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Weak malefics - even more malefic?
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Yair Alon



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Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:14 am    Post subject: Weak malefics - even more malefic? Reply with quote

I have a question which is quite basic, but I see some disagreement regarding this in different authors, and then I would like to hear your opinion: weak malefics act even in a more malefic way or they do less harm? For example, what happens if Mars is combust, retrograde and, say, squared by Saturn?

The opposite can also be asked.... If Saturn is exalted, for example, it is less malefic or his effects are even worse? What happens when a malefic is dignified?

Thank you all and Best Regards
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AstroNovice



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Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not an expert here, but I recall reading that combustion makes a planet weaker, whether it be in its ability to be beneficial or malefic. So according to what I have read, a combust mars would be less malefic.

If a malefic is exalted or in its domicile, it is supposed to be less malefic because a planet in its exalted or domicile sign is better able to channel its energy towards constructive ends. Likewise, a malefic in fall or detriment will tend to express its energies in a less constructive way. Regardless of the essential dignity of a malefic though, a malefic is still a malefic.

This is just my understanding of the issue though, others more knowledgeable than myself might be more helpful.
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jventura



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Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AstroNovice wrote:
I'm not an expert here, but I recall reading that combustion makes a planet weaker, whether it be in its ability to be beneficial or malefic. So according to what I have read, a combust mars would be less malefic.


Hi Astronovice,

You got it wrong there. A combustion is a debility which affects the expression of the combusted planet whether is malefic or benefic. And to know the source of that "interference" we must see who or what is the Sun in the chart.

For instance, imagine that Mars rules the 10th house of a nativity chart, and so it represents the career of a person. Imagine then that the sun is the ruler of the 7th house and it represents the spouse or "other people".

Now imagine that both are conjunct in a house, let's say the 4th. We could say that the person works in something related to his family or he works at home (4th house meanings, from Mars in the 4th). The combustion, in this case, would be interpreted as the fact that authorities (generic meaning of the sun), business partners or the spouse (7th house meanings) affect the career of the person while he/she is working in home or in his/her family business..

You have got to see things in its context, and these things are very simple. And, in traditional astrology, these things have a real and practical context. In this case, it could be that his wife does not want him working in the house, and she makes his work almost impossible to be made! Very Happy

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João Ventura
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, AstroNovice has got it right, if by 'right' we mean a traditional opinion. For instance, in discussing fatal directions, Ptolemy is clear that combust malefics do not harm, just as combust benefics do not help.

Personally, though, I have some reservations about the way combustion is described in ancient and medieval texts -- it just doesn't agree with my experience. Combustion does do something, but it doesn't have the sort of 'black hole' effect typically described.

But the original question reflects a problem that Ben Dykes has addressed more than once, namely, the broad and sweeping use of terms like 'strong/weak' in astrology. Some forms of what is often called strength may make the effects of a malefic worse, while other forms may make them better. Again speaking from personal experience, I would say that the two malefics aspecting each other (especially by square/opposition) is always bad news, and even more so when badly placed by sign. These factors definitely increase their malevolence.
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zoidsoft



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Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Gansten wrote:
...I would say that the two malefics aspecting each other (especially by square/opposition) is always bad news, and even more so when badly placed by sign. These factors definitely increase their malevolence.


Valens gives one example where the square by sign of malefics if in their own domiciles can "turn into the opposite"; that is be beneficial for the native, but at the expense of others (as Schmidt would say), like Mars in Scorpio square Saturn in Aquarius. He does suggest though that because they are malefics, that in the end something bad comes of it.

See Book 1, pg 17 Riley translation (I suspect error in inserting a "not" here because of the general principle that planets in their own domiciles and exaltations are beneficial and help to turn around negative aspects):

Quote:
21K;19P. The Combinations of the Stars.
...Saturn and Mars are hostile, productive of reversals and ruin. They bring family quarrels, disharmony, and hatred, along with treachery, plots, malevolence, and trials. However, if these stars are not in their own or in operative signs, and if they have benefics in aspect, they produce distinguished and noble nativities, although unsteady in their happiness and prone to unexpected dangers and treachery.


From Riley, Bk 2, pg 31:

Quote:
Likewise if Mars is in Scorpio <its>, in opposition to the moon in Taurus, not only will there be no reversals of fortune, but in fact the stars will produce success and high rank.

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jventura



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Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Gansten wrote:
Actually, AstroNovice has got it right, if by 'right' we mean a traditional opinion. For instance, in discussing fatal directions, Ptolemy is clear that combust malefics do not harm, just as combust benefics do not help.


