Tuesday 30 April 2013

Uranus, Neptune, Pluto - Exalted in...

I've been studying the subject of planetary strength and debility for as long as I can remember. 
Having a six out of the ten planets in my chart in either dignity or debility has always evoked questions about what's the best possible placement for a planet? 
There's quite a dilemma on and offline about which sign is the place of exaltation of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. 
I generally incline towards a more or less even distribution of exaltation signs so that if Aries already exalts the Sun it shouldn't exalt Uranus. 
Otherwise a Zodiac sign should be somehow connected to the nature of the planet it exalts. So if Cancer is the natural sign of exaltation of Jupiter that's because cancer is warm, moist, spiritual, needs to belong and so forth. 
There’s an additional view to exaltations. In Traditional Astrology a sign exalting a planet is like a person holding another person in high esteem, even judging him as more than his worth. Somewhat like an overpriced stock in a bubble inflated stock market before it crushes and takes the economy down with it.
In such manner hard working Capricorns overestimate the power of a soldier or an assertive - action oriented man to reach a goal faster and without the hard work (Capricorn exalting Mars). Or take Taurus which provides for other people in material areas but finds it difficult to provide emotionally or, god forbid, to express love (Taurus exalting the Moon). Examples abound but I’ll only mention Pisces exalting Venus in the sense that the fish, being out of this life and fantasy driven in their pursuit of harmony and pleasure, has a lot to learn from Venus’ straightforward ways to be likeable and effective in getting what they want, and all this inside this world not relying on some utopian vision.   
Uranus whose natural ruler is Aquarius is widely considered to have its exaltation in the sign of Scorpio. 
One might think: "Now what a sky god, a titan has to look for in the underworld?" but then you remember that Hades is such an aloof character, alienated from everyone else in his kingdom in Tartarus.
Scorpios revel in the unknown by experimenting and most experiments deal with evolution of the self. Thus you find Uranus in the lowest of places, probing the depths.   
Also, Scorpios are fiercely independent and will not tolerate being dominated by another individual. All in all it fits although one can argue that Aries (Mar's diurnal domicile) fits just as well but it has another planet as its exaltation, the sun which is Uranus’ opposite.   
Uranus’ keywords are proof by themselves for a mars ruled sign; pioneering, unconventional, independent, individualism. Even the darker aspects: accident prone, violent et cetera et cetera.
Still I do believe that the majority got it right as there's a valid connection between Scorpio and Uranus.
Lastly, this will place Uranus’ fall in the stable, conservative Taurus. An antithesis for everything Uranus stands for.
About the traditional idea of exalting a planet; Scorpio’s highest manifestation is considered to be the eagle, which is much an Aquarian motif (with its angel symbolism). It relishes helping others while not caring to suffer the costs in self sacrifice, as Uranian as it gets.   
True to its nature Neptune remains elusive all the way through. I remember some astrologers claiming Cancer was its sign of exaltation. Let's put that claim to the test.
Surely cancer is hyper emotional and is on the lookout for a fairytale real life Cinderella story. But Cancer is not at the least confused (being a cardinal sign), has no theme of personal sacrifice and is otherwise concerned with what's inside his own shell; family matters, needs, desires and such. Cancer is also a sign of plenty situated smack on the summer solstice point so it's connected with personal success. 
All the above are things which fundamentally contradict Neptune's heart and (most importantly) soul. Thus I do not believe cancer is the sign of Neptune's exaltation.  
My very own candidate is non other than Aquarius. A conclusion, British Astrologer, Paul Wade has reached independent of my own considerations.   
Now that must come as a shock, Airy aloof Aquarius having Neptune exalted in its waters ('The Water Bearer' remember?). Well Aquarius may be unemotional to a fault but we must remember that Neptune is a generational planet making it unsuccessful in dealing with the personal level of experience ruled by the personal planets. Pisces’ emotions are a reflection of the wider universe around them, it is not a matter of personal whims and desires. Likewise Neptune in its positive, yang form (Aquarius) is concerned logically and ideally with the notion of unifying, helping, liberating, contributing and giving for the greater good, for humanity. Neptune is the denial of self in the process of empowering another and in much the same spirit Aquarius individuals worldwide are ready to make substantial sacrifices in order to bring a greater good. Plus they are weird and live in a world of their own making. 
Lastly, this will place Neptune’s fall in egoistical, self-aggrandizing Leo, which Neptune doesn’t get at all.
While in the traditional scheme, Aquarius probably exalts Neptune because Neptune doesn’t rely on concepts, words and ideas to achieve his humanitarian goals. It’s less intellectual and less self aware being a true humanitarian by the way of it. That is considering other people’s needs before considering yours.  

