I thought that with the approaching retrogradation of Venus (December 19, the same day of the full moon), I could write a little about planetary dignities and relationships.
As usual, I can’t help but observe astrology playing out through my life and perspective. In fact, one of the things that excites me most about the subject is this: being a kind of lens which enables the extraction of meaning.
Some kind of mining meaning?!
It is commonly said that planets in the opposite sign of its rulership or exaltation are in a sort of ‘bad’ placement (for example when the Moon is in Scorpio or Mars in Taurus etc). I have been reflecting on that these days, particularly on how much I disagree with this idea.
I always go on and on about this with my students and fellow astrologers, that you can never tell how an astrology chart will be played out by its owner.
(I was going to write ‘until you meet them’, but not even then I don’t think.)
Human beings are complex creatures, and we might express the inherent symbolism in our charts differently at different times, or in different ways with different people, etc. There is no absolutes and no way to tell anything ‘for sure’ really.
I believe that astrological symbols are best used (when reading a person’s chart) as a way to brainstorm potential meaning rather than narrowing down into absolutes.
So here is an example from my experience to express my point.
Not long ago I was going out with someone who had natal Mars in Scorpio, a planet considered very powerfully placed in the sign of its rulership. That Mars did conjoin Pluto, that is true, but other than that, it only aspected Venus and Sun by sextile, so not massively debilitated.
Anyway, the individual in question did not have an ‘accomplished life’ in a traditional sense, did not harness his discipline (although being a Capricorn Sun as well!) and his trajectory was also somewhat chaotic (perhaps having his chart ruler conjoined Neptune had its influence here too).
The second individual I would like to mention had natal Mars in Cancer, the sign of its fall. This position has a bad rap and there is usually plenty of stories about passive aggression, drama, lack of direction in life, etc. Well, well, well, the man in question happens to have a lot of drive and ambition, had actually accomplished a lot professionally and, on top of that, had a very assertive and direct energy about him.
I truly admired and enjoyed the energy of that Mars in Cancer – assertive in a sensitive and receptive way rather than the coarseness and explosive anger I saw in the Mars in Scorpio person. Would that be true of every Mars in Scorpio or Mars in Cancer individuals? Obviously not.
Personal responsibility and accountability, when it comes to growth and emotional intelligence, still the main thing – much more than planets in exaltation or rulership or detriment.
This is just a simple and small example of how we are better off not making assumptions based on certain placements – the chart and the person that holds it need to be seen in its totality as much as possible. Even through our inevitably limited eyesight… if at least we can be aware of it…