The nature of each planet is expressed more easily in some signs
than others. The tradition of assigning Planets to signs
according to their compatibility was first recorded by Ptolemy in
the 1st century AD and is still the basis of interpretation today.
In the Table of Essential Dignities, Ptolemy groups these
expressions into what is called Rulership,
Fall. They are known collectively as
Dignities and Debilities. And there is another kind of dignity as well, called Accidental Dignity.
Accident Dignity occurs when a planet is placed in one of the
n/a = none assigned at this time
There is one sign, sometimes two, where each planet feels totally
at home. Its energy flows freely and easily there. For
example, the energy of the Sun combines extremely well with the
energy of Leo. This is said to be the sign that the planet
A planet in the sign it rules is said to be in its Essential
Dignity. It's like being completely at ease in your own
There is usually another sign where the energy of each planet
expresses itself quite well too, but it doesn't rule that sign.
To be exalted is to be admired and praised. It's like
visiting your very best friend. You're very comfortable and
happy there, but it's still not your own home.
Planets are said to be in detriment when they are in the sign
opposite the sign that they rule. Things that are detrimental are
damaging or harmful.
Planets in detriment are traditionally considered to have some
difficulty expressing their own nature. They are required to conform
to the energy of the sign rather than cooperating with it.
You're in a place where you have to conform to someone else's rules
Planets are in their fall when they are in the sign
opposite the sign of their exaltation. As anyone knows who has
taken a tumble or two, you can be seriously injured in a fall.
Being in the sign of their fall is the most difficult place for
planets to express their nature. It is an uncomfortable,
helpless feeling. The original Greek word for the sign of a
planet's fall was tapeinoma, meaning "humbled, dejected, or
depressed". This is like being forced to be in a place where
you are not welcome.