Affliction: A planet experiencing hardship and stress due to being placed in a challenging position, causing an unfavorable and difficult expression.
How to know a planet is afflicted:
1) affliction through sign debilitation; when a planet is in detriment or fall (uncomfortable and weakened expression)
- sun: detriment in Aquarius, fall in Libra
- moon: detriment in Capricorn, fall in Scorpio
- mercury: detriment in Sagittarius, fall in Pisces
- venus: detriment in Aries and Scorpio, fall in Virgo
- mars: detriment in Taurus and Libra, fall in Cancer
- jupiter: detriment in Gemini and Virgo, fall in Capricorn
- saturn: detriment in Cancer and Leo, fall in Aries
- uranus: detriment in Leo, fall in Taurus
- neptune: detriment in Virgo, fall in Capriorn or Aquarius (still in debate)
- pluto: detriment in Taurus, fall in Libra
Some sites tell you if a placement is in detriment or fall, such as astro.com:
2) affliction through harsh aspects, particularly a planet majorly contacting through conjunction, opposition or square to a malefic planet. A planet is also in serious affliction when all or most aspects to it are disharmonious. Example: Below is an Afflicted mercury. It is conjunct Pluto (considered to be a malefic) and makes several harsh contacts with other planets (a lot of squares). Pluto here is also be considered afflicted, because it has more harsh aspects than soft aspects (only one sextile among two squares)
3) affliction through interception (a planet’s energy that was suppressed during development and thus expresses adversely because its energy is difficult to access and channel.) Example: Below is an intercepted Venus. Venus in this chart is also mildly afflicted through aspect (one square, one inconjunct, both “harsh aspects”)
4) Affliction through shadow (self-unawareness); planets in the 7th house, where the planet is not developed until union and connection is formed with others, similar to “finding puzzle pieces” of themselves through other people, or particularly planets in the 12th house, where the planet is dissolving and becoming one’s own self-sabotage until suppressed and unconscious energy surfaces through solitude, isolation and service. Example: Below shows a person with a large 12th house stellium (sun, mercury, mars, Neptune and Uranus further out) this shows a large portion of themselves, including the ego, is hidden and difficult to consciously access.
5) Affliction through retrograde (internalization of a planet causing a painful self-consciousness & thus constant reevaluation of its energy that can lead to self-undoing). Example: Below shows a person with an abundance of retrogrades (5), as shown by the “r” next to the placement. Some sites also place an “Rx” next to a placement to show it’s in retrograde, they mean the same thing.
6) A house can be afflicted when there is an afflicted planet involved with it (more so affliction through aspect rather than sign). This is more based off personal preference and unique to the individual’s situation. Here’s why:
This person has an afflicted Jupiter, it is in fall in Capricorn, in retrograde too. Their Jupiter is in the 9th though, so Jupiter is very much at home here (Jupiter rules the 9th house traditionally). And their jupiter as harmonious aspects to it only, which is good. While one person will call this an affliction, another will call this a planet in domicile, a planet comfortable in its own house.
7) In mild cases, some people consider a house to be afflicted when a malefic planet is positioned inside of it. Again, this is personal preference. This is like saying every natal chart automatically has an afflicted house because of Saturn (the greater malefic). I think it’s less cut-and-dry than this and so in personal preference I think a house should only be considered afflicted in the case of #6, where there is a planet with a lot of harsh aspects found in a house.
8) A stellium aspect pattern can be afflicted if malefics play a role in it, if intercepted, or if the stellium is burdened with harsh aspects. Yet again, this is personal preference. Because what if the stellium has only harmonious aspects to it? One person would say it’s an unafflicted stellium (malefics) but the other would say it’s not (only sextiles and trines to the stellium, no harsh aspects).
Remember that determining whether or not a planet, house or stellium is afflicted depends on the individual’s chart. Sometimes something that seems afflicted isn’t and vice-versa.