The dominant planet is triggering much interest with 12andus' users. Several users recognized themselves in the dominant planet descriptions and have asked me to tell more about it. Other users asked why the dominant planet displayed in 12andus is different from the one calculated on other astrological sites.
The dominant planet calculation is not an objective procedure. Each astrologer might consider different parameters and give different weight to such parameters, resulting in a different dominant planet, even though the differences shouldn't be too big.
The so-called sign astrology was created as entertainment by newspapers and there isn't much based on that, since the sign is only about the position of the Sun at birth. A natal chart is made by tens of elements interacting with each other. The sign is an oversimplification.
I feel that slowly the concept of "sign" will give space to the concept of dominant planets. Nowadays, everybody can have an Internet connection to know more about their natal chart. It will take probably a generation or 2, but this is the direction things are going in.
The main parameters we consider for calculating the strength of each planet is:
- The aspects with other planets and with the Ascendant or Medium Coeli. As more of the aspect is closer to the exact aspect, the strength of the aspect increases. Conjunctions are stronger than other aspects. Trine or opposition aspects come next, then squares or sextiles, and then minor aspects.
- We set the orbs according to a number of parameters: the planets (or Ascendant/Medium Coeli) involved, the type of aspect and the houses where the planets are. At 12andus we use wider orbs than average. We believe, as some astrologers do, that there's no such thing as an "orb" of influence. However, we calculate the power of an aspect proportionally to how close the orb is to the exact aspect. Even though an aspect with a very wide orb would be considered very weak (and thus will poorly contribute to the dominant planet calculation), we think it is worth to also mention the presence of a loose aspect.
- The sign where the planet is. Every planet feels more at home and expresses itself better in certain signs. Planets in domiciles or exaltation get more power. For instance, Mars' domicile is in Aries, Mercury's domicile is in Geminis, the Moon's exaltation is in Taurus and the Sun's exaltation is in Aries. When the planets happen to be in a sign which valorizes and expands their nature, then we give more value to the planet.
- The distance from the cusp of the house. As it gets closer to the cusp, the more powerful the planet gets. If the planet is in one angle house (1st, 4th, 7th or 10th house), the planet is more powerful.
- The house where the planet is located also gives it "points." For instance, Saturn would be more at home in the 10th house, Venus in the 7th house, Mars in the first house and so on.
- "Mutual receptions." This happens when a planet is in the domicile or exaltation of another planet and vice versa. As an example, Venus in Capricorn (home of Saturn) with Saturn in Pisces (where Venus is exalted), gives several more "points" both to Venus and Saturn.
Then we fine tune those parameters according to the subtle interactions between planets, aspects, signs and houses.
All in all, our dominant planet calculator can't be objective because there isn't a dominant planet procedure which is agreed upon among astrologers, but up until now, it is the best approximation we could envision.
Another astrology site might give different weight to some other parameters, or even not consider some of them. This will reflect in a different position of the planet in the score of the most important planets in the chart.
As much as the dominant planet is important, we should not forget that the co-dominant planet, the second most important planet, also shapes our chart and traits.
Register to 12andus to learn about your natal chart and your transits with free, in-depth personalized reports.
To discover your dominant planet, go to the Astro Reports section and click on the "Birth chart's answers" box. There are 3 boxes dedicated to your dominant planet with comprehensive interpretations.
My Moon in Virgo loves to sort things out. The reasons why we calculated Venus as dominant planet are because Venus is in Taurus, the sign where feels mostly at home, and also Venus enjoys aspects with important elements of the chart: both luminaries (the Sun and the Moon), Mercury (which is also in Taurus) and the Ascendant (which is in Libra, contributing to Venus' power).
On the other side, while Pluto is in the first house, the aspect with the Ascendant is quite loose. The conjunction is 9 degrees from the exact aspect, which some astrologers wouldn't even consider it an aspect in case of slower Pluto, but we are quite "generous" and including. Also the trine with the Sun and the square with Midheaven are very loose. Other aspects are minor.
I don't know if this is good or bad news for you, maybe you identified with a tough and creepy Pluto and the idea to be a loving Venus disappoint you? My Sun in Geminis is joking, hope your Pluto doesn't take it too personally, we know Pluto never forgets!
Actually we are both right (something which your Libra Ascendent probably likes). You Venus is in the 8th house, which is the house most compatible with Pluto's. I might guess that you express your Venusian loving qualities through depth, intensity, power, maybe secrecy, and by needing to go to the roots of any issue.
Thank You for this article as I was one of the people making inquiries on this topic. Your perception of astrology is probably the most accurate and relatable I have ever come across in many years of interest in astrology.
thanks Rihards. However I think there are many astrologers more skilled than me. What I like to do is combining astrology with a spiritual path of self-understanding and technology. Not an easy task, but very interesting.
hi Sara. Yes, you are right, thanks for pointing to the typo, which now I corrected. We don't take into account the stationary planets. This might be one more parameter to consider but in itself I won't consider it strong enough to infer a stationary planet as dominant.
