The modern rulers in astrology are Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. They are often not used, and dismissed because they are generational planets. This is fair, as every Scorpio rising within a certain time frame would have Pluto in the same house (depending on which house system you use) or sign, depending on where and when they were born. This is why I use the concept of co-rulers.

Think about it this way, the traditional ruler aligns with the energy of the sign in some way. As does the modern ruler, but in a much different way. For example, Pluto aligns with the destructive and defensive aspects of Scorpio more than we think Mars does. Neptune aligns more closely with Pisces’s dreaminess than when we think of Jupiter. The expression or energy of the sign aligns with the values that we have assigned or observed in that planet. This is the case for both the traditional and modern rulers.

Let’s take a Scorpio rising for example. Scorpio is ruled by both Mars and Pluto. I find that Scorpio risings share a few characteristics, one of which is the need to be physically active or needing to move. It doesn’t need to be strenuous exercise, as this component is largely characterized or “flavored” by the Mars’ sign. Scorpio risings can also be down to be defensive, something not really associated with Mars, but with Pluto. However, this defensiveness is also associated with the Scorpion or water signs in general- that is, using defensive gestures as an offensive measure. This is something both rulers, Mars and Pluto carry out. Granted, they do it in different ways, but this is likely because of the sign that each planet inhabits. Something to be shared for the two rulers though, is that they are both motivators and catalysts for change.

Saturn and Uranus are both rulers of Aquarius. Out of all the modern rulers, I’d say there is one that we have the most debate over, or one that we assign to a modern ruler more than it’s traditional ruler. We as astrologers, or even in popular culture, are more like to associate Uranus with Aquarius than Saturn. We more associate Uranus with the quirky and inventive side of Aquarius than it’s traditional ruler, Saturn. But we’re forgetting one thing- new ideas and invention are needed for change. And they need to be implemented. Something Saturnian energy knows well. So while we associate the planets with very different archetypes and very differently in general, it is important to recognize the validity of both. This is because of Uranus’s association with all things new, new inventions, new technology, and abrupt change. But change happens in both ways. One is abrupt, sure, and this is how we typically think of change. The other is slow. We don’t notice this type of change as much. It happens gradually. For my fellow bad eyesight people, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you don’t have bad eyesight, I’d think of it like a car. You don’t realize, typically, how much a car needs maintenance until it’s time to take it into the shop. The change happens over time, even if the fix can be relatively quick. And this is the relationship between Saturn and Uranus. They work together. The change can be both slow and fast at the same time. Like the car declining or the fixing of the issues. The car can decline over several years in some parts of the engine, but may not need to be changed until one day, and can typically be done fairly quickly. Eyesight can get worse over several years, but can be fixed by a pair of glasses or contacts. Saturn makes plans in it’s home sign of Capricorn, and sets the stage for it. But it implements it in the sign of Aquarius. As does Uranus. They are both changemakers, even in different ways.

The rulers of Pisces, Neptune and Jupiter, share some more similarities I think, than the other two signs. Neptune and Jupiter both heighten things. Jupiter rules two signs (and if you associate houses with signs, then two houses as well), that traditionally tie into religion. Neptune has a close association with spirituality and martyrdom. So how do they differentiate? Neptune has a closer affinity, I think, to Pisces’s dreamy or foggy side. It can make the lines blurred, so to speak. Jupiter doesn’t really do that, it just expands things. For better or for worse.

So with all the confusion and misinformation about rulers and rulerships, the question often comes up, “which ruler do I use?” to which I say, both. Now why use both rulers? Because they both have an impact.

I guess the next question is, how do I use the modern rulers? How do they differentiate from the traditional ones? How are they used in practice? I use the traditional one first- the simple reason being because their cycles are faster, and therefore easier to pin down. People with Scorpio risings take on both Mars and Pluto traits, but are invariably impacted by the sign of their Mars placement. If we were to make a person with Scorpio rising only defined by their Pluto placement, then that would mean that every person with a Scorpio rising would be exactly the same, as Pluto spends years in a sign or house. This is not the case, as we are also affected by our Mars sign. The same goes for the other traditional and modern rulers as well.

So how do we use both in practice? The answer lies by looking at the traditional ruler first, and its’ aspects and story, and then the modern ruler for more background.

The concept about modern rulers being a “higher octave”, means that they embody the attitudes of the sign or modern ruler, but more intense. I don’t know that I subscribe to this theory, but I thought it was worth mentioning if you wanted to read more into it.

Anyways, I hope this helped clear up some confusion about the modern rulers in astrology! Let me know if you have any questions down in the comments. What has your experience with this been?

Some related articles:

Jupiter, Neptune, and Pisces: The power of belief