What is Essential Dignity?
Essential dignities refer to a planet in a sign and whether the planet is well placed in that sign or not.
What Planets to Consider
Traditionally, we usually only look at the visible planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) when assessing essential dignity.
However, you can also consider the modern planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) if you use these planets in your daily practice.
Four Essential Dignity States
Initially we are concerned with the essential dignity states of Rulership, Exaltation, Detriment and Fall.
Essential Dignities Table
The table below I created from information found in, arguably the greatest astrology book of all time, Tetrabiblos by Claudius Ptolemy. Any errors are my own.
Rulerships are listed in the red column in the table.
When a planet is in its own sign it is in dignity or rulership.
A planet in rulership gains 5 points.
A planet functions well in rulership as its urges are in line with the sign. A dignified planet can most easily express itself. It can work at 100% of its meaning.
Example: Venus in Libra (Relating & partners).
Rulership Person Example
A planet in rulership is like the owner of a home. They can do what they like and have full access to every nook and cranny of the home.
Planets in Rulership
This is a list of all the planets in their rulership. Check your chart for planets in rulership and note they get 5 points.
- Sun in Leo
- Moon in Cancer
- Mercury in Gemini or Virgo
- Venus in Taurus or Libra
- Mars in Aries or Scorpio
- Jupiter in Sagittarius or Pisces
- Saturn in Capricorn or Aquarius
Planets in Exaltation
The blue column lists the exalted palents. Exalted planets get 4 points.
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.
Exalted Person Example
An exalted planet is like an invited guest to your home. They are like visitors who come for tea or the babysitter who uses the kitchen and can make a meal if they want.
They have access to many things, but they will not just start to paint the basement or take a shower.
An exalted planet is welcomed into the sign by the sign ruler.
Example: Saturn in Libra (Responsible and balanced).
The planets in exaltation are listed below. Check your chart and give exalted planet 4 points.
- Sun in Aries
- Moon in Taurus
- Mercury in Virgo
- Mars in Capricorn
- Jupiter in Cancer
- Saturn in Libra
Planets in fall are shown in yellow in the table.
When a planet is in the sign opposite its exaltation it is in its fall. A planet in fall gets a score of -4.
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).
Fall Person Example
A planet in fall is like the lawn guy or the pool guy. They come onto your property and attend to the outside, but they do not come into the home. They are not really welcome and you probably know their name but that’s about all.
These people are tolerated and planets in fall are tolerated by the sign they are in and the sign ruler (host) itself.
Planets in fall are listed here. Check your chart and give fall planets a score of -4.
- Sun in Libra.
- Moon in Scorpio.
- Mercury in Pisces.
- Venus in Virgo.
- Mars in Cancer.
- Jupite in Cancer.
- Saturn Aries.
Detriment planets are shown in the green column in the table. Planets in detriment get a score of -5.
When a planet is in the sign opposite the sign of 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).
Detriment Person Example
A planet in detriment is like the garbage truck guys. They attend to the property, but do not enter the house. They will not enter and are probably not welcome to just pop in for tea.
The planet in detriment is not really welcomed into the sign by the sign ruler (the host).
This lists all the palents in detrimen. Check your chart and these planets get a score of -5.
- Sun in Aquarius
- Moon in Capricorn
- Mercury in Sagittarius or Pisces.
- Venus in Aries or Scorpio.
- Jupiter in Gemini or Virgo.
- Saturn in Cancer or Leo.
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A planet is peregrine when it does not have any essential dignity. This imparts a neutral energy.
A peregrine planet gets a score of 0 (zero).
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.
Essential Dignity Example Chart
Let’s have a look at an examole chart to discove some basic essential dignity.
The chart we are using is Beyonce, 11:15am, September 4, 1981, Houston, Texas, United States.
Beyonce’s Essential Dignity
Here I am only considering the four main parts of essential dignity , so dignity, exaltation, fall and detriment. I am only considering the visible planets.
The Planets Score
The Sun in Virgo gets a score of 0.
The Moon in Scorpio is in fall so gets a score of -4.
Mercury in Libra gets a score of 0.
Venus in Libra is in dignity so gets a score of +5.
Mars in Leo gets a score of 0.
Jupiter in Libra gets a score of 0.
Saturn in Libra is in exaltation so gets a score of +4.
The top planets in this chart in order of importance are as follows:
- Venus +5
- Saturn +4
- Moon -4
High Focus Planets
What you do now is focus on understanding Venus and Saturn first, These are dominant planets in her chart and need to be thoroughly unpacked.
If this was your client you need to dig deep into these planets first as they are strong in the chart.
You can confidently lead the discussion with Venus and Saturn and their planetary complexes as she will be aware of these strengths already.
Note the Moon in Scorpio is in fall and cannot work well to its full potential.
The Moon will probably not be a huge influence in her life, but is can provide insights into where she retreats to when her feelings get hurt or how she reacts when she feels threatened.
This is a dynamic Moon placement and, as an astrologer, you would want to tread carefully here.
I would not lead the conversation with the Moon.
Alison Price: Astrology Coach
Alison wants to help you uncover your individual creativity and lead a fulfilling life using your own astrology. She shares her wisdom from the heart with a touch of humor.
If you’d like to get in touch with Alison, you can reach out to her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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