more stability). Similarly, Aries, one of the signs of shortest ascension (in northern hemisphere) and a cardinal sign. It would be the quickest but in the most unstable and herky-jerky way, so could be particularly problematic.

Sign Sect/Sex (Ch. 5)

It is stronger and more fortunate to elect when the sign rising is of the same sect as the time of the election. In other words, for an election in the day time, one should have a diurnal sign rising. Diurnal signs are the masculine signs, and are all of the fire and air signs. By night, one should have a nocturnal sign rising. The nocturnal signs are the feminine signs, and they are all of the water and earth signs. For more on sign sect in Hellenistic astrology, see my article on the topic.

Rising Sign Conclusions

When one combines these sentiments one should conclude that in general terms it is Leo (the straight, fixed, diurnal sign) that is the most fortunate rising sign to elect with by day. Similarly, Scorpio (the straight, fixed, nocturnal sign) is the most fortunate rising sign to elect with by night. This holds for those electing from the northern hemisphere. The straight signs become crooked and vice-versa when in the southern hemisphere. Therefore, take the opposite signs as those mentioned in this section if you are practicing in the southern hemisphere.

Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Aquarius by day, or Taurus, Cancer, Leo, and Virgo by night, can give you two out of three.  Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, and Virgo by day or Libra, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces by night give only one of the three indications.  By this logic it is generally unwise to elect with Capricorn or Pisces by day and Aries or Gemini by night. They give none of the three indications, and would greatly encourage instability. This is especially so for Pisces and Aries due to their very short ascensional times (most crooked signs). For the most part, this doctrine seems to have been lost, especially the part most emphasized by Dorotheus, that of the straight and crooked signs.

The Moon

The bulk of material on the Moon is in Chapter 6 (Ch. 5 in Pingree).  Interestingly, a passage at the end of Chapter 6 provides a different perspective than typical.  I quote Pingree’s (2005) English translation:

Look concerning the commencement of every matter at the ascendent and the Moon.  The Moon is the strongest of what is [possible] if it is above the earth, especially if this is at night; the ascendent is the strongest of what is [possible] if the Moon is under the earth by day.    (Dorotheus, Book V, Ch. 5, Pingree trans., 2005, p. 267)

This passage implies that rising sign should be given primary consideration by day (especially if the Moon is below the horizon). By contrast, the Moon should be given primary consideration by night (especially if she is above the horizon).  This is another fascinating doctrine that has apparently been lost and could be a fruitful avenue for further electional research.

Moon/Ascendant Similarity in Symbolism

In Chapter 5, discussing sign sect, Dorotheus noted that it is good when the Moon is in a sign that is in sect. The Moon should be in a diurnal sign by day or a nocturnal sign by night. Similarly, there are passages in Book V that imply that you want to avoid putting the Moon in a mutable sign. Therefore, there is a parallel between the Ascendant and the Moon for elections.

This is also reflected in the quote of Sahl above on straight signs. The indications given for the rising sign also appear to be relevant for the Moon, but more so at night, especially when she is above the horizon.

However, the Moon is in fall (and often via combusta) in Scorpio, so Scorpio is not the ideal sign for the Moon in nocturnal elections.

Moon Lord

Another contrast with typical traditional electional doctrine is that there is less emphasis on the lord of the Ascendant.  However, the lord of the Moon is very important (and possibly that of the Sun).  In a likely addition in Ch. 6 (attributed by the translator to Valens), it is advised that one is to pay great attention to the Sun and Moon and the lords of their signs. After that, the Sun is no longer mentioned and the section pertains only to the Moon. The Moon is said to indicate the base or start of the action while its ruler indicates how things end up.

Today, there is more stress placed on the aspectual application of the Moon. This is also mentioned by Dorotheus but is given much less stress than the lord of the Moon in indicating the development and success of the matter. Additionally, as we’ll see, Dorotheus emphasized the Moon’s separations more than her applications.

Hephaistion (III.2 #6) echoed these sentiments. He advised that if the Moon is in a stake while her lord is in a cadent place then things start well but become unproductive in the end. The reverse situation is said to hold when the Moon is cadent while her lord is in a stake. In that case, things start badly but turn out productive in the end. See “Moon Angularity” below for more on this issue.

Sun Lord, MC, Lot of Fortune

Hephaistion advised to look at the Sun and its lord in the same manner for diurnal elections. This echoes the insertion about the Sun and Moon and the lords of their signs which was attributed to Valens in the Dorotheus manuscript. In fact, Dykes adds that there is evidence this passage is actually from the original Dorotheus. It is echoed in Hephaistion as well as in

Both Dorotheus and Hephaistion also add to look at the Ascendant and Midheaven. They had both already stressed the Ascendant so that is no surprise. However, it is unclear how they want the Midheaven to be examined. This may just refer to the desire to have the Moon and benefics in the Ascendant and Midheaven.

