THE exact way of judicature in astrology is, first, by being perfect in the nature of the planets and signs; secondly, by knowing the strength, fortitude, or debility of the significators, and well poising of them, and their aspects and several mixtures, in your judgment; thirdly, by rightly applying the influence of the figure of heaven erected, and the planets' aspects to one another at the time of the question, according to natural and not enforced maxims of art; for by how much you endeavour to strain a judgment beyond nature, by so much the more you augment your error. A planet is then said to be really strong when he has many essential dignities, 1 which are known by his being either in his house, exaltation, triplicity, term, or face, at the time of erecting the figure. As, for example, in any scheme of heaven, if you find a planet in any of those signs we call his house, he is then essentially strong; as ♄ in ♑, or ♃ in ♐, &c.
Essential Dignity by House.--In judgment, when a planet or significator is in his own house, it represents a man in such a condition, as that he is lord of his own house, estate, and fortune; or a man wanting very little of the goods of this world; or it tells you the man is in a very happy state or condition: this will be true, unless the significator be retrograde, or combust, or afflicted by any other malevolent planet or aspect.
Exaltation.--If he be in that sign wherein he is exalted, you may consider him essentially strong; whether he be
near the very degree of his exaltation, or not; as ♂ in ♑, or ♃ in ♋.
If the significator be in his exaltation, and no ways impedited, but angular, it represents a person of haughty condition, arrogant, assuming more to himself than his due; for it is observed, the planets in some part of the zodiac do more evidently declare their effects than in others.
Triplicity.--If he be in any of those signs which are allotted him for his triplicity, he is also strong, but in a less degree.
A planet in his triplicity shews a man modestly endued with the goods and fortune of this world; one well descended, and the condition of his life, at present time of the question, to be good; but not so much so as if in either of the two former dignities.
Term.--If any planet be in those degrees we assign for his terms, we allow him to be slightly dignified.
A planet fortified, only as being in his own terms, rather shews a man more of the corporature and temper of the planet, than any extraordinary abundance in fortune, or eminence in the commonwealth.
Face.--If any planet be in his decanate, or face, he has the least possible essential dignity; but being in his own decanate or face, he cannot then be called peregrine.
A planet being in his decanate or face, describes a man ready to be turned out of doors, having much to do to maintain himself in credit and reputation and in genealogies it represents a family at the last gasp, even as good as quite decayed, hardly able to support itself.
The planets may be strong in another way; viz. accidentally; as when direct, swift in motion, angular, in △ or ✶ aspect with ♃ or ♀, &c., or in ☌ with certain notable fixed stars, as shall hereafter be related. Here follows a table of essential dignities: by only casting your eye thereon, you
may perceive what essential dignity or imbecility any planet has.
There has been much difference between the Greeks, Aranians, and Indians, concerning the essential dignities of the planets: I mean, how to dispose the several degrees of the signs suitably to any planet. After many ages had passed, and until the time of Ptolemy, the astrologians were not resolved hereof; but since Ptolemy's time, the Grecians unanimously followed the method he left, which the other Christians of Europe to this day since retain as most rational: but the Moors of Barbary at present, and those astrologians of their nation who lived in Spain, do somewhat vary from us to this very day: however, I present thee with a table according to Ptolemy.
69:1 These apply not to nativities where the angular position and good aspects received by a planet constitute its strength.--ZAD.