Applying dignity in judgment

Essential dignity allows us to asses the quality, value and strength of signifiers, in varying degrees and relative to one another. On the most material level, it can show physical strength (as in a decumbiture chart) or the condition of an object. Depending on the frame of reference, it can symbolize degrees of rank, status, or a person’s level of material well-being. Or it can show integrity and honor. Basically, essential dignity allows us to see worth: Is it worth the price? Is it a worthwhile project? Is he a worthy competitor? Is he a worthy person?

The most common way of deciphering essential dignity is by analogy to property ownership and social status. We find this in Firmicus, ibn Ezra, Lilly, and others. The domicile ruler is likened to a home owner; when he is “at home”, his word is law. The exaltation ruler is often compared to an honored guest or visiting dignitary (though Lilly disparages exaltation a being like a man with an inflated opinion of himself), who will be treated very well – perhaps better than the owner – but would still have no right to rummage through the closets. A triplicity ruler is like a visiting friend or family member (ibn Ezra); there is ease, familiarity and access, but also not the “star treatment” of exaltation. A planet in its terms enjoys a limited, transient strength in what might be an unfamiliar or even hostile place, like a paying guest at a roadside inn. Finally, a planet with dignity by face is thought by most to be in the weakest position possible without actually being “turned out of doors” (Lilly), like a houseguest who has violated the “three day rule”. (NB – Firmicus gives a decan ruler a good deal of clout – as good as in its own sign, in fact. While he almost certainly exaggerates, I wonder if there isn’t more to Face than simply being the last slippery rung on the ladder.)

How might we use essential dignity in judgment? It can indicate how sincere or commendable a prospective partner may be. It can indicate capability or fitness for a job. When judging charts for any kind of adversarial event – a judicial trial, contest, sporting event, or even war –, essential dignity tells us who has the advantage. Is a house worth buying or a venture worth the investment? Essential dignity shows that, too.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tony Denson June 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Hi Doc I can tel from your writing that this field of science is a deep passion for you. For me my Focus is on the One that made the stars so I have no clue about what you are talking about. My comment is to offer a genuine help and tool for you to find focused followers and hopefully subscribers.

To get astrology followers on Twitter go to@followerwonk and get his tool or direct site is put in astrology like I just did and you will find871 profiles in Twitter that have astrology in their bio

THEN go ballistic on writing tweets about astrology 15 or 20 each day hint you can repeat some tweets as long as they are four hours apart from each other or there are other tweets between them. Email me if you have questions. Send a question to Jeanette Cates on using forums to get followers. I know the answer but I honor Jeanette as our leader in the challenge so I defer to her.

I do genuinely want to learn what your blogging activity will do for your goals in life.

Andrew June 7, 2010 at 12:53 am

Very clearly and concisely put!

Al-Biruni (Book of Instruction, section 494) notes:

“It is related than an authority in this subject assigns 30 to the lordship of the ascendant, 20 to exaltation, 10 to lordship of face, 5 to that of term, 3 1/2 to that of triplicity, 4 1/2 to that of the hour, and finally to the Sun or Moon whichever is the lord of time, as much as the lord of the ascendant … This is the practice of the Astrologers of Babylon and Persia, who regard the lordship of the face as very important.”

Ptolemy associates the domiciles with the Sun (Quadripartitum I.17). The exaltations are the signs which aspect Cancer, the domicile of the Moon: there is Cancer itself, then Taurus and Virgo which are sextile to Cancer, Aries and Libra which are square to Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio which are trine to Cancer, and Capricorn which is in opposition to Cancer.

The (solar) scheme of domiciles presumably take precedence over the (lunar) scheme of exaltations.

Dr. Christopher Magnus June 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Hello Tony and thank you for the great advice… although I don’t know if I can adhere to a regimen of 20 tweets a day!

I join you in your passion for the One Who Made the Stars. We astrologers are really investigating the signs of His merciful Providence, to the end that we may seek His will and venerate His just and beautiful designs.

Dr. Christopher Magnus June 7, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Cool! I’m glad to see that Al-Biruni recognizes alternative valuations of the various dignities. It’s interesting, though, that the 5-tier system that we get in Lilly had already solidified by the 10th century. I wonder if the nomenclature of “Face” has contributed to this dignity’s getting kicked down the stairs. The Faces have always been associated with specific images – as for talismans -, hence the name. As the dignities came to be understood by analogy to social status, “face” might have taken on a different sense. Sociologically speaking, if “face” is mostly what you’ve got to work with to work with, then you’ll probably end up working double time to save it. Hence the Tradition’s low regard for dignity by Face.

I wasn’t familiar with the lunar scheme of exaltations. Elegant. Thank you for that.

Gary C August 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm

This was a horary that I had done for myself. I asked if I ‘should’ (not if I would) go to an astrology workshop in Europe next year. Cancer was on the 9th and the Moon was in Cancer applying to the 9th cusp, which looks like a clear yes. I’m only puzzled by the lord of the asc., Mars in detriment in Libra. The Moon is already passed the square to Mars and Mars is applying to nothing. Anyone have any thoughts?

Dr. Christopher Magnus August 9, 2010 at 9:40 pm

I’d have to see the entire figure. Would you mind sharing the chart data for the question?

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