Additionally, Hephaistion advised to place a benefic with the Lot of Fortune or at least ruling it. Dorotheus also has a minor comment to examine the lord of Fortune, so here Hephaistion may be clarifying what was meant. Still, the greatest emphasis is on the Moon, her lord, and the sign rising for both Dorotheus and Hephaistion.

Fortifying the Moon

According to Dorotheus, we should fortify the Moon and her lord. The main way we do this is to put the Moon and her lords in the stakes, with benefics regarding them. We must also avoid corruptions of the Moon (discussed further below).

Moon Angularity

When it comes to strengthening the Moon, we again find a variance from the typical doctrine.  It is often said in modern electional astrology that the Moon shouldn’t be in the rising sign because it could create instability. However, in Book V we find it explicitly advised that one put the Moon (and its lord) in the Ascendant (1st house) or Midheaven (10th house) if possible. Those are the strongest two positions, indicative of the greatest success. Try to put the Moon in one of the stakes (1st, 10th, 7th, or 4th houses). Avoid putting the Moon (or its lord) in a cadent place (12th, 6th, 9th, 3rd). Succedent places can indicate delays when the Moon is placed in them.

Late Traditional Moon-Ascendant Prohibition

My guess is that the doctrine of not putting the Moon in the Ascendant resulted from a later distortion of a Dorothean passage on electing for a journey. In that passage, Dorotheus advised not to put the Moon in the 1st if it was aspected harshly by a malefic. This is presumably because both the Ascendant and Moon can signify the body, so together they strongly signify the body, and a harsh aspect from a malefic could signify bodily harm.

Benefic Regards

When it comes to strengthening any planet, it is important to take into account the regards of the benefics and malefics. The planet should not be regarded (i.e. whole sign aspect) by malefics from square or opposition. It should be regarded by benefics. This holds for the Moon, her lord, and the other factors discussed.

Corruptions of the Moon

Dorotheus advised to avoid starting an action when the Moon is corrupted. Corruption is defined as pertaining to one of the following conditions:

  • Eclipse: (lunar?), especially if in the sign it holds in the nativity or a sign of the same triplicity (i.e. element).
  • New Moon: because the Moon being hidden under the Sun’s light lacks exposure.  However, this is actually beneficial per Dorotheus for elections involving secret actions, especially if commenced as the Moon is moving out from the rays.
  • Full Moon: Moon opposed to the Sun, indicates quarrels, advantage to youngest, upset.
  • End of Signs: Moon in the last bound of a sign, which is a bound ruled by Mars or Saturn.
  • Twelfth-Part with a Malefic: You don’t want the Moon’s twelfth-part to fall in a sign occupied by a malefic.
  • Moon in the via combusta: 15 Libra to 15 Scorpio. This seems to pertain to descending south toward the midpoint (at 15 Scorpio) between the celestial equator (0 Libra) and the furthest southern latitude (0 Capricorn) given his comments on it. He described it as descending to the south in the middle of the line of equality. Therefore, this should probably be reversed in the southern hemisphere (15 Aries to 15 Taurus).
  • 9th House Moon in a twin sign: Moon in IX and in a mutable or common sign.
  • Slow and Slowing Moon: decreasing in speed while moving less than twelve degrees per day.

Lunar Aspects

Finally, the way that the Moon’s aspects are viewed also has some subtle differences from typical doctrine. Typically, the separations of the Moon are not very significant because they are said to pertain to the past. It is the applications of the Moon which are typically given crucial importance as they represent the future. Similarlly, Dorotheus associated the separation with ongoing situations and what has passed, and the application with things to come. However, the separations of the Moon are also strongly emphasized in Dorothean elections.

In Chapter 5 the separations of the Moon (particularly those in the same sign) are indicative of the basis of the action and ideally should be from benefics. The exception is in the matter of fleeing from those who wish one harm . In such case the symbolism of the Moon fleeing from malefics takes precedence. Interestingly, the importance of the separations is noted before the applications are discussed.

When electing for buying and selling, the Moon’s separation is vitally important. Dorotheus advised that the Moon may symbolize the commodity, the planet she separates from the seller, and the planet she applies to the buyer. Therefore, the seller will want to emphasize the strength of the planet the Moon separates from.

