Detriment

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Detriment

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The term detriment 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, etc.). There are also certain placements said to be especially favorable for a planet that are traditionally termed exaltations (to continue with the foregoing example, Mars in Capricorn, the Sun in Aries). When a planet is placed in the sign opposite its exaltation, it is said to be in its fall (Mars in Cancer, the Sun in Libra). A planet is said to be in its detriment when placed in the sign opposite the sign that it rules (Mars in Libra, the Sun in Aquarius). For example, because Venus rules Taurus, this planet is in detriment when placed in the sign Scorpio. As the name implies, being in detriment is regarded as an unfortunate placement. A planet in its detriment is traditionally regarded as being out of harmony with the sign and consequently weakened (in a position of debility).

For the most part, contemporary Western astrological research has tended to disconfirm that a planet in its traditional detriment is weakened, particularly in a natal chart. However, it is sometimes the case that planets in detriment have unfortunate effects. In the example cited, Venus, as the planet of love, harmony, and relationships is not well placed (especially in a natal chart) in Scorpio, a sign noted for jealously, possessiveness, and sexual obsession. There are, nevertheless, certain obvious problems with this traditional understanding. The Sun, for example, rules Leo, the sign opposite Aquarius. This means that the one out of 12 people in the world born with an Aquarius sun sign have their sun in the sign of its detriment. This particular placement is not normally regarded as being unfortunate, however, making detriment appear inapplicable in this case. More generally, all of the traditional detriments should be regarded with caution, used when relevant to a particular individual’s chart and rejected when not.

The situation is different in horary astrology, where the classical detriments have a negative bearing on the question being asked. Vedic astrology also makes extensive use of the traditional classification of planets in their signs of exaltation and fall, but not detriment in the Western sense of that term.

Sources:

Brau, Jean-Louis, Helen Weaver, and Allan Edmands. Larousse Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: New American Library, 1980.
DeVore, Nicholas. Encyclopedia of Astrology. New York: Philosophical Library, 1947.
References in classic literature ?
Item, that after sundry japes and jokes the said brother John did lift up the said Mary Sowley and did take, carry, and convey her across a stream, to the infinite relish of the devil and the exceeding detriment of his own soul, which scandalous and wilful falling away was witnessed by three members of our order.
It will not be to the detriment or prejudice of any of them, my worthy lord," said the afflicted damsel; and here Sancho Panza drew close to his master's ear and said to him very softly, "Your worship may very safely grant the boon she asks; it's nothing at all; only to kill a big giant; and she who asks it is the exalted Princess Micomicona, queen of the great kingdom of Micomicon of Ethiopia.
So very great is the improvement Time has brought about in such habits, that a moderate statement of the quantity of wine and punch which one man would swallow in the course of a night, without any detriment to his reputation as a perfect gentleman, would seem, in these days, a ridiculous exaggeration.
He forgot his messages; he was easily diverted from the straight path of duty by the attractions of stray cats and dogs, which he followed down narrow alleys into unsavoury courts; by the comedies of the streets, which he contemplated open-mouthed, to the detriment of his employer's interests; or by the dramas of fallen horses, whose pathos and violence induced him sometimes to shriek pierceingly in a crowd, which disliked to be disturbed by sounds of distress in its quiet enjoyment of the national spectacle.
I felt the greatest admiration for the virtues of this young lady; and, honestly with the view of doing my best to prevent the good-nature of Traddles from being imposed upon, to the detriment of their joint prospects in life, inquired how Mr.
They will see, therefore, that in all cases where power is to be conferred, the point first to be decided is, whether such a power be necessary to the public good; as the next will be, in case of an affirmative decision, to guard as effectually as possible against a perversion of the power to the public detriment.
Noirtier has received, without any detriment to his mental faculties?
I was aware of the detriment done, and quarrelled with myself for the change.
Should the Northwest Company persist in extending their trade in that quarter, their competition might be of serious detriment to the plans of Mr.
I will add, to make amends," continued Barbicane, "that the inhabitants of the visible face are singularly favored by nature, to the detriment of their brethren on the invisible face.
As there truly was no reason why he should have the least interest in it, Arthur Clennam went on to the present purport of his visit; namely, to make Plornish the instrument of effecting Tip's release, with as little detriment as possible to the self- reliance and self-helpfulness of the young man, supposing him to possess any remnant of those qualities: without doubt a very wide stretch of supposition.