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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Fortuna: The Neglected Benific

20 12 2008

Most modern astrologers and students of Astrology read up the basic bullet points on the Part of Fortune check out its placement shrug their shoulders and then leave it, as if it was nothing more than a bit of garnish on their otherwise juicy main course. Of course this is a generalisation, but going on the general observation, it is noteworthy that not everyone understands or even cares for the Part of Fortune.

Fortuna is calculated by this little piece of arithmetic: Ascendant + Moon – Sun for daytime charts and; Ascendant + Sun -Moon for Night time charts. Most programs calculate it automatically anyway. So if it is so easy to find and know, why is it so neglected? The answer perhaps is that it has no sign association, rulership, no quality, element or nature, primarily because it is not a physical body. But the actual effects of Fortuna are real despite this.


Fortuna is in fact a Benific. Like Venus and Jupiter Fortuna is potentially where a pot of gold is hidden beneath the rainbow. Obviously pots of gold may be found literally if Fortune is in the 2nd house or 8th house. But the strongly positive nature of this lucky spot is similar to the point on a treasure map which is marked with an X. The idea of this magic and mystery is that in order to find that gold the native must at least have a little belief in the map and to follow it, just like Jupiter. For metaphorically Fortune is the point in the chart where the Sun, Moon and the Ascendant meet together and draw a mysterious yet absolutely compulsive “X” to mark the spot.

2nd house

The truth is that the Part of Fortune is as old as Astrology and has been in use since the ancients began calculating the Ascendant in charts. In delineating the 2nd house and the “riches” or “goods of fortune”, Lilly writes a checklist with the 2nd cusp at the top, followed by its lord followed by the Part of Fortune and its lord, followed by Jupiter, followed by planets “casually placed in the 2nd”. Fortuna actually has no association with the second house any more so than with any other house. But I find it enlightening that Lilly´s checklist for wealth places the Part over and above the importance of both Jupiter and other planets “casually placed in the second house”. This is not a horary chart that Lilly was examining but a chart of “nativity”. Fortune indeed in this respect seems to hold an even greater repute for being a benific and for bestowing that mystical pot of gold than Jupiter which is so obviously the “greater benific” and unmatched for greatness.

“When those that govern the Part of Fortune are very strong, they greatly increase the natives wealth, especially if assisted by the Sun or Moon.”(Lilly, William, Chritian Astrology, Part III)

Lilly is adamant about the Part of Fortune in relation to material wealth and to worldly success. And all of this still holds true, it is unchanged since the time of Ptolemy, the only thing that has changed really is the world view and what is considered as true fortune or wealth, since we live in an age in which spiritual wealth is acceptable, fortune may in fact bestow its wealth in hidden form just as well. But still, some things which have also changed to some degree is the malevolence associated with the 8th and 12th houses, so that Fortune in these houses may not be lost as such.


Bill Gates´s natal chart has 2nd ruler Sun placed in Scorpio in the 4th house. 4th house is obviously a positive and strong angular place for the 2nd house ruler, however, Gates did not inherit his wealth from his father, which would be the nature of a 4th house Scorpio Sun. The outstanding planets which are “casually placed in the 2nd” are obviously Jupiter and Pluto, but here again, these two planets are actually rulers of both the 5th, 6th and 9th houses. If we use Lilly´s guide though Fortuna is found in the 8th house in Aquarius, who dispositor Uranus is first house conjunct Ascendant, and strongly aspected by Sun in a Square. Now it would be possible to ignore this placement, but it is extremely fitting that someone whose wealth is more or less based on a corporation (8th house) selling software (ruled by Aquarius) should have his “fortune” borne out of such a placement. It should be noted that Fortune is in fact in a close T-Square with both its traditional dispositor Saturn and with Jupiter and Pluto in the second. It is not there for no reason.


Another brilliant example is Albert Einstein who had the conjunction with both an Aries Mercury and Saturn. His mind provided him his eventual fame and fortune. This is perhaps a stark example of Fortune working on the mutual reception with Mars and Saturn by domicile between the 8th cusp and the 10th house. Mars and Saturn both having rulership of physical matter and of movement Fortuna had worked magic into that mercury induced mental and intellectual achievement. For Einstein Jupiter was not the most dignified planet by far, being firstly peregrine, secondly cadent and thirdly in hard aspect with Pluto and Uranus, though this is not to say that originality did not spark from this placement, nor an understanding of the universe. Venus the other benific is equally detrimented and poorly aspected. So the Part of Fortune plays its unbelievable part.


