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The Astrology Podcast

Ep. 156 Transcript: Essential Dignities and Debilities, with Charles Obert

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 156, titled:

Essential Dignities and Debilities, with Charles Obert

With Chris Brennan and guest Charles Obert

Episode originally released on May 10, 2018

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Note: This is a transcript of an audio podcast. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio version, which includes inflections that may not translate well when written out. Transcripts are created by using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and the text probably contains some errors and differences from the audio version. Please submit any corrections to Chris Brennan by email at astrologue@gmail.com.

Transcribed by Andrea Johnson

Transcription released July 30, 2021

Copyright © 2016 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. Today is Monday, May 7, 2018, starting at 1:24 PM, in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 156th episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and how to support the production of future episodes by becoming a patron, please visit TheAstrologyPodcast.com/subscribe.

In this episode, I’m going to be talking with astrologer Charlie Obert about the concept of essential dignities in traditional astrology. So hey, Charlie, welcome to the show.

CHARLES OBERT: Thank you very much, Chris. Thank you for inviting me.

CB: Yeah, I’m excited to talk about this because the genesis of this is actually that you just published a new book on this topic titled, Using Dignities in Astrology, right?

CO: That is correct. And Chris is holding it up there, yes.

CB: Awesome. So yeah, let’s talk a little bit, first, about your background in astrology. So you and I first met actually at the 2011 Traditional Astrology Conference that was hosted by the American Federation of Astrologers, right?

CO: I remember that, yes.

CB: Okay.

CO: I met you. I got to meet you a bit further when you were here in Minneapolis doing a Hellenistic presentation. I think it was zodiacal releasing, wasn’t it? It was a year or two after that.

CB: Yeah, I actually got a cold I think at the beginning of that weekend. And so, I had to like power through the entire weekend, giving a workshop while I was just like dying basically.

CO: I remember that, yeah.

CB: Yeah, good times. So the AFA Traditional Conference, though, that was really unique because that was one of the first times there was a full conference hosted by a major organization that was on traditional astrology. And there was basically just three speakers–it was me and Demetra George and Benjamin Dykes–and I think James Holden came and gave a guest lecture at one point. But that was really your full introduction to traditional astrology, right? That’s when you became passionate about the subject?

CO: Actually, no. I had been–well, just quick, I’ve been doing astrology on and off since like late ‘80s. And it was about in the early-to-mid-2000s that I began to get dissatisfied with modern astrology and got more and more interested in checking out traditional, and in the process of digging that up, found a couple of books in the local occult bookstore by a translator by the name of Benjamin Dykes.

CB: Okay.

CO: And so, I had read some of Ben’s stuff and studied some of Ben’s stuff prior to the conference. But interestingly enough, even though we live fifteen minutes from each other, I met Ben in Arizona at that conference.

CB: Okay. So yeah, you found out that this guy, whose books you were reading, it turned out he was from Minneapolis, Minnesota. So you guys live in the same city.

CO: We’re about 15 minutes from each other. And starting after that convention, he and I have been working together a fair amount. I’ve been learning quite a bit from him. We did a traditional astrology study group here in town, in Minneapolis, that ran for like three years, which is where we got a chance to take a lot of these traditional astrology techniques and just work them with person after person after person in a group and so on.

And it was out of that experience that I wanted to–backing up for a minute, I’m a teacher by trade. Training is what I do for a living. And I wanted to find a way to present traditional astrology that made it a bit easier, if you will, to dive in. It’s a really, really huge area. There’s a huge amount of detail.

CB: Yeah. Are you saying traditional astrology is complicated or something?

CO: Just a hair.

CB: Just a hair?

CO: Yeah. Going through the traditional texts, it took me–and you no doubt have gone through this also–it took me a while to like go through and then go through details again–and then go through the details again–and then you start picking up patterns making sense and then simulating them. Well, that’s what I wanted to write about was those patterns to give someone who’s new to the traditional way of doing astrology kind of a framework, a road map, a way of thinking about it to make the older texts more approachable.

CB: Sure. To make the concepts more accessible.

CO: Yes, exactly. You, I think, have been doing a similar kind of thing only in Hellenistic, making that approachable to a modern world, modern audience, that kind of thing.

CB: Yeah, there’s always that tricky thing because there’s so many different layers and steps that it has to go through in terms of like you have the texts themselves and recovering the texts and reconstructing them and sometimes like editing them or comparing manuscript variations. And then you have the level of like translating the texts, and then once it’s translated, like reading it and actually understanding what the text says, and there’s various levels that that goes through.

And then, eventually, taking the techniques and beginning to apply them, and then another level of like having applied the techniques and taught them for several years, understanding how to like to teach them and present them in an understandable way to other people, or how to apply them regularly in practice. So luckily, the traditional revival has been going on for so long now that we have people like you that are finally in that endgame area of what are the practical things that are valuable from traditional astrology that have been found over the past 20 or 30 years, and how can we bring those back into practice in modern times.

CO: Yes. And I like the way you put that. It’s how can we, number one, assimilate it. And number two, one of the things I’m passionate about is I want to see more of a dialogue and more of a synthesis between traditional and modern astrology.

CB: Sure.

CO: Because one of the things, you know, along with what you’re referring to in terms of the transmission of the texts and the translations and so on, we also need to take into account that we live in a 21st century, a very, very different world than the world that the people who wrote a lot of these traditional texts do. So it’s not just translating the techniques, it’s like translating worldviews, you know.

CB: Yeah.

CO: There’s a philosophical dimension to this that I think is really important.

CB: So there is some level where astrology is culturally relative and when whatever the astrology is of the time ends up reflecting the culture of its day to some extent. And you can still mine like the underlying universal principles that are applicable everywhere, but sometimes that still needs to be adapted just because society is a bit different than it was a thousand years ago or 2,000 years ago.

CO: Yes. And I do think there are, indeed, traditional principles that are related to the very structure of the universe, and part of what we have to do as astrologers, every generation, is reconnect with the core, reconnect with the living principles, so we’re really doing out it of that rather than, if you will, doing it at a book level, doing it at a text level.

CB: Yeah, and that’s really important because that was a thing that I had to balance in mind, because I was doing a survey of Hellenistic astrology, and I had to cover everything–not just a practical application, but also, just reconstructing what the different views were–and sometimes that’s tricky from a textual standpoint.

Actually I remember one of the other reasons it’s worth noting to have you on–where other listeners may have heard your name on the podcast in the past–is your discovery and argument for Saturn as feminine a few years ago, and some of the discussion that that’s created after you made the observation that there’s at least one line in Dorotheus where he treats Saturn as a feminine planet rather than a masculine planet, which seems to go against a large part of the later tradition derived from Ptolemy. And I know that’s a big subject of research and interest for you over the past few years as well.

CO: Yes. And it’s a bit outside of the scope of what we’re doing here today, but I think that is tying in with kind of an ongoing passion and interest of mine. Part of what I want to see recovered, along with the recovery of the traditional astrology techniques, is more of the living philosophy and worldview that gave it birth. And where I’m particularly drawn to that is the entire Platonist tradition because so much of the symbolism of that just gels right in with the symbolism of astrology: the symbolism of the numbers, of the geometry, and so on.

CB: Sure.

CO: And the Saturn piece is going to fit in there somewhere. I’m not sure exactly where, but it’s part of that recovery of the living world, okay?

CB: Okay. Yeah, I’m hoping possibly later this month, probably getting bumped to next month, I was going to do a discussion with another astrologer-scholar who specializes in Platonism and Neoplatonism, and we’re gonna have some discussions about philosophical concepts from Platonism that are relevant to astrology.

CO: Yes. So I would love to talk about that. I am passionate about Platonist astrology. I’m very passionate about the late Platonists, especially, like Proclus. And in a lot of the writings of the late Proclus, the astrological symbolism is woven right in there with the worldview. It’s kind of a logical and inevitable part of it there.

CB: Yeah. Well, I think you’ll definitely like this discussion then. He’s like an astrologer from Mexico City who got a PhD focused on Proclus’ approach to theurgy. So that’s José Manuel Redondo. So hopefully, we’ll be talking to him in the next few weeks.

CO: Mm-hmm.

CB: Anyway, so back to the main topic. So you did that study group, that traditional study group, with Ben Dykes for a few years.

CO: Mm-hmm.

CB: I mean, that actually eventually produced your first book, which was titled, An Introduction to Traditional Natal Astrology: A Complete Working Guide for Modern Astrologers, right?

CO: Yes, that is correct.

CB: Okay.

CO: Which, by the way, I’ve been very gratified by the reception of that. And part of what I’ve liked about that is that it’s a book on traditional astrology that a lot of modern astrologers could relate to who otherwise found the tradition, the older tradition, a bit harder to approach or intimidating or something like that. I feel like it’s a bridge-building book.

CB: Sure. Yeah, definitely. It’s a really nice introduction. I can see how it came out of both your background in teaching, but also doing those study sessions with Ben and trying to translate some of that material into a way that’s understandable for contemporary astrologers.

CO: Yes, very much.

CB: So that came out in 2015, now it’s 2018, and you’ve been teaching classes on traditional astrology at Kepler College for a few years.

CO: Mm-hmm, that’s correct.

CB: And that is part of the genesis of the current book on essential dignities, right?

CO: That’s correct. I’ve been doing, for about the past two years, a class that is using dignities in astrology–it’s the same name as the book–and wanting to take the full suite of all of the dignities and recover them, and as part of that also recover the, if you will, the specific flavor or the nuances of the various different essential dignities. Ben’s done just absolutely pioneering work with that, where he’s been going into the etymology of these.

CB: Right.

CO: If you go back and look at the original terminology–what did ‘rulership’ mean, what does ‘exaltation’ mean, what does ‘dignity’, ‘debility’ mean–it gets kind of a concreteness and a richness, so the terms don’t just become ‘rulership/good’, ‘detriment/bad’; they have flavor, you know.

CB: Right.

CO: Recovering that concreteness, it adds so much color and richness to interpretation.

CB: Yeah. That’s been a really important thing in the traditional revival over the past 20 years, that was especially pioneered by Robert Schmidt, the idea that the technical terms that were chosen in ancient astrology were not just technical terms that were just completely interchangeable with some other term and only had meaning within the context of whatever technique was being used, but instead that the ancient astrologers would oftentimes pick a word from normal language, from everyday language, to use to refer to a specific concept and that the word itself was supposed to invoke a full range of different meanings and different underlying philosophical and conceptual sort of understandings or assumptions.

And so, therefore, one of the things that traditional astrologers have done, and Ben has also followed this approach to some extent, is really analyze the original words that were used under the premise that understanding those words will give you greater meaning into what the technique was essentially supposed to be used for or mean in some sense.

CO: Yes, very much. And I’m gonna rephrase some because of part of the trick of translating it, the words in the original. The way I’m going to phrase it is they had connotations in what I’m gonna call the ‘street language’ of the times–the ordinary living, embodied in day-to-day experience.

CB: Right.

CO: Well, the challenge then is to find ways to translate it into our ‘street language, our concrete metaphors without cheapening or anything like that, but where, yeah, they become earthy. They become part of our regular experience rather than a vague concept. That’s essentially what you’re getting at, right?

CB: Yeah. I mean, the most famous example was the original word for the four angular houses, or the four angles, in a chart, which we call ‘angles’, but the Greek astrologers, or the astrologers who spoke Greek used the word kentron, which has like three different distinct meanings in Greek. One of the meanings is like ‘a prod’ that pokes or excites something into actions; so the notion that planets in the four angles were energized and were poked or excited into action, like they were sheep that we’re being kind of like poked with like a cattle prod or something like that.

CO: Mm-hmm.

CB: But then the other meaning in Greek for kentron was ‘a pivot’ or ‘that which something else revolves around’, because the four angles were supposed to be these pivotal or these turning points where the planets would make a turn in one part of the chart or another, and that also conveyed some sense of centrality or being at the center or pivot of something.

CO: Right. And isn’t there also a sense in that term of something like ‘a tent stake’ or ‘a place where things are anchored’?

CB: Yeah.

CO: You know, like driving a stake into the ground.

CB: Well, that’s what Ben later showed with the Arabic astrologers, when they started in the 8th century. So the Greek astrologers came up with these terms around the 1st century BCE, and then many centuries later, around the 8th century, there was a decline of the Roman Empire and then a great flourishing of astrology in Baghdad and in the different Arabic-speaking lands. And one of the first things they did is they started translating all the ancient Greek texts into Arabic or as many as they could find.

CO: Right.

CB: One of the things they tried to do is they tried to find terms in Arabic that matched the Greek terms that they were translating. So one of the ones you were talking about is one that Ben has focused on, which is the Arabic astrologers seem to have gone out of their way to trying to find a good word for kentron or for those for angular houses, and they used the term in Arabic, watad, which Ben says means like ‘stake’ or ‘tent pole’.

