Saturday, November 5, 2011

Malefics: Merely Weak or Actually Powerful for Evil?

Generally we are doing talismans for benefic purposes and doing horaries looking for a positive result. When we are looking for a positive result it doesn't much matter to us whether a planet is simply weak or is actively and powerfully malefic, it is not contributing to our positive result.

But clearly there is a difference between being strongly evil or simply weak, how can we see this in the chart?

If you want a powerful talisman you want to make a powerful placement of the planet, benefic or malefic. "Now we shall have the Planets powerfull...when they are in Angles, especially of the rising, or Tenth" Agrippa, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk II, ch 30.

Now for a benefic purpose the election is straightforward. Put the planet in its sign or exaltation or otherwise dignified, rising or culminating, in its day or hour and unafflicted.

But what about for a malefic purpose? Now things get interesting. For example, a benefic planet can be accidentally malefic in a particular chart, Ramesey says, do not

"...think the making a fortune: viz. Jupiter or Venus (which are but generally so) significators, will be beneficial: for it will often prove contrary : for all men are not ruled by Jupiter and Venus; neither (as I say) are they always fortunes: for accidentally they may be infortunes: and when they are Lords of the eighth, twelfth and sixth, they are occasions of sickness, poverty, imprisonment, mischief and death as effectually as Saturn or Mars;"

Astrology Restored p 123-4.

So, for example, if Jupiter in Pisces rules the 8th this can be powerful for death, though likely of a more benign type being Jupiter.

Similarly, if a malefic like Saturn or Mars is strongly dignified, they lose much of their malefic quality, all other factors like house rulership not being considered. Bonatti, Book of Astronomy, TR 5, 34th Consideration, Dykes trans at 289.

On the other hand, being in detriment or fall can powerfully cause evil. A planet in fall "signifies sorrow and prison and distress" Abu Ali Khayyat, "Judgments of Nativities" 9 in Dykes, Introductions to Traditional Astrology at 50.

Yet being combust, a serious affliction as well, indicates weakness. Bonatti, Book of Astronomy, TR 5, 52nd Consideration, Dykes trans at 294. This is because the strength of the combust planet is wiped out by the Sun.

Malefic aspects of malefics are particularly dangerous. The applying square or opposition of a malefic "will destroy [the matter in question]..." Bonatti, Book of Astronomy, TR 5, 34th Consideration, Dykes trans at 289.

So this helps us understand the electional instructions for the pest control talisman explained by Agrippa, which is a malefic talisman at least for the pests! Rats Begone!

In this talisman we use a variety of means of exerting malefic power.

[A]nd thou shall make unfortunate the ascendant, and lord thereof, and the Lord of the house of Mars; and thou shall make unfortunate the lord of the ascendant in the eighth house and let them be joined with an aspect malignant, opposite or quadrant:

Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk. II, Chapter 50, p. 402.

While I don't personally work with malefic talismans or elections, understanding how they work, in particular the difference between merely being weak and actually being powerful for evil is very useful in understand the nuances of traditional astrology.


Anonymous said...

Often dignities of malefics are harmful, for example in Culpeper's Astrological Judgement of Diseases.

Christopher Warnock, Esq said...

As always, it is going to depend on the context!

Definitely there are going to be circumstances where a strong Saturn, eg as ruler of the 8th, is not likely to be a positive indication in an illness chart. Of course a strong Venus as ruler of the 8th is not that good either! \

It is good to realize, however, that "Saturn is bad" again, depends on context.