Decanates and Dwads

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To further refine the reading of a horoscope, there is a method called decanates. Decanates (derived from the word "deca" meaning 10) divide each sign (each of which contains exactly 30°) into thirds of 10° each. The ruler of the first 10° of the sign is the ruler of that sign. For example, Aries from 00° to 9°59' is pure Aries, ruled by Mars. The second, or Leo decanate, from 10° to 19°59' Aries, is ruled by the Sun. The third, or Sagittarius decanate, from 20° to 29°59', is ruled by Jupiter. As you can see, each decanate is ruled by the planets associated with the signs of the triplicity (element) — in this case, by the fire sign triplicity of Aries/Leo/Sagittarius.

Thus, a person whose Sun is at 15° Aries will act differently from a person whose Sun is located at 22° Aries. In the first instance, you must add some of the Leo/Sun attributes; in the second case, you look to Jupiter (ruler of Sagittarius) to see what qualities should be added. The following is a table to make decanates easy to determine:












Mars (Aries) Venus (Taurus) Mercury (Gemini) Moon (Cancer) Sun (Leo) Mercury (Virgo) Venus (Libra) Pluto (Scorpio) Jupiter (Sagittarius) Saturn (Capricorn) Uranus (Aquarius) Neptune (Pisces)

Sun (Leo) Mercury (Virgo) Venus (Libra) Pluto (Scorpio) Jupiter (Sagittarius) Saturn (Capricorn) Uranus (Aquarius) Neptune (Pisces) Mars (Aries) Venus (Taurus) Mercury (Gemini) Moon (Cancer)

Jupiter (Sagittarius) Saturn (Capricorn) Uranus (Aquarius) Neptune (Pisces) Mars (Aries) Venus (Taurus) Mercury (Gemini) Moon (Cancer) Sun (Leo) Mercury (Virgo) Venus (Libra) Pluto (Scorpio)

As you can see from the table, the first 10° of each sign have the pure feeling of that sign and its ruler, whereas the next 10° adds a shading of the next sign within the triplicity of the element you are dealing with. The air triplicity is from Gemini/Mercury to Libra/Venus to Aquarius/Uranus. Or, if we start in Libra, the second decanate is Aquarius/Uranus followed by Gemini/Mercury. If you know your elements, you should not have any trouble understanding the principle involved.

In Emily Dickinson's horoscope (Lesson 6 page 76), the Sun is at 17° 53' of Sagittarius; therefore, it is in the second, or Mars-ruled, decanate of Sagittarius. She had more ambition than would at first be noticed by looking at the Sun's sign. With Mars in Aries, she could be quite daring and had plenty of drive, get-up and go. The Moon is at 23° Libra 59'; the ruler Venus is in the 1st house of self-expression in the third/Aquarian/Uranus-ruled decanate. Uranus is in her 3rd house of communication, so it is easy to see why Dickinson felt a need to communicate (3rd house) her own (1st house) feelings (Moon).

One more illustration: Joan Sutherland's Sun is at 14° Scorpio 08', in the second, or Pisces, decanate of Scorpio ruled by Neptune in Leo. To the rather intense and deeply feeling Sun, we add the sensitivity of Pisces. Since Pisces is a mutable sign, we must also blend in the ability to unflex the rather rigid and fixed Scorpio tendency. Her Neptune is in Leo; it is ruled by the Sim, reinforcing the already existing solar tendencies.

You can, of course, use this decanate method with all ten planets. In our teaching we suggest using it as a minimum with the Sun, Moon and Ascendant — these three representing the most important facets of a person.

Review Question: Delineate Hermann Hesse's Sun by decanate. Our interpretation will be found in the Appendix on page 261.


There is another method of sign division, called dwads, an abbreviation for the word Dwadasamas which, loosely translated from the Sanskrit, means duo-decimal or divided into 12ths. This very old system, dating to Chaldean times, focuses on an even narrower area of each planet and permits a yet finer interpretation.

We do not advocate that you use this method for general delineation purposes, but there are instances where dwads can be very valuable — for example, in the case of twins, where there is little difference in the time of birth or planetary positions. The decanate is helpftd, but the dwad can pinpoint the very minute differences.

For your convenience, we have included a complete table of dwads on page 134. The principle is easy to understand: each 2lh° of the sign takes on an overlay of another sign, this time not by element but in the order of the signs of the zodiac. The first dwad of Aries is pure Aries. The next 2V2C dwad adds a nuance of Taurus. The next dwad is Gemini, and so forth through the entire 12 signs. (The first dwad is always the same sign as the actual sign you are considering. The first dwad of Taurus is Taurus; the first dwad of Gemini is Gemini, etc.)

Again, using Dickinson's horoscope, her Scorpio Ascendant was in the Gemini dwad, giving dexterity and an ability to communicate, which reinforced Uranus in her 3rd house. Assume that Emily had a twin sister born 5 minutes later. The Ascendant in this case would be approximately 2Vz degrees later, or at 21° Scorpio 27'. This would be in the Cancer dwad of Scorpio and function on a different level than Emily's Gemini dwad.

Review Question: Delineate the dwads for Farrah Fawcett's Moon and Ascendant. Compare your answer with ours in the Appendix on page 261.


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