Tell me when to do Something:
Alfred John Pearce (1889): The Text-book of Astrology
Text Copyright 2007 J. Lee Lehman
One suspicion that I had in reviewing the first chapter that Pearce presented
on electional: I strongly suspect that he was far more the theoretician
of electional than the practitioner. One of the hardest things for students
of electional is to be confronted with all the rules - which on the surface
seem very cut and dried - and then to be confronted with the ephemeris.
Upon actually attempting to apply the rules, the student (not to mention
the practitioner) is confronted with the reality that it is practically
impossible to adhere to more than a very few rules in one single chart.
So what to do? Here are reams and reams of rules, but how to prioretize?
When I see discussion such as Pearce's, which presents the multiplicity
of cases, but no acknowledgement of the problems of applying them, I suspect
that something is amiss in the application department.
Here, in reviewing Pearce's text for the first six houses, I have even
more questions. First: The idea of repressed Victorian comes strongly
to mind in reviewing Pearce's reticence to discuss anything related to
the fifth house. Letters? Secondly, horse-racing in the 6th?
The 12th house was universally taken for larger animals, so why 6th? Traditionally,
the 6th house was "small" cattle.
This material is excerpted from pages 426-430 of Pearce's work:
Pearce, Alfred John. 1889. The Text-book of Astrology. London
Elections for Affairs Appertaining to the First
“A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal.” —–Solomon.
The First House or Mansion of the Heavens relates to health, and affairs
generally. It is, therefore, most important to have the ascendant free
from the presence of the infortunes at the commencement of any new work,
business, or journey.
In the sailing of ships, the ascendant and the Moon should
be free from affliction. If an evil planet be in the ascendant at the
moment of a ship leaving port, it is likely to be fortunate; if Saturn
be ascending, the ship will be very likely to run aground; If Mars be
ascending, there will be danger of fire or of shipwreck. If Uranus and
Mars be ascending, explosion may take place.
If the ship be a trading one, Jupiter or Venus should be either in the
midheaven, ascendant, second or ninth house.
Elections Appertaining to the Second House.
The Second House of the Heavens relates to the receiving, lending, and
borrowing of money; to buying and selling; and to removing from one place
to another. The following are the precepts of the ancients—–
1.—–Buying for Profit.—–Fortify the
Moon especially, also Mercury, and the lord of the second house; and,
if possible, the lord of the ascendant; let the Moon be either in conjunction
or benefic aspect with Mercury free from impediment. Particularly avoid
buying when the Moon and Mercury are afflicted by Mars. If possible, let
Mercury be in conjunction or benefic aspect with either Venus or Jupiter.
2.—–Selling to Advantage.—–Let the
Moon be in either Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, or Pisces,
free from affliction, and separating from conjunction or benefic aspect
with Jupiter or Venus.
3.—–Removing from Place to Place.—–If
you desire to gain pecuniarily, and the house to which you would remove
be you own, let the Moon be in a fixed sign, and a fixed sign ascending;
but if the house be hired, let the ascendant be a common sign and the
Moon in a common sign. If possible have Jupiter or Venus in the tenth
or first, or fourth angle.
In any case, fortify the Moon and the lords of the ascendant, second
and fourth houses; and let Jupiter be in the second house, if possible.
Either Taurus or Leo should be on the cusp of the fourth
house, if it can be so arranged; never Scorpio.
Elections Relating to the Third House.
The third house relates to short journeys, i.e. to such as
can be completed within twenty-four hours and within one’s native
The following is the ancient precept relating thereto—–
Short Journeys.—–Fortify the ascendant, the third
house, and the Moon. Start not on thy journey at the moment at which an
evil planet ascends or is on the cusp of the third house, and when the
Moon is afflicted. If possible, begin the journey when Jupiter or Venus
ascends or occupies the third house or ascendant.
Persons who are constantly traveling would, of course, find it impossible
to follow this precept always. I recommend the following injunction as
of far greater importance—–-Avoid setting out on a journey,
if possible, at or very near the time when the Moon (near the new or full)
is in transit over the place of a malefic planet in the nativity, and
at the same time afflicted; especially if such transit happen near the
Elections Relating to the Fourth House.
