Astrologin in Wien Tanja Ristovski Astrologer Tanja Ristovski in Vienna

The malicius ones in traditional astrology

12 Jan 2021 | © Tanja Ristovski
Astrological Counseling in Vienna 2009 - 2023

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 little 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 the words like domicile, detriment and fall or being burnt. However, none of these concepts 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 and for the effect ascribed to the planets, which change with their position on the ecliptic or with the change of other parameters.

Mars and Saturn are called malefic. Their effect relates to the so-called primary qualities that have been assigned to them. Saturn has “cold and dry” quality, Mars  is “warm and dry”. This corresponds to the tradition of ancient Greek philosophy, which ascribes these primary 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 primal element and as a symbol for 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 warm and mobile quality that cools down and thickens as the life ends.

We can see here that "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", it reduces movement and life, so it is called a malefic. Mars is a malefic because it is too warm and it can generate too much movement and excess. However, the effect of a malefics planet always depends on its constellations within the whole.

Translated into everyday life, the astrological malevolence of a malefic planet speaks about something that can have a negative side to it. Take a rose as an example. Even if her appearance is graceful, rose has thorns. Thorn would be the Mars quality of a flower that is otherwise symbolized by gentle Venus. A thorn can hurt so rose has a malefic quality to it. Or, if a beautiful flower is poisonous, that is an additional Saturn quality that is 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 “malicfic” or “evil” in astrological texts based on traditional techniques, and should be understood in metaphorical sense.