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Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Lord of the Geniture

(Also known as Lord of Nativity / Figure)

The most powerful planet in the chart as defined by essential and accidental dignity. This is often confused with the Almuten of the Figure but whereas the Lord of the Geniture recognises accidental dignity, generally the Almuten of the Figure does not.

Tom Callanan recently wrote a detailed forum post discussing this issue:

One of the more interesting concepts in traditional Western astrology is that of Lord (or Lady) of the geniture. It is common practice in modern astrology to use the ascendant ruler as the “ruler of the chart,” but this method has its weaknesses. Suppose the chart has Libra rising and Venus is in Aries in the 8th house? Is this the planet we might wish to be in charge, or the one that truly dominates the chart? I doubt it. It is more usual to lead with our strengths. The idea is to look for a strong planet that has great influence and see how it plays out in the life.

The Lord of the Geniture is defined as the planet with the most essential and accidental dignity THAT CAN ACT. In other words, a powerful Jupiter in the 12th might not be as good a choice as a weaker Mars in the 10th. Generally speaking, planets in the 6th, 8th, and 12th houses have difficulty acting. They usually require a strong aspect or strong reception to achieve their potential, or an enormous amount of will power on the part of the native.

A planet’s essential dignity is found by using the table of dignities and seeing which of its own positions a planet occupies in the chart under discussion. Rulership, exaltation, and triplicity are the important ones; term and face are less so. Accidental dignity has to do with house position and aspects to strong planets, and some other things. So Saturn in Taurus in a night chart might not have much essential dignity, but if he is conjunct the ASC sextile Venus in Pisces in 11, he has a good deal of accidental dignity. Essential dignity is potential; accidental dignity is power. Let’s look at two charts to see how it works.

George S. Patton Jr., Nov 11, 1885 6:38 PM PST, San Marino, California, 34 N 07/ 118 W06. Solar Fire gives 20 Gemini 06 as the ASC. This is an interesting chart since it is so lacking in essential dignity, and the native became, arguably, the most successful of all WWII Field Generals. The Moon is in triplicity, usually a strong essential dignity, but is in detriment and in the 8th house. Mercury has dignity by face, but is also in detriment. And Mars, whom we might expect to be very powerful in this chart, has no essential dignity at all. So where is the Lord of the Geniture?

We have to look for accidental dignity since there is so little essential dignity to work with. Venus and Saturn would have to be considered since they are in angular houses. However, Saturn is in detriment, and using the “five degree rule,” he is just inside the 2nd house. Venus in Capricorn isn’t very strong, and neither planet is in the sign of the cusp, so we need to look elsewhere. Mars is powerfully placed on the 4th house cusp. Mars trines, albeit widely, a benefic (Venus), rules the fortunate 11th house, and is the triplicity ruler of the 10th. Mars then seems to be the best choice for our traditional chart ruler, although a peregrine planet isn’t usually a good choice, but only two planets have essential dignity in this chart, and both are in face only and badly placed.

Was Patton martial? I doubt anyone would argue to the contrary. The Patton family left their native Virginia after the Civil War rather than tolerate Union occupation. Young Georgie (as he was called then) was reared on heroic war stories of the Pattons’ exploits in the Civil War, and never seriously considered anything but a military career. The fourth house is the house of ancestors and his ancestors were martial; their military exploits date back to the American Revolution. He had what today would be called learning disabilities (note Moon and Mercury, the significators of the mind, are both in detriment), but used enormous will power (Mars) to overcome these problems to become a brilliant field general (Mars is in analytical Virgo) in the manner of his ancestors (4th house). Mars trine Venus in 7 is interesting as well. Venus is the exaltation ruler of the 10th posited in the 7th, connecting Patton’s Lord of the Geniture with his career (honors) (10th) and open enemies (7th).

Let’s look at another Scorpio: Nov 12, 1934, 4:40 PM Cincinnati, OH 39 N 10, 84 W 27. The ASC is 5 Taurus 15. The native is Charles Manson, a man who needs no introduction, if for no other reason than he is well known as one to whom most would not wish to be introduced. Manson’s Lord of the Geniture is easy to spot: Saturn in Aquarius in 11. Saturn is in domicile rulership and triplicity and is in what is generally considered the most fortunate house in the chart. So what happened? Let’s face it, even a highly dignified Saturn isn’t cheerful, but it could give Saturn’s better qualities of self-discipline, organization and structure. This powerful Saturn also rules the MC, the place of honors. Manson would receive honor or recognition through his friends. Note his “friends” tended to come from conservative, well off backgrounds (Strong Saturn).

Saturn squares the ascendant ruler, Venus, linking Saturn to the ASC and appearance. William Lilly on the coporature of Saturn: “Most part his body more cold and dry, of a middle stature; his complexion pale, swartish, or muddy, his eyes little and black, looking downward, a broad forehead, black or sad hair, and it hard or rugged, great ears; hanging lowering eyebrows, thick lips and nose, a rare or thin beard, a lumpish unpleasant countenance, either holding his head forward or stooping, his shoulders broad and large, and many times crooked, his belly somewhat short and lank, his thighs spare, lean and not long, his knees and feet indecent, many times shoveling or hitting one against another etc.” (Christian Astrology page 58). Not perfect, but not bad considering it was written almost 300 years before Manson’s birth.

It can be argued that Manson exercised his free will by ignoring the strength of his Saturn, and going with the flow, in this case the ASC ruler, Venus, who is in detriment and combust in 7. Patton overcame the problems associated with his ASC ruler, Mercury in detriment, by directing his will power: Mars, Lord of the Geniture, towards a worthwhile goal, a career in the military. Manson wanted to be a Rock star, and wrote and performed music. Venus is the traditional ruler of music and she rules his ASC, but as stated above is very weak, and a weak Venus gives in to the baser desires. He needed self-discipline and structure. The potential (essential dignity) was there (Saturn in domicile and triplicity in aspect to Venus), but it required more power (accidental dignity), and Mars in Virgo in Manson’s chart is accidentally weak in the 6th and cannot give to Charlie what he gave to George.

So what did Manson do with his Powerful Saturn? He gave it to the Moon - ruler of the 4th house of family and exaltation ruler of the ASC. The Moon is in the rulership and triplicity of Saturn. In Aquarius it will be associated with groups. The Moon is conjunct the (true) north node: where you get help. Being in charge of the group (elevated Moon in 10 exalting the ASC) gave Manson the emotional support we all need. Saturn also squares the Sun-Venus conjunction that has the effect of blocking his self-expression. In summary, Manson certainly had his share of obstacles, but chose the path of debasement, rather than work with a Saturn so full of potential.

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