Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Uranus, Neptune, Pluto - Exalted in...

I've been studying the subject of planetary strength and debility for as long as I can remember. 
Having an six out of the ten planets in my chart in either dignity or debility has always evoked questions about what's the best possible placement for a planet? 
There's quite a dilemma on and offline about which sign is the place of exaltation of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. 
I generally incline towards a more or less even distribution of exaltation signs so that if Aries already exalts the Sun it shouldn't exalt Uranus. 
Otherwise a Zodiac sign should be somehow connected to the nature of the planet it exalts. So if Cancer is the natural sign of exaltation of Jupiter that's because cancer is warm, moist, spiritual, needs to belong and so forth. 
There’s an additional view to exaltations. In Traditional Astrology a sign exalting a planet is like a person holding another person in high esteem, even judging him as more than his worth. Somewhat like an overpriced stock in a bubble inflated stock market before it crushes and takes the economy down with it.
In such manner hard working Capricorns overestimate the power of a soldier or an assertive - action oriented man to reach a goal faster and without the hard work (Capricorn exalting Mars). Or take Taurus which provides for other people in material areas but finds it difficult to provide emotionally or, god forbid, to express love (Taurus exalting the Moon). Examples abound but I’ll only mention Pisces exalting Venus in the sense that the fish, being out of this life and fantasy driven in their pursuit of harmony and pleasure, has a lot to learn from Venus’ straightforward ways to be likeable and effective in getting what they want, and all this inside this world not relying on some utopian vision.   
Uranus whose natural ruler is Aquarius is widely considered to have its exaltation in the sign of Scorpio. 
One might think: "Now what a sky god, a titan has to look for in the underworld?" but then you remember that Hades is such an aloof character, alienated from everyone else in his kingdom in Tartarus.
Scorpios revel in the unknown by experimenting and most experiments deal with evolution of the self. Thus you find Uranus in the lowest of places, probing the depths.   
Also, Scorpios are fiercely independent and will not tolerate being dominated by another individual. All in all it fits although one can argue that Aries (Mar's diurnal domocile) fits just as well but it has another planet as its exaltation, the sun which is Uranus’ opposite.   
Uranus’ keywords are proof by themselves for a mars ruled sign; pioneering, unconventional, independent, individualism. Even the darker aspects: accident prone, violent et cetera et cetera.
Still I do believe that the majority got it right as there's a valid connection between Scorpio and Uranus.
Lastly, this will place Uranus’ fall in the stable, conservative Taurus. An antithesis for everything Uranus stands for.
About the traditional idea of exalting a planet; Scorpio’s highest manifestation is considered to be the eagle, which is much an Aquarian motif (with its angel symbolism). It relishes helping others while not caring to suffer the costs in self sacrifice, as Uranian as it gets.   
True to its nature Neptune remains elusive all the way through. I remember some astrologers claiming Cancer was its sign of exaltation. Let's put that claim to the test.
Surely cancer is hyper emotional and is on the lookout for a fairytale real life Cinderella story. But Cancer is not at the least confused (being a cardinal sign), has no theme of personal sacrifice and is otherwise concerned with what's inside his own shell; family matters, needs, desires and such. Cancer is also a sign of plenty situated smack on the summer solstice point so it's connected with personal success. 
All the above are things which fundamentally contradict Neptune's heart and (most importantly) soul. Thus I do not believe cancer is the sign of Neptune's exaltation.  
My very own candidate is non other than Aquarius. A conclusion, British Astrologer, Paul Wade has reached independent of my own considerations.   
Now that must come as a shock, Airy aloof Aquarius having Neptune exalted in its waters ('The Water Bearer' remember?). Well Aquarius may be unemotional to a fault but we must remember that Neptune is a generational planet making it unsuccessful in dealing with the personal level of experience ruled by the personal planets. Pisces’ emotions are a reflection of the wider universe around them, it is not a matter of personal whims and desires. Likewise Neptune in its positive, yang form (Aquarius) is concerned logically and ideally with the notion of unifying, helping, liberating, contributing and giving for the greater good, for humanity. Neptune is the denial of self in the process of empowering another and in much the same spirit Aquarius individuals worldwide are ready to make substantial sacrifices in order to bring a greater good. Plus they are weird and live in a world of their own making. 
Lastly, this will place Neptune’s fall in egoistical, self-aggrandizing Leo, which Neptune doesn’t get at all.
While in the traditional scheme, Aquarius probably exalts Neptune because Neptune doesn’t rely on concepts, words and ideas to achieve his humanitarian goals. It’s less intellectual and less self aware being a true humanitarian by the way of it. That is considering other people’s needs before considering yours.  