The Fourth House relates to building houses, etc., buying or renting land
or houses, planting trees and sowing seed. The ancients hand down the
1.—–Building Houses, etc.—Endeavour at the
beginning of thy work to fortify the ascendant, the lord thereof, the
Moon and her dispositor, and the planet to which she is joined either
by conjunction or aspect; fortify also the fourth house and its lord,
and the tenth house and its lord. Be sure that the significators be not
under the earth, for that causeth slow progress, and it may never be brought
to perfection. Fortify also Mercury and its dispositor. Let not any of
the significators behold Mars. Let the Moon be increasing in light and
motion and configurated with Jupiter, and have a special care that the
Moon be not with Saturn or her south node; and that Saturn be not in the
fourth house or ascendant, for this would delay the work, or cause vexation,
trouble, or early decay. If Mars afflict the significators or be in the
fourth house, or ascendant, there will be danger of fire.
Should the building be designed for divine worship let Jupiter be either
in the ninth house or ascendant, and in either Sagittarius or
Pisces. If Mars be in the ascendant or ninth house, there will
be dissension, wrangling and discord, in addition to danger by fire; if
Saturn, asceticism and strange practices are likely to ensue.
2.—–Buying Land or Houses.—–The ascendant,
its lord, and the planet from which the Moon last separated, are significators
of the buyer; the seventh house, its lord, and the planet to which the
Moon applies, are the significators of the seller. The fourth house relates
to the land or house, as the case may be.
The buyer should be careful, at the time of signing the covenant, to fortify
the fourth house and its lord, the Moon and her dispositor, and the Sun
if possible; and let none of these significators be in any aspect with
Mars, for this might cause the land or house then purchased to be soon
lost and to be of no continuance to posterity.
To make the bargain good, fortify also the ascendant, its lord, and the
planet from which the Moon last separated. If possible, let the Moon be
in either Cancer or Taurus, and in benefic aspect with the lord of the
ascendant or planet ascending. Let the fourth house have either Taurus,
Leo, or Aquarius, on its cusp. Let the fortunes have chief power in the
angles, at any rate in the first and fourth. See that the lords of these
angles be not retrograde; that no retrograde planet be in either of the
angles, the ninth or eleventh houses.
3.—–Buying Land for Agricultural Purposes.—–In
this case, fortify the ascendant and its lord, the Moon and her dispositor,
the Sun, Jupiter and Saturn; and let Saturn have the sextile or trine
aspect of Jupiter—–let Saturn be in Libra and Jupiter in Sagittarius,
or vice versa, if possible—–and by all means let not Mars
have any familiarity with either Saturn or Jupiter. Let the Moon be in
her increase, and in sextile or trine with Saturn; her first quarter is
Let the Moon be in the tenth house in Taurus, and the ascendant
free from affliction.
At the commencement of tilling or manuring the ground, let the Moon be
increasing in light and harmoniously configurated with one of the fortunes
4.—–Planting or Grafting Trees.—–The
Moon should be in either Taurus, Leo, Virgo, Aquarius or Pisces—–Taurus
is the best—–and in sextile or trine aspect with Venus. Let
Saturn be direct in motion, and either in the ascendant, 11th, 5th, or
2nd house, dignified. If this cannot be done, let Jupiter be in one of
these houses and in benefic aspect with Saturn. If neither, then let the
Moon be in one of them, or in the 10th free from impediment.
In all plantings and sowings, see that Mars be debilitated, and in no
configuration with the Moon.
Let the dispositor of the Moon (wrote Alchaiat) behold her from a watery
sign; and if the ascndant be not a fixed sign, let the Moon and the lord
of the ascendant be oriental of the Sun and ascending, or at least one
of them; for this causeth trees then planted or grafted to grow quickly
and be fruitful; if they be ascending and not oriental, the trees shall
soon grow but not so soon fructify.
If the ascendant cannot be a fixed sign, let it be a common one, and the
significators in common signs.
If it be impossible to fulfil all these conditions, see that the Moon
is either in Taurus or the latter half of Sagittarius
free from affliction, and in benefic aspect with Jupiter in the ascendant,
10th, 11th, 5th, or 4th house.
5.—–Sowing Seed.—–The ascending sign
should be movable, and its lord should be in a movable sign,
and the Moon beholding it from a movable sign; if this cannot be done,
common signs are next best fixed signs must be avoided.
Let the Moon be in either Cancer or Capricornus; if
she be in Aries, let some planet behold her from a watery sign,
Cancer for choice, lest the seed wither.
Let the Moon be separating from the Sun,* and increasing in light and motion—–except
in the case of sowing peas.
Let the ascendant be free from the presence or affliction of the malefic
Elections Appertaining to the Fifth House.