Hi Martin, I tried to find a paragraph in Tetrabiblos which would mention anything related to combustion, but couldn't find any. Is it in Tetrabiblos? Would you care to point to the book number and/or paragraph number?

However, I could find some references in "newer" authors, like Guido Bonatus for which his 53rd consideration says something like: "If the significator is under-the-sun, he will have little effectiveness in any subject..". A note by Lilly says that Guido is talking about for angular distances less than 12 degrees (but not Cazimi, though).

Also, in Christian Astrology, page 113, William Lilly describes Combustion in terms of angular distances and uses a lot of times the word "affliction" (or distress). In the end of that section, he gives an example on the lines of "The significator of the Querent combust, shows him or her in great fear, and overpowered by some great person".

These are the only books that I have immediate access to, although it seems to me that Combustion is perceived as a debility, independently of the significator being benefic or malefic. At least, accordingly to Lilly and Guido, so maybe there was a change since Ptolomy?


Martin Gansten wrote:

But the original question reflects a problem that Ben Dykes has addressed more than once, namely, the broad and sweeping use of terms like 'strong/weak' in astrology. Some forms of what is often called strength may make the effects of a malefic worse, while other forms may make them better.


Yes, it's a matter of terminology which may confusing in the long run. Perhaps sometimes people use strong/weak instead of positive/negative effects..


By the way, for Yair Alon, there is this old thread from 2004 which is not quite this discussion here, but may provide some more answers regarding Combustion. I haven't read it fully, though..


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João Ventura
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jventura wrote:
Hi Martin, I tried to find a paragraph in Tetrabiblos which would mention anything related to combustion, but couldn't find any. Is it in Tetrabiblos? Would you care to point to the book number and/or paragraph number?

Yes, the passage I was thinking of (I'm sure there are others) is in the Tetrabiblos: III.10 in the Robbins edition, III.11 in Hübner. Here is Robbins's translation (pp. 285-287):

Quote:
For in general we must not admit any planet, either to destroy or to aid, that is under the rays of the sun, except that when the moon is prorogator the place of the sun itself is destructive, when it is changed about by the presence of a maleficent planet and is not released by any of the beneficent ones.

I think it's right to say that combustion is an affliction (though not, perhaps, as grievous as most older sources make out). But it's a kind of affliction that, to some extent, drains a planet and makes it difficult for it to accomplish what it wants to do. If that planet is a malefic, at least part of what it wants to do may be to harm the native (or someone else), and so impeding that may seem like a good thing; but if the malefic in question happens to be in charge of something important in the chart, it may not be that good after all. Life is complex. Very Happy
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AstroNovice



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Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Gansten wrote:
jventura wrote:
Hi Martin, I tried to find a paragraph in Tetrabiblos which would mention anything related to combustion, but couldn't find any. Is it in Tetrabiblos? Would you care to point to the book number and/or paragraph number?

Yes, the passage I was thinking of (I'm sure there are others) is in the Tetrabiblos: III.10 in the Robbins edition, III.11 in Hübner. Here is Robbins's translation (pp. 285-287):

Quote:
For in general we must not admit any planet, either to destroy or to aid, that is under the rays of the sun, except that when the moon is prorogator the place of the sun itself is destructive, when it is changed about by the presence of a maleficent planet and is not released by any of the beneficent ones.

I think it's right to say that combustion is an affliction (though not, perhaps, as grievous as most older sources make out). But it's a kind of affliction that, to some extent, drains a planet and makes it difficult for it to accomplish what it wants to do. If that planet is a malefic, at least part of what it wants to do may be to harm the native (or someone else), and so impeding that may seem like a good thing; but if the malefic in question happens to be in charge of something important in the chart, it may not be that good after all. Life is complex. Very Happy


Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't it also have the effect of making a planet/matters of the houses ruled by that planet secretive and hidden in nature?
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AstroNovice wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't it also have the effect of making a planet/matters of the houses ruled by that planet secretive and hidden in nature?

It often has those connotations in horary astrology, at least. I'm not sure whether it does so in nativities.
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jventura



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Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin Gansten wrote:

Yes, the passage I was thinking of (I'm sure there are others) is in the Tetrabiblos: III.10 in the Robbins edition, III.11 in Hübner. Here is Robbins's translation (pp. 285-287):

Quote:
For in general we must not admit any planet, either to destroy or to aid, that is under the rays of the sun, except that when the moon is prorogator the place of the sun itself is destructive, when it is changed about by the presence of a maleficent planet and is not released by any of the beneficent ones.



