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Mitigating Factors in Traditional Astrology

Mitigating Factors in Traditional Astrology

In the 28th episode of the show I talk with astrologer Michael Ofek about the many different mitigating factors that traditional astrologers take into account when determining a planet’s condition in a chart.

Michael is the leading expert on traditional astrology in Israel, and he offers consultations and classes through his website at www.ofek-sky.com.

We begin the show with an extended discussion about the nature of the benefic/malefic distinction, and use that as a jumping off point to discuss the ways in which traditional astrologers take into account various considerations in order to draw out the nuances underlying specific placements.

The purpose of this discussion is to show that traditional astrologers do not view the benefic/malefic concept as a purely black and white distinction, but that there are many shades of grey in-between, and there are techniques that can be used to find out where a planet falls on that spectrum.

Outline of the Show

Here are some of the topics that we touched on during the course of the episode:

  • Not everything is black and white in traditional astrology.
    • This is one of the biggest misconceptions that modern astrologers have before they study it.
  • While benefic and malefic is an important distinction, it is not the only one, and not everything is black and white.
  • So let’s talk about some other mitigating factors in traditional astrology.
  • First define benefic and malefic better.
    • Preferable versus unpreferable.
    • Contrariety of opposites. Contrasting polarities.
    • Ptolemy definition of benefic and malefic. Temperate vs. extremes.
  • Obviously the benefics are not always benefic and the malefics are not always malefic.
    • Modern astrologers often say that this is due to free will, but traditional astrologers point out that there are techniques that you can use to see this.
  • Many of the concepts are related to the concept of familiarity.
    • The antidote to radicalization is integration.
    • The more a planet relates to its surroundings, the more it can act according to its nature.
  • Sect is one of the first mitigating factors.
    • Discussion about sect.
    • Talk about recent issue we discussed regarding when it becomes day or night.
  • Other mitigating factors:
    • A planet being in its own domicile or exaltation.
    • Mutual reception.
    • Having reception with its domicile lord.
    • Having a well-placed domicile lord versus a poorly-placed one.
    • Being well-placed by house.
  • Being aspected by benefics or malefics.
    • Overcoming especially.
    • The bonification and maltreatment conditions.
    • Worst case scenario.
  • The naivety of ignoring extremes or distinctions like that.
    • Astrology is life, and life is not all good.
    • Difficult or traumatic things do happen, and astrology is capable of identifying these things.
    • The subjective experience of things as good or bad is relevant and valid.
    • A debilitated planet does have some evolutionary potential, but it will still often be experienced as a negative event.
  • General concession that it may be necessary to tone down some of the delineations from the traditional texts, since life has changed, and perhaps things that might have been worse then are not as bad now.


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 28 transcript

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  • What a fabulous podcast!!!!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is a pleasure to listen to two fabulous minds discuss this subject of mitigating factors…..thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!

  • Excellent! I hope to see Michael on the show in the near future. I think the deterministic nature of traditional astrology is made whole and rounded by it’s complexity, and it works so beautifully. A more modern, psychological or spiritual view seems to be rounded out by the idea that your chart is what you make of it. It seems like one might arrive at similar conclusions or a similar level of roundedness coming from either angle, which leads me to believe that there’s some central or objective truth that both schools of thought are grasping towards… anyway, awesome podcast. Thanks for producing such awesome material. It’s inspiring to a student like myself!

  • Thank you very much Chris and Michael for discussing the Mitigations to Malefic Planets. The information you presented and discussed cracked the code to a deeper understanding of Mars and Saturn while providing some needed glue for realizing the forgotten or hidden potentials of planets in fall or detriment.

    Chris, a big thank you again for these podcasts. I have not yet listened to all 86 episodes yet – but will eventually. In Feb 2015, I became a dedicated listener. Your scholarly research in spotlighting ancient astrological observations is key to the modern astrologer. And, I always find your discussions with your dignified guests most enlightening. Looking forward to your Saturn book coming…!!!

  • Fantastic. I listened to the new video on YouTube that was just out, twice. Then the other audio episode and now this one. Very informative! I’m sure I’ll listen to this again