The planetary affliction in modern astrology

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Italian version

The “planetary affliction” concept stems from classical astrology, although it is not commonly utilized in modern interpretations. However, it can still be relevant in Horary or Electional charts.

In his work ‘Astrologia Gallica’, Morin de Villefranche coined the term ‘affliction’ to refer to both essential and accidental debilities. Essential debility occurs when a planet is in an unfavourable sign, namely in Fall, Exile, or Peregrine (which refers to a planet in a neutral position, like Mars in Gemini). This can also include retrograde planets and planets without any aspect, known as in Ferality.

On the flip side, accidental debilities pertain to detrimental factors originating from external sources or circumstances that impede a planet’s ability to accomplish its objectives. These may encompass:

  1. Negative aspects with other planets, especially the outer ones, mainly if Saturn and Mars (known as the greater and lesser malefic traditionally) are in poor condition.
  2. Planets slow in motion, i.e., close to a retrogradation.
  3. Planets in the 12th, 8th or 6th House. However, not all astrologers share the same opinion regarding the 12th House.
  4. Planets referred to as ‘combust’ or ‘burned by the Sun’ when they are located 8 to 17 degrees of arc away from it. However, it is interesting to note that if a planet is in close proximity to the Sun or in conjunction with a maximum difference of 16′ (cazimi), it is generally considered to be in a position of dignity, except Mars.
  5. Planets conjunct the South Node (Cauda Draconis) or close to Algol (Beta Perseus, Taurus 25° 12′).
  6. Planets in the “combust path” (from Libra 13° to Scorpio 9°).