• Basha

MALEFIC, BENEFIC, or neither? an argument for NEUTRALITY...

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

Along with attending many seminars & online webinars, Steven Forrest's The Inner Sky, is one of the texts I'm studying in my current curriculum for beginner-Astrology. Published in 1984, the form of English language the book uses to explain astrological concepts is quite modern and relatable - much easier to understand compared to many archaic Astrology texts. I also really enjoy the way the topics and chapters are ordered. Forrest truly does his best to deconstruct the the individual layers that intertwine and overlap into the kaleidoscope-like practice of Astrology.

In beginning this website & process of divination, I'd like to share with readers my notes from my foundational studies of Astrology. That way, when we really get into the minutiae of archetype and narrative analyses, we can all be on the same page.

So, I suppose it would only be appropriate to begin with the first of Forrest's:

7 Basic Principles of Astrology

Forrest presents these principles as disclaimer-like statements, of which he believes everyone should understand before they embark on a modern understanding of Astrology.

With that said, here's a disclaimer of my own: these are a beginner's notes and passion-projects; a little Astrology baby, dipping her toes into the cosmos. So if I ever tend to take on a voice of authority in my prose, please disregard it. I'm no authority on the subject, this is just what I think I'm learning from The Inner Sky and other sources of Astrological studies.

Below are simply my personal notes & thoughts on Steven Forrest's 1st "Principle of Astrology." Again, I would like to invite all those who are more informed on the depths of Astrology to please grace this Astro-bb (me), with your corrections and feedback!

#1 Astrological Symbols are Neutral

This first concept delineates that, when it comes to astrological symbols, there are no such things as "good symbols" or "bad symbols,"...which is kinda confusing.

If you're an astrology enthusiast, you've probably heard the words "benefic," and "malefic," thrown around a lot when describing certain planets - words which literally translate to "doing good," and "doing evil."

So what's the deal here? Why are we starting right off the bat with a giant contradiction?

I think Forrest believes that a practice of creating more neutral-versions of the existing archetypes is necessary. Yes, Astrology is an ancient practice, but one that is meant to evolve with the transits of times. Maybe the only way this hieroglyphic-language will survive is if we can evolve the words we use to describe their symbols.

If you were to study older versions of astrology and mysticism, you would find that Mars and Saturn are malefic symbols, and that their placement in the birthchart are a premonition to bad luck and misfortune in one aspect or other. The opposite used to be true for Venus and Jupiter - the traditionally benefic planets, who offer luck and good fortune by contrast.

With the times, Astrologers have learned to refine this language a bit - making it more neutral, and more accurate.

Mars is no longer strictly the "aggressive malefic", but rather our inner "assertiveness coach." When neutralized, the planet becomes a symbol of the psychological function that rules: the development of will, and the expansion of courage.

However, any function is bound to be prone to dysfunction. Only when Mars is acting dysfunctionally within a person does their temper become vulnerable to triggering. They become prone to rage, selfishness, insensitivity, cruelty, sadism, etc... Yikes. It's not a pretty shadow, but it's no longer the only side to Mars if we choose to throw out this archaic rigidness in the language. If we choose to start at neutral, we can then determine if we are dealing with a dysfunctional Mars behaving with maleficence, or a perfectly functional Mars - who may even be manifesting...beneficially?

With this neutrality, Saturn also gains some even-ground. He is no longer confined to the fixed idea of "the greater malefic." From a more neutral perspective, we can see Saturn as our inner "discipline coach." Representing the function in the psyche that rules: the development of self-discipline, self-respect, and making peace with solitude. Unfortunately though, Saturn's dysfunctions are no joke either. They include depression, cynicism, jadedness, loosing creativity, materialism, etc. These psychological dysfunctions are no walk-in-the-park, probably what earned Saturn all its initial infamy. But in a possibility for the existence of a neutral Saturn, we now have a representation for a way out of those malefic states to more stable ones - maybe even manifesting with beneficence? I'm sure we can all benefit from being more disciplined in one area or another of our lives.

In adjusting the astrological language, we remove the vocabulary of doom&gloom along with that of rainbows & unicorns. No more fortunetelling-Astrology, hello self-realization.

Remove those biases, and hopefully we have entered a more neutral practice. One where we are able to identify neutral energies & archetypes, and analyse the meanings in their intermingling.

What does a chart - a hieroglyphic story - start to look like when shift our perspective to more neutral ground? This first of Forrest's "Principles of Astrology," allows the capacity to see more multi-dimensionality in the symbolic story of a birthchart; making the practice of reading astrological symbolism more vast, and more accurate.

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