|AN INTERPRETATION OF THE MAJOR AND LESSER DIGNITIES IN TRADITIONAL ASTROLOGY|
|Together with an understanding on how the planets commit their disposition to each other. And receptions occurring between planets sharing greater or lesser dignities.|
Three articles on technique by : Andrew J. Bevan, QHP, DMS Astrol. (c) 1996-2013
|I )The Meaning
of the Dignities
Introduction - The strongest factor in the chart is always the line that works and the path to be chosen, although with a combination with weaker planets there may be lessons to be learnt. A planet that in any way is dignified in the chart (or delibated), shares these qualities around in the chart. So a planet in its own domicile fortifies its face and terms, etc. in the same way as a planet in its own face offers something back to both the sign it rules and also the sign of exaltation, an so on. If a planet is in several of it's dignities, it is like a double testimony. A planet both in several of its lesser dignities, ie. face, term or triplicity, has a higher position and several credentials. A planet that is located in a sign where it is uncomfortable, i.e. in its detriment or fall, but still is in one of its minor essential dignities, is like a person who has a good reason for appearing in what might be considered 'the wrong place at the wrong time'. I.e. Venus in her own terms in either Aries or Scorpio may be compared with a nurse in the battlefield or at a hospital (surgury) or centre for people in malice. Nurses are beutiful people that bring ease to the ailing.
More about this later, but first get to know more about the general terms. I will try to explain in several fashions. As you work through, try to keep a clear mind and keep things simple. Try to build up your understanding gradually. If you can't grasp it, don't use it;
A Table of general meanings:
Face - A significator appearing in its own face represents someone who behaves with dignity, keeps his poise and makes an acceptable appearance. The person receives a casual, coincidental credit, is admitted on legitimate grounds to appear among audience or peers. Delegate or attendant. Employed or deployed to a subordinate office. Dignity by face indicates the right to be present, to show face and display, but the freedom of speech, exercise of will and scope of performance is limited. Personal opinion is of minor importance since there is a need to submit to order and abide the rules. Knowing ones place. Like holding a tourist visa. The ability to meet formalities and being on safe ground. Receiving preference, sympathy, staying in good word, a coincidental or casual replacement, being there, someone to hold the stand, getting round with a squeal or a single thread. Admit, Ticket holder, Guard, Attendant, Representative, Observer, Witness, Defense, Servant. Proof, Evidence, Authentic and Testimony.
The face is what you see and how something appeals to you. The face of the Moon in Aquarius, a place with a view and an outlook. - 31.Aug 2012
Terms - A significator located in its own terms represents someone with reasonable merit, skill and background within an appropriate field. Understanding. The person is on his own terms, in his own office and administration. Insight and experience. The significator more apt to act because he or she has greater capacity for action. The person has the know-how of the trade. Being in own terms gives capacity for negotiation, to do business and to set the terms. Knowing what one is talking about. More readily qualified or certified. The right to voice an opinion on valid grounds. Performing, doing business and having a good reason for doing so. Being at either the right or wrong place but for a good reason. Being on a mission. Here we have a reasonable stand-in or substitution. Someone who has more than a tourist visa and holds a credible work permit. Secretary, Officer, Administrating or Executive.
The terms describe how something is tooled and how it performs. A planet in the terms of a fortune is amidable and pleasant; a planet in the terms of an infortune is more obstinate, coarse and rugged. (- 31. August 2012)
Triplicities - When a planet in its own triplicity it shows a person who is well set in the world both socially and financially. The person enjoys both funds and means. He or she is resourceful and often well off in a formidable way. Dignity through triplicity shows support and preferment. The signifer will enjoy a circle of friends and be well positioned in the social network. There is comfort and cultivation. This person enjoys not only admittance to the match or concert, but also good seats in the tribune. I have often seen the planet in its own triplicity represent someone who was well off with money. This I reason is because triplicity gives disposition to a chain of three signs, which gives access to resources. Receiving, Familiar, Collective, Respectable, Distributive, Promoting, Access. More...(Link)
Exaltation - The significator in the sign of its exaltation is more exaggerated and has greater pushing power than in any other sign. William Lilly says that in questions of war (combat or competition), exaltation is more forceful and hence better than if the planet was in its own sign. A planet in its exaltation is in its highest ascendant. Exaltation is assertive, aggressive, competitive and conquering. Sudden wealth and fortune may be shown. Again referring to the classics, when a planet is in its exaltation it may represent someone who assumes more than they are due. Hence, exaltation may be both noisy and naughty. The planet by exaltation pushes himself to the front. Loyal to no one but himself. He is apt, skilled and an expert of his trade, but in any sort of relationship beneficial application or reception will show better commitment. Also, the state of the true dispositor and natural ruler of that sign tells the true story of how the exalted planet is working and what lies behind the scenes. Rally, Boil, Peak and Elite.
