Exaltation and Enlightenment (Astro Q&A, ep 5)

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Indrani: What is the logic behind exaltation? What singles out a specific as the one that causes a specific planet to be exalted?

Exaltation is part of the theory of dignity.  This theory informs you whether you should give a more positive or more negative slant to your interpretations of a planet in a birth chart.

The highest level of dignity is called exaltation. 

Next best is for a planet to be in one of the signs it owns. It’s easy to see the logic in that one. Everyone does well when they are comfortable in their own atmosphere.

But the logic of exaltation suggests that there is something even better than this. It says that a little bit of challenge and counterbalance makes you more productive and inspired than when you are cozy and comfortable in your own home.

The sign that causes a specific planet to be exalted is the one that presents that planet with just the right amount of challenge and counterbalance.

Mars exalts in Capricorn, for example. It is great to have Mars in its own sign, like Aries, but it’s even better to have it in Capricorn, an earth-sign owned by Saturn, because the qualities of earth and Saturn provide just enough challenge and counterbalance by tempering and stabilizing Mars’ inherent adventurous and energetic independence.

Here is a quick rundown of the logic behind all the other exaltations:

  • The Sun exalts in Aries because the things it represents – like our career and self-concept – need a kick from bravery and independence to really reach their fullest potential.
  • The Moon exalts in Taurus because emotions need to be balanced by steadiness and affection.
  • Venus exalts in Pisces because love should be the deepest emotion we feel, and should inform all our decisions.
  • Jupiter exalts in Cancer because morals and wisdom are boring and useless without genuine emotional content.
  • Saturn exalts in Libra because even the hardest workers work better if they relax sometimes, and because our efforts should be directed for the benefit of society at large.

I think Mercury’s exaltation is the most interesting, because it is the only planet that exalts in its own sign – Virgo. The logic here is that Mercury is already perfectly balanced by nature, so it doesn’t need another planet to challenge or counterbalance it. The practical earth element of Virgo is sufficient challenge and counterbalance to the intellect’s desire to roam and fantasize.

[Balajhi] Why do debilitated planets sometimes act like they are not debilitated, and even act like they are exalted (and visa versa)?

In any country, the culture is significantly different in the north, south, east, and west. Similarly in every sign, the conditions are different from one degree to the next.

Every sign has subdivisions, called aṁśa, and each subdivision has its own sign. So, for example, there is a reflection of Taurus, Gemini, etc. within Aries.

And there are many layers of subdivisions. Signs are usually subdivided into layers with 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 30, and 60 subdivisions.

The end result is that the degree and minute of a planet affects its dignity by exposing it to a different collection of signs in the subdivisions of the main sign it occupies.

We use a weighted average to tally the dignity imparted by all the signs that influence the planet at it’s specific degree and minute – and that’s how we know the planet’s true dignity.

It’s not uncommon for the true dignity to be very different from the apparent dignity. For example, Jupiter may be in Cancer – which is apparently cause to interpret it as an exalted planet, but Jupiter’s degree and minute in Cancer might cause it to have very poor overall dignity. When this happens, we have to interpret the planet as undignified, despite the apparent value of it being in its exaltation sign.

And the same is true for debilitation and all other states of dignity. There are be degrees within a debilitation sign where a planet will actually will actually have good dignity overall.

That’s why it’s absolutely essential to calculate and use the overall dignity before trying to interpret the details of what a planet symbolizes in any sign or house.

[Dreamgirls12] Is there a way to know if the person is currently in his last incarnation (with just a few steps left to gaining enlightenment)?

Well, like predicting the past life, predicting the next life is pretty hard to fact-check. If I predict that you’ll be enlightened in your next life, how will I ever factually know if my prediction was correct?

We can hypothesize what the next life will be by seeing the mentality a person is cultivating in this life. So, if we can astrologically identify traits indicating spiritual interests and behavior in this lifetime, we have solid logical ground for predicting that enlightenment is on the horizon.

A simple system that I find to be reliably accurate is to cast the tropical chart using whole-sign houses, and then look for combinations formed by the lords of the houses of enlightenment.

There are four goals of life, enlightenment is the fourth. The four trines rooted to the four elements represent these four goals.

The trine rooted to the fourth element, water, represents enlightenment. This is the trine formed by the 4th, 8th and 12th houses.

If the lords of these houses combine it indicates that the fourth goal of life is very significant for the native, and therefore enlightenment is much more likely to occur in this life or very soon in a future life.

For example Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Prabhupāda had the 12th lord in the 8th house. That’s an example of a combination between the houses of enlightenment. To make it much more profound, this 12th lord in the 8th was also exactly aligned with Ketu – the planet of enlightenment.

Additionally, the lord of the 4th house perfectly aspected the lord of the 8th. That’s another example of a combination of enlightenment houses.

This 8th lord was in the 9th house, which is also significant.

The 9th house is the most evolved of the dharma houses, so, for enlightenment, it is very good to have a combination between this dharma house or lord and mokṣa house or lord. It is a symbol that one’s sense of morality and religion (dharma) is spiritual and focused on enlightenment.

Vic DiCara