The Use of Sect in a Birth Chart

© 1997 Curtis Manwaring

There are 2 fundamental schools of the planets (and consequently of nativities as well), those that belong to the daylight and those that belong to the darkness of night. In other words, a nativity is either of the diurnal (day) sect or of the nocturnal (night) sect - Genesis 1:16. If a day time birth, then the Sun is dominant in the chart, along with Saturn and Jupiter; but if by night then the Moon becomes the predominator along with Venus and Mars. Sect is only one of many weighting factors to be considered in judging a nativity. If for example, you are born at night then look to the Moon's position and to the positions of it's co-sectarians which are Mars and Venus; but if by day then consider the Sun and Jupiter and Saturn. You may be puzzled by the choice of planets especially if you come from the modern tradition of astrological practice. The roots of this doctrine date back into antiquity but have a firm foundation in Aristotelean natural philosophy.

According to Aristotle there were 4 elements; fire, air, earth and water. There were also 4 qualities; hot, cold, wet and dry. The Sun, since it is of the daytime is considered hot and dry and is of the fire element. The Moon is of the night and is naturally considered cold and wet. The night preserves water but the heat dries it up; it tends to be cooler at night. This is really nothing more than common sense. The other planets partake of these elemental qualities also, and Mercury you will note belongs to neither sect because Mercury is common to both. Saturn is naturally cold and dry; this physiological humour is called melancholic and corresponds to fall (autumn). Saturn, Venus and the Moon are naturally cold, Mars, Jupiter and Sun are naturally hot; so why is it that Saturn is of the daytime sect and Mars naturally fits with the nocturnal sect? This is because Sun, Moon, Jupiter and Venus are natural benefics, but Mars and Saturn are malefics and must be counteracted to be in sect. For example, if it is day, Mars is out of sect because the heat of the day becomes excessive. At night, Mars is in Sect, because the heat and dryness of Mars is held in restraint by the cool and moist of night, taming Mars malefic tendency. This is why when asked if 2 generals were born with roughly equal ability who would win?; Bonatti said the one born at night because such a one is able to control his hot headed impulses (cf. Liber Astronomiae). Saturn works the same way, but is of the diurnal sect because it's excessive cold needs to be warmed by daylight in order to bring out it's more positive side.

There are 2 more ways that a planet can be in sect other than it just being a diurnal or nocturnal birth chart. A planet can be in it's own light or it can be in it's own similitude. If a diurnal chart then Saturn and Jupiter are in it's own light if they are above the horizon with the Sun, and the Moon, Venus and Mars are also as long as they are below the horizon. If a nocturnal chart then the Moon, Venus and Mars should be above the horizon and Jupiter and Saturn should be below in order to say they are in their own light. In the case of being in it's own similitude, the planet needs to be in the sign of it's own nature; the Sun should be in masculine signs and Moon should be in feminine signs. Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius are masculine and Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn and Pisces are femine. The planets of diurnal sect should be in masculine signs and the planets of nocturnal sect should be in femine signs to be in similitude. The exception to this is Mars. According to the Arabs, Mars is best placed at night near the midheaven in Aries or some other masculine sign (possibly because Mars is the lesser malefic and does not need to be counteracted as much as Saturn). It should be said that this perception of the Arabs may be due to a misreading of the Greek material in their time. The Arabs may have confused sect with sex, which is not surprising given that 80% of Arab national inception charts have a hard aspect between the Moon or Venus to Saturn. Orientality or occidentiality are said to be a contributing cause in determining sect as well but it is of less strength than the other causes. There is much confusion in the ancient literature about this, but orientality is like the diurnal sect and occidentality is like the nocturnal sect.

If a planet fulfills all of these conditions, then that planet is said to be in Hayz; a powerful dignity conferring good fortune to the native. Examples of Hayz are: Saturn in Libra in the daytime above the horizon, Mars in Aries at night above the horizon, Jupiter in Sagittarius above the horizon in the daytime, etc... The reverse is also possible where a planet is completely out of sect; Rob Hand coined the term 'ex-conditione' to describe such a planet. Examples of a planet ex-conditione are: Moon in Gemini above the horizon in the daytime, Jupiter in Cancer above the horizon at night (even though it is exalted which minimizes the problem), etc...

The vast majority of astrologers do not consider sect when reading a birth chart. The last astrologers to consider it had died by the early Renaissance and modern astrologers have only known of it for the last 2 years since the beginning of translations by Project Hindsight. This has led to an underemphasis of the feminine and increased inaccuracy for roughly half of the population (those born at night). The Moon is most likely of more importance than the Sun for those of you born at night. Sect is also of primary consideration if you wish to calculate the arabic parts and most notably the Part of Fortune.

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