About your Pluto dominant, I asked your friendship so that you can share your birth data with mine and have a look.
I was identified as a saturn dominant but everything that is described is THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF ME! Tbh I hadn't even thought about it until I read that description, can that be a way of expressing the planet's dominance? Other sights have pointed to venus as my dominant which I see alot
According to 12andus calculations, your Saturn and Uranus share almost the same power in your chart. Venus is third, but not far away.
Probably the reason why other sites define your chart as Venus dominant is because your Venus is in the first house, conjunct Mars and Pluto and trine Midheaven.
The reason we consider Saturn dominant is the exact opposition with the Sun (orb 0 deg 24'), an opposition also with Mercury, and trine Midheaven. Then there are minor aspects, but the mentioned ones are the most important.
We give more importance to the aspects with the luminaries (Sun and Moon), then to aspects with inner planets (Mercury, Venus), which are more personal compared to the outer, slower and to the generational ones (Mars to Pluto). In your case Saturn opposing the Sun and Mercury represent the person better than the Venus' aspects with Mars and Pluto.
As well, an aspect between Saturn and Midheaven is most important inasmuch they share a similar "climbing" and goal oriented nature, reinforcing each other.
Venus is anyway strong in your chart and is located in your first house. This means that Venus is well visible as a pillar of your personality, while Saturn, being in the 6th house, is more hidden from view, expressing his traits mostly on the area of work, service, duty, healing, which might be (or become since you are very young) important areas in your life.
Hi, the difference you noticed has to do with daylight saving time. Since you were born in 1953, there are no detailed history for Oklahoma before 1970, as pointed in the page https://www.timeanddate.com/time/change/usa/oklahoma
12andus considered that daylight saving time was observed for your birth date. But this is our best guess, considering that on 19 September falls on the daylight saving time, when observed. This might be wrong for year 1953 in Oklahoma.
Unfortunately before 1970 the daylight saving time was not observed in a systematic way. It depended on the individual states and often on individual cities (in some areas, even individual small towns sometimes applied a different time).
If you know for sure that daylight saving time was not observed when you were born, my suggestion for now is to set your birth date one hour later. Then your Ascendant would be set at 0 degrees in Virgo.
@MMNY I am not sure I understand your question. If you mean how is the dominant planet determined, it's explained in the article itself. For "sign Sun planet" maybe you mean the Sun sign ruling planet, as in Mars for Sun in Aries, Venus for Sun in Taurus, Mercury for Sun in Geminis and so on? The Sun sign ruling planet has a role in determining the dominant planet but among many other factors.
@esdeveras Two and a half months ago we changed the orbs of the aspects, as explained in the blog post
Natal charts, forecast charts, composite and synastry charts on https://12andus.com/blog/view/54659/natal-charts-forecast-charts-composite-and-synastry-charts
In some cases this might have re-evaluated the power of the planets as much as changing the dominant score when 2 or more planets had similar power.
I got Neptune as the dominant. And Jupiter is 2nd. So no surprise there.
But I expected Mercury to join in. But instead there is Pluto in close 2nd? Never thought/saw myself as the "power" type. But there it is.
I like peace and harmony and go at it alone when I anticipate resistance or defensiveness in others. I avoid conflict as it is draining. And may even act in secret to advance what I want.
I think Neptune and Saturn are both important, as dominant and co-dominant. Neptune has 9 aspects, but Saturn enjoys aspects with both luminaries (Sun and Moon) as well as with Ascendant and Midheaven.
What made Neptune the most important is your Ascendant in Pisces and the Moon in the spiritual, dreamy Neptunian 12 house.
Love the explanation! Personally, I was surprised that Pluto ranked second in mine (though a very close second) as I’d recognized Pluto as the key player in my personality and actions for years. And I didn’t expect to see Neptune as number 1. Yet, knowing how Neptune operates, I see it now. Maybe it’s a part of the Neptune illusion not to see the influence until it’s pointed out. ;-) But I love the calculator. Thanks for adding it!
In all the astrological consultations that I have had, my dominant planets have been Pluto (for being the most aspected in the astral chart), Venus (for being in conjunction with the descendant) and Jupiter (for being the ruler of my ascendant). However, here you tell me that my dominant is Jupiter only and ignore Pluto and Venus putting them last on the list of influential stars, I don't understand how it can be possible! ... I think you are not taking into account the conjunctions with the ANGLES (in my case Venus in conjunction with my descendant) which is the main factor in determining the dominant planets. You are also not taking into account the most aspected planet, I think you only took into account the ruler of my ascendant (Jupiter) for being in Cancer (exaltation) but you passed everything else.
Our calculator works by considering a number of factors applied to your chart. The most important factors are the aspects. We consider the strength of each aspect by considering the type of aspects, the aspected planet and the closeness to the exact aspect ("orb"). We consider also the distance from the cusp of the house.