Last but not least comes our venerable grim reaper Pluto. I'm pretty sure that Virgo of all signs is Pluto's sign of exaltation. 
In November Mother Nature is dying in front of our eyes as Persephone is descending into Pluto's domain. Wait stop! Rewind… 
A little bit earlier in September we experience that first feeling of blues as the days are getting shorter and summer is crumbling down slowly, layer by layer. Pluto, of course, is the lord of change.
Scorpios 'sting' others while Virgo criticize or 'sting' themselves (look at the glyph). They are both analytical and morbidly realistic. Both are unwillingly attracted to taboo subjects (sex, drugs) and more importantly both Virgo and Scorpio have strong compulsion-obsession issues. Scorpio likes to be in control, Virgo relishes losing control. In the world of BDSM Scorpios are masters while Virgos are slaves, metaphorically speaking.
In a strange kind of way Virgo tends to act like Pluto's yin version. Both Virgo and Scorpio are yin (negative signs) but nevertheless in mars ruled Scorpio Pluto's influence is more virile. 
Last but not least both Virgo and Scorpio are symbols of medicine, whether surgery or the healing art Pluto needs to experience pain in order to heal.
Traditionally Virgo exalts Pluto because it finds more esoteric and efficient ways to knowledge instead of the date comparing, data collecting ways more familiar to Mercury. Practical knowledge, magic and knowledge through intense personal experience are all in the Pluto domain. The glyphs of Mercury and Pluto bear a resemblance as well.

Uranus is exalted in Scorpio 
Neptune is exalted in Aquarius
Pluto is exalted in Virgo (or Leo, see below)

Concerning the possibility that Pluto is exalted in Leo.
Leo is known to be bestial and feral according to traditional terms and is a sucker for wealth and success.
Intense and uncompromising Leo will do everything in its power to succeed. So far all goes well with Pluto's black and white world view, or plain ruthlessness. We must remember though that Pluto is driven by a desperate and often obsessive need for survival while Leo is driven by the need to perpetuate his ego, to prove his greatness to the world.
Leo's have a penchant for drama and magic tricks, that is all which is marvelous, shiny and captivates the crowd, I'll give em that.  
And now some differences: Leo craves applause while Pluto can just as easily shy away from people. Both are suckers for power but the way they execute it is different like day and night. Pluto is the master of darkness, taboo practices and the wavier of secrets, all of which are foreign to the Leonine character who basks in the light of his righteous pride. 
Leo has no motifs of death and rebirth, no motifs of change. It's rather the integrity of the ego. Leo is extreme in his own way but otherwise too addicted to all which is bright and shiny; good moods, good times, humor and fun to want to have anything to do with Pluto's murky waters. 
I do have to admit that by placing Pluto's exaltation in a positive - yang sign we create a rulership scheme which gives all the outer planets a positive sign as their sign of exaltation coupled with their dignified home sign in a negative yin sign. Some additional points in favor of this placement are:
Pluto needs to control things and Leo’s have a knack for organization. Pluto is into gathering knowledge for practical purposes, so it's not knowledge for knowledge's sake like the Mercury signs. This trait is shared by Leo's no nonsense approach when the lion isn't out to play.  
Pluto’s placement in Leo will place Pluto’s fall in Aquarius. Aquarian individuals are usually in favor of technology, progress and bearing things to light and truth, which is truly what Pluto has a hard time with.
Lastly Pluto’s exaltation in Leo creates a highly symmetrical zodiac where every sign has an exalted planet without exception (including north and south node for Gemini and Sagittarius respectively). This is an additional important point in this tangled fall and exaltation debate.   

Those are my thoughts on the subject.
Please agree, disagree and explain your own.
Let us clarify this subject once and for all !

                                 The Symmetrical Exaltation Scheme  

2022 Update: Through the years I've gradually came to the conclusion that the symmetrical exaltation scheme, is probably the right one. Currently I prefer it, over the option under which Pluto is Exalted in Virgo.

~ Dima