Choosing the Date
NO VENUS Rx!
Good aspect Sun/Moon
Moon must NOT be void of course.
Moon MUST have good final aspect before going V.O.C.
Avoid Sun approaching square or opposition to Saturn.
NO MERCURY Rx!
Venus should apply to good aspect, or be applied to by Moon or Mercury. Avoid hard aspects from Venus to malefics.Avoid moon in Aries, Scorpio, or Capricorn.
Avoid Venus in Aries, Virgo, or Scorpio.
Good aspect Venus/Mars
Moon waxing (between New Moon and Full Moon) is best, but in my opinion, not as important as a good Moon/Sun aspect.
Good applying Saturn aspect
Choosing the Time
Ruler of 1st MUST NOT be in hard aspect to ruler of 7th house
Keep malefics (Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) out of 7th
Keep Uranus out of 7th and out of adverse aspect with ruler of 7th, Venus, or planet in 7th.
Moon in 7th house or angular; or, Moon applying to beneficial planet in 7th (avoid Moon in 6/12).
Keep malefics off angles if at all possible
Ascendant: no fewer than 3, no more than 27 degrees rising
Fixed Ascendant is desirable
Moon good aspect to rulers of 4th and 10th
Here is a form showing how well this tutorial succeeded in choosing dates that meet these criteria. (You'll need the free Adobe Reader to view and print this form.)
Here is a blank form you can download for your own use. (You'll need the free Adobe Reader to view and print this form.)
A man and a woman decide to get married, and in the first flush of excitement they might do a number of things: call everyone they know, make a pilgrimage to the newstand to stock up on five-pound bridal magazines, start fighting over the kind of wedding they'll have. But what an astrologer or serious student of astrology does as soon as the question has been popped is pretty much what my spouse and I did: We made a beeline to my astrology teacher to choose an astrologically appropriate day to tie the knot.
In my years as a professional astrologer, I've been honored to perform the same service for a number of my clients. It's work I've always enjoyed, much the same way that in a previous career incarnation I always enjoyed singing at weddings. After all, I was born with the moon in the seventh house of marriage: I dig weddings, marriage, love, all that.
But one of the main reasons I've always enjoyed choosing wedding dates for people is that it's so straightforward. The rules are simple and clear. Anyone with the ability to read an ephemeris can do it -- which I intend to prove to you in this tutorial.
Why bother at all choosing an astrologically fabulous date/time for a wedding? The premise of electional astrology is that a marriage, business venture, presidency, or what have you begins at a specific moment, and that within that moment are the seeds of how subsequent events will unfold. It's the same idea as casting a chart for the moment of a person's birth and assuming it will tell us something about how the person's life and character might unfold.
In electional astrology we determine (1) what moment something will truly begin; in a marriage, it's that moment in the wedding ceremony where the couple says "I Do"; and (2) what astrological factors correspond to making this particular thing unfold to maximum benefit of all involved. Then a date and time are chosen that will provide the greatest number of these astrological factors.
For the record, I rarely use electional astrology in my own life. I think it's best used for events of tremendous importance (like getting married, planning important surgery, buying a house), and I would feel kind of frivolous trying to choose the most adventageous time to, say, shop for produce. It's electional astrology of that kind that tends to make astrology and its devotees appear a bit--well, silly.
No Perfect Date
We might as well get clear about one thing before we go any further: Just as there are no perfect marriages, there are no perfect wedding dates. And even if there were, no one would use them because they would inevitable fall on a Wednesday afternoon in March. So, using astrology to choose a date for your wedding will be terrific practice in employing one of marriage's most essential skills: compromise.
Begin with Mercury & Venus
It's the Northern Hemisphere--specifically, say, Los Angeles-- so spring involves late March through early June. Glancing at the Pocket Astrologer (an indispensible guide) you notice that Mercury, ruler of contracts, will be direct during this period until June 3, when it turns retrograde (appears to be moving backwards). This is not terrific symbolism for a marriage, which is after all a contract, as it suggests that in time one might come to have second thoughts about the whole thing and back out. One exception is a second marriage, when Mercury retrograde's symbolism of "re-doing" can actually be quite appropriate.
