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  Home   |   Articles   |   Book Reviews   |   Star Gazing   |   Astro*Weather   |   Everyday Astrology    


Astrology Articles
Article Title: The Variance System of Planetary Rulerships
Date Published:
- by Jonathan  Dunn
Part One: Variance

Planets look different from one another, as viewed from earth. The Sun and Moon appear large and bright, for instance, while Pluto is so faint that it requires a telescope to see it. Another way to look at the planets is to notice how much the appearance of a planet changes over time. The Sun looks about the same every day - almost exactly as large and and as bright. The moon goes through the familiar phases, but there is always a circle implied by the part of the moon that you see. This circle always appears to be about the same size. The Sun and the Moon's circle (which blots out the stars behind even when parts of it appear black) appear to be about the same size as one another, and also each one appears to be about the same size over time.

The Sun's "width" in the sky appears to grow by only 3% when at its largest compared to when at its smallest. The Moon's "width" when largest in the sky is 14% larger than the smallest appearance. I call this figure the "variance" of a planet. Mars has the largest variance: Mars' "width" at maximum closeness and brightness appears a whopping 634% as large as its smallest appearance, when it is dim and relatively far away from the Earth.

This "variance" figure (defined as the percent change in apparent width of a planet as seen from Earth) relates also to the ratio of the maximum and minimum distance from the earth - because anything appears larger when it is close to you and smaller when it is far away. So, for instance, the Sun's maximum distance from the Earth is 3% greater than the minimum distance - numerically almost exactly the same as the 3% variance in apparent width or size in the sky.

And also, because gravitational influence between bodies is dependent on distance, the variance figure relates to the change in gravitation between the body in question and the Earth. So, percentage change from the minimum gravitational effect of the Sun to the maximum is an increase of 3% squared, or 6%. (1.03 x 1.03 = 1.0609).

Some important results and patterns become apparent when we compare the variance numbers for different planets. This must be done in a particular way, that is, by first dividing the planets into two groups: the "inner solar system" or everything within the Asteroid Belt, and the "outer solar system," which includes everything from Jupiter on out to Pluto.

If we take the traditional rulers of the first 5 signs and look at the variance #s of each planet, we find that they stack up by themselves in decreasing order, and are all in the "inner solar system," like the earth:

Traditional Rulers


It would be reasonable to wonder if there were a planet for Virgo which would continue the pattern. There is, and it has already been associated with Virgo by many researchers for years: The Asteroid Belt.

The "distance" to this belt is hard to define, since it is composed of thousands of small bodies in different locations, but as for defining the apparent "width" of it, one must always rotate through 360 degrees to capture it all, and since this fact never varies, the "variance" defined this way is 0%.

Here is the pattern with the Asteroid Belt added for Virgo:


VirgoAsteroid Belt0% Inner

A nearly identical pattern is noted for the latter signs and the outer solar system: If we take the accepted modern rulers of the last 5 signs and look at the variance #s of each planet, we find that they stack up by themselves in decreasing order, and are all in the "outer solar system," away from the earth:

Modern Rulers


It would be reasonable to wonder if there were a planet for Libra which would continue the pattern. There is, and it has already been associated with Libra by the person who has studied this body the most.

Although he ultimately prefers to leave the rulership question open, Zane Stein devoted several areas of his book Essence and Application: A View from Chiron to connections which he perceived between Libra and this body. Here is the full rulership scheme with Chiron added now for Libra.


Leo Sun3%Inner
VirgoAsteroid Belt 0%Inner
Libra Chiron165%Outer
CapricornSaturn 38%Outer


First, the inner planets rule the northern (first half) signs and the outer planets rule the southern (last half) signs. This seems to make a certain kind of sense, in that when in the northern signs, during spring and summer, the Sun appears nearer to us (that is "us" in the northern hemisphere, where most history, and certainly the history of astrology, has taken place) - the days are longer and warmer. The Sun is more remote from us during its southern trek, and so it might seem appropriate that the planets which are remote from us would have a special relationship with these six signs.