Natural Sign - if the planet is in its own sign it represents someone of esteem, who is renown, established, king and master or a natural within his field. The person enjoys all rights and full performance. It is a fortunate indication, like a person coming to his own. He is first in line. Calm command and supervision. Wealth and resources. The planet in its own sign is well founded, is stable and has long-term significance. Founder.
II) The Meaning of the Debilities
A significator located in a sign of its debilitation, i.e.. in it's detriment of fall, shows a person in a weak and poor condition and in the midst of trouble. The planet is deprived of its power and command of the situation and is scarcely able to support it self. It is in a poor predicament and in a state of risk or danger. Neither does it have the means to offer anything to those planets that it disposes of. On the contrary, the ill condition of the dispositor of any sign is rather likely to be rather a drag, and a worry and concern to those planets it does dispose. It is like going to a mini-bank only to discover that it has run out of cash. Or, you are invited to a party but when you reach your host's place it is only to discover that the cupboard is bare. Imagine a Bar without any drinks. A debilitated planet is 'Out of Stock'. Whatever is sought according to the planet's natural powers is in lack.
If the aiding planet that promises perfection in any question is in a state of debility, i.e. the significator applies by trine to Jupiter in Virgo, then the matter can only be resolved in an intermediate manner. Because although Jupiter would like to grant wealth and blessings, he is without the resources or means to do so. Any project is likely to be approved of but will be restricted by the funding and a tight budget.
William Lilly says that a planet in his fall or detriment may properly be called the destroyer or obstructer or planet impediting. If the significator is cadent and detriment, he shall not prevail. Ivy Goldstein-Jacobsen says that a significator is in its detriment of fall and especially if afflicted, he is in despair about the matter and is in some danger, indifferently situated, insolvent, and unable to extricate himself unless saved by being in mutual reception.
Please note (my comment): that for
mutual reception to be beneficial in any way, at least one planet has
to be essentially dignified or in a state of comfort, to have anything
to other to the relationship. Also take note of the 'deception' and
'rejection' further down.
Detriment - Occurs when a planet is located in the sign that is opposite to its natural sign. He is in the wrong place and in a place contrary to its essential nature and natural powers. This restricts the planet to act according to its own nature. It is like a football team playing an away match, or in another way, the planet is not in its own home but in the home of its opponent or enemy. When the planet is located in its own sign it is 'King of the Castle' and the person can do as he pleases; i.e. sit on the table, put is feet up or even dispose of chewing-gum beneath the table. But when the planet is in the opposite sign it has to stay on guard and is restricted by the customs of the host.
Bonatus says that when the Lord of the ascendant or the Moon be detriment, such lords of the question abhor the business, nor does the querent love it should be accomplished, but is rather against it. - Bonatus para 77, p 36.
Fall - Lilly says that no planet delights in the sign of its fall, or is able to express the strength of his influence therein. The application of the Moon to a planet in its fall signifies anguish, troubles and delays in the thing demanded. Al-Biruni signs and degrees of fall are regarded as places of dejection for the planets. When in them they are confined and their condition deteriorated. Goldstein-Jacobsen calls it 'a fall from grace' and that the in this condition planet is capable of doing something calling for an apology. Such a person often makes the habit of excusing himself all the time.
Howard Stephen Berg said that while the exaltation is the place where you are super-popular and can do nothing wrong (and even your mistakes take a fortunate turn, i.e. you break something that everyone wanted to get rid of anyhow), then a planet in it's fall is where you are super-unpopular and everything you do is wrong. I imagine this is something like being on visit somewhere and trying to help out in the kitchen. Everything gets put in the wrong place. The host says 'thank you' - but it will be the cause of fret and frustration for the rest of your stay. Berg say that a planet in it's fall indicates a person being in the wrong place at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons.
