Essential Dignities

Essential Dignities

Essential dignities refer to a planet in a sign and whether the planet is well placed in that sign or not.

The table below I created from information found in the (Arguably the greatest astrology book of all time) Tetrabiblos by Claudius Ptolemy. Any errors are my own.

Initially we are concerned with Rulership, Exaltation, Detriment and Fall.

 

Rulership

When a planet is in it’s own sign it is in dignity. A planet functions well here as its urges are in line with the sign. A planet here can most easily express itself.

Example: Venus in Libra (Relating & partners)

Exaltation

When a planet is in the sign of its exaltation it functions well and is in line with the sign meaning. A planet in exaltation expresses intensity of energy.

Example: Saturn in Libra (Responsible & balanced).

Detriment

When a planet is in the sign opposite its dignity it is in its detriment. This is not a good placement for the planet as its urges can be surpressed and thwarted.

Example: Mars in Libra (needs independence vs. needs of others). 

Fall

When a planet is in the sign opposite its exaltation it is said to be in its fall. This is a difficult placement, as the planet will struggle to reach its full potential here. A planet here is weak.

Example: Sun in Libra (Individual’s needs vs. partner’s needs).

Peregrine

A planet is peregrine when it does not have any essential dignity. This imparts a neutral energy.

Example: Moon in Libra (but not when the Moon is at 0-9 degrees Libra = face)


 

Note for the purists A planet is peregrine when it does not have any essential dignity by rulership, exaltation, term, face, detriment or fall.


 

The Dispositor Tree

The Dispositor Tree

Dispositor Trees Your Chart’s Backstory There are many techniques that you can use to read a chart and one method that I particularily enjoy is the dispositor tree. Your dispositor tree shows the back story and how the energy is flowing behind the scenes of your...
Lunar Phases

Lunar Phases

The Lunar Cycle The Sun and Moon’s synodic cycle The Moon takes one month to orbit the Earth. The Moon phase cycle starts at New Moon when the Sun and the Moon are conjunct. This happens once every month. At New Moon we can’t see the Moon when it is close to the Sun...
5 Tips on How to Read a Birth Chart

5 Tips on How to Read a Birth Chart

by Alison Price

Introduction

Every time you attempt to read a chart there are so many things to look at it can be daunting.

Here I have brought the essence of chart reading down to five features to consider. These are things you will always consider when doing any chart reading. If you practice this type of high level chart your interpretation you will get to the heart of your chart reading soon.

These five tips will sharpen your focus so you don’t go off at a tangent or wander down a chart reading back road.


1 – The Dominant Broad Stroke

The dominant broad stroke refers to the background feel for a chart shown by the quantity of plan at and their distribution throughout the char. It does not consider individual planets.

You count the visible planets only and this will always add up to seven. The seven visible planets are the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

The broad strokes that you count are:

  • The two polarities of active and passive.
  • The four elements of fire, earth, air and water.
  • The three modes of cardinal, fixed and mutable.
  • The four hemispheres of north, south, east and west
  • The four quadrants numbered first, second, third and fourth.

In all of this find the highest possible number and focus on interpreting that broad stroke.

2 – The Chart Ruler Complex

The chart ruler is the planet that rules the sign on the ascendant. If it is one of the three signs with two rulers (Scorpio, Aquarius or Capricorn) then look at both rulers.

Look closely at this planet and discover it’s message. Understand this planet by sign, house and any aspects it receives in the chart.

It is strong if it is in its own sign or in exaltation. Or in other words if it has essential dignity.

It is strong in accidental dignity which is the natural house of its sign. So for example, Mars in the eighth house is strong because Mars rules Scorpio the natural eighth sign.

Notice if it rules the hemisphere, quadrant or house it tenants.

If it has only soft aspects it is supported but if it receives only hard aspects it is afflicted. A combination of both is neutral.

See if it dominates the chart by being most elevated, oriental, the final dispositor or is it in an angular house (first, fourth, seventh or tenth). These positions add weight.

See of it forms part of a major aspect pattern and if it dominates the pattern. This placement adds weight.

Check if its motion is direct, stationary or retrograde. being direct adds weight and retrograde detracts.

3 – The Sun Complex

Understand the Sun in the chart by sign, house and any aspects it receives.

Fully explore the message of the Sun in the chart.

4 – The Tightest Aspect

To find the tightest aspect you have to consider the aspects between the planets and the orbs.

Look for aspects between the planets and not the points. The planets to consider when looking for the tightest aspect are; the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Chiron.

Do not consider any points like the Ascendant, the Midheaven, the lunar nodes or the part of fortune etc.

I also do not consider the asteroids unless you use them in your daily astrology practice. If not then ignore asteroids including Ceres.

Only look for the five Ptolemaic aspects which are the conjunction, sextile, square, trine and opposition.

