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Minderwiz  Minderwiz is offline
Student of Astrology
Join Date: 20 Apr 2002
Location: Wigan, UK
Posts: 7,888
Sect and the planets

I've used sect extensively, so this post just clears up a couple of points that came up in the early part and I wasn't sure of.

The first point is literally that - the point at which a chart becomes dirunal or becomes nocturnal. Chris Brennan says that he can't find an exact definition in the texts - which to me seems to imply it was an obvious distinction. The distinction Chris uses in his practice is that to be a dirunal chart the Sun must be above the degree of the Ascendant - that is if the Ascendant is 24 Leo the Sun must be in 23to 24 Aquarius and to be a nocutural chart, if the Ascendant is 24 Leo the Sun must be in 25 Aquariusto 24 Leo. That is the Sun must be either above or below the horizon byby at least one degree respectively. There are clearly arguments about twilight, when there is light from the rising or setting Sun but such a distinction does not seem to be mentioned in the texts available to us.

The second point is the sect of Mercury. Brennan says that the most frequently used definition is that when Mercury is a Morning Star (that is it rises before the Sun and can be seen in the sky before dawn) it is of the diurnal sect. The condition of being a Morning Star makes Mercury more masculine. When Mercury is an Evening Star (seen in the sky after sunset) it is taken as a nocturnal planet amd being an evening star makes it more feminine.

Note that the conditions of being a morning or evening star apply to all planets, and all of them gain a more masculine quality when they are a morning star and a more feminine quality when they are an evening star. It seems though this is perhaps more important in the case of Mercury because Mercury in hermaphroditic and in the case of Venus, because with the Moon it is one of the two feminine planets. Note Venus does not loose her femininity by being a morning star - but she does become more of a 'tomboy' or more proactive to use a modern term.

Sect also affects the qualities of the planets. In a diurnal chart the diurnal planets, Sun, Jupiter and Saturn behave more favourably towards the native. In a nocturnal chart the nocturnal planets, Moon, Venus and Mars behave more favouraably towards the native.

This allows us to actually modify the continum between acting in favour of and against the interests of the native - or at least signifying good and bad things on a continuum rather than as extreme polarities.

In a day chart the benefic Jupiter is the planet which signifies the best that can happen and the area of life in which it can happen. Venus as the out of sect benefic signifies things which are neutral to beneficial, though not as beneficial as Jupiter. Saturn as the malefic of sect signifies things that are neural to being rather negative and Mars as the malefic out of sect signifies the worst that can happen. Note that other considerations will have to be taken into account in fixing what the extremes are - whether Jupiter is in its own sign, or one of its dignities for example would influence how good the best is. That's where aspects or configurations become important plus issues of speed, retrogradation, rising or setting.

Benefics affirm, stabilise or improve, malefics destabilise, negate or corrupt. In short Benefics say 'yes' and malefics say 'no'. Benefics may help things be achieved easily and in full, malefics may obstruct, delay or lead to only partial achievement or in the extreme failure.

Such terms are not used in modern psychological astrology, which tries to avoid value judgements. However often thing a neutral value free stand may lead to a loss of empathy with the 'client' or leave them frustrated as their questions remain unanswered. Even so in the modern world 'malefic' which literally means 'bad-doer' has overtones gathered from religion, so you might prefer the terms that the Stoics used, which are 'preferable' and 'unpreferable'. Benefics are going to help achieve that which is preferable to realising the potential shown in the chart. Malefics will show things which are not preferable in achieving potential. That doesn't mean that in an objective sense malefics are always 'bad'. If the chart shows a predisposition to drink or drugs or cheating in relationships, something which obstructs these traits could objectively be seen as 'good', even though to the native they are obstructions and 'bad'.
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