fall(redirected from fallen afoul)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial.
Fall(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
The term fall is part of a traditional way of classifying certain sign placements of planets. A planet is said to be in its dignity when it is in the sign it rules (e.g., Mars in Aries, the Sun in Leo). There are also certain placements said to be especially favorable for a planet that are traditionally termed exaltations (to continue with the same examples, Mars in Capricorn, the Sun in Aries). When a planet is placed in the sign opposite its dignity, it is said to be in its detriment (Mars in Libra, the Sun in Aquarius). A planet is in its fall when it is placed in the sign opposite the sign of its exaltation (Mars in Cancer, the Sun in Libra). For example, because the Moon is exalted in Taurus, it is in its fall when placed in the sign Scorpio; as the name implies, this is regarded as an unfortunate placement. A planet in its fall is traditionally regarded as being out of harmony with the sign and consequently weakened (in a position of debility).
For the most part, contemporary astrological research has tended to disconfirm that a planet in its traditional fall is weakened. However, it is sometimes the case that planets in fall have unfortunate effects. In the example cited, the Moon, as the planet of receptivity and sensitivity, is not well placed (especially in a natal chart) in Scorpio, a sign noted for possessiveness, obsessiveness, and intense emotions. There are, nevertheless, certain obvious problems with this tradition. The Sun, for example, is exalted in Aries, the sign opposite Libra. This means that the one person out of 12 in the world born with a Libra sun sign has her or his sun in its fall. This particular placement of the Sun, however, is not normally regarded as being unfortunate, making the traditional ascription appear inapplicable, at least in this case. Generally, all the traditional falls should be taken with a grain of salt when found in a natal chart.
The situation is different in horary astrology, where the classical dignities and falls have a definite bearing on the question being asked. In Vedic astrology, a planet that is placed in the sign of its fall is regarded as being unfavorably placed and weak by virtue of this placement. In fact, in contrast to Western astrology, Vedic astrology has elaborate systems for determining the strength of a planet, even assigning numerical values and ranking the strengths of the traditional planets. Sign placement is only one factor in this system, so that, in the final analysis, even a “fallen” planet may end up being a strong planet in the chart.