EVIL • adjective 1 deeply immoral and malevolent. 2 embodying or associated with the devil. 3 extremely unpleasant: an evil smell. • noun 1 extreme wickedness and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force. 2 something harmful or undesirable.
In religion and ethics, evil refers to the “bad” aspects of the behaviour and reasoning of human being – those which are deliberately void of conscience, and show a wanton desire for destruction. The opposite of goodness, which itself refers to aspects which are life-affirming, peaceful, and constructive.
Can evil be seen in a chart? Do certain individuals choose to be evil or are they fated to be so? And do their charts reflect this? And are we fated to live out what is in our chart? These questions are all loaded and profoundly disturb many in our profession.
In this day, when even the ancient descriptions of planets as benefic and malefic elicits fundamental discomfort in contemporary astrologers, it is no longer regarded as correct to think in these terms. The idea that a planet or person could be inherently bad goes against our accepted standard of judgment. Deviation from acceptable behavior is seen as an understandable reaction to the emotional and psychological experiences that have traumatized or otherwise wounded individuals.
Ironically as we move away from judging an individual as evil we continue to embrace the idea that evil exists in the world. As illustrated by our “war on terror” and our fear of the “terrorist threat”. The concept of evil has always been present but we have confused the doing of evil with being evil.
When our ancestors spoke of a planet bestowing malevolent or benefic influence in a horoscope, we tend to imagine this as being a very cut and dry affair: bad planet cause bad things, good planet, cause good thing. The reality is far richer and more subtle then it appears at first glance.
In the traditional cosmos the so called malevolent planets were Mars and Saturn. At their best both are a necessary and positive force in the chart, allowing us to take righteous action, be responsible and build strong foundations. It is only when they are afflicted that their influence becomes a negative or destructive one.
A planet is at its best when in dignity, in a strong placement and even better with strong reception. A debilitated planet has a really hard time expressing its true nature; they become an exaggerated version of themselves. Mars doesn’t just take action he kills all who stand in his way. Saturn doesn’t just take responsibility he becomes tyrannical. The other planets can also cause trouble when in a debilitated condition, but their affect is unlikely to be thought of as evil.
Whether fate is pre-destined or created by the native’s choices is a tricky one. The modern paradigm places more emphasis on the free will and choice of the individual then was the case in the past. In previous generations the individual had their place within the social hierarchy and few had any choice about it. Even those at the top of this hierarchy had limited choices. Overseeing all, there was God.
Now we speak of the higher self rather then God. We have become uncomfortable with the concept of a Supreme Being overseeing us all, choosing for us, and allocating our fate. The concept of the “higher self” individualises us, if not in fact certainly in title and allows us the illusion of more power to choose.
Regardless of our modern belief in the power or importance of the individual, fate can not be denied; it is what is bestowed on us. We are born into a certain era or time, a particular body, gender, to a particular set of parents, within a family, culture and nation. We do not consciously choose this, we are given this. This is fate. Our free will to choose is confined to our given fate.
The essential nature of man is both corporeal and spiritual; the integration of the two brings us closer to our essential nature. We can choose to align ourselves with our essential nature or to oppose it. The chart reflects the difficulties an individual may encounter making that choice. The more dignified planets there are in our chart the easier the choice, because the more dignity a planet has the closer to its own essential nature it is.
Essential nature is by definition good. It signifies the most balanced state of being. Essential nature is aligned with the divine or God, however we define that word. In nature a daisy will grow into the best daisy specimen possible within the environment it is given. It can not do otherwise or choose to grow into a rose. Because nothing in the natural world can stray from its essential nature, there is no evil there. A volcano may cause devastation, yet cruel as this may seem, it is nothing more then the restoration of balance. Nature has no will to choose.
But the human being has free will to choose and can turn away from his essential nature. He must come to know and accept who he is, what he has been given, understand his purpose in the scheme of things and fulfill it. The further away from his essential nature he moves the more he encounters evil or in the words of our fore bearers; malevolence.
The principle thing that pushes man away from his essential good nature is his desires; desire that stem from his corporeal existence. His desire to possess more then what he has been given, to be more then he is and to fulfill a purpose not of his own. In modern jargon these corresponds to the ego and remember that the ego is never satisfied.
The Lord of the Ascendant, Pilot of the Soul and Significator of the Quality of the Mind
Using traditional astrological methods we can see in the natal chart how easy or not it will be for an individual to stay aligned with his true nature and how strong the pull of his desires will be. By identifying three planets: the Lord of the Ascendant, the Pilot of the Soul and the significator of the Quality of the Mind, we have the information needed to judge how likely one is to move towards or away from his/her essential nature.
