Sects; even in astrology

I really, really like traditional astrology. Perhaps the reason behind it could be that my teacher also preferred traditional astrology and would often mention extra material to us.

I really liked the fact that astrology is so deep and wide, and it made so much sense. By examining the nature of the planets, we can easily divide them into different groups and one of those groups is a sect.

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Sects I will talk about will be night and day sects and you will notice the logic behind it. Day sect is called diurnal and night sect is called of course nocturnal.

The word sect is a literal translation of the original Greek term for the concept, hairesis (αἵρεσις), which was used to refer to a philosophical “school” or a religious “sect”. It implies the notion of a group or faction of people who adhere to a specific doctrine.
Within the context of astrology, the doctrine of sect is used in order to divide the planets into two “teams” or “sects”. There is the daytime or diurnal sect which is led by the Sun, and then a nighttime or nocturnal team which is led by the Moon. The other traditional planets are then divided between the day and night sects, with Jupiter and Saturn joining the Sun as daytime planets, and the Venus and Mars joining the Moon as nighttime planets. Mercury is said to be neutral, and capable of joining either sect depending on certain conditions.


Traditionally it is said that planet who is in it’s own sect and luckily in it’s own sign or exaltation would achieve better results, but I would argue that only the way of delivery is different which doesn’t necessarily make it good or bad.

Day sect is lead by the Sun and night sect is lead by the Moon. Both sects have benefics and malefics on their team, but day sect does get both greater benefic Jupiter and greater malefic Saturn.

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One may wonder how come Saturn is even a day planet? Well because Saturn’s nature is already dry and cold. Putting him below horizon or where he is not warmed by the Sun rays would only worsen him.

Same remedy could be applied to lesser malefic Mars. He is simply too hot and should be put below horizon or away from the Sun rays to lessen his intensity.

Let’s see what the scheme tells us.


DIURNAL or day planets:

  • Sun
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn

NOCTURNAL or night planets

  • Moon
  • Venus
  • Mars

Both or neutral:

  • Mercury

As always, Mercury stays neutral in the whole story, so it really doesn’t matter if your Mercury is above or below horizon.

If we were to apply this in one’s chart, we would have to ask questions like:

  1. Where is the Sun (diurnal planet), above or below horizon? (Horizon is that half line between ASC-DC in your chart, one that serparates your MC from your IC)
  2. Is the Moon, noctural planet above or below horizon?

and so on.

Let’s find some examples from Solar Fire database. For the start I will search for personas who have Sun above horizon, preferably in it’s rulership or exaltation.

In this chart of a famous painter we can see exalted Sun above horizon, right on the MC – the highest point in the sky. This definitely points to pioneering in some field, ruled by noctural planet Mars in the artistic sign of Taurus. He truly was a pioneer in the field of Dada movement and surrealism. Interesting thing to say is that he was very inspired by visiting mental asylum hospitals and works of mentally ill patients.

What is also interesting here is that Sun and Jupiter are the only diurnal planets who are above horizon. We can clearly see our last diurnal sect planet Saturn below horizon in third house. As we all know already, third house is connected to communication but also our schooling and education (3rd-9th house axis). Max had no formal artistic education. So interestingly enough, Saturn being in DIY crafty and earthy sign of Virgo he definitely found an alternative way of learning and perfecting his craft.

His life wasn’t particularly easy either. Having faced two wars in his lifetime, he finally settled in Sedona, Arizona with his wife Dorothea Tanning (b.Aug 25,1910) on a place that slowly turned into an artist colony after some time they lived there because it attracted many similar souls.

Place was probably very inspiring because he manged to complete his book Beyond Painting while he was there and complete his masterpiece work Capricorn.

Interestingly his Moon sign is Capricorn as well, and just in the middle of being above or below horizon

By this we can definitely confirm that planets in their detriment or wrong sect are not necessarily bad. They just call for alternative solutions and probably harder work than planets in rulerships or their exaltation.

But you will notice if you study challenging planets (those in detriment, fall, in challenging aspects, wrong sect, planets that are singletones or unaspected for example, they always seem to carry some special story and mission behind it.

What was Max Ernst’s mission on this planet? Not sure, but let’s enjoy visionary delight of some of his amazing works.

Happy Saturday, day of Saturn.

Max Ernst - Violette Sonne, c.1962

Max Ernst – Violette Sonne, c.1962

Un caprice de Vénus by Max Ernst
Max Ernst, 'Birth of a Galaxy', 1969 (oil on canvas)

Max Ernst, ‘Birth of a Galaxy’, 1969 (oil on canvas)
Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst with his sculpture, Capricorn, 1947

Dorothea Tanning and Max Ernst with his sculpture, Capricorn, 1947

Wizard Woman, Max Ernst

Wizard Woman, Max Ernst

Not that bad for detriment Moon and only one planet in it’s own sect eh?

Thank you Max Ernst for wonderful works ❤

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