Elections and the Art of Choosing Times | 4. Dorotheus on Buying and Selling



In the first post, I introduced the general rules or guidelines of electional astrology as laid out by Dorotheus in the first century of the common era.  We found that the most important factors in choosing times and the ideal circumstances surrounding those factors differed enough from typical traditional electional practice to be significant.  We then saw those general rules in application in the second post on choosing the right time to ask a favor and the third post on choosing the right time to deliver messages and perform other such mercurial tasks.

I am seeking to keep the initial posts that venture into special topics in elections as useful as possible, as well as using those topics that help to use and elaborate upon the general rules. This post takes on another very useful and broad topic, that of when to buy and when to sell things.  Again we will see application of the broad rules, as well as the introduction of place-related rules.  We will focus primarily on two techniques in Chapter 9 of Book V of Carmen, while we will also take a quick look at the other chapter on selling, Chapter 43, which pertains to various lunar phases and what they signify in elections for sales.

Buying and Selling by Lunar Connections

Besides whole sign aspects which is when the planets regard or see each other (or are co-present in the same sign, i.e. “with” each other), there are also “connections” between the planets which are the aspects by degree.  In Hellenistic astrology these were typically those aspects that were within 3 degrees of exact, regardless of sign boundaries.  However, for the Moon her applications within 13 degrees (i.e. within about a day of her motion) were her connections as she moved so fast and was so influential.  The Moon was failing to make a connection when she did not complete an aspect within the next 13 degrees of motion, regardless of sign boundaries.  This is one of the definitions of void of course, and the one that I prefer.  Some Hellenistic versions of void of course use a bigger range in which the Moon is only void if she doesn’t complete a connection within the next 30 degrees of her travel.

The connections made by the Moon are important in Dorothean elections.  This includes both her applications and her separations, as I discussed in the first post.  In this post I will use connections completed within the 13 degrees in front of or behind the Moon, regardless of sign boundaries, and considering the Moon to be void when no such connection is completed in front of the Moon (i.e. in her next 13 degrees of motion).

In an election that pertains to buying and selling, Dorotheus advises to look at the Moon as the commodity, the planet the Moon separates from as the seller, and the planet the Moon applies to as the buyer and price.  Since buyer and price are lumped together such that what is good for the buyer is good for the price, it is clear that what is meant by price is a “good deal”, i.e. the buyer benefiting from a good price.  Malefics with or regarding one of these significators shows it is in a bad state while benefics with or regarding one of these significators shows it in a good state.  As regards are by whole sign it would be rare for a significator to have no regard from a malefic, but in this there are degrees of goodness or badness, as it would be for instance much worse to have a malefic opposing a significator within 3 degrees which is very powerful than to have one in a whole sign inferior trine to it which is very weak.  What we care about most are regards from the stakes (i.e. a benefic or malefic with the planet, square it, or opposed it) and connections (i.e. aspects within 3 degrees).  You want a benefic to be with the significator, square it, opposed it, or connecting with it by some aspect, but you don’t want a malefic to do so.

Let’s use our letter election from the last post as an example chart and pretend that it pertained to the sale of a book:

Letter Election - Constrained to a date from 9/2 to 9/9

The Moon would represent the book.  The Moon is with Jupiter, regarded by Venus by sextile, connected with her sign lord by square, strong in the 1st place, is not regarded by Mars and is very weakly regarded by Saturn by inferior trine.  We would judge the book to be of very good quality.

The seller is Venus because the Moon has just separated from Venus.  Venus is square to Mars and she is not regarded by her ruler.  Venus is regarded by the Moon and Jupiter but weakly so.  Venus is also in a cadent place and retreating.  We would not judge the situation to be very favorable to the seller, and if we were electing for the seller then we’d want the state of the planet the Moon is separating from to be much better than this.

The buyer is Mercury because the Moon is applying a connection to Mercury.  Mercury is in a somewhat mixed state, being under the beams and in a mutable sign, but Mercury also shows benefit by being dominated (right-hand whole sign square) by Jupiter which it is making an applying connection to, while the connection with Mars by sextile has separated (Mercury is also with Fortune).  In conclusion, the buyer seems to be in pretty good state, and the election to buy would favor the buyer over the seller in acquiring a sound product.

