Essential Dignities

19 11 2009

“Ordinary characters searching for or coming in contact with extraordinary beings or finding themselves in extraordinary circumstances.”

There is an illusion going around in modern astrology or at least, a giant misconception. The mistake has been made by people reading old texts and understanding “debility” to mean weakness. It is true that debility in the English language is synonymous with weakness, incapacity, or even disability, but the astrological signification of essential debility could not be further from the truth.

When a planet finds itself in fall, or in detriment, or peregrine, it does not signify “weakness”. Say the Ascendant ruler in a birthchart is peregrine. Is the person, their health and their life “weak”, physically weak? The Ascendant ruler is primary signifier of the human body, of the mind and of the state of the person, but a planet situated here is not necessarily weak.

Many times in Christian Astrology, there are references to planets without essential dignity being signifiers for “low born” persons whether they are 7th rulers and thus signifying the wife or husband, or whether they are Ascendant rulers signifying the asker in any question. What Lilly was describing using these judgements was not the “physical strength” that a person might have, but their basic social standing and more pertinently, their “blood” or “birth”.

A person born with their Ascendant ruler in essential dignity is privileged, they are born privileged in certain respects and get the best of what the sign in which that planet is has to offer. Throughout their lives they will always be in surroundings which are congenial to them, this is all that essential dignity really signifies. People who are happy with life because everything that they want comes to them at the right time, or that they are simply without real need are the essentially dignified people. Does it signify that they are strong, in a physical capacity or in character? To me it would be good reason for complacency if not laziness, which would eventually lead to weakness.

In similar fashion, when a person finds themselves in exile, it is not they are weak. The matter of being in a situation which is contrary to your desires or contrary to your essential nature would require on the part of that person a real fight, and in fighting, in struggle there is strength. In struggle there is achievement.

Essential debility such as for example Scorpio Moon signifies an emotional person finding themselves in a place of fear and death. As an example we might think of a young mother going down to a crypt in a Gothic novel. She obviously appears vulnerable in those circumstances, it´s not the protection afforded by a warm heated house. The surroundings don´t particularly fit the character, and that´s why it´s seen as “essentially wrong”. The notion of the need to survive rather than to protect may take over, nasty things can happen in a cold dark place with none of the comforts. But does it mean that the woman is weaker than she is in her essential dignity? What it means is that she must do everything in her power to get by, it means that she must act and she must be the guest of Mars rather than the mistress of her own home. Essential debility doesn´t mean less likely to achieve anything, it means more grit, and less opportunity to do as you please when you please. It means that you do things the hard way.  

In a sense, essential debility can be a great thing. The story will always be about a person that must struggle through adversity and what appears to be a difficult or alien situation. But this story is often far more interesting than the story of essential dignity. Suffering is not weakness, suffering is not getting everything that you desire, it´s not being satisfied and it´s doing things and making adaptations to that environment. A peregrine planet is far more interesting than an essentially dignified one, it signifies a person who has to search for happiness not having it where they are.  Though once again, it doesn´t mean that a planet in it´s sign is happy either, it simply means that it´s comfortable there.

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Chart: William Blake

25 02 2009

William Blake was a Cancer Rising with Moon placed in domicile in the 12th house of hidden enemies and evil spirits. Four aspects are made by this strong Ascendant ruler. The first is to creative Venus in opposition. The second is a sesqui-quadrate to Mercury ruler of 3rd house, ruler of writing and mental thought. The third aspect is a bi-quintile to Sun second house ruler placed in the 5th house of creativity and children.

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The Sun Moon longitudinal connection in Blake´s chart is compounded by a contra-parallel emphasising the importance in expressing the houses involved.  1st house ruler Moon in 12th channels his self and identity into the search for all things hidden and mysterious. If there was something hidden and unknown to society then Moon in own sign and therefore having the highest essential dignity would indicate that it would be seen, perceived and felt in a most emotional, and psychic way. The Moon-Sun aspect connects the first house (reason for being and living) with the 2nd house (house of value and income) with the 12th house of the unconscious and the 5th of creativity. And primarily, William Blake made his livelihood from the most creative of crafts involving poetry, drawing, writing and the most skillful of engraving, the most notable demonstration of this Biquintile aspect.

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The second important planet that Cancer Moon contacts in this chart is Venus, placed in the 6th house of work and daily business in Capricorn. The fact that Venus rules 4th and 11th houses is testament to the fact that his home was his workshop and a place of meeting with the people who Blake had political and social intercourse with.

Mercury in this chart is important.  Mercury ruler of 3rd and 12th houses aspects to both Moon within the 12th that gives the ability to write about the 12th house knowledge, but also in aspect to Mars ruler of the Midheaven and Blake´s eventual life´s work. This Mercury, however, is conjoined with a Sagittarius Jupiter, imparting a wisdom, knowledge and awareness from its rulership over the 6th and 9th houses.

The final rulership to be considered in Blake´s chart must be 7th ruler Saturn aspecting both Mars in opposition and Moon through another Biquintile. And to note, his wife was greatly involved in his work being also contra-parallel to MC ruler Mars and energetically linked to him (Biquintile Moon).

Descendant ruler Saturn also rules 8th house and is placed exactly on the 8th cusp. Catherine Boucher his wife would have been a huge support to him and possibly mystical or psychic with regard to having domicile over the 8th. She was also probably a most humane and dignified woman with Aquarius Saturn, the sign of rational understanding and possibly most solid and loyal placements.

The most powerful planet in this chart despite combustion, is Jupiter; placed in the fifth house, and lord over Mars, Mercury, North Node and Sun. It is no surprise therefore that his art and creation (5th house) is inspired by spiritual fire and Religious and Mystical knowledge, with Jupiter having direct rulership of the 9th house of dreams and higher knowledge.

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Fixed Stars Bungula (our closest neighbour Alpha Centaury) and Antares, the Royal Star Archangel Oriel and Watcher of the West would have been closely conjunct Blake´s Mercury and Sun. These stars are both bright and strong influences. Mercury with Alpha Centaury is described as pertaining to occult knowledge and philosophy, and the star which denotes the Heart of the Scorpion of the nature of Mars Jupiter and Mercury would have emphasised the nature of the mystery involved.