This is a separate concept from the houses of the horoscope. A planetary ruler is given to each sign, over which the planet is said to have a more powerful influence when positioned therein. A planet is considered to be in domal dignity when it is positioned in the sign it rules.
This is the strongest of the five essential dignities of a planet. The assignments of the ruling planets appear to be based upon the Northern Hemisphere seasons, as the sun Sol and the moon , the principal bearers of light and heat, were awarded to Leo and Cancer , respectively, since the months the sun passed through these signs in ancient times were the warmest and had the longest days. Conversely, Saturn , the most distant and hence the "coldest" of the planets known to ancients, was accorded the rulership of Aquarius and Capricorn , the signs opposite Leo and Cancer, respectively.
Jupiter , being next farthest away, was given the signs on either side of Aquarius and Capricorn Pisces and Sagittarius , and Mars , next in order, received the next two Aries and Scorpio.
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Since Mercury never appears more than one sign from the sun in either direction, it was deemed to rule the two signs on either side of Leo and Cancer Virgo and Gemini , and since Venus can never be found more than two signs from the Sun, it obtained the rulership of Libra and Taurus. The discovery of planets outside of the geocentric field of vision in modern times provided a dilemma for astrologers, which most eventually resolved by a general consensus declaring Uranus to be Aquarius' ruling planet, while assigning Neptune to Pisces and later, Pluto was given to Scorpio.
Some modern authorities uses the concept of "night rulerships" to find room for the additional dignities. Uranus was designated the day ruler of Aquarius while Saturn was to be its night ruler.
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Similarly, Neptune was the day ruler of Pisces, leaving Jupiter as the night ruler, and Pluto was the day ruler of Scorpio with Mars as the night ruler. This notion probably had its origin in the concept of astrological sect , but this was the only vestige of sect in the modern tradition.
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Unfortunately, no allowance was made for these modern suggestions in the complex traditional doctrine of essential dignities , but the idea was very popular. The use of dual rulerships in a manner such as this was also be known as "co-rulership". Some astrologers believed that the new co-rulers were primary rulers of the signs with which they were associated and might have been sole rulers of those signs, and if that was the case, two other planets, one linked to Libra or Taurus , and the other to Virgo or Gemini , may await discovery, thus eliminating the need for dual rulership of a sign altogether.
Although the status of Ceres is unknown at the moment in astrology, due to its new definition as a dwarf planet, it has been suggested as the ruler of Virgo or Taurus. Going after what you want is your priority. Planet Meanings and Description: Jupiter governs your ethics, your philosophy about life, where you're lucky, where you're abundant, where you're cautious, and where you want to learn and how you can benefit from that knowledge.
Jupiter is a lucky charm that expands whatever it touches, thus showing what it is that you do on a large scale. It shows where you receive financial benefit and how generous you are with others. Jupiter is about the search for truth, making it the perfect planet to govern law, religion, philosophy, and education.
If Jupiter was retrograde when you were born, you're quite philosophical, but tend to keep your beliefs to yourself. Planet Meanings and Description: Saturn describes your ambition in life, your major life lessons, and your feelings of inadequacy. Saturn is about restrictions, limitations, boundaries, safety, and practicality. It's about hard work and getting what you deserve. Saturn is the planet overseeing your career, business, and wealth. Even if its placement in your chart doesn't directly affect your career, it will still show what you want to be known for and what you want to achieve.
If Saturn was retrograde when you were born, you are responsible for your own success and failures. If Saturn was stationary when you were born, you are more goal-oriented, disciplined, and determined to succeed.
Planet Meanings and Description: Uranus governs where you seek freedom, where you're unconventional, where you stand out, what makes you rebel, where you do the unexpected, and where you'll find change. Uranus is about sudden change, such as an unexpected opportunity appearing out of the blue. It also involves events that happen in an instant, such as accidents or love at first sight.
Planet Meanings and Description: Neptune governs what inspires you and where you're easily deceived. It's about illusion, confusion, imagination, and creativity.
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Neptune can be illusive and hard to tie down. It's the areas where you see what you thought was real isn't, and what you thought wasn't real is. It's like a blind spot where you don't see something until later, but you probably needed to see it from the very beginning. Planet Meanings and Description: Pluto represents where you feel powerless, where you want to take charge and feel more powerful, and where you experience great change. It's about the big events in your life, and getting rid of the old to make way for the new.
If Pluto was direct when you were born, you have a lot of power that you can choose to use positively or negatively in your life. Before the discovery of planets you need a telescope to see, the traditional ruling planets were those visible without even binoculars: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Each ruled two signs.
The luminaries, the Moon and the Sun, ruled one a piece. Observations after the discovery of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, led to assignment of their modern rulership of Aquarius, Pisces and Scorpio, respectively. Only Mercury and Venus currently rule two signs. Look for the ruling planet of your rising sign. It is said to be the dispositor of that sign. What sign is it in? Then, what rules that sign, where is it? Maybe a trio of planets disposit one another in a loop.