Last but not least comes our venerable grim reaper Pluto. I'm pretty sure that Virgo of all signs is Pluto's sign of exaltation. 
In November Mother Nature is dying in front of our eyes as Persephone is descending into Pluto's domain. Wait stop! Rewind… 
A little bit earlier in September we experience that first feeling of blues as the days are getting shorter and summer is crumbling down slowly, layer by layer. Pluto, of course, is the lord of change.
Scorpios 'sting' others while Virgo criticize or 'sting' themselves (look at the glyph). They are both analytical and morbidly realistic. Both are unwillingly attracted to taboo subjects (sex, drugs) and more importantly both Virgo and Scorpio have strong compulsion-obsession issues. Scorpio likes to be in control, Virgo relishes losing control. In the world of BDSM Scorpios are masters while Virgos are slaves, metaphorically speaking.
In a strange kind of way Virgo tends to act like Pluto's yin version. Both Virgo and Scorpio are yin (negative signs) but nevertheless in mars ruled Scorpio Pluto's influence is more virile. 
Last but not least both Virgo and Scorpio are symbols of medicine, whether surgery or the healing art Pluto needs to experience pain in order to heal.
Traditionally Virgo exalts Pluto because it finds more esoteric and efficient ways to knowledge instead of the date comparing, data collecting ways more familiar to Mercury. Practical knowledge, magic and knowledge through intense personal experience are all in the Pluto domain. The glyphs of Mercury and Pluto bear a resemblance as well.

Uranus is exalted in Scorpio 
Neptune is exalted in Aquarius
Pluto is exalted in Virgo (or Leo, see below)


A final note on a prevailing view in the astrological community:  
Concerning Pluto's exaltation in Leo.
Leo is known to be bestial and feral according to traditional terms and is a sucker for wealth and success.
Intense and uncompromising Leo will do everything in its power to succeed. So far all goes well with Pluto's black and white world view, or plain ruthlessness. We must remember though that Pluto is driven by a desperate and often obsessive need for survival while Leo is driven by the need to perpetuate his ego, to prove his greatness to the world.
Leo's have a penchant for drama and magic tricks, that is all which is marvelous, shiny and captivates the crowd, I'll give em that.  
And now some differences: Leo craves applause while Pluto can just as easily shy away from people. Both are suckers for power but the way they execute it is different like day and night. Pluto is the master of darkness, taboo practices and the wavier of secrets, all of which are foreign to the Leonine character who basks in the light of his righteous pride. 
Leo has no motifs of death and rebirth, no motifs of change. It's rather the integrity of the ego. Leo is extreme in his own way but otherwise too addicted to all which is bright and shinny; good moods, good times, humor and fun to want to have anything to do with Pluto's murky waters. 
I do have to admit that by placing Pluto's exaltation in a positive - yang sign we create a rulership scheme which gives all the outer planets a positive sign as their sign of exaltation coupled with their dignified home sign in a negative yin sign. Some additional points in favor of this placement are:
Pluto needs to control things and Leo’s have a knack for organization. Pluto is into gathering knowledge for practical purposes, so it's not knowledge for knowledge's sake like the Mercury signs. This trait is shared by Leo's no nonsense approach when the lion isn't out to play.  
Pluto’s placement in Leo will place Pluto’s fall in Aquarius. Aquarian individuals are usually in favor of technology, progress and bearing things to light and truth, which is truly what Pluto has a hard time with.
Lastly Pluto’s exaltation in Leo creates a highly symmetrical zodiac where every sign has an exalted planet without exception (including north and south node for Sagittarius and Gemini respectively). This is an additional important point in this tangled fall and exaltation debate.   

Those are my thoughts on the subject.
Please agree, disagree and explain your own.
Let us clarify this subject once and for all !