The star to which the Moon connects is very important if the election pertains to creating a new situation rather than modifying an existing one. Again, the separated planet represents the current situation, while the applied one indicates a new situation. Dorotheus advised to make the planet the Moon applies to strong, by putting it in a stake (i.e. angle) just as he advised for the Moon and its lord.

Summary of the Lunar Principles

There is a lot of information pertaining to the use of the Moon in elections in Dorotheus. Below, I summarize the Dorothean principles for using the Moon. I particularly highlight the way they differ from typical traditional electional doctrine:

  • It is the Moon and Ascendant that are important in the Dorothean doctrine, but not the lord of the Ascendant.  The Ascendant is more important by day and the Moon is more important by night.
  • The type of sign the Moon is in plays a big role in facilitating the action, as does the type of sign of the Ascendant.
  • The Lord of the Moon is very important and signifies the final outcome so it should be strengthened.
  • A strong Moon (or planet generally) is one in an angle, especially the 1st or 10th house, while weakest is when cadent.
  • Avoid corruptions, like lunations, and harsh malefic influences on the Moon.
  • Pay attention to the separations of the Moon as the basis or foundation of the action, good or bad, and strengthen the planet the Moon conjoins to.
  • There is not concern given to having the Moon apply to such and such house lord of such and such topic. Strengthening the topic itself actually pertains to natural significators (see below).

Natural Significations

By natural significations I mean the significations of the planets themselves. These significations are in contrast to the accidental significations that planets take on by ruling or being in a certain house. Natural significations are much more immediate and overt. When a planet is generally strengthened or made more prominent, it is like turning the volume up on that planet’s energy and influence.

Importantly, we see more of an emphasis on generally strengthening the planet that signifies the matter in Dorothean electional astrology. This is in contrast with the preoccupation with connecting the lord of the first and the Moon to the lord of the relevant house. That approach became prominent in the Middle Ages and is still dominant today.

Staking the Benefics

In Chapter 2, Dorotheus advised to make the benefics strong and the malefics weak.  By strong, he meant angular. He explicitly advised to put the benefics in the angles, especially the 1st or 10th. Presumably, we also want the malefics to be cadent. He noted that malefics in the Ascendant (or regarding it) slow things down and create trouble.

In Chapter 5, Dorotheus advised to let Jupiter or Venus (the benefics) be in the 1st or the 10th. Additionally, he advised that they should be in good condition. By this he meant to avoid having them under the beams, retrograde, in a mutable sign, cadent, in a dark place,  or regarded harshly or closely by malefics.

Therefore, we seek to make the benefics more prominent and strong, and the malefics less so. We harness the natural significations of the benefics for good and ease. When we can, we obscure the natural significations of the malefics for difficulty and trouble.

Fortifying the Natural Significator

In Chapter 30, Dorotheus advised to look at the lord of the action and make sure it is in good condition.  He clarified that he meant the planet which naturally signifies the thing. Again, this is not the lord of the house that signifies that matter, but the planet itself that signifies the matter. Below is a list of the matters he associated with planets (and their combinations).

  • Saturn and Jupiter together: buying land (i.e. real estate), power of attorney
  • Mercury: theft, gifts, arguments, practice, partnership, insults, love, trades, cultural events
  • Venus: marriage, love, food, perfumes
  • Mars: fights, military, etc.
  • Jupiter: government, asking favors, momentous needs for good
  • Sun and Jupiter together: important or beneficial matters but not involving secrecy or evil


In conclusion, Dorothean electional astrology differs in many ways from today’s electional astrology. It involves paying greater attention to the sign of the Ascendant and the Moon.  We also seek to strengthen the Moon, her lord, the benefics, and the natural significator of the matter. The planet that the Moon applies to or separates from might also be significant depending on the nature of the election. The angles or “stakes” of the chart are the critical houses used for strengthening planets.

Personally, I prefer the Dorothean approach to elections. I urge you to experiment with the guidelines for electing as discussed in this article.  Only through keeping an open mind and a willingness to experiment can we decide the best times for facilitating actions.

Dorotheus of Sidon. (2005). Carmen Astrologicum. (D. Pingree, Trans.). Abingdon, MD: Astrology Center of America.

Dykes, B. (2012). Choices and Inceptions: Traditional Electional Astrology. Minneapolis, MN: The Cazimi Press.

Hephaistion of Thebes (2013). Apotelesmatics Book III: On Inceptions. (E. Gramaglia, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: The Cazimi Press.

Featured image of Roman bone dice and tokens from Musée gallo-romain de Saint-Romain-en-Gal-Vienne is in the public domain.


Blogger interested in all things astrological, especially Hellenistic, medieval, Uranian, and asteroid astrology.

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