Equivalence of the Signs and the Planets, or a new concept of Rulership and Exaltation
One of the first things we learn when we get to know astrology is the rulership and exaltation of planets in the signs. Let me bring back the classic system:
| Aries || Mars || Sun |
| Taurus || Venus || Moon |
| Gemini || Mercury || |
| Cancer || Moon || Jupiter |
| Leo || Sun || |
| Virgo || Mercury || Mercury |
| Libra || Venus || Saturn |
| Scorpio || Mars || |
| Sagittarius || Jupiter || |
| Capricorn || Saturn || Mars |
| Aquarius || Saturn || |
| Pisces || Jupiter || Venus |
I took into account only the 7 classic planets (excluding Uranus, Neptune and Pluto).
What we can see is:
Each sign has its ruler planet. - But with the exaltation it is different: each planet has one sign in which it is exalted, so only in 7 signs a planet is exalted, and 5 signs in this regard are "empty". (The signs of Gemini, Leo, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Aquarius have no exalted planet.) In Virgo, the same planet, Mercury, is both ruler and exalted.
The rulers of the signs are arranged symmetrically in relation to the Cancer/Leo and Capricorn/Aquarius division lines; see the figure:
In the signs lying in opposition to their rulerships (or domiciles) and to their exaltations planets were said to be, respectively, in exile and in fall, which can be easily filled in the tables and figures.
The system, dating back to the classical antiquity, had some divinatory meanings and applications, which should be reconstructed; there are probably books or Internet materials about the topic, and I encourage you to look for them. However, this does not interest us here...
What is of our concern is that this ancient system points to the similarity between the signs and planets. There is an idea contained there, that the planet is an equivalent of the sign. The idea is to be developed further.
Modern modifications in the system
There have been attempts to fit somehow the newly discovered planets (in the 19th and 20th century) in the system:
| Uranus || declared as the ruler of || Aquarius || instead of the classic || Saturn |
| Neptune || added as the (co-) ruler of || Pisces || next to the classic || Jupiter |
| Pluto || added as the (co-) ruler of || Scorpio || next to the classic || Mars |
As for exaltations:
| Uranus || is usually considered exalted in || Scorpio |
| Neptune || is usually considered exalted in || Lion |
| Pluto || There is no agreement ... || ? |
As you can see, the classic system lost its symmetry. Also note that the ruler signs were found for each new planet, so that each (also newly discovered) planet had its own domicile sign - as opposed to the classic system where each sign had their own planet as a ruler.
Planet as equivalent of a sign
This means that if a sign can not be used in an astrological procedure or reasoning, then the sign is substituted with a planet. This equivalence is possibility to substitute. The classic system established rigid rules in this respect: one sign - one planet. What we are interested in the system is only that it was/is an expression of recognition that some signs somehow remind some planets and vice versa. In astrology, as we understand it and apply, a chart gives us insight into the structure of human personality. Imagine one's personality as constructed of elements or factors which correspond to planets, signs, and other components of the natal chart. Some of these ingredients work similarly - and we recognize them as equivalents. The ancient system of rulers and exaltation gives us guidelines on what the equivalences are - but they are only guidelines. The ancient astrologers, when discovering their lore, did it essentially correctly, yet they might have been mistaken about details. For example, it was because they did not know all the planets, or because they sought to force the symmetry of the zodiac.
Similarities between signs and planets
- Mars. This equivalence is obvious and there is no reason to change anything here.
- Sun. Sun as exalted in Aries; we treat this as an indication that the sign of Aries brings similar psychological and symbolic factors as the Sun (when strong in a chart), as, for instance, the rush to be the authority for others. (See the famous Arietan "follow me!")
- Jupiter. The planet absent in the classic system, but the nature of the Jupiter (when dominant), as it was reconstructed empirically by Michel and Françoise Gauquelin, is very much in line with Aries. All Fire signs - Aries, Leo, Sagittarius - are similar to the three planets: Mars, Jupiter and the Sun.
- Venus. There is no reason to change the tradition - this equivalence is obvious.
- Moon. Classically: exalted. This symbolically reflects the relationship of Taurus with the lunar realm of biology, growth, caring, cultivating, roots, possession, collecting and accumulating.
- Saturn. There are similarities as stability, consistency (of beliefs or habits), concreteness. The set of the features of the sign of Taurus is indeed rendered by the element of Earth, but the Earth element is equivalent to Saturn because of these characteristics.
- Mercury. Here we also follow the classic notion.
- Uranus. Non-classic! This is due to the fact that Uranus and Mercury are each other's equivalents. Both planets are responsible for intellect, innovation and individualism.
- Moon. Classics.
- Saturn. Cancer is a Saturnian sign. The Saturnian aspect of the sign of Cancer (and of course, the Saturnian side of a person having the sign dominating) is their tendency to hide, and love for places peaceful and secure and inaccessible to outsiders, next, dividing the world into "friends" and "strangers" and building borders between the both sides. Note that the boundaries and dividing walls belong to the complex of Saturn. The Cancerian tendency to being attached to someone or something is also associated with Saturn complex.
- Neptune. - It is a consequence of the fact that Neptune and the Moon are each other's equivalents. Neptune is more a "higher octave" of the Moon than (as usually said) of Venus. It corresponds to the intuition and to "feeling and faith" of Cancerian people.
- Venus. Venus, as a (although further and partial) equivalent of Cancer should be taken into consideration because it renders its traits of attachment and clinging. Cancers love for emotional relationships, sentimental attachment and addiction, all symbolized by Venus. Cancer is a Water sign and three planets listed here - the Moon, Venus and Neptune - are equivalents of the element of Water.
