There are five special alignments in astrology which will produce five varieties of outstanding people. Basically, the alignment occurs when the right planet is in the right sign, while also being in the right house. Planet, sign, and house align correctly and enable that planet to create a truly outstanding individual – a “Maha-Purusha.”
The Right Planets
Let’s define some of that more exactly, starting with “the right planet.” The only planets which can produce this alignment are the five real astrological planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The other astrological bodies do not participate in this alignment, in fact they actually will detract from it, but more on that later on.
The Right Signs
Now: “The right planet in the right sign.” Planets travel through the zodiac constellations like you or I traveling though different neighborhoods of our city. We experience a different reception in each neighborhood, based largely on how well the locals like us and also on how well we can make use of the resources that exist in that part of town. A planet is in “the right neighborhood” or “the right sign” for this special alignment when it is in either a sign that it owns, or in the sign in which it is exalted.
So, these are the “right signs” for each of the “right planets” in respect to this particular alignment -
- Mars at home in Aries or Scorpio, or exalted in Capricorn
- Mercury at home in Gemini or exalted in Virgo
- Jupiter at home in Sagittarius or Pisces, or exalted in Cancer
- Venus at home in Libra or Taurus, or exalted in Pisces
- Saturn at home in Capricorn or Aquarius, or exalted in Libra
The Right Houses
We said that great people are born when the right planet is in the right sign and the right house. The right houses for this alignment are the cardinal directions of the sky, the four quadrants – houses 1, 4, 7 or 10.
How to Calculate It
This is alignment is recorded from rather ancient Sanskrit sources. You should therefore only look for it using the same style of astrological calculation which those ancient authors used: a sidereal zodiac (not a tropical one) with a “whole sign” house system (not a placidus or any other type of calculated house system).
Specific Results of these Alignments
When this alignment occurs, a child is born who will stand out from his or her peers. The specific planet causing the alignment will bestow from it’s own nature the specific qualities which will cause that child to excel.
When Mars is the planet creating the alignment the child grows up to be an extremely charismatic “lovable rouge” type. He or she will become outstanding due to excellent ambition, strength, bravery, physical power and fearlessness.
When Mercury creates this alignment, the child becomes a sort of “handsome professor.” He or she excels as a result of outstanding intellect, beauty, fairness, and education.
When the alignment results from Jupiter, the child becomes an “eloquent noble.” His fair and sonorous speech is a very prominent factor making him stand out from his peers and bringing him extra wealth and ability to lead a happy life of noble enjoyments and sexual pleasure.
If Venus is the planet causing this alignment, a child is born who becomes a sort of “learned romantic.” She stands out from her peers because she is extremely learned, especially in the arts, is noticeably beautiful. These qualities bring her a wealth of sexual enjoyments and money.
When Saturn causes the alignment, the child becomes the “leader of the pack,” the “voice of the voiceless.” He excels others due to his determination, patience, strength and – most of all – mass public appeal. He will also have powers with scientific arts.
What Elevates & Cancels Out the Alignment
Some people born with these alignments will simply stand out among their classmates, while others will stand out amidst their entire school, and still others will go on to stand out amid the entire nation, or even the entire world. Why the difference?
Because other factors besides the right planet, right sign, right house can act upon the alignment and either amplify or mute it.
If the Sun or Moon conjoin the planet causing the alignment, it becomes severely muted, even “cancelled.” This is especially true with conjunctions from the Sun, and even more so if that conjunction is within 8º or so, and thus causes the alignment planet to be consumed entirely by the Sun’s brilliance.
That gives you a good hint at the reason why this cancellation occurs. The Sun and Moon are the natural outstanding personalities in the heavens. The other five planets cannot express their greatness fully when they are in the presence of the true king and queen, the Sun & Moon.
To a lesser extent, an aspect from the Sun or Moon to the alignment planet may reduce the greatness of the alignment.
Another detracting factor is a conjunction or, to a lesser extent, aspect from a malefic planet – especially if that malefic is one of the lunar nodes: Rahu or Ketu. You should also check the sub-charts, especially the navamsha, for detracting conjunctions and perhaps also aspects.
If the aligning planet is the owner of difficult houses in the chart, the potency of the alignment can be dampened.
Finally, if the planet is “weak” despite being in a good sign, the alignment will lose power. Vedic astrology has an excellent system for mathematically describing the strength of a planet, called the Sixfold Strength System (shad-bala), if you know this system or have access to Vedic astrology software you should always consult the shad-bala score to get the strength of the aligning planet and use it to judge to potential strength or weakness of the alignment itself.
If you don’t know how to calculate shad-bala or don’t have the software to do it for you – it’s something very important to learn about, but is unfortunately way outside the scope of this article.
Having described what makes the normal alignment become less powerful, now I will tell you what makes it become more powerful.
First of all, there may be a bit of a gradation inherent in the alignment itself. If the alignment occurs from a planet in exaltation you can expect it to have a bit more inherent strength than the same alignment occurring from a planet in it’s own sign. You can subdivide the own signs further if you know what a “moolontrikona” sign is (except for Mercury it is always the masculine one of the two signs owned by a planet). That sign will generate a little bit more inherent strength.
If the Planet causing the alignment also owns important and benefic houses in the chart, the alignment’s strength amplifies.