~ Dima  

 The Symmetrical Exaltation Scheme 



  1. One factor is left out here and that is the 'planet' Chiron. If given rulership of Virgo, then Mercury is exalted there, and the 'double assignment' is gone. Leo? Neptune. Scorpio? Uranus (ruler Hades) Aquarius? Chiron. This leaves Hades with no exaltation, but Gemini and Sagittarius have the Lunar Nodes anyway. These also fit the meanings of the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Degrees? Chosen by Sabian symbols. Neptune in Leo? 23. Uranus in Scorpio? 20. Chiron in Aquarius? 3.

  2. Good thought about Chiron and Virgo, but even if the double assignment is gone you still have to find a place for Mercury's exaltation and it dusrupts the symetrical exaltation scheme. I didn't want to change traditional astrology's original placements so I left Mercury in Virgo.
    Don't do Tarot and didn't have a chance to delve into Sabian Symbols yet. But of course - to each his own in astrology nowdays.

  3. Hi! I love your blog and all the astological info you share! I 100% agree that signs that already have exaltations should definitely not get another one! What kind of bias and discrimination is that?! Aries already has the Sun of all "planets" for its exaltation so why the heck do some biased astrologers want to have it exalted in Pluto too?! No way! Leo though is perfect as the exaltation of Pluto not only because of all the reasons you stated (the balance of the zodiac above all) but also because it corresponds perfectly with the old stories/myths of the Sun god/hero having to undergo a drastic change or even go to the underworld (die) to eventually become a better ruler for his people. And it fits perfectly with the whole yin/yang concept of the Sun (Leo's ruler) representing life/and light and Pluto (his exaltation) representing death and darkness. Such proof of this is already partially seen during solar eclipses! And lastly, if I'm not mistaken Pluto technically really is at its highest point at 17 degrees in Leo!

    But I strongly disagree with the above commentator Paul who thinks that Neptune of all planets should be Leo's exaltation....hehehe....NO. While I'm trying to respect other people's opinions, these opnions have to make sense and sometimes I find that people just assign Neptune to Leo just as to avoid giving him Pluto. The reasons for Neptune being considered as Leo's exaltation makes no sense. First of all, Neptune is far too watery, introverted and dreamy a planet to even consider going well with Leo who's the most fiery (the only sign ruled by the most masculine and fiery planet the Sun!), extroverted and usually materialistic. Some people try to justify it by claiming that Neptune bestows "creativity" well, sorry but the Sun is also one of the most creative "planets" and bestows enough creativity by itself on Leo. Sorry, but it doesn't match up.

    However, Neptune seems perfect for Aquarius who's an air sign but named the "Water-Bearer" and with Neptune, he can finally make use of both air and water elements! Aqaurius is also an "escapist" sign like Pisces although whereas Pisces is more sensitive and escapes towards his emotions, Aquarius escapes from his emotions! But both signs ar on the "highest" ends of the Zodiac wheel and as such usually have the best interests of mankind at heart, Aquarius being considered the "humanitarian" and Pisces being considered the "martyr." So Neptune seems to fit Aquarius best...definitely NOT Leo.

    And with most astrologers having assigned Uranus as Scorpio's exaltation then all the signs would have ruling planets as well as exaltations! So I don't know why most astrologers haven't already fallen into this line of thinking since it best summarizes the very essense of astrology and the zodiac....BALANCE. It's a shame that the bias and prejudice of some astrologers have prevented them from seeing this truth. Pluto is exalted in Leo! Enough said. ;)

  4. Oh and I also forgot to mention....the above commentator Paul asked why Chiron wasn't given an exaltation. Well, Chiron is not considered one of the principal solar system planets. In fact, it's an asteroid. But it's not the only one. Other big asteroids include: Ceres, Vesta, Juno, and some others. So it's not like Chiron is the only one. And some astrologers also assign "exaltations" for these but it seems strange and detrimental since it again throws off the even and equal balance and the asteroids are not even "planets" so I don't buy into their exaltations.

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  6. Oh and although you (and quite a few others it seems) have some reservations about having Leo exalted in Pluto just because he usually seems so bright, sunny, warm and extroverted just remember...that as bright and warm as Leo can be, he can also be as equally cold and destructive. This article explains Leo's dark side best and even how many ancients commented on it and feared it.

