Dignities: Planets’ Strengths and Weaknesses Within the Signs
A planet’s effects can be positive, powerful, negative, or hindered. These positions, or planetary dignities, reveal a lot going on beneath the surface.

A planet’s effects can be positive, powerful, negative, or hindered. These positions, or planetary dignities, reveal a lot going on beneath the surface.

If you’re like many young Canadian adults, you probably have a passing interest in astrology. You at least know your Sun sign, but you may have also looked up your chart and know what your planets’ positions mean. Yet there’s always more to learn, right? Based on the signs they inhabit, a planet’s effects can be positive, powerful, negative, or hindered. These positions, also known as planetary dignities, reveal a lot more going on beneath the surface.

What Are Dignities?

In astrology, dignities are simply shorthand for each planet’s strengths and weaknesses. Writing at The Tarot Lady, astrologer Theresa Reed discusses how dignities work. All the zodiac signs and planets have their own unique energies. These energies can blend harmoniously or clash horribly. Sometimes they enhance each other to produce powerful results. At other times, a zodiac sign’s energies diminish a planet’s nature like water being dumped onto a fire.

Dignities are these specific energy combinations. Meanwhile, a planet is said to be peregrine when it doesn’t possess any dignities at all. A peregrine state doesn’t inherently have positive or negative effects since the planet’s and sign’s influences don’t impact each other in any extreme ways.

Domicile: A Planet in Its Home Turf

Each zodiac sign is ruled by at least one planet. You can think of that sign as the planet’s “home base,” but astrologers refer to the planet as being in domicile or ruler-ship. Thanks to their compatible natures, these energies blend successfully and result in positive, natural impacts. For instance, someone with a natal Mercury in Virgo is an adept communicator with a quick intellect and ability to work with large amounts of information. Astrostyle offers a helpful list of ruling planets and their corresponding signs.

Detriment: Walking on Shaky Ground

When a planet’s in the zodiac sign opposite its domicile, astrologers say that it is in detriment. This position creates an awkward clash between the planet’s and sign’s influences, rendering the planet weaker and less effective. Some astrologers consider Saturn to be in detriment when it’s in Leo. Individuals with this placement may struggle with self-expression, confidence, and spontaneity: all Leonine traits impacted by Saturn’s restraining nature.

Exaltation: Strength in Numbers

If a planet’s influence feels the most natural in a domicile sign, then it enjoys a boost of power and strength when it’s in exaltation. Astrologers believe that this is a planet’s best possible placement because its exaltation sign multiplies and enhances its native energies. Uranus in Scorpio is one great example of this. As a planet governing innovation, technology, eccentricity, and rebellion, its presence in the ultimate sign of mystery, sexuality, and intensity magnifies its influence. Uranus was exalted in Scorpio between late 1975 and late 1981, and this confluence suggests people with unorthodox approaches to sexuality and resistance against traditional norms.

Fall: Incompatibility at Its Worst

A planet’s exaltation and fall signs can be located at opposite ends of the zodiac. When a planet’s in fall, its native energies don’t function well or at all because they’re completely incongruent with those of the sign. For instance, a Venus in Virgo within someone’s natal chart may result in a person who demonstrates love through service yet struggles with being overly critical of romantic partners. That’s because the planet of love and attraction finds its influence constricted by Virgo’s practical, precise, and analytical nature.

The Relationships Between Planets and Signs

A lot of people may know their sun signs and a few planets in their charts. However, many complex ideas are involved with a chart’s interpretation. Planetary dignity is one such concept, describing the unique relationships between each planet and the sign in which it’s present. When you’re reading your chart, look at these planet-sign positions to better understand their effects.

Signs, Stars, and the Self: The Inner Planets in Modern Astrology
To understand how astrology works, it’s important to first learn about the planets’ positions and meanings, including the inner planets.

To understand how astrology works, it’s important to first learn about the planets’ positions and meanings, including the inner planets.

Astrology is everywhere. You likely already know your “sign,” but there’s far more to this divination method than that. To understand how astrology works, it’s important to first learn about the planets’ positions and meanings. Astrologers believe that the inner planets, located between our sun and the solar system’s asteroid belt, divulge a lot about an individual’s personality.

What Are the Inner Planets?

When reading an individual’s chart, astrologers often begin with the inner planets. Astrostyle describes these as faster-moving celestial bodies thought to impact our moods, habits, and daily lives. The inner planets include the Sun and Moon along with Mercury, Venus, and Mars. When discerning an individual’s temperament, personality makeup, and immediate future trends, astrologers focus on these inner planets.

Your Sun Sign: Your Core Self

When someone asks, “what’s your sign,” they’re referring to the zodiac constellation in which the Sun was present when you were born. Mystica Astrology’s Emma Wilson describes it as symbolic of our search for self-identity and self-knowledge as well as who an individual is on an archetypal level. The Astro Codex adds that the Sun corresponds with our personalities and egos. Our sun stays in each zodiac sign for about 30 days.

The Moon: Emotions and the Soul

With astrology’s popularity, more people know their moon signs. Astrostyle explains that the Moon’s position in a constellation speaks to our emotions, subconscious minds, and deepest needs. Emma Wilson elaborates that it also reveals our vulnerabilities and what we need to feel secure. Since the Moon takes two to three days to move through a zodiac sign, you must know the exact time of an individual’s birth to determine the Moon sign.

Mercury: Communication, Logic, and Reason

Named for the Roman messenger of the gods, Mercury is a key player in each person’s natal chart. The Astro Codex mentions that this planet represents the human mind. Its position in the zodiac reflects how we think, reason, and communicate. With an orbital period of only 88 days, Mercury takes between three and four weeks to travel through each zodiac constellation.

Venus: Love, Pleasure, and Attraction

Venus is said to be the planet of love. Associated with the Roman goddess of love and beauty, it’s no wonder Emma Wilson says it’s symbolic of “who and what you are drawn towards.” Although commonly linked with romantic love and sexuality, Venus also points to our indulgences and preferences in everything from art to politics. Traveling around the Sun in 225 days, Venus’s orbit is somewhat elliptical. As a result, it can move through each sign in about 20 to 30 days.

Mars: Action, Energy, and Drive

The Astro Codex calls Mars a “vital force,” speaking to its association with the Roman god of war. Our Mars placements can indicate how competitive we are, where we focus our energies, and how we strive to meet our goals. Unsurprisingly, Mars is also thought to govern our sex drives and raw attraction. Mars’s orbit around the Sun lasts 687 days, so it normally traverses each sign in about 90 days.

Where Can I Get My Birth Chart?

By now, you may be wondering where all these planets are positioned in your natal chart. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional astrologer to access this information. CBC contributor Rebecca Perrin lists several websites where you can obtain your birth chart for free, using the same technology as most astrology software programs. Some show only your natal chart, while others also offer either brief interpretations or extensive details.

Astrology has been with us for thousands of years. Thanks to the internet, you can easily find resources for obtaining and understanding your natal chart. Starting with the inner planets, you can begin to comprehend the complex details that astrologers believe are at work in making up your personality and life.