Can Planets in Detriment or Fall Still Function?

weird orange bird
This is how to Sun, yes?

When we initially learn about planetary dignities, it’s normal to immediately scan your chart to see which planets are dignified and exalted and which planets are in their detriment or fall. We naturally want to know if the “good” or the “bad” interpretations apply to us. But what does it really mean for a planet to be in detriment or fall? And what myths are there to bust?

They shine…differently. When you see a planet in detriment or fall, the most important thing to remember is that they can still function, albeit a little differently than normal. A planet in dignity or exaltation is able to succeed and meet traditional goals by traditional means, but a planet in detriment or fall is forced to find another way. Take the Sun. The Sun in Leo, its dignity, is able to shine and be seen using traditional tools like creativity, entertainment, and self-aggrandizement. But the Sun in Aquarius has no such luck. Instead, it has to use Saturn/Uranus tools to shine. An Aquarius Sun will differentiate itself by dressing differently, challenging existing rules and structures, and highlighting the group consciousness over individual glory. An Aquarius Sun still shines, but it accomplishes this through unconventional means.

Sometimes they hide. Take Mars in Libra or Cancer as an example. People with this placement will sometimes deny having a temper at all. They will talk endlessly about how patient and forgiving they are, how much they care, how they wish other people could appreciate what they do. This sounds pretty passive aggressive to me, but they would deny it all day and night. Basically, if they don’t know what to do with the planet, sometimes they’ll sideline the energy to a greater and greater degree. At least, they will until:

Sometimes they explode. Planets can’t be denied forever. Eventually they are going to be expressed one way or another. Take our Mars example. That person may talk all day about how loving they are, but do you want to see them when they feel unappreciated? That is a powder keg waiting to blow. Or take a traditionally masculine man with the same placements. Libra Mars men are known for their ladykiller charm and Cancer Mars men for their machismo. And from experience, I can say that you don’t want to be in the room when either one finally blows. Basically, they get tired of trying to accomplish Mars goals with Venus or Moon tools. Suddenly the restraints come off and their unfettered Mars comes out to play.

While there are a number of ways that planets in detriment or fall can manifest, the important thing to remember is that they are truly fine. They may not be able to take the most straightforward path to success, but they can get there nonetheless. There are entirely too many famous writers with Mercury in Pisces or rich and powerful courtesans with Venus in Aries to ever doubt it. The challenge is to make your own path.

Do you have planets in their detriment or fall? How have you made them work for you?

17 thoughts on “Can Planets in Detriment or Fall Still Function?”

  1. Avatar
    Hildegarde's Noviciate

    I have venus in Scorpio. Mars in Cancer
    The mars plays to my North node in leo. Allowing the open heartedness and giving nature of leo to be acted out in nuturing mars in cancer and gives nobility to it.. The venus in Scorpio works with my jupiter in pisces. Venus scorpios learn love and relationship lessons through loss and pain. Its how they transform. Jupiter in pisces is about digging deep. Finding the root of the behavior and heal it… so venus scorpio can then benefit from the painful lesson and deep diving of Jupiter Pisces… instead of getting crippled by it.

  2. I whip them till they bruise and make them work for me. They low key love that. Moon in Capricorn, Jupiter in Virgo. 😎

  3. Avatar
    the laughing goat

    Mars in Pisces 1H – I all to often allow people to take advantage of me, and when I finally get fed up, I just disappear.

  4. Moon in Scorpio here which means that emotions are felt very deeply. Sometimes they have overwhelmed me but I am learning that they offer a power to transform. That is such an amazing gift!

  5. Mars Libra me, Mars Cancer husband. We remain to each other the only people we know, beyond family, who can handle our uncensored anger/rage and still remain intact. Boom.
    Also wanted to say folks give us Mars Libra a hard time but then realised it sounds v Mars Libra

  6. Outstanding article, Midara! Very well written!

    I have an intercepted Libra Sun. You are right, I do “shine” when I perform acts of service for others.

  7. Mars in Pisces, Jupiter in Virgo, Uranus in Leo. The gifts that those detrimental gifts bring I dumb down, until needed in crisis, then they are welcome. The hardships of those placements, yes I don’t openly acknowledge, and when someone sees those things, I cry because they see me, they understand. It touches me on a very deep level.

  8. I think debilitated planets are “not bad”, they incites people to make efforts in order to grow and compensate their shortcomings

  9. I really struggle with My Libra Mars 12. South Node is in the 12th house also. I truly have to force myself to try to care about and participate in life.

  10. If Mars in Libra is angry with you, they don’t want the sex thingy… I have been with 3 men who had Mars in Libra now, and the results are the same. They want YOU to go out the line for them, pamper them etc.
    My Venus Scorpio will not have it. Hello power games!

    They also all of them had Venus opposite Neptune, so when the lid comes off their illusions are gone and they can’t cope, so they leave.

    In ALL the circumstances none of them was able to take responsibility for their inability to express their anger properly or their own idealistic approach to love/sex etc.
    Often their Venus was in either Pisces or Gemini.

    Only afterwards came their understanding but then it was too late…I have Sun, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter in Scorpio 8th/9th house.
    When it’s done, I’m done.
    That means, if you are suddenly unsure, or if you have changed your mind – don’t bother telling me. I can’t love you again, because I already did everything in my power to hold the relationship together, and if you still wanted to get away anyway, then that’s your decision and we are done. I can’t trust you 100% ever again.

    Saturn (exalted) in conjunction with Pluto in Libra. When it’s done, it’s DONE (permanence – Saturn). It sends me on a new path and transforms my views (Pluto, 9th house), and afterwards I will not be the same girl you saw in the first place.

    Sometimes it’s even literally: One time I lost 20 pounds, got in shape and colored my hair the exact color he had always lusted for – since the pressure was gone I could appreciate the color and the excersise part myself with no interference.

    I did not think about it at the time, but revenge is a dish best served cold. His jaw dropped when he saw me 3 months later and he got extremely angry (read: jealous) of the new me, and acted all kinds of crazy stupid.

    I laughed.
    Pluto and Sun in Scorpio right there.

  11. “Mars goals with Venus or Moon tools” great explanation for misdirected Mars!
    I have Mars in Libra (in 12th), what a curse. But I don’t make believe (to me or others) that I never get mad. However I dislike this lack of cool and at same time not blowing up feels like cowardice… Well, that Mars is pretty much out of synch.
    It’s like flipping a coin, you never know if it’s going to come up heads or tails.
    Thank you for this encouraging post – I often feel that my Mars is a lost cause.
    I’ll try to look at it differently. Maybe his way of being can have good sides too?

  12. I have Venus in Capricorn but I believe my Mars in Scorpio warms it up-however my Virgo/Pluto Moon conj create unhappy emotional circumstances a lot. I am still learning how to deal with that.

  13. I have a Sun and Mars in Libra, conjunct with Asc. I can’t describe how unnerved I was, when I discovered that both planets are in detriment and fall in this sign. However I came to terms with both and learned to work with it. But in my teenage years I was very passive aggressive. Luckily enough people called me out on it and I reflected on the topic. I think the house can make a difference though. Having them in the 1st, I think I express my mars more and in a healthier way than anyone I know. I’m quite known for being the angry one, but not like a warrior on a killing spree, more like a walking social justice. Having both those planets in Libra in 1st is quite ironic.

  14. Avatar
    Shimmering Light

    Venus in Scorpio here. When I learned these astro rules I wasn’t much pleased. They are valid, as far as it goes, but my aim is to understand so that I can help myself and others, not to kowtow.

    My experience has shown me that planets in detriment function differently, and that’s not a bad thing. A bit like retrograde planets.

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