Secondly, within each part, the variance of the ruling planet always decreases as we proceed to each new sign. Why should this be? To me, this represents the common phenomenon of "attenuation" - of things to begin with a grand "splash" of excitement, and then mellow out or become more stable with time. Mars zooms in toward us and then goes out far away - a very exciting and excitable kind of behavior which seems quite appropriate for Aries. And Chiron does the most "zooming" of any of the generally accepted major outer bodies - at times exhibiting its famous cometary tail while at others it is much more slow and remote.

Here is one way to visualize this: take a pendulum and set it swinging toward you and then away. At first, the variance in its distance (and therefore it's "width" or "size" to your eye) will be quite great. Slowly, this motion will "attenuate" or subside, until it comes close to stillness or equilibrium. Perhaps sooner or later, someone will come along and give it another push.

The "pushes" come at the equinox points, as we enter Aries and Libra. The planets ruling these two signs (Mars and Chiron, respectively) have quite a great variance in their distance, angular size, and gravitational influence on the earth. Venus and Pluto have somewhat slighter variance, and rule the next two signs. Mercury and Jupiter have the 3rd highest variance in their two regions of our solar system and rule the next two signs in the two halves of the season cycle. On so on, down to Asteroid Belt and Neptune, the closest to total equilibrium, correlating to the last signs in the circle's two halves, Virgo and Pisces. The implication is not necessarily that these two signs possess great inner "equilibrium" - it can just as easily be confinement by inner or outer situations.

Part Two: "Twinning"

There is another completely different pattern in the established rulerships which would be carried forward and completed by the addition of Asteroid Belt for Virgo and Chiron for Libra, and that is that the planets come in twin-like pairs:

(Starting at the zodiac's beginning:) The first two signs are Aries and Taurus. Their rulers are Mars and Venus. These planets are quite similar; they are considered to be the "terrestrial planets," along with the Earth.

The next two signs are Gemini and Cancer. Their rulers are Mercury and the Moon. These planets are quite similar; they are smallish, barren and rocky. But larger and more spherical than asteroids.

Now, if this pattern were to be continued, we might expect that Leo's and Virgo's rulers had some kind of "twin-like" relationship. What could possibly qualify as the Sun's twin? Well, if we realize that the Sun's energy field or "corona" extends quite a ways out, then it appears that the Sun and Asteroid Belt each "pervade and permeate" the inner solar system, as fields of energy and matter respectively.

(Now, moving backward from the zodiac's end:) The last two signs are Aquarius and Pisces. Their rulers are Uranus and Neptune. These two planets are shockingly similar. They look almost exactly the same, are about the same size, and share almost the same temperature as well, even though Neptune is almost twice as far from the Sun.

The previous two signs are Sagittarius and Capricorn. Their rulers are Jupiter and Saturn. These are the two ancient "gas giants," the two largest bodies which are generally considered to be "planets" proper by astronomers. They have similar coloration as well.

Now, if this pattern were to be continued, we might expect that Libra's and Scorpio's rulers had some kind of "twin-like" relationship. What body that astrologers take notice of resembles Pluto? Well, there are really a lot of similarities with Chiron.

Both, while small and icy, are larger than the other icy bodies whizzing around in the outer solar system. Each has a highly "eccentric" orbit, meaning that it spends certain times of its cycle appearing to move quite quickly and others very slowly. Lowell Observatory's Marc W. Buie, a recognized astronomical expert on Pluto, and advocate for its continued status as a "planet," sees special similarities with Chiron, to the point of suggesting that they both be categorized as "ice planets."

Copyright: Jonathan Dunn

Bio: Jonathan  Dunn

Jonathan Dunn lives in Seattle, Washington, where he works as a programmer. His interests include Astrology, Astronomy, Music, and people. He can be reached via email at Please visit his website at

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