Buying and Selling by the Stakes

The stakes of the chart are the four most important houses that define a cross of the signs that include the Ascendant and those signs of its same quadruplicity (cardinal, fixed, mutable).  For instance, if Gemini rises, then Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces are the four stakes of the chart, the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th houses respectively.  These four places take on special significance in another technique for elections for buying and selling.

The second technique given by Dorotheus is to consider the 1st house as representing the buyer, the 7th as representing the seller, the 10th as representing the price, and the 4th as representing the commodity.  He explicitly advised us to look at how benefics or malefics are in or aspecting these places.  Some of the Dorothean elections concerning places were corrupted and changed in the later tradition, de-emphasizing position and regard in favor of the state of various rulers of the places.  Dorotheus makes no mention of the rulers of the places, as position and regard to the places themselves are the primary factors of influence here.  In fact, regard is typically not very important in these elections which tend to be more about sticking benefics in the right houses, since each of the stakes has a strong regard to the others.  It is worth noting that regards from the right side are more influential than those from the left though, as we look at those regards by sextile and trine particularly.

Let’s use the same chart as an example again:

Letter Election - Constrained to a date from 9/2 to 9/9

The buyer is at great advantage in this election because Jupiter is in the 1st house with the Moon, and Venus and the lord of the place also regard, while Saturn only regards from inferior trine.  The product also seems to be in a good state, as Mercury, the Sun, and Fortune occupy the 4th place which is dominated by Jupiter (right-hand square), occupied by the place’s lord, and regarded by Mars by inferior sextile.  The seller is not in a very bad state but not as good of a state.  The 7th place is empty and Saturn is in a superior sextile to it, but Venus is also in superior trine, so overall it is fairly neutral.  Notice, however, that it is not in nearly as good a state as the 1st place, which represents the buyer.  It is very much the same situation with the 10th place, representative of the price, which has Mars in superior trine, but is overall somewhat neutral.  In essence this appears to be an election to benefit a buyer in a sale.


In this case the techniques yielded similar but not quite identical significations.  They can be synthesized.  For instance, when electing for a buyer we can make sure that both the planet the Moon applies to and the 1st house are both attended by fortunate planets, and also try to avoid afflicting the 10th and 4th.  Similarly, for a seller the stress should be on the separation of the Moon and the 7th house.

Lunar Cycle Material

There is some additional material on buying and selling contained in Chapter 43, the last chapter of Book V of Carmen, in which signification is provided by various lunar cycles.  These cycles are of three types, those relative to the nodes, through the signs, and relative to the Sun.

Relative to the Nodes

When the Moon is closer to the North Node of the Moon she is ascending, while when she is closer to the South Node of the Moon she is descending.  An ascending Moon indicates inflated prices (benefits seller) while a descending Moon indicates deflated prices (benefits buyer).

Relative to the Signs

The half of the zodiac from Aquarius thru Cancer is the ascending half of the zodiac (i.e. the lunar half), while the half from Leo thru Capricorn is the descending half of the zodiac (i.e. the solar half).  Again, the ascending Moon indicates inflated prices (benefits seller) while a descending Moon indicates deflated prices (benefits buyer).

Relative to the Sun

From the Moon leaving the beams of the Sun to the First Quarter Moon is a time of fair prices.  From the First Quarter Moon to the opposition (i.e. Full Moon) is a time when it is best to sell (also a good time to commence litigation).  From the Full Moon to the Last Quarter Moon then it is best to buy.  From the Last Quarter Moon to the New Moon is a time when the fair and just benefit.


Altogether, we’ve seen 5 separate ways to indicate benefit will be more to a buyer or to a seller (lunar connections, stakes, nodes, lunar sign, lunar phase).  Of the five, I consider the lunar connections to be most important.  Let’s take on more look at our example chart in terms of who benefits most by all five considerations though.

