The exaltations are part of the knowledge of traditional astrology that were forgotten by modern astrology. Modern astrologers usually are too busy trying to remove rulership from one of the 7 traditional planets to even bother to learn this old system. But as with the other dignities (triplicities, terms, faces), it is time well spent.

To help the reader to remember, the traditional exaltations of the 7 planets are:

  • Aries is the exaltation of the Sun
  • Taurus is the exaltation of the Moon
  • Cancer is the exaltation of Jupiter
  • Virgo is the exaltation of mercury (Warning!!!! Bad books of modern astrology changed recently this exaltation into aquarius! If you want to ignore the tradition and bet in authors with poor knowledge, do it at your own risk!)
  • Libra is the exaltation of Saturn
  • Capricorn is the exaltation of Mars
  • Pisces is the exaltation of Venus

Unfortunately no one really knows why the exaltations are where they are. Contemporary followers of Hellenistic astrology like the hypothesis of the Thema Mundi. Unfortunately, the Thema Mundi was a greek invention, and academic sources states that the exaltations were probably older. In fact, they could be older than the greek conception of rulerships of the zodiac.

So, no scheme that pretends to “explain” the exaltations can be based on the rulerhips. So, why I am doing exactly this? Just for fun, really! It is always a joyful opportunity for an student of astrology to explore the infinite symmetries in our symbols.

Rules of Exaltation

I use a finite and logical set of rules to relate the signs of exaltation to the ones of rulership.

Yes, I know, there are only seven exaltations, and my rules are arbitrary. Ok. Now, let´s have some fun.

Rule 1- the exaltation of a planet should be in sextile or trine one of its domiciles, so they would have some sort of affinity or agreement.

Rule 2 – Diurnal planets (Sun, Jupiter and Saturn), will like trines to one of their domiciles.

Rule 3-  Nocturnal planets (Moon, Venus and Mars) will like sextiles to one of their domiciles.

Rule 4 – Diunal planets will like to have their exaltation counting from their diurnal sign (example, the diurnal domicile of Saturn is Aquarius)

Rule 5 – Nocturnal planets will like to have their exaltation counting from their nocturnal sign (example, the nocturne domicile of Venus is Taurus)

Rule 6 – Planets will “cast” the trine or sextile in dexter aspect, meaning, against the order of the signs.

Rule 7 – If the sign is already the exaltation of a planet, we will try the sinister aspect.

Rule 8 – If none of these two signs are free, we will try the other aspect (trine or sextile). But as we are reversing the nature of the planet, we will also reverse the aspect and use the sinister aspect.


Hmmmm, just 7 planets, but 8 rules, and we need exceptions? Unfortunately we do. There are two exceptions to make the system symmetrical:

Exception 1 -The house of the sun can´t have exaltations – In the house of a king, no one can receive greater honors than the King himself!

Exception 2 – Mercury is neither diurnal or noctunal.

With these two exceptions, we can now play!

Exaltations from rulerships

The sun will be our first candidate. After all, he is the King!!


The sun is a diurnal planet. He only has one domicile, Leo. He is diurnal so he will “cast a trine” in dexter order (against the order of signs) and that will fall in Aries. The exaltation of the sun is in Aries. So far, so good!


The moon is the queen so she is next. Moon is a nocturnal planet. She only has one domicile, Cancer. She is nocturnal, so she sill like a sextile. The sextile against the order of signs is in Taurus. Ok!


The next domicile after the luminars are those of mercury, gemini and virgo. But mercury is neither diurnal or nocturne as stated on “exception 2”! So, what to do? Let´s cheat and use the conjunction instead! So, we will put mercury´s exaltation in one of his domiciles. But which one? Although 9 in 10 modern astrologers would put mercury in gemini, in ancient tradition mercury was considered to be “cold and dry”, and so to share the nature of the element earth. So, virgo wins over Gemini, and Virgo will be the exaltation of Mercury.


The next domiciles are those of Venus, Taurus and Libra. Taurus is the nocturnal domicile of a nocturnal planet (venus), so her exaltation will be a sextile from taurus, in the sign of Pisces.


The domiciles of mars are aries and scorpio. Mars is nocturnal, so we will use the nocturnal domicile of scorpio. A sextile will fall in virgo.

But wait a minute! Virgo is already occupied! So, by rule 7, we have to use the other sextile from scorpio! This will fall in Capricorn, which  as we know, is the exaltation of mars.

Whew, that was close!


