In astrology, each sign is known to have set characteristics which mirror those of the planet which is linked to the sign. This is why we say that each sign is ‘ruled’ by a planet or has a planetary ‘ruler’.
This doesn’t mean however that a sign can’t also be similar in character to other planets which do not rule that sign. On the flipside, a planet that rules a zodiac sign may also have characteristics which are at odds with the tenants of that sign. What happens then? Well, these characteristics are either less important or they could manifest in a negative way.
With this in mind, a planet can be known as ‘debilitated’ or ‘dignified’. There are several different ways that planetary rulership can manifest. One is known simply as ‘rulership’, and the other states are ‘detriment’, ‘exaltation’ and ‘fall’. The final state is something called ‘peregrine’ which is when a planet can’t be classified as any of the other four states.
In the astrology community, there is some disagreement about how important these dignities and debilities actually are, so it is important to take care when using these terms. We should always look at the states of dignities and debilities but we should also do so while also looking at a range of other factors that are part of an overall astrological report.
Rulership is the term we use when a planet is located in the sign it rules and this can also be known as being in its domicile or home. This means that the characteristics of the sign and planet are perfectly in tune and bring a balanced and harmonious energy.
When a planet is located in a sign that is opposite the sign of its rulership then it is called in ‘detriment’. This means that there is a negative energy associated with this placement or the characteristics of the planet are weak or don’t have any power.
This is when a planet is in a sign that has a similar nature to it but this is not the ruling planet of that sign. When this happens, we call it in ‘exaltation’ and the planet will take on positive energy and power from this placement.
If a planet is in a sign that is opposite the sign of its exaltation then we call it in ‘fall’. Because the planet is opposite the exaltation, which is positive, it becomes weakened and has a negative energy.
Lastly, if a planet is not in any of the above states then we call it being in a ‘peregrine’ state, or it is sometimes referred to as a ‘peregrine planet’.
This can happen quite often, in about 2/3 of cases and so we need to look at the total picture of the planet at this point, and take note of the aspects it has with other planets and any angles which have an influence.
In modern astrology, we often use aspects and angles more than looking at rulerships and their influence on an astrology chart. It is also worth noting that even if a planet is in detriment or in fall, it can still be a positive placement if it also has positive aspects to other planets.
This means that rulership and debility is important in astrology, but that we also need to look at the bigger picture as well.
Below is a list of the planets and their rulerships:
The Sun has its rulership in Leo and exaltation in Aries. It also has detriment in Aquarius and fall in Libra.
The Moon has its rulership in Cancer and exaltation in Taurus. It has its detriment in Capricorn and fall in Scorpio.
Mercury has its rulership in Gemini and Virgo and its exaltation is also in Virgo. It has its detriment in Sagittarius and Pisces and its fall is also in Pisces.
Venus has its rulership in Taurus and Libra and its exaltation in Pisces. It has its detriment in Scorpio and Aries and its fall in Virgo.
Mars has its rulership in Aries and Scorpio and its exaltation in Capricorn. It has its detriment in Libra and Taurus and its fall in Cancer.
Jupiter has its rulership in Sagittarius and Pisces and its exaltation in Cancer. It has its detriment in Gemini and Virgo and its fall in Capricorn.
Saturn has its rulership in Capricorn and Aquarius and its exaltation in Libra. It has its detriment in Cancer and Leo and its fall in Aries.
Uranus has its rulerships in Aquarius and its exaltation in Scorpio. It has its detriment in Leo and fall in Taurus.
Neptune has its rulership in Pisces and its exaltation in Leo or sometimes Cancer. It has its detriment in Virgo and its fall in Aquarius and Capricorn.
Pluto has its rulership in Scorpio and its exaltation in Aries or Pisces. It has its detriment in Taurus and fall in Libra or Virgo
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