Saturn, Mars, the Sun, waning Moon, Rahu and Ketu are malefics. Jupiter, Venus. Mercury and waxing Moon are benefics. Mercury, however, is a malefic if he joins a malefic.
Planets behave as natural benefics or malefics due to their nature. Some planets by their very nature damage those areas they affect and are, therefore, termed as malefic. Other planets enhance those areas they affect and are termed benefic.
Saturn is a malefic because he causes delays and separation from the areas he affects. He causes these difficulties because he indicates where we suffer the results of our poor karmas, and he will not allow us to reap the benefits of the areas he affects until the law of karma has been fulfilled. Saturn is the cross that each of us bears.
Mars is a malefic because he tends to break things, cause accidents, and create quarrels with others.
The Sun is a malefic because he separates us from the areas he affects. Those things the Sun is influencing are sacrificed to obtain spiritual growth and a deeper individuality.
Rahu is a malefic because he causes delays and separation from the areas he affects. He causes delays because he indicates where we have little knowledge, and therefore have much to learn before things will work out. Rahu causes separation because he indicates where we act with a lack of forethought and may therefore get caught up in something not in our best long-term interest that we must leave sometime in the future. He also causes separation by creating longings that are not fulfilled even when the desired object is acquired, thereby creating the tendency to leave one thing for another.
Ketu is a malefic because he hides those areas he affects in addition to destroying, and, thereby, freeing us from attachments. Ketu hides the areas he affects by causing feelings of doubt and creating discontentment that prevents an individual from putting forth the necessary effort. He destroys those areas he affects through self-destructive actions stemming from intense discontent and deep, unfulfilled feelings.
Jupiter is a benefic because he provides fortune. blessings, and abundance. He expands and provides more of the good aspects of whatever he affects. He shows where we have been virtuous, forgiving and kind, and therefore have good karma to reap Most importantly, Jupiter is the good merit that protects us from other adverse influences.
Venus is a benefic because she provides all comforts, pleasures and luxuries. She gives refinement, and social grace. Most importantly, she gives the diplomacy so necessary for dealing with others.
Mercury is a benefic because he provides the capacity to understand the areas he affects in a clear and impartial manner. This allows us to behave with balance and discrimination. Mercury is a mutable planet and takes on the nature of the planets he associates with. When with a malefic he becomes malefic in nature; his normal, impartial nature instead favors the views and desires of the malefic. Mercury does not become malefic on account of being with Rahu or Ketu; he maintains his benefic status because Rahu and Ketu are shadowy in nature and they themselves tend to take on the nature of other planets.
From new moon to full moon the Moon is waxing and her light is increasing. From full moon to new moon the Moon is waning; and her light is decreasing. The amount of light determines the Moon’s beneficence. As her light increases, she gains greater beneficence. As her light decreases, she looses her beneficence. From the waxing half-moon phase, which occurs when the Moon is 90 degrees from the Sun, to the waning half-moon phase when the Moon is 270 degrees away from the Sun, the Moon is a benefic. From 270 degrees to 90 degrees, the Moon is a malefic.
The Moon has no light of her own and as she merely reflects the light of the Sun; the capacity of the Moon to nourish and provide growth is only a reflection of the creative energy of the Sun. From new moon to the waxing half-moon, the Moon has a creative urge and desire but finds it difficult to focus enough energy to bring desire into reality, therefore, the areas she affects are frustrated. From waxing half-moon to waning half-moon, the Moon is full of nourishing, growth producing energy and therefore enhances the areas she affects. From waning half-moon to new moon, the Moon is loosing her light and lack is felt in the areas she affects. Those things the malefic Moon influences do not fulfill one’s needs.
According to Brihat Parashara Hora Sastra, the Moon must have an AyanaBala of 40 virupas to be considered strong, therefore. the Moon is an effective benefic when it is 120 – 240 degrees from the Sun. at which point its AyanaBala is 40 virupas or greater. Half of 40 virupas is 20 virupas: the Moon has 20 virupas or less of AyanaBala when it is 300 – 60 degrees from the Sun, at which point it becomes an effective malefic.
The planets additionally gain temporal status as a benefic or malefic depending upon which houses they rule in a horoscope. This often creates many confusing contradictions for the beginning astrologer. A good thumb rule is that the natural tendency of a planet affects any area or combination it influences in the horoscope according to its natural benefic or malefic nature. The temporal nature indicates the motivation and goal of a planet.