Tag Archives: exaltation

A Tip About Exaltation and Debilitation

Most people who have a cursory knowledge of astrology think of exaltation as the best position for a planet and debilitation as the worst. From this starting point, it would seem logical to figure that a horoscope with exalted planets is “better” than one with debilitated planets.

This isn’t necessarily accurate and, in fact, debilitated planets may do quite well in certain ways. For example, since the Sun is traditionally a planet of leadership, self-esteem and charisma, when debilitated in Libra it can’t function in its natural manner as easily and, thus, is likely to become more focused on fairness and working well with others – the “debilitation” isn’t a handicap as much as it is an adjustment away from the planet’s archetypal state of functioning.

However, even if the assumption that exaltation is the most desirable position for a planet and debilitation is the least desirable is taken as a rough starting point, meaningful analysis of these placements involves an important – and often forgotten – factor.

Exaltation points and debilitation points are exactly opposite one another in the zodiac and every planet aspects the position opposite itself. This means if, for example, Venus is in Virgo (its debilitation sign) in the 4th house of a horoscope, then Venus aspects its exaltation sign (Pisces) in the 10th house. Such a person might flourish in a Venusian career, since the 10th house, which represents career and status, receives Venus’s aspect onto its sign of exaltation. In fact, this example comes from the chart of a professional artist I know.

Remembering to look at the aspects from exalted or debilitated planets and not just the planets themselves is an easy way to add more specificity and depth to chart analysis. The symmetry involved with this concept also extends to placements other than exaltation and debilitation. Planets in their own signs are opposite their “detriment” (i.e. one step up from debilitation) and vice versa, while a planet’s “friendly” signs are opposite “enemy” signs and its neutral signs are opposite other neutral signs.

One of the great lessons of Eastern spiritual traditions is the concept of perpetual balance in the universe. To give a common example, this can be visually represented by the yin-yang symbol, which shows us that there is no light without darkness and no darkness without light.

In this same manner, exaltation and debilitation naturally incorporate each other’s energy at the most basic level.

 

 

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Planetary Exaltation and Debilitation

The concepts of planetary exaltation (i.e. the “easiest” sign for a planet) and debilitation (i.e. the “most challenging” sign for a planet) are often considered to be astrological fundamentals. Yet, many people view exaltation and debilitation through a simplistic and inaccurate prism of good and bad.

If you haven’t read my post on “The Planets As People,” which forms a sort of framework for much of the discussion on Astro Thoughts, looking it over before reading further might be helpful. That’s because viewing the planets as people, which means being aware of their specific personalities, strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes, is a big help in understanding how they respond to different environments.

If, for example, if Mars is placed in its exaltation sign of Capricorn, Mars’s specific nature makes it comfortable and allows it to express itself as an energetic, brave and action-oriented planet within Capricorn’s house. However, if Mars is located in its debilitation sign of Cancer, it becomes uncomfortable within Cancer’s calm, nurturing environment, often resulting in Mars “acting out” and expressing unhealthy qualities such as loss of temper, obnoxious behavior and so forth.

Yet, being comfortable isn’t necessarily a recipe for success and being uncomfortable isn’t necessarily a recipe for failure. Some people excel where their exalted planet is located, taking advantage of the opportunity for that planet to fully express its positive qualities. For others, the same scenario may lull them into a false sense of confidence, resulting in wasted potential. Sometimes, a difficult, uncomfortable life situation crushes somebody’s confidence and makes that person timid, but for a others, such a roadblock can serve as added motivation.

Furthermore, each planet’s exaltation sign and debilitation sign are directly opposite one another (i.e. 180 degrees apart in the zodiac), so a debilitated 4th-house Mars, for example, will be uncomfortable regarding 4th-house indications such as the home environment, yet its opposition aspect will reflect on its exaltation sign, sending powerful, positive Martian energy to the 10th house, which is related to career and status.

Ultimately, the biggest lesson of exaltation and debilitation may be that the importance of analyzing every chart as a whole cannot be overstated. Although much of the learning process must occur step-by-step or the information would overload students and fail to register properly, the reality is that every chart is an organic entity that is equal to much more than the sum of its parts.

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