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Minderwiz  Minderwiz is offline
Student of Astrology
Join Date: 20 Apr 2002
Location: Wigan, UK
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Accidental Dignities

Accidental Dignities are derived from 4 attributes of a planet in a particular chart Ė that is they are chart dependant not sign dependent. The four attributes are determined by:

House position
Phase relation to the Sun
Aspects from benefics and malefics
Aspects from fixed Stars.

In practice a planet may have one or more of these plus its essential dignity. Care should be taken to balance these. In general accidental dignities show whether a planet is well placed to act (or more properly the person it signifies), whereas essential dignity indicates itís inherent strength to act. For example Superman has very high essential dignity but put him next to some Kryptonite and he suddenly gathers an awful lot of accidental debility and his ability to act is fundamentally reduced.

House Position

This depends on the nature of the house and its aspect to the Ascendant, if any. Most Astrology students are familiar with the idea that angular houses are best, followed by succedent houses and with cadent houses in third place. The traditional ranking is similar but with some exceptions:

So a planet it the:

Ascendant or MC scores +5
Seventh, Fourth or Eleventh scores +4
Second and fifth scores +3
Ninth scores +2
Third scores +1
Sixth or eighth scores -4
Twelfth scores -5

In general this fits the modern ranking but note that the Eleventh gets equal ranking with the DSC and IC Ė the reason being that it is not only a succedent house but sextiles the Ascendant. Similarly the ninth and third are both cadent but the ninth trines the Ascendant whereas the third only sextiles it. The eighth is actually a succedent house but it has no major aspect to the Ascendant and has unfortunate connections with death and misery. Both the sixth and twelfth are cadent and make no aspect to the Ascendant, the twelfth is the joy of Saturn, the sixth is the Joy of Mars. In Horary the better the placement by house is for the querentís (or other personís) significators, the more able to act they are:

Phase relationships with the Sun

Starting from the exact conjunction with the Sun a planet can have the following dignities or debilities:

Cazimi or in the Heart of The Sun (score= +5)

In Medieval times this appears to have meant a partile conjunction with the Sun (both in the same degree of the same sign). However by Lillyís time it was taken as the planet being no more than 17 minutes of the Sunís exact position (either way). You will rarely find it in horary charts (or any charts) but it is a position of great power. Again it emphasises an ability to act.

Combust (score= -5)

This is the planetís conjunction with the Sun (except when it is Cazimi) and the planet has to be within 8.5 degrees of the Sunís position, either side. A planet in Combustion but moving out of it is in a better position than one moving further into combustion, whilst that does not affect the score it should temper your reading of combust planets.

Combustion means that the planet cannot be seen for the Sunís light. In turn it means that it does not reflect light and so can form no meaningful aspects with other planets. In a Horary, treat this as a condition which means the querent or questited (whicheverís significators is combust) is likely not to be seen or taken notice of. So if your searching for a lost earring and its significators is combust, itís either out of sight or is obscured by something else.

Under the Sunís Beams (scores -4)

This is similar to combustion but not as strong. The range here is 17 degrees either side of the Sun and marks the area where a planet is either totally obscured or mostly obscured. Those of you who have an interest in the origin of Calendars may be familiar with the search for the first crescent of the New Moon which occurs on the third day after the old Moon disappeared. During this time the Moon is either under the beams or combust. (apart from the instant of the astronomical conjunction when itís Cazimi).

Again in Horary it signifies something that is not seen or noticed or has difficulty being noticed.

Oriental or Occidental

These two are totally absent from modern Astrology. Neither is a major influence but they can add to the ability to act or detract from it.

Lilly gives two simple definitions.

ĎOriental is to rise before the Suní i.e. the planet is seen in the morning sky before sunrise
ĎOccidental is to set after the Suní, i.e. the planet is seen in the evening sky after sunset

These two definitions work perfectly for Venus and Mercury but with the other planets Lilly has to add further words of definition. For the Moon and the superior planets (Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) orientality depends on whether the planet is between the conjunction and the opposition with the Sun or between the opposition and the conjunction.

