Introduction to Rulership & Dignities 2:
Accidental Dignities and Debilities
– written by Philip Graves Dec 26 2003
– reformatted for WordPress, June 9th, 2016
A planet in a chart that by its sign and degree position is not dignified by domicile (rulership), exaltation, triplicity, term or face, and not in mutual reception by rulership or exaltation, is said to be peregrine. DeVore assigns this condition a debility value of -5.
Day and night rulers
Another consideration concerning domicile dignities is that in astrological tradition, the planets from Mercury to Saturn were considered more strongly domiciled in one of their two ruled signs than the other in day-time charts, and in the opposite one in night-time charts, as the following table reproduced from DeVore’s Encyclopaedia of Astrology shows:
|Day Home||Planet||Night Home|
Accidental dignities and debilities
In assessing planetary strength in a chart, there are various other indications apart from the essential dignities that are taken into account on the same evaluative scale used for the essential dignities. A list of most of these follows, categorised into house placements, aspects, and assorted other factors. Some sources also say that a planet is accidentally dignified by placement in the house numerically corresponding to a sign in which it is domiciled.
1. Accidental Dignities and debilities by house placement:
|Dignity or Debility:||Value:|
|Conjunct Ascendant or MC; or in 1st or 10th House||+5|
|In 2nd or 5th House||+3|
|In 3rd House||+1|
|In 4th, 7th or 11th House||+4|
|In 9th House||+2|
|In 6th or 8th House||-2|
|In 12th House||-5|
2. Accidental Dignities and debilities by aspect:
|Dignity or Debility:||Value:|
|Cazimi (conjunct Sun to within 0º17′ orb)||+5|
|Combust (conjunct Sun between ½º and 8º orb)||-5|
|Free from combustion and sunbeams||+5|
|Under the Sunbeams (near Sun between 8º and 17º orb)||-4|
|Besieged by (between; conjunct both) Jupiter and Venus||+6|
|Partile (same degree) conjunct Jupiter or Venus||+5|
|Partile trine Jupiter or Venus||+4|
|Partile sextile Jupiter or Venus||+3|
|Besieged by Mars and Saturn||-6|
|Partile conjunct Mars or Saturn||-5|
|Partile square Mars or Saturn||-3|
|Partile opposition Mars or Saturn||-4|
|Partile conjunct North Node||+4|
|Partile conjunct South Node||-4|
|Conjunct Cor Leonis||+6|
|Conjunct Caput Algol||-6|
3. Accidental Dignities and debilities by other factors:
|Dignity or Debility:||Value:|
|In direct motion (excluding Sun and Moon)||+4|
|Swift of motion||+2|
|Slow in motion (or decreasing)||-2|
|Increasing in light (if Moon)||+2|
|Decreasing in light (if Moon)||-2|
|Oriental, if Moon, Mercury or Venus||-2|
|Oriental, if Mars or Jupiter or Saturn||+2|
|Occidental, if Moon, Mercury or Venus||+2|
|Occidental, if Mars or Jupiter or Saturn||-2|
|Hayz(see below for explanation)||+1|
|In the Term of Jupiter or Venus||+1|
|In the Term of Mars or Saturn||-1|
Planetary strength by house
A planet posited in the house numerically corresponding to the sign of its exaltation is increased in strength. One posited in the house numerically corresponding to the sign of its detriment or fall is weakened by being forced to function in an area of life alien to its general nature.
Houses where a particular planet is strengthened, and thus its functioning facilitated, are called ‘profitable’ or ‘auspicious’ places (originally chermatistikoi topoi); the inverse of this then would be ‘unprofitable’ places, which inhibit its functioning.
Broadly speaking, the most profitable houses are the angular ones. The succedent houses are neutral, and the cadent houses unprofitable, difficult places for planetary functions to thrive.
A secondary consideration moderating the general profitability of each house is that houses in natural trine or sextile aspect to the first house are more profitable than those in natural square or opposition aspect to it, while those in semisextile or quincunx aspect to it are neutral in this regard. Combined with the first rule, this explains the accidental dignity and debility values assigned to each house in general.
A house further increases in profitability if its dispositor is posited in a house that is naturally trine or sextile it, and declines in profitability if its dispositor is posited in a house that is naturally square or in opposition to it.
If a planet dignified by its house placement (in a profitable place) is the dispositor of an undignified house (unprofitable place), this dignity will be weakened. Conversely, if a planet debilitated by its house placement (in an unprofitable place) is the dispositor of a dignified house (profitable place), this debility will be compensated for.
Joseph Crane points out that planets in unprofitable places may be poor influences by a more mundane or material measure, but stimuli to inner spiritual development.
Joys of the planets
Another varied set of indications of accidental dignity has been collectively termed joy.