Using the table of essential dignities we can identify the overall ruler or almutent of a particular degree of the zodiac by adding up the amount of dignities the seven classical planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon) have at that degree. We do not give the modern planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) rulership.
Giving the planet in rulership 5 points, in exaltation 4 points, in triplicity 3 points, in term 2 points and in face 1 point, we simply add up the points for each planet to find the one with the most essential dignity at a particular degree or degrees. It is important to note whether it is a day or night chart and use the appropriate triplicity ruler.
Using this method we can identify the Lord of the Ascendant as the planet that has the most dignity at the ASC degree, in other words the almutent of the ASC. Often this is the planet ruling the ASC but not always. As the ruler of our ASC this planet is most concerned with our corporeal life which is often the driving force in our life. In modern jargon we could say it signifies our ego.
The Pilot of the Soul, is the planet in the chart with the most essential dignity overall. As well this planet must be placed in a position of strength, in other words a strong house, from which they can act. Ideally it would also be free of accidental debility such as retrograde or combustion. All angular houses were considered strong with the 1st and the 10th seen as the strongest, the 4th and 7th less so, followed by the 5th and 11th houses, then the 9th, 3rd, 2nd houses finally the 8th, 6th and 12th as the houses of death, illness and self undoing respectively, were seen as the most unfortunate places from which action could not be initiated.
So, a planet in rulership, say Sun in Leo, but placed in the 12th house would not be as ideal as a planet with only triplicity but in the 10th house, like Saturn in Gemini. The Sun is imprisoned and can not act from the 12th house no matter how strongly dignified he is, whereas Saturn with less essential dignity has more opportunity to act because he is in a position of power.
Ideally, the Pilot of the Soul is the planet in charge; this is the planet that could set us back on the right path if we get sidetracked. This is the planet most closely aligned to our spiritual life, most connected with the Divine source. This is the planet we should endeavor to engage and make friends with, for it is most likely to raise us above our corporeal fate.
Finally we find the significator of the quality of the mind by finding the planet with the most essential dignity at the degree of the Moon, Mercury and ASC. Quality of the mind does not refer to intelligence or being clever, but rather as to how the mind is used. It relates to conscience and the moral nature of the native. This planet represents how well their corporeal and spiritual aspects communicate and integrate. In other words, do they use their minds for good or evil?
The same planet may fulfill two or more functions, at other times more then one planet may qualify as significator. To understand this better let us look at some charts.
The chart of Adolf Hitler has been studied by just about every astrologer since 1933, redundant as it may seem this chart is still a great example to use. We know that this native’s life was responsible for events that could be described as evil. It is generally agreed that being responsible for the death of so many millions is horrific. But was he inherently bad? Was the road to evil imposed or chosen by him? Could he have made different choices?
Looking at Hitler’s chart we find that the Lordof the Ascendant is Saturn 13 Leo in the 10th house, because it has both exaltation and triplicity dignity over the ASC degree of at 21 Libra giving him a score of 7 points to Venus 5 point for rulership, Mars 2 point for term and Jupiter sole point for face.
Using the same method for the degrees of the Moon 6 Capricorn and Mercury 25 Aries, as well as ASC we find the significator of quality of his mind turns out to be Mars 16 Aries with 13 points, closely followed by Saturn 13 Leo with 12 points. These two planets would function very much as a team especially as they are aspecting each other by square as well as by a very tight, almost to the minute antiscia* conjunction. This antiscia allows these two planets to function far more cooperatively then their stressful square aspect would indicate.
*Antiscia – From the Greek, meaning “opposite shadow”. A degree and its antiscia are equidistant from the summer-winter solstice axis (Cancer/Capricorn). Planets related by antiscia have the force of a conjunction. Contra-antiscia (the opposition to the antiscia degree) has the force of an opposition.
Finally we must find the Pilot of the Soul. In this chart the search is difficult because Mars, Saturn and Moon are all in detriment, Sun and Mercury are peregrin which means they have no essential dignity whatsoever and Jupiter though he has face dignity is in his fall. Of the seven classical planets only Venus in Taurus has any dignity and she is retrograde, conjunct Mars as well as being very close to the 8th house cusp. Yet by default she wins the position of Pilot of the Soul. This would have been the ideal planet for Hitler to follow…But did he?