Dignified, yet in detriment or fall
This condition occurs when a planet is in the sign of its detriment or fall, yet still located in one of its lesser dignities, i.e. triplicity, terms or face. There is a combination of meanings, however the planet is dignified and has access to resources and know-how. The quality of the planet is considerably improved and the person has a mission or a reason for being that place and position:
Mars is both in triplicity and fall in Cancer - he is hindered by infections and affections, but still has still access to a resourceful circle and will 'Send round the Hat' in collection for a good cause. Venus is in her fall in Virgo but rules the triplicity by day, in which case she will offer support in the same manner as Mars in Cancer, although it might involve collecting signatures or momentum for a vote.
A planet in it's own terms but in the sign of it's detriment or fall is a person in the wrong place for the right reason: Mercury in Sagittarius in his proper terms shall be eloquent and learned in the liberal sciences (says Coley). Mercury in his own terms in Pisces will indicate a person knowledgable within symbolism, interpretation and many foreign tongues, or a skilled navigator. Venus in her own terms in Aries is a craftsman, or nurse, or peacemaker in the battlefield; or in Scorpio a nurse, healer, therapist, someone who brings soothing and comfort to people in peril.
A planet in it's own face but in the sign of it's detriment or fall is like a safe haven, a place in exile or an embassy. A place where there is a parting in the clouds and the Sun lets through. There is a testimony of truth to be found in this place and the planet such placed may be an important witness.
Peregrine - A planet is said to be peregrine when he is lacking and has no essential dignities. He is a 'foreigner' and 'outsider' and has no association with the territory (Deb Holding). A peregrine planet is a stranger who cannot be relied upon and when in an angle or the 2nd house in a question of theft he is taken as the significator of the thief. When both Mercury and Mars are peregrine it denotes cheating, says Goldstein-Jacobsen. According to Lilly a planet with essential dignities is like a noble soul that has his enemy in his clutches but scornes to hurt him, while a planet that is peregrine is malicious beyond all expression. He says, 'Confide not trust too much in the assistance a fortune lends, unless he be in essential dignities; for then he performs matters wholly, else by halves.'
On pages 178-180 of Christian Astrology, Lilly does not let Mercury and Saturn reception by face save them from peregrination. The Lord of the asc. out of his essential dignities and cadent shows the querent is out of all hope in his business. (CA page 300, aph 25)
III) How the Planets Dispose and Receive each other and Perform in Reception
1) A planet is colored or tempered by the presence of a second planet appearing in his domicile, invigorated by the presence of a planet in his exaltation, assisted by a planet in his triplicity, alerted by term and colored by face.
2) As guests, the fortunes are to be comfortable with and offer ease and benefit. The infortunes cause discomfort, worry or misfortune.
3) A planet in the dignities of another tells along which line the 2nd planet provides or hosts for the 1st, the 1st planet depending upon the 2nd. The 2nd planet carries and allows for the first.
4) A significator in the dignities of another and in reception by the second planet in appearing in his face, will at any rate receive a face in whatever sign he is located.
5) A significator appearing in the dignities of the other planets, see which planet is in the strongest condition. That is where strength and resources will come from.
6) Planets in receptions support each other, but that planet will not be able to aid if in an ill condition.
7) The planet disposed by the lower dignity will have this condition garnished by the upgrade disposition of the other, i.e. who he may dispose by sign, but he cannot perform beyond the dignities which this second planet holds in the placement of the first.
8) That planet which by 'face' is disposed and receives reception with another planet, is favored and trusted.
9) A planet that by 'term' is disposed and receives reception with another planet, is heard and considered.
10) A planet which by 'triplicity' is disposed and in reception with another planet is accepted and sponsored.
11) That planet which by 'exaltation' is disposed and also in reception with another planet is excited and asserted.
12) That planet which by 'domicile' is disposed and in reception with another planet is respected and given all rights.
Sibly on the Terms
The nearer a planet is in nature to the place of his term, the stronger is his power therein and the more powerfully he will exercise his influences. A planet looses much of its natural vigor in a term contrary to its nature. If an evil planet is in an evil sign and term, its effects are even more mischievous. A planet in its own term, no matter sign, is taken for the principle significator because he has more power therein than the lord or planet that receives exaltation in that sign. But if the lord of the term also be in his own term and sign also, then his strength and energy will be even more considerable. It is a very strong and fortunate testimony when a planet is both in own sign and terms. The debility of a planet is very much lessened when in its own term. A planet in own terms betokens a person to participate in the nature and quality of the planet, rather than in the wealth, power and dignity indicated.
