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The idea of a ‘planetary affliction’ comes as a heritage from classical astrology. Although scarcely used in a modern interpretation, it comes into play in Horary or Electional charts.
The term ‘affliction’ refers to essential and accidental debilities, as Morin de Villefranche stated for the first time in his ‘Astrologia Gallica‘. The term essential debility means that the planet’s negative state is associated with its position in an unsuitable sign, namely in Fall, Exile or Peregrine (we consider Peregrine a planet in a neutral position, e.g. Mars Gemini). Sometimes retrograde planets are considered to be part of it, as well as a planet in Ferality (without any aspect).
On the other side, accidental debilities refer to negative factors coming from the outside of the planet itself or to circumstances that prevent the planet from achieving its goals. They include:
- Negative aspects with other planets, especially the outer ones, mainly if the grater and the lesser malefic (traditionally Saturn and Mars) are in poor condition.
- Planets slow in motion, i.e. close to a retrogradation.
- Planets placed in 12th, 8th or 6th House, although some astrologers don’t agree with the evil action of the 12th House.
- Planets between 8 and 17 degrees of arc from the Sun, called combust or ‘burned by the Sun’. Surprisingly enough, when the planet is close to the Sun or in conjunction with a difference of no more than 16′ (cazimi), it is considered in dignity, except Mars.
- Planets conjunct the South Node (Cauda Draconis) or close to Algol (Beta Perseus, Taurus 25° 12′).
- Planets in the ‘combust path’ (from Libra 13° to Scorpio 9°).