CO: Yeah, exactly, exactly. In any case then, it’s a structural angle that kind of holds the whole thing together. The stakes, the angles, using the ‘tent’ metaphor, it’s like the rest of the chart is stretched and held together by the four angles.

CB: Right, which is interesting.

CO: Yeah, it’s very interesting.

CB: It’s interesting just because it tries to convey some of the meaning of the original Greek term, but you can see that already some of the original meaning is lost a little bit there; like the idea of it being pivotal or central in some way.

CO: Mm-hmm.

CB: It’s kind of there, but it gets lost. And so, that’s why you understand and then imagine what happened that that term, watad in Arabic, was eventually translated in the 12th century into Latin and then whatever Latin term was eventually chosen was eventually translated into English in like the 17th century, and then that’s eventually the term we’re using today.

CO: Exactly. It’s like five languages in between us and the Hellenistic, Persian, Arabic, Latin, English.

CB: Right. So that’s a good example of what some of the traditional astrologers and scholars have been doing in wanting to go back and study these language variations to understand what the original words were that were used and what the original meaning was underlying the concept. And that, to circle around eventually back to our topic, is what you tried to do in this book. You were trying to get back to some of the original meanings underlying the concept of what became known as ‘the five essential dignities’.

CO: Yes, yes, very, very much so.

CB: And maybe that…

CO: Go ahead.

CB: Maybe that can be our transition point into talking about this topic and sort of introducing it to an audience that might not have any background in what the essential dignities are.

CO: Okay, I think that’s a great idea.

CB: Okay, so the five essential dignities. So some people know this concept. If you see a traditional astrology chart, you’ll see sometimes like a table–especially from the Renaissance tradition–you’ll see a table with a scoring system in five different areas for five different essential dignities.

CO: Right.

CB: So what are the five essential dignities, just really quickly? What are the names for them?

CO: Okay, there’s the two major dignities, the first one of which is called ‘rulership’, and that’s still used in modern…

CB: Or domicile.

CO: Right, domicile. Some variant of lord and exaltation, which also has made it into modern astrology. Then the other three minor dignities have been pretty much lost. You have triplicity and you have bound or term–you’ll see it translated both ways in the modern English literature–and then face.

CB: Face, or sometimes called ‘decan’.

CO: Right. And face and decan, that’s kind of an ambiguous one because that goes back to at least two different traditions that have very different ways of using it: there’s a Western way and there’s an Eastern way in terms of attributions and the use.

CB: It seems like with all three of the minor dignities, in terms of making that distinction between domicile and exaltation being major dignities and minor dignities being triplicity, term, and face, it seems like all three of the minor dignities have some variant traditions–have at least two variant traditions, if not more.

CO: Very much so. Very, very much so.

CB: Okay.

CB: And the freaky thing is that while taking like terms for a minute, there’s two very different ways–well, I shouldn’t say very different. They’re conceptually similar, but they break things up differently. What’s called the ‘Egyptian terms’ and what’s called ‘Ptolemy’s terms’, there are astrologers practicing both, and part of the freakiness of these astrologies is both of them seem to get good results; both of them seem to work.

CB: Sure. I mean, there’s some debate. I mean, obviously that can be a hotly-debated topic, especially in terms of different astrologers having preferences of one over another.

CO: Yes, very much.

CB: So we’ll get into some of those differences and discrepancies later. But one of the things I wanted to do is just share–I actually have a rulership or an essential dignities table from the Hellenistic tradition, and I’ll go ahead and put a link to this in the description page for this episode on the podcast website. But I think I’ll probably just put it at HellenisticAstrology.com/Ruleships.pdf.

CO: Okay.

CB: So anybody who wants to download a free copy of this rulerships table can. And it shows all five of the essential dignities–domicile, exaltation, triplicity, bound/terms, and decan/faces–as well as two of the signs of debility, which I’m calling ‘adversity’ and ‘depression’, although this is based on some debate, where in the Hellenistic tradition, they didn’t really seem to have a term for what later became known as ‘detriment’.

CO: Right.

CB: So detriment is when a planet is in the sign opposite its domicile, and depression or fall is when a planet is in the sign opposite to its exaltation.

CO: Right. And originally, ‘in fall’ was considered to be much more important than what we’re now calling detriment.

CB: Right.

CO: It’s much more featured in the earlier texts.

CB: Sure. So let’s talk first about the terminology that’s being used here in terms of dignity versus debility, because I think that was one of your starting points where you’ve given some great lectures on this topic, and that’s one of the things you talk about at first, which is just the terminology. So why are we using the term ‘essential dignity’? Why are we using the term dignity, first, and then, secondarily, why is it essential dignity versus whatever the alternative is?

CO: Okay, essential and accidental being the alternative. Let’s start with dignity. Because part of what’s interesting, if you look at the etymology of the word ‘dignity’ and the etymology of the word ‘debility’, they have two different sets of connotations, and one of them is more political, one of them is more physical. So like in the political sense, dignity and debility is essentially a term that has to do with one’s place and one’s recognition and one’s responsibilities within society, within overall culture.

CB: Mm-hmm.

CO: A planet that has dignity has got an accepted place; it has an honored place and it has both the respect of that and the responsibility of that. A planet that does not have dignity or is in debility doesn’t have a place, doesn’t have a job, is an outsider, is at odds with the overall cultural, political, social structure. So it’s a question of where do I fit within society and the political sphere, or where do I not fit? Am I recognized in it? Am I not recognized in it? That’s the political dimension of dignity and debility.

CB: I like that. I think that’s really good, putting it in a political context first, because that basically raises the two primary meanings to me, or like the keywords I would use for the phrases that you just brought up–one of them is ‘autonomy’, so having power. One of the things you were saying is having political power versus not. And part of the way that one has that is either having autonomy and being self-sufficient versus not having autonomy, but instead being under the power, under the control of somebody else.

CO: Mm-hmm, that’s part of it. And with the autonomy is an ability to act; also, there’s a very strong connotation of responsibility in there.

CB: Mm-hmm.

CO: So take rulership, a planet that is ruling its sign…

CB: Domicile.

CO: Right, domicile or rulership.

CB Yeah, I just want to make sure–since we’re calling all of them rulership, I just want to make sure that we’re having a specific term for that one, which I think is typically domicile.

CO: Yes, domicile is a good way to put that one.

CB: Okay.

CO: So taking, say, Mars as the domicile ruler of Aries, this means that any planet that is in Aries, Mars has a responsibility to. This other planet is within Mars’ domicile, therefore Mars as the host, and it has an obligation to treat that planet well, to the best of its own ability, considering where it is, what kind of condition it is, and so on. So it has a control connotation, it also has a responsibility connotation, and you really need both.

CB: Right. So this is based on the underlying conceptual premise that the first dignity, or the first major essential dignity, the most important one–which is called a planet ‘being in its domicile’–was originally conceptualized when a planet is in the sign that it rules; so for example, Mars in Aries, or Venus in Taurus, or Mercury in Gemini. Maybe I should actually very quickly list the rest of the major dignities or domiciles.

CO: Sure.

CB: So it’s the Moon in Cancer, Sun in Leo, Mercury in Virgo, Venus in Libra, Mars in Scorpio, Jupiter in Sagittarius, Saturn in Capricorn, Saturn in Aquarius, and then finally Jupiter in Pisces.

CO: Right, which is the map of that beautiful Thema Mundi mandala. That’s where the rulerships are laid out there, yeah.

CB: Right. And that’s based on the premise that you assign the two luminaries to the two signs after the summer solstice, which are Cancer and Leo, and then the rest of the traditional visible planets are assigned to each of the signs, flanking out in zodiacal order.

CO: Right. And then Saturn, the ‘Lord of Darkness’, rules the two signs that are the furthest away from the signs of the lights.

CB: Sure.

CO: And the rulerships are devised from that, and the aspects, and the meaning of the aspects, and all kinds of things, yeah.

CB: Okay. And the basic conceptual premise underlying that is that the sign of the zodiac that a planet rules in the domicile scheme is the sign that it calls ‘home’ or that it somehow lives there, or designates that sign as its home or dwelling place.

CO: Yes. Right. Which means, both, it really likes being there, but it also means then when anyone else is within that home, they’re responsible. Now this is both, they’re the host–which means they have to treat them well–but also when you’re in their house, you play by their rules.

CB: Right.

CO: So it has both the control and the responsibility connotations here.

CB: So that brings up the second conceptual point then, basically. So the first one is autonomy as an underlying thing, underlying the concept of dignity; and the second one is the idea of being ‘at home’ versus ‘being away from home’, or being somehow ‘foreign’; or in some instances, ‘estranged from your home’.

CO: Yeah. And phrasing it, again, within political–and this is building on what you’re saying– it’s also having a place/not having a place, being recognized/not recognized, fitting/not fitting.

CB: Sure.

CO: So that’s in with the political and spending more of the political. And I want to add another piece to this because this is another dimension that’s part of the whole dignity/debility thing. The language in dignity and debility also has a connotation that has to do with the opposites of ‘health’ and ‘lack of health’: ‘ease’ and ‘dis-ease’, ‘being strong/being weak, ‘being building up/being breaking down’. So there’s a physical component to the meaning of the terms, and the two dovetail really beautifully when you think of it. If you think of when you are at home, you’re likely going to be at ease. You’re comfortable.

CB: Right.

CO: When you’re not at home, you’re ill at ease. You’re stressed. You’re physically off there. So the political and the physical dimensions of the term, they complement each other, they work together.

CB: Sure. And that seems to be the most important underlying concept for understanding this idea of a planet being its own domicile. Dignity is the idea that when a planet is at home and is in the sign that it prefers to be in in that way, it’s able to express its core significance and the meanings that come naturally to the planet in a way that’s easier for the planet and is more readily available to express those significations in a genuine way because it is at ease being in its own environment or its own circumstances, versus if it’s not at home, then it’s in a sign ruled by another planet or the home of another planet, and therefore, it has to rely on that planet to provide it resources. When it’s taking on the resources of another planet that’s gonna color the expression of the guest planet, and therefore, it’s going to express its significations in a way that are altered or different compared to how it would express them on its own.

CO: Yes. And I’m phrasing it, again, a little bit different–it’s the difference between playing by your own rules and having to play by someone else’s rules.

CB: Right.

CO: The ruler is the one who sets the rules.

CB: So that core idea of the guest/host relationship–and that’s something that goes back really early–becomes foundational, especially in the context of the domicile scheme, but also, in the other dignities as well, which is that question of, the planet, does it have self autonomy, and is it able to do what it wants on its own and express its own significance or does it after rely on its host for support if it’s staying away from home?

CO: Yes, yes. And also, wherever a planet is located, you look at the dignities for that particular place to look at where can this planet look for support. It’s the planets that are responsible there, they’re the ones that are going to be the helpful ones. They’re the ones that are obligated to help that planet in whatever its condition is.

CB: Sure, so it actually matters. So there’s going to be a difference between, let’s say, on the one hand, there’s going to be some planets that are going to be more helpful or more inclined to be supportive or helpful to a guest planet that’s staying in its sign versus there’s other planets that might not be as supportive or might not be as helpful.

CO: Exactly. Which ties in with the whole other concept–which might be worth touching on down the road a bit on this–which is reception.

CB: Sure.

CO: Dignity and reception are just completely woven together.

CB: Right.

CO: And it’s the mixture of the two that I think just become phenomenally useful in chart interpretation.

CB: Sure. And reception basically, to put it simply, is if a planet is staying in a foreign sign–so one that it doesn’t rule–what relationship, or more specifically, what aspect does it have with its domicile ruler, if any? And if it does have some aspect then it’s going to be a more supportive relationship, whereas if it has no aspect then the relationship is going to be less supportive because the guest planet has become estranged from the host planet.

CO: Yeah. And actually I want to separate a bit out here that aspect and reception are really not–they’re complementary concepts, but they’re not quite the same. Reception very much has to do with one of the dignities whether there’s responsibilities there. Aspect then–I’m using this in the technical sense of the term; has to be a Ptolemaic aspect–would mean is there a communication, is there a link, is there a line of vision between whatever the one planet is and the house it is ruling. If you have a combination of the responsibility–namely, some rulership and the aspect–then you’ve got a real helping and controlling bond going on there. If one or the other is missing, it’s going to create difficulties with that.

CB: Sure. So reception is a combination of that affinity through sign-based, some sort of sign-based rulership, but then also a connection through the aspect.

CO: Yes. Yeah.

CB: Got it here.

CO: Mixture of the two.

CB: All right, so in terms of this concept of our first dignity–as we’re going over to domicile–that I mentioned of just planets ruling an entire zodiacal sign–so the Sun ruling Leo or Mercury ruling Virgo, that idea of those planets being like they’re at home when they’re in those signs, by virtue of that, are often interpreted as working out more positively or being more auspicious in those placements because they’re able to manifest their natural significance more readily. So typically, planets in their own domicile can tend to work out better in the chart, all of their factors aside, more or less, right?