A factor which will dramatically multiply the strength of a Greatness Alignment is if that alignment occurs not only in the correct houses counted normally from the ascendant, but also in the correct houses counted starting from the house of the Moon and, secondarily, the Sun. It will be easier to spot this than it seems. You can spot it like this: if the Sun and/or Moon is also in a cardinal direction / angular house (house 1, 4, 7, or 10) – as long as they are not in the same house as the alignment planet, of course - this amplifying condition will occur and the strength of the alignments greatness with dramatically enhance.
Also, if the alignment repeats itself in the navamsha sub-chart it will be significantly enhanced. In fact as long as the alignment planet is just in a good sign and not conjunct malefic planets in the navamsha the alignment gets proportionately enhanced.
In some charts there will be more than one such alignment. For example, Mars may be exalted in the 1st house while Saturn is also exalted in the 10th and Jupiter in the 7th. Clearly the more alignments, the more outstanding the individual. To predict the specific nature of the results you will need to do a bit of “cooking” to correctly ascertain how the qualities of each alignment will mix and blend.
I will say though, that a single greatness alignment which is spotless and enhanced will create far more outstanding individuals that would a triplicate of alignments which are dampened.
Timing the Fruition of the Alignment
These Greatness Alignments are very special in that they are among the few alignments in astrology which don’t need to wait for an appropriate time in the chronological dasha cycles before they can manifest. They will have a general overall effect on the person throughout their entire life. Of course, during the dasha cycle of the alignment causing planet there will be even greater benefit.
It is interesting to note that a person born under a rising sign which belongs to Jupiter or Mercury will never be able to have a Mars-type greatness personality (because the right signs will never be in the right houses at the same time). Mars is too single-minded and headstrong to become exceedingly positive in the personality of those born to the fair-minded and equanimical signs of Mercury and Jupiter.
Conversely it is impossible to have a Mercurial Greatness unless ones rising sign belongs to either Jupiter or Mercury. Intellect rarely produces great leaders, who are more often brutish and opportunistic. Therefore the possibilities for Mercury’s intelligence to create truly excelling people only arises when either Mercury (the archetypical student) or Jupiter (the archetypical teacher) owns the rising sign.
Similarly, if one is born under a fixed rising sign (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, or Aquarius) Jupiter cannot form his greatness alignment. Jupiter’s greatness manifests in the ability to grow, procreate, and expand generously. The influence of a fixed rising sign limits this too much.
Saturn’s greatness can not manifest to those whose rising signs belong to the impartial and fair Jupiter and Mercury. Saturn’s strength, power and fixed tenacity requires the rising sign to be either ambitious (a cardinal sign) or strong (a fixed sign).
Venus, whose motto is to love all and create harmony and peace in this world, is the only planet whose greatness can manifest for all rising signs.
Thoughts on Debilitation
If this great alignment is produced when the right planet is in a good sign and a strong house – what can be said if the right planet is in a debilitating sign in an important house? Take Saturn, for example. If Saturn is exalted in Libra, which is the 10th house, a potentially fantastic “Saturn’s Greatness” alignment occurs. But what if Saturn is instead debilitated in Aries, in the 4th House? Does the opposite effect occur? Does the person become obscure, menial, and neglected?
I can only tell you what I personally think, because I have not yet seen this question addressed in any of the ancient classics. But I think the answer is a conditional “no.” There is no special Anti-Greatness Alignment described for this combination of conditions. Furthermore I would add that debilitation is as extreme a condition for a planet as exaltation. Therefore, if anything, the debilitated variety of this alignment would still create an outstanding individual, potentially, who stands above his or her peers as a result of their ability to learn the important lessons taught to them by that debilitated planet.
This is only my speculation at this point. I have not researched it.
But I do have something further to say, on which I have been able to observe a bit in practical experience. One most consider the phenomenon of neech-bhanga. That is, one must consider the effect of a debilitated planet who has the debilitation rectified as a result of a specific set of conditions (outside the scope of this article to describe). Since the ancient astrological authorities have many times and in many places described these “cancelled debilitations” as being equivalent in many ways to exaltation, one can reasonably posit that an alignment causing planet who is debilitated in a quadrant house will cause the Greatness Alignment to manifest if that planet receives cancellation of debilitation. In such cases the rest of the normal modifying rules for the strength of the alignment would also apply.
I will offer my own chart as an example of this principle. I have two debilitated planets in angles. Saturn in Aries in my 4th house and Mars in Cancer in my 7th house. Yet both of those debilitations meet the criteria of neech-bhanga and are thus rectified, mitigated, or “cancelled.” Therefore one can speculate on the basis of the logic I just mentioned, that I should potentially enjoy the effects of two Greatness Alignments, one from Saturn being equivalent to exalted in my 4th house, and another from Mars being equivalent to exalted in my 7th house.
However, one should the proceed to apply the normal rules. We find Mars conjunct the sun within just a few degrees and therefore combust. Thus we don’t expect to find any effect from a Mars’ Greatness Alignment. In Saturn’s case, however, we find that his alignment recurs from the Sun as well as the Ascendant, and that it is assisted by an aspect from a benefic planet, Jupiter. Therefore we expect to find fairly significant effect from a Saturn’s Greatness Alignment in my horoscope.
This assessment does accurately match the nature of my experience and my life.
For those from India or more familiar with Vedic Astrology I will note the technical names of these alignments (“yogas”) here. If that’s not you, this section is ignorable.
The entire class of alignment is known as the pancha-mahapurusha yoga. When Mars creates the yoga the subclass is ruchaka yoga. When Mercury creates it, bhadra yoga. Jupiter creates the subclass called hamsa yoga. Venus creates malavya yoga. Saturn creates sashi yoga.
- Vic DiCara