Besieged And Aided Planet
Besiegement, the better known of the two, occurs when a planet is in aspect between two malefics. It is one of the traditional accidental debilities, often mentioned in the ancient astrological texts and interpreted as a strong sign of problems and difficulties.
Aid, the opposite condition, refers to a planet aspecting both benefics simultaneously. Although it is equally important, and one of the accidental dignities, aid is not so frequently mentioned, especially in later works.
Most traditional astrologers apply these conditions in horary chart interpretation, but only a few extend its usage to nativities. However, its interpretation adds important information, not only to natal chart delineation but also to predictive techniques. This article will present some examples of the practical application of besiegement and aid to nativities.
A planet is besieged when it separates from one of the malefics and applies to the other. In besiegement only the conjunction, square and opposition are considered. Just like a besieged city, the planet in this condition is in serious trouble which will be difficult to escape. We can say it is “between a rock and a hard place”. All that is related to, and signified by, the besieged planet will encounter difficulty and impediment.
Besiegement is particularly significant when it afflicts one of the major significators of the chart, for example, the ruler of the Ascendant, ruler of the MC, the Moon or the ruler of the year². When one of these points is afflicted by besiegement, the problems implied by this condition become more exaggerated.
Examples of besiegement
In this page we will examine three examples of besiegement which produced extreme results. Needless to say, besiegement cannot by itself lead to these extremes, and these example charts present other signs of difficulties which reinforce the afflictions signified by besiegement.
Marie Antoinette (November 2nd 1755, Vienna, Austria)
Daughter of Emperor Francis I of Austria, she married Prince Louis, heir to the throne of France and four years later became Queen of France. After the French Revolution (14th August 1789) the royal family moved to Paris, where they lived as virtual prisoners for three years. Marie Antoinette was brought to trial on a charge of treason and on 16 th October 1793, shortly after noon, she was beheaded.
In Marie Antoinette’s nativity the besieged planet is the Moon, which is also the ruler of the Ascendant. It is in Libra in the 5th house, separating from a square of Mars and applying to a square of Saturn. Its location in the 5th house is also relevant when we consider the Queen’s taste for amusement and flirtation – in fact, after the revolution, this formed the major accusation against her. The Moon is also in Via Combusta³ , which adds still more debility.
The planets besieging the Moon remind us that throughout her life – although joyful and carefree on the surface – she was surrounded by intrigue, jealousy and court gossip. Some of her enemies were powerful people described by Saturn, ruler of the 7th, essentially dignified and squaring the Moon, ruler of the Ascendant. The other planet afflicting the Moon is Mars, ruler of the 6th and of the 11th, suggesting harm coming from her servants and bad friends (bad because Mars is debilitated). The Queen, who was already held in low esteem by the public, did nothing to enhance her standing by surrounding herself with those whose behaviour was regarded as scandalous. This contributed largely to her eventual execution.
Marie Antoinette’s unpopularity with the French people was due partly to her Austrian descent, and partly to her apparent lightheartedness in the face of widespread suffering. Confronted by public rejection on several occasions, she was literally “besieged” by intrigue and concealed jealousy. However, it was only after the Revolution that the danger of this situation began to unfold. By the time of the Reign of Terror4, she was already the main focus for public resentment and hatred. The besiegement finally overcame her in October 1793: abandoned by all her friends, slandered and accused of all sorts of crimes from treason to incest, the Queen was executed in Paris. By that time she was under a firdaria of the two besieging planets, the ruler of the year5, Mercury, also being afflicted by combustion and by an opposition to Saturn, a malefic and ruler of the natal 8th .
Benito Mussolini (July 29 th 1883, Dovia Il Predappio)
In this example both malefics aspect the Moon by conjunction in the 7th house of open enemies. The Moon rules the 9th house in this chart, so we ought to expect situations related with religion; Mussolini was indeed devoted, not to religion but to his political beliefs, especially socialism 6. He took this interest from his father, a militant socialist, and carried it to further extremes. Note that the Moon, the 9th ruler, is in one of Mercury’s signs with the two malefics, which inclines to a more “rational” mindset, adverse to religion.
In the course of his life he made many enemies, politically and personally, because of his aggressive behaviour. He supported his political beliefs with violence which motivated his opponents to respond with equal violence. The three aforementioned planets (Moon, Mars and Saturn) are disposited by Mercury, which is combust in the 9th house, reinforcing the affliction. Furthermore, Mars rules the Ascendant, suggesting that he was the main cause of his own problems. Mars and Saturn are also significators of manners in this chart, suggesting harshness and cruelty. This triple conjunction falls close to the fixed star Aldebaran (08ºGem10′ in 1883), of the nature of Mars. This confers eloquence, honours and popularity, but also ferocity, aggression and the danger of a violent death, further increasing the signification of the besiegement.
Giovanni Falcone (May 18th 1939, Palermo, Italy)
Judge Falcone was well known for his anti-mafia stance. He began dealing with organised crime in the 70s and soon developed a plan to dispel the mystique surrounding the Mafia. Working as a “lone crusader”, he became a popular hero. His incorruptibility gained him powerful enemies both among the Mafiosi and corrupt politicians. He managed to escape several assassination attempts, but on May 23rd 1992 he met his death: his car activated a high-explosive bomb set in the highway. The explosion killed Falcone, his wife and his three security escorts.
In this case the besieged planet is Venus, again ruler of the Ascendant. Venus is essentially debilitated in Aries, separating from a weak Saturn (in fall) and applying to a very strong Mars (in exaltation). As all three planets are angular, his struggle against the Mafia and his murder received great publicity. Venus is also disposited by an exalted Mars, ruler of the 7th signifying that his enemies eventually overcame him, the weak Venus ruling the Ascendant.