CO: Yes, yes, very much so. And they’re playing by their own rules. They’re not playing by someone else’s rules. Then equally important with that in charts–because you will have a lot of planets that are not in their own domicile–what’s their relationship with the planet that is the domicile ruler, wherever they happen to be? Because that domicile ruler has a responsibility to them. Is that ruler itself in good shape? Is it in a domicile that it feels comfortable? Is it in a part of the chart where it can act strongly? Is there an aspect between the ruling planet and the domicile that it rules, and so on?

CB: Right.

CO: Does that make some sense?

CB: Yeah, definitely. So part of this is, just to give a concrete example, it’s the difference between Venus, for example, being in Taurus–which is one of its own signs, one of its domiciles–being able to express, let’s say, broadly speaking, Venusian significations–like, let’s say, unifying and reconciling significations more readily because it’s in its own environment, and therefore, can express those significations of unifying and reconciling unimpeded or uninhibited from anything else–versus if Venus was in one of the signs that Mars rules–let’s say, Aries, or especially Scorpio–then Venus wants to still express those unifying and reconciling significance, however, it’s being fed Martian significations from Mars or martial significations that have to do with things that are often contrary to Venus, like severing or separation.

CO: Right.

CB: So then the question becomes, how does Venus manifest its own significations of unifying and reconciling and preferred tendency, but how does it do that within a Martian context of the opposite significations of severing and separation?

CO: Right. Yeah, to use kind of a ‘showbiz’ metaphor, I’ll take Venus in Aries there. This is rather like if Julie Andrews, her manager came up to her one day and said, “Julie, good news. You’re going to be playing the lead in Rambo.”

CB: Right.

CO: It’s not a good fit. The opposite would be Mars in Libra. It would be Sylvester Stallone’s manager coming up and saying, “Good news. You’re playing Mary Poppins.”

CB: Right.

CO: There’s a mismatch between the planet’s essential nature and the role it’s having to play, the rule it’s playing by.

CB: So it’s like if Mars has those martial, war-like significations that come natural to it. It’ll express those more naturally in its own domiciles of Aries and Scorpio. However, if you put it in a sign where the planetary of that sign has completely opposite significations, there’s going to be some inherent awkwardness about that planet’s attempts to manifest those significations or its own significations within that context. So that’s a great example of Rambo or like a warrior attempting to play the role of a nanny or something like that, like a nurturing role.

CO: Right.

CB: Part of the problem is that it has problems doing that because the role is somehow foreign to it or is alien to it in a way that it has some problems adjusting to or in a way that it just doesn’t immediately come naturally to it. And therefore, it has to work harder to be successful in that role.

CO: Yes. And let me use as an example where this might be something where a planet is trying to do something useful here. Again, take Venus in Aries. This could–again, it’s a metaphor–be something like a nurse in a war zone, someone who is doing a Venusian sort of healing service, only within a martial sort of environment, you know.

CB: Right.

CO: In that case, that would be an enormously useful service. But a caring, peaceful, and loving nurse is not going to be at home when there’s bombs flying overhead and shells flying and bullets and that kind of thing.

CB: I mean, that’s really funny that you use that example actually because that was one that Kelly and I used in the last episode, which is the birth chart of Angelina Jolie where she has a timed chart. And she actually has–well, she has some of that just in terms of we were talking about some of the significations of Mars in the 10th house and the ruler of the Ascendant in the 10th house, in Aries, and the way that that’s manifested in trying to help some children from war-torn countries especially.

CO: Hmm, okay.

CB: Anyways. But sort of going back to what we were talking about, one of the other things that this brings up is a point that you make in your lecture about not always placing value judgments on it. Sometimes there can be positive or negative manifestations of even planets that are not doing well.

CO: Yes.

CB: So maybe that’s jumping ahead. Maybe before we get to that though, we should talk a little bit more about that concept of debility. So if a planet being in its domicile is like a planet that’s at home then there is also another concept that is the opposite of that, which is when the planet is in the sign that’s opposite to its domicile in the zodiacal circle. Then it’s called a planet that is in ‘detriment’ or what I’ve been calling ‘the place of its adversity’. I learned actually a year or two ago that in some non-English speaking traditions, the term they use for this is a planet being like a foreigner in the land or something. I’m trying to think of the term.

CO: I like that, yeah.

CB: It’s not estranged. What is it when a person is away from home, but they’re like in another country that they don’t…

CO: Exile? Is that what you’re looking for?

CB: Exile, yeah, that’s the term. So in a number of non-English-speaking languages, the term ‘exile’ is used to refer to the sign of a planet’s detriment or adversity.

CO: Mm-hmm. And that’s a useful term. And then thinking about–I’m gonna use dignity and debility–another way of phrasing that is ‘insider/outsider’. A planet that has dignity is, if you will, part of the system. It’s part of the establishment. It’s got a recognized position and so on. Well, a planet in debility is some sort of outsider. It either doesn’t have a recognized place, or it’s in a place that it doesn’t want to be, or it’s not given any authority. It’s not given any responsibility.

That can express in some really, really useful ways, like planets in debility, if you’re outside the system, you might be someone who’s working to buck the system, who’s working to change the system in some ways, you see, so it could be a useful dynamic thing with that. Another thing you’ll find, something that seems to happen a lot–I’m gonna use Mars here–it’s fairly common to see Mars in its detriment in either Taurus or in Libra in either very competitive solo sports–like Muhammad Ali has Mars in Taurus very near his Midheaven–or you might see that in military leaders or something like that. A place where being solo, being competitive, fighting the system, bucking the system, something like that serves a necessary purpose, so that a detriment uses a force of change.

CB: Okay. So that idea of being an outsider or being foreign in some way, you’ve seen that manifest in terms of interpretations as sometimes indicating being outside of the established power structure?

CO: Right, being a force for change. An example I use in the dignity/debility class of a person who basically made his name and living and so on being in detriment is the comedian from the ‘50s and ‘60s, Lenny Bruce.

CB: Okay.

CO: Half of the planets in his chart that are in a really powerful configuration are in either detriment or in fall. And being in detriment, being in fall, bucking the system, the man was a comic who used this comedy to attack and try to change the system and that kind of thing. There was an ‘in-your-face, I’m an outsider and you’re going to deal with it’ quality to the man.

CB: Mm-hmm.

CO: He made his living being in detriment.

CB: And that was sometimes like personally detrimental, or that created problems for him occasionally in his life or in his career, right?

CO: Yes, that created some serious problems, both in relationships and also in terms of problems with drugs and problems with the law and that kind of thing that kind of wove together. You had a similar sort of–another good example of that detriment because it’s an interesting character, where it’s kind of mixed–again, I’ll take Muhammed Ali. Part of what made him a great prize fighter is, number one, that Mars and Taurus up on the Midheaven.

Mars in Taurus is not happy. It’s not a cooperative Mars. But that Mars in his chart, if you look at it whole sign, is ruling his 9th house, which is the 9th house of religion, faith, that kind of thing. And part of Muhammad Ali’s entire impact on society was precisely that when he did win the heavyweight boxing championship, he stood up and said, “I am no longer Cassius Clay. I am Muhammad Ali, and I am a Muslim.” This is in your face, “I’m doing a religion that does not match with your culture. Deal with it.” He was using detriment as a force for change.

CB: Sure.

CO: He ended up losing his world championship. He ended up spending some time in prison and so on. So that detriment is so much a part of the man and who he is and the impact that he had in the world, and part of what is good about his impact came precisely out of his being in detriment.

CB: Sure. I mean, that’s a very complicated example though.

CO: Yes, it is.

CB: On the one hand, there’s different pieces of that that get tied into how that affected his life and the ways in which it was positive or negative.

CO: Yes.

CB: I mean, it was Mars ruling the 9th house of religion and belief, and it was in the 10th house of career.

CO: There he is.

CB: And so, that was importing his religious beliefs into the sphere of his career, so that his religious beliefs became tied in with and became connected with his career in a very important and notable way; but then also that sometimes brought challenges and obstacles and setbacks as a result of religion being imported into his career in that way.

CO: Yes, yes.

CB: Okay, but that actually goes to your point though and the other idea of dignity in terms of when a planet is opposite to its domicile, it being like in exile, or it being like a foreigner, or there being something strange or unique or out of the ordinary about it in some way. And that would actually be a good example there–Mars in Taurus, in the 10th whole sign house in his chart as the ruler of the 9th–and the notion that the religion that he had adopted was was foreign to or was seen as foreign to within the context of 1960’s America or what have you.

CO: Very much, yeah. And this is a case where that quality of detriment, that what it gave you, is both what made him a great fighter and what made him do what he did religiously; those are two different expressions of it in his life.

CB: Okay. Okay, interesting. Well, so that’s interesting, and that brings us to an important piece of this that you get to–that I skipped over earlier–that you talk about in your lectures on dignity, which a lot of modern astrologers run into. Sometimes this concept of essential dignities has been rejected a few decades ago during the movement towards psychological astrology under the premise that it’s entirely about putting value judgments on placements that are not appropriate, because sometimes dignified planets can work out in a negative way or debilitated planets can work out in a constructive way, as you said.

CO: Mm-hmm.

CB: So how do you deal with that in terms of your treatment of the subject and the idea of value judgments for dignity and debility?

CO: Yeah, well, one of the things–I’m gonna phrase this back in a slightly different way. Dignity/debility doesn’t mean ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Dignity and ability–it is a descriptive rather than a judgmental sort of a term. And it’s similar and there’s a tie-in with connected or related concepts, which is benefic/malefic.

CB: Mm-hmm.

CO: But let me take dignity and debility, and I will take a personal example with this one, dignity and debility. In my natal chart, my Mercury’s in Pisces, very light Pisces, which means it is in detriment and it is in fall. Fall, we should talk about a little bit later because those two played together with that, but Mercury is most emphatically not at home in my chart.

CB: Mm-hmm.

CO: And if you look at that in descriptive rather than evaluative terms, it makes an awful lot of sense of what I’ve had to go through in my life to figure out how to use my mind in a way that fits. Because when I was young, I felt like I was an outsider. I felt like people didn’t take me seriously. I felt like the oddball that nobody wanted to listen to and that kind of thing, and that was a problem–this was not fun. But on the other hand, it was precisely because of that that I put so very much energy into language, into communication, into how language works, into philosophy and so on, to make that work, but work within a sphere that is dealing with a subject that is not really recognized or culturally part of the overall society we’re in, like, say, astrology, you see.

CB: Sure. Yeah.

CO: It’s an outsider’s art. And in my particular case, I’ve experienced that detriment and the debility and the difficulties that’s caused me and the challenges that’s caused me, but at the same time it’s precisely those challenges that ended up giving me my particular strengths. That’s where I was going with the Muhammad Ali example.

CB: Sometimes there’s like a compensatory aspect of it in terms of it being perhaps something that somebody struggles with or lacks early in their life, especially if it’s well-placed. Aside from being debilitated, let’s say, by zodiacal sign, by essential dignity, there can be other mitigating factors that can allow a person to overcome the shortcomings or eventually make it a strength perhaps even though it was an obstacle early on.

CO: Yes, very much. And that gets–wow, we could branch all kinds of places with this one, which is cool. And part of that depends where else in the chart is that planet getting support. There’s a big difference between the way you would interpret debility in a horary, which is a moment in time, and in a natal chart, where there’s room for growth, where there’s room for the assimilation, where there’s room for what could be a liability to be turned into an asset. You very much have to allow for that.

CB: Yeah, that’s a really good point in terms of a distinction between sometimes the branches and the way that the concept is applied in one branch always not being as completely applicable as we sometimes think, just because the time frames involved they’re so different and because there is sometimes more of a growth and a long-term period of evolving of the placements that can play out during the course of an entire life.

CO: Right. Like, say, I finally got around to publishing my first book when I was like 62.

CB: Sure.

CO: It took me a while.

CB: Yeah. And I mean, the other thing that sometimes I think people get hung up on, when you’re coming from modern astrology, you’re used to looking at the core significations of the planet and that being like an overall statement about the native and their psyche and their ability to like do certain things: like Mercury and communicate, or Venus and have relationships, or things like that.

CO: Right.

CB: But in traditional astrology, one of the things we were just demonstrating with the Muhammad Ali example is that sometimes the dignities and debilities can relate to specific areas of life and specific circumstances that will arise, or describing concrete scenarios that will arise in one specific part of the life. Like in his chart, we were describing a specific example of the native that comes in through the rulership scheme and house placements, but of religious beliefs from the 9th house being imported into the 10th house and the ‘debility’ of Mars being in the sign opposite to its domiciles, so its detriment or in exile or adversity, bringing a foreign component into that placement and that being part of why it was somewhat problematic for the native. So that’s a very specific delineation that’s being brought into play by the rulerships and specific placements and is not necessarily even a fully universal statement about Mars necessarily in and of itself.

