A brief commentary on planetary essences

by Pablo Ianiszewski F.

Why do we talk about benefic and malefic planets? Does it not predispose us to conceive existence from a negative point of view? Ancient astrologers had no qualms about recognizing a duality of light and darkness, of life and death, of creative and destructive forces throughout creation. From Zoroaster to Heraclitus, from Viasa to Hermes, the recognition of cosmic dualism is fundamental in all reflections on nature, both in the East and the West. Ignoring this reality does nothing to suppress the polarity that organizes the structure of the universe.

As I have noted elsewhere, traditional astrology has strong philosophical roots. The primal qualities of nature, articulated by Aristotle, are of special relevance to understanding why certain celestial bodies are beneficial and others are not. All beings can be reduced to four essential essences, which account for their intrinsic nature, namely the qualities of hotness, coldness, wetness, and dryness. From the combination of hot and dry comes the fire; from cold and wet, the water rises; from hot and wet comes the air; and from cold with dry the earth rises. It is these four elements that give substance to everything that exists, including the essential nature of the planets. In this context, Saturn is cold and dry; Jupiter is hot and wet; Mars is hot and dry; the Sun is hot and dry; Venus is cold and wet; Mercury is cold and dry; the Moon is cold and wet.

Anyone with a basic knowledge of agriculture, or who has observed for some time the conditions of nature, will know that hot and wet (jungle) is very favorable for life. The cold and wet (coast) is also propitious, but not so much. The hot and dry (desert) often hinders the development of life, while the cold and dry (tundra) is terribly hostile to everything alive. Here is why there are some planets designated as benefic and others malefic. Jupiter is benefic because it is moderately hot and wet. Venus is the lesser benefic because it is moderately cold and wet. Saturn is the great malefic because it is extremely cold and dry. Mars is the lesser malefic because it is extremely hot and dry. The Sun is relatively benefic because it is moderately hot and dry, but can act as malefic when its heat is greatly increased. The Moon is relatively benefic because it is moderately cold and wet, but becomes evil when it is in the waning phase. Finally Mercury changes according to the accidents and conditions with which it is related, being variable in coldness and dryness. It is so in astrology, benefic is the pro-life and evil the opposite of it.

If more than three thousand years of meticulous observation of nature by philosophers, astrologers and alchemists is not convincing enough, then make your own observations to corroborate or rule out the existence of a natural reality beyond the subjective needs of the human ego. Of course, we accept the existence of those who do not want to deal with reality, preferring what makes them feel more secure. We do not want to snatch them from that position. These words are addressed to those who wish to get out of the psychological maze and look beyond the defensive strategies we use to deal with our anxiety before the world. Nature exists and can teach us much, but for this we must lose our fear and accept existence with its lights and shadows. Life is duality. Denying dualism is one of the roots of neurosis; to transcend it is the goal of the spiritual path.

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