Jupiter: The Greater Benefic

Magnanimous, expansive, kingly: the Greater Benefic takes many of its qualities from its namesake Jupiter, the Greco-Roman king of the gods. Abundance is key to this sanguine planet, as is power, representing the native’s fortune and success but signifying despotic attitudes or wastefulness when poorly placed.

Published Categorized as Fundamentals
Jupiter riding in his chariot driven by eagles.
Jupiter in his chariot drawn by eagles. Engraving by J. Sadeler after M. de Vos.

Planet Summary

  • Temperament: Warm, moist – sanguine
  • Color: deep blue
  • Quality: Diurnal Benefic
  • Names: Jupiter, Marduk, Zeus, Jove
  • Rulership: Sagittarius, Pisces
  • Metal: Tin
  • Keywords: Largeness, Generosity, Plenty


Jupiter, the Roman counterpart of the Greek Zeus, was the ruler of the gods and all things, the all-powerful king. When the Greeks became familiar with Mesopotamian astrology, it was only natural that the star of Marduk, the most important god of the Babylonian pantheon, should be associated with Zeus.

As a ruler, Jupiter was seen as a benevolent god, one who could bestow the greatest blessings and glories on those he deemed worthy. His star, as such, is the Greater Benefic in traditional astrology, bearing the greatest benefits and mitigating all harm. Some examples of these blessings, according to the 2nd-century astrologer Vettius Valens, include prosperity, love, inheritance, knowledge, freedom, childbearing, and great gifts.

It is not hard to understand why this particular planet was associated with benefits: it is one of the brightest objects in the sky. According to the astrologer Sue Tompkins, it is three times brighter than Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. Venus, as the vespertine or matutine star, is at times even brighter than Jupiter, but the latter shines equally bright in any part of the sky while Venus is restricted to morning and evening appearances, as the traditional astrologer Deborah Houlding reminds us. The brightness of Jupiter, alongside its vivid blue color, points to its benevolence, as opposed to the dark and obscure Saturn.

Ancient astrologers understood Jupiter as set in the space between Saturn and Mars. These “spheres”, as they were called, affected each other and would collectively influence life on Earth. The sphere of Saturn was marked by its coldness, while the sphere of Mars had extreme heat. Between them, the sphere of Jupiter combined the two extremes in harmony. The 9th-century astrologer Abu Ma’Shar defined it as “hot, moist, airy, temperate”. Neither too hot nor too cold, with the life-giving presence of moisture, the sphere of Jupiter was the ideal environment for growth, pleasure, and comfort.

Jupiter, carrying his thunderbolt, is riding in his chariot over the clouds. The chariot is driven by a pair of eagles.
Jupiter in his chariot, drawn by a pair of eagles. Raphael, 1516.

Childbearing is therefore a theme classically associated with Jupiter. For this reason, this planet is one of the main significators of children in someone’s natal chart. Recall that the Greek Zeus and the Roman Jupiter were known for their sexual activity, which always produced offspring, as Ariel Guttman and Ken Johnson both point out. This is certainly the reasoning behind Jupiter’s rulership over sperm and the uterus.

The Greater Benefic

As the greater benefic, a well-positioned Jupiter is certainly likely to benefit the native. Thanks to its mildly hot and moist nature, Jupiter will favor material themes like prosperity, wealth, and good opportunities. It can also bring fame and fortune – after all, Jupiter is the king of the gods and, as such, it points to greatness. Hence, this planet can indicate powerful and rich people, like business magnates. However, it’s not just about the power that money brings; this planet is also associated with those who are in politically important positions, exercising some sort of authority and associated with some kind of government, such as mayors, senators, or governors, for instance.

The god Jupiter, as the king, acted also as the ultimate judge in disputes. In this sense, this planet is also associated with justice, which brings us to another sort of individual that has power over others: attorneys, judges, or related professionals.

Valens affirmed that Jupiter indicates political ties and friendship with great men. If it is not the native who has power, a well-positioned Jupiter can point to powerful friends, those who can help the native even in delicate or difficult matters. It can also mean financial support from these friends.

Beyond the mundane realm, the planet of the king of the gods is a divine, heavenly being. It does not restrict itself to bringing wealth, good luck, and power, but it is directly related to the most elevated spheres of being and spirituality. As such, Jupiter signifies priests and all sorts of religious authorities, those who devote their lives to a higher truth and that try to bring this knowledge to those who seek it.

Jupiter the sage
Jupiter [Zeus]: the Verospi Jupiter. Engraving by F. Piranesi, 1781, after T. Piroli.

Jupiter is the lord of all and, for this reason, it cares for its people. The religious veneration that Jupiter can denote is also about charity: understanding the higher truth in order to share its benefits with others. In the same manner, this planet signifies charity in a larger sense, all kinds of assistance that one person can give to another.