CO: Yes. And related to that, the slang terms I use in the course and the ones that we’re talking about, each of the rulerships–and now we’re talking about the domicile rulerships–the term I use is ‘turf-lord’. That planet has responsibility not in the entire life, but in one particular part of the life.

CB: As a result of the house rulerships?

CO: Right, and all kinds of things. Like that’s where I think the modern tendency is to just take the Sun sign, and if you will, universalize it to just say, “I am a Pisces,” or something like that.

CB: Right.

CO: No, it depends where you’re meeting me. If you meet me at home, you’re gonna get Moon in Cancer. If you meet me at work, you’re gonna get Mars on my Midheaven. If you meet me in a business meeting, you’re gonna get my Saturn in my 10th house and so on. Each of the planets has their own turf and it’s within that particular area that that planet will, well, take responsibility.

CB: Sure. And I think that’s important because then you understand that sometimes the dignities are playing out in a more limited sense in describing a certain part of the life where there might either be strengths or weaknesses in some way, or let’s say, challenges versus fortunate circumstances or opportunities or something like that.

CO: Yes.

CB: Like things that come easy versus things that come a little bit harder.

CO: Right. And related to that–I’m gonna push this a little bit further here. Related to that whole concept of turf-lords, just particular areas, then you also have the absolutely critical traditional concept of ‘time-lords’.

CB: Right.

CO: And not all the planets are equally active all the time. Not all planets are responsible for running things all of the time. And it’s a combination of turf-lords and time-lords and the dignities and how that lays out the responsibilities, that’s where this really becomes just an enormously rich system.

CB: Yeah. And that was something I covered in, what was it, two or three episodes back, in the episode on annual perfections where I did a whole episode demonstrating that concept, which people can check out. I believe it’s in Episode 153.

CO: It is. It is. And by the way, I have bookmarked your lecture there in the class I’m starting on predictive techniques.

CB: Okay. Yeah, so that’s your next project after this. You’re teaching a class on predictive techniques, and you’re working on a third book, which is going to be on predictive and timing techniques.

CO: Correct. Yeah, and what I’m finding is in order for the predictive techniques to make sense, they have to just completely be building on dignity and debility–I’ll call them ‘the tools of astrology’–in terms of the ability of weighing up things. Is this in a place where it’s comfortable or in a place where it’s not comfortable? Is it powerful? Is it not comfortable? Is it acting quickly? Is it acting slowly, and so on? If you can’t evaluate, you can’t apply any of these predictive techniques. So the dignities are just completely assumed for any of the predictive tools to make sense.

CB: Right. You can’t make a specific statement about what happens when a planet will be activated in the chart by a timing technique if you don’t understand what the original condition of the planet is in the chart, because all the timing techniques are doing is activating the natal potential.

CO: Yes.

CB: So it’s only by understanding what the natal potential is–via things like the essential dignities and the basic condition of the planet in the chart–that you can make specific statements about what will happen when it becomes activated.

CO: Yes, yes, very much so. Phrasing it again, slightly differently, your Jupiter transit is not my Jupiter transit, because Jupiter in your natal chart is in a completely different condition than Jupiter is in mine. When I experience a Jupiter transit, it activates how Jupiter is in my particular natal. Everything needs to build from that.

CB: Right, and that’s so crucial. This is one of the crucial turning points of why traditional astrology is appealing because it’s very hard to make specific statements about what will happen in a person’s life or what years are going to be experienced as more challenging or more easy if you don’t have the ability to identify when a planet is well-placed in a chart versus when a planet is having some sort of challenge to its placement.

CO: Exactly.

CB: And that’s really core to the essential dignities scheme as well. You need it in order to be able to make distinctions like that between what would it look like for a planet to be somewhat well-placed in a chart versus what would it look like for a planet to have some challenges to it, and that’s what things like this are useful for.

CO: Exactly. And part of that–I know this is part of my own experience, I’m pretty sure of yours. But part of where–and this definitely happened in my case–traditional astrology, really digging into it becomes compelling and necessary is precisely when you’re having to make sense of adversity.

CB: Sure. Right.

CO: Modern astrology, especially in the late 20th century, I guess I’d go from about mid-‘60s on to the turn-of-the-century, seemed to have a very, very strong bent of, “We have to put everything positively,” you know.

CB: Mm-hmm.

CO: Sometimes life isn’t positive. And when you’re dealing with some serious negative things, it’s not helpful to have someone tell you, “Everything here is positive.” It doesn’t resonate with your experience.

CB: Yeah, yeah. That was really coming up–I mean, I was really reflecting on that after the last episode, the first episode of May, when we did chart readings live for some listeners sending questions, and then we would delineate the birth chart questions. Because one of the issues that comes up–there’s an issue sometimes between what you can say based on a person’s birth chart, like what you can determine or tell about a person’s life in the areas that are going to be easy or the areas that are going to be really challenging versus what you say to a person within the context of a consultation, and those two things are not always one in the same. Like an astrologer may be able to see or determine certain things about a person’s life, but what an astrologer should actually say within the context of a consultation is sometimes different and can be more limited because it may not be appropriate to tell a person everything that you can see about their life within that context.

And I think that’s what happened in the modern discussion is in psychological astrology, there was a push towards being careful in developing healthier consultation dynamics in modern times, which is a perfectly admirable thing. But then what would happen is that sometimes the consultation dynamics and considerations would become the only thing, the dominant thing in the discussion, and there was this jettisoning of the separate question of just how far can we actually go with the techniques of astrology; what you should say to a client aside.

CO: Mm-hmm. Yeah, this is getting a little bit off the topic, but part of that whole what you can say to a client in consultation, this is part of the tradition very, very much. Astrology is traditionally in response to a question.

CB: Sure.

CO: There’s some kind of specific topic or question or need or something like that that is posed of the chart, and the analysis and the interpretation and all of that is all focused by that question; or a client session, it is focused by the concern, by the need of the client. How would I put this? Another astrologer I talked to, the way she put it, there are some astrologers, if you will, who are ‘pontificators’ and some who are ‘dialoguers’. I’m very much a dialoguer in that, for me, the agenda for the reading has to come out of the client rather than out of me, you know.

CB: Yeah, that was something that also came up in that last episode, because we took the questions from the people, but we didn’t have them in front of us live to give any sort of feedback on the statements we were making and whether that was gelling or whether it wasn’t gelling. And we quickly remembered that typically an integral part of most consultations is the dialogue or the back-and-forth between astrologer and client, because that can help to key the astrologer into what parts of the chart are really lining up very closely with the person’s life and they’re actually lived experiences of those archetypes or with the archetypes associated with those placements versus.

Because you can have the same chart or the same chart placement, but applied to two different lives and two different people playing out the same chart placement in ways that are radically different in the specifics, even if, archetypally, in some ‘umbrella’ sense, they are still very similar or still fitting the same pattern or dynamic.

CO: Right. Or even sometimes in the same person’s life, just in a different area of their life, the same chart dynamics will have different meanings in different areas at the same time. Astrology is such a rich, multivalent, symbolic kind of language. At least, for me, where this art really comes alive, where I think astrology becomes what it’s intended to be, is coming out of that interaction with the client. It’s the astrologer’s assimilation of this universal symbolic language that can then map to the individual client’s experience.

CB: Mm-hmm. Sure.

CO: And when that happens, that’s the magic, that’s where this art really comes alive.

CB: Yeah. Definitely. All right, so to bring us back onto our topic or to move on to the next area, I think we’ve covered pretty adequately the foundation. And it really seems like the concept of domicile, the first essential dignity, is the basis and the foundation of all of the rest of the dignities, both conceptually and technically in some sense. Would you agree with that?

CO: I would agree that the meanings of, in the modern sense, rulership and detriment are very, very nearly synonyms of the meanings of the terms dignity and debility.

CB: Sure. Okay.

CO: Very, very similar in meaning.

CB: Or maybe we could say, even paradigmatic, that the concept of domicile and detriment or domicile and adversity, or whatever you want to call, it’s paradigmatic of the rest of the dignities in some sense as well.

CO: Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it.

CB: Okay, so let’s move on. So we’re about an hour into this, so let’s start cranking through the other four essential dignities. So the second essential dignity is exaltation, right?

CO: Right. And exaltation–that’s a very, very rich term there. It connotes being highly valued. It connotes being exalted and being raised, and it can sometimes literally mean being raised up. It connotes being highly valuable. It can connote being honored and so on. As compared with rulership, an exaltation can sometimes mean a position where a person is honored, but isn’t doing an awful lot of work. It can be a symbolic position of honorship, like a monarch who doesn’t do a lot with the governing of the country, yet is the symbol of the country. And related to that concept of being exalted, like in William Lilly, he says that sometimes a planet being exalted means that the person has a very high opinion of themselves. So being exalted can connote arrogance.

CB: Interesting.

CO: Yeah. It’s a very rich-flavored sort of term. And then the opposite to that, one which I’d like to bring up, you’ve got the term ‘fall’, which the opposite of being raised up is being dropped down. A planet that is exalted is respected; a planet in fall is not respected. A planet that is exalted is listened to; a planet in fall is not listened to. Also, the word that is translated in fall can sometimes connote being thrown in prison, losing power, that kind of thing. They are a very, very rich pair of concepts

CB: Sure. And quickly, to list them off, the traditional planets, the signs of their exaltation are: the Sun is exalted in Aries, the Moon is exalted in Taurus, Venus in Pisces, Jupiter in Cancer, Mars in Capricorn, Saturn in Libra, and Mercury in Virgo. So those are the signs of the exaltations, which is the second major essential dignity. And then the signs when a planet is in the sign opposite to that, it is said to be in the sign of its fall, or its depression, right?

CO: Exactly. And leaving this one on just for a minute, since we had the Thema Mundi up a little bit earlier, comparing those two different dignities, something that would be a very, very interesting meditation is to look in the Thema Mundi as to how the planets pair up in opposites as opposed to how they pair up in opposites with the exaltations. You still have Saturn opposite the lights, with both the rulership and with the exaltations, but the other planets pair up in opposites differently. It’s the first full topic to meditate on to kind of tease why are they paired up differently. Why do I have Jupiter opposite Mars here instead of Jupiter opposite Mercury?

CB: Right. So in the domicile scheme, we have both of Venus’ domiciles opposite to both of Mars’, and so there’s some contrast of Venus being about peace and Mars being about war, or Venus being about unifying things and Mars being about severing and separating things. And the two luminaries, their domiciles–both of the luminaries provide light, and they’re said to be opposite to the darkest and the farthest visible planet that is also the dimmest; and so, it’s in the two signs Capricorn and Aquarius, in the northern hemisphere, the darkest and coldest part of the year.

CO: Mm-hmm.

CB: So we have that contrast there. But then what you’re pointing out is there’s some kind of different contrast that’s being drawn out by the exaltation scheme where you have some repetitions, where, for example, the Sun is exalted in Aries, which is opposite to Saturn being exalted in Libra. But then there’s a different contrast with Jupiter being exalted in Cancer opposite to Mars in Capricorn, and Mercury in Virgo opposite to Venus in Pisces.

CO: Right. And let me play with that Mercury and Venus opposition because one that I think this it’s related to when I look at those two–it’s not quite the same as what we mean when we say the two different halves of the brain, but there is kind of an analytic/synthetic kind of opposition going on there. Venus is the ‘artisan’ planet. Venus is the aesthetic, the shaping, the holes. The Mercury is the details, the analyses.

CB: Sure.

CO: Make sense?

CB: Yeah. And I think that’s one of the contrasts–Rhetorius makes that contrast in the 7th century of drawing out something like that, right?

CO: Nice. Yeah.

CB: He says I think Jupiter signifies ‘life’ and Mars signifies ‘death’ or can signify death, and therefore, that’s one of the reasons why they are opposed in the exaltation scheme.

CO: Right. Or like here in the exaltation, Jupiter might be the ‘peacemaker’ and Mars might be the ‘war-maker’.

CB: Right.

CO: Or Jupiter has a collective side, Mars has an individual side.

CB: Sure.

CO: It’s very interesting meditation.

CB: Right. So one of the things that’s unique about the domicile or the exaltation scheme is that it actually partially relies on the previous dignity, which is the domicile scheme. And that’s drawn out in Rhetorius where he seems to focus on the notion here that planets, when they’re in the sign of their exaltation, are in a sign where the domicile lord of that sign is particularly complementary and helpful towards the planet that is exalted there.

So what’s going on partially in the exaltation scheme is you have ideal signs for the guest/host relationship, so that if a planet isn’t at home–if it’s not in its ‘home’ sign–then these are some signs in which it will do particularly well because it has a positive interaction with the ruler of that sign or the host of that sign.

CO: In some cases, yeah. In some, I’m not sure if it’s quite like that. Let me take a–two that I’m looking at, I would kind of question that. Capricorn. Mars and Saturn are not exactly buddies, and yet, Saturn’s the ruler and Mars is the exalted.

