By the end of September, all the bad boy planets are going to be sharing one sign. Warrior Mars, taskmaster Saturn, and regenerator Pluto will move from retrograde to direct in ambitious Capricorn. Are you scared? Don’t be.
Yes, two of these three planets traditionally have been called malefic. Some modern astrologers have even lumped Pluto in with Mars and Saturn as a malefic, too. By standard definition, malefic means “malicious” or having “malignant influence.” Malicious like a computer virus? Malignant like a tumor? Not exactly.
By Samuel F. Reynolds
Astrology has a different definition of malefic. So-called malignant planets prompt us to deal with issues we’d prefer to avoid. For instance, we might prefer Jupiter’s freedom to Saturn’s boundaries. Or the calm, peaceful nature of Venus to Mars’ conflict and action. In other words, everyone might like to wine, dine, and dance the night away at a party. Those would be the benefic planets—Jupiter and Venus. On the other hand, most people don’t enjoy organizing the party and fewer enjoy cleaning up after it. That’s why we label Mars, Saturn, and Pluto as malefic.
Like a coin, every planet in astrology has two sides. Mars is more than just the Roman god of war. He’s also what you need to stand up for yourself and others. When we can’t push forward or we feel too much resistance, we then experience the other side of Mars — anger. Anger must be released, but the best way to avoid an emotionally or physically violent release is to acknowledge our feelings. That’s important for Mars in our lives: Ignore this bad boy, and you’re likely to see his wrath manifest in your life in the most intense ways.
Saturn is similar. Saturn is how we cope with boundaries, discipline, and structure. Mars might act after someone crosses a line, but Saturn represents having the good sense to draw the line in the first place. It’s about recognizing the boundaries — both yours and of others — because Saturn signifies the bones in our body, what adds structure and stability. That’s what gives us a real window into Saturn’s “bad” side: He is the obstacle that becomes the foundation for eventual growth and flexibility. There is no real evolution without Saturn, but we often want to grow a lot faster than it does. That might also be why Saturn’s ancient name is Chronos — Father Time himself. Everything happens in its own time.
Pluto, the newest bad boy, lies far away from our sun at the edge of our solar system. He represents the deepest parts of ourselves that can’t be reached until we have a crisis. Pluto signifies how we’re constantly confronted with endings — like our own mortality — and this pushes us to look for meaning and purpose in our lives. Many of us would rather avoid a crisis that forces a transformation, but that’s like being the butterfly who shuns the cocoon. Pluto’s lesson is that we must go to the depths to appreciate the heights.
In other words, without these “scary” planets, we might not be able to become the better or even best version of ourselves.