1. Traditionally a planet debilitated by its own sign placement but relieved by the placement within a sign where it would be essentially dignified of another planet that is essentially dignified in the same sign is said to be in joy. Thus, an essentially debilitated planet is in joy in any of the following three circumstances: (1) the sign of which it is naturally the domicile ruler is tenanted by a planet that is exalted in or the triplicity ruler (for the relevant time of day or night) of this sign; (2) the sign in which it is naturally in its exaltation is tenanted by a planet that is the domicile ruler or the triplicity ruler of this sign; or (3) the sign over which it is the triplicity ruler is tenanted by a planet that is exalted or domiciled in that sign. Any such connection is seen as alleviating the debility of its own placement.
2. An essentially debilitated planet is also relieved somewhat by ‘joy’ when a planet that is the domicile ruler of a sign of either of the elements as the signs it rules itself is posited in a sign of either of these two elements. Thus, the following joys apply:
|Planet||In Joy when||Is posited in Elements|
|Mercury||Venus or Saturn||Air or Earth|
|Venus||Mercury or Saturn||Air or Earth|
|Mars||Jupiter, Sun or Moon||Fire or Water|
|Jupiter||Mars, Sun or Moon||Fire or Water|
|Saturn||Mercury or Venus||Air or Earth|
3. Another criterion for being in ‘joy’ is, for a malefic planet, the placement within one of its essential dignities of the Sun, the Moon or any benefic planet that is afflicted by an aspect from another malefic.
4. A more modern use of the term joy, and probably the most commonly appreciated today, refers to a house placement with which a planet is thought to have a particular affinity. The following matches are observed:
|Planet||House of Joy|
Furthermore, the Sun and Jupiter joy if each is placed in the house in which the other joys; and this rule also applies to Saturn and Mercury as a pair; and to the Moon and Venus.
We now come to the original application of the term ‘face’, as used by Ptolemy. This system closely resembles in its derivation the pattern on which the traditional system of sign rulership is based, but is instead measured by houses and referenced from the houses where the Moon and Sun are posited in the individual chart, rather than from the sign placements of which the Moon and Sun are the domicile rulers in general.
In sign rulership, to recap, Mercury is domiciled in the sign before that ruled by the Moon and the sign after that ruled by the Sun; Venus is domiciled two signs before the domicile of the Moon and two after that of the Sun; Mars is domiciled three signs before the domicile of the Moon and three after that of the Sun; Jupiter is domiciled four signs before the domicile of the Moon and four after that of the Sun; and Saturn is domiciled five signs before the domicile of the Moon and five after that of the Sun.
The Ptolemaic faces, in contrast, dignify Mercury when posited one house before that tenanted by the Moon or one house after that tenanted by the Sun; Venus when posited two houses before that tenanted by the Moon or two after that tenanted by the Sun; Mars when posited three houses before that tenanted by the Moon or three after that tenanted by the Sun; Jupiter when posited four houses before that tenanted by the Moon or four after that tenanted by the Sun; and Saturn when posited five houses before that tenanted by the Moon or five after that tenanted by the Sun. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, it would seem reasonable to suppose that this house-based face dignity is worth +1 just as the sign decanate faces are.
Ancient astrology classifies the luminaries and planets into diurnal (Sun, Jupiter and Saturn, in descending order of ‘diurnality’) and nocturnal (Moon, Mars, and Venus, in descending order of ‘nocturnality’) ones. Mercury is diurnal if rising before the Sun (positioned earlier in the zodiac than the Sun); nocturnal if rising after the Sun (positioned later in the zodiac than the Sun).
There are three criteria for being ‘in sect’, which is another indication of a planet being comfortably, harmoniously posited, so it resembles in effect an additional set of dignity criteria. Depending on how many of these criteria are met, planets in the chart will be to varying degrees in or out of sect. Being very much in sect supports the general diurnal or nocturnal nature of the planet concerned, allowing it to fit into its environment easily and be strengthened in its typical qualities; while being very much out of sect goes against the general diurnal or nocturnal nature of the planet concerned, leaving it ill-accommodated to its environment, and weakened in its typical qualities.
Diurnal planets are better supported when (1) in day-time charts; (2) on the same side of the horizon as the Sun; and (3) in masculine (positive) zodiac signs. Nocturnal planets are better supported when (1) in night-time charts; (2) on the opposite side of the horizon from the Sun; and (3) in feminine (negative) zodiac signs.
Where all three sect criteria are met, a planet is said to be in hayz. Where none of them are met, it is set to be ‘out of sect’, and is considered debilitated to the equivalent extent that it would be dignified if in hayz.
To fulfil the second criterion, that of the appropriate side of the horizon to be on relative to the Sun, in a day-time chart (when the Sun is above the horizon), the diurnal planets are in sect when above the horizon, and the nocturnal ones are in sect when below the horizon; and in a night-time chart (when the Sun is below the horizon), the nocturnal ones are in sect when above the horizon, and the diurnal ones are in sect when below the horizon.
According to one authority, Dr. J. Lee Lehman, when Venus, which by its general nature is only weakly nocturnal, is oriental (rising before the Sun), it tends, in common with Mercury, to become more diurnal in nature; and when it is occidental (rising after the Sun) it tends to become more nocturnal in nature. Lehman, like Robert Hand before her, also casts doubt on the significance of the third criterion for being in sect, that of sign placement.