CB: That’s true in the sense that they have contrasting significations. For example, Ptolemy and the other astrologers say that Mars is excessively hot and Saturn is excessively cold, and those contrasts are problematic. But in Capricorn, it seems like part of the reason why Mars does well is because it is restrained by Saturn, and it was restrained in such sense that it’s able to channel Mars’ energy in a more constructive way than it might be channeled otherwise, so that at least that particular combination of Mars and Capricorn tends to work out well for Mars.

CO: Mm-hmm. I wonder with that one. I wonder is that the reason why Mars was put there, or did we figure that out about Mars because Mars was there, and now we’re making sense of it?

CB: Yeah. Well, I mean, that’s one of the issues. There’s a bunch of issues like that with the essential dignities because there’s some historical debates, or there’s some historical uncertainty about chronological precedence and which came first. So for example, a number of historians trace the exaltations back to the Mesopotamian tradition because there may be some cuneiform tablets that indicate that the exaltations came first; or they sometimes link the exaltations with the Mesopotamian concept of ‘the secret places’, which are called bit nisirti or something like that.

And then we don’t have evidence for the domicile rulership scheme until about the 1st century BCE or so during the Hellenistic traditions, so that it almost seems like exaltations were developed sometime earlier for some unclear reason, and then the domicile scheme came about later, but there’s a little bit of a historical debate about this. And then this is something I spend some time talking about in my book, because one of the problems is if you look at the exaltations, you can see that they’re tied into other concepts, such as domicile, such as sect, and such as aspects in the Thema Mundi.

So for example, Porphyry points out that all of the diurnal planets, when they’re in their signs of exaltation, are configured to one of their domiciles by a trine. So the Sun in Aries, where it’s exalted, is configured to its domicile Leo by trine, Jupiter in Cancer is configured to Pisces by trine, and Saturn in Libra is configured to Aquarius by trine. So that’s kind of weird, maybe it’s a coincidence. But then he points out that all the nocturnal planets are configured to one of their domiciles by sextile.

CO: Mm-hmm.

CB: So the Moon exalted in Taurus is configured to Cancer by sextile.

CO: By sextile.

CB: Venus in Pisces is configured to Taurus by sextile, and Mars in Capricorn is configured to Scorpio by sextile. So that’s really weird and problematic because it creates an underlying issue–which I talked about in the book–which is does that mean that all of those concepts of domicile aspects and sect already existed in the earlier Mesopotamian traditions centuries earlier than we have evidence for them, and that means that all these concepts came from the Mesopotamian tradition and had been practiced for centuries prior to their appearance in Hellenistic astrology and the Greek sources? Or does that mean that there’s something wrong with the current historical narrative that believes that the exaltations came first, and instead, the exaltations were developed later, around the same time as all of these other concepts? It’s kind of like an open question right now in terms of which came first and what the rationales were.

CO: Yeah.

CB: Anyway, it’s still a good question. Because I feel like Rhetorius and some of the other Hellenistic astrologers talked about that notion of the relationship between an exalted planet and its domicile lord, and so there still might be some open question about whether that was an after-the-fact rationalization, or if that’s a rationalization that was somehow there early on.

CO: Yeah. Part of it is just the way human minds work. If we are presented with an order, we will attempt to make sense of it, so it’s really difficult to tease out which came first in this particular case.

CB: Yeah. I mean, one of the tricky things about traditional astrology is were reconstructing all these things and figuring out, when you see patterns and things like that, which of those are patterns that are indications of like a deliberate conceptual construct that somebody created at some point in time, or in some instances, like maybe you could argue is inherent in nature versus when you are seeing a pattern that was not deliberate or was accidental or came about sort of after the fact.

CO: Yeah. Definitely, the rulership scheme has a–the domicile rulership scheme has kind of a neatness, kind of a thought-out-ness, kind of a symmetry and a logic and a structure to it that the exaltation scheme doesn’t quite have.

CB: Yeah, I mean, it has more of it. But that thing with the diurnal and nocturnal planets and the trines and sextiles, I think is up there in showing that that might be just as much of an abstract sort of invention or a constructed scheme as the domicile scheme, just because that’s a little too clean for it to just have occurred naturally.

CO: Mm-hmm. And this is where the question starts to come out of this, one of the things that an astrologer who had roots in the Platonic tradition would say, “Well, of course, you’re going to see this sort of order and this sort of symmetry, and etc., with astrology. We’re peering into the mind of God, and of course it is ordered, of course its symmetry.” By meditating on these and studying on these, it’s kind of a cliche word, but we’re studying divine order.

CB: Yeah. I mean, that is one of the underlying questions about how much of this was somebody discovered something about the nature of the cosmos that was already built in there and was true, that was uncovered, let’s say, versus how much of this was constructed or created by somebody at some point in time based on abstract concepts and may still work or may still be relevant in some way, but it’s unclear. I don’t know. There’s a little bit of a disconnect there, or there’s a little bit of an open question about how that works exactly.

CO: Mm-hmm.

CB: All right, so we’re getting a little far afield here, so let’s bring it back. So we have the concept of exaltation, and we have the concept of a planet opposite to the sign of its exaltation being in the sign of its depression or fall.

CO: Right.

CB: And we have some of those underlying concepts where the Greek term hypsema meant literally something that’s ‘raised up’ or ‘put on a pedestal’, whereas the concept opposite to that or the sign opposite to that is when the planet is pushed down or is depressed or like pushed into something, so that it’s lower than it should be otherwise, and those being part of the underlying conceptual idea.

CO: Right. And sometimes those underlying conceptual ideas have very, very concrete meanings and interpretation. I’m gonna give a specific example with that, and this example I discuss in the book. In one of William Lilly’s horary questions, it is a question about a ship that was lost at sea and what was going on with the cargo with the ship, okay? The question boiled down to the valuable cargo being represented by Jupiter, who was in Cancer, but who was retrograde, and it was applying to a conjunction with Mars, who in Cancer, is in his fall.

So just taking literal meanings of the dignities here, Jupiter in Cancer is highly valued. You’ve got a highly-valued cargo that’s retrograde, so it’s damaged; it is applying to Mars who’s in fall. And fall has connotations of falling or literally sinking, but also a planet in fall isn’t listened to. So you put that together and it’s a highly-valued cargo that sank; it was never heard from again.

CB: Okay. So it becomes in Lilly a very literal delineation in that sense.

CO: Yes, yes. And that kind of literalness of the delineation is part of what discovering the richness of these terms is about. I’ll use another one with Mercury in Pisces. Mercury in Pisces is in fall, which means not listened to, not heard. The poet Maya Angelou has Mercury in Pisces; it’s conjunct Venus. But in her particular life, one of the ways that that Mercury in Pisces played out is there was a period when she was a child, after a very traumatic rape, that she didn’t speak for five years.

CB: Right.

CO: So in that case being in fall literally meant not being heard from.

CB: Yeah.

CO: I see concrete expressions of the dignities like that a lot. And the more we can give these interpretations–yeah, I like the word ‘concrete’. The more we can give them concrete meanings, the richer our astrology becomes.

CB: Yeah. Definitely. And in her case, it was also unique because she, of course, also had a mitigating–well, she had both a challenging thing that was on top of that where it wasn’t just that Mercury was in the sign of its fall or its depression in Pisces, but also there was a close square from Saturn, which was at 19 degrees of Sagittarius squaring Mercury at 20 degrees of Pisces.

CO: Right.

CB: So you have that inhibiting sort of aspect from Saturn also causing some problems with the ability to speak or communicate, but then it also had a positive…

CO: A lovely chart.

CB: …a couple of positive mitigations. One of them is that it was applying to a conjunction with Venus. So Mercury was at 20 Pisces, and it’s applying to a conjunction with Venus at 21 Pisces, where Venus is actually exalted.

CO: Exactly.

CB: So on the one hand, you have Mercury and its fall in Pisces, and you have Venus in its exaltation, and Venus is actually able to help out or to mitigate Mercury to some extent in that way. But then, also, you have Mercury at 17–you have the Midheaven at 17 degrees of Taurus, which is forming sextile within about 3 degrees with Mercury at 20 degrees of Pisces in the 8th house. So one of the other challenging things about that Mercury placement is it’s in the 8th house, which is called ‘the idle place’ in Hellenistic astrology, but it’s able to be mitigated as a result of that sextile with the Midheaven.

CO: Mm-hmm. And this is a nice case. I’m glad you brought up that Venus and Mercury because this was an example of that Mercury being debilitated, drawing a great deal of positive quality and strength from that exalted ruler, the planet with exaltation in the sign right there that it’s applying to conjunct to. Venus is a lot of what made the expression of that Mercury positive. This woman was a poet and an autobiographical fiction writer, I will call it with that one.

By the way, while you’ve got that, there’s another interesting part of this one, and this is a mixture of dignities and aspects there. You’ve got that Venus and Mercury there over in the 8th, and you’ve got that Sun-Jupiter there over in the 9th, and they’re reversed. They don’t see each other, there’s no aspect between the two, but each of them have an aspect with that Saturn and Jupiter down in the 5th house there.

CB: Right.

CO: I do an analysis in the next book with that. There’s something about that connection between Sun-Jupiter up there with Saturn and Venus-Mercury down there with Saturn that when things are just right in terms of the directions and that kind of thing, that that Saturn ends up being, I’ll call it a ‘connector’, between that Sun-Jupiter there and the Venus-Mercury there, which otherwise can’t see each other because they each have the strong aspect to Saturn.

CB: Right. So it’s almost like a ‘translation of light’.

CO: Yes.

CB: Okay. And her chart’s actually an interesting example for another reason because she actually has two exalted planets.

CO: Mm-hmm.

CB: She has Leo rising, and the Sun is exalted in Aries in the 9th whole sign house, while applying to a conjunction with Jupiter within 2 or 3 degrees. And then Venus is also exalted as the ruler of the 10th in the 3rd house in Pisces, conjunct Mercury.

CO: Right. And both of the rulers of the angles are exalted which makes sense. And this is another interesting part–since this woman is essentially known for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings–that you have sitting there, right on the Ascendant, the outer planet Neptune, ruled by that Sun-Jupiter. She is presented into the world by her fictional creation, which is part of what I think is going on with Neptune sitting right on the Ascendant.

CB: Sure.

CO: We see Maya Angelou through her re-creation of herself in her art in the book there. And it has that quality, the Jupiter-Sun conjunct in Aries in the 9th sort of quality of the, I’ll call it the ‘inextinguishable dignity of the human spirit’. I’m trying to take that conjunction and interpret it into what drove this woman, what motivated this woman, what’s the spiritual core that she’s coming from. And that Sun-Jupiter conjunction with Sun exalted, another way you can phrase that, if you will, ‘inextinguishable dignity’.

CB: Right. Going back to the original, I like her example in particular because it’s interesting, going back to that original notion of being exalted or raised up or extolled. She’s an interesting example having two exaltations just because she’s received so many awards and honors over the course of her lifetime eventually for her work. I remember just a few years ago, she won or she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. She’s won Pulitzer Prize nominations for her book of poetry. She’s won three Grammys. She’s been awarded over 50 honorary degrees. So sometimes this notion of being honored or being raised up or extolled can work out in very literal ways in some people’s lives.

CO: Yes.

CB: For her, it’s sort of for her life’s work as a whole, where it’s tied in to crucial rulers of the chart or overall rulers of the charts, such as the ruler of the Ascendant or ruler of the 10th, whereas for other people, it might be limited to some other specific area of the life, where they receive recognition or are extolled in some way.

CO: Yes. And in her life, particularly, I think it’s fair to say that she is honored as much for the values that she stands for, the spiritual values she holds, that she has as an individual, and that’s a very 9th house sort of exaltation. And that’s also a very 9th house side or quality where Jupiter’s involved.

CB: Sure.

CO: Related to that exaltation and that kind of value thing, do you happen to have the chart of Belafonte?

CB: I don’t think I do.

CO: Okay. The man has Sun-Jupiter cazimi in Pisces, right at the top of the chart.

CB: Okay.

CO: And if you think of that, number one, he’s got charisma to burn. I mean, I’ve seen films of him when he was at his peak, and just, wow, the magnetism that he put out. But in his case, Sun-Mercury–pardon, Sun-Jupiter cazimi in the sign of Jupiter’s rulership, this is Jupiter which is the planet of spiritual law and values, etc., ‘cazimi’, which literally means ‘burned into the heart’, a phrase that this man would use very often in talking about judging people; he would talk about their moral compass.

CB: Hmm.

CO: Jupiter-Sun cazimi in Pisces. ‘Moral compass’ is a beautiful way of translating that dignity into how it played out in the man’s life. Literally, his higher values were burned into his heart. He lived those values. That’s what motivated him. That’s why he did all the civil rights work he did and so on.

CB: Sure.

CO: That’s where we’re taking these dignities and then seeing them take flesh, seeing them being very vivid, played out in the lives of people.

