Teachings in Metaphysical Astrology

January 2001

Exaltations and Fall, the Meanings of the Signs

A closer look at the signs each planet is exalted in, and the signs where planets are in fall (called in detriment in Vedic astrology) can reveal truths about each sign that we might otherwise not see.


The fact that Saturn is in its fall in Aries reveals many interesting insights. Aries often acts intrusively, without appropriate boundaries, and impulsively, without serious consideration. Aries can be so in-the-moment that priorities and rules (Saturn) are ignored, as are possible consequences. In other words, all of the protection and appropriateness that Saturn gives us can be lacking in Aries.

[Note: I am not describing what Saturn in Aries, or any planet in fall, is like. I'm looking at the fact that the sign itself lacks the qualities of the planet that falls in that sign.]

The Sun's exaltation in Aries is another story. Many astrologers recognize that a planet in exaltation can be "too much of a good thing." I.e. that there can be exaggerated and/or distorted results with exalted points.

In Aries, this becomes very evident. The exalted Aries can become the ultimate egocentric. While they can express themselves freely, and have incredible vitality and initiative, they can overshadow others without intending to, and sometimes forget that other people exist.

The tasks for Aries include staying conscious of their effect upon others (not just their intent) and to co-operate instead of just following their own promptings.


The Sun's fall in Libra shows us that Libra can disconnect from life, from their own core, and from passion, warmth, authenticity, and reality. Most people don't realize how conceptual Libra can be. They can lose themselves in an self-image they believe themselves to be, or in a role they are playing, or in what another person projects on them -- without realizing that they have become out of touch with their true nature. They've "lost their Sun."

The exalted Libra (Saturn) can be so responsible as to become too responsive and cooperative, undermining their own authority and ability to choose. They may consider other's views to the exclusion of their own, and avoid expressing (Saturnian suppression) their own feelings for so long that they can no longer access them.

The tasks for Libra are stay in touch with their own feelings, and not respond automatically to others just to please them or avoid unpleasantness.


The Moon's Nodes fall in Taurus shows the Taurian literalness, lack of awareness of (and interest in) subtle realms, and a preoccupation with what is visible. "What you see is what you get" is a very Taurian notion, as is the attachment to the Earth plane (money, possessions, earthly pleasures and comfort) in general.

The Moon's exaltation in Taurus, on the other hand, shows us the depth of Taurus' need for steadiness, security, and safety and its cautious, conservative approach.

Taurus needs to let go of their attachments and control issues, and realize that other people are not built as solidly as they are, and become compassionate of other people's sensitivities and needs.


The Moon's fall in Scorpio shows us how completely Scorpio can judge themselves and others uncompassionately, and reject their own and others' feelings of vulnerability. Scorpios have a very difficult time admitting they have need, and asking for what they need (but not, on the other hand, asking for what they want).

The Node's exaltation in Scorpio reveals the fascination or even obsession with mysteries, secrets, forbidden activities, and disguised behavior. Control and losing control are major issues with Scorpios, as is being able to do what they choose to.

The tasks for Scorpio include learning to open to their emotional sensitivities, and to realize that their reactions are their own and not caused by what others do, and to stop reading negative motives into others actions.

Gemini & Sagittarius

While no planet is in exaltation or fall in Gemini or Sagittarius, one can still image the extremes of both signs. Gemini can lack constancy, depth, commitment, focus, and intimacy, while overdoing autonomy, separateness, and their own interests. The lessons for Gemini include developing perseverance and one-pointedness, and deeping all of their connections.

Sagittarius may need more humility, patience, receptivity, and contentment, while overdoing its preoccupation with the future, the new, the different, and greener pastures elsewhere. Tasks for Sagittarius include coming into the present moment, developing higher aims and life purpose, and learning how to see and listen to other people's wisdom.


Mars falls in the Moon sign of Cancer, which shows Cancer's fluctuations of energy, fear of confrontation, lack of courage, neediness and dependency, and ambivalence about initiating and taking charge.

Jupiter's exaltation in Cancer reveals Cancer's tendency to dominate and intrude through mothering, even to the point of fostering dependency in others, as well as feeling like the one who has to guide others, and not trusting others to do things on their own.

Tasks for Cancer include finding a core of groundedness and security beneath the waves of their emotions, "teaching others to fish" instead of "giving them fish", and learning to let go when tenacity is inappropriate.


Jupiter's fall in Capricorn reveals Capricorn's lack of generosity, ease, spontaneity, faith, and openness to people and to life.

Mars' exaltation shows Capricorn's endless drive to achieve, which can result in workaholism, excessive competitiveness, over-correcting and micro-managing others, climbing over people on the way to the top, and materialistic and external orientation.

Capricorn needs to develop an enjoyment of not-doing, see the impossibility of perfection, develop a sense of humor about (and loosen) their sternness, and realize that "to everything there is a season", not just work.

Leo and Aquarius

These two signs again have no planets exalted or fallen in them.

Nonetheless, the extremes of Leo are too much self-interest, blindness to one's effect upon others, the demand for more than their share of both attention and things, over-amped self-expression, and a sense of over-entitlement.

Leo needs to recognize their self-importance and counteract it with humility, true selfless generosity (instead of giving for recognition or to get something in return), and cultivating meekness.

Aquarian extremes can be hyper-rationality, disconnection from their own feelings, misunderstanding and judging those more emotional than them, and avoiding making the changes they need to make.

Aquarians need to see their inner conservatism and let go a bit more, discover how they hold back from intimacy and move towards greater closeness, and learn to deal directly with issues that come up.


Venus falls in Virgo, and reflects Virgos lack of peace, enjoyment, and play. Virgos tend to neglect their own needs, becoming too selfless for their own good. They also can be so conscious of what needs improvement that they forget to praise and affirm what already is present in themselves and others.

Mercury's exaltation in Virgo shows the tendency to think about things and analyze them way too much. It shows Virgo's restless thirst for more problems to resolve and resulting lack of pure beingness.

Virgos need to cultivate inner quietude, release their worries, and see how "everything is perfect as it is."


Mercury falls in Pisces, revealing Pisces lack of clarity, tendency to live in a fantasy world and fabricate reality, and the desire to escape into drugs, television, and their imagination. The mind doesn't function well in Pisces for Earth-plane tasks such as being on time, keeping track of finances, etc.

Venus' exaltation in Pisces reveals the potentially excessive hedonism, peacemaking (while concealing their needs and wishes), and the "rose-colored glasses" of Piceans.

What Pisces needs to learn is to set appropriate boundaries with themselves and others, keep to a schedule, do grounding practices (like gardening, sculpture, and chi gung), and realize that they need (and deserve) other people's help in dealing with some of the aspects of reality.

Click to Return to Return to Home Page

Send e-mail to Hank Friedman  by clicking here

If the above email link doesn't work, please send me an email to: stars@soulhealing.com

Copyright © 2001 Hank Friedman --- ALL RIGHTS RESERVED