Besiegement in prediction:
The effects of besiegement are much easier to identify when applied to the solar return, for they usually indicate a drastic turn of events for the native in that year. This is particularly true if in the solar return the besieged planet is the ruler of the year, the Moon or the ruler of the natal Ascendant. The matters signified by the besieged planet will describe the areas of life affected by these problems. So for example if the besieged planet rules or is placed in the 6th house of illness and health problems, they will become the main feature of that year, if it is connected to the 2nd house, the difficulties will arise in matters of finance.
Besiegement has its benefic counterpart in a configuration called aid (or sometimes “besiegement by benefics”). A planet is aided when it separates from one benefic, either Jupiter or Venus, and applies to the other. In this case only trines, sextiles and conjunctions are taken into account. All that is represented by the aided planet will have some kind of help or relief. Again, some planets can benefit more from aid than others; the major beneficiaries are again the fast planets: Moon and Mercury. The other planets, which are slower than Venus, can only be aided when there are mutual applications, which is not as frequent. As a besieged planet implies difficulty and hard work, an aided planet signifies ease and assistance in its significations.
Example of “besiegement by benefics”
George Sand (July 1st 1804, Paris)
Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, Baroness Dudevant (aka George Sand) was a highly regarded French novelist, well known for the social and emotional acuteness of her writings. Being of noble descent she was expected to behave in a conventional way, but instead she revealed herself as a freethinker. She became a political activist with very definite socialist ideas. As a novelist, she adopted a masculine name – George Sand – and sometimes she appeared in public wearing men’s clothes and smoking a pipe, however her subjects were always concerned with romantic and social matters. She died on June 8th 1876.
Unsurprisingly, the aided planet in George’s chart is Mercury, the planet of writing skills and communication. The aid from the benefics is enhancing an already favourable situation, for Mercury is strengthened by essential dignity in its own sign, and by its angularity (closely conjunct to the IC). With such a strong Mercury, and some help from the benefic planets, she had the chance to express her literary talents by writing several books and plays. Notice that Mercury is translating the light from Venus, ruler of the 3rd, to Jupiter, ruler of the Ascendant and MC, thus bringing these facets of her life into public view and bestowing success on her career.
The ruler of the 4th, Mercury, can be related to her nobility, as her father was a French aristocrat. Her privileged social position allowed her to expand her horizons and granted some degree of tolerance for her eccentricities. Mercury also rules the 7th house of marriage; George not only had a good marriage to a nobleman (Baron M. Casimir Dudevant), but also had relationships with several influential and famous men, Alfred de Musset, Franz Lizt and Frederic Chopin, among others.
On some rare occasions we find these two conditions together. They do not cancel each other out, but express themselves in different areas of life according to their context in the chart.
Example Of Besiegement And Aid Together In The Same Chart
The film actress Natalie Wood is a good example of this.
Natalie Wood (July 20th 1938, San Francisco, California)
In Natalie’s chart, we have an aided Moon, separating from a sextile to Jupiter and applying to a trine with Venus. As the Moon rules the MC, it is easy to understand that this configuration helped to boost her career and public life, giving even more prominence to a Moon exalted and angular. Indeed, she became a movie star at a very young age, and had an incredibly successful career. She is considered by many as one of the most popular actresses of her generation. But this aid is a double-edged sword because Venus, to which the Moon applies (and which disposits the Moon), although a benefic, is debilitated by being in fall and in the cadent 12th house. Venus is the ruler of the Ascendant and its debilitated position suggests a certain degree of self-undoing towards which the Moon, her career, moves and by which the Moon is disposited. So the promise of success indicated by the strong positions of the Moon and Jupiter (a significator through its exaltation in the MC) is dissipated by the weaker Venus.
Natalie could never enjoy a “normal” lifestyle. During her childhood and early teens she lived secluded in her parent’s house and was never left alone because her parents feared she might be kidnapped. It was only in her late teenage years that she began to go out regularly and started a more normal social life. Even so, many of her dates were arranged and controlled by the studios. Therefore, her glamorous life was in fact more apparent than real, her luxurious Venus lifestyle was, in some respects, a gilded cage. This is further aggravated by the presence of a besieged planet in the MC, the Sun. A strong luminary in the 10th house is usually a good sign of fame, but in this particular case the Sun separates from a square of Saturn and applies to conjoin Mars (both debilitated by fall). Her fame also extended to the rather strange relationships that she made, for example, Raymond Burr and James Dean. Note that the besiegers are both related to the 7th house: Mars rules the 7th and Saturn is placed there.
Although these are difficult configurations, the Sun-Mars conjunction in Cancer is disposited and received by the exalted Moon. This ameliorated some of the difficulties and allowed a notable degree of success. However it did not cancel the negative effects which ultimately led to her premature and somewhat mysterious death at the age of 43.
Natalie’s nativity is a good example of how the wider context of the chart is crucial to the interpretation of besiegement and aid. The dignity or debility of the planets involved, as well as their positions in the chart, can modify the beneficial effects of aid and the harsher effects of besiegement.
When correctly interpreted, besiegement and aid can add usefully to chart delineation as they reveal important patterns of difficulty or ease in the native’s life. They don’t necessarily produce such dramatic effects as those presented in this article, but their action is nevertheless present and identifiable in any chart where they occur. It is vital that these configurations are always observed in the chart and never interpreted as isolated indicators.
4 The Reign of Terror (5 September 1793 – 28 July 1794) or simply The Terror was a period of about ten months during the French Revolution when struggles between rival factions led to mutual radicalisation which took on a violent character with mass executions by guillotine.