Born under a bad sign? Frederick Steinmann says so-called difficult placements are actually opportunities for greater awareness, acceptance, and transformation. Images: Veda Wildfire
Venus entered Aries on April 28, and the planet of love’s journey through this bold, assertive (and sometimes brash and selfish) warrior archetype is not always … smooth. In the sign of Aries, Venus is in its “detriment”- indicating one of the 4 states possible for each planet when placed in different zodiac signs (“detriment” and “fall” being more challenging, while “exaltation” and “rulership” the easier placements).
Rulership: Planets here are “at home” in their environment and easy to express.
Exaltation: A step beyond rulership, planets here have a chance to achieve their highest expression.
Detriment: The opposite of rulership- planets are in slightly uncomfortable territory, and the energy may need to become unblocked or unstuck.
Fall: The opposite of exaltation—energy is lessened and may need some invigoration in order to achieve expression.
For example, in Aries, Venus wants what she wants, now, and on her terms. Fiery Aries is quick with passion but not with compromise. Venus in its detriment could learn a thing or too about love from Venus’ ruling sign, Libra (the opposite sign to Aries). Venus in Libra naturally knows how to pause and apply strategy instead of just a quick reaction.
When in their detriment or fall, planets are challenged to adjust, to learn, and to further refine the energies symbolized by that planet. Below, a guide to these cosmic challenges …
**Discover your challenging placements by calculating your birth chart. No challenging aspects? You can still use the dates below to work with these energies throughout the year as the planet indicated spends time in that sign!
:: THE SUN ::
Rulership: Leo // Exaltation: Aries // Detriment: Aquarius // Fall: Libra
The Sun is the single most important point in a horoscope. He vitalizes Earth and the rest of our solar system, and relates to our “individuality”- who we are beyond our thoughts and emotions.
Detriment in Aquarius (2017 Dates: January 19-February 18)
Aquarius energy is connected to the concept of humanity as a whole, but can sometimes struggle with the messiness of the individual. Aquarians circulate the solar force within the group by “fixing their will” in the service of group ideals. The Sun in Aquarius placement is all about learning how to balance group ideals with individual creativity, and sometimes learning to say “Yes, I really matter!”
Fall in Libra (2017 Dates: September 22- October 23)
Because of their penchant for pursuing the perfect relationship, Libra Sun signs’ individual vitality can become diffused. Librans can learn how to vitalize themselves by developing some Aries energy in relationships. A good way to start is by noticing: “where am I holding back from asserting my individuality and just strategically reflecting what the other person wants to hear.” Assertion of individuality will rebalance vitality and allow space for creative expression.
:: THE MOON ::
Rulership: Cancer // Exaltation: Taurus // Detriment: Capricorn // Fall: Scorpio
The Moon is the second most important point in the horoscope, and represents emotions, imagination, memories, and how we are nurtured.
**2017 Dates: Because the Moon changes signs every few days, check Planet Watcher for the current placement. We’ll have a Full Moon in Scorpio on May 10th, a New Moon in Scorpio on November 18th, and a Full Moon in Capricorn on July 9th.
Detriment in Capricorn
The Moon and achievement-conscious Capricorn are both related to security but they have opposing views. The ambition and drive to achieve success in society are energetically opposed with the Moon’s nurturing function (just think of those countless burnt out corporate ladder climbers!) Capricorn moons will benefit from reevaluating safety and security needs, scheduling time for self-care rituals like massage, and just feeling their feelings.
Fall in Scorpio
In fixed signs, the Moon wants to hold on to inherited patterns of nurturing, and in fixed Scorpio the art is in learning to let go. Scorpio Moons are nurtured through in-depth sharing that leads to transformation. Learn to honor your watery depths by getting in touch with more difficult emotions. You might try Jungian therapy, group counseling, or another form of therapy where you can share, transform, and release old habits.
:: MERCURY ::
Rulership: Gemini & Virgo // Exaltation: Aquarius // Detriment: Sagittarius // Fall: Pisces & Leo
As the ruler of thought, reason, and communication, Mercury is an androgynous planet that picks up masculine or feminine energy depending on the sign or relationship to other planets.
