What Is This “Sect” Thing Everyone Is Talking About?

If you frequent astrology circles, you may have heard people talking about signs and planets using the word ‘sect’. Sect is an increasingly common framework for understanding the way that signs and planets express their energies.

Sect was a foundational aspect of ancient astrology which largely fell out of use with astrology’s modern revival. But as more and more astrologers are rediscovering traditional techniques, sect is reasserting itself as a deeply powerful way to understand a chart.

What is sect?

Sect, in short, refers to whether something is nocturnal or diurnal. This is also sometimes referred to as “night sect” and “day sect.”

What is it used for?

  • It helps us understand the meanings of signs. Remember how fire and air signs are considered masculine while earth and water are considered feminine? Well, change “masculine” to “diurnal” and “feminine” to “nocturnal”, and you’ve got each sign’s sect. Generally speaking, diurnal signs are about action and external experiences. Libra’s social grace or Aries’s relentless pursuit of their goals are external manifestations of their ruling planets, Venus and Mars, and they have the greatest impact when interacting with the outside world. In contrast, nocturnal signs tend to highlight personal, internal experiences. Taurus’s embodied sense of luxury or Scorpio’s deep, boiling emotion are internal manifestations of Venus and Mars.
  • It helps determine which planets are most important. When interpreting a natal chart, a “night chart”, meaning the chart of someone born at night, means that the Moon takes on an additional layer of importance, and some astrologers even use it almost as a replacement Sun for determining the core of our identity. And in a “day chart,” the Sun takes on even more importance. Generally speaking, you have a day chart if the Sun is in the 12th-7th houses, and a night chart if the Sun is in the 1st-6th houses. If your Sun is close to the Ascendant or Descendant, it gets a little trickier. I’ll explain more in future posts, but for now, use this as your basic guideline.
  • It helps determine which planets can benefit you most. Each traditional planet (so we’re excluding Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) has a preferred sect. The Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn are of the day sect, while the Moon, Venus, and Mars are of the night sect. Mercury, as usual, goes both ways. If you have a day chart, this means that Jupiter is known as your “benefic of sect”, which means the benefic planet that is most favorable to you. Saturn is your “malefic of sect,” meaning that, while it is still malefic, it has less power to do harm and more power to help you. And in this example, Mars would be your “malefic contrary to sect,” or “out of sect malefic.” This means Mars is likely to be a little rougher on you than Saturn.

Of course, there are infinite variables and mitigating factors, but understanding sect as a building block for interpretation will deepen your insight into your chart. In future posts, I’ll go into greater detail about each point. But for now, I want to know:

How do you feel about sect as a concept? Does it resonate with you? 

6 thoughts on “What Is This “Sect” Thing Everyone Is Talking About?”

  1. @Midara I have never heard of this way of interpreting a chart but so excited to learn about it! I think I can resonate with it. I’ll learn more later but I have day chart, with my Sun in the 12th House. So does that mean it holds more importance in my chart than other planets? It is close to the ASC though so it could be trickier as you say. Looking forward to learning more Midara!??

  2. I like it. The way you explained it made things more clear. Most of my chart is houses 1-6. Only 2 outer planets above the horizon.

    Mercury, as always, is very interesting! Both thinking and talking.

  3. I need time to retread and try to absorb,I am pied out.
    I know I am a winter baby so happy when it’s dark cold,most are indoors and that’s when I am out and feel like I own the whole world.i work before 6 till after 6 the dark most,here, are in but again I own the world !

  4. thank you so much for a super clear (& concise!) explanation of this!
    (well, thank you for all your posts in general – i especially love the black moon lilith series!! >insert absurdly long string of heart emojisinsert sparkle fingers<) …….but i find myself in somewhat of a conundrum interpreting my friends chart.

    both her sun and ac are in cancer so the moon is her chart ruler yet… she has a diurnal 12th house sun (born in july, so very much daylight at that time) just 2 degrees north of her ac..

    i know it's all about the chart nuances when it comes to intrepreting a birth chart (& perhaps i missed something in your explanation which would help me here) but i feel quite perplexed here..
    what factors would you generally consider when evaluating dominance of sect vs chart ruler (when the chart ruler is the moon.. in a diurnal chart? or sun, in a nocturnal chart)?
    and how (especially in this case where a sun in moon-ruled cancer, conjunct an ac in moon-ruled cancer, is influenced by a 10th house moon in aries), to get to the crux of the question, would you lean when deciding which benefic to harness, when the native, with all this moon-light, appears to be very much a morning/day person?

  5. thanks for such a clear explanation! i (with a very diurnal sun in 5th house scorpio, ruled by (cancer rising) moon) resonate very much!
    but find myself quite perplexed by a seemingly diurnal chart that boasts a 12th house sun (just 2 degrees north of the ac), when that sun and ac are both in cancer… influenced by a 10th house moon living in aries..
    what factors would you generally consider when deciding which benefic to harness (ie sect vs chart ruler dominance) for a (seemingly morning/day) native illumined by all this moonlight? (or vice versa by a nocturnal chart with leo ac?)

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