CB: Sure. Definitely. All right, well, let’s move on then to some of the lesser dignities, so that we can touch on them during the course of this episode. So we’ve covered domicile and exaltation, and those are pretty much universal for the entirety of like the 2,000-year tradition of astrology, at least, let’s say, from the 1st century BCE through the 17th century.

And even though there’s been some modifications once the outer planets were discovered, some modern astrologers started reassigning planets in terms of domiciles or sometimes exaltations. And there’s now some debate about that where there’s tensions between the modern astrologers and the traditional astrologers based on whether they adhere to those original assignments or not. There are also the three essential dignities. And with those, there’s a little bit more variation even in the actual ancient tradition, right?

CO: Yes. And let me real quick, before we get away from that traditional/modern. I think the concept of rulership in traditional is very different from the concept of rulership in modern. In traditional, I think rulership is mostly about responsibility. In modern, I think rulership is about affinity.

CB: Yeah, let’s talk about that because that’s a common rebuttal from the traditional astrologers recently. And I have some sympathy for it, but I also have a little bit of pushback. So what’s the argument, or what would your argument be for that?

CO: Well, I’ll give you an argument in terms of the Thema Mundi, and I’m talking about traditional rulerships, house relationships of planets. Traditionally, Mars is the ruler of Scorpio, the domicile of Scorpio, right?

CB: Okay.

CO: Mars is hot. Mars is dry. Mars is kinetic. Mars is in motion. Scorpio is wet. It is cold. It is fixed. They are very, very different in terms of their meaning there. Mars is not ruler of Scorpio because Mars has affinity with Scorpio, Mars is ruler of Scorpio because that’s where Mars has responsibility.

CB: But why does it have responsibility?

CO: Just because, in the order of the Thema Mundi, that’s where it was assigned.

CB: Right. So the original traditional rulership scheme for the domiciles comes out of the sort of abstract schematic of if you assign the two luminaries to the two signs that follow the summer solstice, which is the hottest and brightest part of the year in the northern hemisphere. So you assign Cancer to the Moon and then the Sun to Leo, and then you assign all of the other planets based on their relative speed and distance from the Sun.

So first, the closest planet–which is Mercury–to the Sun gets assigned to the closest signs flanking the luminaries, which is Gemini and Virgo. Then Venus is the next furthest and sort of slowest planet out gets assigned to the next two flanking signs, which is Taurus and Libra, and then it keeps going to Mars, and then to Jupiter, and then finally to Saturn. So the assignments or the rulership scheme originally comes out of the symmetry of those assignments in some sense.

CO: Right. And it also comes out of the core concept of dignity being a political concept, as in, what is your place in society, where do you have rulership, where do you have control, and where do you have responsibilities–it all comes out of that. When moderns talk about rulership, I think they talk about it more in terms of, “Well, Pluto should be the modern ruler of Scorpio because Scorpio is very Plutonian. They’re similar.”

CB: Right. So it’s through…

CO: The old rulerships, yeah.

CB: It’s through the idea of similarity or affinity where they say that a planet like Neptune, for example, has certain qualities that seem to be very similar to the qualities we associate with Pisces; and therefore, Neptune as a result of those similarities should be assigned to or should become the ruler of that sign.

CO: Right. And there’s also an interesting–I did a study on this that I’m gonna do an article with. It’s out on my blog. I’m gonna do more with it, that the rulerships also change our concept of the sign. If you read astrological literature from about mid-1800s on through to the present day, and you look at the meaning of the sign Aquarius, the interpretation of the meaning of the sign Aquarius has changed drastically as the concept of the ruler of Aquarius shifted from being Saturn to being Uranus. If you read old meanings from the 1800s of what Aquarius means, it’s much more Saturnine. And by the time you start getting into the mid-20th century, Aquarius starts to sound more and more Uranian.

CB: Right. So the delineations and our understanding, not our understanding, our interpretations of the qualities that we associate with the signs of the zodiac are different now than they were 200 or 300 years ago for those signs, and so that’s one of the issues that people run into. I know that was an issue for me because I first learned modern astrology where you learn the meanings of the signs, and you learn the meanings of the planets, and so you would naturally say, “Well, of course, Aquarius matches Uranus because we have all these meanings of Aquarius that are so similar to Uranus.” But then when you go back and study the history of astrology, you realize that astrologers, once they decided Uranus should be assigned to Aquarius, just based on a sort of inherent assumption, then they started changing the meaning of the sign Aquarius in order to suit Uranus rather than the sign Aquarius inherently having that meaning on its own.

CO: Yes, very much. So take Aquarius again, if you go reading the writing on astrology in the early part of the century by Aleister Crowley, who did a lot of ghost writing for Evangeline Adams, he will talk about how Aquarius is idealistic, but it’s a kind of stead and conservative sign. It’s not the kind of sign that wants to buck the system. That’s wildly different from the way Aquarius is described in the 1980s or ‘70’s, ‘80’s, ‘90’s in Steven Forrest’s work and that kind of thing. So literally the meaning of the sign has switched because our concept of the meaning of the rulers switched. In other words, the sign takes as much of its meaning from the ruler as the ruler being assigned to the sign because it fits there.

CB: Right. So one of the arguments I’ve heard that traditional authors, like I think Lee Lehman makes in her book on the essential dignities and other traditional works is the notion that essential dignity has to do with the planetary strength not affinity. And some traditional astrologers would argue that dignity has to do with strength and that’s different than affinity, and that’s why they object to the modern notion that planets should be assigned to signs based on perceived affinity.

One of my issues with that argument, even though I’m partially sympathetic to that line of thought as a component to essential dignity, is that there does seem to have been some concept of affinity arising out of the symmetry even in the traditional rulership scheme. So it’s not that there was a complete absence of any notion of affinity, it’s just that affinity wasn’t the primary motivating factor, but the affinity almost came after the symmetry was established.

CO: Yes. And it’s also that–I’ll go back to that modern one. Aquarius had a great deal of affinity with Uranus after Uranus became accepted as the ruler of Aquarius. The ruler-to-sign relationship preceded the affinity because the meaning changed when the ruler changed.

CB: Right. Yeah, and that becomes part of a broader debate and a broader dialogue that’s happening now after the revival of the older sources from prior to the discovery of Uranus, when we realize that Aquarius used to be perceived much differently as like a fixed air sign that was ruled by Saturn versus in modern times, it’s a Uranus-ruled sign that’s associated with the 11th house, and there’s additional sort of overlays from the New Age movement that associated itself with Aquarius, and therefore, projected some of its idealism onto that sign as well.

CO: Mm-hmm. And this is a whole other issue, the whole sign equals house thing, but that’s going a little too far to the side.

CB: Sure. How did we actually get onto this topic? Because we were making the transition into the next dignity.

CO: It was from modern versus traditional rulerships.

CB: Okay, so affinity versus…

CO: That’s where that sidetrack came from.

CB: Got it, okay. And variations, I guess I should say; that was actually the starting point for that.

CO: Yes.

CB: So the third essential dignity, which is the first of the more minor dignities, is the concept of the ‘terms’ or what’s sometimes called the ‘bounds’.

CO: Right.

CB: So how do you explain or introduce this concept?

CO: Well, the terms and the bounds, in terms of what terms mean, to really understand the rulership of bounds is that in the early astrology, it is very much tied in with being a time-lord technique. Where you see the bounds used the most in the earliest astrology is in combination with, you could call it ‘direction’, you could call it ‘distribution’, you could call it ‘circumambulation’, whatever. But especially if the Ascendant, as it moves through the bounds or terms, the planet who is in charge of that bound or term becomes the ‘lord of the time’, and that ties in with the meaning of the word ‘bound’ or ‘term’, which is how things get implemented, how things get done, how they actually get put into effect. It grows out of the time-lord use of it.

CB: Right. But maybe let’s start just by describing what they are. I mean, the bounds are, for those that have no idea what they are, a division of each of the signs of the zodiac into five, unequal subsections, which are ruled by one-of-five traditional planets basically, right?

CO: Yeah. Do you have a wheel that shows this?

CB: So I have the rulership scheme here on the table of planetary rulerships. I also have a separate one that is dedicated to the bounds themselves. I don’t necessarily have a wheel though, no.

CO: Or if you have a chart wheel, it could be a chart of a person that has the bound wheel in it. That’s how I like to picture it.

CB: Yeah, I only recently like created one of those finally or figured out how to create it in the Solar Fire.

CO: Okay. Let me then think in terms of using your map that we have up here. If you have, let us say, the Ascendant, I’m gonna start it in the 3rd degree of Aries–so I’m starting on that first line there–then the Ascendant is in the bounds or the terms of Jupiter. Jupiter’s gonna have a lot to do with how the Ascendant acts in the world, how it implements, how it actually gets things done; Jupiter’s in charge of that. Jupiter’s like a low-level manager here saying, “Okay, I’m gonna take what the ruler wants to do and actually put it into effect.”

And then as you go through the day, the zodiac is going to be rotating in primary direction up past the Ascendant, and eventually that degree is going to move, let us say, to 6 and then 7 degrees of Aries. This is within the bounds of Venus. So now, Jupiter leaves the scene, Venus takes control. Now Venus is the ‘bound-lord’, is the lord of the time. Venus is the planet that’s saying, “How are things getting implemented now?” Bounds have an awful lot to do with how things actually get done.

The metaphor I like to use, if you think of rulership, if a sign ruler is like a manager or something like that–ah, there’s a wheel, beautiful. If a sign ruler is a manager, you cover them.

CB: Yeah.

CO: If a sign ruler is the manager then a bound-ruler is like a low-level manager or superintendent or something like that, who is taking the overall domicile ruler’s agenda and having to put it into effect. And you’ll see a description of something like that in some of the traditional texts–I don’t have which text memorized off the top my head–where basically if a ruler is working through a sympathetic bound-lord, it will be able to get more done than if it’s working through an unsympathetic bound-lord. Does a manager have a reliable, and what’s the word I want, ‘sympathetic’, lower-level manager who is implementing its orders, or is the manager having to work through a low-level manager he doesn’t get along with?

CB: Sure.

CO: So bound level has a lot to do with implementation. By the way, while we’re on this chart, can I point out something interesting with the bounds or the terms there?

CB: Sure. Although we are running out of time, so we should definitely keep moving sort of concisely.

CO: Okay. Just the quick thing I will mention is that if you went around and looked at predominance of terms or bounds–including like in this chart Sun, Jupiter, Pluto, Ascendant Moon–they’re all in the bounds or terms of Mercury. Which means Mercury is going to tend to be how Maya Angelou gets things done, how she implements things, i,e., she’s a writer, as an example.

CB: So the terms or the bounds are subdivisions of each of the zodiacal signs where you have like a sub-lord or a planetary sub-lord that is an additional factor that’s in charge of each placement in the birth chart.

CO: Yes. And the sign-ruler has to work through the term-ruler to get its agenda done. So like in the Ascendant there, the Sun has to work through Mercury in order to get its agenda done.

CB: Right. And that becomes really crucial because there were some advanced calculations for determining the overall ruler of the chart, known as the ‘Master of the Nativity’. And in some of these calculations, the bound-lord becomes important because the bound-lord as a sub-ruler can basically become the co-ruler of the chart or the joint-ruler of the chart, where sometimes it’s the domicile lord which is the primary ruler of the chart.

Usually it’s like the domicile lord of the sect light, which is the Sun in a day chart if it’s well-placed, or the Moon in a night chart, or if both luminaries are poorly-placed then it defaults to the domicile lord of the Ascendant, and that’s said to be the Master of the Nativity. But then the bound-lord of that planet of the sect light usually or the ruler of the Ascendant, the bound-lord is said to be the co-ruler of the Nativity or the co-master of the Nativity, so it has some secondary, overall rulership role in the chart.

CO: Yes. And this might be–since we’re wanting to touch on the others, since you’re talking about the sect light, this is a good place I think to tie in the triplicity rulers.

CB: Oh, right. That’s hilarious because we actually went out of order–that was my fault—where triplicity is actually the third essential dignity and bound or term is actually the fourth.

CO: Right. But that’s okay because when you’re dealing with triplicity, number one, triplicity is a dignity where, in each of the given signs, there’s not one triplicity lord, it’s three. And if you look through the traditional writers, you’re going to see quite a bit of inconsistency in terms of how they’re used. Sometimes one will be used, sometimes two will be used, sometimes three will be used. What I think is going on with triplicity is that it’s a rulership that has to do with group support, tribe support, family support, political support. There’s something ‘group’ about triplicity.

So getting back to the sect light, one of the early ways they would delineate a chart–and there’s some beautiful examples in Dorotheus–once you have the sect of the chart, look at what sign the luminary of the sect is in, and look at the three triplicity lords–there we go. Look at the three triplicity lords of that sign. If they are in good shape then the sect light is going to get a lot of support. They’ve got family support. They’ve got political support. They’ve got friends in high places, that kind of thing. So triplicity is a group sort of dignity. That’s the meaning I see played out in the chart.

