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Esssential vs Accidental Dignity
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Joined: 20 Jul 2013
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Location: San Francisco, CA

Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

francescomanfredi wrote:
To speak more theoretical discussions, Charles Carter declared that the true domicile rulerships of planets contain a so emphatic focus, that it easily gets excesses (especially with dissonances). In one of his article, he declares that Jupiter-Pisces is 'too much Jupiter', and you just not get one self-indulgent position, but someone who 'wallows in splendid living'.

And in terms of 'goodness' of quality, he prefers most of all, the exaltations (which are said to be more modest than rulerships, but of a temperate and desiderable quality). The example he makes here, is that of Saturn in Libra, which strict retributive justice is mould with mercy (at least by sign placement).

hi Francesco. it looks like there has already been great discussion points offered by both Mark and Paul, so I will keep my comments brief and related to this quote because it doesn't appear (from my quick scan of responses) that anyone has taken up Carter's quote here.

in short, I'm not sure I agree with it, at least not in the simplistic model that Carter laid out. going to explain this by first sharing my understanding of essential dignity.

francescomanfredi wrote:
I open a topic to speak about the essential-accidental dignities.

from the start, there is a technical issue here with how this thread has been set up. there is no such thing as "accidental dignities." we have essential dignities, which relate to a planet's zodiacal position, and accidental fortitudes which speak to how well-positioned a planet is in the horoscope to act on its significations.

I want to first explain why this distinction is critical. the word "essential" comes from the root in Latin esse, meaning "to be." when we engage on conversations about what is essential, we're talking about the inherent nature of something, in this case the quality of planetary expression (and I don't mean good vs. bad quality).

"dignity" itself comes from the Latin dignus, meaning "worthy." this is why we say planets in their own homes have dignity. using an analogy of planets as kings/queens, they are worthy of their own thrones. there is a fundamental alignment with who a planet is essentially and its mode of operation. more on this in a moment.

coming back to dignus, you cannot be accidentally worthy of something -- you either are or you aren't. this analogy of worthiness won't serve you much further than this (and as far as analogies go I don't love it, but it works for now), but the purpose of accidental fortitude is to measure how well-positioned a planet is to act, regardless of its quality of expression, intent, significations, etc.

it might help to give an example that contrasts these two measurements of strength -- one inherent and internal (essential), one external (accidental).

Mars in Capricorn in the 6th house. Mars is strong by essential dignity here, but weak in accidental fortitude. this might denote someone who is industrious, well-grounded and driven, able to accomplish a task at a high level of efficiency.. but Mars is in a poor placement to demonstrate that. it could be that the person has fallen ill (natural 6th house symbolism), or in questions of a 7th house nature, this placement could indicate that the person signified by the 7th house doesn't even realize that this Mars in Capricorn person exists (the 6th is 12th from the 7th)! so really, what we're seeing here is someone who is highly effective (internally strong, efficient, in control of his own affairs), but poorly placed to act.

conversely, imagine Mars in Libra on the 10th house cusp. this signifies somebody who struggles to express their frustration, builds up tension, doesn't successfully manage their own impulses, lashes out, clearly not in control of their own aggression. if this person was seeking a job, it might signify that they lack the competencies or skill required to complete the job to a satisfactory level (using Mars symbology, we might suggest that the incompetence is tied to an inability to "pull the trigger" at the right time and to the right extent). but, being in the 10th house, it just so happens that this Mars is in the right place at the right time, meeting the right people and landing the job on those factors alone. ultimately, the Mars in Libra person will find that this job is well over their heads, and ideally we'd want to see a strong Saturn receiving this Mars by a helpful aspect to demonstrate someone older, wiser, and in a position of authority who will help this person to master the role (because Saturn is exalted in Libra).

one very helpful key principle with essential dignity is effectiveness. planets in their own domiciles don't expend an ounce more energy than required to get something done, because there is an intrinsic ("essential") strength here that they are able to call upon. it's someone skilled, someone who is a master in their own role, someone well qualified (remember dignity = worthiness) to speak on such-and-such matter. it's an internal strength, something that comes from within that can't be stripped away *unless* incapacitated by accidental factors (hard aspects, combustion, poor phase, bad house placement, etc.).

planets in dignity also indicate contentedness. Lilly described a planet in its own sign as someone who wants nothing of the goods of the world. sometimes we see dishonorable people signified by essentially dignified planets, and in those cases we find that the person signified by that planet feels they have nothing to answer for their crimes. it's important that we don't overlay our own sense of morality (good vs. bad, right vs. wrong) on planets who are essentially dignified, because as I said, the more reliable principle here is effectiveness.