IV) CLASSICAL RECEPTIONS
Two planets appearing in each others lesser dignities implies a finer meaning which may be delineated as below. One planet offers virtue to another planet according to the nature or quality of essential dignity of the second planet, that the first planet is located in.
Face - Face : Sympathy, liking, chemistry, recalling of face, sharing of stalls, favoring, but slight and unfounded, offering a vote but without power or say; Consider nature of relationship.
Face - Term : observation, recognition between speaker and member of the audience, a witness, reference of minor relevance, putting in a good word, passing the instructions to someone present, someone who will negotiate case, deciding the appearance of another, but with limited power for mutual collaboration.
Face - Triplicity : possibility, opportunity, a sympathetic gesture, effort to make a good impression, recommendation, introduction to a social circle, finding a friend, hospitality, stepping stone, being given a leg, receiving a voucher, someone sending round the hat.
Face - Exaltation : making oneself noticed, loud appearance, excitement, encouragement, enthusiasm, demonstrative, boasting, fierce, taking the liberty, substitution, promotion, excess, the claims of a supporter, an unfit match, being on thin ice.
Face - Sign : assistance, improvement, agreement concerning appearances, acting correctly, adequately furnished, pleasing style, having a good and relevant reference, appreciation, welcome, permission, strong and trustworthy representation, loyalty, benefit, backup system, meeting of taste.
Term - Term : agreement, understanding, reasoning, attunement, philosophical, practical, complementary, mutual interests, sharing of work, comprehension, signing of contracts, performing business, positive, settled, apt, on standby, convincing and potent but still needs power and boost from other indications.
Term - Triplicity : valid ideas, talent, early discovery, a co-partner providing means, mutual appreciation, admiration, amendable, easy negotiation, comfort, well-phrased, a satisfactory arrangement, topical issues, creativity, potential, social relevance, meeting useful people.
Term - Exaltation : forceful, potent, business, thrust, speed, impatient, talented, nimble, pioneering ideas, debate, deliberate, sharp, acute, keen, competitive, accentuated, skilled, ambition, express, direct, making oneself heard.
Term - Sign : representation, understanding, a good case, having an agent or spokesman, performance, knowledgeable, truthful, viable reference, skill, good advice, management, acceptance, suitable arrangement, correct design, the meeting of requirements.
Triplicity - Triplicity: prospects, association, practical, support, financial partnership, sharing, amendable, wide agreement, founded, can be funded, gathering of people, attunement, going together, possibilities, looking into, comfort, acceptable backing, social status, friendly rather than affectionate.
Triplicity - Exaltation: enthusiasm, eagerness, keen, hope, expectation, making assumptions, liberty, free spending, optimism, support, promise, sponsored, promotion, reputation, favored, popularity, forwarding close association from club or family, confidence, modern, new, searching improvement, investment, resource, campaign, response, credit, up-grade, good outlook, looking for a good time.
Triplicity - Sign: value, acceptance, alliance, support, safety, on reliable grounds, friend of amiable status, accessible, qualified, on display, in the open, neat, well-planned, cultivated, supplies in stock, quality, several people.
Exaltation - Exaltation: mutually eager, temperamental, passion, accentuated, forceful, reckless, potent, prominent, assertive, in the foreground, ambitious.
Exaltation - Sign: appointed, marshal, executive, deputy, chief, in command, knighthood, prince, potent, promoted, awarded, stardom, favorite, promising, honor, glamour, undeniable, convincing, apt, competitive, resourceful, equipped, armored, ambassador.
There are two other variations that I have been working with since the mid 80's and which Olivia Barclay refers to in her prize-winning book 'Horary Astrology Rediscovered', 1990:
This is a difficult combination of signs between planets that occurs when one planet appears in the dignity of a second planet but is located in the detriment or fall of the first. An example would be Mars in Cancer with the Moon in Libra, or Saturn in Pisces with Venus in Leo. This is the description of an unequal match, because although the one planet may have lots to offer and fortify his comrade, the second planet does nothing but embarrass the first, or put that planet in an awkward predicament. It is an unequal trade, a difficult relationship and like a karmic hang-over.
Is when two planets appear in each others detriment or fall, i.e. Jupiter in Aries and Saturn in Gemini, or Mercury in Cancer and Mars in Sagittarius. Under these conditions the planets 'abhor' each other, perfection is denied and matters are aborted.