Find the aspect with the tightest orb which should be 00 00′. See which aspect it is and understand the meaning of this aspect. look at the two planets in the aspect and how they will work together in this chart and in this aspect.

Check the house and signs that the tightest aspect lies over and understand what this means.

5 – The Prominent Major Aspect Pattern

You need the find the most dominant major aspect pattern in the chart.

Some charts may not have a major aspect pattern. And if so then skip this step. Major aspect patterns in order of importance are:

  • Grand crosses
  • Grand trines
  • Stelliums
  • T-squares
  • Kites
  • Thor’s hammers
  • Yods
  • Quintile pointers
  • Mystic rectangles
  • Crosses of David
  • Rosettas

If there is more than one major aspect pattern of the same type, say you have three T-squares, then find the tightest orbed T-square, the non-disassociate T-square and the one that includes the chart ruler, the Sun or the final dispositor.

Find this major aspect pattern and fully understand the planets involved in it by sign, house and essential dignity.

 

Use these 5 tips to help you read a chart quickly and easily.

 


 

Basic Chart Interpretation – Step 2 – The Physical Chart

Basic Chart Interpretation – Step 2 – The Physical Chart

by Alison Price

This post is part of a series on basic chart interpretation and how to read a natal chart. The other steps are listed below and will be developed soon.

Step 1 – The birth chart data – time, date and place.

Step 2 – The physical chart – printing and highlighting main features.

Step 3 – Preparing for the interpretation – margin notes

Step 4 – Your interpretation – detailed notes


The Physical Chart – Printing and Highlighting Main Features

This time I going to share with you some of my process and the focus will be on the natal chart. I will answer the following questions that plague new astrologers.

 

Once you have the chart cast what do you look for? What is important? What is not worthy of consideration and where do you start?

 

The image below is of a chart for Rosie and she is one of my clients. I have not shown the chart details that is; the time, date and place as that is not important.

What we are going to be looking at is how to prepare a chart for reading after you have printed it out and before you start.

This is like step 2 of the natal chart reading process.

 

What to Print

In Solar Fire or your other astrology program print a chart with a half aspectarian in the corner as shown above. This is a standard chart so you should have no problem doing this.

House Rulers

Write the house rulers against every house cusp. Start at the ascendant and in this chart (above) I have written Jupiter/Neptune and drawn a bubble around them at the house cusp.

Quadrant and Hemispheres

Draw a circle in the top right of the page. Draw a cross in it with one horizontal line and one vertical line.

This shows the four quadrants (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th) and the four hemispheres (north, south, east and west).

Only counting the visible planets from the Sun to Saturn count how many planets are in each quadrant.

In this chart there is one planet in the first quadrant (Saturn), two planets in the second quadrant (Jupiter and Venus), three planets in the third quadrant (the Sun, Mars and Mercury) and one planet in the fourth quadrant (the Moon).

Elements and Modes Table

Draw a table of four columns and three rows.

On the top label the columns F (fire), E (earth), A (air) and W (water). On the side label the rows C (cardinal), F (fixed) and M (mutable).

Add the number of visible planets (the Sun to Saturn) and write the quantity in the appropriate cell in the table.

Add up each row and column. The total will always be seven.

Chart Ruler

Find the chart ruler which is the planet or planets that rules the ascendant sign. In this case, it is Pisces so the ruling planets are Jupiter and Neptune. Colour in each instance of the ruling planets in yellow.

Major Aspect Patterns

Find all the major aspect patterns.

In this chart there is a stellium of the Sun, Neptune and Mars and a Moon yod of Mars, Pluto and the Moon.

Bracket the stellium and highlight in red so you can see it easily.

Colour the yod in green to relate to the quincunx colour which is green.

The idea is to bring forth the main features of a chart through the use of colour so you can easily see the main points when you pick up this chart again next month.

If you are reading many charts a week you do not have time to reread each chart to discover the main threads. they should be highlighted the first time around.

Most Elevated

Note the most elevated planet in this case it is Mercury (although I originally noted Mars in the drawing and I can’t change the image.

Oriental Planet

Note the oriental planet in this case it is Venus.

Lunar Phase

Note the lunar phase in this chart for Rosie it is a gibbous Moon phase.

Essential Dignity

Find the essential dignity of the planets and write the score on the left of the aspectarian. the aspectarian is the triangle-shaped grid at the bottom left of the chart.

In this chart we note that Mars gets a score of -5 for being in Libra and Venus of -4 for being in fall in Virgo.

Mutual Receptions

Note all mutual receptions in the chart. Interestingly enough in Rosie’s chart there are two mutual reception pairs, Mercury and Venus are the first pair and the Moon and Jupiter are the second.

On the back of the natal chart page you will also draw the dispositor tree using these handy mutual receptions as your start.

Alison


Watch the video about highlighting a birth chart as part of your chart preparation process.

Note that it refers to another birth chart but show sthe process that you will use for every chart you cast.