planets who are accidentally fortified enjoy the benefits of being in the right place at the right time, regardless of their inherent ability to come through on what's under discussion. they are receiving an external measure of support (helpful aspects from helpful planets, growing phase or motion, focal/powerful house placement, etc.).

for this reason, I take contention with Carter's quote. a planet in its own sign doesn't show a doubling of that planet's expression, but rather a comfortability of it. Jupiter in Pisces is able to be Jupiter at his best, most effective level. when he expands (as Jupiter does), the shadow sides of this overreaching tend to be less common because even though expanding is in Jupiter's DNA, so to speak, a dignified Jupiter knows when to expand and when not to. he's skilled enough to anticipate what to expect from his movements. he doesn't put more energy into something than will be required, and gets the max return on his energy investment. when you're content, when you're comfortable, you don't move unless it suits you, unless you stand something to gain, etc.

the possible exception here (and exception is a strong word, perhaps we should say "something to consider") are planets in exaltation as this is a naturally exaggerative form of dignity. I tend to think of exaltation as more volatile than domicile rulership, not unlike kingship -- someone's home will always be their home, but kings come and go all the time, sometimes gloriously and sometimes in disgrace, despite how highly they were lifted up. (similarly we find in traditional texts that planets in fall have more capability of recovering than planets in detriment.)

so this exaggerative quality of exaltation is particularly problematic for the Sun and Jupiter, as these are naturally exaggerative planets. the Sun tends towards arrogance in exaltation, and Jupiter towards over-optimism and over-expanding (many different applications of that principle). Saturn is a naturally reserved planet, so in its exaltation it doesn't puff up as much as the Sun or Jupiter. you can do this exercise with the rest of the planets, based on their own essential principle.

so Carter says that Jupiter in Pisces is self-indulgent, wallowing in splendid living -- I'd say that's more Venus in Pisces, because Pisces exalts the Venusian principle of a focus on comforts, sensual goods, luxurious living, etc.

haven't really put this down before, but if I were to put a few keywords or ideas down for the dignities or debilities of the planets, and the differences between essential and accidental considerations, they would be...
- domicile: contentedness, comfortability, high effectiveness
- exaltation: lifting up, exalting of planetary principle
- fall: lowering down, abasing of planetary principle
- detriment: discontentedness, extreme discomfort, high ineffectiveness

- essential: intrinsic, inherent, internal, something you come with
- accidental: external, from outside, something you receive from conditional factors
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Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello community and happy new year

Something I haven't so far got right:
Between peregrine/exiled/fallen planets is mutual reception essential or accidental dignity (or even debility..)?
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Posted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

if signs are involved it is usually an essential dignity. Aspects and houses are accidental. Some traditionalists do not consider mutual reception a dignity at all.
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Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the reply, Tom.

So would that mean, that, if mutuallity is involved, a planet otherwise peregrine, is no longer so?

Or could it be something in between? Essential, as signs are involved, as you say, but also accidental, since the planet doesn't gain essential credit on its own but through the "accidental" presence of its dispositor.
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Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So would that mean, that, if mutuallity is involved, a planet otherwise peregrine, is no longer so

Some might argue that's correct, but I don't think so. Let's say the Sun is in Pisces and Jupiter is in Leo. The Sun is still without essential dignity. Essential dignity is the result of sign placement and that doesn't change because the Sun is in mutual reception. It's still the Sun in Pisces, and the Sun in Pisces is peregrine.
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Yair Alon

Joined: 16 Jul 2014
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Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 3:48 pm    Post subject: Wonderful Reply with quote

Iím just writing to express my feelings on how awesome is this post. Reading all you wrote here have helped to clear my mind in a way that I never could by reading the classics.

Some of you maybe remember a thread of long ago of me where I asked whether a weak malefic is even more malefic. With the discussion we have here, it becomes much easier to answer that, and one of the thing I realized is that we use terms like "weak" or "strong" too broadly, and therefore we are not always agreeing on what this means. Factors I consider to decide if a planet is strong will be different than those from other astrologers.

Now I see how important it is to differentiate between essential and accidental, between word like dignity and, say, fortitude, and the complex relation between "strenght" (ess. or acc)-good,benefic/bad,malefic.

thank you all for this! may you all be blessed.
Yair Alon
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