The Ruler of the Sun
Both Western and Eastern astrologers look at the planets ruling the sign of
each house cusp, and also look at the sign of the planet disposing (i.e. ruling
the sign of) other planets, but the placement of the ruling planet by house
is also a very important factor.
We can greatly extend our understanding of the meanings of our core energies (represented by the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant) by looking at the rulers of these, our most important points. Not only do their rulers modify their energies, as will be illustrated below, but they also help to reveal exactly where (via the ruler's house position) and how (via the ruler's sign position) their energies will be expressed.
In other words, what distinguishes one Aries Rising person from another is, primarily, the house and sign position of the ruler of the Rising sign. Billy Graham, the famous evangelist, has his Mars, the ruler of his Aries rising, in Sagittarius in the 9th house. What a perfect position for someone who makes his livelihood, and fame, as a preacher. Ringo Starr is a perfect example of a Pisces rising person who, incidentally, has his Jupiter (the classical ruler of Pisces) in both the house and sign of the voice and the arts (2nd house & Taurus). Mary Tyler Moore, on the other hand, becomes perfectly represented (by her chart) as a pioneering single woman in her famous TV role. Why? Because the ruler of her Pisces rising is in the 10th house and in Capricorn!
Similarly, each person's Sun sign (and Moon sign) are strongly affected by the position (by house and sign) of the planet that rules their sign.
For example, if the Sun is in an emotional sign (fire or water) but its ruler isn't, then the individual is likely to be much less emotional than if both are in emotional signs. For example, Roseanne Barr and Shannon Doherty are both actresses with their Suns in the signs of Mars, with their Mars in Capricorn. As a result, neither comes across as "warm and fuzzy" but instead are notorious for their intensity, ambition, feistiness, and criticalness. On the other hand, Michelle Pfeiffer has an Earth sign Sun (Taurus), but its ruler Venus is in Pisces, and so her vulnerability, sensitivity, and tenderness are all too apparent.
When the Sun is in an extroverted sign (Fire or Air sign), but its ruler is in an introverted one (Water or Earth), the outgoing nature is strongly tempered and/or diminished. If the Sun is in an extroverted house, say the 11th, with its ruler in an introverted house, e.g. the 4th, the extroversion will again be strongly tempered.
An outgoing house placement can also bring out a person with an introverted Sun sign. For example, Harrison Ford is known for his preference for privacy in his personal life, which is what we'd expect with both the Sun and its ruler (the Moon) in Cancer. But because both planets are placed in the 10th house, he has risen to the top in his career, and is brought into the public arena almost in spite of himself. The mutual reception of the Moon in Leo in the 11th and the Sun in Cancer in the 10th house again shows Tom Hanks very publically oriented life, more outgoing than the typical Cancer.
To extend these principles further: both Tina Turner's and Jimi Hendrix's Suns are in Sagittarius and are ruled by Jupiters in Pisces in the 8th house, and it's common knowledge that 8th house experiences very strongly shaped both of their lives, and that both had important private lives. And whether you look at Bruce Lee's Tropical Sun's ruler Jupiter in the 6th, or Sidereal Sun's ruler Mars in the 12th, the ruler of the Sun is very challenged, in a house that deals with losses and health issues, and his life reflected these themes, and was anything but peaceful.
One's Moon sign ruler has a tremendous effect on how truly emotional and personal an individual is. Again, like the Sun sign, a difference in the house placement or element will temper or alter a theme. Albert Einstein's Jupiter in Aquarius, the ruler of his Moon in Sagittarius, gave his thirsty-for-exploration Moon more patience, breadth of perception, and objectivity, and certainly enabled his quest for knowledge to be both a personal one, and, a successful one. The additional Eighth house placement of Jupiter ensured that Einstein did not just undertake routine tasks (Moon in 6th house), but instead searched more deeply into the Cosmos.
A final point is that if a planet and its ruler are both in the same element (or signs ruled by the same planet) the emphasis is, of course, magnified.
The congruence of elements between the Moon and its sign ruler, such as Jane Fonda's Moon (in Leo) and its ruler (Sun in Sagittarius) both in fire signs, creates a powerful theme in the person's life. Ms. Fonda is known for her outrageous role in Barbarella, her fiery politics, and her aerobic videos, all fire activities.
And while many Western themes (e.g. the node closely conjunct Pluto) and Eastern themes (South node conjunct the Ascendant, doubly afflicted 8th and 11th houses, Malavya yoga) show Jim Morrison's predisposition to addiction and sensuality, perhaps the rulership by Venus in Scorpio of his very strongly placed Moon in (Tropical) Taurus is one of the best descriptors of Jim's indulgent and extreme behavior.
In sum, while many other factors are instrumental to an understanding a person's chart, the ruler of the signs occupied by the Sun, Moon, and even more importantly the Ascendant, are extremely valuable in extending one's understanding of a chart and can elucidate subtle and not-so-subtle life themes extremely well.
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