As the Sun is faster than the three superior planets and the Moon is faster than the Sun, itís no surprise to learn that the definition is different for the superiors and the Moon. The Moon is oriental from her opposition to her conjunction, i.e. when she is waning or decreasing in light. She is occidental between the conjunction and the opposition (Full Moon) when she is waxing or increasing in light.

For the three superiors the situation is the opposite. They are oriental from the conjunction to the opposition and occidental from the opposition to the conjunction (see attached sheet)

Mercury, Venus and the Moon gain +2 points when they are occidental and lose -2 points when they are oriental. For the superiors, they gain +2 when oriental (the Sun and hence combustion are leaving them) and lose two points when the Sun is moving towards them (they are occidental)

The use of this in horary, or indeed any form of Astrology is of relatively minor importance, but occasionally the gain of strength or loss of strength may tip you to the right judgement when other dignities are evenly balanced.

Retrograde (score=-5)

Modern usage of Retrograde tends to be spasmodic but often suggests quirky behaviour, going against the planetís nature or getting things wrong. In horary Retrograde can mean many things, for example it might indicate that a lost item is coming back to you, if itís significators is retrograde. It might mean speedy or sudden resolution if a retrograde significators is in mutual application with a direct significator. It can mean a loss of direction or acting against your own best interests, but most often it means a difficulty in action. Again you have to consider ALL the dignities Ė Superman might well be able to overcome the Kryptonite if he happens to have a lead lined box handy, a weak man might not be able to lift 20kg an Olympic weightlifter can lift it with one hand tied behind his back. Accidental debilities are not the be all and end all of a horary.

Speed (score +2 if Swift, -2 if slow)

Most software, including Morinus, will give you the daily speed of a planet. If you havenít got an Astrology program, you can work out the planetary speed on the day of your chart from an online ephemeris. However few programs will tell you whether the speed is swift or slow. The only one Iím aware of is Janus. Iíve attached a sheet indicating what is fast or slow for each planet, taken from John Frawley. The sheet also summarises the conditions for being oriental or occidental. You will still need to check the speed on the day of the chart but the sheet helps you make a judgement. The sheet shows Lillyís estimates of average speed - which is quite accurate, however the average is worked out from both direct and retrograde motion, which doesnít help an awful lot. In Christian Astrology he does give a better indication of ranges of speed but the Frawley table is more concise.

Fast speed can indicate speedy resolution of the question (along with other indicators) and of course slow speed may indicate some delays. The speed of the Moon is general to all Horaries, so a swift Moon is generally a good sign.

Aspects from benefics and malefics

A benefic planet is one that will help the resolution of the matter (or enhance some aspect of the natal character) Aspects here are trines and sextiles and the natural benefics are Jupiter and Venus. A partile trine scores +4 a partile sextile scores +3. You might reduce the score for wider aspects by knocking of 1 point for each degree.

A malefic is any planet that will hinder the resolution of the matter, the natural malefics are Saturn and Mars (but not if they are a significators). Score -4 for a partile opposition and -3 for a partile square to a malefic. Also note that squares or oppositions from Lords 6, 8 and 12 can be treated as malefic hindrances, even if Lord 12 is Jupiter.

Aspects from fixed Stars

Traditionally fixed stars also had benefic and malefic natures. Lilly used around 50 of these however he only gives scores for Regulus (Cor Leonis) and Spica, as benefics (+6 and +5 respectively) and only used conjunctions.

For malefic he scores only Algol as -5 and again itís a conjunction only.

Morinus has a list of many fixed starts which you can use if you wish.

Essential and Accidental dignities are the things that you will use most but in further posts Iíll mention some of the key tests for success including antiscia, and a variety of other tests such as translation of light.
Attached Images
File Type: pdf Planet speed and orientality.pdf (140.4 KB, 1302 views)
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