So we have:
Lord of the Ascendant Saturn in Leo in the 10th house
Quality of the Mind Significator Mars in Taurus in the 7th house with Saturn in Leo
Pilot of the Soul Venus in Taurus in the 7th conjunct Mars
Lord of the Ascendant, Saturn in the 10th house, is debilitated in his sign of detriment, in other words far from his (Saturn’s) essential best nature. Saturn was seen as the great malefic by the ancients. Debilitated malefics function in extremes, their nature is amplified and exaggerated. This planet could bring great misfortune in ones life unless he was on his best behavior. At his best Saturn is patient, responsible, disciplined and holds a position of authority.
But in this chart he is not at his best, he is at his worst and yet he is positioned in the 10th house to act and act strongly. So he will act in a strongly malefic manner. Remember that as Lord of the Ascendant, Saturn represents Hitler’s corporeal desires and in the 10th he wants it be the boss, in Leo, he probably wants to be king. Saturn’s dispositor (and MC ruler), Sun is peregrin, he has no strength to give Saturn. Saturn receives Moon and Jupiter in Capricorn conjunct the south node. Moon in Capricorn is in detriment and would feel insecure. Jupiter is equally debilitated in his fall, though he has a bit of face dignity this is more to do with fear then an actual strength*. Both being with the south node only adds to their debility. All this would give Saturn more justification to take control and not let go (Leo fixed).
* “The Faces supply some intriguing leads about those areas where the individual has fear or problems. The point is that most people don’t like fear and would rather cloak fear with hatred”. From Lee Lehman “Essential Dignities” page 136
The significator of the quality of the mind is Mars working closely with Saturn. Here we find Mars equally debilitated in detriment squaring his ally Saturn. One of the main meanings of the quality of the mind is conscience, knowing that an action is right or wrong because we are conscious of more then just our individual (ego) desires or needs. We have already seen Mars’s connection with Saturn, but there is also a mutual reception by exaltation with the Moon. Both of these planets in detriment are receiving each other into their exaltation. They are exalting their detriment so to speak, not very reassuring.
Mars was also receiving Mercury into his rulership. Mercury being peregrine was easily enlisted to do Mars (and Saturn’s) bidding. Hitler was a great orator who was able to stir the emotions of the masses and lead them into war. (As an aside, Germany is said to be ruled by Mars and Aries. Hitler became Germany’s mouth piece.)
We find that Hitler’s quality mind was not going to tame or soften his Saturn’s drive for power and authority. On the contrary the two would work in tandem together and both bring with them the insecurity of the Moon and fear of Jupiter.
So far we have a dire situation, but was it absolutely necessary for Hitler to become what he became? The pilot of his soul may have helped him steer a different path. As Venus in Taurus we see fertility and creativity, but it is retrograde and conjunct Mars. The good nature of Venus is over shadowed by the strong malefic energy working together and feeding off the long term fears and insecurities (Moon, Jupiter conjunct South Node) that are present. The two malefics used the veneer of Venus to camouflage their indent, presenting a more benign face of Hitler to the world.
Remember that Hitler’s first aim in life was to be an artist and then an architect. Unfortunately he was rejected by the Vienna Academy of Art in 1907 and 1908 and didn’t have the educational qualifications to apply for study of architecture. We can only speculate how history may have turned out differently if he had been accepted by the Academy. So his Pilot of the Soul was not given a chance to take the drivers seat. Does this mean that Hitler was inherently bad or evil? I do not think so, but I would say that the odds were stacked up against him. He needed to overcome an awful lot to turn his life towards goodness.
Astrology is about time and we can not look at Hitler’s life or chart without regards to his time. Hitler’s fate was that of Germany’s. Looking at the chart of the man I would conclude that this was a man who was essential weak with little choice then to be carried by the forces of the times in which he lived.
Picking two events that seemed to have been pivotal in Hitler’s life; one mundane and one personal and, we may trace the growing dominance of Mars & Saturn’s influence in Hitler’s life.
In 1918 on November 9th the Weimer Republic came into being, shortly followed by the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. This perceived public humiliation of the German nation coincided with the period of Hitler’s Saturn return and marked a turning point in his life. This event planted the seed of his nationalistic and racial fervor that germinated into the Nazi Party and lead the world down the road to holocaust.