Jupiter is set as your dominant planet because it is the most aspected planet including aspects with both luminaries (conjunction to the Sun and quincunx to the Moon), an aspect with an important angle (sextile to Midhaven), a conjunction with Mercury, two oppositions, one to Saturn, the other to Neptune, and a trine also to Pluto. Jupiter is exalted in Cancer and you have also a number of planets in Sagittarius, Pisces and Cancer, which are Jupiter's friendly signs, reinforcing Jupiter's role in the chart.
The number of aspects doesn't guarantee the planet to become dominant because it depends on the other planets involved in the aspect, the type of aspect and the closeness to the exact aspect. However, even in this case Jupiter shines. The planet with most aspects is Jupiter, counting 7 aspects. Pluto has 6 aspects and the distances from the exact aspects are on average quite wide, giving in our opinion less strength to the aspects. Venus has only 4 aspects, and one of them is a semisextile which is considered minor. You are right that Venus before didn't show the aspect with the Descendant, which we show as opposition with the Ascendant. There was a bug that in certain circumstances didn't show such aspect. Thanks for pointing this out to us, we fixed it and also got the chance to update other dominant parameters we were working on since months. Your Pluto and Venus actually got a better score with those changes but still can't be considered dominant according to our method. Some people may even see a different dominant planet after this update.
However, the algorithm will never be perfect and the dominant planet calculation criteria is ultimately a matter of what an astrologer gives importance to. Also, we shouldn't give too much emphasis to the dominant planet as just as we don't give such emphasis to the Sun sign. They are just two examples of the many elements in a chart, which should be seen in its wholeness.
Thanks again, your post was useful for reflecting about this and for working on the algorithm.
Hi, Ivo, thanks for your answer, it really helped me a lot to understand the result. I understand that each astrologer has his perspective and I respect each one of them. I also understand that it is a subjective issue. In my opinion the conjunctions with the angles are the main factor to determine the dominant planet, followed by the most aspected planet and the ruler of the ascendant (only in the case of not having planets in conjunction with an angle in an orb less than 10 degrees ) ... I think that the conjunctions with the angles have more relevance than the number of aspects because the angles are related to the 4 basic questions of the individual: personality (Ascendant), origin (IC), relations (Descendant) and destiny (Midheaven), but as I said, it is a subjective issue. However, there is something I still do not understand. You said I have many planets in Sagittarius and Pisces, but actually I have not any planet in those signs. Sagittarius is my Ascendant and Pisces is my IC, but I don´t have planets there. I would like you to review that detail (if it´s not a problem). Thanks again for having such a complete and friendly page. Big hugs.
right, I used the term "planets" inappropriately. I meant important factors of the chart, including the angles. About the relevance, we do actually give more importance to conjunctions (thus also to conjunctions with the angles), but probably not as much as other sites or astrologers. For instance, for us a trine or square with a tight orb may be stronger than a conjunction with a wider orb. Also, an aspect with an angle for us is almost as important as an aspect with the luminaries. Our orbs are a bit more "generous" than the average and we may see as aspect where other sites don't.
The dominant algo is an infinite work in progress. Since there aren't common rules among astrologers, this is a typical area of discussion. A few users asked me to consider other elements as asteroids, fixed stars and calculated points in inferring the dominant, which they consider having a role in their dominant. We don't exclude to introduce them in the future but probably more complexity would bring even more difficulties in understanding what's important.
You are welcome for your contribution.
This is very interesting. Now my dominant planet, according to your calculations, has changed for the 3rd time. I think it was Venus first, then Pluto, now Mars. Are you still working on your calculations and algorithm?
Hi esdeveres. I see you have been a part of the 12andus community since 2017, so you have witnessed every update about the dominant planet. Well, I guess it "changed" for the 2nd time, if it went from Venus to Pluto and then Mars (yea that's my dominant Moon in Virgo :-)
The first time your dominant was calculated as Venus because we used wider orbs for the aspects. There are different schools of thought pertaining to orbs and we initially endorsed the wider approach. Then when we were about to introduce the text interpretations we realized that the high number of aspects would create an overload of text and we endorsed average orbs. Also, at that time we introduced the graphic charts and with high number of aspects the charts became less readable, especially on mobiles.
Sometimes, when there are 2 or more strong planets in a chart, it is a matter of subtle changes in evaluating the strength of factors as the distance form the exact aspect, domiciles/exaltation, allowed orbs, relationship with angles or other factors to see a different dominant.
About your latest dominant change, Mars and Pluto share a number of factors (for instance Aries and Scorpio both resonate with them) contributing to their score. Mars and Pluto are your dominant and co-dominant, being at the top and having similar energies. Again, we shouldn't tag ourselves with an immutable definition, being the Sun sign, the dominant or any other element.
We don't rule out the possibility of making further changes to the method for calculating the dominant. The best would be to let users choose the parameters and their strength, but this would require a deep knowledge of astrology, which is not always the case among users, and also quite a job from our part. At least for one more year we are busy with further developments but we don't rule out working in the future on that improvement.
sorry there was a typo, now corrected. I meant Mercury is usually considered as ruling both Gemini and Virgo. This is what we also consider. We don't give a special importance to the exaltation versus domicile in Mercury's case for the calculation of the dominant.