Among the 12 Zodiac signs, there is one specific sign in which a planet functions at its optimum. This is called its sign of “Exaltation.” The sign which is opposite or 180 degrees apart in the Zodiac is known as the sign of “Debilitation” for that particular planet. In debilitated sign, the planet is weak and it causes many challenges and difficulties in the life of a native.
Basically in the sign of exaltation, the planet functions freely as per its true nature and delivers positive results in our life. Conversely, in the sign of debilitation, the planet cannot function freely because the nature of sign does not harmonize with the nature of planets. For all planets except Mercury, the signs of exaltation are different from the signs which are ruled by each planet. For Mercury, Virgo is the sign of exaltation and it is also ruled by Mercury.
Each Zodiac sign has a dimension of 30 degrees. There is a specific degree of exaltation and hence a specific degree of debilitation which are different for every planet. The Exaltation/Debilitation effects for each planet is highest in the specific degree of exaltation/debilitation. For the practical purpose of interpretation of chart, planet is considered exalted/debilitated in a particular sign no matter at what degree, it is actually located in the specific sign.
In this article I want to share with you the explanation from the nature of the sign and the nature of planet why a particular sign is considered as the sign of exaltation/debilitation for the planet. The nature of a sign /planet is mainly determined by the elements it represents. Let us take each planet in birth chart and understand for ourselves.
Sun : Its exaltation sign is Aries. The degree of exaltation is 10 degrees. Therefore, the sign of debilitation is Libra and degree of debilitation is also 10 degrees. The sun represents the fire element. It is the source of all energy which sustains the entire solar system including all life form on earth. When Sun is located in Aries which is a cardinal sign type with fire element; Sun functions best because of the commonality of the element. The cardinal nature of Aries gives it a clear direction for action. Fire element gives strong will, ambition, determination, leadership. On the higher level, Sun in Aries gives independence, clarity, strong judgment and high values.
However, when Sun is located in Libra, it has to interact with Air element of Libra sign. The air and Fire together will create uncontrolled energy. It will become like a forest fire which will destroy everything without creating anything. In an individual, it will create pride and arrogance which in reality will be because of deep seated insecurity because Sun is weak and will be malefically disposed in its inimical sign ruled by Venus. It will give poor perception, lack of intelligence, low vitality, melancholy, fear and deviousness or dishonesty.
Moon : Its exaltation sign is Taurus and debilitated sign is Scorpio. The degree of exaltation is 3 degrees. The moon represents water and indicates the water element in general in the chart. Taurus is a fixed sign with earth element. When water flows through earth it makes the earth fertile; fixed sign indicates nurturing. Fertile earth nurtures all planets and all living organisms. Fixed types are firm, stable and determined about who they are and what they do. Exalted Moon in Taurus brings the best of lunar qualities in the person. They seek balance and harmony in individual relationships and in their organizations of immediate environment. It gives a strong sense of form and beauty, the best of lunar qualities. It can make them very romantic and devotional and are often votaries of the idea that all is love manifesting the highest qualities of Venus, the ruler of Taurus combined with the highest qualities of Moon.
Moon gets debilitated in Scorpio which is a fixed sign but with water element. This is kind of excess water like flood which destroys all the crop.Being fixed sign the water does not flow. It gets stagnated. In a person this creates excess of unbalanced lunar energies of past baggage of emotion and feelings. Afflictions to the moon can show personality disorders, difficulties in relating to other people and emotional disturbances. It causes lunacy, as our language reflects in extreme circumstances specially if it conjuncts with lunar nodes in Scorpio. However, there is an exception, Scorpio being ruled by Mars is also a highly mystical sign and can be a vessel for strong psychic powers, occult etc. Mind is purely dependent, consciousness, it has no real nature of its own. As such, it can function in one of the two ways. It can reflect inner nature of things or their outer appearance. If there are favorable Jupiter/Venus or Saturn in the chart, Moon in Scorpio can actually harness the excess water for high spiritual and psychic development and is often found in the charts of highly evolved Yogi and Tantrics.