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Finding the Perfect Moment


This weekend I attended a wedding of a friend’s child. Despite my best intentions to avoid offering unsolicited astrological advice, the ‘moment’ of the wedding time turned into one of those mini-dramas that often accompany rites of initiation. In the course of events, I had the opportunity to revisit some reflections upon the art of electional astrology.

Electional astrology is choosing an auspicious moment to initiate an event, such as a marriage, business, a journey, a lawsuit or the founding of a city. It is based upon the belief that how something is at the beginning (like the natal chart of the birth moment) is the seminal code for how it will progress in the course of its life cycle.

Electional astrology seeks to maximize the positive potential outcome of an important undertaking. When pausing to think about what is going on, one of the questions that inevitably arise is: To what extent can a good electional chart override the natal indications that might not support the successful realization of that event? And because there are no perfect charts, one must find the proverbial needle in a haystack with the possibilities available within the given time frame, and then allow fate to take its course. In addition, one must answer the question of what constitutes the real “electional moment”.

So here is what happened. I received the invitation – September 1, 2013 at 5pm. Looking to my astrological calendar, I saw that the Moon would move from Cancer to Leo at 5:01pm. Casting the chart for 5pm gave Capricorn rising and thus Cancer occupied the seventh house. Even though the Moon was void (according to modern guidelines), still it was strong and powerful in its home sign Cancer, ruled the seventh house of marriage, in whole sign conjunction with an exalted Jupiter in Cancer; and finally in a whole sign trine with Saturn in Scorpio, ruling the 1st.

One of the important considerations for wedding charts is the harmonious aspect between the rulers of the 1st and 7th. But (yikes!) at 5:01 pm the Moon entered into Leo, the whole sign 8th house, applying to an imminent conjunction with Mars at 3° Leo and then squaring Saturn the next morning. A big electional rule is to keep the Moon free from afflictions by conjunction, square, or opposition to the malefics, Mars and Saturn. That is a major no/no in choosing an electional time. And could one count on a 5pm wedding to start exactly on time, and not some minutes later?

In a casual conversation with my friend, I made an aside that it would be a good idea if the wedding started on time. But really, I knew that the more prevalent thinking among astrologers is that it is not the start time of the wedding that is critical, but rather the moment of taking of the oath and the pronouncement of the marriage. At any point before that moment, either the bride or groom can run away without any consequences; but after that moment it is a legally binding contract. So going with that thinking, did it really make any difference if the wedding started at 5pm or 5:15pm? But this got me to wondering again about the preference for the validity of electional moment as the start time of a ritual when there is a transition into the container of sacred space.

Wedding Chart

Since no one had consulted me, it was not my place to stir up anxiety and confusion. A few days before the wedding my friend told the couple to make sure that they started before 5:01 because “an astrologer said it was a much more auspicious time.” And of course the couple then wanted to know what the dire consequences of being late would portend. I suggested that if some music starts before 5pm, that would signal the commencement of the ritual, and (I am thinking to myself) maybe that is something. The veil of the astrologer’s own anxiety began to fall over me.

Then 48 hours before the wedding, I received an email that had been sent to all the guests with last minute instructions that the wedding will begin at 4:57 pm sharp because the astrologer has chosen this special time for the wedding. I burrowed deeper under the blankets praying for grace. I began to think, “Hmm, I know that sometime tomorrow the Moon will conjoin Jupiter in Cancer; I wonder what that chart looks like.” I wish someone had just asked me months ago to look at the aspects for this weekend.

I cast the chart for 8:46 am – and how beautiful – Venus the Goddess of Love rising in Libra and setting the tone; Moon embracing Jupiter in Cancer at the Midheaven; benefics in rulership and exaltation in the angles. Mars ruling the 7th conjoined to Fortune in the house of Good Spirit, whole sign sextile to Venus ruling the 1st. Moon and Venus free from affliction by malefics. If an astrologer is trying to find the crack between the world of fate and that of choice over the course of a single weekend, it doesn’t get much better than this.

I saw the couple a few hours later and told them about the wonderful moment the next morning, suggesting that perhaps they could exchange private vows. It turned out they were planning to have the rehearsal under the big oak tree at that very time, and the person marrying them would be there, and he could sign the document, which he did. Venus and Jupiter have showered their blessings upon the union. Is this the perfect moment?

So we have three electional charts: Private vows and the signing of the legal document; the opening chords of the commencement ritual, and the public vows before the community of family and friends as witnesses. I welcome comments from all of you as to the possibilities of each of these electional moments.

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