Pushing counsel in astrological aspects

Ben Dykes in his translation of Bonatti’s 146 Considerations mentions in the Fourth Consideration “pushing strength or power” and “pushing management or counsel.” These ideas derive from the Arabic texts which Bonatti was referencing.  Apparently the use of the word “pushing” comes from the Arabic word دَفْع which is variously translated in English/Arabic dictionaries as the verb to push, thrust, propel, fork out, shove over, render up, shell out, goad, pay, disburse, etc. The dictionary defines “counsel” as “instruction given in directing the judgment or conduct of another.” If I am your counselor, I advise or instruct you about how to behave.

Pushing Management or Counsel (Pushing disposition)

Apparently, the Arabic astrologers of the 8th and 9th centuries viewed applying astrological aspects as interactions in which the faster moving planet goaded the slower planet by shoving over its counsel about how the slower planet ought to manage its affairs. Bonatti referred to this phenomenon as the “pushing of disposition.” To dispose of means to transfer to the control of another. “Disposition” means “the tendency of something to act in a certain manner under given circumstances” or “the way in which something is arranged.”

Thus, if planet A is moving faster than planet B, and A is applying to aspect B, then when the aspect perfects, planet A thrusts its way of arranging things onto B with the expectation that B will carry out A’s instructions about how to behave and will take care of the things that A wants B to do (unless B is somehow debilitated and unable to perform).

For example, suppose that Brian lives with his passionate girlfriend Alice. Brian has had a hard day at work and is coming down with the flu. When he arrives home, Alice leaps on him, strips his clothes off and pushes him down on the bed. Alice is moving a lot faster than Brian and can barely wait for their conjunction to reach perfection. She thrusts her disposition onto Brian with the expectation that he will arrange to make things happen as she desires. Unfortunately, Brian is rather debilitated and unable to perform.

In medieval astrology, the pushing of management/counsel/disposition is part of the theoretical underpinning every aspect that reaches perfection. Reception is not required.

When one of the planets happens to lie in the essential dignity of another, the type of pushing gets more complicated. There can be pushing of strength/power/dignity and also pushing of nature or virtue.


¿Mars pushing Mercury?   Every aspect involves the pushing of management, counsel or disposition.   (“This is what I want.”) 



Pushing strength, power, or dignity: In this photo, the guy on the bottom is planet A in his own exaltation. The guy on top is planet B in none of his own dignities (he’s just standing there), but because of A’s aspect to B, the guy on top is able to share in A’s exaltation.

Pushing of strength/power/dignity

When the faster planet A is very strong because it occupies one of its own dignities (especially domicile or exaltation) and A applies to an aspect with planet B, then in the process this supercharged planet A pushes some of its own strength/power/dignity over to B as the aspect perfects. Planet B then participates in the power and competence of the dignified planet A.  Think of Superman perfecting a conjunction with Lois Lane. Lois is likely to feel a bit supercharged by Superman’s hyper-arousal, and she may end up feeling quite exalted in the process. even though she is essentially a lot less powerful than the Man of Steel.

In the picture on the left, the guy on the bottom is in his exaltation and feeling quite powerful. The guy on top is just standing there in none of his own dignities but is participating in the exaltation of the man beneath.


Pushing Nature


Pushing of nature or virtue: “You look famili-ar.* Have we met? Where have I seen you before? I hope I don’t sound pushy, but I’d love to share some of my nature with you.”  One of these people obviously hails from a place of dignity of the other and thus acts like a gracious host who welcomes the other person as a guest. (If each came from a place of dignity of the other, they would be in mutual reception and each would be quite welcoming to the other.)

* familiar:  from Latin familiaris meaning “belonging to a family, of a household; therefore, domestic, private or friendly.” (If I visit your domicile, it’s as if I become a part of your family and we share a bit of the same nature during my stay there.)

When the faster planet A occupies one of the dignities of planet B (especially B’s domicile or exaltation), then when A perfects an aspect with B, planet A will look so familiar to planet B (because of having hailed from a place of B’s dignity) that B will be quite welcoming and will absorb some of A’s nature onto itself.  In other words, planet A impresses its nature onto receiving planet B.  For example suppose you are visiting a foreign country where you know no one and can’t speak the language. Suddenly you hear someone speaking English and you learn that they are from your home town. This person impresses you like a long lost friend, even though they are really a complete stranger and you’ve never met before.

Ryhan Butler notes at his site Medieval Astrology Guide that “pushing power has the most direct effect on whether something will manifest or not, while pushing nature is more effective over the quality, type, or condition of the outcome.”

Ryhan also notes that some medieval texts view the host planet B, which receives A, as pushing its nature onto the guest planet A. In other words, there are differing views in the literature about the direction of flow in which pushing nature occurs.

To paraphrase Ben Dykes, if A applies to B from one of B’s dignities, then A pushes some of its own nature onto B because A is approaching B from such a welcome spot. In contrast, some of the older texts suggest that the presence of A in a dignity of B seems to imbue A with “B-ness” (that is, treat A as part of B’s family) so that when the aspect between them perfects, it is as if the receiving planet B shares some of its nature with A. This latter view appears to be the basis of John Frawley’s idea in his Horary Textbook that if planet A is a guest in one of B’s dignities, then A ends up “liking or loving” B. (The alternative would be self-loathing.) It is as if a person who vacationed a lot at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida would end up liking or loving Donald Trump.

An interesting discussion of “pushing” can be found at Skyscript.co.uk.

These ideas about “pushing” of disposition, power and nature are especially helpful in horary astrology because the Moon, which is the fastest planet, signifies the horary question itself and  is generally a co-ruler of the querent. Thus, the Moon is always pushing its counsel/disposition onto other planets as it aspects them, and at times the Moon will push its power/dignity and may push its nature/virtue as well. In horary we can follow the chain of pushing and receiving to see how matters will eventually turn out, much as in a game of billiards.


Here the white ball (the Moon) pushes its disposition onto the purple ball, which in turn takes the Moon’s disposition and passes it on to the orange and white ball, which will then head into the middle upper pocket and bring matters to a conclusion, just like in horary astrology. The cue stick striking the white ball represents the moment that the querent asks the astrologer the horary question, which becomes the basis for the chart. The analogy with billiards also shows why the Moon’s next aspect is so important in horary.

Astrologer Ryhan Bulter summaries these three types of “pushing” as follows: 

Pushing Power: This occurs when a planet in one of its dignities applies to another planet. Example: Moon in Cancer applying to Jupiter in any sign.

Pushing Management:  Sometimes called “pushing council”, this occurs during every applying aspect.

Pushing Nature:  Occurs when a planet applies to another planet while being in that planet’s sign. Example:  Moon in Sagittarius applying to Jupiter.


All original material in this blog is copyright Anthony Louis, 2017.

About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
This entry was posted in Astrology, horary and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Pushing counsel in astrological aspects

  1. ayves says:

    Fine metaphors!!! “Pushing”, I felt like the scales fell from my eyes.

  2. Thanks. I’m trying to understand these concepts, so creating metaphors that are easy to visualize helps me a lot. By the way, I just added another metaphor about billiards to the end of the blog. It may not have been there when you read the original post.

  3. Pingback: Reflections on “pushing nature” in horary astrology | Anthony Louis – Astrology & Tarot Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s