What is a dispositor?

A dispositor is the planet that rules the sign another planet occupies. For instance, the dispositor of any planet located in Gemini or Virgo is Mercury because Mercury rules the signs of Gemini and Virgo. If someone has their Sun in Virgo, for instance, we would look to the condition of Mercury in their chart to see how well Mercury can provide for the Sun who is staying in one of his domiciles.

You can think of it as if the planets are visitors staying in different AirBnBs, unless they’re in their own sign and then they are at home. Are the spaces comfortable? Well equipped? Sparse? Dilapidated? The answers to these types of questions depends in part on the condition of the dispositor and how well they are able to provide for their visitors. 


One of our considerations is visibility: can the dispositor see the planet it is hosting or is it in a place of aversion? When the dispositor does not make a sign based aspect to the planet they are providing for, it’s as if they are absent or out of touch with the planet, like an AirBnB host that doesn’t respond to messages. Without visibility, the host planet isn’t as capable of providing for its hostee because they don’t have a direct line of communication. Another way to think about it is that the dispositor is like a boss who works in another city making it more challenging to pop in and float ideas by so that you (planet) can take action or ask for the things you need.

What are the lines of visibility? If planet and dispositor are in one of the relationships below, a line of sight exists between them.

  • Trines share the same Element (Fire, Earth, Air and Water)
  • Sextiles share the same polarity: + (Fire & Air); – (Water & Earth) 
  • Conjunctions are in the same zodical sign
  • Oppositions are six signs away
  • Squares share the same Modality (Cardinal, Fixed & Mutable)


How dignified is the dispositor? If the dispositor is in their own sign, they are better equipped and more resourced to provide for planets they host.  In addition, we can look at exaltation, detriment, fall, terms, faces, triplicities, phase, speed and position to fine tune a dispositor’s dignity, as well as the planet’s own dignity. I won’t get into it here as it’s a lot to cover; but this is an important consideration in determining the ability of a planet to manifest its symbolism. If you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend Demetra George’s book: Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice or you can read a three part series I wrote on this topic—Part 12 and 3.

Two Case Studies

I’d like you to think back to the beginning of September. When Venus entered the sign of Virgo on the 4th, we had three planets in Mercury’s sign: the Sun and Venus in Virgo plus Mars in Gemini. Mercury is the dispositor of these three planets while they reside in the signs Mercury rules. Mercury stationed retrograde September 9th and provides for these three planets until the Sun enters Libra October 22nd, during which time Mercury will host just Venus and Mars.

Using the boss example (in the visibility section), let’s take a closer look:

  • Mercury retrograde is like a boss who has been tasked to lead an accreditation team. Mercury is involved with a lot of review, reassessing, renegotiating and re-doing in the Libra part of our charts.
  • The Sun and sign that the Sun rules, Leo, is affected by Mercury’s agenda as is Venus and her signs—Taurus & Libra—AND Mars and his signs, Aries and Scorpio.

If you add this up, half the signs are engaging a revisionist agenda at the moment. Have you been feeling a bit in limbo? Rethinking the past? Wondering if you should revisit a decision you’ve made? These are all examples of this influential Mercury Retrograde and its particularly long reach across the sky is playing out right now.

Second Example—Mars

The sign of Scorpio is preparing to receive visitors. Venus, the Sun and Mercury will enter Scorpio the last week of October. To ascertain the quality of time, we look to Mars, the traditional dispositor of Scorpio. We can see that Mars will be moving slowly the end of October as he gets ready to station retrograde on the 30th in Gemini. Mars turning retrograde in the cerebral air sign of Gemini reminds me of the little buffering wheel that appears when a webpage is trying to load but can’t due to overload. There’s a frustration of having to wait or restart in order to proceed.

In addition, Mars in Gemini cannot see the three planets he’s hosting in Scorpio. As a fixed water sign, these planets are motivated by intense connection, heart-to-heart truth and processing deep feelings. All this to say that the end of the month may feel turbulent as a buffering Mars can’t see the planets he’s hosting. The recent compromises, negotiations and peace treaties forged while planets occupied Libra can undergo emotional pushback at this time.

If we know what the quality of time is, we have a better understanding of when to advance our desires and when to allow a bit of flexibility for buffering.

Images from Flaticon