Dignity plays an important part in horary judgments and in astrology as a whole. Many times it is used to make judgments (often moral in nature) about the things they signify. This can often be troubling as many times we’re told that planets in debility are not indicative of bad people, and that is often true in natal astrology where planets typically represent things outside of an individual person (maybe their siblings, parents, money, but not that person). However, in horary when someone’s significator is in detriment or fall it’s really important to focus on that. The same is true if that significator were in its exaltation or domicile.
The dignity (or lack thereof) of a significator is going to be important, but how important it is or what exactly it means is going to depend on the context of the chart. For instance, if in a chart for a missing person they are in some form of their dignity, than it is likely that the are safe or undamaged. However, if the chart is for a job and itssignificator is well dignified it can show a job of high status or an overall “good” job.
The basics of interpreting dignity are pretty straight forward. Being dignified shows strength, ability, and “goodness” whereas being debilitated can show weakness, inability, and “badness”. Some of these things are going to be somewhat subjective, but most are going to be pretty objective traits of a thing or individual.
We want to always consider the strength of the Moon, the planet she’s applying to, the querent’s significator, and the queisted’s significator. By watching these we can immediately tell how well a particular question will pan out. If the Moon is well dignified it typically shows ease and speed in the question playing out, but debilitated Moons can show slowness and obstacles. If the next planet the Moon is appying to is well placed, then we can reasonably assume that the next thing that occurs with the question will be positive in some way. If the querent’s or quested’s significator is dignified then we can assume they are able-bodied or good in some way and this is always an argument for perfection.
With these basic ideas in mind, the charts below will illustrate this concept more clearly.
In this chart about a missing cat, we use the Sixth house significator to identify the missing cat. Here we can see that the cat is signified by Mercury in Virgo in the Sixth house. So, we know a few things immediately based on this; the cat is safe and she’s likely in the home. We know that she is safe because Mercury is in the sign of its domicile and exaltation. This is a profoundly powerful position and shows completeness or wholeness. We know that she’s in the home because a planet in its domicile is usually conceptualized as being within its own house. This was indeed the case. That cat was safe and in its own home, she had just shut herself up in a cabinet.
This next chart is for a boyfriend who may need to return to jail. The significator to look at here is Jupiter as ruler of Sagittarius which is on the Seventh house cusp. Here we see that Jupiter is in Gemini, the sign of its detriment and this is a good significator for someone who is the alleged perpetrator of a crime (here the detriment suggests moral negatives). It means more than this too, as the weakness of Jupiter shows the queisted being on probation. Here the detriment shows Jupiter traveling in the land of its enemies, and the outside world is hostile to it.
This next one is a little bit difficult, but is a good example. Here the question was about the probability of three packages arriving at their estimated arrivals via post. In this one, we took the three packages to be signified by the three triplicity rulers of the sign on the Third house; Jupiter, Sun, and Saturn. In this scenario, the packages signified by Jupiter and the Sun did not arrive at their destinations at all, while the package shown by Saturn did. This is really interesting as Jupiter and the Sun were both in detriment, showing damage and an inability to perform, whereas Saturn is simply peregrine in Scorpio.
Hopefully these charts make the idea more clear. In many cases it is important to judge a planet’s ability to perform, and dignity is one of the key ways to do it. It is often difficult to make moral judgments on people and things (good/bad, whole/injured, etc), but there are a necessary part of the practice if astrologers are to help their clients navigate through difficult and often hostile situations.