    Read the fifth paragraph on how Leo "Leo as an adversary makes a bloody-minded opponent and the dominating qualities of this sign are such that they rarely feel appeased with victory unless it involves the total annihilation of the threat...(This sign) has one of the most fearsome reputations amongst the zodiac signs for exhibiting brutal or extreme behaviour. Ancient astrologers referred to Leo as 'bestial', meaning responsive to primordial instincts rather than higher reasoning; and 'feral' because it was considered capable of savage and ferociously destructive traits. This is the darker side of the Leo." http://www.skyscript.co.uk/leo

    So just like you partially admitted and like I said...Pluto is perfect as Leo's exaltation. :D

  7. Hey Marissa,
    Thank you for all your thoughtful comments.

    * some astrologers place pluto's exaltation in aries because according to their method pluto will be exalted in the 'mars' counterpart of it's sign of dignity. according to the same logic neptune is exalted in sag and uranus is capricorn - just one way of looking at things.
    * going into the underworld during the hero's journey - perfect
    * Paul Quay had a point about needing to find degrees of exaltation for the outer planets.
    * about leo as pluto's exaltation point - the feral is a good point i have to admit.

  8. Thanks so much for responding!

    Yeah...I guess to each their own opinion. But I can't help but feel as if some of these astrologers are more biased than they're supposed to be and not only does that line of exaltation throw off the vital balance of the entire system (basically the entire purpose of the zodiac) but that line of thinking for exaltations is way too biased. All the zodiac signs already have their exaltations in tradtional astrology except for Leo, Aquarius and Scorpio. So having astrologers give yet more exaltations for signs that already have it is really unprofessional. They seem to assign these things just because they like that sign and not because it's balanced or it fits the sign's personality. The whole point of "exaltation" was supposed to be that that's where that particular planet had the highest degree, right? I'm sorry...I hope I'm not sounding rude or insulting any of your collegues. It just saddens me that many "disagreements" are technically based on bias and that some psuedo-astrologers that dedicate their sites to bashing one sign like Aries (I've seen one like this) or especially Leo only to praise other signs like Scorpio or Capricorn are ruining the reputation of the field and even the reputation of the respectable and mostly unbiased astrologers. But sadly...this is what I've seen happen and it upsets me. It infuriates me that astrologers want to assign these to them just because they like those signs. I mean, there are some people that think Pluto is exalted in Gemini in one Serbian website! Or that Pluto is "the most powerful planet in the universe!" I mean, come on! It may not have had its importance diminished in astrology, but it's certainly been demoted to a dwarf planet and even in astrology, its influence is only generational like all the outer planets! If nonsense like these don't scream "bias" and "inaccuracy," I don't know what does. : /

    Anyway sorry for the rant.

    Thanks! At least that's how I interpreted Pluto being exalted in Leo.

    True....and I could've sworn that there was one if not two exaltation degrees for Leo that were its highest point (so far) and I guess two points would probably be due to Pluto's strange orbit? But alas, I searched the interent but still haven't found my old source. :(

    Thanks again! Yeah...it kinda goes back to the point I was making earlier. Many modern astrology sites make Leo to be like this harmless kitten who's all cuddles or merely "shines." And while stating Leo's kinder qualities is nice, making him sound to be some harmless, fluffy kitten when he was really an near invulnerable, powerful LION is really annoying. It's part of the modern bias I was talking about. The only way I even found out about Leo's "bestial" and "feral" qualities was in skyscript.uk. Yet all these modern astrologers constantly puff up Scorpio and even Aries sometimes to be "powerful," or "deadly" yet they've completely ignored or dismissed Leo's more forecful, aggressive and darker traits. So sad....I really hope modern respectable astrologers get their act together because I'm losing faith in the field due to all the inconsistency and bias. They should try to find a balanced, equal system where ALL the signs get their fair share of rulerships, exaltations, power and positive traits. I'm glad I found your blog because you're one of the few who is trying to set up a more balanced system! So thanks so much for being one of the few (that I've encountered anyway) to restore my faith in astrology!!! Kudos! :)