The Part of Fortune is a hugely neglected placement in the search for the benefits which are possible to be found in the natal chart and elsewhere. It appears in the light of traditional analysis to be more important than Jupiter in terms of the “riches” and “goods of fortune” which don´t necessarily mean bank account, as in the case of Albert Einstein. Though as in the case of Bill Gates it obviously has some influence. So in the light of this, Fortuna when disposited well, when supported by Sun or Moon, and when searched for, will reveal to its quester all the luck and spectacular fame and fortune that Jupiter the primarily spiritual planet, and Venus the traditional love planet left out of the bargain. The fortune that is not love and the fortune that is not God, is to be found here.

Horary Checklist

16 09 2008

A Prophet or a Meddler

Horary is the thing that determines whether an astrologer is a true prophet, or just an average meddler. I am a meddler, and have been wrong every time since i started trying out this “technique”. But I have worked out that it is a system which is workable and can probably be used to give more of a statistical probability rather than a definite Yes or No. Here is my checklist, which I hope to be editing and adding to as I go along.


The original impulse when you do a horary is based on a feeling which is translated into a diagrammatical sketch. It’s important to think about a horary chart as a mental picture which is imprinted into form rather than something which is external. This is the primary directive.

Type of question:

If the question is about a general picture then the specifics of planetary movement might not be that important. If the question is vague you want to think about simply signs and houses.

Specific questions are more difficult, because we see the direction of planetary aspects, linking for example two people, or a person with a job, or a lost object. In this case the movement and direction of planets is imperative. However, there is more than one way of getting a yes or no to a question, and sometimes there is contradiction because of this, in which case the case becomes one of which is the more  powerful indicator.


1. To get the correct house rulerships aligned with real world people, places and objects.

a. YOU are generally represented 1st by the Ascendant, then the ruler of the Ascendant, then the Moon, then the actual FIRST HOUSE. ALL of these involved with what represents your question are indicators.

The second house and its ruler are your lost objects, they also show if you get get something that you desire which has a material value, for instance a pay rise, a car, or some other thing which you want.

The third house will show if your sister or brother is involved or siblings and family in general. It should also indicate moving around, travel, going from one place to another.

2. Dignities are important, as well as speed, and condition of the planet

These are extremely difficult to weigh up considering that there are such a great number of dignities both essential and accidental. Basically the dignity of the lord of a house will indicate the state of the thing, if the signifier is essentailly dignified by house, in its own sign, it will show that what it signifies, for example a person, is in good shape, happy, healthy, and worth the time and effort that you put into the question.

The different grades of dignity are important, there is a heirarchy of dignity. A planet might not be placed in its rulership sign, but by at least being in its own trplicity or terms or face it receives a lesser degree of essential dignity, and even by being in its own face a planet would avoid being perigrine which is almost equivalent to being in its detriment.

Triplicity: Placed in triplicity a planet has essential dignity. This is not as strong as the Exaltation, but triplicity shows a signifier that is fairly happy, and in good conditions.

Terms: The terms of a planet are the next essentail dignity. It shows that the signifier is not perfect, but has ability to adapt to its surroundings, because they are familiar. Terms should be judged as a medium dignity. If a person is signified by planet in its terms they might be modest in some way, not perfect, but not bad either. The terms might be thought of as “poor but happy,” or “making their way.”

Face: Face is the last dignity. It really is “the last straw” and a planet that has dignity only by face is like a naked person holding a fig leave to cover themselves. It is not that dignified, but they save “face,” manage to save their neck through the flimsiest of dignities.

3. Generally you want to connect yourself with the object you have in mind. There is more than one way of doing this.

Aspects of house rulers, simply means that they behold each other or are “Joined together”

Rulers placed in the house belonging to the desired question, especially if conjunct the CUSP of that house are going to signify a great deal.

Translation of light from the ruler of one house to another. This can be done by any planet, which acts like a messenger. The Moon is the swiftest moving of these messengers and as a body which does in fact collect light from the SUN, she is capable of collecting light from any planet and transferring it to another.


Signifiers which are angular are another strong indication of things being brought to fruition. This is a major % of the chart interpretation, because Angularity shows that the question is actually of big importance and that something will definitely happen.

For now this suffices for my knowledge of HORARY technique and I think that more details will slowly be added to this picture as I work on the art of “seeing into the future”.


When a planet makes the right aspect to the right signifier, you get a positive answer, however, if both planets are in their detriments and in the 12th or 8th houses, what can you make of such a situation?

There are 1000’s of instances in which dignity is mixed in with debility. The fact that a planet can be in detriment, but make the correct aspect to the quested signifier is a testament to fulfilment of the question, but at great cost.

I think this is what the dignities and debilities really boil down to… the cost of and time it takes for a positive outcome.