The Fifth House relates to the giving or receiving presents feasting,
writing letters, and sending messengers.
1.—–Writing Letters or Books.—–Fortify
the ascendant and the ninth, and let Mercury behold them either with a
sextile or trine; and let Mercury be well dignified and no wise afflicted,
and not retrograde. Let the Moon be in good aspect with Mercury, and both
the Moon and ascendant free from affliction.
Elections Relating to the Sixth House.
The Sixth House relates to sickness, servants and cattle. The following
rules may be interesting to medical men;—–
1.—–For Surgical Operations.—–For such
operations that can be safely deferred to a fortunate moment, let the
Moon be increasing in light and motion, and in sextile or trine aspect
with Jupiter or Venus, and let not Mars be in any aspect with the Moon.
The Chaldaeans held that the Moon is more afflicted by Mars during her
increase, and by Saturn during her decrease.
Let the Moon be in a fixed sign—–but not in the sign ruling
the member or part of the body to be operated on, and let not such sign
Fortify the sign ruling the part of the body to be operated on; and let
the ruler of the ascending sign, or Venus or Jupiter be in the ascendant
or midheaven, and free from the configurations of Mars.
Let the Moon be free from all manner of impediment.
2.—–Buying four-footed beasts.—–See
that thou fortifiest that sign which doth represent the beast to be bought,
or that which is nearest to its nature; the Moon, the lord of the ascendant,
and that of the 6th house; and see that the Moon have the sextile or trine
of the planet ruling the sign signifying the beast, or in reception therewith.
In buying oxen or horses, let the Moon be in either Taurus or the last
15º of Sagittarius. In buying sheep, let the Moon be in
Aries; goats, Capricorn or Taurus; dogs Sagittarius or the last 15º
In buying race-horses, let the Moon be in Sagittarius or the
last fifteen degrees of Leo; and fortify the ascendant, the 6th house,
and their lords; also let the Moon be free from the evil aspects of the
infortunes and in sextile or trine with Jupiter or Venus.
To the last precept may be added: Ascertain the day on which the race-horse
it is intended to purchase was foaled, and see that the Sun and Moon were
free from the evil aspects of Saturn and Uranus, and were in good aspect
with Mars. It will be best for Sun to be in Aries in trine with Mars in
Leo; or Sun or Moon in trine with Mars in Capricorn; the Sun attended
by Venus, or Moon in aspect with Venus or Jupiter or Sun; Mercury in sextile
or trine with Mars and Moon—–for courage, stoutness, and speed
are pretty certain to be possessed by horses foaled under such configurations.
Some race-horses are notoriously unlucky, others are soft-hearted, and
many turn out worthless for racing purposes, having neither speed nor
stamina. Isonomy, one of the stoutest and speediest horses of the last
century, was foaled on the 28th of April, 1875, when the Sun was in trine
with Mars in Capricorn, Moon in sextile with Venus, and Mercury in opposition
with Jupiter, Bend Or, a Derby winner, was foaled on the 13th of February,
1877, when the Sun and Moon were in sextile with both Mars and Jupiter
Ormonde, the winner of the Derby, in 1886, was foaled at 6h 30m p.m. of
the 18th of March, 1883; Cancer 0º 32’ culminating, and Libra
0º 24’ ascending. The Moon was in trine (separating) with the
Sun, the latter separating from quartile with Jupiter and sextile with
Saturn. Mercury was in conjunction with Mars in Aries. Jupiter was in
the ninth house.
Minoru bred by Colonel W. Hall Walker, M.P., won the Derby, on the 26th
of May, 1909, for the late King Edward VII. This colt was foaled at 9h
15m p.m. of the 16th of March, 1906, Kildare. Leo 9º 52’ occupied
the midheaven and Libra 29º 6’ the ascendant. Mars setting
in Aries 29º 35’ in sextile with the Sun, the Moon in Sagittarius
17º 41’ in trine with Mercury in 13º 37’ of Aries;
the Sun applying to sextile with Jupiter.
Prince Palatine, winner of the St. Leger, 1911, was also bred by Colonel
W. Hall Walker. This colt was foaled on the 2nd of April, 1908, at 0h
25m a.m., Kildare. Sun in Aries 11º 53’, Moon also in the same
sign 22º 53’ in parallel with the Sun. The ascending degree
11º; Sagittarius 2’ had the trinal ray of the Sun and the sextile
* See “Urania” for April, 1880, art. “The Failure of
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