Exalted and debilitated planets have always remained a major point of discussion among many astrologers as well as among many readers interested in astrology. Many astrologers believe that if a planet is exalted in a horoscope, it will always give benefic results to the native, which means that an exalted planet is always a benefic planet in a horoscope. The same astrologers believe that if a planet is debilitated in a horoscope, it will always give bad results to the native, which means that a debilitated planet always behaves as a malefic planet in a horoscope. Over a period of many years, so many good things have been said about exalted planets and so many bad things have been said about debilitated planets, that a majority of people interested in astrology have fixed their opinions about these planets. These people consider an exalted planet as a blessing in a horoscope and they consider a debilitated planet a curse in a horoscope.
However, this is not true and the exaltation status as well as the debilitation status of a planet has nothing much to do with the working nature of such exalted or debilitated planet in a horoscope. Before continuing with this discussion, let’s first get to know the sign of exaltation as well as the sign of debilitation for each planet among navagraha.
Sun : Sun is exalted in the sign of Aries and Sun is debilitated in the sign of Libra.
Moon : Moon is exalted in the sign Taurus and Moon is debilitated in the sign Scorpio.
Jupiter : Jupiter is exalted in the sign of Cancer and Jupiter is debilitated in the sign of Capricorn.
Venus : Venus is exalted in the sign of Pisces and Venus is debilitated in the sign of Virgo.
Mars : Mars is exalted in the sign of Capricorn and Mars is Debilitated in the sign of Cancer.
Mercury : Mercury is exalted in the sign of Virgo and Mercury is debilitated in the sign of Pisces.
Saturn : Saturn is exalted in the sign of Libra and Saturn is debilitated in the sign of Aries.
Rahu : Rahu is exalted in the sign of Gemini and Rahu is debilitated in the sign of Sagittarius according to one belief of astrology. Rahu is exalted in the sign of Taurus and it is debilitated in the sign of Scorpio according to another belief of astrology.
Ketu : Ketu is exalted in the sign of Sagittarius and Ketu is debilitated in the sign of Gemini according to one belief of astrology. Ketu is exalted in the sign of Scorpio and it is debilitated in the sign of Taurus according to another belief of astrology.
Moving ahead, the placement of a planet in its sign of exaltation only indicates that the planet is very strong and the results produced by this planet are going to be significant ones. But those results may be significantly positive or significantly negative depending on the nature of such exalted planet in a horoscope. For example, exalted and positive Saturn is capable of producing strong positive results regarding the significances ruled by it, regarding the house it is placed in and regarding the planets and houses it aspects. On the other hand, there is almost no planet in a horoscope which may be as destructive as negative and exalted Saturn. Malefic Saturn placed in Libra can be destructive, very destructive or extremely destructive and it can completely destroy the significances of the houses and planets under the effect of its placement or aspects.
I have personally witnessed many cases where Saturn is exalted and negative in the horoscope and the natives are suffering from great pains and difficulties in different fields of their lives depending on the placement of such malefic exalted Saturn in their horoscopes, as well as depending on the overall tone of their horoscopes. The most surprising as well as the most upsetting thing is that most people suffering due to such negative exalted planets are finding the cause of their miseries and sufferings in some other planet. This is because these people believe that an exalted planet simply means a strongly positive planet and it is never supposed to cause any harm. Due to this misconception, they are not able to find the planet responsible for their sufferings till late in their lives, and sometimes throughout their lives. These people just keep guessing about which planet can be the cause of their sufferings and misfortunes.
In some cases, their misconception about an exalted planet in their horoscope is so strong that they are not willing to believe even an astrologer who tells them that an exalted planet in their horoscope is working negatively and it is the root cause of most of their problems. Such people refuse to believe this astrologer and they look for some other astrologer who can find the cause of their problems with some other planet which is not exalted. When it comes to find such planets, the easiest planets in a horoscope to blame for all the sufferings, misfortunes and problems are debilitated planets.
Talking of debilitated planets draws attention to one more misconception that prevails strongly among the people interested in astrology. It is generally believed by most people and many astrologers that a debilitated planet simply means a negative planet and it can only cause problems and sufferings to the native having such debilitated planet in his horoscope. This is again a misconception and a debilitated planet simply means that it lacks strength. Accordingly it may not be able to protect the significances ruled by it in a proper way and so the results produced by such debilitated planet may not be significant ones. But whether those results will be positive or negative has nothing to do with the placement of this planet in its sign of debilitation. The positive or negative results produced by a debilitated planet usually lack the strength which is needed to produce significant results and that is why it is called debilitated or weak. However, a debilitated planet can be malefic as well as benefic and it can even be the most benefic planet in a horoscope in spite of being in its sign of debilitation.