I have some reservations in going from this excerpt to the conclusion that a combusted malefic gets less malefic (and thus less destructive). I guess that the following sentence is the culprit:

Quote:
For in general we must not admit any planet, either to destroy or to aid, that is under the rays of the sun


However, I don't know if the generalization is valid, because we must not forget that this sentence is included in a larger explanation of a method (On the Length of Life, in this case). Maybe Ptolemy is just saying that combusted planets are not valid for this specific method only?

I just wished older authors summarized better their ideas.. Smile
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jventura



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Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AstroNovice wrote:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't it also have the effect of making a planet/matters of the houses ruled by that planet secretive and hidden in nature?


In the natural, real world, the Sun is so bright that it hides every planet and star near it. In the astrological sense, one of the generic meanings of combustion is that the combusted planets are not so "visible", hence, their actions and expressions are not so easy nor visible.

But things should be seen in their contexts, like I've shown in an illustrative example above. Sometimes keywords such as "secretive" or "hidden" make sense to describe the actions of the combusted planet, sometimes they don't. The context is the key, and this holds true for horary and nativities.


João Ventura
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Martin Gansten
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Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jventura wrote:
I have some reservations in going from this excerpt to the conclusion that a combusted malefic gets less malefic (and thus less destructive).

Oh, I'm not asking you to. I was merely pointing out that the view reported by AstroNovice is a perfectly traditional one. It is found in other authors than Ptolemy, and in other contexts than length-of-life procedures, but the Ptolemy reference was the one I could produce without looking for it. Whether it's true in practice is a different (and probably more complex) matter.
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james_m



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Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i like yairs question and saw it the other day on a facebook astrology group page as well... i have enjoyed reading the different comments by other posters.

my own way of answering this question is more of a 'wet' as opposed to 'dry' manner... these are terms lee lehman uses in some of her books - the most recent one 'classical solar returns' being the one i am reading now. like yin and yang, or day and night - wet and dry - words sometimes used to describe temperament - are both necessary..

when i look at a chart, i will often try to find the area of the chart that has the most potential for conflict and difficulty.. although it might be directly related to the planets defined as malefic, i don't necessarily think of it this way.. i also include the other outer planets as essentially malefic in nature if for no other reason that we are 'less aware' of the energy connected with them.. but to the specific question of yairs here are my thoughts.

astrology is an art that is a combination of many ways of processing the info.. if a malefic is in a sign it isn't well suited to, it isn't going to function as well as if it is in a sign that it has an obvious affinity for.. just on the basis of sign position - a malefic in it's own sign is a big positive and one in a sign of it's fall or opposite is a net negative.. one also has to consider the house position.. planets on angles have the ability to act for good or bad.. take that info with the sign position and combine it... a planet can be in good celestial state( sign position) but weak terrestrial position (house placement). these are terms morin uses. a planet in good celestial state and weak terrestrially means the good that could come from the malefic is not allowed to come forth as easily... you can do the reverse to get an idea of how a malefic in poor celestial state, but on an angle is essentially quite negative..

now an astrologer has to also factor in aspect relationships with other planet as any engagement with a malefic by hard aspect to an inner personal planet is going to cause difficulty, no matter if the malefic is in strong or weak celestial and terrestrial state.. the difficulty will be experienced more directly in connection with the inner planets that are being touched.. obviously certain planets work more favourably with each other - mercury and saturn for example.. all of this has to be considered..malefics in favourable aspect to others via the trine and sextile are more of a blessing as i see it, although i am simplifying it.

astrology is complicated - it goes without saying! a simple answer is not impossible, but might imply the need to ignore other details to get a simple answer.. it is also trite to say each chart needs to be examined individually.

so in closing i am going to answer the question in a simple way that i think holds true based on my own observations..

a weak malefic is not good as in the case of saturn it implies a lack of wisdom, responsibility and discipline necessary to move forward in life effectively.. it will be made worse if it is in an angular house and in hard aspect to other planets, regardless of what house it rules. essentially the ability of saturn to work effectively is more problematic given it's weak position whether by sign or house..

a weak mars is also a problem as it means not being able to effectively assert oneself, or suffering from the abuse and bullying of others and responding inappropriately as opposed to decisively.. put mars in cancer in an angular house and it brings it out in the open more.. fair better would be a mars in capricorn in an angular house, then mars in cancer, although mars does have an affinity with the water element and in a night chart would not be as problematical as i see it. mars in libra is more of a problem as i see it. it would depend on other factors.. put the mars in cancer in a cadent house and it implies an inability to act decisively or with strength and conviction as well, but it is not on an angle to come out easily.. i think it might be better in some regards, but the person is a weaker character in some way as i see it.

start factoring in aspect relationships, not to mention the outer planets ability to function as malefics and it gets more complicated..