CB: Sure. So this is different than the other ones that we’ve talked about so far. Like with domicile rulership, it’s been a single planet being in charge of an entire sign, and with exaltation, it’s been a planet being exalted or well-placed or auspiciously-placed in a single sign versus being inauspiciously-placed in the sign opposite to that.

CO: Yes.

CB: What we have with triplicity rulership is it’s a grouping of the signs into four sets of three, otherwise known as the ‘triplicities’, which are like the Fire triplicity, the Earth triplicity, the Air triplicity, and the Water triplicity. And then each of those triplicities is assigned three planetary rulers that rule over not just one of those signs, but they all three jointly rule over each of those triplicities together at the same time.

So for example, Jupiter, the Sun, and Saturn are the rulers of the Fire triplicity. And it’s not that they’re assigned to a specific sign, it’s that all three of them have some sort of joint rulership over that entire triplicity or over that group of three signs. And so, that’s why you say that this dignity has more to do with some sort of group affiliation.

CO: Yes. And there’s another striking pattern about that, that the two, if you will, ‘passive’ or feminine signs, the Earth and Water, the three triplicity rulers are all the night planets: Moon, Venus, and Mars.

CB: Right.

CO: And sect, night and day, is the most basic political division in all of astrology. Then you’ve got with the Fire and Air, the triplicity rulers of those two are the day planets with the one odd planet there, Mercury, in this case being aligned with Air and Sun in the most diurnal of all the elements, the Fire sign. So there’s a relationship between how triplicity was assigned with the concept of sect.

CB: Sure. So there’s a tendency for the diurnal planets to rule over the masculine triplicity signs and there’s a tendency for the feminine planets to be the triplicity rulers over the–or the nocturnal planets to be triplicity rulers over the feminine signs.

CO: Yes, yes. And again, as I interpret them, it’s a family kind of a dignity. It’s a group support kind of a dignity. Are you among people who are helping you? Are you in a group where you’ve got friends?

CB: Sure.

CO: That’s why I like it as a group-kind of a dignity.

CB: Yeah, and that actually makes sense. I like that sort of idea or that speculation because I sort of suggested or I suspected–I argued in my book that this concept of the triplicity rulers and dignity in the early Hellenistic tradition may have grown out of somehow the idea of what they referred to as ‘joint domicile lords’ or ‘joint rulers’ of signs. You have the domicile lords, which are like the rulers. You have the exaltation placements. But then there was some broader notion of could other signs that have some connection or some close affinity with other signs that share an affinity, could they have like back up or secondary rulers in some way, and that’s where the triplicity rulers kind of came from.

CO: Yes. And also, that’s one of the places that just this overall dignity system is so very, very valuable. I see it so much in the traditional literature that I gave it the name ‘the back-up plan’. You’re going to see in an analysis of a chart, it will say, “Oh, we’re looking at this particular Ascendant. Where is the domicile ruler? That’s in bad shape? Okay, go look at the exalted ruler to the sign. How’s that one doing? Is that one in bad shape? Okay, now go look at the triplicity rulers,” and so on. So when you have levels of rulership, when you have multiple ones, if you have a planet whose domicile lord is in some ways stressed or not helpful in dignity, there’s other places to look for support, there’s other places to look for help. When Dad’s not around, big brother takes over.

CB: Right. And that’s really crucial because of this concept of triplicity rulership. And one of the primary applications in the ancient authors, like Dorotheus and Valens, was almost like a secondary or an alternative domicile rulership scheme where when you’re doing like the triplicity rulers of the sect light technique, instead of looking at the domicile lord of the sect light, or the luminary that’s in charge if you have a day chart or a night chart, you look to the triplicity rulers to see if that luminary has support and if those triplicity rulers are well-placed.

CO: Yes. And related to that, and Ben’s got a very–Ben Dykes has a very nice section on this in his introduction to the recent translation he did of Dorotheus. He’s got a section on triplicity lords in the intro to that where he basically says triplicity has to do with good or bad fortune. And a lot of what determines good or bad fortune is do you have a supportive group, a supportive family, a supportive environment or not–the two kinds of play together.

If you’ve got a supportive group environment, if you’ve got friends, you’re going to tend to have the breaks go your way because you’ve got someone who’s gonna make a phone call for you. You’ve got someone who’s gonna cover for you. You’ve got someone who’s gonna help you. So then triplicity as family dignity plays in with the whole notion of the triplicity lords determining overall good or bad fortune.

CB: Right.

CO: The two concepts are connected.

CB: And that’s tied in with the triplicity rulers and the sect light technique especially, which we don’t have time to get to, unfortunately, today, but maybe in the future. The last thing we should probably mention about this concept is that it’s weird and it’s unique among the essential dignity concepts because it’s not always the same, but it actually alters depending on if you have a day chart or a night chart. The same planets still rule the triplicity, but the order of the rulerships changes.

CO: Yes.

CB: So in the triplicity rulership scheme, you have a primary ruler, a secondary ruler, and then a third ruler, or what is sometimes called a ‘cooperating ruler’.

CO: Right.

CB: And the order changes depending on if you have a day or night chart. So for example, for the Fire triplicity signs–which are Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius–if you have a day chart then the rulers are, number one, the Sun, the number two ruler is Jupiter, and the number three ruler is Saturn. However, if you have a night chart then the order switches, and the primary ruler is Jupiter, the secondary ruler is the Sun, and the third ruler is Saturn. So that’s a little bit different, and it’s like that for all four of the triplicities where it’s not necessarily static, but these rulership relations for triplicity are partially based on the sect of the chart.

CO: Mm-hmm. And what I tend to emphasize with that is in the day chart, it will be Sun/Jupiter/Saturn, in the night chart, it will be Jupiter/Sun/Saturn. In both charts it’ll still be the same three planets.

CB: Right.

CO: So we still need to look at all three of those. And I personally, in the way I use them, I would pay attention to that order only if there was a particular reason, like if Sun and Jupiter in the chart were for some reason playing at cross-purposes.

CB: Okay.

CO: If they’re playing together then they’re part of the same team, so I treat them more as a group than I do individually.

CB: Okay.

CO: That’s how they worked for me.

CB: Got it. All right, so that is the concept of the triplicity rulers, or a very brief take on it.

CO: Right.

CB: So besides that we’ve already started talking about the bounds, which are subdivisions, or the terms which are subdivisions of the signs where, for example, in the sign Aries, Jupiter rules the first 5 degrees, from 0 to 5 degrees of that sign; then Venus takes the next several degrees, from like 6 degrees to 11 degrees of Aries; then Mercury takes 12 to 19 degrees; Mars, 20 to 24; and then finally, Saturn, 25 to 29 or 30 degrees basically.

So with the primary set or the most popular set of bounds that are known as the ‘Egyptian bounds’ or the ‘Egyptian terms’, it’s only one of those five visible planets that’s assigned to the signs of the zodiac, and then the degree ranges vary depending on the sign. So for example, Jupiter ruled the first 6 degrees of Aries, but in Taurus, Venus rules the first 7 degrees of that sign.

CO: Right. And this is beyond the scope of what we can cover, but the actual number of degrees that each of the planets have are related to a technique for determining length-of-life: the greater, lesser, and medium planetary years. That’s probably a level of complexity beyond what we should go into. But the magic word with bounds is very much ‘implementation’–getting things done; low-level manager; where the rubber hits the road–that’s the key concept with bounds.

CB: Yeah. That notion of the term ‘bounds’ or ‘terms’–sometimes you could translate the original term, horia, from Greek as ‘confines’–there’s some notion of restriction or setting limits. And I think one of the strong suspicions I’ve had for a long time is that the bounds may have that term because of that original connection where they often primarily seem to be used or invoked within the context of the length-of-life treatment as being able to set some sort of limit or some sort of confines on the length of the person’s life, or like the extent of the person’s life or something like that.

CO: Mm-hmm. Boundary or terminus–both of them have to do with borders, constricted order. I think of it as like a garden plot.

CB: Sure.

CO: Also, if you think of it as implementation, it’s got a slang connotation in our modern English language. It’s, “Okay, you’ll tell us what it is we need to do, but we’re going to implement it on my terms.”

CB: Right.

CO: I’m setting the boundaries, within which the rules, the structure within is going to actually get done.

CB: Sure. Yeah. And then also there’s just a question of if you have like a sub-lord of a sign, the question of, is it a sub-lord who’s going to be lenient on you? Is it like a benefic sub-lord? Or is it a sub-lord that’s gonna kind of be like a jerk to you, or kind of gonna set harder terms or harder limits, like a malefic, like Mars or Saturn?

CO: Exactly. And that is one of the huge or serious consistencies. Every one of the signs ends on the bounds or terms of a malefic.

CB: Right.

CO: It’s always either Saturn or Mars–usually whichever one would have least affinity with that sign. Which is part of the reason it’s just pretty consistent in the traditional texts that to be in the very late degrees of the sign is to be considered negative. Because when you’re in the late degrees of the sign, you’re always in the bounds of a malefic.

CB: Sure. And so, we should state then that there’s some issues, because in the ancient tradition, the Hellenistic tradition, there were a few different sets of bounds or terms, and they had different degrees assigned to each of the planets. And the most prominent or popular set is the Egyptian bounds or through the bounds that were attributed to the Egyptians, which probably come from the text of Nechepso and Petosiris. who were two of the lost–the ancient supposed founders of the Hellenistic tradition.

But even though this is the most popular set, there’s still some ambiguity about how the specific degree ranges were assigned to each of the planets. And even though we can see some patterns–like that there’s a tendency to put the benefics at the beginning of the signs and the malefics at the end of the signs–nobody’s ever fully worked out exactly what the rationale is for these assignments, so it’s a little bit of a mystery there.

CO: Correct.

CB: There was a secondary or a competing set that seems to have been invented or introduced by Claudius Ptolemy in the 2nd century, where he looked at the Egyptian bounds and he kind of saw some patterns, but he didn’t seem to like that there wasn’t a clear rationale, and so he developed his own set, which has a clear, specific rationale. But because he was the one that came up with it, or he claimed to have found it in like a lost text, but people often traditionally have looked at that with some skepticism, thinking that he probably just came up with it on his own. So that set of bounds was not very popular until the 17th century, when William Lilly and some of his contemporaries started using Ptolemy’s set and then they became a bit more popular. But otherwise, traditionally, the Egyptian bounds seemed to be the most popular set.

CO: And it does, in terms of recent traditional astrology–recent since the age of Lilly. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like the Egyptian bounds have only really been recovered and widely used again in about the last 20-30 years with the recovery of the earlier texts. Would you agree on that one?

CB: Yeah. Well, I mean, modern astrologers have not even been using them at all. For most of the 20th century, the bounds or the terms weren’t even used. It was just domicile, rulership for the most part, and maybe occasionally exaltation. But even exaltation largely fell away from most practice, and most of the other essential dignities were not really used that much either.

It was in the 1980s, with the revival of traditional-style horary centered around the work of William Lilly, that suddenly the bounds started being used again. And since it was revived from Lilly, they were originally using the Ptolemy version. But then after that, with the revival of authors like Dorotheus and Valens, it became clear that the earlier tradition–the Hellenistic and medieval tradition–tended to use the Egyptian bounds and the Ptolemaic bounds were a little bit more of a peculiar sort of oddity because they were unique to Ptolemy, and then they don’t show up a lot until the time of Lilly, like many centuries later.

CO: Mm-hmm. And like many things in astrology, an awful lot of the choice as to which particular set that a particular astrologer will end up using, it depends on their lineage, it depends on their teacher.

CB: Yeah.

CO: It’s a very strong influence that way.

CB: Definitely. Yeah. And this is one of those areas where because of the ambiguity, especially surrounding the Egyptian bounds, there’s a little bit more ‘dicey-ness’ conceptually just in terms of like what is this based on and stuff. But yeah, anyways, maybe we should move onto the final dignity, which is the concept of ‘decan’ or ‘face’.

CO: That, of all the dignities, is–that’s the hardest for me to get a handle on. And part of that seems to be that when I went digging through these in the older texts, face is still showing up, but it’s not showing up consistently, and it doesn’t seem to be used that much with the other dignities. By the time you get to even like some of the later Hellenistic and early Persian stuff, an awful lot of the places where I see face use, it has connotation of face as in having to do with persona, appearance, how something looks, superficial.

CB: Right.

CO: Ah, there we go.

CB: So this is just a chart that shows–a wheel that shows the signs of the zodiac, the decans, the 12th parts, which is a completely different subdivision, and then the bounds or terms.