Venus, ruler of marriage, will be retrograde from March 8 through April 19, 2001. One of the cardinal rules of wedding electionals is to avoid Venus retrograde if humanly possible. And ideally you would like to see Venus in a sign it works well in; say, Taurus, Libra, or Pisces. Likewise, you would avoid dates when Venus is in signs it doesn't work all that well in, such as Aries, Scorpio, or Virgo. Sadly, we do not have this luxury between April 21 through June 2, 2001. Venus in Aries is pretty much what we're working with. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that my own wedding took place when Venus was in Aries, and we're getting along famously almost eight years later. It's not the end of the world, and we can work to strengthen Venus in the final chart by placing it in a strong house of the chart.
By avoiding Mercury and Venus retrograde, you've narrowed down the acceptable date range to Saturday, April 21 through Saturday, June 2, 2001.
NOTE: In the years since I wrote this tutorial, I've adjusted my process to give MUCH more emphasis to a good approaching aspect between the Sun and Moon. I still avoid the Moon in Scorpio and Capricorn when at all possible, but I'll take a Moon in Aries in good aspect to the Sun over a Moon in Taurus square the Sun any day! (AEK, 2/07)
Astrologically, the Moon in strongest in Taurus and Cancer. It's less happy in Aries, Scorpio, and Capricorn. So right off the bat we'll eliminate dates when the moon is in Aries, Scorpio or Capricorn.
Next we need to eliminate times when the Moon is Void of Course. The symbolism of a Void of Course moon is that "the matter comes to nothing;" this might mean anything from unforseen circumstances preventing the wedding from taking place as planned, and if it does take place the couple may have a sense of being ineffectual and unable to formulate or reach mutual goals.
Now, let me say this about Saturday: it's named after Saturn. In many ways that's an appropriate symbolism for the institution of marriage. But it's a pretty heavy, difficult symbol, and can manifest in distinctly unpleasant ways such as feeling restricted or oppressed. I'm not saying no one should get married on Saturday. But Friday is ruled by Venus, and Sunday is ruled by the Sun; either of these days have a built-in vibe that's a lot more upbeat than Saturn's-day.
A moon in Libra is not the best of moons, but Libra does rule marriage, after all.
The Moon's Last Aspect
The next factor for you to consider is the aspects the Moon will make before it leaves its sign. Why is this important? Because a wedding chart will symbolically continue to unfold (as we follow progressions in a natal chart) as long as the marriage lasts...and often afterward! The moon, as the fastest moving body in the wedding chart, symbolizes how things will progress on a day to day level in the marriage. If the moon will make a number of fractious aspects between the time of the wedding and the time the moon enters a new sign, what we end up with is a marriage full of day to day disruption that can be quite hard on the nerves, and subsequently undermine the relationship.
These dates were chosen as most beneficial based on:
Mercury and Venus direct
The Moon strong by sign
The Moon positive by aspect
No fatal additional considerations.
Having narrowed down the dates, it's time to consider the time of day.
Common sense tells us a ceremony that takes place around 7:00 p.m. will give guests time to arrive and still wind up early enough for a decent reception. Since we run the chart for the moment the couple says "I Do", let's run the chart for 7:30 to allow time for the preamble to the vows.
Well, there are a few nice things about this chart. A fixed sign on the ascendant can be a good sign for longevity and tenaciousness in the marriage. The Sun is setting, exactly conjunct the seventh house cusp, bringing tremendous vitality and emphasis to the marriage. Venus is in the 5th house, which can be wonderfully affectionate and is a particularly strong placement if the couple hopes to have children. The Moon is past its square to Venus and applying to a nice trine with the Ascendant.
