Essential Dignities: From Exalted and Domicile to Fall

essential dignities
Antonio González Estévez, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Planets have “favorite” Zodiac signs to visit and others they don’t want to be around so much. These groupings are essential dignities. It is good to see these groupings and positions as something like a condition.

That planet’s strength and fortitude is measurable by those essential dignities. Planets without essential dignities will have difficulty in expressing themselves positively. There are different parts of essential dignities astrology that depend on the planet’s position.

Positions like Exalted and Domicile are examples of essential dignities. The way these planets take up positions and how it affects the Zodiac may seem confusing. That’s why we wrote up this handy little guide; to help you learn about it easier!

From the Exalted position to the Domicile, we have you covered. Every one of these positions is right here in this guide and explained simply. All five positions of these dignities are present in this guide and clarified very simply just for you.

We even include which planets correspond to which position per dignity and Zodiac sign. Just scroll down after the explanation for each to see which planet has which essential dignity! What are we waiting for? Let’s get started reading about essential dignities!

Essential Dignities of Planets

Essential dignities are an astrological concept coined by astrologer William Lilly. He said that the essential dignities are the strength or fortitude of the planets. William Lilly meant that an essential dignity seeks to view the strengths of a planet. However, views on this are as though there are no other factors in the sky of the natal chart.

Essential dignity refers more specifically to the quality of a planet’s energy at a specific degree in the Zodiac. The stronger the essential dignity, the more likely the person can express the planet’s positive qualities. Otherwise, difficulties arise in expressing more positive qualities.

An essential dignities chart would indicate how strong a planet is from its position relative to the person’s natal chart. Not every planet, after all, is strong and holds a lot of power for every person. Everyone has a planet or two where they’re particularly strong and another where it isn’t so strong.

The essential dignities significance lies in the extra influence they have over certain Zodiac signs. If the Zodiac sign doesn’t have an essential dignity, that is often bad. It means that the planets have no influence over the sign. Unable to offer energy to the person, the Zodiac sign lies uninfluenced by the planet without an essential dignity.

William Lilly recognized that not having an essential dignity is a malefic condition for a planet to have. Fortunately, every planet here has an essential dignity. It’s just a matter of which ones have more influence over which sign. Every sign has a planet and every planet has strengths and weaknesses.

Without further ado, let’s get started. Start learning more about the astrological concept of essential dignity below!


Meredith Garstin commons, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A domicile is the dignity over which that planet has rulership; its “home,” if you will. Hence, the term “domicile.” Do not confuse this with the houses of the horoscope; that’s an entirely different thing. Every Zodiac sign has a corresponding planetary rule and that planet has more power when positioned therein.

Of the five essential dignities, the domicile is easily the strongest among all of them. Sometimes called the domal dignity, this is the type that occurs when the planet’s position is over the sign it rules. This portends auspicious things and strong influence of the planet’s energy over the sign.

The sun is in domicile in Leo. Cancer’s ruler is the moon. Gemini and Virgo find their home in Mercury. Libra and Taurus make their domicile in Venus. Mars is the home of Aries and Scorpio. Jupiter welcomes Sagittarius and Pisces.

Capricorn and Aquarius stick with Saturn, though Uranus does fine for Aquarius too. Neptune is also an acceptable domicile for Pisces. Finally, Scorpios also find a domicile in Pluto.


Sometimes called the exile dignity, the detriment refers to a planet positioned opposite to its domicile. Put simply, Mars represents Aries and being in a position opposite to that would put Mars in detriment. This dignity often operates with the least strength. As the weakest dignity, that planet operates and influences uncomfortably in that position.

When this happens, people with this dignity struggle with the positive nature of their domicile. For example, someone born under Aries struggles to positively express the energy common to Mars. This happens most likely if the planet is in detriment to the sign.

The sun is the detriment to Aquarius. Capricorns don’t work well with the moon. Mercury struggles with Sagittarius and Pisces. Venus has a similar situation with Aries and Scorpio. Taurus and Libra can’t work very well with Mars. Jupiter is detrimental to Gemini and Virgo.

Cancer and Leo have difficulties with Saturn. Uranus is also detrimental to Leo. So is Neptune to Virgo. Finally, Pluto is detrimental to Taurus.


exalted dignity
Meredith Garstin, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The exalted dignity is in a place of awareness compared to fall, which is a place of weakness. Weakness is with regards to the planet’s function. A Zodiac sign’s position that is opposite to an exaltation is its fall dignity.

Exaltation is an ancient astrological concept that’s still in use today. As far back as Mesopotamian astrology in the Indus Valley, exaltation was present in astrology. The planet’s function shines brightest when it is in the exalted dignity position.

Aries exalts the sun. The moon and Taurus are an exalted dignity too. Pisces and Venus are also an exalted dignity. Mars is for Taurus in exaltation as Jupiter is for Cancer. Libra and Saturn are in the exalted position. Scorpio exalts Uranus as Cancer also exalts Neptune. Finally, Leo exalts Pluto.


Astrological falls are in the position directly opposite to the exalted dignity. This is a bad position for the planet to be in. Falls don’t just represent a weakness in the function of the planet in influencing their domicile sign. It also means everything else that planet represents suffers as a consequence of being in the fall.

Now, this doesn’t mean you’re going to be unlucky if your sign’s planet is in fall. It just means you’ll have a few more struggles to overcome to meet your true potential and positive characteristics. Try to think of it this way; adversity is the mother of character and dignity.

Signs that are in detriment or fall can be an opportunity to build grit and character. Trials you go through in life may seem harder, but that doesn’t make them impossible. Be patient and you will certainly overcome them.

Libra’s fall is the sun. Scorpio’s fall is with the moon. Virgos find their fall in Venus. Mars is the fall dignity for Cancer. Jupiter is for Capricorns in fall as Saturn is for Aries. Taurus finds the weakness in Uranus as Capricorn does in Neptune. Finally, Pluto is the fall dignity for Aquarius.


Triplicity is the last essential dignity. It refers to a group of three Zodiac signs belonging to the same element. There are four elements: air, water, earth, and fire. Each of these elements has three signs. Signs can even be hot or wet, cold or dry.

For the water signs, you have Cancer and Scorpio. Pisces is also present in this triplicity. Signs under water are cold and wet. Under air, Gemini and Libra share the element with Aquarius. This element has signs that are hot and wet. 

Earth signs include Taurus and Virgo, as well as Capricorn. Earthen signs are cold and dry. Signs like Aries and Sagittarius share the fire element with Leo. These signs are hot and dry.

Fire signs are subject to the Sun in the day and Jupiter at night. Saturn is also their participating ruler. Earth signs have Venus as their day ruler and the moon as their night ruler. Their participating ruler is Mars.

Saturn is the day ruler and Mercury the night ruler for air signs, with Jupiter as their participating ruler. Venus and Mars rule the day and night for water signs with the moon as their participating ruler.

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