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Detriment in Astrology

Attacks on traditional astrology, especially essential dignities are boring and not new. Recently an astrologer made a post on Facebook referring to Terry Jones’ nativity and argued that the Sun in detriment did not work as a detriment. This post is basically to point out how the analysis is incomplete to a larger extent and also to show how other factors in the nativity supported the native in his life. Please note that this post is not to condescend any modern form of astrology or not targeted at any particular individual and I don’t intend any disrespect by any means to anyone. My problem with the post is that astrology was so one-dimensional. Astrology is multi-dimensional. There are so many things in a chart that an astrologer needs to look at. I can only pity the thought of discounting essential dignities which has been one of the fundamental principles of astrology for over 2000 years but can’t agree with it. Detriment is a concept that likely originated from the Hellenistic tradition although it was not directly referred to and it is certainly not modern.


A planet is said to be placed in its detriment when it is placed in the opposite sign of its rulership or domicile. Taurus and Libra are Mars’s detriment. Aries and Scorpio Venus’ detriment. Sagittarius and Pisces are Mercury’s detriment. Capricorn and Aquarius are detriment to the Moon and the Sun respectively. Gemini and Virgo are Jupiter’s detriment. Cancer and Leo are Saturn’s detriment. 

When a planet is placed in detriment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the planet cannot function at all. It just means that the planet doesn’t have enough resources to fulfill the matters of its rulership and placement. We need to consider many other factors in the nativity and it was surprising to me that an astrologer just took the position of one planet and criticized an entire concept.

A person who is used to living in the Nordic region would find it very hard to live in the tropical region and vice versa. The planet might have limited or less resources to fulfill the natural and rulership based functions.

A planet can function when it has enough support which is what we call reception. For example, if Mercury is placed in Sagittarius, we need to notice if Mercury forms a configuration with Jupiter by any means such as conjunction, trine, square, opposition or sextile. There is also a myth doing rounds that squares and oppositions are always bad. When there is reception, these aspects can be constructive and fulfilling with little or no conflict.

Below are the factors that we need to consider in Terry Jones’ nativity. 

  1. Venus and the Sun in the 11th house

  2. While sign reception and Sect

  3. The Sun-Jupiter trine

  4. The Sun-Moon opposition

  5. Primary Directions during death

Venus and the Sun in the 11th house

Venus is the 2nd and the 7th ruler. The 2nd house is the house of income. Venus is the natural significator of theater, arts & entertainment. With the 2nd ruler (planet of income) and the natural significator of entertainment, Venus placed in the 11th house of gains, we can conclude that the native will have income and gains from the entertainment industry. 

The Sun is the ruler of the 5th house of the entertainment/arts and the Sun is placed in the 11th house of gains in Aquarius which is termed as detriment according to the essential dignities of traditional astrology. The Sun is in conjunction with the natural significator of theater and arts which is Venus. This marks the conjunction of the planet of entertainment and the lord of entertainment in the 11th house of gains. 

Whole sign reception and Sect 

Saturn which rules the 10th house of profession receives the planets in the 11th house of Aquarius which is reception. Saturn, although in a conflicting aspect, would not destroy its own place. Moreover, Saturn and the Sun are sect-mates. As mentioned earlier, if the planet placed in a particular sign is in configuration with the ruler of the sign in which it is placed, we can conclude that there is a mitigating condition. In this case, the Sun’s detriment is mitigated by the reception from Saturn. Additionally, the Sun which is the sect-light and the primary candidate to be the Hyleg, is placed in one of the hylegical positions which is the 11th house. 

The Sun-Jupiter trine

Besides gaining reception from one sect mate, Saturn; the Sun also in an exact trine to Jupiter which is yet another sect mate. Jupiter is also a natural benefic and also the most benefic planet considering that this is a diurnal nativity. Jupiter is also the ruler of the 9th house of fortune which cements the fact that the native has a free flowing support from the sect mates which eases the pressure of the Sun’s detriment in Aquarius. 

The Sun-Moon opposition

From the book I wrote along with my evolutionary astrology friend, Tara Aal published Llewellyn Publishers in December 2021.

Full Moons are legendary across cultures and time. We associate them with romance, magic and madness. The word lunacy and lunatic can be translated as “insanity” but that definition is subjective.

This relationship between the Sun and the Moon is all about fulfillment and enlightenment. With this configuration in the 5/11 axis, it is not really surprising to see that the native has achieved fame and recognition along with gains in the entertainment industry. Needless to mention that the Sun is the natural significator of fame.

Primary Directions during death

The AC, by primary directions, was placed in Jupiter's bound of Cancer. Jupiter is also placed in detriment which is in the 3rd house of Gemini. Besides the 9th house, Jupiter also rules the 12th house which indicates endings in general. In fact, Jupiter is placed in its own bound of Gemini which is yet another mitigating condition of its detriment.

However, astrology is a practical science as much as it is a divination. The prediction is usually based on the age of the native. If a 20 year old young man is to live through this period, death would not be the case but some sort of hardship related to the 3rd, 9th and the 12th houses would be said.

Other astrological combinations are very evident to understand that the native is also a screen-writer. I don’t want to make this a very long post and hence, I am finishing this up here. Almost every traditional astrologer started with modern astrology but very few modern astrologers know traditional astrology. I have little appreciation if someone throws in a criticism without understanding traditional astrology and chart reading from traditional standpoint. 

If you want to read my earlier post about detriment, please do so here.

Let peace be!

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