CO: Yes. And that is the divisions into three in that outer wheel. Just inside the zodiac is indeed the faces. Can we go back to that other one, just a second, Chris? Just what I wanted to point out–because this is particularly important, because the word ‘decan’, it gets used in different senses–that the traditional Western one is what I call the ‘Chaldean order’. I’m going to start over with Leo there. Notice that the order of the decans goes in the reverse order of the planets, from Saturn on in. So it’s always Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, and then the pattern repeats.

CB: Right. So let’s just define it really quickly. So the decans or the faces are divisions of each of the signs of the zodiac into three, where each of these subdivisions is 10 degrees, and then each of those 10 degrees is assigned to a specific planet. And what you’re explaining right now is that there’s actually an order in which the planets were assigned or designated, which is based on or is called ‘descending Chaldean order’.

CO: Yes. And I particularly want to mention that because you’ll see in a lot of Western astrology texts, I think from about the mid-800s on–that they will use a system of decans that are derived from Indian, from Vedic astrology which is breaking them up into three. And I wanted to emphasize that because, as I understand it, this system here, the reverse Chaldean order, this is the one that has roots in Western tradition. Like this is the one I use exclusively.

CB: Yeah. So in the 20th century, the use of the division of the decans was based on triplicity assignments that actually came in from the Indian tradition partially. Yeah, but this is a separate set that goes back to the sort of earlier part of the Hellenistic tradition where the decans were originally from Egyptian astrology, where they were probably specific fixed stars that the Egyptians used to time specific religious rituals, especially when those stars were rising over the horizon or culminating overhead. But then later at some point in the Hellenistic tradition, they became more abstract, sort of idealized divisions with specific planets assigned to them, so that they were like subdivisions of the signs of the zodiac rather than being associated with specific fixed stars.

CO: Mm-hmm. Especially with faces, it feels like something got lost there. However its used in the Egyptian system, I suspect that–this is my own hunch on this one, and I think this ties in, by the way, with what Austin Coppock did with them. I think each of those sections of the zodiac were related to specific minor gods, goddesses, whatever you want to call them. So they had a ‘religious’ isn’t quite the right word, but had something to do with which gods were in charge of the particular part of the zodiac.

Pretty quickly that got lost, and face, most of the descriptions of face you’ll see in the Western traditional literature, it’s some variant on having to do with appearance, here’s how things look, here’s how things appear. Even in this Western system of faces, you will see in the works of the 19th century English astrologer Sepharial who uses the face of the Ascendant to talk about how the personality is going to come across, how the personality is gonna appear.

CB: Right.

CO: The thing about face, as fitting within our overall political scheme, it seems to be the one dignity that doesn’t really have any connotation of power or of authority or of control. It’s someone who has a job to do. It’s someone who maybe has a place but doesn’t have an awful lotta say about how that gets played out. It could also have to do with here’s how someone looks. It could also have to do with the face connotation of being a mask or a persona, or how people come on and so on. It’s got kind of a different flavor than the other ones do.

CB: Yeah. Definitely.

CO: And it doesn’t seem to have a lot of strength is this feeling I get as a dignity.

CB: Sure. Yeah, it’s one of those that’s tricky just because it’s such a clear sort of abstract assignment based on the Chaldean order, and it just starts at Aries and assigns Mars to the first 10 degrees of Aries, evidently, because Mars is the domicile lord of that sign, and then it works its way down in descending Chaldean order. Then the Sun rules the next 10 degrees of Aries, and then the Venus rules the third 10 degrees.

And this is one of those that elicits some debates. I mean, I don’t personally use the decans a lot myself. I know Austin does use them, or he thinks there’s elements of these assignments that can be incorporated into delineations very usefully. It’s not something that I’ve focused on a lot, but it is one of the traditional–or became, certainly by the medieval tradition, one of the ones that people would pay attention to as a lesser dignity.

CO: Mm-hmm. And also, there was an interesting case. I’ve got a write-up on this one, a particular case in my book. Sometimes face, in terms of role in society, a planet that has ‘only face’ can manifest like a volunteer worker–someone who is performing a service here, but has no authority, no control, anything like that, but yet is offering something.

CB: Sure.

CO: So what fascinates me in these, and where I’m looking in terms of my own work with them, is very much how can we take these and get at the individual flavors of them, and then take these flavors and translate them into concrete and specific kinds of roles, instead of just this one’s strong and that one’s not as strong and so on. They’re not tick marks on a chart. They all have different flavors.

And I feel like what I’m starting to do, and what Ben is doing, and what others are doing is to recover the richness of the flavor, the richness of these traditions, so that we’re taking these dignities, we’re making them more concrete. We’re making them more colorful. We’re giving them more meaning. We’re giving them more richness.

CB: Right, trying to recover or access again the original richness of the dignities by understanding the terminology and using the terminology as an access point for understanding the conceptual motivation, but then also applying them in practice and trying to see how that conceptual motivation can sometimes play out very literally in delineations.

CO: Exactly. So taking the concrete richness and then translating it into concrete terms. Like we said with the Lilly example, a planet in fall could literally mean a sinking ship, a planet exalted can mean a very valued treasure–that’s giving the meaning concrete terms. And I see that more and more and more as I go looking in the chart, looking for that flavor. Triplicity ruler could mean you’ve got a friend who’s making a phone call, or you’ve got a cousin who works in the government who’s willing to vouch for you. That’s how triplicity rulers played out.

CB: So one final thing we should mention before we wrap up is the thing that developed eventually later on, which is the point schemes that’s sometimes applied to the essential dignities. And this is a little bit controversial because it wasn’t really used in the Hellenistic tradition. They didn’t really have a point scheme, but instead, most of these rulerships seem to have been techniques that were used in order to make oftentimes qualitative judgments about the quality of a planet’s significations and how those would express.

Eventually, later in the medieval tradition, at one point, they started assigning point scores in order to try to tabulate like the overall condition of a planet in a chart as a sort of shortcut for being able to glance at a chart and just count up which one has the most dignities and say that that’s like the strongest planet in the chart, or the most auspicious, or most well-placed, or what have you. So eventually, I think the point score that came to dominate by the later part of the tradition was that a planet in domicile was given 5 points, a planet in exaltation was given 4 points, a planet in triplicity was given 3 points, and a planet in the bounds or terms was given 2 points, and a planet in its decan was given 1 point, right?

CO: Mm-hmm. And related to that–and I think this is a good place to look at how that can be used–one of the most prominent places that was published is in Lilly. You’ve got his table of Fortitudes and Debilities, where he has his point scores. But if you look in his book, in that second magnificent book on horary–he’s got something like 40 examples there–he uses the point scores in exactly one. And he basically says, “I’m using this in order to train people who are new to this.” I’ve nicknamed that page William Lilly’s ‘cheat sheet’, and we use that in the dignities class I do.

And I think the way Lilly used it is the way I think it’s useful. The point-scoring sheet there, with the orders, I think of that is like a set of training wheels. This is training you what to scan for, training you how to weigh up all these kinds of things. And to get too hung up on the scoring I think is missing the point. Even where you’ve got it there, in William Lilly’s book, Lilly doesn’t use it that extensively, but I think it’s most valuable as a teaching tool. Having that table of Fortitudes and Debilities with the relative ranks, and going through two or three dozen charts with that, you’re gonna start picking stuff out of charts you just never saw before. So like I said, to me, it’s William Lilly’s cheat sheet.

CB: Yeah, I think that’s a good way to think of it. I display, just in my Solar Fire charts, there’s a box with the essential dignities, and it shows some point scores, but that’s just because it’s built into–it’s basically built into the traditional essential dignities table in Solar Fire, and it’s not necessarily because I pay attention to the point scores. Because I think for most of these, the rulerships are more qualitative and show you something about how the quality of the planet is altered or is altering its manifestation based on what sign it’s in.

And sometimes that can be more auspicious and other times it can be less auspicious, but it’s not necessarily always something that you need to pay attention to as a matter of strength. And sometimes if you reduce it all down or you make them all equivalent by just giving them a point score, sometimes you can lose a lot of the subtlety or the nuance of the distinctions between the different dignities.

CO: Yes, very much. And using them is very much teaching what to scan for. Yeah, it’s a training system. And after you’ve taken those point scores and gone through them all the time then you go, “Okay, retrograde, -5.” But what does retrograde mean in this particular chart? What planet’s retrograde? What sign is it in? What is it applying to and so on? The point score is just a place to start; you’re seeing what to notice. And it’s giving you a feel of how to judge and evaluate because that is part of where this is all going, but the judging and evaluating starts with the points score, it doesn’t end there. The judging and evaluation is very much a matter of weighing up all the various qualities.

CB: Yeah. Definitely. And you mentioned very briefly–that’s something that’s great to mention at the end–that these are the essential dignities, and then Lilly and other authors have a whole other set of accidental dignities, which are things like, is the planet direct or retrograde is the planet angular or is it cadent, and other considerations that are sort of separate from this consideration, the primary consideration of essentially zodiacal strength. So essential dignity of zodiacal strength and accidental dignity often ends up being non-zodiacal strength: so strength by house, or planetary motion, or configuration with other planets and things like that.

CO: Yes. There was, the way I heard it phrased–I think it was Demeter who said this–and this is an oversimplification, that essential dignity has to do with quality and accidental dignity has to do with opportunity to act. The more I think about it, accidental affects quality also.

CB: Sure.

CO: And I really don’t think essential dignities work just out of context. You can’t look at a chart and just say, “There’s four rulers here, this is a wonderful person.” You need to use the entire system of the essential and the accidental. You have to look at the angles. You have to look at the houses. You have to look at where there’s something combust and so on.

CB: Yeah. Definitely. Because you’ve got famous people like, I don’t know, Hitler, that have dignified planets, or serial killers, like Jeffrey Dahmer.

CO: Jeffrey Dahmer who has four in essential rulership. I do a chapter on Jeffrey Dahmer in the book because if you can’t handle Dahmer with essential dignities, you don’t understand the dignity system.

CB: Sure. Yeah, so that’s a really good point then to end on because there’s a lot more–this is like one component. But then like with the Maya Angelou case, where we pointed out Mercury’s configuration to Saturn, or its conjunction with Venus, or its sextile to the Midheaven and other factors like that, it’s one component in terms of an overall analysis that’s going to change and be different depending on the chart. But it’s definitely an important core component that’s one of the first things the traditional astrologers look at, which is how are the planets doing in terms of their zodiacal placement in a chart.

CO: Yeah. And essential dignities aren’t where things stop, but you sure have to start there. It is just an important core part of the tradition and that whole core part of traditional which is precisely evaluating and judging and weighing and figuring out how things are gonna play out. I cannot conceive of doing astrology without using dignity and debility. For me, it’s the absolute core of what I do. Dignity, debility, and reception–if you were going to sum up what I do in three words, those are the three words.

CB: Sure. Definitely. All right, well, I think that brings us to the end of this discussion. Where can people find out more information about your work?

CO: Okay, my website is StudentOfAstrology.com, and I have a blog out there. I have the two books–you pointed them out at the beginning–The Intro to Traditional Natal Astrology and the one that I just published, which is the Using Dignities in Astrology, thank you. And these are part of a series of three, so if they look similar there’s a reason.

But I wanted to point out these are available in print from the usual outlets. If you’re interested in an electronic copy, I have PDF versions available at my site, Student of Astrology. And in honor of my new book coming out, and it being the month of May, and the fact that I’ve got this podcast, my electronic books are on sale this month.

CB: Okay. Excellent.

CO: So if you’re interested, hop on over to my site and check them out.

CB: Cool. All right, that’s StudentOf Astrology.com. And otherwise, people can search for those titles and find them on Amazon.com.

CO: That’s correct. They’re available from Amazon and other retailers.

CB: Okay. Awesome. And then finally, you’re teaching some courses at Kepler College, right?

CO: That’s correct. There’s two courses I do. We’re at this point alternating the terms with them. There’s Using Dignities in Astrology, and that book developed basically as the course textbook over two years of teaching that class. And I just recently started a new class, which is called The Cycle of the Year: Traditional Predictive Astrology, which is covering the core suite of traditional predictive techniques that are used together more often than any I have seen in the tradition, which is the ‘direction through the bounds’, profections, and solar returns, and then transits and so on with that. And I’m just finishing up the final draft of a book on that, that I hope to publish a bit later this year.

CB: Excellent. Well, I look forward to that, and maybe we can have you on again at some point to talk about that book.

CO: I would love to talk about it. It’s a fascinating area.

CB: Cool. All right, well, people can check out the Kepler website for more information about your courses, which looks like it’s now KeplerCollege.org.

CO: Correct.

CB: Cool. All right, well, thanks a lot. Congratulations on the release of the new book. Thanks for joining me today. And yeah, I really appreciated this discussion, so thank you.

CO: It was a pleasure talking with you, and I thank you very much for inviting me for this dialogue.

CB: Awesome. All right, well, I think that brings us to the end of the show. So thank you, everybody, for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please be sure to subscribe, become a patron to support my work doing this. And I think that’s it for this episode. So thanks, everyone, for listening, and I’ll see you next time.