First things first. What is “exaltation” anyway?
Background: What is a Sign? What is a Planet?
Here is the metaphor that will help you make sense of the whole thing: The whole starry sky is a wilderness of energy. Wilderness is a wild area uninhabited by people. But in the wilderness there are places that people do occupy. Those are the “developed” areas. In the starry sky, there is similarly a specific area that is is inhabited by “people” – it is called the “Zodiac” – the “people” inhabiting this band of stars are the planets.
So that is part two of the metaphor: (1) The stars are places, some wild, but the ones in the zodiac are cultivated and developed, civilized places. (2) The planets are people.
The planets always move. In astrology this is actually what makes them different from “stars.” As they move through the 12 areas of the Zodiac, the “12 signs,” they are just like people traveling through different countries. Each person has a unique personality – and so does each planet. Each person has a purpose, and so does each planet.
Each planet has a primary mission in your life – a primary role to play in the development of humanity and human beings like you and me.
What is an “Exaltation Sign”?
Remember the metaphor: the signs are places. What are places? I mean, how do places affect people? Because, that is what we are really interested in. We want to know how the signs affect the planets, and to understand this, we just need to ask ourselves how places affect people.
Places affect people by providing resources!
Different places provide different resources. Bars, for example, give good resources for getting drunk and finding cheap sex. Schools, supposedly at least, provide very different resources. If you are a person who wants to study and learn, you will be a little bit “debilitated” if circumstances have you constantly in bars. Bars are not places that provide the resources you need for the mission you want to accomplish. But you would be “exalted” if you were instead in a place that is a classroom in a very good school! That place would provide fantastic resources for your mission.
Now you can easily understand why certain zodiac signs make some planets “exalted” and other planets “debilitated.” To state it explicitly, “exaltation signs” are places in the zodiac which give a specific planet the ideal resources to accomplish its primary goal. “Debilitation sign” are exactly the opposite – the are the signs with the resources that actually frustrate and hamper the planet’s main goal.
Why is Jupiter Exalted in Cancer
Because Jupiter is a person, and Cancer is the place which gives Jupiter the best resources to fulfill his primary mission. Why Cancer? First you have to get to know the person named “Jupiter.”
In a nutshel, Jupiter’s mission is to help you expand your horizons, grow and become bigger and better – so that you can achieve true happiness and eventually enlightenment. You can break Jupiter’s mission down into two components: (1) happiness leading to self-realization / enlightenment. (2) growth and expansion.
Because Jupiter is interested in promoting emotional happiness and eventual self-realization he does very well in any sign created by the water element. [You might want to learn the role the elements play in creating the signs] The Water element provides resources that are reflective and thus encourage self-knowing in a non-rigid, fluid, emotional and intuitive way. And thus the water element leads from self-knowing to emotional happiness to eventual self-realization and enlightenment.
Obviously, water is a great resource for Jupiter, then – because his mission to to help you achieve happiness which results in the enlightenment of self-realization!
There are three signs made from the element of water: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. Why is Cancer the sign set aside as being “exalting” for Jupiter? Why not Scorpio or Pisces?
To answer this understand that the signs are made not only from “elements” like earth, water, fire and air – but also from “modes” like Cardinal, Fixed, and Dual. [You might also want to learn about the modes of the zodiac signs.] In a nutshell, the Cardinal mode help things expand and grow (reaching out to the four “cardinal” directions). The Fixed mode helps things become strong and solid. The Dual mode helps things become more open to possibilities.
Cancer is the cardinal water sign. Scorpio the fixed water sign. Pisces is the dual water sign.
All three of them are water, so they are all really nice places for Jupiter, they give Jupiter good resources to bring about happiness and enlightenment. But the fixed nature of Scorpio puts a limit on the other aspect of Jupiter’s prime mission: to grow, enlarge, and expand! So Scorpio is a great sign for Jupiter, but is not the “exaltation sign” of Jupiter, because it gives resources that frustrate Jupiter’s goal of expansion.
How about Pisces? Pisces is dual which makes one open to possibilities. This is really good for jupiter too. Pisces is a fantastic sign for Jupiter to occupy. But Cancer is his exaltation sign, not Pisces. Why?
Although Pisces is great, Cancer is even better, because Cancer is cardinal. The cardinal energy is an ideal resource for Jupiter to use in the pursuit of his mission of expansion and growth! So Cancer is the sign with the best resources for all the aspects of Jupiter’s mission.
You also can learn something important about the difference between Pisces and Cancer by considering a third important ingredient of a zodiac sign. Zodiac signs have four important ingredients:
(1) Elemental nature
(2) Mode of operation
(3) Planetary ruler
(4) Natural house order
Jupiter owns Pisces, and the Moon owns Cancer. This is another reason why Cancer is an even better place for Jupiter than Pisces. Huh? That sounds backwards? No, there is a very important lesson to learn here! You may be as great as a planet, but you never achieve your zenith of potential except in partnership with other people. It is in cooperation with the energies of other people that we can rise to greater heights than we can on our own. And this is yet another factor making Cancer, not Pisces, the exaltation sign of Jupiter.