Mars: The Lesser Malefic

Mars in his chariot. Engraving by J. Sadeler after Maarten de Vos.

Mars, the blood-red warrior, blazes across the night sky, the harbinger of death, destruction, and strife. But the lesser malefic is not all bad: if dignified, the martial planet becomes the protector of the weak, the signifier of a courageous struggle, a victory against all odds that brings many rewards.

The Fault in our Stars: Marcus Manilius and Western Astrology

The opening page (top section) of the poem Astronomica by the Roman poet Manilius

As the Roman Empire rose, absorbing the trappings of Hellenistic culture, one writer penned the oldest surviving complete treatise on the art of astrology. Part poetics, part mathematics, Manilius’ Astronomica offers a glimpse of the core concepts and Stoic philosophy underlying both Hellenistic astrology and the beginning of modern Western science.

Astrology, Power and the Roman World

Capricorn – The Sun sign of Caesar Augustus (63 BC - AD 14)

In the Roman Empire, knowledge of the stars could get you killed—or help you kill others. Discover how the science of reading the heavens became a powerful political tool in the Roman world.

Capricorn: The Goatfish

Sidney Hall’s astronomical chart illustration of zodiac Capricorn. A mermaid goat forming the constellations.

The profound wisdom of Ea, the ancient “antelope of the ocean”, and the influence of rule-loving Saturn give this sign its staid and hardworking nature as the steadfast Capricorn climbs ever higher up the mountain peak of life.

Saturn: The Greater Malefic

Saturn, the greater malefic, in his chariot. Maarten de Vos (1532-1603)

The cold, dry ruler of Aquarius and Capricorn, the furthest of the visible planets represents limits and strife, the march of time, and the inevitability of death. But, when faced with dignity, even the darkest saturnine theme has the potential to teach profound lessons.

The First House

The horoscope marks the eastern horizon where the powerful sun is reborn everyday.

As the house on the eastern horizon, the first house concerns the vitality and primary motivations of the native, with planets in the first house, the houses they rule, and the placement of the ruler of the first house unlocking everything from a native’s physical characteristics to the expression of their talents.

Sagittarius: The Archer

Sagittarius, the archer, colored engraving by S. Hall.

Like the mutable flames of a wildfire, Sagittarius blazes through life with enthusiasm and curiosity, eschewing limits to exploration as the far-sighted Archer fixes their sights on a distant future.

Jupiter: The Greater Benefic

Jupiter in his chariot drawn by eagles. Engraving by J. Sadeler after M. de Vos.

Magnanimous, expansive, kingly: the Greater Benefic takes many of its qualities from its namesake Jupiter, the Greco-Roman king of the gods. Abundance is key to this sanguine planet, as is power, representing the native’s fortune and success but signifying despotic attitudes or wastefulness when poorly placed.

Aquarius: The Water Bearer

Aquarius the water bearer, colored engraving by S. Hall.

From the flooded banks of the Nile to the brimming beaker of Science, the Water Bearer brings with it an impartial generosity and detached humanist perspective. But to reach its true potential, this fixed air sign must operate within its own structure, no matter how abstract.