Accidental Dignity

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Accidental Dignity

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A planet is said to be in its dignity when it is in the sign that it rules. For example, because Pluto rules Scorpio, Pluto is in dignity when in the sign Scorpio. As 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.

A planet’s being in the sign of its rulership is sometimes referred to as essential dignity to distinguish it from certain other placements that tend to strengthen a planet’s influence by virtue of its position in an astrological chart; these other placements are traditionally termed “accidental” dignities.

For example, the 12 signs of the zodiac correspond to the 12 astrological houses so there is a natural affinity between successive signs and successive houses (i.e., between Aries, the first sign, and the first house; Taurus, the second sign, and the second house; Gemini, the third sign, and the third house; etc.). When a planet is placed in a natal chart so that it falls in the house corresponding to the sign it rules, it is said to be “accidentally” dignified. Thus, Mars in the first house, Venus in the second house, and Mercury in the third house would be accidentally dignified because Mars rules Aries, Venus rules Taurus, and Mercury rules Gemini.

Planets are also strengthened by certain other placements, such as when a planet in the first house is conjunct the ascendant, or one in the tenth house is conjunct the midheaven. These other placements are sometimes also referred to as accidental dignities.


DeVore, Nicholas. Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: Philosophical Library, 1947.
Gettings, Fred. Dictionary of Astrology. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985.