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The Good, the Bad and ... Whose Fault Is It Anyway? Date Published: 8/1/1999 by Angela Arnold
Bio: Angela Arnold

Angela Arnold is the author of The Psychological Zodiac — The Roots of Self & Society (Waterweaver Press) reviewed in the month's Astro*Talk. You can write her at Whistleberry Lane, Montrose, DD10 0TJ, Scotland.



Triggerhappy Mars bothering you? Saturn putting the doomsy frighteners on you? Desperately needing a dose of Jupiter? Relax. Consider for a moment the implications of what traditional astrology tells us about good and bad planets.

Planets, they tell us, rule signs and thereby make them what they are, give them their attributes. It would follow that any sign ruled by a "malefic" should have nothing but negative qualities — wherefrom would it derive any good ones? Aries, then, is a thoroughly bad sign, if not quite as irretrievably awful as Capricorn (and Aquarius) for which not a single constructive word can be found. Right?

I may be imagining this, but I think the world is getting a subtler place. At least the possibility of subtle evaluation, response, interaction is given, where once maybe choices were of necessity cruder, more exclusively tied to the physical level of life. Planets are physical; sign qualities on the other hand are not. We are getting rather better — with the increasing emphasis on a more psycho-logical reading of chart — at seeing both the good and the bad potential of each sign; at taking the more "modern" attitude of responsibility managing our given personality resource: life is what you make of it, proactively, and also by way of choosing your responses to what's thrown at you.

But when it comes to "real," physical planets we still seem to be ready to revert to the older, more "primitive view" something is happening out there that effect me-the-passive-victim. And by extension: whether this is a good or bad event is not up to me but to those forces outside me. What I am saying is that, really, the status of "malefic" is something we impose, subjectively. It's down to our response to a situation, it's our particular way of interacting with life around us that brings about the net result of a "good" or "bad" situation, experience, overall outcome. I think it was Dane Rudhyar who said that we happen to the event as much as it happens to us.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to deny the cutting-a-swathe heralded by Mars, for instance, or the drastic upheavals associated with Uranus and Pluto. I should know — only last you my solar return showed a singleton Moon in Cancer closely opposed by Mars, Uranus and Neptune, with Pluto in and ruling second, and Pluto's dispositor inconjunct Moon. (Crumbs, I thought, no point dwelling on the possible physical-health implications of that! Anyway, it's how best to live the particular mix of qualities presented by a chart that I look at. Makes more sense to me to have my attitudes halfway adjusted, than my bags ready packed, as it were.) And so, out of the proverbial blue, they hauled me off one dark night in a haze of pain to deposit me on the operating table and had me cut open and half my female innards disposed of in no time at all.

There were many experiences of deep sharing and being-with.

So "they" did — but that, after all, was only half the story. The other half obviously lay with me, my reactions. Was it all too categorically "bad" to do anything positive with? In the weeks that followed I learnt, I grew, I even had fun. It was a challenge (Mars/Aries). It was certainly "different" being shunted around various friends' houses (Uranus/Aquarius, 3rd) in the dependent state (Neptune/Pisces) I found myself in. There were many experiences of deep sharing (Pluto/Scorpio) and being-with (Neptune/Pisces). It was another chapter in my emotional education (Moon/Cancer, 9th). I'd do it all over again, to learn yet more. Victim of malefic influences? Never.

Of course I realise there are experiences far more intransigent that life can throw at one: not much fin-while-you-learn in being robbed or raped at knife point, it has to be said. And yet there always seem to be people who can turn even such "evil experiences" into light of learning, who can give that active-acceptance that heals, an inspiration to us all.

Labeling anything or anybody as good or bad only takes away our freedom to live out the underlying Life Principles (symbolised by the signs with their attendant planetary agents) in their negative or positive mode. We all recognise that people can evolve, grow from initially crass reactions through ever more civilised and subtle responses to reach the sort of level of self-aware discipline that enables them to make moral choices between doing their best and wrong-doing.

But objective situations too can be "turned around," made to evolve in the right direction-simply because no event can be regarded as a complete experience unless you add in the subjective element. We have the choice (in our present age and culture) of suffering some crassly awful event passively, fatalistically receiving what's coming to us — or we can "civilise" the same event by actively living through it, working with it, making something of it. Instead of being simply a situation, hopeless and awful, it becomes my situation, an individualised challenge, something with a future, possibly exhilarating. I say something with a future, because if we make the event our own, truly and responsibly own it, then we will carry it with us in a way that may allow us to turn it to some good use later, even much later. It isn't just an "it-event" out there and soon in the past, but a point on our whole, personal learning curve: maybe a blot on our inner landscape in terms of how we see ourselves coping, and which may consciously stay with us for a long time asking to be resolved.

In short, I don't see any "malefics" in the sky. The only possible persistent wrong-doers I can see are those of us who have not yet learnt to assume this active and truly responsible role in their own lives (any by extension others'). Telling people about evil planets up there that every now and again have a bash at them is hardly going to helpful in that respect!

© Copyright: Angela Arnold




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