Understanding Benefic and Malefic Planets in Astrology
INSIDE: Astrological planets play the main role in bringing certain energies into our reality. While some planets bring the energy of ease and positivity into our lives, others invite intense energies to teach us important lessons. Let's discover what there is to know about benefic and malefic planets.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, being optimistic can make a direct impact on our overall health later in life. Astrology says that how optimistic we are about life depends on planetary placements, and particularly, the placement of benefic planets.
Planets work on both conscious and subconscious energetic level, and their influence can manifest in our behavior, thoughts, and feelings.
Let's uncover the nature of the ten planets, and see how that energy can manifest in our lives by learning about benefic and malefic planets.
What are Malefic and Benefic Planets?
Based on their inherent nature and what they represent in the world of astrology, we can divide planets into two main categories: benefic and malefic planets. In other words, while all planets in astrology have their positive and negative sides, and while all can manifest in our lives in both good and bad ways, each planet offers either an inherently positive or negative energy.
What Are Benefic Planets?
Some planets, no matter how badly they are afflicted, are inherently positive in their essence. Because of that, they are likely to offer a positive influence in our lives. These planets that usually show up as positive influences in our charts are inherently benefic planets.
What Are Malefic Planets?
Other planets, however, no matter how well they are expected, can always show at least some of their bad nature. They are considered to be malefic planets as they are associated with energies that are typically harder to deal with. In other words, it is in their nature to cause disruption, delays, or put blockages in our way.
Even when they are well-aspected and placed in a natal chart, there is a likelihood that there will be at least some indication of their bad side, whether it is presented inwardly or in how we show up in the world. For example, when Mars is afflicted, we can become easily impulsive, frustrated, and even aggressive.
What Do Benefic and Malefic Planets Have in Common?
What both benefic and malefic planets have in common is that they teach us important life lessons and help shape our personalities. The only difference is in how challenging and difficult those lessons are.
While lessons with benefic planets are easy to moderately difficult, lessons with malefic planets offer a hard to expert level of difficulty. Both are valuable, and both can lead us to who we are meant to become; it’s just that with malefic planets' rewards and results are a bit slower to come.
Now, let’s see what all this means, and what makes planets malefic or beneficial so that we can better understand their effect on our lives...
What Are the Benefic Planets?
Benefic planets are here to make our lives easier. Even when they are afflicted, their light is dimmed, but it still shines, which is why they are seen as positive influences in anyone’s chart. In the case of affliction, their positive qualities are milder, but they are still there to some degree. Even then, these planets rarely if ever cause us major troubles in life.
The benefic planets are the Sun, Moon, Venus, and Jupiter. They bring us ease and harmony, they encourage and motivate, and they generally help us learn life lessons in a more pleasant, fun way.
Let’s see how...
The luminary Sun in astrology is our vital force, the force of life, and our source of light. Therefore, it is a beneficial influence that illuminates everything it touches, even if that is a heavy-aspected planet in detriment.
As such, its influence is generally empowering, it boosts our energy and self-confidence, and serves as a powerful motivating force. Even when it’s afflicted among benefic and malefic planets, the Sun still shines and encourages us to be authentic, go after what we want, and follow our true path.
When it’s in good aspects, we find embracing personal power an easy task. With difficult Sun aspects, we can struggle on that path, but will eventually get there with a little trial and error. The Sun will help us push through and overcome challenges by strengthening our willpower and giving us the much-needed determination to succeed.
The second luminary, the Moon illuminates our path through the darkness and helps us find ways to overcome fear and connect with the Divine.
The Moon represents our emotional selves and brings empathy, love, and kindness to any situation. It helps us intuitively foresee and sense what is good for us and what should be avoided, therefore it keeps us safe from harmful influences.
It represents fertility and is an influence associated with nurturing and self-care. Even when it’s afflicted, it still represents our intuition, and because of that, it is a source of guidance and a beneficial influence that helps us stay on the right path during challenging times.
Venus is the planet of love, fairness, and balance, and as such, it is naturally a positive influence that brings a sense of ease to whatever corner of the natal chart it touches. Venus makes everything more beautiful and pleasant and it always motivates us to enjoy life.
Even when it is afflicted, Venus will motivate us to find it easy to make life more pleasurable and take the necessary pause to breathe.
This planet of diplomacy will help bring balance to our connections and it will be a harmonizing influence to whatever house or benefic and malefic planets it touches. It softens any conflicting influences in a chart and helps us overcome challenges and conflicts.
Jupiter brings a sense of positivity and ethics, helping us stay true to ourselves and our beliefs, and helping us carry ourselves with dignity. Even when afflicted, Jupiter helps us see possibilities and solutions when we are faced with obstacles.