Letter Election - Constrained to a date from 9/2 to 9/9

  1. The buyer benefits by lunar connection because Mercury is in better state than Venus.
  2. The buyer benefits by stakes because the Ascendant is in a better state than the 7th.
  3. The buyer benefits by nodes because the Moon is near the South Node which indicates low prices.
  4. The seller benefits by signs because the Moon is in Gemini which is in the ascending half of the zodiac, indicating higher prices.
  5. The seller benefits by lunar phase because the Moon is in the phase from Full Moon to Last Quarter (basically right at LQ), which is best for selling.

Experiment with these on your own and decide what works best in practice.  Of course, these indications may also have interesting implications for speculative purchases, such as that of stock, bonds, and commodities.  Much more research is needed in this area.



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

2 thoughts on “Elections and the Art of Choosing Times | 4. Dorotheus on Buying and Selling

  • September 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Dear Anthony,

    if a malefic casts an inferior aspect – whatever – isn’t it enough for afflict the aspected one? Example, moon receiving an inferior sextile from mars.

    Are ALL the aspects good for help describing a point/planet aspecting or only the superior trine/square?

    Thanks a lot

    • September 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Rodolfo,

      Inferior aspects are not quite as potent as superior ones. Basically, the planet in the superior position tends to influence the inferior one more than the other way around, and this type of superiority may be called “overcoming”.

      However, some types of aspects are more potent than others. For instance, when two planets are with each other in the same sign (i.e. co-present) that is most influential, especially if they are applying to each other within 15 degrees, which was called “in assembly”. According to Serapio, even of those in the same sign the one in the early degree in the sign is more influential. Also, planets in the “stakes” of each other (i.e. in a whole sign square or opposition) are particularly influential on each other. Additionally, planets that are aspecting closely, such as those in assembly (applying conjunction in the same sign within 15 degrees), those in adherence (applying conjunct within 3 degrees even if across the sign), separations and applications of the Moon (within 13 degrees), and connections (other planet-to-planet aspects within 3 degrees, regardless of sign boundaries) are very influential. The planet on the right side of a whole sign square is extremely influential and that position was said to be one of the planet on the right “dominating” the one on the left.

      Let’s say the Moon is receiving an inferior sextile from Mars that is applying within 3 degrees. That is extremely influential, and I would say that it afflicts the Moon. Even more so if it is the next application of the Moon. It is similar if Mars were in square or opposition to the Moon by whole sign, or Mars was in assembly with the Moon. Similarly, while many astrologers view a square or opposition from a benefic as a bad thing, that (and actual connections) are the most influential regards from a benefic besides being with it in the same sign, so they are very beneficial, especially if the benefic “dominates” the planet (superior square).

      Basically, either a strong type of aspect (same sign is strongest, then opposition and square, then trine, and sextile is weakest) or the close aspects (connections, especially applying ones) are very powerful and can afflict or bless a planet.

      Example: Dahmer – http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Dahmer,_Jeffrey Moon is badly afflicted by both Mars (co-present with Mars overcoming, last bodily separation and within 13deg) and Saturn (domination plus connection, last separation of the Moon). The Ascendant lord, Venus, is lost strongly influenced by Saturn, as he overcomes her by trine and most closely (she is also in Saturn’s bound). The Sun is most influenced by Mercury (with Mercury and in Mercury’s sign and bound) but also by Mars which overcomes by sextile, and the Sun is not seen by any of the benefics. The Ascendant’s ruler does not see it, but the Ascendant is strongly influenced by the Moon which opposes it by applying connection and Saturn which square it by separating connection. The domination of the Moon and Mars by Jupiter does add a touch of luck with the significations of the Moon and Mars but for the most part is a weaker influence because Jupiter is retreating, in fall, and afflicted by Saturn.

      This distinction between stronger and weaker types of aspectual influence is really useful when looking at Lots as well, where I’ve found that the actual degree of the Lot can be very important especially if there are actual planetary connections (aspects within 3 degrees) to it.

      Best wishes,



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