Finally we reached the great benefic, but our problems have just began!

Jupiter is a diurnal planet, so we will cast a dexter trine from his diurnal domicile (Sagittarius). Unfortunately this will fall on Leo. Remember exception 1? The damn Sun will not share his toys with anyone!

No problem! We will do the same we did mars, and take the sinister aspects, which fall in Aries, the exaltation of the Sun. Damn the sun again!

In desperation we have to take the nocturnal domicile of Jupiter, Pisces, and cast a trine.

But wait, as we are reversing Jupiter´s diurnal nature by casting a trine from his nocturnal domicile (pisces) let´s also reverse the direction of the aspect. Instead of the dexter aspect, that would go to scorpio, let´s take the sinister one to Cancer.

As your math teacher would say, two negatives make a positive.


The old great malefic is a no brainer. He is diurnal. His diurnal domicile is Aquarius. He is diurnal, so he likes trines. The dexter trine from Aquarius is in Libra. Libra is the exaltation of Saturn.


This was just for fun. Don´t use it as a teaching tool. It has no historical value.

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Posted in Astrology For Dummies, Traditional Astrology
11 comments on “Exaltation!
  1. Michelle says:

    Interesting. I like my exalted Sun in the 8th.

  2. The AstroDetective says:

    Hey, that’s a very interesting yet amusing set of rules.

    Leo is not the only sign that exalts no one (as nobody is more exalted than the king in his home).

    No planet is exalted in Gemini, Scorpio, Sagittarius and Aquarius either. Any idea why?

    Gemini can play his tricks on anyone.
    Scorpio trusts no-one and suspects everyone.
    Sagittarius seeks freedom from worshiping anyone.
    Aquarius believed in equal rights for everyone.

  3. secret admirer says:

    I love this post! Was very fun and informative, thank you for sharing your insights. 🙂

  4. Eddy says:

    Hi Yuzuru,

    Googling a bit around I accidently came at your blog and found your interesting article. I think you might be interested in Patrick Watson’s interpretation on the exaltations in connection with the rulerships http://forum.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=messageboard.viewThread&entryID=60399281&groupID=100266570&adTopicID=30&Mytoken=67BF8BD6-67F1-4E8D-9B8DD92886E7D0A16246009
    I see some resemblances between your and his visions.

    Although I don’t use ‘sectors’ like houses and signs but only aspects like Johannes Kepler did, I may appear as modern but I don’t feel affined to the spirit of modern astrology. Furthermore I still find the historical origins of astrology very interesting to reflect on.

    About half a year ago in the Skyscript forum I made another proposition of how I think the exaltations and rulerships could have originated. (It is an abbreviated version of what I once wrote on the astrodienst forum wit many words but I hope it’s still a bit clear). http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4554
    Instead of a climatological explanation like Ptolemy, I think the Babylonians related their gods to the four cardinal points in the zodiac, zo still something with the tropical positions but rather a religious or cultural relation. Unfortunately I can’t prove my views but I’m pretty sure there must be someting in t.

  5. I recently wrote about the reasons for the exaltation of the nodes of the Moon in Gemini / Sagittarius:


    One should keep in mind that the exaltation’s describe the political situation in the chart of the world as the joys of the planets are usually in places where they don’t have to share power (with the planet of the opposite sect). Schmidt says that it is the job of the domicile lord to lift up the exaltation lord. The feminine planets prove to be an exception, but this is in the nature of politics.

    • yuzuru says:

      Thanks for the comment, Curtis

      I personally don´t like Schmidt´s metaphor of politics (the last I saw). It is hard to use it because it is too close to current politics. It is hard to our modern minds to think in politics in a different context.

      best regards,

  6. ghanshyam says:

    very good blog
    what bout debilitation ?

  7. Rodolfo says:

    Hi Yuzuru, good topic.

    Anthiocus of Athens said that no planet is exalted in Scorpio because wherever fortune dies (something like that), nothing can be exalted there. Its the analogy between life force and moon, i.o.w., how can any aspect of human life grows where life itself dies?

    So seems clear that there must be a kind of philosophical rationale behind that also. Problem is that we dont have the other planets justifications like the moon. So we must grasp.

  8. I almost never create responses, however i did some searching and wound up here Exaltation!
    Episthemologie. And I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Is it only me or does it look like a few of the comments look like left by brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are posting on additional places, I’d like to follow anything fresh you have to
    post. Could you list of every one of all your community pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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