Book Reviews

Rulers of the Horoscope

Alan Oken


Intermediate to Advanced


Modern, Esoteric Astrology with a few twists


Placidus, Koch

Not a Bedtime Read

Rulers of the Horoscope is the kind of book that would have made me feel rather overwhelmed back when I was an astrology student. It’s a deep dive into the dispositors of the chart aka a very cool, slightly convoluted way of determining planetary strength. I’d advise keeping a pen and paper handy or your notes app on your device open while reading this. It is definitely not a bedtime book!

In our little planet-gazing niche of the world, Alan Oken is a renowned author of esoteric topics, including numerology and tarot, but astrology is where he has been most prolific. ‘Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology‘ was the first encyclopaedic astro text I purchased in my student years and I’ve only recently passed it on. It is an epic tome and well worth reading if you are interested in Modern Psychological style astro, and  it was an essential text for my astrology exams! In Rulers of the Horoscope the author narrows his gaze to a steely glare on delineating the dispositors of the chart. Not all planets and points are equal, and this book sets out to show how and why.

Between the Covers

If you lack planets in rulership and are a tad sensitive to the concept and use of of Essential Dignities in judging a planet’s strength or lack of, this may not be the book for you. However if you are a fan of Modern Psychological or Esoteric astrology, or prefer using the natural chart, once very popular with the Pluto in Leo (Baby Boomer) generation of contemporary astrologers, then maybe give it a go. The natural chart, aka the 12 letter alphabet, aka Aries = 1st house = Mars, is a point of contention in astro circles, or maybe just astro-Twitter, particularly with the revival of traditional astrology in the last couple of decades and the resurgence of interest in astrology by the Pluto in Scorpio & Sagittarius crew aka Millenials and Zoomers.

Oken uses both traditional and modern dignities throughout the book, and considers Pluto to be a co-ruler of Aries. Interesting concept, and not one that sits comfortably with many, but astrology is an ever evolving education, no matter how experienced you are. Rule #1 of astrology could perhaps be never say never. Sometimes all it takes is one good argument or concept making complete sense to you and completely changing the way you look at a chart. Tread your own path and do your own research would then be Rule #2.

As with most astrology books published in the mid to late 20th century (this copy was published in 2000), Rulers of the Horoscope contains the standard cookbook style of chart interpretation throughout, but it is juicy and well-considered. The example charts are outstanding and diverse, I had sticky notes all over the place so I could flick back and forward, which was not really necessary as Oken considerately reminds the reader of which page you will find the chart he is discussing.

Overall Rulers of the Horoscope is an interesting, well written astrology textbook. Oken doesn’t dumb it down, nor does he lecture you on why his style is the one true and correct way to do astrology. If you want an in-depth look at the Ascendant ruler in the houses, the traditional and modern planets in the houses and how to weight the chart in a Modern Astrological style, this book is a must buy.

Alan Oken has an excellent, easy to navigate website (no pop ups!!) here if you would like to check out his extensive collection of resources –

Must. Own. Rulers of the Horoscope

Rulers of the Horoscope is currently still in print and available at Book Depository, and Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions, very reasonably priced too! I borrowed my copy of this book from my local astrology association pre-Covid and it was a timely loan. There will be a copy of this book available at the Astro*Ed Lending Library, coming soon for Aussie astrologers.

Happy astro reading!

Planets, Signs, Houses, Aspects, Qualities, Elements, Gender, Planetary Strengths & Weaknesses

Planetary Dispositorship, Mutual Reception. Final Dispositor in Natal Charts

House Dispositorship & Planetary Rulers

The Ruler of the Horoscope & Its Dispositor, Sign on the Ascendant & Delineation, Ascendant Intent & Theme,  Essential Meaning of the Ruling Planet

The Ruler of the Horoscope & Its Aspects

Summary of Rulership & Planetary Compatibilities

Placement of the Rulers in the Houses

Excellent index

Excellent references and end notes for each chapter


This is not a gentle intro into a modern style of delineating astrology charts. If you are not astro-fluent, give it a miss until you are. I’d also suggest if you are on a journey of self-discovery, or still using your own chart as a reference point in your astro education, you will fall into a hole here, so should perhaps wait until you are ready to research the techniques offered before diving in.

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The Crossing Press

Freedom, California


I’m not clever enough to sort how to get money or perks from any endorsements I make on this blog. It’s all for the love of astrology and books. Enjoy!

This book review was originally posted on the stellarleeastrology blog