Astrologin in Wien Tanja Ristovski Astrologer Tanja Ristovski in Vienna

The malicius ones in traditional astrology

Author Tanja Ristovski
12 Jan 2021 | © Tanja Ristovski
Astrological Counseling in Vienna 2009 - 2024

The modern reader who encounters traditional astrology for the first time is often repelled by terms such as "malicious" or "evil". Here, you will find a guide that should put these terms in the right perspective.

Ancient astrologers categorized the seven planets visible to the naked eye into malefics and benefics. They also introduced terms such as dignity, exile and fall, or combustion. None of these terms are to be taken literally, nor are they a reflection of social conditions or the naive spirit of antiquity. These are metaphors for the expression of the planets and the effects attributed to them, which change with their position on the ecliptic or with changes in other parameters.

Mars and Saturn are called malefics. Their effect relates to the so-called primary qualities ascribed to them. Saturn has a "cold and dry" quality, while Mars is "warm and dry." That corresponds to the tradition of ancient Greek philosophy, which assigns these properties to the primary elements such as fire, earth, air, and water and deduces their effect from them.

Heraclitus, a pre-Socratic philosopher, understood fire as a primary element and symbol of eternal movement and the essence of the world — everything is a process, everything flows, and everything is in a state of development. He understood death as a transformation of the warm and mobile quality that cools and thickens as life ends.

As we can see here,  "cold" has a negative connotation because this quality reduces liveliness and movement. Warm has a positive connotation because it induces movement and life. Saturn is "cold"; cold reduces movement, so Saturn is called a malefic.  Mars is malefic because it is too warm and can produce too much movement and excesses. However, the effect of a malefic planet always depends on its constellations within the whole.

Translated into everyday life, the astrological malevolence of a malefic planet means that something has a negative side to it. Take a rose as an example. Even if her appearance is graceful, the rose has thorns. Thorn is the Martian quality of a flower,  otherwise symbolized by gentle Venus. A thorn can hurt, so a rose has a malefic quality to it. Or, if a beautiful flower is poisonous, it has an additional Saturnian quality, a malefic feature of otherwise pleasant to the eye flower. It depends upon the application and handling of the flower whether it can develop its evil effect.

So is the use of terms such as "malefic" or "evil" in astrological texts based on traditional techniques, which should be understood metaphorically.