Jupiterian Qualities in a Person

Those who have a well-positioned Jupiter as an important personal planet – the ruler of the Ascendant, for example – will have an altruistic nature, an urge to help others. Generosity is a Jupiterian virtue.

The other Jupiterian characteristics cited above will also be present in some way in the life of the native: wealth and fame, prosperity, good luck, spiritual devotion, righteousness, friendship and alliances, and fertility. If Jupiter does not signify the native themselves, it could indicate other people in the native’s life that have these characteristics: parents, siblings, friends, or even enemies.

However, Deborah Houlding points out that a weak and ill-dignified Jupiter can bring problems into someone’s life. A Jupiter located in a malefic house, with bad aspects, in its detriment or fall can indicate a person who manifests the Jupiterian characteristics in a disharmonious way. For example, as Jupiter is the planet of abundance, it can predispose excess and luxury; as the king, it points to overconfidence; and as the signifier of growth, it may indicate greed and hoarding.

Other negative aspects of an ill-dignified and weak Jupiter could indicate individuals who are overly pessimistic, do not believe in themselves, or hypocrites, someone who expects to be recognized as a morally righteous person but does not act accordingly.

These negative aspects stem from an afflicted Jupiter that is relevant to the personality of the individual. Apart from affecting the personality of the native, other negative aspects that it can bring include wastefulness, opportunities that do not go as expected, gambling with bad results, and powerful enemies, among other possibilities.

Jupiter and the signs

Among the signs, Jupiter rules Sagittarius and Pisces and exalts in Cancer. These are the territories over which Jupiter has power and, for this reason, it experiences an affinity with these signs. Since Jupiter is regarded as a diurnal planet, its characteristics are closer to Sagittarius, a diurnal sign. Here, we have the deliberation and interest in higher truth that characterizes Jupiter; besides that, centaurs were festive and occasionally prone to excess. The combination of Jupiter, a hot and moist planet, with Sagittarius, a hot and dry sign, emphasizes the interest in expanding to vast horizons – freedom is a quality of both the planet and the sign.

Pisces, on the other hand, is a nocturnal sign, wet, and cold, bringing Jupiter to a more sober, introspective, and discreet manifestation. Pisces connects to the search for spiritual truth that is done through devotion, self-contemplation, and uninterested charity. As a sign ruled by Jupiter, it points to righteous, altruistic people who are not so interested in being recognized.

Cancer, a water sign ruled by the Moon, is considered a particularly fertile sign. Naturally, the planet that brings offspring would be exalted in a sign so adequate for giving birth to new life. For its relation to the Moon, Cancer is also a sign that signifies the comfort and pleasure that a home can bring; this kind of comfort and relaxation is also a characteristic of Jupiter since it is related to benefits of all kinds.

On the other hand, Jupiter is in detriment in Mercury-ruled signs, like Virgo and Gemini. Both these signs are related to a certain kind of pragmatism that does not relate to Jupiter. The king of gods is related to greatness and the higher truth, contrasting to the practicality of Mercury, which rules communication and knowledge without the pretension of achieving anything higher.

Capricorn is its fall. It is ruled by Saturn, an infertile planet that speaks of death and restriction. Jupiter does not want to be restricted, as such an inadequate environment for growth can produce nothing; here, Jupiter is a king in fall, one who has lost his power and belongings, cut off from greatness.

Other Rulerships

In the body, Jupiter rules the thighs and the feet, both areas related to the signs that it rules, Sagittarius and Pisces, respectively. Deborah Houlding points to an even earlier association between the thighs and the god Jupiter. In Homer’s poems, the thigh of a ceremonial beast was offered to Jupiter, the most sacred offering of all. Quoting Knud Mariboe, it is said that the thigh was understood by the ancients as the part of the body that allows human beings to be erect, which makes the thigh the symbol of movement and, as such, of freedom and the search for higher ideals.

As cited before, Valens also attributed the rulership of the sperm and uterus to Jupiter. Another important rulership of Jupiter is the liver, the largest solid organ of the body. The researcher Scott Whitters pointed to the fact that the liver was related to Jupiter not only for its size but because it was understood as the organ responsible for the distribution of the four humors that composes the human body according to medieval medicine, a function that is related to Jupiter’s airy nature. Air and the sanguine humor were associated with Jupiter; the unrestricted movement of air relates to the freedom of this planet. The sanguine temperament was that of righteous and optimistic people, willing to do what is just. The capacity to temper the excesses and follow what is right is something that Jupiter can bring – even as a planet related to growth, if it is well-dignified, there is no imbalance. For its airy and sanguine nature, Jupiter is capable of harmony, and for this reason, it is the greater benefic.


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