Because it represents spirituality and religion, it will be a source of hope in dark times, giving us faith and optimism when we feel discouraged. Even when ill-placed, it will still accentuate all the positive and good things in our lives, helping us cope in times of loss and conflict.
What Are the Malefic Planets?
Malefic planets are associated with some heavier energies, cold, extreme heat, ice, fire, and darkness. They represent many good things, but they also represent a lot of unpleasant things and bring forth energies that are not always easy to deal with. Even when they are good, they are still likely to show some of their dark sides to a small degree.
In traditional astrology, the malefic planets are Mars and Saturn. However, in modern astrology, that pair is also grouped with outer planets, which are Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
Here's why they are considered malefic...
Mars is the planet of war, impulses, and conflict. It is the one among the benefic and malefic planets that is associated with blades, tools, and blood, and it represents all forms of aggression. Because of that, it is considered a malefic planet, as even when it’s well-placed and positively aspected, it can still show some impulsivity and tendency to act before thinking.
Mars wants to prove itself, one way or the other, and even when positive, it will go to great lengths to succeed in that. Even when it amplifies positive traits like bravery or self-confidence, it can still heat up every area of the natal chart it touches, bringing conflicts, arguments, and intensity.
Although it gives a true warrior spirit, Mars needs to have a place and time to express its fiery energy, or it will easily create frustration, agitation, or impatience.
The planet of Karma and the Lord of Time, Saturn slows down everything it touches, making things more challenging and obstacles harder to deal with. When it comes to contact with other planets, it brings delays, frustration, and the need to work very hard to overcome difficulty.
It rules the old and the poor and is the first planet to remind us that life isn’t all butterflies and roses. It is the planet of pessimism and will keep teaching us difficult life lessons until we learn things the hard way.
Even when well-aspected, Saturn still requires dedication, hard work, and constant reality checks that sometimes prevent us from dreaming bigger and better. Even then, it can make us limit ourselves, and make us experience the necessary hurdles and difficulties to strengthen our character and ensure success.
Next to other benefic and malefic planets is Uranus, a planet that is all about change, which can sometimes be too much to handle. The planet of instability, and unpredictability can be electrifying and fun, but it can also make us lose our foundation and security rather quickly and suddenly.
Uranus pushes us to go outside of our comfort zone, both when we do or don’t want to. Because it is so disruptive, when it’s prominent in our chart, it can make life a real roller-coaster, bombarding us with unexpected situations, mood swings, or changes in direction, even when it’s well-placed.
With Uranus, we can never be one hundred percent sure of something, and that can cause nervousness and destabilize the areas of life it touches the most.
The planet of illusions is about creative expression, gentleness, and intuition, but it is also about deception, lies, and trickery. When Neptune is prominent in a chart, even when well placed, although it can amplify our artistic and psychic talents, it can make it difficult for us to connect with our rational mind.
Neptune creates an urge to escape reality a little too frequently, disassociating us. While it is always pleasant to daydream, it can feed into illusions and unrealistic expectations or amplify ideals that are too pure for the earthly realm.
Heavy Neptune influence on benefic and malefic planets can also create mental turmoil, making us very sensitive to the world around us, where it’s difficult to cope with intense stimuli.
Being the planet of death, intensity, obsessions, and transformation, Pluto is everything but a light influence. Although it can give a natural talent for psychology, a passionate nature, and an incredible ability to rise above any situation, Pluto also magnifies fears and doubts, and it triggers us.
Its energy can easily become overbearing, and we can ruminate a lot, attract toxic people into our lives, and find it difficult to break free from our own toxic thoughts and behaviors.
Because it can make us fixated on objects of our desires, Pluto can direct all of our energy into one area of life, one person, or situation, to the point where we neglect everything else. That's why Plutonian energy is heavy and considered a typically malefic influence in a chart.
A Bit of Both: Mercury
Unlike all other planets we’ve mentioned, Mercury is a sort of an in-between planet. In other words, it is both a beneficial and malefic planet depending on how it is placed in our natal chart.
Mercury represents the exchange of valuable information and the exchange of goods. As such, it easily takes on whatever energy it comes into contact with. This is a shapeshifter among planets, so if it’s connected to benefic planets, its influence will be mainly positive. If it is connected to malefic planets, it can show its dark side more intensely.
If we join it with Mars, we will get an assertive communicator that loves debates and has a sharp tongue. If we join it with Venus, we will get a natural diplomat and a pleasant and communicative person who enjoys socializing and can easily charm anyone using words.
Planets in astrology have unique qualities that help shape our character. While some make it easier on us, other planets create more difficult challenges that we are meant to overcome in this lifetime.
No matter if we are talking about benefic or malefic planets, they all strengthen us and help us become who we are meant to be, giving us important cues about our personal development and the self-discovery road we are meant to embark on.