In the previous articles, I discussed the use of the twelfth-parts. These are also known as the dodecatemoria or the duads/dwads. For a review of the twelfth-parts and their use, please see the first and second article Here and in future posts of the series, I’ll be revisiting analyses from other articles on the site to look at the twelfth-part positions.
A Return to Sign Dignity
In my articles on dignity, I’ve pointed out the folly of using sign-based dignity to evaluate the beneficence or maleficence (i.e. benefit or harm) of a planetary signification. Overall, dignity has been a chart factor that has been far over-emphasized by traditional astrologers. It is to traditional astrologers what “Mercury retrograde” is to modern astrologers – a convenient but inaccurate crutch.
Dignity as a Separate Concept is a Distraction
It is my opinion, dignity as a separate concept is unnecessary. Dignity as a separate concept is a redundancy in most cases when it appears to work . Generally, a planet in its own domicile is made more prominent because its ruler is itself – a type of feedback loop. In that sense, a planet with dignity has a type of strength or prominence.
There are also more specific instances of a benefic or malefic interpretation in which dignity is not really at the heart of the issue. For instance, the Moon in Scorpio is linked with difficulty (especially in a day chart) by the Moon being ruled by a malefic. It is similar with Venus in Scorpio or Aries.
More commonly, the astrologer is overlooking more important factors such as place, sect, and the influence of malefics or benefics when they defer to dignity. Mercury in Pisces is a Mercury linked with benefit (Jupiter). However, if someone with that configuration had a speech impediment, the astrologer would be quick to blame Mercury in fall. Perhaps, they missed that Mercury is in the 6th house and dominated by Saturn.
The Curious Case of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Turner
The first of the articles on dignity compared the charts of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Turner. Dahmer had a whopping 4 planets in domicile, with only 2 peregrine and only 1 in fall – a chart with an unusually high amount of dignity. Ted Turner has no planets in domicile or exaltation, 1 planet in fall, 3 planets in “detriment” (for those who use detriment – I don’t), 2 planets peregrine, and only 1 planet with positive dignity – an unusually ill-dignified chart.
I found Dahmer and Turner to be the perfect minimal pair for explaining the trouble with dignity, not just in terms of beneficence and maleficence, but also for strength. I do use some sign-based significations like domicile, exaltation, fall, triplicity, and bound, for prominence myself. However, I give them less stress than typically given to them. I place more stress on advancing/retreating, being in a stake, stations, phasis, and relationship to the lights (including being in a domicile of a light). I explore strength indications at length in the lessons.
Dignity is Not Beneficence and Not Stature
Obviously, Dahmer’s life was not filled with more joy, goodness, and positive productivity than that of Turner, as might be expected if dignity pertained to beneficence and maleficence. Similarly, while Manetho, Maternus, and other Hellenistic astrologers suggested that one’s stature and power depend to a great deal on the number of planets in domicile in one’s chart, it is clear that this also cannot be the case. We would expect the lack of dignity in Turner’s chart to suggest he is very much held back. Similarly, we would suggest that Dahmer has immense social mobility. Therefore, while I believe that being in domicile, exaltation, triplicity, or bound is reinforcing of a planet, it is obvious folly to rely on dignity for beneficence and for evaluating social stature.
With the above said, it is interesting that the twelfth-parts tend to reveal much more strength and beneficence in Turner’s chart. The twelfth-parts also reveal additional weakness and maleficence in Dahmer’s chart.
In Dahmer’s chart, there are 4 planets in domicile and 1 in fall but 3 twelfth-part planets are in fall (and 1 in “detriment”), with none in domicile or exaltation.
Twelfth-Part Mars in X Ruled by the Moon and Square to Mars
More importantly, the twelfth-part of Mars, occupies the powerful 10th place (Dahmer’s “achievements”), square to its natal position. The square to its natal position increases its malice (see quote in previous article on twelfth-parts that square or oppose their natal positions).
Mars-Moon combinations, such as the one in the natal chart, have significations that relate to bodily violence. The twelfth-part of Mars is in the sign of the Moon and square to the natal Moon-Mars. The twelfth-part of the Moon in Scorpio, a domicile of Mars, in the bound of Saturn (significator of death), and in the 2nd place (one of the dark places). Therefore, the Moon-Mars bodily violence signification is reinforced in many ways.
An Even Darker Character
The Moon is relevant for character, especially in terms of irrational impulses and instincts. Ptolemy identified it with the irrational part of the soul (see Tetrabiblos, Book III, Ch. 13). The Ascendant and Mercury are also relevant for character delineation and are in the bounds of Jupiter in the natal chart. The Moon, Mercury, and the Ascendant have their twelfth-parts are in bounds of Saturn. The twelfth-part of Mercury is additionally with the twelfth-part of Saturn in the 11th, pertaining to friends and groups.
The ruler of the Ascendant, the twelfth-part of the Ascendant, and the ruler of the twelfth-part of the Ascendant are also relevant to the character. We find the ruler of the Ascendant, Venus, to be in the 8th pertaining to death, fear, and harm, in the bound of Saturn. The twelfth-part of the Ascendant is in that same place and bound. Additionally, that twelfth-part is also ruled by Venus. Therefore, three important character significators are piled into the bound of Saturn, the planet of death, in the 8th place, the place of death, ruled by Venus, planet of sexuality.
The 3 planets in “detriment” in Turner’s natal chart are in their own domiciles in the twelfth-parts. Saturn in fall sees its twelfth-part in “detriment”. However, detriment was not a distinct concept in Hellenistic astrology. Therefore, Saturn’s twelfth-part is actually in triplicity and the sign of the sect light. Being in triplicity and in a sign of a light, especially the sect light, is strengthening.
Lighting Up the 10th House
The Sun has its twelfth-part in the 10th with the Moon, in a sign of Mercury and bound of Jupiter. Both twelfth-part lights in the 10th provide an additional indication of power and influence.
Benefics Gracing the Lights
Additionally, the twelfth-part of the sect benefic, Jupiter, falls into the 12th, the place of the Sun, Fortune, and Venus. This links benefits to their significations. The other benefic, Venus, lands in the 11th, her domicile, the place of the Moon. Thus both benefic twelfth-parts occupy the places of the lights linking them with fortunate circumstances.
Twelfth-parts give very important additional information about planets and points in the natal chart. Dignity is often a redundant consideration, but it can play a role in terms of planetary prominence and reinforcement. If you are going to consider dignity as a strength consideration, then be sure to also examine the twelfth-parts.
The ancients stressed how the twelfth-parts are responsible for major modulations in planetary signification within a sign. In this sense, dignity relating to twelfth-part positions may be even more important than that related to natal positions. More work research is needed in this area. In any case, the twelfth-parts positions reinforce or contradict significations in the natal chart. It is these reinforcements and contradictions that help us to correctly interpret the chart.