Detriment in Sagittarius (2017 Dates: November 5-January 11 2018, retrograde December 3-22)
With Sag’s philosophically expanded worldview, Mercury placed here can tend towards exaggeration, embellishment, boastfulness, or the zealous view that one’s personal opinion equals a universal outlook. To work with this energy, it’s important to notice when you’re blowing things out of proportion and to practice more discretion in speech.
Fall in Pisces (2017 Dates: February 25-March 13)
With the overemphasis on words and rational thought in Western education, Mercury in Pisces may feel that their imagination or creativity is “silly.” The key here is learning to believe that compassion doesn’t always need to be verbalized- a loving presence or hug can work. Emotional communication is a valid form of communication. Dream interpretation or a study of symbols like the Tarot could help bring out the best in this Mercury.
Fall in Leo (2017 Dates: July 5-July 25)
Leo represents creative expression and Mercury placed here sometimes thinks they are an instant prodigy! In order to achieve the highest form of expression, this Mercury could use a dose of Aquarian objectivity to integrate their vision into society. Developing a meditation practice with a mantra like “thoughts are things, I am not my thoughts” will help with this process.
:: VENUS ::
Rulership: Taurus & Libra // Exaltation: Pisces // Detriment: Scorpio & Aries // Fall: Virgo
Venus is the goddess of love, beauty, and harmony. She also rules the Law of Attraction- how you value and feel about yourself ultimately manifests in both your relationships and your bank account.
Detriment in Scorpio (2017 Dates: November 7-December 1)
In Scorpio, the challenging call is to transform the Venusian areas of love, relationships, and money. Learning to value your own and others’ resources appropriately is a lesson for this Venus. Another challenge comes from dealing with intensity and learning when to say no to excitement and emotional thrills that may lead to financial or emotional problems. Find your own value and trust in the process of regeneration.
Fall in Virgo (2017 Dates: September 19- October 14)
Virgo is a mutable sign associated with the process of improvement, and when attached to Venus this can manifest as sharp criticism and endless “fixing” in relationships. Learning to dissolve some of your hyper-awareness through loving self-acceptance (the Piscean end of the polarity), and editing internal and external critique is key.
:: MARS ::
Rulership: Aries & Scorpio // Exaltation: Capricorn, // Detriment: Taurus & Libra // Fall: Cancer
Mars rules the primitive side of our natures through the “4 Fs”: Feeding, fighting, fleeing, and … reproduction. The god of war is eager to penetrate the environment. A person’s humanness has a lot to do with Mars management- whether they are impulsive and brash or able to direct their will consciously and compassionately.
Detriment in Taurus (2017 Dates: March 9-21)
When Mars is in Taurus, the desire for sensual experience is strong, and the challenge lies in overcoming and disciplining the heightened five senses. The drive and primal motive will be towards more concrete expressions of Taurus like money and sex. This placement will have to learn more about the unseen value of experience and presence. Try exercises like conscious, meditative eating where you pause gratefully for 5 minutes with a meal in front of you before diving in. Notice and observe what comes up without judgment.
Detriment in Libra (2017 Dates: October 22-December 9)
While Mars is all about fighting and assertion, Libra is about initiating relationships and this combination can lead to passive aggressive behavior. In Aries, it’s easy to fight our enemy but Mars in Libra has to sit at the table with them and negotiate. This Mars placement is learning how to evolve from an impulsive to a refined human being. Learn to balance instinctive reactions towards your partners’ moves with healthy self-assertion of your own desires.
Fall in Cancer (2017 Dates: June 4-July 20)
Mars will always act out to assert himself as separate, and in Cancer the tendency towards cohesion and bonding leads to a conflict. Mars in Cancers act when they feel safe with their tribe and outside of this familiar context, the impulse to assert the self is repressed. This is a sign where Mars is learning courage. Courage comes through assertion of individuality in the world beyond the tribe (the Capricorn end of the polarity). Practicing action-oriented activities like martial arts will help build the confidence to express your desires!
Fred Steinmann is a New York-based consulting astrologer who advises entrepreneurs, creative professionals, leaders of thought and industry, and all those searching for clarity, guidance, direction, and inspiration during uncertain times. He bases his practice on training and study in Ageless Wisdom, and astrological techniques grounded in 10+ years of professional experience advising clients and colleagues on Wall Street.