Strengths and Weaknesses of the Planets

The strength or weakness of a given planet depends on its sign, on its position in the houses of the zodiac, on its aspects, and on its path. A planet that is located in the sign to which it corresponds is said to be in “domal dignity” there. When a planet is “exalted,” the forces it governs and its essential qualities express themselves most harmoniously. An example of this arrangement would be the Sun in Aries and or the Moon in Taurus.
Planets are considered exalted when they fall within a certain range of degrees: within this range, their influence is considered to be at its height. A planet is considered to be “in detriment” when it is located in the sign opposite the sign that it rules.
One example of this is Mercury in Sagittarius: Mercury is in detriment because it rules Gemini, which opposes Sagittarius. When it is in detriment, this planet’s energy is at a disadvantage. When a planet is in the sign that opposes the sign that corresponds to its exaltation, it is said to be in its fall. The Moon in Scorpio is in its fall because the moon is exalted when it is in Taurus. Its energy is also thought to be somewhat diminished.
Mutual reception occurs when two planets find themselves in each other’s position of domal dignity.
For example, the Sun and Moon would be said to be in mutual reception when the Sun is in Cancer or in Taurus and the Moon is in Leo or Aries. This is because the Sun rules Leo and is exalted in Aries, while the Moon rules Cancer and is exalted in Taurus. When a planet is in a house that its sign is the natural ruler of (Mercury in the third house, for example), it is said to be “accidentally dignified” and is thought to be strengthened.
One of the most important planets in any chart is the one that rules the ascendant. This planet is usually, though not always, considered that chart’s ruler. If Libra is rising, for example, that means that Venus is considered that chart’s ruler, since Venus rules Libra.