Understanding Debilities And Dignities

(Authors photo; Tarot deck is Illuminated Tarot by Carol Herzer.)

Dignity and debility is a way of understanding how well or how poorly planets operate within a chart. The more of a debility, the more of a handicap to overcome; the more dignity, the easier the road becomes. These are not character traits and do not make or break a person; they simply show what’s easy and what’s not, and from that we know what needs most work and what we can flaunt!




Some planets were considered stronger at certain times than others, more comfortable in day or nighttime environments. Likewise, the zodiac signs were divided into day and night signs.

  • Day/Diurnal Planets: Sun, Jupiter, Saturn
  • Day/Diurnal/Masculine Signs: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius
  • Night/Nocturnal Planets: Moon, Venus, Mars
  • Night/Nocturnal/Feminine Signs: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces
  • *Mercury: Mercury has no inherent sect. In a chart, if Mercury rises and sets before the Sun (oriental), it is considered diurnal; f Mercury rises and sets after the Sun (occidental) it is considered nocturnal.


The celestial bodies have been deemed as governing zodiac signs they share compatible temperament and qualities with.

  • The Sun rules the sign of Leo, both by day/diurnal and night/nocturnal
  • The Moon rules the sign of Cancer, both by day/diurnal and night/nocturnal
  • Mercury in both raditional and modern astrology rules the signs of Gemini & Virgo; Mercury rules Gemini by day/diurnal and Virgo by night/nocturnal
  • Venus in both traditional and modern astrology rules the signs of Taurus & Libra; Venus rules Taurus by night/nocturnal and Libra by day/diurnal
  • Mars in modern astrology only rules the sign of Aries. In traditional astrology Mars ruled/rules both Aries & Scorpio; Mars rules Aries by day/diurnal and Scorpio by night/nocturnal
  • Jupiter in modern astrology only rules the sign of Sagittarius. In traditional astrology, Jupiter ruled/rules both Sagittarius & Pisces; Sagittarius by day/diurnal, Pisces by night/nocturnal
  • Saturn in modern astrology only rules the sign of Capricorn. In traditional astrology, Saturn ruled/rules both Capricorn & Aquarius; Capricorn by night/nocturnal, Aquarius by day/diurnal
  • Uranus in modern astrology rules Aquarius
  • Neptune in modern astrology rules Pisces
  • Pluto in modern astrology rules Scorpio


Exaltation is a planet in the sign it operates best in, in which it expresses its better qualities and experiences less struggle. Sometimes also shows overconfidence.

  • The Sun is exalted in Aries, strongest at 19 degrees Aries
  • The Moon is exalted in Taurus, strongest at 3 degrees Taurus
  • Mercury is exalted in Virgo, strongest at 15 degrees Virgo
  • Venus is exalted in Pisces, strongest at 27 degrees Pisces
  • Mars is exalted in Capricorn, strongest at 28 degrees Capricorn
  • Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, strongest at 15 degrees Cancer
  • Saturn is exalted in Libra, strongest at 21 degrees Libra


Detriment is literally the polar opposite of domicile/rulership. While a planet in domicile feels right at home, in detriment it is in the sign opposite of its home and feels weakened, cut off, missing something.

  • The Sun is in detriment in Aquarius
  • The Moon is in detriment in Capricorn
  • Mercury is in detriment in Sagittarius and Pisces
  • Venus is in detriment in Aries and Scorpio
  • Mars is in detriment in Taurus and Libra
  • Jupiter is in detriment in Gemini and Virgo
  • Saturn is in detriment in Cancer and Leo


Fall is the polar opposite of exalted; where exaltation achieves with less struggle than most, fall struggles to achieve what comes so easily to others.

  • The Sun is at fall in Libra
  • The Moon is at fall in Scorpio
  • Mercury is at fall in Pisces
  • Venus is at fall in Virgo
  • Mars is at fall in Cancer
  • Jupiter is at fall in Capricorn
  • Saturn is at fall in Aries

See also:

Understanding Eclipses

Understanding Solar Returns

Understanding Progressions

Understanding Planetary Joy

Understanding Barren And Fertile Signs