That’s not what Malefic means

I am in the middle of reading Stephen Arroyo’s excellent book, Astrology, Karma and Transformation.

Here is the opening sentence of the chapter on Saturn, which starts on page 71.

“Until recent years, the planet Saturn was usually referred to in most astrological books as a “malefic” influence, a dimension of experience that most people would rather not face but which merely had to be endured for no positive purpose whatsoever.”

That is all well and good, except for one minor problem:

That is not what “malefic” means!

A couple of pages later, in the section on Saturn in the natal chart, he has a good and complex discussion of the many ways Saturn can be really hard to deal with, and lists all sorts of negative feeling experiences that we can reap benefits from only if we face them openly and honestly, and are willing to work at them. These are often areas and events that are out of our control, that we can only accept and deal with.

It’s worth reading that section – it is about the best definition and description of a malefic that I think I have seen.


This is the first in a series of what I am calling Paper Dragon posts. This is where I will look at astrologers criticizing and dismissing other schools of astrology by attributing to them simplistic characteristics that the practitioners of those schools would probably not recognize and own.

I will look at modern astrologers who attack and dismiss traditional astrology when they know nothing about it.

I will also look at traditional astrologers who attack and dismiss a parodied and simplified version of some modern astrology.

And one final and important point –

I will only look at and criticize astrologers that I admire and appreciate.


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