"Weak malefics - even more malefic?" - simple answer from james - yes for the rationale outlined above..
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James wrote:
Quote:


Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:57 pm Post subject: Reply with quote
i like yairs question and saw it the other day on a facebook astrology group page as well... i have enjoyed reading the different comments by other posters.

my own way of answering this question is more of a 'wet' as opposed to 'dry' manner... these are terms lee lehman uses in some of her books - the most recent one 'classical solar returns' being the one i am reading now. like yin and yang, or day and night - wet and dry - words sometimes used to describe temperament - are both necessary..

when i look at a chart, i will often try to find the area of the chart that has the most potential for conflict and difficulty.. although it might be directly related to the planets defined as malefic, i don't necessarily think of it this way.. i also include the other outer planets as essentially malefic in nature if for no other reason that we are 'less aware' of the energy connected with them.. but to the specific question of yairs here are my thoughts.

astrology is an art that is a combination of many ways of processing the info.. if a malefic is in a sign it isn't well suited to, it isn't going to function as well as if it is in a sign that it has an obvious affinity for.. just on the basis of sign position - a malefic in it's own sign is a big positive and one in a sign of it's fall or opposite is a net negative.. one also has to consider the house position.. planets on angles have the ability to act for good or bad.. take that info with the sign position and combine it... a planet can be in good celestial state( sign position) but weak terrestrial position (house placement). these are terms morin uses. a planet in good celestial state and weak terrestrially means the good that could come from the malefic is not allowed to come forth as easily... you can do the reverse to get an idea of how a malefic in poor celestial state, but on an angle is essentially quite negative..

now an astrologer has to also factor in aspect relationships with other planet as any engagement with a malefic by hard aspect to an inner personal planet is going to cause difficulty, no matter if the malefic is in strong or weak celestial and terrestrial state.. the difficulty will be experienced more directly in connection with the inner planets that are being touched.. obviously certain planets work more favourably with each other - mercury and saturn for example.. all of this has to be considered..malefics in favourable aspect to others via the trine and sextile are more of a blessing as i see it, although i am simplifying it.

astrology is complicated - it goes without saying! a simple answer is not impossible, but might imply the need to ignore other details to get a simple answer.. it is also trite to say each chart needs to be examined individually.

so in closing i am going to answer the question in a simple way that i think holds true based on my own observations..

a weak malefic is not good as in the case of saturn it implies a lack of wisdom, responsibility and discipline necessary to move forward in life effectively.. it will be made worse if it is in an angular house and in hard aspect to other planets, regardless of what house it rules. essentially the ability of saturn to work effectively is more problematic given it's weak position whether by sign or house..

a weak mars is also a problem as it means not being able to effectively assert oneself, or suffering from the abuse and bullying of others and responding inappropriately as opposed to decisively..


I feel these are very important considerations. When Saturn is weak, we may have trouble doing things systematically and in an ordered way; when Mars is weak, our ability to defend ourselves may be compromised... This is also showing where the traditional differentiation between malefics and benefics breaks down, to a degree. We need all these forces or functions; they are all good for us as long as they are balanced.
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Michael Sternbach



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Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if any of you traditionalists can help me here. I keep running into cases of "debilitated" malefics that don't seem to manifest themselves as one would expect according to the classical rules.

Please take a look at the chart of Nikola Tesla.
http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8254&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30

This man was one of the greatest inventors in history and also known for his excellent mathematical abilities. How are we to reconcile this with Saturn in a nocturnal chart being in his detriment Cancer, under the Sun's beams, in a cadent house, and throwing some tough aspects? What particularly baffles me is Mercury's applying conjunction (okay, he is dignified by being in his domicile but that's about it).

Likewise for Albert Einstein, without a doubt another brilliant thinker.
http://skyscript.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8254&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=75

Saturn in his fall in Aries, under the Sun's beams, in a cadent house (even though this depends on the house system used) and, hey, Mercury in exact applying conjunction.

Thoughts, anybody?
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