The term dignity is part of a traditional schema for classifying certain sign placements of planets. A planet is said to be in its dignity (or in its domicile) when in the sign it
rules. For example, because Mercury rules Gemini, it is in dignity when in the sign Gemini. As the name of the term implies, this is regarded as a fortunate placement; a planet in its dignity is traditionally regarded as being in harmony with the sign and consequently strengthened. For example, a person born during a period when Mercury was in Gemini has—unless other factors in the natal chart mitigate against it—a good mind and good basic communication skills.
The attitude of modern astrologers toward the traditional dignities is mixed, partly because natal planets placed in their dignities are not always the unmitigated blessings one might anticipate. The Moon in the sign of its dignity, Cancer, for example, is a highly sensitive placement that, unless counterbalanced by other factors, tends to make a person too sensitive and moody. More generally, all of the traditional dignities should be utilized with caution.
The situation is different in horary astrology, where the classical dignities have a definite bearing on the question being asked. In Vedic astrology, a planet that is placed in the sign it rules is also regarded as being fortunately placed and strong.
Brau, Jean-Louis, Helen Weaver, and Allan Edmands. Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology. New
York: New American Library, 1980. DeVore, Nicholas. Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: Philosophical Library, 1947.
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