But there are a few real problems. I don't care for Uranus in the 4th house of home and roots; unless both the prospective bride and groom have very strong 4th house/Uranus natal signatures -- such as Uranus in the natal 4th, Aquarius ruling the 4th, Moon in Aquarius, Moon square, conjunct, or opposed Uranus -- I would really hesitate to give them Uranus in the 4th house.
Saturn in the 7th is a no-no, and it's already somewhat troublesome at 0 degrees of a sign. However, it would be easy to place Saturn in the 8th house by moving the time of the vows up slightly. And given so many couples have problems with money and communication, I'm dismayed by seeing both Mars/Pluto in the 2nd house and Neptune in the 3rd.
Libra rising is kind of nice for a wedding chart, and Venus, though technically in the 6th, is pretty darn close to that 7th house cusp. Plus you get the Moon on the Midheaven.
Mars is pretty close to the 4th house cusp, giving it a bit more oomph than I like to see in a wedding chart. And Saturn rules the 4th. Plus Moon and Venus are square each other, and the Moon applies to a square to the Ascendant.
I was feeling pretty good about this chart -- Sun in the cheery 9th house, Jupiter elevated, Venus in the 7th house -- until I got down to the bottom and saw (aaaarrrgggghhhh!) Pluto and Mars in the 4th house!! No can do; the 4th house is too important as the descriptor of all that is cozy and domestic in a marriage to put those particular landmines in there. Back to the drawing board.
Our next move is to get Uranus out of the 7th.
A golden rule of electional astrology is that the chart must have between 3 and 27 degrees of a sign on the Ascendant; this one has 28 Cancer rising. That could easily be tweaked, but we have another problem: Neptune is in the 7th house. With a wedding chart, we will not brook anything but lovely, happy planets in the 7th house. Let's get Neptune out of the 7th.
Neptune is out of the 7th house. The Moon is right on the Ascendant, which is kind of nice. NI'm not crazy about Saturn ruling the 7th house, especially Saturn at 0 degrees of a sign. But at least the Moon (ruler of the 1st) is not in poor aspect to Saturn (ruler of the 7th), which is another rule of a wedding electional, plus Saturn receives a nice sextile from Venus. In an ideal world, would be put Capricorn on the 7th house cusp? We would not, and I would be questioning this couple very, very closely about Saturn issues before bestowing this chart on them.
So it's not the chart of my dreams, but (1) the Moon is very strong by sign, by placement, by aspect; (2) Venus is conjunct the Midheaven and sextile Saturn (for longevity); (3) all the big-time malefics are out of the angular houses; (4) 1st and 7th house rulers are not in bad aspect, and though Venus and Mars (ruler of male/female) are technically square, it's an out-of-sign separating square; (5) Sun and Moon (other symbols of male/female) are in a nice sextile to each other.
Backing up to 12:39 pm, Pluto and Mars are both out of the 4th house. In fact, it's a pretty nice chart...except for Uranus, the Great Disruptor, in the house of marital accord.
Venus MUST NOT be retrograde
Mercury SHOULD NOT be retrograde
AVOID Venus in Aries, Virgo, or Scorpio
AVOID Moon in Aries, Scorpio, or Capricorn
MUST HAVE good aspect between Sun and Moon
Moon must NOT be void of course
Moon MUST have good final aspect before going void of
Moon waxing (between New and Full phases) is preferable.
Moon in 7th, 1st, 4th, or 10th house; or, Moon applying to
beneficial planet in 7th house (avoid Moon in 6th or 12th
Venus should apply to good aspect, or Moon or Mercury should
apply to a good aspect with Venus.
If possible, get a good aspect between Venus and Mars
If possible, good applying aspect to or from Saturn
Sun must NOT be approaching a square to Saturn.
Ascendant: try to have no fewer than 3, no more than 27
Keep malefics (Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) out of
Ruler of 1st house MUST NOT be in hard aspect to ruler of 7th
Keep Uranus out of 7th house and out of adverse aspect with
ruler of 7th, Venus, and planets in 7th
Keep malefics off angles if at all possible
Fixed Sign on the Ascendant? (preferable)