Number Theory of Astrology

In an earlier post, I had described how to evaluate a chart in terms of the balance of elements. You can go beyond this, to get an even better impression of the horoscope. The way to do this is to assign a point score to each sign when it is occupied by a planet, and then rank the signs by point totals. The higher the point total score for the sign, the greater its importance in the life. This is horoscope number theory!

How to assign a point score to a sign? It’s pretty simple. First, we assign points to the luminaries and the inner planets, and count them toward the sign in which they are placed. The Sun and Moon get the highest points, since they are the most important planets in life development and sustenance. Then come Mercury, Venus, and Mars, which take the primal energies of the Sun and Moon and manifest them through the principles of conscious thought, relationship, and assertion.

The actual point values can be whatever you feel is appropriate, since we are ultimately interested in the relative importance of the signs. For purpose of illustration, I will chose 6 points each for the Sun and Moon, and 3 points each for the inner planets. This means, if the Sun is in Gemini, say, then Gemini gets 6 points.

What of the social planets Jupiter and Saturn, and the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto? Since these planets have longer orbital cycles, staying in the same sign for increasingly long periods, they don’t have an immediate personal impact through their sign placement. However, they will be assigned points through another means, which makes for an interesting twist.

The twist is this: we additionally assign points to all the planets according to their house placement, by equating the house to its corresponding natural house sign. So the 1st house naturally equates to Aries, the 2nd house to Taurus, and so on. Since this is sign placement by proxy, I will assign 3 points each to the Sun and Moon for sign-by-house (instead of 6 points for direct sign placement), and 1 point each to Mercury, Venus, and Mars. For example, is the Sun is in the 2nd house, the natural 2nd house sign of Taurus will get 3 points.

Now here is where the other planets make an entrance. Since the horoscope is constructed for the time and place of birth, and will vary widely even for people born on the same day in different locations or at different times, the house placements of the other planets will be highly individualized. So we can bring in Jupiter through Pluto, and assign points to each. The outer planets are the heaviest hitters, and have an outsized influence on the personality, so I am going to assign 3 points each to the house placement of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. To Jupiter and Saturn, I will assign 2 points each to house placement.

Here’s a summary for all point assignments, for pure sign placement and sign placement by proxy via house placement.

PlanetSign PointsSign-By-House Points

Let’s apply what we have so far on a sample horoscope. Below is a chart cast for Jan 1, 2000 at 3:00 pm in Chicago, USA.

The following table summarizes the point contributions by sign:


And this next table summarizes the point contributions to sign by proxy via house:

PlanetHouseNatural SignPoints

Finally, here’s a table with total point scores for each sign. I have only listed signs that have a positive score.

SignPlanets by SignPlanets by House ProxyTotal Point Score
VirgoMoo (3), Ven (1), Plu (3)7
LibraSun (3), Mer (1)4
ScorpioMoo (6)6
SagittariusVen (3)Ura (3), Nep (3)9
CapricornSun (6), Mer (3),Mar (1)10
AquariusMar (3)Jup (2)5
PiscesSat (2)2

Let’s do a final tally of signs ranked in importance by score:


Capricorn is the sign that leads them all, followed closely by Sagittarius. Virgo, Scorpio, Aquarius and Libra all have a role to play. Pisces is definitely in there, even though it only has a score of 2.

It is equally important to note which signs are not represented at all. These signs will find little or no expression in the life above the exhibition of their characteristics by the average person. In other words, others won’t see any noticeable show of those character traits.

This is a fun activity you can perform on your horoscope, and should give you a useful snapshot of your own predilections.


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The Puzzle Master

Will Shortz has been the crossword editor at New York Times for 30 years. He is the most celebrated puzzle maker in the world. When