- Sun: Here we also stick to the classics. The Sun is a planet most similar to Leo, as it gives, when dominant, a similar set of features as Leo. (Or more precisely, as the Sun, the Moon or Ascendant in Leo).
- Jupiter. It's necessary to add it as a second planet, because dominant Jupiter gives features strikingly similar to those of Leo. The Gauquelins' research gave a surprising result, and contrary to astrological tradition: they found the character of Jupiter be the most in accord to the traditional image of the sign of Leo.
- Venus. The planet renders Leonian tendency (i.e., typical for people with a dominant sign of Leo) to show themselves, impress and seduce people, along with Leonian narcissism and focus on self-image.
- Neptune: It reflects Leonian love for fiction and their typical making of plans-dreams, fantasies about themselves, "what I can not", and all the theatricalness of Leo.
- Mars - because the Leos (those with a dominant Leo) when compared with others, have increased firmness, clout and assertiveness - the traits of Mars.
- Mercury. Classics: the sign of Virgo (or the people with the sign dominant) have a particular set of qualities or virtues of Mercury: they are intelligent, methodical, orderly, meticulous, systematic, and (often) are talented in mathematics and other pure sciences.
- Saturn! The similarity of the features given by Saturn and, on the other hand, by Virgo is so striking that the question arises whether Saturn is not the first and main equivalent of Virgo. Saturn also fits Virgo as an equivalent of the Earth element.
- Uranus. The planet corresponds to the attribute of Virgo: artificiality.
- Venus - a classic.
- Saturn - is still a classic, Saturn as the "exalted" in the sign. It is responsible for the trait of Libra: sticking to agreements and accepted forms. A specific for Libra "because it's the right thing to do" is just an expression of Saturn.
- Mars: classics, and there is no reason for degrading or reducing the importance of Mars in this sign. Let's remember that people with their dominant Scorpio have traits of Mars in all their glory.
- Pluto. Pluto expresses Scorpios' inclination for extreme situations in which they and other people can be tested and where only "the truth comes to light."
- Uranus. The planet renders, a typical for Scorpios, orientation towards exceptions, that is towards whatever is outstanding and what requires extraordinary measures - completely opposite to the former Libra and the latter Sagittarius.
- Jupiter, classic, along with the other planets equivalent to the element of Fire:
- Sun. (The question is whether similarity to the Sun in Sagittarius is not at all bigger than to Jupiter, especially the Gauquelin one).
- Mars. A Martian layer of Sagittarius is a passion for movement, games, competitions, racing, training, rivalry.
- Saturn. The classic equivalence is undeniable.
- Mars. Classically exalted here, Mars renders some traits of Capricorn: perseverance, the ability to throw large forces on the required section or target, single-pointedness (or limited range of vision or interests, maliciously saying: "blinders"), limited compassion ("don't cry, baby, pull yourself together, we go in there, no matter what"), the severity.
- Pluto. Very suitable for this set, or more: Pluto is equivalent to the pair of co-operating planets Mars + Saturn.
- Uranus. Generally accepted correspondence of Uranus and Aquarius is correct.
- Mercury: renders intellectualism or "being in one's own head" of Aquarians, and their priority of reason over emotions and habits. Mercury also should be added because of the mutual equivalence of Mercury and Uranus, like with Gemini.
- Saturn. The classical ruler also remains as an equivalent, although at lesser rank. The similarity between Aquarius and Saturn is not as big as with the previous planets, however Saturn reflects some of the characteristics of Aquarius: stability, concentration and certain slowness or timelessness. In contrast to Gemini - distracted, changeable, restless, hasty and fast - the features we do not ascribe Saturn to.
- Neptune. The assignment, generally accepted, is correct. Note: we completely remove Jupiter form the planetary equivalents of Pisces, because the nature of Jupiter, as the Gauquelins discovered, is not only dissimilar to the nature of Pisces, but it is the opposite! The ancients were simply wrong about Jupiter and Pisces.
- Moon! Pisces are as lunar as much as Neptunian. The sign of Pisces expresses the features of the Moon - above all, "the personality of a younger brother" - in all their glory.
- Venus. Classically exalted, has many features in common with Pisces, e.g. following one's heart and refined aestheticism of people of this sign.
The chart is oriented "normally", i.e. Aries / Pisces on the left, unlike before, because we do not care about symmetry and we do not expect to find it here.
The planets are aligned from the outside in order of importance or degree of similarity (equivalence) to a sign.
The details can still be argued, for example: the planet nearest Leo may be Jupiter, and not (as traditionally) the Sun. Similarly, Sagittarius in the first place should (perhaps) be associated with the Sun, and not as traditionally with Jupiter.
Perhaps we should adopt a general rule that the first or the main equivalent of a sign can only be an "old" planet, that is except Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. Then the main planetary equivalent of Scorpio would be (back again) Mars, and the main equivalent of Pisces would be the Moon.
Planetary equivalents of the elements
A subsequent system emerges from previous finding - planets as equivalents of the elements:
| Fire || Mars, Sun, Jupiter |
| Water || Moon, Venus, Neptune |
| Air || Mercury, Uranus |
| Earth || Saturn |
Above-mentioned sets of planets enter all the signs of the corresponding element as equivalents. (An exception is the airy Libra, having neither Mercury nor Uranus - the fact which perhaps indicates that we should investigate the sign of Libra again and from this new point of view.)
Written with a little help from Jael (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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