Astrology 101: Help, My Planet Is Afflicted!

March 8, 2007 by  


I get enough questions on some of the terms and expressions I use casually in my blog posts, that I thought it would be helpful to start an occasional column explaining some of the terms. Last week, I got a very good question asking about the meaning of affliction, like when I say a planet is afflicted.

There is no particularly scientific definition of this, but a planet can really be afflicted in three major ways. It can be weak by sign placement, it can be afflicted by aspect (to another afflicted planet, pretty much regardless of the type of aspect involved), and it can be afflicted by placement in a negative house or by retrogradation.

If you look at your own horoscope, you’ll find that your planets are usually afflicted by one or maybe two of the above factors. The more of the above factors are present, the tougher it will be for that particular planet to behave well in your chart. For example, if you have a very afflicted planet ruling your 11th house of friends, you either have few friends, or there will be something wrong with your friends.

Typically though, you will see that while a planet may be afflicted, another positive factor helps it out. As an example, we can look at the chart below, which is the horoscope for Justin Timberlake, the pop star:

Justin Timberlake Horoscope

He has a somewhat afflicted Sun, because it is in the sign of its detriment Aquarius, and it is in the malefic sixth house of illness, and it is not helped by the negative reception from Jupiter and Saturn (which are in the sign of the Sun’s fall, Libra). Even though it is exalted, Saturn is still Saturn, and Jupiter is not strong enough to lend a particularly helpful hand here. This might point to Timberlake experiencing long-term health issues later in life, especially since the Sun rules his first house of the body and the overall vitality.

Tomorrow, I will talk about the types of difficulties associated with each planet, and use Justin Timberlake’s chart to discuss some of the difficulties associated with his planetary afflictions.

—Readers who are interested in a natal analysis of their horoscopes (afflicted planets and all), may contact Nina Gryphon via her reading requests page.


14 Responses to “Astrology 101: Help, My Planet Is Afflicted!”

  1. Eme Kah on March 9th, 2007 9:24 am

    Very interesting. Thank you!

  2. Chris on March 10th, 2007 7:18 am

    I am very interested in this topic too, thank you.

  3. SoCalGal on March 10th, 2007 2:51 pm

    I’m a little confused– Would JT’s sun not be somewhat helped by Sat and Jup as they’re in a beneficial trine? I hear the part about them being in the Sun’s fall, Libra. Does the positive trine mean nothing compared with the negative energy of Libra here? Thx!

  4. gryphonastrology on March 10th, 2007 6:07 pm

    Hi SCG,

    No – an aspect is only as beneficial as the planets it connects. I have seen some nasty trines, like Moon in Scorpio trine Saturn in Cancer. Native was an alcoholic (not only due to this aspect, but it sure didn’t help). Trines mean things will happen easily, whether good or bad. Give me Sun in Leo square Moon in Taurus any day.


  5. SoCalGal on March 11th, 2007 10:46 am

    I get it. But does the house placement have an impact? For example, if that Moon in Scorpio were in the 4th house of the Moon, and it trined Saturn in Cancer in the 8th or 12th, placements that don’t seem to mean anything, as best as I can tell– Would the Moon’s placement in its own 4th house make it a somewhat better placement, regardless of the sign? (am I making sense?)


  6. Sarah on March 12th, 2007 12:06 am

    Thanks for the above clarificationfor SoCalGal, Nina – it makes so much sense and yet I had never seen it that way!

  7. Eme Kah on March 12th, 2007 5:28 am

    “Trines mean things will happen easily, whether good or bad.”

    Very interesting, NIna. I never thought of it that way. I always just assumed triens were always good.

  8. gryphonastrology on March 12th, 2007 3:59 pm

    Hi SCG,

    No, house placement does not have an impact as to the trine’s goodness or badness, just in what areas the connected planets will manifest. Saturn in Cancer in the 8th or 12th sounds pretty disasterous to me, as both houses are quite malefic, even without Saturn in detriment occupying them. The Moon in the 4th ties this nastiness to one’s family, specifically the father. Eek.


  9. Eme Kah on March 13th, 2007 5:42 am

    So what does one do with nasty aspects, especially if there are no positive aspects touching the planets in question? Is one just doomed in those areas of life?

  10. gryphonastrology on March 13th, 2007 8:03 am

    Hi Eme,

    It’s best to work on emphasizing the positive stuff in your chart, I have found.


  11. Jean-Luc on May 15th, 2008 8:04 pm

    if a house contains a planet, especially if close to the cusp does that planet rule that house or is it the ruler of the sign that is ruler of the house?


  12. Nina Gryphon on July 1st, 2008 12:04 pm

    Hi Jean-Luc,

    It is the ruler of the house cusp that rules the house. The planet near a cusp may add its influence, but it’s more an adjectival function.

    Thanks for asking,

  13. Maria on April 21st, 2009 5:58 am

    Hi Nina,

    If a planet is afflicted by having only negative aspects with other planets but has a positive aspect (say trine or sextile) with Ascendant or MC, is it still considered afflicted? Thanks!

  14. Nina Gryphon on April 29th, 2009 6:53 am

    Hi Maria,

    Good question. I would say the answer is yes, it is still afflicted. The reason is that the angles are just points, they are not good or bad in themselves, the way planets are. Rather, the aspects to the angles indicate a connection between the planet and the angle. So if you have an afflicted planet in the 6th trine the MC, we can say that the 6th house planet will be a source of problems in matters of honor, fame, and career.

    Best wishes,

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