On that day the Sun 16 Scorpio was directly opposite Hitler’s Mars, Venus 16 Taurus and in contra-antiscia to his Saturn 13 Leo. The event chart’s North Node was at 13 Sagittarius, conjunct its MC and was on the antiscia degree of Hitler’s South Node 15 Capricorn, whilst The event charts Jupiter 15 Cancer was transiting Hitler’s own North Node at 15 cancer and his Moon 6 Capricorn was being opposed by the destructive and at that point unknown Pluto 6 Cancer. On a more personal front his progressed Moon 8 Aquarius was moving to oppose his Saturn 13 Leo.
The fate of his nation evidenced by this charts MC, Sun and North Node triggered the worst of Hitler’s horoscope promises: deeply malevolent Saturn and Mars in positions of extreme power, fed by the insecurity of his foundations (Moon, Jupiter and South Node).
Another incident that was very pivotal in the development of Hitler’s persona was the death by gun shot to the heart of his niece, Geli Raubal on Sept 19th 1931. Rumoured to have been his mistress, Geli and Hitler had an unusual relationship which in many ways played out the symbolic configuration of his Mars conjunct Venus in Taurus in the 7th house square Saturn. Hitler, twenty years her senior, found happiness with Geli, her presence subdued and relaxed him and yet he was totally controlling and fanatically jealous of her. There were questions as to whether Hitler was in any way involved in her death. The rumours and innuendos were never proved, but her death was to have a profound effect on Hitler. He became suicidal and never regained the public joy he had exhibited in Geli’s presence.
On the day of this event we see Saturn was 16 degrees Capricorn trining Hitler’s natal Mars, Venus and conjunct his South Node while transiting Jupiter at 13 degrees Leo was right on his Saturn. Mars, ruler of his 7th house was transiting his 1st house, at 1 degree Scorpio applying to square his MC (5 Leo) and oppose his natal Mars, Venus conjunction. His progressed Moon sextiled his Mars, Venus and was conjunct his North Node and on its way to conjunct his MC on the day he took the control of the newly formed Third Reich (January 30, 1933).
Again we see both Hitler’s highly malefic planets; Saturn and Mars being triggered by this event. It is said that after Geli’s death Hitler threw himself ever more into his public life. Having enough influence to ensure that his involvement surrounding the suspicious circumstances of her death never came to light, must have been further evidence of his invincibility. The ambition of his Lord of the Ascendant, Saturn coupled with the ruthless and destructive Mars, devoid of the balancing force of Venus (possibly symbolized by Geli herself, her death being the final death of Hitler’s Venus) allowed the evil that was festering below the surface to be given full expression.
We can not judge a chart in a vacuum. Hitler’ fate was linked to the circumstances of his era, culture, nation and birth. Hitler did not act alone in perpetrating the evil that was the Third Reich. Yet as the figure head for this movement he became the focal point of its manifestation. Was Hitler an evil man? The answer is that he was a weak man who through fateful circumstances yielded a huge amount of worldly power (symbolized by his celestially weak planets in terrestrially strong placement). What could have been done with this power need not have been so destructive, but it takes a strong individual to resist the allure of the ego.
In the words of the 13th century Saint Thomas Aquinas “The stars may incline, but do not compel.” Yet even Thomas Aquinas conceded that only when a man’s soul was in communion with God was his will freed from the bondage of his corporal nature – with his physical body and its appetites, needs and desires. The stars may only incline, but your spirit needs to be in touch with a higher power to resist their inclination. Clearly this was not the case with the individual Adolf Hitler.
Bibliography and References:
J Lee Lehman, Ph.D. “Essential Dignities” Whitford Press 1989 page 136
Benson Bobrick “The Fated Sky: Astrology in History” Simon & Schuster 2005
Thomas Moore “The Planets Within, the Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino” Lindisfarne Books 1982
Ian Kershaw “Hitler: 1936-45 Nemesis” Penguin Books 2000
Frawley, John “The Real Astrology” Apprentice Books 2000
Frawley, John “The Real Astrology Applied” Apprentice Books 2002
Holden, James H. “Abu’Ali Al-Khayyat The Judgement of Nativities” AFA 1988
Adolf Hitler: April 20 1889 NS, 6:30 pm (-0:52:08) Braunau am Inn, Austria (48N15 013E02) Rating AA
Germany Weimar Republic: November 9, 1918 1:30 PM CET Berlin, Germany from Nick Campion “The Book of World Horoscopes”
Geli Raubal’s death: Sept 19, 1931 CET -1:00 Munich, Germany. Date from public records, no time, chart set for 12:00 pm