It is the time to know that just like us humans, planets also possess three essential qualities and to be precise, we copy these three essential qualities from these planets, since they influence us. The first one among these qualities is physical strength which means how strong or weak a planet may be when it comes to work and produce results in a horoscope whether such results are positive or negative. The placements of different planets in a various houses of a horoscope, in various signs, and in various nakshatras are some of the most effective ways of measuring the physical strength of these planets. Even among these common measures, the most effective way to measure the strength of a planet among navagraha is to check its placement in a particular sign among the twelve signs, from Aries to Pisces. Each planet among navagraha is the weakest when placed in one of these twelve signs, it lacks strength in some of these signs, it does well in some of these signs, it is strong in some of these signs and it is the strongest in one of these signs.
The sign in which a planet achieves maximum physical strength is called its sign of exaltation and the planet so placed in this sign is called an exalted planet. On the other hand, the sign in which a planet achieves maximum physical weakness is called its sign of debilitation and the planet so placed in this sign is called a debilitated planet. However the presence of different planets in different signs is a measure of their physical strength and such placements do not have much impact on their working nature, though they may certainly affect a part of their working nature in some cases.
The second essential quality possessed by the planets among navagraha is their working nature and the third quality possessed by them is their level of activity. The working nature of a planet is decided based on a complex set of calculations and it is undoubtedly the most complex as well as the most difficult job for an astrologer, when he analyzes a horoscope. The placement of a planet in any one of the twelve signs including its sign of exaltation and its sign of debilitation can have some weight in deciding the working nature of a planet, and nothing more than that. The third essential quality called the level of activity is the virtue which tells us how active or passive a planet may be in a horoscope. It should be noted that physical strength and level of activity are two different things and they should not be confused with each other.
For example, a physically well built person may be passive or lazy whereas as a physically average looking person may be quick and hardworking. Similarly, a physically strong or weak planet may be very active, active, less active or least active in a horoscope.
Hence the working of each planet in a horoscope is defined primarily after calculating these three aspects for such planets in a horoscope, though there are many other factors which may affect the working of a planet in a horoscope. Among these three essential qualities, the exaltation or debilitation status of a planet is just a measure of its physical strength and not much more than that. For example, debilitated Moon placed in the first house of a horoscope in the sign of Scorpio may be very weak by virtue of its debilitation, it may be benefic in that horoscope as decided through a set of calculations done to find out the working nature of a planet, and it may be very active in that horoscope as once again calculated through a set of calculations for the same purpose.
It means that such debilitated Moon will try to do good things for the native every now and then, but it may not be able to produce sufficient good results as it is weak. Hence the native may come across many good opportunities in many spheres of his life from time to time, but most of them may not materialize due to such weakness of benefic Moon. On the other hand, if the same debilitated Moon is placed in the first house of a horoscope, it is malefic and active; it may produce bad results from time to time, though they may also not be significant ones. Hence the native may have to face small issues and tensions from time to time, but they may get sorted in most such cases.
Similarly, exalted Moon placed in the first house of a horoscope in the sign of Taurus may be benefic and active. In this case, such benefic exalted Moon will try to benefit the native and such benefits may be actively felt by the native, many times in his life. This is because such benefic Moon is strong by virtue of its exaltation and hence it can initiate good things, as well as complete them. On the other hand, if exalted Moon is placed in the first house of a horoscope, it is malefic and active; it can trouble the native with intense types of problems which may be actively felt by the native from time to time. This is due to the reason that such malefic Moon is strong and hence it can initiate bad things and then complete them.
Hence the presence of a planet in its sign of exaltation or the presence of a planet in its sign of debilitation is only a measure of its physical strength or weakness and nothing more than that, to a great extent. Therefore a debilitated planet can also be a benefic or even the most benefic planet in a horoscope whereas an exalted planet can also be a malefic or even the most malefic planet in a horoscope. The placement of a planet in a particular sign is not a measure of its working nature and it is more a measure of its physical strength or its style of working in a horoscope. Vedic astrology lays many important guidelines for deciding the working nature of a planet in a horoscope and those guidelines should be used to decide the working nature of a planet in a horoscope. It should be understood that even a debilitated planet can form some of the best yogas in a horoscope if it is benefic in that horoscope. On the other hand, an exalted planet can cause some of the worst types of problems to the native under its impact, if it is working negatively in his horoscope.